Pharyngula

Atheism is a condom for your mind

Matt Taibbi went off on a three day Christian retreat, and discovered how ridiculous they are…but he also discover the deep emotional, anti-intellectual pull of these kinds of events.

By the end of the weekend I realized how quaint was the mere suggestion that Christians of this type should learn to “be rational” or “set aside your religion” about such things as the Iraq War or other policy matters. Once you’ve made a journey like this — once you’ve gone this far — you are beyond suggestible. It’s not merely the informational indoctrination, the constant belittling of homosexuals and atheists and Muslims and pacifists, etc., that’s the issue. It’s that once you’ve gotten to this place, you’ve left behind the mental process that a person would need to form an independent opinion about such things. You make this journey precisely to experience the ecstasy of beating to the same big gristly heart with a roomful of like-minded folks. Once you reach that place with them, you’re thinking with muscles, not neurons.

By the end of that weekend, Phil Fortenberry could have told us that John Kerry was a demon with clawed feet, and not one person would have so much as blinked. Because none of that politics stuff matters anyway, once you’ve gotten this far. All that matters is being full of the Lord and empty of demons. And since everything that is not of God is demonic, asking these people to be objective about anything else is just absurd. There is no “anything else.” All alternative points of view are nonstarters. There is this “our thing,” a sort of Cosa Nostra of the soul, and then there are the fires of Hell. And that’s all.

Insulating yourself against the taint of all religion is a kind of psychological, informational hygiene. Abandon all rigor and requirement for reality-based evidence for one’s ideas, and you open the door wide for the kind of conditioning in dogma modern religion promotes.

Comments

  1. #1 LP
    April 28, 2008

    Condoms are effective when used correctly. :op

  2. #2 LP
    April 28, 2008

    I have no idea what I meant by that. lol. Just sounded clever.

  3. #3 DaveX
    April 28, 2008

    Heh heh… you said “taint”.

  4. #4 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    What’s agnosticism then? The rhythm method?

    “Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you. I, I went with my boyfriend to his Unitarian church on Sunday. I really love him, and I just wanted to be spiritual with him. It, well, it only happened the one time, and we thought we were being safe, but it was an accident and I just feel so foolish, especially after the talks we’ve had and all those classes in school…”

  5. #5 Ray Ingles
    April 28, 2008

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge – even to ourselves – that we’ve been so credulous.” – Carl Sagan

  6. #6 CS
    April 28, 2008

    Hitchens put it very well in his closing remark in answer to the question “Does science make belief in God obsolete?” in a John Templeton Foundation conversation http://www.templeton.org/belief/

    “But the original problem with religion is that it is our first, and our worst, attempt at explanation. It is how we came up with answers before we had any evidence. It belongs to the terrified childhood of our species, before we knew about germs or could account for earthquakes.

    It belongs to our childhood, too, in the less charming sense of demanding a tyrannical authority: a protective parent who demands compulsory love even as he exacts a tithe of fear. This unalterable and eternal despot is the origin of totalitarianism, and represents the first cringing human attempt to refer all difficult questions to the smoking and forbidding altar of a Big Brother.

    This of course is why one desires that science and humanism would make faith obsolete, even as one sadly realizes that as long as we remain insecure primates we shall remain very fearful of breaking the chain.”

  7. #7 Mikey M
    April 28, 2008

    Thanks for penning that headline, Professor Myers. I’m now hearing in my head the Bonzo Dog Band performing, “In the Condoms of your Mind.”

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    April 28, 2008

    I’ve said this before, but I think it’s relevant here: When I was growing up as a creationist, what was “debated” was whether or not evolutionists were all deliberately opposed to God, or if some were just duped by others who were not willing to consider God as the creator.

    And indeed, usually they felt quite magnanimous in allowing that many were decieved into “believing in evolution” by scientists’ unwillingness to consider God. This is why I tend not to be very tolerant of creationist spokespersons, either, not because they themselves belong to this “we’ve always been already right” attitude, but because they’re feeding it. Plus the few who might learn open-mindedness through the action of others will probably do so only if they’re confronted (they might then turn to the “good cops” among us, which is fine with me, but the confrontationalists are the ones more likely to turn them in the first place).

    Believe me, those of us who grew up in a strong fundamentalist religion know how closed-in upon itself it really is. One simply cannot get out while believing their religion as they are supposed to do, for there is absolutely no opening to look into the beliefs of others. I was not supposed to read evolution, which somehow struck me as an odd position for truth to take on the matter (probably one reason I turned away from it).

    And these are the audience at which Expelled was aimed. The good thing is, they’re unlikely to convince many fence-sitters, and might even turn away many of these. The bad thing is, they’re trying to whip up these incredibly close-minded people into fear and hatred of the “other,” indeed, in a kind of fascistic propagandistic diatribe. We have to hope that they will not become dangerous(I mean in an Al Qaida or Taliban sense)–and they may not, but it should not be considered to be an impossibility.

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

  9. #9 Michelle
    April 28, 2008

    Fanatics are scary. What that guy described is really, REALLY crazy fanatics.

    Sigh.

  10. #10 Brett
    April 28, 2008

    Remember: No glove, no love. Speaking of which my local paper won’t be getting any tonight. They ran a Front Page story about Expelled today written by none other than the religion editor. Check out the link and see if you can find a more credulous story that leaves out any mention of critical reviews or science = atheism = holocaust. If anyone living in Northwest Ohio is commenting then be sure to write to these fine folks and let them know how you feel they did:

    David Yonke the author :dyonke@theblade.com
    The newspaper’s ombudsman, Jack Lessenberry: OMBLADE@aol.com

  11. #12 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    Someone from the media who is leftest hates religion because they have a set of morals that they can’t understand.

    Typical simple minded thinking. This kind of mentality shows why the media in this country is stupid. This is why we have Britney Spears and paris hilton all over and not what is really going on in the world.

  12. #13 Vanessa
    April 28, 2008

    The big punchbowl full of free condoms at the Wellness Center on my campus should be sitting on a bookshelf full of free copies of The God Delusion.

  13. #14 Julie Stahlhut
    April 28, 2008

    “In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!”

    I’m speechless. I have an — er, heartfelt testimony of my own on this topic. Someone in the congregation needs not a faith healer, but a good colorectal surgeon. Then again, anyone who has been cured of this condition by modern medical or surgical means is probably going to become a lifelong convert to evidence-based medicine, and we can’t have that, can we?

  14. #15 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2008

    Someone from the media who is leftest hates religion because they have a set of morals that they can’t understand.

    Who’s leftier, though?

    And it’s not that we don’t understand your morals. The problem is that you have bad morals.

  15. #16 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    Hey, Brett, Brian linked to that article in the previous thread.

    I’m not sure what a ‘doctorate in evaluation’ is, but with nine degrees, Jerry Bergman must be qualified to talk about evolution. (I have two, which I assume qualify me to talk about theology–it’s like philosophy, only really stupid. Nonetheless, churches have been expelling people from their ranks if they refuse to tow the party line. For instance, do you know that in many churches, you can’t be a priest if you’re a woman? In many cases, they’ll laugh you out of the seminary if you even admit you don’t believe in God. This by the people who are supposedly looking into ‘The Truth.’)

  16. #17 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    Ahh…brings back misty water-colored memories of my days as a teen during my brief-but-intense flirtation with Xianity….Christian summer camp…singing “I Just Wanna be a Sheep” (yes, this is a real and non-ironic Xian song)….the promise of a being who would love me unconditionally even though I couldn’t love myself, so long as I was willing to just believe and accept that love…good times…or not.

  17. #18 charley
    April 28, 2008

    I think it’s more like a vaccine. Once you are inoculated with atheism and critical thinking skills, religious ideas won’t make it past your rational antibodies.

  18. #19 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    I’m wondering how many local newspapers assigned their science writer to the movie, as opposed to the religious writer? I’ve been looking around and I’ve only seen movie critics and religious writers in the local papers. I’ll keep looking though. Any reports?

  19. #20 Leukocyte
    April 28, 2008

    “Yearn not for earthly goods and pleasures. Cast off this taint, and become taintless.” – Stormy, Sealab 2021

    But seriously, that story is astounding. You’d have to be pretty gullible to swallow the author’s story about his alcoholic clown father…

  20. #21 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#20 Leukocyte —

    But seriously, that story is astounding. You’d have to be pretty gullible to swallow the author’s story about his alcoholic clown father…

    Gullible, or psychologically/emotionally desperate. Believe me, I’ve been there. It isn’t pretty.

  21. #22 Kermit
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny @12, I don’t understand the morality of the fundamentalists, and I was raised as one. It seems to consist of a hatred for the Other, a loathing of reality, and a profound terror of introspection (“If I’m wrong, I’ll die!”). Genuine compassion was uncommon, and the foundation for their moral code seemed to be authority and fear. Taibbi described the mindset perfectly.

    You may see Paris Hilton and Britney as the alluring succubi of the World Out There, but those of us who live in the world see them – if at all – as insipid and boring.

    Morality isn’t about what kind of sex you have – it’s how you treat other people.

  22. #23 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    >And it’s not that we don’t understand your morals. The
    >problem is that you have bad morals.

    Who decides who’s morals are bad? Hitler might think murder is fine. That doesn’t seem like a really good way to run your life. The Bible is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?

  23. #24 Kermit
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny @12, I don’t understand the morality of the fundamentalists, and I was raised as one. It seems to consist of a hatred for the Other, a loathing of reality, and a profound terror of introspection (“If I’m wrong, I’ll die!”). Genuine compassion was uncommon, and the foundation for their moral code seemed to be authority and fear. Taibbi described the mindset perfectly.

    You may see Paris Hilton and Britney as the alluring succubi of the World Out There, but those of us who live in the world see them – if at all – as insipid and boring.

    Morality isn’t about what kind of sex you have – it’s how you treat other people.

  24. #25 Brad
    April 28, 2008

    Matt Taibbi is the best thing to happen to print journalism since Hunter S. Thompson.

  25. #26 PatrickHenry
    April 28, 2008

    #8 by Glen D: “We have to hope that they will not become dangerous(I mean in an Al Qaida or Taliban sense)–and they may not, but it should not be considered to be an impossibility.”

    Not impossible at all. Fanatics blow up abortion clinics, military recruiting stations, banks — all kinds of things. Whatever the guru tells them is eeeeevil. No reason why some group of morons wouldn’t blow up someone’s lab. Bound to happen. Hey, isn’t that pretty much what the unibomber was doing? But he was just a one-man cult.

  26. #27 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    Who decides who’s morals are bad? Hitler might think murder is fine. That doesn’t seem like a really good way to run your life. The Bible is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?

    Oh no. Not this one again.

    Where do I get my morals from? Empathy and experience. In existential terms, the struggle to be a being for-itself-for-others.

    And guess what? You get your morals from the same place. Ever wonder how you decide which parts of the bible to take literally, which parts are outdated (slavery, inferiority of women, etc), which parts are figurative statements on how to live your life? That’s right — based on empathy and experience. Either your own or that of your pastor, who may interpret the bible for you.

    And seriously, if we’re going to be biblical…as SteveM pointed out in Comment 53 of Depressing lunacy, presented passionately, you believe man ate from the tree of knowledge and good and evil. That means you, too have that knowledge. Use it. Please. And save the world from having another mroally blind religious sociopath endangering us all….

  27. #28 Jason W
    April 28, 2008

    #23: For myself, I got my morals from the same place you did, really: I got them from my life’s support structure, from the authority figures in my life, and my peer group. That’s where morals and ethics really come from, we just find things after the fact to point at to help justify why these things make sense.

  28. #29 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    I don’t think you understand Kermit. Nobody who is a real Christian hates homosexuals. Homosexuals are just like everyone else. God loves the sinner but does not like the Sin. Homosexuality is a sin just like cheating on your wife is a sin. A sin is the same in God’s eyes.

    The only issue is that some people take a sin and make it into a lifestyle of sin instead of asking forgiveness.

    If I cheated on my wife for example, that is adultry, that is sin. Now if I took this and made it into a lifestyle many of you would think that it is not wrong at all.

    It is not me judging sin, it is that the Bible says that it is a sin and when you do not turn away from that and not ask forgiveness and just do it day after day after day then there is a problem.

    Many people who are unsaved or they don’t believe in God think they can make up their own rules. Well since they have nothing to back their morality up against then they can be corrupted.

    Many people on here think that if you think Homosexuality is a sin that you are spreading hate, even if you want homosexuals to come to God and confess their sins. You could do no physical or mental harm to a person who is a homosexual, but because you offer to pray for them and you say that it is a sin somehow you have become a hateful person. I don’t agree with that but it is the part of the whatever goes culture.

    “Basically, who are you to tell me that what I am doing in my life is sin and thus it is wrong.” This is the kind of attitude that is in here. I don’t have to say nothing but it is the Bible that clearly says it. So God is now full of hate speech?

  29. #30 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2008

    Homosexuality is a sin just like cheating on your wife is a sin. A sin is the same in God’s eyes.
    The only issue is that some people take a sin and make it into a lifestyle of sin instead of asking forgiveness.

    F.O.A.D.

  30. #31 barkdog
    April 28, 2008

    To Brett: In my part of NW Ohio, the Blade (I love the double reference to Tagesblatt and Moorish sword making in that name) is regarded as a liberal rag. Fortunately, my local paper hasn’t picked up on Expelled yet, or we would be reading really laudatory reviews.

  31. #32 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    #27 was directed @#23 Kenny. Also to #23 Kenny:

    You know, the morality of the Bible (or any other text that claims objective moral knowledge) really isn’t a good way to go up against Hitler.

    You say: “God says what you’re doing is wrong.”
    Hitler says: “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord…” (Mein Kampf).

    Unless you have a direct line to God, which I seriously doubt, there’s no hope for resolution of this argument.

    With a secular humanist moral code that is up for rational discussion and debate, there is.

  32. #33 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    The Bible is full of genocide and hatred for anyone not in the in-group. God is full of hate-speech, yes. I have more morals than the Biblical God, I don’t kill babies.

  33. #34 hje
    April 28, 2008

    Most religious groups exhibit some of the characteristics associated with cults. Usually it’s a matter of degree, and most don’t go as far as the Heaven’s Gate castration protocol. But I do know you can get some pretty scary group behavior/thinking even in your run-of-the-mill Protestant church.

    I modified a list that I found online (which I can’t find the URL for at the moment). I’ve seen a number of these characteristics even in evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant churches.

    1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry–or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar–or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    5. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    6. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    7. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    8. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    9. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    10. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    11. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    12. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

  34. #35 Owen
    April 28, 2008

    I was briefly involved with this sort of thing (what can I say, I was a callow youth) and I was struck by the way that any questions were always met with a set of pre-canned answers – and that there was a similarly short list of acceptable questions, which conveniently matched up with the acceptable answers. Further inquiry was tacitly discouraged. That’s why I slid from evangelicalism to Quakerism and now to atheism (though I still consider myself a “lapsed Quaker” for purposes of conscientious objection and so on).

  35. #36 drunkentune
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny,

    Excellent point; although, I must say, you don’t go far enough. I’d bet I follow the Bible far closer than you do: I abstain from shellfish, don’t wear clothing made from different kinds of thread, and recently sold my daughter into slavery for a good profit.

    If you don’t agree with me, Kenny, then you don’t get your ethics from the Bible, and are just as low as these here atheists!

  36. #37 Penny
    April 28, 2008

    Much as I support the general principle and intention behind including gay characters in soap operas, that video you linked to was waaaay corny. Real people don’t talk to each other like that!!! I didn’t even make it as far as the kissing.

    But then, I never watch soap operas.

  37. #38 Penny
    April 28, 2008

    Ha, ha, comment in the wrong thread. Sorry everyone, don’t know how that happened!

  38. #39 Susan
    April 28, 2008

    Once you reach that place with them, you’re thinking with muscles, not neurons.

    I know what he’s saying, but this isn’t really true. I’ve known some of these people and listened to them describe the ecstasy they feel– which is often couched in terms of “being in love with the Lord.” It seems very similar to me to the infinite oxytocin feedback loop set in motion by our brains when we fall in love with real people.

    We need some sort of nasal spray [perhaps disguised as a room deoderizer?] that disrupts the dopamine pathways in the reward system in the Fervently Faithfuls’ brains– at least until they’re able to calm down and figure out God just isn’t that into them.

  39. #40 Matt
    April 28, 2008

    @ #23: The Bible is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?

    From the way I was raised, and from concern for others, without the hope of Heaven or the threat of Hell. I care because caring is right, not because I’m told to under threat of eternal damnation.

    Without your Bible, without bribery or fear, where would your morals come from?

  40. #41 Jay
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny @#23 The Bible is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?

    The difference for me is, I got my morals from my family and loved ones. As I got older, I was able to think critically and determine my own morals and values. Part of that was realizing that being good feels good.

    The bible was written by man. Sure, there are some nice take-a-ways, but if you think the bible is the word of god, how do you reconcile all the inconsistencies and the really awful parts of it? Do you pick and choose?

    Also, I don’t think that being good out of fear of punishment is very moral at all.

  41. #42 hje
    April 28, 2008

    Most religious groups exhibit some of the characteristics associated with cults. Usually it’s a matter of degree, and most don’t go as far as the Heaven’s Gate castration protocol. But I do know you can get some pretty scary group behavior/thinking even in your run-of-the-mill Protestant church.

    I modified a list that I found online (which I can’t find the URL for at the moment). I’ve seen a number of these characteristics even in evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant churches.

    1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry–or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar–or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    5. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    6. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    7. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    8. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    9. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    10. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    11. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    12. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

  42. #43 Emmet Caulfield
    April 28, 2008

    Many people who are unsaved

    Maybe they upgraded to Person 2000 with the autosave feature so they don’t need to worry so much about it.

  43. #44 RobertC
    April 28, 2008

    At least there are some rational people left in the country. This DA is going to get it rough:

    :A couple who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes will be charged with second-degree reckless homicide, a prosecutor said Monday.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/28/prayer.death.ap/index.html

  44. #45 Jason W
    April 28, 2008

    Oops, I left out mentioning how we tend to internalize and adjust our own personal morals over time with experience and what not, but looks like Etha and others covered that well already.

  45. #46 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    So God is now full of hate speech?

    Are you joking? Have you never read the book?

    In a word, yes, yup, absolutely, unquestioningly, indeed, ja, oui, and .

    Here’s a quick guide to all of God’s hate speech.

    And for the record, Kenny, unless you’ve stoned your children to death for being disobedient, you most certainly don’t get your morality from the bible.

  46. #47 frog
    April 28, 2008

    Question: “The one obvious conclusion anyone making a demographic study of the Cornerstone Church population would come to would be that it’s a solidly middle-class crowd. These are folks who are comfortable eating off paper plates and drinking out of gallon jugs of Country Time iced tea over noisy dinners with their kids. They’re people who grew up in houses with back yards and fences, people with families. This particular journey to God is not a pastime for the idle rich or the urban obnoxious.”

    Why do Americans define working class people as middle-class? The description here is clearly not of “bourgeois” folks (they’re explicitly eliminated as “urban obnoxious”), but of working class and rural people. Not the sons of lawyers, doctors and academics, businessmen and local politicos – the traditional middle class, but of farmers and salesmen and factory workers.

    Doesn’t all this derangement begin with an inability to even describe social class transparently? How can you even be bitter, when you don’t even exist?

  47. #48 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, why do you hate Allah? Why do you reject his love? You know in your heart he’s there. I think you are just rejecting Allah’s morals so you can live a heathen lifestyle where you do what you wish. I see you letting your women run around uncovered.

    The Koran is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Koran is the word of Allah.

    It is not me judging sin, it is that the Koran says that it is a sin and when you do not turn away from that and not ask forgiveness and just do it day after day after day then there is a problem.

    Many people who are unsaved or they don’t believe in Allah think they can make up their own rules. Well since they have nothing to back their morality up against then they can be corrupted.

    Many people on here think that if you think uncovered women is a sin that you are spreading hate, even if you want uncovered women to come to Allah and confess their sins. You could do no physical or mental harm to a woman who is a uncovered, but because you offer to pray for them and you say that it is a sin somehow you have become a hateful person. I don’t agree with that but it is the part of the whatever goes culture.

    I don’t have to say nothing but it is the Koran that clearly says it. So Allah is now full of hate speech?

    Do see how your preaching sounds to us?

  48. #49 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    Oh, fuck. Kenny’s one of those homophobic douches who thinks the bible consists only of quotes prohibiting homosexuality.

    Ever had your money in a savings account, Ken? Guilty of usuary, and thus no better than a homosexual. After all, a sin is a sin is a sin in God’s eyes.

    Now why don’t you go and remove the log from thine own eye, thou hypocrite.

    Fuck me, but I cannot stand these half-Christians. Fucking pagans who sorta learned to read, that’s what they are.

  49. #50 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    You know, I used to believe that while unsupported by evidence and almost certainly untrue, theism is probably a good thing to help a lot of people to lead a moral life.

    Having discussed morality with people who actually believe that the only way to morality is through God’s divine word, though, I’m going to have to rescind that belief.

    Anyone who is incapable of acting morally without belief in divinely prescribed morals is, at his core, a sociopath. And theism just provides an excuse for such sociopathy.

    ((I’m not saying that all or even most theists are sociopaths — just that those who honestly would not be moral without the Bible/Qu’ran/etc are.))

  50. #51 apophenia
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny = parody, yes? Please?

  51. #52 Rey Fox
    April 28, 2008

    “Homosexuality is a sin just like cheating on your wife is a sin.”

    Why?

  52. #53 dreikin
    April 28, 2008

    Hm – I know what he means by the inside-outside self when in a place like that. It’s usually how I act when I go to church with my grandparents when I’m visiting..

    And did anyone else get the impression the pastor could probably speak Russian and knew what Matt was saying?

    Kenny: Unless you’re speaking of polygamy/polyamory – yes, most non-theists would consider cheating bad as well. As for the first two – read your old testament. God’s rather supportive of the notion (albeit, polygynously, rather than equally).

    “Well since they have nothing to back their morality up against” ahh…
    “1 Kings 22:23
    Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.”
    “2 Chronicles 18:22
    Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.”
    “Ezekiel 14:9
    And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.”
    “2 Thessalonians 2:11
    For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
    You seem to have a bit of a validity problem…

    “Many people on here think that if you think Homosexuality is a sin that you are spreading hate” For good reason – it’s an implicit value judgment that the person is less than someone else. True, it’s not necessarily _hate_ speech, but the point is the same.

    “So God is now full of hate speech?” Yes. Quite a bit of it. Again, read the old testament. Jesus may have been all well and good, but Yahweh, not so much. If you’re all-loving and such, why exactly would you build up an army to takeover a fair portion of the middle east from people who haven’t done anything TO your “chosen people”?

  53. #54 Numerical Thief
    April 28, 2008

    Maybe they upgraded to Person 2000 with the autosave feature so they don’t need to worry so much about it.

    You just made my life a little bit better.

  54. #55 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Goats are mentioned 170 times in the Old Testament. There is a clear goat theme to it. If you pinned me down and made me pick a practical use for the OT, it would be goat farming. Do you, Kenny, own a goat? How many people own goats these days? If God inspired the Bible, why was he so (coincidentally) fixated on goats as much as you would expect for a tribe of goat herders? He couldn’t replace just one off-hand statement about goats with a quick, “Hey, don’t hate on black people” or, “When you guys get democracy, let women vote too”. Nah, he was too busy talkin’ about goats.

  55. #56 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#43 Emmet Caulfield —

    Maybe they upgraded to Person 2000 with the autosave feature so they don’t need to worry so much about it.

    Door-to-door missionaries once asked my parents if they would like to be “salvaged.” It was hilarious.

  56. #57 frog
    April 28, 2008

    Brownian: “Fuck me, but I cannot stand these half-Christians. Fucking pagans who sorta learned to read, that’s what they are.”

    So which is worse, semi-literate pagans who picked up just enough of Judaism to be dangerous, literate pagans who cut Judaism to it’s meanest parts, or 3rd century monarchists who grabbed the traditional literature and purged out anything that didn’t justify a totalitarian theocratic state?

    It seems that the more they learn to read, the more dangerous they get… Someday, I wonder if the Tao Te Ching isn’t right – keep the people illiterate, and society will be harmonious.

  57. #58 Larry
    April 28, 2008

    So if I understand Kenny correctly, the only thing keeping him from going out whoring, participating in wholesale slaughter, offering his daughter to the mob beating on his door if only they’ll go away, or participating in anonymous homosexual activities in an airport restroom in Minnesota is his fear of some sky pixie with a great white beard? His own sense of personal responsibility and ethics is so weak, fear alone compels him to behave?

    What a sorry excuse of a man he must be.

  58. #59 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    >how do you reconcile all the inconsistencies and the
    >really awful parts of it? Do you pick and choose?

    If you know how to read, it is not very difficult. There are laws that are from the old testament that are for the jews only at that time and there are more broader laws for everyone.

    Before you read the Bible, you have to understand it not by just taking one verse out of it, you have to examine it with other verses. So, it is multi-dimensional in that way.

    It is written by the hand of man, but the words are not of man, but of God.

    Many people claim they have read the Bible, but a lot of the time they do not understand that the Bible is crossed referenced with other verses to find answers to issues.

    Jesus was a real person on this planet. There is a lot of historical proof and not just from the Bible. Then there are witnesses to what he did and said. There are witnesses of his rising up from the grave. Jesus referenced people from the old testament.

    Now you may not believe and that is okay, but I do.

  59. #60 raven
    April 28, 2008

    kenny the Death Cult troll:

    Someone from the media who is leftest hates religion because they have a set of morals that they can’t understand.

    What morals. Death Cultists lie always, hate always, and sometimes kill. They kicked Christ and several of the 10 commandments to Jupiter with Russel’s teapot.

    BTW, your toxic brand of group think isn’t all Xian religion, just a swamp at the bottom of the hill.

    For extra credit. What is the name of your sect? Do you think the Rapture is coming?

  60. #61 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#59 Kenny —

    Now you may not believe and that is okay, but I do.

    It’s okay with you that I disbelieve and am, therefore, going to hell according to your own “good” book?

    Wow, you’re even more morally reprehensible than I thought.

  61. #62 Orac
    April 28, 2008

    “In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of anal fissures!”

    I wish he really could do that. As mundane as they sounds, anal fissures are nothing to laugh at–at least not if you have one. Patients with anal fissure are often quite miserable. Worse, non-surgeons often treat them for prolonged periods of time with Sitz baths and hemorrhoid creams, when instant relief can be had in the vast majority of cases with a simple surgical procedure called a lateral sphincterotomy. Any colorectal surgeon can do it, as can many general surgeons. (I did quite a few of them when I was a surgery resident, but none since I started to specialize in cancer surgery.)

  62. #63 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Intriguing…

    So you’re saying you have to cross-reference one goat reference to other goat references to discern proper goat care. I never thought of it that way. Multidimensional goat care.

    You keep saying God and Bible. I thought we settled on Allah and Koran. There is solid historical evidence for Mohammad (much more than for Jesus), so that PROVES my god.

  63. #64 Kermit
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny @29:
    Didn’t Jesus say that a rich man can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Do you hate rich people, or just folks who have sex that make s you feel yucky? The god you worship, an idol you have created for your own mind, more durable than stone, and a heart colder than steel, only punished two “sins” that I can see: disobeying him, and dissing his representatives. Slavery was OK with him, punishing children for the sins of their father was OK. He killed 42 children for mocking a high priest’s bald head; he killed a woman for glancing over her shoulder from curiosity. He is patterned after the Persian despots of old: cruel, capricious, and not to be questioned. You sound like an abused child – “Thank you Daddy, for not hitting me with that coat hanger again.”

    Nope, he doesn’t pass my test for common decency. Luckily he’s imaginary.

    This “objective” standard you use, the bible, was still chosen by you. You cannot escape responsibility for your moral behavior by claiming that you follow an authority, for you have to accept that authority.

    You think our morality is relativistic, and we would accept any “lifestyle”? No, I would not accept the slave-owning my grandpa reminisced about. Half my family are Southern Baptists, a denomination formed to preserve slavery in America. Of course, most of the present generation would reject slavery, altho there’s no biblical injunction against it. Even the Baptists are better people than their god, these days. Eternal truths come and go, I guess.

    This godless heathen will reject a moral code that demands that a rapist of a virgin be “punished” by her being given to him as a sex slave, or “wife” as they so jovially referred to it in the old days.

    I have been an atheist since I was thirteen, and no longer have the luxury of committing crimes against other people, then asking a god for forgiveness in private. If I wrong someone, I have to make it right (often not possible), and can’t be forgiven by anybody but them.

    As I said in the first post, morality isn’t what kind of sex you have; it’s how you treat other people. Betraying your spouse in any manner is wrong; I don’t need the threat of eternal torture to understand that. And I don’t give a damn if the two guys next door are gay. If you do, that’s *your fevered obsession with other folks’ sex lives. If it bothers you, seek treatment.

    The bible is a big Roschach inkblot anyway. God always reflects the morality of any particular worshipper.

  64. #65 baryogenesis
    April 28, 2008

    Brett @11: Thanks for the heads-up on the [Expletive] movie coverage in the old home-town rag. The most interesting thing about the review to me was to learn that Sean Carroll was a St. Francis boy! Ha! Anyway, it was a typical wishy-washy review by a reporter who believes he is being fair. “To be fair”, maybe the usual movie critic for the paper wouldn’t touch it.

  65. #66 Hank Fox
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, near as I can tell, there is NO independent evidence of the existence of the guy. I really doubt that any such specific individual existed.

  66. #67 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#63 Dennis N —

    You keep saying God and Bible. I thought we settled on Allah and Koran. There is solid historical evidence for Mohammad (much more than for Jesus), so that PROVES my god.

    Hey now. Don’t get too sure of yourself. There’s far more evidence for the existence of L. Ron Hubbard than for Muhammad OR Jesus. Obviously, Scientology is the One True Religion.

  67. #68 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    Nah, he was too busy talkin’ about goats.

    Those are metaphors, Dennis. Obviously, you don’t understand biblical exegesis. Basically, the bible is to be interpreted like this: All statements are indicative of God’s love, especially the ones in which he comes across as a hate-mongerer (see: Old Testament). Things that God says is bad that other people do are literal commandments. Things that God says is bad that you do are metaphors. Also, stuff that makes no sense, or clearly contradicts what we know about the earth (rabbits chew their cud; Pi=3) are metaphors. All the stuff about goats are metaphors. So are the proscriptions against usury, wearing mixed fabrics or owning slaves (the latter only since the abolition of slavery in the US.) The bit about not lying with another guy as with a women, however are literal and absolute. The rest of it is just history, which, since it cannot be correlated with any other extant texts, should be massaged and interpreted as loosely as necessary to make the book not sound like it’s completely unlikely that an omniscient being would have written it.

    Ta daa! God is true, and everybody else who disagrees (including other fundamentalists of different denominations) is wrong.

  68. #69 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    >fear alone compels him to behave?

    It’s not fear. The entire point of trying to be like Christ is what the entire point is all about.

    You know, that is what Christians are all about. They are people who are not perfect but trying to be like Christ. Christians sin as well, there is no difference. They just pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins, but the entire object is to try to better ourselves to be more like Christ in those ways and to worship him because he is the savior and creator of the universe.

    I know that you don’t believe any of this and you will bring up the FSM or whatever. However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.

  69. #70 Mena
    April 28, 2008

    There is a lot of historical proof and not just from the Bible.

    Where Kenny? Do I just have to have faith in your word on this? Please tell us all about this ample proof.

  70. #71 raven
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny the Death Cult Troll:

    Before you read the Bible, you have to understand it not by just taking one verse out of it, you have to examine it with other verses. So, it is multi-dimensional in that way.

    It is written by the hand of man, but the words are not of man, but of God.

    Shorter Kenny. Pick and choose, quote mine, and Make Stuff Up.

    No such thing as a biblical literalist. The book has hundreds of contradictions. Routine creo BS.

  71. #72 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    My eyes are open and waiting for any evidence you have. While you enlighten us, could you please please explain that episode where Jesus kills a fig tree because it doesn’t have fruit. I need to kill fig tree too, to be like Christ.

  72. #73 hje
    April 28, 2008

    If you know how to read [the Bible], it is not very difficult.

    “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.” Joshua 6:21

    So it is easy for you to construe the divinely-ordained slaughter @ Jericho as not being genocide? Or would you say, “They needed killin’ “?

  73. #74 Mena
    April 28, 2008

    Oh, and Kenny, being gay is no more of a “lifestyle choice” than my being left handed is or your being a gullible sanctimonious twit is. The only people who may be “cured” of their homosexuality are the ones who are probably not gay and those who have the luxury of having a “choice” are actually bisexual.

  74. #75 Mosasaurus rex
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny: “There are witnesses of (Jesus) rising up from the grave.”

    Ah, no. Stories, yes.

    I used to be a Christian, Kenny; I even wanted to be a pastor when I was young. But now I’m an atheist. Why? Because I felt that if Christianity were true, it should be able to answer any and all challenges- really answer them in a fair and clear manner, not just avoid them.

    People don’t rise again from the dead. The next time you attend a funeral, take a really long, hard look at the corpse. Dead is dead. Jesus is dead. And he ain’t coming back.

  75. #76 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Also to be like Christ, I should keep my mouth shut about centuries of slavery of Africans that I know is coming, not speak a word about womens’ suffrage, and forget to provide my followers with the evidence needed to get ID accepted into science. However I will stand by and let my name be used to slaughter millions.

  76. #77 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#69 Kenny —

    I know that you don’t believe any of this and you will bring up the FSM or whatever. However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.

    Kenny, as a teenager I had a lot of mental and emotional problems, and for a while turned to religion for comfort. When my inherent rationality objected, I tried to ignore it. I prayed to a God I desperately wanted to believe in to allow me to have faith. I read religious texts, talked to religious leaders.

    None of it worked, and I *really* *really* wanted to believe.

    Kind of makes you wonder….

  77. #78 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    You know, that is what Christians are all about. They are people who are not perfect but trying to be like Christ. Christians sin as well, there is no difference. They just pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins, but the entire object is to try to better ourselves to be more like Christ in those ways and to worship him because he is the savior and creator of the universe.

    Then, why, with all of your divine guidance, are you guys so shitty at bettering yourselves? Even Gandhi admitted he would have been a Christian except that he’d already met so many of them.

    I know that you don’t believe any of this and you will bring up the FSM or whatever.

    Then why are you wasting our time? Trying to earn ass-kissing points with JC? Given how hard it is to enter the kingdom of heaven, I’d think you’d have better things to do with your time to emulate Jesus, like feeding or clothing the poor. Nowhere in the bible does Jesus say that pestering atheists on blogs earns you any St. Peter Points whatsoever.

    However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.

    See my post about exegesis above.

  78. #79 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#59 Kenny —

    If you know how to read, it is not very difficult

    Really! Could you please tell that to all the sects who have, throughout the last two millenia, persecuted and killed each other because apparently, some of them did not know how to read?

    Apparently the need for literacy is greater than I thought….

  79. #80 Rebecca
    April 28, 2008

    Etha pointed out something very important which the religious often forget or disavow. Anyone who does not or cannot act morally is by definition a sociopath, as in having a neurological disorder. Humans have an innate moral sense (this has been shown scientifically) that essentially breaks down to do unto others… It is an evolutionary side effect of the kind of advanced social living of early hominins, itself evolved from kin selection and reinforced by emotions. When groups advocate murder of other groups on a mass scale it is by dehumanizing them, as otherwise humans are naturally adverse to this. It has nothing to do with belief in God. The morality that most religious people discuss are more like the cultural norms of the time their holy book was written, and while many simply elaborate on the ‘golden rule’ others are entirely arbitrary.

  80. #81 sabrina
    April 28, 2008

    “Nowhere in the bible does Jesus say that pestering atheists on blogs earns you any St. Peter Points whatsoever.”

    I believe its in the same part of the bible where Jesus reminds his followers to bomb abortion clinics, put the Ten Commandments up in courthouses, whine about a “war on Christmas”, torture people from other countries, and only watch Fox News. Oh yeah, and protest the ACLU.

  81. #82 Tex
    April 28, 2008

    Homosexuality is a sin just like cheating on your wife is a sin.

    If I cheat on my wife with a dude, does that count as one sin or two?

    My interest is purely academic. Really.

  82. #83 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    God loves Atheists and wants them to know him.

    It isn’t God rejecting atheists, it is atheists
    that reject God. God wants a relationship with them.

    However, they are so closed minded that they can’t see that.

    For example, when I sin. It’s not God that is responsible for that, it is me. I am a flawed being and sin comes in the way between God and me. When I ask forgiveness of that sin and I try to turn away from that sin, then I am forgiven by God.

    Everything you do, is being recorded down here on earth.
    You may scoff at that and not believe it. Again, it does not matter that you do not believe in God. God has the ultimate recorder and all that you do good or bad is being recorded for you to see later when juding time comes.

    I could say that I don’t believe in nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t really mean anything because they exist and some day I will find out that I was wrong. I was making a point here. I do believe that there are nuclear weapons.

    If you are an Atheist that is okay, but if you are being millitant than you really are not better than the worst of what you cry about on here.

  83. #84 Larry
    April 28, 2008

    However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.

    Sure it does, Kenny. You and your fellow cultists offer absolutely no evidence of a god or gods. You simply choose to wallow in the fear of some divine retribution that a bunch of shepards wrote down on sheep parchment and believe you’re being holy. Well, that is absolutely of no concern to me for I don’t really give a flying fuck what you believe to be true. What I do care about is when you and your fellow cultists insist that everyone must behave according to your dictates or face the wrath of your big kahuna in the sky.

  84. #85 Blake Stacey
    April 28, 2008

    Tex (#82):

    If I cheat on my wife with a dude, does that count as one sin or two?

    Supposing I were married to another man (I live in Massachusetts), if I cheated on him with a dude, would that count as three sins?

    1 gay sex + 1 infidelity + 1 gay sex = 3 sins

    Or does the marriage part cancel out, leaving a reduced total?

    1 gay sex – (1 marriage) + 1 infidelity + 1 gay sex = 2 sins

    Or does subverting the Institution of Marriage count as an extra sin?

    1 gay sex + 1 un-American marriage + 1 infidelity + 1 gay sex = 4 sins

    Or is a same-sex marriage a false marriage, which can’t really be cheated on. . . oh, the places you’ll go, and the permutations you’ll know!

  85. #86 Sastra
    April 28, 2008

    Very interesting article.

    The first thing that struck me is the thing that always strikes me when I read stories about charismatic religions where people cast out demons, speak in tongues, deny tenets of modern science, and happily divide the world between the Saved and the Damned: these people are usually considered more mainstream than I am. They’re part of the One Nation Under God, the great brigade of Faith — and I’m an atheist, and that’s “weird.” What must it be like, to not believe in God?

    Even the more reasonable, liberal and humanistic versions of religion tend to see atheism as an “extreme” — in some cases, they happily make it the equivalent flip side of the sort of retreat Tabbibi writes about. Not believing in anything supernatural is supposed to be just as bad as believing in too much. The God Delusion is set up as the wild-eyed, ranting, frothing counterpart to tent revival demon exorcism. The middle can then feel vindicated, and faith is rescued from the fanatics.

    The other thing I kept thinking about as I read the article was psychologist John Schumaker’s explanation of religion as similar to hypnotism and pathology, in that — when done the “right” way — it induces disassociative states in the brain which are highly pleasing, highly addictive, and often quite healthy in the way they help the individual bond with a group and cope with personal problems. Sounds like the people running the retreat here have figured out how to satisfy the craving for transcendent experiences.

  86. #87 omar ali
    April 28, 2008

    Religion too has to be “empirically adequate”…the question is: empirically adequate for what? Scientists tend to assume that religion is about true descriptions of the material world. I would suggest that while religion makes statements about the world that appear to be about “material stuff” like the origin of the universe, astrophysics, etc, that is NOT their main concern. Their main concern is social organization, group identity, etc and they are pretty good at that. Almost certainly better than most explicitly fascist parties in history. And the Semitic religions do it better than “pagan” religions. Which is why they are displacing the pagans (with the interesting exception of Japan, whose non-semitic “japaneseness” formula seems remarkably resistant to semitic religion). Its true that the nuttier fringes are actively anti-science and in a rapidly advancing world, they will probably not do too well in the power game if they dont adapt. But then, how long would scientifically literate Dawkins or Dennet survive without a framework of nation-states and armies that owes more to our superstitious and delusional history than it does to the scientific method?
    My point is that the irrationality of religion looks less irrational when you change the frame of the question. Telling people tall tales about creator gods and their ridiculous demands may be a very rational (short term) strategy if it is effective (relatively) at getting you more followers and more MOTIVATED followers. Religion is more rational than many of the people on this blog seem to think and it is ALSO less “ethical”, if by ethical one means some kind “touchy-feely liberal niceness”. In their stronger group-minded versions, the two most successful religions are cold-bloodedly rational about getting followers and keeping them (remember, in mainstream Islam, the punishment for apostasy is death). I would add that a lot of post-enlightenment Christianity clearly has a more individual and “spiritual” bent and we are not talking about that. I am thinking of the really aggressive, organized groups, like most muslim sects and evangelical christianity…..the sufi/quaker/reform/post-christian types are also rational about getting followers and keeping them, but their product is aimed at personal and individual salvation (like psychotherapy) and has a much weaker group component..and so on. got to run.

  87. #88 MartinM
    April 28, 2008

    It isn’t God rejecting atheists, it is atheists
    that reject God. God wants a relationship with them.

    Well, all he’s got to do is ask. If he’s all-knowing, he alread knows what it will take for me to believe. And if he’s all-powerful, he can provide it. And yet I don’t believe. Therefore, either he is not all-powerful, or he is not all-knowing, or he does not want me to believe. Pick one.

  88. #89 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#83 Kenny —

    I could say that I don’t believe in nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t really mean anything because they exist and some day I will find out that I was wrong. I was making a point here. I do believe that there are nuclear weapons.

    Bad analogy. You fail.

    Nuclear weapons are material, natural things (natural in the sense that they can be objectively observed by naturalistic means, not in the sense that they grow out of nature…). Your alleged ‘God’ is an immaterial, supernatural thing that cannot be objectively observed or proven. Unless you have some new proof that you’d like to tell us about?

  89. #90 gex
    April 28, 2008

    Have you ever noticed how the ONLY prohibition in the Bible that must not ever be tempered by context or new understanding on the human condition is homosexuality? Death penalty? Check. Divorce? Check. We’ve all seen the email to Dr. Laura asking which of the other rules of Leviticus we should apply to our daily lives.

    I myself noticed how we had to move the St. Patrick’s day celebration so that we could all still get plastered even though it fell during Holy Week this year. I guess most of the beliefs of the Bible are malleable. Except the gay thing, of course.

    I also notice that the gay thing is such an easy rule to follow to get into God’s good graces when you have no urge to be gay. You notice that shellfish was banned, not brussel sprouts. Trust me when I say that brussel sprouts would still be evil if the Bible said so. But that luxury food item of lobster? Serve it up!

    Get over it Kenny. It isn’t on the Ten Commandments, it isn’t one of the 7 Deadly Sins, and it plays WAY to big a role in your idea of what a good vs. bad person is.

    Somehow I think I could have written the current American Christian Bible in one line: “Teh gay is evil.”

  90. #91 Dee
    April 28, 2008

    You do a lot of talking for God, Kenny. How do you know what God thinks or feels? Is this something you know in your heart of hearts, or did God tell you this himself? Or did you hear it second-hand, from someone else?

    You remind me of the twenty-something missionaries I run into sometimes. They want to tell me all about life and how to live it. I look at them and think ‘I’m older than the two of you put together – what makes you think you have anything to say to me I haven’t already considered or experienced?’

    So tell me Kenny, what makes you think you have anything to say to me about God that I haven’t already considered or experienced? What I see in your remarks is arrogance, ignorance and no substance, all rolled up into one.

  91. #92 AlanWCan
    April 28, 2008

    Cosa Nostra of the soul

    Man, that’s a beautiful expression – what a great way to explain it.
    I will be stealing that shamelessly.

  92. #93 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2008

    I’m throwing my early vote in for Etha Williams for the next MO.

    God loves Atheists and wants them to know him.

    It isn’t God rejecting atheists, it is atheists
    that reject God. God wants a relationship with them.

    No Kenny. Atheists aren’t rejecting god. Atheist have found no compelling evidence for the existence of any higher being. Be that your god, Thor, Allah, Galactus or anything. You can not reject something that doesn’t exist.

    I could say that I don’t believe in nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t really mean anything because they exist and some day I will find out that I was wrong. I was making a point here. I do believe that there are nuclear weapons

    Sorry Kenny but that line of argument is just silly. I (as well as the families of 140,000 dead residents of Hiroshima) can show you evidence of nuclear weapons. It’s quite simple actually. Now, please show me evidence of Quetzcoatl. No? Ok I’ll settle for your version of a higher being.

  93. #94 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#86 Sastra —

    The other thing I kept thinking about as I read the article was psychologist John Schumaker’s explanation of religion as similar to hypnotism and pathology, in that — when done the “right” way — it induces disassociative states in the brain which are highly pleasing, highly addictive, and often quite healthy in the way they help the individual bond with a group and cope with personal problems. Sounds like the people running the retreat here have figured out how to satisfy the craving for transcendent experiences.

    As someone who once turned to religion in order to find a group (and a higher loving being) that I could bond with and that would allow me to cope with personal psychological & emotional problems, I can vouch for at least the subjective truth of this claim. I still remember one time, singing with the church choir, when I truly felt as though I was being touched by the divine.

    But that feeling doesn’t even come close to the wonder I feel when I look out at the natural world, with all its chaos and complexity, and realize how incredibly awesome the universe is and how tiny, fleeting, but beautiful our place in it. (Yes, I’m a sappy idealistic atheist. Sometimes I cry while reading my molecular biology textbook.)

  94. #95 kcrady
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny:

    Imagine that you have a dog, and you catch your dog doing something bad, like digging in the garbage, or pooping in the house. In a furious rage, you rig up some way to subject the dog to permanent, continuous agony. For ten years, you listen pitilessly to the dog’s howls and wails of anguish with gritted teeth, saying, “You deserve it, you bastard!” Finally, at the end of a decade, your wrath against the dog is appeased at last, and you put the dog out of his misery.

    You’d have to be awfully mad at that dog to do something like that, wouldn’t you? Take a moment to try to imagine what kind of fury and wrath that would take. I’ll wait.

    ……

    ……

    OK, now, traditional Christian doctrine teaches that Yahweh, the Creator of the cosmos and everything in it will accept one, and only one form of sexual behavior: marriage between a man and a woman(1) in which the man is dominant. Anything else is such an abomination to Yahweh, so utterly repulsive to him, that if someone has sex under any other circumstances and dies without repenting of it, that Yahweh will torture them in Hell forever. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. For the teenage girl who gives her virginity to her boyfriend, and is killed by a drunk driver the same night–the first ten trillion years of anguish are only the beginning.

    According to Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels, even the mere thought of an illicit sex act is as bad as the act, so if she merely thinks about it and is killed on her way to the Prom, endless eons of suffering are her destiny.

    Needless to say, the homosexuals are toast.

    Now, imagine just how furious and angry Yahweh would have to be to keep the torment going, on and on and on and on and on, forever and ever, throughout all eternity. Yahweh will never, ever, ever be at peace. Throughout the eons of his own immortal life, he will forever be seething with wrath, because people had sex in the wrong way.

    Now: if Yahweh hates all other forms of sexuality with such furious passion…why did he “Intelligently Design” so many of his creatures to commit abominable sexual practices? Some animals, like bonobo chimps, are wildly promiscuous. Some types of fish can change their sex, when no opposite sex mates are available. The biology expert-types around here could give you plenty of examples of creatures that do not mate “one male, one female, male dominant.” The black widow spider and the praying mantis (to give two from my layman’s knowledge of biology) are about as far from the Christian Patriarchal Ideal as one could hope to get.

    At the very least, we would expect Yahweh to Intelligently Design all his animals to mate in the proper way, so we humans would recognize what sort of sex was “natural” and what wasn’t.

    So, Kenny…why did Yahweh make black widow spiders?

    NOTES:

    1. Yahweh seems to have tolerated polygamy for many centuries before sending Jesus to impose monogamy. Unless you’re a Mormon who dresses like a Little House on the Prarie Re-enactor, in which case polygamy is still OK.

  95. #96 hje
    April 28, 2008

    Everything you do, is being recorded down here on earth.

    Recorded down here on earth? Is this the apocryphal story about how you can recover past sounds from walls? If so, I refer you to MythBusters episode 62.

    If you really believe in an omnipotent God, why do you believe he has to have recording technology to keep track of things?

    It sounds like your theology comes more from Jack Chick than JC.

  96. #97 gex
    April 28, 2008

    #44 –
    I like how they relied on God’s will. Right up until she died.
    Then they tried man’s techniques of CPR.

    I might have a bit more respect for the religious (not much but a bit) if they didn’t act as though they feared death every bit as much as atheists did. I know why I fear death. This is the only life I get. Why do they fear it when this is just our temporary, painful death before the blissful afterlife? If they don’t believe in it enough to welcome death, then why should I?

  97. #98 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    From the Random Quote that came up on the page when clicked here:

    “Hell is an outrage on humanity. When you tell me that your Deity made you in his own image, I reply that he must have been very ugly.”

    -Victor Hugo

  98. #99 gribley
    April 28, 2008

    “The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.”
    Paul Feyerabend

  99. #100 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2008

    You may scoff at that and not believe it. Again, it does not matter that you do not believe in God. God has the ultimate recorder and all that you do good or bad is being recorded for you to see later when juding time comes.

    I could say that I don’t believe in nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t really mean anything because they exist and some day I will find out that I was wrong. I was making a point here. I do believe that there are nuclear weapons.

    For which one do we have evidence of existence?

  100. #101 decrepitoldfool
    April 28, 2008

    @Dennis N: “Goats are mentioned 170 times in the Old Testament. There is a clear goat theme to it. If you pinned me down and made me pick a practical use for the OT, it would be goat farming… Nah, he was too busy talkin’ about goats.”

    It’s all so clear now. Like a modern-day leader who couldn’t tend to urgent business because he was too busy reading a story about a goat. WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE GOATS, RELIGIOUS PEOPLE!?

  101. #102 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    Be that your god, Thor, Allah, Galactus or anything.

    I’ll just mention that Galactus has the balls to show up and talk to the Earth. He even sent a Herald. The Silver Surfer could be like Jesus. Except the Surfer decided to turn on his evil God and help drive him away. If only Jesus had done that, I would follow him. As is, I still feel the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, is the truth, the light, and the way. A much better fictional character.

  102. #103 Slaughter
    April 28, 2008

    From Kenny: God loves Atheists and wants them to know him.
    It isn’t God rejecting atheists, it is atheists
    that reject God. God wants a relationship with them.

    Yes, Kenny, but I don’t want a relationship with god, so do you know how I can get through to Her that I’m tired of the drunken calls at 3 a.m. from Her about wanting “a relationship”? I keep telling Her it’s not going to work out…

  103. #104 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    As is, I still feel the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, is the truth, the light, and the way.

    Uh-oh. What’s the punishment for looking at Nova and getting all tingly at the age of 13? ‘Cause, I…um…totally knew a guy who did that.

  104. #105 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 28, 2008

    how do you reconcile all the inconsistencies and the really awful parts of it? Do you pick and choose?

    If you know how to read, it is not very difficult. There are laws that are from the old testament that are for the jews only at that time and there are more broader laws for everyone.

    Before you read the Bible, you have to understand it not by just taking one verse out of it, you have to examine it with other verses. So, it is multi-dimensional in that way.

    It IS difficult, Kenny. Many minds sharper than yours have been hard at work at both testaments and found what they regarded as the truth. Then they raised swords against those who had read the same words and interpreted them differently.

    In my country men have killed each other over matters such as the presence of altar rails in churches, or disagreements over the divinity of Mary, mother of Christ. Arguments all falling out from textual analysis of the ‘Good Book’s’ text. Clearly, it is more difficult than you claim to discern the truth of this vile text. If it was easy then fewer godly men would have been slaughtered over matters of doctrine.

    It still comes down to this: you cherry pick what you like from the bible and reject the rest. You find much of the bible’s doctrine to be onerous and avoid that which is uncongenial to you.

    Or in simpler words: you pulled it out of your arse. Or you let your pastor do it for you.

  105. #106 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    >For which one do we have evidence of existence?

    Both. We know that evidence exists for both of them.
    We know there is physical evidence of Nuclear weapons.

    For God, we have all kinds of resources. From Bible prophecy that has come to pass (such as Israel being reborn) and that a messiah would come and die for our sins.

    We have historical evidence of Jesus here on earth (Google it), we also have eyewitnesses to the death and resurection of Jesus. There were Romans mocking Jesus so people can’t all be delusional in what they saw.

    We also have the dead sea scrolls, and shroud of turin. We also have NDE (near death studies) from people who have died and come back to tell us that God exists.

    There is more evidence than anyone needs to decide for themselves.

  106. #107 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2008

    shroud of turin.

    Are you fucking insane?

    Sorry, the evidence is in. You are.

  107. #108 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#105 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood —

    It still comes down to this: you cherry pick what you like from the bible and reject the rest. You find much of the bible’s doctrine to be onerous and avoid that which is uncongenial to you.

    I think there are two sorts of cherry-picking that go on in modern interpreters of the bible. The first is the sort you described, and is probably the sort Kenny (and his pastor/church) practice. The second is using man’s ability to discern good and evil through empathy and experience to pick and choose those parts that should be followed and those parts that are “out of date” and shouldn’t.

    In both cases, the actual theistic belief is superfluous. In the first case, a demented sociopath could have come up with a set of morals that conveniently suit himself just fine without the help of a “god”; and in the second case, an honest secular humanist could have come up with these same empathetic, experiential morals with no help from “god”. Both have been done.

  108. #109 Duncan
    April 28, 2008

    I apologize to everyone here, but I don’t have time today to read the ongoing Kenny saga. But since others are still in the heat of the ‘debate’, I must ask this for a future skirmish.

    Is there any shortcut we can use to address the tedious claims of religious people in regards to morality, historical evidence for Jesus, biblical inerrency, and so on? A pre-compiled FAQ for each of the repetitive talking points, which can be universally referenced in any discussion here or elsewhere. Something like, “Kenny – bible-based morailty: see 12.1 through 12.9.” It just seems like so much wasted effort to go through this over and over again each time a new troll shows up and lobs the grenades…

  109. #110 Nibien
    April 28, 2008

    Ah, Kenny

    Proving absolutely every negative stereotype about Christians singlehandedly.

    I applaud you, sir.

  110. #111 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    We don’t have to Google something you make a claim to. You have to Google it and present it. Why do religious people not understand burden of proof?

    Bible prophecy = bullsh*t. I too could write a story with prophecies that fulfill themselves within my story. Even then, there are many failed prophecies in the Bible.

    We have no evidence of Jesus. None. We have an unreliable story referencing eyewitnesses, but that is all.

    The dead sea scrolls are older copies of the story. All fiction goes through some revisions. The shroud of turin is a fake. Sorry to break it to you.

    Near death experiences are caused by oxygen deprivation.

    What else you got?

  111. #112 Jack Rawlinson
    April 28, 2008

    I read this marvellous article a few days ago. Both hilarious and scary. Taibbi’s always been a great read.

  112. #113 frog
    April 28, 2008

    I always favor this line of argument (thank you Kenny!):
    “For example, when I sin. It’s not God that is responsible for that, it is me. I am a flawed being and sin comes in the way between God and me. When I ask forgiveness of that sin and I try to turn away from that sin, then I am forgiven by God.”

    Such a jumble of incoherence is just precious. The omnipotent omniprescence creates a being to which he gives rules which will be broken (He Knows, he’s omnipotent and omnipresent). Then the little robot has to go and beg forgiveness from the maker for doing what he was made to do!

    It’s not like the doggy metaphor (even though that is a nice analogy of universal rage), since the doggy is an independent being with an individual will. It’s like building a little robot, and then destroying the little robot for following his programming. God as the Universal Five-Year Old! But that’s not even good enough – he then keeps on rebuilding the little robot, and smacks him again (and programs the little robot to beg for mercy).

    This God guy isn’t even a good sadist – that require independence of the victim. He’s just a galactic moron. Omniscience and omnipotence doesn’t imply omni-intelligence, I guess.

  113. #114 craig
    April 28, 2008

    “However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.”

    Just because you believe a god exists doesn’t mean that one does.

  114. #115 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    I apologize to everyone here, but I don’t have time today to read the ongoing Kenny saga. But since others are still in the heat of the ‘debate’, I must ask this for a future skirmish.

    I share your frustration, Duncan. It’s tedious, and the level of disinformation among these oh-so-earnest twits can really dampen a guy’s hope for humanity.

    These guys make me want to scream: “You’re like a child who wanders in in the middle of a movie and wants to know–YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING ELEMENT, KENNY!”

  115. #116 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    I often find the people most educated in religion are those who don’t believe it. Actually believing it precludes you from a lot of critical analysis of the text, and of history.

  116. #117 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2008

    YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING ELEMENT, KENNY!”

    And out of his league.

  117. #118 Kermitf
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny @83: “For example, when I sin. It’s not God that is responsible for that, it is me.” Ah, yes. When I was a wee tyke, a precocious bible-believin’ Fool for Christ®, it was drilled into me that if I messed up, it was My Fault. But if I did well, I should thank God for blessing me. It’s no wonder that fundamentalists have a problem with self esteem. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And if you think that you haven’t done anything wrong, then you’re being arrogant, and *that’s a sin.

    Tsk. It’s OK, I got better.

    No evidence for Yahweh, Kenny. Good thing, too, for the threat of eternal torture for guessing wrong based on, well, the complete absence of evidence is just …evil. Do you really think that if you had been born in Calcutta, you would not now be Hindu? Or if you had been born in Teheran, you wouldn’t be Shi’ite Muslim?

    Follow a religious path, sure. Maybe you’ll get something out of it. But I worked all day Sunday gardening, and got more done than I ever did as a kid in church.

  118. #119 eewolf
    April 28, 2008

    gex: “Trust me when I say that brussel sprouts would still be evil if the Bible said so.”

    This made me spit raisins all over myself. Insightful and fucking hilarious.

  119. #120 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2008

    I often find the people most educated in religion are those who don’t believe it. Actually believing it precludes you from a lot of critical analysis of the text, and of history.

    Makes you wonder what they teach at church these days. The sheeple the evangelicals turn out tend to have little to no knowledge of the Bible, of history, of ethics, or of morality (at least, we see no sign of them practicing any of them.)

    Almost makes one nostaligic for pre-Vatican II Catholicism: at the very least, you learned a bit of Latin.

  120. #121 frog
    April 28, 2008

    #102 Dennis: “The Silver Surfer could be like Jesus. Except the Surfer decided to turn on his evil God and help drive him away. If only Jesus had done that, I would follow him. As is, I still feel the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, is the truth, the light, and the way. A much better fictional character.”

    Ask and ye shall receive. That actually was a major thread of Christianity through the 4th century, that basically Jesus showed up to kick the crap out of the evil God of the Torah. It’s why they still have theological battles on whether Mary was the mother of Jesus or the “bearer” of Jesus – it’s echoes of battles of the 2nd century over whether Jesus was in league with Yahweh, or he came to form a League of Justice against the Nefarious I-Yam-Who-I-Yam.

    But I’ll still go with the Silver Surfer – his holy books have cool drawings, and I’m actually conversant in the original language.

  121. #122 Numerical Thief
    April 28, 2008

    Near death experiences are caused by oxygen deprivation.

    I believe there’s also a hypothesis that they could be caused by a sudden release of DMT (an endrogenous hallucinogen, with uncertain function found at low levels in the brain and blood). A lot of DMT trip reports mimic NDE’s, and the hypothesis does come from laboratory tests, although clearly there’s a difficulty in confirming such a thing on ethical grounds (can’t go around nearly killing people and then testing their brain chemistry now!)

  122. #123 craig
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, the shroud of turin was proven conclusively to be a fake, much younger than 2000 years.

    But even if it wasn’t a fake, even if it WAS 2000 years old, it would NOT be proof that there’s a magic man in the sky who made the universe in 7 days, made man in his image, cursed these people with mortality and the threat of hell because they dared try to get knowledge, impregnated a human woman who had a baby who was both his son and himself, and who was resurrected from death to save us from a punishment he himself was going to give us in the future for things we hadn’t done yet.

    It would just be proof that there’s a 2000 year old scrap of cloth with a vague image of a person on it.

    The shroud of Turin is also proof that the average human being has an unlimited potential ability to be a foolish gullible dipshit.

  123. #124 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 28, 2008

    From Bible prophecy that has come to pass (such as Israel being reborn)

    Then what about the Bible prophecies that failed? For example the prophecy about the tribe of Judah reigning until Shiloh, even though Israel’s first king, Saul, came from the tribe of Benjamin and for much of the time after the prophecy there was no king at all?

    In Deuteronomy God promises to cast out seven nations including the Amorites, Canaanites, and the Jebusites, but does not follow up on his promise.

    Then there was God’s promise that Solomon’s kingdom would last forever. It lasted less than 400 years and was utterly destroyed.

    I could go on, there are many more such failed prophecies…

    a messiah would come and die for our sins.

    He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.

    We have historical evidence of Jesus here on earth (Google it), we also have eyewitnesses to the death and resurection of Jesus. There were Romans mocking Jesus so people can’t all be delusional in what they saw.

    Unfortunately for you, that evidence doesn’t exist. Yes, there’s mention of Jesus in Josephus, but those passages look as if they were forged and penned by other hands. The alleged letters of Pilate look like another fake. Which leaves us only with the canonical gospels (and the non-canonical ones), which were written many years after the event by men who were not witnesses.

    We also have the dead sea scrolls, and shroud of turin.

    Uh, the Dead Sea Scrolls are overwhelmingly Old Testament. One fragment (7Q5) has been claimed to be a fragment of Mark’s gospel, though this claim is tenuous.

    The Shroud of Turin is a relic that could be the shroud of almost anyone. Only the credulous still believe it displays the image of Jesus.

  124. #125 eewolf
    April 28, 2008

    Dennis N: “As is, I still feel the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, is the truth, the light, and the way.”

    Dude can carve.

  125. #126 WRMartin
    April 28, 2008

    @ Kenny,

    I get my morals from not being a sociopath. I don’t need ANY book to explain it to me. Especially not your favorite book. Sorry, but you and your fellows don’t have a lock on morality – neither its practice nor its definition. Thank you very much, but no thank you.
    Oh, and the comment “God loves Atheists and wants them to know him.” is nice sentiment. I’ll be home later this evening watching TiVo and drinking a beer. Next time you’re talking to your god let him know that if he has anything important to say I’ll hit pause for a few minutes. Don’t forget to tell him get to the point quickly (I bore easily).

  126. #127 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2008

    Methinks Kenny might be licking his wounds somewhere. Maybe watching Kirk Cameron or Hegee or something equally vomit inducing.

  127. #128 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    @ #121

    Thats very interesting. Jesus did seem like a rebel trouble-maker. Then the Romans got a hold of Christianity and nice little convenient lines started popping up about obeying man’s law and bowing to earthly kings.

  128. #129 David Ratnasabapathy
    April 28, 2008

    Dennis N #76,

    Robert Ingersoll, About the Holy Bible:

    If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs…

    He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain.

    He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women’s breasts unbabed for gold.

    And yet he died with voiceless lips.

    Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: “You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men.”

    …Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain?

    Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt?

    I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.

  129. #130 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    >Are you joking? Have you never read the book?

    Have you? That web site is totally wrong. Look, here I will prove it to you. You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Didn’t your parents tell you that.

    Here is what that website says:
    Peter blames the Jews for the death of Jesus. 3:14-15

    Here is what the King James Version of what the Bible
    actually says (I am studing Acts and that is why I picked this):

    12And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

    13The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

    14But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

    15And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

    16And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

  130. #131 CJO
    April 28, 2008

    Or in simpler words: you pulled it out of your arse. Or you let your pastor do it for you.
    Reap what you sow, and all.

  131. #132 Jason W
    April 28, 2008

    #109 – I love the idea of an FAQ, sort of like the FAQs for issues with evolution, just because it’d be nice to give someone a reference to read. (And as much as I seem to really enjoy having/reading discussions like this, I still get tired of having to hit the same three or four points every time a new person joins the conversation.)

    I don’t know if it would ever be really useful, or that good for the people in question. I’d like to think that, maybe, conversations like this allow for someone to truly grasp the issue bits at a time, until something really clicks, or they just decide to hell with it.

  132. #133 likestrayvoltage
    April 28, 2008

    the human mind is so capable of delusion – especially when like minded people get together to celebrate and reinforce the delusion (otherwise known as church).

    This article was my life story up to about a year ago, and i still work for a christian music organisation as my contract hasn’t run out, so I’m still very much surrounded by this way of thinking. god, i can’t wait to leave (pun intended!).

  133. #134 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 28, 2008

    I think there are two sorts of cherry-picking that go on in modern interpreters of the bible. The first is the sort you described, and is probably the sort Kenny (and his pastor/church) practice. The second is using man’s ability to discern good and evil through empathy and experience to pick and choose those parts that should be followed and those parts that are “out of date” and shouldn’t.

    You are, of course, right. Kenny probably selects on the basis of modern mores, the things that society–all of us here–hold in common. You are correct there is nothing special in that.

    However, it seems as if Kenny also selects on the basis of his prejudices. His morality is distorted by doctrine, more’s the pity. He could be a moral man if only he was not a Christian.

  134. #135 Kermit
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny “We have historical evidence of Jesus here on earth (Google it), we also have eyewitnesses to the death and resurection of Jesus.”

    We have reports of Krishna making love to one hundred milkmaids at once. We have eye witnesses (well, third-hand testimony, which is what you have) of Heracles killing the Cretan bull and other fantastic feats. Personally I find either of these gods to be more impressive role models.

    You have a translation of a collection of books, chosen by people you don’t know, many centuries ago. You have less evidence for the divinity of Jesus than I do for the existence of Santa. He *still gives gifts every year in our household, and only cares whether we’ve been good boys and girls, not whether we have the right beliefs based on no evidence.

  135. #136 Kenny
    April 28, 2008

    This pretty much sums it up:

    16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

    People who believe in Jesus have accepted a gift from him to save them and help them in times in need. This does not mean that Christian’s lives are easy. I have medical bills to pay but I pray that God will help me with them and help me deal with him while I try to get my business off the ground.

  136. #137 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Thank you for the Ingersoll, David Ratnasabapathy, what a great man.

  137. #138 Sastra
    April 28, 2008

    Duncan #109 wrote:

    Is there any shortcut we can use to address the tedious claims of religious people in regards to morality, historical evidence for Jesus, biblical inerrency, and so on?

    There are lots of FAQs on the subject already out there (one can always start with Secular Web).

    But we shouldn’t make any shortcuts. As you note, one little Kenny comes in and the debate is already “heated.” (Props to Kenny for being one against so many, by the way.)

    We don’t really want shortcuts. We want to do it ourselves. You learn from reading; you learn better from watching; you learn better still from teaching; and I propose that you learn best of all from debate. Look up that Asimov quote. Try to remember the definition of “consequentialism.” Watch someone else come at an issue in a way you hadn’t thought of. And watch yourself go down in flames when you stretch a little bit too far, and find yourself bluffing in unfamiliar territory, and get caught. If you’re lucky, only by David Marjanovic.

    So when these debates come up in Real Life, with people with faces, you feel like you’ve been there, and lived, so you can go there again.

    It just seems like so much wasted effort to go through this over and over again each time a new troll shows up and lobs the grenades…

    Naw, it’s practice, and education. We might even learn from the Kenny’s (if they last that long.) And it’s obviously not much of a chore and effort, or people wouldn’t pile on like ravenous wolves.

    After all, this is important. Someone is wrong on the internet!

  138. #139 Jack Rawlinson
    April 28, 2008

    And on anal fissures – as someone mentioned: no joke. I had a right bleeder when I was only 19. Not only did it make taking a dump a nightmare of agony, it made the bowl look like the aftermath of a splatter movie.

    I was prescribed a wonderful substance which went under the trade name of Proctosedyl. Suppositories and cream. I shall never forget that name, because it – wuite literally – saved my ass. I’ve never had a serious recurrence to this day, and I’m 48 now.

    Split ass? Ask your doctor for Proctosedyl!

  139. #140 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Why do you accept Jesus’s gifts and turn down Allah’s?

  140. #141 Ray
    April 28, 2008

    So in a piece of ‘reverse prejudice’ you declare all religious belief the ‘only safe course’, what a crock of fetid dingo’s kidneys.

  141. #142 CJO
    April 28, 2008

    Re #139
    And I thought little Kenny was disgusting.

  142. #143 Jack Rawlinson
    April 28, 2008

    And on Kenny… hell, why bother? I only needed to read a couple of his posts to see he’s mired at the sub-whaleshit level of religious “thinking”. You’ve got more chance of getting Ben Stein to apologise for his lies than you have of getting any sense into that boy’s skull.

  143. #144 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2008

    This pretty much sums it up:

    Sums up what? That you can use the bible to support your belief in….. um ….. The Bible?

  144. #145 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, how can you not see Peter blaming the Jews for Jesus’s death in verses 14 and 15? Particularly given the context of verses 12 and 13?

    Can you not even comprehend your own text?

  145. #146 Jack Rawlinson
    April 28, 2008

    CJO #142: come on, this blog is full of biologists. They can take it in their stride! :-)

  146. #147 Nate
    April 28, 2008

    “We also have NDE (near death studies) from people who have died and come back to tell us that God exists.” #106

    When scientist studied NDE’s they figured out what caused it. NDE are generated when normal brain functions stop working. For example when astronauts are being spun around in a centrifuge at 9g’s and blood is forced out of their heads many of them experience these so call NDE’s.

    Kenny if you want a more complete and entertaining answer please watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAywxhVvLU4

  147. #148 Ray
    April 28, 2008

    add to the above “denial” as in “denial of all religious belief”

  148. #149 eewolf
    April 28, 2008

    Well said Sastra #138. There is much happening here. If you look at it as trying to convince Kenny (or the next one), then disappointment is inevitable. But everyone else learns and hones their skills. And even the lurkers (like me) are better for it.

    And there may be others sitting on the fence, at that point where many here can still remember… a tipping point.

    It’s the road, not the destination. Or like we say here at the break, it’s the wave.

  149. #150 Derik N
    April 28, 2008

    I can say this experience is very much like what I experienced as a child at church camps and growing up with various retreats.

    it’s precisely why the religious right scares me shitless

  150. #151 Joshua Arnold
    April 28, 2008

    You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Didn’t your parents tell you that.

    Kenny. By that logic, all things online are false. What then are we to make of your posts on this webpage?

  151. #152 reboho
    April 28, 2008

    kenneth,

    If you know how to read, it is not very difficult. There are laws that are from the old testament that are for the jews only at that time and there are more broader laws for everyone.

    Actually it’s you who can’t read. Matthew 5:17-18.

    Before you read the Bible, you have to understand it not by just taking one verse out of it, you have to examine it with other verses. So, it is multi-dimensional in that way.

    Back at you. Most people who have faith haven’t bothered to read the book. Those who take it literally definitely haven’t.

    It is written by the hand of man, but the words are not of man, but of God.

    That’s why there are two Genesis stories, three versions of the 10 Commandants, none of the resurrection stories match, etc, etc…..

    Many people claim they have read the Bible, but a lot of the time they do not understand that the Bible is crossed referenced with other verses to find answers to issues.

    For as many “crossed referenced” verses that tend to back each other up there are just as many if not more that contradict the others..

    Jesus was a real person on this planet. There is a lot of historical proof and not just from the Bible. Then there are witnesses to what he did and said. There are witnesses of his rising up from the grave. Jesus referenced people from the old testament.

    Bullshit, no proof, wishful, magical thinking…. Site sources (other than elbiB). Don’t you think that the resurrection of the of all the saints mentioned in Matthew 27:52 would have been noticed by someone other then the one gospel writer? Zombie saints eat brains of other witnesses!

    Now you may not believe and that is okay, but I do.

    You don’t really believe this either. You didn’t come to defend your god or convert anyone, you came here to pretend to grapple with the evil atheist so you can go back to where you came from and claim victory. Your jedi mind tricks won’t work here.

  152. #153 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 28, 2008

    Interestingly, Kenny seems to believe that interpreting the testaments and distinguishing sound doctrine from worthless is an easy thing. So I thought it worthwhile showing what a finer mind than Kenny’s does when it sifts through the Bible. Here is that godly protestant Martin Luther on the subject of Jews, backing his words with scripture. This is the sort of error that Kenny’s Bible-backed morality leads people into:

    What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

    First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly_and I myself was unaware of it_will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

    In Deuteronomy 13:12 Moses writes that any city that is given to idolatry shall be totally destroyed by fire, and nothing of it shall be preserved. If he were alive today, he would be the first to set fire to the synagogues and houses of the Jews. For in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 he commanded very explicitly that nothing is to be added to or subtracted from his law. And Samuel says in I Samuel 15:23 that disobedience to God is idolatry. Now the Jews’ doctrine at present is nothing but the additions of the rabbis and the idolatry of disobedience, so that Moses has become entirely unknown among them (as we said before), just as the Bible became unknown under the papacy in our day. So also, for Moses’ sake, their schools cannot be tolerated; they defame him just as much as they do us. It is not necessary that they have their own free churches for such idolatry.

    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

    Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17:10) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16:18, “You are Peter,” etc., inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

    Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home. I have heard it said that a rich Jew is now traveling across the country with twelve horses his ambition is to become a Kokhba devouring princes, lords, lands, and people with his usury, so that the great lords view it with jealous eyes. If you great lords and princes will not forbid such usurers the highway legally, some day a troop may gather against them, having learned from this booklet the true nature of the Jews and how one should deal with them and not protect their activities. For you, too, must not and cannot protect them unless you wish to become participants in an their abominations in the sight of God. Consider carefully what good could come from this, and prevent it.

    Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us an they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

    I could continue to quote this text of a godly man. But it really is too painful to read.

  153. #154 Rebecca
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, since you clearly take the Bible to be the word of God you should realize that the prophecies about a messiah also clearly recount that the messiah would be only a man, a king or leader who would bring peace and security. There is no prophecy that states the messiah would die and then return later, and specifically warns against a messiah who seems to enact miracles like reviving the dead or walking on water. Additionally, the ‘prophecy’ that a virgin would give birth actually refers to a young woman (learn biblical hebrew and aramaic) that would give birth to a soldier and was widely regarded as fulfilled during the reign of one of the kings during the time of Solomon’s temple.
    In fact, at the time of Jesus there were many rabbis and others claiming the messiah title as Roman rule had influenced many end of the world – type sects of Judaism, including those that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    (Sorry all that I don’t have the exact references, I could go look them up).

  154. #155 Rebecca
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, since you clearly take the Bible to be the word of God you should realize that the prophecies about a messiah also clearly recount that the messiah would be only a man, a king or leader who would bring peace and security. There is no prophecy that states the messiah would die and then return later, and specifically warns against a messiah who seems to enact miracles like reviving the dead or walking on water. Additionally, the ‘prophecy’ that a virgin would give birth actually refers to a young woman (learn biblical hebrew and aramaic) that would give birth to a soldier and was widely regarded as fulfilled during the reign of one of the kings during the time of Solomon’s temple.
    In fact, at the time of Jesus there were many rabbis and others claiming the messiah title as Roman rule had influenced many end of the world – type sects of Judaism, including those that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    (Sorry all that I don’t have the exact references, I could go look them up).

  155. #156 Prazzie
    April 28, 2008

    While reading this article, I kept picturing Stephen Glass, standing on his desk and entertaining his colleagues with stories of these macho men puking demons into paper bags.

    Something about the article felt a bit off to me, it’s probably his overly descriptive style. He has turned these people into stereotypical caricatures. Not my cup of tea.

  156. #157 Moses
    April 28, 2008

    #23

    >And it’s not that we don’t understand your morals. The
    >problem is that you have bad morals.

    Who decides who’s morals are bad? Hitler might think murder is fine. That doesn’t seem like a really good way to run your life. The Bible is my guide for morals. Now you may not believe in that, but I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?

    Posted by: Kenny | April 28, 2008 4:38 PM

    All RIGHT!!! Kenny’s my boy!!! Baby Killing and Rape for EVERYONE!!! And STONE the Unbelievers!!! Stone them!!!

  157. #158 frog
    April 28, 2008

    Ah Kenny:

    “This pretty much sums it up:”
    So right…

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Another example of the endless cruelty of your idol. It is insufficient that he condemned mankind for his own folly, then he has to go and torture an innocent – and somehow that undoes his own wickedness. We take a reasonable old ritual – the sacrifice of a lamb for passover supper so we can get together for a nice mutton meal and some wine – and turn it into a canibalistic orgy.

    “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

    So he condemns the world and then uncondemns us? Does that make even a lick of sense? Even you, poor Kenny, can see that this is just nonsense – why condemn just to uncondemn? Why not simply make these poor condemned beings better, rather than engaging in blood sacrifice that would make most pagan gods blush?

    “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    So “belief” is sufficient? God goes ahead, creates a race of monsters so horrific that eternal torment is justified – and then says you’re off the hook if you just have faith? That is the most monstrous morality I have ever heard. It’s all just a game of ass-kissing? That’s what life means to you?

    “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

    Well, who is responsible for that? If I breed a particularly nasty breed of pitbulls, then leave them roaming the neighborhood and they kill a child, who has the moral responsibility? The pit bulls or the master? We may have to put down the dogs, but the real monster is the master. Kenny, are you some kind of Satanist – it sure sounds like it.

    “I have medical bills to pay but I pray that God will help me with them and help me deal with him while I try to get my business off the ground.”

    How about spending more time working, and less time praying? Or trying to develop a political and economic framework where people wouldn’t be impoverished by health care costs? How about being a decent loving human being by working in this world, the one we live in, rather than abandoning your fellow man to live in a frankly satanic fantasy? Have some morality, man. Some minimal decency.

  158. #159 tonyJ
    April 28, 2008

    Good link to a great article.
    Reading this thread though I’ve got to say it…I just can’t help myself, I’ve got jury duty tomorrow and I need a laugh.
    OH MY GOD, YOU’VE KILLED KENNY…YOU B$%£””!!!!!

  159. #160 Moses
    April 28, 2008

    Many people claim they have read the Bible, but a lot of the time they do not understand that the Bible is crossed referenced with other verses to find answers to issues.

    Jesus was a real person on this planet. There is a lot of historical proof and not just from the Bible. Then there are witnesses to what he did and said. There are witnesses of his rising up from the grave. Jesus referenced people from the old testament.

    Now you may not believe and that is okay, but I do.

    Posted by: Kenny | April 28, 2008 5:32 PM

    That, Kenny, doesn’t happen to be true. The Bible is, relatively speaking, a linear document. It’s your picking and choosing and making connections that do not exist to support a religion that, frankly, has virtually NOTHING to do with the religions it descended from.

    Your Religion:

    Pre-1600BCE – Polytheistic Religion headed by El, his wife and his kids. There were multiple versions of the religions. The primary religious practice that caused the split and lead to Judaism was child sacrifice. SPECIFICIALY the FIRST BORN SON was always sacrificed.

    The story of Abraham and Isaac reflects this split.

    1600BCE – 700BCE

    Judaism, as practiced in Israel remains polytheistic.

    700BCE – Today

    After the Judeans assert claims to Israel, they impose their monotheistic views on the Jewish faith. They re-write much of the Hebrew Bible in the reign of King Josiah. God’s wife, Asheroth is pretty much written out and his children turned into Demons and Devils.

    30AD – 60AD

    A splinter sect of Jews known as the Essenes practice a form of Judaism that incorporates many belief tenants from surrounding faiths. Jesus, really more of a metaphor than anything else, is credited with these teachings. It is important to remember, however, that this was still, at the core a monotheist Jewish religion, a “for Jews by Jews” religion and NOT Christianity.

    This version of Judaism destroyed by the Romans.

    45AD – Present

    Multiple versions of the religion flourish. The one that becomes the largest is the “Pauline Christianity” who won by, simply, killing off the competitors. Not better doctrine, but sharper swords and more violent mobs.

    This mythology borrows heavily from the Cult of Mithras, from the story of Krishna and other “Dying God” religions.

    As for your historical proof, that’s a lie. There are forged and disputed accounts. But no actual, credulous, indisputed proof. Unlike that which we see with someone like Alexander the Great. Or Phillip of Macedon.

    Or even minor Greek and Roman functionaries. Which, by the way, is a kicker in the butt of irony, third-fiddle provincial governors have more historical presence than Jesus.

    Mohamed, proof. Buddha, proof. Krisha, no proof. Thor, no proof. Jesus, no proof. Confucius, proof.

  160. #161 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    As I think Etha would say:

    Hubbard, proof.

  161. #162 Julie Stahlhut
    April 28, 2008

    gex: “Trust me when I say that brussel sprouts would still be evil if the Bible said so.”

    What? Brussels sprouts are terrific with garlic butter. How dare you? Infidel! Stone him! Pelt him with brussels sprouts! And broccoli! And other cole crops!

    Now, lima beans — THOSE are satanic.

  162. #163 Moses
    April 28, 2008

    Nowhere in the bible does Jesus say that pestering atheists on blogs earns you any St. Peter Points whatsoever.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | April 28, 2008 5:51 PM

    That was funny.

  163. #164 Bob C
    April 28, 2008

    Considering that religion is little more than an STD (Socially Transmitted Disease), the title is excellent.

    Thanx, PZ. That’s an aphorism I can use.

    Would it be unreasonable to assert that only the extreme fundies are the truly faithful?

  164. #165 Moses
    April 28, 2008

    Homosexuality is a sin just like cheating on your wife is a sin.

    What about anal sex with your wife? Because one-third of married couples, according to some sex surveys, at least occasionally engage in anal sex.

    What about reverse anal sex where your wife uses a strap-on to make you receive? Much less common, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? ;)

    How about oral sex? That’s much more common.

    Having sex when your wife is on her period?

    Having sex with your wife’s identical twin? I mean, they’re really the same person. Genetically that is. ;)

    How about Viagra? Clearly if God wanted you to have sex, he’d have made sure you could get it up, right? Is using Viagra a sin?

    How about hand-jobs?

    Sex toys?

    With or without batteries?

    Strap ons?

    Leather?

    Playing dress up?

    Role playing?

    What about a menage-a-trois?

    If I save my sperm after masterbating and later use it to inseminate my wife, even if against her will, is whacking-off a sin? Even if I dress up like a “doctor?” Or “Policeman?”

    What about bondage? The bible is big on the “wives submit yourself to your husband” thing! And, woohoo, so am I!!! So is that okay?

    Also, how about the Cowboy and Reverse Cowboy positions?

    Just curious…

  165. #166 Mooser
    April 28, 2008

    Kenny, why don’t we start with something easy. Before we even debate whether there is a God, please prove to me that you believe in Him. I don’t think you do, or even know why you pretend to. It’s a very poor way to cover up lack of intelligence, silence would be a better strategy. But still, Kenny, before I even try to find God, Please prove to me that you believe in Him, and are sincere.
    I would like to find God, but I want an honest guide. How do you know you believe in God?
    Cause you don’t guy. You don’t even make a good pretense of it.

  166. #167 Crudely Wrott
    April 28, 2008

    “And since everything that is not of God is demonic, asking these people to be objective about anything else is just absurd. There is no “anything else.” All alternative points of view are nonstarters. There is this “our thing,” a sort of Cosa Nostra of the soul, and then there are the fires of Hell. And that’s all.”

    Yup. That’s how I found it to be. There was constant emphasis on the difference between ‘them’ and ‘us.’ Amusing sometimes, like the elder who had been “delivered from sports” and therefore was not in favor of joining the local church softball league. Sigh. It’s amazing the lengths that people can go to in order to deny that which they couldn’t otherwise miss. Glad I got out.

  167. #168 Janine ID
    April 28, 2008

    Oh my god! You atheists killed Kenny! You bastards!

    Kenny, here are two simple little questions. Did the town of Nazareth exist during the time the Jesus supposedly walked the Earth? Did any part of the New Testament exist prior to the Third Century of the common era?

  168. #169 markbt73
    April 28, 2008

    Oh my god, you killed Kenny! You bastards!

    (well SOMEONE had to say it…)

    Seriously, I don’t know how you all do it. I just can’t deal with the thought of refuting the same arguments from the dingbat-of-the-week. All of them think they’ve got something new, the big crushing blow that will put the fear of God right into us poor evil sinners, and it’s always the same boring old crap.

    It does make for an entertaining lurk, though.

  169. #170 markbt73
    April 28, 2008

    I guess great minds think alike, eh Janine?

  170. #171 shane
    April 28, 2008

    Moses says a lot of sexy stuff

    Um… I’ll be in my bunk…

  171. #172 Jsn
    April 28, 2008

    Unfortunately Kinney echoes the majority of my salt-of -the-earth relatives. They have no idea how far from logic and reason they really are, nor do they care. They are convinced they have common sense but they abhor intellectualism. They’ve paid a fortune in guilt and shame induced installments for an perfect afterlife they’ll never experience. Why invest in this god awful materialistic life when you’re so far down in the pecking order?
    Just be moralistic, profess faith to an invisible, inaudible entity and get an eternity in a mansion on streets of gold and all the manna you can eat!!! (Forget that every organism that has a MOUTH – has an ANUS, and all that goes in between; evidently shit sublimates. And what about the genitalia? No one gets pregnant in paradise and sex without procreation is a sin. Is the eternal penis only good for urination? Do all the naughty parts just vanish in sacred Barbi/Ken fashion? What about wheelchairs/prosthetics/missing parts? Are you stuck at the age you die? Or are your just a whispy spirit unable to feel anything but good emotions? Without contrast, how do you know how you feel? Wouldn’t eternal bliss become excruciatingly monotonous? How can someone experience Hell fire with no nerve endings? After millenia of hellish torment, wouldn’t someone get acclimated to it? )

    If they let go of the delusion, they’ll be forced to reckon with all the anger and self recrimination that goes with the awareness of being cheated. Imagine the thousands of red bruised foreheads and the multitudinous hanks of hair.

    There may be hope for a few of the young xian lurkers who may actually recognize the cognitive dissonance between reason and faith. For Kenny, there is no dissonance because he can reconcile magic with his limited awareness of reality through a support system of like minded people and an archaic, ambiguous and often times nonsensical collection of “scripture”.
    I hope you got the part about Kenny’s health problems. Heaven is the great equalizer for all the downtrodden (read “losers”) of the world. Alls ya gotta do is fixate on sex, sexuality and infidels.

    Oh,and quote lots of scripture and profess BELIEF in the miracle conjuring son of a Hebrew created deity who LOVES YOU. (The son loves y-, no the Father -no there’s THREE – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. THEY all – no THEY are all ONE. Well anyway, somebody fucking loves you even if you are worthless putrescent shit as long as you accept the SON as your SAVIOR, your REDEEMER, your…oh what ever, just say you’re right and everyone who disagrees with your faith is wrong, unless it’s a bunch of atheists and then say ALL RELIGIONS prove there is a GOD, it’s just that all the others aren’t getting the LUXURY TOUR, if you know what I mean)

    Um, and TITHE, DON”T FORGET TO TITHE (“send in those prayer requests with your LOVE OFFERING”). (I need a few more fonts and some new ink colors)

    It’s all so sad.

  172. #173 David
    April 28, 2008

    I hate to post without having the links to back it up but I’m tired And I can’t seem to remember where I read or heard it. On the topic of Near death experiences. A recent study showed that people interviewed after an NDE didn’t remember having any experience but when asked either months or years later. Had full memory of an NDE. Showing that the memory came long after the event and was made up.

    I think it was on one of the Skeptics guide to the universe casts.

  173. #174 SC
    April 28, 2008

    The article itself made me think of a passage from Czeslaw Milosz’s The Captive Mind, about the Party clubs in Stalinist Eastern Europe in the 1950s:

    “Every few days, meetings following pre-arranged agendas take place, meetings that are as potent as religious rites. The Catholic Church wisely recognized that faith is more a matter of collective suggestion than of individual conviction. Collective religious ceremonies induce a state of belief. Folding one’s hands in prayer, kneeling, singing hymns precede faith, for faith is a psycho-physical and not simply a psychological phenomenon…The Party has learned this wise lesson from the Church. People who attend a ‘club’ submit to a collective rhythm, and so come to feel that it is absurd to think differently from the collective. The collective is composed of units that doubt; but as these individuals pronounce the ritual phrases and sing the ritual songs, they create a collective aura to which they in turn surrender.”

  174. #175 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#165 Moses —

    What about reverse anal sex where your wife uses a strap-on to make you receive? Much less common, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? ;)

    Actually, what’s good for the goose is probably even better for the gander, since the gander has a prostate while the goose does not :).

  175. #176 kw
    April 28, 2008

    Shane @ 171:

    Please tell me that was a “Firefly” reference….

    :-)

  176. #177 frog
    April 28, 2008

    SC: Thanks, great stuff.

    I’ve always thought that it’s pointless (other than for shits & giggles) to argue these matters of “faith” – for exactly those reasons. The social group precedes rationality (and demands irrationality).

    What theologians call rationality is it’s lying cousin – mere rationalization. And how do you argue with a rationalization? It’s impossible, because it’s not built on the methods of reason, but uses it to come to pre-determined conclusions. Those conclusion are social “truths” – truths that are known by the physical behavior of the individual in the group in normal, day-to-day behavior.

    Xians believe in Jesus because they go to church, because they damn unbelievers, because they tithe. Not the other way around.

    That’s why most atheist (and liberals in the old meaning in general) don’t “get it”. They think they have a good faith partner in an argument – that fundies and extreme conservatives come to the table with a rational (if stupid) argument that will improve both sides – but all you get is robotic polemic (unless you get them drink, then you get sado-masochistic fantasies). Even the most sophisticated ones are just stuck in their circular loop.

  177. #178 Ichthyic
    April 28, 2008

    Having sex with your wife’s identical twin? I mean, they’re really the same person. Genetically that is. ;)

    How about Viagra? Clearly if God wanted you to have sex, he’d have made sure you could get it up, right? Is using Viagra a sin?

    How about hand-jobs?

    Sex toys?

    With or without batteries?

    Strap ons?

    Leather?

    Playing dress up?

    Role playing?

    What about a menage-a-trois?

    you must throw some very interesting parties.

    when’s the next one?

  178. #179 thalarctos
    April 28, 2008

    Actually, what’s good for the goose is probably even better for the gander, since the gander has a prostate while the goose does not :).

    Sorry to diappoint, Etha, but to get into the prostate club, you gotta be a mammal. :)

    Still, all anato-pedantry aside, it really was witty.

  179. #180 jsn
    April 28, 2008

    Etha,
    Ganders have prostates? That must be why Mother Goose bought Astro Glide and not just KY…

  180. #181 SC
    April 28, 2008

    Thanks, frog! On the positive side, I think it works the other way as well: Get people (especially young people) doing science, practicing democracy, participating in rebellion, and we’re on a good path.

  181. #182 Eamon Knight
    April 28, 2008

    I’m not reading 180 comments to find out if this has already been said, but: I must take issue with the metaphor in the title of the original post (remember, that thing back there before the 180 comments happened?). The proper equivalent to “condom” is not “atheism” but something along the lines of: “rationality, critical thinking, and an insistence on evidence”. Now in my opinion and experience unbelief is the result of a sufficiently persistent application of the above, but it is not the same as it (I can think of reasonable exceptions in both directions).

  182. #183 shane
    April 28, 2008

    #176 KW, “Firefly”? Absolutely!

  183. #184 Numerical Thief
    April 28, 2008

    Um… I’ll be in my bunk…

    The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!

  184. #185 roddg
    April 28, 2008

    Ya know, I look at PZs new photo and I see a smirk on his face. Wonder why?

  185. #186 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >It’s okay with you that I disbelieve and am, therefore,
    >going to hell according to your own “good” book?

    It is what it is. I can’t force you nor would I want to force you to believe. That is your choice. You will have to live with that, but hey what do I know. I am stupid right?

  186. #187 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    I am stupid right?

    I’d say it’s a fair assessment based on the available evidence.

  187. #188 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#186 Kenny —

    It is what it is. I can’t force you nor would I want to force you to believe. That is your choice. You will have to live with that, but hey what do I know. I am stupid right?

    Well, as long as I’m free to spend the rest of my earthly life in an attempt to apply my secular humanist values towards the betterment of mankind, only to then spend eternity in a lake of fire for not being able to suspend my rational disbelief in your God, I guess we can live and let live.

    As for your personal qualities…stupid, willfully ignorant, sociopathic, morally brainwashed…take your pick.

  188. #189 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#186 Kenny —

    It is what it is. I can’t force you nor would I want to force you to believe. That is your choice. You will have to live with that, but hey what do I know. I am stupid right?

    Well, as long as I’m free to spend the rest of my earthly life in an attempt to apply my secular humanist values towards the betterment of mankind, only to then spend eternity in a lake of fire for not being able to suspend my rational disbelief in your God, I guess we can live and let live.

    As for your personal qualities…stupid, willfully ignorant, sociopathic, morally brainwashed…take your pick.

  189. #190 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >People don’t rise again from the dead. The next time you
    >attend a funeral, take a really long, hard look at the
    >corpse. Dead is dead. Jesus is dead. And he ain’t coming
    >back.

    This is your proof that you have turned away from Christianity? Are you being serious? I find it hard to believe someone would get away from Christianity because they couldn’t understand simple scriptures.

    Jesus is the ONLY one that could make someone rise from the dead. It never happens unless Jesus/GOD is involved personally to make that happen. When was the last time that you witnessed normal people rising the from the dead without the personal help from God. He did that for a reason with lazarus.

    Either people on here are really not that bright, or they have been misinformed (or both).

    Most of the posts on here that are responding to me make no sense at all. I am shocked with the ignorance on here. You guys should really start to study what you don’t believe because it is really sad.

    “I have been a Christian all of my life! I know what I am talking about. Atheism is where I am because I find it hard to believe that Jesus would have been creamated and not come back into his body.”

    Basically, some off the wall and completely random responses just about as silly as the above paragraph.

    “There is no God, because the sky is suppposed to be red on the earth!”

    Here are some more statements of so called proof that no God.

  190. #191 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny, all you’ve done so far is come here and throw Bibles at us. I know that book. I was a fundie for fifteen years. But you have to understand that quoting biblical passages is not an argument, it’s not real evidence. There’s no reason to afford the Bible any more credibility than any other epic of the period.

    Should we start praising Jupiter because Virgil talks about him?

  191. #192 Josh in California
    April 29, 2008

    You know, I think there’s a better way to approach this whole deconversion thing. Want to know what deconverted me? It was a comparative religion class that used Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions as its primary text. The ironic thing is that Smith was some kind of missionary in his day. It’s a very non-threatening text that should be suitable for consumption by anyone who doesn’t have a gun rack in their car.

  192. #193 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    I find it hard to believe someone would get away from Christianity because they couldn’t understand simple scriptures.

    It’s not so much an inability to understand, it’s more like… how can I put this… an ability to distinguish fact from fiction.

    “There is no God, because the sky is suppposed to be red on the earth!”

    I don’t see anyone here saying that. YOU did. Your point?

    (“Get away from Christianity” — Indeed.)

  193. #194 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    I find it hard to believe someone would get away from Christianity because they couldn’t understand simple scriptures.

    Kenny, I know you may find this hard to believe but most of us here were christians at some point in our lives. And we left for different reasons. Some found the real world to be more beautiful and interesting then any deity. Some found the words of the bible to not be very moral. Some found that it just did not make sense. Some did not feel the connection to god that other people claimed that belief would bring. There are many reasons for leaving this behind.

    Yet you do not show any respect for why we do not believe. And you make insulting comments about us. You are but one of many dozens who have done this. Frankly, Kenny, you are just a fun sport for us.

    Either pay attention to what is said here or run along before you get your feelings hurt.

    Oh, you did not answer my questions about when the village of Nazareth was founded and how come there is no fragments of what is now the New Testament until after 300 CE.

  194. #195 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Well, as long as I’m free to spend the rest of my earthly
    >life in an attempt to apply my secular humanist values
    >towards the betterment of mankind, only to then spend
    >eternity in a lake of fire for not being able to suspend
    >my rational disbelief in your God, I guess we can live and
    >let live.

    Betterment of mankind? In other words, let my cram my atheistic point of view down your throat and put my view as the only accepted view in society (while you claim that you are not religious). How religious of you.

  195. #196 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    Betterment of mankind? In other words, let my cram my atheistic point of view down your throat and put my view as the only accepted view in society (while you claim that you are not religious). How religious of you.

    Posted by: Kenny

    Please, let us know, just how are we cramming atheism down your throat? This should be a funny story.

    And please, you talk of proof. Answer my two questions.

  196. #197 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    @ Kenny #195.

    Nice Straw Man.

    Also, did you just admit that the religious imperative is prosletyzing without regard to anyone else? Because if you did, congratulations. We agree on something.

  197. #198 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Betterment of mankind? In other words, let my cram my atheistic point of view down your throat and put my view as the only accepted view in society (while you claim that you are not religious). How religious of you.

    You pathetic worm. If anyone’s doing the cramming, it’s you. At least you acknowledge that it’s a RELIGIOUS method of forcing a worldview upon those who do not favor it.

    When the atheist majority storms into your home and smashes your icons and burns your bibles, THEN you can make that argument. Until then, you’re just a spoiled, whining brat who isn’t content with being part of the overwhelming majority. See any irony there, oh wriggling, spineless one?

  198. #199 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#190 Kenny —

    I find it hard to believe someone would get away from Christianity because they couldn’t understand simple scriptures.

    And I find it hard to believe someone would believe in Christianity because they read simple scriptures. I mean come on…not only is most of scripture utterly ridiculous in terms of probable truth value, but the morals are really rather mixed and often quite reprehensible.

    Here are some more statements of so called proof that no God.

    The burden of proof is not on us atheists. The burden of proof is on *you*. And so far, the “evidence” you’ve offered is utterly risible.

    At least be honest enough to admit that you belief in things that have no grounding in rational thought. Call it “faith” if you like…but this “evidence for a divine Jesus” talk is just absurd.

  199. #200 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Etha,do you ever sleep??

    How entertaining to see the whole armory of death cultist argumentation rolled out right before my eyes once more,Im really getting good at this,its a bit like parade-riposte in fencing I would imagine,how very funny !!

  200. #201 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Kenny, I know you may find this hard to believe but most
    >of us here were christians at some point in our lives. And

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    Which is like when I bought a Toyota, I did because my parents did. However, listening and then believing are two different things. So you can label a lot of people a lot of things but it does not mean that they are really from that label.

    >we left for different reasons. Some found the real world
    >to be more beautiful and interesting then any deity.

    Well, the real world’s beauty is made by God anyway. I still enjoy it.

    >Some found the words of the bible to not be very moral.

    There is some stuff in the Bible that is there to teach a lesson. For example when David who was the king of Israel had adultery. This was not sanctioned from God. This was put in there for a lesson.

    >Some found that it just did not make sense.

    Well most people in here doesn’t even get what it says.
    They are so ignorant of it that they can’t even understand what they are posting. The misinformation is so great in here that it is scary. How can you understand the Bible when you quickly try to find a web site to discount it. Here is some random garbage lets see if it sticks on a wall. I don’t understand what this is, but hey whatever.

    >Yet you do not show any respect for why we do not believe. >And you make insulting comments about us.

    Make insulting comments? Are you serious? Have you bothered to check the front page of this blog and the comments that get thrown back at me? This blog is all about making fun of religion and Christianity. There is very little science posted here.

    How can I possibly show you respect when nobody on here including the blog has shown respect for me. Respect works both ways.

    That is the problem with you guys, you don’t get it. You expect everyone to bow down to you like you know something, yet you show no respect for anyone and you just have a lot of ignorance and misinformation. How exactly are you supposed to get respect out of not respecting other people and just showing pure ignorance and misinformation?

  201. #202 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#195 Kenny —

    Betterment of mankind? In other words, let my cram my atheistic point of view down your throat and put my view as the only accepted view in society (while you claim that you are not religious). How religious of you.

    Who came to this thread?

    You did.

    Who told us that it is only from the Bible that true morality can proceed?

    You did.

    Who claimed that we were being willfully ignorant and closed-minded towards the Love of the One True Lord, Jesus Christ?

    That’s right: you did.

    All we have done is tried, in reaction to these claims, to explain to you the fact that atheists are quite capable of leading lives that are just as moral and meaningful as — and often more so than — those of theists. And that it is important to think for yourself, in matters philosophical and moral.

    If we have grown repetitive and increasingly frustrated, it’s because you refuse to even listen to these arguments. You refuse to consider the possibility that truth and morality can come from some source other than your holy book. And while you are certainly free to hold that belief, you cannot air it in this kind of public forum without expecting considerable rebuke and argumentation.

    This reaction of rebuke and argumentation is not synonymous with shoving something down your throat.

    But as other posters pointed out, I have to say — nice job spotting one of the many bad points of religion, namely, it’s tendency to try to shove dogma down people’s throats. You misattributed the blame, but hey, it’s a start.

  202. #203 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    That is the problem with you guys, you don’t get it. You expect everyone to bow down to you like you know something, yet you show no respect for anyone and you just have a lot of ignorance and misinformation. How exactly are you supposed to get respect out of not respecting other people and just showing pure ignorance and misinformation?

    Anyone else think Kenny has it exactly right–if he’s talking a bout his fellow fundies?

  203. #204 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#200 clinteas —

    Etha,do you ever sleep??

    I slept from 6:30 am ’til 8:30 am this morning, and then fell back asleep until I finally woke up again at 9:30. So 3 hours of interrupted sleep. I’ve had better, but I’ve also had worse :\. And this sort of entertainment is sometimes just too morbidly entertaining to resist….

  204. #205 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#201 Kenny —

    How can I possibly show you respect when nobody on here including the blog has shown respect for me. Respect works both ways.

    This statement leads me to wonder why you commented on this blog in the first place, if you already felt that you had no reason to show it and its commenters any respect.

    Trolling, much?

  205. #206 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    Oh, and you’re a psychic, too?

    Hey – wouldn’t that involve some kind of necromancy? You’re in big trouble with The Guy Upstairs, Kennyboy.

    BIG trouble.

    See you in Wal-Mart!

    There is some stuff in the Bible that is there to teach a lesson. For example when David who was the king of Israel had adultery. This was not sanctioned from God. This was put in there for a lesson.

    Wow, really? Holy Toledo! My entire life has just been changed!

    O_o

    Way to miss the point. You haven’t acknowledged the many passages in the OT that involve THE LORD performing, or commanding his people to commit: genocide, rape, infanticide, abortion, and all manner of atrocity.

    Ante up, dude.

  206. #207 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    See you in Wal-Mart!

    My guess?

    He works as a greeter there already.

  207. #208 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    @ Kseniya No 206:

    Reminds me of Alfred Hitchcocks remark how many people that sit in a cinema to watch a movie will have forgotten its title halfway through,something like that….
    If you go back to the Taibbi article that started the threat,he describes quite plastically what happens to your mind if youre just indoctrinated long enough,and that you lose your ability for critical thinking.As Kenny has.

  208. #209 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >At least be honest enough to admit that you belief in
    >things that have no grounding in rational thought. Call
    >it “faith” if you like…but this “evidence for a divine
    >Jesus” talk is just absurd.

    Millions of people that have died and have come back said that they have seen enough on the other side that they believe proves it to them that there is a God. Yes, of course if you have your eyes closed and your mind closed as well you are not going to believe in these millions of people.

    Then there is the Shroud of Turin and there is historical evidence and then the eyewitness accounts in the Bible (again if you have a closed mind and eyes you won’t see the simple truth from many people). The New Testament is partly written about Jesus’ life and his dead and resurection all from many view points.

    It isn’t my fault that you are blind and have a closed mind and you don’t want to believe the obvious.

    Skeptics take information that they don’t want to believe and they arrange it into something they can believe.

    That is why it is impossible to prove anything to a Skeptic. They are a delusion to their own minds and thus to their intelligence.

  209. #210 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    Man, I just finished watching “The Mist”.

    I rather think Kenny would have made a perfect fit for one of the roles in that movie.

    If you’ve seen it, you know exactly which role I’m talking about.

    I’ll just say this:

    If you ever find yourself trapped in a Wal-Mart surrounded by creatures from another dimension (yeah, I know: “what would be the difference?”)…

    You better hope Kenny ain’t there with ya.

  210. #211 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Lessee, Kenny’s first three posts featured:

  211. 1. His claim that the stupid “leftest” (the very, very leftest) media can’t understand relgious morality.
  212. 2. Hitler (the Catholic) as an example of a non-religious moral leader.
  213. 3. The supposition that “most” of us would approve of a life of adultery.

    What a very respectful and enlightened approach! How shocking that we didn’t fall at your feet like ripe plums!

  • #212 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny, did you really just bring up NDE and the Shroud of Turin again? In this very thread, those have been addressed and been justifiably dismissed. (And where the hell do you get the statistic of “millions”?)

    Also, even if you can prove that there is a God (which you haven’t done yet, just to be clear), what reason is there to assume he is the God of the Bible and not the God of the Koran or the God of Joseph Smith or a God never before imagined?

  • #213 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    Millions of people that have died and have come back

    wheee!

    Did you somehow think “Flatliners” was a documentary?

  • #214 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    >Kenny, I know you may find this hard to believe but most
    >of us here were christians at some point in our lives. And

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    Kenny, you ignorant asshole! Yeah, I will call you on your shit now. You have no idea what I believed and what I tried to be. For your information, my father was an atheist and never pushed me to go to church. My mother thought that going to church was a good idea but was apathetic about which one. In other words, my parents did not push us, I choose to believe and to attend. I also went to great length to get all of my brothers and sister baptised.

    How fucking dare you tell me what I was or was not.

    But this is typical. You have shown you do not give a flying shit what inferior (atheist) people have to say. You are here to insult. So once more, I say fuck you.

    By the way, dipship, you have not explained how we atheists are cramming our message down your throat. And you have not answered my two simple question.

    As for morals, the story of Abraham and Isaac is one of the most disgusting stories I know of. That alone is enough for me to turn away from judaism, christianity and islam.

  • #215 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    shorter Kenny:

    “Everybody’s talkin’ at me;

    I can’t hear a word they’re sayin’.

    Only the echoes of my mind…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QorkFwpOo6E

  • #216 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >This statement leads me to wonder why you commented on
    >this blog in the first place, if you already felt that you
    >had no reason to show it and its commenters any respect.

    >Trolling, much?

    Well I didn’t come here to troll. I was looking for a science blog. Trolling is when I am trying to get a rise out of someone. I just saw a lot of hate here and I wanted to stop and correct the ignorance and misinformation. Is that trolling? Not at all.

    I don’t know if you know how to handle people in the real world but if you talk down and making fun of people they are not going to exactly respond in a positive manner. Is that trolling? No

    Maybe the problem is that not many people on here do not have good social skills and do not have common sense to handle them and this is the only way they can express their misinformation and ignorance. It’s just a guess. I don’t know that for sure.

  • #217 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#213 Ichthyic —

    Millions of people that have died and have come back

    wheee!

    Did you somehow think “Flatliners” was a documentary?

    I wouldn’t be surprised. Keep in mind, he believes that a book of semitic religiomoral mythology is divinely prescribed truth. And that this book of divinely prescribed truth is strongly supported by such fraudulent pieces of “evidence” as the Shroud of Turin and…itself.

  • #218 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    (yeah, I know: “what would be the difference?”)…

    LOL!

    Kenny: The Shroud of Turin? You can’t be serious. You consider that PROOF?

    I think we can close the book on this one, folks.

  • #219 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    I just saw a lot of hate here and I wanted to stop and correct the ignorance and misinformation.

    ROFLMAO

    funniest thing I’ve seen all week.

    creobots just DO NOT have any grasp of irony.

  • #220 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    AAhhhhhhh,the irony……..the denial…..
    Paging the Psychiatric Registrar !!!!!!!

  • #221 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    Millions of people that have died and have come back said that they have seen enough on the other side that they believe proves it to them that there is a God. Yes, of course if you have your eyes closed and your mind closed as well you are not going to believe in these millions of people.

    Then there is the Shroud of Turin and there is historical evidence and then the eyewitness accounts in the Bible (again if you have a closed mind and eyes you won’t see the simple truth from many people). The New Testament is partly written about Jesus’ life and his dead and resurection all from many view points.

    Hey, dipshit! The brains of people deprived of oxygen during near death experiences proves nothing. And guess, you dumb fuck! People who follow other religions will interpret their NDE’s in ways that express their own beliefs.

    As for the shroud, it dates from the fourteenth century.

    You keep yakking about there being proof. Answer my two simple question. It would not be proof for me but it would be a step in a new direction for you.

  • #222 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    And Kenny, in re: #201

    >Kenny, I know you may find this hard to believe but most
    >of us here were christians at some point in our lives. And

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    I couldn’t put it better than Janine (#214) did, so let me just reiterate what she said: that what you wrote here is utterly despicable, ignorant and vilely judgmental.

    You may want to consider the words of Soren Kierkegaard:

    The self-assured believer is a greater sinner in the eyes of God than the troubled disbeliever.

  • #223 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Did you somehow think “Flatliners” was a documentary?

    Wow that was funny from someone who can’t even answer my post. It’s not really hard since I am the lone one in here.

    NDE (Near Death Experience) is what it is called and scientific research is being done on this right now. But you are a Skeptic right? So when there is evidence that you don’t want to believe you quickly make something up to explain it and debunk it.

    That is exactly my point. Evidence that you don’t want to believe, make something up and close your eyes and scream “It didn’t happen! It didn’t happen!”

  • #224 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    It’s just a guess. I don’t know that for sure.

    Trying to give up the Dark Arts before it’s too late, eh? Good choice.

    Listen up, Kennyboy. YOU come in here and lead off with the assertion that virtually nobody here has any sense of morality, and expect to be treated with kid gloves? Clean up your own house before you come into mine to lecture me on what you imagine I don’t know. I was raised and eductated in the Congregational, Methodist, and Episcopal churches, and confirmed in the Episcopal. I’ve studied the Bible as both a religious and as an historical document, and believe me, I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as many of the other people here.

    Your insistence that “nobody understands it” is very shallow, ringingly hollow, and worst of all – excruciatingly mundane in its utter familiarity. Get me?

    I don’t hate you, and I don’t hate religion. I don’t even call myself an atheist. It’s the annoying insults of dogmatists like you that rub me the wrong way. Look to your own shortcomings before addressing mine, please – or have you learned NOTHING from your religion?

  • #225 Brain Hertz
    April 29, 2008

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    We probably never put salt on our porridge either.

    Well most people in here doesn’t even get what it says.
    They are so ignorant of it that they can’t even understand what they are posting. The misinformation is so great in here that it is scary. How can you understand the Bible when you quickly try to find a web site to discount it.

    You may find this a little hard to believe, but I became a Christian and subsequently renounced it over a period of many years of thinking deeply about the subject, all of which occurred [cough] years before websites were invented.

    But, by all means, make up whatever facts you need in order to fit scenarios around what people are telling you, such that you can continue to rationalize your belief system to yourself.

  • #226 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    I just saw a lot of hate here and I wanted to stop and correct the ignorance and misinformation.

    Hate, anything that does not fit into dumbfuck’s vision of fundamental christianity.

  • #227 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    Keep in mind, he believes that a book of semitic religiomoral mythology is divinely prescribed truth.

    what’s really funny is I have several Jewish friends, and none of them “believe” that book is anything more than a written version of an oral tradition of storytelling. Which, they also all think is completely irrelevant to any other culture than Judaism.

    Moreover, they just can’t grasp why American protestants are so hung up on this “belief” issue. They always viewed their teachings as leading to DEEDS not BELIEFS. As evidence of that, they point me to the fact that there are really only about 4 sects of Judaism, and at last count there are around a thousand Xian sects.

    American protestants get all hung up on what other people BELIEVE, and it’s totally, fucking, irrelevant.

    More than irrelevant, it often borders on neurotic.

    I always remember the immortal words of “Rufus” from “Dogma”:

    Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.

    Bethany: Having beliefs isn’t good?

    Rufus: I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120655/

    Wisdom from comedy, what else is new?

  • #228 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Geez… maybe I am a little touchy tonight… please adjust the Intensity factor of the comments I’ve posted over the last 30 minutes from 7 down to 4… thanks.

  • #229 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    It’s not really hard since I am the lone one in here.

    that’s very true, but not for the reason you think.

    HINT: You’re drowning yourself in two feet of water.

  • #230 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    We probably never put salt on our porridge either.

    Bloody splitter!

    :p

  • #231 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    I don’t hate you

    Dislike intensely comes to mind, though.

    why deny it?

    It’s exactly what he came here to provoke.

    Happy to oblige.

  • #232 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    NDE (Near Death Experience)

    I guess you missed the whole “near” part?

    LOL

  • #233 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#228 —

    Geez… maybe I am a little touchy tonight… please adjust the Intensity factor of the comments I’ve posted over the last 30 minutes from 7 down to 4… thanks.

    Heh…this may apply to mine as well. But really. When someone tells me I have no source of morals; that my personal attempts to make the world a better place are actually just me trying to cram dogma down people’s throats; and that I’m going to go to hell just because I found that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t believe in something that makes no sense (oh I’m sorry, it’s apparently actually because I just won’t open my heart to Jesus) — when a person says all that, yeah, I do get a little pissed off.

  • #234 Candy
    April 29, 2008

    Well I didn’t come here to troll. I was looking for a science blog.

    Now this is just a little hard to believe. Whatever would you want with a science blog, Kenny?

    Part of the reason you all are not getting through to Kenny is that you are using way too big words; two syllables max is the ticket.

    I’ve got a bit of a girl crush on Etha. What a delight to read!

  • #235 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    When someone tells me I have no source of morals; that my personal attempts to make the world a better place are actually just me trying to cram dogma down people’s throats; and that I’m going to go to hell just because I found that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t believe in something that makes no sense (oh I’m sorry, it’s apparently actually because I just won’t open my heart to Jesus) — when a person says all that, yeah, I do get a little pissed off.

    When a person says all that, you should recall the massive levels of projection involved.

    It does tend to take the edge off.

    projection and denial, denial and projection.

    I think Cuttlefish even wrote one of his verses about it, it’s so common amongst creobots.

  • #236 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    Etha, as my welcome to you, I want to point out that people like Kenny drop in all the time. They do make great sport. Just keep your eyes open for when one of these fundies gets attention from Moses. It gets quite entertaining. But as you will soon see, these people cannot slip past our collective knowledge of the bible. And when I say that, I mean just about everybody else but me. I will say enjoy this but you already said that is why you are getting so little sleep.

  • #237 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008
  • Dislike intensely comes to mind, though.
  • why deny it?
  • Why? Cuz at heart I’m more the “hate the sin, love the sinner” type. Kenny suffers from the usual myopia and has been infected with the usual virulent memes with respect to morality and religiousity. That doesn’t make him a bad person. :-) In fact, his behavior so far, though somewhat irritating and insulting, has been pretty mild compared to some of the contemptible, hateful bigotry we’re subjected to here from time to time.

    Are you getting this, Kenny? Do you have any idea how many times we’ve had Christian blow through here and accuse PZ and the commenters, en masse, of being amoral nihilists who they’ll enjoy watching burn in hell for an eternity? And you think the hate is HERE? Widen your field of vision, sir… there’s plenty of hate coming from your side of the fence.

    Oh wait, don’t tell me – those aren’t “real” Christians! Well, I agree that they’re not doing too well with the “love” part of the message, but you have to admit, there’s a pretty strong Christian Right in this country, led by rich and powerful men like Robertson, Hagee, Falwell (deceased), Dobson, etc., and none of them are doing too well with the “love” message, either. But, like it or not, if they worship Christ as the Son of God and their only Path to Salvation, they are Christians. I believe they’re in the minority, but MAN are they loud!

  • #238 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    I’ve got a bit of a girl crush on Etha. What a delight to read!

    Yes, Candy – she does appear to be a keeper, doesn’t she? :-)

    I’d vote her “Most Likely To Be Sastra When She Grows Up”, but that would fail to account for the fact that Etha has already grown up to be Etha.

  • #239 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    That doesn’t make him a bad person. :-)

    sorry, but I disagree.

    it doesn’t matter what the source of his irrationality and delusional thinking actually is. I’m gonna hate someone who tries to inform me I have no morals because I’m not as fucked in the head as they are. If he keeps his irrational nonsense to himself, that’s fine, but deciding, like oh so many of his likely peers, to attempt to impose their irrational nonsense on others, because that is how they rationalize their own delusions, MAKES them bad people.

    Just like a rotten apple. I don’t care HOW the apple got rotten, it’s still a rotten apple.

    simple as that.

    I can, at the same time, make sure my hatred of them is NOT blind, and try to figure out the source of their irrational behavior (which is oh so obvious in this case).

    I see no reason to repress my own feelings on the matter, though. They are quite a rational response to being attacked by an utter wanker.

    In fact, I would worry that repressing these feelings would lead to me being a hypocrite myself.

    have you considered that “hate the sinner and not the sin” is a trite rationalization itself?

  • #240 Monado in Toronto again
    April 29, 2008

    Actually, Kenny, I’ve read large parts of the Old Testament and guess what? The verse condemning homosexuality is in the same chapter with the verse telling parents to kill their children for being uppity. Were you never rude to your parents? If you were, do you condemn them for not executing you? Would you ask forgiveness and commit suicide to rectify their failure? or do you think that’s a little extreme?

    As same-sex attraction has been found in many animal species, it’s hard to think that it’s not either part of God’s plan or normal sexuality gone a litte awry. It’s as hard for a gay person to imagine changing their sexuality by an act of will as it is for you to imagine that you could become gay by an act of will and that you should.

  • #241 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny, as we have gently pointed out to other god-botherers who come here, we tolerate religion but do not respect it. It’s a distinction as clear as that between words and actions. There is a difference between, say, burning down churches and forcible de-conversion (which we disavow) and pointing and laughing (which we heartily engage in).

    Of course we have disrespected you, because from the moment you set foot here you dissed us with your holy rolling blather and your splutter about how mean and superior we atheists are. We are hardly going to be meek and mild toward anyone who comes in here calling us immoral, raising straw-Hitlers and spouting demonstrably false nonsense about biblical eyewitnesses, near-death crack-pottery and the Turin Shroud.

    Take your lumps like a man, Ken.

    The sad thing is that you have been duped. You have been gulled and conned by your priests and their weasel interpretations of scripture. You are so invested in this fantasy that you are clearly beyond our powers to save you from this dangerous and immoral cult.

    As for hate, you might find a little hate here, but more likely you will find fear. The Americans here are all too aware that atheists are outnumbered by the godly, and they fear what might happen to them if the law is so weakened that Christians decide to do to atheists what Martin Luther wanted to do to the Jews. This is why the battles for the teaching of science and evolution, between church and state, are their frontline.

    We merely ridicule you god-botherers. But we honestly believe that Christians, given the opportunity, would cheerfully do unimaginable things to atheists. And they would do so quoting scripture as their guide and justification. Given your long history of treatment of those Christians who cleave to erroneous doctrine, such as altar rails and the Marian heresy, we anticipate harsher treatment for those of us who believe no doctrine at all.

  • #242 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#238 Kseniya —

    I’d vote her “Most Likely To Be Sastra When She Grows Up”, but that would fail to account for the fact that Etha has already grown up to be Etha.

    This is one of the nicest things anyone has said about me, and I thank you, but I feel compelled to confess that while I may come across as self-assured when writing about abstract ideas, in the realm of every-day “real life” I am really just a rather confused college student trying to figure out exactly what she is doing with her life. Like a lot of people, I suspect.

  • #243 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    have you considered that “hate the sinner and not the sin” is a trite rationalization itself?

    heh, strike that, reverse it.

    :p

  • #244 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    Kseniya, I can understand what you mean about Kenny’s behavior being mild. I can be polite those who make those unfounded Hitler comparison, claims that leftists cannot understand morality and calls homosexuality as a sin like adultery. Though I try to avoid Hitler comparisons(They are conversation killers.), I am a bit of a leftist and I am queer. But his ignoring of my two questions and denying that I ever was a christian set me off. I place this person on the same level as the dungeon dwelling Planet Killer.

  • #245 Monado in Toronto again
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny typed,

    You were not Christians. Christians follow Christ. You probably just went to church because your parents did.

    You mean to say that if you’d been born in India to Hindu or Muslim or Sikh parents you wouldn’t be a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh? Don’t make me laugh.

  • #246 paragwinn
    April 29, 2008

    Matt Taibbi: There is this “our thing,” a sort of Cosa Nostra of the soul

    Aptly put.

  • #247 Malcolm
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny,
    Unlike many of the posters here, I’ve always been an Atheist. While my parents were Christians, I never believed in souls, or any other supernatural crap. Having said that, I have read the Bible.
    You keep going on about people not understanding your little book. What I don’t understand about it is why anyone would think that the central premise makes any sense. That whole “God gave his only son as a sign of his love” thing is totally irrational.
    What was the point? If your god is all powerful, the whole thing is unneccessary. Why not just let everyone go to Heaven?
    The whole idea that everyone is guilty right off the bat, is pretty sick. What precisely has my 6 month old nephew done that would warrent being tortured forever were he to die tomorrow?
    The concept of having a child specifically for the purpose of having him tortured is extremely sick. Unless there was no suffering involved, that devinity thing, in which case, where is the sacrifice?

  • #248 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    I am really just a rather confused college student trying to figure out exactly what she is doing with her life. Like a lot of people, I suspect.

    Posted by: Etha Williams

    “A little older. A little more confused.” Tom Ripley(Dennis Hopper) Der Amerikanische Freund

    I am twenty years out of college and I am afraid I am more confused now then I was back then. You get just to it. But it beats being absolutely certain, like Kenny.

  • #249 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    sorry, but I disagree.

    No need to apologize. I am eminently disagreeable. With. :-)

    Anyway, I was pretty sure you would. That’s fine. We all have our own way of reacting and responding to things. Diversity is good. My hope is that Kenny will take note of the various and sundry reactions and responses his comments have engendered here tonight, and draw reasonable conclusions that are fair to all involved, himself included.

    have you considered that “hate the sin and not the sinner” is a trite rationalization itself?

    Yes, and I’ve concluded that sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s a disingenuous mask for what is, at its root, actual hatred of the “sinner”. Sometimes it’s not. I appreciate it on an analogical level because it appeals to the behaviorist aspects of my hybrid approach to psychology and personal dynamics. It’s generally more constructive to address the behavior first, rather than attack the person behind the behavior. There are limits, of course – eventually a person is defined by the things they do and say, but… well, I’m sure you know what I’m getting at. I hope so. I’m suddenly exhausted, and my brain is shutting down…

    Etha:

    …while I may come across as self-assured when writing about abstract ideas, in the realm of every-day “real life” I am really just a rather confused college student trying to figure out exactly what she is doing with her life. Like a lot of people, I suspect.

    Yes, indeed. Like me, in fact – almost exactly. I could have written that myself.

  • #250 Notkieran
    April 29, 2008

    JSN @ #172: Being loved by three patriarchal beings at once is a bit outre for me, especially when they all share one brain and wish to express their love eternally.

    It sounds downright dodgy, in fact, come to think of it.

    But maybe some people like to submit to that kind of thing.

  • #251 spaghettimonster
    April 29, 2008

    @ #216, Kenny:
    Well I didn’t come here to troll. I was looking for a science blog. Trolling is when I am trying to get a rise out of someone.

    Have you actually read the subject line of this post? This is not exactly scientific material, just the story about an atheist in a christian retreat. You are not searching it right, or, more likely, looking for an itch to scratch.

    (Besides, a blog devoted entirely to science would be a bit boring, I guess. People has lots of different interest besides science, you know.)

    I just saw a lot of hate here and I wanted to stop and correct the ignorance and misinformation. Is that trolling? Not at all.

    troll:

    1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that the have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand – they simply want to utter flame bait. (source: jargon file 4.2.0)

    Now consider, if you can, for a moment that “some” people here might think that you are plain wrong. Wouldn’t that count as “specious argument” and “flames” from your part in their POV?

    I don’t know if you know how to handle people in the real world but if you talk down and making fun of people they are not going to exactly respond in a positive manner. Is that trolling? No

    Actually, it is:
    1. you are here because you want;
    2. you know what this blog and people believe (or disbelieve);
    3. you know how attract unnecessary attention to yourself;
    4. you are damn annoying;
    5. you use fallacies and you are intellectual dishonest;

    I’ve seen christian forums block and censor atheists’ comments for much less, but I doubt it would ever happen here.

    Maybe the problem is that not many people on here do not have good social skills and do not have common sense to handle them and this is the only way they can express their misinformation and ignorance. It’s just a guess. I don’t know that for sure.

    Or maybe it was because you started assuming to know who you were talking to, making generalisations, cherry-picking comments to answer and repeating yourself ad nauseam with no convincing argument.

    After all, you talked about “looking for a science blog” and yet you don’t know what a scientific argument is.

    To “prove” your point, you have already used already at least these fallacies:

    * appeal to popularity (“millions of people have experienced some after-death phenomenon, so it must be true”);

    * appeal to authority and circular logic (“it is in the bible, the bible is the word of god, so it must be true”);

    * true Scotsman (“a real christian would do this or that”);

    Those are all fallacies. You are obviously a troll.

  • #252 Hematite
    April 29, 2008

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (#241):

    …raising straw-Hitlers…

    Nice. Like it.

  • #253 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Those are all fallacies.

    Prove it then. I see a lot of talk on here and a lot of belittlement but I see no proof other than I am better than you because I am blinded by my own beliefs.

    Atheists beliefs are never proven, always driven by blind assertions from ones own single world view. I have tried to look at things like an Atheist. I mean most of you claim at one time you were Christians (or so you say you were, your ignorance pretty much gives that away).

    I have posted here what I believe is proof and I see nothing that proves they are wrong, only that someone can spell fallacies correctly.

    The only thing I got when I pretended that there was not a God in the universe was depression. Because at that point life is meaningless and there is meaning to nothing and there is no point in continuing to live.

    From what I read on here Christians are holding back people from doing whatever they want. Well morals kind of do the same thing. Don’t they keep people from doing what they want as well (cloning, stem cell research, etc…)

    Think about it, if you got rid of all the Christians and morals there would be nothing to stop science and people from doing whatever they wanted without feeling guilty. We could have a free thinking society without anything stopping us (moral, Christianity, religion) and nothing to stop us from progress.

  • #254 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >The concept of having a child specifically for the purpose
    >of having him tortured is extremely sick. Unless there was
    >no suffering involved, that devinity thing, in which case,
    >where is the sacrifice?

    The child is God that was born of a virgin so he didn’t take in the bloodline and DNA of mankind which Adam already had sin from the begining.

    Christ was supposed to die and become a sacrifice. The tortured part is not really part of the deal, that part came in from Satan. See the same Satan that has you blinded from the truth is the same that tried to stop Christ from doing what he did and so he made it so that it was not easy on him.

    You don’t believe in any of this so to you it does not make sense to you. You think it is a farytale and a bunch of myths. When I see kids shoot their parents and kill them or kill other kids at school, I see kids being influenced by Satan. You see them as a bunch of idiot disturbed kids.

    I know how you guys think. I completely understand where you are coming from, but your point of view is only one dimensional.

    This is how I see how you think. Remember when scientists thought the world was flat. Remember that? Well that is how I see you. The world is full of dimensions not just 3 or 4 but many, many more. There is a spiritual dimension and you guys just want to close your eyes and not even begin to try to understand it.

    Anything that is beyond this physical dimension you can’t even begin to acknowledge. That is why I said that skeptics will not have an open mind and even begin to do research on something that they DONT WANT TO BELEIEVE IN and they make up something so they dont’ have to believe it.

    There is so much out there than this physical word and limiting yourself to believing in only that part of the world is really not progress.

  • #255 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Also, even if you can prove that there is a God (which you
    >haven’t done yet, just to be clear), what reason is there
    >to assume he is the God of the Bible and not the God of
    >the Koran or the God of Joseph Smith or a God never before
    >imagined?

    Jesus Christ was told to be the messiah (via the old testament prophets). He died and rose again from the grave. Eyewitnesses (they didn’t have camcorders in those days and even if they did you would dismiss it anyway) said that he did. They saw angels that say that he rose again. This stuff is real and not some myth like you WANT to believe (notice I typed WANT in uppercase to prove my point?). This like a diary (or blog) that is being recorded the record of Jesus life, death, and resurection. Mohammad got a vision and he didn’t die and rise up again.

    I did a quick lookup via Bible Gateway (there are many verses but here is quick one):

    John 21:13-15 (King James Version)
    King James Version (KJV)

    13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

    14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

    15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

  • #256 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >I don’t see anyone here saying that. YOU did. Your point?
    >(“Get away from Christianity” — Indeed.)

    yeah, you know why I did that? Because people on here are acting just as stupid and silly as that quote that I posted. The fact that you could not understand that really does not look good for your intelligence.

    I find that people who are really hardcore Atheists really lack common sense. They just don’t understand simple concepts and ideas. They overcomplicate things and really don’t understand simple ideas at all. This is not ment to be an insult, but this seems to be really the case.

    I knew a guy with a very high IQ, but he could not understand common sense at all. He just could not understand the simplest things and I am not talking about religion here.

    When I have to start trying to say the same things over and over and over again and people can’t understand the simple of sentences I think it might be time to call it a night and just leave them to their own ignorance.

    You can’t enlighten someone who can’t progress to the next level.

  • #257 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Hello Kenny,good to see you are still around mate,the guys from the Southern hemisphere are now in charge here lol….
    I thought you had left,because I wanted to ask earlier how you became a Christian in the first place,im curious…I was brought up a catholic myself but am now an atheist.I am always interested to understand where people are coming from !

  • #258 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    Just because Christians don’t believe in what you believe they are violent, hate mongers, and irrational morons.

    They have a mental problem because they don’t believe in rational things! They are a cancer to society! Kill all Christians!!!

    Sorry, just thinking how there could be another holocaust and this time anyone who believes in something as simple minded as religion.

    yeah, sure sounds well and balanced too me. What was this thing called respect again? oh that’s right, Christians are lower than animals and there should be no respect for them.

  • #259 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Now you are ranting mate,trying to leave some irate and offensive comments here when you feel you are alone with the thread….
    How does that make you feel hey?
    It kind of undoes the little bit of progress you had made earlier at being taken seriously…..
    I was honestly curious about how you became a Christian,never mind…

  • #260 Notkieran
    April 29, 2008

    Re Kenny’s:

    >They have a mental problem because they don’t believe in rational things! They are a cancer to society! Kill all Christians!!!

    I am irresistibly reminded of another literal-minded fundamentalist who ended up committing atrocities because he couldn’t process the language properly.

    See, Pol Pot didn’t realise that when Marx said “eliminate the bourgeoisie”, he MEANT “educate them”, not “beat their brains out with rifle butts”.

    Likewise, atheists recognise that eliminating religion does not mean beating true believers around the head with rifle butts no matter how tempted we are by your existence, whereas historically, true believers have tended to eliminate those who disagreed with them via sword, fire, or zyklon-B.

    Perhaps this is what is called “projection”.

  • #261 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Kenny’s one of those homophobic douches who thinks the
    >bible consists only of quotes prohibiting homosexuality.

    Not everyone who says homosexuality is a sin is a homophobe. If you are going to use the term than know how to apply it. I am not scared of people who are gay. I am quite comfortable on who I am. I am not scared of turning gay.

    People throw that ignorant term around because they have to try to put people down and insult them when they don’t agree that everyone should do whatever they want to do and have total freedom from murder to sexual abuse. It doesn’t matter as long as it feels good. Saying homophobe to me is just as offensive is using the F-G word to a gay person. Which I never would do.

    >Ever had your money in a savings account, Ken? Guilty of
    >usuary, and thus no better than a homosexual. After all, a
    >sin is a sin is a sin in God’s eyes.

    Well I don’t have a savings account only a checking account. So I wouldn’t know even how to look to only riches because I have none.

  • #262 MartinM
    April 29, 2008

    …historically, true believers have tended to eliminate those who disagreed with them via sword, fire, or zyklon-B.

    Possibly related to their belief that non-believers lack morals. As far as I can tell, the only person on this thread who has engaged in the dehumanisation of others is Kenny himself.

  • #263 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Likewise, atheists recognise that eliminating religion
    >does not mean beating true believers around the head with
    >rifle butts no matter how tempted we are by your
    >existence, whereas historically, true believers have
    >tended to eliminate those who disagreed with them via
    >sword, fire, or zyklon-B.

    You are trying to speak for all Atheists and you have failed. I don’t think you understand how religious most of the atheists are these days.

    Liberals are already trying to find ways to get rid of Christian programs in California, next is Christians themselves.

    See here in California we already have the ball rolling to kill off our rights already. We already know liberals hate Christians because they are holding progress back from all kinds of things. That was exactly my point. The more you hate, the more religious you become. You become what you hate. Relgion will be gone, morals will be gone (because they hold us back too).

    That is why I don’t understand why Atheists say that Christians hold us back but morals don’t, they serve some kind of purpose for the moment, but they also hold you back.

    The sad thing is that I understand on how an Atheist feels and understand than they can understand Christianity.

    See, I totally get it. I know that for example that God which atheists claim is not real and that it is in our heads for moral reasons and that it’s just a myth that is now outdated because of science which has shown us the real way and we can still have morals without having the baggage of religion which has been taught by our parents and science has shown us the religion is not true and bunch of myths and outdated propaganda to keep us in line.

    I completely understand an Atheist point of view. I really do. However, I think it is as fragile as a house of cards with a little wind. It is basically trying to prove that God doesn’t exist while ignoring all proof because you choose not to believe or have an open mind about things. I have given what I think is proof and people dismissed it without giving it any thought at all.

    I will say this again. Skeptics basically take the information that they do not believe in and rearange the information so they can explain it in their own world view of terms. In other words, they dismiss the evidence and make something up.

    An Atheist cannot handle the truth or evidence even if God came down and talked to them personally. You can never prove anything to them, they will always reflect the truth and proof so that will not believe it.

    Proof or credible evidence is not enough to get an Atheist to believe it, because they have already made up their mind about not believing.

    They just want to blindly attack Christians because they have nothing to add to the human race to improve it. They think that by making fun of Christians and trying to slander them they can make a difference by stopping the Christians ignorance, but it doesn’t do any good to the human race, it only causes more problems. They are part of the problem with religion themselves and they want to deny it.

    I really don’t think Karl Marx did anything to help humanity and I see no evidence that anyone else here has changed that. The only thing that Atheists do to help humanity is help themselves.

  • #264 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    PZ,

    you say,
    “Insulating yourself against the taint of all religion is a kind of psychological, informational hygiene.”

    Despite the risk of being accused of a Courtier’s reply, I have to object to this.

    A few weeks ago, I was visiting a friend in London, and he invited me to his Church (Anglican) on Sunday.
    The mass lasted about 1hr1/2, and I must say, it was quite nice. There was a band and some singing which wasn’t bad, but ok, the sermon was about giving to the needy, which in a wealthy west end London suburb is always good, there was a very good presentation from a climatologist on AGW, and how he defined it as a moral imperative, I mean nothing I could complain about.
    But more importantly, it was what happened afterwards. We went off to some pub with a group of church attendees and I had a wonderful time. They were really nice to me. Asking loads of questions, trying to understand my point of view, really open minded, well educated people. I was so surprised. None of the stuff described by this guy visiting an American Evangelical church. Two worlds apart. As a matter of fact, I will return. I liked the community, and there was definitely a link, we all shared the need to understand better, to explore what we truely believed in and far backwards in time. And that was definitely something I admired. Nothing obstrusive.
    But tell me ? where else can I get this ? Where are the same kind of communities of non believers who organise these kind of events. I live in Barcelona Spain. There are none. Or maybe, once in a blue moon.
    I think people have a deep need to share these kind of things, maybe it’s not faith, but, I think these kinds of communities are absolutely necessary.
    So, maybe it’s not religion, but it definitely looks like it.

    I think the USA, most of religion has become a caricature of religion. In a sense, the competitivity of the religious market and your “marketing expertise” has backfired. If you can be so good at marketing Pizza Hut and Starbucks Coffee all around the world, the downside is that it looses its authenticity. But with religion, it completely becomes a monster, a farce, as PZ, so wonderfully, always reminds us.

    Now, I am quite convinced that that monster will not die on its own. Some other form of religion will need to fight back. Call it humanism, or unitarianism, or rational theism, or an organised community building form of atheism, I don’t care, but something will need to be done beyond blogging.

    Religion will evolve, as it always has.

  • #265 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    @ negentropyeater,no 264 :

    Im glad you had a good night out,but im not getting the point here i think.What does going out with a bunch of people and having a good time have to do with religion? So these Anglicans were nice people,had a few pints with you and it was all warm and fuzzy,good for you ! And whats the point you are trying to make??

    “Some other form of religion will need to fight back. Call it humanism, or unitarianism, or rational theism, or an organised community building form of atheism, I don’t care, but something will need to be done beyond blogging.”

    Mate,you are not thinking very cleary it would seem,we certainly dont need another religion to replace the current ones,got plenty of those !!

  • #266 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >Now you are ranting mate,trying to leave some irate and
    >offensive comments here when you feel you are alone with >the thread….

    How is it irrate and offensive when a lot of people on this blog feel the way that I posted. I only posted on what they were thinking.

    >How does that make you feel hey?

    It doesn’t make me feel good at all. I wouldn’t do that to them, but hey what do I know I am a stupid Christian.

    >It kind of undoes the little bit of progress you had made
    >earlier at being taken seriously…..

    Taken seriously? Wow, have you even read this thread. Do you read their comments to me? What Christian is taken seriously here? Are you kidding me?

    >I was honestly curious about how you became a
    >Christian,never mind…

    I became a Christian when I realised the earth was round and that there are other things going on than what our friends who are atheists want to admit (they will never admit the truth and some of us are not as closed minded).

    When I see something like people who have an NDE come back and tell us that there is something out there. The Bible is the only book that made sense too me. “The God Delusion” which is basically a sales tool for the Atheist really never answered questions that I wanted answered. It was too much from the “religion is ignorant, but we will show you a better way”, which I never really found better but just more cold.

    I look at everything and it could not happen by chance oh yeah that’s right evolution doesn’t either. Whatever, it doesnt make sense too me. It does not answer all the questions it just gives you more questions than answers.

    I love science but it is not going to stop us from being destroyed. I just believe science is a good tool for us to cure diseases and help us progresss in living longer and such but a lot of that progress takes forever to get down to the normal person. Take drugs for example as new drugs are devloped science leads the way towards progress there but then we get people in the way and it could take 100 years to get the drugs to the people.

    At the end of the day it is not going to stop a world war even when it’s not involved with religion. Richard Dawkins makes it sound so much better if there were no religion but he is just asking you to take on his brand of religion which Marx was a huge proponent of and look where it got us, no where.

    I don’t believe Atheism is the answer, it offers no hope of anything but just our own selfish desires which in the end is just as bad as what they claim religion is.

    We would still have wars and problems with things like energy resources and differences in world views without religon.

    For example, if people are starving wouldn’t it just be better if we kill the people so people can live with more food. This is something that sounds out of a book of horrors but many scientists believe this nonsense and they are atheists. Do a google search and see what I mean.

    This is where this all leads too. It is all about me, myself, and I. That is what atheism really is all about.

  • #267 MAJeff, OM
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny,

    You keep saying we refuse to see the truth. Produce some evidence.

  • #268 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >It’s the annoying insults of dogmatists like you that rub
    >me the wrong way. Look to your own shortcomings before
    >addressing mine, please – or have you learned NOTHING from
    >your religion?

    I have never addressed your faults. I addressed the gross misinformation going on in this thread and I addressed the outright lies people are telling themselves.

    When someone says something about Christians, the Bible, or general Christianity and they don’t have a clue and they grossly mistate what I say and put out misinformation and how they are so much better than stupid Christians–how else am I supposed to respond.

    This entire blog post is putting down Christians, making fun of them. Then the posts come in like someone who doesn’t understand the very basics of what Christianity is all about but they can misrepresent and throw out critism without understanding or even to attempt to understand even the simplest concepts of what it is all about.

    If there was a such a thing as slander on the Internet this blog would be full of it.

  • #269 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Hi Kenny,thanks for getting back to me !
    We’ve had a long night hey….
    Im glad you can see what science does for the treatment of diseases,extending our life span and such,not all creationists can !
    Let me tell you about myself,im a Physician in a large Trauma Center,and Im an Atheist too.I have a system of moral beliefs based on what my peers and parents have taught me and on what I have adopted from reading philosophy and literature.I have never raped,killed,maimed,looted,committed adultery etc….,im just curious where you get the idea from that the world would end and we would all plunge into anarchy were we to abandon the idea that a god is needed for us to be moral beings ! Im looking forward to your answer Kenny,ty !

  • #270 Notkieran
    April 29, 2008

    >I don’t think you understand how religious most of the atheists are these days.

    You know, Kenny, most sane people consider internal consistency within a sentence to be a good thing when arguing.

    >That was exactly my point. The more you hate, the more religious you become.

    That’s a base canard. The greater your religosity, the greater your capacity for hate.

    Now, let me draw your attention to two points in one post:

    #1:

    >You are trying to speak for all Atheists and you have failed.

    #2:

    >Proof or credible evidence is not enough to get an Atheist to believe it, because they have already made up their mind about not believing.

    >They just want to blindly attack Christians because they have nothing to add to the human race to improve it.

    Wait, wait… _I_, an atheist, cannot speak for atheists, whereas _you_ can?

    You say that I cannot speak for others in the same breath that you speak for others; you claim that the bible does not call upon us to hate jews with a quotation that shows how we are told to hate them; and you say that _we_ do not listen to reason?

    I am certainly glad you have faith; it seems to fill the hole within you where most functional members of society have less important things like “reason”, “logic”, and “manners”.

  • #271 Duncan
    April 29, 2008

    Ok, I come back to see where this is going, and discover that Kenny is actually an updated version of ELIZA, written by a malevolent christian who is testing it here for future widespread deployment. Pretty soon any comment thread that mentions the word ‘religion’ will become infected with KENNY, and atheists everywhere will start dying off from lack of sleep.

    Very sinister indeed.

  • #272 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    >You keep saying we refuse to see the truth. Produce some
    >evidence.

    I gave the proof and verses that I provided some proof. Is your arm broken, you can’t use Google to do research and find out for yourself. You can’t look up “shroud of turin” and see all the scientific research done over 40 years and they still can’t solve the puzzle (they tried to do carbon dating but it would not tell how old it was because the shroud was in a box in a church fire so it threw their carbon dating off).

    You again ignore proof from eyewitness
    such as verses like this:

    “John 2:22 (KJV)

    22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

    Then you can’t do research on historical evidence on
    Josephus’ Account of Jesus. Here I will do some work for you (just used google and found one right away): http://bibleprobe.com/antiquities18-63.htm

    You can do some research on the Internet you know.
    Do a search on Near Death studies which when it is beyond an out of body experience people claim that there is a heaven and a God.

    Again, science has given us the Internet. Use this precious gift to do some research on your own. you might actually learn something and maybe obtain common sense somehow.

  • #273 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Nah Duncan,theres always an atheist somewhere on the globe on duty to argue with the creobots lol…..Im in Australia,and Im just warming up mate,its only 0915pm here !

  • #274 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Clinteas,

    of course, if it were just going out and having a good time, that wouldn’t be what I call religion. No, I think the following aspects are very important :

    1) the mass before, the ritual, the place (mind you, could have been a museum, would have been even better)
    2) the relugarity, the fact that one obliges oneself to go there once a week
    3) the subjects discussed. Think about it. Most people leave school and never go back, all their life. I think if they would find a way to go back every week, to a place where knowleadgeable people would inform them about Science or other subjects, and then discuss it around a beer, the level of education would not be that poor. Instead, they watch American Idol or go to the kind of Evangelical church as seen above to get “schooling”, and we know the result.
    4) and of course, the community of people

    I don’t see why a religion needs to be based on supernaturalism. That is stupid. And a prayer doesn’t need to be a means to communicate with a supernatural entity. It can be a means to medidate and think deeply.

  • #275 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    @ negentropyeater

    I guess my point is why do you need any religion or religious tools like prayer in the first place,to spread knowledge or science or the like?
    Seems to me you had a good time and are just a bit overimpressed with the fact that you found some nice people to talk to over there….Fair enough tho,nothing wrong with enjoying yourself….

  • #276 Spooky
    April 29, 2008

    I see that the gang has sautéd Kenny nicely. I love the smell of Christian in the morning. Smells like victory.

    Duncan asked:

    Is there any shortcut we can use to address the tedious claims of religious people in regards to morality, historical evidence for Jesus, biblical inerrency, and so on? A pre-compiled FAQ for each of the repetitive talking points …

    You could always direct them to the Official God FAQ.

  • #277 Kenny
    April 29, 2008

    okay, last post for the night. Anything else will be ignored.

    >Im glad you can see what science does for the treatment of
    >diseases,extending our life span and such,not all
    >creationists can !

    Well we need national heath insurance because when I got laid off from my 85 thousand dollar job in Los Angeles I don’t have insurance anymore and so that is a serious problem.

    >philosophy and literature.I have never
    >raped,killed,maimed,looted,committed adultery etc….,im
    >just curious where you get the idea from that the world
    >would end and we would all plunge into anarchy were we to
    >abandon the idea that a god is needed for us to be moral
    >beings ! Im looking forward to your answer Kenny,ty !

    Just like our money used to be backed on Gold as a solid foundation to back us up. God is the final foundation that all morals should be based against just as money should be backed by gold. People who are Atheists can have morals without the Bible or believing in God. However their moral compass can be corupted over time.

    I will give you an example of this from what I have read about people who kill someone. At first they might think it is wrong, but after this their concious stops telling them it is wrong and they do it without thinking about it. Basically they have went against their own morals.

    It is the same with hitler. He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by killing six million Jewish people. Over time his morals became corrupted and he did not seek the Bible and found out what he did was wrong. He was right in his own mind.

    Just like when you don’t use a steering wheel in a car and just let it go, eventually it is going to go off the road. The same thing here with morals. The Bible and thus God’s word is a moral foundation that can bring us back to the right path.

    The main theme I get on here with saying Christians are stupid is basically we should get rid of Christians because they hold us back from progress well morals do as well.

    Have you played the video game bioshock? BioShock is fiction and not real but it does prove a point. The point is that the scientists wanted to move away from relgion and also morals and built a city under water so he can do whatever experiments he wanted without being limited by religion or morals. This makes a huge point even though it is complete fiction and that is the relgion is not the only thing that holds back humankind, morals eventualy do the same thing (people on here haven’t seen that far yet).

  • #278 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Ok guys,dont say i didnt try….
    I think the Kenny of the night is just unfortunately and tragically 2 cans short of a sixpack !
    *switches on the telly for some law&order*

  • #279 Spooky
    April 29, 2008

    2 cans short mate?

    The guy is just the plastic bit that holds ‘em together!!

    At least it’s time for his meds now.

  • #280 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    To quote from a recent Hitch interview :

    …is a brick short of a load or, as heartless people in England sometimes say, a sandwich or two short of a picnic…

    LOL

  • #281 spurge
    April 29, 2008

    “People who are Atheists can have morals without the Bible or believing in God. However their moral compass can be corupted over time.”

    So can the morals of the religious. Making religion superfluous.

    Your arrogance is astounding. Only the great Kenny understands the true meaning of the bible. Only Kenny’s interpretation of scripture is correct.

    You are a joke.

    Come back when you can do more than project your own faults onto us.

  • #282 Duncan
    April 29, 2008

    I’d say two hemispheres short of a full brain, but that might be understating things.

  • #283 spurge
    April 29, 2008

    “It is the same with hitler. He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by killing six million Jewish people. Over time his morals became corrupted and he did not seek the Bible and found out what he did was wrong.”

    I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

  • #284 firemancarl
    April 29, 2008

    I get into these debates all the time. I say the bible isn’t a moral code etc and then the fundie tells me that “Becuase of Jesus, we now live under Gods grace.” So basically, god in the OT is a homocidal schizo who went on meds at the beginning of the NT.

  • #285 MAJeff, OM
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny, the nonsense you’ve been spouting as “evidence” has been refuted on this very board. And yet, no, you won’t open your eyes and see! There is none so blind as he who refuses to see. And you are blind. The Bible as eyewitness accounts? Are you serious? The shroud of Turin? Get a clue! Near death experiences? Explained.

    You’re a very silly man, Kenny. Very silly.

  • #286 spaghettimonster
    April 29, 2008

    Prove it then. I see a lot of talk on here and a lot of belittlement but I see no proof other than I am better than you because I am blinded by my own beliefs.

    Atheists don’t have beliefs, at least, not in a supernatural deity. And fallacies are self-evident. But I can at least point you to the basic structure of a fallacy. OK, for instance:

    Millions of people that have died and have come back said that they have seen enough on the other side that they believe proves it to them that there is a God.

    Here you tell us that because many people (millions) believe it to be true, it must be true. That’s not a valid scientific argument (it is in fact such a common tactic is was labeled “appeal to popularity” or “appeal to numbers”). See if you can see the same basic structure in the examples in this site:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_popularity

    Yes, of course if you have your eyes closed and your mind closed as well you are not going to believe in these millions of people.

    If you agree that that explanation above is not exactly scientific, you haven’t really proved it. But trying to prove such a thing in my opinion is a mistake.

    Atheists beliefs are never proven, always driven by blind assertions from ones own single world view. I have tried to look at things like an Atheist. I mean most of you claim at one time you were Christians (or so you say you were, your ignorance pretty much gives that away).

    But whoever makes the assertion “there is a god” must therefore provide a good reason for it. I don’t like the word “proof” in this case, but the “burden of proof”, so to speak, lies with the one that makes the claim.

    In that sense, it is easier to discard a god, because a disbelief is only the absence of a good reason to support a belief (for any reasons an atheist might have). In the lack of a good reason, the atheist simply don’t believe in a god.

    I have posted here what I believe is proof and I see nothing that proves they are wrong, only that someone can spell fallacies correctly.

    What you call “proof” is not necessarily a (scientific) proof. Even if you could prove the existence of christ, how can you prove he is the son of god? How reliable would those eye-witnessed miracles be 2000 years ago, when no formal method of testing those miracles were available? Now, consider this: throughout the history of men, myths and legends were created, mixed and recycled all the time. I guess you would agree with that, since most legends and myths that do not revolve around christianity were created just like that. But these myths were probably eye-witnessed in the exact same manner that people experienced the miracles of christ. What is the difference? (Desire to believe is not acceptable if you are trying to convince people that this is a matter of simple facts.)

    With that said, the supernatural is not even a subject matter for science.

    The only thing I got when I pretended that there was not a God in the universe was depression. Because at that point life is meaningless and there is meaning to nothing and there is no point in continuing to live.

    For you maybe, but most atheists live meaningful lives just like anybody else. Just because you don’t understand how it works doesn’t mean it is not possible.

    From what I read on here Christians are holding back people from doing whatever they want. Well morals kind of do the same thing. Don’t they keep people from doing what they want as well (cloning, stem cell research, etc…)

    Firstly, if you are expecting people (atheists) to have the same moral values about cloning and stem cell research as you, you might be talking to the wrong crowd. Of course, most people would agree that things like killing and stealing are wrong, but things like stem cell research are far more complex and can’t be abandoned without further considerations.

    Secondly, the discussion behind stem cell research have not been completely exhausted (at least in some countries).

    Think about it, if you got rid of all the Christians and morals there would be nothing to stop science and people from doing whatever they wanted without feeling guilty. We could have a free thinking society without anything stopping us (moral, Christianity, religion) and nothing to stop us from progress.

    Is not the feeling of guilty that would stop a scientist from doing research with stem cell of human cloning if he is inclined to do it (maybe the fear of someone threatening to explode his lab). But he will probably respect the law if it says that human cloning is illegal. Now, human cloning could be considered illegal, instead of trying to create a religious justification for it.

    And does every nation proposing to ban human cloning is really doing it based only on religion?

  • #287 Iain Walker
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny (Comment #29):

    Many people who are unsaved or they don’t believe in God think they can make up their own rules.

    Well, that’s better than just uncritically accepting the rules laid down by some arbitrary and unaccountable authority. At least if we make up our own rules, we have a chance of arriving at norms that reflect the interests and needs of individual persons living in the real world, and what’s more, we will be able to revise and improve upon those norms through rational reflection and criticism.

    they have nothing to back their morality up

    Even if this were true, you’re in the same boat. Do you seriously think that a fallacious appeal to authority provides your moral claims with any kind of objective validity? Please.

  • #288 Nate
    April 29, 2008

    “Think about it, if you got rid of all the Christians and morals there would be nothing to stop science and people from doing whatever they wanted without feeling guilty. We could have a free thinking society without anything stopping us (moral, Christianity, religion) and nothing to stop us from progress.”

    “For example, if people are starving wouldn’t it just be better if we kill the people so people can live with more food. This is something that sounds out of a book of horrors but many scientists believe this nonsense and they are atheists. Do a google search and see what I mean.”

    Kenny look up: Norman Borlaug that should answer all you questions about what scientist are trying to do with this horrible progress and people starving in the world.

    “Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.” -From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He used science (genetics and pathology) to feed millions of starving people.

  • #289 reboho
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny is too good to be true, gold standard, Godwin’s Law and methinks Poe’s Law as well…….

  • #290 Hematite
    April 29, 2008

    I see I’ve just missed Kenny. Shame, I was hoping for some more gems like this:

    The more you hate, the more religious you become.

    If I give in to the Dark Side, do I get to shoot cool purple lightning from my fingers? Cos giving in to my hatred is tempting and all, but I’d better be getting some neat powers too.

  • #291 Echidna
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny,
    Bible verses are not proof outside Church circles. The good people on this blog meant historical proof – and, AFAIK, the best contemporary reference you will get is the letter by Paul describing James as “brother of our Lord” – which is a bit thin, really.
    The shroud of Turin is so dodgy that you were sunk when you mentioned that one.
    Here are some questions for you: If you were to follow Jesus and live as he lived, you would follow Jewish law very piously and from the heart. But this is not what Pauline Christianity is, so you need to ask “How can I follow Jesus, without holding the Law as my central tenet?” Understand that you are following not the reported historical Jesus, but a “vision” described by Paul of Tarsus. How did Paul become more influential than the disciples that were reportedly hand-picked and taught by Jesus? And how does Paul justify turning away from the Torah?

    These are not idle “debating” questions designed to skewer you. They are serious questions that any Christian should think deeply about. I am not asking you to tell me that the law was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross. I’m asking you to research Paul’s justification for such a complete turnaround, including checking Paul’s quotes against the OT verses.

  • #292 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#277 Kenny —

    It is the same with hitler. He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by killing six million Jewish people. Over time his morals became corrupted and he did not seek the Bible and found out what he did was wrong. He was right in his own mind.

    As 283 spurge pointed out, Hitler wrote in Vol 1 Ch. 2 of Mein Kampf, “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

    You may use the True Scotsman argument (that Hitler wasn’t a true Christian) and you may even be right. That doesn’t change the fact that Hitler successfully used Christianity as a justification for his atrocities. That the Wehrmacht marched with “Gott mit Uns” (“God with us”) emblazoned across their belts.

    What kind of meaningful discussion are you, as a Christian, going to be able to have with such apparent misinterpreters of the bible? Tell them that they “don’t know how to read”? Yeah, I’m sure that’ll really work. Trying to tell people their morality is wrong because their concept of an invisible moral authority is different than yours is ultimately quite futile, since none of you are going to be able to actually contact that moral authority and find out for certain whose interpretation is correct. (And your claims that it’s easy to interpret the bible if you just know how to read are utterly facile. If it’s so easy, why have theologians struggled with this for two millenia [and various traditions of Jewish scholars -- Pharisees, Saducees, etc -- for millenia before that]? Do you know something that none of these people did?)

    (Of course, neither a religious person nor a humanist would really be able to *convince* Hitler that what he was doing was wrong because, well, Hitler was utterly insane. But at least the secular humanists have some kind of recourse to a system of morality that they can justify as being systematically thought out — and constantly revised — in such a way as to be of the greatest benefit to mankind’s future.)

    As for the without God there are no morals…I will just direct you to my most recent blog post

  • #293 Deepsix
    April 29, 2008

    “I have seen several entirely sincere people who thought they were (permanent) Seekers after Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously, profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment–until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth. That was the end of the search. The man spent the rest of his life hunting up shingles wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather. If he was seeking after political Truth he found it in one or another of the hundred political gospels which govern men in the earth; if he was seeking after the Only True Religion he found it in one or another of the three thousand that are on the market. In any case, when he found the Truth he sought no further; but from that day forth, with his soldering-iron in one hand and his bludgeon in the other he tinkered its leaks and reasoned with objectors.” (from What is Man?)
    — Mark Twain

    “That which is unchallenged and exercised as habit rapidly becomes ritual. When this occurs, dissent becomes an object of surprise, if not resentment.”
    — B. Carmon Hardy

  • #294 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Clinteas,

    well be my guest, if you know of other enterprises that congregate people ounce a week from all backgrounds and offer a similar format as the one mentionned in my post #264 (forget the prayer stuff, that’s not the point), make them think about important matters (you define them), inform them about the real world (you define it), perform charitable deeds, and the whole thing in a good friendly fun atmosphere (beer), let me know where, I’ll be very interested.

    We have defined a model of society where people go to school until they are roughly 20 year old and then, that’s it. Then, they can stay ignorant. And we see the result. Then they clinge to these debilitating religions which are based on texts which were written by sheep keapers 2000 years ago. This is completely ridiculous.

    All I’m saying is that I saw a format during my visit in that anglican church which I think is well suited for the diffusion of knowledge, for building communities, for performing charitable deeds, and in breef, for making the world a slighly better place than it is today.

  • #295 clinteas
    April 29, 2008

    Etha,Kenny had to lay down in his coffin because the sun was coming up….
    Now to the real topic : How can you possibly be awake girl,im concerned lol,you have not had enough sleep !!! Its 1130pm here now,and you are here again !!!

    Call me a concern troll lol….

  • #296 Deepsix
    April 29, 2008
  • #297 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#260 Notkieran —

    See, Pol Pot didn’t realise that when Marx said “eliminate the bourgeoisie”, he MEANT “educate them”, not “beat their brains out with rifle butts”.

    Yeah…this seemed to be a rather common difficulty amongst many so-called Marxists. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao…

    The dangerous of taking a Hegelian philosophy on the progress of History and turning it into a prescription for government-sanctioned violence, I guess. :\

    I’m still no great fan of real Marxism either, but I think as far as Marxists went, the members of the Frankfurt School had a better idea about “what is to be done” than Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, or any number of so-called Marxist political leaders ever did.

  • #298 SC
    April 29, 2008

    Well, if yet another commenter can bring up Norman Borlaug, I can certainly repost my Vandana Shiva links:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2000/lecture5.shtml

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=698

    negentropyeater,

    May I ask where you’re from? If you’re Catalan or Spanish, the claim that there are few non-religious community events or places to meet people in Barcelona is simply astonishing. If you’re an expat, it really can be quite difficult, but I can offer a few suggestions.

    By the way, I do hope you got out last week for the Dia de Sant Jordi, bought some books, talked to some people. Religious origin aside, it’s a tremendously cool holiday.

  • #299 Iain Walker
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny (Comment #253):

    I have posted here what I believe is proof.

    Question-begging appeals to biblical authority, various other non sequiturs, and claims of “evidence” from NDEs on which you refused to elaborate despite repeated requests to do so (in this and other threads).

    I see nothing that proves they are wrong

    Funny, I noticed several comments pointing out the errors – again, in this and other threads.

    The only thing I got when I pretended that there was not a God in the universe was depression. Because at that point life is meaningless and there is meaning to nothing and there is no point in continuing to live.

    You probably didn’t intend it that way, but that’s a pretty sad admission. Are you really that incapable of creating and finding meaning and value for yourself?

    Personally, I find your authoritarian world-view, in which all meaning and value is derived from a subservient relationship to an invisible and all-powerful alpha male, to be meaningless and pointless. If you’re a typical Christian, it’s no wonder Nietzsche described Christianity as being nihilistic.

    Think about it, if you got rid of all the Christians and morals there would be nothing to stop science and people from doing whatever they wanted without feeling guilty. We could have a free thinking society without anything stopping us (moral, Christianity, religion) and nothing to stop us from progress.

    Do you ever get tired of spinning this straw-man?

    Silly me, evidently not.

    Morality does not require religion. Live with it.

  • #300 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    SC, Yes, Expat here, let me know…

  • #301 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    And SC, it’s not about meeting people, that’s not what I’m talking about, it’s how do you build communities who inform each other, diffuse knowledge, perform charitable deeds, on a regular basis and the whole thing in a fun atmosphere. If you know something in Barcelona, let me know.

  • #302 frog
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny, can you read vulgar Latin, Koine Greek, and archaic Hebrew? Of course not, you read your book in archaic modern English.

    Do you know any people from the 1st century? No, of course not, you get your interpretation of that translation from folks who are separated from the authors by 2 millenia or more.

    How do you know “simple scripture”? Because you, and generations of preachers, pastors and bureaucrats, have invented it. That simple. It would be obvious to anyone with the slightest education in other cultures and languages that it is impossible to precisely pin down the meaning of any text, and particularly difficult when the cultural and temporal distance is vast.

    Translators can’t even agree on the meaning of the first line of John – no one really knows what was meant by Logos! It meant mutually exclusive things, from Heracleitus’s pre-verbal life force to the post-Aristotlean language-defined reality (exact opposite meanings).

    So, Kenny, Kenny, Kenny, you don’t even have a clue as to what your religion is – you are simply asserting your prejudice and culture, and then projecting these on the The Father in the Sky. Which really brings up an interesting (or uninteresting) psychological question: namely, if this is projection, and the image of that projection is a cruel, sadistic and totalitarian Lord, what kind of demons do you have lurking in your soul? Underneath it all, I suspect is a man who would make Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot shudder; a man who would be in good company with Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, at least in his dreams and fantasies.

    And we can safely deduce that you are a man, from the barely simmering rage in your missives.

  • #303 Dennis N
    April 29, 2008

    How can a religious person like kenny look at the other thousands of religions in this world right now, and those that have fallen away, see how they logically formed from their culture at a given time, but think his religion is the exception? This brings me back to goats…

  • #304 Petter Hesselberg
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny @ #69:

    However, just because you want to close your eyes does not mean that God does not exist.

    I agree completely: The existence or non-existence of (your or any other) God is independent on my belief, lack of belief or (un)willingness to open my eyes.

    But I have a question for you, Kenny: Do you own a mirror?

    Kenny @ #201:

    That is the problem with you guys, you don’t get it.

    You might enjoy this, on the linguistic markers of trolls.

    Kenny @ #209:

    It isn’t my fault that you are blind and have a closed mind and you don’t want to believe the obvious.

    Methinks the mirror acquisition project is gaining in urgency.

    <voice of Darth Vader>
    “The obtuseness is strong with this one.”
    </voice of Darth Vader>

  • #305 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny:

    yeah, you know why I did that? Because people on here are acting just as stupid and silly as that quote that I posted. The fact that you could not understand that really does not look good for your intelligence.

    Out of ALL the comments I posted, you chose to respond to ONE minor comment in which I point out one of your MANY strawmen? For which you then insult my intelligence?

    What an insufferable moron you are. Fuck off. You’re an arrogant, ignorant fool. You know NOTHING.

    I know how you guys think.

    No – you don’t. You prove it with every keystroke.

    I completely understand where you are coming from, but your point of view is only one dimensional.

    I believe that’s the 1,024th example of projection you’ve offered us.

    Basically, all you’ve done here can be summarized thus:

  • 1. Accused all atheists of being amoral, homicidal child-rapists who want to kill you, eliminate Christianity, and impose moral anarchy on the world. Nice. And YOU cry foul? YOU moan and whine about respect? You contemptible hypocrite!
  • 2. Claimed that the Bible is true because the Bible says so — which, if you haven’t already figured this out, a most uncompelling argument.
  • 3. Constructed infantile “arguments” such as this:

    This is how I see how you think. Remember when scientists thought the world was flat?

    No, I’m not old enough to remember that. Are you?

    Methuselan delusions aside, “scientists” never thought that, your idiot! Do you NEVER tire of spouting ridiculous nonsense? You’re walking encyclopedia of stoopid! You’re a walking compendium of logical fallacies. You’re a walking straw-man factory. How in God’s name to you manage to drink a glass of water without drowning?

  • #306 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#254 Kenny —

    This is how I see how you think. Remember when scientists thought the world was flat. Remember that?

    I am *so* tired of this ridiculous myth, created by Washington Irvine in his fantastical The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus and perpetuated by misinformed K-12 teachers everywhere.

    People as early as Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras were aware that the earth was round, based on such thing as the shapes of eclipses and the difference in stars observed from various parts of the world. And this fact was not conveniently *forgotten* by Western scientists around the 15th century, or before then for that matter. There were small groups of *religious* people who, based on biblical literalism, argued that the scientists, early astronomers, sailors, etc who observed the roundness of the world were incorrect, but they were by no means representative of everyone, and were most likely a small minority (sound familiar?).

    In any case, the sailors and scientists of Columbus’ time were quite aware that the earth was round. The whole flat-earth mutiny story was just created by Washington Irvine to tell a good story, nothing more. Now it’s taught as fact…

  • #307 Dennis N
    April 29, 2008

    If I recall correctly, a flat earth was religiously necessary for the rapture. The texts in Revelation says true Christians would be taken “up” to heaven all at once. So the thinking was that in order for heaven to be “up” for everyone, the world must be flat. Astonishing science at work.

  • #308 Brian
    April 29, 2008

    I keep wondering what it is that made Kenny a believer. He keeps mentioning the Bible, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s smart enough to realize that the Bible isn’t proof of anything, as it’s a document that’s been subject to editorial revisions, translating and transcription errors over many centuries, is full of frankly unbelievable claims with no independent verification, is self-contradictory, etc.

    Is it, as Kenny intimated, the fact that he suffered from depression, and religion seemed like a good way out of the doldrums, a way to assuage his fears about life and death? If so, he’s not the first person I’ve ever heard about who became religious for those reasons. It’s very sad.

  • #309 Janine ID
    April 29, 2008

    Just because Christians don’t believe in what you believe they are violent, hate mongers, and irrational morons.

    They have a mental problem because they don’t believe in rational things! They are a cancer to society! Kill all Christians!!!

    Sorry, just thinking how there could be another holocaust and this time anyone who believes in something as simple minded as religion.

    yeah, sure sounds well and balanced too me. What was this thing called respect again? oh that’s right, Christians are lower than animals and there should be no respect for them.

    Posted by: Kenny

    I see that the dumbass has left more droppings from Cloudcuckooland. So many that different people are having fun with different statements. As for me, I now have three questions for Kenny.

    The new one is this, where on this blog have any of us expressed the desire to round up true believers and kill them. Please kindly point that out to me. If this is true, I would like to disassociate myself from this place.

    The next two questions are the same one as before. Did the town of Nazareth exist at the time Jesus supposedly was alive? Are there any parts of the New Testament that exited before 300 CE?

    Constructed infantile “arguments” such as this:

    This is how I see how you think. Remember when scientists thought the world was flat?

    Thank you Kseniya. I missed that. There has to be some many other gems to be had. Kenny, at the time of Columbus’ voyages, most educated people know the Earth was round. Admittedly, that was a small percentage of the population. The problem was logistics. Once who went past The Azores, where would be the next place to dock and load with food? Also, ancient Greek scientists and mathematicians knew the Earth was round. But that knowledge was lost from Europe thanks to the defenders of faith.

  • #310 Brian
    April 29, 2008

    “People as early as Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras were aware that the earth was round, based on such thing as the shapes of eclipses and the difference in stars observed from various parts of the world.”

    Hell, all that seafaring people had to do was watch a ship sailing towards the horizon and notice that the bottom of the ship would disappear from view before the mast would, indicating the ship was going over a curve. The ancient Hebrews apparently thought the Earth was flat, but then again, they weren’t exactly a seafaring people (certainly not like the Greeks or Phoenicians).

  • #311 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#307 Dennis N —

    If I recall correctly, a flat earth was religiously necessary for the rapture. The texts in Revelation says true Christians would be taken “up” to heaven all at once. So the thinking was that in order for heaven to be “up” for everyone, the world must be flat. Astonishing science at work.

    Yeah…great logic there.

    I always imagined the rapture as all the “true Xians” being beamed off the planet, like on Star Trek. Obviously, I watch too much sci-fi…would explain why the 23rd/24th century human society in Star Trek is so secular, though ;)

    (Yeah, I’m a dork.)

  • #312 Brian
    April 29, 2008

    I think it also has to do with the fact that the Hebrews apparently thought the sky was a dome that sat on top of the Earth and separated it from outer waters or something. You need a flat Earth for that to work.

  • #313 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    raising straw-Hitlers

    Heh.

    Raising Straw-Hitlers is the feel-good movie of 2008!

    Or: Straw Hitlers — band name!

    Kenny wrote:

    The child is God that was born of a virgin so he didn’t take in the bloodline and DNA of mankind which Adam already had sin from the begining.

    Holy Mother of God! Appeal to DNA? How sciency! Mary had no DNA? She had no X chromosome contributed by her own father? She didn’t contribute any DNA to her son? I seems Kenny can’t even get his own mythology right. I’m guessing he’s not a Catholic, so the doctrine of Immaculate Conception won’t apply here, either. (Why such a significant difference? Could it be that people have been making it up as they go along for 2000 years?) Can someone explain all this to me? Was it that God implanted a pre-fertilized egg in Mary’s womb? Unless one subscribes to the Immaculate Conception, that seems to be the only possibility, in which case Mary wasn’t Jesus’ biological mother at all – she was simply a surrogate. Is that what he’s claiming? By the way, why wasn’t he named Emmanuel, as Isaiah prophesized?

  • #314 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#313 Kseniya —

    Mary had no DNA? She had no X chromosome contributed by her own father? She didn’t contribute any DNA to her son? I seems Kenny can’t even get his own mythology right. I’m guessing he’s not a Catholic, so the doctrine of Immaculate Conception won’t apply here, either.

    The doctrine of IC always makes me laugh because it’s actually rather superfluous. If Mary could have been immaculately conceived, why not just skip the whole thing and have Jesus be immaculately conceived? It seems like a waste of miracles.

    Also, this doctrine casts serious doubts for me on the benevolence of the Roman Catholic god. They obviously believe he *can* make someone be conceived and born without original sin…so why doesn’t he do this for all of us? What’s the use to him in having someone born already sinful? Other than that he can automatically make us feel lots of catholic guilt before we’ve even done anything and can send us to hell if we don’t believe…yeah…real great guy, that god…..

  • #315 Dennis N
    April 29, 2008

    @ Brian #312,

    Ah, the Kent Hovind vapor canopy. I don’t remember if he thinks the world is flat or not. I love flat-earthers. Whenever you’re debating a creationist, you can ask, “what, do you think the world is flat, too?”. But you ask that to a flat-earther and um, yes, yes they do think that.

  • #316 reuben
    April 29, 2008

    I fear I’m far too late to contribute to this discussion, but I’d like to offer a special thanks to Etha, Kseniya, Janine ID et al for a wonderful read, and I guess thanks too to Kenny for making this all possible.

  • #317 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Etha, IIRC, the doctrine of IC is an artifact of the Middle Ages, during which the RCC moved towards a kinder, gentler Christianity that featured a greatly increased reverence for Mary and a somewhat more welcoming attitude towards women in general. By the Renaissance, Mary had totally become The “It” Girl of Christian iconography. (Sorta like Hayden Panettiere, if Hayden was known for the awkward, difficult-to-explain pregnancy thing rather than the invulnerable-cheerleader thing.) Also, making Mary the holiest woman who ever lived provided another layer of insulation between Jesus, and any direct relation to the filthy masses of Adam-spawn that populate the world to this day.

    O_o

    Yes, I realize this point of view only serves to reveal my utter shallowness of thought and my tragic inability to “get it.”

    *eyeroll*

  • #318 brian t
    April 29, 2008

    I also prefer the Vaccine analogy. I found that sorting out my positions on religion, people & the world, as soon as I was able to, helped me stay sensible during a period in my life when things could have gone more wrong than they actually did. I’m not talking about atheism in isolation, but as part of a wider rational worldview that seeks to explain what we see, but also doesn’t allow us to get away with trite supernatural “explanations”.

    Example: what is “evil”? Could it exist without people? Ever known an evil animal, outside a Stephen King book*? So, we can categorise what we call “evil” as the actions of other people. Sure, _they_ might be acting irrationally, but there’s a rational reason why they’re irrational, even if it’s not always possible to nail it down precisely. I see “evil” as one of the trite psuedo-explanations I described above.

    *Yes, I know Cujo had Rabies, I was thinking of the zombie cat in Pet Sematary that tortured birds. The cat was named “Church”, which makes me wonder if the author was trying to make a point of some kind… 8-/

  • #319 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Sadly, it seems Kenny has left us.

    He has also left us with his incredibly prolific prose, all in all, posts number:

    12,23,29,59,69,83,106,130,136,186,190,195,201,216,223,253,254,255,256,258,261,263,266,268,272,277

    that’s 27 posts composed with great fervour, between 4:14 PM and 7:30 AM on this day.

    These can be summarised in one sentence :

    “I believe the Bible is the word of God. Where do you get your morals from?”

    (which is BTW in his second post, the reader may refrain from reading the rest of his prose, it just gets worse)

    We need to define a new metric for these creobots to keep track.

    In this example, Kenny has granted us with 27 posts in roughly 15 hours. This metric is not intending to measure the quality of the posts (which is unnecessary with the creobots, as the quality is consistently the same), but on one hand the duration of the exchange, and the quantity of the output.
    What about posts x hours (unit = creos), here we would have

    Kenny new record holder with 27×15 = 405 Creos

    Any suggestions ?

  • #320 BongHits4Jeebus
    April 29, 2008

    “Well we need national heath insurance because when I got laid off from my 85 thousand dollar job in Los Angeles I don’t have insurance anymore and so that is a serious problem.”

    You mean when you got fired for smoking rock at work…

    Kenny = Crackheads for Christ

  • #321 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Etha (#314): I neglected to mention that I agree with your assessment of the IC. I was adding, not refuting in any way. ;-)

    (And I would probably agree with your assessment of the OC, too. Heh.)

  • #322 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Negent:

    Any suggestions?

    Yes. I like what you’re working towards, but I think word-count matters, as does the commenter’s “creationist bingo” score. I realize that these concerns complicate the issue. Perhaps we need more than on creo unit. You know, like creoamps and creovolts, so to speak. Creojoules. Creofoot-mouths.

  • #323 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#316 Kseniya —

    So I went to my trustworthy (well, usually) friend Wikipedia, and found this out:

    The Conception of Mary was celebrated as a liturgical feast in England from the ninth century, and the doctrine of her “holy” or “immaculate” conception was first formulated in a tract by Eadmer, companion and biographer of the better-known St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), and later popularized by the archbishop’s nephew, Anselm the Younger. The Normans had suppressed the celebration, but it lived on in the popular mind.

    Probably lived on as reinforcement of the popular opinion of Mary-as-pagan-goddess-substitute. And so, with as you put it the move towards a “somewhat more welcoming attitude towards women in general”:

    The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on December 8, was established as a universal feast in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. He did not define the doctrine as a dogma, thus leaving Roman Catholics freedom to believe in it or not without being accused of heresy; this freedom was reiterated by the Council of Trent. The existence of the feast was a strong indication of the Church’s belief in the Immaculate Conception, even before its 19th century definition as a dogma.

    This was mostly because of political reasons, as is generally the case with the supposedly “divinely inspired” doctrines of the RCC:

    The doctrine itself had been endorsed by the Council of Basel (1431-1449), and by the end of the 15th century was widely professed and taught in many theological faculties. However, the Council of Basel was later held not to have been a true General (or Ecumenical) Council with authority to proclaim dogma; and such was the influence of the Dominicans, and the weight of the arguments of Thomas Aquinas (who had been canonised in 1323, and declared “Doctor Angelicus” of the Church in 1567) that the Council of Trent (1545-63)–which might have been expected to affirm the doctrine–instead declined to take a position.

    So this was all well and good until:

    [In] 1854 that Pope Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic Bishops, whom he had consulted between 1851-1853, proclaimed the doctrine in accordance with the conditions of papal infallibility that would be defined in 1870 by the First Vatican Council.

    But wait! There’s more evidence than *just* papal infallibility!

    The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g. Mary’s being greeted by Angel Gabriel as “full of grace” or “highly favoured”) as well as either directly or indirectly by the writings of many of the Church Fathers, as well as sensus fidei and often calls Mary the Blessed Virgin (Luke 1:48).

    and

    For the Roman Catholic Church the dogma of the Immaculate Conception gained additional significance from the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1858. In Lourdes a 14-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed a beautiful lady appeared to her. The lady identified herself as “the Immaculate Conception” and the faithful believe her to be the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Indeed, who could deny such overwhelming evidence? Pope Pius said it best:

    If the popular praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary be given the careful consideration they deserve, who will dare to doubt that she, who was purer than the angels and at all times pure, was at any moment, even for the briefest instant, not free from every stain of sin?”

    *headdesk*

    Also, hilariously, the “study” of this “philosophy” is called Mariology. I just find that word immensely amusing.

  • #324 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    Oops…forgot to be clear…in my #322, I was referring to Pope Pius XII on the overwhelming evidence for the IC….

  • #325 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Yes, yes. That’s right up there with the overwhelming evidence of witchcraft in Salem… An adolescent girl thinks she saw it. Who will dare doubt?

  • #326 Mosasaurus rex
    April 29, 2008

    Yumpin’ Yiminy- thought I’d have a look to see what transpired on this thread since last night-

    It always cracks me up when Kennyesque conservative christians point the finger at atheists and say they lack common sense and can’t understand simple ideas. Oh well.

  • #327 TinyBug
    April 29, 2008

    @#172:Why invest in this god awful materialistic life when you’re so far down in the pecking order? … If they let go of the delusion, they’ll be forced to reckon with all the anger and self recrimination that goes with the awareness of being cheated… Heaven is the great equalizer for all the downtrodden (read “losers”) of the world. Alls ya gotta do is fixate on sex, sexuality and infidels.

    My take on Fundamentalist Christianity provides a refuge for people like Kenny where they can celebrate acheivements that have no relationship to, or any real bearing on, their actual societal status.

    The church establishes a parallel social structure as far removed from the secular world as possible, where disenfranchised people celebrate all of their “acheivements” – not doing certian things with certain organs; not saying certain words; condemning certain behaviors; reciting certain verses, etc.

    Consider: John Doe, a fairly typical RTC, is not highly educated, not particularly wealthy, and wields little or no political power. In spite of this, every Sunday he can hear someone say that contrary to all emperical evidence, he is *more important* than some other people.

    Fancy that.

    There are Christians who have a sense of self-worth that doesn’t depend on their religion, but I fear that they are in the minority. There is a *strong* connection between religious fundamentalism and poverty/disenfranchisement. People without self-worth tend to look for artifical ways of elevating their status. Racism is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this behavior. Strong nationalism and religious fundamentalism are others.

  • #328 SC
    April 29, 2008

    Sorry for the delayed response, negentropyeater. I was distracted by Petter Hesselberg’s link. My favorite: “In soviet russia [noun] [verb] [noun].”

    Barcelona’s a tough one. I want to stress that, while I agree with what you’re saying about the need for more community groups and organizations of nonbelievers in a (very) general way, Barcelona is not the best example. It has possibly the richest fabric of social organizations – including neighborhood groups, unions, activist groups, political groups, groups of people who dance the Sardana and build silly human towers… – of any city in the world. The problem is that, while it’s a very cosmopolitan city in many ways, in terms of these groups and activities it’s quite provincial. So it’s not that they don’t exist; it’s just that unfortunately they’re not so open to you. (In praise of Boston, it gives Barcelona a run for its money, and its local community groups are far more accessible and international.)

    You’ve set out a lot of criteria, and I’m somewhat at a loss for the moment. I’ll give it some more thought and get back to you on another thread perhaps. In the meantime, I can offer some general suggestions for places where you’re more likely to meet people with similar interests who may be involved with the kind of groups you’re looking for (and forgive me if you’re already well aware of all of these – maybe someone else here is planning a trip and might find the information of interest). The CCCB has regular talks and other events which, while they are typically in Catalan or Spanish, attract an intelligent audience that includes English speakers. Some places where people are friendly and open: Mudanzas, on c/Vidriera; Jai-Ca, on c/Ginebra; and the intercanvi nights at Daguiri on the beach (if they still hold them) and some other places. I just saw on the city’s web site that today is the first day of the Forum Mundial dels Animals, and the events associated with that might be good places to meet others who are active and engaged. Just a few thoughts, which are possibly of no use :).

  • #329 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Kseniya,

    word-count : who is going to count ? Or you have a software for that ?

    The most important is to keep track of these creobots somewhere, we need a file. Maybe PZ ?
    These exchanges are too juicy to loose.

    Kenny = 405 Creos

  • #330 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Thx SC, do you live in Barcelona too ?

  • #331 Hematite
    April 29, 2008

    negentropyeater (#318)

    What about posts x hours (unit = creos), here we would have Kenny new record holder with 27×15 = 405 Creos

    That won’t work; the number of creos should increase with posting frequency, not duration of thread. You want something like posts/time. I believe the SI troll is the unit you need. While it does not measure the impact of each post, it does provide an acceptable profile for casual comparison.

    Let us assume that a standard troll can scrawl one post per hour. We can then define one troll-hour as one post, and easily calculate that kenny has generated 27 standard troll-hours worth of tripe in this discussion. Kenny produced 27 troll-hours over only 15 hours, giving him an average output of 1.8 trolls per hour. This simple manipulation is the beauty of using SI units.

    We should expect proficient creationist trolls here due to self selection, but kenny is quite a specimen. His average productivity of 1.8 trolls is impressive; even more so when maintained for a whopping 15 hours.

    Graphing kenny’s enthusiasm (trolls per hour over the period of discussion) is left as an exercise to the reader.

  • #332 SC
    April 29, 2008

    Negentropyeater – you’re most welcome. I don’t now. I did a few years ago, and know what it can be like for expats. I hope you find the kind of group you’re looking for.

  • #333 Bruce
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny @(near the end):

    (notice I typed WANT in uppercase to prove my point?)

    I actually did LOL, Kenny. Maybe that’s all I get for making it to the end of the thread. (I’d really like a pony, PZ.)

  • #334 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2008

    Hematite,

    I’m trying to get one metric that represents the creobot with only one value, so that we can do a ranking and have a record holder.
    So using your units Kenny has had an average output of 1.8 Trolls over 15 hours, but how would he compare with another creobot who let’s say, would have had an average output of 3.2 Trolls over 6 hours ? Who is more “impressive” ?

    Because it’s fairly easy to get a high troll output for an hour or two, but to maintain it consistently like Kenny for 15 hours is quite something else.

  • #335 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    I think that we should be able to express peak troll value as well as a longer-term value that reflects endurance. Qualitative analysis may also prove useful or amusing. See: Creationist Bingo.

  • #336 True Bob
    April 29, 2008

    I think y’all are missing something wrt creobot posts. There should (IMHO) be a consideration for using tried and true creotard arguments. Like maybe 5 supplemental points for the “[infamous evil-doer] was atheist so atheists are evil”, 10 points for “no morals w/o god”, 20 creo points for “bible is holy because it says it is”, etc.

    Also, what do y’all think about qualifiers for typing segments IN ALL CAPS SO YOU KNOW THEY MEAN IT!!1!!!!11!

  • #337 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Twelve points for a reference or allusion to Pascal’s Wager? Do I hear fifteen?

  • #338 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#336 True Bob —

    There should (IMHO) be a consideration for using tried and true creotard arguments. Like maybe 5 supplemental points for the “[infamous evil-doer] was atheist so atheists are evil”, 10 points for “no morals w/o god”, 20 creo points for “bible is holy because it says it is”, etc.

    Good point. I think any infamous evil doer argument gets 5 points, and if they bring up that “communism/Nazism/etc was caused by Darwinism/atheism/etc” that should be an extra 5 points.

    Should also include arguments for the historicity of Jesus — 10 points?

    And even though it’s not as tried-and-true, the Shroud of Turin gets 100 points in my book.

    Further, I think that if the reused arguments are rebuked specifically on that thread, each time the creobot continues to use them, it should be double the amount of points.

  • #339 Logicel
    April 29, 2008

    Kenny: Sorry, just thinking how there could be another holocaust and this time anyone who believes in something as simple minded as religion.
    ________

    Don’t tell me that Kenny regards himself as simple-minded?

    I always suspect people who drone on and on about common sense. What they are really saying is that they don’t want to think. And they want you to stop thinking also. Religious believers pretend that their rationalizing subs for thinking.

  • #340 Hap
    April 29, 2008

    One of the (few usefu) motivational seminars at work talked about the uses of questions in discussion – while sometimes they are asked for information, they may also be asked to denigrate someone (as a power display?) or to question specific points with a less confrontational tone, or sometimes something else. Most times, people assume that those who ask questions actually want an answer, but that is not always true.

    The creationist people who come here want to participate in something that looks like a discussion and which gives them intellectual credibility. In most cases, they seem to not learn from errors (or to even realize when they have made them). They do not appear to listen – they want to talk, and want you to agree without having to do the intellectual work necessary to gain someone’s agreement. I think that this applies in politics as well – the people in the Bush Administration that wanted to go to war in Iraq did not appear to be motivated or swayed by the substance of any debate – they needed the appearance of a debate to give credibility to the decision they had made and to give the decision the appearance of an honestly acquired conclusion rather than one imposed by them.

    Discussion only works when both parties are committed to negotiate within that forum – when one party (or both) have already decided to impose their opinions/beliefs by other means, the discussion is meaningless. Rational argument as a means of confronting problems doesn’t work when people are dishonest – the dishonesty either implies that you’re not smart enough for this playground and are unaware or that you are aware that you have a logical problem but don’t care because you’ll get what you want some other way. When people argue dishonestly, the argument can’t be an honest attempt to find a truth but instead a denial (to others not to themselves) of their desire to impose their opinions. I don’t know how to do so, but I don’t wish to give those who wish to devalue rational argument and to impose their will by force the ability to pretend to others that they are not doing so.

  • #341 TJ
    April 29, 2008

    Phew, wish I had time to get through the comments.

    Anyway, this reminded me of Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” in which a crypto-religious disease spreads through the world as a combination genetic and memetic virus. One of the characters puts forth a kind of intellectual Catholicism as a prophylactic against the mind-virus.

    Seems to me that atheism and the old scientific method serve that purpose in the real world. Good article.

  • #342 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Hap:

    Don’t tell me that Kenny regards himself as simple-minded?

    Apparently. He also wrote this:

    The more you hate, the more religious you become.

    I realize that’s not quite what he meant, and I don’t even agree with any reasonably implied meaning – but still. It’s a gem.

  • #343 Prazzie
    April 29, 2008

    I know I’m late to the party, but this made me gasp:

    Kenny: “I completely understand an Atheist point of view. I really do. However, I think it is as fragile as a house of cards with a little wind.”

    Kenny, honey, if you come back, please define “an Atheist point of view” so I know what I’m subscribing to?

    Also, I’d much rather be holding on to my fragile house of cards with a little wind than balancing precariously on a unicycle on a tightrope, strung between two distant crumbling cliffs with a typhoon on the way. (That’s where you are, btw. But just close your eyes tighter and you’ll never notice.)

  • #344 Petter Hesselberg
    April 29, 2008

    SC @ #328: Glad you liked the Flamer Bingo link. You may have noticed that the thread includes comments from some personage going by a most curious moniker: PZ Myers…

  • #345 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Oops, that was to Logicel.

    Hap – good post (#340).

  • #346 tektone
    April 29, 2008

    Wow! Awesome thread.
    Every possible rebuttal to these apologists seems to be covered here. Good work.

    Although it seems to be far, far above Kenny’s(and I suspect most X-tians) comprehension level.

    Maybe something along the lines of a coloring book is in order.

    Seriously.

  • #347 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    I’ve never seen the Shroud of Turin or the NDE “arguments” before. Kenny gets some point for originality.

    We should also rate creobots based on the number of logical fallacies committed, with additional points granted for continued use of said fallacies after being corrected.

    By the by, do I get any points (since we’re just handing ‘em out, and all) for the Zeus propaganda? I thought it was clever.

  • #348 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Zeus rocks! He is The Man! His performance is Electrifying!

    But the kind of points we’re givin’ out? You don’t want ‘em. Trust me.

  • #349 Joshua Arnold
    April 29, 2008

    I thought there could be special points. Maybe we can call them lightning bolts and give them out to servants of the One True God, ZEUS.

  • #350 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    It always cracks me up when Kennyesque conservative christians point the finger at atheists and say they lack common sense and can’t understand simple ideas. Oh well.

    yup.

    rampant projection is always good for a laugh.

    …and there is nothing to Kenny other than projection, so he’s definetly been the funniest thing since… well, since the last creobot exhibited the exact same thing the day before yesterday.

  • #351 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    I thought there could be special points. Maybe we can call them lightning bolts and give them out to servants of the One True God, ZEUS.

    Lightning bolts are cool, I think “Swan Points” would incite a little more controversy and excitement.

  • #352 Epikt
    April 29, 2008

    Joshua Arnold:

    We should also rate creobots based on the number of logical fallacies committed, with additional points granted for continued use of said fallacies after being corrected.

    In particular, we should award special “irony-free contradiction” points for that bit of circular reasoning they seem to love so much:

    (1) God exists because the bible says so, and

    (2) The bible is true because god says so.

    The number of points awarded should increase the closer together these two pearls appear, with maximum points if they’re in the same post.

  • #353 Tulse
    April 29, 2008

    I don’t see why a religion needs to be based on supernaturalism.

    ‘Cuz that’s kinda the definition — it would be like asking why philately has to involve stamps.

    If you want community, join a club.

  • #354 Shane
    April 29, 2008

    Etha mentioned the “Blessed Virgin Mary” above. Having been raised a catholic it is a very familiar phrase but really looking at it now it jars. Imagine calling any women you know the virgin whoever or the flip-side…

    The whole mythology is just stupid. The older I get the more nonsensical and frustrating religion seems. Some very smart people will rationalise things like Papal Infallibility (but only on matters of faith depending on what you’re trying to rationalise!) and the Immaculate Conception and the trinity (there’s actually 4 members, everybody forgets the baby jesus).
    Throw creobots like Kenny into the mix and…. aaaarggh. *head explodes*

  • #355 Etha Williams
    April 29, 2008

    @#354 Shane —

    Some very smart people will rationalise things like Papal Infallibility (but only on matters of faith depending on what you’re trying to rationalise!)

    I have an acquaintance who claims to be Catholic, goes on lots of spiritual retreats with her school’s Catholic organization, is a leader in aforementioned organization, talks about the morally inspiring qualities of her faith on her LJ, etc…yet she doesn’t believe half the things the Pope says (abortion, stem cell research, birth control, etc, etc….basically all the “liberal” issues that the RCC is backwards on…). While her hypocrisy is probably for the good of humanity, it still kind of boggles my mind that she doesn’t see the internal conflict of her beliefs.

  • #356 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    While her hypocrisy is probably for the good of humanity, it still kind of boggles my mind that she doesn’t see the internal conflict of her beliefs.

    compartmentalization is a wonderful thing to behold.

  • #357 Hematite
    April 29, 2008

    Etha (#355)

    My impression has always been that the Catholic church is more a socio-political structure than a religious one, especially compared to American protestant churches. If your friend doesn’t rock the boat and even participates enthusiastically I imagine they don’t care what she believes for herself. I’m not a religious scholar, this is just casual observation. I’m sure there is some axis of measurement where the Catholic church and Souther Baptists are opposite each other, despite being similar in many ways.

    I have a friend who claims to be Catholic. He’s not, by any honest criteria, but he likes to be a ‘better’ Catholic than his mother who is a very lazy but believing Catholic. He follows rituals and observances to the letter to spite her. It’s quite funny, and he enjoys himself a lot. I’m not sure what his mother or the church think of it.

  • #358 negentropyeater
    April 30, 2008

    Tulse #353,
    Do you think that in the minds of St Augustine, Spinoza, or Einstein, religion is based on supernaturalism ?
    Is Humanism a religion ?

    Didn’t you notice already that religion is precisely this one word that has no fixed definition, precisely because it is an evolving concept. This is why targeting “religion” is a futile exercise, a category error.

    Why systematically make this mistake ? Why not call things by their names ? The things we need to fight so deseperately against are :
    – superstitions (instead of religions)
    – religious fundamentalism
    – all types of dogmas and ideologies, religious or political

  • #359 Tulse
    April 30, 2008

    Do you think that in the minds of St Augustine, Spinoza, or Einstein, religion is based on supernaturalism ?

    Spinoza and Einstein didn’t have a religion (they had some mushy pantheist beliefs, but not religion). And yes, Augustine’s religion is based on a supernatural god.

    Is Humanism a religion ?

    No.

    Didn’t you notice already that religion is precisely this one word that has no fixed definition

    No, I didn’t notice that, because it is absurd. While there may be few necessary features for a social construction to qualify as a religion, supernatural beliefs is certainly one of those necessary features.

    Look, I completely agree that the sense of community and service and higher purpose that religion provides is extremely appealing. That said, though, you can’t just redefine religion so that it is more intellectually sensible.

  • #360 Nick Gotts
    April 30, 2008

    (notice I typed WANT in uppercase to prove my point?)

    That gem made me wonder if Kenny’s been illustrating Poe’s law all along. But if he was, for 15 hours and 27 posts, WHY? (notice I typed WHY in uppercase to prove my point?)

  • #361 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    That gem made me wonder if Kenny’s been illustrating Poe’s law all along. But if he was, for 15 hours and 27 posts, WHY? (notice I typed WHY in uppercase to prove my point?)

    there was a poster (ghost of paley) over on the bar for Panda’s Thumb that played loki troll for over a whole year, before claiming that that was what he was doing.

    again, why someone would do such a thing for an entire year is a more interesting question than anything raised by any of his specific posts in that whole time.

    not exactly what I would term sane behavior, in any case.

  • #362 DingoDave
    April 30, 2008

    Kenny wrote in #201:
    “There is some stuff in the Bible that is there to teach a lesson. For example when David who was the king of Israel had adultery. This was not sanctioned from God. This was put in there for a lesson.”

    Dear Kenny,
    It always dumbfounds me when Christians refer to the story of David and Bathsheba, as an example of what people aught not to do. Please enlighten us as to what moral lesson we are supposed to learn from this sordid tale, when the Bible goes on to specifically state that God’s way of punishing David and Bathsheba for their adultary was by MURDERING THEIR NEWBORN BABY which resulted from their illicit union.
    What had the baby done wrong to deserve such a fate?
    Are you aware of this, or didn’t you read that far during your Sunday School lessons?
    I certainly don’t recall ever hearing this particular aspect of the story highlighted by my old Sunday school teacher, or from the pulpit during my many years of church attendance. I wonder why not???
    It just goes to show that the person who wrote this story considered children to be nothing more than the PROPERTY of their father.

    Here is the passage in question.

    2 Samuel chapter 12 :13-18
    “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.
    And the LORD struck the child that Uri’ah’s wife bore to David, and it became sick.
    David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died.”

    Now isn’t that a lovely story? What kind of lesson are we supposed to draw from this kind of moral filth?
    What a vicious, brutal god you worship! And then you have the audacity to accuse us atheists of lacking moral direction.
    You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting such a concept of ‘justice’. In my opinion, you appear to heartily deserve all the scorn and ridicule which has been heaped upon you in this forum.

  • #363 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#359 Tulse —

    While there may be few necessary features for a social construction to qualify as a religion, supernatural beliefs is certainly one of those necessary features.

    Based on this, would you consider AA and other 12-step groups forms of religion (the belief in a higher power necessary to help them overcome their problem being the supernatural belief involved)? I’m not trying to dispute your definition, just curious. I personally have always thought they must be considered at least semi-religious in nature, and that while I recognize that they’ve helped a lot of people with their problems, it’s also somewhat morally questionable to take people who are in a psychologically vulnerable place and tell them there’s a higher power who can fix their lives (and without whom their situation is hopeless).

  • #364 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#362 DingoDave —

    Please enlighten us as to what moral lesson we are supposed to learn from this sordid tale, when the Bible goes on to specifically state that God’s way of punishing David and Bathsheba for their adultary was by MURDERING THEIR NEWBORN BABY which resulted from their illicit union.

    I think I’ll bring this up next time an OT-believer (Xian, Jew, or Muslim) starts spouting anti-choice views. Anyone who thinks that the God of the Bible — baby-killer extraordinaire — is “pro-life” is full of shit.

  • #365 John Phillips, FCD
    April 30, 2008

    Very late to this thread, but Kenny said:

    The more you hate, the more religious you become.

    I think this is the truest statement he has made in this thread without even realising what a very frightening admission it is. Says it all about the creobots really, projection, hate and fear of the other, a potent and demonstrably dangerous mix.

  • #366 Hematite
    April 30, 2008

    Etha Williams (#363):

    would you consider AA and other 12-step groups forms of religion?

    Hell yes! They may not promote a moral framework, but the bit where you accept that only a higher power can save you from yourself is pure mysticalism.

    I appreciate that programmes like AA serve a useful purpose in providing support groups and an organised framework for introspection, but the religious angle is just weird. I’ll cut’n’paste the summary of the 12 steps from the American Psychological Association, via Wikipedia:

    • admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion;
    • recognizing a greater power that can give strength;
    • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
    • making amends for these errors;
    • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
    • helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

    Sing with me! One of these things just doesn’t belong here…

    The rest of it seems sensible though, not that I’m a psychologist.

  • #367 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Based on this, would you consider AA and other 12-step groups forms of religion (the belief in a higher power necessary to help them overcome their problem being the supernatural belief involved)?

    IIRC, we had a discussion of AA not that long ago, and Kseniya had much to say on the topic.

    I think you would like to see what was said on that thread, but I can’t recall which one it was now.

    Maybe Kseniya recalls?

  • #368 Etha Williams
    May 1, 2008

    Re: AA (and I know I brought the subject up, so it’s a bit weird to reply to it, but whatever): my mother, normally a fairly rational person, joined a 12-step group (for relatives of alcoholics or something). I expressed my concern; she said, “It’s really not that bad.”

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement in my eyes….

    And also I find the whole idea that your problems are not in your control and that you have to yield to this mystical higher power demeaning and infantilizing. As a teenager I had some issues (don’t really want to go into the details her, partially because this post is public & tied to my real name; I now see the appeal of pseudonymity) and one of my various therapists told my parents (in my presence), “You have to understand, Etha doesn’t have control over what she’s doing.” Boy, that straightened me up in a hurry! I immediately set out to prove her wrong. And I did.

  • #369 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    Yes. I recall.

    I should add that while plenty of people in AA are religious, and look to God as their higher power, it’s pretty standard where I come from to refer to GoD, with a nudge and a wink, as an acronym standing for something like:

  • - [the] Gift of Desperation, or
  • - Group o’ Drunks

    As I noted in the other thread, the density (heh) of religiousity within an AA group will vary, with the most significant variable being – as one might expect – geographical location.

  • #370 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    Etha, the only thing a person really has to “yield” to is the notion that he has complete control over every aspect of his life, whether internal or external. That’s key. It’s not about becoming a sheep, believe me.

    The Serenity Prayer captures it pretty well:

  • Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
  • The Courage to change the things I can,
  • And the Wisdom to know the difference

    This point of view comes in pretty handy sometimes. You’d be hard-pressed to find a problem to which it could not apply. No supernatural entities required. A little mindfulness goes a long way, dontcha’know.

  • #371 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    my mother, normally a fairly rational person, joined a 12-step group (for relatives of alcoholics or something).

    Probably Al-Anon.

  • #372 Etha Williams
    May 1, 2008

    @#370 Kseniya —

    The Serenity Prayer captures it pretty well:

    Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The Courage to change the things I can,
    And the Wisdom to know the difference

    Fair enough. I’m probably overly hostile on the grounds that I worry people won’t apply the “wisdom” part of the prayer. Also, because when I hear “higher power” my mind automatically jumps to a god, and I had my own not-so-wonderful experiences with religion as a psychological crutch.

  • #373 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    the religiousity of an AA group will vary, with the most significant variable being geographical location.

    To be more precise, the variable is the religiousity of the general population from which the members of the AA group are taken.

  • #374 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    I agree that crutches are bad. But they have their place. A crutch is a tool, usually temporary, to help keep you upright when doing so alone proves difficult. When the crutch becomes so comforting that you no longer yearn to stand upright, then there’s a problem.

    Anyways… You might want to read that other thread, from around the point I linked, to the end. I’m not the only one who has some experience with the program. You’ll note a rather dramatic split in perception between those who know something of AA from the inside and those who do not. There are some pretty weird misconceptions floating around out there, bordering on paranoid conspiracy theories. (Please note that those who espoused those theories aren’t paranoid, just misinformed – possibly by people who are – LOL.) You’d think we’d been talking about Scientology of some weird, controlling cult. That’s not how it is.

  • #375 jomega
    May 1, 2008

    …and unlike traditional latex cults, atheism is safe for most septic systems.

  • #376 Hematite
    May 1, 2008

    Thanks for the link… actually, I was in that one! I guess I left early, before you got to the meaty goodness ;)

    Kseniya; I oppose such crutches on principle. If there is no higher power, it seems wrong to tell people to pretend there is so they can be healed. It has the air of treating them like children – and I dislike treating children like children.

    Still, I don’t want to be divisive over it. I wouldn’t throw out AA over a quibble of wording – and I’m sure the religiousity varies with region as you say. My only experience with AA is from reading descriptions of it online. I suspect it is a very effective programme, I only contest what I see as a superfluous wedge for religion. Let’s say my position is that it’s sub-optimal.

    Now, I’ll go read that thread and see if I’ve made a fool of myself in light of it :)

  • #377 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    Hematite, many people settle on a higher power that is non-religious in nature. For example: the power of your love for your children. The supportive power of the millions of sober alcoholics around the world. Whatever. The goal is to get out of your own head, and realize that you don’t have all the answers, and can’t change everthing, and that your addiction is stronger than your ability to control it. I realize this is contrary to traditional old-time AA, but I know from first-hand personal experience that this is how many people practice it. They may be in the minority overall – many do approach it from a religious point of view – but there’s no requirement to do so.

    Ultimately, G.O.D. = Group Of Drunks, whether you believe in God or not. Without the group, there’s no AA. There’s no shortage of new members, that’s for sure. The first week of January always brings in the new freshman class, so to speak, and there are always enough drunk with sober time to help the newbies out. (The holiday season, and the traditional excesses of New Year’s Eve, have a way of bringing people to their crisis point…)

    As for it being “very effective” that’s open to discussion. I suggest reviewing the other thread. Again, on that thread you’ll see some blanket generalizations that don’t accurately reflect the reality, such as the claim that AA is ultimately ineffective unless the “underlying causes” are addressed by qualified [mental] health professionals. While this is inarguably true in many instances, it varies widely from individual to individual.

    Hey, everyone has issues. It’s all a matter of degree. The underlying cause for many alcoholics is their physical addiction to alcohol and the psychological dependence that results from long-term substance abuse. Once they get a handle on that, and their alcoholism goes into remission by way of total abstinence, they’re on their way to being as ok as anyone else. Others have far more serious underlying issues and do need more help than AA could ever hope to provide. For those folks, the path of sobriety is just the first leg of a longer journey to a broader recovery.

  • #378 Joey Covey
    January 17, 2009

    Regardless how deeply you delve science, you only believe more and more. The real question for the “mr Science” types out there is, Even with Evolution, where did that VERY First Cell/molecule, atom or Gene, not to mention it’s first atmosphere, come FROM to start with?

    And for those who give their trusting to the Big Bang theory, I ask of you, “what” blew-up? Who Or what lit the fuse(ignited it)? And “Where” did it come from “TO” blow up in the FIRST place?? Nothing rules out religions. So I ask how or WHERE it all began?

    We question and we question, with so very little for answer. So we Articulate Calculus, Differential Equations and Various Descriptive Geometries to somehow “calculate” our beginnings, Yet we end up in a circle, constantly asking yet not knowing for sure and in nothing more than awe…

    sykotaboy

  • #379 Nerd of Redhead
    January 17, 2009

    Don’t worry Joey, scientists are working on those questions. It may take a while but there will be explanations for everything you mentioned, and every explanation will not require a a god.

  • #380 Jadehawk
    January 17, 2009

    if i starve to death because I can’t get enough work done, I’ll blame it on creobots infesting old threads….

  • #381 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 17, 2009

    Why is it that proud know nothings with big words like to post onto old threads? Do they think that they have of a measure of victory if it slips through, unnoticed?

  • #382 Joey Covey
    January 17, 2009

    Sorry, just got here. Didn’t know of immense rules and regulations is all. Sorry (in Hosp. bed upside down, hanging from head-on w/truck, reaching down to laptop on bedtray to type. But, that shouldn’t matter anyhow.) Just curious, since noone’s talking about anything anyhow…

    Sykotaboy

  • #383 Nerd of Redhead
    January 17, 2009

    No rules, just an observation that creationists and godbots seem to love old threads. The regulars are usually busy posting on the front couple of pages. We know when you post since it shows up in a sidebar on the front page. Come up front and join in if you want.

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