Pharyngula

God must really hate black people

A family of Minnesotans were involved in a horrific plane crash in the Congo.

Barry and Marybeth Mosier were on their way to visit their son Keith, 24, in Kinsangani, Congo, with two younger children when their plane crashed on takeoff Tuesday in Goma. At least 36 people died as the plane plowed through a market and burned. Most of the people who died were on the ground, according to the U.N. mission in DR Congo.

…Mosier said, he and his wife were carrying their son Andrew, 3, in the shoving “mass of humanity” trying to escape the burning plane. They got out through the opening in the fuselage.

“Outside the plane, she was wandering around. … It was total chaos,” he said. “People were screaming and yelling because the plane had landed on this market. All of a sudden, out of the blue, all of these people who were just standing there are now dead.

“So there’s parts of bodies and people burning and people screaming and yelling, and she was out there by herself.”

It sounds like a nightmarish event, and I’m glad they survived. I wish a few more people hadn’t died horrible, painful deaths in such a catastrophe, but this was a family of despicable missionaries, so you know what’s coming next.

“We couldn’t believe that our family of four could all escape a plane that was crashed and on fire, but by God’s mercy, we did,” he said.

Mosier said he believes the family made it for a reason.

“I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “He still has work for us to do.”

Their god has no mercy to spare for the innocent people in the market, of course, and their lives must have been totally useless for their god to be able to dispense with them in such a brutal fashion. Or perhaps they were wicked and deserved a flaming extinction with lots of fear and screaming?

In a just theistic world, I think their god would despise such smug, self-satisfied Christians.

Comments

  1. #1 MikeM
    April 16, 2008

    God was obviously their co-pilot.

  2. #2 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    The level of self-deluded conceit is staggering.

  3. #3 flonkbob
    April 16, 2008

    I have to say, as a ‘Recovering Fundie’, that this is not an odd reaction at all. When you think that you’re so important that the creator of the entire universe died to save you from the torture pit he designed for you after you broke the rules he made that you couldn’t keep…well you don’t think any thing is beyond his grasp. Besides, all those dead people had to have already had their chance to hear the ‘good news’ or they wouldn’t have died. Because…uh…god is just?

    Just a mass-murdering f**khead.

  4. #4 Rey Fox
    April 16, 2008

    And then CNN puts that quote right up on the damn headline.

    Tell me again how badly Christianity is persecuted in the media?

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    April 16, 2008

    MikeM for the win! :-)

  6. #6 alex
    April 16, 2008

    so, if God wants you to keep up the good work, he doesn’t kill you in a plane crash. guess i’m doing fine so far.

  7. #7 Sastra
    April 16, 2008

    All too often, religion seems to encourage this sort of narcissism. When people give credit to God, they assume that they’re somehow out of the picture now. They are just so humbled by God’s personal attention, is all.

    This is usually the same group which takes a story that has the vast majority of the world’s population suffering eternal torture in Hell, and then labels it “The Good News” because it’s not going to happen to them. Blessed are the meek.

  8. #8 Amplexus
    April 16, 2008

    “God doesn’t care about black people!” – W.E.B. Dubois

  9. #9 H.H.
    April 16, 2008

    Atheist, gay person, liberal has something bad happen to them = warning to change their ways.

    Christian, missionary, conservative has something bad happen to them = validation to keep right on doing what they’re doing.

    Funny how that works, innit it?

  10. #10 Coragyps
    April 16, 2008

    “We know that the safest place in the world to work is where the Lord wants you to work.”

    Yeah. I’ll bet.

  11. #11 Adrienne
    April 16, 2008

    “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people!” – Kanye West

  12. #12 MLE
    April 16, 2008

    As far as I am concerned, that work god supposedly has left for them must better involve saving the (actual, not eternal soul type) lives of countless* people to make up for this.

    *Even callously assuming lives could be so easily counted and equated.

  13. #13 kcanadensis
    April 16, 2008

    Give ‘em a break; I’m sure they lament having been too late to save their poor pagan souls before they died.
    Ugh. I detest missionaries.

  14. #14 Divalent
    April 16, 2008

    Lots of comments by these folks thanking God for saving them. Not one comment in the article where they thank the man who worked to tear open the hole in the fuselage so they could all get out of it.

  15. #15 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2008

    Too much can be made of such statements.

    I mean, I realize it’s not in the best taste or whatever. But when one has been through an ordeal like that, one has a strong tendency to express relief, to thank fate, your lucky stars, God, or Loki. I could say “thank God,” meaning absolutely nothing by it, except that I’m sure glad to be alive (as much as I may lament the fate of the others, come on, I’m glad I made it).

    Of course these people really are going beyond “thank God”, and trying to make themselves out to be chosen of God to live. So they do deserve criticism.

    But I’d worry about criticizing more spontaneous expressions of joy to be alive after a close shave with death, which do not seem to be exempted from these criticisms. I would certainly grant the dazed survivor of an earthquake or tornado the right to “thank God” or any other fantasy for their escape, though I wouldn’t believe it for one second (without seeing an actual miracle, that is).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  16. #16 Andrew
    April 16, 2008

    Christian, missionary, conservative has something bad happen to them = validation to keep right on doing what they’re doing.

    Sorry, H.H., but I’m going to have to correct that sentence of yours.

    It should actually be “Christian, missionary, conservative has something bad happen to other people = validation to keep right on doing what they’re doing.”

    Shouldn’t it? ;-)

  17. #17 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    Chance does not care about thank-yous or emotional pleas, it only favors those who have prepared for its visitation.

  18. #18 Scott
    April 16, 2008

    I hate it when people give credit to god for saving them, but this has to be the most annoying blood boiling case of it I’ve ever seen in my entire life. To be honest I even have to give credit to other Christians, in that I don’t think all of them would agree with this.

  19. #19 karen
    April 16, 2008

    This reminds me of an anecdote my mom told me many years ago. She’d been having regular conversations with a Jehovah’s Witness and at one point asked her, “if God really loves us so much, why are there so many children starving?”, to which the Jehovah’s Witness replied, “there aren’t any Christian children starving!”

  20. #20 Sonja
    April 16, 2008

    Randomness is a very difficult idea for people to get their heads around, which is why gambling is such a lucrative business and why people see god in natural disasters or accidents.

    People tend to confuse randomness with even distribution. Things that are evenly distributed will fail statistical tests of randomness. Things that are actually random tend to have enough repetition that people will see patterns.

  21. #21 Bill
    April 16, 2008

    Since when did CNN stand for Christian News Network?
    An entire article about how a family of white missionaries survived but the dozens dead in the market are only mentioned in passing? What about the cause of the crash? What about the families of the dead and injured?

    What about the man who was tearing open a whole in the side of the plane with his bare hands? Did he make it out after the girl pushed him aside to dive through the hole? What was his name? Seems to me that they survived because of him and God had nothing to do with it.

    “I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “He still has work for us to do.”
    Gee, I’m glad He had to kill so many innocent people to tell you that.

    “But flying here is not a popular thing to talk about just now,” he said wryly.
    Oh! Ha ha ha! Lots of people died but we are safe! Ha ha ha!
    Jackass.

  22. #22 Holbach
    April 16, 2008

    Once again we have the insane reaction of religionists who have survived a horrible ordeal that left them alive and the other side dead and wounded and all attributable to their god in saving them for a higher purpose. There is no sense in reiterating my reaction to this insane crap as I have done so many times before on this site Again, it just strains credulity. In a related way this reminds me of a sign outside a school for the severely retarded and handicapped in southern New Hampshire: “god is not finished with us yet”. This was many years ago when I was still not quite an absolute atheist and the sign did not have that much of a mental and emotional impact as it does today. The analogy is similiar in that an imaginary god is directing life and death and “in-between” to those so inclined toward insanity. Every time there is an incident as described in PZ’s comment I think of that incredibly deranged sign in New Hampshire and it’s appalling message. It is only as a committed atheist am I able to grasp this horrendous and deranged reaction proffered by religion. Yet these same persons when confronted with their insane reactions to ordained death and escape will never fathom the enormity of their incredible insane beliefs and just go on living a life of dilusion and madness. Incredible.

  23. #23 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    Nice rant Holbach. Well said.

  24. #24 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    What I find totally insane is that in their minds, you can rest assured that this is proof-positive that their deity is the one true deity.

  25. #25 Bill
    April 16, 2008
  26. #26 Norm
    April 16, 2008

    You have to wonder why God is such a dramatic fellow. I mean, if he wanted to save that family, why not just skip the plane crash? I suppose he just likes all that praise he gets when he uses dramatics. Kind of an insecure god I guess.

  27. #27 Elwood Herring
    April 16, 2008

    flonkbob: thank you for identifying yourself as a ‘Recovering Fundie’. It restores my faith in human nature that such a drastic turnaround is after all possible. Hold your head high.

    As for these missionaries, they are right at the opposite end of the spectrum of human morality. I just hope that they one day come to realise how deluded and opinionated – and wrong – they are. I won’t hold my breath though.

  28. #28 Zifnab
    April 16, 2008

    I mean, I realize it’s not in the best taste or whatever. But when one has been through an ordeal like that, one has a strong tendency to express relief, to thank fate, your lucky stars, God, or Loki. I could say “thank God,” meaning absolutely nothing by it, except that I’m sure glad to be alive (as much as I may lament the fate of the others, come on, I’m glad I made it).

    Of course these people really are going beyond “thank God”, and trying to make themselves out to be chosen of God to live. So they do deserve criticism.

    Yikes, dude. They just survived a plane crash. If I just survived a plane crash, I’d be just emotionally jarred and physically shaken to start saying relatively insensitive things too.

    That CNN has time to cover plane crash survivors without giving two farts about the dozens killed doesn’t speak too highly for the Blitzers of the world, but what else is new? We could have talked about aircraft safety (especially after the American Airlines shutdown last week) or the perils of travel in third world countries or even the trivial “how to survive a plane crash” junk advice. Instead, we’ve got to talk about how Jay-sus saves and the Moisers take half damage. But that’s hardly the Moisers’ fault.

    Blaming the media for – once again – plumbing the depths of trivial nonsense is one thing. Blaming a religious family for expressing their religiousity, especially after they’ve just been confronted with their own mortality and then confronting a host of news cameras, is just silly. I mean, seriously, what would you have expected them to say? “Gee, its amazing that we lived while so many others died, but I’m going to rack this one up to fuselage integrity and excellent emergency piloting skills.”

    I mean, come on guys. There are far dumber things to be offended by. Especially in this day and age.

  29. #29 AlanWCan
    April 16, 2008

    kcanadensis: I detest missionaries
    Give em a chance – you’re jut not cooking them right. Probably too much salt.
    http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/nbe0225l.jpg

  30. #30 BaldApe
    April 16, 2008

    karen said

    “if God really loves us so much, why are there so many children starving?”, to which the Jehovah’s Witness replied, “there aren’t any Christian children starving!”

    No true Scotsman

    So a guy is in his house, and hears the news report that a hurricane is coming and his community is being evacuated. He stays put, saying “God will provide.”

    A police car comes down the street with a loudspeaker blaring about the mandatory evacuation. He still says “God will provide.”

    The water rises, and a boat comes up the street. He stays in the attic, saying “God will provide.”

    As he sits on the roof of his flooded house, a helicopter comes to pick him up. He refuses, saying “God will provide.”

    At the Pearly Gates, he says to Saint Peter, “I was always taught God will provide. What happened? Why did he let me die?”

    “Well he sent a weather report, a police car, a boat, and a helicopter, what else did you need?”

  31. #31 Pan Demonium
    April 16, 2008

    This is an example of the thinking that leads winning teams & armies to declare that God was on their side, assuring victory. You rarely hear the losers complain that God was simply against them.
    For every award winner who thanks God in a speech, one would expect to hear the losers blaming Him: “Well, I did my best, but God just wanted the other guy to get it.”

  32. #32 Ted D
    April 16, 2008

    This reinforces my opinion that even if I did believe in a god, there’s no way in hell (haha) that I’d worship it. I’d be trying to find out if there was some way to kill it, since it seems to be the cause of all human suffering.

    To paraphrase: if god did exist, it would be necessary to kill him.

  33. #33 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    What’s offensive is their (false) sense of entitlement and conceit amongst the tragic and brutal deaths of so many others.

  34. #34 cory
    April 16, 2008

    I had my early morning soured by the phone interview with Herr God Mit Uns prattling on about the Lord’s mercy while scenes of screaming people and flaming wreckage and rescuers trying to extinguish a burning jet liner WITH PANS OF WATER played across my monitor.

    If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought it a brilliant if somewhat cruel satire upon the insanity of the religious mind. But it was very real and sincere.

    The road to heaven has more bodies in the foundation than NJ Rt.3.
    ———————
    Chance does not care about thank-yous or emotional pleas

    I like to watch.
    —————————–

    cory

  35. #35 MB
    April 16, 2008

    Glen, “I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived… He still has work for us to do.” does not qualify as “spontaneous expressions of joy to be alive.” It’s pretty clear, as noted by other posters, God saved their family and justly, apparently, killed the heathens and less qualified to live christians.

    The spontaneous expression excuse is more appropriate for, say, HOLY SHIT that was close, or JESUS FUCKING CHRIST am I glad to be alive!

    Or, not on a life or death note, something like, “Thank GOD Expelled is already out of theaters!” Oh, it’s not? MY FUCKING GOD, I can’t believe they’re still showing that shit!

    An excuse for recovering catholics whose parents taught us to swear young and never broke the habit…

  36. #36 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    #32 Ted
    “if god did exist, it would be necessary to kill him.”

    I think this is better:
    if god did exist, it would be necessary to kill it.

  37. #37 Doc Bill
    April 16, 2008

    I have never understood that mentality. Some years ago a guy ran down a hotel corridor and through a plate glass window. Fell three stories and nearly died with multiple injuries.

    Someone was quoted in the paper as saying, “God was looking out for him,” noting that he survived the fall, albeit barely.

    Yeah? Well, why didn’t God make him trip on the rug and knock himself out? Or prevent him from drinking so much? Or make the glass window better?

    Makes. No. Sense.

  38. #38 Elwood Herring
    April 16, 2008

    Pan Demonium: that’s because usually the losers are dead.

    I remember watching survivors of the 2004 tsunami praising Allah for having been “miraculously” saved, and claiming that Allah had saved them because they prayed so hard and believed in him blah blah blah. And I couldn’t help thinking, “What about all the people that died? Surely they were just as fervent in their prayers, and just as religious, and just as worthy?”

    We don’t hear the other side of the argument because the dead can’t talk, and can’t complain that “Well god didn’t save me!”

  39. #39 Donnie B.
    April 16, 2008

    Maybe the reason God kept them alive was so they could come to the realization that there are no gods.

  40. #40 Nick Gotts
    April 16, 2008

    kcanadensis: I detest missionaries

    Cannibal 1: I don’t like this new batch of missionaries – tough and tasteless!

    Cannibal 2: Well, how are you cooking them?

    Cannibal 1: Just the usual way – boiling them whole in a large pot.

    Cannibal 2: Ah, there’s your problem! This batch are friars!

  41. #41 Nic Nicholson
    April 16, 2008

    No, No, the missionaries have it all wrong. God loves the ones who DIED. He took ‘em back.

    It’s the ones he had no use for that he left here!

    Had god loved them, he’d have killed them. THEN they’d be able to say he cares.

  42. #42 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    Our (humans) need to assign agency where none exists helped us cope with our surroundings and interactions. That much I understand. But we know better now. It’s such a pity that so many need to make their way through reality clinging to comfortable myths.

    What’s terrifying is that they will die for and kill for their comfortable myths.

  43. #43 craig
    April 16, 2008

    “…religion seems to encourage this sort of narcissism…”

    Religion doesn’t encourage narcissism… religion IS narcissism.

    Religion is nothing more than that. “I couldn’t possibly be mortal. I couldn’t possibly be an unimportant assemblage of molecules from the universe’s perspective. There must be some outside reason or meaning for ME.”

    Religion is simply infantile narcissism – the need to be the center of the universe. Creating a god to make yourself more god-like.

  44. #44 Sioux Laris
    April 16, 2008

    So we have yet another unneeded example that the “secret ingredient” of Xianity is to develop a gigantic bloated sense of vanity which, however obviously unfounded or false, excuses the X-plague carrier from reflecting on his/her life, unless said reflection is flattering.

    I’m tired of being disgusted by these sad, sick, determined-to-be-boring-and-stupid people. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t made my own vows.

  45. #45 BlueIndependent
    April 16, 2008

    Pan Demonium hits a really good pop-culture reference, especially regarding sports. The observation mixes quite well with the old adage that success has a thousand mothers (or was it fathers?), but failure is an orphan. I think the success angle says something about what the god complex is really all abbout. People want superstitious forces at their back at all times. They think they can draw some sort of power from believing in something they can’t see or prove exists. They even betray their own skill in attributing success to a god. But then, as has been pointed out, the god in question apparently plays favorites on quite the regular basis. If the Yankees win all the time, they’re God’s team. But if the underdog wins against the odds, well, God was “watching over them”.

    It’s really quite laughable. But this plane crash obviously is not. That never stopped someone from feeling themselves chosen above others simply because they barely cheated death. God has a plan indeed. Apparently the poor people down below do not factor into that plan at all.

  46. #46 mike
    April 16, 2008

    #32 and #36:
    Me likey.

  47. #47 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2008

    The spontaneous expression excuse is more appropriate for, say, HOLY SHIT that was close, or JESUS FUCKING CHRIST am I glad to be alive!

    I’m partial to “Thank fucking God”.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  48. #48 MelM
    April 16, 2008

    “So there’s parts of bodies and people burning and people screaming and yelling…

    Nice god they’ve got. He saved the Mosiers but let others be torn apart or burn to death. The Mosiers might well stop and think a second or two about their disgusting comments.

    I’m going to look around for sites where I can say the above. If enough of us do that, maybe the Mosiers and others might get the message.

  49. #49 mike
    April 16, 2008

    If god exists, he is a big, yellow coward. It would be necessary to put a little ballerina dress on him and beat him into oblivion, to paraphrase the Jerky Boys.

  50. #50 Adam
    April 16, 2008

    I’m in a horrific 40 mph + 40 mph head-on collision, my mini-van against another mini-van, my four boys in the car with me. We all go to the hospital but suffer only minor injuries. The other family is okay too.

    My wife says, “God was with them.”

    “Bastard,” I think. (I also thought, “The divorce papers are in the mail, bitch.” It was post-traumatic stress. cut me some slack.)

  51. #51 Alex
    April 16, 2008

    The more I see of religion, the more I explore ideas that surround it, and the more I know of reality, the more I find the idea of a personal “god” repugnant.

  52. #52 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2008

    Apparently the poor people down below do not factor into that plan at all.

    Well you know, it might be that they were HEATHEN.

    I heard that excuse for God finishing off (or at least not “protecting”) the poor 3rd-world blighters plenty while growing up.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  53. #53 Neslock
    April 16, 2008

    The really sickening part is that the CNN article isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning. Their testimonies just got ten times more exciting than they ever were before, and they’re probably already putting together the slide shows that they’ll be showing. These idiots are going to be telling the story of how god saved them to do more of his work for years to come, every time they’re begging for money from a church to enable them to return and save more souls for another year.

  54. #54 mothra
    April 16, 2008

    @32, 36. Two of my favorite stories along these lines.

    Evensong- Lester Del Ray
    Shall the dust praise thee?- Damon Knight

  55. #55 mothra
    April 16, 2008

    Two other greats that have bearing on the subject, by Dan Simmons

    Vanni Fucci is alive and well and living in hell.

    Vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.

  56. #56 flonkbob
    April 16, 2008

    Elwood…thanks. It was quite a journey, and I’m just glad I made it out with my mind. Well, actually guided by my mind and reason. I say ‘Recovering Fundie’ because I’ll never be completely over the damage it did to me.

  57. #57 RamblinDude
    April 16, 2008

    Wait, these guys were Seventh Day Adventists? So God spared them to carry on their work? But aren’t they all going to hell? Man, religion is so confusing.

    “I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “He still has work for us to do.” I had to click on the video link to learn that 66 passengers altogether survived.

  58. #58 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    When it’s your time to go, it’s your time. Maybe other people have done that they needed to get done on this planet and it was their time to go. Maybe the Christians have something important in their lives to finish.

    Missionaries have died before when their time was up.
    It is my opinion that we have goals or missions in this life and when those have been completed it is our time to go.

    The people who have died are probably in a better place anyway. Why do you think almost all people are angry when they have to come back to this world when they die and come back.

    Anyway, what does all this have to do with Biology and evolution? That’s right it doesn’t have anything to do with it. It is just pure hatred of people that believe in God.

    The people that died their lives mean something. The Christians were not claming they were better, they were saying that they had something left to finish and that God spared them.

  59. #59 Tolga K.
    April 16, 2008

    If anyone ever thanks any religious figure, and I’m in his or her presence, I will give credit to the appropriate forces.

    For example: someone says “Thank god you got here.”, I’ll say “Don’t thank god, thank me.”

    I don’t mean to come across as an asshole. The purpose is to make sure peoples’ efforts are recognized. The person will think again next time he tries to thank big daddy for his tax return, or a good grade on a test, or someone else’s presence when needed.

  60. #60 MAJeff, OM
    April 16, 2008

    Posted by: Planet Killer | April 16, 2008 7:52 PM

    not convincing, and no less vile.

  61. #61 brokenSoldier
    April 16, 2008

    To me, the only situation in which you should be allowed to praise God’s benevolence is when no one – read that, zero – dies in that situation. Otherwise, survivors conceivably should feel some form of survivor’s guilt – an emotion very familiar to those who have come home alive from overseas combat tours. Personally, I would – and often do, when I’m “on the couch” – search for any other possible entity to attribute my safety to than God, specifically because of the implications. If God saved me and took my friend, then the only inference I can draw is that I was somehow meant to live and he wasn’t. In my specific case, my moral character – and faith in God, ironically – paled in comparison to that of the friend I am talking about.

    If I agree with this implication and attribute my safe return to God, then somewhere down deep, I believe that I am somehow ultimately better or more deserving to live (in God’s eyes) than the soldiers that were taken from us. If I disagree with that implication, my faith would crumble. (I’ll let you guess which one I chose…)

    My point is that any form of evangelical religion instills – through mechanisms exactly like we see in this plane crash survivor – a kind of arrogance that runs contrary to the benevolent, humanistic notions that are so necessary for the cross-cultural cooperation that our current world depends on in both an economic and social sense.

    I qualified that statement with the word ‘evangelical’ because I couldn’t care less what people believe in the privacy of their own minds and homes, but the minute they begin projecting their beliefs into public policy (government, education, etc…), then I have a very big problem, and will object as loudly as I possibly can.

  62. #62 RamblinDude
    April 16, 2008

    Anyway, what does all this have to do with Biology and evolution? illogic and superstition continuing to undermine science?

  63. #63 Holbach
    April 16, 2008

    Planet killer @ 57 Good grief, you are still alive! I thought you had surreptitiously removed yourself from this earth bound existence to meet your imaginary god and have it smite us here at this blog. Would it be possible for you to prove there is something out there by checking it for yourself and then returning to let us know that it is as you say? Come on, prove it to us all and then get back to us here at Pharyngula, Okay? But first you have to trust in your god to let you come back in miraculous form and prove it to us once and for all. Come on, just for us!

  64. #64 brokenSoldier
    April 16, 2008

    –and because this subject brings my blood to a nice, rolling boil, I’ll continue the thought about soldiers in combat. (but only for a few lines, I promise. You’ll find only small soap boxes here…)

    I could not even begin to count the number of times I have related my story of being wounded to people and heard them reply that they were happy God brought me home safe, even if I was hurt. These same people parrot the same sort of sentiment to those who come home unscathed, saying that they’re happy God brought them back home in one piece.

    **Let me say right off the bat, I am by no means ungrateful for this sentiment. I truly appreciate anyone who genuinely cares for my – and my brothers’ and sisters’ in arms predicaments. It is merely the divine attribution that bothers me.**

    This gives me the image of God somehow sorting through soldiers. deciding who will die, who will be simply maimed, and who will return home unhurt. If there is some sort of divine plan, then God – or someone he designates – must do this sort of thing to ensure his plan goes as scheduled. I wonder if this department of heaven is called Quality Control? Or maybe it’s the Compliance department?

    If you’re offended by my flippancy, then good. It offends me that you’d insinuate that my friend was somehow less worthy of a safe return than I was. And I’m sure his wife and child would feel the same. (I, on the other hand, would have been missed only by elders, as I have no family. If you were a compassionate God, who would you throw in the way of that IED first? My choice would be made without hesitation, regardless of the fact that it would be me. How’s THAT for godless morality?)

    Again, sorry for the rant. This kind of stuff gets me going.

  65. #65 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Atheist, gay person, liberal has something bad happen to
    >them = warning to change their ways.

    Bad things happen to everyone, but the difference is that Christians believe in something that is higher and have more support for when bad things happen. We are human and thus we are all sinners (oh yeah, I know a bad word here) and that is why we need God.

    >Christian, missionary, conservative has something bad
    >happen to them = validation to keep right on doing what
    >they’re doing.

    Well, they were supposed to be dead and they are in perfect condition. That is a little bit more than something bad happening to them. Therefore their time is not up yet and they are ment to do something and finish their work here on earth. They still will die eventually.
    But dead depending on your situation is not really a bad thing. People can sometimes survive really crazy things and they don’t have to be Christians but they still have something that needs to be finished in life.

    We all have a purpose and a mission to complete here on Earth and when that is done then it is time for us to go. This may mean that some people will die now or die latter but we all die. That is why it is pointless to be an Atheist because we cannot take anything we do here in this life to the next one. All of that physical evidence for science isn’t going to do us any good in the next life.

    If you think bad things are happening now. You just wait. The world is going to get a lot worse. Most of it will have nothing to do with religion. We only see the begining of it with Global warming.

  66. #66 Epistaxis
    April 16, 2008

    “We know that the safest place in the world to work is where the Lord wants you to work.”

    Then I think He just gave you a pretty clear sign that you’re not supposed to work in the Congo.

  67. #67 thalarctos
    April 16, 2008

    Maybe other people have done that they needed to get done on this planet and it was their time to go.

    Perhaps their surviving loved ones are better judges than you of whether their lives still had value on this planet.

    (gaaaah, now I need a long hot shower…..)

  68. #68 brokenSoldier
    April 16, 2008

    Posted by: Planet Killer | April 16, 2008 8:17 PM

    “Well, they were supposed to be dead and they are in perfect condition.”

    You – and others eager to attribute worldly occurrences to divine providence – conveniently avoid the common, natural fact that if things would have transpired that necessitated their death, they would be dead. Just as in the case with the old man who wiped out a couple of Porches, he attributed his luck to God when it was painfully obvious that a more natural, manmade object ensured his safety – his seatbelt.

    “That is why it is pointless to be an Atheist because we cannot take anything we do here in this life to the next one.”

    I’ll stay away from the obvious logical fallacies in your reasoning and address what you said at face value. If you are so sure that there IS a next life, and that atheists (you should learn what to capitalize and when…) will not be there, then let them live their pointless lives in peace. I’m sure it would make everyone a whole lot happier.

  69. #69 Zach Miller
    April 16, 2008

    I was charged by an angry cow moose (she was protecting her calf) last summer, but she changed directions at the last minute. God must have a plan for me. It’s the only possible explaination.

  70. #70 Epistaxis
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer, #64:

    Christians believe in something that is higher and have more support for when bad things happen.

    Denial is not a healthy form of support.

    Well, they were supposed to be dead and they are in perfect condition.

    No, when they got on the plane they expected to survive the trip and they did. Others were also planning to continue being alive, but now they’re not; there’s your miracle.

  71. #71 craig
    April 16, 2008

    “We all have a purpose and a mission to complete here on Earth and when that is done then it is time for us to go.”

    Apparently your mission is to be a delusional nitwit.

  72. #72 SC
    April 16, 2008

    brokenSoldier,

    Your moniker alone makes me very sad. I hope you have been able to get counseling to help you deal with the trauma of what you’ve been through.

  73. #73 Mikolgist
    April 16, 2008

    This kind of crap happens all the time. A devout person(s) survives a disaster and claims that “God had plans for me/God loves me/God hated them.” If God thought that person was so special, then why did the others have to die?

  74. #74 techskeptic
    April 16, 2008

    Nothing speaks to blind faith as this story

    Get this, two girls are in a car accident, one dies the other is horrible mangled. The parents of the one who was alive stayed with her at the hospital for 5 weeks, caring for her, singing songs to her and praying as hard as they can for her.

    After 5 weeks, it is clear that they misidentified the girls, the parents who thought their daughter was alive, now had to deal with the death of their daughter after attending the funeral of the one who was actually alive.

    After all this, when asked how it affected his faith, Don Van Ryn said that is just affirmed his faith.

    Let me get this straight, God kills your girl, tricks you into thinking that she is alive and then essentially kills her again? And this reaffirms your faith?

    you aren’t an idiot for thinking your daughter was alive, but the rest of this nonsense? Jeesh.

  75. #75 Rick T
    April 16, 2008

    Anyway, what does all this have to do with Biology and evolution? That’s right it doesn’t have anything to do with it. It is just pure hatred of people that believe in God.

    You read through the whole thing and just realized that this post was not about biology? The category was religion and that didn’t give it away? Why read it then?

    Maybe because you like to be abused. You know you will get treated like the dumbass you are by posting your dumbass shit here. But it’s not because we hate people who believe in God that we are blunt with them, it’s because we’ve learned that life without make believe is much better than one lived in la la land. That is a point that needs to be made unequivocally and often.

  76. #76 eewolf
    April 16, 2008

    PK,

    So that serial killer who survives a car wreck is saved by your god because he has more work to do? And that college student who lives, but can no longer walk after an accident, she has more work to do, but just on wheels. And that 2 month old baby that dies in a plane crash? Was he all done with his living?

    Vile indeed.

  77. #77 brokenSoldier
    April 16, 2008

    SC,

    I truly appreciate your concern. It is definitely a work in progress, however slow that progress will prove to be.

  78. #78 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 16, 2008

    It is my opinion that we have goals or missions in this life and when those have been completed it is our time to go.

    And if that opinion were wrong, you would and could never find out that it is wrong.

    Neat, eh?

    The people who have died are probably in a better place anyway.

    How do you know?

    You don’t know. You only believe.

    Why do you think almost all people are angry when they have to come back to this world when they die and come back.

    What?

    Bad things happen to everyone, but the difference is that Christians believe in something that is higher and have more support for when bad things happen.

    I’ve often encountered the opposite sentiment here: Believers torture themselves with the question of what they had done to deserve a bad thing happen to them. Atheists don’t, because they think that random events are just that, not rewards or punishments.

  79. #79 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 16, 2008

    It is my opinion that we have goals or missions in this life and when those have been completed it is our time to go.

    And if that opinion were wrong, you would and could never find out that it is wrong.

    Neat, eh?

    The people who have died are probably in a better place anyway.

    How do you know?

    You don’t know. You only believe.

    Why do you think almost all people are angry when they have to come back to this world when they die and come back.

    What?

    Bad things happen to everyone, but the difference is that Christians believe in something that is higher and have more support for when bad things happen.

    I’ve often encountered the opposite sentiment here: Believers torture themselves with the question of what they had done to deserve a bad thing happen to them. Atheists don’t, because they think that random events are just that, not rewards or punishments.

  80. #80 CrypticLife
    April 16, 2008

    I was in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and escaped (obviously). Many, many of my coworkers and friends did not. I went to various gatherings, wakes, etc. over the next several months.

    One of the absolutely most nauseating things I heard, over and over again, was how God must have saved me for some purpose. And they say atheists don’t care about the dead?? Saying, “Well, God must have meant for them to die” is supposed to be comfort? There were people I knew who were pregnant (I take it the fetus’ purpose had also been fulfilled?) or had young children, people who had graduated college less than a couple of months before that, people who were at the primes of their lives or had just gotten engaged or divorced. To say these people had finished their purpose is ludicrous, to say that they had a better reward in a mythical heaven rather than the reward they would have had seeing their children born and grow up is deluded.

    It was simply disgusting. If I’d heard another survivor say it of themselves (I didn’t), I may have actually vomited on them.

  81. #81 Holbach
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer @ 67 “That is why it is pointless to be an Atheist(hey, thanks for capitalizing the word which lends it more credence than your life!) because we cannot take anything we do here in this life to the next one.”
    Then in the same sense it is pointless for you to be alive because you will not take anything of yourself anywhere. We as atheists know we are not going anywhere when we die.You however, are sure you are going somewhere when you die, but will never prove it because you cannot prove anything when you are dead. “Here lies the Planet Killer with the Atheist, all dressed up with no place to go!” There, I gave you equal billing in death!

  82. #82 Elwood Herring
    April 16, 2008

    Brokensoldier: ‘If God saved me and took my friend, then the only inference I can draw is that I was somehow meant to live and he wasn’t.’

    Let me tell a little personal story on that subject:

    I was brought up as a Catholic. 15 years ago I was veering towards agnosticism, when my best friend was diagnosed with liver cancer. He was married with a devoted wife and a 3 year old son, and had everything to live for, whereas I was single and suffering from depression. His cancer spread rapidly, to the extent that within 6 months the doctors gave him only weeks to live. During all that time I reinvestigated my faith. I prayed every day for him. I prayed to god to take me instead of him, and I was absolutely sincere in this. I wanted to take his place, as I felt my life was worthless whereas he had everything to live for.

    In April 1994 he died. I was at his bedside, his loving wife on the other side, weeping uncontrollably. (It hurts to write this, as it’s bringing it all back. But I have to continue.) I was devastated – he was a role model for me; although himself an atheist, he was a devoted husband and father, and would surely have made a name for himself as a scientist of some sort if he had been allowed to finish the degree he was working towards. He was just 33.

    Well, after that you can imagine my faith went right out of the window. How could god ignore my genuine unselfish prayer to take his place? The only answer I could come up with at the time was that his time was up; he was such a good man (and he was) that he was called straight to heaven.

    But in the months afterwards I started thinking; if that was the case, why did he suffer so much? His last few months were spent in extreme constant pain. He refused to take morphine as he was a believer in mind over matter, but even if he had taken the medication he would still have suffered. If god wanted him in heaven, why not just hit him with a bolt of lightning, or make him trip in front of a bus? Why did he have to suffer? Why put his wife (now a widow) through such torment? Why make his son grow up without his daddy? And why deprive me of my best friend?

    So – now I am a hard-boiled atheist. And if that is why god wanted me to live, then he really has shot himself in the foot, hasn’t he? He has let me live so I can continue to deny his existence. If he does exist, then he’s got some explaining to do when I eventually meet him.

  83. #83 Crudely Wrott
    April 16, 2008

    MikeM in comment #1: Man, you are fast out of the blocks. What a hole shot!

    This is typical of religious dogma’s nasty affect on rationality due primarily to the notion that one has a “close, personal relationship” with the creator of everything. The notion of special consideration and treatment spills over into all facets of life, particularly those that are later recalled by such revelatory statements as, “I have no idea why I didn’t die,” or, paraphrased from an AP story earlier today, “There is no reason for us to be alive.”

    The head cheese of the RCC came to America yesterday, and plans to do all sorts of wonderful stuff. A portion of the welcoming crowd were catholic high school students bussed in specially. Wire stories indicate that they waved, jumped up and down and screamed enthusiastically. Reminds me of when the Beatles came to America.

    This same head cheese is often described as a humble man. Interesting considering the RCC considers him the earthly incarnation of the precious savior who is also the creator. That is not humility, it is hubris, plain and simple. Kind of like a Hollywood hanger on talking about her “close, personal relationship with several of the most important producers. Oh, yeah? Do they return your calls?

  84. #84 brokenSoldier
    April 16, 2008

    Posted by: Planet Killer | April 16, 2008 7:52 PM
    “Why do you think almost all people are angry when they have to come back to this world when they die and come back.”

    I hate to keep using personal examples, but yet again here is someone falsely generalizing about something they have never experienced.

    When my truck was hit with the IED that finally sent me home, I was pulled out of the truck and examined by my medic. By medical definition, I was dead. No heartbeat, no respiratory function, no response to stimuli – dead. (And if you feel like researching it, you’ll find that extreme sudden explosive concussion will – if strong enough – almost certainly shock your individuals systems to the degree of shutdown, to include your nervous system.

    Fortunately my medics were able to use CPR to get my heart started again, and the rest, they say, is history. Many would say that it was a miracle, but what really was responsible for my continued existence was the expertise, quick-thinking, and ingenuity of my medics to apply the knowledge they possessed in order to save my life. And I know for a fact that I am not the first, nor will I be the last – person to lose all critical life functions, return to life, and subsequently report that there was nothing – NOTHING – in the interim. To describe it, it was as if I had been awake one minute, and then the next minute I was laying on a litter (stretcher), unaware that I had even been dead.

    PK, next time you wish to use a generalization in support of your arguments, at least do enough research to make sure you’re not spouting dubious falsities.

  85. #85 June
    April 16, 2008

    Religion must have some survival value.
    Why else did it evolve?

  86. #86 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 16, 2008

    Religion must have some survival value.
    Why else did it evolve?

    And it really can’t be a byproduct of something more useful?

  87. #87 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 16, 2008

    Religion must have some survival value.
    Why else did it evolve?

    And it really can’t be a byproduct of something more useful?

  88. #88 shonny
    April 16, 2008

    Huh, thought missionaries’ only usefulness was as a dietary supplement for cannibals.

  89. #89 rrt
    April 16, 2008

    Unfortunately, June, not everything is an adaptation. Evolution is riddled with mistakes, side effects, “unforseen” consequences, bizarre jury-rigs, etc. Check out the Kluge book that’s running through the ad cycles here at Scienceblogs.

  90. #90 savagemickey
    April 16, 2008

    Every time I hear a story about missionaries I think of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I think that it also took place in the Congo, or the country that it used to be. Great book. Shows just how “misguided” most of these missionaries really are. On a different note- how come atheists are considered arrogant, but a christian who claims god saved them (while killing other less worthy people) is considered humble?

  91. #91 Glen Davidson
    April 16, 2008

    Much sadder, and this really shows the potential for damage in religion:

    Mary Rose Kiza, who watched as her 15-year-old son ran out of a shop, his clothes and body on fire, said she does not know if her three other sons are alive.

    “What have I done to God to deserve this?” she wailed outside the morgue, after leaving a hospital bed where she was treated for back injuries.

    news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080416/ap_on_re_af/congo_plane_crash

    Come on, woman, you have done nothing to deserve it, God has done nothing–either for or against you.

    Indeed, it’s almost as if God didn’t exist…

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  92. #92 craig
    April 16, 2008

    “Religion must have some survival value. Why else did it evolve?”

    Same could be asked about any of the other things humans have come up with. Cannibalism, nuclear weapons, ritual infanticide, poking each other with sharpened sticks, karaoke…

    Doesn’t mean they’re good things to have now even if they ever were.

    And if delusions have survival value, it doesn’t make them not delusions.

  93. #93 JimC
    April 16, 2008

    If you think bad things are happening now. You just wait. The world is going to get a lot worse. Most of it will have nothing to do with religion. We only see the begining of it with Global warming

    Bad things have always happened nitwit, so have good things.

    The world is a far, far better place today than it was 100 years ago. Which is better then the 100 before it.

    I never understand the ‘world is soooo bad’ crowd. It’s like they are wishing for the worst as they sit in the AC watching plasma screens all the while discussing how bad the world is today compared to past eras.

    Imbeciles.

  94. #94 jsn
    April 16, 2008

    /Religion must have some survival value.
    Why else did it evolve?/

    As a species of pattern seekers and the capacity to reason, perhaps any superstitious default explanation for phenomena allows us to keep from going insane when we cannot comprehend the true cause. I’m sure our penchant as animals to follow pack hierarchy is also at play. Religion may be a vestigial social and pre-intellectual response that is at odds with our modern knowledge/technology/understanding but it’s a comforting one.
    Since religion is culturally and institutionally condoned and even encouraged and that we indoctrinate children into each belief system before they can reason, and that it becomes entwined with our sense of goodness and belonging, it is amazing that so many are able to throw off this nonrational programming and recognise it as myth.

    Our ancestors needed mysticism to explain what they could not understand, but the social need is just as important for our modern culture as it was for them, too bad its based on a false premise.

  95. #95 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Would it be possible for you to prove there is something
    >out there by checking it for yourself and then returning
    >to let us know that it is as you say?

    There is proof already, but you still won’t believe it.
    Do, I need physical proof? No, not at all. Even if I did you would not accept it. You have already made up your mind on this things.

    Do I believe in God because my parents told me that there is one? No.

    You could discount the Bible out of the evidence and I would still believe.

    Why?

    Because, I believe in eyewitness evidence. If you look at all the people that have had Near Death experiences and afterdeath communication, they all report back that there is something beyond this existance. Not only that but there is a bunch of scientific studies about these that exist (google is your friend). Near Death is different than out of body and they make that distinction in the studies.

    Now, I know what you are going to say that this is all in their mind that is creating this. Well, in a lot of the studies the people having this are brain dead. In other words there is no activity being registered by the brain during these studies.

    Another thing is that a lot of the people who have had these experiences will say that they have met someone on the other side that they did not know about and when they came back and asked relatives that they were shown a photo of them and they said that is who they saw. So they are meeting people that they didn’t know even existed.

    They also can see what is going on when they are out of their own body. So for example, they can describe in detail what is going on when they are dead (even what is happening in the next room from them in detail). Now, this can’t happen if there is nothing beyond this life. Their spirit moves on to a higher dimension or existance.

    This isn’t just a couple of people that have been revived by medical science, this is millions of people all over the planet. That is just too many people and too much eyewitness evidence to ignore.

    So again, you are like the cartoon character Magoo. You blindly walk around the planet in pure ignorance. Embracing the physical evidence of science (which may not be correct) and totally ignoring the eyewitness evidence that is taking place.

    There is a heaven and a God out there. If you choose to ignore the obvious, nobody can help you. You have free choice to accept him or reject him and that is your choice. However, please don’t put your head in the sand and believe that it is not possible that there is a God, because it is possible. You just choose to believe that there is no God so that he won’t mess with your lives, morals, and belief systems.

    For those that say they have an open mind (which I really kind of doubt) you can do a google search on NDE research and find out what evidence there is out there. There are many websites to check out. If you say that you are open to learning new things that are not physical evidence but eyewitness evidence then check it out. I would refer PZ Myers to check it out, but of course he won’t. Not because he doesn’t believe in it, because he won’t.

  96. #96 Jsn
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer huh? Only if Planet= brain cells.
    Ignore this ass, he’s a waste of protoplasm.

  97. #97 Aquaria
    April 16, 2008

    “We know that the safest place in the world to work is where the Lord wants you to work.”
    Yeah. I’ll bet.

    Agreed.

    And then there’s this.

  98. #98 JimC
    April 16, 2008

    Planet killer-

    Just to nitpic a little-

    There is proof already, but you still won’t believe it

    Sure they would,just make it verifiable.

    Do I believe in God because my parents told me that there is one? No.

    Yes, strange you didn’t choose Zeus or Allah.

    If you look at all the people that have had Near Death experiences and afterdeath communication, they all report back that there is something beyond this existance.

    Your ignoring a HUGELY important part. In almost all these cases people see people from their own background. Muslims see Allah and such,same for other religions. If everyone got to see one person then it would have more validity. It doesn’t pass the muster simply because it’s so varied and what isn’t varied is reproducible with oxygen debt.

    Embracing the physical evidence of science (which may not be correct) and totally ignoring the eyewitness evidence that is taking place.

    The physical evidence is incorrect but eyewitness are correct? Oh brother.

  99. #99 Carlie
    April 16, 2008

    savagemickey, that is my favorite book ever. It came along right when I was starting to journey from fundamentalism towards atheism, and it did a lot more to “turn me atheist” than evolution ever did.

  100. #100 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Bad things have always happened nitwit, so have good
    >things.

    You really need to understand some basic concepts before you call people names.

    Global Warming is happening now. It does not matter what science does. It will not save us from most of the world population from dying. There is going to be nuclear wars. The United States will be destroyed by nuclear weapons. We didn’t have those thousands or millions of years. We are not ready to take on the responsibility of our own technologies such as cloning, and weapons. Science isn’t going to save your world.

    >The world is a far, far better place today than it was 100
    >years ago. Which is better then the 100 before it.

    Yes, it is at the moment, but that is all going to be crumbling down. When 9-11 happened many people were scared and worried about their families. Well 9-11 is nothing compared to what is coming and it’s not religious.

    We will have to see how bad this financial collapse is in the USA, but there is going to be a time when food or water is going to be too expensive to buy.

    All of the good times you have enjoyed are going to end and things will get bad. Think the great depression was bad? That is nothing compared to the real problems coming.

    Yes, a lot of people have been saying this for centuries. However, the Bible which nobody on here believes is the key to all of this. Israel which is probably one of the oldest nations on earth did not exist again until 1948. Why did it come back? Because it is the begining of the count down of the end of the way things are going now. I could show you the verses in the Bible, but you are not going to believe them anyway.

    The only way that you are going to believe in God is if he came down and smacked you in the face, but even if that happened you still would not believe. You will not believe no matter what and yet you go off on people that do believe.

    The truth even if you could find it will be covered up. That is your mission, that is your agenda in life (well it is for PZ Myers anyway).

    Nobody is going to change your mind, nobody is going to change your world view no matter what. You are set in your ways and will not change no matter what that proof is.

    When you are in a house that is being burned down by fire, it doesn’t matter that you don’t believe in fire because fire believes in you. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God because he is real and all of these things are going to come to pass and your life without love and caring for one another is the only thing you can give to people that matters. It is the only thing you can give people while you are on this earth that will make a difference when you are gone.

    Love is the most important gift that we have been given from God. You can’t prove it with physical evidence but it is there. It is one thing we can give and we can help people with their lives and leave our mark when we are gone.

  101. #101 MAJeff, OM
    April 16, 2008

    That’s some FUN crazy!

  102. #102 Holbach
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer Let’s make a deal. I don’t want to waste my brain cells on your nonsense because you will have fewer than me when you die, as you do now, so I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll continue to befuddle your befuddled brain if you can prove to me that your imaginary god exists with absolute proof, not just with the poofy puff that inhabits your deranged brain and tries to make sense out of nonsense, but with real visual and tactile and sensate honest to goodness reality. You know, hand me an orange and tell me here is an orange. Not show me your empty hand and say that here is my god. No good. Put up or clam up.

  103. #103 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Apparently your mission is to be a delusional nitwit.

    So when you don’t believe in what I posted all you can say is a comeback like this. How does this prove anything about your point of view other than you can insult people. Kids insult people but honestly I thought some people would be more intelligent than that.

    “I can insult someone, I must be smart!”

  104. #104 mattmc
    April 16, 2008

    planetkiller:
    “Nobody is going to change your mind, nobody is going to change your world view no matter what. You are set in your ways and will not change no matter what that proof is.”

    Project much?

  105. #105 Epikt
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer:

    That is why it is pointless to be an Atheist because we cannot take anything we do here in this life to the next one.

    Neither can you. You just haven’t figured it out yet.

  106. #106 Colugo
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer, I also enjoyed Megiddo: The Omega 2, but it’s just a freakin’ movie.

  107. #107 craig
    April 16, 2008

    “Because, I believe in eyewitness evidence. “

    Then you’re really a fool. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously poor. Prosecutors know it, defense attorneys know it, but prosecutors still use it because they know one other thing – most people have the same foolish idea as you do – that eyewitness evidence is somehow proof.

    Air crash investigators will tell you that for every crash you will always find people who claimed the plane was on fire before it hit the ground.

    When the big crash happened out in LA in the early 90s, TV reporters interviewed dozens of eyewitnesses, most of whom claimed that very thing – that the plane was on fire.

    What was the actual cause of the crash? The pilots thought they were landing on the runway, when in fact they were landing on a parked plane. No fire.

    Look at all of the people who have been released from prison after DNA tests showed they were innocent – in each case, there was “eyewitness testimony,” from cops, rape victims, etc.

    We know people lie. We know people make mistakes. We know people are sometimes delusional. We know people can be misled, fooled, influenced. We know people can have hallucinations.

    Taking the “eyewitness account” of such imperfect creatures is not very good evidence for a mundane claim like “he’s the guy who did it,” let alone to base your entire idea of how the universe works, especially when that eyewitness account runs in opposition to actual HARD evidence.

    Bottom line is, Planet Killer – you believe because you WANT to believe. Nothing more.

    You want it to be true, so to you its true. Pretty sad really, but that’s the whole truth of it.

  108. #108 RamblinDude
    April 16, 2008

    brokenSoldier,

    And I know for a fact that I am not the first, nor will I be the last – person to lose all critical life functions, return to life, and subsequently report that there was nothing – NOTHING – in the interim. To describe it, it was as if I had been awake one minute, and then the next minute I was laying on a litter (stretcher), unaware that I had even been dead.

    Interesting story. The one major thing that was lifted from me when I realized the religion and its deities was make believe, was the fear of death. With both hellfire and all of eternity in a gated community negated, there is simply…peace. The end of my existence is one of the things that drives me now. Situation doesn’t matter, the fact that I exist, matters. Angst or ecstasy, it will all end soon enough. There is so little time left, and none at all for being preoccupied with silly games of play pretend or living by other people’s rules.

    I have seen so many people immobilized by superstition, their natural energy sapped and distorted. There is something very perverse that happens in the human psyche when the attention is focused incessantly and perversely on simpleminded fairytales and afterlives, and the body becomes unimportant and merely to be discarded

    When I became my own authority, (horrors!) I began to learn how to use my energy to be perceptive, with pure observation, instead of being preoccupied with religious rules and goals. There was no more the endless chasing of joy and spiritual rewards, and no more fear of disobeying. That in itself is deeply relaxing. And so is the thought of nonexistence.

  109. #109 Mez
    April 16, 2008

    A big story in the last few days in New Zealand and Australia has been the death of several students and a teacher who were drowned in a flash flood during a canyoning expedition. They were from a private high school called Elim Christian College (‘college’ has different meanings here to in USA, we have universities as the main tertiary level). This part of the story relates to your aeroplane crash survivors. From AAP, God saved me, says school trip survivor and elsewhere, Survivor prayed to God for help as he fought raging flood

    BTW, the late Kerry Packer (Australia’s richest citizen in his time) died and was revived some years before he finally died. (The portable defibrillation machines he thereafter funded are fondly known as ‘Packer Whackers’). He testified to there being “nothing out there”, which is also the majority experience of revived people.
    Furthermore, a general ‘out-of-body’ experience, apart from being explicable in non-spiritual ways, doesn’t AFAIK, support any particular version of religion. It goes right back to shamanism.

  110. #110 jsn
    April 16, 2008

    /general ‘out-of-body’ experience/

    I prefer the private out-of-body experience. Peyote anyone?
    Elizabeth Kubler Ross was a hack (or perhaps a charlaton)
    Seriously, didn’t Michael Shermer have a youtube feature on OBE?

  111. #111 jsn
    April 16, 2008

    /general ‘out-of-body’ experience/

    I prefer the private out-of-body experience. Peyote anyone?
    Elizabeth Kubler Ross was a hack.
    Seriously, didn’t Michael Shermer have a youtube feature on OBE?

  112. #112 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >I’ll continue to befuddle your befuddled brain if you can
    >prove to me that your imaginary god exists with absolute
    >proof.

    So, eyewitness scientific data isn’t enough proof for you?
    (out of millions of eyewitnesses)

    I don’t think it’s not that you are not intelligent enough to understand. I think again its because you don’t want to believe. You want to put your head in the sand and believe what you want to. I am not trying to convert you. I am trying to explain my point of view and maybe someone will have an open mind about something. After all, people who are looked at who believe in God in this forum are looked at like they are nut jobs or stupid or both. However, just because you can’t accept it does not mean it does not exist.

    I know it is hard to say that we don’t fully have control over own own lives. I know it is hard for people to admit. They want to admit they are in control over everything.

    I also know how atheists think. They think we have been conditioned to believe in God and that for whatever happens in our lives that we use God as an excuse and that real science can show us the way towards intellectual freedom.

    However, what if it isn’t about all of that. What if God really does exit and wants you to know him and what if these millions of people who have been to death and really tell us there is something over there and that God is real and that as soon as we die we know all the answers to everything, but down here we are not supposed to know these things. What if all of this is true. All of the people that have been an eyewitness and are credible witnesses (which by the way stands up nicely in court, so why should it not stand up nicely in science with enough people to be eyewitneses).

    Eyewitness evidence should be fine as long as there are enough people to pull this evidence from. This is scientific evidence that you can measure. This is real life stuff. Not some mumble jumble stuff.

  113. #113 Jon H
    April 16, 2008

    “Tower, this is an emergency. God is my copilot, and he’s executing a Controlled Flight Into Terrain”

    “Sorry to hear that. He does that all the time. Tower out.”

  114. #114 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >He testified to there being “nothing out there”, which is
    >also the majority experience of revived people.

    Okay, one person saying there isn’t anything out there verses millions that say there is after dying and coming back. Which eyewitness seems more likely? Just to let you know that data is collected and verified after many, many witnesses. Not just one.

  115. #115 Carlie
    April 16, 2008

    PK, there are hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses for UFOs and aliens, too. Does that mean they’re correct, and you believe in aliens?

  116. #116 Justin
    April 16, 2008

    Why are 99% of the comments posted for this article coming from “non-Christians?”

  117. #117 Helioprogenus
    April 16, 2008

    Out of body experiences can generally be induced in most people by activating certain regions of the temporal lobes. Furthermore, as we dig deeper into neuroscience and understand the underlying pathways within the brain, many unresolved experiences, hallucinations, and other such mystical phenomenon will be properly explained. Their god is drying up and disappearing as we speak. The religious are so threatened by progress and scientific understanding, that they will resist all attempts and cower into corners with their illogically constructed virtual representations of the real world. These people are morons and they either know it, or they’re enjoying the controversy because they’re masochists. They like to be whipped and chained but because of religious restrictions, can’t go about doing it in normal ways, so they come here and decide to exercise their right for flogging. Well, if you would just dump your pathetic religious garbage and embrace the real world, you might not have to hide from latent pleasures you obviously conceal.

  118. #118 Colugo
    April 16, 2008

    Planet Killer, your God condemned the millions of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust to burn eternally in Hell because they weren’t “saved,” didn’t He? Why didn’t the producers of Expelled have Ben Stein say that? Perhaps that would be problematic in light of the movie’s blaming the Holocaust on evolution. The ludichristian view: evolutionary theory killed the Jews – but God made them burn in Hell forever. Right, PK?

  119. #119 Hap
    April 16, 2008

    “controlled flight into terrain”

    One of the least comforting technical terms ever. When used in conjunction with “No problem.”, you have a surefire cure for narcolepsy.

  120. #120 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Then you’re really a fool. Eyewitness testimony is
    >notoriously poor. Prosecutors know it, defense attorneys
    >know it, but prosecutors still use it because they know
    >one other thing – most people have the same foolish idea
    >as you do – that eyewitness evidence is somehow proof.

    Well, then millions of people. Do you honestly think that millions of people have lied or made a mistake?

    You could not even fit millions of people in a court room to even testify. That is a lot of people that not only was out of body when they died and had zero brain activity, they actally went to this place that you think doesn’t exist.

    Millions of people dying and coming back and saying that there is something over there. Again not just out of body, it is beyond that. Are you going to discount evidence of so many people. Seriously? Who is really the fool here?

  121. #121 minimalist
    April 16, 2008

    data is collected and verified after many, many witnesses.

    But of course! We check their accounts against what we know for a fact about the afterlife.

    Doof.

  122. #122 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >Planet Killer, your God condemned the millions of the Jews >murdered in the Holocaust to burn eternally in Hell
    >because they weren’t “saved,” didn’t He?

    uh no, where did anyone say that?

    >Why didn’t the producers of Expelled have Ben Stein say
    >that? Perhaps that would be problematic in light of the
    >movie’s blaming the Holocaust on evolution.

    Ben Stein is jewish right? You know this right? Some people think Hilter was an Atheist and maybe that is where they got it from. I have not seen the film so I can’t comment. However saying that the film does not speak for everyone, just like you don’t speak for all atheists right?

    Just going by the articles and talk around here I wonder if both Jews and Christians are not going to eventually be killed anyway because they believe in God. However that was beyond your point.

  123. #123 Q
    April 16, 2008

    PK aks
    “Well, then millions of people. Do you honestly think that millions of people have lied or made a mistake? “

    Yes. Just like people do when they have a poor understanding of the situation they are trying to describe.

    PK mentions
    “Millions of people dying and coming back and saying that there is something over there. “

    No there aren’t “millions”. That is just puffery to artificially built up an argument based upon false premises.

  124. #124 mattmc
    April 16, 2008

    jesus tapdancing christ PK… You keep babbling about millions of people dying and coming back and all reporting the same thing about an afterlife, could we just see one citation from you to see where you some of your “data” to back up these ridiculous claims?
    If you cannot do this then you should consider what you wrote in your last comment:
    “Seriously? Who is really the fool here?”

  125. #125 Tulse
    April 16, 2008

    What if God really does exit and wants you to know him

    Then why doesn’t he just show himself? One manifestation of a thousand-foot-tall bearded man in robes in the middle of Times Square would make believers out of a lot of people. If God really wanted me to know him, he could have put a code into the DNA of all organisms that spells out “I made this. Signed, God”. He could have arranged the galaxies to form a picture of Jesus on the cross. He could have had Keira Knightley offer to have sex with me. Any one of those miracles would have convinced me.

    Instead, curiously, God is very shy (at least these days — funny that he was all into sea-parting and bush-burning back in the day, but not so much now). You say he wants us to know him, then hides so that the world seems completely run by natural physical laws. That’s odd, no? And more than odd, it’s downright nasty, since he’s hiding out, but will torture me for all eternity if I don’t see through his game. What a weird dude — you sure you want to worship someone like that?

  126. #126 JimC
    April 16, 2008

    It does not matter what science does. It will not save us from most of the world population from dying. There is going to be nuclear wars. The United States will be destroyed by nuclear weapons. We didn’t have those thousands or millions of years. We are not ready to take on the responsibility of our own technologies such as cloning, and weapons. Science isn’t going to save your world.

    Wow you really bring the crazy don’t you?

    When you are in a house that is being burned down by fire, it doesn’t matter that you don’t believe in fire because fire believes in you.

    Clueless analogy. I don’t have to believe in fire. I have senses that allow me to know it’s real just like every other ‘real’ thing. Great thing about reality it exists outside of belief.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God because he is real and all of these things are going to come to pass and your life without love and caring for one another is the only thing you can give to people that matters. It is the only thing you can give people while you are on this earth that will make a difference when you are gone

    You have it half right. I’ll let you choose which half.

    And for the record I am a theist and you seem to be a bit, well, unstable.

  127. #127 Skemono
    April 16, 2008

    God must really hate black people

    So I am led to understand.

  128. #128 jsn
    April 16, 2008

    /Why are 99% of the comments posted for this article coming from “non-Christians?”
    Posted by: Justin /

    Man, did you make a wrong turn on teh intertubes. You’re obviously in the wrong neighborhood and ooooh, it’s a scary one for fine little Christian boys like yerself. I’m sure the Jewish, Muslim and Hindu readers weren’t offended by your question, no, not at all.

  129. #129 ScienceBreath
    April 16, 2008

    As a New Zealander who travels frequently to the United States I am used to news requiring a U.S. angle before it merits publication or broadcast.

    This classic Onion piece says it all, really:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/36486

  130. #130 Planet Killer
    April 16, 2008

    >On a different note- how come atheists are considered
    >arrogant, but a christian who claims god saved them (while
    >killing other less worthy people) is considered humble?

    Who said they are less worthy people? See that is the problem. You don’t understand or even get it. It’s like talking to a wall. Who is killing people?

    When it is time for you to die, you die. It doesn’t matter who you are, Christian or not. What matters is that you have met your goals here on earth. Some people who are saved from death, are only saved for a little while to met their goals and then they die. Dying is not a bad deal, it is going from this existance into another one. For me it will be a much better place then here and people actually say that it is better. It is love, it is peace, it is everything you have wanted and how this world was supposed to be without man’s own fall from grace.

    I know this because the Bible says it and I believe it and also because the Bible is being backed up with people who die and never want to come back to earth again. Again, please see the eyewitness evidence, it is all there.

    There are both people from each world view that can be arrogant. Religion doesn’t just stop people from being people and neither does science. People are people.

    Religious people can make mistakes as can atheists, people are people. They are flawed beings that are given choices and free will. They will not be flawed forever though. The afterlife gives meaning to what is in this existence. Life is precious. Love is precious. This is all from what I have heard and read from eyewitnesses and studies on Near Death Experiences and also the Bible.

    I really don’t care if you don’t believe it.
    It is what it is.

    There is too much proof and if you don’t believe it then that is fine. It is your choice to believe in what you want to. However, it may be wise not to call people an idiot if they don’t take your world view. Just because you bury your head in the sand doesn’t mean everyone has to.

  131. #131 Skemono
    April 16, 2008

    Who said they are less worthy people?

    It is heavily implied when you say that your deity saved one group of people and let everyone else in the accident die.

    See that is the problem. You don’t understand or even get it. It’s like talking to a wall.

    Welcome to our reality. Pull up a chair and enjoy the stay.

    Who is killing people?

    Your god, mostly.

    I know this because the Bible says it and I believe it and also because the Bible is being backed up with people who die and never want to come back to earth again.

    So your big evidence is a book that can’t even keep its own story straight, and the hallucinations of a couple people who are medically dead (and whose numbers you radically inflate)? Oh, what fools we are to dismiss this!

    The afterlife gives meaning to what is in this existence. Life is precious.

    These statements seem contradictory. Saying that the afterlife is what’s important robs life of any preciousness.

  132. #132 jsn
    April 16, 2008

    PK.
    Golly gee whillikers, you sure told us! Cast pearls before swine, you did!!! Thanks for your concern, but we’ll take our chances; we’ve got our sand all nice and ready. And you know you can never have too much proof but we’re just a bunch of party poopers. Drive safely now, y’hear?

  133. #133 brokenSoldier
    April 17, 2008

    Posted by: RamblinDude | April 16, 2008 10:27 PM
    “The one major thing that was lifted from me when I realized the religion and its deities was make believe, was the fear of death.”

    Yeah, it has been – and is still turning out to be – a pleasantly surprising revelation that on my deathbed, I will only have to answer for myself as to the way I chose to live my life. And I will revel in this knowledge because, though it has been suggested that atheists like myself – absent from the presence of God – can only lead immoral, empty lives, I will be content knowing that I will have been the best human being that I knew how to be. And knowing that death will be the ultimate end of me, spiritual or otherwise, makes life all the more sweet and worth living well. Because I WILL live on after death, but only in the memories that my family and friends have of me. Knowing that makes me want to ensure that I am remembered as a good person with a good heart.

    Planet Killer:
    “Eyewitness evidence should be fine as long as there are enough people to pull this evidence from. This is scientific evidence that you can measure. This is real life stuff. Not some mumble jumble stuff.”

    You show me a scientist that will go on public record stating that eyewitness evidence is as reliable as results from a scientific experiment, and I will show you someone who is not fit to be a scientist, in the most basic sense of the word.

    “I also know how atheists think.”

    Besides being impossible because of the fact that you yourself are not an atheist, this statement is still impossible. This is because making that statement is exactly equivalent to saying that you know how anarchists think. There is such a wide variety of people who believe in a society with no government that it is utterly impossible to know “how they think.” Since atheism, by definition, is disbelief instead of belief, there is no common ideology held by all who fall into that category. You may claim that atheism is a religion, but since when was it good debate theory to discredit a worldview by categorically comparing it to your own?

    “Okay, one person saying there isn’t anything out there verses millions that say there is after dying and coming back. Which eyewitness seems more likely? Just to let you know that data is collected and verified after many, many witnesses. Not just one.”

    I am absolutely positive that if you were to cite these studies that you so often chirp about – so that we may go look at them and evaluate their validity based on the evidence they provide, you would not get such quick dismissal from many on this board, even if the evidence didn’t support your claim. But your constant insistence on citing studies without so much as naming them is the very reason your claims are not taken seriously. Just to be clear – you are not being dismissed because of your views. You are being dismissed because you are making claims without the slightest attempt at backing them up with data of any sort, besides your own declarations.

  134. #134 Mike
    April 17, 2008

    Craig wrote: “…religion seems to encourage this sort of narcissism…” Religion doesn’t encourage narcissism… religion IS narcissism. Religion is nothing more than that. “I couldn’t possibly be mortal. I couldn’t possibly be an unimportant assemblage of molecules from the universe’s perspective. There must be some outside reason or meaning for ME.” Religion is simply infantile narcissism – the need to be the center of the universe. Creating a god to make yourself more god-like.

    Damn well said.

  135. #135 JimC
    April 17, 2008

    Again, please see the eyewitness evidence, it is all there

    What about all the people who claim to see the various religious icons of different religions not of Christianity?

    Are they not seeing the right people?

  136. #136 Art
    April 17, 2008

    A plane crashes into a Congolese market. People die horribly. A group of ridiculous, self-satisfied and self-righteous missionaries who were in the market avoid any harm.

    God, presumably in charge of every little detail, kills dozens of poor people who are innocently trading to survive and, he/she/it, in all its omnipotence, omniscience and mercy, leaves this obnoxious group of social parasites to lord their self-righteousness and moral superiority over the traumatized survivors and maimed.

    Talk about pouring salt into wounds.

    Christians worship a sadistically cruel image of God.

    I guess it goes along with the sadistically cruel and malevolent Christians. What does it mean when the the God the worshipers worship reflects back the attitudes, prejudices and distorted mentality of the worshipers?

  137. #137 Ted Powell
    April 17, 2008

    Religion must have some survival value. Why else did it evolve?

    A human infant has a lot to learn in the first few years. (Thanks be to Google! I found the reference.) As Richard Dawkins said in Unweaving the Rainbow, near the end of Chapter 6,

    In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of {142} our parents and our ancestors. But if we don’t grow out of it in the fullness of time, our caterpillar nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists and quacks.

    Credulity in early life does have survival value. When a parent says don’t tease the tiger, the child who accepts that has a better chance of becoming a parent.

  138. #138 Steven Sullivan
    April 17, 2008

    From the August 24th 2007 issue of Science:

    “On pages 1048 and 1096 of this week’s issue of Science, two teams of cognitive neuroscientists independently report methods for inducing elements of an out-of-body experience in healthy volunteers.”

    So much for ‘near death’.

  139. #139 Planet Killer
    April 17, 2008

    >What about all the people who claim to see the various
    >religious icons of different religions not of Christianity?

    Well read them for yourself. The ones I read didn’t have any religious icons. You see relatives that have died, light and sometimes they get better glimpes and sometimes less. When they die they see themselves out of body and then later on they will start to see a tunnel made of light (not everyone will see this, but most people will). They go towards the light and see people they know that have died. Now from here, some people are shown things about future events or how they lived their lives (kind of like a movie about your life and what you learned and how you caused other people pain and how they felt).

    See peace and love are things that exist no matter where you are or what culture you are in. These are universal and in the next life you are going to feel peace and love like you have never felt before.

  140. #140 Troublesome Frog
    April 17, 2008

    Planet Killer,

    You know, actually making arguments is usually a more productive use of screen space than posting long rants about how nobody would listen to your arguments if you bothered to make them.

  141. #141 Mena
    April 17, 2008

    Those people need a reality check courtesy of Johnny Cash. I always think of that song when I see people patting themselves on the back thinking that they are special because they survived.
    Oh, and PK, the 70′s are over.

  142. #142 Ted Powell
    April 17, 2008

    While searching for the quote in #135, I stumbled across http://www.positiveatheism.org/ which some people may find interesting.

  143. #143 Planet Killer
    April 17, 2008

    >Religion is simply infantile narcissism – the need to be
    >the center of the universe. Creating a god to make
    >yourself more god-like.

    Well, basically if anyone knew anything about Judeo-Christian beliefs is that the opposite is true.

    You know what I find so offensive here? It’s not that people don’t believe that there is no God. They can believe in whatever they want to. The thing that is so offensive is that they make huge judgements and really don’t understand the simplest of all concepts of what is in the Bible or what is behind those beliefs.

    Don’t judge what you do not know and do not understand.

    I mean I don’t want to have to resort to insults, but I could really make a case with some of the posts from people on here. They are so ignorant about what a Christian/jew is or what they believe they start making stuff up and judging these religions.

    You can believe in whatever you want. This is America. This is freedom of choice and free will. However, at least know your stuff before you start judging someone based on their religion.

    Time and Time again I see people who are intelligent but yet fall in the trap of not knowing what they are talking about when it comes to something like religion and they sound so ignorant. You know those ID people that try to show you that evolution is a lie, well that is how I see a lot of the people on here when it comes to religion. It is really sad how people can be misinformed and just outright wrong and have no idea on what they are talking about so they spew hate and misinformation about something they do not understand nor do they care to understand.

  144. #144 Kagehi
    April 17, 2008

    Planet Killer… You get the same BS if you just lower the amount of blood going to the brain for a few moments, but don’t die, in a @#$@$@# NASA test training centrifuge. You can *also* induce the same effect electronically and chemically, without even placing the life of the person in any peril at all. Out of body isn’t real, if it was, someone would have *passed* the tests set up to try to prove it, by reporting the items/messages, etc. that where placed for them to “see” while “out of body”, and tunnel of light stuff is nothing but nuerochemical effects, which can be produced under multiple stresses, none of which “have to” involve near anything, never mind death.

    Not that pointing out that none of this stuff is supernatural, unknown, unexplainable, or in any way mystical is likely to change the mind of someone *convinced* it is all real.

  145. #145 Planet Killer
    April 17, 2008

    >Those people need a reality check courtesy of Johnny Cash.
    >I always think of that song when I see people patting
    >themselves on the back thinking that they are special
    >because they survived.

    Let me type this slowly as you don’t get it so I might have to type it five times for you to understand. They were not happy that the other people died. They are happy to be alive because they still have a purpose on this earth. The people that died were not worthless. They died because they furfilled their goals in life. That does not make their lives meaningless than anyone else. Whoever we are there are goals that need to be met while we are on this earth. When those goals are completed we can then move on to the next part of life which is the afterlife.
    Life is not meaningless it is precious. However when your goals are met and we can move on that is what happens.

    Want me to post this all again in big letters so you can understand it?

    >Oh, and PK, the 70′s are over.

    It doesn’t matter what is in the 70′s. Death happens all the time and because of all free will we can die earlier than when we were supposed to die. This is because what we have to do is not yet done on earth. This is why people die and come back and tell what is going on over there. There is scientific research being done on this with all of these people who are eyewitnesses to the facts.

    Good try troll, but you made yourself look foolish. Thanks for playing.

  146. #146 craig
    April 17, 2008

    And one more thing about the narcissism bit – that whole “created in his image” thing is a dead giveaway. He’s a god, and by golly, we’re a bit like him ourselves.

  147. #147 brokenSoldier
    April 17, 2008

    “Don’t judge what you do not know and do not understand.”

    PK, you are arguing a point here that is patently false, due to the fact that most Americans grew up with some sort of religious indoctrination. I grew up in the Catholic church, and I’m sure many of the atheists who comment on these boards were believers at one point or another, whether it was in the childhood or not. So the only one here who has no idea as to the mindset of the other side, my friend, is you. The difference is that we (atheists) have been exposed to and taught religious doctrine, and simply disagree. So a majority of us definitely do know exactly what we are talking about, and I would venture to say that many on here know a great deal more about faith than even you do. In fact, in my case alone, I have studied all five of the world’s major organized religions, both in academia and in my personal life. And a cursory reading of history will show you that organized religion has spent a great deal of time and resources throughout the last two millennia stifling education and scientific advancement. So next time, be careful casting stones — the glass house you’re casting them from might not stand up to rebuttal.

  148. #148 MikeM
    April 17, 2008

    #47: I’ve taken to, for some odd reason, saying “Jesus Christ in a Handbasket!”. I told my friend that, and he thought it was funny, but couldn’t figure out why it was biblical.

    Moses.

    Perfectly logical.

  149. #149 brokenSoldier
    April 17, 2008

    PK, I would lay off, but the inanity in your statements just begs to be rebutted. This one was especially heinous:

    “They died because they furfilled their goals in life.”

    So what about those people at that market in the Congo who were trying to feed their families that night, only to go fail in that endeavor because a plane fell out of the sky, right on top of them. Right there is at least one purpose in their life still left undone.

    But you are no doubt going to run back to that “divine plan” cop-out, saying that the goals you’re talking about were not their own petty, worldly goals, but rather the goals God laid out for them when he created them. Don’t bother – I have heard that countless times, and it offers neither solace nor comfort. It is simply meant to pacify the audience in a manner that offers an empty rationalization but keeps them from turning hostile against the church in their grief.

  150. #150 Pyroclasm
    April 17, 2008

    That’s the argument from incomplete devastation at its finest.

  151. #151 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 17, 2008

    Y’know, PK, somewhere there’s a Muslim and a Sikh and a Buddhist arguing just like you about exactly the same sorts of things. They too defend their wishful thinking against the doubts of atheists and refuse to consider the possibility that they are wrong.

    There’s just one thing. Each one of them thinks you are wrong. Blindly, ignorantly wrong. They despair that you are jeopardizing your future eternal happiness. Strangely, if they had grown up in the same family as you and been exposed to the same myths about the afterlife, then they would agree with your version. And vice versa.

  152. #152 Kseniya
    April 17, 2008

    Patience Killer is at it again, I see.

    o_O

  153. #153 Kseniya
    April 17, 2008

    “…love like you have never felt before.” ~ PK

    Hey… isn’t that a line from the old song, “Leaving On A Jet Plane”?

    Eerie.

  154. #154 room101
    April 17, 2008

    Jesus f’n christ PK – ENOUGH already.

    (Note to PZ: time to dump this ass clown).

    PS O’, where for art thou, Ichthyic, and thy vitriolic wisdom???!!! We could really use you now…

  155. #155 Paul The Burptist
    April 17, 2008

    The missionary family should all immediately enter sporting events – god will help them win. 100M sprint in 3.7 seconds, score a 17 goals for the US in the soccer world cup etc. Athletes often thank the sky captain for their success so I guess that must be gods plan for this family.

  156. #156 Ben
    April 17, 2008

    Just curious…so when babies die and go to heaven (or wherever) to live eternally, do they keep their baby personalities or just their baby bodies? Are there a bunch of babies walking around and talking like adults? Can we ask one of those millions of people? Because if there are creepy baby-people, I think I prefer to believe I’m just a bag of atoms…

  157. #157 nunatak
    April 17, 2008

    Elwood and flonkbob – there are more of us out there than you know. I too am a ‘recovering fundie’ – perhaps we should start a movement…

  158. #158 maxi
    April 17, 2008

    Because if there are creepy baby-people, I think I prefer to believe I’m just a bag of atoms…

    Posted by: Ben | April 17, 2008 4:21 AM

    Creep baby people! ROFL that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.

    Where did truthmachine go? I think we scared him off with that Molly nod. He would be useful against the likes of PK, though I think everyone here is doing an excellent job bending over backwards to treat him better than the troll he is. I don’t have the patience, alas.

  159. #159 J.
    April 17, 2008

    Part of it could be ignorance. People in ignorant societies love to stop and gawk at catastrophes or impending catastrophes, even if it puts them at risk. This isn’t limited to black people, either — you’ll see the same phenomenon in the Middle East and India. Crowds will gather around a bomb squad as they try to deactivate a bomb, for instance. Too funny.

  160. #160 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    Planetkiller: ‘This is America.’

    No it isn’t. This is the INTERNET.

    I am English. I have never set foot in America.

  161. #161 electrichalibut
    April 17, 2008

    GlenD #15, MikeM #145 and others:

    “Christ on a bike” always works for me.

  162. #162 Fernando Magyar
    April 17, 2008

    That is why it is pointless to be an Atheist because we cannot take anything we do here in this life to the next one.

    Planet Killer, ever hear of children? Though I guess “take” might be the wrong verb.

  163. #163 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    In case the point of my last post was lost, I’ll hammer it home.

    This is the Internet. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can read your comments. That is, anyone of any country, ethnic group, religion, whatever. What do you think muslims in eastern Europe will make of your comments about “your” god? Hindus in India and Pakistan? Etc. etc.

    People tend to be indoctrinated with the religion of their own ethnic group, and end up taking their god with them wherever they go. However, this is the Internet, as I said. Everybody (pontentially) is here. Why should your god be special?

    “We are all atheists about most of the gods that ever existed. Some of us just go one god further” – Richard Dawkins.

    And I’ll conclude with some relevant Jethro Tull lyrics:

    Oh people – what have you done -
    locked Him in His golden cage.
    Made Him bend to your religion -
    Him resurrected from the grave.
    He is the god of nothing -
    if that’s all that you can see.
    You are the god of everything
    He’s inside you and me.

    So lean upon Him gently
    and don’t call on Him to save you
    from your social graces
    and the sins you used waive.
    The bloody Church of England -
    in chains of history -
    requests your earthly presence at
    the vicarage for tea.
    And the graven image you – know – who -
    with His plastic crucifix -
    he’s got him fixed -
    confuses me as to who and where and why -
    as to how he gets his kicks.
    Confessing to the endless sin -
    the endless whining sounds.
    You’ll be praying till next Thursday to
    all the gods that you can count.

  164. #164 James
    April 17, 2008

    Dear God, you must be joking, right? I don’t see the guy thanking God for killing all those innocents. According to your perception, they died a totally random and pointless death, so your perception of the event can equally be mocked for the sheer stupidity of it. The missionary said he’s thankful God spared their lives, not that God caused a horrible plane crash and intentionally murdered all of the spectators in the marketplace. You need to learn how to use equivalence in your arguments, because they’re honestly disgraceful.

  165. #165 Lilly de Lure
    April 17, 2008

    James said:

    The missionary said he’s thankful God spared their lives, not that God caused a horrible plane crash and intentionally murdered all of the spectators in the marketplace.

    The point being made is that if god wants said missionaries to continue their lives so much why didn’t he just prevent the damn crash in the first place, thus saving everyone’s lives?

    By making the statement he did this missionary has in effect relegated everyone who died in the crash to the status of acceptable collateral damage in god’s master plan for him and his family. Not a particularly pleasant attitude towards your fellow human IMHO, or one that reflects particularly well on the missionary’s god’s benevolence (or, for that matter, competence).

  166. #166 Mena
    April 17, 2008

    PK, who apparently doesn’t like Johnny Cash and seems to have some anger management issues, comment 142:
    “Let me type this slowly as you don’t get it so I might have to type it five times for you to understand. …Want me to post this all again in big letters so you can understand it?…Good try troll, but you made yourself look foolish. Thanks for playing.”

    I have to quote that great philosopher who wrote in comment #101:
    “So when you don’t believe in what I posted all you can say is a comeback like this. How does this prove anything about your point of view other than you can insult people. Kids insult people but honestly I thought some people would be more intelligent than that.

    “I can insult someone, I must be smart!””

    LULZ! I got insulted by a guy who believes in millions of people have life after death experiences. I feel so (sic) furfilled.

  167. #167 Stephanurus
    April 17, 2008

    Are there any examples of airplane crashes in which only the missionaries were killed?

  168. #168 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    “I’m typing this slowly because you can’t read very fast”…

    Yes, well. He might as well put it like that.

    PK is as egocentric about his country as he is about his religion (common mistake on the Internet), and thinks talking down to us will make us silly children understand him and his tiny world view better.

    PK, you’re not talking to your fellow village idiots here. I don’t speak for myself (although I am quite well educated, thank you), but I know there are a lot of highly qualified scientists and professionals posting or lurking on this blog, and they are a world-wide consortium. It’s not a good strategy to patronise them. You WILL get shot down in flames.

  169. #169 Carlie
    April 17, 2008

    PK, you didn’t answer my question. There is just as much “eyewitness” support for aliens as there is for OBEs. So, do you believe in aliens, or are “eyewitness” accounts only reliable if they support your own belief structure?

  170. #170 Tovi
    April 17, 2008

    I come from the small island of Puerto Rico, where we are bombarded by hurricanes every year, and we’re lucky enough to be placed in a high pressurea area where most of the hurricanes either pass south or north of us. Being a highly catholic country, every year I have to listent to the same insane argument as to how “our island is blessed” and that is why the hurricane never hit us. Never mind that it hit and killed many people in the neighboring island of Dominican Republic, Cuba or the Virgin Islands. It’s as if we’re blessed, but all other islands are the devils work and deserved it.

  171. #171 Carlie
    April 17, 2008

    You know what I find so offensive here? It’s not that people don’t believe that there is no God. They can believe in whatever they want to. The thing that is so offensive is that they make huge judgements and really don’t understand the simplest of all concepts of what is in the Bible or what is behind those beliefs.Don’t judge what you do not know and do not understand.

    You know what I find so offensive with you? Let me explain…no, it would take too long, let me sum up. A huge percentage of the people here come from religious backgrounds. Not just nominally religious, C&E attenders, but wholesale hardcore religious. Many of them know the Bible a lot better than you do. They know not just the history, background, and beliefs not just of their religion, but of others as well. You can’t just dismiss people who don’t agree with you as being ignorant of your subject. It’s not true.

    And what about those aliens?

  172. #172 Kevin Hayden
    April 17, 2008

    “He still has work for us to do.”

    Like building a conscience, rebuilding a market, conveying sympathies to all the families of the dead, helping to get medical care for the injured, etc.

    God’s plan also was to help some gal survive another round on American Idol, for the Red Sox to win yesterday, and for a baby to be born to some couple in Peoria because they magically humped.

    God sure goofs on us a lot.

  173. #173 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2008

    I was so upset about this story that I couldn’t even blog about it. I know that airport, I know that plane, and I’ve spent a lot of time with the missionaries in that town (not these particular missionaries) and trust me, they are as obnoxious as it gets. I assure you that this story of a miracle will live on and on. One part of the story that will be mentioned, I promise you, in private but that did not get on the news is that the Africans do not have the same fear of death or even the same sense of pain that “we” (this is the missionaries talking) do.

    Goma airport is notorious. I’ve had the misfortune of flying in and out only once, and it was a close call. … that story is for another time … the volcanoes near the town (which are quite active) produce very nasty winds. The nearby slopes are littered with airplanes. I once had a Land Rover with front seats that had been salvaged from one of the wrecks.

  174. #174 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    Greg Laden: ‘I assure you that this story of a miracle will live on and on.’

    Well the only thing we can do is to keep smacking this story down whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. I will certainly do my bit. I’m as appalled as (almost) everyone else on this thread – apalled but not surprised. The missionary mindset is incredibly self-centred and narrow minded. “God must still have work for us” indeed. Looks like they’ve got some work to do right there – explain to the bereaved exactly what the hell they are doing there in the first place; why their loved ones had to die just because some god-botherers felt the need to “save” some heathen souls. Just think: if this interfering missionary family had stayed at home then nobody would have died at all.

  175. #175 Epikt
    April 17, 2008

    Planet Killer:

    They are happy to be alive because they still have a purpose on this earth. The people that died were not worthless. They died because they furfilled their goals in life.

    So let me see if I understand you… they died because they had “furfilled” their goals in life. And you know they had fulfilled their goals in life, because they died (clearly god was all done with them).

    Thank you. Your self-absorbed paean to circular reasoning encapsulates religion in a wonderfully succinct way.

  176. #176 Nick Gotts
    April 17, 2008

    And you know they had fulfilled their goals in life, because they died (clearly god was all done with them). – Epikt@172

    I think PK’s a Bokononist! At the end of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, after the sea has frozen solid, his followers ask the prophet Bokonon what God is up to. He replies that God is surely trying to kill them, possibly because he’s through with them, and they should have the good manners to die.

    What’s more, at the earlier point when “Papa” Monzano is about to commit suicide – the action which indirectly brings about the end of the world – he says “Now I will destroy the universe” – the proper thing for a Bokononist to say in these circumstances. And PK calls himself “Planet Killer”!

    Hey PK, you’re not carrying any Ice-9 are you? If you are, please be careful with it!

  177. #177 Steve
    April 17, 2008

    Amen to your commentary, PZ!

  178. #178 MB
    April 17, 2008

    This story reminds me of my experiences after hurricane Katrina (MS Gulf Coast), where people would say similar things like “We didn’t lose our house, we were blessed” and so forth.
    Then upon riding across the waterfront highway, upon seeing one wrecked church after another, I could only remark: “I guess they weren’t blessed.”

  179. #179 SC
    April 17, 2008

    I have to say I’m almost as bothered by the “real” news story Bill linked to above as I am by the missionary-centered one. In addition to the fact that in it too the victims remain faceless and voiceless, fading again into a “sea of humanity,” its contextualization of the event leaves much to be desired.

    Focusing on the DRC’s “dismal aviation record,” the article notes that “The European Union added Hewa Bora airlines to its blacklist of carriers just last week. Although all other Congo carriers had been banned by the EU, Hewa Bora operated a weekly flight to Belgium ‘under a special arrangement’. That flight was halted last week because of safety violations.” How very reasonable of the EU, how safety-conscious of them to blacklist (no comment) the carriers from this backward country that can’t seem to get its act together. And how noble of the UN and INGOs to be there on the ground, protecting the people there from themselves.

    What Europe owes this region after decades of oppression and exploitation and millions of lives and futures taken in the most brutal ways is immeasurable. I recommend Adam Hochschild’s 1998 King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa as a start for those interested in this history. This continues into the present, and what the EU and the US have long owed the Congo is a recognition of the horrors we’ve brought them and an attempt at meaningful – though they could never be sufficient – reparations for the devastation we have inflicted.

  180. I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode where, after a hurricane or some such event, the sign outside the church read, “God Welcomes His Victims.”

  181. #181 Scooty Puff, Jr.
    April 17, 2008

    When I read the post, in my mind I heard,

    God has a plan for you, Gaius.

  182. #182 MS
    April 17, 2008

    I’ve often thought that if I were, say, a fireman or lifeguard who had just risked my own live to save someone and they immediately gave the credit to God, I would throw them back in.

  183. #183 tsg
    April 17, 2008

    “There but for the grace of god go I” is just another way of saying “There by the grace of god goes someone else.”

  184. #184 Chris Adams
    April 17, 2008

    karen: “there aren’t any Christian children starving!”

    You have to remember that people like that define Christian to mean “other people who believe exactly what I personally believe”. The JWs acknowledge widespread suffering – it’s considered one of the signs that we’re right at the point where our loving heavenly father is going to kill us all if we don’t shape up.

  185. #185 George Thompson
    April 17, 2008

    Christians or so-called Christians always say “by the grace of God” when something favorable happens to them. I didn’t realize God was so choosy but then they say God loves all of us. If that is true then why do so many people people of all races get the short end of the stick all over this planet? Oh that’s right they’re lazy, good-for-nothing foreigners who hate war. It’s a simple as this. Black people really believe in a god. White believe they are God. They are both delusional. God bless America and no place else!

  186. #186 scarshapedstar
    April 17, 2008

    Oh, God’s saving them for a purpose, all right. He’s saving them so that a 747 full of black people can crash on top of them and all 600 passangers can walk away.

  187. #187 alex
    April 17, 2008

    planet killer – for your reference:

    http://www.users.bigpond.com/tstex/Kluvers2.jpeg
    (common visual hallucinatory patterns – like tunnels)

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s1866095.htm
    it’s not just being near death that initiates NDEs. high G-forces produce the same hallucinatory effects, as does stimulating the left or right angular gyrus.

    also (apologies for not being able to immediately reference this, i’m sure others will know of this though) i remember a hospital putting LED displays with messages over the patients’ beds, so that “out of body” experiences should have left the messages easily visible. not one of the many patients who reported an NDE or Out-of-body so much as mentioned the existence of the messages when looking down at themselves.

    sadly, you should realise that if you’re going to accept the eyewitness evidence of millions of people – these eyewitnesses were all either brain-dead, oxygen-starved, or terminally ill for the entire duration of their witnessing. hardly that reliable, and hardly evidence for a Judeo-Christian afterlife in particular.

  188. #188 henri.b
    April 17, 2008

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Before I became an athiest, I was a missionary with a fundamentalist church. It was this sort of blatant arrogance and self righteous narcissism in our group that caused me to begin to be skeptical. We would have discussions about the suffering in the world, and they would reason that God must be punishing people for their sins. I was shocked by their lack of empathy, and I soon realized that I didn’t even believe in a personal god. After that realization, it took only several months for me to abandon my belief in god completely.

  189. #189 Holbach
    April 17, 2008

    Planet Killer: You are Expelled!

  190. #190 thalarctos
    April 17, 2008

    The missionary said he’s thankful God spared their lives, not that God caused a horrible plane crash and intentionally murdered all of the spectators in the marketplace. You need to learn how to use equivalence in your arguments, because they’re honestly disgraceful.

    Are you familiar at all with basic logic? If you are, then you know that:

    A => B

    means

    !B => !A

    The missionaries are saying that the fact that God has further plans for them (A) means they were spared (B). Therefore, the fact that all the others were not spared (!B) means that God has no further plans for them (!A).

    “Planet Killer” goes on to compound that basic arrogance by supposing, in the total absence of any evidence of his assertion, that despite any plans they may have had, or any grief, caring, or missing of the dead by their surviving loved ones, that they must have “furfilled” their purpose on this planet. That almost-palpable smarmy knowing-better-than-they-do, in-the-absence-of-any-independently-verifiable-evidence, attitude is only one of the many reasons my Cambodian teacher refers to the missionaries who flocked to the Southeast Asian refugee camps as “vultures”.

    “Planet Killer” is getting his ass handed to him here because he doesn’t even have the level of moral development of chimpanzees, who have been observed to demonstrate more altruism and empathy than he apparently is capable of, and as an advertisement for the transforming power of Christianity in his life, he’s doing a truly sucky job of making the sale, because no one here would want to settle for what he’s pushing.

  191. #191 Ryan
    April 17, 2008

    Maybe Satan was really the one that saved them so that they could live to partake of his delicious feast of souls!

  192. #192 MikeM
    April 17, 2008

    Well, now the death toll has risen to 44, and they think they’ve identified at least two causes: A runway shortened from 2.11 miles to .87 miles, and a tire blowout on takeoff.

    The runway was shortened because the volcano erupted, and lava flowed over the runway. That I can understand, because, clearly, tectonic forces dwarf God’s power (proof of this assertion to follow).

    The flat tire, however… I don’t know why God didn’t just prevent that. I mean, Hell, even Chevrolets have run-flat tires.

    (There’s the proof. If God cannot stop a flat tire, do you REALLY think he can halt plate tectonics? Okay, if you think so, explain how. Thank you.)

    Other news reports credit UN peacekeeping forces with rescuing the occupants of the aircraft.

    But the fact that God could not prevent a tire from blowing out… Omnipresent, all-powerful, all-loving, unable to repair a vulcanized tire.

    Let that be a lesson to us.

    Here’s the USA Today update.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-04-17-congo-plane_N.htm

  193. #193 kmarissa
    April 17, 2008

    I love the implication that because the victims were no longer useful to God, he had ‘em whacked. But seriously, here’s the system in a nutshell:

    Does Godly stuff, lives long time: Rewarded by God for labors, “spared”.

    Does Godly stuff, dies young: Fulfilled purpose, “called home”.

    Does ungodly stuff, lives long time: Free will, God is giving chance to repent.

    Does ungodly stuff, dies young: Punished for sins.

    See? It works! And if you get confused, there’s really just one phrase you have to remember – no matter what happens or how unfair the world is, say, “God works in mysterious ways.”

  194. #194 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    Well it is quite well-known that a simple lightning rod can defeat the power of a lightning strike. When lightning rods were first invented, the Catholic church refused to fit them to church spires as lightning was considered the direct (and quite personal) wrath of god.

    So all the churches (without rods) were hit, and in some cases destroyed, while the town brothels (which had rods fitted) were not touched. Proof positive of the limit of god’s power, I think. If a simple strip of metal can deflect his almighty wrath…?

    (Thank you Isaac Asimov for this little tidbit of history)

  195. #195 DaveKan
    April 17, 2008

    This is the part of religious belief that I just can’t understand. How are they able to do the mental gymnastics to say something like this without understanding what they are implying about the people that died? If you lived and someone else died in the same event and you say that god decided to save you, then that means that he also decided to NOT save the other person. But it is all part of some great mysterious plan that we can’t understand!

    Why can’t they break through the tissue paper thickness of this statement to see how ridiculous this thinking is?

  196. #196 MikeM
    April 17, 2008

    I think I may know why God didn’t want to fix that flat, though: He was afraid He might break a Nail.

    Oh, my, that was sacriligious. Next train, I’m goin’ to Hell.

  197. #197 Gav
    April 17, 2008

    Well I guess most people would have pretty mixed feelings about surviving this sort of carnage so as a coping strategy it might have something going for it.

    More generally, for dealing with acute life-threatening situations [only] I’d testify for OSHIT.

    Many years ago, when my eyesight was less fuzzy than it is now and I saw fewer ghosts, I used to fly aeroplanes. I was never much good as a pilot and got into lots of scrapes but OSHIT would always get me and my passengers out of danger.

    I was potholing once in Yorkshire and lost my hold on a difficult pitch. I called on OSHIT and landed on a ledge a few feet below!

    I have survived motorcycle crashes, encounters with people with guns in odd parts of the world, and (appropriately enough) some very nasty bouts of food poisoning, all after invoking OSHIT.

    I don’t exactly believe in OSHIT. Some people might say that OSHIT has a purpose for me, which is why it has preserved me so far. I don’t know anything about that. If OSHIT does exist, then it’s a singularly uncommunicative, and undemanding, entity. But the evidence speaks for itself. Oh, you can talk about post hoc, Type 1 errors, publication biasand all that fancy kind of thing. What I do know for sure is that OSHIT has never let me down.

    Maybe it will work for you.

  198. #198 Kitty
    April 17, 2008

    DaveKan

    “This is the part of religious belief that I just can’t understand.”

    Lucky you. I can’t understand any of it.

  199. #199 SteveM
    April 17, 2008

    As much as I love Asimov, I suspect that story is more a product of his well known sense of humor than actual history. I could be wrong about that, but it seems to conflict with the fact that Franklin invented the lightning rod specifically to protect church steeples from lightning strikes.

  200. #200 khan
    April 17, 2008

    Just curious…so when babies die and go to heaven (or wherever) to live eternally, do they keep their baby personalities or just their baby bodies? Are there a bunch of babies walking around and talking like adults? Can we ask one of those millions of people? Because if there are creepy baby-people, I think I prefer to believe I’m just a bag of atoms…

    And what of the miscarriages, abortions, molar pregnancies, unimplanted fertilized eggs…

  201. #201 RamblinDude
    April 17, 2008

    Well it is quite well-known that a simple lightning rod can defeat the power of a lightning strike. When lightning rods were first invented, the Catholic church refused to fit them to church spires as lightning was considered the direct (and quite personal) wrath of god.

    In his series “Connections” James Burke relates an incident in which a pastor insisted that gunpowder stored in his church, with its towering steeple pointing to the sky, would be perfectly safe without lightning rods.

    I don’t remember how many died in the explosion.

    It may have been…”In 1769, a lightning bolt struck the tower of St. Nazaire in Brescia, where 100 tons of gunpowder were stored. The resulting explosion destroyed one-sixth of the city and killed 3000 people. Lightning-induced explosions of stored gunpowder continued through the 1800′s”

    or

    “As late as 1856, lightning struck the church of St. Jean on the island of Rhodes, the powder stored in the vaults exploded, and 4000 were killed.”

    http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weather/weather.html

  202. #202 MikeM
    April 17, 2008

    Here’s an example of the types of activities I’d prefer to see missionaries engage in:

    http://bugleobserver.canadaeast.com/lifestyle/article/264723

    I suspect this is rare behavior.

  203. #203 Skemono
    April 17, 2008

    As much as I love Asimov, I suspect that story is more a product of his well known sense of humor than actual history. I could be wrong about that, but it seems to conflict with the fact that Franklin invented the lightning rod specifically to protect church steeples from lightning strikes.

    Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that the churches complied. I read an article in the New York Times some years back on how much the lightning rod enraged the religious back when it came out.

  204. #204 Andreas Johansson
    April 17, 2008

    Part of it could be ignorance. People in ignorant societies love to stop and gawk at catastrophes or impending catastrophes, even if it puts them at risk. This isn’t limited to black people, either — you’ll see the same phenomenon in the Middle East and India. Crowds will gather around a bomb squad as they try to deactivate a bomb, for instance. Too funny.

    Is there anywhere people don’t behave like this? I’d like to think my native Sweden is comparatively enlightened place, but I’ve seen the same kind of behaviour here.

  205. #205 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    I can’t remember in which Asimov book I read it, otherwise I would have quoted directly. As I have two whole shelves full of nothing but Asimov books, I just couldn’t be bothered.

    Skemono has hit the nail on the head, I think. Franklin may well have invented the thing to protect churches, but he may have had a hard time selling it to them.

    I remember reading a news item not long ago where everybody sheltered in a church during an earthquake – and the church ended up collapsing on top of everybody inside. Seems god must have judged them all as unworthy of his compassion, despite the obvious assumption that they must have been praying their asses off in there. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, you never hear from the ones who “god” turned his back on, because they’re dead. All you are left with invariably is survivors who spout the tired old “god favours me” rhetoric. Absolutely shameful.

  206. #206 roystgnr
    April 17, 2008

    Well, they were supposed to be dead and they are in perfect condition.

    No, they were supposed to have a safe, uneventful flight, but they were nearly killed.

    That is a little bit more than something bad happening to them. Therefore their time is not up yet and they are ment to do something and finish their work here on earth.

    Are you sure? In general, if someone were to take action that caused me to be grazed by death, I would interpret that as a “warning shot”, and I would stop my work until I figured out what I’d done to piss that someone off, or until that someone was safely locked behind bars. Now, in the hypothetical case that that Someone was God, the “behind bars” solution might not be an option, but I think the rest of my “stop what you’re doing, lest the next shot is aimed to kill” interpretation would be worth considering.

  207. #207 Elwood Herring
    April 17, 2008

    Found it – it’s “The Fateful Lightning”, published in 1971 and included in “The Stars in Their Courses” – a good read, I recommend it.

  208. #208 G in INdiana
    April 17, 2008

    It’s the same thing as the idiot sports people praising god for their excellent golf game or latest football victory. Sure and god hated ALL the other people in the competition that day. Of course, usually the next week, god comes back and smacks them in the ass with a total boner golf game or devastating crushing at the gridiron.
    Things, good or bad, happen, not for any reason. They just happen.

  209. #209 karen
    April 17, 2008

    #181 Chris Adams, indeed; the unthinking, infantile arrogance of statements such as, “Jesus loves me”, “God will take care of us”, “thank God for choosing to spare me”, etc., makes me wonder if the people saying these things ever stop to actually think about what such statements imply.

  210. #210 Planet Killer
    April 17, 2008

    >The missionaries are saying that the fact that God has
    >further plans for them (A) means they were spared (B).
    >Therefore, the fact that all the others were not spared (!
    >B) means that God has no further plans for them (!A).

    After all of the postings you still don’t get it. Are you a mental midget or what?

    Earth is a learning ground where we learn and we have goals to complete. Once these goals are completed and we that love God will go to a much better place. Think of it as the ultimate retirement home but in the ultimate way imaginable.

    Death isn’t the end of something you moron, it is the beggining of a new life. You still learn and you still work on things but in a new life that you can live eternally in peace.

    So a much better life than you can get here but you are still continue to progress.

    When I die things will be so much better than they are here. There are no tears, sickness, war, famine. Just pure love and peace and you get to continue learning.

    It is not a bad thing like you are making it out to be.
    The Christians were spared but only for a short time and they too will die. We all will die. Not one of us can escape this. Science can prolong it, but it is going to come for all of us.

    I see where Atheists believe that God is some kind of spegetti monster figure who doesn’t exist and our need for God is somehow programmed into us and it’s all just myths and fantasy. However, I am trying to say that I don’t believe any of that (well the God programmed part might be true). God is alive. He allows you to continue belleiving the lie you have told yourself.

  211. #211 Carlie
    April 17, 2008

    Hi, Planet Killer! You still haven’t answered my question. Are aliens real, or are eyewitness accounts sometimes unreliable?

  212. #212 Kseniya
    April 17, 2008

    Just pure love and peace and you get to continue learning.

    Learning what? How to make the perfect existence even better?

  213. #213 Nick Gotts
    April 17, 2008

    When I die things will be so much better than they are here. – Planet Killer

    Well yes, certainly, for those who will no longer have to put up with you.

  214. #214 MAJeff, OM
    April 17, 2008

    God is alive. He allows you to continue belleiving the lie you have told yourself.

    Evidence, please.

  215. #215 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 17, 2008

    Well, they were supposed to be dead and they are in perfect condition.

    No, they were supposed to have a safe, uneventful flight, but they were nearly killed.

    This is the funny thing about modern Christian fundies: most of them no longer believe in the God without Whose decision not a single sparrow falls out of the sky — instead, nature runs its course, completely of the almost deistic God Who just created it and set in motion, and sometimes God ineffably chooses to interfere, while at other times He ineffably chooses not to.

    More tomorrow. Just so much now: about 15 years ago I read a pretty detailed summary of an eyewitness account of a near-death experience that included the Muslim paradise, with the four rivers and all that jazz. Also, seeing dark is an effort; when you run out of oxygen, you will sooner or later see light, more and more light. I’ll try to explain that.

  216. #216 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 17, 2008

    After all of the postings you still don’t get it. Are you a mental midget or what?

    Your logic is still circular, and it’s still not falsifiable even in principle, meaning, as I pointed out yesterday, that, if you were wrong, you could never find out that you were wrong.

    Science can prolong it

    Science can interfere with Almighty God’s own decisions? When you have fulfilled your purpose, you die, except if modern medicine pushes God’s power back to a later date??? Aren’t you blaspheming, by your own criteria?

    I think you have never thought this through.

    our need for God is somehow programmed into us

    Then I suppose I’d have one. But I don’t have any religious urges. And I’m not exactly alone in this.

  217. #217 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 17, 2008

    Good night for now. (You see, this is not America — I’m sitting in Paris, France.)

  218. #218 Rey Fox
    April 17, 2008

    “Are you a mental midget or what?”

    Oh there you go, insulting people, you intolerant little intolerant. Jeez, what a Nazi you are, what total hatred you have for atheists. Help, I’m being repressed!

    “Earth is a learning ground where we learn and we have goals to complete. Once these goals are completed and we that love God will go to a much better place. Think of it as the ultimate retirement home but in the ultimate way imaginable.”

    You say all this as if you knew it.

    And anyway, if this were true, then why do we have to live on Earth first? Why are these supposed goals important?

    “I see where Atheists believe that God is some kind of spegetti monster figure who doesn’t exist and our need for God is somehow programmed into us and it’s all just myths and fantasy. However, I am trying to say that I don’t believe any of that (well the God programmed part might be true).”

    Actually, since so many people on the earth believe in multiple gods, and quite a few in no deities at all, then the programming is rather suspect, too.

  219. #219 Ichthyic
    April 17, 2008

    And anyway, if this were true, then why do we have to live on Earth first? Why are these supposed goals important?

    why ask why?

  220. #220 windy
    April 17, 2008

    Think of it as the ultimate retirement home but in the ultimate way imaginable.

    Ultimate shuffleboard? Ultimate bingo?

  221. #221 MAJeff, OM
    April 17, 2008

    Think of it as the ultimate retirement home but in the ultimate way imaginable.

    Ultimate shuffleboard? Ultimate bingo?

    Ultimate lying in bed unable to recognize anyone or care for yourself.

  222. #222 Nick Gotts
    April 17, 2008

    nature runs its course, completely of the almost deistic God Who just created it and set in motion, and sometimes God ineffably chooses to interfere, while at other times He ineffably chooses not to. – David Marjanovi?, OM

    Think of it as a computer game. He sets it running, and he’s got a few buttons to press to alter the course of events, but he can’t attend to everything that’s going on at once, so most of it just takes its preprogrammed trajectory. And sometimes, of course, his Dad calls him for tea, or his Mum comes in and tells him to get on with his homework, and he just leaves it running. That’s the only way I can make sense of it.

    What’s the “OM” by the way? Order of Merit?

  223. #223 thalarctos
    April 17, 2008

    After all of the postings you still don’t get it. Are you a mental midget or what?

    Ironic, coming from you. I can see where basic logic frightens and confuses you, though.

  224. #224 thalarctos
    April 17, 2008

    Death isn’t the end of something you moron, it is the beggining of a new life.

    “You moron”–is that an example of that “Christian love” you people are always going on and on about?

  225. #225 windy
    April 17, 2008

    Think of it as a computer game. He sets it running, and he’s got a few buttons to press to alter the course of events, but he can’t attend to everything that’s going on at once, so most of it just takes its preprogrammed trajectory. And sometimes, of course, his Dad calls him for tea, or his Mum comes in and tells him to get on with his homework, and he just leaves it running. That’s the only way I can make sense of it.

    God must be playing Lemmings. I wonder how many he needs to “save” to clear this level.

  226. #226 Rey Fox
    April 17, 2008

    “why ask why?”

    Try Bud Dry.

  227. #227 aimless wonderer
    April 18, 2008

    what is the meaning of life?

  228. #228 Rey Fox
    April 18, 2008

    The great taste of Bud Dry, of course.

  229. #229 Jenny
    April 18, 2008

    “So there’s parts of bodies and people burning and people screaming and yelling, and she was out there by herself.”

    There are people screaming and yelling and she was out there by herself? So, the people who were screaming and yelling didn’t count? The guy who helped getting them out of the plane didn’t count?

    Not that the fact that those non-people people were black can have had anything to do with it. Oh, no.

  230. #230 Strakh
    April 18, 2008

    Oooooo, Planet Killer, you devastatingly magnificent example of a true warrior for Almighty God (at least in that tiny little piece of shit rattling around in your otherwise empty head) you’re back!
    And again you make statements, hurl accusations, and snarl insults to people whose asses you aren’t fit to lick.
    I, as others have done time, time, time, time, and yet time again, issue you one simple challenge:

    Produce even one quark of evidence for any of the disgusting shit you are vomiting onto this blog.

    Evidence, you snarky little turd. Have your mama (whose basement you obviously reside in) read the definition of evidence to you. Then produce it. Now. Here. Once and for all.
    Otherwise, STFU. Because until you do, you’re just another wanker troll trying to take on people of sense, knowledge, and learning.
    And Planet Killer, you are woefully underqualified on every single count.

  231. #231 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 18, 2008

    What’s the “OM” by the way? Order of Merit?

    Better.

  232. #232 Elwood Herring
    April 18, 2008

    Belief in an afterlife is usually the refuge of the dreamer who can’t find a place for him/herself in this (the only) life, or can’t handle reality. Fact it, PK, this it; this life you are living now, is the ONLY life you will get a shot at.

    My late friend (who I mentioned earlier, #81, go and READ IT) said that if there was an afterlife, then he would do all he could to contact us after his death. Guess what – there’s been nothing. He’s gone, and everybody who knew him has had to come to terms with that. But while he lived, he made the most of his life, and I still respect his memory for that shining example.

    You only get one shot at this life. Don’t throw it away dreaming for a better “afterlife” ‘cos it ain’t gonna happen.

    But hey – Pascal’s wager, right? There is always a tiny tiny chance that I’m wrong, and there actually is life after death. But in that case, I’ve lost nothing by living my present life to the full, have I? I’m certainly not going to waste it by clinging on to superstition and dogma built up by 2000 years’ worth of deluded dreamers.

    And one other thing; insults are the last refuge of the incompetent who doesn’t realise he’s lost the argument.

  233. #233 Nick Gotts
    April 18, 2008

    Re #229. Much better! Maximum respect!

  234. #234 Malcolm
    April 18, 2008

    aimless wonderer,

    The answer is 42.

    Now go find the question.

  235. #235 christyk
    April 18, 2008

    Great posts (mostly) people. It’s always nice to see a long thread filled with (mostly) rational thoughts.

    Broken Soldier,

    I know it’s slow but I’m sending best wishes, love and support, and whatever other good thoughts will squeeze through the Internets’ tubes in your direction. Spend as much time as you can with people who make you feel good. Take each day for what it is and then just let it go. Feel better.

  236. #236 George Cauldron
    April 18, 2008

    Planet Killer said yesterday:

    “I can insult someone, I must be smart!”

    Planet Killer said today:

    Are you a mental midget or what?

    Death isn’t the end of something you moron, it is the beggining of a new life.

    Bravo for raising the tone so nobly.

    Anyway, about this:

    Death isn’t the end of something you moron, it is the beggining of a new life. You still learn and you still work on things but in a new life that you can live eternally in peace.

    Now, you see, PK, one thing you plainly don’t understand is that it’s not valid to call people ‘morons’ for not believing something for which you have absolutely no evidence.

    Answer me this: why are we ‘morons’ for not buying YOUR religious beliefs? Why doesn’t rejecting Hinduism or Islam or Buddhism make us ‘morons’?

    Remember, “because I know I’m right” doesn’t count as an answer.

  237. #237 brokenSoldier
    April 18, 2008

    I know it’s slow but I’m sending best wishes, love and support, and whatever other good thoughts will squeeze through the Internets’ tubes in your direction. Spend as much time as you can with people who make you feel good. Take each day for what it is and then just let it go. Feel better.
    Posted by: christyk | April 18, 2008 12:42 PM

    christyk, hearts and minds like yours and the others who have made such comments make it absolutely worth doing every bit of what I did, even considering the consequences I now live with. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your comments and sentiments, for they offer me infinitely more reassurance and comfort than any religion could ever hope to extend.

  238. #238 windy
    April 18, 2008
    What’s the “OM” by the way? Order of Merit?

    Better.

    Maybe better, but also 3 months out of date, hint, hint…

  239. #239 Th King
    April 21, 2008

    you dispicabl atheist murders hopw dare youi impact you uncontrolled deathly thinking upon others, explain it their is no God then tell me was this all meaningless are we all doomed to die fading away into the distance as simple particles with nohing to look forward to in life, when people die are they truly dead, gone forever will you really take that wasay from them.

  240. #240 Laser Potato
    April 22, 2008

    Why don’t you place a priority on having a better quality of life rather than being obessesed about the AFTERlife? Seriously.

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