Pharyngula

Some of us had it easy

I had a gentle and uncontroversial deconversion from a fairly liberal church, so I’ve never suffered for atheism — which is as it should be for everyone. Not all Christians are tolerant enough to let people have their own beliefs, though, as you can discover in these stories of ostracization (add to them if you’ve experienced it), and in particular, this nightmarish story of one man’s abandonment of his faith.

Comments

  1. #1 pikeamus
    December 31, 2008

    The second story really scares and disgusts me, I don’t really no what to say beyond that.

  2. #2 Chris Davis
    December 31, 2008

    As a third-generation atheist (growing up with a scientist mom who supplied real answers during my ‘Why?’ phase), I have nothing but awe for those who manage to break out of their conditioning.

  3. #3 JeffreyD
    December 31, 2008

    Having run away from home at the age of 15, there was no one around to care if I became an atheist. The Salvation Army people who fed and housed me for a bit were sad I was an unbeliever, but cared more about getting me settled somewhere than preaching to me. I still give them money.

    Deciding to give up any believe in a supreme being, cosmic thunderer or hoary muffin, was not hard once I began to think. Day to day life was hard, but I found out not having an artificial crutch, gawd, made life easier. I had no gawd to please or disappoint, I and I alone was responsible for my actions. It was a freeing experience.

    Ciao y’all

  4. #4 clinteas
    December 31, 2008

    Wal-Mart exorcisms…..

    What could possibly be next???

    PZ,I have NY resolutions and am trying to be positive here,did you have to post this???
    How depressing…..

  5. #5 Allen N
    December 31, 2008

    My Mormon in-laws for the most part just ignore me at family gatherings. That is unless there is something they need. This same batch of loving xians essentially ostracized one of the grandchildren and spouse. The reason being that they could not accept the developmentally challenged child the woman brought into the family from a previous marriage.

    I tend towards a more “live and let live” approach but I have to say that the fundies are simply fuckin’ crazy. Pray for god to take out your spouse? I think the only divorce these folks endorse is the divorce from reality.

  6. #6 speedwell
    December 31, 2008

    Wow, after reading this I know I got off mighty easy. After announcing my deconversion to my family… Mom cried because she failed to save me from Hell. Dad gave me his usual disgusted look. My grown brother told me I was “full of shit,” but he took it back later. My grandmother said, “You’re an atheist? So am I. Don’t tell your mother.” My uncle said, “I never wanted to interfere with your mother’s parenting, but it’s about goddamn time.” My cousins engaged me in lively discussion about theology and whether there was a difference between Jewish deconverts and Christian deconverts. It was all kind of fun in the end. :)

  7. #7 AnthonyK
    December 31, 2008

    A good site with more deconversion stories/experiences is:
    http://exchristian.net/
    High standard of posts, too

  8. #8 Justin
    December 31, 2008

    I was a late deconvert, mid-thirties. When my parents found out I was in the middle of a huge financial crisis and had just gotten divorced. They decided it was best to ask me to go away and to help my ex keep my daughter away from me. Because I wasn’t a Christian.

    Since then things have calmed down and we’ve been able to keep being family, but it was hard for a bit.

  9. #9 speedwell
    December 31, 2008

    Ten cents says the bitch and her idiot priest (but I repeat myself) think they can make the charge stick because they can argue that being an atheist is itself an act of moral turpitude and lie that he deconverted because he couldn’t live with God knowing about his “sins.”

    Ten additional cents says the judge buys it because after all, the guy’s own wife and a respected pastor wouldn’t come forward with such a story unless it were true, right?

    I’ve never wanted to lose twenty cents more in my life.

  10. #10 Geoff Rogers
    December 31, 2008

    Jesus motherfucking Christ on a stick.

    If that guy’s story is true (and I have no reason to believe that it isn’t, and many reasons to believe that it may be) – is it any wonder at all that some of us may feel that we are at war?

    My sister only recently left her church. I don’t know if she’s dropped her faith (though there are encouraging signs), but I do know that one of the reasons that she left was the blatant hypocrisy, manipulation, and exploitation that she encountered.

    Interesting side note: a key step in my sister’s ongoing journey was when I managed to get her reading. She hated reading for most of her life. Hated (or thought she hated) learning, too.

    All these things (and others) seem to point to religion being a symptom of a form of mental immaturity.

  11. #11 tacitus
    December 31, 2008

    The second story is the reason why I never presume to tell someone who has developed doubts about their religious faith what they should do. Everyone’s situation is different, and simply coming out and proclaiming your non-belief may be a recipe for disaster in certain circumstances.

    Of course, it’s completely up to the individual, but I see nothing wrong with quietly and carefully extricating yourself from any close involvement in your religious community, citing reasons that would be more acceptable to those you care about around you. Keeping ones family together is often more important than being brutally honest about your religious beliefs.

  12. #12 Danimal
    December 31, 2008

    What makes everyone believe that the second story is true? I accept it for what it is, a story. It could very well be that the story teller is a child malester and the story is his rationalization of why he is persecuted. Anyways, without all the facts, I am not willing to blindly believe the story.

  13. #13 Cruithne
    December 31, 2008

    Being an ex christian myself I have to say that I was lucky in not getting any of this crap when I deconverted.
    Then again, coming from Northern Ireland the problem was with being a christian, especially if you were a particular flavour of christian and met some christians of a different flavour.

  14. #14 Nick K
    December 31, 2008

    Here’s my deconversion story:

    I was 13 years old and was watching All In the Family. In one scene, Meathead tells Archie Bunker that he doesn’t believe in god. I just stopped cold and said, “Huh? You mean that’s an option??”. It’s been 30 years since I watched that scene.

    I wonder how many people out there, especially children, are not aware that not believing in god is an option. And they suffer through the cognitive dissonance.

  15. #15 Cruithne
    December 31, 2008

    Anyways, without all the facts, I am not willing to blindly believe the story.

    Personally I would never believe someone was guilty of any serious crime on hearsay alone. Your post is the perfect example of why it is so unethical to call someone a child molestor, because there are pothers who will take the accusation alone and persecute as a result of it.

  16. #16 recovering catholic
    December 31, 2008

    Listening to NPR on the way home from the Chicago burbs last Sunday after a disturbing holiday visit with my family, I heard out of the corner of my ear a website for people who are being persecuted for doing the right thing. While I think the site had more to do with being hassled for doing silly things like recycling, reusing, buying less stuff and accepting the fact of climate change, to me ecological awareness and responsibility are part and parcel of atheism (and vice versa). Try as I might, I could not find this website.
    PZ to the rescue. Thanks so much for sharing Dan Silverman’s blogspot. I have 8 brothers and sisters, we were all raised Roman Catholic, some of us are now atheist or agnostic, others have become fundamentalist. Unfortunately, my brother, who has the only house big enough to host our family gatherings, is one of the latter, and he and his wife are extremely intolerant. I decided after this last visit that I would no longer go to his house to see my sibs, nieces and nephews. I am tired of being baited by his religious, political, and “scientific” comments and usually remaining quiet for the sake of family ties. I came home exhausted and feeling ill.
    Obviously my story is tame compared to Dan Silverman’s, but deconverted good people need to share their stories, too.

  17. #17 Observer
    December 31, 2008

    I’m with Danimal. I’m sure there are some hellish deconversion stories, and this might be one of them. But as of now, it’s just a story. I see no reason to believe or disbelieve it.

  18. #18 pikeamus
    December 31, 2008

    Danimal:

    I don’t believe that the second story is true but I certainly don’t beileve that it isn’t true either. The mere fact that it’s a believeable story worries me.

  19. #19 recovering catholic
    December 31, 2008

    tacitus @11

    “Keeping ones family together is often more important than being brutally honest about your religious beliefs.”

    You may find, as I did, that there comes an awful time in your life when you are forced to choose between hypocrisy on your own part and keeping family together. I hope not, for your sake.

  20. #20 recovering catholic
    December 31, 2008

    Danimal and Observer–

    Silverman gives his email address–it might be interesting to contact him. And I admit I have to agree with you–I for one have to remember to keep my skepticism intact for everything! (Though my tendency is to believe the story,)

  21. #21 marilove
    December 31, 2008

    My family was never all that religious. I’m certain my twin sister and mother believe in god, as they both go to church regularly (my mom is a “born again” due to drug addiction), but thankfully it’s not really a big deal. I think my sister knows of my athiesm (I don’t hide my books and she looks through them whenever she visits), and she doesn’t seem to particularly care.

    Something tells me my dad is agnostic. I actually don’t know for certain because he’s never discussed it, but he’s very interested in science and there have been a few indicators and my younger sister, a fighting agnostic who keeps getting sucked into church life (and then remembering why she hates it) due to still living in our tiny town, agrees with me.

    So I got damned lucky.

  22. #22 Elwood Herring
    December 31, 2008

    Nick K @14:

    …Meathead tells Archie Bunker that he doesn’t believe in god. I just stopped cold and said, “Huh? You mean that’s an option??”.

    Incredible, but I think you’ve raised a significant point there. I can see how for people brought up in an all-enveloping religious environment, the ability to question their brainwashing upbringing is simply never developed in the first place.

    I sometimes think that “Organised Religion” is some sort of IQ test. If there is a god, maybe he set all this up to separate the real thinkers from the herd. (“Followed that rubbish blindly did you? Sorry – you lose. I gave you a brain, didn’t I? Why didn’t you USE IT?”)

    Thank FSM for the Internet, which I believe will eventually cause the walls of superstition to come crashing down. I just hope it happens before Yellowstone goes blooey and wipes us all out!

  23. #23 vjack
    December 31, 2008

    I’m another who had it easy, and reading what so many others had to go through makes me so sad. Fortunately, it also keeps me fighting for atheist civil rights.

  24. #24 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 31, 2008

    I had it really easy as well. Just one day decided to stop going to church. Parents were cool. I think the 1 year of boarding school with mandatory church that did it.

    They’ve since stop going as well except on special occasions.

  25. #25 Yngve
    December 31, 2008

    I’m just more and more happy I’m born in Norway, these stories affect me to such a degree I’m feeling physical discomfort when reading them. It’s just awful.

  26. #26 kenjip
    December 31, 2008

    I dont believe the blog, seems a little fantastical.

  27. #27 Ouchimoo
    December 31, 2008

    His wife kinda reminds me of my mom.

    And people wonder why I’m so pissy about religion. HAH.

  28. #28 Raiko
    December 31, 2008

    speedwell – I love your grandma for that. :D

    My mom and I still bitterly agree to disagree all the time about ‘spiritual things’, but in general, I’m lead off gently. She seems sad I don’t believe in fairy tales, but I can’t give her that pleasure. I’m with my grandpa – if there was a God, it wouldn’t let this happen.

  29. #29 Dan Silverman
    December 31, 2008

    Hello and thanks to PZ Myers for posting a link to my blog and my story.

    Yes, the people that are skeptical about my story should be. The skeptical position should be the default position when we approach just about any subject for the first time. As far as I know, none of you know me and, as a result, cannot really verify my story. I certainly respect that.

    I had never planned to create my blog. I had wanted the events surrounding my de-conversion to stay under the wire, but the charge against me made the news (as can be seen on my blog). I turned on the TV one night just to see my face and was shocked and, frankly, scared. I created the blog to try to counter the news report and to give people the option to hear the other side of the story.

    The accusation against me is not rape or sodomy. It is one charge of inappropriate touching (according to the testimony the touch was less than one second on the chest). Because the accusation is about a minor (someone that was 12 at the time) the charge was elevated to Aggravated Sexual Battery and is a felony in the state of Virginia.

    I cannot share all the details of my story because of the court case. For example, I will not publicly name the name of the person that I am accused of touching. So there are elements missing from my story as posted on the internet. Even so, the events surrounding the arrest are true.

    As someone here said, my email is on my blog. Feel free to contact me if you like. I will answer any questions that I am able to.

    Again, thank you for letting people know about my story.

    Dan

  30. #30 mess
    December 31, 2008

    After reading these I am so glad that I have never had to go through this. I was never part of a religion as I was raised an atheist. I have gotten some weird looks from people when I tell them that. Kind of “really – I’ve never meet anyone like you”.

    I do remember being a bit nervous once in LA on a x-country bicycle ride. I stopped in a church on Sunday since everything else in the town was closed to see if I could fill my water bottles (Tap water – I was not after the holy water). The pastor said that was fine, the sink was in the back. After filling up the bottles he asked if I was carrying a bible with me and without thinking I replied “No, for weight reasons I only carry things that are useful”

    I left the town fast. I think I could have beaten Lance Armstrong over the next 10 miles.

  31. #31 Zeno
    December 31, 2008

    Damn! I sure have it easy by comparison. My parents don’t insist on my going to church with them when I’m visiting on holidays or weekends and no one harasses me about no longer being a believing Catholic (or Christian or anything else religious). The most overt thing any family member has done in years occurred on Christmas this year when my niece (and goddaughter) gave me a one-decade mini-rosary as a gift, perhaps hoping that it would magick me back into the fold. It’s cute and hand made (by her). If not for the crucifix, it would make a nice set of worry beads.

  32. #32 Allen N
    December 31, 2008

    Kenjip @ 26

    I cannot prove it, but I work under the premise that anything you can imagine people doing, has already been done. I don’t find a lot of dissonance with my own experiences and those I read from others in the original post. To use a Mythbuster term, I’d rate his original post as “plausible”.

  33. #33 Science Goddess
    December 31, 2008

    In Maryland, where I live, you are excused from jury duty if you’re an atheist.

    MD Article 36 states that: “nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come.”

    I’ve never tried it, in the 3 times I’ve been called, but I might the next time.

    SG

  34. #34 speedwell
    December 31, 2008

    Raiko @ 28: Yeah, she’s a real spitfire, my grandmother, almost 90 and she calls the 60 or 70 year old gals she plays poker with “that bunch of old ladies.” Heh.

    Turns out the blasphemous old bag allowed my mom to “convert her to Christianity” because, as Grandma said, “It’s [religion is] all a bunch of malarkey however you look at it… what was important was making your mother feel better during her chemotherapy.” I still don’t know quite what to think about that sort of casuistry :)

  35. #35 Observer
    December 31, 2008

    At the time of my earlier post I had missed the link for the rest of Dan Silverman’s blog. That does give his story some context from which to evaluate it. I still neither believe nor disbelieve, but I have to admit that his story is plausible.

    I’m not sure that I ever really deconverted. I remember a time as a young child where I prayed every night. At the time, for some reason I can’t recall, I was terrified of the notion of death, and I assume that’s what motivated me. That lasted for a brief period, then pfffft! That was the end of my religious belief. After that, it just seemed obvious to me that religion in general was nonsense. It didn’t bother anybody else in my family because they all apparently felt the same way. At best some of them describe themselves as “spiritual.”

    My father had been a deacon in his church for a while, but for him it was more about the social aspect of religion. He got drummed out by fundies, so even the social aspect was gone for him, but he never believed the dogma to begin with. He’s a bright man who is quite comfortable entertaining the various philosophical arguments either way, but in general, I would say he’s atheistic in his outlook. My brothers are both atheists, as were my grandparents, although I didn’t know that until I was an adult. My mother considers herself a Christian, but her views are very liberal and fuzzy, and don’t mesh with any sect that exists today. So for me there was no issue of ostracization from family, since various forms of atheism turned out to be the family tradition.

    The amazing thing to me is that I didn’t really learn the details everybody else’s lack of belief until I had already been an atheist for years. It just wasn’t the sort of thing we’d talk about. We’d talk about science, politics, and history, but religion never much entered into it.

    I really do feel sorry for people who become separated from family due to religious belief or lack of it. It’s as incomprehensible to me as those who would disown their children because of their homosexuality. Any belief system that would encourage a person to destroy family relationships on the basis of dogma is self-evidently foolish.

  36. #36 pikeamus
    December 31, 2008

    Science Goddess @ #33

    Double Ewe. Tea. Eff. So believers in the Abrahamic religions are protected from being deemed incompetent but those of other religions are not? Its even more muddied for atheists as it would be impossible for us to be ruled incompetent because of our religious beliefs… we don’t have any. Because of our lack of religious beliefs however…

    How on earth did that junk ever get into legislation?

  37. #37 Matthew
    December 31, 2008

    I was fortunate, too. I stopped going to church once I moved out of my house. I think my official deconversion was the Easter Sunday I spent at Hooters.

  38. #38 smilingface
    December 31, 2008

    Nick K, you made my day. You sum it all up for me. I used to always think about my deconversion story and never could recollect an episode which affected me. But i think just realizing the option of atheism did it.

  39. #39 Blake Stacey
    December 31, 2008

    For those who haven’t read through the archives of Silverman’s blog for news stories about the incident, one such can be found here.

  40. #40 recovering catholic
    December 31, 2008

    This is likely the same Silverman:

    http://cgempire.com/forum/freelance-34/dan-silverman-master-3d-design-501.html

    So at least he seems to be a real person.

  41. #41 Ouchimoo
    December 31, 2008

    Stupid manipulative scumbags! I have to rant this out, this is just killing me. Thanks a lot PZ you always find nice little stories like this that throw me into frenzies. And Matt’s not online to cool me off. (no really, I love your blog, but wow some of this just hits too close to home and then I’m not right for about a week, poor Matt has to deal with that)
    Back in the day, I used to be the perfect lil xtain kid. Basically I did it to please my parents. When I stopped believing in Santa and the Easterbunny, so went Jesus. Didn’t matter that much at the time because I was playing mommy to my baby brother (from her second marriage) while my mom was off getting stoned or drunk all the time. When she got over her crash she figured ‘gawd did it’ and forced me to church every freaking Sunday, plus any other religious thing she could suddenly drop on me without any warning. In the meantime using child support from my dad to pay for HER BILLS and HER ENTERTAINMENT *which was still drinking, just not, every day and night, pretty damn close though. Then required my dad to buy everything for me. She then manipulated me when my dad fought against paying child support so he ended up having to pay her money until i was 18. Then she got married for the 3rd time and her ‘godly, happy with her life’ but always stoned stupid because really COULDN’T handle life he went into a severe depression and was suicidal. She called the cops, made all kinds of outlandish claims and had him thrown in jail. Then put a restraining order on him and wanted both my brother and me on the that list. I refused to sign and instead I tried to help him. Because she couldn’t understand why an ‘ebil athiest’ would help someone in need instead of spitting on him like she was doing, she spread rumors to the entire *small* town possibly two towns and all of his relatives that we were having an affair. (which all the religious people JUMPED ON) Now she can’t figure out why I don’t like her. Yeah . .this is the summarized story. So for people who are skeptical of this story, TRUST ME people out there can be manipulative asshats.

    Sorry this isn’t really a ‘horrible coming out’ story but my being and atheist had a lot to do with this.

    Ok. . I’m a little better now. Whatever. *sigh* sorry, again.

  42. #42 Jay
    December 31, 2008

    My deconversion happened over a few years. I had the usual doubts in Sunday school; “If god is so powerful, why doesn’t he keep bad things from happening to good people?”, etc.

    My parents wanted me to go to ccd until I got my confirmation. So I did. I didn’t give religion much thought other than during the weekly session.

    One class the priest showed us a video to scare us away from the possibility of having an abortion. The video showed a live taping of an actual abortion procedure. I was so disgusted with the tactic that I never went back.

  43. #43 Dan Silverman
    December 31, 2008

    Yes, that is my graphics web site:

    http://www.master3ddesign.com

    and

    http://www.m3dd.com

    I am certainly a real person.

    That website was designed when I was still a preacher and a missionary. The “master” part was dedicated to “god” and the image across the top of the web site was to represent the six days of creation.

    Again, people here are free to contact me to validate that I am real or to ask questions.

    Thank you,

    Dan

  44. #44 Metro
    December 31, 2008

    “You mean that’s an option?”

    Great question. Totally sums up my experience in basic training, when I first met people who had no religious faith, read Job: A Comedy of Justice for the first time, and realized that my own attendance at church was more than a little symbolic rather than heartfelt.

    My initial reaction had been “How can you live like that?” And through observation I discovered that the answer was “Pretty much like anyone else, but I get Sundays free.”

  45. #45 BMcP
    December 31, 2008

    That guy’s story reminds me why I won’t even go near kids, and very reluctant to show affection towards my own nieces and nephews. In today’s atmosphere it is so easy to be accused of the most heinous sexual crimes without doing anything or just accidentally touching some child or hugging one that is related to you if their parents suddenly get angry with you over something else (like some family dispute). Magnify that several fold if you are an adult male, and several fold again if you are single adult male, everyone assumes already you are some potential rapist and molester and that includes law enforcement and the government.

  46. #46 Sigmund
    December 31, 2008

    The case seems to be more complicated than a single accusation. In the news reports there seems to be two individuals accused (its unclear whether they are part of the same case or are actually separate cases).
    http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?s=9338909
    As for false accusations from a fundamentalist, that’s perfectly plausible. The ‘Lying for Jesus’ ploy is understandable where the individual is trying to save her children from the eternal damnation that awaits their father.

  47. #47 Alverant
    December 31, 2008

    I admit I had a pretty easy time too. I think my parents knew all along but no one said anything. The worst was when I “came out” during the post-Thanksgiving-dinner debate with some distant relatives. They used the “hurricane building a B-52 bomber” argument, said that “at least” my mother was Jewish, and how I was an idiot savant. (I’m not a good debater in person, my memory recall isn’t as good as theirs. Also I hold myself back for the sake of family unity.)

    I also “came out” as an Atheist in the Des Moines Register. I responded to an article/column about the “under god” in the Pledge lawsuit and got an interviewed. I was quoted in the follow up article. Some rather religious friends of my parents said I was “courageous” (they never said how though). Fortunately it didn’t affect their friendship.

    I think the most ironic thing is that I was a Boy Scout. When it came time for my Eagle review my scoutmaster answered for me in a good way when asked about the religious aspect. (I’m distantly related by marriage to the pastor of my troop’s church.) I attended a National Jamboree and I attended a Sunday service for appearances sake. I think I was the only one who went. Some other scouts were listening to Satanic rock. It’s ironic that all that can happen yet admitting I was an Atheist would cause ME to be shunned.

  48. #48 OrchidGrowinMan
    December 31, 2008

    It’s Standard Practice (TM) with some attorneys to have the wife in a divorce case make implications and accusations of child sexual abuse and all sorts of other things (homosexuality, drug abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, sexual deviancy, domestic violence, gambling, infidelity, etc.) in order to guarantee temporary custody of the children and sympathy from the court, so that she can get permanent custody, generous alimony/support and a disproportionate share of assets. Like negative campaigning, it might be distasteful, but it does work. I am an example. The experience in the Silverman story is unusual only in that a pastor was the Iago this time, not a militant girlfriend, cynical lawyer or (in my case) the Leader of the Cohousing Compound.

  49. #49 Elwood Herring
    December 31, 2008

    Reading these posts just confirms my opinion that America is a badly screwed-up country. Sorry folks, but that’s how it comes across.

    I’ve had some personal experience too which only goes to strengthen my opinion. I’ve made online friends with several Americans over the years (usually due to my musical associations, not through Phil Plait’s or P.Z.’s blog, the only two I really participate in), but in each case as soon as they find out I’m an atheist (a fact I don’t hide) they break contact and I never hear from them again. It’s only Americans who do this. I’ve got other Internet friends in places such as Holland, Germany, Iceland and even Brazil, but they aren’t bothered about my atheism and never discuss religion at all. Only in America, as they say…

  50. #50 Jason
    December 31, 2008

    I’ve been reading and lurking here for a while, but this is my first post.

    I’m in the same boat as several people here, in that my deconversion was a lot easier than those stories. When it comes to religion (though not politics) my parents are quite liberal, and respect my right to believe what I want. My dad sometimes debates me on the subject, arguing either that faith in itself (ie. “belief in belief”) is a good thing, or that there must be some kind of higher power, etc. But needless to say, I’ll take a bit of civil debate over ostracism and accusations of child molestation any day.

    I can’t really imagine what that must be like, for a person’s friends and loved ones turn against them just for being open about their beliefs. I’ve received some disapproving responses upon mentioning my disbelief to others, but very rarely any real hostility.

    Science Goddess @33,

    I’ve heard of statutes like that, and I suppose it could be seen as convenient in the case of jury duty, but the fact that in some states atheists are barred from holding elected office or testifying as a witness absolutely infuriates me. I can’t imagine how such laws could possibly be constitutional.

  51. #51 The Science Pundit
    December 31, 2008

    Jason: #50

    … the fact that in some states atheists are barred from holding elected office or testifying as a witness absolutely infuriates me. I can’t imagine how such laws could possibly be constitutional.

    They’re not! Unfortunately, the only way to get the standing to challenge them in court is for an atheist to get elected to such an office. Alas, many of those laws will remain on the books for quite a while.

  52. #52 BobC
    December 31, 2008

    I’m still reading “My Story”. This was interesting:

    Instead of rational answers, they simply threw more Bible verses at me, verses that did not answer the questions. Others simply told me that they would pray for me.

    That’s very typical of Christian extremists who can’t be bothered to think. Worthless Bible quotes and worthless praying. “I will pray for you” is just their way of insulting people, and often the Bible is quoted to insult people. Typical brain-dead Christian assholes.

  53. #53 Interrobang
    December 31, 2008

    I don’t have any deconversion stories because I never deconverted (you can’t deconvert when you never converted in the first place), but when I was in high school, a family of evangelical Christians moved into the attendance district, and had four kids attending the school all at the same time. Within the next couple of years, about 90% of the school converted to their specific brand of funnymentalist whackaloonism. Most of the 10% of kids that were left were religious, but didn’t change religions. I think there were two of us atheists in a school of ~1100 students.

    I don’t think a day went by when I didn’t have someone giving me verbal abuse about being an atheist, or trying to convert me. The conversion tactics ranged from “You wanna come to my church supper on Thursday?” (Shit, no. My mom’s a better cook than any church lady.) to “You know, I worry about you, because you’re not a Christian and you won’t go to heaven when you die.” (That’s okay, don’t worry, because there is no heaven, and you won’t either.)

    I do have to say, the “(religious) bitchez iz crazy-evil” tone of some of the posts on this thread is bothering me a little. Some of the stuff reads just a little too much like the kind of rhetoric one sees from misogynist trolls that show up on feminist blogs…

  54. #54 Dan Silverman
    December 31, 2008

    “The case seems to be more complicated than a single accusation. In the news reports there seems to be two individuals accused (its unclear whether they are part of the same case or are actually separate cases).”

    Yes and no. The situation is this:

    I was arrested on September 8th on one charge. A month later another man in the same church was arrested on 24 charges! Because there were two men from the same church arrested, both for sexual crimes, the news decided to report them together. My arrest never made the news (as far as I have been told) until AFTER the second man’s arrest.

    The two cases are not related.

    Dan

  55. #55 BobC
    December 31, 2008

    “I am praying two things for you: that you will either get right with God or that He will take you out!”

    Cool. A death threat. From your wife. Invoking god for a hit job.

  56. #56 NewEnglandBob
    December 31, 2008

    People like Danimal are the scum of the earth.

    He/they are uneducated misfits who lie and defame. It is fundies like that who ruin the US.

  57. #57 Smrt Newfie
    December 31, 2008

    I was an alter boy throughout middle school and highschool, though thankfully I was Anglican, so my anus is still intact. As long as I can remember, I had serious reservations about religion and theism in general. In particular, how I was supposed to base my belief in god on a ~2000 year old book. It got even worse when I started taking history in school and learned all the other crazy shit people used to believe back then.
    It all came to a head when I realized that I had resorted to giving myself mental sac beatings on a regular basis just to keep my logical mind in check. I finally realized that it was only my intense fear of death (which I am still working on) that was propping up my faith. I remember the day I finally said out loud, “I do not believe in god.” Despite my knowing it to be true, it was a terrifying thing to do. It was like crossing the point of no return. I was in the shower at the time, which seems strange in hindsight, but I have to say, that I immediately felt relieved, and finished masturbating with a new found lack of guilt.

  58. #58 Sastra
    December 31, 2008

    I also had it easy, because I was raised freethinker. My dad is certainly “spiritual,” but I think he is more upset that I don’t believe in ESP.

  59. #59 Ian
    December 31, 2008

    NewEnglandBob,

    Please present evidence that Danimal has lied or defamed, or is an uneducated fundie. As the only comment I see from him assumes the proper skeptical stance and makes no claims whatsoever, I can only assume that you are just projecting your own self-loathing.

  60. #60 Aseem
    December 31, 2008

    @Dan Silverman at #44

    My initial stance towards your story was skeptical as well. But since you’ve come out providing the details of you accusation and arrest, it seems unreasonable to disbelieve your story. I don’t know how you manage to keep your temper from soaring. Perhaps the hurt and disbelief eclipses the anger. I only hope the charges against you are dropped, and they you are able to live a normal life again with everybody convinced of your innocence, putting the past behind you.

  61. #61 Aseem
    December 31, 2008

    Oops! I meant Dan Silverman at #54, not #44.

  62. #62 Bill Dauphin
    December 31, 2008

    Danimal, et al.:

    I see Mr. Silverman has responded in his own voice, and some (e.g., Observer) have bothered to read the rest of the blog PZ linked to, but I wanted to comment on this:

    It could very well be that the story teller is a child malester[sic] and the story is his rationalization of why he is persecuted.

    Of course that’s possible, and Dan Silverman has himself pointed out (somewhat overgenerously, IMHO) that we’re only hearing his side of the story, and should perhaps reserve judgment. That said, I tend to believe his story, based on the facts you can glean from not only his telling but the news reports he links to:

    Note that he’s been charged with a single count of touching a 12 year old girl in the area of her chest. Now, I’m not privy to any of the details beyond what’s been posted/linked here, but it’s not hard to imagine any number of perfectly innocent types of contact between a pastor and a young congregant (or between a father and child) that could easily be stretched to fit that charge. It only takes the ill will of the teller (or whoever coached her) to turn a simple hug or incidental brush as you pass in the hall (ever share a house with a preteen?) into the crime charged here.

    Further, if Mr. Silverman were indeed “a child malester” as Danimal suggests, it seems highly unlikely that he would’ve reached his forties with only this one relatively minor (as these things go) offense on his record. If we imagined he was a true child predator, we would expect other victims to come forward after he was arrested, especially given that other children in this congregation genuinely have been molested by the self-confessed predator whose case has been unfairly entangled with Dan’s. By all accounts, no other accusations against Dan have surfaced. IMHO, it’s far more likely that this accusation is false than that a true “bad guy” would have no other victims to accuse him.

    Finally, false accusations of child abuse are extremely common in divorce cases (and this is the same sort of separation dynamic, emotionally, even if there’s no actual divorce action pending). My own brother-in-law faced such an accusation during his divorce (even without the extra passion of a religious battle)… but it was quietly dropped as they reached a settlement, and his ex has never sought to restrict his access to the kids she once accused him of abusing (i.e., a tacit admission that it was just an angry gesture, or perhaps a negotiating tactic). I’m sure there are vast numbers of similar stories. It’s horrifying that we so frequently use our kids as bargaining chips… but it’s undeniably the case.

    Keep the (lack of) faith, Dan; I’m sure there are better days ahead.

  63. #63 Scott from Oregon
    December 31, 2008

    I was an athiest child living in an Arab apartment building with Pops working in conjunction with the Jewish government and my siblings and I going to a Catholic school all in Jerusalem…

    Growing up in the “Bermuda triangle of faith” made it easy to remain permanently unscathed by your so-called woo…

  64. #64 Marc Abian
    December 31, 2008

    In today’s atmosphere it is so easy to be accused of the most heinous sexual crimes without doing anything. Magnify that several fold if you are an adult male, and several fold again if you are single adult male, everyone assumes already you are some potential rapist and molester and that includes law enforcement and the government.

    That’s why I go ahead and touch children. If I’m going to get accused anyway, I may as well enjoy myself.

    Oh man, too far?

  65. #65 LadyH
    December 31, 2008

    Yup :P

  66. #66 Patricia, OM
    December 31, 2008

    I’m not going to add my deconversion story, you’ve all heard enough of it already. But I will chime in with Bill Dauphin in support of Dan Silverman.
    A person in my extended family is a member of Heritage Bible Baptist Church here in town. He has been brainwashed to a shocking degree. The church here has convinced him to write us horrible letters accusing us of ignoring abuse he alleges against other family members. Of course if we will accept christ and join his church he will forgive us. This man is over 30 years old, and he knows he’s lying. It’s terribly painful. Much sympathy to you Dan.

  67. #67 SaraJ
    December 31, 2008

    Dan, if you read this, please let me know if and where I can send donations for your legal defense.

  68. #68 Sigmund
    December 31, 2008

    Dan, #54
    That’s fair enough. It makes a difference in terms of credibility if its a separate case. The possibility of a false accusation during a marriage breakup is probably understandable to most people.
    It intrigues me that someone such as yourself, in a fundamentalist marriage, can leave the church without extreme trauma to your wife and family. The fundamentalist belief that the devil has all the good arguments is such a powerful tool that it must seem almost impossible to convince your loved ones to come across to where you are now.
    Don’t give up.

  69. #69 Steven Dunlap
    December 31, 2008

    This story, like all, comes without verification. I thought I’d add it just for perspective.

    I had dinner with a friend and a number of her classmates celebrating the end of a semester. I am a librarian and my friend also worked Part-time for the university. One of her classmates was a former police officer who was in training for a career change, but I digress. The police officer (a woman, for those keeping score) told me that in tiny little Mt. View, CA (pop. about 40K?) where she worked as a cop, false rape stories had become so common that the detectives and officers involved had stopped feeling any surprise. A typical false case started when the husband noticed tell-tale signs that someone else had been where no other man (in theory anyway) was supposed to go. Wife concocts a rape story. Husband talks wife into reporting it to the police. Story falls apart under minimal scrutiny.

    A couple of points here. One, as that entertaining pseudo-scientist Dr. House likes to say: people lie. They lie all the time and for a variety of reasons, from petty to venal. Two, the bigger the lie, the more likely people are going to believe it. Recall McCarthyism. Therefore, if you’re going to lie, make it a big one. Three, if you want to get the cops involved, make it a lie about child molestation. This is not intended as a criticism of police. They and the DAs have to respond, and with a serious action, otherwise they’re not doing their jobs.

    This case (Mr. Silverman’s) is one of the best examples of the need for the presumption of innocence in our justice [sic] system. Consider for a moment, guys, the power of a false accusation: it could happen to you. It could happen to any of us. That said, we still do not know all the details and a conclusion at this juncture still remains very premature. I’m not coming down on one side or the other, just on the side of the presumption of innocence.

    Also consider the waste of resources if this accusation turns out to be false. The damage done extends beyond just the lives ruined.

    I would also direct your attention to a book called What cops know. The passage about child molesters is very interesting. They know what they are at an early age and make an effort to bring themselves into contact with children. So pastor fits. But they also use manipulation, not only of children but of all other people in their lives, as their primary (usually only) means of cover and concealment. Consider, as a brief digression, the idiotic concept of “loyalty oaths.” A real spy will sign a loyalty oath without a moments hesitation. That’s what spies do. Now back on point: what sort of stupid, brain-damaged pediphile blows his cover by coming out as an atheist after successfully passing as a pastor for a decade or so? In all “church” cases I have ever read or heard of the molester continues to hold himself up as a member in good standing (all as part of maintaining his cover). The real monsters use their congregations to their every advantage. Anyone hear any different before now? And also consider that molesters know what they are from about adolescence. A person in his 40s should have racked up more than one by now. Once one accusation comes to light more usually follow.

    Again, this reasoning does not, in itself, prove Mr. Silverman’s innocence. I never buy into the “no one would do something that stupid” defense as we would have to open up the jails and let everyone out if that one were valid. I’m just throwing these thoughts out there for everyone to think about. If Silverman is guilty that makes him the most stupid child-molester in the history of the known universe.

  70. #70 Mariana
    December 31, 2008

    Elwood @ 49 said:

    “I’ve got other Internet friends in places such as Holland, Germany, Iceland and even Brazil, but they aren’t bothered about my atheism and never discuss religion at all.”

    Sorry for going OT, but as a Brazilian I always feel compelled to clarify that it should come as no surprise that most Brazilians would have no problem with atheism. Most South American countries’ main religion is a progressive form of Catholicism, and, in Brazil, Catholicism is even more laid-back, due to a number of factors (such as miscegenation, syncretism with African and Native Brazilian beliefs, etc.). Most people here are more “spiritual” than religious, and we have a lot of hippie-like mysticism, which saddens me, but hey, reading these horror stories, I wouldn’t trade our crazy for that of Americans. Of course there are fervently religious people – mostly among the poor and uneducated – but there is no fundamentalism here (or they are a minority with no political power).

    So, back on topic, I had it easy, seeing as I was born and raised in a middle class family in the very liberal city of Rio de Janeiro. My father was a member of the communist party in his youth, and a militant atheist. I declared myself an atheist when I was 12, and I do get the occasional “talk” from cousins, aunts, uncles, etc, on my mother’s side, but it’s just that, a light-hearted debate, which they give up on as soon as they see I’m winning. ;)

    My daughter is 14 and also an atheist, and a huge fan of Dawkins. Btw, she told me she wished people “Happy Monkey” at her grandmother’s xmas party (I wish I had been there to see that!). Her father’s family sort of give her a hard time, but mostly because they think she’s just “rebelling”, which annoys her profoundly. I had to interfere at one point, and told them it would make sense to say she was rebelling if she started saying she wanted to join a convent, seeing as she lives with and was raised by *me*, a militant atheist. *eyeroll*

  71. #71 Dan Silverman
    December 31, 2008

    SaraJ #67:

    While I appreciate people offering to contribute financially to help with my defense fund, I am very uncomfortable with taking anyone’s money. None of you know me well enough (I think) to give me any. As a result, I have not set up any kind of a fund. On the other hand, I am willing to work for money (and who isn’t?). I am a professional 2D and 3D graphic artist and can create book covers, company logos, web site graphics, print ads, 3D models and simple animations for TV and more. If anyone needs any graphical work done I am quite willing to do the work and will gladly show you examples of what I am capable of. I don’t mean to advertise, but I would rather work for money than have someone give it to me.

    My time in jail really hurt me financially. And, with the recession as it is, business has been slow. I have a court appointed lawyer due to my finances (or lack thereof). Frankly, I don’t think that I would raise enough money through donations to hire a decent lawyer and so if I took donations I would not be able to use the money for its intended purpose.

    I guess I was just raised with the ethic of working to earn and not taking from people.

  72. #72 Dan Silverman
    December 31, 2008

    To Everyone:

    I appreciate all the well thought out comments here (both those that are negative toward my story and those that are positive). I cannot respond to everyone, so please don’t feel like I am ignoring you. If you have asked an important question or brought up a point that you want clarity on from me, it is best to email me. That way you are sure to get a response as I try to reply to each email I get.

    Again, thanks to PZ Myers for writing about my blog and my story.

    Dan

  73. #73 bunnycatch3r
    December 31, 2008

    As an American I’m impressed with those who’ve rejected their religious indoctrination at an early age. Religion here is more prevalent than the air we breath and so becoming an atheist never really seems to be an option. It took me 40 years and I feel silly for wasting my life on such nonsense.

  74. #74 kamaka
    December 31, 2008

    I was age 7 when I caught on that religion was bullshit. It was my first communion (my crackergate) and I thought “These people are playing a trick on me”. It was a childhood of keeping my mouth shut and suffering through church services. Reading “The Origin of Species” in 7th grade brought me great peace of mind.

    Just lately, I helped my (young) good friend find the light. “Read Leviticus, really read it” wised him up.

    The pivotal conversation was rather amusing.

    “So there’s no soul?”

    “Nope.”

    “But that means when you die, you’re just dead?”

    “That’s right.”

    “But how do you live with that?”

    “Really, there’s a certain peace of mind that comes with that. No one is reading your mind, grandma is not tsk tsking in heaven, and since death is certain there is nothing to fear. You can just relax and enjoy life.”

    He calls me a week later “Ah, I got that peace of mind you were talking about”.

    D.S.- I’ve been through a somewhat similar situation… watch your mental health, lest you spiral into depression. I did.

  75. #75 Teleprompter
    December 31, 2008

    Alverant @ 47 and others

    I deconverted from Christianity as a freshman in college. I had been taking a comparative religions class, and I started asking myself certain questions about what I believed, and eventually I discovered that I didn’t believe what I had thought I believed anymore, and I eventually acknowledged that I was an atheist.

    The only person who knows in my family is my mother; like other commenters, I feel that it would damage my relationship with my relatives more than it would do anything positive for me to come out about not being Christian anymore. Most of my friends know about it, but some of them who are fundamentalist were upset by it, and since then I’ve agreed not to discuss it with certain friends.

    I was also a Scout, and at the time I went up for Eagle Scout, I was able to maintain a religious recommendation because I was still active in my church and I still professed my old beliefs – I had had a few doubts at that point but I wasn’t seriously questioning my beliefs yet.

    I haven’t really experienced any harsh reactions yet – of course, I haven’t talked to anyone from my old church about it yet or to most of my family. I haven’t had to go to a church service since I left for university, thankfully. I almost had to go with my relatives this year at Christmas, but it was scratched at the last minute. It’s not that I don’t want to please them – it’s that I don’t want to do anything hypocritical. I’d gladly go to a service with them, but I wouldn’t want to participate – but if I didn’t participate, I’d have to tell them about not being Christian anymore, which I really want to avoid. One of my uncles is going through a divorce, and one of my grandparents has Alzheimers’, and it just seems like now is not the time to add any controversy to my family.

    I wish I could come out to my family, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Anyway, I’ve had a fairly easy deconversion experience besides that.

  76. #76 Cephus
    December 31, 2008

    See, if anyone pulled any of that shit with me, I’d immediately be suing the crap out of everyone involved, including my hopefully ex-wife for false accusations, the church, the pastors, you name it, I’d be suing for fraud up and down the block. Then I’d be suing for sole custody of my children. I’d also be making sure this story got into every newspaper and media outlet I could find, letting everyone know what this idiot religion and stupid church is teaching it’s people and what kind of criminal activities they are willing to stoop to in order to get their way.

    I wouldn’t stop yelling until either everyone involved was ruined or I was dead, but let’s be honest, would people who would pray that he died actually mind killing him to shut him up?

  77. #77 Cruithne
    December 31, 2008

    Whilst I agree that nothing Mr Silverman has said proves he is innocent, I’d like to point out that he doesn’t have to prove he’s innocent, that’s the default position until the State (the State mind you, not some individual) proves him guilty of something.

  78. #78 kamaka
    December 31, 2008

    Teleprompter,

    Here’s how it works. You go to church separately from the rest of the family. Get there about ten minutes before the service ends and sit in the back of the church. Not once have I gotten busted pulling that trick. “I was a little late” isn’t a lie!

    Telling people is “need to know”. Your girlfriend needs to know, your uncle does not. I generally don’t tell people I’m an atheist, though I will say I’m not a xian and let them think what they want.

  79. #79 Newfie
    December 31, 2008

    Smrt Newfie @57

    with a new found lack of guilt.

    that’s funny right there. :P

  80. #80 Pierce R. Butler
    December 31, 2008

    Nick K @ # 14: I was 13 years old and was watching All In the Family. In one scene, Meathead tells Archie Bunker that he doesn’t believe in god. I just stopped cold and said, “Huh? You mean that’s an option??”.

    Apparently a software glitch ate a story I thought I’d saved, from an Irishman who as a youth had a breakthrough from watching I Love Lucy and seeing that people could work through a family problem without calling in a priest. Coulda sworn I’d sent it along to friends under the subject line, “The Revolution _Was_ Televised”.

  81. #81 Jadehawk
    December 31, 2008

    Man, compared to those stories, mine is all sunshine. I come from a family of cultural Catholics, and the only result of my gradual deconversion was a conversation I don’t even fully remember anymore, but which ended with:

    Mom: “so you don’t believe there is a god?”
    Me: “not really, no”
    Mom: “oh…” *the mom-look*

    it never came up again.

    And I don’t have much of a deconversion story either, since it was a gradual development. I called myself a Catholic even after I was technically an agnostic. Only after spending a year in Buttfuck, Manitoba as an exchange student did I realize that I can’t honestly call myself a Christian. I didn’t believe any of that stuff, and I didn’t want to be thought of as a person who does.

  82. #82 Teleprompter
    December 31, 2008

    Kamaka,

    Yeah, except I couldn’t drive separately at the time because I was traveling with my family, which is one reason I was worried about it. I don’t have a car; even if I did, I’d still be expected to travel with my family. I just want to avoid causing problems. I am thankful I didn’t have to talk about it at that time.

  83. #83 Asemodeus
    December 31, 2008

    I was lucky enough to have lazy christians for parents. You know the type, the people who claim to be christian but only step into churches for funerals, weddings, etc etc. To this day I still don’t know which sect my parents belong too, and I don’t care enough to ask.

    I still remember the first time I actually went to church on a sunday. It was done because my grandparents on my mother side were babysitting me and they at least go to church. All I could remember is how stark raving bored I was while a nun tried reading silly children stories to us.

    Then much later in my life I remember ‘borrowing’ tables and chairs from the same churches gym for whatever reason.

    My families apathy towards religion was so totalitarian, that when my older sister got engaged, she had to go to her fiance’s church to get wedded, since she didn’t have one what so ever.

    When I actually think about it, I’m pretty sure that the most time I spent in a church was doing those Eagle Boy Scout ceremonies, since if anybody else who had to suffer through one of those knows, you have to be in a church to complete them. The only reason I enjoyed going was the free food.

    So no I don’t consider my move into atheism to be a de conversion, since there was nothing to deconvert from. I’ve only just recently applied the label of atheism onto myself a year ago, when I was bored and surfing the internet, and I ran across atheist videos on youtube. Before that I guess I never really thought about that as a option for me.

  84. #84 Wowbagger
    December 31, 2008

    I was another who dodged the bullet of childhood indoctrination and therefore can’t begin to understand what I must be like (or have been like) to deconvert.

    Which is why, when I’m debating the religulous and I get snarky, I point out that it’s their ideas and beliefs and rationalisations that are stupid – not their inability to leave their religion. That’s a far more complex issue.

    Family, lifestyle, employment, ethnic/cultural identity – all of these are so intertwined with religion that it’s far beyond just realising you don’t believe in the god/s anymore.

    I always believe the actual number of genuine believers is far, far less than reported; the number of people who believe in the ooga-booga no more than I do, but who cannot bring themselves to leave, is the difference.

  85. #85 Pikemann Urge
    December 31, 2008

    It seems that the informants and gulags from the USSR are alive and well in modern day democracy. Yay.

  86. #86 kamaka
    December 31, 2008

    @ Wowbagger “I always believe the actual number of genuine believers is far, far less than reported;”

    A whole lot of ‘em are doing Pascal’s wager.

    I’ve wondered how many catholic priests are believers… 1 in 10? Less?

    My brother just lately mentioned chuch. When I called him on it, he told me they’re Methodists, they don’t care if he believes or not.

  87. #87 Ladnil
    December 31, 2008

    My parents claim to be Catholic, but I’m pretty sure my Mom just likes to think that she’ll never die, and my Dad is one of those “you can’t have morals without religion to give you them” people. So it was really easy to break free from that environment. I can’t really recall a time when I believed in God and Jesus, but not the Tooth Fairy and Santa. Of course, when I was very young they all seemed equally real to me. In my pre-teen years I recall wanting to believe, and saying prayers asking for God to answer me, and generally doubting the Church, but it didn’t really occur to me that not having a religion was an option.

    Unfortunately my mother made me jump through all the hoops and recite my Hail Marys until I was confirmed. So when I was 18 I was made to stand in front of hundreds of people and declare that I believe in God and that because I eat crackers and tell the priest when I’ve been naughty I’ll go to heaven. Then I skipped the after-party and walked a couple miles home because my parents refused to just drive home, as apparently that would make them bad parents. Only time I’ve been to a church since then was my grandfather’s funeral.

  88. #88 raven
    December 31, 2008

    When I actually think about it, I’m pretty sure that the most time I spent in a church was doing those Eagle Boy Scout ceremonies, since if anybody else who had to suffer through one of those knows, you have to be in a church to complete them.

    WTF???? I didn’t fully realize how much the BSA, Boy Scouts, had been captured by the religious wingnuts.

    According to wikipedia and a few other sources, this is new and seemed to have occurred during the 90′s. Everything the fundies touch turns to shit, the USA, the Boy Scouts, the schools, and on and on.

    This seems to be the fundie attitude towards everything. Anything is fair game as a political football. Babies are punishment devices for teen agers who have sex, a teen age outdoors organization becomes something to divide and exclude people. I seriously doubt that any kid has ever converted to xianity so he could go on a camping trip. Many have probably looked at the christofascist nonsense and decided that hanging out with religious fanatics with brains the size of walnuts isn’t all that fun.

    I noticed that the BSA kicked out the UU’s. Too funny.

  89. #89 Larry
    December 31, 2008

    >> Matthew @#37
    ” I think my official deconversion was the Easter Sunday I spent at Hooters.” <<

    Just would like to know if anything arose from the dead on that Easter Sunday spent at Hooters’.

  90. #90 Teleprompter
    December 31, 2008

    BSA kicked out the UU’s?

    Sad isn’t the only word I would use to describe that.

    As I said earlier in the thread, I was a Scout. It depresses me that there appears to be a pervasive attitude of intolerance. In my Troop, we had a few Hindus and Muslims and many Catholics and fundies and liberal Protestants (which I was at the time when I was in the Troop.) It was pretty diverse — it saddens me that Scouting as a whole in the U.S. does not have that attitude.

    I’m saddened about the whole thing — except for the intolerance of gays and atheists, I think BSA is a good organization. It’s pathetic that these fundamentalists have hijacked it for their own agendas. Almost as depressing is that BSA is the official youth organization of the Mormons here in the U.S…which is probably one of the factors in BSA’s increasing intolerance over the years.

  91. #91 'Tis Himself
    December 31, 2008

    I went to a Catholic school which was much better academically than the local public schools. In 8th Grade religion class, Br. Louis was teaching about “The Double Effect” (Catholic-speak for situational ethics). He asked “Is abortion moral to safe the mother’s life?” My hand shot up and, as a naïve 13 year old unfamiliar with the Catholic position on abortion, I answered “Yes.” I then got a ten minute screaming rant from Br. Louis, during which I was informed that I was “a heretic, damned by God.”

    This came as something of a shock to me, because I’d always thought that I was a good, faithful Catholic. So I talked to my parish priest. It turned out that abortion was one of his hot-button items as well. I underwent another shrieking harangue. I told my father about the monk’s and the priest’s tirades. My father, who was a very lukewarm Catholic, dismissed them with “what do you expect from professional virgins?”

    At this point I started to seriously consider Catholic dogma, Christian teachings, and the whole concept of religion. This process took several years. I was the valedictorian at my high school. I gave my speech at graduation. After I sat down, the archbishop (a cardinal) congratulated me and said that I was a credit to my Catholic faith. I said “Thank you, Your Eminence, but I stopped being a Catholic some time ago. I thank Br. Louis and Fr. Dames for showing me the way to atheism.” The cardinal actually smiled at me and didn’t say a word.

  92. #92 Asemodeus
    December 31, 2008

    Granted, when I was in the scouts all we did was play Magic the Gathering. Something tells me that such a ‘satanic’ game would balance out the good ole’ christian ethos that the boy scouts was trying to do. And when that didn’t work we set things on fire.

    It just ended up later down the road as a after school club for us. And it had the extra benefit, since in scouts the older kids are in control of the younger ones. We took this and rode it with, making them pretty much our personal servants while in school as well.

  93. #93 raven
    December 31, 2008

    BSA kicked out the UU’s?

    [edit]wikipedia:

    Unitarian Universalist Association controversy
    Further information: Unitarian Universalist Association
    Currently, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has been the only religious emblems program, Religion in Life, to lose its BSA recognition. In 1992, the UUA stated its opposition to the BSA’s policies on homosexuals, atheists, and agnostics; and in 1993, the UUA updated the Religion in Life program to include criticism of the BSA policies.[23] In 1998, the BSA withdrew recognition of the Religion in Life program, stating that such information was incompatible with BSA programs. The UUA removed the material from their curriculum and the BSA renewed their recognition of the program. When the BSA found that the UUA was issuing supplemental material with the Religion in Life workbooks that included statements critical of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or personal religious viewpoint, the BSA’s recognition was again withdrawn.[24]

    Yes, looks like the BSA has it in for the Unitarians. What is this about “Religious Emblems” and Religious merit badges? Do they have an official Office of Faith that checks to make sure you actually go to church?

    I seriously doubt that any kid has ever converted to go camping. This was supposed to be an outdoors oriented youth recreational program. This is attempted blackmail at best and forced conversion at worst. And I’m sure it excludes lots of kids and ends up being counterproductive. Here on the WC, the number of people that belong to a church is low, probably less than half. They may self identify as Methodist or Catholic but a lot of them couldn’t find the nearest church of their sect if they had to.

  94. #94 Jeremy
    December 31, 2008

    Wow, after reading Silverman’s story (the second link) I am seriously boiling in anger. Welcome to fundie religion; those people are fucking sick. Thank the fucking FSM I got my ass out of that crap. The sad part is I know some people that would have reacted the same way if I had deconverted during my teenage years. Absolutely sick.

  95. #95 khan
    December 31, 2008

    Keeping ones family together is often more important than being brutally honest about your religious beliefs.

    Why?

    Why is ‘keeping the family together’ so fucking important?

    I recently contacted some relatives after 6 years, & remembered why I hadn’t.

  96. #96 Rick R
    December 31, 2008

    I had it easy, growing up in Los Angeles in the 70′s. Two completely non-religious parents and no church in my upbringing at all. None of us identified as atheists (although I do now) mainly because the very notion of defining a stance involving belief of any kind seemed totally unnecessary. In that place, at that time, religion seemed completely passe and irrelevant not only in my family’s lives but in our friends and relatives as well (at least the ones we hung out with).
    I know both my parents were raised with religion (my mom a Catholic and my dad…. Lutheran maybe? I’ve never really asked him). I have a vague idea that my mom had a tough breakaway from the Catholic church. She seemed to have an anti-organized religion stance and was firm in letting us choose our own path if we wanted. But she rarely said anything about it.
    So to hear these traumatic deconversion stories is heartbreaking and not a little bit surreal. I feel at times like I was plunked down on an alien planet where there a social customs and experiences I have never even contemplated, much less experienced.
    My one and only run-in with anything resembling a fundamentalist christian was as a child. My elementary school’s playground would stay open til around 5 in the afternoon, and kids whose parents worked or whatever could stay after school ended and play in the yard. There would be an adult volunteer to keep an eye on things and supervise.
    One time, me and a friend wound up confronted by an adult lady volunteer, who felt it her duty to describe in vivid 3D, technicolor and Sensurround, exactly what judgment day was going to be like, and how all the good christians would be taken up into heaven as god rolled up the world in the last act.
    I had a few nightmares about it, and decided that was a hateful thing for this woman to do to little kids. I’ve never changed that opinion after all these years. Fucking hateful nutcases.
    (Ironically, the scariest part of this woman’s rant was her depiction of christians being taken up into the sky, what came after that I have no idea. So it was the CHRISTIANS fate that scared the crap out of me. Who would want to be scooped off the face of the earth by some gigantic monster, anyway?)

  97. #97 scottb
    December 31, 2008

    In reply to comment 33 about Maryland Article 36:

    The religious test for jurors was found unconstitutional in 1965 based on a previous Supreme Court ruling (Torcaso v. Watkins 1959). However, the original Article text still appears in all the online versions I could find.

    It was actually somewhat depressing to learn that the religious test for office was not reversed until 1959 (not that it really matters anyway.)

  98. #98 kamaka
    December 31, 2008

    “Just would like to know if anything arose from the dead on that Easter Sunday spent at Hooters’.”

    Hahaha. Way funny, both of you.

    @ Kahn
    “Why? Why is ‘keeping the family together’ so fucking important?”

    It’s a stupid presupposition. I got disowned by the half of my “family” for dating a black woman… ah, thanks, asshats, you saved me the trouble. Blew my father off for being an asshat, too.

    There’s a biologic imperative to staying connected to family, but if they’re worthless… an imperative worth overcoming.

  99. #99 LadyH
    January 1, 2009

    I too had a long deconversion. As a kid I could never really put my finger on what I felt was wrong with the whole thing, but what it came down to was that all the adults (at first) acted like they thought it was true and I figured they wouldn’t if there wasn’t something to it. After my grandmother died, my mother stopped making us go to church (highly welcome news for a 12 year old bored to tears.) Suddenly church didn’t seem to be important anymore. I found out later that mom only did it to make her mom happy, but I still had others in my life who believed. After a brief flirt with JWs, my faith in Catholcism had been completely shattered, and not long after I realized that no one could have the ‘truth” completely. I went from faith to confusion to Pascals Wager, to ID , to Deism, to agnostism and finally to athiesm in that order, pretty much on my own ( I was at my Pascals Wager phase a decade before I had heard the term.) Now I just wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my life on that crap. Ah well, I’m going to make sure that my kids grow up without that shit.

  100. #100 John Morales
    January 1, 2009

    LadyH, thanks.

    As a kid I could never really put my finger on what I felt was wrong with the whole thing, but what it came down to was that all the adults (at first) acted like they thought it was true and I figured they wouldn’t if there wasn’t something to it.

    With a tweak, that’s one of my own major reasons for deconverting at quite a young age.

    If I may borrow:
    “As a kid I could never really put my finger on what I felt was wrong with the whole thing, but what it came down to was that all the adults talked like they thought it was true, but did not follow their own precepts.”

    That, and the intrinsic contradictions in the dogma, were basically the two reasons that convinced me.

    To this day I wonder whether any but zealots truly believe their own creed. Especially the ones that believe in a literal Hell.

  101. #101 Knock Goats
    January 1, 2009

    I’ve posted my very untraumatic deconversion story on “There Probably Isn’t…”, so I won’t repeat it here, except to note that it was the sheer tedium of Christianity that supplied the emotional impetus, although once I started thinking about it, it was obvious nonsense. The seemingly endless hours of boredom in Sunday school, church and school assemblies, when I could have been reading! I’m sure my parents sent us to Sunday school/church in order to have a bit of time for themselves – with 4 kids, that must be in very short supply. I am proud that my brothers and I (along with the changing zeitgeist) deconverted our mother!

  102. #102 Ellis
    January 1, 2009

    This second tale of “deconversion” shows a few things about religion as it exists today. First that groups of the faithful can vary widely in their attitudes and ideas, even within a small spectrum of one religion. This become apparent only to those who are outside of these faiths. Otherwise, who bothers to examine other faiths except to excoriate them and to build up one’s own? Yet after encountering different faiths, how can anyone remain so certain their belief system is correct?

    Second, the word “faith” largely doesn’t apply to what currently passes for religion today. Rather these congregations can most strictly be called gangs, with strict rules for admission and consequences for resignation. One important aspect of the facade of faith is demonstrated here by the actions of those who were left behind, ie by those still within the “faith” — namely that they don’t believe their Lord/God can or will deal with anyone who resigns from the faith, that they themselves have to do something.

    The same is true of many Muslim sects — apostasy requires killing the apostate. And I will not be surprised if something similar is true in other religions.

    Why this need to punish the apostate? This is one of the malignant features of religions, that they aren’t just a framework on which a person can organize and understand what might be called the “predicament of being alive” but are in large part political, social and cultural entities whose agendas often eclipse the wisdom of their personal guidance. For instance, I doubt any of the people who decided to bring harm to this man view their actions as other than righteous; they certainly aren’t likely to see themselves as servants of the devil!

    It has to be acknowledged that there may be more to this man’s story than what he reports. But I have no trouble regarding him as innocent. That position seems at least as defensible as considering him guilty, and if one can grant him his “innocence until proven guilty” one then has to ask: what were these people, his accusers, his detractors, thinking? Why would they react so badly to his having a spiritual change of mind?

    An important facet of any answer has to involve betrayal. I’m sure they accused him of betraying his faith, his God, etc. But what may not have been said, but certainly must also be occurring, is that they feel betrayed by his leaving. After all, a religious group grows links among members based in large part upon the confirmation of belief by others. “Oh, you also have had a conversation with Christ? That comforts me.” Then if one person suddenly breaks away, it weakens the effectiveness of group-think (which can quite rightly be labeled “trance”). Members have to work hard to repair their own uncertainty and restore their “faith”. Having to expend energy and time to do this fuels resentment, and no doubt evokes some degree of fear too. “Am I next?”

    This is the malignity of faith as it usually exists — that it is built not upon the maturing of an individual’s thinking and a celebration of that fact, but instead rests in large part on a collective idea affirmed by others’ witness. “Yes, you have seen the light, as have we. Isn’t it great we are together now!”

    How a group punishes abandonment varies, but most groups cannot avoid exacting some payment from betrayers. Unless an organization is quite mature, it views anyone who abandons it as a betrayer. Rarely, a deviant becomes the leader who takes the whole organization in a new direction. It is noteworthy that at least two of the three major monotheistic religions began when someone broke out of their culture’s tradition. Perhaps part of this fellow’s problem is that he is just an ordinarily bloke, someone who is not charismatic enough to carry the whole group in a new direction. Of course, sects such as the one he describes have deep roots in an impenetrable abstract authority. They don’t move easily in a new direction.

    It should be noted that this fellow’s story (and that of those he leaves behind) is not now complete, that this whole affair may unfold in ways the betrayed faithful may not like. Truth is a strong, if glacial, force and ultimately truth will penetrate deceptions however cunningly contrived.

    It’s good his story exists on the web. Others in similar circumstances may learn from his cautionary tale. Christians can be vindictive, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Of course they have no small number of excuses for such behavior, not the least of which being that they are mere mortals filled with sin. How convenient.

    One other comment: Posters here repeatedly give evidence of the extent contemporary society (in the US; what to say of elsewhere) is deeply invested in instilling its beliefs into children. Richard Dawkins calls this the greatest form of child abuse, one so intrinsic to how we raise children we don’t even think of it as child abuse. That adds a certain irony to the accusations here of child abuse. So we should not be surprised that it’s difficult to throw off religious nonsense. After all, isn’t it a Jesuit maxim: “Give us a child for the first seven years, and he’ll be ours for life?” One benefit of the internet is that it’s now possible, even likely, to encounter ways of viewing the world and self different from what one is first taught. Still, it’s one thing to hear about a different viewpoint and another entirely to shake off the fears instilled by religious teaching in childhood. How the world functions today is shaped to a great degree by such fears.

  103. #103 raytheist
    January 2, 2009

    I don’t know Dan Silverman, but I read his story, and followed up with the rest of his blog. I can’t vouch for the details of his story, but I can absolutely vouch for the mindset that is perpetrating the abuse on him, so I have no doubt his story is true. I was on the receiving end of similar lies that resulted in my not seeing my kids for years at a span. Dan’s story (and mine) barely scratch the surface of the volumes of people similarly lied about when they leave the faith, or come out gay/lesbian, or do anything to move away from their churches and live like normal humans. It’s sad.

  104. #104 rc
    January 2, 2009

    Ugh, you guys are deluded.

    You think this guy made a break for reason, yet he was blindsided when his choices destroyed his life. In his story and on his blog, Silverman details how his wife’s reactions were very consistant and in character. So two possibilities remain: either he wished for some of the ostracization to take place, or he is the furthest thing from a rational person.

    I choose the latter. Just because you’re atheist doesn’t mean you’re less susceptible to stupid, irrational choices than anyone else.

    But the worst part is that people admire this guy. People blame consistently fundamentalist Christians for the predictable result of some dude’s erratic behavior. Please. Silverman was blinded by the EMOTION of his conversion, and he paid the price for his irrational choices. Act in contravention of over fifteen years of establish behavior, and people are predictably going to freak the f_ck out.

    Stop playing the victim. Calling SIlverman a hero for reason and rationality is proof positive that atheism is as populous with idiots as any other religion. Yes, religion. No ideology can get so infected with emotion and still call itself ‘absence of belief’. Silverman just traded one religion for another, and wrecked his life in the process. And you guys cheer him for it.

    Deluded.

  105. #105 John Morales
    January 3, 2009

    rc, nice rant. You seem very jaundiced.

    But the worst part is that people admire this guy.

    Well, yeah. To break free of deep indoctrination and out of the religious delusion through intellectual honesty is meritorious and admirable. His perseverance in the face of adversity is also admirable.

    I particularly like this:

    [1] Calling SIlverman a hero for reason and rationality is [2] proof positive that [3] atheism is as populous with idiots as any other religion.

    1. Has anyone here, except you, rhetorically?
    2. Even if someone had, how would this datum be so significant it constituted proof positive?
    3. This is a strongly counter-intuitive claim – you’re saying that a random sample of atheists from any given population will have the same proportion of idiots as a random sample of non-atheists from that population.

    I also can’t resist this:

    Silverman just traded one religion for another, and wrecked his life in the process.

    Way to miss the point, and wrong, to boot. I’m bored by the “atheism is a religion” claim.

    Look, the issue is what religion does to people, and how some suffer from it, and this is an example of it.

  106. #106 rc
    January 3, 2009

    John Morales: “You seem very jaundiced.”

    No, I’m frustrated. Frustrated at the emotional groupthink of mainstream atheists. So you atheists believe the truth. So what? Does that justify ruining the lives of those around you?

    Atheism is the Chapter 11 of beliefs. Many new atheists realize that their old promises and beliefs are overwhelming and untenable, so they declare ‘atheism’.

    Silverman was a fundamentalist Christian for over fifteen years. Fifteen years. He made promises, commitments, expectations. Then suddenly he says ‘I quit,’ and he gets mad when people freak out.

    Of course people around him freaked out. They believe in invisible sky daddies, and that Silverman’s now going to hell… what the f_ck did he think was going to happen?

    This inability of Silverman to process cause and effect, this eagerness of the atheist community to blame fundies, this complete inability of Silverman to own up to the expectations of his past, are all proof positive that Silverman and anyone who admires him are crock-a-mamy idiots.

    I am Christian, you are atheist. But if you have a problem with me, don’t even TALK about reason. You admire this guy, then blame others for the predctable results of his chaotic behavior. I’m pulling your card. No more talk about reason.

  107. #107 Sastra
    January 3, 2009

    rc #106 wrote:

    Silverman was a fundamentalist Christian for over fifteen years. Fifteen years. He made promises, commitments, expectations. Then suddenly he says ‘I quit,’ and he gets mad when people freak out.

    Silverman knew very well that his Christian friends and family would “freak out.” He did not know, however, that they would do so, so cruelly. He did not expect they would accuse him, bare false witness, so that he would go to jail. He shouldn’t have expected that, should he?

    Most Christians, even fundamentalists, are kinder, and more honest, than that. For a Christian, you seem strangely cynical. If this is predictable behavior, I suspect it is not predictable from the character of the people themselves. It is only predictable from the character and nature of the religion.

    And that is indeed a sore indictment of the religion.

  108. #108 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 3, 2009

    So Silverman was supposed to act like he still believed in order to keep from getting into trouble with his family and friends? Are you saying that Silverman had to lie and keep lying to maintain peace. Are you saying that all of the false witnesses about him is a natural result of Silverman’s renouncement of faith?

    Who is the deluded one?

  109. #109 Owlmirror
    January 3, 2009

    Does that justify ruining the lives of those around you?

    Whose lives are being “ruined” by our not believing?

    He made promises, commitments, expectations.

    What promises did he make to others to keep following the same religion?

    Then suddenly he says ‘I quit,’ and he gets mad when people freak out.

    So… if you found out that someone was praying for your death, you wouldn’t get mad?

    This inability of Silverman to process cause and effect

    I, myself, would be surprised to find that those I loved were more in love with their religion than felt love for me in return.

    Are you saying that you would not? That you would expect a Deuteronomistic response to your doing anything they reject?

    this eagerness of the atheist community to blame fundies

    Why are you so eager to denounce atheists for not taking responsibility for their belief-assertions, and absolve religious fanatics of all responsibility for their beliefs and actions taken for their beliefs?

    I am Christian,

    And your own vitriolic assertions and double standards help make Christians look bad. Nice going.

    You admire this guy, then blame others for the predctable results of his chaotic behavior.

    Those others deserve the blame for their own chaotic behavior. Again, why do you absolve them of the responsibility for their own behavior?

    No more talk about reason.

    No, you don’t seem very reasonable. Pity.

  110. #110 John Morales
    January 3, 2009

    rc,

    Of course people around him freaked out. They believe in invisible sky daddies, and that Silverman’s now going to hell… what the f_ck did he think was going to happen?
    This inability of Silverman to process cause and effect, this eagerness of the atheist community to blame fundies, this complete inability of Silverman to own up to the expectations of his past, are all proof positive that Silverman and anyone who admires him are crock-a-mamy idiots.

    Wow. I already said you’d missed the point.

    I haven’t missed yours – you’re arguing that it’s unsurprising that he was victimised by his former Christian group, and that fear of the consequences should’ve made him live a lie. Not doing so was, in your view, stupid.

    Your morality is showing. Ew.

  111. #111 rc
    January 3, 2009

    Sastra “If this is predictable behavior…. it is only predictable from the character and nature of the religion.” So you’re saying that atheist humans are incapable of making irrational and life-wrecking choices? OOPS!

    Janine, “Are you saying that all of the false witnesses about him is a natural result of Silverman’s renouncement of faith?”

    No, _Silverman_ is saying that. Perhaps he was surprised by the false abuse accusation in particular, but he admits that his wife acted completely within character. That means that he either WANTED this meltdown, or he couldn’t see it coming. Either way, he is not a hero for reason. He’s just an ideologue who happens to be on your side.

    Example: he whines about how his kids are all isolated and wear conservative clothes. Where the hell was HE for fifteen years? Oh, boo hoo- they’re susceptible to propaganda against him. Why doesn’t he fess up to his own role in this situation?

    Why indeed. Atheism to him is moral bankruptcy. ‘Now I’m right, and I’m no longer accountable to the well-established actions of my past.’ This guy is an emotion-driven coward (which I can totally understand, yet I don’t hail him as the bastion of rational thought), yet you admire him.

  112. #112 Kel
    January 3, 2009

    Frustrated at the emotional groupthink of mainstream atheists. So you atheists believe the truth. So what? Does that justify ruining the lives of those around you?

    Can a Christian even say this without being a hypocrite? Since beliefs are such a communal thing and evangelising is such a huge part of many parts of Christianity, what makes them think it’s justified to push their beliefs on others?

    This seems like nothing more than projection. An individual breaks free from a socially-induced way of thinking and he’s the one that’s being involved in groupthink? hahahaha, you are quite lame rc. It’s nice that you can recognise the faults of your own beliefs in others, too bad you can’t recognise them in your own.

  113. #113 Kel
    January 3, 2009

    So let me get this straight, rc is complaining about atheist being groupthink at the same time as criticising an individual for declaring atheism because it affects the community that person is in?

  114. #114 Wowbagger
    January 3, 2009

    Sastra “If this is predictable behavior…. it is only predictable from the character and nature of the religion.” So you’re saying that atheist humans are incapable of making irrational and life-wrecking choices? OOPS!

    Way to completely misconstrue. Christianity is dependent on making irrational choices – namely, the irrational choice of believing in a sky-fairy for which there is no evidence and only philosophy based on tired sophistry.

    An atheist may be capable of making ‘irrational and life-wrecking choices’; however, it’s not a requirement – unlike it is for the religious.

    That means that he either WANTED this meltdown, or he couldn’t see it coming

    Yeah, he expected that people who devote their lives to following a being who allegedly came to bring humanity the gift of love and compassion – and who are also told not to bear false witness – might actually attempt to live by those standards.

    What a dupe. He trusted a Christian. Well, we all know better now. You’re a Christian – does that mean you’re lying through your teeth? Why should we believe otherwise?

    This guy is an emotion-driven coward

    So, Christians consider honesty to be cowardice? That explains a lot.

    …yet I don’t hail him as the bastion of rational thought), yet you admire him.

    Why do you think that his making one rational decision – admitting to himself the god of his former religion is a lie – is going to guarantee every other decision he makes is going to be completely rational? Where, exactly, do you get such a presumption?

  115. #115 rc
    January 3, 2009

    Owlmirror: “I, myself, would be surprised to find that those I loved were more in love with their religion than felt love for me in return.”

    But Silverman says from the start that his wife loves Jesus more than him. My issue doesn’t have to do with how crazy the people are around Silverman, but how crazy he knew them to be, yet acted recklessley.

    “What promises did he make to others to keep following the same religion?”

    Don’t be an idiot. Even secular psychologists talk about the need for stability in families concerning big issues, and you damn well know that crazy fundamentalists would have this need in spades, and that Silverman by his actions, behaviors and promises pledged it in the past. Maybe all those pledges are now wrong… but his family still believes them. If he had any respect for their stability or beliefs in the least, he would have cushioned the blow. Fact is, he wasn’t reacting rationally, he was rash and emotional when he suddenly ‘informed his wife of his decision,’ and dropped an atom bomb on his fundy family.

    “And your own vitriolic assertions and double standards help make Christians look bad.”

    I don’t claim to be governed by reason. YOU do. Yet Silverman is your hero.

    John: “that fear of the consequences should’ve made him live a lie.”

    No, rational understanding of the consequences should have reasonably caused him to act with more diplomacy. Since he didn’t act with reason is proof he acted emotionally. Since you admire him indicts YOUR claim to reason.

  116. #116 John Morales
    January 3, 2009

    rc:

    [Sastra] If this is predictable behavior…. it is only predictable from the character and nature of the religion.

    So you’re saying that atheist humans are incapable of making irrational and life-wrecking choices? OOPS!

    No, she’s saying what she said as an inevitable inference from your claim.

    Your hasty defense of an unmade claim, however, clearly further implies you don’t consider Christianity leads to morality, but, on the contrary, immoral behaviour is expectable from them in such situations.

  117. #117 Sastra
    January 3, 2009

    rc #111 wrote:

    So you’re saying that atheist humans are incapable of making irrational and life-wrecking choices? OOPS!

    No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that your point doesn’t follow.

    Everyone who changes their views and leaves an ideology in which they have invested much time will have trouble. This is true in politics, or social movements, or religion. It’s even true for atheists — witness an earlier thread on Pharyngula where we respond to the “Raving Atheist’s” apparent conversion to Christianity. There’s plenty of sneering and scolding and insulting. Of course it’s to be expected.

    But when the anger and vitriole is excessive, and personal, then something is wrong. And I don’t think it makes sense to blame the person who ‘defects’ and claim that they “asked for it.”

    I’m a bit puzzled — when you say that Silverman made an “irrational and life-wrecking choice,” which choice do you mean? The choice to believe in that particular form of Christianity? Or the choice to leave it? And do those two adjectives necessarily go together?

    Would you have counseled the ‘Raving Atheist’ to keep his theism to himself, because otherwise he upsets the atheist community? I wouldn’t have — and I’m an atheist. Most of us are interested in his reasons. We have no interest in making sure that we all “keep up appearances” and make it seem that there is no dissent.

    Silverman tried to leave quietly — he did not stand on the steps of the church handing out pamphlets. I don’t quite understand what you would have had him do. Stay in the church and pretend? Renounce his wife and children completely, as if they were tainted? What, then — given that he can no longer believe?

  118. #118 rc
    January 3, 2009

    Kel: “Can a Christian even say this without being a hypocrite?”

    Yes, because I don’t claim to be the epitome of reason. But atheists do. Silverman screwed up royally. Atheism is his moral bankruptcy.

    ‘Nevermind whatever I’d known or done or behaved in the past, I’ll behave now the way I like because I’m RIGHT.’This is the behavior of an ideologue, not of a rational person.

    I do not defend my own reason- but your worldview requires that you defend yours. Look at the facts. You lose.

    Wowbagger: “Christianity is dependent on making irrational choices…”

    But those choices, especially in Silverman’s case, were for the most part (abuse accusations excepted) understandable, predictable, and consistent. Any reasonable person should have seen these reactions and addressed them.

  119. #119 Kel
    January 3, 2009

    Yes, because I don’t claim to be the epitome of reason. But atheists do. Silverman screwed up royally. Atheism is his moral bankruptcy.

    Why are you confounding the belief in a deity with the consequences of losing that belief in a predominantly religious society. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any god. Not believing in the absurdity that is theism and acting in a manner that best serves the community are not the same type of thinking. You are equating him dropping an irrational belief to him being perfect in every way shape or form when it comes to rationality. You are demanding in essence that Silverman be a god.

    If you were asked to live a lie, would you do so for the sake of others? What’s rational about that?

  120. #120 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 3, 2009

    Lie, pretend to believe. It is the only good thing to do.

  121. #121 Owlmirror
    January 3, 2009

    But Silverman says from the start that his wife loves Jesus more than him.

    Oh? Where?

    Even secular psychologists talk about the need for stability in families concerning big issues, and you damn well know that crazy fundamentalists would have this need in spades, and that Silverman by his actions, behaviors and promises pledged it in the past.

    Actually, I know no such thing. I have no idea how crazy these particular fundamentalists were or are, and I have seen plenty of atheist stories, here and elsewhere, of the deeply religious coming to terms with a loved one’s atheism.

    I don’t claim to be governed by reason.

    Then on what basis do you make your argument? Pure, raw, emotion? Why bother even typing responses, then? Why not just scream at the screen and find something to do that makes you feel better?

  122. #122 Kel
    January 3, 2009

    Oh and the only people who claim to be the epitomes of reason are the Ayn Rand objectivists. The rest of us understand the fallibility of man, and that reason should not (and indeed can not) be applied to everyday life. 2 + 2 = 4, no matter what. It’s unreasonable to think that 2 + 2 = 5 but saying that 2 + 2 = 4 does not in the slightest reflect on one’s ability to do the best at all times for as many people as possible. Saying that the concept of God is childish superstition and from there acting like everything has to be rationally derived is just a straw-man argument on your part against Silverman.

  123. #123 John Morales
    January 3, 2009

    rc:

    I do not defend my own reason- but your worldview requires that you defend yours.

    It does? Funny, apparently I’m mistaken about my own worldview, since I’m blissfully unaware of such a requirement.

    Heh.

  124. #124 rc
    January 3, 2009

    I’m at 1email2rantwith@gmail.com

    John Morales: “you don’t consider Christianity leads to morality, but, on the contrary, immoral behaviour is expectable from them in such situations.”

    Exactly. And every whiny ‘free thinking’ atheist believes this. Silverman is a whiny ‘free thinking’ atheist, so why didn’t he see this trainwreck coming? I’ll tell you why- he is an emotional, unstable dude whose ideology just happened to suddenly align with yours. His behavior was super-irrational, yet you feel that he is admirable for his ‘reason’. Spare me.

    Sastra: “I don’t think it makes sense to blame the person who ‘defects’ and claim that they “asked for it.””

    Just because it doesn’t ‘make sense’ doesn’t mean that it wasn’t completely predictable.

    “Silverman tried to leave quietly — he did not stand on the steps of the church handing out pamphlets.”

    One day, he informed his wife he no longer believed in God, the next day he informed his pastor and withdrew from leadership. In a fundy church he’s been a leader in for over a decade. Idiot.

    Starting as a guy who allowed his church and his wife to do the main choices in his life, he toodled around on the web for awhile, then unilaterally made a life-changing decision. Think like a psychologist. Dude is a fundy christian for fifteen years, experiences stress like he’s never known before, then makes a rash life-changing decision. Nevermind that his choice was for the ‘truth’- the people who’ve come do depend upon him for over a decade would never believe that… at least at first. A rational person would have tought about this and been diplomatic. This could have turned out better, and it is not the fault of predictable emotional believers that it turned into a mess.

    You are whining about the idea of him having to compromise in any single way- that marks you as extremists. He has made promises and covenants and expectations to people who would be traumatized by his ‘truth.’ The only person that his abrupt announcement helps is him, while it hurts all those he’s committed to in the past.

    It’s moral bankruptcy. Nevermind for a moment that he’s ‘right.’ His actions ignore a long, consistent, different history. That he didn’t recognize the consequences of his acitons and that he felt ‘telling the truth’ was worth crushing the irrational people around him are proof that he is irresponsible and irrational. Stop your hero worship and admit that dropping your old life like a bad habit might not be the clean and honest act you claim it to be. It’s moral bankruptcy.

  125. #125 Wowbagger
    January 3, 2009

    Kel asked of rc:

    If you were asked to live a lie…

    What do you mean if? He says he’s a Christian; he’s already living a lie. And not even very well, since he’s lacking any of the morality we godless-types are frequently told are impossible to attain without Jesus to hold our hands.

  126. #126 Kel
    January 3, 2009

    His behavior was super-irrational, yet you feel that he is admirable for his ‘reason’. Spare me.

    Firstly, how was he “super-irrational”? and secondly how does that make him anything other than human?

    Saying 2 + 2 = 4 doesn’t make you suddenly understand the universe, but saying 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong no matter you want to sugar-coat it.

  127. #127 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    It’s moral bankruptcy. Nevermind for a moment that he’s ‘right.’ His actions ignore a long, consistent, different history.

    Let me get this straight. You are calling someone morally bankrupt because he refused to lie in order to appease his community? Whatever happened to “thou shalt not bear false witness”? If the guy doesn’t believe in God anymore and can’t participate in a ritual he sees as wrong, isn’t he being moral by being honest with others about it? Or is this yet another case where Lying For Jesus is not only acceptable but demanded?

  128. #128 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Just because it doesn’t ‘make sense’ doesn’t mean that it wasn’t completely predictable.

    Wait, what?

    A rational person would have tought about this and been diplomatic.

    How would you know, since you’re ungoverned by reason?

    admit that dropping your old life like a bad habit might not be the clean and honest act you claim it to be. It’s moral bankruptcy.

    Got it. Honesty is moral bankruptcy. Also, black is white, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

  129. #129 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    I don’t claim to be governed by reason. YOU do. Yet Silverman is your hero.

    Hero?

    And i am happy you admit you aren’t governed by reason.

    What are you governed by?

  130. #130 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “If you were asked to live a lie, would you do so for the sake of others? What’s rational about that?”

    If I ask Silverman to be diplomatic, then I am condemning him to an eternity of living a lie. Is that what you’re saying? Sounds a bit… extreme.

    Telling the truth isn’t an excuse to be a jerk or an idiot, or in the case of a self-described atheist, irrational. A little diplomacy was the only rational choice after a wife, kids, and fifteen years of fundamentalism. That he shucked this responsibility in the name of the ‘truth’ marks him as an ideologue. That you agree with his behavior marks YOU as an ideologue.

    Reason includes cause and effect. Silverman agrees that his wife’s reactions werre both very predictable and also undesirable. Therefore his actions were irrational.

    “You are equating him dropping an irrational belief to him being perfect in every way shape or form when it comes to rationality.”

    All I ask is he not stupidly detonate his entire life just to get out of his past commitments and sooth his need for ‘freedom’. Children want absolvement from commitments and ‘freedom’. Adults take responsibility.

    Janine: “Lie, pretend to believe.” But you think that lying IS belief. I do believe. If it’s a lie is no issue. You are the one who claims to be rational. Yet you defend Silverman, the epitome of emotional irrationality.

    Owlmirror “I have no idea how crazy these particular fundamentalists were or are,”

    But Silverman did. He laid it out on his blog- read it.

    “Then on what basis do you make your argument?”

    I offer fact and observations. I don’t defend my ‘reason’, but you do. So deal with what I say in a reasonable way. You have the burden of proof, which is too bad. Especially since you think Silverman behaved rationally.

    I worship a sky daddy. That doesn’t absolve you from your own claims. Besides, I’ve made a strong case. Silverman detonated his life, and it can’t be blamed on the well-known fundies around him.

  131. #131 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    rc wrote:

    It’s moral bankruptcy.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that rc doesn’t know the meaning of either moral or bankruptcy…

  132. #132 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    What are you governed by?

    He’s not governed by reason, which is why he fails when he tries to make arguments based on it ;)

    http://www.zerodivides.net/images/logic.jpg

  133. #133 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc:

    [I paraphrase] you don’t consider Christianity leads to morality, but, on the contrary, immoral behaviour is expectable from them in such situations.

    [1] Exactly. [2] And every whiny ‘free thinking’ atheist believes this. [3] Silverman is a whiny ‘free thinking’ atheist, [4] so why didn’t he see this trainwreck coming? I’ll tell you why- [5] he is an emotional, unstable dude whose ideology just happened to suddenly align with yours. [6] His behavior was super-irrational, yet you feel that he is admirable for his ‘reason’. [7] Spare me.

    1. Why are you a Christian, then, if you believe your proposition that it promotes immorality?
    2. On what basis do you form this judgement? I don’t believe it, for one.
    3. As you see it, perhaps. I already said you seem very jaundiced.
    4. I submit the response was far in excess from the norm, atypical and immoral to boot.
    5. He happens to be a victim. But you blithely dismiss that very central issue here, and ascribe a mendacious and malicious motive to us.
    6. Your opinion is noted and dismissed.
    Moral choices freely made in the face of adversity is something you Christians once claimed to admired.
    Now look at you.
    7. Hardly.

  134. #134 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    rc wrote:

    Especially since you think Silverman behaved rationally.

    He did behave rationally. It was those around him who have behaved irrationally. How was he meant to control the reactions of those around him if they choose to be irrational?

    That he shucked this responsibility in the name of the ‘truth’ marks him as an ideologue. That you agree with his behavior marks YOU as an ideologue.

    You keep using this word ‘ideologue’ – I do not think it means what you think it means.

  135. #135 Sastra
    January 4, 2009

    rc #124 wrote:

    A rational person would have tought about this and been diplomatic. This could have turned out better, and it is not the fault of predictable emotional believers that it turned into a mess.

    Again, you talk about diplomacy and give no specifics. Apparently, you think lying would have been better for him, for his wife, for the people at church — better for everyone. He is to continue to teach things he doesn’t believe, and tell his children they’re true, when he doesn’t think they are. For the good of his character.

    For how long?

    A week? A month? Til the kids are grown? Gradual progression of hints and suggestions? Tactful pretenses which are more and more shallow and insincere?

    Would this apply even if, instead of atheism, Silverman had converted to Catholicism? Or if he had left the Democratic party for the Republicans? Or if he had been an atheist, and “found Jesus?”

    Is this what his wife would have wanted? A wolf in sheep’s clothing? I would have thought that would be harder — to find out, after many years, that you were being deliberately deceived.

    Or should he have spent the time slyly trying to deconvert everyone around him?

    Stop your hero worship and admit that dropping your old life like a bad habit might not be the clean and honest act you claim it to be. It’s moral bankruptcy.

    No, it is not moral bankruptcy. There are all sorts of difficulties and gray areas to deal with when one can no longer honorably and honestly be part of what one was once committed to — and perhaps you’re right in that a more gradual progression would have been better, and easier for his family — but it is not ‘moral bankruptcy.’

    He did not drop all of his old life. He kept his marriage, his family, his job, and his personality. And he also kept his belief that one should not pretend and be lukewarm when it comes to religion. This is something they drummed into him. Perhaps they should have been more careful.

  136. #136 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    If I ask Silverman to be diplomatic, then I am condemning him to an eternity of living a lie. Is that what you’re saying? Sounds a bit… extreme.

    Pray tell, what is diplomatic to you? He told his wife that he doesn’t believe and resigned from the church. That sounds pretty diplomatic to me. The only thing he could have done less diplomatic is to keep pretending he was a believer.

    Telling the truth isn’t an excuse to be a jerk or an idiot

    Just what did he do that makes him a jerk or an idiot?

    All I ask is he not stupidly detonate his entire life just to get out of his past commitments and sooth his need for ‘freedom’.

    You are basically asking him to live a lie, that is being dishonest and morally bankrupt. Not to mention you are putting him and him alone at fault for how others react to him. Free will works both ways, if anyone shunned him or treated him poorly simply for the crime of not believing in God, why is he at fault? Do you think Galileo was wrong too for daring to print in a book that the earth orbits the sun even if the pope said not to?

    Children want absolvement from commitments and ‘freedom’. Adults take responsibility.

    And that’s what he is doing. You are basically complaining that because other adults behave like children, he should as well. The other adults are responsible for the way he was treated, not him. You are blaming the victim, yet you are the one who is claiming the victim is morally bankrupt. How is that different to a rape victim “asking for it” by wearing a short skirt and being unescorted?

  137. #137 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “Firstly, how was he “super-irrational”? and secondly how does that make him anything other than human?” He is irrational because he created chaos even though he knew that’s the reaction his family would have. And yes, he is emotional and human, So don’t blame fundies for being fundies. Don’t blame them for his own foolish mistakes. A truly rational person could have dealt with this situation without taking the first selfish destructive route to freedom. Moral bankruptcy is what he represents.

    Kel: “Whatever happened to “thou shalt not bear false witness”?” WHatever happened to ‘thou shlat not be a flaming dumbass, then blame it on others’? I’m not defending the fundies, I’m indicting your hero, and all of your for admiring his reason. He is not rational.

    Owlmirror: “How would you know, since you’re ungoverned by reason?”

    Are you asking me why I would make wiser choices than those who claim to be governed by reason? Why indeed. Maybe nbcause I’m not an idiot, and Silverman is. Are you saying that after being culpable and liable for an entire life of funy living, that it’s ok to just drop the bomb and leave others holding the bag? This guy is selfish and ignoring his reponsibilities for past behavior. That you don’t recognize this is scoiopathic. His ‘lies’ had effects, and now he wants to walk away scott-free.

    Atheism is a moral escape hatch. Your refusal to admit Silverman’s responsibility for his past mistakes reveals the selfishness of this belief. Cause, effect. Reap, sow. We can at least agree on this concept.

    Rev: “What are you governed by?”
    I’m governed by wanting to know why you esteemed intellectuals are hailing this emotional, suspect, chaotic, irresponsible dude.

  138. #138 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    I offer fact and observations.

    But since they aren’t rational, there’s no particular reason to accept them.

    And there’s certainly no way I’m going to be emotionally convinced by your bad-tempered rants.

    I don’t defend my ‘reason’, but you do. So deal with what I say in a reasonable way.

    Why should someone reasonable accept the admittedly unreasonable?

    Silverman detonated his life, and it can’t be blamed on the well-known fundies around him.

    If you’re blaming him for being irrational, we must spread the blame to the other ones who are being irrational. And who are being more irrational, and more cruelly irrational, to boot.

    I know you don’t think that’s reasonable, or rather, don’t care that that’s reasonable. Tough.

  139. #139 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    Rev: “What are you governed by?”
    I’m governed by wanting to know why you esteemed intellectuals are hailing this emotional, suspect, chaotic, irresponsible dude.

    Bullshit.

    What are you governed by outside this conversation?

  140. #140 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Fuck you rc.

    You have no idea what it is like to be shunned. Until you do, shut up.

  141. #141 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    His ‘lies’ had effects, and now he wants to walk away scott-free.

    No, his telling the truth had effects, and now he wants his family and former friends to live up to their own alleged ideals.

    Or are you saying that Christian fundamentalism has no ideals about honesty and dealing fairly with others? Is that the essence of your argument; that fundamentalists are nothing more than psychologically fragile sociopathic apes one emotional trauma away from complete psychotic breakdown?

    And he, who presumably did feel that honesty was important, should have instinctively known how vicious and corrupt everyone else in his life was?

    I ask only for information.

  142. #142 Sastra
    January 4, 2009

    rc #137 wrote:

    Are you saying that after being culpable and liable for an entire life of funy living, that it’s ok to just drop the bomb and leave others holding the bag? This guy is selfish and ignoring his reponsibilities for past behavior. That you don’t recognize this is scoiopathic. His ‘lies’ had effects, and now he wants to walk away scott-free.

    You act as if religion is a chore that you shouldn’t get out of, once you commit.

    This is very odd. Silverman demonstrated more respect for Christianity, and his fellow Christians, than you do. He also shows more respect for his wife.

    I wonder how she would react to your suggestion that he jolly her along for a while, lying and deceiving, because he has that “responsibility” to her.

    If Silverman had left Islam to become a fundamentalist Christian, I would not have thought he was shirking his responsibilities to his family and community. I would have admired him for his courage. I think you’re mistaken when you say this is all about atheism. This story could have been about any belief to any belief, and all of us here would say the same about the value of honesty and integrity.

    When ‘Raving Atheist’ abruptly announced his conversion, with little warning, we were not upset that he hadn’t been “gradual” or “diplomatic.” We wanted to analyze his reasons. We don’t need a “warning.” And would have been puzzled by hypocrisy touted as kindness.

  143. #143 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    rc wrote:

    A truly rational person could have dealt with this situation without taking the first selfish destructive route to freedom.

    How would you know? You’ve said, repeatedly, that you aren’t governed by reason. If you have no concept of reason, how can you stop its absence in the behaviour of others?

  144. #144 MP2K
    January 4, 2009

    Nick K #14

    Here’s my deconversion story:

    I was 13 years old and was watching All In the Family. In one scene, Meathead tells Archie Bunker that he doesn’t believe in god. I just stopped cold and said, “Huh? You mean that’s an option??”. It’s been 30 years since I watched that scene.

    I wonder how many people out there, especially children, are not aware that not believing in god is an option. And they suffer through the cognitive dissonance.

    I have a similar story. I first stated self-labeling as agnostic when I read the definition when choosing a religion for a character in Everquest. It’s a story that becomes more awesome the more I think about it, really.

    Asemodeus # 92

    Granted, when I was in the scouts all we did was play Magic the Gathering. Something tells me that such a ‘satanic’ game would balance out the good ole’ christian ethos that the boy scouts was trying to do. And when that didn’t work we set things on fire.

    You lucky bastard. I tried to bring my M:tG cards once, and the Vice-Scout Fuhrer got pissed. Also, I never got to set very many things on fire. I want a refund on my childhood. I’m glad I never had to do the Theist Loyalty Pledge in order to get my Eagle, though (mostly because I moved away).
    ———————————–

    As for coming out, I never have had any big reveal to my immediate family, but I assume most of them know and don’t really care as they are non-denominational Christians at best. I haven’t told my extended family but I’m not really planning on it either, as most of them are ass-hats (a Promise-keeper with some goofy mail-away religious diploma and a Methodist Priest that was kicked out for bossing around every congregation she was assigned to, and two other aunts who would flip a lid).

  145. #145 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    ” He is irrational because he created chaos even though he knew that’s the reaction his family would have. And yes, he is emotional and human, So don’t blame fundies for being fundies. Don’t blame them for his own foolish mistakes. A truly rational person could have dealt with this situation without taking the first selfish destructive route to freedom. Moral bankruptcy is what he represents.

    No wonder you complain about people being “governed by reason”, you have no idea how to make a reasonable argument. He is human so he’s not perfect. You are asking him to live a lie because others aren’t perfect either, you are blaming the atheist and admonishing the fundies in this case, why? Why is it he fundies who act like shit and treat this person terribly and you blame that person? Do you blame rape victims for dressing so provocatively?

    WHatever happened to ‘thou shlat not be a flaming dumbass, then blame it on others’? I’m not defending the fundies, I’m indicting your hero, and all of your for admiring his reason. He is not rational.

    Let me get this straight. No-one is 100% rational in all walks of life, you are putting him up on a pedestal he shouldn’t be on. He’s not blaming it on others, he’s taking responsibility for his actions. The people who treated him poorly are not, yet you are the one who is saying the he’s out of line because he should have known that others would treat him poorly. Could you please stop the straw-man attacks between rationality and irrationality, and while you are at it stop calling him my hero? I don’t know this guy, nor do I care too much about him. You are trying to make a case based on reasoning skills you simply do not have. Drop it now.

    Atheism is a moral escape hatch. Your refusal to admit Silverman’s responsibility for his past mistakes reveals the selfishness of this belief. Cause, effect. Reap, sow. We can at least agree on this concept.

    So because he was once a member of the church, he has to always be a member? Because he once believed in God he has to lie to others to maintain that? You are a child in your reasoning, you are refusing to accept that other people are responsible for the way he’s treated. We can not control others to our will, all we can do is act within the best of our abilities. He did what he thought was right – he told the truth as he saw it. How is that irrational? It seems to you everything has to be an extension of 2+2=4 or nothing is.

  146. #146 MP2K
    January 4, 2009

    Sorry about the blockquote failure, etcetera.

  147. #147 rc
    January 4, 2009

    wowbagger: “I’m coming to the conclusion that rc doesn’t know the meaning of either moral or bankruptcy…”
    Moral- Making promises and sticking to them. Or at least acknowledging your mistake and making amends for your past stupidity. Bankruptcy- throwing that all away just because you know the ‘truth’, then blaming people for being who they are.

    John: “I submit the response was far in excess from the norm, atypical and immoral to boot.” Agreed. But Silverman, with the exception of the abuse charges, said that this was consistent and predictable. Just because he lived in a fundy world doesn’t mean a rational person shouldn’t have seen this coming.

    “He happens to be a victim.” Guy walks in downtown Memphis wearing a Klan hood and flashing gang signs. He gets beat down. Yes, the assault was wrong, but that doesn’t take away from the fact the guy was an idiot. And certainly not rational.

    wowbagger: “It was those around him who have behaved irrationally. How was he meant to control the reactions of those around him if they choose to be irrational?”

    This is the nut of my argument. Some people think that irrational people equal free reign to do whatever the hell you want. But irrational people are still predictable, especially in Silverman’s case. Cause and effect. That he doesn’t recognize this notion means that he is irrational and therefore not worthy of praise from the kings of reason.

    Pisses me off that other people’s irrationality is license to do whatever the hell you want. Especially if maybe, just maybe, just maybe maybe maybe, you are irrational yourself.

    Sastra: “Apparently, you think lying would have been better for him, for his wife, for the people at church — better for everyone… ”

    Yes.

    “There are all sorts of difficulties and gray areas to deal with when one can no longer honorably and honestly be part of what one was once committed to…”

    Indeed there are gray areas. And none of those gray areas can be responsibly resolved by saying ‘sorry about you suckers and trusting me and my promises and my behavior for fifteen years, but I’m done.’

    “Perhaps you’re right in that a more gradual progression would have been better, and easier for his family — but it is not ‘moral bankruptcy.’”

    Damn right I’m right. And choosing ‘freedom’ over making basic steps to make up for fifteen years of promises and mistakes IS moral bankruptcy. I give up, now accept me for who I am.

    Sastra: “Perhaps they should have been more careful.”

    Yeah, after fifteen years of proven behavior and promises and covenants, they sure as hell should have planned for this happening.

    That attitude is callous bullshlt that can only be born of contempt of irrational people. All people are irrational, including, as it happens, your hero Silverman.

  148. #148 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    OwlMirror – There you have it by the most basic concept – christian fundamentalism has no ideals about honesty and dealing fairly with others. It’s all about affirming the truth of the sects dogma, and money. (But you knew that.)

  149. #149 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc, you are a real specimen.

    [1] And yes, he is emotional and human, [2] So don’t blame fundies for being fundies. Don’t blame them for his own foolish mistakes. [3]A truly rational person could have dealt with this situation without taking the first selfish destructive route to freedom. [4] Moral bankruptcy is what he represents.

    All you seem to do is make a sequence of assertions* and think it an argument. It’s pitiful.

    1. Yes.
    2. Nice non-sequitur.
    You keep missing the point that this outcome is extreme. How you think this specific outcome was predictable still amazes me.
    3. Look, it’s not to do with rationality, it’s to do with honesty and moral strength.
    3a. First, you say he’d’ve certainly known the magnitude of the outcome and thus it was foolish to proceed based on that knowledge (as it would be self-harmful to his self-interest), now you say it was selfish. I wonder if you realise how such contradictions undermine your ad-hoc claims?
    4. Another fatuous assertion.


    * Well, [2] I guess is two commands. So, argument by assertions and commands.

  150. #150 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Moral- Making promises and sticking to them. Or at least acknowledging your mistake and making amends for your past stupidity.

    moral – adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
    2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
    3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
    4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
    5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.
    6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
    7. of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
    8. resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
    - noun
    9. the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
    10. the embodiment or type of something.
    11. morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.

    Can’t see anything in there about making promises. Though I assume that being honest and telling the truth is not a moral action.

    Bankruptcy- throwing that all away just because you know the ‘truth’, then blaming people for being who they are.

    bankruptcy – noun
    1. the state of being or becoming bankrupt.
    2. utter ruin, failure, depletion, or the like.

    Your definitions are way off. No wonder you are so quick to condemn him.

  151. #151 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    It seems rc is advocating that, if you’re in a religion, surrounded by people who will not only not appreciate you if you go against it but will react in harsh ways and seek to punish you for dissent, you should just go along with it anyway so you don’t cause any fuss.

    Why does that sound familiar? I’m sure someone’s done that before. Who is it I’m thinking of? He – I’m pretty sure it’s a he – went against the teachings of the religion he was brought up in. And the people didn’t like it – in fact they got very cross about it…

    Snap! I’ve got it now. That guy. 12 apostles. Loaves and fishes. Water into wine. Smiting figs. Penchant for hookers. It’s on the tip of my tongue…

    Jesus, called Christ. That name mean anything to you, rc?

    You fucking douche.

  152. #152 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Jesus, called Christ. That name mean anything to you, rc?

    Jesus was God remember, so he could do anything he likes… doesn’t matter that God started 2000 years of religious-violence. He should have known what would happen. After all, God is the alpha and the omega ;)

  153. #153 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Moral- Making promises and sticking to them.

    So his wife was definitely immoral, then.

    Bankruptcy- throwing that all away just because you know the ‘truth’, then blaming people for being who they are.

    And bankrupt, too.

  154. #154 Sastra
    January 4, 2009

    rc #147 wrote:

    Yeah, after fifteen years of proven behavior and promises and covenants, they sure as hell should have planned for this happening.

    No, I meant that, if Christian fundamentalists prefer that people lie and pretend to believe because its too upsetting when people change and leave, then they should not tell each other how important it is to be sincere and honest, and take religion and religious belief seriously. Instead, Christian fundamentalists should have focused more on teaching about the vital importance of keeping up the appearance of piety, as being just as good as the real thing.

    The fundamentalists brought this on themselves. For actions, there are consequences. Teach that hypocrisy is bad, and you reap what you sow. People then think they should tell you the truth.

  155. #155 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Following on from what Wowbagger is saying:
    Isn’t it funny that a religion build on the foundations of tolerance, forgiveness and honesty is the very same religion where rc is apologetically backing intolerance and persecution all because one of it’s former members became honest? What ever happened to turn the other cheek, to love thy neighbour?

    If we are going to be redefining words, Christianity should be synonymous with hypocrisy because the very tenets at the core of the doctrine are being discarded. If rc is a Christian, then he’s a huge fucking hypocrite, an immoral scumbag who justifies others immorality under the name of God.

  156. #156 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Owlmirror: “If you’re blaming him for being irrational, we must spread the blame to the other ones who are being irrational. And who are being more irrational, and more cruelly irrational, to boot.”

    Yet you don’t praise the irrational fundies. You rightly condemn them. That’s because they’re not on your side, Silverman is.

    Owlmirror: “No, his telling the truth had effects, and now he wants his family and former friends to live up to their own alleged ideals.” And what about his fifteen years of promises and ideals? He gets to just say ‘nevermind,’ no matter the consequences.

    A promise to an irrational person is still a promise. Sometimes we have to break our promises, because we were wrong, but that does not make it ok to say “See you, suckers.”

    Owlmirror: “And he, who presumably did feel that honesty was important, should have instinctively known how vicious and corrupt everyone else in his life was?”

    Yes. He admitted on his blog that (presumably beside the abuse accusation) his wife acted completely consistent to the way she has lived for over a decade. I would hasten to add that SIlverman acted completely outside his character, and just might cause a fundy christian to predictably believe he’s the devil. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. Rational people are able to understand cause and effect and plan accordingly.

    I a guy put a gun to my head and asked “Are you a Christian?” and I knew full well that ‘yes’ would earn me a bullet in the brain. I would say no, no doubt. I am no extremist. My statement to irrational people means nothing. Only an irrational person would rsk everything just to tell the truth, especially if other better options exist. Be diplomatic. It doesn’t mean lying forever, long enough to ease out the mistakes and promises and behavior of your pass.

    Atheism is not a ‘f_ck you all’ free pass for all occasions. Take responsibility and be reasonable.

    Sastra: “If Silverman had left Islam to become a fundamentalist Christian, I would not have thought he was shirking his responsibilities to his family and community.” And if he said ‘Jesus rocks!” in front of a taliban terrorist, got his head blown off, leaving his wife widowed and his kids orphaned, what would you think then? ‘Dumbass.’

    Sastra: “When ‘Raving Atheist’ abruptly announced his conversion, with little warning, we were not upset that he hadn’t been “gradual” or “diplomatic.””

    DUDE! This is a weblog! Do you depend upon raving atheist for emotional, financial, spiritual, and parental support? Have you invested in him, and him in you, for fifteen years? Come on.

    Wowbagger: “If you have no concept of reason, how can you stop its absence in the behavior of others?” That’s not my job, it’s yours. Sad story that I have to tell you how to do your job.

    Kel: “You are asking him to live a lie because others aren’t perfect either,”

    No, I’m asking him to ‘live a lie’ because of the fifteen year debt he built up. Suddenly he believes the ‘truth’, and now he has license to do or say whatever he wants to his family, just because he is right? This is the attitude of an extremist.

    Kel: “He’s not blaming it on others, he’s taking responsibility for his actions.” No. He pushed the eject button. He talks about how stifled he felt with everyone and everything else governing his beliefs, and then about how freeing it was to give up. Yeah, it feels good to be powerful. But that doesn’t make you right. One truth does not make up for fifteen years of ‘lies.’

    Kel: “he has to always be a member?”

    His choices were not ‘tell everyone without advice or warning this very instant’, or ‘live an entire life of lies.’ This kind of bullshlt proves you’re not thinking rationally.

  157. #157 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc, you moron. I had 50 years of promises. There is no peace, no love, no jesus. Gawd does not provide, he doesn’t give me one damned thing. No single kernel of rice or corn appears at my door.

    Where is my grandpa rc? He died, we buried him, in three days he didn’t come home. He still hasn’t come home. I have his glasses and slippers, where is he?

    You first class idiot.

  158. #158 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc, the mind boggles.

    Guy walks in downtown Memphis wearing a Klan hood and flashing gang signs. He gets beat down. Yes, the assault was wrong, but that doesn’t take away from the fact the guy was an idiot. And certainly not rational.

    Now you’re comparing Christians to gangsters in downtown Memphis (that’s bad, right?) with your inappropriate simile. Are you sure this is the direction you want to go in? ;)
    And you forgot to complete it by saying the assault was the victim’s fault, and selfish to boot.

    <headshake>

  159. #159 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    If rc is a Christian, then he’s a huge fucking hypocrite, an immoral scumbag who justifies others immorality under the name of God.

    Maybe rc’s annoyed this Silverman guy blew the whistle on the big secret – that none of them actually believe any of the shit they shovel by the truckload. He’s just annoyed Silverman had the temerity to be all horrible and open and honest about it. This’d explain rc’s rather lackluster understanding of the tenets and history of Christianity – to be a Christian you only need call yourself a Christian and people believe you; there’s no actual necessity to understand any of it.

    Which makes perfect sense to me. I’ve never been able to understand how many people could be so deluded for so long. Now, of course, I have to wonder what it is – other than Pascal’s Wager – that makes them cling to what they know is a lie.

  160. #160 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    No, I’m asking him to ‘live a lie’ because of the fifteen year debt he built up. Suddenly he believes the ‘truth’, and now he has license to do or say whatever he wants to his family, just because he is right? This is the attitude of an extremist.

    And the attitudes of those who shunned him are not the acts of extremists? It seems you have a low tolerance for what a non-believer can do and a high tolerance for what a believer can do. There’s an explicit double-standard in your posts, it’s like you really aren’t governed by reason at all. You see no problem with being a hypocrite.

    It’s this status quo attitude that keeps institutions that cause harm like religion thriving in a world where it does great damage. You are asking the impossible off one person while asking nothing off everyone else. Hypocritical, but as a Christian it’s to be expected off you…

  161. #161 rc
    January 4, 2009

    John M: “You keep missing the point that this outcome is extreme. How you think this specific outcome was predictable still amazes me.”

    You’re easily amazed. Silverman explains at length that he knew at length that his radical wife and friends behaved completely within their worldview. It may be a surprise to you, but it wasn’t to him (abuse accusations excepted)

    wowbagger: “It seems rc is advocating that, if you’re in a religion… you should just go along with it anyway so you don’t cause any fuss.”

    Exactly. If I was a zealot in South America with Jim Jones, and suddenly came to my senses, I would find some way to get myself out, not get myself shot. That’s the only rational thing. To stand up and declare the truth is irrational. Especially if I had a family. This analogy breaks down, because you would argue that Silverman’s family would want to stay with Jim Jones, but shouldn’t he mourn for a moment, that his stupidity led to his family walking to their doom?

    Silverman takes no responsibility for his actions- he’s astonished when his children are told to shun him, yet he conspired for years to keep them sheltered. He rashly blurts out his change of heart, even though he knows (he knows) this will lead to disaster.

    Anyone who praises this behavior is irrational. Anyone who praises telling the truth above all is an extremist.

  162. #162 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    rc, like many Christians, seems to feel that everything they claim to believe in and everything their alleged Jesus died on the cross for; the teachings of the bible and all the other moral lessons passed down to them from Christians of the past is irrelevant when they don’t ‘feel like’ adhering to them, or when someone does something that makes them ‘really mad’. Probably also if they’ve got their fingers crossed, right?

    It’s Christianity for the truly morally bankrupt (I know I am using it correctly) – ‘Yeah, you can do pretty much whatever you want, but just remember to say you’re a Christian if anyone asks – oh, and and make sure you vote again Prop 8. Amen.’

    Isn’t it fortunate that all they have to do to be back in the good books is pretend to kiss Jesus’ ass and call it ice-cream?

  163. #163 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger – They actually believe it.

    The American christian fundie mantra is: The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.

    That’s the alpha and omega of USA religion. Welcome to Bullshitland, have a heapin’ helpin’ of our insanity.

  164. #164 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc:

    It may be a surprise to you, but it wasn’t to him (abuse accusations excepted)

    You mean, if you except the surprising aspect, it was not a surprise.

    Your sophism is simplistic when you resort to a naked tautology to evade one of the most egregious and significant factors.

  165. #165 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Yet you don’t praise the irrational fundies. You rightly condemn them. That’s because they’re not on your side, Silverman is.

    No, actually, I condemn them for their hypocrisy, disloyalty, and cruelty.

    If an atheist family were to treat a family member who found religion in the exact same way that Silverman became atheist (that is, honestly saying that Christianity or whatever seemed true to him now) so cruelly and disloyally, I would condemn them the same way.

    A promise to an irrational person is still a promise. Sometimes we have to break our promises, because we were wrong, but that does not make it ok to say “See you, suckers.”

    Which he did not do.

  166. #166 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Owlmirror: “So his wife was definitely immoral, then…. And bankrupt, too.”

    Yes. But she’s predictable. A rational person could have managed her. Instead, he freaked out like an emotional extremist. The only reason you get your pants all wet about him is because he’s _your_ extremist.

    Sastra: “No, I meant that, if Christian fundamentalists prefer that people lie and pretend to believe because its too upsetting when people change and leave”

    ‘Honey, does this make me look fat?’
    ‘Yes.’

    Such a person has no business getting married. If you want to be all extremist about telling the truth all the time, then don’t get married. Don’t have friends. Don’t put yourself in any position where you have to be diplomatic.

    The only guy like this who comes to mind is Gregory House from TV. House is an asshole. Are _you_ an asshole?

    Kel: “If rc is a Christian, then he’s a huge fucking hypocrite, an immoral scumbag who justifies others immorality under the name of God.”

    But I am consistant and predictable, just like Silverman’s family. A rational person recognizes causes and effect, and unless Silverman is just another flavor of extremist, he mitigates his actions in order to prevent turmoil far in excess of his proclaimed value.

    Kel: “There’s an explicit double-standard in your posts, ”

    I let fundies off the hook because they are extemists. I don’t let Silverman off the hook because he and you claim that he is a rational person. He is, in fact, an extremist (just of your favored flavor)

  167. #167 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    You’re easily amazed. Silverman explains at length that he knew at length that his radical wife and friends behaved completely within their worldview. It may be a surprise to you, but it wasn’t to him (abuse accusations excepted)

    So because it was within their worldview, it makes it acceptable? Fuck off it does. You are again blaming the victim for what the perpetrators did. When an unescorted woman gets raped, it’s not the victims fault. You are going a long way to justify the actions of those who belong to a religion of honesty, tolerance and forgiveness for their punishment of honesty, gross intolerance and refusal to forgive.

    Life goes both ways, every person is responsible for their actions or none is. You can’t call on Silverman for refusing to take responsibility without calling on everyone who wronged him for refusing to take responsibility. You can’t have it both ways!

  168. #168 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    I’m amazed. I guess I wasn’t explicit enough in my post #155 for rc to grasp what I was trying to say. I’ll try again, just for our simpleton visitor:

    Jesus, the man-god you worship, WENT AGAINST JUDAISM – THE RELIGION OF HIS PEOPLE.

    You haven’t worked out that it’s more than a little ironic that someone who calls himself a Christian is going to attack someone for going against his religion when he didn’t feel he could honestly continue to belong.

    Between the cluelessness about its history and the total absence of the understanding that, as a Christian, you (and every other Christian – i.e. his family) are required to forgive someone who does something wrong, you’re quite possibly the worst, most incompetent Christian I’ve ever encountered.

    Sadly, though, I doubt you’re atypical.

  169. #169 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    But I am consistant and predictable, just like Silverman’s family. A rational person recognizes causes and effect, and unless Silverman is just another flavor of extremist, he mitigates his actions in order to prevent turmoil far in excess of his proclaimed value.

    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Jesus

    I let fundies off the hook because they are extemists. I don’t let Silverman off the hook because he and you claim that he is a rational person. He is, in fact, an extremist (just of your favored flavor)

    He’s an extremist because he doesn’t want to play with the extremists? Again, you are doing the black and white thing where either 2+2=4 applies to everything in the world or it cannot be applied anywhere. Not believing in God and being honest with his family and friends about it are not comparable situations, you are calling someone who not only was honest but valued that honesty morally bankrupt.

    It seems for an atheist to be an extremist, all he has to do is say there is no god. Quite a low threshold there…

  170. #170 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    I let fundies off the hook because they are extemists. I don’t let Silverman off the hook because he and you claim that he is a rational person. He is, in fact, an extremist (just of your favored flavor)

    I realize you don’t care, but that doesn’t even begin to make sense.

  171. #171 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I realize you don’t care, but that doesn’t even begin to make sense.

    I think he’s trying to show that he’s not governed by reason. ;)

  172. #172 rc
    January 4, 2009

    John Morales: “Your sophism is simplistic when you resort to a naked tautology to evade one of the most egregious and significant factors.”

    And all those big words excuse Silverman from detonating his family. If abuse was the only surprise, that means he MEANT to destroy his family and his life… with the exception of being accused of abuse. Either he’s a flaming jerk, or he’s STILL an idiot.

    Kel: “So because it was within their worldview, it makes it acceptable?”

    No, it makes it predictable. By Silverman’s own admission. Anyone who does not understand cause and effect is not rational. Or he is an extremist who is willing to pay the price. “All for freedom” is the name of his blog. How true that is.

    Rational people do not praise deluded extremists.

  173. #173 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    No, it makes it predictable. By Silverman’s own admission. Anyone who does not understand cause and effect is not rational. Or he is an extremist who is willing to pay the price. “All for freedom” is the name of his blog. How true that is.

    Predictable doesn’t make it any more justifiable. You are saying he’s not taking responsibility, but you are asking him to take the responsibility of others and allowing them to act like children. These people are supposedly Christian too, what ever happened to the golden rule? What happened to their responsibility? It seems that you only want to apply responsibility to the instigator. So thanks for putting Jesus up on the cross there.

  174. #174 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Jesus, the man-god you worship,

    Actually, given the vast bulk of the statements above, I am absolutely certain that rc does not worship Jesus or God or indeed, anything much really, but rather, makes sure to be seen and heard worshipping Jesus and God by fellow religious fanatics that, secretly, rc utterly despises, but is for whatever reason dependent upon.

    There’s a real tone of desperation and self-loathing in there, like an animal caught in a trap, perhaps even deserving of pity, even though it evokes disgust.

  175. #175 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc – Anyone who praises telling the truth above all is an extremist.

    Now see, here we should take a lesson from the bible children.
    Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

    But then on the other hand -
    I Kings 22:23 “The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.”

    gawd really does love a lie -
    II Thessalonians 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

    OK, rc are you a liar for gawd? Just asking cause I want to tot up the scores god vs reality up to date. Thanks!

  176. #176 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    And all those big words excuse Silverman from detonating his family

    Why am I unsurprised that someone who misuses ‘morally bankrupt’ (and, more recently, ‘extremist’) is going to be baffled by ‘big’ words like ‘sophism’, ‘tautology’ and ‘egregious’. Then again, he hasn’t read the bible; why would he read a dictionary? Book larnin’s for them homo lie-beruls up in them there cities, right?

    SO, on lying: rc, you (laughably) call yourself a Christian: surely you know John 14:6? In it, Jesus says ‘I am the way, the _____, and the life.’

    What do you think the missing word is? Do you think that, if Jesus said it, it was important?

  177. #177 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “Life goes both ways, every person is responsible for their actions or none is.”
    No, responsible people are responsible for their actions, and they rightly don’t walk into the line of fire of those who aren’t. Especially when they’ve lived their entire life with irresponsible people conjuring expectations of them. Especially when they claim to now live for reason, but can’t make a reasonable decision.

    Wowbagger: “you (and every other Christian – i.e. his family) are required to forgive someone who does something wrong,”
    So if you come over and rape my wife, the appropriate response for my Christian self is to forgive you and think nothing more of it? This guy made promises and expectations for DECADES- that you say a good Christian should have no emotional reaction to the guy throwing it all away- that’s just sociopathic.

    His actions had reactions, Right or wrong. And he is complicit in most of the baggage he carries. Just because he is right now and wrong then does not absolve him from the effects of his actions. Not beliefs, actions.

    Kel: “It seems for an atheist to be an extremist, all he has to do is say there is no god.”

    Is that all he did? The fundy Christian husband and father of three, saying there’s no god has absolutely no ramifications on his family? None at all? And those ramifications have nothing to do with his actions, assurances, and promises over fifteen years?

    Ugh. This is why I say that atheism is ideology’s reset button. Just throw it all away! Because now you’re RIGHT! Any cost in the cause of the RIGHT is extremism.

    Like I said before, if someone held a gun to my head I’d renounce Jesus. And if in the same situation you don’t renounce atheism you are an extremist. Silverman had a gun to his head, caused chaos, claims ignorance of why the hell this all happened, and you guys hail him as a hero. This is not rational.

  178. #178 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    So if you come over and rape my wife, the appropriate response for my Christian self is to forgive you and think nothing more of it? This guy made promises and expectations for DECADES- that you say a good Christian should have no emotional reaction to the guy throwing it all away- that’s just sociopathic.

    Bwahahahaha! Do you have even the faintest idea of the key principles of the religion that you claim to adhere to? You’re asking why I would expect you to forgive someone for something?

    This is gold. Utter comedy gold. rc, you are on fire. What’s next – are you going to tell me you don’t know why you should bother with Easter?

  179. #179 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc @177, moral relativism and utilitarianism are not Christian doctrines, though you appear to subscribe to both.

    You don’t even understand the morality you claim to profess.

    Sad.

  180. #180 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “what ever happened to the golden rule? What happened to their responsibility? It seems that you only want to apply responsibility to the instigator.”

    Yeah, ‘whatever happened.’ I’m not defending the fundies, I’m condemning the self-ascribed free thinker and rational person. You don’t blame a baby for shitting his pants. A grown man, on the other hand…

    Patricia: “OK, rc are you a liar for gawd?”

    I’ve already said that if someone held a gun to my head, I would lie. Anyone who doesn’t is an extremist. I cannot take it seriously, when people say that Silverman should have told the truth, right then, no matter the cost. Patricia, would you lie to avoid shunning again, or at least to soften the blow?

    Silverman’s blog is called ‘All for Freedom.’ All. He predictably destroyed his life when other more responsible and reasonable options were readily available. He failed to take responsibility for fifteen years of actions, and ignored his obligations to those close to him. All for freedom. Indeed.

  181. #181 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    uhhh, headdesk
    facepalm

    The stupid hurts.

    Goodnight sweethearts.

  182. #182 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    Religion clearly offers no moral guidance for a slippery duplicitous sociopath like rc, or, if Silverman’s account is honest and accurate, his spouse and his former flock. So, somebody remind me, what was religion supposed to be good for?

  183. #183 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    No, responsible people are responsible for their actions, and they rightly don’t walk into the line of fire of those who aren’t. Especially when they’ve lived their entire life with irresponsible people conjuring expectations of them. Especially when they claim to now live for reason, but can’t make a reasonable decision.

    So you are saying that either the people in his life are not responsible for their actions (you are calling these adults children by your own definitions) or that he’s no more responsible for the actions of others than the next person? Either way you are putting him into a position of a god, which is especially ironic.

    Is that all he did? The fundy Christian husband and father of three, saying there’s no god has absolutely no ramifications on his family? None at all? And those ramifications have nothing to do with his actions, assurances, and promises over fifteen years?

    Of course it has ramifications, just as Galileo saying the earth revolves around the sun. But he is not responsible for how others act, and for people who claim to follow the teachings of Christ you are doing a lot to justify their unchristian actions.

    Yeah, ‘whatever happened.’ I’m not defending the fundies, I’m condemning the self-ascribed free thinker and rational person. You don’t blame a baby for shitting his pants. A grown man, on the other hand…

    If that man had absolute power over others and had absolute knowledge of what they would do, I’d agree. But he doesn’t, he’s a man and he’s got the same fallibility as the rest of us. You are ascribing him the powers of God which he simply doesn’t have.

  184. #184 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Silverman’s blog is called ‘All for Freedom.’ All. He predictably destroyed his life when other more responsible and reasonable options were readily available. He failed to take responsibility for fifteen years of actions, and ignored his obligations to those close to him. All for freedom. Indeed.

    As did Galileo, he dared to question the church authority instead of just towing the geocentric orbit. Actions have consequences, but we cannot control the consequences of others. If you think that one person has absolute control over others then you are deluded. We can provide an input into another’s behaviour but we cannot manipulate the process therein. Each adult is responsible for their own actions – and that includes all the adults in his life. He was able to tolerate their beliefs, they could not tolerate his. No-one deserves to go through what he went through, you are blaming him the same way you blame a rape victim for wearing a short skirt.

  185. #185 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger: “Do you have even the faintest idea of the key principles of the religion that you claim to adhere to?”

    You insist on talking about religion, and it helps my point, so here goes. In Christian theology, God didn’t just say aw, that’s ok. No, his only son had to bear the sins of humanity and he had to die to pay for them. There are consequences to our actions. This has been a consistent notion in Judeo-christianity from the beginning. And it meshes well with general morality and the scientific notion of cause and effect.

    Example: If you get married then divorce, you lose half your crap. Doesn’t matter if your wife is a vindictive hosebeast (and no, this isn’t personal narrative). Live and make promises for fifteen years, then suddenly eject… there’s going to be waves.

    I’m not justifying these waves or saying that they’re right, I’m only saying that they’re a logical (read: predictable) effect to Silverman’s cause. Blaming it all on the fundies, whom we all already know to be irrational, does not transfer all blame away from a guy who claims to be rational, yet made a stupid, stupid decision. There were other, better decisions out ther which he discarded either because he went for the more emotional, immediate choice, or ecause he went for the more extemist choice. Either way does not bode well for Silverman and his disciples.

    John: “rc @177, moral relativism and utilitarianism are not Christian doctrines, though you appear to subscribe to both. You don’t even understand the morality you claim to profess.”

    Whatever I do or don’t claim to profess, YOU all claim to profess rationality. Silverman was irrational. Yet you think his choices were peachy.

  186. #186 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    rc, you’re a flaming idiot devoid of any insight into human minds.

    for one, every psychologist worth his salt will tell you that “staying together for the kids” is actually the wrong choice

    two, if Silverman was the selfish bastard you accuse him of being, he’d have “gone to get a pack of smokes”, and the divorce letter would have been in the mail ASAP.

    three, you’re using the term “moral bankrupcy” wrong. the term you’re looking for is “absolution”. and again, if he wanted to absolve himself of his life and previous mistakes, he’d have disappeared out of their lives

    four, the guys crime seems to be naivete rather than irrationality. he seems the kind of person who’s so good it hurts. and he seems to have problems seeing that other people, especially people he’s come to believe were “the good guys”. he did neither expect death-wishes nor false accusations, because he couldn’t imagine himself being so morally bankrupt.

    five, his blog is ex-post-facto. he’s rationalizing and finding excuses for his wife’s behavior, because he for some reason still cares and still wants to think of her as a good person. i suppose you can call that irrational if you wish, but love generally is.

  187. #187 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    But he doesn’t, he’s a man and he’s got the same fallibility as the rest of us. You are ascribing him the powers of God which he simply doesn’t have.

    No, rc is demands of Silverman 20/20 hindsight. Presumably, he thought he could count on the promises his wife had made.

  188. #188 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    i seem to have lost half a sentence in number four. that was supposed to read: “and he seems to have problems seeing that other people, especially people he’s come to believe were “the good guys”, could do something that by his personal standards, and by the standards of their religion (i.e. do not bear false witness, in good times and in bad, etc.) was so utterly morally wrong.

  189. #189 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Blaming it all on the fundies, whom we all already know to be irrational, does not transfer all blame away from a guy who claims to be rational, yet made a stupid, stupid decision.

    Could you please stop using the words irrational and rational? It’s obvious you don’t know how to apply them properly. Human behaviour for the most part is not rational, humans just do. To say one is rational and the other is not is putting one up on a pedestal and pushing another one down. Calling 2+2=5 wrong does not make you able to pick the best solution in absolutely every possible case.

    How about you learn something about human behaviour, how about you learn something about ethics and responsibility, how about you apply the same standards to others as you do to this man. You are blaming the victim, I ask again do you blame someone who was raped for wearing “revealing” clothing?

  190. #190 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    There were other, better decisions out ther [sic]

    I’m really curious to know what those would be, especially in light of the fact that correcting a mistake is ALWAYS the better choice that “staying the course”

  191. #191 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    So I’m guessing that rc supports a wife staying married to an abusive drunk because the consequences for leaving are worse on a social scale than staying together?

  192. #192 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    rc is living, breathing (mouth-, one assumes) proof that you need not adhere to the teachings of, or understand the principles underlying, or be aware of the historical claims made by, Christianity – and yet can still call yourself a Christian.

    rc, get a bible, specifically one with a new testament; I have no doubt you’re familiar with the old. Look up these verses and maybe you’ll understand why we expect a Christian to grasp the concept of forgiveness:

    Galatians 6:1
    Matthew 18:21-22
    Mark 6:37

  193. #193 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    guessing that rc supports a wife staying married to an abusive drunk

    Especially if she found herself losing her religion. She should know that the consequence would be abuse that was over the top and beyond the pale, and we all know whose fault that would be.

  194. #194 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    So I’m guessing that rc supports a wife staying married to an abusive drunk because the consequences for leaving are worse on a social scale than staying together?

    Well, that’s part of what he’s saying. He’s also saying that, if she tries to leave him and hunts her down, beats the shit out of her and puts her in the hospital, she was extremist, irrational and morally bankrupt for leaving him because she should have known that’s what he’d do – because a drunk is irrational and therefore completely predictable.

  195. #195 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “But he is not responsible for how others act, and for people who claim to follow the teachings of Christ you are doing a lot to justify their unchristian actions…”

    He’s only responsible for how HE acts, which includes fifteen years of promises and behavior.

    “You are ascribing him the powers of God which he simply doesn’t have.”

    He claims to have the power of reason, which is all he would have needed.

    Kel: “No-one deserves to go through what he went through, you are blaming him the same way you blame a rape victim for wearing a short skirt.

    Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. Walk through memphis in a Klan hood flashing gang signs, then cry home to momma after you get beat down. Sure, you did nothing ‘wrong,’ but you’re still an idiot.

    Jadehawk: “for one, every psychologist worth his salt will tell you that “staying together for the kids” is actually the wrong choice

    For two, every psychologist worth his salt would advise that some one wait and think and seek advice before making a drastic, out of character, life changing decision. (talking to folks on teh intarwebs doesn’t count) This guy’s behavior marks mental illness more than it does rationality. ‘Every psychologist worth his salt’ would agree with me.

    Ken: “Presumably, he thought he could count on the promises his wife had made.”

    And what of Silverman’s promises? There’s a bevy of promises he broke. Maybe those pormises were wrong and misguided, but that doesn’t excuse him for just breaking them and then saying ‘What? Why are you mean to me?’ It’s the mark of a sociopath, to not consider the effects of his actions on others.

    Kel: “As did Galileo, he dared to question the church authority instead of just towing the geocentric orbit.”

    Galileo also recanted when presented with the instruments of torture, proving he was rational, and not an extremist. No one faults him for being rational. Silverman is not rational, and he’s no Galileo.

  196. #196 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Especially if she found herself losing her religion. She should know that the consequence would be abuse that was over the top and beyond the pale, and we all know whose fault that would be.

    As it says in the bible:
    5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
    5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

    For a wife to stop the abuse, that is going against her husband and therefore the will of God. Any woman who wants to get out of an abusive relationship is morally bankrupt!!!

  197. #197 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    You insist on talking about religion, and it helps my point, so here goes. In Christian theology, God didn’t just say aw, that’s ok. No, his only son had to bear the sins of humanity and he had to die to pay for them.

    Except that you don’t really believe that, right?

    There are consequences to our actions. This has been a consistent notion in Judeo-christianity from the beginning. And it meshes well with general morality and the scientific notion of cause and effect.

    Except you keep saying that the religious fanatics have no responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

    So you want to judge the atheist by the standard of Christianity, and say that the fanatics … don’t have to care about anything at all; they can go on being sociopaths.

    Nietzsche’s comments about the nihilism underlying Christianity seem appropriate somehow…

  198. #198 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Thus spoketh rc:

    Janine: “Lie, pretend to believe.” But you think that lying IS belief. I do believe. If it’s a lie is no issue. You are the one who claims to be rational. Yet you defend Silverman, the epitome of emotional irrationality.

    The projection and stupidity is so condensed, it is like one of Nibbler’s droppings. Where to start. Sentence by sentence, I guess.

    But you think that lying IS belief.

    And how do you know this about me? You know that I am an atheist. All that means is I lack a believe in deities. I think that all people believe things that are lies, it cannot be helped. All of us are living in a universe that is so much larger than any person’s imagination and knowledge.

    But I do not think that lying is believe. If this was the case, I could never trust anything that any person says or does. Completely wrong here, rc.

    I do believe.

    In what? Jesus? A personal god? Allah? Thor? Minerva? Flying Spaghetti Monster? A lie?

    While I may think that you believe in a lie, I would not call your believe a lie. Just misguided. Wrong again, rc.

    If it’s a lie is no issue.

    The only way that statement could be true is that the form of christianity that Silverman followed was THE TRUTH! Are you saying that if Silverman followed a different religion and then turned from it, there would not have been a problem?

    It would seem that if Silverman’s wife and pastor were true followers of their religion, they would not be lying about the crime that Silverman is accused of doing. They may shun him from through lives and community, that is common when a family falls apart. But the lies they tell says alot about their believes. But not that lying is a believe. So wrong, rc. So wrong.

    You are the one who claims to be rational.

    Where did I ever make that claim in this thread? Where did I ever make that claim in this blog? Rationality is a very useful tool, one of the most important ones we have. But it is not the one thing that I ever claimed that all of us uses. I can use my rationality in order to achieve the things that I find pleasurable. But I cannot rationally explain why I find it pleasurable.

    I think you want me to be the strawwoman that I am not. This is getting tiresome, but wrong again, rc.

    Yet you defend Silverman, the epitome of emotional irrationality.

    Let’s us see, oh if I actually was the strawwoman that you set me out to be, I would be burning right now. But you missed your mark.

    Is Silverman stuck in emotional irrationality. Who, in the same situation would not be? Everything that he built his life on has been knock down. What he based his existence on. His shared foundation of his family. His community. They are all gone and he has to start a new.

    If his wife and pastor were honorable, they would cast him from his family and community. That is hard enough. But they went for lies and punishment. Frankly, I do not know if I could even try to act this calm over the rather impersonal internet.

    I feel supportive of Silverman not because of any sense of rationality. I feel supportive of him because it seems he is trying to be honest to who he thinks he is.

    While I could not give much support to a person who is torn from their family because as a unit, they were secular and that person adopts a religious point of view. I would condemn this hypothetical atheist family if they treated the hypothetical convert like Silverman’s wife and pastor treated Silverman. For the last time, rc; WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

    I am done with you now you little weasel. Some of the other regulars here may continue to have fun stomping you. But you are not funny, you are not fun. You barely even know what you are arguing for.

  199. #199 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    He’s only responsible for how HE acts, which includes fifteen years of promises and behavior.

    Then stop acting that he’s responsible for how others treated him.

    He claims to have the power of reason, which is all he would have needed.

    Again, saying 2+2?5 is a reasonable thing to say, but you can’t apply that reason throughout every facet of someone’s life. Stop ascribing the powers of man to a god, you have no idea how atheism works.

    Galileo also recanted when presented with the instruments of torture, proving he was rational, and not an extremist. No one faults him for being rational. Silverman is not rational, and he’s no Galileo.

    He also spent the rest of his life under house arrest, he by no means escaped punishment for his action. Still what Galileo did was right because he stuck to what he saw as the truth. How the Catholic Church harmed a frail old man doesn’t make it any better.

  200. #200 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    You’d think such a ripe candidate for airlocking as rc would be a poe; it’s just that I credit the regulars here with a failure of imagination when it comes to such depravity.

  201. #201 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    For two, every psychologist worth his salt would advise that some one wait and think and seek advice before making a drastic, out of character, life changing decision.

    you are confused. how is having questions over and extended period of time, looking for counseling (he DID seek proper counseling as a fundie. you must have missed that one when reading his blog), having your questions answered after an extended period of time, and finally coming to a conclusion a “drastic” decision?

    or are you saying he should have involved his wife in his personal doubts from the beginning, dragging her along in his deconversion? how is that any better?

    you’re making it sound as if he one day woke up, said “fuck it” and declared himself an atheist without any self-reflection, and that given enough time to “cool down” he’ll change his mind again. does anything he wrote about sound AT ALL like he’s that kind of unstable? because to me it seems he takes his responsibilities and beliefs very seriously

  202. #202 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Kel wrote:

    As it says in the bible:

    5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

    5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

    5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

    Kel, rc’s already said if you choose anything the bible says over rationality then you’re a sociopath. Which is more than a little hilarious, considering he’s a Christian arguing with atheists.

  203. #203 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Galileo also recanted when presented with the instruments of torture, proving he was rational, and not an extremist. No one faults him for being rational. Silverman is not rational, and he’s no Galileo.

    So, it’s “not rational” to hope that one’s friends and family are not medieval torturers?

  204. #204 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Ken Cope, with all of us is flailing about in the darkness much bigger then any of us can imagine; some trust and truth telling is needed to keep us upright.

    Just do ask me to completely trust you and give you only the truth. That I could not take.

  205. #205 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Kel, rc’s already said if you choose anything the bible says over rationality then you’re a sociopath. Which is more than a little hilarious, considering he’s a Christian arguing with atheists.

    It does explain his behaviour. It also explains why he’s complaining about reason then trying to use reason to support his position. If only he was even able to grasp the terms he’s throwing around.

  206. #206 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “Calling 2+2=5 wrong does not make you able to pick the best solution in absolutely every possible case.”

    Which explains why Silverman, professing atheism as ‘right’, does not justify him making the stupid life decisions that he knew would have negative effects on those around him. Just because you cheer him because he sees the truth (2+2=5 is wrong) does not make it ok when he emotionally does something stupid. Stop protecting your own just because he wears your colors.

    It amazes me that folks admire this guy. He declares 2+2=/5, then walks in front of a bus. Did he deserve what he got? No. But he should have seen it coming.

    What’s worse is that he and many others do not see the possible selfish motivations for his actions: the ‘reset’ button. He was one way for fifteen years, then he throws it all away. People don’t do that when they’re ahead, they do it when they’re behind. Question his motives for once, reread his story, and you’ll see what I mean. Mid-life crisis a go-go.

    Again, for those who believe that instantly blurting your new beliefs, or living a lie forever are the only choices, they’re not. Engage those social skills, acknowledge your responsibility for your past, and help others to trust and understand. Silverman had as much credibility to his family as a fire-mouthed proclamation evangelist would have to you folks. Even if the preacher told the truth, even if- would any of you actually listen to him? Of course not. Silverman blurted, then whined. (abuse accusations excepted)

    As an aside- I’m mildly surprised (only mildly) at the number of personal insults I’ve had to ignore. They don’t persuade.

  207. #207 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Amongst all the other mindblowing inanities rc has presented us with is the constant references to ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’ – considering that, in his early posts he proudly proclaimed he, unlike us, was not governed by reason.

    It’s much like if I, who doesn’t speak French, was telling someone speaking French that they’re mispronouncing the words.

  208. #208 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    It amazes me that folks admire this guy. He declares 2+2=/5, then walks in front of a bus. Did he deserve what he got? No. But he should have seen it coming.

    No, declares 2+2=4 to a cult that has a profound belief that 2+2=17.56435438594327543895270 and got attacked for it. Just as Galileo did when he said that the earth revolved around the sun. You are still acting as if he should have known that Christians act in the most unchristian manner and from there lied to promote cohesion in the societal structure. How is what you are saying any different from a battered-wife leaving her husband?

    As an aside- I’m mildly surprised (only mildly) at the number of personal insults I’ve had to ignore. They don’t persuade.

    You said you aren’t governed by reason, why should we expect reason to work on you? You don’t even apply the same standards to all people involved, put someone into a deity-like status and treat everyone else involved like mindless golems, misuse almost every term you can to describe people, make straw-man arguments, you are impossible to deal with. Yet you argue with a conviction over something you simply do not understand. You are an ignoramus of the highest order, how about you go and learn about the words you are using before you throw them around so carelessly?

  209. #209 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    the ‘reset’ button. He was one way for fifteen years, then he throws it all away.

    the only thing he’s throw away were his beliefs, and he’s done so only after years of things nagging at him. he has not abandoned his family (instead, they are abandoning him); he has not abandoned his community, though he thought it would be dishonest to continue as a pastor and bible teacher, if he no longer believed. instead, his community threw him in jail

    once again, his deconversion was a slow, rational process. his expectations of being treated in a Christian manner were naive, but not exceptionally irrational. I’d like to see the person capable of rationally deducting that the love of their lives will wish their death and put them in jail. you’re expecting an uber-human level of rationality, expect him to be some sort of robot. or you think WE think he’s some sort of uber-rational robot. we do not, we do however see him being far more rational than anyone around him.

    oh, and I was wondering how long it would take for The Internet Vapors(TM) to show. FYI, if you act like an ignorant, morally twisted idiot, you’ll be called an ignorant, morally twisted idiot.

  210. #210 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Amongst all the other mindblowing inanities rc has presented us with is the constant references to ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’ – considering that, in his early posts he proudly proclaimed he, unlike us, was not governed by reason.

    Maybe that’s what I’m getting wrong. He’s arguing a point, something that can only be done when using reason. Maybe I’m just not seeing the way his argument works because I’m trying to see how it logically works together.

  211. #211 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    There’s a bevy of promises he broke.

    What are these alleged promises, explicitly and specifically? Can you even cite one?

  212. #212 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    I guess what we’ve got to remember is that rc is a Christian* after all – he’s got the inside information on how they behave (i.e. in a distinctly unChristian manner); in fact, he’s probably projecting exactly how he’d act if someone close to him wanted to leave the church – and using this whole scenario to make him feel as if what he’d like to do is completely justified.

    Maybe he’s making his wife and kids read it as a warning.

    *Albeit one that knows nothing about the history of Christianity, the contents of the bible, or the most important teachings of Jesus, apparently.

  213. #213 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc @206, you’re going in circles. You’ve already said all of that, multiply.

    Do you have anything new to add, or are you just going to inanely repeat yourself?

    As an aside- I’m mildly surprised (only mildly) at the number of personal insults I’ve had to ignore. They don’t persuade.

    As an aside, you are a hypocrite, not only because you haven’t, in fact, ignored them, but because your own entry into the conversation with initial insults of Dan and of us. And remember your arguments about actions and consequences, you hypocrite?

    rc @106: Silverman and anyone who admires him are crock-a-mamy idiots.

    Bah.

  214. #214 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Owlmirror: “they can go on being sociopaths.”

    Rational people expect sociopaths to be sociopaths. I expect rational people to be rational. So should you.

    Janine: “While I may think that you believe in a lie, I would not call your believe a lie. Just misguided.”

    Corrected. But that’s awfully generous, considering the present level of invective…

    Janine:””You are the one who claims to be rational.” Where did I ever make that claim in this thread?”

    Okay then. You’re irrational. I absolve you from the riduculousness of defending Silverman.

    “Is Silverman stuck in emotional irrationality. Who, in the same situation would not be?”

    Who, in the same situation, would be hailed by reddit and scienceblog and atheist fanboys everywhere as a Hero for the Cause? My problem is not in Silverman’s choices. My problem is in him and those who hold them up as the Noble Right Thing.

    “I feel supportive of him because it seems he is trying to be honest to who he thinks he is.”

    Too bad that part of what he is is a guy who won’t fess up to the effects of his past choices, and the present obligations that puts on him. Atheism is his reset switch. This is not admirable, it is not moral, and it is not rational. But it’s perfectly understandible on an animal-emotion basis.

    Kel: “Then stop acting that he’s responsible for how others treated him.”

    He’s only responsible for his own actions. Actions, by his own admission, that resulted in predictable chaos. The only reasons someone would choose this is because they’re an extremist, or because they acted emotionally. Given the smoother alternatives, there is no way, no way that his choice was the rational or right or admirable one.

    Kel: “Still what Galileo did was right because he stuck to what he saw as the truth.”

    He stuck to the truth without being a deluded jerkwad. If you internet fanboys had your way, you’d encourage Galileo to profess the truth in the face of torture, then cheer him as he was disembowled. Humble suggestion: that’s a stupid choice.

    Ken, did you just say I am worthy of death?

    Jadehawk: “because to me it seems he takes his responsibilities and beliefs very seriously”

    This is my problem with your view. Posting on a website for a few months and whatever else I missed on his blog is not sufficient foundation for informing his wife he’s atheist, then quictting the church the next day. Especially when he was astonished that the pastor went on about the negative effects of his choice, rather than his meekly accepting his choice with open arms, as Silverman foolishly seemed to expect. Part of considering a choice includes considering the effects of the choice. That he claimed to be surprised by the predictable reactions around him means that he is either deluded or didn’t think through the most life-changing decision of his life.

    There are ways to make his decision work, or at least hurt less. But he was so deluded by the ‘I’ll just give up, and everything will be ok’ delusion, that he caused a trainwreck instead. Look at the effects of his actions, and stop blaming irrational people for being irrational. Of course they’re irrational. That’s why they’re irrational. But claim to be rational and I expect you to act in a rational manner.

    Owlmirror: “So, it’s “not rational” to hope that one’s friends and family are not medieval torturers?”

    Not if they have dungeons with fresh blood on the walls, no.

    Kel: “If only he was even able to grasp the terms he’s throwing around.”

    I don’t have to grasp anything. You do. After all, you think I believe in nonexistant sky daddy. This is not for my benefit- this is _your_ chance to justify why you admire an idiot such as silverman. I’ve never justified the beliefs or actions of the fundies, only said a rational person should have taken steps to lessen the backlash.

  215. #215 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    So this is what it is like to be absolved by an idiot? Does this make me a fool by association? And this after I said that everything he said was wrong.

    Weasel.

  216. #216 John Morales
    January 4, 2009

    rc, your ad-hoc bullshit is catching up with you, and its corpus ever grows. Actions and consequences.
    Compare

    I’ve never justified the beliefs or actions of the fundies, only said a rational person should have taken steps to lessen the backlash.

    with

    I worship a sky daddy. That doesn’t absolve you from your own claims. Besides, I’ve made a strong case. Silverman detonated his life, and it can’t be blamed on the well-known fundies around him.

  217. #217 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    [Galileo Galilei] stuck to the truth without being a deluded jerkwad.

    And how was Silverman “a deluded jerkwad”?

    Owlmirror: “So, it’s “not rational” to hope that one’s friends and family are not medieval torturers?”

    Not if they have dungeons with fresh blood on the walls, no.

    Which they did not, of course. Who had his family/friends treated in a way even vaguely similar to the way they treated him?

  218. #218 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    I don’t have to grasp anything. You do. After all, you think I believe in nonexistant [sic] sky daddy.

    This, ladies and gentleman, sums up rc entirely. As far as he is concerned he doesn’t have to grasp anything (probably literally as well as figuratively; opposable thumbs sound like they’re still a few generations away) and now he’s confused as to whether the god he’s supposed to believe in even exists or not. Admittedly, he’s so ignorant about the Christianity he claims to adhere to that it wouldn’t surprise me if he hadn’t actually known that it involved a deity at all.

    Oh, sorry rc – ‘deity’ is another word for ‘god’.

    Yeah, you’re obviously someone qualified to pass judgement on the rationality of another’s actions. Stick to scratching yourself and answering ‘yes’ when someone asks you if you’re a Christian – even though you don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

  219. #219 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “You are still acting as if he should have known that Christians act in the most unchristian manner”

    Silverman admits that others reacted consistent with fifteen years of behavior. Any other mystery to the reactions of fundies could have been unlocked had he only consulted one level-minded person concerning his decision. Some say ‘but he DID seek advice’. Yet his life predictably, by his own admission, imploded. Bad advice, I guess.

    Jadehawk: “the only thing he’s throw away were his beliefs”
    You still believe that the meltdown and isolation he encountered were unpredictable reactions by evil fundies. HE KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. HE CHOSE THIS TO HAPPEN. Abuse allegations, no, but he totally hit ‘eject,’ and you fogive him of all ills just because fundies are fundies.

    Jadehawk: “his deconversion was a slow, rational process.”
    Punctuated by a quick and idiotic choice. Call bumming aound on the interwebs a rational choice if you like, by the evidence is in my favor. He knew most of what would happen, yet he still acted. Either he wanted it to happen (extremist), or he wasn’t thinking (emotional). Either way, not a hero for atheism, and not a victim of predictible bad behavior.

    Owlmirror: “What are these alleged promises, explicitly and specifically? Can you even cite one?”

    Marriage. He promises to be together with someone, and with his life and expectations of a fundy wife, that has very specific and deep meanings that he and she both understood at the time of their vows. An understanding that included knowing he shitstorm that would ensue if he one day informed his wife, out of the blue, that the cornerstone of their vows no longer applied to him.

    ‘Does this dress make me look fat?’ ‘Yes’ Silverman is that jerk times a thousand.

    John: “And remember your arguments about actions and consequences, you hypocrite? rc @106: “Silverman and anyone who admires him are crock-a-mamy idiots.””

    Got me there. I guess I did call you idiots.

  220. #220 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Actions, by his own admission, that resulted in predictable chaos.

    And Darwin thought that his theory was like “confessing a murder”, it doesn’t mean that he should keep his mouth shut because others react contrary to what they preach.

    He stuck to the truth without being a deluded jerkwad.

    After being told not to push his idea he proceeds to publish his work and in the end only recants under the threat of torture… what this guy is doing is telling his family he doesn’t believe. What Galileo did was much more of a colossal dick move than this person.

    I don’t have to grasp anything. You do. After all, you think I believe in nonexistant sky daddy. This is not for my benefit- this is _your_ chance to justify why you admire an idiot such as silverman. I’ve never justified the beliefs or actions of the fundies, only said a rational person should have taken steps to lessen the backlash.

    Firstly I don’t admire this person, I don’t know him. I don’t think he should have suffered his hardships, the same way I don’t think a victim of rape should have been raped. It doesn’t matter what someone did to be raped, the fact is that the rapist is at fault and not the victim. Secondly you say you aren’t governed by reason yet you’ve spent your entire time here trying (and failing) to make a reasoned argument. You don’t know the words you are throwing around, and you definitely don’t know how to use them in context. Your reasoning skills are incredibly lacking. Thirdly, everyone is responsible for their own actions, theist or non-theist. You are misrepresenting him, you are misrepresenting the words you are using, you are misrepresenting what it means to be atheist and your entire argument is based on these fallacies. Finally, I find your rebuke of someone for doing something human reprehensible, and the double-standard you apply (based on your own misconception of how things work) is nothing more than a logical fallacy.

    If you are a Christian, I pity Jesus. Because what he taught was a doctrine of tolerance, forgiveness and honesty. His words are synonymous with being a good moral person. Yet in this poor guys name the most heinous acts and immoral gestures are committed and are apologetically allowed to carry on by chumps like you and for what?

  221. #221 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Silverman admits that others reacted consistent with fifteen years of behavior. Any other mystery to the reactions of fundies could have been unlocked had he only consulted one level-minded person concerning his decision. Some say ‘but he DID seek advice’. Yet his life predictably, by his own admission, imploded. Bad advice, I guess.

    And the church acted predictably when a scientist challenged it. Israel and Hamas have acted predictably when they have been attacked. But you say it’s a question of morals, and just because it’s predictable it doesn’t make it moral.

  222. #222 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Marriage. He promises to be together with someone, and with his life and expectations of a fundy wife, that has very specific and deep meanings that he and she both understood at the time of their vows. An understanding that included knowing he shitstorm that would ensue if he one day informed his wife, out of the blue, that the cornerstone of their vows no longer applied to him.

    But he did not break the vow itself.

    And she broke it far worse than you accuse him of.

  223. #223 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    It seems this entire argument is to satisfy what rc thinks an atheist is, even if his definition of the word is way off the mark.

  224. #224 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Marriage. He promises to be together with someone, and with his life and expectations of a fundy wife, that has very specific and deep meanings that he and she both understood at the time of their vows.

    I’m going to guess you aren’t aware that the divorce rate amongst Fundamentalist Christians in the USA is far higher than the national average, don’t you? By virtue of your twisted ‘logic’ the wife should have known their marriage had less chance of success and therefore not have been surprised by how it panned out.

    Sucks to be you.

  225. #225 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Janine: “Weasel.”

    You’re welcome.

    John: “compare… with”

    The fundies are idiots, and Silverman is an idiot. No inconsistency… and I still don’t justify the actions of the fundies. But their actions were predictable and avoidable, for the most part, and any evaluation of Silverman and his ‘admirable’ behavior must take that reality into account.

    Owlmirror: “And how was Silverman “a deluded jerkwad”?”

    He took the easiest, most freeing, most selfish path for himself without being bowed by the negative effects to others, other to whom he’d pledged fifteen years of his past life. If I had to guess, I’d say he absorbed just a tiny fraction of contempt that web atheists share for believers. It’s a shame, really, since you’re just web-ghosts he chose to trust, he hung his decades-known family out to dry. I may be oblivious, but even _I_ know the effects of a bomb the likes that Silverman abruptly dropped.

    Wowbagger: “Yeah, you’re obviously someone qualified to pass judgement on the rationality of another’s actions.”

    Anyone can question reason, but only the reasonable may defend it. So what is the defese for Silverman? He may have made a choice you admire, but his actions resulted in predictable chaos to those he pledged the most to. Unless he intended for this to happen, his choice is by definition irrational. Him no longer caring about what his family cares about is no excuse.

    This is all made worse when you defend him, and can’t imagine why in the world I might be upset.

  226. #226 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Anyone can question reason, but only the reasonable may defend it.

    Remember, saying that 2+2=4 does not mean you are reasonable. Stop using reason if you don’t know how to apply it. Don’t you see the hypocrisy of arguing against reason by using reason?

    So what is the defese for Silverman?

    Obviously he did what he thought was best. How about you put yourself in his shoes and then try to make his decision for him and see what you do better.

  227. #227 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    The weasel would lie through it’s teeth in order to not be selfish. It would pretend to still be a christian because it knows it’s follow humans are slime who will take vengeance upon it.

  228. #228 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    He took the easiest, most freeing, most selfish path for himself without being bowed by the negative effects to others

    How do you know what he did was the easiest, most freeing, most selfish path? How can you dare judge him on any of those?

  229. #229 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    This is all made worse when you defend him, and can’t imagine why in the world I might be upset.

    Now we seem to be getting somewhere.

    How is our defending him making it worse? Why are you upset? What I’m starting to see is a man who’s almost completely discarded his own faith, and is trying – desperately – to find some reason not to go the whole way. This would explain your loathing of Silverman – he managed to get out while you still can’t.

    Your family is important to you and you don’t want to hurt them, but you’re torn – you don’t want to live the lie anymore either, but you know what the consequences of atheism will be for them and you.

    So, you’re projecting. Like so many who repress their feelings about something they end up demonising the people who do exactly what it is they secretly want to do.

    I should have seen this sooner – it explains pretty much everything. Well, I’m not really in a position to help you – I’ve always been an atheist, since i was never fed religion – but I’m sure there are people you can contact for support.

    Sincere apologies for all the abuse. If I’d realised this was a cry for help I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did.

  230. #230 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I’d like him to show anything at all that says atheists have to be guided 100% by reason in absolutely everything they possibly do, they they have to work on all sets of outcomes and then choose the one based on the behaviours of others regardless of what other factors there are. rc is full of shit, the idiot doesn’t know how to use the tools he is trying to and it’s obvious.

  231. #231 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    He took the easiest, most freeing, most selfish path for himself without being bowed by the negative effects to others, other to whom he’d pledged fifteen years of his past life.

    “Easiest?”

    Coming out of the closet is easy?

    “Freeing”?

    Do I detect a whiff of envy?

    “Selfish?”

    Yet he gave up his position with the church…

    If I had to guess, I’d say he absorbed just a tiny fraction of contempt that web atheists share for believers hypocrites.

    Fixed that for you.

    It’s a shame, really, since you’re just web-ghosts

    “Web-ghosts”?

    I detect a strong smell of sociopathy from you…

    he hung his decades-known family out to dry

    No, you sociopathic closeted hypocrite, his wife and friends hung him out to dry.

    This is all made worse when you defend him, and can’t imagine why in the world I might be upset.

    Actually, one reason I can imagine you might be so upset, besides envying him terribly, is that you have some sort of personal relationship with him. Fellow congregation member? Sibling-in-law? Co-worker? Something else like that?

  232. #232 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “What Galileo did was much more of a colossal dick move than this person.”

    But he shown reason and non-extremism by recanting under threat of torture. Silverman showed no such restraint. Silverman had ulterior motives, yet I can’t imagine what Gal’s might be. “Centuries from now, they’ll worship me.” Also, Galileo did not swear super-devoted christians into his charge, and behave for fifteen years and though all their expressed emotional needs would be met in his belief in sunny-orbityness.

    Kel: “It doesn’t matter what someone did to be raped, the fact is that the rapist is at fault and not the victim.”

    I’m not talking about fault. I’m talking about cause and effect. If I walk into San Quentin wearing lipstick and drop the soap, I’m going to get raped. That doesn’t mean it’s right, it mean’s it will happen. And while you might not call me a victim for putting on lipstick and bending over, you would rightly call me a dumbass (or some other sort of ass).

    Kel: “Finally, I find your rebuke of someone for doing something human reprehensible, and the double-standard you apply is nothing more than a logical fallacy.”

    Fundies are idiots, Silverman is an idiot. No double standard.

    As far as Silverman doing somehting ‘human’- that’s pretty far from the breathless praise I’ve heard in some circles. I know, I know, I didn’t hear YOU say SPECIFICALLY on THIS BLOG that he’s your hero, but whther you admire Silverman or just use this as red meat to scowl at fundies, nowhere along the line do you or Silverman admit his responsibility for his role in this foul-up, and the consequences of his actions.

    His ACTIONS. He’s not being persecuted for his beliefs. He’s a fifteen years deep fundy, whose wife controls all key decisions, whose church governs his every move, who thinks he can suddenly say ‘No God!’ and expect no backlash. This is a selfish delusion that denies the effects of his present actions, and the costs of his past actions.

    This form of thinking is not a path to freedom, it is not a way to place blame on the mean ol fundies and free the poor atheist… it is a midlife-crisis-infected guy hijacking your rational belief system for his own comfort… and you guys eating it up.

    Kel: “If you are a Christian, I pity Jesus.”

    There’s a lot worse Christians than me- stop being so melodramatic. Besdes, sympathizing Jesus is one of the first steps toward conversion. Congratulations!

    Wowbagger: “I’m going to guess you aren’t aware that the divorce rate amongst Fundamentalist Christians in the USA is far higher than the national average, don’t you?”

    Fundies are idiots, Silverman is an idiot. At least I don’t see a guy detonate his life and then praise his wise choices.

  233. #233 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Why would the weasel do that. In any of it’s ramblings did this idiot deal with a real human. And at what point are atheists are supposed to be all rational all the time? It is merely a very useful tool.

  234. #234 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    You damned stupid son of a bitch. No one is admiring Silverman. It is sympathy they are feeling. And, yes, we expect better from people. Not setting up lies in order to punish a person.

    That is your problem, weasel. You cannot seem to grasp the concept of sympathy. Which is not surprising seeing that you understand anything else.

  235. #235 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    But he shown reason and non-extremism by recanting under threat of torture. Silverman showed no such restraint.

    I’m betting if you put Silverman under torture he would recant.

    I’m not talking about fault. I’m talking about cause and effect.

    No, you are talking about fault. You are using the word responsibility. See? This is why it’s vital you learn the definitions and context of the words you are actually using. Reason is a tool after all, and you are doing it very wrong.

    Fundies are idiots, Silverman is an idiot. No double standard.

    Big double standard, you are saying he’s responsible for his actions (even going to far as to call him morally bankrupt) but not saying anyone else is responsible for their actions regardless of how immoral those actions are. You are an idiot, and one who hasn’t learnt how to reason. Go take a course on logic (and one on english) so you might be able to actually argue what you preach.

    There’s a lot worse Christians than me- stop being so melodramatic.

    I didn’t say there weren’t worse Christians than you, I’m saying your apologetics paints a poor image of Christianity. Again, logic – ur doing it wrong. Apologetics is an act of defending the indefensible, you are defining a very narrow aspect of the human condition then saying that all must adhere to that provided they use rationality. How can you say that when you don’t profess to using reason? Why is your definition the only way? Why do you prescribe to consequentialism and at the same time a certain branch of consequentialism in an area where one cannot control the behaviours of others?

    Besdes, sympathizing Jesus is one of the first steps toward conversion.

    lol, unlike you I don’t see the world in black and white. I can see Jesus as a good moral teacher without believing that he’s God incarnate. As a Christian, your hypocrisy is blatant. I’m not a Christian yet I seem to prescribe to more Christlike morality than you. So much for Christianity being a moral necessity in society…

  236. #236 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel:”How about you put yourself in his shoes and then try to make his decision for him and see what you do better.”

    Oh, dang. Burn. I guess if I had existential questions, I’d have NO CHOICE but to act the fool. But then, you already believe me to be an irrational person. Making my choices as a bar for his must mean you think Silverman is dumb as a rock. My work here is done.

    Janine: “It would pretend to still be a christian because it knows it’s follow humans are slime who will take vengeance upon it.”

    As I recall, the ‘weasel’ is a clever creature, and would not stick its neck out to get cut off. And, very importantly, it would not spend over a decade locking others into a belief that it is something other than a weasel. End metaphor.

    Kel: “How can you dare judge him on any of those?”

    So it’s not judgment to hail him for his choice, but if I’m critical of the idiot then LOOK OUT! Also, Myers himself claims that this guy experienced trouble simply or mostly because others are not “tolerant enough to let people have their own beliefs.”

    Horseshlt! If you claim to be a reasonable person and make a reasoned statement… then anyone, including myself, can challenge it.

    How can I dare judge Silverman? I gained that right as soon as he was hailed as Saint for the Cause.

  237. #237 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    How can I dare judge Silverman? I gained that right as soon as he was hailed as Saint for the Cause.

    He is neither venerated nor sainted. He is pitied. Yet again, you show you understand nothing.

  238. #238 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    It’s amazing the lengths rc has gone to in constructing an elaborate straw-man to attack Silverman. Can he show anywhere that says atheists have to adhere to behavioural consequentialism as defined by him?

  239. #239 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “No, you are talking about fault. You are using the word _responsibility_.”
    They mean different things. Fault implies a moral failure, responsibility is ethical ownership.

    Kel: “You are an idiot, blah blah”

    Silverman claims to have seen the light of reason, therefore he is accountable to reason. Reasonable people also understand cause and effect, so though the disaster may not be his fault, it’s his responsibility, or at least an expectation, that he avoid avoidable chaos which is the result of cause and effect. This is, after al, the cornerstone of acting in rational self interest.

    Kel: “How can you say that when you don’t profess to using reason?”

    I can because YOU profess to use reason. Then you defend Silverman. It’s not my job to reconcile that clear disparity- it’s yours. But if calling me an idiot makes things easier, then I guess you’ve made your choice.

    Kel claims to be more intelligent, more moral, and more Chistlike than I am. Fine.

    Too bad you’re still wrong about Silverman. He did not act rationally, he was stupid. Yet everyone wets their panties because he was stupid FOR ATHEISM. Go team!

  240. #240 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Kel, it is easy to make strawpeople when reality is not a concern.

  241. #241 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Yeah! More verbal vomit from the weasel.

  242. #242 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Kel: “Can [rc] show anywhere that says atheists have to adhere to behavioural consequentialism as defined by him?”

    It wasn’t defined by me, it was defined by Silverman himself. He knew the consequences, he still acted. Given that there were other choices that involved less emotion and a far better chance of least-harm to most everyone in the situation, it is safe to say that Silverman made a bad choice.

    Janine pities Silverman. So do I. But my argument is against those who defend Silverman’s actions, and who try to place all blame of his self-inflicted shltstorm on well-known and predictable fundies. That’s dishonest.

  243. #243 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc,

    Since you deplore Silverman’s choice to be honest with his friends, family, and community, what alternative course of action do you suggest he should have taken? That he “go through the motions”? Preach from the pulpit what he didn’t believe? Lie, in other words?

    If Silverman is guilty of anything, it is naïvety in believing that his Christian friends, families, and community would be understanding, forgiving, loving, and tolerant. Presumably, he simply assumed that they would behave as he thought he might under the same circumstances: as Jesus might have, and as a good Christian should. I can’t help seeing the irony in a man who was the best Christian of all whom he knew losing his faith.

  244. #244 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    I see our closet case hasn’t denied my accusations. I guess the arrow hit pretty close to the mark, huh?

    Him being here is another symptom of his denial. What he’s trying to do is make himself believe that atheists are the terrible, horrible people he’s spent all his life believing they are, people who do stupid things that he doesn’t agree with. When we refuted his half-assed ‘arguments’ straight away he had to try something else and so he played the obtuse fool – hoping we’d abuse him so he could tell himself ‘oh, those atheists are so mean to me, I can’t be one of them.’

    The flailing attacks on ‘reason’ – while still judging Silverman on his ‘irrational’ behaviour, mind you – is also telling. He’s trying to convince himself that he can’t trust reason, that rational thinking – which is what’s fueling his burgeoning atheism – is wrong and bad and to be ignored; the equivalent of ‘la la la la I am not listening! I do believe in Jesus. I do, I do I do!’

    It won’t be long, rc. You, at least, can learn from Silverman and make sure you can’t be put into the same situation he was put in when you finally stop lying to yourself and those around you and admit your atheism.

    You don’t have to hate yourself here, rc. We’re atheists. We won’t tell. It’ll be our little secret.

  245. #245 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    It wasn’t defined by me, it was defined by Silverman himself. He knew the consequences, he still acted.

    So he defines atheism as behavioural consequentialism and that was the only considering he took into account?

    They mean different things. Fault implies a moral failure, responsibility is ethical ownership.

    *facepalm*
    Do you even understand the relationship between morals and ethics?

    I can because YOU profess to use reason.

    I said you are doing it wrong, if I use reason and you don’t then you should listen to me… oh wait, that would be a reasonable thing to do and you have no control over that. Please continue talking out of your arse…

    Silverman claims to have seen the light of reason, therefore he is accountable to reason.

    No, he saw 2+2=4. What his beliefs in God were and how that translates to other facets of life are two very different things. Please stop using a straw-man between being absolutely rational and absolutely irrational and applying rationality where it does not apply.

    He did not act rationally, he was stupid.

    How did he not act rationally? And why should he be held account to what you call rational considering you try and paint yourself as not accountable to it yourself?

  246. #246 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    There’s a great case of cognitive dissonance with rc. He claims not to be bound by reason – all the while using reason to call someone else unreasonable. He can’t justify why Silverman is unreasonable without appealing to reason; something of which he is not bound by. It seems his version of reason is what he wants Silverman to adhere to, a form of consequentialism which is strictly based on how others would react. Why that is a reasonable approach? Well I’d like to see that justified without using reason.

    Then there’s rc’s strict focus on the word reason. It seems his understanding is that if someone professes to use reason for a certain belief (God is an absurdity or 2+2=4) it follows on that all decisions must be made upon reason; a standard that he cannot hold to because he doesn’t use reason in the first place. So instead he’s defined a position he thinks ‘reasonable’ and holds everyone accountable to that, ignoring all the other factors involved and boiling it down to a simple black & white decision that makes any person who wishes to break free from the scourge that is religion seem unreasonable.

    It’s so funny watching him squirm, on the one hand making charges against others for not holding to a standard that he tries to define as reasonable, on the other saying that he’s not under the confines of reason thus disabling him from making the former statement of what is reasonable in the first place. And all this from a religion that teaches forgiveness, tolerance and honesty as the core tenets. Apologists are lame and rc is even lamer for being not only dishonest with us but with himself. The minute he realises that his entire argument rests on propositions he deems as reasonable, his mind will implode like a red giant that’s run out of fuel. The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one, a lame apologetic hack who would lose a battle of wits with a used teabag.

  247. #247 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    @ Wowbagger #168:

    you[rc]‘re quite possibly the worst, most incompetent Christian I’ve ever encountered. Sadly, though, I doubt you’re atypical.

    I’m inclined to agree (with both parts). He(?)’s really an excellent type specimen for display purposes – and, I’d say, far too realistic to be a Poe. All the stupidity, ignorance, dishonesty and nastiness one could possibly need to observe of such a religiot, combined into one neat package.

    Aside: has anyone submitted anything of rc’s to FStDT?

  248. #248 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Kel,

    While I was being at least somewhat condescending (even for me) in my accusing rc of being a ‘closet’ atheist, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a grain of truth to it. It explains his behaviour better than anything else – the loathing of the appearance of rationality and the insistence that Silverman should have ‘expected’ what happened and so forth.

    rc is probably in a similar situation. But he doesn’t have Silverman’s courage. He’s holding on to Jesus with both hands, even though he knows that he’s getting nothing in return.

  249. #249 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Like I said before, if someone held a gun to my head I’d renounce Jesus.

    Right – because your definition of reason and morality means craven self-preservation at all costs and in any and all circumstances, even when others are suffering and being oppressed.

    And if in the same situation you don’t renounce atheism you are an extremist.

    And that’s always bad because…?

    Silverman had a gun to his head, caused chaos,

    Why don’t you read that again, and try to see how stupid it is?

    If I was a zealot in South America with Jim Jones, and suddenly came to my senses, I would find some way to get myself out, not get myself shot. That’s the only rational thing. To stand up and declare the truth is irrational. Especially if I had a family.

    What a ridiculous thing to say. The people who were shot at that airstrip didn’t jump up in the middle of a Jonestown meeting and declare the truth. (Although we can’t know what the effect of more openness there would have been; many people there, including those closest to Jones, could see that he was a drug-addled maniac long before the mass suicide). It was a compound in the wilds of Guyana patrolled by armed guards and inhabited by people without supplies or survival training. The people who were killed were leaving with a US congressman and his staff. They knew there was geat danger no matter what method of escape they tried, and the ambush is still shocking. Even before they went down there, the situation for people who tried to leave the church – especially if they had families – was difficult and fraught with peril, and included losing their children. But you would’ve had all the answers, of course, rc, and would never have been in error about the best course of action.

    And believe it or not, rc, some people do believe there are things worth suffering or even dying for. Had Galileo – unlike that deluded jerkwad Giordano Bruno, I suppose – chosen not to recant and suffered (more than he did even after caving) or been killed for defending his science and his right to propagate his ideas and findings, I would not have “cheered” him while he was dying, since I wouldn’t have been in a cheering mood, but I would have had great respect for his bravery in taking a stand. We have no way of knowing how this might have emboldened others or what the results of his standing firm might have been, in the long run, for science or the power of the Church. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t dare chastise Galileo simplistically for his choices. I prefer to read about him and the historical context to try to understand him better (and, incidentally, to understand people like Bellarmino better, rather than simply assuming them to be beyond reason).

    It was dangerous, and thus in rc’s terms super-irrational, here in the US and in Europe a century ago to openly declare that you were an anarchist. Many people did, though – “stuck their necks out” – and suffered the consequences. They did so because they thought that it was necessary for things to change, and they did create change, though the results are still taking shape. If we all behaved like rc suggests, we would live in a world ruled by irrational bullies and thugs. No thanks.

    Back to the subject at hand, a fruitful conversation can be had about the ethics of different manners of “coming out” in various contexts (is there some sort of hotline? if not, that might be useful), which would be attentive to personal and situational specifics. That conversation can’t be had with rc, however. He has issue, as they say.

  250. #250 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I can because YOU profess to use reason. Then you defend Silverman. It’s not my job to reconcile that clear disparity- it’s yours.

    Obviously if I’m the one using reason and you aren’t and I say that Silverman is being reasonable then it follows that I’m right and you are wrong. You need to use reason to make an argument; something you’ve been doing ineptly since you started posting here. If you are going to debate, you need to learn how to use the tools you are debating; that means being bound by reason for this enterprise.

    The other option is to keep posting the ignorance you have spewed all through this thread and hurt the image of Christianity in the process. We don’t take too kindly to hypocrites, and it’s that hypocrisy combined with your astounding ignorance as to why people are calling you an idiot. You don’t know, you take pride in not knowing, yet you still feel the need to dictate on those very grounds. You are an intellectually dishonest hack of a person, and I say that in the most reasonable way possible.

  251. #251 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    While I was being at least somewhat condescending (even for me) in my accusing rc of being a ‘closet’ atheist, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a grain of truth to it.

    That may be, but he really should learn something about atheism before he makes up his mind. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god, no more no less. It’s not a magic potion that makes one omniscient and ethically perfect. To act with “reason” in every decision in life is theoretically and practically impossible; theoretically impossible as there are no objective moral truths to the universe and practically impossible as there are so many situations we encounter in life that require no reasoning skills.

    It would also be wise if he took a course in ethics, where he could learn the difference between consequentialism and deontology. He could learn what logical fallacies are, how decisions are derived and that there is not one intrinsic way to look at the universe. It would also help him to not be so judgemental; to condemn someone without knowing all of the factors at play and the thought-process involved. Was Silverman’s decision based on deontological thoughts, or was it on a consequential level? If so what consequences did he weigh up and what did he find to be the overall best approach? The only person who knows that is Silverman.

    rc has a hell of a lot to learn about what he’s arguing against. He doesn’t understand atheism, he doesn’t understand morality and ethics, he doesn’t even seem to understand the teachings of his messiah. Instead he’s hobbled together a 2-bit objective and decided that all people should come to the same standards as he does. Another ignorant hack, another Liar for Jesustm, another waste of oxygen turning the internet into a dumptruck.

    If he really is a closet atheist, good luck to him. If not, good luck to him too. His life, his decisions, it would serve him well to actually hit the bible and read the teachings of Jesus. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, which in modernspeak translates to “don’t be a hypocrite”.

  252. #252 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    Aside (@ Wowbagger in #192 but also others elsewhere):

    breathing (mouth-, one assumes)

    I object to that insult. Someone who has chronically blocked nasal passages, eg through extreme allergies and infections (particularly from the days before antihistamines), such that they are habitually forced to breathe through their mouth or cease living altogether is not necessarily unintelligent, uneducated, dishonest or insane in the way that the “mouth-breather” insult presumes. It’s just one in a long line of casually inaccurate demonisations of subsets of people (such as the modern equating of “gay” with “stupid” and earlier use of “spastic” to mean much the same) which the thinking minority really shouldn’t fall for or perpetuate.

    [/end of rant about the ongoing abuse of both language and victims/hated minorities]

  253. #253 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Oh and rc really needs to drop the martyr complex thing he’s got going. Feeling sorry for Silverman or having empathy his predicament is not hero worship. Silverman is not the atheist equivalent of Jesus, he’s just another person with a story of intolerance and bigotry from members of a religion where “do good to those who harmed you” is preached from the highest hills.

  254. #254 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Actually, they say “issues.”

    Anyway, thank you to all of the extremists who made difficult choices and paid high personal costs so that I could enjoy the rights I do.

  255. #255 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god, no more no less. It’s not a magic potion that makes one omniscient and ethically perfect.

    Oh, I’m quite sure he knows that. He came here to set up a strawman of atheism against which he argue, thereby helping him in his denial – he could then tell himself how ‘atheism’ isn’t ‘rational’ at all, and that all his doubts about his theism weren’t worth considering.

    It didn’t matter what we wrote, or what our arguments were. He came here for one purpose only, and that was to try and find some reason to cling to his faith. That he found what he would call ‘irrational atheists’ might work for now, but in the long run he’s going to end up doing something similar to what Silverman did.

    However, I do hope for his sake the flock he’s leaving isn’t as hateful and malicious. I don’t wish that on anyone.

  256. #256 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    However, I do hope for his sake the flock he’s leaving isn’t as hateful and malicious. I don’t wish that on anyone.

    Stop being so morally bankrupt there Wowbagger! ;)

  257. #257 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    SEF, #252

    I object to that insult.

    Fair enough. I won’t use it again. It’s not one I’m attached to, and I’ve never really understood the etymology of it as an insult; it’s just I saw the opportunity to tack it on to the description of ‘living, breathing’ and took it.

  258. #258 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    The morality question aside, it’s interesting that rc hasn’t demonstrated in any way or even really tried to make the case that an alternative course of action would have led to a substantially different response. These people were clearly capable of going very far. I don’t know how reasonable it is to suppose that a more protracted process would have diluted their hostility or weakened their vindictive urges.

  259. #259 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    The morality question aside, it’s interesting that rc hasn’t demonstrated in any way or even really tried to make the case that an alternative course of action would have led to a substantially different response.

    Of course not… that would require using reason.

    Though someone saying they are unbounded by reason in a debate is like someone saying they are unbounded by gravity in a high-jump contest. Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

  260. #260 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    The main thing which stands out about rc (other than his afore-mentioned stupidity, ignorance, dishonesty and nastiness) is that he’s projecting.

    He’s (probably) a sociopath, lacking the observational skills or imagination to recognise that other people might be different from himself. Hence it seems obvious to him [rc] that Dan Silverman’s cohorts would be sociopaths like himself and that Dan should have found that to be obvious too. Still projecting, he’s appalled and confused that the rest of us (ie non-sociopaths) also can’t see it as having to be his way. He doesn’t get it and quite possibly can’t get it.

    Meanwhile, as a vaguely nice person himself (probably), Dan Silverman, also simplistically projecting (having only just barely started to think properly for himself), expected his (ex-)fellow religionists to secretly be vaguely nice people too, underneath the evilness of their religion (the full extent of which he’d barely begun to contemplate and comprehend).

    Note that I wouldn’t have expected Dan Silverman to be anywhere near fully rational (and I don’t see other atheists making that claim either, just rc). On the contrary, for failing to notice for so long that his religion was bogus etc, I would provisionally class him as only semi-intelligent (since it took a lot of reality rather than only a little for him to work it out). He clearly wasn’t an habitual thinker and I wouldn’t expect him to magically become one just because he’d reached a tipping point in finally noticing and rejecting the falsehoods he’d accepted and perpetuated all his life thus far. I’d expect him to go on being a bit slow.

    Incidentally, people here should probably be flattered that rc falsely equates atheism with (a high degree of) rationality as an absolute necessity. It suggests that’s mostly what he’s been seeing of atheists (and merely hasn’t the wit to work out the separation of the characteristics for himself, given their profound correlation).

  261. #261 KnockGoats
    January 4, 2009

    I think Wowbagger’s got it exactly right: what we have in rc is a closet atheist, or at most someone desperately clinging to the last shreds of belief, desperately trying to persuade himself that he would be wrong to come out. I’ll just mention a few additional pointers:

    1) rc has never specified in any detail how Silverman could have been “diplomatic”, how he could have prepared his family and associates for his apostasy. The reason is obvious: there is no way Silverman could have done so, any more than you could “diplomatically” tell your partner you no longer love them. As Wowbagger says, very likely rc is facing Silverman’s situation, and his anger is that of a person seeing no way out.

    2) One of Jesus’ most notable characteristics, according to the gospels, was that he broke up families in order to proclaim the truth. His own rather brusque treatment of his mother (John 2:4) has been unfavourably remarked upon. More obviously, he is recorded as saying:

    “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

    “Everyone who hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29)

    (In these two sayings, he is clearly also rebuking the kind of prudent self-interest rc excoriates Silverman for lacking.)

    IIRC, some of his disciples are actually recorded as abandoning their families to follow him.

    So, as “any psychologist worth his salt” would realise, rc isn’t really angry with Silverman, or with atheists: he’s angry with himself (for wanting to escape), and with Jesus.

    3) rc has said more than once that apart from the accusation of sexual abuse of a child, the fundies’ behaviour was predictable. Maybe so, but since the accusation of abuse is exactly what has made Silverman’s situation intolerable, and was the main point of the post, this is a very odd thing to say. My hunch is that rc predicts that his family and community will shun him if he leaves the closet, but does not think they will accuse him of child sexual abuse – and he’s probably right – so this aspect of the case doesn’t really engage him.

    4) A smaller but still significant indication: when rc wants to swear, he writes “f_ck”. What on earth could be the point of this? You either swear, or you don’t. Some people here do, some don’t, but no-one is going to object, so why not just write “fuck” when that’s what you mean? IIRC there are Christian rules against swearing – a convinced CHristian would not swear in writing, least of all “in front of” atheists, but is God really going to be cheated of his wrath because you substitute “_” for “u”?

    5) One more thing: rc’s use of the expression “spare me”. On the face of it addressed to an interlocutor here, but why this desperate plea?

    Well, rc, ultimately the decision is yours. If Wowbagger and I are right, you are in a most unenviable position, and one in which whatever you do, you will hurt others and feel guilt. Just don’t fool yourself either that you can go on living a lie without damaging both yourself and those you love, or that you can free yourself “diplomatically”.

  262. #262 KnockGoats
    January 4, 2009

    One more diagnostic pointer. rc has insisted, repeatedly and in the face of repeated denials, that atheists consider themselves completely rational. Then he “proves”, to his own satisfaction, that Silverman, and our attitude toward him, are irrational, hence that we’re hypocrites. Who is quicker to throw an accusation than one who knows, or half-knows, that they are themselves guilty of the fault they allege in others?

  263. #263 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    ie he’s projecting.

    Though I disagree that those who are projecting are necessarily the quickest. They are merely somewhat quick while being relatively unlikely to be correct. Whereas the highly intelligent, knowledgable and observant could easily be quicker and are far more likely to be correct but without having to have the fault in themselves at all. So I’d amend your sentence to: “Who is quicker to throw a false accusation than one who knows, or half-knows, that they are themselves guilty of the fault they allege in others?”

  264. #264 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Quite the troll last night. I noticed the way he kept defining rational was essentially to not rock the boat. To preserve life, marriage, or promises made but later regretted. Essentially RC is adverse to change. Which is sad, since the world changes daily.

  265. #265 Sastra
    January 4, 2009

    SC OM #258 wrote:

    The morality question aside, it’s interesting that rc hasn’t demonstrated in any way or even really tried to make the case that an alternative course of action would have led to a substantially different response.

    Yes, and this is a key point. A good while back I asked rc (roman catholic?) if Silverman’s wife and colleagues wouldn’t have thought it worse to pretend to believe, and continue on in hypocrisy as if nothing had happened. He didn’t really address that possibility, instead simply repeating that of course Silverman took the worst course of action.

    But lying might be worse, to them — because sooner or later they’d find out. And then they’ve really got something to be upset about, because now there’s deliberate deception involved. Unless rc thinks that they would never find out, because living a permanent lie is the right thing to do. Nothing trumps upsetting one’s family “unnecessarily.” And if you’re stupid enough to have once been a fundamentalist, you deserve whatever you get.

    The comparison he made between telling your wife that you believe in Christianity when you don’t, and telling your wife she looks fine in a dress when she doesn’t, is a strange one for a Christian to make.

  266. #266 KnockGoats
    January 4, 2009

    SEF@263,
    Yes, I accept that correction.

  267. #267 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    But lying might be worse, to them

    But if rc is stuck with only being able to project, rather than to reason and recognise that other people aren’t like him, he wouldn’t be capable of getting that (either at all or easily on his own). He’s also probably not willing to acknowledge it (if he’s sufficiently self-centred or self-deludingly dishonest).

  268. #268 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    All I can gather from rc is that he thinks that once you make a decision you must stick with it no matter what if it has any chance of affecting those around you.

  269. #269 'Tis Himself
    January 4, 2009

    I notice that after the imputation of rc’s closet atheism was made, rc disappeared. Now I realize that rc is a busy person, things to do, apostates to screw, other people to whine at, etc. And it’s probably just my suspicious mind casting unfounded surmises, but usually when a troll like rc departs, they play drama queen: “You guys are stupid meanies who are impossible to discuss things with, farewell, you’ll never see me again, harrumph!” sort of thing. The lack of a grand exit just doesn’t seem in rc’s character. I think he’d go with a bit of diplomacy.

  270. #270 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 4, 2009

    A smaller but still significant indication: when rc wants to swear, he writes “f_ck”. What on earth could be the point of this? You either swear, or you don’t.

    He probably thinks that such words are censored and tried to circumvent the censorship program. The blogs and fora he normally frequents probably all have such a thing.

    All I can gather from rc is that he thinks that once you make a decision you must stick with it no matter what if it has any chance of affecting those around you.

    Which is, again, surprisingly unlike Christianity with its emphasis on forgiveness and all.

    usually when a troll like rc departs, they play drama queen: “You guys are stupid meanies who are impossible to discuss things with, farewell, you’ll never see me again, harrumph!” sort of thing.

    You forgot “I’ll pray for you”.

  271. #271 Feynmaniac
    January 4, 2009

    I don’t claim to be governed by reason. YOU do.

    “Then on what basis do you make your argument?”

    I offer fact and observations. I don’t defend my ‘reason’, but you do. So deal with what I say in a reasonable way. You have the burden of proof, which is too bad.

    That has got to be the sleaziest debate tactic I’ve ever seen.

    ‘I don’t believe in “reason”. Therefore, I can claim whatever I want and don’t have to defend it, however you do.’

    Alright, I forgo reason. rc rapes puppies. Since I am not governed by reason I don’t have to defend or provide evidence for that claim.

  272. #272 'Tis Himself
    January 4, 2009

    rc rapes puppies.

    The puppies should have seen the rape coming. They remained in rc’s presence when he came into view. They should have known the consequences, but they still remained. Given that there were other choices that involved a far better chance of least-harm to the puppies in the situation, it is safe to say that puppies made a bad choice.

    rc, if you read this, it’s a slightly modified quote from your post 242.

  273. #273 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Emmet: “what alternative course of action do you suggest he should have taken? Lie, in other words?”

    Yes. If someone held a gun to my head, I would lie. Just like Galileo.

    Kel: “It seems his understanding is that if someone professes to use reason for a certain belief… it follows on that all decisions must be made upon reason”

    Are you implying, obliquely, that Silverman made an unreasonable decision?

    Kel: “[Atheism] is not a magic potion that makes one omniscient and ethically perfect.”

    Is this your way of squeaking out the possibility that Silverman _might_ have made a mistake? It may sound like I’m trying to rake Silverman over the coals here, but it’s just because trying to get him or other ‘free thinkers’ to fess up to their mistakes is like trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

    Kel: “It would also help [rc] to not be so judgmental; to condemn someone without knowing all of the factors at play and the thought-process involved.”

    Heh.

    Kel: “Feeling sorry for Silverman or having empathy his predicament is not hero worship.”

    Kel, meet SC,OM: “Anyway, thank you to all of the extremists who made difficult choices and paid high personal costs so that I could enjoy the rights I do.”

    Knock: “One of Jesus’ most notable characteristics, according to the gospels, was that he broke up families in order to proclaim the truth.”

    Jesus wasn’t governed by reason. I am not governed by reason. Fundies are not governed by reason. But you and Silverman are. At least you claim to be. God uses ‘the foolish things to shame the wise,’ and Jesus was murdered fo claiming to be the Son of God. Is he really the role model for reason?

    Knock: “”f_ck”. What on earth could be the point of this?”

    As I am new to this board, I mispell cuss words so the parsers and nanny-bots won’t throw out my posts. No nanny-bots, as it turns out, but it’s a habit you can find all over the web. I wonder why you ignored the obvious then jumped on this as evidence of my wanton hypocrisy?

    ‘Tis himself: “I notice that after the imputation of rc’s closet atheism was made, rc disappeared.”

    I left at two in the morning. To sleep. I wonder why you ignored the obvious then then jumped on this as evidence of my wanton hypocrisy?

    KnockGoats: “rc has never specified in any detail how Silverman could have been “diplomatic”, how he could have prepared his family and associates for his apostasy. The reason is obvious: there is no way Silverman could have done so,”

    It’s obvious? There is _no_ way? This is just a blanket justification for atheists to do anything they want to fundies.

    Since many of you believe that it is impossible to use the tools of critical thinking and cause and effect to affect a better outcome from well-known people with an admitted and demonstrated desire for order, then I wonder why any of you have deigned it appropriate to graduate to more difficult tasks, such as walking down the street.

    Many of you complain that it is absolutely impossible to proclaim atheism to fundies without their reactions going off like an atom bomb. This is an unreasonable and demonstrably false belief.

    Televangelists get fundies to do what they want every single day. Atheists even scorn fundies for their ‘groupthink’ and their ‘sheep’-ishness. Any ‘rational’ person who thinks there is no way to soften the blow to people such as these is either emotional, an extremist, or thinks that it’s ok to completely dump on your family of fifteen years just because you know know the ‘truth’.

    It’s not -either- destroy your family -or- live a lie for the rest of your life. There’s a rational middle way that anyone could at least try to find, if their emotions didn’t tell them it would be a lost cause in the first place.

  274. #274 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Feynmaniac: “I can claim whatever I want and don’t have to defend it, however you do.’”

    The point is not that I feel free to say anything I want, the point is that calling me a big stupid head doesn’t take away from the fact that Silverman is also a stupid head. He made a break for ‘reason’ and ‘free thinking,’ yet his actions were vastly destructive when they didn’t have to be. The burden of proof is on him and his fans to justify that.

    So far all I’ve seen is a rock-solid conviction that it is absolutely impossible to steer the behavior of fundies. We all know that this is untrue, but people think it’s ok to believe this and make decisions based on it. I would guess this is because of their distaste for fundies and their mid-life crisis need to hit the atheist eject button… consequences be damned.

    Fey: “Alright, I forgo reason. rc rapes puppies.”

    Hey, if it’s love, who are you to say it’s wrong?

    And you’re still not helping Silverman.

  275. #275 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    Televangelists get fundies to do what they want every single day. Atheists even scorn fundies for their ‘groupthink’ and their ‘sheep’-ishness. Any ‘rational’ person who thinks there is no way to soften the blow to people such as these[...]

    Silverman was an idiot not to just continue to run the grift on the marks, especially on his wife and kids.

  276. #276 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    The burden of proof is on him and his fans to justify that.

    No asshole, the burden of proof is always on the claimant, in this case you. Show us what he did wrong, and how he should have made the bread differently. Quit playing that we have to justify to you. You start justifying to us.

  277. #277 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Thus spoketh rc

    Jesus wasn’t governed by reason. I am not governed by reason. Fundies are not governed by reason. But you and Silverman are. At least you claim to be.

    For those of you just entering into this ‘debate’, this is the very essence of rc’s argument. Make of it what you will. It does not get any better.

  278. #278 rc
    January 4, 2009

    This board would object to me suggesting that people walk in well-lit areas during the night… because it would somehow imply that those who were assaulted in the dark had it coming.

  279. #279 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, if you have a point, make it. Otherwise, time to go home to your teddy bear and take several shots of your favorite libation.

  280. #280 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Nerd, do you think that rc could be an example of the ill willed fool?

  281. #281 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Well, Janine, he certainly isn’t a well meaning fool like PR. Or a pompous fool like RB. Ill willed fool certainly would fit the bill.

  282. #282 'Tis Himself
    January 4, 2009

    I’ve noticed that in over a dozen posts rc hasn’t told us what Silverman should have done. rc claims that what Silverman did was wrong, irrational, and guaranteed to piss off his wife and ex-pastor. But there’s nary a word about how Silverman should have dealt with the situation “diplomatically.”

    I left at two in the morning. To sleep. I wonder why you ignored the obvious then then jumped on this as evidence of my wanton hypocrisy?

    Because, by your own admission, you are irrational. So any guess as to what you were doing and your motivation for doing it is as good as any other guess. You did notice that I gave a rational reason for your possible actions.

  283. #283 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Ken: “Silverman was an idiot not to just continue to run the grift on the marks, especially on his wife and kids.”

    Anything less than an instant and unilateral spilling of the beans (no matter the cost) is just not enough for you extremists. This attitude is the mark of an ideologue, not of a ‘free thinker.’

    Nerd: “No asshole”

    Oh my God! I don’t have an asshole! Whatever shall I do? I can’t exactly go fuck myself, now can I?

    Nerd: “The burden of proof is always on the claimant,”

    Myers is the claimant. He claims Silverman’s plight is the result of the reactions of intolerant people. He ignores the reality that Silverman himself caused most of this chaos by being an idiot.

    Janine: “For those of you just entering into this ‘debate’, this is the very essence of rc’s argument.”

    It’s just my defense against people calling me an idiot. It’s possible that I am an idiot AND Silverman is an idiot. Attacks on me do not justify why his stupid behavior is hailed by ‘free thinkers’ the world over.

    I’m just a guy on the interwebs, and while I would be embarassed if someone threw a parade for me, Silverman is taking his stupid actions and making himself a web-martyr.

    And you guys are lapping it up because you can’t get past your dislike for fundies. Silverman was a fundie for fifteen years and was integral in, responsible for, and aware of his environment. Yet he screwed up royally, and you guys absolve him.

    Silverman is discarding responsibility, then using atheism as his emotional escape hatch.

  284. #284 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Using the “methinks he doth protest too much” principal, I would guess that RC is trapped somehow. Whether it be a bad marriage, bad job, or loss of faith he can’t face, I can’t say. He just feels trapped because he worries too much what other people think.

  285. #285 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Thus spake rc:

    Yes. If someone held a gun to my head, I would lie. Just like Galileo.

    That’s not what I asked.

    You think it’s OK for an atheist to masquerade as a Christian pastor to avoid the negative reactions from friends, family, and community that would result from his being honest. I did think that people here were over-analysing you a bit, but now I’m not so sure. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that living that kind of lie is OK unless he is trying to justify something very similar to himself.

  286. #286 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, until you present how Silverman should have handled his break differently, we cannot have a discussion. From your end it is a void.

  287. #287 KnockGoats
    January 4, 2009

    Yes. If someone held a gun to my head, I would lie. – rc

    This is absurd: having a gun held to your head is not a situation you expect to continue for years. Having to live a lie for the rest of your life is quite incomparable.

    Jesus wasn’t governed by reason. I am not governed by reason. Fundies are not governed by reason. But you and Silverman are. At least you claim to be.

    No we fucking well don’t claim that, you piece of lying filth. You’ve repeated this brazen, barefaced, outright lie time after time after time, despite being told repeatedly it is untrue. Sodding can it, you despicable little shit.

    I wonder why you ignored the obvious then jumped on this as evidence of my wanton hypocrisy?

    Because you’d given so much evidence of hypocrisy already, it was the obvious hypothesis.

    It’s not -either- destroy your family -or- live a lie for the rest of your life. There’s a rational middle way that anyone could at least try to find, if their emotions didn’t tell them it would be a lost cause in the first place.

    I see you make no attempt whatever to describe this “rational middle way”.

  288. #288 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    Ken: “Silverman was an idiot not to just continue to run the grift on the marks, especially on his wife and kids.”

    Anything less than an instant and unilateral spilling of the beans (no matter the cost) is just not enough for you extremists. This attitude is the mark of an ideologue, not of a ‘free thinker.’

    A (dishonest, natch) false dichotomy. Your suggestion, “So far all I’ve seen is a rock-solid conviction that it is absolutely impossible to steer the behavior of fundies. We all know that this is untrue, but people think it’s ok to believe this and make decisions based on it,” is to lie to and manipulate them. With any sophistication at all, rc might make a Straussian argument, but it just comes down to demanding that Silverman behave like the same kind of sociopath that rc clearly is.

    I would guess this is because of their distaste for fundies and their mid-life crisis need to hit the atheist eject button… consequences be damned.

    So, rc is painting Silverman as having a shallow moment of loathing for his fellow-creatures and became an atheist for reasons as frivolous as suddenly buying a sports car, just because he hated fundies.

  289. #289 'Tis Himself
    January 4, 2009
    It’s not -either- destroy your family -or- live a lie for the rest of your life. There’s a rational middle way that anyone could at least try to find, if their emotions didn’t tell them it would be a lost cause in the first place.

    I see you make no attempt whatever to describe this “rational middle way”.

    Of course rc makes no attempt to describe this “rational middle way.” rc brags that he’s irrational. By definition he cannot give a rational answer to a problem, particularly a real life problem.

  290. #290 mayhempix
    January 4, 2009

    Looks like I missed the party. By the time I got to Wowbagger’s analysis I was coming to the same conclusions. rc’s anger at Silverman reminds of how men were supposed to be stoic, “suck it up” and stay the course. To not do so was considered to be a traitor to male virtue.

    Part of Christian mythology is to suffer in silence and accept one’s plight as God’s will. It’s the idea that the choices made by the free will God granted us means we are eternally chained to “bad” choices and seeking God’s redemption is the only true freedom. Of course this type of rationale developed when people in much smaller populations were stigmatized and punished by the dominate culture and had no other choice but to suffer in silence… there were no other alternatives… so there was a sort of heroism in enduring the present and the reward would come after death, ie Christ’s suffering on the cross.

    rc is suffering but convinced himself the right course of action is to stay the course and be a Christian even though he sees the irrationality of it and justifies it by conflating the social and religious contracts with others, no matter how restrictive or irrational, as somehow more paramount than freeing one self, chips fall where they may. To him that is being “rational”. He lashes out at Silverman and us because to accept Silverman’s decision and our empathy with it means his construct for suffering completely falls apart, and since he is already so close that edge he is determined to protect his confinement by declaring Silverman, and by proxy us (read:atheists), as irrational. He cloaks all this by insisting Silverman had other avenues to pursue which he neither presents or explains.

    rc is having an existential crisis of Camusian proportions.

  291. #291 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Tis himself: “I’ve noticed that in over a dozen posts rc hasn’t told us what Silverman should have done.”

    I shouldn’t have to. Many people imply that I don’t say just because there’s absolutely nothing Silverman could have done to improve the situation. But the truth is, he created a deliberate trainwreck. I continue to describe his decision as isolated, sudden, out of character. People respond by saying that he sought advice on the web for a few months, completely ignoring that this guy is a fundy with a fifteen year pedigree. As though that’s sufficient planning for the change ahead of him.

    Seek trusted counsel before you make the biggest choice of your life. Begin to involve your wife, who up to this point, made all the big decisions for him (according to Silverman). Involve your pastor, don’t _inform_ him. Fifteen years of experience says that he involves and works with these people while making decisions.

    The toughest part about a change like this is that those who have staked over fifteen years of trust in him are afraid they are going to lose it all, not just their husband’s belief in God. A radical change like this makes people afraid. Mitigate these fears by finding common ground and assure folks that despite your new beliefs, you’ll still do your best, as you can, to provide for your family and raise your kids with integrity. He claims on his weblog to desire this, but it takes a long time for people to listen and begin to understand.

    This certainly wouldn’t be enough for fundies, but it would be something. But instead of taking a route that acknowledges his past mistakes and responsibilities, he just said ‘fuck it.’ He may claim that all that changed was his belief in God, but with his actions he reveals a callousness that is not the mark of a responsible person. He hit the atheist eject button.

    His wife is willing to get him thrown in jail to save their marriage and protect her kids. He could have steered some of that zeal in a positive direction. How many fundies have functional marriages? Lots. And they’re a lot better for everyone involved. He could have engineered a transition and reassured the people around him. People’s need for stability, their love for him, and their fifteen year investment in him would all conjure strong motivations to find a way to make things work (or at least to work better than ‘fuck you all) Silverman didn’t do shit, save to say ‘I’ve changed. Deal with it.’ This is not responsible or admirable behavior.

  292. #292 Ken Cope
    January 4, 2009

    His wife is willing to get him thrown in jail to save their marriage and protect her kids.

    How, er, noble of her?

  293. #293 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Many of you complain that it is absolutely impossible to proclaim atheism to fundies without their reactions going off like an atom bomb. This is an unreasonable and demonstrably false belief.

    Who said that? (The only quote you gave was about preparing them for the news.) It’s been explained to you numerous times that no one here idolizes this guy. He acted like a human being who was doing something brave, but a human being nonetheless – without perfect foresight, without a lot of support, and no doubt with strong emotions about his decision (what makes you find emotions so detestable?). You’ve been asked numerous times to specify what alternative course of action you think (in hindsight, of course – always easier that way) would have been morally superior and/or elicited a fundamentally different response, and to defend such a claim (which, not knowing the people involved, you really can’t do). Stop putting words in people’s mouths.

    Any ‘rational’ person who thinks there is no way to soften the blow to people such as these is either emotional, an extremist, or thinks that it’s ok to completely dump on your family of fifteen years just because you know know the ‘truth’.

    It’s not -either- destroy your family -or- live a lie for the rest of your life. There’s a rational middle way that anyone could at least try to find, if their emotions didn’t tell them it would be a lost cause in the first place.

    He did not destroy his family by coming out as an atheist, and you don’t and can’t know what the longer-term consequences – for his children, for his community, or more broadly – of his “living in truth,” to borrow from Havel, will be.

    Again, there is a worthwhile discussion to be had about the ethics and suitability of different paths of coming out as an atheist, particularly when there are children involved. But in order to have a reasonable discussion of this, the participants have to understand that they’re talking about human beings (everyone – not just atheists). You are unable or unwilling to do this. You simply repeat the same silly accusations over and over.

    Kel: “Feeling sorry for Silverman or having empathy his predicament is not hero worship.”

    Kel, meet SC,OM: “Anyway, thank you to all of the extremists who made difficult choices and paid high personal costs so that I could enjoy the rights I do.”

    WTF??? I was referring to the people who have stood up for freedom and justice throughout history, whom you would have had keep their noses down so as not to cause any ripples. I don’t worship them, and I can admire and be grateful to them while feeling sympathy for them in the difficult choices they made. In fact, it is recognizing that people are flawed and don’t always know how their actions will turn out and have to weigh many different moral considerations that forms the basis of a real admiration. But this again requires recognizing people’s fundamental humanity, and this you seem unable to do. For you, fundamentalists can be coddled but are incapable of overcoming their irrationality, while atheists are some kind of hyper-rational and self-preserving robots. So much the worse for you.

    If this concerns you so much, for whatever reason, you should maybe read up on people’s fundamentalist coming-out stories or find any research that has been done in this area. Perhaps we could find clues to general ways of approaching this that seem to “work” better for the person coming out and for others involved.

  294. #294 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, in other words, work with pastor in spite of being an atheist. Not a trusted council. The last resort in my opinion. Get real.

    Let his wife know? Guess what, the results would have been the same. The brainwashed cannot have anyone defect without punishment. She would have made him suffer, not to save the marriage, but just out of spite. Just ask Patricia. Get real.

    His actions reveal nothing but a guy who changed his belief in god. The actions of alleged christians give all christians a bad name. Condemn those actions. Get real.

    Atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in gods. I’ve found that atheist tend to be nicer people overall, since they actually practice the golden rule. Unlike yourself for your sanctimonious posts.

  295. #295 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    This board would object to me suggesting that people walk in well-lit areas during the night… because it would somehow imply that those who were assaulted in the dark had it coming.

    can’t walk in well lit areas if there aren’t any. the point is that you keep insisting that there’s some magical way to “soften the blow”, whereas the rest of us, fully capable of using our brains, know that for certain things, there just isn’t a delicate way of doing it. you can’t divorce someone nicely; you can’t come out as gay to your religious family delicately; you can’t tell your religious family you aren’t religious anymore delicately. there’s reasonable but still painful ways of doing it, and then there’s the asshole way of doing it (which I’ve mentioned in my first post already), but there is no delicate way of doing it

    there is only one way in which he could have (temporarily) prevented what happened: living a lie

    but it seems you are also confusing “rational” with “cowardly”. those two don’t usually correspond

    we’ve already explained to you that we think Silverman’s actions were and continue to be pretty naive, but they weren’t really very irrational. he was being a human, not the calculating robot you claim all atheists are supposed to be.

    lastly, there’s things worth dying for, and the people who have are heroes. Silverman is not among those, but we do feel sympathy for him.

  296. #296 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Emmit: “You think it’s OK for an atheist to masquerade as a Christian pastor to avoid the negative reactions from friends, family, and community that would result from his being honest.”

    God forbid he provide some kind of consistency, transition, or real explanation in the face of turning from fifteen years of depended-upon and deep-seated behavior. After fifteen years, with a wife and kids, honesty must be addressed very carefully and very gradually- because of the promises and commitments and reliances that have been built over a lifetime.

    The family’s predictable negative response is the result of his dropping an emotional a-bomb. When making critical life choices, it is vital to seek counsel (not on the web, real counsel), make a plan to address the feelings and needs of others, to reassure them that you will still live up to your responsibilities as best you can, to create an understandable context for your children to cope with the change, to involve those in leadership concerning ways to mitigate damage to the institution you’ve devoted yourself to for fifteen years, to create a timeline for transition, to allow people to express their feelings and worries, to involve them in steps to ease the transition, to prove with your actions that you are still emotionally receptive to their feelings and needs…

    The list is long because Silverman did none of these things, hence the meltdown. Don’t cite his lame ass efforts- they clearly weren’t even close to sufficient and he admits this.

    I’m not mad at Silverman because he spoke the ‘truth’, I’m mad because he’s irresponsible and hides behind ‘reason’ He blames the people he swore oaths to- he claims to be astonished that they would feel betrayed.

    Silverman was selfish and emotional. I feel bad for him, but his behavior upsets me. It would upset many others, too, if they weren’t so quick to cheer for your team.

  297. #297 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, what are you hiding from your family and friends, but are afraid to change? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing these sanctimonious posts of yours.

    Living a lie is always bad. Ask any mental health professional. But that seems to be your addle minded solution.

  298. #298 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    Since I asked it of Patricia on another thread, I’ll ask it of Dan Silverman here:

    Can you identify what factors finally, after such a long time of being religious, pushed you to the point of noticing that your religion was bogus? With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything which might have caused you to notice sooner? Eg was there some evidence of reality or logical argument you weren’t seeing before (including it being deliberately hidden from you previously, by other members of your religion, or you selectively tuning it out).

  299. #299 PZ Myers
    January 4, 2009

    This is getting ridiculous.

    As has been said multiple times now, no one has been making Silverman out to be a hero or a saint.

    He did the right thing by coming out directly about his changed philosophy. There was nothing to be gained from living a lie.

    If, somehow, I became a theist, I would think* I would simply tell my family about it. We do have years of trust, as has been mentioned, and that goes both ways — I would trust them enough to talk about it, my wife would trust me enough to not conspire to run away with the kids. That’s how trust really works, you know.

    *Traumatic brain injury might interfere with that intention, of course.

  300. #300 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    His wife is willing to get him thrown in jail to save their marriage and protect her kids. He could have steered some of that zeal in a positive direction.

    Zeal? What? Wow. Yes, definitely a marriage you’d want to hold together.

    At the very least, rc has finally put into words some of his ideas for how he believes this should’ve been handled. Unfortunately for him, and leaving aside once again the possibly gross inaccuracy of his portrayal of the actions actually taken, he can’t make a case for these steps necessarily having led to a different outcome. (Not to mention that above he was talking explicitly about lying.)

    But since rc is so fixated on methods of delivery, a word of advice: If you had shown up here and posted a comment like “I can’t help but think some of the problems may have been due to his abrupt break, and that this, this, and this alternatives might have softened the blow and led to a less explosive situation, based upon my knowledge of…or experience with…” rather than building strawmen and insulting people for views they don’t even hold, you would probably have received a much more positive response, which could potentially have led to a productive discussion. But, as I said above, you have issues.

  301. #301 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc,

    I read everything there was to read about this online, and I can’t see how any of your detailed assertions about what he did and didn’t do, why he did or didn’t do them, how he felt, and what his motivations were could possibly be supported. I suspect you’re making a huge number of assumptions, have first-hand knowledge of, and a vested interest in, the case, or are projecting your own situation onto his in an attempt to justify to yourself why you’ve procrastinated for so long in being honest with those close to you about something you know will be difficult for them to accept.

  302. #302 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    rc are you married?

    Were?

    never?

  303. #303 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc – No, I would not lie to avoid shunning again. As painful as it is to receive letters from some family members concerning me going to hell, where I look forward to meeting you by the way, I will not recant.

    I suspect you have a strong reason for being here and fighting so hard. You’re actually the best troll we’ve had in weeks. Anyone that can exasperate poor Janine into calling them a damned stupid son of a bitch has real stamina. She’s right of course.

  304. #304 PZ Myers
    January 4, 2009

    His wife is willing to get him thrown in jail to save their marriage and protect her kids.

    Wait, you see that as a sacrifice she is making? I think if I said I was willing to send my wife to jail to protect my marriage, people would realize that I was a cowardly cad, and rather stupid to boot.

  305. #305 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    Plus that isn’t an attempt to save the marriage, that’s purely meant as punishment / retribution.

    Which I thought was obvious, apparently not to rc.

  306. #306 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    oh my, your entire post #291 is a giant pile of Fail. let’s take it step by step:

    Tis himself: “I’ve noticed that in over a dozen posts rc hasn’t told us what Silverman should have done.”

    I shouldn’t have to.

    actually, yes you should. you made the claim, you have to prove it. that’s the rules of the game

    Many people imply that I don’t say just because there’s absolutely nothing Silverman could have done to improve the situation. But the truth is, he created a deliberate trainwreck.

    prove his deliberateness in getting himself accused of sexual assault, or STFU.

    I continue to describe his decision as isolated, sudden, out of character. People respond by saying that he sought advice on the web for a few months, completely ignoring that this guy is a fundy with a fifteen year pedigree. As though that’s sufficient planning for the change ahead of him.
    Seek trusted counsel before you make the biggest choice of your life.

    you missed the part where he sought help from his co-religionists first, and that the problems with fundie-ism have been bubbling up for years. there was nothing sudden or uncounseled about the whole thing. here’s a direct quote from his blog:
    “Over the past several years, as I served Christ, I felt more and more restricted, more and more bound. I found myself sleeping less and wanting to get out of what I was doing.”

    Begin to involve your wife, who up to this point, made all the big decisions for him (according to Silverman). Involve your pastor, don’t _inform_ him. Fifteen years of experience says that he involves and works with these people while making decisions.

    how do you “involve” someone in a process that’s by definition solitary? anyway, how would that have softened the blow? how would that not have resulted it shunning and distrust by his family? the truth is that it wouldn’t be, and that his wife would not have helped him in his questions either, nor would she have (in hindsight) accepted the “devil inside her house” any better.

    The toughest part about a change like this is that those who have staked over fifteen years of trust in him are afraid they are going to lose it all, not just their husband’s belief in God. A radical change like this makes people afraid. Mitigate these fears by finding common ground and assure folks that despite your new beliefs, you’ll still do your best, as you can, to provide for your family and raise your kids with integrity. He claims on his weblog to desire this, but it takes a long time for people to listen and begin to understand.

    neither his family nor his pastor gave him a chance to explain anything. they immediately jumped him for his unbelief. for them, that was the crux. it turns out it didn’t really matter to them whether he was abandoning his other responsibilities or not. they REMOVED him from his other responsibilities because he abandoned the belief. they do clearly do not want him to continue to care for his family, unless he returns to the faith.

    This certainly wouldn’t be enough for fundies, but it would be something. But instead of taking a route that acknowledges his past mistakes and responsibilities, he just said ‘fuck it.’ He may claim that all that changed was his belief in God, but with his actions he reveals a callousness that is not the mark of a responsible person. He hit the atheist eject button.

    once more, for the extra-slow. HE didn’t shun his responsibilities, his wife removed those responsibilities from him because she didn’t want him around unless he was a Christian. Seems that Faith is more important to them than anything else.

    His wife is willing to get him thrown in jail to save their marriage and protect her kids.

    that has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. She may well be trying to protect her children (from him), but the only way she’d consider the marriage saved is if he returned to belief.

    He could have steered some of that zeal in a positive direction.

    humans aren’t robots, they can’t be steered that easily, especially against their will.

    How many fundies have functional marriages? Lots. And they’re a lot better for everyone involved.

    actually, no. fundie christians have one of the highest divorce rates, their relationships are too often repressive or downright abusive, and society (especially the children) do not benefit from such homes.

    He could have engineered a transition and reassured the people around him. People’s need for stability, their love for him, and their fifteen year investment in him would all conjure strong motivations to find a way to make things work (or at least to work better than ‘fuck you all) Silverman didn’t do shit, save to say ‘I’ve changed. Deal with it.’ This is not responsible or admirable behavior.

    psychology fail. the faith is the single most important issue here, and as the wife stated, unless he returned to the faith, he’d be better off dead. the stability they desire is the stability of unchanging faith. the love was not for a person, but for a figure of the faith, the 15 year investment in the personal relationship was destroyed primarily by the wife who removed him from the family. yes, his decision was heart-breaking. yes, there’s bad consequences. but living a lie was indeed the only option that would have satisfied those for whom the loss of his belief is the only issue at stake here.

  307. #307 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    that’s purely meant as punishment / retribution

    … of the petty and vindictive sort – and, quite unsurprisingly, just like the imaginary god she worships (that god being merely another aspect of projection behaviour). So, obvious to an intelligent, well-educated, observant, honest and sane outsider; but not to a stupid, ignorant, inobservant, dishonest (including self-deceiving) and potentially insane religionist (as rc quite possibly is), nor to someone still only barely crawling over the fuzzy dividing line towards the better educated and more honest side (as Dan Silverman would have to be).

  308. #308 KnockGoats
    January 4, 2009

    When making critical life choices, it is vital to seek counsel (not on the web, real counsel), make a plan to address the feelings and needs of others, to reassure them that you will still live up to your responsibilities as best you can, to create an understandable context for your children to cope with the change, to involve those in leadership concerning ways to mitigate damage to the institution you’ve devoted yourself to for fifteen years, to create a timeline for transition, to allow people to express their feelings and worries, to involve them in steps to ease the transition, to prove with your actions that you are still emotionally receptive to their feelings and needs
    - rc

    Some of these things make sense in this case (e.g. making a plan to address the feelings and needs of others); others do not (e.g. “involve those in leadership concerning ways to mitigate the damage”, and “involve them in steps to ease the transition”), because the latter would require Silverman to admit he had lost his faith – and if his account of the facts is honest (which you have not questioned) it is clear from the results when he did so, that all cooperation with him would have ceased from that point: he became enemy; others again (getting real-world counselling) we don’t know – he would probably have had to lie either about receiving it, or his reasons for it. At some point, he had to reveal his loss of faith; and there is nothing to suggest that the reaction from his wife and church would have been any different, whatever he had done beforehand.

    Contrary to your repeated claims, no-one here, I think, has hailed him as a hero; simply as a man deserving sympathy in his plight (again, if his account is true). Perhaps, indeed, he could have done better – but if you have ever been in a situation where you have spent months or years fighting down your doubts about a commitment you have made, you will know one’s judgement is not likely to be at its best when your inner resistance to admitting your true feelings finally gives way.

    What remains unexplained – except by the hypothesis Wowbagger put forward – is your motivation – why you are so eager to blame him, and to come to this blog to excoriate atheists and lie about what they claim about themselves, while exculpating his accusers “because they are fundies”.

  309. #309 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    SEF – Oh, I beg your pardon. Did I not answer you? Sometimes I go to bed, or wander off twirling and loose track of what threads I was on. My husband calls that Prof. Trelawney moments.

  310. #310 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    reading your latest post makes me think the previous posters are indeed right. you’re justifying your own lying about something, or are pathetically weak and want people to lie to you so you don’t ever have to face reality. it kind of reminds me of that sappy song of the heart-broken girl who begs her boyfriend to lie to her and tell her he loves her :-/

  311. #311 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    People’s need for stability, their love for him, and their fifteen year investment in him would all conjure strong motivations to find a way to make things work

    No, obviously they did not. If that was the case, she wouldn’t have handled it the way she did. Instead she went off the deep end displaying some seriously strange behavior for someone who should have the investment you point to.

  312. #312 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Posted by: Jadehawk | January 4, 2009

    it kind of reminds me of that sappy song of the heart-broken girl who begs her boyfriend to lie to her and tell her he loves her :-/

    Or when Wesley asks Illyria to appear as Fred and says “Lie to me.”

    Yeah, I am a geek. Is that news?

  313. #313 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Okay, wrapping up here.

    Myers responded. “He did the right thing by coming out directly about his changed philosophy. There was nothing to be gained from living a lie.”

    I disagree on both counts.

    “I would trust them enough to talk about it, my wife would trust me enough to not conspire to run away with the kids.”

    Thankfully, this disaster would not happen to Myers. But it did to Silverman, and he saw it coming. Imply all you like that his choices were to either immediately blurt, or to live his entire life as a lie.

    Jadehawk contends that there is no way to divorce well, come out well, or renounce belief well. Yet I have seen them all done well, in nonideal circumstances. I’m sure that you have, too.

  314. #314 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    actually I believe that conversation went

    “Would you like me to lie to you now?”
    “Yes”

    at least he had a good excuse. he was dying.

  315. #315 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, divorce only comes out well if both people work at it. You should know that. Silverman’s wife wasn’t interested in working it out. What part of that are you having trouble with.

    And what are you hiding?

  316. #316 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    rc, you still don’t get it. there is a way do do all of those without major drama, but not without hurt. that however requires both sides to remain remotely rational. there’s no way to do any of them without hurt, and there’s no way to do them without major drama when even just one side is irrational. his wife has shown herself to be VERY irrational, hence no drama-free solution was possible.

  317. #317 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    What KnockGoats said @ #308.

  318. #318 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    someone who should have the investment you point to

    The investment, or vested interest, she revealed she actually had instead was to the religion (ie in securing the delusion which fed her own demands to be special). Religionists vaunt faith over reason, fantasy over reality, emotionality over rationality and style over substance (eg in whinging about being insulted rather than addressing substantive issues). She quite possibly only ever had a shallow marriage, in which the important part to her was her status in being attached to a pillar of the religious community (the fantasy image) rather than in having a loving and honest relationship with a nice but all-too-real person.

  319. #319 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc – In the end it is the wife who is guilty of not being a True Christian.

    I urge you to study again 1 Corinthians 7. Especially verses 13 – 16.

    You have lost your case.

  320. #320 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Jadehawk, you are right about the quote.

  321. #321 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    Sometimes I … loose track of what threads I was on.

    Somewhat appropriately, it was on the “old, senile” thread. :-D

  322. #322 Janine, Vile Bitch
    January 4, 2009

    Having a slutty ex fundie around has its uses.

    Hi Patricia!

  323. #323 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    I just visited the exchristian.net site, looked around quickly, and was surprised not to find anything – on the site itself or through links – to assist people through the actual process of deconverting. I know organizations and sites exist to counsel people through important and emotional transitions that involve other people – having a sex change, coming out as gay, etc., in all different sorts of circumstances, giving advice on how to talk to people, things to think about, things to beware of… I think a basic part of “encouraging” religious people to take this step is providing practical tools for and advice on how to go about doing so.

  324. #324 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Janine, yep! Come sit by me and we can sing slutty songs while we wait to see if rc will admit he’s reached the game over point and retire gracefully from the field of honor.

    If he doesn’t we can make faces at him and laugh.

  325. #325 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Patricia: “You’re actually the best troll we’ve had in weeks.”

    Weeks? That’s it?

    This post is me winding down. I came here and I was rewarded with an emotional release over a boring weekend. Thanks guys. I’m serious.

    I came to the table with some very realistic expectations for this discussion, and I got all I wanted (or most, I guess).

    I sincerely think that a tendency to devalue the consequences of past actions, and a desire to heap blame on fundies has concealed wiser options from Silverman and his defenders.

    Jadehawk: “you’re justifying your own lying about something,”

    It may amaze you that I don’t come to the web for absolution or approval. But I do get a troll-born thrill when supposedly adult folks melt down. And compare the levels of invective before you dismiss me as a troll… and spare me psychological diagnoses. Physician, self,blah blah.

    Honestly, I wish I could have made my points better, had avoided misunderstanding more, had not overreached, had clamped down on the invective… but that’s not what makes the internet fun, and no rational person would really expect to convince anyone on the _internet_.

    SC,OM: “I just visited the exchristian.net site,… I think a basic part of “encouraging” religious people to take this step is providing practical tools for and advice on how to go about doing so.”

    I would venture that this is the one productive thought on this thread. I will now declare myself an irrational asshole if that helps push this one practical thought to the fore. Present thought says that changing beliefs must result in maximum chaos. But maybe there’s a better way…

  326. #326 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 4, 2009

    I will now declare myself an irrational asshole if that helps push this one practical thought to the fore.

    Either way, it’d be refreshing honesty ;o)

  327. #327 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Are you implying, obliquely, that Silverman made an unreasonable decision?

    No, I’m saying that we shouldn’t expect someone to make the absolute perfect decision given that man is not omniscient. Whether he did the best possible action, only he can decide.

    Is this your way of squeaking out the possibility that Silverman _might_ have made a mistake? It may sound like I’m trying to rake Silverman over the coals here, but it’s just because trying to get him or other ‘free thinkers’ to fess up to their mistakes is like trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

    No, again I’m saying that Silverman is human. You entire argument here is a straw-man attack, and you are doing it again in this post. Look up what atheism is and find the bit that says everything has to be the absolute perfect reasonable decision. The only one who is claiming that is you.

    It’s amazing how immune to reason you actually are. You still can’t see how hypocritical you truly are. You are still saying he did the wrong thing and still working on a version of consequentialism. Why is that right? Why don’t rights and duties come into play? Why don’t we use can’t categorical imperative? What about the golden rule of ethics? You haven’t made the case that what you feel is a reasonable approach is indeed reasonable. Instead you just keep asserting that because Silverman didn’t come to your standards then he’s acting extreme. You hypocrite!

  328. #328 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I sincerely think that a tendency to devalue the consequences of past actions, and a desire to heap blame on fundies has concealed wiser options from Silverman and his defenders.

    Without reason, how can you define what a wiser option is? You are a hypocrite of massive proportions!

  329. #329 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Sometimes there is no best option or way to do things. You just do them and live with the consequences if you are a responsible adult. Too many people in this country are not responsible adults, and are quick to blame others when no blame should be issued. In a sect like fundy community, you are either part of it or out of it. They allow no middle ground.

  330. #330 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    That’s meant to say Kant’s Categorical Imperative. But either way the point still stands, rc has made no effort at all to justify why he sees consequentialism and his narrow interpretation of that as the only reasonable outcome, that to act against what rc says is reasonable to be extreme.

  331. #331 'Tis Himself
    January 4, 2009

    Honestly, I wish I could have made my points better, had avoided misunderstanding more, had not overreached, had clamped down on the invective.

    The invective wasn’t a problem, except when you complained about getting insults while being sweetness and light. However your other faults were real problems. Saying “Silverman caused his own predicament” is only reasonable if you say “Instead, he should have done X, Y or Z.” Since you failed to offer any solution, even hindsight solutions, your comments about Silverman were basically whines.

  332. #332 Monado
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger at 194 wins the thread!

    Oh, and rc: Pot. Kettle Black.

  333. #333 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Poor sportsmanship rc.
    Consider yourself banned from the spanking couch.

  334. #334 rc
    January 4, 2009

    SC,OM: “I just visited the exchristian.net site,… I think a basic part of “encouraging” religious people to take this step is providing practical tools for and advice on how to go about doing so.”

    I would venture that this is the one productive thought on this thread. I will now declare myself an irrational asshole if that helps push this one practical thought to the fore. Present thought says that changing beliefs must result in maximum chaos. But maybe there’s a better way…

    Emmit: “Either way, it’d be refreshing honesty ;o)”
    ;o)

    Patricia: “Consider yourself banned form the spanking couch.” :(

  335. #335 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, you never told us what your problem is. Come on now, don’t be bashful.

    If you are going to go, just go. We will get the last word, as always.

  336. #336 mayhempix
    January 4, 2009

    rc “… and spare me psychological diagnoses. Physician, self,blah blah.”

    This from the guy who thought he completely understand Silverman’s psychological state of mind and diagnosed him as irrational.

    Sometimes things appear obvious because they are obvious.

  337. #337 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    This from the guy who thought he completely understand Silverman’s psychological state of mind and diagnosed him as irrational.

    Don’t forget it was at the same time he said he wasn’t bound by rationality and hasn’t justified why what Silverman did was irrational. ;)

  338. #338 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Is rc a christfag?

  339. #339 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Well RC has been hiding something. One speculation of mine is that he is gay, but was/is married and doesn’t want to alienate people, rather that be honest, come out, and let the chips fall where they may. Hence the anger at someone who did that.

  340. #340 rc
    January 4, 2009

    post 334

  341. #341 Marc Abian
    January 4, 2009

    Hmmm…

    rc says

    In his story and on his blog, Silverman details how his wife’s reactions were very consistant and in character.

    But the blog says

    My wife’s reaction was even more surprising.

    I was shocked. Here was the woman I was married to for 15 years praying that God would kill me.

    but, but, doesn’t that mean rc is an idiot?

  342. #342 speedwell
    January 4, 2009

    Shorter rc:

    “Silverman knew it was going to happen and deliberately brought it about, so he’s responsible, and furthermore is an idiot for bringing it on himself. But it isn’t his fault.”

  343. #343 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    but, but, doesn’t that mean rc is an idiot?

    One of several reasons why.

  344. #344 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    I put the fault at the hands of the Fundies, who are either “with us or agin us”. Bad Fundies.

  345. #345 speedwell
    January 4, 2009

    Consider me one vote for banning rc on the grounds of stupidity, wanking, trolling, and slagging. I think you’ve made a good case for sociopathy as well. This blithering creep will never, can never, make a functioning, contributive, commenter.

  346. #346 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I’m blaming rc for all of this. He’s an adult so he’s responsible for everyone else’s actions. And he should have known that his actions would cause Silverman’s loved ones to wish death upon him.

    Makes about as much sense as blaming Silverman tbh

  347. #347 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC should have the cojones to just leave. That is, if he takes responsibility for his actions. Then again, based on his night light mentality….

  348. #348 speedwell
    January 4, 2009

    Shorter shorter rc:

    “Bitch had it coming.”

  349. #349 Feynmaniac
    January 4, 2009

    This thread can be summed up easily:

    ***RC MODE ***

    1. Assert everyone is “worshiping” Silverman simply because he is an atheist

    2. Say Silverman fucked up

    3. When asked for evidence or proof or alternatives courses of action Silverman could have taken just proclaim you’re not required to provide them.

    Repeat 400 times

    *** END RC MODE ***

  350. #350 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Nerd: “RC, you never told us what your problem is.”

    My problem is that you are right. Oh, so right. And my little brain can’t stand it.

    That, and you think that since you know I am damaged that you can lord it over my head. Jerk. I don’t even know you. You don’t even know me.

    Oh and thanks for the porn spam, whoever you are. I totally respect you guys now.

    mayhempix: “Sometimes things appear obvious because they are obvious.”

    Agreed. I’m a jerk. Silverman’s an idiot. QED.

    Kel: “I’m blaming rc for all of this.”
    Takes two to tango.

    Now the question becomes, can you turn your voracious little internet tough guy appetites toward doing something constructive? I offer to capitulate, and old master of logic Kel responds by questioning my sexuality.

    SC,OM has a good idea, and I gave you a nice little incentive for discussing it. I’m the only one who recognized this. The rest of you are too busy calling me gay and sending me porn.

    SC,OM: “I think a basic part of “encouraging” religious people to take this step is providing practical tools for and advice on how to go about doing so.”

  351. #351 bastion of sass
    January 4, 2009

    At #185, rc wrote:

    You insist on talking about religion, and it helps my point, so here goes. In Christian theology, God didn’t just say aw, that’s ok. No, his only son had to bear the sins of humanity and he had to die to pay for them.

    Well, yeah!

    Because the Christian God, being all knowing, all powerful, and all loving had no other available option but to design humans to be fallible, even though He knew even before their creation that they would sin, and then He had no choice as a way to correct His own deliberate design flaws that He had to send His son–who is also Him-God–to be tortured and killed….

    ….No wait!

  352. #352 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, if you are leaving, just leave and don’t come back. If you want to learn about atheism loose the attitude. Right now you are reminding of Silver Fox, and it isn’t a compliment.

  353. #353 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    Takes two to tango.

    Now you say this. Where’s that attitude with dealing with Silverman? Oh right, it would deconstruct your whole straw-man argument.

    Now the question becomes, can you turn your voracious little internet tough guy appetites toward doing something constructive? I offer to capitulate, and old master of logic Kel responds by questioning my sexuality.

    This has gone on for around 300 posts now, and all you’ve done is make assertion after assertion without even looking to justify that assertion. Why is your narrow interpretation of consequentialism the rational thing to do? Why are others not accountable and only Silverman is? Why are you presuming to know Silverman did an irrational thing? Why are you even trying to imply that to say 2+2=4 must carry on through every aspect in life?

    You have been nothing but an evasive hypocrite for hundreds of posts.

  354. #354 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    RC, if you are leaving, just leave and don’t come back. If you want to learn about atheism loose the attitude.

    But rc knows everything about atheism already… it’s groupthink, atheists are the only adults on the planet because they are the only ones who can take responsibility, to be an atheist you must make the most rational1 choice at all stages, and anyone who ever suffered at the hands of theists must be a hero in the cult of personality. Yep he knows it all already.

    1 what rc defines as rational that is

  355. #355 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Nerd: “If you want to learn about atheism loose the attitude”
    Cause if I learned anything in this thread, it’s that atheists don’t have an attitude.

    Kel: “You have been nothing but an evasive hypocrite for hundreds of posts.”
    36, actually.

    37.

    You can’t get over how right you are (in a futile internet discussion) long enough to address something of actual consequence.

    Read post 334, if you dare.

  356. #356 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    The hundreds of posts are the number of posts in this thread artard.

    You can’t get over how right you are (in a futile internet discussion) long enough to address something of actual consequence.

    No, you can’t make a coherent argument and you’ve been making assertions then not following through with them. I don’t mind being wrong, it’s your massive double standard I’m having a problem with.

  357. #357 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    rc – I have already bested you with your own scripture. Game over. The others have bested you on many other points you argued. You have lost. At least have the good graces of a Boy Scout and admit it.
    For continuing poor sportsmanship, I now close your bar tab.

  358. #358 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Atheism groupthink? RC obviously hasn’t been lurking around here much. Get two or three of us together without trolls like him, and the proverbial fur can fly, with differing opinions coming from every which way. All atheists have in common is a lack of belief in god. It’s hard to build a general consensus based upon lack of belief in something.

    As near as I could tell, RC’s definition of rational is not rocking the boat, living the lie.

  359. #359 speedwell
    January 4, 2009

    Cause if I learned anything in this thread, it’s that atheists don’t have an attitude.

    Creep, you’re the one preaching. If we’re a tough crowd, that’s your problem.

  360. #360 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Patricia: “For continuing poor sportsmanship, I now close your bar tab.”

    God damn it! Will someone please read post 334? I already offered to capitulate, if only you’d stop calling me gay and sending me porn for just one minute.

    One sentence from SC,OM has been more productive than every single thing I’ve said.

    Read post 334, if you dare.

  361. #361 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, do you have the cojones to actually leave? You aren’t showing any. Time to display your manhood and go.

  362. #362 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    Present thought says that changing beliefs must result in maximum chaos.

    Please explain what you mean by this.

  363. #363 Feynmaniac
    January 4, 2009

    One sentence from SC,OM has been more productive than every single thing I’ve said.

    Finally you say something I agree with.

  364. #364 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    RC, I don’t recall you signing in with a URL (web page), or leaving an e-mail address. How can we be sending your porn? Look elsewhere.

  365. #365 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    OK, I’ll admit that I may be swayed by someone’s expressing appreciation for my ideas (I’m only human!), but I don’t quite understand how a post that included this

    Honestly, I wish I could have made my points better, had avoided misunderstanding more, had not overreached, had clamped down on the invective… but that’s not what makes the internet fun, and no rational person would really expect to convince anyone on the _internet_.

    and then was followed by #334 could have elicited the responses it did, especially speedwell’s @ #345. rc’s more recent posts sounded fairly conciliatory to me (or at least about the best you can expect at the end of an internet war).

  366. #366 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    Looks like on post 124 he left his email address. By his logic that makes him a raging idiot.

    I do however think that sending him porn is fucking lame.

  367. #367 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Calling yourself an asshole is admitting defeat?

    Not in my rule book. Bar tab still closed. No spanking, and if you continue, your supply of french undies will be cut off tout de suite.

  368. #368 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Amazing – rc still hasn’t come out of the closet?

    He’s probably got a fork next to him that he jams into his other hand whenever he starts thinking about – well, about anything, really. Because thinking (about anything other than how much he needs to keep telling himself he loves Jesus) is bad, according to him.

    Sadly, his particular closet is so full of holes it’s more like a cage – with the only lock being the one in rc’s tiny, addled brain. He’s so confused and afraid he doesn’t realise all he need do is push the door open and walk on out.

    Well done on making him actually propose alternatives to what Silverman did. Now, if we can get him to reveal why he’s so infuriated by it all then he’ll be another step closer to ending the lie he’s struggling to free himself from.

  369. #369 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    SC,OM has a good idea, and I gave you a nice little incentive for discussing it.

    what’s there to discuss? it’s a good idea, and someone who’s actually gone through that should do that. end of discussion

    dude, if we had to pick apart and discuss all of SC’s good ideas, we’d never eat, sleep, or go to work. SIWOTI is hard enough on our free times.

  370. #370 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    I agree, sending porn is very lame. And frankly, nobody expressed that much bile that they would be likely to do so.

    Rev., how easy is it for a scan bot to pick up his e-mail address from his post?

  371. #371 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    dude, if we had to pick apart and discuss all of SC’s good ideas, we’d never eat, sleep, or go to work. SIWOTI is hard enough on our free times.

    Wow! What a super nice thing to say! Thank you, Jadehawk!

    *still blushing, goes back to cooking dinner*

  372. #372 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 4, 2009

    very easy, that’s why if you really really have to post an email address do it like this

    myemail [at] blahblahblha [dot] com

  373. #373 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    So, it looks like RC might be receiving porn due to his own neglect. If he left his e-mail address here, he’s probably left it elsewhere.

  374. #374 Feynmaniac
    January 4, 2009

    Oh and thanks for the porn spam, whoever you are. I totally respect you guys now.

    You should have known putting your email to a whole bunch of atheists would result in porn spam. That is consistent with our behavior. You acted irrationally and could have soften the blow. By sending you porn clearly people here were willing to sacrifice to make this debate work.

    /obviously joking

    Seriously though, anyone sending him porn should stop.

  375. #375 Owlmirror
    January 4, 2009

    Out of vague curiosity:

    send.crap.here@mailinator.com

    I’ll try and remember to check that.

  376. #376 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    The porn thing is over board, and far beyond my computer skills.

    I think I’ll go buy some champagne. If SC is cooking supper it’s almost swilling time.

  377. #377 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    If SC is cooking supper it’s almost swilling time.

    Already time here in the Midwest. Hic. I can just see PZ and the Trophy Wife sitting down to a glass of root beer.

  378. #378 rc
    January 4, 2009

    Didn’t think about spambots. That’s ok, I made this email for this flamewar, and it’ll die with it.

    But I do appreciate your concern and looking into how this happened. It’s to your credit, and I am pleasantly surprised.

    Patricia: “Calling yourself an asshole is admitting defeat?”

    an ‘Irrational asshole.’ :P It means I admit all my faults without saying but,but,but and trying to defend my points. It’s capitulation.

    And why _should_ I defend myself anymore?

    SC,OM’s mentions a responsibility to not just encourage deconversion, but also to offer advice on how to do it gracefully. This thought is the best reaction I could hope for.

    Patricia: “Not in my rule book. Bar tab still closed. No spanking, and if you continue, your supply of french undies will be cut off tout de suite.”

    I still harbor irrational hopes of heathen debauchery, so I better sign off before I lose my panties.

    I am an irrational asshole.

  379. #379 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    I am an irrational asshole.

    Now be a rational one with cojones and go away.

  380. #380 Jadehawk
    January 4, 2009

    Wow! What a super nice thing to say! Thank you, Jadehawk!

    *still blushing, goes back to cooking dinner*

    well, it’s pretty much true. Plus, reading your posts helps me understand the weirdness that is America better. I seem to have grown up in a parallel universe from that :-p

  381. #381 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    God damn it! Will someone please read post 334? I already offered to capitulate, if only you’d stop calling me gay and sending me porn for just one minute.

    lol, you do realise you are on the internet right?

  382. #382 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    The way RC is sticking around, he might need to confess something. If so, just get it over with. You will find us a very tolerant blog.

  383. #383 Kel
    January 4, 2009

    I am an irrational hypocritical asshole.

    Fixed

  384. #384 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Yum. Tortellini in a light basil cream sauce. Delicious, if I do say so myself. I love my gas stove.

    SC,OM’s mentions a responsibility to not just encourage deconversion, but also to offer advice on how to do it gracefully. This thought is the best reaction I could hope for.

    Um, to clarify, in case my wording was ambiguous, and looking at it again I can see how it could have been: I was surprised not to find such a thing on that site (it may indeed exist – I just did a quick search there, and not even on Google) because I think it would be an essential resource. I was thinking of it more in terms of a resource for people who feel encouraged to make the break but are fearful or confused about how to go about it and so are hesitant to do it. It would be mostly for the benefit of the deconvert. It may well be that in many if not most cases (including the one under discussion here) no approach would have led to a different outcome in terms of others’ reactions, but even in these cases it may help the person coming out to consider some issues and options ahead of time and be to prepared to deal (including legally, when necessary) with certain responses. I wasn’t suggesting any responsibility on anyone’s part to produce it. That site provides a valuable service; I just think some other resources might be useful that appear to be missing at the moment.

    I do think it would have to be produced more “professionally.” I would be happy to hook up with a psychologist to do it, if someone would provide some funding. :)

  385. #385 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    I have something to confess Nerd.

    I bought two naughty bottles of champagne.

  386. #386 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Has anyone, at any point, heard of anything like the treatment Silverman got from his family, happening to an atheist who converted?

    I know I’ve been saddened to hear that someone’s life has gotten so bad they’ve forgone rationality and turned to religion, but even if my closest friends or family were lost to Jesus neither I nor anyone else I know would react the way these so-called ‘loving’ Christians have.

  387. #387 SC, OM
    January 4, 2009

    I bought two naughty bottles of champagne.

    I wish you could send one of ‘em this way through the intertubes. I could go for some champagne.

  388. #388 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Patricia, confession may be good for the soul, but (hic) two bottles (hic) might be a bit much (hic). We still have some champagne in the fridge from New Years. Enjoy. I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I’m taking it easy in the alcohol consumption area.

  389. #389 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Oh hell no! You have free will on your side Nerd, after the three hundred plus post battle we just won you can will yourself into stupefaction. Work be damned. Moderation is for monks!

    *cork popping*

  390. #390 MP2K
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger #368

    Has anyone, at any point, heard of anything like the treatment Silverman got from his family, happening to an atheist who converted?

    I know I’ve been saddened to hear that someone’s life has gotten so bad they’ve forgone rationality and turned to religion, but even if my closest friends or family were lost to Jesus neither I nor anyone else I know would react the way these so-called ‘loving’ Christians have.

    I know I haven’t heard any Atheist -> Theist storys along those lines. I imagine that would be because there’s no invisible sky daddy to excuse atheists for being massive assholes to their friends and family.

  391. #391 Patricia, OM
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger – Dan Barker writes about losing his wife when he stepped out of religion. His new book is Godless.

    SC, champagne would go really well with your basil sauce! Mmmmm.

  392. #392 Monado
    January 4, 2009

    So, how about them Minnesota Vikings? They are playing the Philadelphia Eagles at gridiron football as we speak. It’s a relatively close game, or was until the Eagles got another touchdown. Now the Vikings have 2.5 minutes to get a touchdown and a field goal.

  393. #393 Nerd of Redhead
    January 4, 2009

    Work be damned. Moderation is for monks!

    I agree in principal, but my bills say otherwise. After I get the house paid off and retire in mumblety years, that will change. The chemicals I work with are much more dangerous than your noble hens, so I need my wits about me.

  394. #394 Wowbagger
    January 4, 2009

    Wowbagger – Dan Barker writes about losing his wife when he stepped out of religion. His new book is Godless.

    I’ve got to get hold of some Dan Barker. I got lucky with religion – I wasn’t ever truly indoctrinated, only lightly brushed with easy-to-resists dogma.

    My mind was, I think, made up my mind around age 7 when the preacher man couldn’t convince me that god was inside me. I felt that I should be able to feel it, and couldn’t – none of the rest of it made any difference after that.

  395. #395 SEF
    January 4, 2009

    I just think some other resources might be useful that appear to be missing at the moment.

    I suppose that sifting through as many deconversion stories as possible, looking for the parts where people mention things which really helped them (and the things which hindered them and hence should be avoided if possible) would be a way to start. But some site doing it just the once rather than everyone having to do it individually might be more efficient (at the risk of missing important differences between people).

    Here’s a page with a lot more links, including several lists of deconversion stories, anyway.

    Is the exchristian.net site open to such suggestions for new resources? The BHA (or any other country’s Humanist society) would be the sort of place I’d expect to find that sort of help and advice from humans to other humans.

    Funeral providers tend to help people handle all the unexpected (and bureaucratic) problems surrounding death and since killing off an imaginary personal god has some similarities, it would make sense for the equivalent recipient groups to have some sort of todo-checklist and advice pages.

  396. #396 speedwell
    January 4, 2009

    Why should you hear about stories like that? The people who undergo such shame and misery are not normally going to be especially likely to shout it from the rooftops, don’t you agree?

    When I was in the battered women’s shelter in a deep-Southern state years ago, there was another woman there who belonged to one of those weird superfundie cult “Baptist” churches. She told her husband, one of the higher-ups, that she wanted to join another Baptist church in the area, and he told her he’d talk about it later. “Later” turned out to be a surprise group prayer meeting at their home where she underwent a serious attempt to break her down emotionally. Afterwards, she told her husband that if God commanded his church do gang up on an innocent woman like that for wanting to join a different church in the same denomination, then she couldn’t believe in a God like that. He swore he was going to “teach” her who the “man of the house” was, and attempted to do so by beating her so badly she had to go to the hospital. She refused to go back home with him when she was discharged, and that’s how she wound up in the shelter. She told me that if that was the way God protected those who depended on him, she didn’t think there was really such a God at all. I was shocked at the time (not having deconverted yet) but could definitely see her point.

    Although rc would say she brought it on herself for saying she wanted to leave the cult church, I would tend to disagree.

  397. #397 Monado
    January 4, 2009

    Celebrate New Year’s and victories for human kindness however you wish. I don’t think I’ve had champagne since the abortion law was struck down in Canada, when my best friend and I shared a small bottle. I’ve had some Asti Supumanti, tho’, which is sweet and bubbly.

  398. #398 John S. Wilkins
    January 5, 2009

    I was a theology student at an evangelcial Anglican church (St Hilary’s, in Kew, Melbourne, Australia). When I left the faith, not only did I lose my entire social circle, including people I had counselled over suicide, and helped through depression, but the rumour did the rounds that I had become a witch and a Satanist. I had told my friends of my reasons, and what I now thought, but since I was the technical expert in the religion, my leaving called for a different explanation. Thirty years later many of them will still not talk to me.

  399. #399 Dan Silverman
    January 5, 2009

    Hello. I have been off-line for a few days because the PSU on my computer died. That’s fixed and I am back on-line. I see that some things have heated up here. Interesting.

    You know, rc is making a lot of assumptions and he doesn’t have the whole story. He is only going off what I have written, which is not perfect and which is missing many things (including things I am advised, by my lawyer, not to post in a public place). One thing to consider is that from the time that I became a Christian until the time I de-converted was a span of just over 17 years. I did not write down in my blog all my thoughts and happenings of all 17 years. I only wrote down what I thought were key elements. Because I did not (and cannot) include EVERYTHING in that blog, I don’t expect anyone to be able to make a complete decision concerning me, my wife, the church I was a part of, etc. This is one reason I, to some degree, seem to be defending some of my wife’s reasoning.

    Have I reacted irrationally at times during any of this? Yes! Could I have handled some of this better? Yes! But that is what hindsight is for. We learn and we move on.

    I was not able to read all of the posts here (simply too many), but I did catch this question:

    [i]Since I asked it of Patricia on another thread, I’ll ask it of Dan Silverman here:

    Can you identify what factors finally, after such a long time of being religious, pushed you to the point of noticing that your religion was bogus? With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything which might have caused you to notice sooner? Eg was there some evidence of reality or logical argument you weren’t seeing before (including it being deliberately hidden from you previously, by other members of your religion, or you selectively tuning it out).[/i]

    I covered some of this in my blog. There were many things that just seemed to add up over the years. One things was my own theological research. I was a requested speaker (to some degree) in my area on a few subjects: Messianic Prophecy, Christ in the Passover and the nation of Israel from a biblical perspective. I was taught to re-study a subject before teaching it. As a result, I had restudied Messianic Prophecies (as an example) several times. As I studied and tried to further clarify my teachings and understand the teachings of those that had gone before me, I began to see inconsistencies. As I tried to rectify or shore up these problem areas, I found that I was jumping through theological hoops in order to attempt to make a passage say something that it did not really seem to say. I found that others were doing the same thing. In other words, theologians seemed to be interpreting passages of the Bible based on an already preconceived dogma instead of basing their dogma on what the Bible actually taught. For example, if the dogma taught that Isaiah 7:14 was a prophecy about the virgin birth than theologians would jump through hoops to make sure that is how the passage was interpreted instead of asking themselves if this is really what the passage teaches.

    As a result of this kind of study … simply trying to be honest with the text … I became more and more convinced that something was wrong. At first, I suppressed these thoughts because I was taught from the very get go that thoughts against the teachings of the Church were either from the devil or from my own sinful heart. So if I was not seeing Jesus in Isaiah 7:14 then that was the enemy trying to blind me to the truth. But the more I tried to suppress these thoughts, the more they would come to the surface over time.

    A second thing that caused me to begin to doubt was unanswered sincere prayer. My wife and I both prayed for years for our children. We wanted them to love god with all their heart and to serve him with every fiber of their being. You would think that this would be a prayer that god would want to answer. But the more we prayed, the more it seemed that our children strayed from wanting to serve god at all. There were many other prayers that were lifted up by me, my wife and people in various churches that we were involved in and we seldom saw legitimate answers to them. This also led to my doubt.

    Lastly (for this post), after completing a lengthy study in the book of Acts, I saw that the spirit of god was striving or unity in the church and, despite opposition, was always able to bring it about. It seemed, from the perspective of Acts, that the spirit of god would work through a man (Peter, Paul, etc) to bring about this one-accord mindset. However, I never witnessed a church that functioned in unity, but always in diversity. I saw the spirit of god, in the Bible, informing believers of liars in their midst, revealing truths, etc. However, I had been in many meetings with pastors, elders, etc, where unity was not there, where the men did not know the truth about a situation and, despite begging god for the truth, did not receive it. This also bugged me. We wrote it off as the infant church in the book of Acts was “different” than we are today. But that just did not sit well with me.

    There were other things, of course, but this is what comes to mind in relation to your question.

    My main fault in all of this? That I was not wise enough to put the pieces together sooner.

  400. #400 John Morales
    January 6, 2009

    Dan, you have my best wishes.

    My main fault in all of this? That I was not wise enough to put the pieces together sooner.

    I’ve written and erased several comments, I’m at a loss for words. Truly, most of us had it easy.

    I can’t say you’re my hero, but I will repeat that I admire your bravery. (as per my #105)

  401. #401 SEF
    January 6, 2009

    Thankyou, Dan.

    My main fault in all of this? That I was not wise enough to put the pieces together sooner.

    That does look to be the case. However, your main virtue in it was your persistent honesty. Not something to be dismissed at all lightly, because it’s rather rare.

    An honesty which forced you to do your speaking job properly – by honestly studying the texts instead of simplistically plagiarising from other theologians. (NB studying theology apparently turns quite a lot of people, viz the honest subset, into atheists.)

    An honesty which required you not to merely paper over the cracks but to try and fill them – inevitably leading to you noticing they were really vast voids behind the cheap plaster, which rendered the whole edifice unsafe and uninhabitable. It’s no accident that the church evolved rules about not questioning things too deeply.

    An honesty which obliged you to compare belief, faith and fantasy (eg on prayer) with reality. It was again then inevitable that you’d notice the magical wishing didn’t work.

    An honesty which required you to judge your fellow humans at church (despite again the religion discouraging this sort of thing). An observant person, if honest, can hardly fail to notice that the fantasy is not supported by reality but contradicted by it instead.

    It also helped that you had a fairly reliable memory of your own instead of being a 1984-style person. Otherwise you’d have been able to ignore or misremember the prayers not working etc. That’s what keeps lots of people believing in stupid stuff like religion, gambling and paranormal woo.

    So (still assuming your story is true of course!) it’s intellectual honesty which got you (like other people) out of it. It was only your relative slowness which meant you needed quite so much personal real-life evidence and time to notice the wrongness. Perhaps the only thing which could have got you there sooner would have been an education which included discussion of the theological cracks and the types of errors inherent in human psychology (confirmation bias etc), since you don’t appear to have cared about the science side of things at all.

    What you still have to learn is that your (ex-)fellow religionists are not like you. They’re not honest or nice. You’ve stupidly believed/hoped they are, but their religion actually requires them to be dishonest (the more religious they are the more dishonest they have to be about reality). So you can expect them to continue to bear false witness against you. Especially since, now you’re out of the gang, that injunction doesn’t apply any more (in the original version of it and the continuing practice of it).

  402. #402 rc
    January 15, 2009

    ,

  403. #403 hery
    January 25, 2010

    This is the nut of my argument. Some people think that irrational people equal free reign to do whatever the hell you want.

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