Pharyngula

Gerald Warner, death cultist

You never know what trivial incident will catalyze a strong reaction. Take the atheist bus campaign, for instance, which simply puts signs on buses that say “There is probably no god” — a few months ago, I would have said it was a good idea and that it should be done, to merely make the background existence of atheists a bit more apparent. I would not have predicted that it would so inflame many believers, or I would have been cheerleading even harder. Companies refused to run the ads in Australia, a smug Catholic cardinal squelches the ads in Italy, and an arrogant bus driver refuses to do his job over them. This is great! The godless are getting phenomenal amounts of press over a moderate and self-evident statement!

The other great thing is that it is effectively dragging many religious loons out of their dark, cobwebby crevices and exposing them to the light (see crazy bus driver, above), and also revealing their censorious tactics. One of the wackier opinion pieces on this subject comes from someone named Gerald Warner, who parades his ignorance of reason as if it were gold-plated and sprinkled with diamonds — when it’s more like a lump of lead painted yellow with cheap sequins stapled on. Warner suggests that “Atheists will need martyrs if they are to compete with Christians“, which gives you a hint right there about how silly his arguments are going to be. He’s very thrilled with Ron Heather, the easily offended bus driver, and praises him for his obstructions.

It is good to see a Christian making difficulties for aggressive secularists, who usually have a monopoly of harassing Christians. Normally it is the banning of nativity plays and other killjoy aggressions against the free expression of Christian faith that make the headlines; so congratulations to this British sea dog for fighting back.

Hang on, Gerald — you feel harassed by signs on a bus? Does this feeling extend to people who might similarly dislike messages your kind of jingoistic wingnut might wave in their faces? I find these signs to be intensely dishonest and disagreeable — am I being harrassed?

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I find it remarkable that you consider what Heather did to be “fighting back”: he took a holiday from work because his tiny, sensitive soul could not bear the sight of a belief that did not reinforce his personal superstition.

But Warner is not done. Let’s see how much sillier he can get.

To claim “There’s probably no God” suggests a somewhat faltering faith in the thesis being advanced. Is this not, in fact, an agnostic, rather an atheist, advertisement? Could its promoters fall foul of the Trades Descriptions Act? But the most interesting part of the slogan is the second half: “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Since when was the message that there is no one in charge, nobody to protect us or lend succour, thought reassuring?

A two-part misapprehension!

“There’s probably no God” is an accurate summary of the atheist position. There’s no virtue to be found in iron-clad certainty, and it is no sign of weakness that a statement might allow for acceptance of evidence in contradiction. People like Warner, however, think that certainty is a necessity. It is unassailable certainty in their positions that allowed good Christians to march people of another religion into ovens at bayonet point; that allowed good Christians to hang widowed old women for witchcraft; that led to wars and genocide over trivial matters of theology, like the degree of god-nature in Jesus’ existence; that allows racists and homophobes to declare a significant portion of our population to be second-class citizens; that encouraged priests to appease imaginary beings by burning babies; that led to monsters cutting the living hearts out of their neighbors so that the sun might rise. Let’s leave certainty to the oleaginous evangelists, the jingoistic war mongers, and the other con artists selling us bogus solutions to imaginary problems. A little uncertainty, a little willingness to accept that deeper knowledge might change our minds, is a good thing.

But if Mr Warner really demands some kind of absolutist comment, I can oblige. I am utterly certain that no god-walloping, bible-thumping, jesus-humping, apologetics-babbling theological dingleberry has ever provided a single scrap of the kind of rational evidence for a god that would convince a rational human being of normal or better intelligence. All they have is fear and ignorance and conformity to prop up their absurdities. Better? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit into a short slogan.

As far as the last part of the slogan…yes, I find it very reassuring that I am not reliant on the whims of some all-powerful cosmic tyrant. I’ve read the Bible, and his god is not a very nice anthropomorphic hallucination: murder, war, rape, threats of eternal torment, and micro-management of trivial aspects of human behavior seem to be his modi operandi. I am relieved that I am not under its thumb, although it is still worrisome that so many imagine that they are, and act as if this evil puppetmaster were pulling their strings.

The message of atheism is personal responsibility. You cannot blame your wickedness on a rebellious ancestor with an appetite for apples. You cannot say the devil made you do it. Your actions are not dictated by invisible deities whispering in your ear. Your actions have consequences, and they are your actions.

Oh, and what about Mr Warner’s choice of a title for his piece? It doesn’t make sense, and really isn’t even addressed by implication until the last paragraph.

One further observation by Ron Heather will strike a chord with many: “There would be no way buses would be able to drive around with an anti-Muslim message like that on the side mentioning Allah.” Christians have two millennia of martyrdom behind them. If atheists want to crusade and play with the big boys, are their convictions strong enough to brave a fatwah? Answers on the side of a bus…

Fatwah envy! Silly man: “Allah” just means “God”. The bus signs are denying the existence of any god, not just the Christian one, but also the Jewish god, the Muslim god, the Sikh god, the Norse god, the Roman god, any god you want to imagine. Muslims have the potential to be just as offended by that sign as Christians.

And please, the martyr act is really getting old. Christians have been the dominant religion of civilized western Europe since Constantine, in the fourth century. They have not been oppressed for 1700 of the 2000 years that Warner clasps as icons of victimhood.

Learn a little history, too. There was a brief period of time when Rome treated Christians and Jews hatefully, killing them and torturing them. The reason why is enlightening, however. Rome was openly pluralistic about religion, and throughout its history readily absorbed just about any belief into its pantheon, even building temples to strange gods. They did not dislike Christianity because they worshipped Jesus or had a god with a different name or celebrated a few different rituals — that was no problem. They were persecuted because they were aggressively monotheistic and rejected all the other gods, and would not participated in activities like emperor-worship, making their loyalty suspect.

The martyrs were atheists. They died because they were accused of disbelief.

It’s amusing when Christians define themselves by their history of martyrdom. Most of it was nonexistent, and they have been the agents of oppression for most of their history; and when it did occur, it was because they were stiff-necked and rebellious, and refused to bow down before other people’s gods. And now we see how these self-proclaimed victims respond to anyone else refusing to worship their superstitions, with hints that martyrdom for us would be a good thing, and wishful suggestions that someone else will do their dirty work for them. That way they can deny responsibility, and no doubt wash their hands afterwards, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see you to it.”

And they don’t even see the irony.

Maybe they need to read their Bibles with a little more attention to meaning.

Comments

  1. #1 iago
    January 19, 2009

    PZ,I feel harassed by this post.

  2. #2 cthellis
    January 19, 2009

    I find your comments inappropriate, offensive, hostile, and COMPLETELY hateful, and DEMAND you issue an apology to all the honest, hard-working dingleberries you have insulted by comparing these wackaloons to wholesale.

  3. #3 Nick
    January 19, 2009

    Many Christian martyrs were murdered by fellow Christians, they just had different interpretations of the biblical message on transsubstantiation and suchlike.

  4. #4 Michael
    January 19, 2009

    PZ, can I just say that your posts give me the warm fuzzies? ‘Cause they do.

  5. #5 iago
    January 19, 2009

    Seriously though it is rather refreshing to find that someone every so often does have a grasp of history and its implications.
    Wishing you well.

  6. #6 MissPrism
    January 19, 2009

    The point about “you wouldn’t say that to Muslims!” shows gobsmacking selfcentredness. I gather there are one or two Muslims in London who might occasionally catch sight of a bus.

  7. #7 MissPrism
    January 19, 2009

    And what’s that wanky “play with the big boys” all about? Play at what? Occasionally stating clearly what you think?

  8. #8 Cheshire
    January 19, 2009

    It’s funny how persecution nowadays means asking simple questions about legitimately suspicious activities.

    Take Charles Grassley asking questions about televangelists as an example. They spend millions on themselves and when someone asks about it, it ends up on a ‘top 10 instances of persecution’ list.

  9. #9 Rudi
    January 19, 2009

    It strikes me that the sort of person who would be offended by an inoccuous opinion like “there’s probably no god” must have a very, very tenuous relationship with their belief system. Not that I’m praising the concept ‘faith’ at all, but it does at least do what it says on the tin. A person of genuine faith would not be remotely troubled by the fact some people disagreed with them.

    On the other hand, an individual who had no faith but bags of doubt, insecurity and fear would most certainly behave in the way this bus driver did. What a poor chap – if only he had some balls and could confront his demons, rather than trying to sweep them under the carpet. Heck, why not just admit he doesn’t believe and get used to being an atheist? It’s much more rewarding in the long run.

  10. #10 Hammurabi
    January 19, 2009

    I have to say that if the 2nd billboard was rewritten to be anti-theism instead of anti-atheism, the religious right in the United States would shit so many bricks that we would be able to build that border wall they seem to be so keen on. Bill O’Reily would be responsible for at least half of them.

  11. #11 Lowell
    January 19, 2009

    Man, Warner’s little essay was just awful. Aside from all the illogical arguments, I don’t think he even attempted to explain his thesis.

    Why will atheists “need martrys if they are to compete with Christians”?

    He didn’t even try to answer that question, did he?

  12. #12 Monika
    January 19, 2009

    In their minds, the Christians see slogans on the side of a bus as nothing less than persecution. The fact that gays want to marry equates to persecution of Christians. The fact that we don’t teach creationism in schools is Christan persecution. The fact that atheists are not stripped of their citizenship and shot for treason is persecution of Christians. PZ throwing a biscuit in the trash is persecution of catholics. and on and on and on.

  13. #13 Margaret
    January 19, 2009

    “Atheists will need martyrs if they are to compete with Christians”

    So martyrdom is one of the selling points for their religion? They are nuts. No sale here.

  14. #14 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2009

    In their minds, the Christians see slogans on the side of a bus as nothing less than persecution.

    In their minds, many Christians see the very existence of people who aren’t Christians as persecution.

    ‘Persecuted’ is their default setting.

  15. #15 Vronvron
    January 19, 2009

    Thank you PZ for a great rebuttal to Gerald Warner

    iago @#1

    This should help you feel less harassed

    http://atheistbus.ca/share/

    Note: “Soon to be available are ?THERE?S PROBABLY NO GOD. NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE? t-shirts.”

  16. #16 Peter Ashby
    January 19, 2009

    Socrates was convicted in part of a charge of atheism, so chalk him up as an atheist martyr (even if he would have disagreed). Giordano Bruno was Hermetic Magic loon, but he was also right and was burnt for it, we’ll have him too. Gallileo of course, persecution category. Perhaps MR Warner is unaware that it used to be illegal to be an atheist in Britain. He should have watched Jonathon Miller’s Brief History of Disbelief when it was on, it was well covered in there. Most of the aristocratic ‘Deists’ would have been atheist if could have got away with it.

  17. #17 John C. Welch
    January 19, 2009

    “When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major-league bullshit, you have to stand in awe, in awe, of the all time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: Religion. No Contest. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told”

    George Carlin, from: “You Are All Diseased”

  18. #18 H.H.
    January 19, 2009

    Good lord, Gerald Warner’s screed was published in a newspaper? I thought for sure the link would direct to some tiny blog covered in comic sans and flashing .gifs.

    It just goes to show, even the most elite, “intellectual” theists have shitty arguments. It’s all the same old tyme magical thinking. Their loss of power and persuasion is inevitable.

  19. #19 Charlie Foxtrot
    January 19, 2009

    Nothing much I can add to that…just here to say “Bravo, sir! Champagne take-down!”

  20. #20 Jadehawk
    January 19, 2009

    Christians have two millennia of martyrdom behind them. If atheists want to crusade and play with the big boys, are their convictions strong enough to brave a fatwah?

    if it wasn’t so completely covered in bullshit, there might actually be a point in there somewhere. you know, the same point we’ve been trying to make for a while now: atheists have been too “nice” and unwilling to risk offending. we must go out and offend more! :-p

  21. #21 Steven Carr
    January 19, 2009

    Theists in London have taken bombs on to buses to blow them up for the glory of their God.

    Why is a poster so offensive, when it doesn’t even explode a little bit?

  22. #22 Feynmaniac
    January 19, 2009

    PZ,

    There’s no virtue to be found in iron-clad certainty, and it is no sign of weakness that a statement might allow for acceptance of evidence in contradiction.

    A certain child murderer sympathizer defender worshiper would disagree :

    But the problem is that you can’t even get to solipsism. At least solipsists know that they exist. You can’t know anything for certain.

    He would also say “might allow for acceptance of evidence in contradiction” = contradiction = “impossibility of the contrary”.

  23. #23 'Tis Himself
    January 19, 2009

    I realize that Wagner would be happy if the atheist martyrdom rate was 100%. Sorry, Gerald, but I’m not going to play.

  24. #24 Glen Davidson
    January 19, 2009

    Since when was the message that there is no one in charge, nobody to protect us or lend succour, thought reassuring?

    This matter is contextual, as in, I’d rather no one were responsible for fecklessly harming and killing innocents while often rewarding the greedy, although if someone made everything right (instead of piously claiming that it will do so later) I would find that reassuring.

    It’s between the “gods killing us for their sport,” and a world that simply is indifferent to our existence. The latter appears consistent with the data, and such a conclusion does not require endless excuses for a supposedly caring god whose “care” is not evident.

    And I would have preferred “there is no god,” or, “there is no reason to think there is a god” to “probably there is no god.”

    As far as atheism needing martyrs, that could be projection of a wish. But then, secularism (or whatever) is ideally committed to reasoned arguments, not to the emotionalism evoked by martyrdom. No one should be godless because an atheist suffered persecution.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  25. #25 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2009

    Christians have two millennia of martyrdom behind them.

    Recently I started wondering about why it is Christians seem to think that how easily they’ve been able to be killed over the centuries is somehow adding validity to their arguments. It’s like when they trot out the numbers of Christians killed ‘by atheists’.

    I want to ask them this: ‘So, your evidence for the existence of an all-seeing, all-powerful being who loves you and believes in goodness and justice is that so many of you have been killed on so many occasions?’

    Because it seems to me that, by celebrating their failures, what they seem to be saying is ‘we suck at staying alive; thefore, our god exists’.

    Hmm. Maybe I’ll suggest they add that to the 300 (or how ever many it is now) proofs for God’s existence.

  26. #26 BobC
    January 19, 2009

    “There’s probably no God” is an accurate summary of the atheist position.

    It’s not an accurate summary of my position. I wouldn’t say there’s probably no god for the same reason I wouldn’t say there’s probably no Easter Bunny. Both ideas are childish and impossible. I’m 100% certain there’s no Easter Bunnies, no pink elephants orbiting Pluto, and no magic god fairies. I read somewhere the only reason “probably” was inserted in there is because advertising rules required it to be there.

  27. #27 recovering catholic
    January 19, 2009

    PZ writes: “The message of atheism is personal responsibility.”

    And that is exactly why most people cling to religion–they don’t want to be responsible for themselves.

    Does PZ remind anyone else of a highly-caffeinated Stephen Jay Gould?? Damn, PZ’s good at stringing words together!

  28. #28 DaveH
    January 19, 2009

    But…but.. Warner is admired by deeply, deeply SANE people!
    see?

  29. #29 NFPendleton
    January 19, 2009

    Steven Carr @ #21:

    Unless you include theist brain vessels. The posters are exploding quite a few of them…

  30. #30 Chas
    January 19, 2009

    There is a great deal of comfort to be had by realizing there are no “sins” that anger god. After I had became atheist, I went to a church with my mom and they all started singing, “I am free from sin” but it wasn’t true. They live their lives worried that their actions angered an entity that decided their eternal lives! I am free from sin.

  31. #31 'Tis Himself
    January 19, 2009

    It is good to see a Christian making difficulties for aggressive secularists, who usually have a monopoly of harassing Christians.

    Heather didn’t make difficulties for anyone except his employer, who had to find a substitute driver.

    As for harrassing Christians, other Christians are more proficient at that then we are. Jack Chick harrasses Catholics much better than Dawkins or even PZ do.

    Normally it is the banning of nativity plays and other killjoy aggressions against the free expression of Christian faith that make the headlines; so congratulations to this British sea dog for fighting back.

    Heather isn’t a “British sea dog,” he’s a bus driver.

  32. #32 Bachalon
    January 19, 2009

    I wish us gay people were persecuted like that.

    They want persecution? Fine, let’s see how well they like when people do to them what they’re only too happy to do to others.

  33. #33 bigjohn756
    January 19, 2009

    I don’t understand a mind(?) which complains when someone does to them the same thing that they happily do to everyone else every day. How can anyone like this survive from day to day with so little capacity to think? How can these people even earn a living?

  34. #34 robotaholic
    January 19, 2009

    OMG that was awesome PZ- I loved it! – I hope that nutter reads it too! – You say exactly what I think but state it better than I think it ??? – …anyway- Thanks for making me happy today cuz somebody else feels like I do!

  35. #35 Lowell
    January 19, 2009

    Wowbagger

    Maybe I’ll suggest they add that to the 300 (or how ever many it is now) proofs for God’s existence.

    It looks like they’re coming up on 600 at the godless geeks site. http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm

    You should definitely write to the contact at the bottom of the page and ask to add it. The closest one I could find currently is Argument 107

    ARGUMENT FROM MARTYRDOM
    (1) The apostles would not have died for something they knew wasn’t true.
    (2) Atheist gives examples of martyrs outside Christendom.
    (3) Obviously those examples were fooled by Satan.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.

    Not quite the same.

  36. #36 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2009

    “There’s probably no God” is an accurate summary of the atheist position.

    This works for me. Either there isn’t any kind of god at all or there’s the kind of god that a) buggered off a long time ago, never to return; or, b) is still around but has gone to a great deal of effort to remain hidden because that’s what it wants.

    While I’m almost certain of the former, both – as far as I’m concerned – add up to the same thing in terms of how I live my life.

  37. #37 Marc Abian
    January 19, 2009

    What a fantastic post. Really superb.

  38. #38 Freidenker
    January 19, 2009

    Oh, always with the “look! I’m being oppressed!” shtick!
    I’m an Israeli atheist, and I know from up close the way the Jewish people parade their victimhood. Persecution of Christians can’t light a candle to the historical persecution of Jews.

    This is why we find it very easy to justify any military action against anyone we damn well please: the great masses of Israeli yokels are extremely paranoid, and history gives them a “good reason to be”, even when there isn’t one.

    We attacked Gaza last month with this pretext, and I can imagine why Christians would enjoy a similar persecution complex: it gives you an excuse to do whatever you damn well please –

    It’s a game greedy hypocrites play to justify atrocities.

    And thus the army I served in became an instrument for the killing of children.

  39. #39 Alex
    January 19, 2009

    “Hang on, Gerald ? you feel harassed by signs on a bus?”
    Can you read? He was saying atheists are harassing Christians by forcing nativity scenes to be taken down or otherwise trying to disallow the expression of their beliefs. In regard to the incident with the bus driver, he’s saying it’s the bus driver who is harassing atheists, not the other way around. An “eye for an eye” kind of thing.

  40. #40 Ukulatheist
    January 19, 2009

    PZ – OOOOH! You’re soooo sexy when you get get riled up :)

  41. #41 Miguel
    January 19, 2009

    It is good to see atheists making difficulties for aggressive Christianists, who just can’t stop bloody lying about being persecuted!

    There ya go, winging Warner. I fixed it for ya… Silly asshat!

    “Warner! – huh – yeah – What is he good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again y’all.”

  42. #42 Lycosid
    January 19, 2009

    Freidenker,

    First, condolences to you for having to put up with the insanities of that society. Ever consider leaving Israel? If you’re of the parenting type, would you really want your kids serving in that army which sits under the thumb of lunatics?

  43. #43 Miguel
    January 19, 2009

    Ah, whinging that is.

  44. #44 Piltdown Man
    January 19, 2009

    PZ Myers:

    There was a brief period of time when Rome treated Christians and Jews hatefully, killing them and torturing them. The reason why is enlightening, however. Rome was openly pluralistic about religion, and throughout its history readily absorbed just about any belief into its pantheon, even building temples to strange gods. They did not dislike Christianity because they worshipped Jesus or had a god with a different name or celebrated a few different rituals ? that was no problem. They were persecuted because they were aggressively monotheistic and rejected all the other gods, and would not participated in activities like emperor-worship, making their loyalty suspect.

    In other words, the Romans persecuted the Christians because the latter were insufficiently pluralistic.

    From which we draw the conclusion that pluralists can be persecutors …

  45. #45 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2009

    From which we draw the conclusion that pluralists can be persecutors …

    Only if ‘we’ are drawing in crayon.

  46. #46 Nerd of Redhead
    January 19, 2009

    We can draw the conclusion the Pilty is a religious fascist. And his god exists only between his ears. That is all.

  47. #47 Rob C.
    January 19, 2009

    We have our martyrs now, anyway.

    Rudi Boa was killed, murdered near Tumut, Australia, by a man (ironically, the murderer’s middle name was “Christian” — normally, I don’t hold with printing or remembering murderers names at all, but the irony here is poignant) for arguing for evolution.

    The murderer is now serving a maximum of five years, three years without parole (Justice Adams reduced the charge to “manslaughter” because of the “accidental” nature of the stabbing, according to the Dec 15, 2007 article in the Daily Telegraph).

    But there is no doubt Rudi Boa was killed for his disbelief.

    There is a list of many more such, but all we need to answer this idiot Warner is the one.

  48. #48 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 19, 2009

    I’ve been reading the comments on Warner’s article with some interest. Christians tell me that, because I’m an atheist, I’m obviously very selfish and self-centered and unhappy. And yet, the commenters defending Warner, for the most part, talk about how offended they are by the sign, or how atheists shouldn’t force their nonbelief in their faces, or how life isn’t worth living if there’s no afterlife.

    What egos they have! They have an official state religion in the UK, countless laws in effect that have no reason to exist outside of Christian dogma, and they can’t bear to face life knowing that it will end one day, that the cosmos must be set up to preserve their spark of consciousness, it just has to be.

    And then there are the atheists. Facing a cold and often harsh world, one much more suited to killing us than keeping us alive. Knowing that our best chances of survival, much less happiness, are the bonds we share with the people around us. The atheists put a sign on the bus, just to let a few more people know, hey, we’re here, and we’re doing okay. Stop stressing and enjoy yourself without worrying about an invisible judge watching every deed and thought, waiting, even eager, to punish you.

    And we’re the blind, self-centered ones.

  49. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 19, 2009

    From which we draw the conclusion that pluralists can be persecutors …

    your point?

  50. #50 Mike
    January 19, 2009

    Excellent post. It’s not often anybody dissects religious arguments this thoroughly.

    Also, in relation to #48, a Mormon “friend” wished Obama got a sniper’s bullet in the head during his inaguration speech – the same Mormon who questions how I could possibly have an objective moral code if I am an atheist. Idiot. Apparently, it’s ok to murder a not-that-liberal black president, but not babies, because they’re defenseless.

  51. #51 xiangtao
    January 19, 2009

    In the interest of being a pain in the ass, I believe that the correct plural of “modus operandi” would be “modi operandorum”.

    Other than that, good stuff.

  52. #52 Insightful Ape
    January 19, 2009

    I don’t really think it is wise to demand “martyrs” from atheists, to “match up”. If the number of martyrs has any bearing on the strength of your convictions, or their truthfulness, then the gold goes to the Muslims, particularly the jihadis.
    One minor thing: if I made the ad, just to remove all doubt, I’d add, parenthetically, “or Zeus or Allah” after “God”.

  53. #53 Bride of Shrek OM
    January 19, 2009

    I love that esecond sign directed to “lunatic atheists and their lawyers”.

    …guess they have me on both counts then. I am thus doubly offended and feel free to tell them to fuck off twice as vehemently.

  54. #54 KiwiInOz
    January 19, 2009

    Hey Insightful Ape, God is the job title. Zeus, Yahweh etc are the names of some of the supernatural beings who hold that job.

  55. #55 Insightful Ape
    January 19, 2009

    On second thought-does the name Giordano Bruno mean anything to Mr Warner?

  56. #56 Orac
    January 19, 2009

    As a breast cancer surgeon, I particularly despise the whole “abortion causes breast cancer” lie:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/10/abortion_and_breast_cancer_the_chicago_t.php

  57. #57 Insightful Ape
    January 19, 2009

    I know KiwiInOz. But it is my understanding that “god” meaning “deity” is written with lower case “g”. “God” with capital “G” is supposed to mean the Judeo-Christian-Islamic monster.

  58. #58 Last Hussar
    January 19, 2009

    To clarify- the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God are the same one. Did you know Muslims write “Jesus (Pbuh)”?

  59. #59 Sandra
    January 19, 2009

    Hello my name is Sandra. I read here everyday and always learn a lot from you. Thank you!

  60. #60 Richard
    January 19, 2009

    Mr. Myers…Would you please join the Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign…Not looking for money (unless you’ve got some) ..just a little support on facebook and at atheistbus.ca

    Thanks

  61. #61 Holbach
    January 19, 2009

    My stance is that there is no god, and all you have to do is prove me wrong and perhaps I’ll hedge and say probably not. Convince me and the god thing will take care of itself.

  62. #62 Sastra
    January 19, 2009

    It is good to see a Christian making difficulties for aggressive secularists, who usually have a monopoly of harassing Christians. Normally it is the banning of nativity plays and other killjoy aggressions against the free expression of Christian faith that make the headlines; so congratulations to this British sea dog for fighting back.

    Oh, for crying out loud. Here’s someone else who cannot tell the difference between private speech done in public, and government speech funded by taxpayers.

    Atheists have not “banned nativity plays.” Businesses can put them on. Churches can put them on. Private schools can put them on. Homes can put them on. But you can’t have a nativity play in a public school, because it involves the state promoting a religious belief. Is that so hard?

    There’s nothing for them to “fight back” against.

    You know, I bet they’d figure out the difference if “There Probably Is No God” were to replace “In God We Trust” on the American money.

  63. #63 John Scanlon FCD
    January 19, 2009

    xiangtao:

    In the interest of being a pain in the ass, I believe that the correct plural of “modus operandi” would be “modi operandorum”.

    Only if you never learned much syntax. If we translate MO to “mode of operating”, yours would be “modes of operatings” and about as grammatical.
    Which is all pretty much OT or (excellent word, PZ) orthogonal to topic.

  64. #64 AnthonyK
    January 19, 2009

    At first, like most people, I was rather disappointed by the use of the word “probably” in the ad, but it turns out to be a brilliant idea. It expressed doubt effectively, surely the first step to disbelief, and then manages to make the statement appear tentative but reasonable. How could anyone object to such an anodyne idea? Follow it with a neat, enjoy yourself, follow up, and there you go.
    And the best thing? It’s really getting to them, and it makes them look ridicuous when they protest. Win squared.

  65. #65 Holbach
    January 19, 2009

    Sandra @ 59

    Drop a few comments every now and then and give us your views on the topic discussed. If you are an atheist, then your voice is most welcomed.

  66. #66 CSN
    January 19, 2009

    Can we put an anti-Allah billboard up somewhere already? The “wouldn’t dare” because we’re “afraid of the Muslims” is getting very old. Who knows what they’ll move on to next though.

  67. #67 clinteas
    January 19, 2009

    Personally,I would have liked to see “Religion causes brain rot” on those buses,didnt like the “probably” bit at all.

    The martyr and persecution myth is a strike of genius though,you have to give them that.
    It has worked beautifully for centuries.

  68. #68 AnthonyK
    January 19, 2009

    Actually, Sandra, provided you are smart you are welcome whatever your beliefs. If you have any special knowledge on any particular topic, then please feel free to share your expertise. We all like to learn here.

  69. #69 Robert Madewell
    January 19, 2009

    Instead I say, “There’s more than likely no God.”

    The difference is subtle I suppose.

  70. #70 Silver Fox
    January 19, 2009

    “Companies refused to run the ads in Australia”

    Probably thought it was designed to be more provocative than informative.

  71. #71 Holbach
    January 19, 2009

    Isn’t it typical that the Lunatic Atheists & their Lawyers sign originates from West Virginia, a state not in ignorance of various gods, snake handlers, and god and country bible patriotism? And I’ll bet Monongah has a church to fit every one of those insane sects. I wonder if they even have a library, and if so, then the three hundred volumes are all bibles of the various sects, quite worn and profusely underlined to indicate the heathen and strayers among them that need salvation either from the word or tar and feathers. Praise jeebus, you morons.

  72. #72 'Tis Himself
    January 19, 2009

    Silver Fox #70

    Probably thought it was designed to be more provocative than informative.

    According to an Australian news article:

    “The end conversation I had was I asked why we were refused and my answer to that was, ‘well we have to refer this to our legal department’, and chappie hung up,” he said.

  73. #73 Wowbagger
    January 19, 2009

    If you have any special knowledge on any particular topic, then please feel free to share your expertise.

    Or you can be like me, who has nothing of the sort – but is determined to post at an alarming frequency anyway…

  74. #74 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 19, 2009

    Probably thought it was designed to be more provocative than informative.

    Sure, because that would be so atypical of advertising posters. *roll eyes*

  75. #75 joeyess
    January 19, 2009

    I am utterly certain that no god-walloping, bible-thumping, jesus-humping, apologetics-babbling theological dingleberry has ever provided a single scrap of the kind of rational evidence for a god that would convince a rational human being of normal or better intelligence. All they have is fear and ignorance and conformity to prop up their absurdities. Better? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit into a short slogan.

    Yes it does:

    Reason will never accede to absolutes

  76. #76 Silver Fox
    January 19, 2009

    “So, your evidence for the existence of an all-seeing, all-powerful being who loves you and believes in goodness and justice is that so many of you have been killed on so many occasions?”

    Actually as paradoxical as this may sound, it is. Those individuals apparently accepted the gift of faith which is exercised through the grace of God. In accepting and cooperating with that gift they committed an act of the intellect through the will. The interior construction of their personal experience evidenced for them the presence of God in their lives. That was as clear a reality for them as any reality could be. Under those conditions, they had no alternative but to die in the face of persecution.

    Unless one has made that journey there is no way for him to understand the interior reality that is the end result of an exercise of faith. To that individual the reality borne of faith is delusional, wishful thinking, etc. His experience is not connected to a reality borne of faith and he has no way to assess the genuineness of the experience.

  77. #77 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 19, 2009

    If you have any special knowledge on any particular topic, then please feel free to share your expertise.

    Or also if she’s cute and smells nice, like Wowbagger. Or perhaps I’ve said too much.

  78. #78 Nerd of Redhead
    January 19, 2009

    SF, there is no gift of faith, only the curse of faith. Faith requires no evidence, which means with evidence, faith is a delusion. A curse. A mental illness. Trying to say otherwise proves your delusions. Time to talk to a mental health professional. You need treatment. Seek it elsewhere.

  79. #79 Jadehawk
    January 19, 2009
    In the interest of being a pain in the ass, I believe that the correct plural of “modus operandi” would be “modi operandorum”.

    Only if you never learned much syntax. If we translate MO to “mode of operating”, yours would be “modes of operatings” and about as grammatical.
    Which is all pretty much OT or (excellent word, PZ) orthogonal to topic.

    actually, to be extra-pedantic, there are no plural forms of latin gerunds, so it’s not just the syntax that’s incorrect

  80. #80 Capital Dan
    January 19, 2009

    I have to admit, I am stunned at the response to these bus campaigns. I mean, I expected some conversations and debates, but never did I expect anything on this level.

    That’s a good thing. It’s forced a whole lot o’ crazy out into the open where it belongs, and I think that the ads aren’t really making people question their beliefs directly, but the response from the complete nutters, such as Warner, is what’s making people assess their beliefs and faith.

  81. #81 Bubba
    January 19, 2009

    To clarify- the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God are the same one. Did you know Muslims write “Jesus (Pbuh)”?

    Neither the Jewish nor the Muslim god is trinitarian. Yahweh and Allah are two very different battle gods. Peace be unto him is associated with prophets, like Mohammed, not gods. Epic fail.

  82. #82 Jadehawk
    January 19, 2009

    The interior construction of their personal experience evidenced for them the presence of God in their lives. That was as clear a reality for them as any reality could be. Under those conditions, they had no alternative but to die in the face of persecution.

    that right there sounds like a pretty good description of Paranoid Schizophrenia…

  83. #83 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 19, 2009

    Shorter Silver Fox: You can’t understand how real insanity feels unless you’ve been insane yourself.

  84. #84 Jadehawk
    January 19, 2009

    Neither the Jewish nor the Muslim god is trinitarian. Yahweh and Allah are two very different battle gods. Peace be unto him is associated with prophets, like Mohammed, not gods. Epic fail.

    actually, the fail is on your account, since the god is the same god of the bible, but the interpretation varies. once upon a time, there even were Christians who believed in a non-trinitarian god. then they were killed.

  85. #85 John Phillips, FCD
    January 19, 2009

    Sastra, if I remember correctly, the so called banning of a nativity play was one school headmistress being a bit too politically correct because of the multi cultural nature of her pupils and not wanting to offend. Even though the pupils and their parents had no problem with it. Of course, the UK right wing press went into overdrive and threw the proverbial fit, ala Bill Oreally or Donowhore.

    However, in the UK, as xianity, i.e. CoE, is the state religion, nativity plays are perfectly legal in schools. At one time, and I believe technically even now, morning prayer was compulsory in UK state schools. Though parents could opt their children out of it where it went on. However, most state schools have either replaced it with a multicultural ‘thought for the day’ type assembly or with simply nothing.

  86. #86 Tengu
    January 19, 2009

    @58

    The bus slogan is entirely upper case, neatly side-stepping the “God”/ “god” issue.

  87. #87 Holbach
    January 19, 2009

    Naked Bunny with a Whip @ 48

    Picture this scenario. People are piling into a city or intra city bus, and when all are seated, the doors automatically close, the bus pulls away from the curb, and in a few seconds has reached sixty miles an hour. The passengers notice that there is no driver and start to get excited. Suddenly a flashing message appears before the driver’s station: “Relax, you are in good hands, your god is driving!” Now we all know that those sheep are going to relax, stay seated, and have the utmost confidence in their invisible driver-god! A good analogy is religious people who will not go to a religious hospital for surgery knowing that just prayers prayed over them on a sackcloth cot with absolutely no benefit of medicine or technology, but will unequivocally check in to a fully staffed hospital for the best of realistic care. What happened to the belief in their all powerful god who directs their every state in life? Ah, nothing like blatant reality in the face of nonsense! Gutless morons, not relying on their god to cure them or take them for the ride of their life!

  88. #88 John Phillips, FCD
    January 19, 2009

    Bubba, muslims recognise Jesus as an important prophet but not the son of god and thus accord him almost the same standing and respect as Mo. Hence, as Jadehawk said, same god, differing interpretations. Epic fail all right, but on your part.

  89. #89 Holbach
    January 19, 2009

    Naked Bunny @ 83

    No, the insane do not know that they are insane. Ask Silver Fox if he is insane and he will probably say that if his god so deems him to be insane then he’ll be insane whether he knows it or not.

  90. #90 Nils Ross
    January 19, 2009

    It’s fine for us to get our knickers in a twist about the religious right’s over-defensiveness, but let’s be practical here. They know very well that active Atheists in a liberal democratic nation pose a clear and present danger to their various ideologies. They’re simply reacting accordingly.

    Now, as rational atheists, we should understand that. These signs, the Stand Out campaign, the campaign against ‘intelligent design’, all of these things, are early battles in what is going to be a very long and nasty ideological war. We should expect our opponents to fight dirty; we should also make sure that as far as is practicable, we fight cleaner and better.

    So more signs. More Flying Spaghetti Monsters eating the internet. Argue with the people you know at every opportunity. Refuse to stand and sit on command when attending religious weddings, funerals, and so on. Explain why if you’re challenged. Don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what you think about their indoctrinating their children. Fight the good fight.

  91. #91 Eyeoffaith
    January 19, 2009

    On a positive note, it was exactly that sort of insane rants by Christians that made me examine my own faith and eventually led me to the light of Athiesm.

  92. #92 Ciaphas
    January 19, 2009

    Been reading for ages, but I wanted to comment to thank PZ for including a chunk of history that christians have been trying to bury for centuries. Very few christians were persecuted by the Romans.

    An awful lot were prosecuted. The different is important.

  93. #93 george.w
    January 19, 2009

    Silver Fox: “Unless one has made that journey there is no way for him to understand the interior reality that is the end result of an exercise of faith.”

    See, that’s the problem right there; it’s an interior, which is to say ‘perceptual’ reality. Means a lot to the person so inclined but like the warranty on your second-hand car, “not transferable”.

    Let’s try another version just for fun. Suppose Carlos Castenada wrote your post:

    “Unless one has made that journey there is no way for him to understand the interior reality that is the end result of an exercise of peyote.”

  94. #94 Crudely Wrott
    January 19, 2009

    Warner hazards this:

    To claim “There’s probably no God” suggests a somewhat faltering faith in the thesis being advanced.

    Well, yes.

    As does any suggestion that old saws and scripture do not a perfect very nice world make.

    The lack of evidence, in any case being argued in any venue, will falter and find itself mocked if it makes unsupported claims. What else is new?

  95. #95 Graculus
    January 19, 2009

    Socrates was convicted in part of a charge of atheism

    Not exactly. The charge was following his own gods, the greek concept of “god” being a bit more fluid and less divinity prone than most people realize.

    The comic playwrights were quite “blasphemous” towards the pantheon, and were not only never prosecuted, but were also quite well regarded – as were many philosophers that were much more outright atheist than Socrates.

    The charge against Socrates was more akin to treason than impeity.

  96. #96 Kel
    January 19, 2009

    Probably thought it was designed to be more provocative than informative.

    Unlike the ads which contained bible verses or carried an anti-abortion message… those were purely informative.

  97. #97 Big City
    January 19, 2009

    I have to see about 3 of these pieces of shit every time I go to my girlfriend’s house.

  98. #98 Caveat
    January 19, 2009

    Yeah, atheists need ‘martyrs’, like we don’t have enough already, should we feel like dredging them up. Which we don’t because we aren’t a bunch of whiny-asses who run to Big Daddy every time somebody shines a light on our bullshit.

    Mike Huckabee said that gays need to get more of their heads bashed if they want equal rights. Same thing but it certainly begs the question: Did Mike get his head bashed for his equal rights and if so, how bad was it and who gives out these rights based on numbers of head bashings?

    It’s pretty funny that this gentle little campaign generated such a kerfuffle among the ‘No facts, please, we’re religious’ crew because I found it rather tepid.

    But then, the love of religion is the root of all evil – which might also make a good ad, especially since it, too is true.

  99. #99 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @78
    “Time to talk to a mental health professional. You need treatment. Seek it elsewhere”

    I understand your frustration and feel your pain.

  100. #100 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @82
    “a pretty good description of Paranoid Schizophrenia…”

    No, psychotic ideations are quite different.

  101. #101 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    SF, When you think imaginary deity exists or is talking to you…. Seek help.
    When you must share these delusions with rational people… Seek help faster.

  102. #102 Wowbagger
    January 20, 2009

    Silver Fox, #99

    Reading comprehension: FAIL

  103. #103 Kel
    January 20, 2009

    SF is just being touched by the FSM’s noodly appendage…

  104. #104 Crudely Wrott
    January 20, 2009

    #98 For The Web.
    Also for CTTC.
    (Cutting To The Chase, as science, unimpeded, is wont.)

    In honor of eloquence, one large Attaway! is bestowed. With gratitude.

    Umrenumerated plug for a musician. Check out Kip Attaway. Yes, that’s his name.

  105. #105 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @83
    “You can’t understand how real insanity feels unless you’ve been insane yourself.”

    I would be inclined to agree with that, but you do know how they act, what they say, how they relate and those features of insanity are noticeably different from one who experiences a reality based on faith. It is a personal reality and a shared reality with others with faith experiences. Its a reality based not on insanity but faith. I can understand how you could confuse the two.

  106. #106 Wowbagger
    January 20, 2009

    I would be inclined to agree with that, but you do know how they act, what they say, how they relate and those features of insanity are noticeably different from one who experiences a reality based on faith.

    Anyone else spot the oxymoron?

  107. #107 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    @82
    “a pretty good description of Paranoid Schizophrenia…”

    No, psychotic ideations are quite different.

    actually no, they aren’t. that’s the whole point. if people claim they hear voices in their head, that’s insanity. if the voice is god, then it’s faith *facepalm*

  108. #108 Ubi Dubium
    January 20, 2009

    PZ, You’ve done it again! Beautiful poetic words, with just the right amount of “in your face” to the god-bots included. That paragraph about “The message of atheism is personal responsibility.” is going right in my keepers file.

    Oh, and Silver Fox:

    …and those features of insanity are noticeably different from one who experiences a reality based on faith…

    I sure don’t notice a difference. Some people believe in ruby satellites and wear tinfoil in their hats, others believe in talking snakes and evil fruit and wear a miniature torture device as a symbol of their imaginary friend. Both sound delusional to me.

  109. #109 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @89
    “No, the insane do not know that they are insane”

    Actually, the word “insane” is dated. It is never used as professional language. Even if one was diagnosed, lets say, bi-polar disorder, he would not be referred to as “insane”. It seems that your knowledge of mental disorders in on a par with your knowledge of experienced reality rooted in an exercise of faith. One may have a mental disorder with symptomatic religious ideations. But the two are quite different and obvious to even a casual observer.

  110. #110 mrcreosote
    January 20, 2009

    on ‘certainty':- I wish there were more christians like Oliver Cromwell

    “I BESEECH YOU IN THE BOWELS OF CHRIST THINK IT POSSIBLE YOU MAY BE MISTAKEN.”
    In a letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 1650.

  111. #111 Crudely Wrott
    January 20, 2009

    The confusion rises due to a commmon confusion, Silver Fox

    I like to blame it on the fact that most people are quite sane. Some people are more than quite sane and some people are far less. This is so through observation alone (and a reasonable command of language). Anyone can take the same measurements. YMMV, of course.

    There are not any new threats to faith. It’s just the same nature of reality that has always been. Such nature does not reflect our opinions of it.

    It seems a shame that such a common affliction has existed for so long without being finally dealt with.

    This is the true burden of faith. Not that some particular outcome is the proper one. Rather that so many people agree on the value of a suggested outcome that is improbable, ludicrous and that evokes the impossible, the unlikely, the unwanted.

    Surely we can do better. It would only hurt our brains a little bit.

    E Pluribus Unum

  112. #112 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @101
    When you think imaginary deity exists or is talking to you…. Seek help.

    By all means, when you have auditory hallucinations seek help. But that’s not the experience that’s being referenced.

  113. #113 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @106
    “Anyone else spot the oxymoron?”

    Earlier, one poster referred to “rational atheists”. There are many would consider that a real oxymoron.

  114. #114 gypsytag
    January 20, 2009

    first jesus gets nailed to a cross and now he’s being humped by christians? Damn, its great to be god ain’t it.

  115. #115 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    Earlier, one poster referred to “rational atheists”. There are many would consider that a real oxymoron.

    cute. resorting to vacuous insults now, are you

  116. #116 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @107

    “if people claim they hear voices in their head, that’s insanity.”

    People who exercise faith to believe in God do not hear voices in their head.

    People who do hear voices in their head experience auditory hallucinations; they are not all “insane”. There are some neurological ailments that produce them. Sometimes they’re related to medications

    Again, it is advisable to keep away from faith experienced realities and mental disorder when you know little or nothing about either.

  117. #117 Pikemann Urge
    January 20, 2009

    One of your best ever posts, PZ. This should be in the editorial section of The Times or something.

  118. #118 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    There are some neurological ailments that produce them. Sometimes they’re related to medications

    and what, pray tell, do you think the colloquial use of the word “insane” implies?

    and hallucinations (mostly visual) are part and parcel of the most deeply fundie religions.

    not to mention that you should probably look up the meaning of “Hyperbole” in a dictionary, so that you can actually understand the point about religions making people go ga-ga

  119. #119 Tabby Lavalamp
    January 20, 2009

    …that allows racists, misogynists and homophobes to declare a significant portion of our population to be second-class citizens…

    Fixed to include the largest block of second-class citizens.

  120. #120 Kel
    January 20, 2009

    Earlier, one poster referred to “rational atheists”. There are many would consider that a real oxymoron.

    The same ones who talk of faith as a virtue… ;)

  121. #121 Silver Fox
    January 20, 2009

    @108
    “Both sound delusional to me.”

    Not having experienced the interiality transformed by the exercise of faith, I understand why it sounds delusional to you. You have no point of reference other than naturalism/materialism upon which to judge the genuineness of the experience.

  122. #122 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    Not having experienced the interiality transformed by the exercise of faith, I understand why it sounds delusional to you.

    and we’re back to the part where some odd firings of your synapses makes you perceive things that don’t exist… this is right up there with the UFO and reincarnation delusions.

    give up. faith is at best a Noble Lie, at worst a mental disorder, no matter how you dress it up as something awesome.

  123. #123 tomh
    January 20, 2009

    Silver Fox wrote: Not having experienced the interiality transformed by the exercise of faith … You have no point of reference other than naturalism/materialism upon which to judge the genuineness of the experience.

    The same reason you shouldn’t try to discuss rationality. You have no point of reference with which to judge the experience.

  124. #124 Miranda Hale
    January 20, 2009

    Wonderful post!!

  125. #125 Kel
    January 20, 2009

    It’s amazing that anyone could possibly think faith is actually useful. It’s nothing more than rationalising what is already held to be true. No evidence? That’s okay, you have faith. Sounds absurd? That’s okay, you have faith. Faith is an intellectual virus of the mind, it’s the virtue of not thinking. Faith is not an answer, it’s not a way to ascertain knowledge, it’s truthiness – gut instinct and nothing more. It’s the least virtuous of the virtues, the most contemptuous logical abortion one can possibly perform. Faith is what people turn to in order to justify what to any rational person is not and cannot be true.

    The way the likes of Silver Fox trumpet this intellectually bankrupt phenomenon only serve to show how void of any credibility what they propose is real.
    “Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.” – Dan Barker

  126. #126 SteveL
    January 20, 2009

    #125:
    Nassim Taleb the Black Swan guy has a weird defence of faith. He’s a churchgoer I think. His logic is: (more or less, I’m paraphrasing from memory) (a) we are wired to have to believe in something, because there’s a cognitive cost to skepticism; (b) it’s safer to believe in Allah/Santa/the tooth fairy than to believe in say Madoff’s investment strategy; (c) people who focus their skeptical efforts on religion are more likely to display a touching faith in crooked investment advisers.

    Not that I agree. Not sure about the evidence there is for either (a) or (c).

  127. #127 John Phillips, FCD
    January 20, 2009

    SteveL, the mistake he makes is assuming that sceptics are only sceptical about one thing. Me? I tend to be sceptical about anything of import, at least until I see lots of good evidence. In fact, I tend to be sceptical even of things not necessarily of great import, it’s good practise :).

    As to cognitive cost, to my way of thinking there is an even greater cognitive cost to believing things without evidence. In fact, evidence seems to show that the believers are readily fleeced, if only by their own, refuting his argument. Then again, why should that be a surprise, for if someone is prepared to believe one set of things on faith, i.e. religion, it doesn’t take much of a leap of faith :) to realise that they will probably take other things on faith if they believe the priestconman is trustworthy.

  128. #128 clinteas
    January 20, 2009

    Or also if she’s cute and smells nice, like Wowbagger. Or perhaps I’ve said too much.

    Wowbagger is a chick? I be damned !!

  129. #129 uncle frogy
    January 20, 2009

    silverfox said>>>Actually as paradoxical as this may sound, it is. Those individuals apparently accepted the gift of faith which is exercised through the grace of God. In accepting and cooperating with that gift they committed an act of the intellect through the will. The interior construction of their personal experience evidenced for them the presence of God in their lives. That was as clear a reality for them as any reality could be. Under those conditions, they had no alternative but to die in the face of persecution.<<<
    there is absolutely nothing in that belief that prevents them from being completely wrong and dead for a delusion, an illusion or a metaphor.
    Many people believe many things the act of belief does not make anything true in reality.
    Those who took it on faith that Bernie Madoff was a genius and that they were making huge profits are still ruined, wiped out.

    Look Father silver fox how is anyone supposed to know who to believe or which god is the “real one” when we only have the words of other people and all the evidence says it is impossible and makes no sense.
    Are the people who followed Jim Jones to the jungles of Central America and drank the Koolaid martyrs?

  130. #130 SteveL
    January 20, 2009

    John Phillips @#127:

    Yeah, I agree, but I may not have got his arguments exactly right. Here is his position in his own words.

    Edge: The Opiates of the middle classes

    Taleb on youtube

  131. #131 SteveL
    January 20, 2009
  132. #132 John Phillips, FCD
    January 20, 2009

    SteveL, I see what he is saying, but all that is, is a warning not to blindly trust experts and to remain sceptical until the evidence is in.

    Admittedly, not necessarily that easy in today’s complicated interconnected world, at least not unless one is prepared to do some work for oneself. However, if it is of any import to me I will always find the time.

    BTW, anyone who believes economics is a science, as an example he gives in his talk, deserves everything they get :)

  133. #133 Richard Harris
    January 20, 2009

    Just to quibble, it means 'THE god'. When Muhammad started Islam, he was dealing mostly with polytheists, as well as Jews & Christians, so it was necessary to make it clear that he wasn't promoting just one god among many, but rather, the one & only god.

    I’m no linguist, but it seems obvious that Al is synonymous with El (as in El-Shaddai). I understand that the etymology of El is not known, but it clearly means ‘god’. Maybe an Arabic speaking reader would like to comment on this?

  134. #134 Richard Harris
    January 20, 2009

    CORRECTION

    Just to quibble, ‘Allah’ means ‘THE god’. When Muhammad started Islam, he was dealing mostly with polytheists, as well as Jews & Christians, so it was necessary to make it clear that he wasn’t promoting just one god among many, but rather, the one & only god.
    I’m no linguist, but it seems obvious that Al is synonymous with El (as in El-Shaddai). I understand that the etymology of El is not known, but it clearly means ‘god’. Maybe an Arabic speaking reader would like to comment on this?

  135. #135 SteveL
    January 20, 2009

    #133:
    “Al” is “the” and “Lah” is cognate with Hebrew “El”. Both “Lah” and “El” simply mean god. I’m no linguist either, just read it somewhere.

  136. #136 Stephen P
    January 20, 2009

    To clarify – the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God are the same one.

    The central tenet of the Christian religion is that its god had a son who came down to earth in human form. The central tenet of the Muslim religion is that Allah is one alone; the Koran explicitly denies that he had a son. So what meaning of “same” were you using in that statement?

    It is perfectly true that the three gods have evolved from a common origin; but then so have ravens and cauliflowers.

  137. #137 John Phillips, FCD
    January 20, 2009

    Stephen P, the only, he says lightly :), real disagreement is about Jesus, and yes I know that is simplifying it just a tad. But Jews don’t recognise him at all, the xians say he is the son of god and the muslims say he is just a prophet superceded by Mo. However, they all appear to agree that it is the same god and the rest is just an argument about who truly ‘speaks’ for him. The muslims claiming that as Mo was the last he spoke to they have first dibs on claiming the true ‘truth’.

  138. #138 John Morales
    January 20, 2009

    Stephen @136, that’s a non-sequitur.

    Not all Christians subscribe to the Trinity.

    Also, have you heard of the expression “People of the Book”?

    It’s the same God.

  139. #139 John Morales
    January 20, 2009

    Stephen, sorry, my mistake – the three gods obviously confused me. My non sequitur! :)

  140. #140 Tualha
    January 20, 2009

    Well, if we do need martyrs, we’ve already got at least one. Anyone remember Theo van Gogh?

  141. #141 csrster
    January 20, 2009

    What I like about the “There probably is no God” slogan is that it doesn’t just challenge theists’ belief in deities, but it also challenges the belief that certainty is a virtue.

  142. #142 Matt Heath
    January 20, 2009
    Neither the Jewish nor the Muslim god is trinitarian. Yahweh and Allah are two very different battle gods. Peace be unto him is associated with prophets, like Mohammed, not gods. Epic fail.

    actually, the fail is on your account, since the god is the same god of the bible, but the interpretation varies. once upon a time, there even were Christians who believed in a non-trinitarian god. then they were killed.

    This is kind of like discussing whether Frank Miller’s Batman is “really” the same character as the Silver Age version.

    For what it’s worth I once read a half-sensible solution to the question of whether 2 religionists are refering to the same God. You ask whether, if (hypothetically) other’s description of the universe turns out to be correct would you call their god by the name of your god (e.g. if the Muslim view were true on the facts would a Jew say that Allah was Yahweh).

  143. #143 Matt Heath
    January 20, 2009

    on ‘certainty':- I wish there were more christians like Oliver Cromwell

    “I BESEECH YOU IN THE BOWELS OF CHRIST THINK IT POSSIBLE YOU MAY BE MISTAKEN.”
    In a letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 1650.

    You may want to read more about Cromwell. He didn’t really take his own advice.

    Also, y’know, the whole war criminal thing: we don’t really need more of that.

  144. #144 Wowbagger
    January 20, 2009

    Clinteas wrote:

    Wowbagger is a chick? I be damned !!

    Smartarse.

    Or also if she’s cute and smells nice, like Wowbagger. Or perhaps I’ve said too much.

    I’d like to think I can be cute, smell nice and still be a dude – though you’d have to ask Naked Bunny with a Whip as to whether that’s what he/she thought. A compliment’s a compliment; I wasn’t going to complain…

  145. #145 Richard Thomas
    January 20, 2009

    Just as a bit of background, Gerald Warner is a commentator for the British Daily Telegraph (formerly owned by an inmate in a US gaol on Lord Conrad Black) which in many ways is becoming a catholic newspaper. He is in almost every sense more catholic than the Pope and in his mind, lives probably around the time of the Counter Reformation; the Inquisition would not be abhorrent to him I suspect. In the UK context, this goes with impeccable far right wing opinions although I suspect in the US he might be a little more of a mainstream conservative.

  146. #146 Matt Heath
    January 20, 2009

    As further background (in addition to Richard Thomas’ useful comments @#145), don’t pay any attention to the Torygraph; it’s really shit.

  147. #147 Richard Hubbard
    January 20, 2009

    ****STANDS TO APPLAUD****

  148. #148 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 20, 2009

    Wowbagger is a chick?

    I hope not. I would have to get out a different set of “accessories” for this weekend.

  149. #149 Richard Eis
    January 20, 2009

    Comparing gods is akin to asking who would win in a fight, the tooth fairy or Santa. A hiding to nothing.

    I would be interested in seeing how many complaints to Pharyngula’s cracker incident were from muslims vs Christians. Perhaps he can give us a rough percentage.

    To be honest the total complaints about the buses have been pretty sad. If i was christian i would be deeply embarrassed at those who have decided to speak for christianity. They are incompetent.
    I doubt insanity and religion are particularly linked. The brain is perfectly capable of ignoring things it doesn’t like or making up stories in daily life. I look forward however to both parties peer reviewed research on the matter.

  150. #150 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 20, 2009

    Comparing gods is akin to asking who would win in a fight, the tooth fairy or Santa.

    Or, if you want an example that people take seriously, if Superman could beat Goku.

  151. #151 clinteas
    January 20, 2009

    Naked Bunny,

    do not tease me with thoughts about things that are cute and smell nice LOL
    And please do not tease me with accessories to get out depending on the situation,I am a single man here trying to be good..:-)
    Well,you know,trying to be,whatever….
    *Sigh*
    Back to Boston Legal…..

  152. #152 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 20, 2009

    Perhaps he can give us a rough percentage.

    Last I heard, he had gotten no complaints from Muslims.

  153. #153 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    Not having experienced the interiality transformed by the exercise of faith, I understand why it sounds delusional to you. You have no point of reference other than naturalism/materialism upon which to judge the genuineness of the experience.

    Yes people who have never done something should never comment on it….

  154. #154 Pat Silver
    January 20, 2009

    Meanwhile in the UK we have another opportunity for fun. Since the nuts from Christian Voice have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the bus adverts are not true, we can surely complain about adverts on churches like the one I saw this morning that states “There is no life without Jesus.” Since I am alive and an atheist, that would appear to be an untrue statement and therefore in contravention of the advertising rules.

  155. #155 Richard Eis
    January 20, 2009

    -adverts on churches-
    The ASA would probably defer that to the local trading standards authority, however you then have the issue that they are not trading and monies are usually voluntary.

    Sorry, but unless it’s public broadcast stuff that won’t work.

  156. #156 Jeanette
    January 20, 2009

    Great post, PZ.

    The fact that Christians are only able to see the word “God” as referring exclusively to THEIR god points out the fact that “In God We Trust” on our currency is in fact intended to refer only to the Christian god, and the idea that it’s meant to be inclusive of all religions is bullshit.

  157. #157 Stephen P
    January 20, 2009

    @John Phillips: I don’t disagree that a lot of Jews / Christians / Muslims assert that their gods are the same one. (Not all though: I have had at least one mail from a Christian asserting that Allah is a false god consorting with Satan.) But given that the differences in the alleged attributes of this alleged god extend even to the fundamental tenets of the religions – being a father or not being a father is a reasonably significant difference – and given the absence of anything resembling empirical evidence, the assertion lies somewhere between wrong and meaningless. But then, it’s not exactly as if we are unfamiliar with religious assertions which are wrong or meaningless.

  158. #158 Logicel
    January 20, 2009

    Silver Fox can switch and bait all he/she wants via rhetorical/logical fallacies, but the bottom line is that the religious tripe that she/he utters is wonky non-evidential stuff dressed up in the institutional garb of Christianity–creepy, useless stuff no different than any other woo of any other brand.

    Silver Fox is a bore for the most part, especially when he/she seems to forget that many atheists have had this ‘special’ experience with whose description she/he is boring us–the one he/she insists we can’t possibly understand–but they eventually rejected it as merely auto suggestion.

    Silver Fox demonstrates a mindset that would not go unchallenged by mental health professions if religious beliefs was not allowed to be exempt from scrutiny of what it essentially is: non-evidential auto-suggestion. If Silver Fox desires to gets his/her jollies off that way, no problem, but to strive to get any support, understanding, or okay from rationalists makes her/his kind of mental wobbliness more worrisome.

    Another aspect of the kind of godbot that Silver Fox represents, is not only he/she strives to present themselves as reasonable, but to speak for other believers. That kind of godbot is the most boring of all godbots, even more than the over-the-top fundamentalists.

  159. #159 Iain Walker
    January 20, 2009

    Silver Fox (#76 & #121)

    The interior construction of their personal experience evidenced for them the presence of God in their lives.

    As I’ve pointed out to you twice before in previous threads (here and here), this constitutes neither evidence nor knowledge.

    You have no point of reference other than naturalism/materialism upon which to judge the genuineness of the experience.

    Furthermore, this has nothing to do with naturalism or materialism, but is a matter of the conditions under which the terms “evidence” and “knowledge” can be meaningfully used. The point is that you have no point of reference at all for judging the genuineness of the experience, because you have no public criteria for evaluating as such.

  160. #160 xiangtao
    January 20, 2009

    In the interest of being a pain in the ass, I believe that the correct plural of “modus operandi” would be “modi operandorum”.

    Only if you never learned much syntax. If we translate MO to “mode of operating”, yours would be “modes of operatings” and about as grammatical. Which is all pretty much OT or (excellent word, PZ) orthogonal to topic.

    actually, to be extra-pedantic, there are no plural forms of latin gerunds, so it’s not just the syntax that’s incorrect

    Shit. I thought about that after posting and realized my mistake. Too much time since Latin studying a non-indo european language. Chinese rots the brain.

  161. #161 Jerry Billings
    January 20, 2009

    I looked on the porch this morning but, Lo and Behold, there was no newspaper. A quick call to the distributor resulted in my being told that there was an editorial that was in favor of Atheists’ rights to freedom of speach and the delivery boy declined to deliver today.

  162. #162 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 20, 2009

    Great post!

    Incredible billboards. I wonder if the Irreverend E. F. Briggs should be sued for treason? or just diagnosed with 0.8 Tc?

    Most of the aristocratic ‘Deists’ would have been atheist if could have got away with it.

    I’m not sure about that. Because science hadn’t advanced that far yet, many thought a deist god was the most parsimonious explanation for the origin of everything, as Dawkins has pointed out.

    They were persecuted because they were aggressively monotheistic and rejected all the other gods, and would not participated in activities like emperor-worship, making their loyalty suspect.

    In other words, the Romans persecuted the Christians because the latter were insufficiently pluralistic.

    From which we draw the conclusion that pluralists can be persecutors …

    As usual, oh fake one, you misunderstand. The Romans weren’t really pluralists. They believed (like, for example, the Hittites before them) that every deity anyone has ever worshipped really exists. Christians, in contrast, are atheists about all gods except one (or, rather, believed that all gods except one were evil demons instead of gods, and that worshipping them was positively dangerous).

    Worse yet, you quote PZ as mentioning the real reason for persecution: by refusing to worship the emperor as a god — by being atheistic about the emperor –, the Christians rose doubts about their loyalty to the state. In other words, religion and state got mixed, and people died. As usual.

    From which we draw the conclusion that pluralists can be persecutors …

    your point?

    His point is tu quoque.

    In the interest of being a pain in the ass, I believe that the correct plural of “modus operandi” would be “modi operandorum”.

    Comment 64 is right because operandi is the gerund, the declension of the infinitive. Modus operandi means “mode of operating”, so the plural is “modes of operating”, not “modes of operatings” — PZ has it right.

    Comment 79 is also right, because English gerunds can be used (and are historically descended from) nouns, so “several operatings” isn’t automatically nonsense. That doesn’t hold for Latin.

    “So, your evidence for the existence of an all-seeing, all-powerful being who loves you and believes in goodness and justice is that so many of you have been killed on so many occasions?”

    Actually as paradoxical as this may sound, it is.

    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    CRASH
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>
    <headfloor>

    I find it very hard to believe that the ignorance behind this statement is even possible.

    Look, you act as if only Christianity had ever had martyrs! You act as if it were impossible to be so thoroughly convinced of anything except Christianity that one would be willing to die for it! The stupid! It burns!!!

    There have been Stalinist suicide bombers for the PKK!

    I’m no linguist, but it seems obvious that Al is synonymous with El (as in El-Shaddai).

    No, no, no. It’s the article; it means “the”. “God” is ?ilah(u) in Arabic and ?eloha in Hebrew. (Examples: Arabic la ?ilaha illa Allah “there is no god except The God”, Hebrew ?adonai ?elohe-nu “the Lord our god” and ?elohim “gods”.) What then happened was a contraction: al-?ilah got contracted into al?lah, and then the l?l cluster became a long extra-dark (“emphatic” — velarized to pharyngealized) l, the only one in the whole Arabic language BTW.

    [?] is the IPA symbol for the sound you can find at the beginning and in the middle of uh-oh. In most Semitic languages (and many others, like Hawai?ian) this sound is used as an ordinary consonant.

    And yes, some Arabic words end in a panting sound, in other words, [h].

    What I like about the “There probably is no God” slogan is that it doesn’t just challenge theists’ belief in deities, but it also challenges the belief that certainty is a virtue.

    Exactly. I fear very few people get this, however.

  163. #163 Caveat
    January 20, 2009

    “Meanwhile in the UK we have another opportunity for fun. Since the nuts from Christian Voice have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the bus adverts are not true”

    Let the fun begin! They have to prove their case, no? That should provide years of entertainment, not to mention blog fodder.

  164. #164 Bronze Dog
    January 20, 2009

    Skipping past comments. The idiot’s comment on the lack of absolute certainty ended up inspiring me.

  165. #165 Piltdown Man
    January 20, 2009

    Ciaphas @92:

    I wanted to comment to thank PZ for including a chunk of history that christians have been trying to bury for centuries. Very few christians were persecuted by the Romans.
    An awful lot were prosecuted. The different is important.

    This must be what they mean by “historical revisionism”. Doubtless you have scientific evidence which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a lion couldn’t possibly have eaten a whole Christian.

    I’d be careful about publicizing it, though — you might end up being prosecuted for hate crimes. Or perhaps not.

  166. #166 Steve_C
    January 20, 2009

    Piltdown has been sniffing glue again. Prosecution? hehehehe.

  167. #167 rijkswaanvijand
    January 20, 2009

    Wow! The man’s a friend of Charles of Austria.. I went looking for Xenopus tadpoles with him quite regularly back in them good old days. Guess he must be right, him knowing Charles and all.

  168. #168 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Yes Steve_C, even if Pilty was in charge of a modern day inquisition, he would still feel persecuted. That doesn’t say much for his thought processes.

  169. #169 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2009

    Ciaphas @92:

    I wanted to comment to thank PZ for including a chunk of history that christians have been trying to bury for centuries. Very few christians were persecuted by the Romans.
    An awful lot were prosecuted. The different is important.

    This must be what they mean by “historical revisionism”. Doubtless you have scientific evidence which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a lion couldn’t possibly have eaten a whole Christian.

    Says the guy who claims that the Inquisition was well-intentioned, and didn’t kill all that many innocent people.

    O bigot, thou art blatant in thy bigotry.

  170. #170 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2009

    (Not that I’m trying to defend either the persecution or prosecution of Christians. But Pilt has been loud and long in his insistance that his religion’s shit does not stink.)

  171. #171 Piltdown Man
    January 20, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead @168:

    even if Pilty was in charge of a modern day inquisition, he would still feel persecuted.

    Persecution of Christ (and by extension Christians) is the default position. Institutions like the Inquisition and the Christian empire held that at bay for a few centuries, but now that they’re gone things will return to type.

  172. #172 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Pilty, you need professional a mental health check-up. You are definitely paranoid. (Whereas, we are just annoyed with you.)

  173. #173 Piltdown Man
    January 20, 2009

    You are definitely paranoid.

    A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. – William S Burroughs

  174. #174 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2009

    Persecution of Christ (and by extension Christians) is the default position. Institutions like the Inquisition and the Christian empire held that at bay for a few centuries,

    No, Pilt. The Inquisition also counts as persecution, and even persecution of Christians.

    For that matter, so did the “empire” (Neither Holy, nor Roman.. &c).

  175. #175 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Pilty, that quote fits you quite well.

  176. #176 KnockGoats
    January 20, 2009

    Persecution of Christ (and by extension Christians) is the default position. – Piltdown Whiner

    Self-deception and projection are your default activities, Piltdown. You Christians started torturing and murdering everyone else (and each other) as soon as you had the power to do so, and continued as long as you had power to do so. Never in human history has there been a religion so dedicated to persecution and the suppression of free thought. Christianity: death cult, torture cult, stupidity cult, lie cult.

  177. #177 Paul
    January 20, 2009

    Piltdown: You might want to move past only knowing a little of what’s going on.

    Has it been confirmed that Piltdown is not just a Poe? From a decently long period of lurking, it just seems like a guy that gets bored from time to time and decides to troll the other regulars.

  178. #178 Wowbagger
    January 20, 2009

    I suspect Piltdown is sometimes a Poe and sometimes not. He has, in the past, attempted serious discussion; however, he might have given that up after being soundly trounced at every turn over the last few months.

    Today he’s definitely being silly for the sake of it.

  179. #179 Owlmirror
    January 20, 2009

    Has it been confirmed that Piltdown is not just a Poe?

    I am not certain how seriously he takes everything he writes, and he may well be playing silly buggers with his more extreme statements. But he has, on the other hand, been more or less consistent with his pro-conservative-Catholic stance.

    If he is a Poe, he’s probably a success precisely because of that poker-faced ambiguity.

  180. #180 KnockGoats
    January 20, 2009

    Not having experienced the interiality transformed by the exercise of faith, I understand why it sounds delusional to you. You have no point of reference other than naturalism/materialism upon which to judge the genuineness of the experience. – Silver Fox

    Tosh, as usual. What do you mean “the genuineness of the experience”? That the believer really believes they experience God, or the Holy Virgin, or nirvana, or whatever? No-one doubts it. That they really do experience these things? Then why do these experiences of the religious differ so much from place to place, and time to time? Why do individual believers almost always just happen to have experiences that they take to confirm the dogmas of the locally dominant religion or sect? These regularities indicate that cultural processes are responsible for the content of the experiences, not supernatural forces. Indeed, that is how most religious believers judge the experiences of other religious believers they happen to disagree with – unless indeed they assign these experiences as devilish delusions.

    Of course the New Age approach is to claim (quite falsely) that the core message of all religions is the same and they are all ways to god, but I doubt that appeals to an unregenerate zombie-worshipper like SF.

  181. #181 Arnosium Upinarum
    January 21, 2009

    Magnificent post PZ! You really know how to deliver! Satisfies like a swallow of a fine pilsner.

    From the Department of Silly Riddles: Chicken-or-egg? Which comes first? Religion or irrationality? Faith or delusion? God or personal irresponsibilty?

    In other words, did insincere and dishonest people seeking to absolve their irresponsible behavior think up God as an excuse (“The dev.., uh, GOD made me do it!”), or does the concept of God come first to subsequently foster insincerity, dishonesty and irresponsibility? (Thus establishing the corollary existence of devils anyway).

    Mysticism or madness? The supernatural or nature-denial? Monotheism or deist-demophobia? Atheism or rationality? Absolutism or stubborness? Jesusness or jerk?

    There are LOTS of them. Try it. It’s fun.

    They possess a certain charm, one might suppose, because they all apply to beliefs and motivations, to the way people think and arrive at conclusions, and because there is causality in thought and the questions ask about the procedural logic behind anyone’s world-view.

    I just figure they’re all examples of synergistic feedback loops. The scream from the amp is by now deafeningly ear-splitting.

    Whatever. It doesn’t matter which of the pair begets the other. It’s much more amusing to think them up then it is to settle their causality. It’s the only time I’ve found a form of the Silly Riddle to be of any practical use.

  182. #182 Arnosium Upinarum
    January 21, 2009

    Oh, and David @ #162: GREAT RESPONSE!

  183. #183 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 21, 2009

    GREAT RESPONSE!

    For the observation that the persecutions of Christians in the Roman Empire were actually based on charges that basically amount to atheism, if that’s what you mean, full credit goes to PZ (5th- and 4th-to-last paragraph of the post). It’s a case of “how stupid of me not to have thought of this myself”.

  184. #184 Silverwhistle
    January 21, 2009

    Gerald Warner has form. I recall him writing for Scotland on Sunday: a lot of rabidly Catholic nonsense, pro-Franco clerico-fascist stuff on Spain, and rampant homophobia. I have the misfortune of occasionally seeing him in my local supermarket here in Glasgow.

  185. #185 Steve_C
    January 21, 2009

    It’s funny that Piltdown thinks saying there’s probably no god is hate speech against christians. It’s not even hate speech against god.

  186. #186 Joker
    January 22, 2009

    I’m a Christian, while I disagree with you on the existence of God I will defend your right to say that there isn’t one. I will also say that those who become self righteous and scream from the rooftops of their faith are missing the point. Christ called on us to live our lives with humility and piety, not to pray loudly before others as a way of grandstanding.

    I honestly am angrier at the lower billboards which try to use the words of a man who told us to love our enemies, forgive those who wrong us, and to show compassion for the less fortunate as a way to bully and intimidate others.

    And yes, I knwo that what I’m doing can be seen as a form of self-righteousness and grandstanding. But I also think it’s unfair to judge any group or organization based on their lunatic fringe.

    Thank you for your time.

  187. #187 marz21
    January 22, 2009

    “WE’ve got 2000 years behind us… If you wanna play with the big boys………?….”

    What is this?…… The Theistic Major leagues? Religions in general are designed to control people… And as if we didn’t have enough segregation amongst the worlds religions… I’d just like to know exactly when these antiquated idea’s needed to be broken down further and put into a class system, as if once enough atheist “martyrs” say, get burned at the stake, or a claymore mine strapped to them, that Atheism would be accepted as a legit religion? Like an woldwide religion league expansion team… Gotta love the logic of certain christians.. good post, man

    randy
    Minister of a 1 person Church

  188. #188 Piltdown Man
    January 22, 2009

    Joker @186:

    I will also say that those who become self righteous and scream from the rooftops of their faith are missing the point. Christ called on us to live our lives with humility and piety, not to pray loudly before others as a way of grandstanding.

    Don’t blame me, I was only obeying orders:

    That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.

  189. #189 Joker
    January 26, 2009

    There is a difference between sharing the faith and acting self righteous and praying loudly as a form of grandstanding. People that pray loudly before others are often doing it as a form of self aggrandizement as much as they are to spread the word.

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