Pharyngula

That holy flail

Guilt-ridden Christian: If I don’t obey God, he’s going to make me suffer for all eternity.

Evil-angelical Christian: I don’t make you obey God, I’ll be responsible for your eternal suffering.

That link will take you to a despicably manipulative video on GodTube — a dramatized letter from Hell in which a young fellow about to be thrown into the Lake of Fire screams at his still living, Christian friend for not doing enough to save him. It is genuinely vile. It is an attempt to turn a positive social value, friendship, into a rationale for browbeating people into abandoning reason and accepting a superstitious lie.

Christianity is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion. It’s a damnable doctrine that preys on the good people want to do and turns it into a corrupting servility to a wretched dogma.

Comments

  1. #1 ilya
    October 30, 2007

    It’s not just an attempt, it seems to me that they’ve succeeded in making it a rationale.

    And of course if he was christian, he wouldn’t have drank any beers and wouldn’t have ended up in the pit of fire.

  2. #2 notthedroids
    October 30, 2007

    “Christianity is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion.”

    There’s also a lot of stuff about love, redemption, and salvation, but I guess it doesn’t fit your overarching hypothesis that religion is 100% evil.

  3. #3 dogmeatIB
    October 30, 2007

    It’s not PZ’s fault that religion doesn’t live up to its hype.

  4. #4 Will E.
    October 30, 2007

    But guess what? It is possible to have love without death, suffering, fear, guilt and coercion. And we don’t need redemption or salvation. But I guess that doesn’t fit your overarching hypothesis that religion is worth anything at all.

  5. #5 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    Crap fest.

  6. #6 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    As someone who was raised Catholic, the question of whether or not God existed personally went hand-in-hand with whether or not he was worthy of worship.

    It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable being whom I would be proud to stand toe-to-toe with and tell off just before being thrown in the lake of fire with all the rest of the good people being punished for the most trivial and capricious reasons.

    Thanks, you evangelical fuckers, for again reminding me how much derision, scorn, and disgust your vision of God deserves.

  7. #7 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    There’s also a lot of stuff about love, redemption, and salvation, but I guess it doesn’t fit your overarching hypothesis that religion is 100% evil.

    People keep using that word, Love. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    By no definition of love does anything your sick fucking deity do qualify.

  8. #8 Brendan S
    October 30, 2007

    I know. I know. Noone ever actually listens. However:

    The contention is NOT that Christianity is 100% Evil, and Atheism is 100% good.

    The contention is that Good and Evil exist in equal amounts whether you take religion or not.

    People are people. Religion doesn’t make them any better people.

    That’s why Atheists trot out horrible acts committed by Christians. The point isn’t to show that all Christians are horrible. The point is that _Christians still do horrible things_. Being Christian does not exempt you from being a horrible person.

  9. #9 Altabin
    October 30, 2007

    It would be really nice to be able to dismiss this as the work of some isolated nutter. The hundreds of positive comments show that it is a terrifying glimpse into a shared world-view.
    My “favorite”:

    wow, had a houseful of kids over after church, comments were, “this gave me chills” , “was this real” “speechless”

  10. #10 Master Mahan
    October 30, 2007

    Please tell me I’m not the only person who found that video horrifying. This is a vision of God as a vindictive despot, one who rules through fear and suffering. How can anyone possibly love a deity that so callously condemns billions of decent human beings to eternal torture when He Himself has been so lackadaisical making sure we know what the rules are?

    This is obscene. If this is truly God’s mercy, give me Satan.

  11. #11 notthedroids
    October 30, 2007

    “The contention is that Good and Evil exist in equal amounts whether you take religion or not.”

    Not according to PZ. According to PZ, “Christianity is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion.”

  12. #12 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Well then, notthedroids, give us the peace, love, and understanding version, if it exists.

  13. #13 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    There’s also a lot of stuff about love, redemption, and salvation, but I guess it doesn’t fit your overarching hypothesis that religion is 100% evil.

    Posted by: notthedroids | October 30, 2007 2:18 PM

    Please, they’re all promises made on the threat of pain and suffering for all eternity.

    Love – You’ll know God’s love if you follow all these crazy rules, including hating your fellow man because he’s gay, or likes shrimp, or wears clothes of different fiber types, or picks up sticks on the Sabbath… Actually loving your fellow man, and I don’t mean the “love thy neighbor as thyself” stuff that’s about treating people decently instead of badly, isn’t really that big a thing in the Bible with just 18 passages (depending on how you count them) that cover love, and much of that is loving God, not your fellow man.

    If Love was such a big deal, you’d think it’d get more than just 18 passages.

    Redemption – Oh my. That’s what you get for following the rules. And is, frankly, something you don’t need unless you have some arbitrary and capricious over-lord making life terribly f-ing difficult with his byzantine and over-the-top rules. I mean, really, an eternity in hell because you died before your 14-year “boner” sins were forgiven and you got killed on your bike coming home from school? Never mind being born gay or eating shellfish or wearing clothes made of multiple fibers or any of the other crap in the bible.

    Salvation – :eyeroll: Only if you buy into the religious crap fest. Otherwise you don’t need it or want it. Salvation is like the Mob selling “protection.” From whom? From the Mob, of course!

  14. #14 Luis
    October 30, 2007

    Shouldn’t the condemned one be the christian guy who didn’t move a finger to save his friend? After all, it wasn’t the poor guy’s fault if nobody bothered to tell him about god.

    What’s more likely, I’m thinking too hard about an idiotic piece of crap. When I was watching it, my main thought was “Why isn’t the voice-over synchronized with the text?”

  15. #15 Scrofulum
    October 30, 2007

    Smacks of infighting amongst the Chrischuns to me. They’re trying to scare each other now. what kind of a gang is that?

  16. #16 NickM
    October 30, 2007

    Wow – the god they believe in is a royal asshole. No wonder the fundies love tough guys who torture prisoners – it reminds them of their Savior.

  17. #17 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    “The contention is that Good and Evil exist in equal amounts whether you take religion or not.”

    Not according to PZ. According to PZ, “Christianity is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion.”

    Fine. “Death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion are the salient characteristics that distinguish Christianity and similar religions from the secular philosophies whose moral advice they’ve tended to fraudulently claim credit for. Furthermore, death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion are the dominant characteristics found in the Bible and in the worldview and mindset of the majority of Christians. Better?

    Fucking hyper-literalists.

  18. #18 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Stop it, guys.

    We’re all waiting with bated breath for notthedroids to do the selective mental gymnastics required to winkle out the love, redemption, and salvation parts of the torture cult called Christianity.

  19. #19 notthedroids
    October 30, 2007

    “Well then, notthedroids, give us the peace, love, and understanding version, if it exists.”

    The Beatitudes, 1 Corinthians 13, Mark 12:28-35, I could go on.

  20. #20 sailor
    October 30, 2007

    “It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable being whom I would be proud to stand toe-to-toe with and tell off just before being thrown in the lake of fire with all the rest of the good people being punished for the most trivial and capricious reasons.”
    That and all the genocide he encouraged and all the baby killing, and injuctions to show no mercy. If Christians stuck to the new testament they would be a lot more acceptable as human beings. More of the “judge not” and less of their arrogant and authoritarian “We are the only ones that are good, you lot are evil”
    In any case I think that was a perfect creepy halloween movie!

  21. #21 Jon
    October 30, 2007

    Wow. For further vile stupidity, read the comments.

    Half of these idiots actually try and argue that the video wasn’t an attempt to scare or guilt you into submission. No, no, no! We’re not trying to threaten you with eternal torture, we’re trying to motivate you to try and not be sent into eternal torture! There’s a big difference!

    *Groan*

  22. #22 anonymouscoworker
    October 30, 2007

    So, this guy was writing AS the angels were dragging him into Hell? That’s some talented scribbling going on. Especially since it wasn’t in any way overwrought pablum intended to terrify mouth-breathers into more vigorous evangelism.

    Regardless, that guy in Hell is a dick! If he was my friend and I got that letter I’d be like, “Man, you whine SO MUCH. I’m glad you’re in Hell.”

    Also, what’s the postage for a letter from Hell these days? I’m betting it’s more than 41 cents.

  23. #23 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable being whom I would be proud to stand toe-to-toe with and tell off just before being thrown in the lake of fire with all the rest of the good people being punished for the most trivial and capricious reasons.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | October 30, 2007 2:24 PM

    Yeah, I always thought that was the dog’s bollocks. You had to live your life in fear just incase you commited some trivial sin of which you weren’t aware. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my suits were shatnez, which meant I was as revolting as a homosexual, or a person at the Red Lobster all you can eat shrimp bar, to The Lord, Thy God!

    Personally I think literalistic Christians need to, from a very young age, follow Matthew 19:12 which says: “There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

    I’m all for it. They’ll go to heaven and they won’t reproduce another generation of jagoffs; allowing my descendants to live unfettered of their bronze age religious whack-doodlery.

  24. #24 MarquisDeSade
    October 30, 2007

    Wow, Jesus really is a contemptible little prick, ain’t he?

    “Worship me or burn in Hell” really is the message of the Gospels.

    The people who make these videos should be locked away.

  25. #25 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    The Beatitudes, 1 Corinthians 13, Mark 12:28-35, I could go on.

    By all means, please do continue.

  26. #26 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    Fucking hyper-literalists.

    Incidentally, this should not be taken as a literal assertion that notthedroids or any other is presently, or has a habit of, engaging in sexual intercourse.

  27. #27 Gerg
    October 30, 2007

    Wow, nice video. I think I’ll bookmark it so next time I start thinking Christianity might have some good in it, I can watch this and realize how evil and disgusting it really is.

  28. #28 notthedroids
    October 30, 2007

    ‘Wow, Jesus really is a contemptible little prick, ain’t he?

    “Worship me or burn in Hell” really is the message of the Gospels.

    The people who make these videos should be locked away.’

    Bertrand Russell would be branded a “concern troll” these days by this rabble.

  29. #29 heddle
    October 30, 2007

    A hideous, theologically unsound video.

    The truth is that as a Christian I am neither guilt ridden nor responsible for your salvation, which will happen (or not) in spite of what I do (or don’t do) not because of it. I am only asked to present the gospel, not talk you into it, though I would of course be happy to talk to any interested person at great length. I’ll have to answer for refusing to present the gospel, but my zealousness or laziness will have no effect on the number saved.

    Brownian, OM wrote:

    It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable being whom I would be proud to stand toe-to-toe with and tell off just before being thrown in the lake of fire with all the rest of the good people being punished for the most trivial and capricious reasons.
    Thanks, you evangelical fuckers, for again reminding me how much derision, scorn, and disgust your vision of God deserves.

    This is, of course, cheap false bravado. An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.

  30. #30 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    This is, of course, cheap false bravado. An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.

    To someone who doesn’t share your warped and (in the original sense of the term) perverted view of human nature, there is nothing obviously false about this statement.

  31. #31 Brendan S
    October 30, 2007

    The bible says a lot of things. I bet you don’t follow them all. (P.S. Do women talk in your church? Do they wear hats? Pearls? Do you even know if the bible says they should or shouldn’t?)

    But I’m not going to judge a people by a book. I’m going to judge them by how they act. And Christians commit awful acts all the time. So do not Christians. THAT’S THE POINT. Words in a book don’t stop people from shooting abortion doctors. Words in this book don’t bring the life back of someone tied behind a pickup truck and dragged cause he was gay. Words in a book don’t stop people from dressing all in white and trying to scare other people out.

    Religion has failed. It fails to make people act moral. People continue to hate people, kill people, and do whatever they please, basically. And they justify it by some text put together by a group of old men who threw in whatever sounded good.

    Plus, take the other side of the argument. Are you saying that you would go out rape, steal, murder, etc. without this book here telling you not too? Are you saying that the only reason you show Love or Compassion to anyone is because of letters on a page? I don’t think anyone actually believes this. Plenty of people, many of those here, live perfectly normal, pleasant lives without believing there’s someone watching over their shoulder.

    The last thing you have to understand is the difference between Religion, Philosophy, and Mythology.

    The Bible has a wonderful philosophy. Doing onto others as you want them to do back to you is a great way to live. It’s also not exactly an idea unique to Christianity. This doesn’t mean I have to believe that there’s a spirit out there judging me, or that I must believe in the mythology set out in the Bible.

  32. #32 boojum
    October 30, 2007

    Here’s the Jack Chick version, called “The Letter”:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0079/0079_01.asp

  33. #33 windy
    October 30, 2007

    Notice that ANGELS are dragging people to the pits of hell? Is this a common interpretation? (Sandman fans notwithstanding?)

    Please tell me I’m not the only person who found that video horrifying.

    Not horrifying exactly, it was sort of like a lame intro to a metal song. I was expecting at least a Halford-like scream at the end, but apparently Hell sounds like sausages frying.

  34. #34 Joel
    October 30, 2007

    This video is proof that religion does poison everything – young peoples minds being the principal example here.

  35. #35 \m/ Dustin \m/
    October 30, 2007

    You know how, regarding Hell, people will ask, “But what if you’re wrong?”

    I have an answer for that. Every mural of damnation I’ve ever seen has a line of sinners walking placidly towards the fire where some angel pushes them in. The thing is, ruthlessness and cunning are two things that will probably be over-represented in the population of Hell and, when I find myself in that pit of fire and shadow, I’ll probably be in line next to a few pissed-off vikings who were expecting meat and beer, some Persian raiders who were expecting virgins, some angry commandos or generals who are thinking “Comrade don’t play dat,” and plenty of plain folks who had the misfortune of not hearing about Jesus and his masochism because he decided to make belief in that compulsory and unavailable to them at the same time.

    That’s when we get our thug on. Gang up on the angel pushing everyone in, get his sword, push him in instead. Everyone in line now has to swear allegiance to my Army of the Damned, or they go in too. Then I start pulling people out of the fire. The swear allegiance, or it’s right back in with them. Once I have my Legion of Souls, we’re going after Satan. After all, God is a cosmic toddler and Satan can’t handle him, so Satan is inept. After he’s overthrown and his horned skull adorns the staff of my battle standard, I’ll smelt Hell’s adamantine gates and reforge them to fashion armor for my demonic horde and set my sights on the New Jerusalem. Our march will be heralded by the rise of a new morning star that blazes with the intensity of ten thousand suns and we will break upon the city and its jewelled gates like a storm surge, razing its temples and slaughtering the righteous.

    Then, once the heads of the saints and prophets adorn the pikes outside the city and seated myself atop a throne made of their bones, I’ll give the word that ends the universe and begins the world anew… and this time, it’ll be run the way it should have been. That’s what I’ll do if I’m wrong.

  36. #36 MarquisDeSade
    October 30, 2007

    “There’s also a lot of stuff about love, redemption, and salvation.”

    As PZ pointed out, those are precisely the aspects of human nature that it preys on and corrupts from within. Instead of giving love it’s proper value, it makes it self-serving.

    By asserting that redemption and salvation are things to strive for, and that the reason to strive for them even exists, you are sucking all the value and meaning out of the ways to achieve them. Love and compassion are empty if they serve first to keep you out of Hell and second to benefit the recipients.

  37. #37 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    apparently Hell sounds like sausages frying.

    Sacrilicious!

  38. #38 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    “Well then, notthedroids, give us the peace, love, and understanding version, if it exists.”

    The Beatitudes, 1 Corinthians 13, Mark 12:28-35, I could go on.

    Is that seriously what passes for thinking among you people? I can’t believe you can get to work in the morning without maiming yourself through some incredible act of stupidity. You might as well say Christianity is about donkeys, since the bible refers to them innumerable times.

    Maybe you should go on, and tell us how Christianity is about these things, rather than just referring to them in a passage or two.

    Furthermore, you’ve got the weight of all the opposing ideas. If an entity claims to love you five hundred times and then threatens to torture you if you don’t aquiesce to its whims even once, the sum idea is that this entity is not showing love. It’s attempting to show dominance and control.

    Maybe you might be able to pull some comparison to parenting (though loving parents punish their children to prevent future harmful acts, not after the fact as the price of disobedience), but then doesn’t one of the quotations you provided say “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”?

    Why don’t you people grow the fuck up and take an honest look at the psychopathy you’re defending as God?

  39. #39 stogoe
    October 30, 2007

    notthedroids, what about the 90% of the New Testicles that you didn’t list? You know, the part where Jebus drones on and on and on about “all you stupid fucks are gonna burn lessen you bow down and kiss my everglowing ass”?

  40. #40 cm
    October 30, 2007

    Somebody should make a response video to this called “Letter from Nothingness” in which an atheist is chastised by his dead Christian friend for not telling him that religion was a waste of time and guilt in the one finite life he had. Let’s see…

    Dear Josh,

    I died today. Immediately after the car’s impact I could feel nothing. I did not feel my soul leaving my body, not anything at all. I can not write here, nor can I talk, nor feel, and I certainly can’t feel my heart pounding in my chest because my chest has been cremated and my heart is pounding in the chest of a man from Maplewood, NJ who needed a transplant. I have no idea how I’m writing this letter at all, actually. In any case, there is nothing it is like to be me these days, pretty much like it was before my birth.

    I gotta tell you, Josh, if I retained any volition or consciousness–which I don’t–I would tell you that I really wish you had told me about atheism when I was alive. The coach mentioned it and you just laughed it off. But, damnit Josh–I would say had I a mind or sensibility–I went to that stupid church ever freakin’ week for years. I prayed every night, and now I find out I was talking to myself in bed like an idiot. Why didn’t you tell me, Josh?

    Your friend, who exists only in your memories of me,
    Zach

  41. #41 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Posts like #34 are the reason I keep nominating Dustin for a Molly every month.

  42. #42 Kseniya
    October 30, 2007

    That’s what I’ll do if I’m wrong.

    Whoa! Dustin! Kewl!

    [*looks up*]

    Errr…

    [*looks down*]

    I mean… Bah! More false bravado from the unbeliever!

  43. #43 Richard Harris
    October 30, 2007

    Over billions of years on a planet, life evolves into many species, including primates. The smartest of these can think outside of the box – they (that is, we), can think in abstract terms.

    According to the bible, this god thing created man in its own image. So, I wanna know how come this god thing looks like a monkey (okay, pedants, like an ape), if it’s supposed to have created the universe. Mebbe that’s why it’s such an asshole, anyway.

    More likely, the god thing’s been created in the image of man. As men with power have traditionally been assholes, that’d explain its sadism.

    Jeeeeez! That wasn’t so difficult, so why can’t these religiots see it?

  44. #44 Uber
    October 30, 2007

    The truth is that as a Christian I am neither guilt ridden nor responsible for your salvation, which will happen (or not) in spite of what I do (or don’t do) not because of it.

    Perhaps you are not truly a Christian but just like to think of yourself as one. I can’t imagine anyone feeling anything but mind numbing depression if they actually believed the way you seem to profess.

    I am only asked to present the gospel, not talk you into it, though I would of course be happy to talk to any interested person at great length. I’ll have to answer for refusing to present the gospel, but my zealousness or laziness will have no effect on the number saved.

    Because you are of course a predestination type individual. We won’t get into the utter vileness of creating a being you know will not choose you and the inherent unfairness of such an idea or that it shatters all illusions of free will.

  45. #45 stogoe
    October 30, 2007

    \m/Dustin\m/: [snip the long but awesome post]

    I’m kind of laid-back in meatspace, but if the christian hell ends up existing, I’m willing to be right there with you, singing the song that ends the world. (Even if it was partially inspired by Penny Arcade.)

  46. #46 windy
    October 30, 2007

    …when I find myself in that pit of fire and shadow, I’ll probably be in line next to a few pissed-off vikings who were expecting meat and beer, some Persian raiders who were expecting virgins, some angry commandos or generals who are thinking “Comrade don’t play dat,” and plenty of plain folks who had the misfortune of not hearing about Jesus and his masochism because he decided to make belief in that compulsory and unavailable to them at the same time.

    Hey, did you forget all those godless scientists you’ll find down there? I call dibs on them for my Army of Darkness! (the conquest of Hell might take a bit longer with that bunch, though)

  47. #47 Bob L
    October 30, 2007

    The whole concept of Hell is kind of bizzare; how do you torture a non-corporal soul? With no nerve endings being immersed in a lava won’t make much of difference. Even if God just gives you a body back just to torture it after a while you’ll get used to it. What, do the damn just fake their screams from being burned to give God a good show?

  48. #48 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Oh fuck, Twaddle’s back.

    This is, of course, cheap false bravado. An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.

    Read the first part of the quote, where I mention being raised Catholic, fuckwit. I wasn’t an atheist yet then.

    You’re stupid and you bore me. Please don’t respond to my comments, since you lack the modicum of intelligence to understand them.

  49. #49 Uber
    October 30, 2007

    The whole concept of Hell is kind of bizzare; how do you torture a non-corporal soul

    I have always thought this so strange as to give away it’s veracity. We feel pain with nerves and brain. Sever the nerves to the legs and they feel nothing. Burn or stab away.

    A person takes a blow to the head and the resulting damage can affect the personality. SO in essense in hell a body with no nerves/pain sensors would have to be reanimanted and established JUST so it could feel unrelenting pain. That my friends is, well, doesn’t paint a pretty picture of one who would do it and certainly not of a loving creator.

    It smacks of people who lived brutally and wrote brutal ideas.

  50. #50 miller
    October 30, 2007

    This is why hell and utilitarianism are incompatible.

  51. #51 Molly, NYC
    October 30, 2007

    Okay, so you’ve got these fundie kids listening to this, who are essentially being told that, instead of respecting their friends’ religious views, they should be actively selling them some GodTube Brand? Jesus.

    Kind of a friendship killer, no?

    But that’s the idea–not to bring drunken, frying Josh to Christ, but to isolate the audience. This sort of crap doesn’t fly near as well among people who have someone else to compare notes with.

  52. #52 Rey Fox
    October 30, 2007

    “An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.”

    Actually, I would speculate that, in the even worse case scenario, I would pee my pants, then plead for mercy and cry like a baby. Or wait no, even worse, I would have a headache on top of all that.

    But the thing is, I have no more reason to believe that this case would be true than the glorious conquest of hell laid out by Dustin. So I don’t go scaring myself silly over it.

  53. #53 windy
    October 30, 2007

    An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby…

    I’m sure most of the victims of Pinochet did too.

  54. #54 Blake Stacey
    October 30, 2007

    Notice that ANGELS are dragging people to the pits of hell? Is this a common interpretation? (Sandman fans notwithstanding?)

    Man, I hate being told that I’m notwithstanding.

  55. #55 Master Mahan
    October 30, 2007

    This is, of course, cheap false bravado. An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.

    I think you misunderstand. The vision of God presented in this video is little more than a bully. This love is highly conditional love, and resembles nothing so much as child abuse, with lakes of fire taking the place of cigarette burns. I do not believe such a cruel and capricious being exists, but if they did I end up in the lake no matter what, because I could never honestly love that sort of God.

    This video truly does scare me, not because I believe it, but because there are people who see the universe as being this petty. These are people who look at the concept of a cosmic parent and see a father who pits his children against one another, treating a small minority to ice cream while the rest are beaten behind the woodshed for all eternity for calling him Pop instead of Dad.

  56. #56 heddle
    October 30, 2007

    Rey Fox,

    I agree with you. Of course it doesn’t scare you, since you don’t believe in it. It would be silly to fear something we deny. I’m not afraid that I’ll wake up in the afterlife to find Mohammed glaring at me and asking why I proclaimed him a false prophet. But if I understand correctly at least you acknowledge, unlike Brownian who has no intellectual honesty (or much intellect, based on his writing), that if the worst case scenario is true you would not swagger up to the lake and leap in.

    Windy,
    Exactly my point.

  57. #57 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    if they did I end up in the lake no matter what, because I could never honestly love that sort of God.

    Exactly.

  58. #58 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    Even if it was partially inspired by Penny Arcade.

    The inspiration was actually some Marlowe that made its way into “In the Hand of Dante” by Nick Tosches. I didn’t mean to slip the PA into it but looking back at that comic now the similarities are clearly there. Oops.

    What daring god torments my body thus,
    And seeks to conquer mighty Tamburlaine?
    Shall sickness prove me now to be a man,
    That have been term’d the terror of the world?
    Techelles and the rest, come, take your swords,
    And threaten him whose hand afflicts my soul:
    Come, let us march against the powers of heaven,
    And set black streamers in the firmament,
    To signify the slaughter of the gods.
    Ah, friends, what shall I do? I cannot stand.
    Come, carry me to war against the gods,
    That thus envy the health of Tamburlaine.

  59. #59 stogoe
    October 30, 2007

    Suck it up, Blake Stacey! You’re notwithstanding out there like a sack of broken toys! You better get your ass in gear and start notwithstanding like a champion, or you’re off the team!

  60. #60 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    unlike Brownian who has no intellectual honesty (or much intellect, based on his writing)

    It would appear that Twaddle, despite his protestations in some earlier post, is not beyond the dozens of the schoolyard. Intellectually honest indeed.

    Look, if God exists, and is indeed the asshole Christians claim he is, then somebody needs to stand up and tell him to go fuck himself. (In fact, didn’t one Angel do exactly that and get rewarded with the majority of human souls for his disobedience?)

    Besides, if hell is indeed so scary as to be beyond comprehension, then it cannot be any more terrifying than any other death already envisioned by living people. Since we have accounts of people heading to their tortuous, painful deaths with heads proudly held high, how is it so impossible to believe that an individual wouldn’t be able to do the same whilst facing the Lake of Fire? (Especially if the very existence of the Lake of Fire is proof that God deserves neither respect nor worship?)

  61. #61 JimC
    October 30, 2007

    It would be silly to fear something we deny.

    Not denying, not seeing any evidence there for even remote attempt at denial.

    Brownian who has no intellectual honesty (or much intellect, based on his writing),

    Honestly heddle are you the person who should be making comments about peoples intellectual honesty the way you make arguments a cling to such irrational notions?

    How can a person like yourself question anyone’s intellect based on the garbage you spew here and elsewhere?

    Not saying you can’t or aren’t welcome but it just seems to make you a hypocrite many times over. Perhaps you should work on your own honestly and intellect before casting stones. Brownian(who I don’t know) is at least seemingly intelligent and consistent.

    Also seems like he actually has a heart for his fellow man, something you abjectly always seem to lack.

  62. #62 stogoe
    October 30, 2007

    Don’t feel bad, I enjoy Penny Arcade. I’m sure the guys at PA were drawing on similar sources, or at least drawing on people who were drawing on similar sources.

    Anyways, +1 Molly vote for Dustin.

  63. #63 Uber
    October 30, 2007

    Besides, if hell is indeed so scary as to be beyond comprehension, then it cannot be any more terrifying than any other death already envisioned by living people. Since we have accounts of people heading to their tortuous, painful deaths with heads proudly held high, how is it so impossible to believe that an individual wouldn’t be able to do the same whilst facing the Lake of Fire? (Especially if the very existence of the Lake of Fire is proof that God deserves neither respect nor worship?)

    Very good paragraph and an excellent point. I think heddle perhaps is (revealing maybe) letting us see how he reacts and is not capable of getting past his own fear.

    Not every man is cowardly. Many people have gone to certain and painful deaths for what they believed to be true. This fanciful scenario is much like those.

    I don’t see any intellectual dishonesty here. Perhaps it would be for a person like heddle(I don’t mean that as an insult)who would cry and beg for mercy and not for an individual like Brownian.

    Takes all types.

  64. #64 Kseniya
    October 30, 2007

    Very insightful comment, there, Master Mahan (#54). I share your point of view, though I was stuck on more of an abusive-relationship analogy. The abusive parent analogy is far more apt, of course. Duh. I guess I’m just not very sharp today. %-o

  65. #65 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    Don’t feel bad, I enjoy Penny Arcade. I’m sure the guys at PA were drawing on similar sources, or at least drawing on people who were drawing on similar sources.

    Yeah, I just didn’t realize I was being that derivative. I’m going to retire from jokes for the day while I look up a table in the CRC book so I can integrate myself.

  66. #66 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Thanks for sticking up for me, JimC, but in fairness, my response to Twaddle in comment #47 was an overreaction.

    These goddamn torture-obsessed fundies just get my knickers all a-knotted, which really hurts when you’re as hirsute as I am.

  67. #67 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    Nice to see:

    12% – Secular Americans

    The number of Americans who say they are atheist or agnostic, or choose not to identify with a religious tradition has increased modestly over the past two decades, with Pew surveys since the beginning of 2006, finding that 12% of U.S. adults identify themselves as secular or unaffiliated with a religious tradition; that compares with 8% in the Pew values survey in 1987. This change appears to be generational in nature, with new cohorts coming of age with lower levels of commitment to a religious tradition. Among respondents born before the baby boom (that is, prior to 1946), only about 5% are secular or unaffiliated compared with more than double that number among Baby Boomers (11%). The most secular Americans are those 30 and younger — sometimes called “Generation Y” — 19% of whom do not identify with a religious tradition. Pew surveys taken over the past 20 years show that, within each age cohort, the size of the secular group has remained constant over time indicating that people have not become less secular as they have aged. For example, 14% of members of “Generation X” (born 1965-1976) did not identify with a religious tradition in 1997, about the same as in 2007. Democrats and independents are less likely than Republicans to identify with a particular religious tradition, and the gap has widened over the past two decades. Currently, 5% of Republicans say they are atheist, agnostic, or decline to state a religious preference, which is the same percentage that did so in 1987. But the number of Democrats in this category is now 11%, up from 7% in 1987; currently 17% of independents are classified as secular, an increase from 9% in 1987. Read more

    http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=386

    I dream of a day when religion becomes irrelevant. And every generation, it becomes more so. Five percent in my parents generation, eleven percent in mine, nineteen percent in my daughters’.

    And while religion will continue to plague us for centuries to come, the religious population will, eventually, become too low to have a serious deleterious impact on our world.

  68. #68 tacitus
    October 30, 2007

    This video is a wonderful recruiting tool… for atheists.

    This is the reason why belief in the existence of Hell is always considerably lower than belief in God (even in the US). The more Christians push this type of stuff on their kids, the more they will reject the faith of their fathers. It’s already happening, and this type of thing will only accelerate the process.

    Curiously, I have been working on a short story with a similar theme–a young person gets killed in a car crash and finds himself suffering almost indescribable torments in the Lake of Fire. The reveal at the end of the story is that he, and all the others around him are children barely beyond the “age of accountability” and are only guilty of things that a real parent would forgive in a heartbeat. Of course, it also turns out that Stalin repented on his deathbed (or maybe Hitler, I haven’t decided yet) and is enjoying an eternity in Heaven while the kids all languish in torment.

    Such is the logic of fundamentalist Christianity.

  69. #69 raven
    October 30, 2007

    There’s also a lot of stuff about love, redemption, and salvation, but I guess it doesn’t fit your overarching hypothesis that religion is 100% evil.

    This is true. But the fundies have reduced Xianity down to anti-gay, anti-abortion, and pro overthrowing the government and setting up a theocratic hell on earth. They’ve tossed all the uplifting, benign aspects of the religion out the window.

    Death cults are a corrosive acid that will do some long term damage to the religion. We are already seeing it in the present backlash.

  70. #70 Rey Fox
    October 30, 2007

    But you see, it’s still only a “worst case scenario”, which, as I demonstrated, is kind of impossible since you can always add to it. It’s really only based on the notion that Hell would overwhelm the resolve of even the strongest man, due to it being like, infinitely bad. I could just as easily say that if it were merely a lake of fire, I could still curse God all the way down, and it’d be even easier since at that point, I would have nothing to lose (and would be cognizant of the identity of the bloke who is ultimately responsible for the whole fire and brimstone).

    What I’m trying to say is that discussions of hell are utterly meaningless. Utterly.

  71. #71 Boosterz
    October 30, 2007

    They should re-shoot that video and make it a christian standing in front of Cthulhu. Let him whine about how nobody warned him right before the shoggoths devour his body and put his still living brain in a jar.

  72. #72 Dave
    October 30, 2007

    But if I understand correctly at least you acknowledge, unlike Brownian who has no intellectual honesty (or much intellect, based on his writing), that if the worst case scenario is true you would not swagger up to the lake and leap in.

    I dont understand where you see a lack of intellectual honesty in Brownian’s writings. Like him, if the emotionally stunted cosmic schoolyard bully so many Christians envision is the high muckymuck afterall, I hope that I may have the volition and strength to spit in his eye before he casts me into the lake of oblivion. I fear (but not much since I dont think its going to happen) that I would be weak and piss my pants and cry for mercy. I expect that you do not understand this position at all, thats OK, I only ask that you accept my word that I truly do hold it.

  73. #73 Skemono
    October 30, 2007

    The point is that _Christians still do horrible things_. Being Christian does not exempt you from being a horrible person.

    Unless you randomly define Christian as “person who can do no wrong”, like some alleged ‘Christians’ (try wading through the comments; I didn’t bother to respond after a while).

  74. #74 Owlmirror
    October 30, 2007

    And don’t forget what it all comes down to:

    CALVINIST ARGUMENT, aka TERTULLIAN’S ARGUMENT
    (1) If God exists, then he will let me watch you be tortured forever.
    (2) I rather like that idea.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.

    I don’t know for certain that I would be strong and brave in the face of eternal pain inflicted by a cruel tyrant. But I can for damn sure hope I would be.

  75. #75 klien4g
    October 30, 2007

    # 28 :
    “An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby…”

    Well, i’m indian so when you say, ‘if, to their surprise…’ it sounds to me a bit like ‘if, to their surprise…died and met Yama — the god of death — sitting on his mighty bison!!’ might sound to you.
    Get the drift?

  76. #76 Tom
    October 30, 2007

    I’ve just watched it… i laughed my head off. superb!

  77. #77 negentropyeater
    October 30, 2007

    Funny video!

    I might even be tempted to ask the guy who sent the letter if he was really sure that he was really in Hell ? How does he know that he is in hell ? Because that’s what the bible says, might he reply.
    Then I’ll ask, did you actually read the whole book, in it’s original language ? Well, no, he’ll reply. So then I’ll ask : do you know what it actually says in there ?

    As any educated Christian theologian will tell you, the only clear message from the bible is that hell is the Tumb. And the promise of God is resurection from the tumb into a new body for those who followed the true gospel, when Christ returns.

    And then he might learn something from an agnostic.

  78. #78 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    Jesus does make specific references to Gehenna, which is commonly thought of as hell, but was actually a ravine used as a trash pit outside of Jerusalem where trash was burned. Because of this, Christians can’t even agree on what hell actually is. Some Christians believe that souls are destroyed there, some that they’re kept alive and burned forever. The bible isn’t even clear on this. Also, is the lake of fire in the book of Revelation the Gehenna Jesus talks about? It isn’t clear from any context that it is, or what happens in either case when someone is thrown in. It isn’t even clear that Jesus wasn’t talking about sins in a metaphorical sense, that is, something like, “these sins and those who commit them belong in the trash pit”. It also isn’t clear from the book of Revelation what is meant when it says that the devil and his followers will be cast into a lake of fire, since it also makes mention of sinners wandering around outside the new Jerusalem.

    It’s such a self-contradicting threat that I can’t believe they fall for it.

  79. #79 ichthyes
    October 30, 2007

    That’s so totally inappropriate I don’t even know where to start. On top of that though, I find it impressive that this imaginary boy kept writing whilst being dragged around by angels.

    Which, by the way, was oh-so-nice! Pillocks.

  80. #80 negentropyeater
    October 30, 2007

    The reasons for the disagreements amongst Christians is mainly due to misinterpretations of the various recent translations. I have discussed this with various Christian theologians that are able to read ancient greek and hebreu, and I have been assured that there is no way hell has anything to do with this description. Hell IS the tumb. So if you have not followed the true gospel of Christ, that’s where you will remain, forever, and dead.
    Which does make sense to anybody.
    The crux is that if you did follow the true Gospel of Christ, you will resucitate. Which, by definition, can only happen to someone who truly believed in it.

    It is because of this that I define myself as an Agnostic. Do I want to believe in this ?

  81. #81 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    There was an ad on that site for those people who put up those stupid billboards. The ones that say things that are supposedly attributed to God.

    That’s another thing I should add to “If I’m wrong”. If I’m wrong, the people who make those stupid billboards are going to hell with me for their blasphemy.

  82. #82 windy
    October 30, 2007

    heddle, I guessed you would revel in the Pinochet comparison rather than reject it: glad to oblige. Now, were any opponents of Pinochet who possessed a measure of bravery hypocritical or dishonest?

  83. #83 John Danley
    October 30, 2007

    Sounds like Enduring Love. Or Enduring Insanity. Either way, this is the shit Ian McEwan can’t stand. I concur PZ. I concur.

  84. #84 Rayzilla
    October 30, 2007

    God damn, that was a good video.

  85. #85 richCares
    October 30, 2007

    Hey, god is good and full of love for his creation, after all didn’t he supply Noah with earplugs so that Noah wouldn’t hear the screams of those innocent children that god was murdering, not to memtion the screams of those pregnant women. an evil god would not have supplied Noah with earplugs.
    by the way, those poor muslim terrorists go beserk when they find out those 72 virgins stay as virgins, as they find out that the soul don’t have no peepee

  86. #86 Kris Verburgh
    October 30, 2007

    Ok, I saw this movie and it was pretty scary, even for a non-believer! πŸ˜‰ This is called brainwashing by overstimulation of the thalamus.

  87. #87 rmp
    October 30, 2007

    yup. This is how I was raised. I cried myself to sleep because I was sure I was going to hell because I couldn’t convince myself that I believed.

    yah, that’s a healthy way to raise a kid.

  88. #88 notthedroids
    October 30, 2007

    ‘ notthedroids, what about the 90% of the New Testicles that you didn’t list? You know, the part where Jebus drones on and on and on about “all you stupid fucks are gonna burn lessen you bow down and kiss my everglowing ass”? ‘

    It was easy enough for me to find the passages in support of my statements, perhaps you could do the same.

    It is debatable whether the Jesus of the gospels even believed in hell per se (i.e. eternal fire and brimstone, Dante’s Inferno, etc). That is a debate, like the historicity of Jesus, that I won’t even touch.

  89. #89 Owlmirror
    October 30, 2007

    Hell IS the tumb

    The word is usually spelled “tomb” in English.

    The OED etymology says:

    [Early ME. toumbe, tumbe, a. AF. tumbe, OF. tombe (12th c. in Godef.) = Sp., Pg. tumba, It. tomba:—late L. tumba (Prudentius), ad. Gr. ?????? sepulchral mound.
    The final b began to be mute in Eng. (cf. lamb, dumb) early in 14th c., but the spelling tomb, which never exactly represented the spoken word, has survived, and from the 17th c. been the accepted form.]

  90. #90 eewolf
    October 30, 2007

    Heddle scoffs at those who would follow their conscience. No one knows what they would do when faced with something so terrifying. But history tells us that people do have this courage.

    If this (Christian) insanity is true, then many have gone willingly in the lake with head high. And there would be some who would choose it over the open door to heaven.

  91. #91 Zib
    October 30, 2007

    Hey, cm @ #40 – great post, cheers.

  92. #92 June
    October 30, 2007

    Get a grip, everybody!
    This is a VIDEO!
    A nice scare story for Halloween.

    There actually was no letter!
    Just as there is no Hell.
    Is that clear?
    Is that CRYSTAL CLEAR?

  93. #93 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    But if I understand correctly at least you acknowledge, unlike Brownian who has no intellectual honesty (or much intellect, based on his writing), that if the worst case scenario is true you would not swagger up to the lake and leap in.

    Windy,
    Exactly my point.

    Posted by: heddle | October 30, 2007 3:54 PM

    Coming from a man who is so intellectually dishonest he refuses to accept, or even research, the origins of his religion, though he’s been challenged multiple times in the past AND lives in this giant logical fallacy deriving from the anthropomorphic principle of the “fined tuned universe”… What a load of intellectually dishonest, self-serving crap. Mr. Heddle may not be stupid, after all he does apparently have the intellect to earn a PhD, but he’s damn ignorant of the non-astronomy subjects, including his religion, of which he speaks and lives a life of such complete and utter denial that he’s shown himself to be ludicrous in most every debate in which he has engaged.

  94. #94 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    Get a grip, everybody!
    This is a VIDEO!
    A nice scare story for Halloween.

    There actually was no letter!
    Just as there is no Hell.
    Is that clear?
    Is that CRYSTAL CLEAR?

    How exactly do you figure that commenting on the absurdity of the premises of a piece of fiction is inconsistent with recognizing it as fiction?

  95. #95 Carlie
    October 30, 2007

    God is worse than just an evil, vengeful guy who likes to torture people, according to Christianity. He’s the kind who does it and blames you for it, because you had the temerity not to toe the line. Very much the abuser who says “I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re MAKING me hurt you.”

  96. #96 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    It is debatable whether the Jesus of the gospels even believed in hell per se (i.e. eternal fire and brimstone, Dante’s Inferno, etc). That is a debate, like the historicity of Jesus, that I won’t even touch.

    This strikes me as the type of intellectual honesty Twaddle was talking about.

    However, Stogoe was probably talking about John 5:19-30

    I googled Jesus + Hell, since I couldn’t remember the exact passages where Jesus mentions things like brimstone and fire, and found this page, which is much like the VIDEO + RETARDED!!

    Anyways, Jesus describes hell as fire, brimstone, and eternal torment a number of times, many of which can be found on this page.

  97. #97 justin chase
    October 30, 2007

    I’m just impressed by this guys ability to write a letter while hanging over a cliff and being burned. I probably would have dropped the letter and just said fuck it. Maybe (supposing Hell acutally existed, which it of course doesn’t) this guy would have been going there because he is such a dick that he’d rather write his friends to make them feel worse about the situation than they already are. Whatever happened to taking some responsibility for your own actions? Oh that’s right if you’re a christian you’re not really responsible for your own actions, you can always blame it on God or get forgiveness or heck just blame it on some other sinner.

  98. #98 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    It is debatable whether the Jesus of the gospels even believed in hell per se (i.e. eternal fire and brimstone, Dante’s Inferno, etc). That is a debate, like the historicity of Jesus, that I won’t even touch.

    This strikes me as the type of intellectual honesty Twaddle was talking about.

    However, Stogoe was probably talking about John 5:19-30

    I googled Jesus + Hell, since I couldn’t remember the exact passages where Jesus mentions things like brimstone and fire, and found this page, which is much like the VIDEO + RETARDED!!

  99. #99 Brownian, OM
    October 30, 2007

    And some of the passages in which Jesus describes hell as fire, brimstone, and eternal torment can be found on this page.

  100. #100 Madam Pomfrey
    October 30, 2007

    I’ll smelt Hell’s adamantine gates and reforge them to fashion armor for my demonic horde and set my sights on the New Jerusalem.

    Priceless.

  101. #101 Dustin
    October 30, 2007

    Very much the abuser who says “I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re MAKING me hurt you.”

    In this case, he’s more like the bully who grabs someone’s arm and flails it against their head while taunting “why ya keep hitting yourself, huh?”

  102. #102 Justin Moretti
    October 30, 2007

    I was for a time fiercely Catholic (chosen as an adult of my own free will, having successfully rejected churchgoing as a child for everything except cultural events such as weddings and funerals), and I came across that “believers are responsible for the damnation of the souls they fail to convert” argument as a result of being talked to by the Evangelical community at my university.

    It was then, and remains in my current agnostic incarnation, no less than a spiritual and theological obscenity. The Catholics I went with emphasized love, kindness and service to one’s fellow humans for their own positive sake, using the most beneficial aspects of Christ (e.g. his healing ministry; his smackdown on the Pharisees – the fundies of his era) and the NT epistles as an example, and there was no emphasis on Hell, the way there or the way out. You did the positive things because they were of benefit to yourself (vis a vis growth as a human being) and to your fellow humanity, not because you were motivated by fear of Hell. And if you fucked up and were truly repentant, well, God forgives all. (But that doesn’t mean you didn’t have to pay the secular price, if you’d broken the law in the process.)

    Besides, if you’re loving God and Humanity only through fear of Hell, you’re not really loving God and Humanity – and you’ll burn. As for the nonbelievers, or – like Myers, Hitchens and Dawkins and their followers – the rejectors, I have in mind what Christ said to the Pharisees: “Because of you, the Gentiles say evil things about God.” And I always had the idea that He didn’t hold those Gentiles responsible for it; their rejection of religion was understandable.

    Ultimately I believe it comes down to this – if, at the end of your life, you were faced with a being of unlimited knowledge and capability (including that of creating entire universes in situ, even if it did not so create this one) and infinite love, would you acknowledge it (I do not say “bow to it”) or turn your back on it?

    Because if you would turn your back on love, truth (including knowledge) and beauty in their highest forms, then you deserve to burn, just as Jerry Falwell is doubtless now doing, and just as Rev. Fred Phelps will do when his time comes. And if it turns out that the Bible was perverted into a mind-raping hatefest by vested interests in the interests of control, and that the truth is far more merciful, there is no way that those misled by a lie would be incinerated for it. The atheists may be on firmer ground, for rejecting God as a hateful abusive parent, than the Fundies for uncritically swallowing or perverting Him.

  103. #103 Willo the Wisp
    October 30, 2007

    What bugs me about the whole thing is that Yahweh created Hell, and the criteria by which one is sent there. He also created humans, knowing full well that those who sin will be sent to Hell forever. He knows everything, so he knows which of us are going to go to Hell. The majority of humans are not Christian. This means that he intended, right from the start, for the majority of his creations to go to Hell forever.

    The only way to be saved from Hell is to accept Jesus as your “saviour”, but there are people in the world who have never heard of Jesus – so the millions and millions of people who died before Christianity reached their part of the world are all burning in Hell, and always will be. This god is a sadist. If he made me, then he made me an atheist. He knew I would be an atheist when he made me. Therefore he created me with the sole intention of throwing me into the lake of fire, which seems rather wasteful.

  104. #104 Calladus
    October 30, 2007

    So the kid goes to Hell and berates his friend for not warning him? Isn’t this dangerously close to some sort of religious blasphemy?

    Does the believer go to Hell for failing to warn his friend about Hell? The Christian answer would be no – the believer, since he or she is still alive, can still repent and be saved.

    But this creates a dilemma for Christians. How are they going to enjoy their eternal stay in Heaven knowing that others in Hell will spend an eternity being tortured?

    What if it wasn’t your acquaintance, or a friend from school who went to Hell? After all, you might be able to disregard their suffering while you’re attending worship services in Heaven.

    What if it were your family, your parent, your own beloved child that spent eternity in Hell while you spent eternity in Heaven?

    I hope you’ll have fun there while your loved ones are being tortured to death. If it were me in Heaven and my loved ones in Hell, I’d spend the rest of eternity throwing up.

  105. #105 Dahan
    October 30, 2007

    Go lions!

  106. #106 melior
    October 30, 2007

    My least favorite “lesson” in Sunday School, which they called “CCD” (Catholic Catechism Doctrine? or some such gibberish), was when the nun described how near the End Times there would be a call to recognize that all religions were seeking the same truth.

    Just as I was realizing how this was almost certainly correct, and also quite uncharacteristically open-minded, she explained how we should not be fooled, since it was just Satan trying to get us to deviate from the One True Salvation, which of course only Catholics are privy too. The rest would all burn in hell.

  107. #107 Calladus
    October 30, 2007
    Very much the abuser who says “I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re MAKING me hurt you.”

    In this case, he’s more like the bully who grabs someone’s arm and flails it against their head while taunting “why ya keep hitting yourself, huh?”

    I’ve always seen it as a sort of “Spiritual Rape”. God is shown holding his victim close, with a ‘Hell Gun’ pointed at the victim’s head as he croons, “Love me, worship me, or I’ll pull the trigger.”

    If I were casting this scene for a movie, I’d get Jack Nicholson to play the part of God.

  108. #108 Isaac
    October 30, 2007

    I’d rather my best friend had stopped me from drinking and driving, to be perfectly honest….

  109. #109 Chance
    October 30, 2007

    The Catholics I went with emphasized love, kindness and service to one’s fellow humans for their own positive sake, using the most beneficial aspects of Christ (e.g. his healing ministry; his smackdown on the Pharisees – the fundies of his era

    maybe the catholics on the street but the RCC itself is the definition of the Pharisees. They place doctrine before people each and every time. Lets me know they can’t possibly be the truth.

    Because if you would turn your back on love, truth (including knowledge) and beauty in their highest forms, then you deserve to burn

    This is a disgusting sentiment. No one for any reason deserves to burn. It’s no better than the fundie sentiment in the video.

  110. #110 Jason
    October 30, 2007

    Justin Moretti

    Because if you would turn your back on love, truth (including knowledge) and beauty in their highest forms, then you deserve to burn, just as Jerry Falwell is doubtless now doing, and just as Rev. Fred Phelps will do when his time comes.

    Really? You really believe, do you, that Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps (and others apparently) deserve to suffer for all eternity? Infinite suffering. You consider infinite suffering a just punishment, do you?

    If you’re looking for examples of “spiritual and theological obscenity,” I think that’s one right there. Or, rather, it would be if “theology” were a meaningful intellectual endeavor in the first place.

  111. #111 Hank Fox
    October 30, 2007

    Dang, that was nasty. Mean-spirited.

  112. #112 Owlmirror
    October 30, 2007

    Ultimately I believe it comes down to this – if, at the end of your life, you were faced with a being of unlimited knowledge and capability (including that of creating entire universes in situ, even if it did not so create this one) and infinite love, would you acknowledge it (I do not say “bow to it”) or turn your back on it?

    If such a thing existed I would acknowledge it. But I must insist that no such thing, as defined, can possibly exist — because any such entity would let us know it existed, and would provide some sort of clear and unmistakable information about what it was and what it wanted us to do. Every human would be told of its existence by the entity itself; there would be none of this confusion over what it allegedly did, or what laws should or should not be followed and when.

    No, in the face of the utter silence, the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that this O³ entity is a story; a fiction created from hope and inspiration and fear by human beings. And while it is a nicer story, it is nevertheless exactly as much a story as the other one, the entity of wrath and harshness and infinite punishment for any and all transgressions.

  113. #113 Owlmirror
    October 30, 2007

    And, as already suggested, such an O³ entity would never condemn even the most foul and degraded human being to eternal punishment. Again, it is precisely in contradiction to its alleged attributes: Such an entity would know exactly how the human is broken and can be fixed, and would either do so out of its alleged infinite love, or would offer such repair as an eternal option.

    Alternatively, it would know with absolute certainty that the broken human cannot ever be fixed for whatever reason (which, really, means that it is not omnipotent and/or omniscient), and would terminate their existence without suffering.

  114. #114 Susannah
    October 30, 2007

    Ezekiel 3:18ff, KJV —
    “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
    Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness … he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

    It goes on in that vein at some length, with the constant refrain, “thou hast delivered thy soul.”

    So it’s not about the wicked (or righteous who missed his way (vs. 20ff)) but about the so-called good guy.

    Ezekiel makes fascinating reading. If you can tolerate sheer blood-thirstiness and insanity.

  115. #115 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Well then, notthedroids, give us the peace, love, and understanding version, if it exists.

    It does exist. It’s the version of (arguably) Catholicism where hell is consciously (!) self-chosen isolation from God and probably empty, and the devil most likely does not exist in the first place. It’s quite common in Europe.

    (I’ve left it because it still hangs in the air. I’m not capable of believing without evidence.)

  116. #116 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Well then, notthedroids, give us the peace, love, and understanding version, if it exists.

    It does exist. It’s the version of (arguably) Catholicism where hell is consciously (!) self-chosen isolation from God and probably empty, and the devil most likely does not exist in the first place. It’s quite common in Europe.

    (I’ve left it because it still hangs in the air. I’m not capable of believing without evidence.)

  117. #117 khan
    October 30, 2007

    Men have feverishly conceived a heaven only to find it insipid, and a hell to find it ridiculous.
    -George Santayana
    (The Life of Reason)

  118. #118 Jason
    October 30, 2007

    It’s the version of (arguably) Catholicism where hell is consciously (!) self-chosen isolation from God and probably empty, and the devil most likely does not exist in the first place. It’s quite common in Europe.

    Why would God create it if it’s going to be empty?

  119. #119 woozy
    October 30, 2007

    #29

    Brownian, OM wrote:

    It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable being whom I would be proud to stand toe-to-toe with and tell off just before being thrown in the lake of fire with all the rest of the good people being punished for the most trivial and capricious reasons. Thanks, you evangelical fuckers, for again reminding me how much derision, scorn, and disgust your vision of God deserves.

    This is, of course, cheap false bravado. An honest atheist would say: there is no hell, so I’ll face no judgment and yet speculate that if, to their surprise, they do face judgment and a worst-case hell scenario, they would plead for mercy and cry like a baby rather than proudly doing a full-gainer into the fiery lake. Your words ring false.

    Well, if it makes you feel better, I will make no claims about my belief in my bravery.

    You are right. I probably would plead and cry for mercy like a baby.

    I’m pretty sure that if Tony Soprano dragged me in and started chocking me with a piano wire I’d probably plead and cry like a baby and start kissing hes ass in utter pitifull wimpishness.

    I’ve always been respectful of the brave souls in the Nazi Germany who faced death expressing the contempt to their tormentors that they deserve. I know I’d never be that brave.

    If it turns out that both you and I are wrong about hell and it turns out there is no God but Satan who rules the universe and tossing us into the fire for not serving him, I’d probably wimper and cry like a baby. However if you are going to assume that of me, I’m going to assume the same of you and imagine you will wimper and cry like a baby and beg forgiveness from Satan as well.

    However, nothing is going to convince me that in any of those cases the perpetuators are anything but cowardly, evil, sadistic bastards.

    If however you are going to claim that you actually have the bravery to stand up to the assholes Tony Soprano, SS officers, and the Asshole Satan, I don’t see any reason you should assume Brownian wouldn’t have the bravery to stand up to the Asshole God.

    Point is, using hell as a threat and punishment and following through, makes anyone gangster, nazi, devil, or god a sadistic, evil, cowardly bastard. Whether we cower and wimper in fear, stand up and spit in his eye, or actually convert out of fear is irrelevant to our verdict of this bully.

  120. #120 Uber
    October 30, 2007

    Why would God create it if it’s going to be empty?

    symbolism? Why wouldhe create humans knowing so many would suffer eternally?

    We could go one and on:-)

  121. #121 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    overwrought pablum intended to terrify mouth-breathers into more vigorous evangelism.

    I can’t see any better way of saying it than that.

  122. #122 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Go lions!

    ditto.

    we need more free-roaming large predators.

  123. #123 CalGeorge
    October 30, 2007

    How did he manage to write the letter if he was being hauled off by angels and roasted?

    I don’t get it.

  124. #124 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    so…

    which evangelical vid is worse:

    this one, or the “God Hates the World” rework done by the Phelpsians?

    this one seems more insidious, but the other… it’s like a group of zombies gnashing their teeth.

    both good for Halloween scares.

    hey PZ, could you repost the link to the Westboro vid where the little girl sings how god hates the world so much again?

  125. #125 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Every mural of damnation I’ve ever seen has a line of sinners walking placidly towards the fire where some angel pushes them in.

    Is that protestant or something? In Catholic depictions you only ever see devils. That said, most of them are between 300 and 800 years old, and I don’t think any are younger than 300.

    And Dustin for Molly. Just to be on the safe side. :-> Besides, he still isn’t in the Order.

    Hey, did you forget all those godless scientists you’ll find down there? I call dibs on them for my Army of Darkness!

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    <switch universe>

    <Imperial March>

  126. #126 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Every mural of damnation I’ve ever seen has a line of sinners walking placidly towards the fire where some angel pushes them in.

    Is that protestant or something? In Catholic depictions you only ever see devils. That said, most of them are between 300 and 800 years old, and I don’t think any are younger than 300.

    And Dustin for Molly. Just to be on the safe side. :-> Besides, he still isn’t in the Order.

    Hey, did you forget all those godless scientists you’ll find down there? I call dibs on them for my Army of Darkness!

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    <switch universe>

    <Imperial March>

  127. #127 noncarborundum
    October 30, 2007

    Nothing should be denied the blessed that belongs to the perfection of their beatitude. Now everything is known the more for being compared with its contrary, because when contraries are placed beside one another they become more conspicuous. Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.
    …A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways. First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy. And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.

    – Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus of the Church, in Summa Theologica

  128. #128 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    I don’t see any reason you should assume Brownian wouldn’t have the bravery to stand up to the Asshole God.

    Hell, Job did.

  129. #129 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    All your base r belong to us.

  130. #130 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Why would God create it if it’s going to be empty?

    Tsss. How silly, asking a question on why God would or would not do something. God’s Ways are ineffable.

    πŸ™‚

  131. #131 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Why would God create it if it’s going to be empty?

    Tsss. How silly, asking a question on why God would or would not do something. God’s Ways are ineffable.

    πŸ™‚

  132. #132 Ex-drone
    October 30, 2007

    From the video:

    But there’s one thing that Zack held back from Josh … his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Now that’s a good friend.

  133. #133 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Oh yeah, that’s what I should have thought of first.

    HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN !!
    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.
    YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO DESTRUCTION.

    YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
    HA HA HA HA ….

    Here is the whole thing.

    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

  134. #134 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Oh yeah, that’s what I should have thought of first.

    HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN !!
    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.
    YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO DESTRUCTION.

    YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
    HA HA HA HA ….

    Here is the whole thing.

    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

  135. #135 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    You did the positive things because they were of benefit to yourself (vis a vis growth as a human being) and to your fellow humanity, not because you were motivated by fear of Hell.

    welcome to the world of secular humanism. Nothing those Catholics taught you doesn’t exist outside of catholic doctrine.

    now you just need to strip away the bullshit.

  136. #136 John C. Randolph
    October 30, 2007

    Man, those fuckers are really depraved.

    -jcr

  137. #137 John C. Randolph
    October 30, 2007

    “It was thoughts of hell that caused me to conclude that he was a monstrous, despicable”

    or would be, if it existed.

    -jcr

  138. #138 blearyeyed
    October 30, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!


  139. #139 John C. Randolph
    October 30, 2007

    The thing to remember about god-botherers is that they invent their ultimate dictator as a projection of their own fantasies of ultimate power. IOW, if they had ultimate power, they’d torture those of us who don’t want to play pretend with them for ever and ever.

    Conclusion: anyone who tries to scare you with his supernatural S&M fantasy is someone to avoid.

    -jcr

  140. #140 Dahan
    October 30, 2007

    Ichthyic said

    “…Go lions!
    ditto.
    we need more free-roaming large predators.”

    Actually, I meant in the Christian Vs sense, but sure, I could back some bick cats outside of the stadiums too.

  141. #141 Dahan
    October 30, 2007

    big cat…I couldn’t deal with bick cats (whatever they are).

  142. #142 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    I do not believe such a cruel and capricious being exists, but if they did I end up in the lake no matter what, because I could never honestly love that sort of God.

    This simply bears repeating.

    just as Jerry Falwell is doubtless now doing

    If you say “doubtless”, you aren’t an agnostic! πŸ™‚

    I’d rather my best friend had stopped me from drinking and driving, to be perfectly honest….

    ROTFL!!! That’s the obvious point, and it took all the way to comment 107 for someone to see it…

  143. #143 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    I do not believe such a cruel and capricious being exists, but if they did I end up in the lake no matter what, because I could never honestly love that sort of God.

    This simply bears repeating.

    just as Jerry Falwell is doubtless now doing

    If you say “doubtless”, you aren’t an agnostic! πŸ™‚

    I’d rather my best friend had stopped me from drinking and driving, to be perfectly honest….

    ROTFL!!! That’s the obvious point, and it took all the way to comment 107 for someone to see it…

  144. #144 Eques Dei
    October 30, 2007

    Thomas Aquinas’ words ring true to me, when I consider the pretentious rabble of theomachoi who congregate here. Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

  145. #145 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!

    Me. Can’t remember any specific incident, but it does happen once in a while.

    We are also reminded regularly that several deconversions have happened because of this blog.

  146. #146 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!

    Me. Can’t remember any specific incident, but it does happen once in a while.

    We are also reminded regularly that several deconversions have happened because of this blog.

  147. #147 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Well, you self-proclaimed Knight of God, I read those same quotes and am left seriously considering the possibility that Thomas Aquinas was actually writing a satire, Terry Pratchett-style. His Aristotelian logic is funny.

    BTW, what if the Sumerians were right? Then your shadow will eat mud in the dark, depressing underworld for all eternity — no matter what you faith, no matter what your works. Go ahead, disprove that.

  148. #148 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    Well, you self-proclaimed Knight of God, I read those same quotes and am left seriously considering the possibility that Thomas Aquinas was actually writing a satire, Terry Pratchett-style. His Aristotelian logic is funny.

    BTW, what if the Sumerians were right? Then your shadow will eat mud in the dark, depressing underworld for all eternity — no matter what you faith, no matter what your works. Go ahead, disprove that.

  149. #149 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    Eques Dei?

    I rather think you an

    Equus Puga

  150. #150 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!

    well, my opinion of you was actually formed by that post, so…

    If I conclude you’re an idiot does that invalidate your entire post?

  151. #151 dkew
    October 30, 2007

    Does anyone know the author and title of an SF story inspired by the myth of St Sebastian, the human pincushion, in which it turns out there is a god, but it enjoys torture, disasters and misery?

  152. #152 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    I rather think you an

    Equus Puga

    A what horse?

  153. #153 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 30, 2007

    I rather think you an

    Equus Puga

    A what horse?

  154. #154 Dahan
    October 30, 2007

    “Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!”

    Changed by a single post…maybe not. Changed over time by reading well thought out arguments with supporting facts. Yes.

  155. #155 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    A what horse?

    Puga=buttocks.

    so…

    horse ass (without the possessive)

    >horse’s ass

    i figured it would be obvious.

  156. #156 Tulse
    October 30, 2007

    So let me get this straight — the poor kid never learned about Jesus, and because of that circumstance which is presented in the video as entirely outside of his control and the responsibility of someone else, God punished him for an eternity? What kind of justice is that?

    Boosterz:

    They should re-shoot that video and make it a christian standing in front of Cthulhu. Let him whine about how nobody warned him right before the shoggoths devour his body and put his still living brain in a jar.

    It’s only the Mi-Go, or “Fungi from Yuggoth” (aka Pluto), that put brains in jars (or “cylinders”), and that is so they can be transported through space, and the occupants are still fully conscious and in no pain…

    See, I know my catechism!

  157. #157 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Does anyone know the author and title of an SF story inspired by the myth of St Sebastian, the human pincushion, in which it turns out there is a god, but it enjoys torture, disasters and misery?

    hmm, that sounds like characters/plot from the Hellraiser series.

    “Pinhead” being the main character, and “Leviathan” being the god of torture and misery represented in the series.

    probably not what you were thinking of, but derivative.

  158. #158 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007


    It’s only the Mi-Go, or “Fungi from Yuggoth” (aka Pluto), that put brains in jars (or “cylinders”), and that is so they can be transported through space, and the occupants are still fully conscious and in no pain…

    Is that where they got the idea for heads in jars for Futurama?

  159. #159 ferfuracious
    October 30, 2007

    “So, this guy was writing AS the angels were dragging him into Hell? That’s some talented scribbling going on.”

    I know. It reminded me of Monty Python and The Holy Grail where they find that message in the cave that ends in AAAAAAAAGH… Who writes aaagh when they are dying?

  160. #160 noncarborundum
    October 30, 2007
    I rather think you an
    Equus Puga

    A what horse?

    Ichthyic is indulging in a bit of dog Latin. Equus should be in the genitive case, and puga often appeared in the plural, thus: puga equi or pugae equi.

    puga, -ae, is an alternate spelling of pyga, a word for “rump, buttocks” borrowed from Greek (compare the English word “callipygian”, having well-shaped buttocks, from Greek kallos, beautiful, and pyg?, buttocks).

  161. #161 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    dog Latin…

    yes, but it didn’t fit as well pattern-wise with the original Eques Dei that I was mocking.

    like I said, i figured anybody that knew latin would work it out. I didn’t feel I would be insulting the language, since it’s dead anyway.

    besides, better than pig latin, right?

  162. #162 Tulse
    October 30, 2007

    Who writes aaagh when they are dying?

    Perhaps he was dictating.

    (Please, don’t get the geeks quoting Python, or it will never end.)

  163. #163 JimC
    October 30, 2007

    a little help its getting late.

    Thomas Aquinas’ words ring true to me, when I consider the pretentious rabble of theomachoi who congregate here. Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    I’m guessing this is satire for how could one ever find comfort after just seeing others suffer. Also:

    theomachoi?

    Malebolge?

  164. #164 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!

    I have, actually, though the exact instances escape me. I think it’s even happened with comments, occasionally…

  165. #165 noncarborundum
    October 30, 2007

    Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    And here we have a perfect example of the evil that religion engenders or at least encourages. The idea that any finite transgression could merit infinite punishment is grotesque, and the doctrine that a being lauded for his love and infinite mercy could be in any way involved in such punishment, much less have ordained it, is obscene. According to Christian orthodoxy, the souls looking down from Heaven are no less sinful than those suffering endlessly in Hell; they have merely been forgiven by means of a divine grace that they themselves did nothing to merit. And they’re supposed to be delighted to observe these tortures? It’s simply impossible that a person with a functioning conscience could find this morally acceptible. To contemplate it with “glee” strikes me as nothing short of psychopathic.

  166. #166 Venger
    October 30, 2007

    1) I’d think the Christians should be as eager as the atheists to ignore the whole idea of hell, cause if they are right and hell as described in their view of the bible is true they have a very good chance of ending up there despite their self righteous claims to be good Christians. It’d be bad enough to be an atheist in hell, at least we’d know why we where there, but I figure 90% of all the Christians who have ever existed would be standing next to me wondering just what the fuck happened. I wonder if Heddle will have the courage to continue calling god loving then?

    2) I can’t decide which is worse, spending eternity in torment, or spending eternity forced to blissfully kiss the ass of the being who consigned the bulk majority of our species to eternal torment. At least suffering would be honest punishment creating honest emotions.

    3) I’m not at all surprised Jeffery Dahmer found god in prison, after all they have so much in common, starting with their basic view of what humans exist for, to amuse them.

    4) Compassion more or less requires one to forgive people their flaws and ignorance, and is more or less a requirement for being loving. So you have a basic incompatibility situation here, if god is loving he must be compassionate and no one is ever going to hell, or he isn’t loving. You decide.

    5) I find it endlessly amusing the Judaism largely considers Christian’s and their claims of god fearing goodness to be childish and ignorant. If you are good out of fear or good out of hope for reward you aren’t truly good. Self serving goodness is false. True good is being good without any expectation of reward or even recognition and no fear of punishment.

    6) God essentially says “Love me or die”, or “praise me or suffer”, “love no other than me or know anguish”. Interesting how those behaviors in humans we consider crimes.

  167. #167 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2007

    Thomas Aquinas’ words ring true to me, when I consider the pretentious rabble of theomachoi who congregate here. Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    I find this ironic.

    [Insert “fantasy fiction” crack here.]

  168. #168 noncarborundum
    October 30, 2007

    . . . it didn’t fit as well pattern-wise with the original Eques Dei that I was mocking.

    Latin word order is almost infinitely flexible. There would have been nothing wrong with equi puga[e], and you wouldn’t have provoked me to my accusation of canine Latinity. Not that that’s anything to fear, particularly.

  169. #169 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Malebolge?

    what, you never read Spawn?

    :p

    actually, I think it refers to some level of hell.

    theomachoi

    I think the poster might have been referring to theomachia:

    http://history.wisc.edu/sommerville/367/Goodwin%20Theomachia.htm

    “the grand imprudence of men running the hazard of fighting against God”

    I expect to be struck by lighting any day now…

  170. #170 BJN
    October 30, 2007

    God, PZ, “damnable”? I mean Jesus, man, you’ve gotta work like hell to come up with such ironic words of condemnation.

  171. #171 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2007

    Not that that’s anything to fear, particularly.

    oh noes, I was a shakin’ most assuredly.

    πŸ˜‰

    that’ll teach me to ignore my old prof’s advice to take a course in Latin when I was at Berkeley.

  172. #172 denise
    October 30, 2007

    That video is sickening. It is sadistic and disgusting.

  173. #173 noncarborundum
    October 31, 2007

    theomachoi: those who fight against God

    From Greek theos = God, machomai, to fight.

  174. #174 MikeM
    October 31, 2007

    Jesus Monkey. That’s hardly manipulative at all.

    That’s what my kids say: Jesus Monkey. I’m trying to get them to stop; I really am.

    But, at last, I have found an appropriate place to say it.

    Jesus Monkey.

    The Chick Tract about this is pretty obnoxious, too. Thank you for sharing.

  175. #175 J Myers
    October 31, 2007

    Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    Oh, that Christian love abounds… Eques, may you live a long a prosperous life, but when your time comes, as your consciousness is fading from existence for all eternity, I hope that you realize in your final fizzling thoughts that you are not about to enter some other-worldly kingdom, but that you are merely in the process of forever ceasing to be, and that all the experiences you might otherwise have known are now eternally unattainable, for you spent your entire existence blindly devoted to a phantasm, and so you missed your only opportunity to actually live.

  176. #176 mb
    October 31, 2007

    I’m still kindof in the dark here… It seems, and I apologize for my confusion because it seems so ambiguous to me, that PZ is not that keen on religion. Is this the right idea I should be getting?

  177. #177 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    Oh come on, when have I ever been guilty of flattery? I’m destined for the ninth bolgia, at least.

  178. #178 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    That’s right, mb. PZ doesn’t believe in God, but God believes in PZ!

  179. #179 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    hope that you realize in your final fizzling thoughts that you are not about to enter some other-worldly kingdom, but that you are merely in the process of forever ceasing to be, and that all the experiences you might otherwise have known are now eternally unattainable, for you spent your entire existence blindly devoted to a phantasm, and so you missed your only opportunity to actually live.

    perfect.

  180. #180 Kseniya
    October 31, 2007

    Whoa. I finally took a few minutes to watch the video itself. That’s the most sickening thing I’ve seen in quite a long time. How do these people sleep?

    I expected to chuckle over it, but found I could not, and must therefore agree with PZ: It is genuinely vile. On every level.

  181. #181 autumn
    October 31, 2007

    HOw the fuck did that dude keep writing while being whisked away to the fires of Hell?

  182. #182 autumn
    October 31, 2007

    Okay, I see that my concern has been previously shared by others. Another question: Shouldn’t the jebus freak who never tied this guy down and demanded repentace be even MORE responsible? The “victim” even mentioned that his freind never followed up.
    Fuck You, god.
    Plan ahead, for once.

  183. #183 Marcus Ranum
    October 31, 2007

    Master Mahan writes:
    This is a vision of God as a vindictive despot, one who rules through fear and suffering.

    Exactly!! This is why I enjoy Christopher Hitchens’ “Antitheist” view. Basically, the idea is not to simply say “god does not exist” but rather “it’s a really good thing that god does not exist. Because who’d want to have to deal with an eternity that makes North Korea seem like Club Med in comparison?”

  184. #184 Hipparchia
    October 31, 2007

    “Welcome to hell. Please proceed to the internet area, equipped with our wonderful computers running Windows 98. We have taken care to equip them with a specially fugly font, out diabolical version of Comic Sans.”

    And then this condemned guy starts typing up a coherent letter, taking enough care to build up suspense and scare the hell out of his buddy.

  185. #185 craig
    October 31, 2007

    I kinda figure that if there actually is a god and heaven and hell (and monkeys will fly outta my butt), they’re the same place.
    All the Christians lined up to get in with dopey smiles on their faces, and the hell-bound atheists in another line headed into the same place, looking over at the Christians they’ll have to spend eternity with.

    And in this heaven/hell Muzak plays non-stop. Heaven/hell is kinda like being locked eternally in a shopping mall. Which place it is for you depends on your taste or lack thereof.

  186. #186 Carlie
    October 31, 2007

    Finally watched the video. I grew up with that kind of message all the time, so nothing there surprised me in the least. It was actually pretty tame compared to a lot of what I got (see: Christian hell houses. And be afraid.) Besides the almost blind rage I get when I think of how much that screws around with teenagers’ minds, what’s interesting is how they contradict themselves on it. Several people have commented wondering how Christians could enjoy heaven when they know loved ones are tormented in hell; the explanation I was always given is that there is no sadness in heaven, so we conveniently get some kind of mind-wipe that keeps us from remembering either those people or what happened to him. So, Zach’s guilt over Josh’s fate will only last a few years at most, then when he dies he won’t remember Josh existed at all. Not a bad deal for Zach, really. Not only does he not get punished for not sharing about God, pretty soon it won’t even be part of his consciousness any more. Sucks to be Josh, though.

    And as for blog posts changing minds, it was a combination of age, experience, exposure, and reading blogs and comments that all helped change me from a fundamentalist evangelical into a rabid feminist atheist, with all the accompanying changes in political and social opinions, so there ya go.

  187. #187 electrichalibut
    October 31, 2007

    Take your pick from: Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens and Hell is other people. I lean towards the second one, particularly in the light of some of the earlier comments/commenters. Not that they are mutually exclusive, of course.

  188. #188 truth machine
    October 31, 2007

    “Christianity is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion.”

    There’s also a lot of stuff about love

    Yeah, you’re giving us plenty of that.

    redemption, and salvation

    Which is all about death, suffering, fear, guilt, and coercion.

  189. #189 Bob
    October 31, 2007

    God essentially says “Love me or die”, or “praise me or suffer”, “love no other than me or know anguish”. Interesting how those behaviors in humans we consider crimes.

    Hasn’t anyone learned anything from Job? Humans are simply not supposed to make moral (or value) judgments, and we shouldn’t even try.

    When we come across examples that are just completely obnoxious and morally offensive, always remember that it’s our problem due to our limited perspective. Just obey and accept.

    And there ya go.

    Glory!

  190. #190 truth machine
    October 31, 2007

    Ultimately I believe it comes down to this – if, at the end of your life, you were faced with a being of unlimited knowledge and capability (including that of creating entire universes in situ, even if it did not so create this one) and infinite love, would you acknowledge it (I do not say “bow to it”) or turn your back on it?

    How would I know that? Honestly, you have to be stupid to be religious, and the more religious, the more stupid.

    Because if you would turn your back on love, truth (including knowledge) and beauty in their highest forms, then you deserve to burn

    You also have to be a vicious sick fuck. What sort of “love in the highest form” decrees that anyone deserves to burn for anything?

  191. #191 truth machine
    October 31, 2007

    Quick, everyone who’s ever had their opinion changed by a blog post raise their hand!

    Mine’s up … I’ve just been convinced that you’re a moron.

  192. #192 truth machine
    October 31, 2007

    Thomas Aquinas’ words ring true to me, when I consider the pretentious rabble of theomachoi who congregate here. Indeed, I expect to chortle with glee when I finally observe you all mired in a pool of shit in Malebolge.

    Yeah, cuz feces is evil.

    It’s clear that Christianity causes an arrest in mental development. Seriously.

  193. #193 Billy
    October 31, 2007

    In addition to the other problems with this argument, Christians have to ignore their gospels to swallow it.

    Luke tells the story about some dead guy in Heaven telling Abraham that he wants to go back to his family to warn them about the fires of Hell. Abraham tells him no can do: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” The dead guy tries to press the issue, but old Abe stands firm: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

    So I feel bad for Zach and all, but if the Christians are going to blame somebody, they can lay that guilt on Moses.

  194. #194 truth machine
    October 31, 2007

    Does anyone know the author and title of an SF story inspired by the myth of St Sebastian, the human pincushion, in which it turns out there is a god, but it enjoys torture, disasters and misery?

    Paingod by Harlan Ellison?

  195. #195 MarquisDeSade
    October 31, 2007

    notthedroids — I don’t know what Bible you’ve read, but unless you are playing “let’s see to what ridiculous degree I can avoid reading the Bible literally,” Jesus mentions the horrors of hell plenty of times.

    But I suppose, if you want to avoid be literal, you could convince yourself he was really talking about a toothy blowjob when he mentions wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  196. #196 Rudy
    October 31, 2007

    Sigh. No matter how fast I try to jump in, there are 100’s
    of comments, and no chance to keep up with the thread. Oh
    well.

    There are lots of Universalist Christians, who don’t believe
    in Hell; going all the way back to the Church Fathers,
    Origen and Gregory of Nyssa.

    Quoth Wikipedia,
    “Modern universalists claim that universalism was the primary doctrine of the church until it was forcibly stamped out by the Catholic Church in the sixth century. Four of the six theological schools of thought in ancient Christendom supported universalism, and only one supported eternal damnation. Additionally, theological thought appears more varied before the strong influence of Augustine, who forcefully denied universal salvation.”

    The fact that some Christians treat Christianity as supernatural Amway doesn’t mean all Christians act that way. The free market is good in general even if Amway is evil.
    Same with religion. I’ve always felt that being a “Cafeteria Christian” was a good thing.

  197. #197 Rudy
    October 31, 2007

    I forgot to mention all the 19th century Universalist churches in the US, and in modern times the Quaker writers Philip Gulley and James Mulholland, who wrote the book that upset
    many fundamentalists:
    “If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person”.

    I can’t remember his name, but they quote a 19th Universalist preacher, who tells a mother worried about her sinful son going to hell, I paraphrase: You love your son, would you throw him on a fire? Well God loves him too, and wouldn’t do that either.

  198. #198 Carlie
    October 31, 2007

    Yeah, but Rudy, right there in the Bible that God himself says that he will do exactly that. It says it many different times, in fact. Saying he won’t might be comforting, but it’s in direct contradiction to that there book Christians use.

  199. #199 Kseniya
    October 31, 2007

    So, Zach’s guilt over Josh’s fate will only last a few years at most, then when he dies he won’t remember Josh existed at all. Not a bad deal for Zach, really. Not only does he not get punished for not sharing about God, pretty soon it won’t even be part of his consciousness any more.

    This “Heaven” thing just looks better and better with each passing day! Not only do you get feathery wings and Muzak, you (apparently) get a free lobotomy!

  200. #200 notthedroids
    October 31, 2007

    ‘ notthedroids — I don’t know what Bible you’ve read, but unless you are playing “let’s see to what ridiculous degree I can avoid reading the Bible literally,” Jesus mentions the horrors of hell plenty of times. ‘

    I have no horse in this race, but just google “did jesus believe in hell” and you’ll find plenty of arguments on both sides. I repeat what I stated earlier: there is open debate, between people who care, on whether the Jesus of the gospels believed in the “eternal hellfire” vision of hell.

  201. #201 Sven DiMilo
    October 31, 2007

    yikes.
    So there is this Gitmo-like “holding cell” where you wait for big Blackwater-Angels to come and toss you into the Lake of Fire? From which you can scream your friends’s names and write PSs to the letters you started writing in your holding cell? You can “feel your heart pounding in your chest” even though both your heart and chest are either pickled, boxed and buried or cremated to inorganic ash?
    I give. Uncle! Sign me up for the Program and write my name in the Book of Life (who wrote the Book of Life?).

    I particularly liked how the poor damned soul could smell both the sulfur AND the brimstone.

  202. #202 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person”.

    I can’t remember his name, but they quote a 19th Universalist preacher, who tells a mother worried about her sinful son going to hell, I paraphrase: You love your son, would you throw him on a fire? Well God loves him too, and wouldn’t do that either.

    This sums up my current belief pretty nicely. It’s important to note that when Jesus died IF his death completed the sin/redemption scenario then belief is simply unnecessary if it is a historical fact. It either removed sin or it didn’t.

    If one has to believe it happened then it brings into question whether it is real at all. Universalism as mentioned above is quite prevelant today in the actual church pews. Polls show most people who profess God belief have a general spirituality rather than allegiance to any particular church or doctrine. Those who are such are most likely the crazies you deal with on discussion boards and such.

  203. #203 noncarborundum
    October 31, 2007

    . . . just google “did jesus believe in hell” and you’ll find plenty of arguments on both sides.

    I may or may not take you up on that, but let me suggest that “plenty of arguments on both sides” does not need to mean “plenty of good arguments on both sides”. The last time I looked, there were plenty of arguments on both sides of issues like:

    • Is it probable that human activities have contributed to global warming?
    • Did NASA actually land human beings on the Moon?
    • Did God create human beings in pretty much their current form 6000 years ago?
  204. #204 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    “plenty of good arguments on both sides”.

    Seeing how we are dealing with the same book such as it is I think it is about equal.

    However philosophically I think the ‘no hell’ has the stronger case using the nature and words of Jesus.

  205. #205 Eric
    October 31, 2007

    Dude, I’m totally going to slip one of the corrupt angels some cash money to get my name in that Book. Then when I get past those gates, I’m going to go lie in the majestic fields alongside a lion and just chill out for all eternity. Heck, I might even apply for that angel night school program and get my wings so I can go back and visit Earth every now and then. I also might go punch God in the face for letting my dog get run over by a car. If I can get close enough to him. I heard he has some pretty good security at his palace.

  206. #206 noncarborundum
    October 31, 2007

    Uber:

    What you just wrote makes no sense to me.

    You think that the fact that both sides are basing their arguments on the same book means that the number of good arguments on both sides will be approximately equal?

    You think that we have access to “the nature and words of Jesus” other than through what can be found in that selfsame book?

  207. #207 J Myers
    October 31, 2007

    Slip them cash? Nah, just use a different name! You must know a “good Christian” or two, and imitation is the highest form of flattery.

  208. #208 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    Making it more clear. He is quoted as saying many things, apparently many contradictory things, all in the same book.

    IMHO the no’s have a better case based on this same book.

  209. #209 spartanrider
    October 31, 2007

    I watched the video and was appalled.These overreaching xians have stolen the concepts of Zoroaster and used them for their own nefarious purposes,without even a small footnote to their author.The lake of fire,the book of life,the accountant’s bridge,and the concept of purgatory are all the original ideas of Zoroaster.These ideas predate Christ by at least 500 years.They should be ashamed of this wanton theft of another’s ideas.You xians have no shame.

  210. #210 June
    October 31, 2007

    OR – perhaps this is all a plot of Satan?

    After all, the Bible clearly tells us that people do not go to Heaven or Hell until Judgment Day, when all the dead in history rise and come before God. Until Judgment Day, the dead are in limbo, and nothing has yet been decided.

    And, the Bible also says God explicitly commanded us NOT to have any other gods before him. No exceptions for favorite sons. Therefore, worshipping Jesus as a God could be vile heresy.

    Maybe Satan cleverly slipped the whole Jesus legend into the matrix to mislead millions like this poor soul Josh. Which explains how Zach can get a video out while being dragged to the fiery pit.

    Just watch yourself, Josh! You were a little bully, and Zach never really liked you. Now he may be laying the trap of all traps for you!

    You see, Josh, Satan is a lot cleverer than you think!

  211. #211 Pablo
    October 31, 2007

    I’m late to this party, and did start reading at the beginning, but find it odd that xtians on one hand say it’s not about evil and at the same time talk about “salvation.” Do they not understand that the whole concept of “salvation” is predicted on eternal torture?

    I don’t see salvation as a good thing at all, because you wouldn’t need salvation if not for God’s evil idea of sending us to hell.

    Salvation is not a virtue, it is an apologetic for God’s evil.

    The same goes for redemption.

  212. #212 Alison
    October 31, 2007

    You know, the thing that really confused me was that these two guys spent all this time together, were close enough that the kid is writing a friggin’ letter at the same time as he’s being dragged off to a fiery eternity, and yet. . .”YOU NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT JESUS!!!”

    How likely is this? I mean, come on. How long can any fundy hang out with a person without trying to introduce him or her to his best bud, Jesus. In fact, he’d probably spend so much time telling him about Jesus that they’d stop hanging out.

    What this film is trying to get across is that the kid who’s alive is responsible for the suffering of his friend because he didn’t “witness”, trying to give the fundies even more incentive to “witness” so they won’t be tortured by the suffering of all the people they didn’t tell about Jeebus. It’s not supposed to scare anyone about hell, it’s supposed to scare believers into spreading the word around even more so THEY don’t suffer knowing that THEY are responsible for someone else’s damnation. That is what I find most disgusting about the film.

  213. #213 MikeM
    October 31, 2007

    It still cracks me up that Zack and Josh like to party. It says right in the video; they like to party.

    Now, that’s not very Christian, is it?

    And do they have printer paper in Hell? Or were those heatproof laptops?

    “Wish you were here.”

    How would you like to go to Heaven, knowing that, for an eternity, you had the chance to “save” your best friend, but didn’t… And now you get to face an eternity in Heaven with your Lord, with torment in your soul for not “saving” your best friend… Your beer buddy; your “buddy” buddy.

    Yes, that sounds like eternal bliss.

    How do Christians answer this? When you just didn’t try hard enough to save your best friend in the whole wide world, if you get “saved”, that’s something you get to think about, for an eternity.

    Talk about “Tales from The Crypt.”

    I saw the other day that over 1/3 of Americans believe in ghosts. I see a real disconnect there, where also most Americans consider themselves Christian. How can you be Christian and NOT believe in ghosts? I just don’t get it.

    If you believe in God, you must believe in ghosts.

    Sheesh, it’s all so stupid. You’re born, you live, you die, you decompose. Done. Make the most of your days; that’s my philosophy.

  214. #214 Chemist
    October 31, 2007

    Night before last I happened on a link to one Rev. Estus Pirkle (no, I maketh not this up!) and his hellacious school of evangelism. He used to put out movies that would scare the Devil out of good Christians, both young and old. You want graphic view of Hell:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evA9t3pAAU8

    To give equal time to those blessedly chosen to go to Heaven:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1paYhEDFQIw

    The faces on the faithful and the singing midget will convince the most hardened sinner.

    Peace!

  215. #215 andy
    October 31, 2007

    I doubt even God knows how to code anything as remotely complex as a pile of shit in Malbolge.

  216. #216 Rieux
    October 31, 2007

    notthedroids (#192):

    I have no horse in this race, but just google “did jesus believe in hell” and you’ll find plenty of arguments on both sides. I repeat what I stated earlier: there is open debate, between people who care, on whether the Jesus of the gospels believed in the “eternal hellfire” vision of hell.

    Well, here‘s the first search result for that Google string. Fundy site though that is, it’s got several Gospel cites that are directly on point, showing that Jesus (as he’s portrayed in said Gospels) did indeed threaten eternal damnation on his enemies–repeatedly. There are something like thirty-five more NT passages where those came from.

    As far as I can tell, the “people who care” who maintain that “the Jesus of the gospels” did not preach “the ‘eternal hellfire’ vision of hell” are merely intellectually dishonest folks who (1) recognize that Hell is disgusting but (2) emotionally need to laud Jesus and the New Testament anyway. “Care” they might, but in my experience their arguments are special-pleading and/or obscurantist silliness. The Jesus character in the Gospels was not subtle about his threats of hellfire.

    Uber (#199):

    IMHO the no’s have a better case based on this same book.

    Would you mind describing that “better case”? Because the “yesses” have a whole lot of clear Gospel texts in their favor.

    And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 5:29-30

    But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12

    Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 25:44-46

    [I]t is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

    – Jesus, in Mark 9:43-48

  217. #217 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    It’s clear that Christianity causes an arrest in mental development. Seriously.

    Not quite, idiocy machine. I’d have to take a chisel to my head to descend to your intellectual level.

  218. #218 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    And as for blog posts changing minds, it was a combination of age, experience, exposure, and reading blogs and comments that all helped change me from a fundamentalist evangelical into a rabid feminist atheist, with all the accompanying changes in political and social opinions, so there ya go.

    I question the judgment and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything via blogging.

  219. #219 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    are merely intellectually dishonest folks who (1) recognize that Hell is disgusting but (2) emotionally need to laud Jesus and the New Testament anyway.

    Well I take exception to the intellectually dishonest remark but agree with 1 and 2. Nor would I deny what you have said above. But you can read what you have written about and compare it to the other things he said and try to form a picture of the nature of the man. It’s not intellectually dishonest to do so.

    Would you mind describing that “better case”? Because the “yesses” have a whole lot of clear Gospel texts in their favor.

    I don’t want to take up this mantle because it’s not something I feel is worth alot of time. But ‘Do unto others and the greatest commandment is love’ see to be pretty good counter weights. One could also toss in ‘it is finished’ in the universalist view.

  220. #220 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    I question the judgment and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything via blogging.

    Why not? Not all bloggers or commenters are as stupid as you.

  221. #221 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    Azkyroth, my good deargamadαn, you are as adept at distinguishing between intelligence and stupidity as the colorblind are between red and green. You are, after all, a stooped, knuckle-dragging Pharyngulite.

  222. #222 craig
    October 31, 2007

    “But ‘Do unto others and the greatest commandment is love'”

    Yeah, but those come with a pretty big “or else!” hanging over them.

  223. #223 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    That’s rich coming from a person who feels the need to puff himself up by sprinkling gratuitous non-English words into his vapid, puerile quips and has yet to provide an ounce of support for any of his claims.

    Do you actually have anything whatsoever to *say*?

    Didn’t think so.

  224. #224 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    Yeah, but those come with a pretty big “or else!” hanging over them

    Perhaps, but the point is which argument is being more sound and I am just stating an opinion. I don’t think one could believe the above and act in the way the video states.

  225. #225 Brownian, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Did someone call my name? I thought I heard ‘stooped, knuckle-dragging Pharyngulite.’

    Oh, it was just a troll.

    Never mind.

    Cue overly verbose hubris in 5…4…3…2….

  226. #226 Rey Fox
    October 31, 2007

    And you sir, are a voyeuristic coprophile.

  227. #227 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    That’s rich coming from a person who feels the need to puff himself up by sprinkling gratuitous non-English words…

    I’m sorry; was it too much for you? I can try pictograms if you’d like.

    …and has yet to provide an ounce of support for any of his claims.

    What claim? That the lot of you are losers and posers? For that I submit people’s exhibit A, Pharyngula blog.

  228. #228 Brownian, OM
    October 31, 2007

    That the lot of you are losers and posers?

    Posers?

    Posers?

    I know we’re supposed to set our clocks back this weekend, but do we have to set them back to 1988? I hope Blockbuster’s still got a copy of Gleaming the Cube.

  229. #229 Kseniya
    October 31, 2007

    I question the judgment and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything via blogging. Posted by: Eques Dei

    Wow! You are SO RIGHT! I’ll never again be swayed by an opinion expressed by another person on a blog! In fact, I think I was idiotic to let myself be swayed by YOUR opinion! What a conundrum! Whatever shall I do?!?

    Uh… Say… Are you Vox’s cousin?

    I question the depth of your insight. What are you doing right now?

    How do you feel about the judgement and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything because they’ve read about it and discussed it with other people?

    Do you question the judgement and intellect of people like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who discussed politics and religion at length via written correspondence?

    What, in your opinion, is a judgementally and intellectually valid medium for conversion? Knowledge gained in church pre-school? Coming upon a frozen waterfall while hiking in the mountains? What?

  230. #230 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    I’m sorry; was it too much for you? I can try pictograms if you’d like.

    Son, anyone with a dictionary can spatter non-english words into a post, you ?????? ??????, you ??, you misguided farasi.

  231. #231 Brownian, OM
    October 31, 2007

    I‘d like pictograms.

    What about everybody else? Who here would rather Eques Dei post in pictograms than in words?

    From now on, please restrict your posts to pictograms only, Eques.

  232. #232 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    What about everybody else?

    I’ve got one for him:
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    …………………./΄―/)
    ………………..,/―../
    ………………./…./
    …………./΄―/’…’/΄――`·Έ
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨―\
    ……..(‘(…΄…΄…. ―~/’…’)
    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.·΄
    …………\…………..(
    …………..\………….\…

  233. #233 a random sockpuppet
    October 31, 2007

    That the lot of you are losers and posers?

    ???.

    and what are you doing down here with us then, o godforsaken amadaun?

  234. #234 ?????? ?????????? ?????????
    October 31, 2007

    I forgot YouTube. YouTube is also a potentially valid medium for conversion and revelatory experiences. And television.

    Dustin, you forgot “?????? ??????!”

  235. #235 ?????? ?????????? ?????????
    October 31, 2007

    I forgot YouTube. YouTube is also a potentially valid medium for conversion and revelatory experiences. And television.

    Dustin, you forgot “?????? ??????!”

  236. #236 Graeme
    October 31, 2007

    And so, Eques, are you….

  237. #237 Venger
    October 31, 2007

    Eques said: [blockquote]I question the judgment and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything via blogging.[/blockquote]

    Considering the blatant stupidity of most religion I’d question the intelligence of anyone who needs more than an average blog post to be persuaded.

  238. #238 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    I’m sorry; was it too much for you? I can try pictograms if you’d like.

    Perhaps you should ask your teacher for suggestions, given that the idiotic conceit that gratuitous employment of various elements of linguistic exotica engenders in one’s purported audience veneration for a perceived excess of acuity and erudition on the part of the speaker is conventionally confined to the prepubescent.

  239. #239 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    I am amazed that nobody here recognizes the fact that all those marketing televangelists, megapreachers with their megachurches who delect in seeing the Bible as an up to date scientific textbook are the same who have brainwashed generations of Americans with their crystal clear descriptions of heaven and hell.
    All of this seems to be nothing more than one more wonderful marketing invention from this great nation, on par with Coca Cola, Starbucks and Macdonald’s.
    If one would measure their effect in terms of likelihood to turn away people from following the true gospel of Christ and cause loss of faith, all these and their followers are the most likely candidates to end up in their imaginary hell.
    I am not suggesting that Europeans have not had their fair dose of impostors and would be clerics who have systematically mistranslated, and misinterpreted the true gospel of Christ. Of course not, one just needs to look at the past two millenaries of history to notice that these have been the most common lies. But all in all, it seems to me that one can find nowadays quite a number of tolerant clerics who have learned the lesson of the past. They are a small voice of reason, of tolerance, of charity who have really taken the time to study the ancient scriptures of the new testament in their original ancient greek and hebrew versions.
    And they have discovered that all those stories about hell, heaven, about homosexuality being in abomination, those who have imagined that Christ would have been against the right of a women to choose, or that he would have had nonsensical ideas about bioethics, or that he would have been a conservative non progressive right wing politician etc… are noting else than the result of really bad translations.

    Again, hell, in the original hebraic texts is “Sheol”, or , a covered place, and was usually refered to as the Tombe.
    When you die, that’s where you will lie forever, dead. No fire, no eternal burning place, when would be Christian tell me that I am going to burn in hell, because I am a homosexual and agnostic, I just remind them of the evident fact that they haven’t even read the bible (in it’s supposedely orginal “sacred” versions).

    A lot of comments on this thread just demonstrate how negative the effects have been, especially recently in America, of lying impostors disguised in televangelists and bad preachers. Those are the real anti-christs. Not the people who doubt.

  240. #240 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    Son, anyone with a dictionary can spatter non-english words into a post, you ?????? ??????, you ??, you misguided farasi.

    ‘Tis true, you pseudomath.

  241. #241 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    Considering the blatant stupidity of most religion I’d question the intelligence of anyone who needs more than an average blog post to be persuaded.

    Dungeon Master says:

    Your opinion is duly noted and discarded, along with the rest of the rabble who rolled a 3 for their intelligence.

  242. #242 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    Insipidity, slagging, trolling… you’ve really got all the bases covered, haven’t you?

  243. #243 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    (Although the Dungeons and Dragons reference explains where you got the idea that intelligence equates to speaking more languages. Don’t you lunatics consider that satanic dabbling or some such?)

  244. #244 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    ???.

    and what are you doing down here with us then, o godforsaken amadaun?

    I am here to convict Pharyngulites of their collective stupidity and low-rentedness. Consider it a crusade.

  245. #245 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    I am here to convict Pharyngulites of their collective stupidity and low-rentedness. Consider it a crusade.

    So, what specific comments would you offer as evidence of stupidity and low-rentedness, and on what grounds?

  246. #246 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    Don’t you lunatics consider [D&D] satanic dabbling or some such?

    Not I.

  247. #247 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Eques Dei, you must be a particular brand of masochist to put up with so much stupidity from the Pharyngulites. Or are you the one who is going to convert us all to your higher level of intelligence ? Oh no, you are here to convict us !
    Well, that’s it, you convicted us.

  248. #248 MikeM
    October 31, 2007

    I question the judgment and intellect of anyone who is converted to anything via blogging.

    Likewise, I question the judgment of anyone who is converted to anything because some huckster with barely a high school education told them about the Lord.

    It did not take a blog to convert me. It took some sincerely religious people at the university I attended inviting me to a presentation. I was Christian to that point. When they introduced me to Leviticus, it was all over.

    I think most of them dropped out within 6 months of that presentation, too.

  249. #249 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    I’m not sure why feeding the troll is such a big internet no-no. It sure is fun to watch him dance.

    *dangles a fish in the air*

    Dance, trollboy, dance. AHAHAHAHAAA.

  250. #250 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    On that note…

    Did I ever tell you the tale of the Lobotomized Orc, my good knight Eques? Well anyway, as a child my mammy would give us kids a bowl of gravel, which was all that we could afford, and tell us this parable. Now listen, knighty, lest you be eating gravel. Twas once a heavily brain damaged orc called Equ. Equ was trudging through the forest one day, looking for bull droppings with which he could stuff his mattress, when he happened across a remarkable scene. A brave and noble knight, Skyroth the Brilliant by name, fought with an evil giant. Equ watched as Skyroth slew the giant. Then the knight had ridden off to save several small children from a wicked witch, also known as a noblewoman, who was attempting to poison the poor dears. Regardless, Equ promptly cut off the head of the fallen giant and ran home to his home in the Dung Orc village and claimed that he had killed the monster. The giant’s brother heard of his siblings demise and the subsequent display of his head in Dung Town. He caught up to Equ, who was stupidly stuffing his mattress with bull dung, and returned to his cave with the orc stuffed through his belt. As punishment for his brother’s supposed murderer, he tied a porcupine to the orcs head and proceeded to clean his latrine with the makeshift orc brush. Much to the giant’s dismay, Equ actually enjoyed it. Fascinating tale, that! I love to tell it!

  251. #251 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    I was Christian to that point. When they introduced me to Leviticus, it was all over.

    I think most of them dropped out within 6 months of that presentation, too.

    Leviticus is backdrop.

  252. #252 a random sockpuppet
    October 31, 2007

    I am here to convict Pharyngulites of their collective stupidity and low-rentedness.

    Matthew 7:3.

    Consider it a crusade.

    like the original crusaders, you fail to see that thou are naught but a despicable thug. if there is a god of justice, thou, like them, shalt not be spared the pit. i may go to hell for denying god, but thou shalt be damned for ignoring him.

  253. #253 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    Azkyroth, I suggest laying off the chronic. (Incidentally, that is what Dustin’s university is famous for, not mathematics.)

  254. #254 Rudy
    October 31, 2007

    Yeah, all the hellfire Jesus preached seems a problem. At least, if you take it all literally.

    As I said, I like the Cafeteria approach. Those gospels were written a long time after Jesus lived. Search your heart
    and use the parts that feel right. Your mileage may vary.

    There is some debate in Islam about whether God will save everyone, also.

  255. #255 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    Not that I would be the one to know what are you hinting at, or to make any assumptions based on a single slip of your tongue, but you sound acutely familiar with that particular element of university life, young blabbermouth. And how exactly was it that you came by this information?

  256. #256 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    My university is famous for drinking deaths, asshole.

  257. #257 MikeM
    October 31, 2007

    Leviticus is backdrop.

    Yes, but it’s infallible backdrop, isn’t it?

  258. #258 Rieux
    October 31, 2007

    Uber (#211):

    Well I take exception to the intellectually dishonest remark….

    Well, given your expressed reluctance to “take up this mantle because it’s not something I feel is worth alot of time,” it’s not entirely clear that you yourself are one who much “cares.” But I stand by my statement, with the added point that intellectual dishonesty is not the most heinous crime imaginable. I’d say (1) the depravity of folks who approve of the eternal-torment system Jesus advocates in the Gospels is quite a bit more objectionable than (2) the doublethink of people who manage to convince themselves that Jesus didn’t “believe in” that Hell.

    But you can read what you have written about and compare it to the other things he said and try to form a picture of the nature of the man. It’s not intellectually dishonest to do so.

    Obviously that depends upon how said comparison is done.

    But ‘Do unto others and the greatest commandment is love’ see to be pretty good counter weights.

    What? That’s nonsense.
    “Do unto others,” like every other commandment in the Bible, is a rule declared by a deity that nowhere agrees to be bound by said rule. (Cf. “Thou shalt not kill,” decreed by a being who kills with impunity–and who, it might add, is not the “thou” referenced.) That passage does nothing to show that Jesus was just kidding when he declared, many times over, that undesirables would be tortured eternally.
    I don’t recognize your phrase “the greatest commandment is love.” It appears to be a garbled amalgamation of 1 Corinthians 13:13 (the one that’s read off in all the weddings–“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”) and the somewhat more relevant “great commandment” Jesus describes in Matthew 22:35-40:

    Then one of [the Pharisees], which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    As above, there is no conflict whatsoever between what is actually written in the above text and the notion of an eternal-torment Hell. First, God and Jesus are again not subjecting themselves to these rules; they’re “commandments” directed at their subjects, not themselves. And second–as liberal Christians constantly ignore–“love thy neighbor” is presented above as a secondary, inferior rule to “love the Lord thy God.” If, as is clear throughout the NT, God deems a huge number of heathens worthy of being tortured eternally, “loving God” means obeying Him–here, shutting up and accepting that eternal-torment Hell is God’s plan. (Indeed, many other passages in both Testaments make it clear that “loving God” sometimes requires faithful believers to massacre their “neighbors” when God wills it.) It’s brutally clear and entirely consistent throughout the Bible that loving thy neighbor takes a back seat to obeying thy Lord.

    One could also toss in ‘it is finished’ in the universalist view.

    Uh, “it”? And somehow we can divine that by “it” he meant “all of the suffering of unsaved sinners that will ever be required”? How does that work?
    Again, I contend the Universalist case is all special pleading and obscurantism. On the one hand, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of forty passages in the Gospels where Jesus unambiguously declares “All y’all is gonna fry for all times if’n you don’t do what I says.” On the other hand, there are (a much smaller number of) vaguely positive but heavily ambiguous passages–Golden Rule, Beatitudes, etc.–upon which some believers have built teetering structures of theological silliness about Jesus the Liberal. The Universalist contention seems to be that those human-constructed towers of moral Babel cancel out the numerous explicit declarations from Jesus that anyone who did not obey him would be tortured eternally.
    Well, sorry–that’s intellectually dishonest. A few mealy-mouthed comments about being nice to people don’t erase the reams of fire and brimstone that the Jesus character dishes out throughout the Gospels. Hard as that is for some to accept.

  259. #259 Carlie
    October 31, 2007

    MikeM made my point before I got back to do it –

    So, horseygod, it was ok for me to be convinced as a 6 year old about what God means by a guy who took five years to get through a third-rate seminary degree, but it’s not ok for me to be convinced as an adult by several dozen people who have expertise in a variety of areas and put forth sustainable arguments that I know are well-constructed and supported by evidence because of knowledge I’ve gained in my own decade of post-graduate education? Interesting criteria you have there.

  260. #260 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    Carlie:

    I think what we’re witnessing here is the Evangelical equivalent of trying to impress your buddies with how many Jack and Cokes you can drink.

  261. #261 Rieux
    October 31, 2007

    Rudy (#245):

    As I said, I like the Cafeteria approach. Those gospels were written a long time after Jesus lived. Search your heart and use the parts that feel right. Your mileage may vary.

    As biblical studies professor Hector Avalos has pointed out, by that same approach we could conclude that Mein Kampf is a happy book about loving one’s family and children.

    Would you accept that interpretation?

    How much hatred and terror are we allowed to ignore–indeed, pretend doesn’t exist–by just calling our approach “cafeteria”?

  262. #262 Calladus
    October 31, 2007

    Eques Dei sputtered: I am here to convict Pharyngulites of their collective stupidity and low-rentedness. Consider it a crusade.

    Killfiled

    There. He seems much more intelligent now.

  263. #263 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Rieux,
    but isn’t the “cafeteria approach” due to the most common and definetely human characteristic of interpreting words in different ways.
    That’s the advantage of mathematics. It’s the only language invented by man that only allows one possible interpretation. No cafeteria.

  264. #264 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    Killfiled again, anyway. He’s a morphed troll who has already been banned here.

  265. #265 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    My university is famous for drinking deaths, asshole.

    That may be. Of course, if you are not the mental welterweight at Boulder but another, similarly deficient Dustin then feel free to correct me.

  266. #266 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    This is pretty messed up, Cal. You really need some help.

  267. #267 Eques Dei
    October 31, 2007

    So, horseygod, it was ok for me to be convinced as a 6 year old about what God means by a guy who took five years to get through a third-rate seminary degree…

    Not necessarily, although such a person might still be inspired. In any event, I doubt I would accept the bulk of my theology from such a person.

  268. #268 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Eques Dei, who have you accepted your theology from ? Sincere question.

  269. #269 Rieux
    October 31, 2007

    negentropyeater (#254):

    but isn’t the “cafeteria approach” due to the most common and definetely human characteristic of interpreting words in different ways.

    No, I don’t think so. In my experience, “cafeteria” religion generally avoids the serious work of “interpreting” much of anything at all. The whole point of the metaphor is that the believer takes a helping of tuna salad (“Do unto others”), a bag of chips (“Everything happens for a reason”), a slice of pie (“Grandma has gone to a better place”), etc., and leaves the liver (“Turn or burn!”) to sit under the sneeze guard untouched. Interpretation would require the “cafeteria” believer to perform a minute examination of the liver, and there’s usually little point in that; he knows he doesn’t like it and sees no need to waste his time and energy looking into it more closely.

    I can imagine a “cafeteria” believer engaging in a little textual interpretation as a rear-guard post hoc rationalization, if he’s ever challenged for choosing the tuna salad and neglecting the liver (see, for example, Rudy (#245)’s references to “tak[ing] it all literally” and “Those gospels were written a long time after Jesus lived”). But, in my experience, such believers generally don’t care enough about boring textual issues to bother.

    Also, I haven’t met many people who, like Rudy, accept the “cafeteria” label. The word is usually an epithet; people who are seriously interested in religion tend to deny that it accurately describes their perspective.

  270. #270 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Rieux,
    by and large agree with you. I I have received a French Jesuit education, mainy of my teachers were very tolerant and highly educated clerics. Remember that Lemaitre, who first hypothesised the Big Bang model of cosmology, was a Jesuit priest. But they will also tell you, that one of the biggest problems of Christian theology is how to deal with so many erroneous interpretations of the texts. And that video just in one example of this. The guy who came up with this video must have been brainwashed by a really bad and totally false interpretation. And the worse, he won’t even realise that he has been brainwashed.

  271. #271 woozy
    October 31, 2007

    from negentropy’s very intelligent and knowledgable of history post #230 (abrbidged for space)

    … all those marketing televangelists, megapreachers with their megachurches …have brainwashed generations of Americans with their crystal clear descriptions of heaven and hell.
    All of this seems to be nothing more than … marketing invention … on par with Coca Cola, Starbucks and Macdonald’s.
    If … their effect … to turn away people from following the true gospel of Christ … all these … are the most likely candidates to end up in their imaginary hell.
    Again, hell, in the original hebraic texts is “Sheol”, or , a covered place, and was usually refered to as the Tombe.
    When you die, that’s where you will lie forever, dead. No fire, no eternal burning place, when would be Christian tell me that I am going to burn in hell, because I am a homosexual and agnostic, I just remind them of the evident fact that they haven’t even read the bible (in it’s supposedely orginal “sacred” versions).

    To play Demon-raping-Theist advocate, why would believing in a telemarketing fiction be any less valid than be believing in the original text in context? So far as I can tell, the main reason one believes is because deep down they just know and it feels right. This is on par with deep down knowing that I am a Pepsi person. When pointed out that this is just marketting the response is usually an “I know but it still feels right and is valid.” When challenged to really get in with the intellect and see what you honestly believe without influence one usually finds that one doesn’t care for the whole question.

    If we use intellect to conclude beliefs artificially manufactured and historically inaccurate are somehow less valid than historic yet to our modern feelings alien, then I believe we must use the intellect further and recognize anthropologically the religion of christ was the mythology of his time. There were varied religions earlier than Christ and they all have althropologic reasons for being. Seems absurd to me to believe any of them to have any factual validity over any others.

    If any post-paleolithic religion could stumble upon a “true” belief, it’s just as rational to assume a fire and brimestone and pretty clouds manipulative marketer could too. In fact, it’s just as rational that the Pepsi marketters may have find the true religion. “God drinks Pepsi. Drink Pepsi and be saved. Don’t and burn in hell.” It *might* be true! Do you want to wager your life on it?
    ===
    Okay, I’m done Pepsi-drinking flesh barbecueing God-advocating. I *don’t* think religion-peddlers fabricating hell can stumble onto truth and in light of that, and viewing all religious belief anthropologically it just seems *silly* to believe in an after-life this contrived or to believe in a God of any anthropomorphic or cultural persuasion.

    I s’pse one can believe in a new-age love everyone universal force type God, but any such thing would be *so* far removed …

  272. #272 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    To play Demon-raping-Theist advocate, why would believing in a telemarketing fiction be any less valid than be believing in the original text in context? So far as I can tell, the main reason one believes is because deep down they just know and it feels right. This is on par with deep down knowing that I am a Pepsi person.

    inarguable logic, except for the part that pepsi sucks.

    all hail coke!

    :p

    (pepsi drinkers go to a special fizzy, flavorless, hell).

    don’t let your friends drink pepsi.

  273. #273 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Woozy,
    the central point of Christianity is to believe that God created the universe for a specific reason, and that Christ was God who had taken human attributes. Now, I know you probably don’t believe in this, but let’s assume for a second, that it is true. Then one can assume that Christ’s teachings were perfect. The question then becomes, how do we know of his teachings in 2007 ? Well, that’s what the bible is for and the people who explain its teachings. But problem, how do we know if their interpretation, based on successive translations loaded with prejudices and biases reflect truly what Jesus tought ?
    That’s why I’d rather be an agnostic, and let science, human knowledge and reason teach us the truth. I’m an agnostic. I do not deny the plausability of the assertion, God created the universe and Christ was his incarnation. The real question is, what can I do with this belief if on another hand, I know that the texts on which it is based reflect more human biases and prejudices than the true concepts that it is supposed to represent.
    In the end, it is much simpler, if one really wants to follow the teachings of Christ, to Learn, listen, open your mind, think, reason and marvel yourself with how much we humans have actually learned since then, that enable us to make sense of this world, rather than to have endless discussions based on misinterpreted teachings and texts.

  274. #274 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    the central point of Christianity is to believe that God created the universe for a specific reason

    without defining what that reason was. The credulous then get to fill in the blank (sorry, gap).

  275. #275 ultra1bob
    October 31, 2007

    In your discussion of religion, try to remember that there are many approaches, some quite intelligent and logical. They don’t get much press.

    Fundamentalism in any of the traditions (including atheism) is kindergarten religion. Hopefully, there comes a time when a person outgrows that approach. Much of what you all talk about is 14th century Catholicism.It has little to do with genuine spirituality.

  276. #276 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Well, the “reason” is what our reason will find out.
    Some scientists and Philosophers are now asking, was the universe we live in created so that somewhere, sometime, a superior type of intelligence (not quite ours yet, but maybe us one day, or another more advanced civilization on another planet) will emerge so as to create a new universe, with the same purpose.
    Now, I must say, I cannot deny that this is a plausable explanation. It could be that it is wrong, that we live in a universe which is one of 10^500 possible ones that are cosmologically naturally selected. But any of the two hypothesis is based on a belief today.

  277. #277 Stevie_C
    October 31, 2007

    It’s even easier to say, it’s all crap, and just skip it altogether.

  278. #278 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    Popular cosmology and transhumanism are like LSD for people who don’t want to do drugs.

  279. #279 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    Hopefully, there comes a time when a person outgrows that approach. Much of what you all talk about is 14th century Catholicism.It has little to do with genuine spirituality.

    do tell, True Scottsman.

  280. #280 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    Some scientists and Philosophers are now asking, was the universe we live in created so that somewhere, sometime, a superior type of intelligence (not quite ours yet, but maybe us one day, or another more advanced civilization on another planet) will emerge so as to create a new universe, with the same purpose.

    like i said, the credulous get to fill in the gap.

  281. #281 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    Popular cosmology and transhumanism are like LSD for people who don’t want to do drugs.

    makes me wonder what they would be like ON drugs.

    have you ever really *looked* at your thumb, man?

  282. #282 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Ichtyic, but rather than to say, I don’t believe that this is the explanation or it’s contrary, shouldn’t the default position be, “Perhaps”.

  283. #283 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    No. The default position is Provisionally False, until supported firmly by evidence. Confusion on this point seems to be the driving force behind the plurality of those who identify as “agnostic” and think of atheists as “dogmatic.”

  284. #284 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    “Perhaps”.

    I prefer:

    until proven otherwise.

    er, just shorter azky, IOW.

  285. #285 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    I’m fine with “provisionally false”. Is there a difference with “maybe one day true”. Plausability you might say ?

  286. #286 Azkyroth
    October 31, 2007

    I think the difference is that “provisionally false” explicitly does not treat the question as hanging in the air indefinitely, though it doesn’t treat the conclusion as set in stone either.

  287. #287 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    Plausability you might say ?

    indeed.

    maybe one day we will artificially create a functional unicorn.

    It hardly makes the argument that fictional ones exist plausible, or worthy of more than “look at your thumb” attention.

  288. #288 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    …not to say navel gazing isn’t sometimes fun to indulge in, but taking it to the step of practical philosophy is the point I would stop at.

  289. #289 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Comment 240 has saved my day! That’s the right attitude! I’m still laughing! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    so…

    horse ass (without the possessive)

    >horse’s ass

    i figured it would be obvious.

    Oh, that’s not obvious at all, because it isn’t how Latin works. Either you use the genitive, “horse’s ass”: puga equi (word order unimportant). Or you use the compound noun, “horse ass” (note that this is a single word, in spite of being written with a space in the middle): Latin is bad at compounding, but equopuga would probably have been understood.

    And they’re supposed to be delighted to observe these tortures?

    Indirectly. They’re supposed to be delighted in their own fate, by comparing it “perfectly” to the tortures they’re “perfectly” observing. That’s in the part before the boldened text.

    It’s Aristotelian logic again. The point of the whole Summa Theologica is to demonstrate that 1) Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity don’t contradict each other and 2) Christianity is utterly logical. With some distortions to both Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity, it succeeds in both…

    Latin word order is almost infinitely flexible.

    Not “almost”.

    And in this heaven/hell Muzak plays non-stop. Heaven/hell is kinda like being locked eternally in a shopping mall. Which place it is for you depends on your taste or lack thereof.

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    I’m not sure, but the Sumerian underworld could be preferable.

    I particularly liked how the poor damned soul could smell both the sulfur AND the brimstone.

    ROTFL!!!

    The lake of fire,the book of life,the accountant’s bridge,and the concept of purgatory are all the original ideas of Zoroaster.

    What! Even purgatory?

  290. #290 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Comment 240 has saved my day! That’s the right attitude! I’m still laughing! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    so…

    horse ass (without the possessive)

    >horse’s ass

    i figured it would be obvious.

    Oh, that’s not obvious at all, because it isn’t how Latin works. Either you use the genitive, “horse’s ass”: puga equi (word order unimportant). Or you use the compound noun, “horse ass” (note that this is a single word, in spite of being written with a space in the middle): Latin is bad at compounding, but equopuga would probably have been understood.

    And they’re supposed to be delighted to observe these tortures?

    Indirectly. They’re supposed to be delighted in their own fate, by comparing it “perfectly” to the tortures they’re “perfectly” observing. That’s in the part before the boldened text.

    It’s Aristotelian logic again. The point of the whole Summa Theologica is to demonstrate that 1) Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity don’t contradict each other and 2) Christianity is utterly logical. With some distortions to both Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity, it succeeds in both…

    Latin word order is almost infinitely flexible.

    Not “almost”.

    And in this heaven/hell Muzak plays non-stop. Heaven/hell is kinda like being locked eternally in a shopping mall. Which place it is for you depends on your taste or lack thereof.

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    I’m not sure, but the Sumerian underworld could be preferable.

    I particularly liked how the poor damned soul could smell both the sulfur AND the brimstone.

    ROTFL!!!

    The lake of fire,the book of life,the accountant’s bridge,and the concept of purgatory are all the original ideas of Zoroaster.

    What! Even purgatory?

  291. #291 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    not unicorn, universe…
    I’m not saying that I believe in this. But is it plausible ? Imagine that one day, we or another civilization in the universe (doesn’t have to be anthropocentric), has obtained sufficient knowledge and understanding of the laws of nature (a precise model of the evolution of the universe, of life and of intelligence) that it wants to test it. What will it do next ? Now ask yourself the oposite, how plausible is it that it will never happen.

  292. #292 J Myers
    October 31, 2007

    Either you use the genitive, “horse’s ass”: puga equi (word order unimportant). Or you use the compound noun, “horse ass” (note that this is a single word, in spite of being written with a space in the middle): Latin is bad at compounding, but equopuga would probably have been understood.

    Or you type “latin translator” in google, enter “Equus Puga,” and get “Horse Buttocks” πŸ™‚

  293. #293 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Much of what you all talk about is 14th century Catholicism.It has little to do with genuine spirituality.

    You say “spirituality” as if it were a good thing…

    but rather than to say, I don’t believe that this is the explanation or it’s contrary, shouldn’t the default position be, “Perhaps”.

    Is it falsifiable?

    If not, the default position is “pffft”.

  294. #294 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Much of what you all talk about is 14th century Catholicism.It has little to do with genuine spirituality.

    You say “spirituality” as if it were a good thing…

    but rather than to say, I don’t believe that this is the explanation or it’s contrary, shouldn’t the default position be, “Perhaps”.

    Is it falsifiable?

    If not, the default position is “pffft”.

  295. #295 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Now ask yourself the oposite, how plausible is it that it will never happen.

    Go back 100 years. Hey, just go back 50 years. And then try to predict the present. I wish you much fun. Wishing you good luck would be sadistic of me.

    Go back 1000 years. Why try to predict the present? Why bother?

  296. #296 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 31, 2007

    Now ask yourself the oposite, how plausible is it that it will never happen.

    Go back 100 years. Hey, just go back 50 years. And then try to predict the present. I wish you much fun. Wishing you good luck would be sadistic of me.

    Go back 1000 years. Why try to predict the present? Why bother?

  297. #297 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    Imagine…

    like i said, navel gazing is fun.

  298. #298 Owlmirror
    October 31, 2007

    maybe one day we will artificially create a functional unicorn.

    It’s been done. It’s even been patented.

    Of course, it only works if you start with an animal that grows horns naturally. The rest is just an application of applied developmental biology.

  299. #299 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    It’s been done. It’s even been patented.

    ooh, millions of little girls will want one, I bet.

    so, what was the start point?

    do you recall where it is documented?

  300. #300 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    you don’t mean THIS, do you?

    http://www.lair2000.net/Unicorn_Dreams/Unicorns_Man_Made/unicorns_man_made.html

    *whispers*
    “It’s just a model.”

  301. #301 woozy
    October 31, 2007

    Woozy,
    the central point of Christianity is to believe that God created the universe for a specific reason, and that Christ was God who had taken human attributes.

    Right, but why should we believe *this*? The “true” gospels of Christ (infinitely preferable, I admit, to the metaphysically naive and despicably hate-full “hell and fury” thumpers of today I freely admit) were written long after Jesus’ death and spread by that great spin agent Paul and based upon a relatively new and centralized mythology of the time (Judism). If we dismiss the “hell and fury” beliefs because they are based on distortions, political agendas, and marketing of leaders we can trace historically, then shouldn’t we also dismiss the gospels of Jesus for much the same reasons?

    To trace Jesus’ beliefs and religious upbringing is trace a mythology of a desert people, a mythology that like all other mythologies has been distorted and re-interpreted over time. It’s a perfectly fine mythology as far as I care but the world was full of others equally valid at the time. If I want to avoid distortions to beliefs, It seems I must go as for back in time as possible. Hence I’d have to conclude all religion is a distortion of ice-age animalistic beliefs.

    I’m not being facetious. I see no reason to categorically classify animalism as a “lesser” religion with monotheism, of course!, being the highest with Helenic anthro-polytheism pretty low down but higher than Egyptian non-anthro-polytheism.

    If any one of the millions of religions of since the dawn of time is a “true” religion with others are to varying degress wrong or distorted, then “true” religion had to come to us at some point in time *after* folks had been believing some other religion of the time.

    If this is possible, why wouldn’t it be possible that the liars and manipulaters and ad-men evangelists who made up Hell and Heaven got it right.

    Now, I admit, if we believe Christ the overall writings of the Old Testament got it right, then clearly these hell-pushers based hell on the twisted teachings of Christ, but Christ and the Old Testaments are anthropologic mythologies of a desert people and where can we find a plausible spot in time when they “got it right” and the ice-age animalists had it wrong.

    Now admittedly, the teachings of the hell-pushers is out-right unpleasant and I truly do not want to believe that the metaphysical afterworld is just as capricious, arbitrary, and sadistic and cruel as the physical world. After all, the entire *point* of the afterworld is so that there’ll be a place were things make sense and work the way they should. (I.e. since we believe in justice it should be just, and since we believe in knowledge, it should be a place where the questions of existance are known. Which raises the question what of societies that believe in other values the ones we currently believe it. But I digress.) Likewise the teachings of Jesus, or more accurately the teachings of Jesus as we’d like them to be, are nice. But we pretty much made the teachings to fit what we’d think would be nice. (And some sadists out there apparently think hell would be nice… for us… not them.)

    To think objectively, I have to conclude all religions are more or less equally valid. I have no qualms with the “cafetaria” approach but when it comes to any *factual* statements of faith (“there’ll be duck hunting in heaven”, “there were giants in those days”, “Zeus impregnated Leda while in the form of a swan”, “God has human emotions”, “Hell exists”, etc.) I kind of have to rule them all out as “no, not literally”. Ooops, gotta go. The sun just set and I need to turn the Cave Bear skull west and smudge it with burnt sage.

  302. #302 negentropyeater
    October 31, 2007

    Ichtyic, you are right, it’s not falsifiable, but it’s also not a scientific theory.
    But ask you the same question about the landscape hypothesis, the strong anthropic principle and string theory.
    And I agree, any form of “gazing” can be fun.

  303. #303 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    string theory

    string theory is mathematically derivative at least, IIRC.

    but, yes, er, “i ask” the same questions; however i do tend to give more “eartime” to derivative hypotheses than i do entirely fictional ones, which i suppose goes back to the issue of plausibility.

    …if you were looking for that kind of distinction.

    also note I doubt seriously I have the energy to engage in much navel gazing at the moment, so I would have to beg your pardon if you wish to engage in an OT discussion of string theory or whatnot.

    another time and place, maybe.

  304. #304 Olorin
    October 31, 2007

    If you don’t believe GodTube, listen to what the Requiem Mass has to say (Mozart version):

    Dies irae, dies illa,
    Solvet saeclum in favilla,
    Teste David cum Sibylla.
    Qiantum tremor est futurus,
    Quando judex est venturus,
    Cuncta stricte discussurus.

    Pretty scary stuff.

  305. #305 blearyeyed
    October 31, 2007

    RE:134, et al

    Geez, I had no idea. I thought all the harcore back and forth posting was just some pent up sexual aggression. I didn’t realize there was actual utility. My bad.

    So, theoretically then, there is an ultimate post that is so pithy that the thread simply dies because everyone is like “Daaaaamn”.

    We should lay aside our differences and find this ultimate post (I dub it the “Ultipost”) and then whisk around the interwebs blowing up everyone’s blog. C’mon it’ll be fun.

  306. #306 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    I thought all the harcore back and forth posting was just some pent up sexual aggression.

    well, there ya go then, you had your opinion changed by a blog post.

    and let me just add as to your original thought:

    *eeew*

  307. #307 Dustin
    October 31, 2007

    Ultipost

    Kseniya has had a few posts lately that were just a few millimeters short. I’m thinking of her “Jack Hammer” post and her “eyeballs can kill” post.

  308. #308 noncarborundum
    October 31, 2007
    Latin word order is almost infinitely flexible.

    Not “almost”

    Yes, “almost”. I was going to write “is infinitely flexible” before it occurred to me that a preposition always precedes the noun it governs (or, at least, that the violation of this order is so rare that I’ve never seen it happen). Urbem equitavi in (to stick with the horse motif) is not a grammatical Latin sentence, so far as I’m aware.

  309. #309 Uber
    October 31, 2007

    Rieux- what the heck is wrong with you?

    Again, I contend the Universalist case is all special pleading and obscurantism.

    I think your contention is wrong. Completely wrong of course.

    On the other hand, there are (a much smaller number of) vaguely positive but heavily ambiguous passages–Golden Rule, Beatitudes, etc.–upon which some believers have built teetering structures of theological silliness about Jesus the Liberal.

    You just named some of the heaviest passages of the bible and dismissed them as being small in number. There is no teetering structure in the Universalist stance. It is on much more solid ground philosophically than most other trains of thought in Christianity.

    Well, sorry–that’s intellectually dishonest. A few mealy-mouthed comments about being nice to people don’t erase the reams of fire and brimstone that the Jesus character dishes out throughout the Gospels. Hard as that is for some to accept.

    Sosays you. Reading a text as a whole and coming to a different conclusion does not make one intellectually dishonest. I have read the passages you mention and while I think Jesus speaks to this it doesn’t follow thathe actually sends people there. It would violate his own rules and frankly make his own death meaningless to many.

    Either his death removed sin from humanity or it didn’t. Making it a matter of belief by defintion removes that question from the table.

    The Universalist contention seems to be that those human-constructed towers of moral Babel cancel out the numerous explicit declarations from Jesus that anyone who did not obey him would be tortured eternally.

  310. #310 Ichthyic
    October 31, 2007

    The Universalist contention seems to be that those human-constructed towers of moral Babel cancel out the numerous explicit declarations from Jesus that anyone who did not obey him would be tortured eternally.

    cancel out?

    what, is there some sort of mathematical proof?

    show your work.

  311. #311 Owlmirror
    November 1, 2007

    you don’t mean THIS, do you?

    http://www.lair2000.net/Unicorn_Dreams/Unicorns_Man_Made/unicorns_man_made.html

    Of course. What did you think I meant, some sort of wand-waving hocus-pocus jiggery-pokery wishful thinking?

    Here’s the patent, which includes some citations from the Journal of Experimental Zoology (Dove (1935)) and Scientific Monthly (Dove (1936)).

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4429685.html

    <comedian style=”Groucho Marx”>
    Straight man: “But… But… But…”
    Groucho: “Yes, it’s a goat. They do that very well. Keep yours away from this one, unless you like it very rough.”
    Straight man: “But it’s not pink!”
    Groucho: “So? Pink paint is two bucks a can.”
    Straight man: “But it’s not invisible!”
    Groucho: “So? After you’re done painting it, turn your back on it. It’ll be invisible to you. And believe you me, when your butts meet, you won’t have any doubts about its existence.”
    </comedian>

  312. #312 Owlmirror
    November 1, 2007

    Now that I re-read the patent, I note the line that says “directly over the pineal gland to render a unicorn of higher intelligence and physical attributes.”

    Feel free to mock this woo-filled putting of Descartes before dey horse.

  313. #313 ?????? ????????????
    November 1, 2007

    …and her “eyeballs can kill” post.

    Well… they can!

  314. #314 ?????? ????????????
    November 1, 2007

    …and her “eyeballs can kill” post.

    Well… they can!

  315. #315 Rieux
    November 1, 2007

    Uber (#297):

    Rieux- what the heck is wrong with you?

    I dunno; maybe Satan has led me astray. I doubt it, though. πŸ™‚

    You just named some of the heaviest passages of the bible and dismissed them as being small in number.

    But what, pray tell, makes those “the heaviest passages of the bible”? Sure, people who want to argue that Christianity is compatible with modern (humanist) civilization gesticulate at those passages incessantly. But so what? My contention (following Avalos and countless other Bible skeptics) is that there is no impartial reason to weight those passages any “heavier” than the vastly larger number of Biblical texts that preach inhumanity, hatred and destruction. We skeptics are not just going to take partisan Christians’ word (or yours) for it that (1) “Do unto others” is “heavier” or more central to the Bible’s messages than is (2) Jesus ordering his followers to “bring hither, and slay before me” all who would not accept his authority (Luke 19:27).

    You expect us to just accept apologists’ contention that the parts of the Bible they like are “heavier”–more Biblical, or Christian–than are the parts the apologists don’t like. But given that, to my knowledge, neither you nor they have provided a reasonable, impartial explanation for why anyone should do this, we skeptics refuse.

    The Bible-skeptical contention is that apologists consider those nice parts “the heaviest passages of the bible” precisely because said apologists want to justify ignoring all of the horrors in the book. Why should anyone accept that effort?

    There is no teetering structure in the Universalist stance. It is on much more solid ground philosophically than most other trains of thought in Christianity.

    Well, that’s nice. Now, would you mind explaining what precisely this “philosophical solid ground” actually is? Because I’ve read plenty of liberal-theological advocacy about Bible interpretation, and I’ve never seen anything philosophically “solid.” Just, er, special pleading and obscurantism.

    Reading a text as a whole and coming to a different conclusion does not make one intellectually dishonest.

    A-ha. “Reading a text as a whole.” Yeah, that’s the epitome of philosophical solidity. Surely there couldn’t be an ounce of intellectual dishonesty in using that phrase to ignore every single word in the book that disagrees with one’s own preconceptions.

    I have read the passages you mention and while I think Jesus speaks to this it doesn’t follow thathe actually sends people there.

    Except that, inconveniently for your defense, he explicitly declares that people will be sent there:

    But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12

    And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 11:23

    Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 25:44-46

    And we haven’t even gotten out of Matthew yet. As I’ve said before, there is much, much more where the above passages came from.

    It would violate his own rules and frankly make his own death meaningless to many.

    Ah, but remember, what we’re talking about here is what the Bible actually says. What you think Jesus’ “own rules” are/were doesn’t matter. What makes various things “meaningless to many” doesn’t matter. What matters is what the Bible says. And the Bible says that Jesus repeatedly declared that his enemies “shall go away into everlasting punishment.” If those real passages make Christians feel bad, well, tough–perhaps they should pick a less bloody book to revere.

    Either his death removed sin from humanity or it didn’t.

    Who cares? Again, that area of human-created theological silliness doesn’t matter. You can’t disprove Jesus’ clear Biblical statements about Hell by pointing out that they conflict with human theology. Presuming said theology is supposed to be based on the Bible, the conflict you’ve highlighted just shows a problem with the theology, not with the Biblical statements.

    The Jesus character in the Gospels repeatedly preaches that eternal hellfire and damnation await his enemies. I contend that intellectual honesty requires acceptance of that fact about the character. The truthiness issue–the issue of whether those declarations mesh with various self-serving schools of Christian doctrine–is emphatically not relevant.

    P.S.:

    The Universalist contention seems to be….

    When you quote me, please attribute it. It appears you’ve misled Icthyic (#298) to believe that you wrote the above-quoted paragraph, when in fact I did (in #249).

  316. #316 jim
    November 1, 2007

    This is so far off-topic it’s not even funny, but I am so having a cult of theomachists in my nanowrimo novel this month. (They’ll go well with the Discordian monks.)

  317. #317 J Myers
    November 1, 2007

    blearyeyed:

    So, theoretically then, there is an ultimate post that is so pithy that the thread simply dies because everyone is like “Daaaaamn”.

    This sounds like the ontological argument, and so it gets the same reply: No. There is no reason than an “ultimate” anything must exist. To be fair, I would consider it more likely that an “ultimate” post exists than that some “ultimate” being exists…

  318. #318 Uber
    November 1, 2007

    Rieux-

    When you quote me, please attribute it. It appears you’ve misled Icthyic (#298) to believe that you wrote the above-quoted paragraph, when in fact I did (in #249).

    I split the quote by accident. It doesn’t matter in any event as he was commenting on what he read not who wrote it.

    As to the rest of your coomment I’ll just restate that I don’t find it a debate worth alot of time, certainly not the amount of time you put into that post. But I’ll address a point or two:

    Again, that area of human-created theological silliness doesn’t matter. You can’t disprove Jesus’ clear Biblical statements about Hell by pointing out that they conflict with human theology. Presuming said theology is supposed to be based on the Bible, the conflict you’ve highlighted just shows a problem with the theology, not with the Biblical statements.

    It’s ALL human theology, ALL of it. Even the stance you are taking. My view IS based on the bible. Do you think 4 of the 6 original branches of Christianity missed it also? The universalist position is philosophically more sound based on the character of Jesus as presented in Christianity and the majority of the words attributed to him as well as his actions.

    The Jesus character in the Gospels repeatedly preaches that eternal hellfire and damnation await his enemies. I contend that intellectual honesty requires acceptance of that fact about the character.

    And then he says to love your enemies and turn the other cheek when struck. Dead heat.

    Because I’ve read plenty of liberal-theological advocacy about Bible interpretation, and I’ve never seen anything philosophically “solid.” Just, er, special pleading and obscurantism

    What is the special pleading about seeing the overall character of an individual as presented in the story? I think your seeing what you want to see.

  319. #319 Arnaud
    November 1, 2007

    Ichthyic,

    If you are still around here is what you asked for earlier on.

  320. #320 Martha
    November 1, 2007

    Grim Reaper did the video better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMOeBTHbTUs

  321. #321 Carlie
    November 1, 2007

    Ok, dead heat, possibly, even if you discount the actual number of statements made one way or the other, but it’s still cherrypicking if you take one half and ignore the other half. If you take the love your neighbor and turn the other cheek, you have to take the casting into the lake of fire, unless you want to say that your Jesus was lying or wrong half the time.

  322. #322 J Myers
    November 1, 2007

    unless you want to say that your Jesus was lying or wrong half the time.

    1/2 Liar + 1/2 Lunatic = 1 Lord? Interesting.

  323. #323 ZorkFox
    November 1, 2007

    Now, that is some fucked-up shit. I was pleased to see several people speaking out against the video in its comments. It’s a nice looking site: too bad it’s being put to such terrible use. πŸ˜›

  324. #324 Rieux
    November 1, 2007

    Uber (#305):

    My view IS based on the bible.

    No, it is based on (1) a heavily expurgated version of the Bible from which every verse showing your position to be incorrect has been deleted and (2) your baseless inferences from passages that you do like (such as “turn the other cheek”), inferences that you have promoted to the status of Biblical text. Jesus never says in the Bible that he or God would turn the other cheek toward unrepentant members of sinful humanity, but you pretend that the mere invocation of the phrase “turn the other cheek” means that he said that. That tactic of yours is, to coin a phrase, intellectually dishonest. Your illogical inferences from (carefully selected) Biblical texts are not themselves Biblical texts.

    Do you think 4 of the 6 original branches of Christianity missed it also?

    That’s an interesting resort to the Argument from Authority fallacy. Regardless, neither you nor anyone has any idea of what the “original branches of Christianity” thought regarding the issue that is actually in question here–what the Jesus character in four books now called the Gospels held regarding Hell. We’re discussing a literary/mythological question, not a historical one.

    The universalist position is philosophically more sound based on the character of Jesus as presented in Christianity and the majority of the words attributed to him as well as his actions.

    “As presented in Christianity” is merely the No True Scotsman fallacy. I note that various huge sects of Christianity have, for thousands of years, preached a Jesus who coexists with eternal damnation of the unsaved.

    Your reference to “the majority of the words attributed to [Jesus] as well as his actions” is amusing given that (1) I have demonstrated that a huge number of Gospel words attributed to Jesus clearly state his belief in an eternal-damnation Hell and (2) you have not cited a single Jesus-attributed word to the contrary, preferring to reference passages that never mention Hell and have no connection to it except via your illogical inferences. (What’s more, at least one of the passages you’ve mentioned (“the greatest commandment is love,” in #211 above) doesn’t even exist.)

    Given that you have not once cited chapter-and-verse Bible on this entire thread (whereas I have done so eight times, and there are scads more passages I can cite wherein Jesus explicitly preaches Hell), it takes a lot of gall for you to expostulate about what “the majority of the words attributed to” Jesus state. Apparently it is beneath you to back up your claims with evidence–an attitude that, as you may be aware, tends to annoy atheists.

    The Jesus character in the Gospels repeatedly preaches that eternal hellfire and damnation await his enemies. I contend that intellectual honesty requires acceptance of that fact about the character.

    And then he says to love your enemies and turn the other cheek when struck. Dead heat.

    No, irrelevancy–as I have repeatedly demonstrated above. The phrase “love your enemies” does not mean “I, Jesus, (and God) will love my (our) enemies,” but you pretend those are the same thing. In point of fact, there is no contradiction involved in a deity commanding its subjects to “love your enemies” and then proceeding to torture its own enemies. In the real world, powerful entities are guilty of that kind of hypocrisy all the time.

    In an argument about what the Bible says, I have presented Biblical texts as evidence. You have presented only illogical inferences drawn from irrelevant passages that you have vaguely alluded to. Only one side of that is evidence, so there is no “dead heat.” Jesus’ statements demonstrating his belief in an eternal-torment Hell stand unrebutted.

    What is the special pleading about seeing the overall character of an individual as presented in the story?

    Because you’re not actually examining the “overall character” of the Gospels’ Jesus; that would require taking some notice of his constant preoccupation with threatening his enemies with eternal torment. Instead, you are carefully selecting a small number of minuscule phrases and spinning those few words into an enormous fable about the character’s qualities that extends far beyond what’s actually in the text. When you turn a simple, heavily ambiguous statement like “It is finished” into some kind of all-encompassing account of humanity’s eternal fate, what is going on is clearly not scriptural interpretation–it’s scriptural fabrication.

    I’m interested in the Bible that actually exists on paper, not the one of your imagination. (See, again, “the greatest commandment is love….”)

    I think your seeing what you want to see.

    No, I’m taking pains to see what is actually there, rather than what aligns with my preconceptions. The theology you are defending falls afoul of that principle constantly.

  325. #325 Owlmirror
    November 1, 2007

    Debates over what God “really” said or “really” wanted predate Christianity. Judaism had largely abandoned literalist interpretations of the Bible by the time of Jesus. Of course, the Jewish scholars of the time were strongly influenced by Hellenistic & Persian philosophies and Zoroastrian religion.

    Every generation that follows a religion derived from the Bible has had to look at what the bible actually says, and figure out which parts are important, and which can be ignored, or reinterpreted.

    The Pharisees in particular had a concrete concept of an additional meta-narrative (the “Oral Law”) that was just as important as what was written down (the “Written Law”), which greatly mitigated the worst of what was written down.

    Ultimately, the Universalist position starts from the basic assumption that God is real and kind and just and loving. Therefore, that interpretation of the various religious texts has that assumption constantly in mind. So all of the angry stuff is… ignored, or given lesser weight, or is said to be “metaphorical”.

    But the nasty stuff still written down there. Not even Universalists edit the Bible.

    Well, Jefferson did, now I think of it.

    And I suppose that perhaps someone might edit down all of the religious books into a new, Universalist bible. But I suspect that that someone could just as easily create a new humanist work, which would probably be much simpler.

  326. #326 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Ichtyic, you are right, it’s not falsifiable, but it’s also not a scientific theory.

    Not “also”. That is why it isn’t science.

    It’s also why the strong anthropic principle isn’t science. It’s religion. (It’s also not needed to explain anything.)

    ————–

    Dies irae, dies illa,
    Solvet saeclum in favilla,
    Teste David cum Sibylla.
    Quantum tremor est futurus,
    Quando judex est venturus,
    Cuncta stricte discussurus.

    The day of wrath, that day,
    Will dissolve the century (everything that isn’t eternal?) into ash,
    ???by means of the witness David with Sibylla???.
    How much trembling is to happen
    when the judge is to come
    and to strictly beat everything apart.

    And there shall be great smashing, utter trouncing, and pure pwnage, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth…

    Pretty scary stuff.

    Have you seen Conan the Destroyer?

    —————

    Yes, “almost”. I was going to write “is infinitely flexible” before it occurred to me that a preposition always precedes the noun it governs (or, at least, that the violation of this order is so rare that I’ve never seen it happen).

    Good point. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in poetry anyway (the occasional postposition wouldn’t be hard to understand), but I can’t think of an example, and I haven’t found any here. But then, it seems prepositions are rare in Latin poetry in the first place! πŸ™‚

    Apparently, however, there is at least one language in Australia that has prepositions and can put them anywhere.

    ————-

    J Myers, one or two more comments like 304, and you get your first Molly nomination.

  327. #327 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Ichtyic, you are right, it’s not falsifiable, but it’s also not a scientific theory.

    Not “also”. That is why it isn’t science.

    It’s also why the strong anthropic principle isn’t science. It’s religion. (It’s also not needed to explain anything.)

    ————–

    Dies irae, dies illa,
    Solvet saeclum in favilla,
    Teste David cum Sibylla.
    Quantum tremor est futurus,
    Quando judex est venturus,
    Cuncta stricte discussurus.

    The day of wrath, that day,
    Will dissolve the century (everything that isn’t eternal?) into ash,
    ???by means of the witness David with Sibylla???.
    How much trembling is to happen
    when the judge is to come
    and to strictly beat everything apart.

    And there shall be great smashing, utter trouncing, and pure pwnage, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth…

    Pretty scary stuff.

    Have you seen Conan the Destroyer?

    —————

    Yes, “almost”. I was going to write “is infinitely flexible” before it occurred to me that a preposition always precedes the noun it governs (or, at least, that the violation of this order is so rare that I’ve never seen it happen).

    Good point. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in poetry anyway (the occasional postposition wouldn’t be hard to understand), but I can’t think of an example, and I haven’t found any here. But then, it seems prepositions are rare in Latin poetry in the first place! πŸ™‚

    Apparently, however, there is at least one language in Australia that has prepositions and can put them anywhere.

    ————-

    J Myers, one or two more comments like 304, and you get your first Molly nomination.

  328. #328 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Sorry, it’s not simply ash, but ash that is still glowing.

  329. #329 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Sorry, it’s not simply ash, but ash that is still glowing.

  330. #330 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2007

    If you are still around here is what you asked for earlier on.

    yup. that’s the one.

    so… which one is worse, the one in this thread, or the Phelpsian’s entry in the other thread?

    I think we should have a poll.

  331. #331 Kseniya
    November 1, 2007

    And props to Rieux for several fine comments in this thread.

  332. #332 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2007

    I’m interested in the Bible that actually exists on paper, not the one of your imagination

    not that i ever really cared, but it always seemed to me from “universalist” acquaintances I’ve had in the past that universalism was mostly based on wishful thinking.

    nothing wrong with that, IMO. I’d certainly rather this progression:

    fundamentalist->universalist->agnostic humanist->atheist

    than i would:

    fundamentalist->xian soldier

    regardless of whether there were a few artificial constructs between the fundamentalist and atheist parts.

    After all, it seems pretty unlikely a universalist would have produced the video which is the subject of this thread.

  333. #333 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2007

    …as an addendum, I also always thought that universalism was an acceptable “out” to a fundamentalist who no longer wanted to be a fundamentalist, kinda like I always viewed theistic evolutionism as an acceptable “out” to a YEC/OE creationist.

    logical? rational? meh, not on paper. But at least it’s allows for a small step in the right direction.

  334. #334 Rieux
    November 1, 2007

    Thanks for the kind words, Kseniya!

    Owlmirror (#312):

    Ultimately, the Universalist position starts from the basic assumption that God is real and kind and just and loving. Therefore, that interpretation of the various religious texts has that assumption constantly in mind. So all of the angry stuff is… ignored, or given lesser weight, or is said to be “metaphorical”.

    Sure; I don’t have a major problem with that, as long as the people adopting the above thought process are forthright about their reliance on the ad hoc assumption you describe. If they concede that they’re not approaching the Bible impartially but instead with the preconceived basic postulate that Jesus/God is/are “real and kind and just and loving,” then there’s little point in fighting over Biblical texts with them.

    The issue I’d raise with those people, of course, is why they’ve decided to accept said preconceived basic postulate, but anyway….

    (Would it hurt my credibility on this thread if I mentioned that I’m a member of an (arguably “religious” but I think not) organization that calls itself a “Universalist Church”? The folks who founded my church 150 years ago certainly agreed with Uber’s general position here, and obviously I think they were wrong. But, as I’ve written elsewhere, modern Unitarian Universalism has long since moved on from silly notions about supernatural gods and eternal lives, so old-school Universalism has little to nothing to do with the services I attend most Sundays.

    (And isn’t it at least a little darkly comic that the president of my church congregation has today asked me, of all people, to run for the (all-important) committee that will find and hire our next senior minister? Who here can beat them apples?)

  335. #335 Ichthyic
    November 1, 2007

    speaking of holy flails….

    anybody catch the news today that the Westboro Baptists lost their civil case, and had a 11 mill judgment placed against them?

    a small bit of good news, which I’m sure will become another PZ thread later today.

    http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071101/29920_Westboro_Baptist_Cult_Slammed_with_$10.9M_Fine_for_Funeral_Protest.htm

  336. #336 obscurifer
    November 1, 2007

    I realize that text intros to movies aren’t really supposed to be brilliant prose, but the grammar and punctuation are atrocious.

  337. #337 noncarborundum
    November 1, 2007

    ???by means of the witness David with Sibylla???.

    Ablative absolute. “David [indeclinable] being a witness, along with the Sibyl [a Greek prophetess].”

    There was precedent for this in Classical Latin, e.g. Caesare consule, “Caesar being consul” (i.e., “when Caesar was consul”).

  338. #338 gsb
    November 1, 2007

    #35 Then, once the heads of the saints and prophets adorn the pikes outside the city and seated myself atop a throne made of their bones, I’ll give the word that ends the universe and begins the world anew… and this time, it’ll be run the way it should have been. That’s what I’ll do if I’m wrong.

    Heh. Reminds me of:

    I Hope You Like Text

  339. #339 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Oh, the good old abl. abs…. long time no see!

    I Hope You Like Text

    πŸ˜€

  340. #340 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 1, 2007

    Oh, the good old abl. abs…. long time no see!

    I Hope You Like Text

    πŸ˜€

  341. #341 yiela
    November 1, 2007

    I realize this thread is already too long but…has anyone seen this page?
    http://www.atruechurch.info
    This guy argues for both slavery and masterbation. God kills and hates and so do “believers”. His name happens to be Darwin Fish.

  342. #342 Matthew
    November 2, 2007

    Also on godtube is a Nightline report, wherein the head of the company says he hopes to reach not just the 2.1 billion Christians but the 4 billion “that are seeking faith.” Aren’t most of those 4 billion either non-religious or non-Christian? Does he really think they’re seeking faith? (Well, his answer would probably be, “Everyone seeks a relationship with Jesus Christ”) He basically refutes it as a niche market because there are 2.1 billion Christians. But that’s still only Christians, which qualifies it as a niche.

    There’s also Christian rap, a combination of two terrible things.

  343. #343 Uber
    November 2, 2007

    rieux- UG!

    I haveno idea how I have been drug into this.

    That tactic of yours is, to coin a phrase, intellectually dishonest. Your illogical inferences from (carefully selected) Biblical texts are not themselves Biblical texts.

    I never said he didn’t say what you said as it’s obvious from the verses you have listed ad nauseum. The larger point I have tried to convey is that these verses do notshow the character of the man as well as others do and these ‘minor’ verses you discount out of hand. One could argue more strongly that he speaks far more about peace and love as well as forgiveness than punishment.Which leads many to say hell may exist but is empty which means he was practicing rhetoric.

    you have not cited a single Jesus-attributed word to the contrary, preferring to reference passages that never mention Hell and have no connection to it except via your illogical inferences

    Could it be because I don’t care much? And I have, Jesus spoke of forgiveness and love as primary virtues. Whatmore really does one need to see?

    Instead, you are carefully selecting a small number of minuscule phrases

    A small number? Thats not honest. The bible is replete with verses about love and forgiveness along with a bunch of not so nice stuff.

    and spinning those few words into an enormous fable about the character’s qualities that extends far beyond what’s actually in the text.

    I read the text as a very forgiving guy saying many things like that and helping people as he encountered them.

    When you turn a simple, heavily ambiguous statement like “It is finished” into some kind of all-encompassing account of humanity’s eternal fate, what is going on is clearly not scriptural interpretation–it’s scriptural fabrication.

    No it’s not. It’s a logical inference that if the event occured it occured and belief would be irrevelant to this idea. If his death removed the sin,it removed the sin.

    No, I’m taking pains to see what is actually there, rather than what aligns with my preconceptions. The theology you are defending falls afoul of that principle constantly.

    I know your perspective, I simply don’t see it other than a small aspect of the overall character of Jesus. It’s not a preconception, I was raised baptist. I just don’t think the hell talk meshes well with his reported actions and words. Nor does it match particuarlly well with OT theology presumably of which he would have had something to do with being God and all.

    At the end of the day—-How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    answer: Who cares?

  344. #344 Carlie
    November 2, 2007

    Sheesh, Uber, then why bother with it at all? If you don’t particularly care about any of it, why waste your energy believing in any version of it at all, particularly one that you’ve made up out of whole cloth?

  345. #345 Tony
    November 2, 2007

    Hang on a minute…

    Isn’t the whole concept of hell totally the wrong way around..if you are rebelling or going against the wishes of the Divine CCTV Operator in the Sky..then surely sending you to live with his arch enemy in hell is non sensical?

    Afterall my enemies enemy is my friend right? So wouldnt Mr Devil be welcoming you with a hand shake, cigar and a chair on the board of directors instead of torture for ever? Surely “hell” be an eterntiy with JC and Pop?…eh? I dont get it.

    Those medieval theology heads…what were they smoking?

  346. #346 woozy (what a choice... well, downstairs I guess...)
    November 2, 2007

    Isn’t the whole concept of hell totally the wrong way around..if you are rebelling or going against the wishes of the Divine CCTV Operator in the Sky..then surely sending you to live with his arch enemy in hell is non sensical?
    Afterall my enemies enemy is my friend right? So wouldnt Mr Devil be welcoming you with a hand shake, cigar and a chair on the board of directors instead of torture for ever? Surely “hell” be an eterntiy with JC and Pop?…eh? I dont get it.

    Think of it as a “prisoners of war” thing. If you are a good soldier/christian you make it to heaven. If you are a bad or weak soldier/christian you get caught by the enemy and tortured forever.

    This view point has Devil and God at odds, God doesn’t like hell, and God is not omnipotent.

    Other viewpoint could be God and the Devil are in cohoots. Satan does God’s work (perhaps begrudgingly and jealously) and God runs the show like a ruthless CEO encouraging envy and hatred in his employees as motivational tools. That seems to be the videos view-point. In this case, perhaps a whisper in the dark underlord’s ear of “why are you loyal to that bearded prick anyway? Go independant. Lower the temperature and open a Jazz club and you’ll have the souls flocking to you willingly and we’ll put that sadistic prick out on his ear in no time!” might be the best strategy when you find yourself in that lake.

    Third option is the Devil does welcome you with open arms and a cigar and puts you in Government subsidized tract housing to live eternity in a dim and boring suburb. The damned are all glad to be there because the really don’t want to hang out with the snobby blessed who are always looking down their noses at them and sheesh, the host and son! don’t they ever lighten up?

    ‘course there’s the “Waiting For the Galactic Bus” theory in which folks are seperated by whether they have an envious need satisfy a personal wrong (Christ and Hitler both and up in Heaven because of this) or guileless remorse (James Wilkes Booth and Judas Iscariot both end up in Hell because of this) but pretty much both are the same and the denizens of both prefer think they are in better company. God and the Devil, however, don’t. (The exit signs to both are well-lit but to their chagrin, no-one ever makes use of them.)

  347. #347 Arnosium Upinarum
    November 3, 2007

    As tedious a thread as I’ve ever seen here. *SIGH*

  348. #348 Greg N.
    December 9, 2007

    How could the kid be writing the letter as they’re throwing him in the flames? And who delivered it?

  349. #349 marion delgado
    December 9, 2007

    I think a snippet of a song “Peggy Noonan” we played years ago in Alaska is germane:

    “Peggy Noonan said to me Friday over tea that children dying in trailer fires down upon their knees was proof of His wise and infinite love. And all I could do was agree. What could I do but agree?

    So please don’t hurt me, Space Demon. I’ll do anything, anything you say – please, just don’t hurt me, Space Demon, take someone else, take anyone today!”

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