Pharyngula

God, abortionist

Another revelation in the tragic Montanaplane crash endorsed by anti-choice freaks: one of the women on the plane was five months pregnant. If their deity is responsible for these deaths, not only is their god an abortionist, he’s one of those hacks who butchers the mother in the process…but apparently, Gingi Edmonds is alright with that.

Comments

  1. #1 Milton
    March 26, 2009

    God is a sick bastard.

  2. #2 cervantes
    March 26, 2009

    Actually we already know that God is by far the most prolific abortionist in history. Close to half of gametes do not successfully implant — in most cases the woman never knew she was pregnant. Something like 1/3 of the remainder don’t make it for more than a few days, and the woman may experience a late period. And of course there are also miscarriages and stillbirths that happen later.

    This is by far the gravest public health problem facing the planet, and if we really believe that these are dead babies, nearly all biomedical research resources, and medical services, should be diverted immediately to saving them.

  3. #3 Matt
    March 26, 2009

    eggs, omelet.

  4. #4 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    Indiscriminate death happens, only a fucked-up mind could ever rationalise it away as the actions of a benevolent deity. Anthropomorphising the universe needs to stop, it needs to be recognised that nature doesn’t act in the same motivational structure as we do. Instead we have irrational idiots trying to justify every single chaotic event as if it were all a part of something. They are scum, absolute scum of the earth!

  5. #5 rimpal
    March 26, 2009

    the hack is known for doing far worse, like the plagues he visited upon Egypt

  6. #6 recovering catholic
    March 26, 2009

    Apparently we overloaded Gingi’s email box. My email to her telling her what I thought bounced back with a message saying that her account is no longer accepting messages because it’s full. Way to go, fellow Pharyngulites!

  7. #7 lordshipmayhem
    March 26, 2009

    At one small regional hospital which shall remain nameless, one devoutly RC member of the Board was reading the annual report and was aghast to discover in a list of what conditions they’d had to treat, the words ‘spontaneous abortion’. She was aghast that this hospital, heavily supported by the Roman Catholic Church, was performing abortions. It took the medical staff on the Board some time, I’m told, to convince her that ‘spontaneous’ meant these were the Big Imaginary OB-GYN in the Sky’s doing, and not the actions of a human physician.

  8. #8 Mozglubov
    March 26, 2009

    Well, as I understand it, god is fine with infanticide as long as its done to people who are not his ‘chosen’. At least, that is the old-style god… then the New Testament came out and confused everyone. Now people aren’t sure whether there is supposed to be a wrathful god or a benevolent god.

  9. #9 10channel
    March 26, 2009

    “It begins by telling us that the plane crashed in a cemetery ? a Catholic cemetery that has a ‘memorial to the unborn’, dedicated to aborted fetuses. We are apparently supposed to feel some sense of irony at this.”

    Perhaps so? Their God-endorsed plane crash thus endorses all of it.

  10. #10 ChrisD
    March 26, 2009

    They had it coming. Behold the power of our lord, which is our power by proxy through prayer!

    Religion enables the powerless some false sense of power. It really should be in DSM-V as mentioned in the other post.

  11. #11 Abstruse
    March 26, 2009

    I cant hear one more word about Gingi or I will rage vomit on my laptop.

    So I have to take a brief break from the blog. I’ll miss it.

    Cheers.

  12. #12 10channel
    March 26, 2009

    Gingi quoted some passage like “you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you” from some random part of the bible. According to that kind of logic, this pregnant mother “did not hate bloodshed, so bloodshed also pursued her.” Just horrible.

  13. #13 Drosera
    March 26, 2009

    It should be possible to conduct a statistical analysis to find out if pregnant women are proportionally less often killed in airplane accidents than non-pregnant women, on the hypothesis that God would tend to spare the lives of the unborn.

    If my hunch is right, then so much for divine intervention.

  14. #14 Dirty Hairy
    March 26, 2009

    Gingi Edmonds can fucking bite me.

  15. #15 JD
    March 26, 2009

    “Everything happens for a reason.” If I hear that goddamn, teh tarded statement one more time…

  16. #16 black wolf
    March 26, 2009

    siMon,
    come back when you’ve learned to write coherent English and got your IQ above 65.

  17. #17 Blondin
    March 26, 2009

    There’s an old legend that Betty Davis once said of Joan Crawford, “I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on her if she were on fire.”

    Pretty much sums up the way I feel about fuck-ups like Gingi Edmonds.

  18. #18 JD
    March 26, 2009

    siMon: Why does god dispatch 200 to 600 million sperm during one fertility attempt? If it was one magic, gold-plated sperm you might be less stupid.

  19. #19 Dirty Hairy
    March 26, 2009

    siMon, who the fuck on this planet do you think “supports” abortion? Never once have I ever met, even in the leftiest, feministiest groups, people that were glad abortion happens so frequently.

    We support legalized medical abortion so scared teenage girls aren’t hacking away at their innards with wire coathangers or seeking out butchers in back alleys!

    Sure, in a perfect fucking world no one would have sex EVER unless it was to produce a child they were prepared for, BUT IT IS NOT THE WAY IT FUCKING HAPPENS. This is where YOUR expectations and REALITY clash!

    Instead of condemning people with your imagined God, why don’t you do something progressive and productive like advocating teaching of birth control and making the availability of condoms to teens?

    GO die in a fire you sanctimonious fuck.

  20. #20 Dirty Hairy
    March 26, 2009

    siMon, I am going to pluck out one of your eyes and skullfuck you.

  21. #21 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2009

    If God is the world’s biggest abortionist, then isn’t Satan a hero for fighting him?

  22. #22 Louis
    March 26, 2009

    I, Swami Louis, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Seer of Seers, Soothsayer of Soothsayers, Possessed of the Far Sight and Clear Vision predict that, beyond all rational doubt and contention, this thread now fill with many posts containing a variety of apologetics from the spectacularly dumb to the calvinistically self satisfied.

    And lo, there will be a wailing and a gnashing of teeth, and the Hoardes of Pharyngula will descend upon the Apologists with great noise and fury and much banging of drums and blasting of horns. Brimstone shall metaphorically fall from the sky and night will be as day, day as night, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

    And then we shall gaze upon the fields of bloodied and rent apologetics, the pseudo-arguments in tatters, the red herrings lofted so mightily now rendered into some species of fish pie, the straw men dismantled and used in pyres, and we shall weep.

    Yay, we shall weep my brothers and sisters and assorted individuals in between. Weep bitter tears, for we are condemned, nay compelled, to repeat it all again tomorrow by our lord SIWOTI.

    So I have spoken, so it will be done. Until time itself dies, until Ouroboros devours himself, until the serpent of time is slain, world without end, world and time without end. So mote it be.

    Louis

  23. #23 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2009

    Sure, in a perfect fucking world no one would have sex EVER unless it was to produce a child they were prepared for

    Erm, that’s not my idea of a perfect world, much less a perfect fucking world. Just sayin’.

  24. #24 Sastra
    March 26, 2009

    I doubt that this discovery will phase the people who felt this accident was some kind of “retribution.” Instead, they will spin it as an example of how God is being even more explicit in pointing out that He allowed this to happen to deliver a message to the grandfather. “See? You perform abortions, and now I, God, am showing you directly what it is you do. A fetus dying, is a fetus dying. You are just like a plane crash.”

    Religious people often look for signs which God leaves to show people that He’s trying to tell them something. They will probably take the fact that this poor woman was pregnant as a special “sign.” When we dismiss it as coincidence — and one with no clear message to it — they nod their heads sagely over those who are so blind, because they willfully refuse to see…

  25. #25 KI
    March 26, 2009

    Wow, s-word has gone into total la-la land, eh? Can he get any more repugnant? Don’t go away, he’ll be right back, like a recurring canker sore.

  26. #26 Louis
    March 26, 2009

    Naked Bunny with a Whip @ #26

    LOL Why, when I see the anti-sex pronouncements of the Simons of this world am I reminded of that sketch in Monty Pythons’s The Meaning of Life where the protestant couple are talking about the catholic family and all their children…..

    Louis

  27. #27 Teddydeedodu
    March 26, 2009

    siMon

    “your brain is as dirty as you hair. Are you one of the guys who is going to f**ck PZM’s daughter ? bring a condom !”

    Simon, you need to shove your head back up your mother’s vagina. When she asks you why you are doing that, tell her that your brain hasnt fully developed yet. And that you need another 9 months gestation for it.

  28. #28 Lee Picton
    March 26, 2009

    Please, please, please, do not feed Simon the troll. He has been banned forever by PZ and is morphing so he can come back. As soon as PZ discovers his disgusting entries, he will remove them, and reban the new identity.

  29. #29 Sastra
    March 26, 2009

    By the way, now that I’m really starting to see Simon in action, I’m wondering why there had to be some kind of vote. Jesus Christ Almighty.

  30. #30 Steve
    March 26, 2009

    Are we doing the same thing by using this tragedy to advance antireligionist views? I just wouldn’t want to do that.

    The universe doesn’t care, mother nature doesn’t give a shit. Let’s leave the Using this thing in her court, because that use is sick.

  31. #31 Abstruse
    March 26, 2009

    Simon,

    Offspring are not property.

  32. #32 phantomreader42
    March 26, 2009

    simon the morphing troll:

    come on PZM answer my question, are you happy to see your daughter get f**ked by many guys ?

    Simon, YOU may enjoy raping your daughter and whoring her out to your friends, but that just makes you a pedophile. Other people are not as batshit crazy as you.

    Simon, cut off your own cock and spare the world your vile seed. As an added bonus, you can use your own severed penis to go fuck yourself!

  33. #33 Endor
    March 26, 2009

    “Never once have I ever met, even in the leftiest, feministiest groups, people that were glad abortion happens so frequently.”

    Neither will you. NO ONE supports abortion, they support FREEDOM TO CHOSE. Simon hates that women have the right to do what is best for them, instead of what he wants them to do. Which is exactly what the Forced Birth Agenda is about – misogyny.

    And, let’s not punish Simon’s mother for his being a worthless wank stain. he chooses to be.

    +

    “Erm, that’s not my idea of a perfect world, much less a perfect fucking world. Just sayin’.”

    Mine either. That’s the perfect world for men who know they are really bad lays.

  34. #34 Sastra
    March 26, 2009

    Steve #33 wrote:

    Are we doing the same thing by using this tragedy to advance antireligionist views? I just wouldn’t want to do that.

    Nor would I, but I think we’re really reacting to the reaction, and not the tragedy itself. This situation is similar to when the televangelists claimed September 11th happened because the U.S. had taken prayer out of the school, and God was punishing us. There’s no reasonable connection. But criticizing the televangelists for what they said was right on target.

    The televangelists risked sounding gleeful about the tragedy, because it proved their ‘point.’ We risked sounding gleeful that the televangelists had made such obvious asses of themselves, because it helps prove ours.

  35. #35 PAZ
    March 26, 2009

    Don’t forget, most evangelicals believe that pretty much all misfortune in life is brought about by our fallen nature and our “sinful” state of being. The new evangelical movement attempts to bypass the God-blaming for such tragedies by pinning the blame on humanity.

    w/r/t the high number of miscarriages and failed fertilizations, an evangelical will tell stories about how man and woman were perfect before the fall, but once they disobeyed gawd, they were punished. Gawd punished them by cursing nature and all living things in it, introducing death and suffering into all reality, etc. At that point, animals began to prey upon one another and humans’ DNA began to deteriorate; man’s lifespan dropped from 900 years to a mean average of 78 (apparently in the space of 6000 years), he started going bald, people started getting cancer and heartburn and hangnails and women experienced painful births and many miscarriages.

    I tend to find this theology even more reprehensible than the standard party line we see around us; it’s batshit crazy to attribute all things to an invisible childish papa, but it’s another thing altogether to look at real, flesh&blood humans all around you and consider them intrinsically depraved and bad.

    P.S. In talks with evangelicals, I’ve never, ever, ever x 100 gotten a rational or even coherent response to the question of why gawd would punish man by cursing other things around him (like plants, animals, etc), and how that is justice.

    P.P.S. I believe I have pinpointed Gingi’s hostility. I thought it was bloated, posturing arrogance. It’s not; it’s deep-seated jealousy. Gingi is an abortion.

  36. #36 Steve
    March 26, 2009

    Are we doing the same thing by using this tragedy to advance antireligionist views? I just wouldn’t want to do that.

    The universe doesn’t care, mother nature doesn’t give a shit. Let’s leave the Using this thing in her court, because that use is sick.

  37. #37 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2009

    Are we doing the same thing by using this tragedy to advance antireligionist views?

    No. PZ is reacting to others who are using the tragedy to pimp their political agenda and deity of choice, a common tactic among the religious right. (See: 9/11/01, Katrina, California earthquakes/fires/floods, everything Fred Phelps does, etc.)

  38. #38 catgirl
    March 26, 2009

    Hmm, punishing people who provide abortions by causing one and killing the mother in the process. I guess two wrongs really do make a right!

    Anyway, the “pro-abortion” label is a common propaganda tool among extremists. Simon didn’t come up with it himself; he’s just regurgitating what someone else told him. Nobody is actually pro-abortion. I want abortion to be rare, safe, and legal. However, our society could reduce the amount of abortions if extremists weren’t so adamant about keeping people ignorant of pregnancy prevention.

  39. #39 Steve
    March 26, 2009

    No, he switched. He isn’t just chastising her. He says her god made it happen. That’s different than just saying she’s sick. Do you see?

  40. #40 sublunary
    March 26, 2009

    Didn’t we all ban simon? I thought banning meant he’d at least have some trouble posting, not that we’d all have to read his nonsense until PZ has time to do some clean up.

    I’m sick of seeing people like him being totally inappropriate and missing the point.

    Since I haven’t said it publicly yet, my heart goes out to the families and friends of all those lost in the crash. I can’t imagine being in their place and would not wish that kind of tragedy on anyone.

  41. #41 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2009

    He says her god made it happen.

    No, she said her god made it happen. PZ is pointing out the implication of her own assertion, within the theistic framework she inhabits.

  42. #42 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Didn’t we all ban simon? I thought banning meant he’d at least have some trouble posting, not that we’d all have to read his nonsense until PZ has time to do some clean up.

    Yep, Simon the idiot is banned. Same idiocy by the noise for over a year now. He never grows up.
    It is not that hard to avoid the banning security. Several banned trolls post occasionally by morphing. Either we wait until PZ can clean up the mess, or he has to delegate the authority at the blog’s back end so some else can delete these monsters. I think he prefers, or may be required, to maintain control.

  43. #43 raven
    March 26, 2009

    cue the “You are all baby killers” crowd 10 9 8 7….

    cue the “All you pseudointellectual atheists are goint to hell (laugh, chortle, glee)” in 10 9 8 7 …..

    It is easy to be a prophet sometimes.

    Simon doesn’t count. As PZ said, he is morphing his email address each post to evade the spam filters. Being a troll is his full time occupation. Don’t feed the troll. I just skip over his posts automatically because the lights are out and nobody is home. Not worth my time.

  44. #44 SquidBrandon
    March 26, 2009

    [Pokes the feculent troll in the eye with a stick]

  45. #45 Smidgy
    March 26, 2009

    siMon, or sImon, or simOn, or whatever way you’re capitilizing your name this week, you say you have a daughter. I don’t know how old she is, but suppose your daughter was, say, 12. Suppose some sick fuck grabs her as she was walking through your local park, drags her into the bushes and rapes her. Suppose that results in a pregnancy. Should your daughter have an abortion?

    Suppose the pregnancy had complications. Your daughter’s life was at some risk. Should your daughter have an abortion now?

    Suppose the risk was more than that. The OB-GYN told you straight that, if the pregnancy was allowed to run its course, they might be able to save the baby, but your daughter would die – but your daughter would be fine if she had an abortion. Should your daughter have an abortion now?

    You see, according to how you and the rest of the anti-choice crowd want things, the answer to all those questions should be ‘no’. In addition, it should be illegal to even consider that question – both as a doctor, and as a pregnant mother, or, as you would be, in this hypothetical scenario, the father of a pregnant mother.

  46. #46 Egaeus
    March 26, 2009

    I have to say that I have met, in my life, one person who was pro-abortion. She hated children and was fairly misanthropic in general. She thought everyone should have an abortion.

    Oh, and does the bannination filter support regular expressions? Then we could at least ban [Ss][Ii][Mm][Oo][Nn]

  47. #47 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2009

    I’m glad this blog software puts the poster name at the top of each comment. Makes it so much easier to skip trolls than blogs where the name is at the bottom of the comment.

  48. #48 Klokwurk
    March 26, 2009

    I suggest anyone who wants to spare themselves the unpleasantness that is simon can use greasemonkey/killfile to block him each time he morphs. I think outside of that we simply should not be responding to someone we all know is banned. Feeding trolls is one thing, but giving a banned troll the attention he wants is another.

  49. #49 Beezlebubba
    March 26, 2009

    @ Simon:
    Guess what fucker? Unlike the rest of the namby-pamby atheists on this blog, I am not an atheist, but a (literally) card-carrying Satanist, and I’m sick of your sick shit. I have just concluded a particularly powerful incantation of harm against YOU. Here’s how it will play out: horrible things will begin happening to you within three weeks. Once the first tragedy strikes, you can escape the next two tragedies with a sincere apology to PZ for your rudeness regarding his family, along with a self-imposed ban. Failure to apologize and withdraw will result in further horrors on you.
    It’s been my experience that praying to Jesus won’t help you in the least, unless you’re in the habit of praying ceaselessly around the clock. Only doing my bidding will prevent a series of personal tragedies from unfolding. Get ready, you bastard!

  50. #50 catgirl
    March 26, 2009

    OK, I just realized something. The Bible clearly says that the punishment for a (forced) abortion is a fine to the woman’s husband, and not death. If God were really trying to punish someone for providing abortions, he would most likely make them lose their money in some way. So obviously, even from a biblical viewpoint, this was simply a tragic accident and not a case of God’s wrath. Now if only Edmonds would actually read her Bible more…

  51. #51 Dianne
    March 26, 2009

    This is by far the gravest public health problem facing the planet, and if we really believe that these are dead babies, nearly all biomedical research resources, and medical services, should be diverted immediately to saving them.

    I’ve been saying this for YEARS, including in arguments on pro-life boards. Oddly enough, almost no pro-lifers have shown the slightest interest in the epidemic sweeping the country. The best they can do is a weak rationalizatio about how murder is different (as though the only public health problem we worry about is murder.) It’s almost as if they don’t believe their own rhetoric and are just clutching it as an excuse to punish women. Nah…couldn’t be. They’re all good Christians (and Jews and Muslims, etc) who would never lie.

  52. #52 mothwentbad
    March 26, 2009

    Yeah, that’s nothing new. In the David and Bathsheba story, “good” King David gets a man killed so he can fuck his wife, and then God punishes David… by killing the resulting baby. Sanctity of life FTW!

  53. #53 Dianne
    March 26, 2009

    NO ONE supports abortion, they support FREEDOM TO CHOSE.

    I do. If I have a patient who is pregnant and at high risk of dying during a pregnancy and is hesitating about what to do I’m going to strongly suggest that she have an abortion. She has to make the final decision, of course, but I’m going to be advocating abortion. (And have done.)

  54. #54 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    you know—–
    i don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours…
    but i think that god’s got a sick sense of humour…

  55. #55 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    mothwentbad-
    i forgot about that. i can’t wait to start an abortion argument now.

    thanks!

  56. #56 Bob L
    March 26, 2009

    I still think everyone give the “Pro-Life” crowd far to much credit. The gloating over the death of the Feldkamp children just shows they aren’t the slightest bit interested in winning hearts and minds to their side but looking to inflict as much pain as possible. To Gigi the vampire this dead pregnant woman’s family is just another vulnerable group of people for her to attack.

    Amazing irony in Gigi, SiMon and the like, don’t you think? Outside explaining the scary randomness of life and keeping elites in control one of the goals of religion is to curb this kind of viciousness in people. Now all religion is a weapon for thugs.

  57. #57 Coyote
    March 26, 2009

    I’m no cuttlefish, but for some reason I couldn’t adequately express my feelings in anything but verse. Only happens when I’m too disgusted to write normally. Ugh.

    They say they worship love, but I say they worship death,
    Staring at their foes, watching every breath.
    And whenever one suffers, they all cry aloud,
    “Hooray! come, let’s use his funeral shroud,
    As a pulpit.”

    They condemn and condemn, but when condemned in turn,
    Cry “Persecution! oh, and you’ll all burn!
    Let us control your body, only we know what’s right,
    God hates it when you ignore him, and might
    kill your children.”

  58. #58 Hockey Bob
    March 26, 2009

    First off, if people tell me that someone dying was all “a part of god’s plan”, I tell them that I want god charged with first degree murder. That usually shuts them up.

    Secondly, it’s christian taliban fuckwits like simon that make having Greasemonkey scripts for killfiling so wonderful.

    PLONK, asshole.

  59. #59 nat
    March 26, 2009

    I’m pro-abortion. I’m tired of people giving credence to the “abortion is icky” crowd. These are fucks that actually use the phrase “unborn baby” as if it has any meaning whatsoever, and they use it as if it is some great metaphysical point. It’s the most meaningless phrase I’ve ever heard–I love sitting in the warm light of the uncollapsed quasar, shaded by the unmanufactured furniture, which is covered with beautiful, green uncomposted dirt. That sentence sounds stupid because it is stupid. Abortion isn’t icky; fetuses are not unborn babies; abortion is fine and good and anyone that wants one should be able to get one. I think there’s a reasonable debate about limiting at what point in a pregnancy an abortion is not allowed, but the forced pregnancy lobby hasn’t come close to that debate. I may think aborting an 8.5 month fetus is not good–I’m open to debate–but I definitely think that aborting a 1 month fetus is good if that is the woman’s desire.

  60. #60 Moses
    March 26, 2009

    It’s busy season so I don’t have much time to make points, however:

    1. If there is a God, he doesn’t give a shit about abortion if someone is stupid enough to believe this tragedy is God’s response. If this is his response, why did he wait so long?

    2. Why did he kill a pregnant woman and innocent children? Why couldn’t he have selectively targeted his wrath? It shouldn’t be that hard for an all-powerful, all-knowing God to hit the target… Seriously, I was a marksman in the military. My uncle was a Ranger and sniper qualified. I saw him shoot three cattle-chasing dogs at a 150 yards with five rounds for three kills. And that was with a .22. I figure if my wing-nut ex-ranger uncle can do that with a .22, shy can’t God selectively punish those that are guilty…

  61. #61 jeremy
    March 26, 2009

    Dear Beelzebubba,

    1: Dead Milkmen ftw.
    2: BRILLIANT.

  62. #62 Kemist
    March 26, 2009

    “Everything happens for a reason.” If I hear that goddamn, teh tarded statement one more time…

    Bleh. People who say things like this are either:

    1- Irretrievably deluded

    2- Have led extremely padded, cocooned lives with very little hardship. “Everything happens for a reason… to other people” is more like it.

    Very easy (but remarcably insensitive) to take a lofty distance when it’s not happening to you or your loved ones.

    If we could just simulate those feelings without hurting anybody, I’d wish her to feel this bad (what it feels like to lose so many of your loved ones) so that she can grow a human heart instead of that bigotry-shrivelled stump of hers.

    Is there a way to make them fundies human (with human feelings and empathy) again ?

  63. #63 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    I’m mindful of the wisdom of starving the troll, but embedded in siMon’s disjointed, ungrammatical whackaloonery is a presupposition that I fear many other, less obviously demented, folks share:

    The horror PZ — and by extension, all fathers of daughters, and all of us generally — is supposed to feel at the suggestion his daughter might be having teh secks is based on the (IMHO entirely wrongheaded) presumption that sex is evil and dangerous, and can only be justified as a necessary element of church-sanctioned procreation.

    Well, siMon (and all of you secretly nodding agreement with him), some of us like sex, and aren’t frightened of it or ashamed by it at all. I would never dare speak for PZ, but as it happens, I’m the father of a young woman just now reaching nominal adulthood, a college freshman. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in her intimate life (not my business, despite the way fathers behave in TV sitcoms), but I assume she’s sexually active. She has a boyfriend, and I would frankly be a bit sad if I learned they weren’t enjoying a healthy amount of physical intimacy.

    But let me not be coy: I don’t care what my daughter is doing sexually, or how often, or with whom, or with how many people, or even with how many different genders of people1… as long as she’s having fun and exercising prudent care not to get hurt. You can’t scare or disgust me by suggesting that somebody’s “f**cking” my daughter, because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fucking!

    Take your hair shirt somewhere else; it doesn’t fit anyone in my family.

    1 Because teh intertoobz is public and permanent, and I post under my full name, I owe it to my daughter to reiterate that I’m speaking hypothetically here. AFAIK, she has nothing other than a perfectly normal, vanilla relationship with her BF, who seems like a good kid.

  64. #64 FlameDuck
    March 26, 2009

    So let it be written,
    So let it be done,
    I’m sent here by the chosen one,
    So let it be written,
    So let it be done,
    To kill the first born Pharaohs son,
    I’m creeping death!

    why do you support abortion ?

    Because it tickles? I support abortions because it pisses you, and the cretinous morons like you, the hell off! Do you support gay marriage? I mean a gay couple is pretty much guaranteed to never want or need an abortion.

    Erm, that’s not my idea of a perfect world, much less a perfect fucking world. Just sayin’.

    OohRah!

    A sick father to let his daughter taken turn by men.

    Just because you’re ignorant of your daughters promiscuity, doesn’t mean she doesn’t get passed around like spare change. There are few things more satisfying in this world than getting a blowjob from an ingorant fundie slut, who despite her acclaimed piety, sucks dick like she thinks “the second coming” isn’t just for Jesus! So thank you Simon for promoting sexually repressed woman! Guys like you make the world a better place! Which church do you go to by chance?

  65. #65 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    oops, stumbled into the penthouse forum. sorry. any of you sick bastards point the way to pharyngula?

  66. #66 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    FlameDuck: There are few things more satisfying in this world than getting a blowjob from an ingorant fundie slut, who despite her acclaimed piety, sucks dick like she thinks “the second coming” isn’t just for Jesus! So thank you Simon for promoting sexually repressed woman! Guys like you make the world a better place! Which church do you go to by chance?

    You misogynistic bastard.

    Simon’s comments are beneath contempt (though, in his defence, I would not be surprised if he is suffering from some form of psychiatric disorder, and I also suspect that English is not his first language). However, FlameDuck and others, who have responded to Simon’s vile remarks with vile remarks of your own, ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

  67. #67 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    @grep -i simon

    you have a daughter right, do you love her ? do you teach her to go for free sex and get abortion if contraception failed.

    tell me please

    The hilarious thing is that it’s not the secular humanists, who discuss sex openly and honestly with their children, that usually have to deal with pregnant teenagers.

    If you want to get your daughter knocked up, or infected with an STD, “abstinence only” is the way to go.

  68. #68 bootsy
    March 26, 2009

    Simon, another christian lover of rape fantasies. Well, forcing yourself sexually on a woman is a logical step before forcing a woman to give birth!

    Simon, please let your daughter out of the basement.

  69. #69 gingivitis
    March 26, 2009

    “Is there a way to make them fundies human (with human feelings and empathy) again ?”

    I think a lot of them are closet sociopaths, or have done sociopathic things and are now single-mindedly focused on having Big Bearded Guy In Sky get to think they’re fully qualified as a God Gang member, a Thug-for-[favorite deity].

    So, making them human again would be just as hard as deprogramming any other kind of gang member.

  70. #70 raven
    March 26, 2009

    17 injured after tornado rips through Mississippi

    HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writer Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press Writer ? 1 hr 10 mins ago
    MAGEE, Miss. ? Severe weather across the South unleashed tornadoes in rural Mississippi, including one that shattered dozens of homes, flattened a church and injured at least 17 people, authorities said Thursday.

    Told you so. God hates fundie xians. He keeps sending tornados and hurricanes into their heartland of the south central USA.

    This has all the hallmarks of the deity. Brute force, lousy aim, and lots of collateral damage. He did manage to flatten a church. Also dozens of houses. And while the 17 injured were probably mostly fundies, some may not have been.

    Oh well, there is always next time. These so called “weather events” happen a lot down there.

  71. #71 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    You misogynistic bastard.

    FlameDuck, gotta go with Walton on this one.

    Contempt for women doesn’t suddenly become !contempt just because it’s not couched in religious terms.

    We don’t really need people trying to out-Simon Simon.

  72. #72 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 26, 2009

    However, FlameDuck and others, who have responded to Simon’s vile remarks with vile remarks of your own, ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

    I have said the the sub literate jackass has the personality of a burning bag of dogshit. Is that acceptable to you?

    And do not use the excuse that English is his second language. It is a second (or third) language for many of the regulars here.

  73. #73 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    nat (@63):

    Abortion isn’t icky; fetuses are not unborn babies;

    I’m right there with you as far as that goes, but…

    …abortion is fine and good and anyone that wants one should be able to get one.

    …while of course “anyone that wants one should be able to get one,” I think “fine and good” might be stretching a point. Abortion is a medical procedure, after all, intended to remedy a problem (i.e., unwanted pregnancy). We don’t have to pretend it’s a party in order to defend the necessity of access, nor to deny the invidious moral attributions of the anti-choice crowd.

    Abortion is no more evil or immoral than appendectomy… but like appendectomy, I’m sure nobody’s exactly happy to need one. I understand the desire to counteract the creeping appeasement of “unborn babies” crowd, but let’s not make ourselves look ridiculous by acting like it’s a big happy deal.

  74. #74 Parse
    March 26, 2009

    Bill Dauphin:

    even with how many different genders of people

    I admit, I would be intensely interested in this, if the answer were more than two.

  75. #75 JD
    March 26, 2009

    People should reject God defiantly in order to pour out all their loving solicitude upon mankind — Albert Camus

  76. #76 Naughtius Maximus
    March 26, 2009

    SiMon
    The correct term is make love, not fuck.

  77. #77 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    Heliobates-71

    You’re right. That is hilarious! It’s always the PKs that end up the most fucked up. Wait a minute, that’s me. Shit.

  78. #78 Carlie
    March 26, 2009

    Nobody is actually pro-abortion.

    *raises hand*

    Yes, I am pro-abortion. I also think that statements that “nobody really is pro-abortion” concede far too much moral ground to the anti-choice side. Contraception is not 100% effective. The day-after pill won’t work if an egg has already popped out. There will always be life-ending birth defects that don’t result in immediate expulsion (anencephaly, for one example).
    There will always be a need for abortions. And I, for one, want them to be readily available and not stigmatized. Do we go around saying that no one is pro-cancer surgery? No. It’s terrible that the person has to go through the surgery in the first place, it’s a strain on them physically, mentally, and financially, but I would never say that I’m not pro-surgery. Sometimes an abortion is a tragic end of a wanted child. However, sometimes an abortion is the best way out of a bad situation. Sometimes an abortion is the only way a woman can physically survive because a pregnancy could kill her. In those cases, I am absolutely, adamantly pro-abortion. Saying that no one wants abortions is saying that in every instance, the better cause would have been to continue the pregnancy.

  79. #79 Captain Mike
    March 26, 2009

    What Bill Dauphin @ #67 said. Double, because I have two daughters. Triple, because ultrasound says there’s a third on the way.

    I’m getting really tired of people hearing that I have multiple daughters and making comments like “Oh! You better watch out!” or assuming that I feel some insane desire to stand guard over their virginity.

  80. #80 Carlie
    March 26, 2009

    I admit, I would be intensely interested in this, if the answer were more than two.

    Trans and intersex. It’s a continuum. :)

  81. #81 bastion of sass
    March 26, 2009

    At #27 Sastra wrote:

    Religious people often look for signs which God leaves to show people that He’s trying to tell them something.

    You know, IMNSHO, God could be a whole lot clearer with his signage.

    It’s never clear to me (unlike some like Gingi) whether he’s “testing” or “punishing” or “rewarding”–and if so, just whom is being tested or punished or rewarded–or whether he just likes to play often sadistic games.

    I wish he’d get his own TV show or blog or something, where he could explain things a little clearer than he did in his book.

  82. #82 Smidgy
    March 26, 2009

    Dianne #57:

    NO ONE supports abortion, they support FREEDOM TO CHOSE.

    I do. If I have a patient who is pregnant and at high risk of dying during a pregnancy and is hesitating about what to do I’m going to strongly suggest that she have an abortion. She has to make the final decision, of course, but I’m going to be advocating abortion. (And have done.)

    Ah, but even that is you saying that, a particular person, in their particular circumstances, would be best off having an abortion for specific medical reasons. I’d be very surprised if you ever advise patients to have an abortion simply for the sake of having an abortion. Assuming I’m right to say you don’t do that, in the wider context, it’s correct to say you don’t ‘support abortion’, per se, but support the freedom to choose – in other words, you support the option of abortion being there, whether the precise circumstances of each of your patients means that option is used or not.

  83. #83 kryptonic
    March 26, 2009

    siMon.
    What is the deal with the gang rape fantasies of yours? I fear for your daughter. You should look into getting some help from mental health professionals before you hurt someone.

    …and you need to enroll in an English as a Second Language class.

  84. #84 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    Parse (@78):

    even with how many different genders of people

    I admit, I would be intensely interested in this, if the answer were more than two.

    Hah! Well, I guess it depends on how you define gender… which is a whole big sociopolitical deal these days, in case you hadn’t noticed. ;^)

    Funnily enough, Beloved Daughter is currently enrolled in a class called (IIRC) Sex and Gender, fondly known around campus as “Porn in the Morn.” I gather it’s an equal mix of the biology and sociology of human sexuality. She has a project due soon (and to sImon, no the idea of a “project” in such a class doesn’t scare me at all), and she asked me and her mother for suggestions for a topic. Does that make us the coolest parents on the block, or what?

    Walton (@70):

    I, too, winced at FlameDuck’s extravagantly pornographic push-back at simOn, though I can sympathize with the temptation to poke the whackjob where he’s most frightened. (I can also sympathize with the impulse to be extravagantly pornographic on occasion… but I’m not sure this was the place and time. I notice, BTW, that you saw fit to repeat his “misogynistic bastard[y]” in full.)

    But I hope you’re not including me among the “others” with “with vile remarks of [our] own,” just because I said I like sex.

  85. #85 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    bastion of sass at #85 said:

    “I wish he’d get his own TV show or blog or something, where he could explain things a little clearer than he did in his book.”

    you’re in luck, my friend:
    http://stuffgodhates.com/

  86. #86 Kemist
    March 26, 2009

    I wish he’d get his own TV show or blog or something, where he could explain things a little clearer than he did in his book.

    He has.

  87. #87 Carlie
    March 26, 2009

    I’d be very surprised if you ever advise patients to have an abortion simply for the sake of having an abortion

    But no one has any surgery simply for the sake of having surgery, and nobody talks about not wanting those surgeries to exist. No one says “I’m pro-choice for appendectomies, but I’m not pro-appendectomy”. You’re still making abortion a special case, somehow special and different than any other kind of surgery.

  88. #88 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    Bill Dauphin: But I hope you’re not including me among the “others” with “with vile remarks of [our] own,” just because I said I like sex.

    No, of course not – you were making a serious point.

    FWIW, my problem with FlameDuck’s remarks was not per se that they were “extravagantly pornographic”; rather, it was that they were dripping with misogyny, contempt for women, and objectification of women. I haven’t encountered any of FlameDuck’s posts before and I don’t know if he was trying to make a subtle point, but, on the face of what he said, it was offensive.

  89. #89 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    Why’s it always the daughters we gotta worry about?

    It’s a source of endless puzzlement to me that people who are icked out by the possibility of their (presumably age-of-consent, informed, etc.) daughters having teh secks can manage to have sex themselves.

    I mean, even after marriage, OMG THAT’S SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER I’M FUCKING! GROSS!!1!

    Okay, my daughter is five and I don’t have to worry about this stuff yet, but I sincerely hope that by the time she’s old enough to make her own decisions about sex that I’ve made some kind of cognitive adjustment and I’m not still behaving as if she’s five.

  90. #90 Feynmaniac
    March 26, 2009

    siMon the banned,

    This is between me and PZM, we both have daughter.

    I can’t be the only one really troubled with the idea that: 1) Someone agreed to have sex with siMon 2) This numskull has reproduced.

  91. #91 Watchman
    March 26, 2009

    Simon pearled: “your brain is as dirty as you hair.”

    That’s just fabulous coming from a nauseating, sex-obsessed little shitbug like you, Simon.

  92. #92 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    You’re still making abortion a special case, somehow special and different than any other kind of surgery.

    Of course it’s different from other kinds of surgery! I haven’t yet heard anyone claim that a tumour or an appendix is human (actually or potentially), or that it is capable of feeling pain.

    I am not an ardent pro-lifer, by any stretch of the imagination. And I certainly would not claim that the foetus’ life is on a level with the mother’s. Indeed, if we’re talking about a blastocyst or an embryo, you’re probably right; it doesn’t have much more “humanity” than a tumour or an appendix, and it certainly can’t experience pain.

    But let’s try a thought experiment: imagine a foetus that is a week or two away from being born. It’s viable, normal and healthy. In most physiological respects it’s indistinguishable from a newborn baby. Would you honestly say that said foetus was no different from an appendix, or a tumour, or a parasite? And that killing it would be no different from any other kind of surgery?

    I’m well aware that late term abortions are extremely rare, and are illegal in most countries. But you have asserted, without qualifying your statement in any way, that abortion is no different from any other kind of surgery. I’m asking whether you would seriously make that assertion in all possible cases of abortion.

  93. #93 Watchman
    March 26, 2009

    *facepalm*

    Crap. I fed the troll.

  94. #94 sammywol
    March 26, 2009

    Is this really the same siMon? This one does not seem to have English as a first (or even second) language. Although perhaps it is having to type with both hands down his pants that is making the syntax so dodgy. What a thoroughly repellent specimen he is.

  95. #95 Knockgoats
    March 26, 2009

    In most physiological respects it’s indistinguishable from a newborn baby. – Walton

    No: a foetus, even at a late stage, simply is not “in most physiological respects indistinguishable from a newborn baby.” It is not breathing (and has never breathed), it neither ingests nor excretes in the way a baby does (and never has), it does not need to regulate its temperature in the same way.

    FAIL

  96. #96 Carlie
    March 26, 2009

    I’m well aware that late term abortions are extremely rare, and are illegal in most countries.

    And therefore it’s a strawwoman argument (a strawpregnant woman, in fact) and is therefore irrelevant.

  97. #97 Numad
    March 26, 2009

    “I haven’t yet heard anyone claim that a tumour or an appendix is human (actually or potentially)[…]”

    I have. The appendix is a human organ, and a tumour is human tissue. They’re not individual human being, no, but just “human”? The bar isn’t high. This might seem like a nitpick, but it isn’t.

    Also a tumour is genetically distinct from its host, if I remember correctly, and while it can’t become a human being, it could become something else, so it’s potentiality isn’t nil.

    Just trying to preempt some anti-choicer sophistry.

  98. #98 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    And therefore it’s a strawwoman argument (a strawpregnant woman, in fact) and is therefore irrelevant.

    No, it’s not. You claimed that abortion is no different from any other kind of surgery. You did not say “abortion is no different from any other kind of surgery up until the third trimester”. You made a categorical claim, and I am asking whether you really believe it.

    Just as it’s ridiculous and absurd to claim “humanity begins at conception, and it is always wrong to kill a foetus”, so too it is equally absurd to claim “abortion is just another surgical procedure and it should be performed whenever the woman wants it”. The reality is that “humanity”, if that term has any real meaning, cannot be a simple binary state; rather, it’s a continuum. A blastocyst is unquestionably not a human being; a newborn baby unquestionably is a human being; and there are various shades of grey in between. At each stage, the relative value of the foetus’ life, compared to the mother’s wishes, must be different.

    I’m not arguing for any change in the law. It is already the case in most Western countries that elective abortions are permitted up until a certain point in the pregnancy, and not after. I’m merely justifying the status quo.

  99. #99 nat
    March 26, 2009

    I claim that, by the standards set out by the forced pregnancy lobby(i.e., the worthless sacks of shit that have decided to use the government to harm women), a tumor in a human is human, a human skin cell is human, a human hair follicle is human, a human toe-nail is human, a human sperm is human, a human egg is human, etc. And Walton, you present a moderately interesting moral question, but that is not the moral question posed by the forced pregnancy lobby–we can’t even get to that much more reasonable and interesting debate because they have defined “person” or “human” or “life” (interchangably depending upon which word best suits their particular argument) to be that which is formed at the point of contraception, i.e., the mere combination of an egg and sperm.

    Bill Dauphin @ 77: I’m not sure how “fine and good” in my comment got translated to “women should be excited about getting an abortion.” I was using “fine and good” in the same way that I think its fine and good that someone who needs an appendectomy can get an appendectomy. I thought I was making the same point you were–it’s a fucking medical procedure, like any other medical procedure, so let’s stop pretending that there is any credence to the forced pregnancy lobby’s attempts to ickify the procedure.

  100. #100 bastion of sass
    March 26, 2009

    #89 and #90:

    I’ve visited http://stuffgodhates.com/ before, and being the skeptic that I am, I’m not really convinced–yet–that that’s really God’s blog.

    I need much more convincing evidence. Some really really hard to miss signage.

    I’m more inclined to think that Mr. Diety is really God’s TV show, but I’m still on the fence about that too.

  101. #101 Chiroptera
    March 26, 2009

    Walton, #102: A blastocyst is unquestionably not a human being; a newborn baby unquestionably is a human being….

    I disagree. A blastocyst is unquestionably not a human being. A 21 year old adult unquestionably is not a human being. The gray area (if by “human being” we mean an entity to which “rights” accrue) is between these two extremes.

    Which is why I support the right to abortion right up to birth. It unquestionably prevents the death of actual “human beings”. It may also prevent the deaths of “non-humans”, but, as you point out, there is a gray area and I think that in this case birth makes a convenient point where it becomes better to be safe than sorry.

  102. #102 Endor
    March 26, 2009

    I’m with Walton on Flame duck’s post. It was blatantly misogynistic and contemptuous, using insults toward women in an attempt to insult a man. Pathetic.

    If it were an attempt at satire, or something, megafail.

    ____

    ” I do. If I have a patient who is pregnant and at high risk of dying during a pregnancy and is hesitating about what to do I’m going to strongly suggest that she have an abortion. She has to make the final decision, of course, but I’m going to be advocating abortion. (And have done.)”

    That’s mighty different than what Simon is suggesting pro-choice people do, which is consider abortion, regardless of extenuating circumstances, a fabulous, one-size-fits-all solution.

    The Forced Birth Agenda doesn’t grasp (or refuses to grasp) that pro-choice is more than just choosing abortion. All pro-choice people would in some cases chose the procedure. The point is having the option, rather than what Simon wants, which is punishment.

    Pro-choice is pro-abortion in the sense that it’s one of the options and nothing to be ashamed of. When I say no one is pro-abortion, I mean no one is pro-ONLY abortion.

  103. #103 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    Naughtius Maximus:

    Given your nickname, I suspect your tongue is “in cheek” (or perhaps somewhere delightfully near a “cheek”), but I want to take gentle, modest exception to this:

    The correct term is make love, not fuck.

    Shying away from blunt words like fuck in favor of mushy euphemisms like make love is, IMHO, yet another symptom of the tendency, no doubt absorbed from the dominant culture like philosophical second-hand smoke, of even liberal, secular people to be a bit squicked out over sex, per se. Worse, the (again, IMHO) unnatural yoking together of sex and love tempts healthily horny people to lie to themselves and their partners about the depth of their emotions in order to justify their sexual desires. If you doubt this effect, just ask Meat Loaf, who’s been “praying for the end of time” for several decades now. ;^)

    If sex and love overlap and coincide, so that fucking truly does become making love, so much the better… but it need not be so. Sex is wonderful in its own right, without any need to be “justified” by some higher purpose or emotion.

    Captain Mike (@83) and heliobates (@93):

    I’m happy (though not surprised) to have confirmation that I’m not the only father who feels obligated to “defend” his (grown) daughter’s virginity.

    Walton:

    my problem with FlameDuck’s remarks was not per se that they were “extravagantly pornographic”; rather, it was that they were dripping with misogyny, contempt for women, and objectification of women

    I think the latter might be an artifact of the former, rather than FlameDuck’s intent. Indeed, on closer examination, it appears that the only thing indicting the post in question as misogynistic is its aggressive and unromanticized sexual explicitness. To be sure, “ignorant fundie slut” seems harsh at first blush, but keep in mind that [a] ignorant, in this instance, modifies fundie, not slut… and [b] slut is neither gender-specific (just ask Dr. MAJeff) nor necessarily an insult (ask Janine, Patricia, et al.).1 There’s a hint of the same subtle-but-pervasive anti-sex bias I’ve been talking about in the presumption that anyone who says something bluntly sexual about a woman must be a misogynist. That may be the case (and I don’t plan to go to the mat in defense of FlameDuck here), but it’s not automatically the case, as many seem to assume.

    1 In case anyone missed it, this is a reference to a running joke around here, not an attack on any of these wonderful Pharyngula regulars.

  104. #104 Endor
    March 26, 2009

    “nd [b] slut is neither gender-specific”

    That’s a fantasy. it is very gender specific. When it’s used against a man, the point of the insult is say he’s slutty like a woman

    “There’s a hint of the same subtle-but-pervasive anti-sex bias I’ve been talking about in the presumption that anyone who says something bluntly sexual about a woman must be a misogynist. That may be the case (and I don’t plan to go to the mat in defense of FlameDuck here), but it’s not automatically the case, as many seem to assume.”

    I can’t speak for Walton, but in my case, it’s not about being anti-sex (because, how freaking pointless is that), but rather being against the way some use it, as Flame Duck did, to insult a woman, clearly imply its all she’s good for, humiliate her with it, etc., alone and also as a way of insulting another man.

  105. #105 Knockgoats
    March 26, 2009

    it is equally absurd to claim “abortion is just another surgical procedure and it should be performed whenever the woman wants it” – Walton

    Neither part of that implies the other.

  106. #106 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    nat (@103):

    We are, I grok, in “violent agreement.” I have known others who, in their zeal to rebut the icky-ists, have gone too far in the other direction. Because “fine and good” struck me as a somewhat more cheerful locution than I would normally apply to surgery, I feared you were doing the same. But in fact, the point you describe is one I completely agree with.

    Pardon me for overreacting.

  107. #107 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    And Walton, you present a moderately interesting moral question, but that is not the moral question posed by the forced pregnancy lobby–we can’t even get to that much more reasonable and interesting debate because they have defined “person” or “human” or “life” (interchangably depending upon which word best suits their particular argument) to be that which is formed at the point of contraception, i.e., the mere combination of an egg and sperm.

    And I’m not defending them. “Human life begins at conception” is a ridiculous maxim. A blastocyst is no more human than a tumour. The only way one can sustain the view that humanity begins at conception is by asserting that “humanity” is a trait conferred by some form of supernatural ensoulment; and while some people do believe this, and they are entitled to their beliefs, they do not have the right to use the coercive power of the State to impose those beliefs on all women. Absolute, uncompromising pro-lifers are as foolish as any other species of absolutist; to be willing to sacrifice the life of, say, an innocent twelve-year-old rape victim, in order to save a bundle of cells with no discernible human characteristics, is indefensible and borders on the barbaric.

    But I’m merely pointing out that, in between conception and birth, there is an extensive grey area – a period when the foetus has a nascent brain stem, possesses many of the physiological characteristics of a human being, and may be able to experience pain and suffering – where abortion is a much more difficult ethical question. I’m not saying it should be any more regulated by law than it presently is; as a libertarian, I’m not keen on using the heavy hand of State coercion to remedy any perceived social ill. But I’m just pointing out that, to my mind, it’s indefensible to claim that abortion, all abortion, is no different from any other kind of surgery.

  108. #108 Dianne
    March 26, 2009

    I haven’t yet heard anyone claim that a tumour or an appendix is human (actually or potentially), or that it is capable of feeling pain.

    Actually, the appendix is far better innervated and capable of feeling pain than the embryo in the average abortion is. The appendix isn’t part of the central nervous system but the gut in general is very well innervated and at least in principle may have sensation separate from that felt by the CNS.

    Remember too, the majority of abortions occur before 8 weeks. Not a lot of brain at that point and virtually no chance that the embryo can feel pain or distress, much less have self awareness. The earliest I’ve ever seen anyone put the time in which a fetus might feel pain is around 30 weeks and even that is questionable.

    Tumors are rarely differentiated enough to make whether or not they can feel pain an interesting question but teratomas certainly can form nerve tissue, including what looks like well developed neurons. Depending on your definition of human, a tumor could be considered more human than a twin: i.e. if you use the “unique human DNA” definition that anti-abortionists often propose, then tumors are human and twins (who share DNA) are not. (I’ve heard it claimed that immature teratomas can be inserted into enucleated eggs and form healthy animals-I assume no one’s tried it with humans, but I can’t find any backup for this claim. Anyone else?)

  109. #109 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    Bill Dauphin @107: I substantially agree with Endor’s response (@108). Talking frankly and explicitly about consensual sexual activity is certainly not inherently misogynistic. But labelling a woman an “ignorant fundie slut”, and talking about her as if she were nothing more than a sexual object to be exploited and thrown away – I don’t see how anyone can claim that this is not misogyny. It’s no more defensible just because it’s directed against a member of an ideological group (fundamentalists) who many people here happen to despise. I’m all for frank criticism of irrational beliefs; but posting degrading sexual screeds about one’s ideological opponents is not, IMO, acceptable discourse.

  110. #110 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 26, 2009

    Bill, I have to go with Endor on is “slut” is gender specific. It is and it is meant as a put down. MAJeff’s use of slut is just as much a theatrical act as Patricia’s use (Married for thirty years) or mine. (Lesbian who just is not getting any.) Just keep in mind that MAJeff specializes in queer and gender studies.

    I thought that FlameDuck could have used the same imagery without using “slut” and got his point across very clearly. But I am hardly in any position to criticize a regular for red-lining.

  111. #111 LadyH
    March 26, 2009

    ” I may think aborting an 8.5 month fetus is not good”

    In which case you would be partly right. No one who is 8.5 months pregnant wants an abortion because they dont’ want the child. It’s not good because the only reason to have said abortion is because the mother’s life is threatened. The fact that recent legislation has made it so that the safer way to have such an abortion has been outlawed is just plain stupidity on those who can’t see why such a proceedure might be neccessary. Now women who have to have that done get to have more risk to their future health and child rearing abilities, not to mention greater risk of death.

    Walton says “But let’s try a thought experiment: imagine a foetus that is a week or two away from being born. It’s viable, normal and healthy. In most physiological respects it’s indistinguishable from a newborn baby.”
    Unless there was imminant danger to the mother, said fetus would not be aborted. To suggest that it might be is a sick strawman.

  112. #112 LadyH
    March 26, 2009

    And I have to agree with Walton and others that FlameDuck is a misoginist asshole. Taking advantage of anyone’s ignorance to that degree is hatred pure and simple. . . fundy or not :P

  113. #113 Chiroptera
    March 26, 2009

    Me, #116: GOOD Science says a new human being exists at conception.

    I guess this is true, if by “GOOD science” you mean claims that agree with what you want to believe.

    If you mean “carefully performed peer-reviewed research”, then you are wrong.

  114. #114 uppity cracka
    March 26, 2009

    me is dumb.
    me no pay attention.
    me just post opinion.
    me make good point, you make bad point.
    me quote rage against the machine.

  115. #115 Kemist
    March 26, 2009

    A blastocyst is unquestionably not a human being; a newborn baby unquestionably is a human being; and there are various shades of grey in between. At each stage, the relative value of the foetus’ life, compared to the mother’s wishes, must be different.

    This is a highly relative judgment. In societies where infant mortality is high, a newborn’s life is given very little value. There is just no point in emotional attachment to something that has such a very high chance of dying shortly.

    In many cultures, a pregnancy is announced as such only after the third month, because of the high probability of miscarriage before that point. It’s only in the modern world that some have started giving an embryo, or even a blastocyst, the value of a human life.

  116. #116 Fred Mounts
    March 26, 2009

    “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest every thing that is cruel.”

    I’ve been on a Thomas Paine kick lately. How did he know about Gingi? A prophet! :oP

  117. #117 LadyH
    March 26, 2009

    @ Me 116
    Fuck you!

  118. #118 Strangebrew
    March 26, 2009

    116#

    GOOD Science says a new human being exists at conception.

    How come science is only GOOD when it agrees with your point of view…

    Besides …that claim is a lie perpetrated by brain dead fucktards like the ignorant bitch that started this furore!….
    Provide some evidence….or confirm the impression that you are a dolt!

  119. #119 marilove
    March 26, 2009

    Uuuuh, slut is gender specific. Period. I mean, come the fuck on now.

  120. #120 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    The correct term is make love, not fuck.

    “Honey, would you rather I were making love to him using your name, or making love to you using his name?”

  121. #121 Chiroptera
    March 26, 2009

    Me again: God has ownership rights.

    Perhaps, in a society that recognizes slaves as property to be owned. But not in a society that values individual liberty.

  122. #122 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 26, 2009

    Posted by: Me again | March 26, 2009

    God has ownership rights. He can kill at will.

    So your morality is based on “might makes right”. You are a moral monster. Also, you are one sick little fatherfucker.

    Did not Barb make a similar type of argument?

  123. #123 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    Ants however are morally superior to you, as they have the decency and the common sense not to deliberately accelerate their own extinction by killing their young.

    Oh yeah. We’re teetering on the brink of extinction because of abortion.

    It’s an all-you-can-goggle-at failure buffet.

  124. #124 AJ Milne
    March 26, 2009

    Provide some evidence….or confirm the impression that you are a dolt!

    Oh! Oh! (waves hand frantically…) Can we do a pool on which it’ll be?

  125. #125 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    Endor:

    “nd [b] slut is neither gender-specific”

    That’s a fantasy. it is very gender specific. When it’s used against a man, the point of the insult is say he’s slutty like a woman

    Hmmm… you’re using your presumption that the term is gender-specific even when used “against” the other gender in order to “prove” the the term is gender-specific. Circular much?

    But I confess I was being tiny bit cheeky: Of course the term usually refers to women, and is usually a pejorative, as I’m sure any dictionary would confirm. There is, however, an emerging alternative sense/usage of the word, as described in that most unimpeachable of sources, wikipedia:

    Slut is also used as a slang term in the BDSM, polyamorous, and gay and bisexual communities. With BDSM, polyamorous, and non-monogamous people, in usage taken from the book The Ethical Slut, the term has been used as an expression of choice to openly have multiple partners, and revel in that choice: “a slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.”

    That last bit of emphasis is original with the quote (i.e., not added by me), but it neatly highlights the position I’ve been trying to take throughout my contributions to this thread.

    it’s not about being anti-sex…, but rather being against the way some use it, as Flame Duck did, to insult a woman, clearly imply its all she’s good for, humiliate her with it

    That’s how FlameDuck’s comment struck me, too, on first reading. But once it became an issue, and I went back to re-read it and do my lit-crit thing, I couldn’t find the evidence. In summary, FD says that he likes meeting women who’ve been sexually repressed by their (ignorant) fundamentalist subculture, because he benefits from their pent-up sexual desire. There’s nothing in this very limited comment to suggest that FD generally thinks that sex is “all [women are] good for,” and FD’s revelling in the sex acts described only “insults” or “humiliates” the (hypothetical) woman if you presume there’s something shameful about the sex. You may think it’s uncouth to talk about how a woman “sucks dick like she thinks ‘the second coming’ isn’t just for Jesus,” but it’s only an insult if you think there’s something wrong with sucking dick.

    Look, I don’t know FlameDuck from Adam’s housecat, and for all I know he might be the biggest misogynist this side of Riyadh; all I’m saying is that I couldn’t sustain the indictment based on the evidence at hand… and that some others’ comments on the matter tend to reveal their own squeamishness about sexuality, with which I don’t agree.

  126. #126 CJO
    March 26, 2009

    There is no question Abortion = Murder.

    What should the punishment be for this heinous crime, Me?

  127. #127 aratina
    March 26, 2009

    Me, how <snark>nice</snark> of you to show up again.

  128. #128 Kemist
    March 26, 2009

    Ants however are morally superior to you, as they have the decency and the common sense not to deliberately accelerate their own extinction by killing their young.

    lol.

    Another who thinks nature is all butterflies and peace.

    And who thinks there’s not enough humans on this poor planet. The world’s population has not even stabilized yet, dimwit. There are many species on the extinct or nearly extinct list, mainly because of us. Because we take the space that was formerly theirs.

    Among many species of mammals, it is very common for a male to kill the offspring of the preceding male. It is also highly common for animals to either kill, let die or spontaenously abort offspring to favorise their own survival.

    One of the things you learn if you really observe nature is that it is very wasteful when it comes to life.

  129. #129 Dianne
    March 26, 2009

    I may think aborting an 8.5 month fetus is not good

    I would be ok with limiting third trimester abortion if and only if certain criteria were met:
    1. Abortion were readily available and cheap or free in the first 15 weeks of gestation.
    2. Exceptions to the ban were made for increased risk to the mother’s life or health and for severe fetal anomolies unlikely to be consistent with life ex utero.

  130. #130 bootsy
    March 26, 2009

    “Me Again is clearly a crazy sumbitch. No good christian would believe, for example, that abortion is so wrong that it would be better to let a pregnant, raped nine-year-old die that perform a lifesaving abortion.”

    “Oh, what’s that you say? Me Again is actually the Pope?”

    “Never mind. Infallible! Infallible! Infallible!”

  131. #131 WhenDanSaysJump
    March 26, 2009

    “A sick father to let his daughter taken turn by men.”

    I’m still trying to decipher this little gem. Oh, and Abortion Good, IMO.

  132. #132 SteveM
    March 26, 2009

    Saying that no one wants abortions is saying that in every instance, the better [course] would have been to continue the pregnancy.

    When I say “pro-choice is not necessarily pro-abortion”, I mean that abortion is probably not anyone’s preferred method of birth control. That is, abortion should be available for when contraception has failed (and for all the other medical reasons). So, saying no one wants an abortion is saying that it would have been better if conception had not occurred in the first place, not that it is better to continue the pregnancy.

  133. #133 Beezlebubba
    March 26, 2009

    Jeremy @ 65: Thanks. Shame about the Milkmen’s bassist, though. Satan’s all-star band shall benefit.

    Me, Me Again, etc.: Don’t push your luck, fucker, or I’ll throw one of my patented curses on YOUR sorry ass, too. Apologize, then be gone. This is your last warning. The Dark Father has more power than you can imagine, or defend against.

    Simon: 68 hours left, tick tock, tick tock…still waiting for that apology you owe to PZ & daughter. There’s nowhere on earth to hide.

  134. #134 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    You may think it’s uncouth to talk about how a woman “sucks dick like she thinks ‘the second coming’ isn’t just for Jesus,” but it’s only an insult if you think there’s something wrong with sucking dick.

    No, I see it as lying on the same anti-women-having-sex-continuum used by the fundies. The hypothetical woman in FlameDuck’s analogy is portrayed as almost entirely passive, to wit:

    Just because you’re ignorant of your daughters promiscuity, doesn’t mean she doesn’t get passed around like spare change.

    I’m trying my damndest to see some kind of “lets reclaim the word slut” ethos infusing this analogy. Maybe if FlameDuck had just talked about the hypothetical woman’s enthusiasm for sex, you’d have a point but by prefacing his “unromanticized sexual explicitness” with the phrase, I emphasised above…not feeling it.

    If FlameDuck wanted something that was raunchy but didn’t tip into misogyny, then he shouln’t have continued Simon’s despicable trope of women as passive containers for men’s sexuality.

  135. #135 Watchman
    March 26, 2009

    There is no question Abortion = Murder.

    Apparently, there is.

    the common sense not to deliberately accelerate their own extinction by killing their young.

    LOL! Right, right. We’re on the brink of extinction because of abortion (and homosexuality; can’t forget that).

    Look, when we’re all floating homelessly around in space, housed in a fleet of starships, with a total population of about 40,000, you can start making that argument. Mmmmm’kay?

  136. #136 catgirl
    March 26, 2009

    Although perhaps it is having to type with both hands down his pants that is making the syntax so dodgy

    Thank you for making me smile.

    If Simon really does have a daughter, I pity her. It never even occurred to him that his daughter (or any other woman) might actually (gasp!) want to have sex, yet not want to have a baby (or at least not yet). So he shelters her and treats her like she only needs protecting from boys and then she’ll never want to do it. Instead, he should be empowering her to make her own choices about sex instead of thinking of it only as the boyfriend that wants her to do it versus the father that doesn’t want her to do it. He seems to think that she’s so suggestible that she’ll do whatever a man tells her (and that’s probably how he wants her to be).

  137. #137 Endor
    March 26, 2009

    “you’re using your presumption that the term is gender-specific even when used “against” the other gender in order to “prove” the the term is gender-specific. Circular much?”

    of course it’s circular. bigotry is not logically sound.
    But yes, that is what I’m saying. That added insult is in calling a man a woman because, as it’s frequently made clear, that’s the worse thing to call a man.

    Of course, the word is under reclamation, as it were, in a lot of feminist, etc. circles. However, in the case of Flame Duck’s comment, the misogynistic insult version was exactly what he was using.

    “But I confess I was being tiny bit cheeky:”

    I know ;)

    “Of course the term usually refers to women, and is usually a pejorative, as I’m sure any dictionary would confirm. There is, however, an emerging alternative sense/usage of the word, as described in that most unimpeachable of sources”

    Of course and that’s what I meant by it being under reclamation. People using it in an alternative way I’m not arguing with. I’m all for reclamation.

    however, like I said, that’s not what Flame Duck was doing.

    “In summary, FD says that he likes meeting women who’ve been sexually repressed by their (ignorant) fundamentalist subculture, because he benefits from their pent-up sexual desire.”

    Perhaps. However, in couching it in misogynistic language he’s saying he does this specially to get off by using someone he loathes. Words mean things. If he was simply celebrating (ish) sexually enthusiastic women, he wouldn’t have added the shaming, bigoted language.

    “There’s nothing in this very limited comment to suggest that FD generally thinks that sex is “all [women are] good for,” and FD’s revelling in the sex acts described only “insults” or “humiliates” the (hypothetical) woman if you presume there’s something shameful about the sex. ”

    It’s not about what *I* presume. It’s about what Flame Duck hoped would insult the person that comment was directed to the most. he’s dealing with someone terrified of sex, woho would think that bjs and how Flame Duck described it was “wrong”, so he amped up the language to insult that person. However, he did so by amping up the insult to the woman to insult the man. (More circles, you see). All he really did was add support to the notion that sex is wrong and women should be shamed for doing it. When I added the notion of humiliation, etc, I meant that this is what Flame Duck’s language is supporting, even if its intent was to do otherwise. Not that he was specifically meaning to say it.

    There’s no issue with how he described the bj, the issue is in using a woman to insult a man. It’s pathetic.

    Also, I understand you’re not necessarily defending him, so no worries. I’m just explaining myself.

  138. #138 Smidgy
    March 26, 2009

    But no one has any surgery simply for the sake of having surgery, and nobody talks about not wanting those surgeries to exist. No one says “I’m pro-choice for appendectomies, but I’m not pro-appendectomy”. You’re still making abortion a special case, somehow special and different than any other kind of surgery.

    Actually, it would be accurate to say that most people are pro-choice for appendectomies, but not pro-appendectomy. In other words, if there’s a reason to have an appendectomy (such as having appendicitis), then most people wouldn’t object to having one, or anyone else having one, but most people don’t go and have an appendectomy simply for the sake of having an appendectomy.

    You are correct to say no-one actually says this, but the only real reason that this is the case is something you pointed out yourself – nobody talks about not wanting these surgeries to exist (or, to be a complete pedant, I should correct that to ‘no-one talks about wanting these surgeries to not exist’).

  139. #139 SillyWabbit
    March 26, 2009

    siMon:
    “PZM is a hypocrite, he teaches other but he never teaches his family.

    A sick father to let his daughter taken turn by men.”

    So you want your daughter to only have sex with you…

  140. #140 Mike in Ontario, NY
    March 26, 2009

    Quoting Kemist:
    “Among many species of mammals, it is very common for a male to kill the offspring of the preceding male. It is also highly common for animals to either kill, let die or spontaenously abort offspring to favorise their own survival.”

    Some mammal species also devour their newborns in response to overcrowding, like my gerbils used to. Modest Proposal, indeed. I bred them for food. Python food, that is.

    OT, but why don’t anti-abortion assholes protest the unjustified wars with equal vigor? Oh, wait, because it doesn’t involve “slut-shaming”.

  141. #141 Hipstermama
    March 26, 2009

    Helio love the quote ~ “BULL DURHAM” Love that movie!

    I also wanted to say that I am enjoying this thread. The one thing that keeps going on in my mind, is that NO WOMAN ever WANTS to have an abortion. A friend of mine had to have one, and to this day, she still thinks about it. It is not an easy ‘solution’ as some people make it out to be.

  142. #142 MS
    March 26, 2009

    Re #128. Most Christian theology–and all theodicy–is nothing more than an elaborate intellectual justification for the notion that “might makes right.” You might try reading some Calvinist attempts to explain/justify predestination. It will make your brain ache, but is very revealing.

  143. #143 Tulse
    March 26, 2009

    Look, when we’re all floating homelessly around in space, housed in a fleet of starships, with a total population of about 40,000, you can start making that argument

    And being chased by killer robots — you forgot to add the killer robots part…

  144. #144 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    Janine (@114):

    My response to Endor passed your (and others’) comments in the wires. I do, of course, bow to your unquestioned authority on the usage of slut [g], but hopefully my subsequent comments have clarified my position a skosh.

    I do understand that your, and Jeff’s and others’, use of the word is, as you say, theatrical. As you will have seen from my craven wiki reference, this…

    Just keep in mind that MAJeff specializes in queer and gender studies.

    …and the broader “alternative” meaning of slut was what I had in mind. Ahh, but perhaps I’m giving FlameDuck too much credit in thinking he, too, might have had the judgment-free sense of word as referring to sexual freedom in mind? It’s my one of my crosses to bear that I tend to do the lit-crit dance even with casual “texts” that haven’t been meticulously crafted like a Donne meditation or a Shakespeare sonnet.

    That said, I really do think Walton and Endor are reading a level of insult and objectification into the post that isn’t clearly supported by the actual words. It’s as if they think referring to woman in sexual terms is always the same as reducing her to sexual terms, and is inescapably dehumanizing.

    I own no FlameDuck stock, and have no abiding interest in defending him… but I am interested in pushing back on the sex-is-always-dirty meme that I catch a whiff of in some of the responses (not yours, it should go without saying). It’s not as if Walton is a well known leading feminist, after all; when he starts calling “misogynist” on people, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there’s some other subtext in play.

    LadyH (@117):

    Taking advantage of anyone’s ignorance to that degree is hatred pure and simple. . . fundy or not

    I agree that preying on an individual’s known ignorance in order to advance one’s sexual designs would be reprehensible… but ignorance really isn’t gender-specific, so I don’t know that this comment supports a charge of misogyny. In any case, I read FlameDuck as meaning that the “ignorant” fundamentalist approach to sexuality creates a reservoir of pent-up desire (aka sluttiness), rather than that the woman’s personal “ignorance” makes her vulnerable to his evil designs.

    But, as I said to Janine, I may be giving FD too much credit, or I may just be splitting too fine a hair here. Anyway, my goal is not to exonerate FD, but to assert my own belief that…

    “I get great sex from these women” “Women aren’t good for anything but sex”

    …and…

    Great sex Degrading sin

    YMMV, as always.

  145. #145 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    1) I will agree with Walton about the ducks comments. it’s not that the pure content of the text was a problem, but that he hit specific subjugation-buttons with it. I’ve known guys who expressed their obsession with (former) Catholic School Girls by saying that they were “the wildest, craziest sluts they’ve ever fucked”, in a tone of awed admiration and raw hunger. however, the subjugation imagery of “using” a slut for a blow-job, and then thanking another man for making her that way… that was over the line.

    2)Regarding the “there are no pro-abortionists” issue, I was interpreting this in the same way in the past there have been those pro-tonsillectomy and pro-appendectomy movements among doctors that basically claimed “well, it’s not good for anything, might as well take it out even if it isn’t bothering you”. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there who treats abortions that way? I’d think abortions are usually performed exactly BECAUSE they’re bothering the patient…?

  146. #146 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    also, I’ve seen people use the term “mother” for abortion patients. this is not helping the case. a woman isn’t a mother until she decides to bring the pregnancy to term (I was gonna say “until after she decides to keep the pregnancy/newborn”, but biology and anecdotes tell me that even women who give up their newborns for adoption bond with the newborn and feel they’re their mothers)

  147. #147 anti-supernaturalist
    March 26, 2009

    ** dead gods have nothing to do with abortion

    ? the concept of a person is not a biological one

    ?Person? won?t be found in a medical dictionary. A human being becomes a person when a culture bestows ?membership? on someone formerly outside the group.

    Considering newborns in traditional cultures, not all who are born get chosen to be persons. In contemporary state level cultures, established law and custom work together not always comfortably to determine what a ?reasonable person?s? concept of a person is.

    ? The real issue is social control —

    male domination of women, including dismissing their rights over their own bodies. Religious zealots who call abortion murder do not rise to the level of reasonable person.

    By trying to extend the concept of a person backward to cover fertilized human eggs and zygotes, male legislators placate right-wing moral absolutists who cannot ever win popular support in a secular and open society.

    They hope to return control of birth to the paternalistic ?norm? promoted by so-called great monotheisms — judaism, xianity, and islam.

    anti-supernaturalist

  148. #148 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    aiiee! I’ve committed the crime of emphasizing with quotes! the “using” in #151 is not a quote!

  149. #149 catgirl
    March 26, 2009

    a woman isn’t a mother until she decides to bring the pregnancy to term

    I don’t think someone is a mother until the baby is actually born. I’ve always heard pregnant women reveal their pregnancy as “I’m going to be a mother”. I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who considered herself a mother before her kids was born (unless she already had other kids). There are probably a few out there, but they’re the minority in the places I’ve lived.

  150. #150 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    Argh! More messages-passing-in-wires!

    Endor:

    [much cogent rejoinder snipped]

    the issue is in using a woman to insult a man. It’s pathetic.

    And I see him using a shocking, self-consciously graphic description of sex to insult a man who’s clearly afraid of sex. That the fictional/hypothetical object of FD’s little set-piece was a woman is an inevitable result of the facts that [a] FD is (presumably) a hetero male, so who else would be sucking his hypothetical dick? and [b] the fundamentalist repression of sexuality that he’s railing against falls disproportionately on women (i.e., the fundamentalists he’s upset about are the real misogynists… remember that the root of this thread is the inherently misogynistic religious position on abortion). He lashed out at siMon in a way that was vulgar and unnecessarily harsh; I agreed, in my inital response to Walton, that it was out of bounds. But I don’t see any evidence in it that leads me to believe that FD wrote what he wrote out of contempt for women.

    That said…

    Also, I understand you’re not necessarily defending him, so no worries. I’m just explaining myself.

    Understood, and appreciated. I’m now done explaining myself. [sigh] I would’ve much rather had an extended discussion on any of the other points I’ve made in this thread — the fathers-and-daughters thing, or make love v. fuck — than this one; it’s one of my online flaws that I let myself wander (or get pulled) off on tangents that I didn’t really mean to identify myself with so strongly.

  151. #151 Asemodeus
    March 26, 2009

    I had a fun discussion with some theists a few months back about how his claims of abortion is murder, yet when god naturally still births a fetus, or doesn’t attach to the womb, etc etc, it isn’t murder.

    His all too predictable response?

    When humans do it, it is murder. When god does it, it isn’t murder.

    When I pointed out to him that this is relative morality, the bane of christianity, he just folded over and started ranting off topic. It was pretty beautiful to watch someone invert so badly into their own delusions.

  152. #152 green thumb
    March 26, 2009

    Here’s something I’ve always wanted to ask anti-choicers, but since I don’t like having my neurons explode I don’t hang out with them. Since abortion is the topic, any religious nutjob trolls please feel free to answer. In my youth I had an abortion. I was poor and single, and my boyfriend at the time was a schmuck. Fast forward six years and I’m happily married to a great guy (still am). We had a beautiful, stunningly healthy baby on the exact same day as my abortion six years prior. My question is did your sky daddy forgive me for my perceived “sin” or was it mere coincidence that both events landed on the same date? Also, why would your god forgive an atheist? And no simple cop-outs of “god works in mysterious ways” bullshit, either.

  153. #153 chrstphrgthr
    March 26, 2009

    Lurker here with a first time post. I have to disagree with a few of you who feel that legal abortion, while a good option to have available, shouldn’t be celebrated. I AM Pro-Abortion. I love the fact that women have choice, but I have my own selfish reasons for revelling in the death of the unborn. For one, I’m tired of crawling over piles of people to get anywhere and am grateful for every woman who has ever had an abortion and infinitely more so for those who use contraceptives or can’t get laid. There are too many people as it is. Not only that, but I understand the majority of PP clinics are located in poor neighborhoods… good. There are too many tax burdens. Welfare is necessary, but I would encourage any mother who knows they can’t afford a child, to abort, asap, for the good of the system and my paycheck.

    Actually, while those reasons are about 1/4 jest, I truly believe that an abortion is the most moral option, assuming the child hasn’t been planned for or is in the slightest bit unwanted. In a perfect world, adoption would take first, but this ain’t a perfect world and there are too many kids hoping for good adoptive parents already. Maybe if all those whining pro-lifers would start adopting them, they wouldn’t have so much time to waste harrasing patients and doctors… A baby being killed before developing memory and higher cognition is WAAAY more humane than being tolerated by a mother that didn’t really want it, or wasting precious developmental years bouncing around, waiting for the right adoptee. Birth is a life sentence and once you’re here it has to be seen through. I thoroughly enjoy life, but I know I wouldn’t have cared in the least if I had been vacuumed out of the womb, as I wouldn’t have had the cognition to care with. And I know that I *might* not enjoy my life as much if I had been born to a mother who should have considered abortion, or chose adoption. The career of abortionist would probably be a spiritually uplifting one, except for all the time wasted in school learning how to deliver babies as well.

  154. #154 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    I don’t think someone is a mother until the baby is actually born. I’ve always heard pregnant women reveal their pregnancy as “I’m going to be a mother”. I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who considered herself a mother before her kids was born (unless she already had other kids). There are probably a few out there, but they’re the minority in the places I’ve lived.

    true enough, I was just pinpointing the earliest stage at which it is at all reasonable to call someone a mother.

  155. #155 Walton
    March 26, 2009

    Bill Dauphin: It’s not as if Walton is a well known leading feminist, after all; when he starts calling “misogynist” on people, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there’s some other subtext in play.

    That all depends on what you mean by “feminist”. I believe that women are human beings; that they deserve to be judged on the same criteria that men are judged; and that using insulting and degrading language towards them, in a forum like this where one’s comments will be read by a wide range of people, is not constructive or acceptable. I don’t care what FlameDuck’s intentions were – it came over as misogynistic and creepy, and I am clearly not the only person here who thinks so.

  156. #156 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    I would’ve much rather had an extended discussion on any of the other points I’ve made in this thread ? the fathers-and-daughters thing, or make love v. fuck

    well, there isn’t exactly much to discuss on the “make love vs. fuck” thing… you can love someone without wanting to fuck them; you can want to fuck someone without loving them; or you can love someone AND want to fuck them, at which point you may or may not want to actually “make love”. (and then there’s of course the option of neither loving someone nor wanting to fuck them, which is the sentiment most of humanity inspires in me)

    as to the father daughter thing, all i’ve got is a short and semi-funny anecdote of my american ex being mortally afraid to meet my european dad, because his impression of dads was that of the redneck with a shotgun, not a distracted polite journalist with no interest whatsoever in his daughter’s sex-life :-p

  157. #157 FlameDuck
    March 26, 2009

    You misogynistic bastard.

    Why? Because I enjoy oral sex? Are you for real?

    Contempt for women doesn’t suddenly become !contempt just because it’s not couched in religious terms.

    I don’t have contempt for women, and I don’t know why you would infer that. I have contempt for people who sexually oppress other people (and their sexuality) to the point of desperation, regardless of gender.

    I haven’t encountered any of FlameDuck’s posts before and I don’t know if he was trying to make a subtle point, but, on the face of what he said, it was offensive.

    What do you mean trying to make a subtle point? Only one person picked up on it, and the rest of you freaked out with political correctness. Doesn’t get more subtle than that.

    That may be the case (and I don’t plan to go to the mat in defense of FlameDuck here)

    Well you should have, because you’re absolutely right.

    The hypothetical woman in FlameDuck’s analogy is portrayed as almost entirely passive

    So because you’re projecting your own prejudice about promiscuous women, onto my comment, I’m the misogynist. That’s clever.

    I thought that FlameDuck could have used the same imagery without using “slut” and got his point across very clearly.

    Really? why is it you choose to use the words “Ignorant Slut” to qualify your name? Or is slut suddenly a word like nigger, that it’s only okay to use it, if you happen to be one? Besides which, it’s quite obvious I didn’t get my point across at all, because everyone jumped on the “women aren’t promiscuous bandwagon”, as if that’s some inherent property of having a Y chromosome. Give me a break.

    FlameDuck is a misoginist asshole. Taking advantage of anyone’s ignorance to that degree is hatred pure and simple. . . fundy or not :P

    Well you’re half right. I am an asshole. As Mr. Dauphin so eloquently explained, I’m not taking advantage of their ignorance. I’m taking advantage of their repressed sexuality. Does that make me a asshole? Judge me all you want, I don’t come here to impress any of you.

    being against the way some use it, as Flame Duck did, to insult a woman, clearly imply its all she’s good for

    Once again. That you project your own prejudice on my statement, doesn’t make me the misogynist. I neither implied nor inferred that sex is all a woman is good for. You made that conclusion all by yourself.

    That added insult is in calling a man a woman because, as it’s frequently made clear, that’s the worse thing to call a man.

    Really? You must not have a very large vocabulary, or a particular high opinion of women.

    However, in the case of Flame Duck’s comment, the misogynistic insult version was exactly what he was using.

    You should not confuse your ignorance and misplaced sactinmoneous righteousness for evidence.

    however, like I said, that’s not what Flame Duck was doing.

    Really? Have we met? Because I don’t recall that. Much like Mr. Dauphin you don’t know me from Adam’s housecat, yet you claim intimate knowledge about my person based on a short comment, posted on the Internet? Wow. It must really take a huge leap of faith to be that certain about a persons motivation. But considering you can’t even get my moniker correct, I suppose I shouldn’t except too much. For future reference, it’s FlameDuck. One word. If that’s too much trouble, FD will suffice.

  158. #158 culuriel
    March 26, 2009

    FWIW, here is the email I sent to dear Gigi:

    Ms. Edmonds,

    So glad to hear from your latest blog “post” that your deity is a complete asshole. Are you actually saying that your deity was so angry at this Feldkamp for owning abortion clinics that this deity actually chose, from numerous options available, to exact his revenge by senselessly killing several completely innocent children? If your deity truly thinks that killing children is bad enough to not even allow killing fetuses, that would make your deity a hypocritical, murderous little shit that civilized people would have put in a straitjacket and locked away with Hannibal Lechter long ago.

    Good night & good luck,

    Culuriel

  159. #159 FlameDuck
    March 26, 2009

    I’ve known guys who expressed their obsession with (former) Catholic School Girls by saying that they were “the wildest, craziest sluts they’ve ever fucked”, in a tone of awed admiration and raw hunger.

    So because you hang around with guys that are dicks (and to spell it out to all you hippies who now think I’m being misandric; you’re wrong) I’m a bad person. That’s some real nice reasoning there.

    the subjugation imagery of “using” a slut for a blow-job, and then thanking another man for making her that way… that was over the line.

    First of all, I didn’t say I was using a slut for a blow-job. I don’t understand were you get the idea that oral sex doesn’t happen in meaningful relationships. You must all have some boring spouses.

    Second of all, I was pretty sure that everyone would realise that thanking Simon for his stupidity was ironic. Of course I forgot most people here, being American, don’t understand irony. So my bad.

  160. #160 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 26, 2009
    I thought that FlameDuck could have used the same imagery without using “slut” and got his point across very clearly.

    Really? why is it you choose to use the words “Ignorant Slut” to qualify your name? Or is slut suddenly a word like nigger, that it’s only okay to use it, if you happen to be one?

    Get back to me on that when screams of “Slut” are part of a lynching or burning. Also, nice how you paid attention to my words. Not once did I call you a misogynist. And not once did I say I had a problem with the imagery. Just that I could have done without the “slut”.

    But, please, feel free to claim that I place the use of the word “slut” in the same league as the use of the word “nigger”. And please, give me motives that I never stated. And I will feel free to say that you are acting like an asshole in this case. And that is not based on my projection. It is based on our brief exchange here.

  161. #161 jose
    March 26, 2009

    And the fetus wasn’t baptized, so it’s going right to Hell!

  162. #162 druidbros
    March 26, 2009

    Dont worry Jose, the Mormons will baptize the fetus after its demise.

    And every time I inform an anti-abortionist that more fertilized eggs are destroyed at fertilization clinics than in other places and what are they going to do about THAT?, I get this ‘oh shit, I have not thought of that stare’. Its really all about restricting extramarital sex.

  163. #163 heliobates
    March 26, 2009

    I don’t have contempt for women, and I don’t know why you would infer that.

    Really? Did you not type this:

    Just because you’re ignorant of your daughters promiscuity, doesn’t mean she doesn’t get passed around like spare change.

    ?

    I neither implied nor inferred that sex is all a woman is good for.

    No, but you created a context for your analogy in which the woman is a passive piece of property. It completely works against the point you were trying to make and, since you pointed out that none of us know you, nor can we read your mind over hypertext transfer protocol, what were we supposed to infer?

    So because you’re projecting your own prejudice about promiscuous women, onto my comment, I’m the misogynist.

    The promiscuity isn’t offensive. The passivity is. It’s a tired, stupid stereotype and it works against the point you were trying to make. How is getting “passed around like spare change” anything but a passive portrayal?

    If you’d left that one line out, your point would stand. But you didn’t and it gave your “joke” a definite eau-de-d00d. You could say “oops” and move on, but instead:

    the rest of you freaked out with political correctness

    Right. It’s your audience’s fault. That will work every time.

  164. #164 Fiisi
    March 26, 2009

    I always thought of slut as a word too often used to excuse violence against women. I would elaborate, but I consider the majority here quite capable of considering it further without the hand holding.

  165. #165 FlameDuck
    March 26, 2009

    Also, nice how you paid attention to my words.

    Pot, Kettle, Black, much?

    Not once did I call you a misogynist.

    Not once did I claim you did. I was simply inquiring why, someone who obviously thinks the word slut is unsuitable, chooses to use it to describe herself (I assume).

    But, please, feel free to claim that I place the use of the word “slut” in the same league as the use of the word “nigger”.

    I wasn’t claiming anything. I was asking. You can tell by the way I clearly ended the sentence in a question mark, the common English delimiter for questions.

    And that is not based on my projection.

    So you answer all questions with a defensive rant accusing the person asking the question of attributing motives to you, that you never had?

    And I will feel free to say that you are acting like an asshole in this case.

    Well you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But I’m hardly the only one guilty of assholery.

  166. #166 MAJeff, OM
    March 26, 2009

    I’m still waiting for my fetus martini!

  167. #167 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 26, 2009

    I’m still waiting for my fetus martini!

    You’ll just have to settle for 4 day old grog (sets down fuming tankard). Bottoms up Mr. PhD.

    OT, anybody heard from Patricia?

  168. #168 prettyinpink
    March 26, 2009

    I know I said this in the other thread, but I want to thank everyone who came over to Jill’s blog–it was nice to see :)

  169. #169 Julie Stahlhut
    March 26, 2009

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but how insane do you have to be to believe that a “good” deity would punish someone by killing his children and grandchildren?

  170. #170 Bill Dauphin
    March 26, 2009

    MAJeff:

    I’m still waiting for my fetus martini!

    Yeah, well I’m still waiting for my spicy fetus handroll… or failing that, at least the sashimi you promised! ;^)

    PS: Hope you’re not upset that I dragged your name into this wretched thread. Sorry ’bout that.

  171. #171 ChrisKG
    March 26, 2009

    Just to add another stupid expression of religion by a “true Christian” check this one out. http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/112203

    The “stupid”, it just burns…

  172. #172 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Julie Stahlhut wrote:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but how insane do you have to be to believe that a “good” deity would punish someone by killing his children and grandchildren?

    A question often dodged and never answered.

    Most of the time the evasion seems to involve redefining what the word ‘good’ means or trying to rationalise that, since we’re their god’s ‘property’ he can do to us whatever he likes and still be ‘good’.

    I’d have some respect for the intellectual integrity of Christians if they would just admit their god is a vile, vengeful, human-hating monster; however, they just don’t seem to want to let themselves believe that the real reason they ‘worship’ the sick, capricious tyrant is fear.

    The whole ‘Jesus, bringer of peace and forgiveness’ thing was just an exercise in rebranding, a bit like when oil companies give their products seemingly environmentally friendly names.

  173. #173 raven
    March 26, 2009

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but how insane do you have to be to believe that a “good” deity would punish someone by killing his children and grandchildren?

    You left out that some of the victims were an unrelated family of Seven Day Adventists. And one was pregnant.

    17 injured after tornado rips through Mississippi HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writer Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press Writer ? 1 hr 10 mins ago MAGEE, Miss. ? Severe weather across the South unleashed tornadoes in rural Mississippi, including one that shattered dozens of homes, flattened a church and injured at least 17 people, authorities said Thursday.

    Told you so. God hates fundie xians. He keeps sending tornados and hurricanes into their heartland of the south central USA.

    This has all the hallmarks of the deity. Brute force, lousy aim, and lots of collateral damage. He did manage to flatten a church. Also dozens of houses. And while the 17 injured were probably mostly fundies, some may not have been.

    This has one other tipoff that it is a message to Gingi and her dumb mother. The timing of course. Plus the fact that the victims were innocent, uninvolved people thousands of miles away. The deity works in strange ways and definitely has a serious geography and aiming problem.

    The Death Cult babble isn’t a matter of insanity. It has more to do with just being plain old ordinarily evil.

  174. #174 Carl Troein
    March 26, 2009

    @ Julie Stahlhut: Not insane. Just religious. But quite a lot, luckily. At least none of the (rather few) xians that I know well enough to assess appear to have had their morality impaired.

  175. #175 Moses
    March 26, 2009

    I, honestly, never thought I’d ever say this, but having read most of this argument, Walton Wins:

    Posted by: Walton | March 26, 2009 1:58 PM

    And therefore it’s a strawwoman argument (a strawpregnant woman, in fact) and is therefore irrelevant.

    No, it’s not. You claimed that abortion is no different from any other kind of surgery. You did not say “abortion is no different from any other kind of surgery up until the third trimester”. You made a categorical claim, and I am asking whether you really believe it.

    Just as it’s ridiculous and absurd to claim “humanity begins at conception, and it is always wrong to kill a foetus”, so too it is equally absurd to claim “abortion is just another surgical procedure and it should be performed whenever the woman wants it”. The reality is that “humanity”, if that term has any real meaning, cannot be a simple binary state; rather, it’s a continuum. A blastocyst is unquestionably not a human being; a newborn baby unquestionably is a human being; and there are various shades of grey in between. At each stage, the relative value of the foetus’ life, compared to the mother’s wishes, must be different.

    I’m not arguing for any change in the law. It is already the case in most Western countries that elective abortions are permitted up until a certain point in the pregnancy, and not after. I’m merely justifying the status quo.

  176. #176 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    I, honestly, never thought I’d ever say this, but having read most of this argument, Walton Wins:

    He has come a long way.

  177. #177 'Tis Himself
    March 26, 2009

    Now if he’d only learn something about economics and how societies really work, he’d be all right. Oh, it would be nice if he got laid, but that’s optional.

  178. #178 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009
    I’ve known guys who expressed their obsession with (former) Catholic School Girls by saying that they were “the wildest, craziest sluts they’ve ever fucked”, in a tone of awed admiration and raw hunger.

    So because you hang around with guys that are dicks (and to spell it out to all you hippies who now think I’m being misandric; you’re wrong) I’m a bad person. That’s some real nice reasoning there.

    fascinating, isn’t it, that I tried to convey with that line that there’s there’s ways of expressing desire for a repressed woman’s sexuality, even with the word slut in it, without making it condescending (in what i felt was a direct opposition of the way you did it), so which part of my description gave you the impression that this was supposed to be a description of “guys that are dicks”? could it be the “slut”? could it be the “raw hunger”? interesting. you fell into the same “sounds like misogyny” situation you whine about

    the subjugation imagery of “using” a slut for a blow-job, and then thanking another man for making her that way… that was over the line.

    First of all, I didn’t say I was using a slut for a blow-job. I don’t understand were you get the idea that oral sex doesn’t happen in meaningful relationships. You must all have some boring spouses.
    Second of all, I was pretty sure that everyone would realise that thanking Simon for his stupidity was ironic. Of course I forgot most people here, being American, don’t understand irony. So my bad.

    1) no one says that blow-jobs can’t happen in meaningful relationships. no one is even saying that blow-jobs can’t be fun outside of relationships. however, the phrasing you’ve used was far more ambiguous than that, especially THANKING a man for MAKING a woman a certain way, even if it was meant as a joke. on third reading i will apologize for seeing far more coerciveness than there was, though.

    2)Not American. but nice bit of stereotyping there. good job.

  179. #179 thalarctos
    March 26, 2009
    I, honestly, never thought I’d ever say this, but having read most of this argument, Walton Wins:

    He has come a long way.

    Yes, for everything else he’s committed in this forum (and there’s been a lot of it, to be sure), he has always demonstrated at least the potential to learn and grow.

    Since I certainly don’t mind calling you out at the appropriate times, Walton, it’s only fair that I also acknowledge when you’re right, like now. Well done.

  180. #180 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    PZ, as much as I hate Gingi or her ilk, putting other victims of the crash on the pedestal just to prove her hypocrisy feels like we’re hitting below the belt.

    Granted these people who died don’t deserve the sort of treatment Gingi gave them, but what gives us the right to use them as proverbial ammo for our argument?

    Just thinking out loud.

  181. #181 thalarctos
    March 26, 2009

    Granted these people who died don’t deserve the sort of treatment Gingi gave them, but what gives us the right to use them as proverbial ammo for our argument?

    Context. It’s not like PZ brought them up to start with–that would certainly have been just as objectionable–but once Gingi did, it’s only right to speak up against something as wrong as that.

    Not standing up to someone committing a wrong only teaches them that they can get away with it.

  182. #182 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself wrote (of Walton)

    Oh, it would be nice if he got laid, but that’s optional.

    And got toasted. Nicely toasted – as per Cypress Hill in the Homerpallooza episode of The Simpsons.

    The musical taste should then take care of itself.

  183. #183 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    anyway, I think we’ll have to write off the entire “slut” argument to “the internet lacks tone” *shrug*

  184. #184 kamaka
    March 26, 2009

    Just to add another stupid expression of religion by a “true Christian” check this one out. http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/112203

    The “stupid”, it just burns…

    Well, finally something to be way proud of here in ND. Gawd is out to get us because we ‘tolerate’ teh gay!

    Grand Forks indeed seems to be OK with gay culture. I’ve been to a few drag shows here! (Sorely tempted to say to co-worker: “Excuse me miss, the last time I saw you, didn’t you have a moustache?”)

    So, mighty smiter, bring on the water.

    *bubbles*

  185. #185 Pteryxx
    March 26, 2009

    For y’all’s consideration: article referenced in DailyKos, “The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion”.

    http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

    “Abortion is a highly personal decision that many women are sure they’ll never have to think about until they’re suddenly faced with an unexpected pregnancy. But this can happen to anyone, including women who are strongly anti-choice. So what does an anti-choice woman do when she experiences an unwanted pregnancy herself? Often, she will grin and bear it, so to speak, but frequently, she opts for the solution she would deny to other women — abortion.”

  186. #186 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    I don’t think some people here will be satisfied until Walton is living on the street, giving out handjobs to middle-aged businessmen in exchange for money to buy his next hit of heroin.

    And got toasted. Nicely toasted – as per Cypress Hill in the Homerpallooza episode of The Simpsons.

    The musical taste should then take care of itself.

    Drugs aren’t a necessity for a good music taste (I’ve never taken anything stronger than alcohol and I turned out alright), besides giving Walton drugs could be downright dangerous. It’s frightening to think of the prospect

  187. #187 kamaka
    March 26, 2009

    Pteryxx @192

    Hey, Pt, that was a great link. A profound insight into the human condition.

    Thanks.

  188. #188 maggie
    March 26, 2009

    Well, the comments here (those I have read) are as dumb as always. Pteryxx, thinks for example, that claiming something makes it so. So somebody claims that antiabortion women will have abortions, if they get pregnant. I don’t doubt that some have given into fear and done so. But how many? And how does that change the immorality of abortion?

    Exactly what did Gingi do? Is she responsible for the plane crash? I would suppose the weather or the pilot might be more obviously the culprits. But a writer meditating on the tragedy? Don’t think so. Really don’t think so. You might want to think that one through.

    Then some poor sould wrote:

    Most of the time the evasion seems to involve redefining what the word ‘good’ means or trying to rationalise that, since we’re their god’s ‘property’ he can do to us whatever he likes and still be ‘good’.

    I’d have some respect for the intellectual integrity of Christians if they would just admit their god is a vile, vengeful, human-hating monster; however, they just don’t seem to want to let themselves believe that the real reason they ‘worship’ the sick, capricious tyrant is fear.

    That would be a stupid thing to admit, since it is not true. Your respect isn’t worth it. You better take a look at reality– God is in control. He gives life and he takes it away. You can shake your puny, impotent fist in his face, if you like. But it is futile. You would do better to accept reality and order your life accordingly.

    Someone asked: In my youth I had an abortion. I was poor and single, and my boyfriend at the time was a schmuck. Fast forward six years and I’m happily married to a great guy (still am). We had a beautiful, stunningly healthy baby on the exact same day as my abortion six years prior. My question is did your sky daddy forgive me for my perceived “sin” or was it mere coincidence that both events landed on the same date? Also, why would your god forgive an atheist? And no simple cop-outs of “god works in mysterious ways” bullshit, either.

    So, you have never read the New Testament, eh? If you have, don’t you remember any of the passages that refer to God’s patience with sinners? That the sun and rain fall on the just and the unjust alike? That God is long suffering? As long as you live there is time to repent and be forgiven. But as this tragedy in Montana demonstrates so painfully, your life could be demanded of you this very evening. No one knows when death will come. The only thing in your power is to be ready for it. If you do not die in God’s friendship, you will do without it for eternity.

    Yeah. Blame Gingi. That makes so much sense. She saves lives. What do you do?

  189. #189 kamaka
    March 26, 2009

    maggie is barb

  190. #190 kamaka
    March 26, 2009

    worthless, ignorant, hateful and evil, viper-loving barb

  191. #191 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    maggie wrote (about my claim that Christians lie to themselves about the nature of their vile monster-god):

    That would be a stupid thing to admit, since it is not true.

    but then wrote, hilariously:

    You better take a look at reality– God is in control. He gives life and he takes it away.

    Illustrating my point perfectly.

    Damn, that was easy!

  192. #192 kamaka
    March 26, 2009

    Please don’t feed that nasty troll-bitch

    She’s been cast into the pit of vipers. Leave her there.

  193. #193 maggie
    March 26, 2009

    You are not a profound thinker, are you, Wowbagger? I did not deny that God gives life and takes it. I denied (actually, found ridiculous) your claim that he is a vile monster-god. That is worthy only of a particularly stupid 14 year old.

    Wow, that was obvious!

    It is incomprehensible to me that adults (as some of you must be) are so incapable of rational thought. You spew like ignorant teenagers who, at least, have some excuse– they have neither education nor life experience to inform their beliefs. What possible excuse do you have?

  194. #194 FlameDuck
    March 26, 2009

    so which part of my description gave you the impression that this was supposed to be a description of “guys that are dicks”? could it be the “slut”? could it be the “raw hunger”?

    Could it be “obsession”?

    even if it was meant as a joke.

    It wasn’t meant as a joke. I was pointing out the irony of a person being oblivious to his own daughters sexuality, while inquiring about others, as if your stance on abortion somehow effects your sexual activity. Irony is unfortunately sometimes tragic.

    2)Not American. but nice bit of stereotyping there. good job.

    Thanks! I try.

  195. #195 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    The idea of eternal life is silly. The idea that Jesus came down to earth to grant us eternal life is even sillier. Taking into account the previous position, the problem of hell becomes apparent. So before Jesus we would have died and that would be it, but after Jesus the vast majority of the world’s population will spend eternity being tortured for the crime of not believing. What a loving God He is…

  196. #196 Evangelatheist
    March 26, 2009

    Pteryxx, thinks for example, that claiming something makes it so.

    This is RICH coming from a hate-spewing, god believer. Just because you “claim” that your god exists doesn’t mean it does.

    intellectual integrity of christians

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! my sides hurt at this.

    god is in control

    of your deluded mind. See above.

    No one knows when death will come.

    I am 100% certain that it will come sometime after this very moment. Death happens. Don’t waste your time worshiping some nonexistent god. Come on barb/maggie, your stupid-fu is stronger than this.

  197. #197 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    I did not deny that God gives life and takes it. I denied (actually, found ridiculous) your claim that he is a vile monster-god.

    Swing and a miss. Would you consider someone who kills their children a monster? After all they gave life, so they can take it. Same applies to God, even if there was a creator of it all, by his own standards God persistently acts like a monster. Murder, genocide, blood sacrifice, rape, stealing – God either does these things himself or demands it of his followers. The God of the bible is possibly the most despicable character to ever grace the minds of the masses.

    Even if God has the right to destroy his creation, it doesn’t make the act of destruction any less malevolent…

  198. #198 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Obviously, I’m far more profound a thinker than you, maggie.

    Let’s say I go to a kindergarten and ‘take the life’ of, say, 30 little kids*. Does anyone imagine that no-one would use the term ‘monster’ to decribe me? The act would indeed be monstrous; why is it not so when your god does it?

    Monstrous is as monstrous does, maggie.

    *I would not, for a second, even contemplate doing this whether a god appeared and commanded me to or not. I couldn’t say the same for maggie

  199. #199 maggie
    March 26, 2009

    Ah yes, another fundamentalist who reads the Old Testament literally. Way to go!

    Take it up with God, Kel. Honestly, someone who can create the universe and everything in it is very likely to be moved to repentence by your informing him of his faults. I know I am.

    Oh, dear. I forgot to agree with you all on one point. I am a troll– I must be. I don’t agree with your thoughtless, ugly messages and the original post and am saying so. But, I am not Barb. Still, I am delighted to hear that there is someone else who can be bothered to ridicule the fatuous and unbelievably ugly ranting here.

  200. #200 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Take it up with God

    Major problem, god doesn’t exist except between your ears. Just like all delusions.

  201. #201 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    Take it up with God, Kel. Honestly, someone who can create the universe and everything in it is very likely to be moved to repentence by your informing him of his faults. I know I am.

    First show me that said god exists, then I’ll be glad to take it up with him. It doesn’t change the fact that your view of God is one of a monster – one who can act malevolent while people still talk of him as loving. Do you feel that a parent who kills their own children is monsterous? If not, then why do you rationalise “The lord giveth and the lord taketh away” as part of a loving God at the same time as rejecting criticism of the monsterous nature described therein?

  202. #202 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    Let’s say I go to a kindergarten and ‘take the life’ of, say, 30 little kids*. Does anyone imagine that no-one would use the term ‘monster’ to decribe me? The act would indeed be monstrous; why is it not so when your god does it?

    Because it’s only 30 children and you did it yourself. However, if it was 42 children and you killed them using a bear…

  203. #203 Evangelatheist
    March 26, 2009

    Can someone PLEEEAAASSSEEEEE explain the difference between maggie/barb and this woman? As far as I can tell, it’s just a matter of time before maggie/barb (really delusional now, doesn’t know her own name) “listens to god” and kills some poor undeserving person.

  204. #204 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    Exactly what did Gingi do? Is she responsible for the plane crash? I would suppose the weather or the pilot might be more obviously the culprits. But a writer meditating on the tragedy?

    A writer who used the tragedy to push her agenda, implying that some horrid accident was caused or should be taken as a sign from God that Dr. Feldkamp should cease and desist his practice. This is no different than Pastor Danny Nalliah blaming the recent Victorian fires on Australia’s toleration of abortions, or WBC praising the North Dakota floods as divine retribution against gays. Gingi may have a right to say her opinion, but we also have a right to disagree with her, which most of us here are more than happy to do.

    Your respect isn’t worth it. You better take a look at reality– God is in control. He gives life and he takes it away. You can shake your puny, impotent fist in his face, if you like. But it is futile. You would do better to accept reality and order your life accordingly.

    Baseless presumption. Gives life and takes it away? So is it god’s will when we murder our fellowmen because we disagree with their race, creed, or ideoloy, or just because we’re plaing greeedy, or when millions die worldwide due to disease and starvation? You take a look at reality.

    If you have, don’t you remember any of the passages that refer to God’s patience with sinners? That the sun and rain fall on the just and the unjust alike? That God is long suffering? As long as you live there is time to repent and be forgiven. But as this tragedy in Montana demonstrates so painfully, your life could be demanded of you this very evening.

    Half of the passengers in that plane were kids – do you mean to tell me that God, in all his wisdom, decided that it would be better to end their lives instead of letting them live their lives to the fullest? What sins did they commit that they must need repenting from? Mor importantly, if God did have an axe to grind with Dr. Feldkamp, why not afflict him directly? Wowbagger was right you know – your percieved God reveals himself to be cruel and venegful

    No one knows when death will come. The only thing in your power is to be ready for it. If you do not die in God’s friendship, you will do without it for eternity.

    We don’t have to be Christian to understand we have an obligation to live our lives to the fullest. I don’t see how this can be done when your only reason to live it up is becuase of a misplaced guilt complex, and not for life’s, or your loved one’s own sake.

  205. #205 maggie
    March 26, 2009

    Think, Wowie, think. You do not give life and you have no right to take it. God never, ever commands anyone to murder. Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament. I have no patience with fundamentalists.

    Think, Wowie, think. Where do you get the idea that murdering children is monstrous? It makes no sense in a Godless world to claim that anything is wrong or evil. Mass killings, particularly of children, may be inconvenient. They may harm the reproductive success of the species (sort of like abortion does) but what does it mean to call something monstrous?

    And if there is a God who created humans in his own image, how do you suppose that you could possibly sit in judgment of him? Where would your moral ideas come from? It does not compute, Wowie. Nor does your faux outrage.

  206. #206 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    I forgot to agree with you all on one point. I am a troll– I must be. I don’t agree with your thoughtless, ugly messages and the original post and am saying so.

    Lady, at least we’re upfront about being ugly or thoughtless about what we say. You on the other hand, hide your contempt and condescending attitude towards people who don’t agree with your behind a veil of religious piety.

    We’re obscene. You, on the other hand are worse – a bloody hypocrite

  207. #207 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Maggie, your delusions are talking. Your god doesn’t exist, so you can’t say what you think he says. Otherwise, the facts say you are wrong. See professional help to remove your delusions.

  208. #208 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    You do not give life and you have no right to take it.

    You see maggie, there’s this wonderful process called reproductions. Where through copulation with a member of the opposite sex, an individual can indeed create life. Do parents have a right to kill their children? If not, then your “The lord giveth and the lord taketh” position does not absolve the monsterous nature of God.

  209. #209 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    Think, Wowie, think. Where do you get the idea that murdering children is monstrous? It makes no sense in a Godless world to claim that anything is wrong or evil. Mass killings, particularly of children, may be inconvenient. They may harm the reproductive success of the species (sort of like abortion does) but what does it mean to call something monstrous?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism#Modern_secular_humanism

    Your idea of a “Godless” society having no qualms about murder speak more of your delusion than it does of reality. Have you tried researching on Sweden?

  210. #210 Nephilim
    March 26, 2009

    The Raving Theist has a wonderful debunking of Myer’s pathetic whining at http://ravingatheist.com/2009/03/the-hand-of-god/ I wonder if anyone here can tackle the post…

  211. #211 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 26, 2009

    Think, Wowie, think. You do not give life and you have no right to take it.

    Fail. Any couple who ever copulated and conceived gave life.

    God never, ever commands anyone to murder.

    Utter fail. Hell, Jesus slaughtered an innocent fig tree. He was a cold-blooded bastard.

    Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament. I have no patience with fundamentalists.

    So you’re not a Christian, eh? Willing to reject any part of the bible that doesn’t fit your cozy little fantasy of you ‘goodness’. Epic fail. Either be a Christian or don’t, but stop being a hypocrite.

    Think, Wowie, think. Where do you get the idea that murdering children is monstrous? It makes no sense in a Godless world to claim that anything is wrong or evil.

    So in addition to not being a Christian, you’re not very bright. There are perfectly good reasons to minimize the destruction of foetuses – with or without god. The fact that you can’t be ‘good’ without a divinity waiting to spank your a$$ for eternity if you screw up even slightly has nothing to do with morality. God isn’t moral. God is the author of evil. Says so – right in that book of yours.

    Mass killings, particularly of children, may be inconvenient. They may harm the reproductive success of the species (sort of like abortion does) but what does it mean to call something monstrous?

    Just because you’ve no sense of morals, don’t project on the rest of us.

    And if there is a God who created humans in his own image, how do you suppose that you could possibly sit in judgment of him? Where would your moral ideas come from? It does not compute, Wowie. Nor does your faux outrage.

    If God cannot end evil, then he is not all-powerful.

    If God doesn’t wish to end evil, then he is not all-good.

    Evil exists.

    Since god is neither all-good or all-powerful, why claim he’s a god?

    Epic fail.

    Just once I wish that I could have an intelligent conversation about this with a theist. They’re usually not even bright enough to reason. Maggie certainly isn’t.

  212. #212 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    I wonder if Maggie would take the Bear Challenge if she truly believes that the only reason we don’t kill children is inconvenience…

  213. #213 Holydust
    March 26, 2009

    If I see one more person saying “pot, kettle, black” or some other “sassy” variant of the phrase, “That’s the pot calling the kettle black”, I’m going to scream.

    Just fucking say it; don’t be cute about it. It isn’t cute.

  214. #214 Crudely Wrott
    March 26, 2009

    Earlier today, in the normal course of events (you know how it is) I snagged the back of my hand on the point of a nail. The wound, while not serious, warranted inspection. So I looked and I observed a bit of blood welling from a small laceration. Routine in my line of work. At one end of the scrape a bit of skin and subcutaneous tissue had been left, sticking up rather like a flag. Without thinking I raised my hand to my mouth and, seizing the irregularity between my teeth, finished the job of removing it from my hand. Then I swallowed it.

    Given that what I ate was in fact perfectly good and functional human tissue, a few hundred thousand cells worth (that would be many blastocysts worth) I must ask, did I just perform an abortion? Several?

    If so, should I feel badly about it? And is a wet dream murder or not?

    It’s not the mystery of life that is so hard to comprehend. The real mystery is the worship of death practiced by those who claim (and celebrate) eternal life. Upon them, the difference between life and death is lost, reduced to a lottery ticket, price paid in uninformed trust. And not involving anything slippery or pleasant. Fucking lackwits.

  215. #215 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    Apologies for the horribly formatted previous posts – having trouble with the quote tool.

  216. #216 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    They may harm the reproductive success of the species

    demographic winter != lie. if we ever end up on the endangered species list, it will be because we’ll over-breed and run out of resources.

  217. #217 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 26, 2009

    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM | March 26, 2009

    OT, anybody heard from Patricia?

    She left a message yesterday. Her computer went kaplooey and she needs to get a new one. She will be off line for a few days.

    I do not think that Maggie is Barb. But her insistence that godgrants life and death rubs up too close to the idea that god has ownership so what gad says goes. Just an other variation of “might makes right”.

    And please don’t trot out the Old Testament.

    Is not Jesus “quoted” as saying that he was sent to fulfill what was in the OT? Seems that it makes that part of the bible rather important to those who follow christ. Maggie is just an other christian who picks and chooses from that book.

  218. #218 Maggie
    March 26, 2009

    A writer who used the tragedy to push her agenda, implying that some horrid accident was caused or should be taken as a sign from God that Dr. Feldkamp should cease and desist his practice. … Gingi may have a right to say her opinion, but we also have a right to disagree with her, which most of us here are more than happy to do.

    What agenda is she pushing? On whom? The Feldkamps are, I believe, Christians, at least superficially. The possibility that God is speaking to them through this tragedy cannot have escaped them. In fact, I cannot imagine what mental gymnastics one has to perform to ignore the fact that one’s home, worldly goods, vacation resorts, et al. are bought with blood money. Sudden death has a way of clarifying the issues.

    Half of the passengers in that plane were kids – do you mean to tell me that God, in all his wisdom, decided that it would be better to end their lives instead of letting them live their lives to the fullest?

    Yes. It is possible. Since they are now with him and beyond pain and tears, they are fine. It is those left behind who must deal with sorrow.

    What sins did they commit that they must need repenting from? Mor importantly, if God did have an axe to grind with Dr. Feldkamp, why not afflict him directly?

    The children and, for all I know, the parents were not afflicted. They died, as we all must. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when, does it? The children are certainly with God and the adults may well be. That is something nobody can say with certainty.

    God has no axes to grind. He calls people to repentence and will give us every possible chance. If he uses this tragedy to call Feldkamp and Feldkamp responds, it will have been a severe mercy. But a mercy, nevertheless.

    Did he will this tragedy, in order to call Feldkamp to repentence? I cannot say that anymore than anyone else can. I do know that God can bring good out of horrors. Perhaps the plane was too heavy. Perhaps the pilot erred in some way. God does not intervene to prevent all tragedies. If he contravened the laws of nature regularly, we are going to be hard put to call them “laws” aren’t we?

    But those who have ears, really need to hear.

  219. #219 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 26, 2009

    Nephilim?

    Done.

    That was a pretty pathetic post, actually. He apparently didn’t bother to read what Myers wrote.

  220. #220 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    demographic winter != lie

    double negative fail. i blame it on the grog fumes

  221. #221 BlueIndependent
    March 26, 2009

    “…Have you tried researching on Sweden?”

    Far be it from me to predict what one has or has not researched, but if he has researched Sweden, I’m guessing it may not of been while he was “on” Sweden.

    I am curious however to hear of the theist rationalization that Sweden is an extant sovereign debunking of atheism. This sounds like a new line of attack; not one that is likely to bear any fruit, but we around here always find glee in the simply psychotic and random ways in which theists try to practice reason (while simultaneously never ceasing to fail miserably at it).

  222. #222 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    sooo…. the dead children of from the aircrash are in heaven now, so their death is a good thing… so, since abortion is a bad thing, does that mean aborted fetuses don’t go to heaven?

    besides, even the bible says that destroying a fetus is only worth a fee. and this is the book that tells parents to stone their kids for mouthing off (actually, i see a pattern… seems god enjoys the death of children. that would put the “be fruitful and multiply” in a whole new light)

  223. #223 Tulse
    March 26, 2009

    God never, ever commands anyone to murder. Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament. I have no patience with fundamentalists.

    What do you mean, “fundamentalists”? You think that the passages in the OT where god orders genocide and kills firstborns are just allegorical? What kind of sophistry is that? At least have the courage to be honest and admit that the OT god really was one righteous smiting bastard.

  224. #224 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 26, 2009

    Half of the passengers in that plane were kids – do you mean to tell me that God, in all his wisdom, decided that it would be better to end their lives instead of letting them live their lives to the fullest?
    Yes. It is possible. Since they are now with him and beyond pain and tears, they are fine. It is those left behind who must deal with sorrow.
    What sins did they commit that they must need repenting from? Mor importantly, if God did have an axe to grind with Dr. Feldkamp, why not afflict him directly?
    The children and, for all I know, the parents were not afflicted. They died, as we all must. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when, does it? The children are certainly with God and the adults may well be. That is something nobody can say with certainty.

    The horrifying and untterable cruelty of your words is perhaps even more hateful, nauseating, and evil than gingi’s.

    What you just said was – god murdered. And no one should be concerned because god murdered. And yet above you claimed that god doesn’t command murder.

    But you personally claim that your god is a murderer; and that’s a GOOD thing?

    You truly are a sick, twisted, hateful bitch.

  225. #225 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    The possibility that God is speaking to them through this tragedy cannot have escaped them.

    Why is your god so incompetent a communicator that he must depend on easily misinterpreted events? Why can’t he just appear to the people doing things which displease him and tell them himself?

    He calls people to repentence and will give us every possible chance.

    What chance do you think he gave the innocent children killed in the plane crash?

    God does not intervene to prevent all tragedies.

    Can you show where your god has intervened to prevent any tragedies? By which I mean that can’t be explained by any natural means?

    It is those left behind who must deal with sorrow.

    Why would Christians feel sorrow? Their loved ones are in Heaven, aren’t they? Surely the only feeling they should have – if they truly believe what they claim to believe – is joy. Well, that and perhaps envy for having to wait for their own ‘ticket to paradise’.

    I do know that God can bring good out of horrors.

    Why not just bring good? Why does there need to be any horrors? Surely an all-powerful being of infinite goodness wouldn’t allow such things to happen.

    In fact, I cannot imagine what mental gymnastics one has to perform to ignore the fact that one’s home, worldly goods, vacation resorts, et al. are bought with blood money.

    Most people cannot imagine what mental gymnastics one must take to be you, maggie. Worshipping a vile-monster god, kissing his ass and calling it ice-cream while simultaneously living in fear that he might turn his capricious, hate-filled gaze in your direction and smite you to try and teach someone a lesson.

    Mental gymnastics indeed.

  226. #226 Tulse
    March 26, 2009

    Since they are now with him and beyond pain and tears, they are fine.

    Just to be clear on this logic:

    A) When young children die, they go to God and live forever after in the bliss of heaven.

    B) Abortion kills children.

    Therefore:

    C) Abortion causes children to go to God and live forever after in the bliss of heaven.

    Explain why abortion is bad again?

  227. #227 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    The possibility that God is speaking to them through this tragedy cannot have escaped them. In fact, I cannot imagine what mental gymnastics one has to perform to ignore the fact that one’s home, worldly goods, vacation resorts, et al. are bought with blood money. Sudden death has a way of clarifying the issues.

    And yet God refuses to “speak” the same way to African warlords, drug lords, and other warmongers who have inflicted upon people a very real, painful, and lasting harm. Of all the options of speaking to the man, he had to pick then one with the most collateral damage, eh?

    Yes. It is possible. Since they are now with him and beyond pain and tears, they are fine. It is those left behind who must deal with sorrow.

    So because so long as it’s god that kills them, it’s okay, huh?

  228. #228 Maggie
    March 26, 2009

    Man, mention God, bring out the loons. You all have trotted out every idiocy atheists have ever dreamed up. So, let’s see.

    Is not Jesus “quoted” as saying that he was sent to fulfill what was in the OT? Seems that it makes that part of the bible rather important to those who follow christ. Maggie is just an other christian who picks and chooses from that book

    Yeah, right. I know better than to read a mythological account of creation as a scientific treatise. I also know better than to read one verse out of context and assume I know it all. When Jesus speaks of fulfilling the *law* (what would it mean to fulfill the Old Testament? How do you fulfill a poem? A law? A court chronicle? A story?) he also names them in the next sentence. Guess what? He names a number of the 10 commandments.

    Then there is this gem:

    demographic winter != lie.

    Oh? You might want to let the UN and the major demographers of Europe know. They are in near hysterics at the loss of population. In fact, the UN alone has produced so many reports outlining the horrors ahead that they could stop the flooding in North Dakota better than 10,000 sand bags. Japan will die out completely by the end of the century. Their birthrate cannot be turned around in time, even if they started breeding like rabbits. There are other nations at high risk. You might want to inform yourself on the subject.

    Given that what I ate was in fact perfectly good and functional human tissue, a few hundred thousand cells worth (that would be many blastocysts worth) I must ask, did I just perform an abortion? Several?

    If I were seeing this sort of “thinking” for the first time, I would merely snort at a juvenile and not very intelligent joke. Tissue is not a blastocyte. There is no human life until conception takes place. No matter how much tissue you remove from your hand; no matter how much body fluid you produce, no matter how many hairs get caught in your comb, conception will never take place, unless someone manages to take it, manipulate it and cause conception unnaturally. So feel free to bleed as much as you like. Chop all the skin off your knuckles, while you are at it. No abortion is taking place.

    Did I really need to explain that?

  229. #229 Dust
    March 26, 2009

    Sorry for being late but I wanted to mention my take on the pharse “It happened for a reason.” When I hear that I think “Yeah, but not for the reason you think.”

    Things do happen for a reason–usually small technical reasons that aren’t consisered–the plane fell out of the sky because some tiny minor malfunction crated a deadly cascade, you were late to work because you had a flat tire due to you lack of providing proper tire maintenace for the past eight months. You get the idea.

    I don’t think things happen because of fate or ’cause a vauge supernatural entity is causing them for some hidden reason.

    Hmmmmmm, I better check the air in my tires tomorrow!

  230. #230 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 26, 2009

    Since they are now with him and beyond pain and tears, they are fine.

    Hey, don’t worry about dead children! It is all sunshine and lollipops now for them.

    Do you hate life that much that you are jealous of dead children?

  231. #231 Jadehawk
    March 26, 2009

    Oh? You might want to let the UN and the major demographers of Europe know. They are in near hysterics at the loss of population. In fact, the UN alone has produced so many reports outlining the horrors ahead that they could stop the flooding in North Dakota better than 10,000 sand bags. Japan will die out completely by the end of the century. Their birthrate cannot be turned around in time, even if they started breeding like rabbits. There are other nations at high risk. You might want to inform yourself on the subject.

    priceless stupidity, confusing short-term economic pressure with demographic pressures. also [citation needed] on those assertions about Japan. Lying for Jesus. tsk tsk tsk.

  232. #232 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 26, 2009

    Maggie, being called a loon by the likes of you makes me feel better about myself.

  233. #233 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    Yeah, right. I know better than to read a mythological account of creation as a scientific treatise.

    People here are not using the old testament as a scientific treatise. They are using it to comment on the nature of God as described in the book. Two completely different things.

    By the way, if you don’t believe in the old testament, then why do you put your focus on vicarious atonement? Surely without original sin, there’s no need for Jesus to atone for anything… but that puts you in a position where you need the old testament to describe the nature of God and thus the criticisms of the Old Testament deity are valid.

  234. #234 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    @BlueIndependent

    Dude, the parapraph before the wiki link was supposed to be quoted from maggie.

    Quote fail for me -_-

  235. #235 windy
    March 26, 2009

    And yet God refuses to “speak” the same way to African warlords

    He just sends the Holy Spirit to chat with the warlords about the heckuva job they are doing.

  236. #236 maggie
    March 26, 2009

    Explain why abortion is bad again?

    Thou shalt not kill.

    It is a commandment. Do I really need to explain this?

    Why would Christians feel sorrow? Their loved ones are in Heaven, aren’t they? Surely the only feeling they should have – if they truly believe what they claim to believe – is joy. Well, that and perhaps envy for having to wait for their own ‘ticket to paradise’.

    This is the sort of stupid remark that makes it impossible for me to take atheists seriously. Nietsche must be turning over in his grave to see what “atheism” has degenerated into.

    Christians feel sorrow because we feel loss. People who are dear to us leave a hole in our lives that only they can fill. Do I really need to explain this?

    I can’t be bothered with the rest. You are just repeating yourselves and it doesn’t make any more sense the 2nd time around.

  237. #237 Coyote
    March 26, 2009

    We’re just repeating ourselves?

    Ahah.

    Ahahahah.

    AHAHHAHAAAAAA!!

    I think I just gave myself a hernia laughing.

  238. #238 Twin-Skies
    March 26, 2009

    Nietsche must be turning over in his grave to see what “atheism” has degenerated into.

    And if Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.

  239. #239 aratina
    March 26, 2009

    (Maggie) doesn’t make any more sense the 2nd time around = not intelligent enough to understand it the first time around

  240. #240 Wowbagger, OM
    March 26, 2009

    Ah, Maggie is not only a cafeteria Christian but a fan of the ‘genre’ defence.

    For all of those not familiar with this it’s the idea that, wherever a cafeteria Christian agrees with something in the OT, it’s the genuine, bonafide word-of-the-lawd. Mostly this is to defend their homophobia and forced-birth anti-choice beliefs.

    However, whenever it’s pointed out that there’s some inconsistency or moral/ethical problem with what’s in the OT – God not having a problem with abortion because he specifies not valuing children ’til they’re one month old; all that raping and genocide in Numbers – then that’s where it’s obvious that the complainants don’t understand that some of the bible isn’t meant to be taken literally. You know, because of it not being an actual book, but a collection of texts of different genres – you know, poetry and such.

    Simple*, isn’t it?

    *Another word which could be used here, of course, is convenient

  241. #241 Kel
    March 26, 2009

    Explain why abortion is bad again?

    Thou shalt not kill.

    So if God kills, does that make God bad? Or is killing only wrong because “God sed it”?

  242. #242 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 26, 2009

    So let me get this straight, Maggie:

    When god murders, it’s OK – everybody is happy in heaven.

    When men murder, it’s evil.

    In other words, you have no consistent morality.

    You are truly one sick, twisted, bitch.

    And you’re not very bright, to boot.

  243. #243 Klokwurk
    March 27, 2009

    So if God kills, does that make God bad? Or is killing only wrong because “God sed it”?

    It all makes sense when you accept that god can never do anything wrong.. ever! So anything that god does is good. It reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode with the kid who would send people to the cornfield.

    God downs a plane with 14 people on board?

    Response: That was a good thing you did. A real good thing.

  244. #244 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie illustrates my point about cafeteria Christians and the genre defence:

    Thou shalt not kill. It is a commandment. Do I really need to explain this?

    Before she was tossing out the OT; now, all of a sudden, it’s allowed. Well, some of it is. I’m guessing that this particular commandment was (conveniently) written in the ‘correct’ genre for today’s forward-thinking cafeteria Christian.

    How do you feel about coveting, maggie? Which genre is that commandment written in?

  245. #245 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 27, 2009

    Well, I try my best
    To be just like I am
    But everybody wants you
    To be just like them
    They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
    I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

  246. #246 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    because I have too much time on my hands, quotes from the UN population pages:

    The reduction of high population growth rates and death rates in Asia and the Pacific has been a major achievement of cooperation among national governments, the international community and NGOs. UNESCAP has contributed to that success by providing technical assistance to national population programmes, conducting research, exchanging information and setting regional goals
    While many countries have been able to reduce fertility and improve the overall quality of life of the population, poverty still persists in many countries and has increased in some countries, particularly since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.

    Rapid population growth, obsolete agricultural systems, increasing and chronic poverty, unfavourable terms
    of trade, the debt burden, impact of drought, natural disasters and inappropriate development policies have
    all influenced current environmental deterioration
    .

    conversely, the UNECE (that’ the part dealing wiht Europe) talks a lot about how to adapt to the changing population age-distribution. nowhere however did I find a quote that woul suggest they’re encouraging increasing birth-rates beyond replacement rates. hmm….

  247. #247 Maggie
    March 27, 2009

    By the way, if you don’t believe in the old testament, then why do you put your focus on vicarious atonement? Surely without original sin, there’s no need for Jesus to atone for anything… but that puts you in a position where you need the old testament to describe the nature of God and thus the criticisms of the Old Testament deity are valid.

    The Old Testament is a collection of books written over the course of 800-1000 years, depending on whose chronology you accept, in a variety of genres– it is not a theological treatise. It is the ancient Jews national story and reflects their experiences and understanding of how God made them a nation. It is, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, imperfect but of inestimable value. Yes, the oldest books, especially, reflect the brutality of iron age warfare. So? Did you expect a Quaker-like treatise on pacifism?

    Of course, I believe in original sin. That is the point of the story of Adam and Eve. Stories have always conveyed truth– they do down to the present day.

    Christians read the OT in the light of Christ. If Christ is who he says he is, then we have clarity about the nature of God. He has told us what we need to know to live well and order our lives rightly.

  248. #248 Crudely Wrott
    March 27, 2009

    Dear Maggie, don’t you see
    You describe yourself
    Being just like me
    (or them or he or she)

    The only difference being
    You ascribe your whole being
    To a magic unseen being
    While others don’t.

    Other than that, what is the problem? Is it just that we call you silly or is there a deeper issue?

    (ok, I admit to playing bad spook’s advocate here–hard to resist I am so evil through no fault of my own I swear it was my ancestor’s doing, all of it!)

  249. #249 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    Japan will die out completely by the end of the century. Their birthrate cannot be turned around in time, even if they started breeding like rabbits.

    Man, thats just pure retard right there.

    God has no axes to grind. He calls people to repentence and will give us every possible chance

    You don’t know what God has or hasn’t, you arrogance in speaking as if you do is frankly delusional and the kind of smugness present when people pretend to ‘know’ the unknowable.

    If he has no axe to grind why the need for repentence? Seems to me that is an axe to grind despite your atempts to petend otherwise.

    Christians feel sorrow because we feel loss. People who are dear to us leave a hole in our lives that only they can fill. Do I really need to explain this?

    Feeling loss is one thing but frankly if one believed a truly better place existed, really believed it, that loss would be trivial and certainly not enough to even have an opinion on abortion. An act where you don’t feel the loss of every individual and instead should be filled with glee that they have been transported to a better place and missed, well, nothing in essense.

    If anything you would want more to be performed, if in fact you believed the babies truly went to a better place.

  250. #250 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    crap, two of my boldings seem to have disappeared. ah well. it still shows that population growth is seen as bat, population stabilization as good. here’s one more quote:

    Is population ageing considered a problem?
    It?s more of a challenge and an opportunity than a problem. Ageing itself is part of the natural course of demographic development. Society has to adapt to that change

  251. #251 aratina
    March 27, 2009

    If Christ is who he says he is… – maggie pie

    Whoa! It’s not everyday we see a raging Christian like maggie questioning the existence of her creator. I bet she goes straight to Hell now.

  252. #252 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    It is, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, imperfect but of inestimable value

    Puh-leez, who cares what they say about anything. Their credibility on virtually any issue was shot some time ago.

  253. #253 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie, you are just playing pick and choose with your bible. With the OT being stories collected and retold over the centuries, what makes the stories of Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity any more valid than those parts of the OT you choose to ignore?

  254. #254 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    sooo….wait… when the OT says “do not murder” that’s a valid law, but when it says “do not eat shrimp” it’s not? *facepalm*

    bible: rorschach test for theists.

  255. #255 Evangelatheist
    March 27, 2009

    Come on, maggie! I think you hit yourself in the head with your dumb-chuks!

    Maggie: the old testament is “not a theological treatise.”
    Maggie: the old testament is “imperfect.”

  256. #256 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 27, 2009

    The Bible: The Ultimate a la carte

  257. #257 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk, I think what you are supposed to do is puree the OT and strain it through Jesus. Afterward, toss out the pulp and enjoy the Jesusy goodness of the purified OT.

  258. #258 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    Of course, I believe in original sin. That is the point of the story of Adam and Eve. Stories have always conveyed truth– they do down to the present day.

    And there you have refuted your own argument about us taking from the old testament. If we cite the old testament about the nature of God, it’s doing exactly the same as you are doing with original sin.

    What I find funny about you maggie is here you are criticising the “atheist arguments” when all we are doing is pointing out the hypocrisy of your own. Way to project there!

  259. #259 Evangelatheist
    March 27, 2009

    “strain it through Jesus”….that is one slow strain with only 4 nail and one spear holes. Just saying.

  260. #260 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #220, Janine, Insulting Sinner wrote:

    I do not think that Maggie is Barb. But her insistence that godgrants life and death rubs up too close to the idea that god has ownership so what gad says goes. Just an other variation of “might makes right”.

    WRT making the rules, God is much like the U.S. Congress: they’re good at promulgating laws that they feel are absolutely imperative for others to live by, but as for themselves…well, the laws don’t apply.

    God and Congress: We don’t need to follow the laws we make for everyone else.

  261. #261 raven
    March 27, 2009

    Oh, dear. I forgot to agree with you all on one point. I am a troll– I must be. I don’t agree with your thoughtless, ugly messages and the original post and am saying so. But, I am not Barb.

    You sound just like her. As someone one said, evil is banal and the “Who would jesus hate” crowd all sound like clones. The fundies wrapped up their hate, violence, and kiling in a package that they call god and worship it. The rest of us find it and them repulsive.

    17 injured after tornado rips through Mississippi HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writer Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press Writer ? 1 hr 10 mins ago MAGEE, Miss. ? Severe weather across the South unleashed tornadoes in rural Mississippi, including one that shattered dozens of homes, flattened a church and injured at least 17 people, authorities said Thursday.

    Told you so. God hates fundie xians. He keeps sending tornados and hurricanes into their heartland of the south central USA.

    There is a warning for the fundies. Of course the only good “warnings” are ones that happen to someone else.

    God isn’t the only one. Polls show that the majority of the US population are sick of the fundies. 76% of the US population are xians, down 10-15% in a few decades and dropping. With dumb, evil, hate filled xians like maggie, Barb, Gingi, Saxon, etc.., who would want to be one?

  262. #262 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    And Maggie uses the genre defence! The crowd goes wild!

    Seriously, I’m going to petition the people who put together the apologist bingo cards to include that as a specific box. It’s really catching on amongst the low-end boobs who want to try and sound sophisticated in their cafeteria choices.

    Of course, I believe in original sin. That is the point of the story of Adam and Eve.

    Again, back to the monster-god. Why can’t old Yahweh angry-pants just forgive humanity? Why are his powers so limited that he’s unable to manage this simple task; ‘to forgive is divine’ and all that…

  263. #263 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Sigh. Here is an article so easy to read that even Jadehawk can understand it:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4768644.stm

    Of course, maybe the BBC was lying for Jesus too. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    Here are a few easily found links that cite information about specific countries:

    http://www.national-statistics.co.uk…poptrd0305.pdf (England and Wales)

    Of course, maybe the BBC was lying for Jesus too. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    The Swiss are dying out:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15818052?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    Hong Kong

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11556770?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=4&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    Denmark

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12266015?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=4&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    Much more can be located by doing a simple google search on ‘birth “replacement level” ‘ You can do the same search in PubMed and get results for most of the world.

    But, of course, all these journals they link to are lying for Jesus. Google is lying for Jesus, too.

    Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

  264. #264 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 27, 2009

    What amuses me about Christian nut-jobs like Maggie is her gross ignorance of her own sacred text.

    That and her vicious, hate-filled nature and generally unChristian behavior.

    Is she Barb? I haven’t read enough of Barb’s posts to know.

  265. #265 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 27, 2009

    Well, Maggie, YOU’RE certainly lying for Christ. Why do you do that? Why do you lie about being Christian, lie about what the bible says, lie about the important and meaning of your own sacred text?

    Why do you accept that god is a brutal murderer? Why do you accept that god is the author of evil, and not see the contradictions?

    Are you stupid? Ignorant? Deluded?

  266. #266 aratina
    March 27, 2009

    In other words, maggie made up the claim that

    Japan will die out completely by the end of the century. Their birthrate cannot be turned around in time, even if they started breeding like rabbits.

    Lying for Jesus indeed. Definitely going to Hell.

  267. #267 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    Christians read the OT in the light of Christ.

    Fine, but what people are trying to say is that your light conveniently only illuminates the portions of it that suit you anyway. It’s arbitrary and self-serving. It’s also ultimately self-refuting. See, your “light of Christ” comes from the NT, which was written “in light” of the OT! The synoptic gospel tradition is little more than a sketch of a narrative (itself contradictory among its versions and prima facie preposterous) hung on a framework of scriptural references from Psalms and the prophets (and etc.) interspersed to varying degrees with a teaching tradition that could easily have developed along the standard lines of a philosophical school adding to and embellishing the supposed words of a teacher-figure.

    Going back further, Paul has no conception of a narrative in the legendary style of the gospels, contenting himself with the credal formula “according to the scriptures.” (1Cor 15)

    Quick quiz for the Christians:
    What “scriptures” is Paul talking about, and what does that imply for “reading the OT in the light of Christ”?

  268. #268 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    But, of course, all these journals they link to are lying for Jesus. Google is lying for Jesus, too.

    What is maggie babbling about? I don’t speak Reality-Challenged, Deranged Woo-head; someone will have to translate for me.

  269. #269 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #256, Wowbagger, OM wrote:

    Why can’t old Yahweh angry-pants just forgive humanity? Why are his powers so limited that he’s unable to manage this simple task; ‘to forgive is divine’ and all that…

    What I want to know is why God couldn’t just create Adam and Eve so they could resist the urgings of a talking snake to begin with?

    Did God not know from the beginning of time what Adam and Eve would do?

    If God knew, didn’t he have the power to prevent the fall?

    Is God just an incompetent designer?

    Why would a loving and just God punish humans for his own original design error? And not just the humans that disappointed him, but all humans, forever?

  270. #270 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    @maggie

    And what was the point of your presenting those statistics?

  271. #271 castletonsnob
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    Of course, I believe in original sin.

    Of course. But what possible reason(s) would your god have for not wanting Adam and Eve to know the difference between good and evil? And how is it just to punish them and all of future humanity for any wrongdoing when Adam and Eve clearly didn’t understand the consequence of their actions or that they were wrong since they hadn’t yet eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?

  272. #272 Leigh Williams
    March 27, 2009

    Walton to Flameduck, who apparently likes dehumanizing sexual encounters:

    You misogynistic bastard.

    Thank you, Walton.

  273. #273 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    I think I’ve managed to wade through maggie’s drivel to find a point – populations are declining in certain countries. This is supposed to mean something; only maggie seems to know what that is, though.

    But if it’s a problem, why doesn’t the Christian god just stop his current practice of aborting up to 50% of conceptions, then? That’d probably make a difference.

    Damn, for an omnipotent being, he’s pretty piss-poor, isn’t he?

  274. #274 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    Maggot first puked out “If he (Jeebus) contravened the laws of nature regularly, we are going to be hard put to call them “laws” aren’t we?”

    Hey, maybe you’re onto something there, Maggot. Just think for a second. Maybe if god ever contravened the laws of nature they wouldn’t really be laws, would they?

  275. #275 raven
    March 27, 2009

    Those population extrapolations aren’t worth much. It was predicted from falling birth rates a few decades ago that the USA would be in negative population growth with a declining population by now. Today, a record number of babies were born and we are growing at 1% a year.

    So much for that theory. Immigration happened. Societies have any number of ways to fix demographic imbalances and none have ever disappeared from low birth rates. Quite a few such as Rwanda and the Anasazi have imploded from overpopulation.

    Maggie’s solution is laughable. Forced child bearing from female slaves. That will go over really well in the USA, where the majority of the population are….women.

  276. #276 Kseniya
    March 27, 2009

    I’d be shocked to learn that English is Simon’s first language. But, as others have said, “So what?” It would only excuse his questionable diction and syntax, which are, by a wide margin, the very least of his transgressions.

    Why is he still here?

  277. #277 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    @278 raven: Maggie apparently endorses the Josef Fritzl solution to population decline: lock your daughters in the basement and impregnate them.

    Gingi and her should start a club for women who want to control other women’s internal organs… The “forced nuns” club?

  278. #278 Kseniya
    March 27, 2009

    Japan will die out completely by the end of the century. Their birthrate cannot be turned around in time, even if they started breeding like rabbits.

    What utter horseshit. At current rates, the population is expected to drop by 18% – to about 105 million – by the middle of the century. How do you get from 105 million to zero in fifty years, “even if they started breeding like rabbits,” without a holocaust?

  279. #279 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Anybody who thinks a piece of ancient literature is a how-to-manual (“the genre defence– does it get any stupider than that?”) to be read with no understanding of the history, cultural setting, the language and its metaphors and symbols and, yes, the genres of those ancient people is illiterate. Simply illiterate.

    Janine said: Maggie, you are just playing pick and choose with your bible. With the OT being stories collected and retold over the centuries, what makes the stories of Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity any more valid than those parts of the OT you choose to ignore?

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it. I do not take stories literally. I do not read a poem as anything other than a poem that expresses something that the poet wants to say. I do not look for scientific information in Genesis. I read an account that the writer means to be taken as an accurate history differently than I read satire. I see the complex literary structure of Genesis and it adds to my enjoyment of it.

    As for the rest of you– you make it so easy to dismiss you. You read the Bible like fundamentalists do. You don’t have a clue, not a clue that very few reasonably educated Christians are literalists. You simply don’t need a Ph.D in Comparative Literature to know that a book that begins “There once was a man …” is telling a story.

    You have set up an imaginary fundy (strangely, he looks an awful lot like you) rant and rage agaist it and glory in your superiority. Frankly, you are simply the atheist side of the Fred Phelps coin–ignorant, ranting, and hate-filled. Fortunately, like him, you are off in your own world and are of no real consequence. The world still has plenty of room for cranks.

  280. #280 Leigh Williams
    March 27, 2009

    Oh, it would be nice if he got laid, but that’s optional.

    HERESY! Sex is key, not optional. Off with Himself’s head!

    OMG, I said “head”. I guess I’ll join Janine and Patricia in the Slut Club.

  281. #281 Owlmirror
    March 27, 2009

    What I want to know is why God couldn’t just create Adam and Eve so they could resist the urgings of a talking snake to begin with?

    Or for that matter, just interrupt the snake.

    Serpent: For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like…

    God: HARUMPH!!!!!

    Serpent: Uh… I’ll just be slithering along…

    Eve: Yow! You sure surprised us, there. Good thing you came along before that ol’ serpent tempted me into taking a bite.

    God: Well, it was a close thing, wasn’t it?

    Eve: Yeah, but you said we’d die if we ate the fruit — not if we came close to eating it. Why, I hadn’t even touched it yet!

  282. #282 Twin-Skies
    March 27, 2009

    You have set up an imaginary fundy (strangely, he looks an awful lot like you) rant and rage agaist it and glory in your superiority. Frankly, you are simply the atheist side of the Fred Phelps coin–ignorant, ranting, and hate-filled. Fortunately, like him, you are off in your own world and are of no real consequence. The world still has plenty of room for cranks.

    You mean the same way you strawman what you think atheists are, as in what you’re doing right now?

  283. #283 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    maggie wrote:

    the genre defence– does it get any stupider than that?

    Hey, it’s your defence – not mine. You even used the word ‘genre’ in one of your posts. Don’t blame me for calling you on it.

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it. I do not take stories literally. I do not read a poem as anything other than a poem that expresses something that the poet wants to say. I do not look for scientific information in Genesis. I read an account that the writer means to be taken as an accurate history differently than I read satire. I see the complex literary structure of Genesis and it adds to my enjoyment of it.

    And the $64,000 question is…what objective methods do you use to differentiate between that which is poetic and literary and that which is scientific and historical?

    Surely such a thing must exist, and all non-fundamentalist Christians must apply it – and come up with exactly the same interpretation. What’s that? They don’t? How can that be?!?

    While you’re at it, please explain why the same can’t be applied to the NT? Which chapter and verse specifies that, from this point on, it’s all got to be taken seriously and we’re to stop writing all that poetry and satire and wacky, inconsistent genres and tell it like it is?

    Though, admittedly, I kind of like the idea of the NT being satire. Problem is you Christian clowns don’t realise you’re the ones being mocked.

  284. #284 Guy Incognito
    March 27, 2009

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it.

    What? Do you have the fucking Little Orphan Annie Secret Bible Decoder Pin? I can imagine you sitting on the can, poring over Genesis, only to find the damn thing is just an ad for fucking Ovaltine.

  285. #285 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    @282: Maggot, no one is as hate-filled as you. If you want to make yourself subservient to idiotic magicians, giving them control over your body, fine. But your Josef Fritzl solution for the rest of womankind is Hitler and Phelps-worthy.

    And by the way, it doesn’t matter if atheists are influential, even though all the evidence certainly points to them becoming more so. The fact is that there is no god, either benevolent, or hateful as you prefer. You basically admitted this with your admission that god won’t always save people. Really, so a benevolent creature who created the entire universe and is monitoring it at all times is only occasionally at work? What’s he doing the rest of the time? Jerking it to pictures of a bent-over Pope?

    You know there’s no god. When you go to sleep at night, you know all your prayers are just you talking to yourself. When something bad happens to you personally, when you can’t simply pawn it off on gawd punishing sinners, you know that god never helps you. It would do you a lot of good to admit it. Maybe it would make you more caring toward your fellow non-divine beings.

  286. #286 Malcolm
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie @208

    Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament. I have no patience with fundamentalists.

    Remind me again, which testament is Exodus in?

  287. #287 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it. I do not take stories literally.

    No-one here is doing the straw-man that you are presenting. We aren’t taking it literally, and you are underestimating the knowledge of the historical and cultural context that many of us possess. You are the one making the assumption that we don’t know better, we are pointing out to you instances in the books that even in their right historical context still paint your beloved deity as a monster…

    Though it’s irrelevant, you’ve set the standard by your own volition that God’s a monster – though God’s allowed to be since he is the creator. This isn’t interpreting the bible the wrong way, it’s the argument you’ve presented!!!

  288. #288 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Yep. The comments get stupider and more off topic.

    Raven says:
    …Today, a record number of babies were born and we are growing at 1% a year.
    No, we are not. We are barely reproducing at replacement level and that is thanks to our Hispanic population.


    Maggie’s solution is laughable. Forced child bearing from female slaves.

    You are hallucinating. I have offered no solution. None.

    Twin-Skies asked: And what was the point of your presenting those statistics? See post 219. I dislike leaving ignorant people in their ignorance, if I can easily enlighten them.

    CJO says Quick quiz for the Christians:
    What “scriptures” is Paul talking about, and what does that imply for “reading the OT in the light of Christ”?

    Oh! OH! I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me!

    Sheesh. Big surprise that he is referring to the Old Testament and that has nothing whatever to do with what I wrote.

    I don’t have the energy to explain Paul to you, nor do I have any left for explaining the Gospels and the different audiences for which they were written. Suffice it to say that we are told that the disciples didn’t get how Jesus fulfilled the OT promises until Jesus explained it to them. The same thing happened on the road to Emmaus when two of his sorrowing followers are telling the stranger (Jesus) what has happened in Jerusalem. We are told that it was he who explains it to them “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

    What else have you got?

  289. #289 Owlmirror
    March 27, 2009

    Anybody who thinks a piece of ancient literature is a how-to-manual […] to be read with no understanding of the history, cultural setting, the language and its metaphors and symbols and, yes, the genres of those ancient people is illiterate. Simply illiterate.

    Well, this is true. But I guess we have a lot of illiterate people in the USA, then. What’s the percentage of people who think the damn piece of fiction is literally true? 25%? 50%?

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it.

    ??, ?????
    ?? ???? ??????

    You don’t have a clue, not a clue that very few reasonably educated Christians are literalists.

    Heh. And what percentage of the USA are reasonably educated?

    Amusingly enough, I was just reading the statement of faith of the San Diego Christian College.

    They’re not too keen on non-literalism.

    Say, have you read the Chicago Statement?

    http://www.sebts.edu/prospective_students/what_we_believe/articles_inerancy.cfm

    You simply don’t need a Ph.D in Comparative Literature to know that a book that begins “There once was a man …” is telling a story.

    Sure are a lot of people lacking Ph.Ds who think the damn thing is literally true.

    You have set up an imaginary fundy (strangely, he looks an awful lot like you)

    Can’t help it if we get so damn many fundys. You’re not a fundy? Say so and distinguish yourself, but don’t blame us for making an obvious mistake, given the huge population of them around, doing their damndest to make it look like all Christians are fundys — and often asserting or insinuating that all non-fundys aren’t really Christians.

  290. #290 strange gods before me
    March 27, 2009

    I, honestly, never thought I’d ever say this, but having read most of this argument, Walton Wins:

    Nope. Walton fails hard. He’s still publicly fantasizing about non-existent elective late term abortions, so feeding the anti-choice lie machine.

    He substantively agrees with Roe v. Wade and yet still thinks it should be overturned, because to him, libertarian fetishism about a narrow interpretation of federalism is more important than the rights of women in red states. He’s still about premises before people.

    And he knows that his preferred policies will err on the side of killing women:

    It is still your position that at some point during fetal development, the state should prevent women and their doctors from making medical decisions, even though this forceful state intervention statistically does not result in fewer abortions, but does result in more women dying.

    Even though you’ve been offered a clearly preferable alternative, “to err on the side of the already-born person who we know has full moral standing.” The one who we know for certain has something to lose.

    As anti-choicers like to point out, sometimes the doctors are wrong, and the woman could have survived. There is no perfect way to discern all cases as “she will certainly live without an abortion” and “she will certainly die without an abortion.” What happens when doctors can only say “she might die without an abortion?” You can’t craft a law that bans late term abortion and allows medical exceptions under particular circumstances without still killing the women who didn’t obviously meet the circumstances. Even the most carefully crafted anti-choice law is a death sentence.

    You just can’t have it both ways, Walton. You can’t have a world without legal late term abortion and without avoidable deaths of women who seek illegal abortions. That’s a fantasy.

    You either prefer that women have full access to legal abortion, or you prefer that 60,000 women die unnecessarily every year. It doesn’t matter what week you limit abortion. If you limit abortion AT ALL, at any time, you are saving zero fetuses, and killing more women than you would have killed otherwise.

    But that’s acceptable to Walton, because:

    Yes, I do think that if a consenting, competent adult woman chooses to engage in sex – which she has every right to do – then she should deal with the natural consequences.

    Funny that he can now recognize misogyny in others but not himself. And funny that he thinks negative rights are enough to qualify him as a feminist, for surely the playing field is level, right? Quiz him on the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, international aid money for birth control and abortion, welfare and insurance coverage requirements for birth control and abortion, the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, and so on. Libertarian ideologies of inaction will be used to excuse a patriarchal status quo.

  291. #291 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    oh maggie, don’t know much about statistics, do you… or long-term vs. short-term benefits… or localized vs. global population development… bet she’s a global warming denier too, and points to every snowfall as proof that it’s just a hoax.

    dunning-kruger strikes again.

    what I always wanted to know though… if all the stuff in the OT is metaphorical and just a story, why don’t you take the next sensible step and admit that the Jesus-stories are also just stories? after all, there’s as much proof for the flood/tower of babel as for the existence of Jesus. or for that matter, why assume that the serpent was part of a metaphor, but god wasn’t? there’s as much likelyhood of a talking serpent as for a creator.

  292. #292 mikmik
    March 27, 2009

    Up here in Canata he (god) will soon face a double murder charge because the Progressive neo Conservatives whish to pass that ridiculous law that proclaims a fetus, or blastocyte, or what-have-you is a person, only in the case that mama person is killed awhile carrying.

    Fuck, is god cruel, by god I mean PMS

  293. #293 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    I ignore no part of the OT. I simply know how to read it. I do not take stories literally.

    Well why do you hold this text to be so important and not the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Poetic Edda, etc.?

    Also, we know that not all Christian are literalist, but even what non-literalist believe is ridiculous. I think Emmet Caulfied put it best:

    What non-literal Christianity asks you to believe is that Yahweh sat on his hands and did fuck all for ~13.3 billion years, piddling about on the margins of physics to ensure the development of a bald ape with a big brain on an insignificant rock, orbiting a piddly star in an unremarkable galaxy, then 197,000 years later suddenly revealed himself to a small group of semi-literate desert goatherds in an obscure part of the Middle East, behaved like a complete prick for about a thousand years, then decided that he would incarnate himself as one of the bald apes and have himself tortured and nailed to a tree in order to appease himself for his own displeasure at the, entirely fictitious, landmark event of two particular apes using their genitals for their entirely natural evolved purpose. You believe this shit? It’s beneath ridiculous, a transparently preposterous concoction of primitive codswallop that any person claiming to be rational should be ashamed to believe.
    Christian theology is intellectual masturbation, the product of perverse attempts by weak-minded fools to continuously reshape the silly myth of ancient desert aborigines into something palatable to the modern moral zeitgeist, rather than throwing the whole mess of contemptible nonsense down the nearest toilet, where it belongs.
    Allegorical my hole. It’s asinine. The whole damn lot of it.

  294. #294 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    Oh wait a minute, Maggot. You mean to say that you don’t believe the Old Testament is literal truth, but then you do believe the New Testament is? That’s the most laughable thing I’ve ever heard. The New Testament tells several completely different versions of the supposedly same events.

    I’m guessing your bullshit degree didn’t include a screening of the film Rashomon.

    Anyway, of course you know there’s no god. Just admit it. All the rest is commentary.

  295. #295 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Wowie said:
    Hey, it’s your defence – not mine. You even used the word ‘genre’ in one of your posts. Don’t blame me for calling you on it.

    Are you out of your mind? I don’t have to defend anything. You can’t “call me on it” when claiming that it is stupid is your ignorant opinion! The Old Testament is made up of quite a number of genres that must be understood on their own terms. That is the nature of reality.

    And the $64,000 question is…what objective methods do you use to differentiate between that which is poetic and literary and that which is scientific and historical?

    More like the $64 question, you mean. You use the same tools you bring to reading Shakespeare, Goethe, Shelley, et al. You learned what a simile is in school. Likewise, you made a nodding acquaintence with metaphors somewhere along the line, didn’t you? You must have learned to recognize a poem when you see one (hint: It has lots of white space around the words). Allegory? Must have heard of that. Irony ring a bell? Invective? Hyperbole? How about synecdoche– well, ok. That is a hard one.

    Surely such a thing must exist, and all non-fundamentalist Christians must apply it – and come up with exactly the same interpretation. What’s that? They don’t? How can that be?!?

    You don’t do sarcasm well. You aren’t educated enough to pull it off. We don’t all come to the same interpretation for the same reason we don’t all come to the same interpretations of Keats, Lovelace, Tolstoy, Donne et al. For that matter it is the exact same reason we don’t all interpret the Constitution the same way and must have lawyers and a Supreme Court to make decisions about what it means. Funny thing too. The constitution is written in English and was written only what? a little over 200 years ago. Yet we can’t agree on it. So we are supposed to have a perfect agreement on a text written in foreign languages that is 3500 years old in its oldest parts and 2000 years old in its newest. OK. Makes perfect sense to me.

    While you’re at it, please explain why the same can’t be applied to the NT? Which chapter and verse specifies that, from this point on, it’s all got to be taken seriously and we’re to stop writing all that poetry and satire and wacky, inconsistent genres and tell it like it is?

    What don’t you understand in the words: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.(Luke 1:1)

    Luke is claiming, as the other writers do, to be giving a truthful account of real events. His book must be read with that understanding of his purpose. Paul’s letters are … letters. Actual letters sent to actual people. They aren’t songs. They aren’t satires. They are composed in accordance with the conventions of Greek letter writing.

    It doesn’t seem that hard to understand to me. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem hard to you now.

  296. #296 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    so if luke is writing the truth… is matthew lying then?

    also, ever heard of propaganda?

    once more, for the extra slow among us: there’s as much evidence for Jesus’ existence as there is for the flood. why is one just a story, but the other truth?

  297. #297 strange gods before me
    March 27, 2009

    Are you out of your mind? I don’t have to defend anything.

    If you don’t believe that there is a god, then no you don’t have to defend anything. If you believe there is a god, then you’re making unsubstantiated claims; and if you believe that the Bible is in any way a truthful description of that god’s nature or interactions with humans, then that’s another positive claim.

  298. #298 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    also: explain how Jesus was really the son of god, but Joseph Smith and Muhammed were NOT really prophets. (and at least we know the last two existed, so they actually have a wee bit of an advantage over you)

  299. #299 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Welcome everyone to the opening of Maggie’s Cafeteria de Christianity – the punters want to know: how do you choose what goes on the menu, Maggie?

    What’s that? You’ve got no fucking idea? Surely not!

  300. #300 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    Hey Maggot, who is this Luke you’re referring to? What’s his last name?

    Where did he grow up?

    When did he die?

    In what town is he buried?

    Did he go to school? If yes, where?

    Where was he when he wrote his gospel?

    What kind of paper did he write it on?

    Who were his parents?

    What were his other writings?

    Was he ever married? Did he have any kids? What school did they go to?

    What was his handwriting like?

    You know, if you can’t answer these questions, it almost seems like you can’t be sure if this person existed… if he was a pen name of someone else… if he was an amalgamation of different people… if he was a mere translation error.

    But he said he was writing the truth! Well, I guess you should believe him!

  301. #301 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Magic-man lovin’ Maggie wrote:

    The Old Testament is made up of quite a number of genres that must be understood on their own terms. That is the nature of reality.

    Don’t bring up reality when you’re trying to defend religion, dear – it makes you look confused.

    And you do realise that your version of cafeteria Christianity is only a recent phenomenon, don’t you? Surely if the intent had been to take the OT as ‘a number of genres that must be understood on their own terms’, that would have been the case throughout the entire history of that particular religion?

    Funny how it seems that, the more secular society has pushed Christianity, the more many of its adherents have started to distance themselves from the embarrassing bits of the old testament, and coming up with new and fanciful dodges like your desperate, scrabbling, genre defence.

    You use the same tools you bring to reading Shakespeare, Goethe, Shelley, et al.

    Well, except they were people, and your bible is meant to be the work inspired by a god. Oh, and I’m fairly sure that Shakespeare, Goethe and Shelley aren’t going to send me to hell for all eternity for not remembering that Flute was a bellows-mender, that it’s a really bad idea to sell your soul to the devil, or that being a tyrant won’t necessarily lead to immortality.

    Nor, I hope, is anyone going to kill me for choosing to believe that Richard III should be performed before Henry V …(heresy, I know)

    blah blah blah: Luke 11

    Okay, in the spirit of fairness, I’ll give you Luke. Did he write all the New Testament himself? How about Revelation? That’s literal truth, is it?

    You must have learned to recognize a poem when you see one (hint: It has lots of white space around the words).

    Gee, those vision-impaired Christians reading the bible in Braille must be a very confused bunch indeed. Maybe it’s them who cause all the trouble! I should have known, those smug bastards with their dogs and their canes.

    And, of course, the entirety of humanity has been literate for as long as Christianity has been around, hasn’t it? I mean, there’s never been any point in time where a Christian could get hold a bible and read it in the language they could understand well enough to write indepth literary criticisms, is there?

    You don’t do sarcasm well. You aren’t educated enough to pull it off.

    Really? Then why so stung by it that you’re forced to resort to juvenile (and wildly inaccurate) attempts at insults?

    It doesn’t seem that hard to understand to me.

    Such is the power of delusion.

  302. #302 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    What don’t you understand in the words: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.(Luke 1:1)

    Why I should believe them is what I don’t understand.

    I don’t have the energy to explain Paul to you, nor do I have any left for explaining the Gospels and the different audiences for which they were written.

    I feel for you. I also find your tone of smug superiority tiresome. But you’re more efficient than you know:

    You simply don’t need a Ph.D in Comparative Literature to know that a book that begins “There once was a man …” is telling a story.

  303. #303 Morsky
    March 27, 2009

    Oh boy, the literary sophisticate variety of proselytisers makes another appearance.

    Aside from the hugely narcissistic conceit that one understands a supposed divine revelation whereas the fundy hoi polloi are getting it wrong, there’s also the issue of assuming that there is a divine revelation to mankind wrapped inside the various genres and stories in the OT and NT, and that it’s not just a set of attempts by a Bronze Age culture to make sense of the world and its position in it. The entirely unwarranted assumption that this particular set of stories is God’s Word is what people are taking you to task for here.

  304. #304 Philip1978
    March 27, 2009

    Thou shalt not kill

    Hmmmm

    Lets put this one to the scripture test shall we?

    So Moses, after seeing God’s arse and getting something of a suntan pitches back down the mountain with a couple of stone tablets – upon which is the message that thou, under no circumstances, shalt NOT kill.

    Do you DARE disobey the LORD THY GOD after that?

    So what happens when those naughty people are caught worshipping that Golden Bull?

    Verse 27 to 28 is VERY interesting

    27 Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbour.’ ” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

    See, now, what I don’t get is that God has made it utterly explicit that killing is not right.

    So he then gets men to go and kill their brothers, friends and neighbours…

    Oh sorry, am I reading that in the wrong way?

    Maggie, could you be ever so sweet and explain this one to me?

    Or are you going to get all Deuteronomy 13 on me?

    You know, kill me for trying to turn you away from the Lord…

    Oh shit, yes, killing is forbidden… must remember that…

    Unless of course you are a pig and Jesus has found some demons he wants to cast back down to hell – why then you get sent on a marathon run and jump off a cliff…but that is not murder is it?

    Jesus would NOT do such a naughty thing

    Would he?

  305. #305 Louis
    March 27, 2009

    Ahhhhhh I see that I, Swami Louis, was correct all those posts ago in #22.

    For my next trick, I shall turn liquid water into a cold solid by the simple application of a freezer, predict the rising of the sun tomorrow morning, and utterly fail to raise the dead.

    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

    Louis

  306. #306 Teddydeedodu
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie @ 298
    “Luke is claiming, as the other writers do, to be giving a truthful account of real events. His book must be read with that understanding of his purpose. Paul’s letters are … letters. Actual letters sent to actual people. They aren’t songs. They aren’t satires. They are composed in accordance with the conventions of Greek letter writing.”

    Are you thick? You have just conceded that you are cherry picking the hell out of your holy babble!! Which parts are real and which are not? The Flood? The Resurrection? Trans-subtantiation? Virgin birth?….and the lists goes on. How do we determine it without having to appeal to the disciplines of logic and probabilities? An objective epistemology is what I am looking for in here and not one borne out of comparative religious studies. Not that I am against such endeavours. But they do tend to spawn apologetic devices designed to confuse the issues even more.

    And this is the best tattle that you and the xtians can give? How pathetic and amateurish!!

  307. #307 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    strange gods before me @293:

    I would say I’ve changed my mind, over time, on some of those statements.

    I will explain why I have always been ambivalent about Roe. As you acknowledge, I agree entirely with its substantive outcome; I believe that a woman’s right to abortion, where her life or health is endangered, should be legally protected. But my issue with Roe is that it has little or no actual basis in the United States Constitution. It’s pure fantasy to contend that the framers of the Constitution intended to confer a right to abortion; and Blackmun in engaged in pure sophistry in reading such a right into the provisions of the Bill of Rights. It just isn’t in there.

    At the same time, while I don’t like the ratio of Roe, I do think, on reflection, that the same decision could, and should, have been reached on other grounds. The Ninth Amendment – “The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” – should, IMO, have been employed much more extensively by the federal courts over the years. The way I interpret it, it ought to render liberty the default position; it should be read as placing the onus of proof on the State to show that it is justified in depriving a person of liberty, rather than on the citizen to demonstrate that he or she is entitled to freedom of action. Rather than certain discrete, enumerated “liberties”, the Constitution should be read as protecting liberty; unless the government (whether state or federal) can show that it has a specific constitutional mandate to impose a given law, that law should be automatically unconstitutional.

    Of course, while my interpretation would achieve many results of which you would approve – such as conferring a right to abortion, same-sex marriage, sexual freedom, marijuana use, etc. – it would also render most coercive government welfare and entitlement programmes unconstitutional. So I don’t think you’d like it to be imposed across the board. Generally, my observation is that both conservatives and liberals are quite happy for the judiciary to be active when it suits their substantive goals, but decry “judicial activism” when the results are not in accordance with their beliefs. Conservatives applaud the courts for upholding the right to bear arms, but decry them when they uphold the right to sexual freedom or freedom from religion; liberals take exactly the reverse position.

    I, by contrast, applaud the courts for protecting liberty in virtually all the instances in which they have done so. New York Times v Sullivan is a decision of which I heartily approve. So too the striking-down of the Communications Decency Act. So too Miranda v Arizona. So too, indeed, Kitzmiller v Dover. Freedom of speech and freedom of (and freedom from) religion are unquestionably guaranteed in the Constitution, and should be enforced even against the will of an overwhelming majority. I also strongly approve of those cases where the courts have defended the right to bear arms – which, whatever one thinks of it, is also guaranteed in the Constitution. And I deplore cases such as Kelo v City of New London where the courts deferred to the politicians and did not protect the individual right to property, as they should have done.

    I am not an obsessive localist and anti-federalist, as you seem to believe. The ideal is for as much power as possible to be returned to individual people; I believe in individualism, not collectivism, and as such I believe in constitutional liberty and a strong, active judiciary. At the same time, insofar as government must exercise any power at all (and I’m sure we both agree that it must, at times, do so), it is better for it to be exercised at the most local level possible – simply because it’s easier to escape, or to change, an oppressive or incompetent local government.

  308. #308 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    I see the thread has moved on to Maggie, but I want to be sure to respond to Walton’s strawman taunt to me about an 8.5 month pregnant woman wanting an abortion. Technically, my answer is yes, she does have that right. It’s still her body, and she still has control over what happens with it. It’s interesting to me that some people will try as hard as possible to concoct any reason that might be worth wresting control of herself away from a woman. Out in the real world, this never happens unless there is an extreme physical problem with the woman, the fetus, or both, so it’s extremely disingenuous and misleading to trot that out as an example of how callous pro-choice people are and to claim that it’s the coming of the babyocalypse, which is what is always done in these circumstances.

  309. #309 Tuomo Hämäläinen
    March 27, 2009

    I know why God hates abortion: When we look facts, we see that most gamets dont implant or they just die for other reasons. Becouse God is good and omnipotent, He would not let universe be THIS evil. So there MUST be purpose. That means that God like kill babies. And if Humans do it themselves, they sometimes abort a fetus which is important in Gods eyes, and He wants to kill it Himself! If humans do abortions, God is jus unemployed.

    Or then this is blashemy just for rant. You Decide!

  310. #310 Dianne
    March 27, 2009

    It’s pure fantasy to contend that the framers of the Constitution intended to confer a right to abortion;

    So? They also didn’t intend for women to vote or blacks to be full citizens or the internet to be free. Who cares what the founders wanted? If anything, I’d say that the founders intent was to create a flexible document that would allow future generations to arrange things the way they felt best, regardless of the founders’ precise intent on any given issue. Which they did. So why don’t we use it as such and stop worrying about what Adams and Jefferson might have thought of our actions?

  311. #311 Holydust
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie:

    you have a really, REALLY bad attitude for a supposed Christian.

    Just saying. It’s one of the worst attitudes I’ve ever seen. Why is that, exactly?

  312. #312 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    So? They also didn’t intend for women to vote or blacks to be full citizens or the internet to be free. Who cares what the founders wanted? If anything, I’d say that the founders intent was to create a flexible document that would allow future generations to arrange things the way they felt best, regardless of the founders’ precise intent on any given issue.

    Yes. But the trouble with that view is that it then gives the Supreme Court – a very small group of fallible human beings – absolute power to decide on the correct view of “constitutional rights” for our generation. Do you trust nine judges – two of whom were appointed by George Bush, I remind you – to decide what rights you should and should not be entitled to?

  313. #313 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    Do you trust nine judges – two of whom were appointed by George Bush, I remind you – to decide what rights you should and should not be entitled to?

    Do you have a better option?

  314. #314 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    Do you trust nine judges – two of whom were appointed by George Bush, I remind you – to decide what rights you should and should not be entitled to?

    Here’s another way to look at it – why don’t you trust women? Why should nine judges be able to decide when and how and why women ought to be allowed to get abortions? Do you not trust women to make the right decisions for themselves and their families? Bitch Ph.D. made a great post that really lays this out.

  315. #315 Fiisi
    March 27, 2009

    Why is it nearly always the god-knobbing boring and predictable Christians that show up to troll the comments section? Could the Satanist please come back? Is there a Sikh troll out there?

  316. #316 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    So, Maggie…

    You believe that the OT is allegory and needs to be read with that in mind.

    OK.

    Then, can we agree there was no “Adam and Eve” in Eden?

    Or, do you believe there a time when only two humans existed who did “something” that displeased God (which given the fact that God is all-knowing and almighty, he could have prevented in the first place)?

    And do you believe that that “something” those two humans did that made God so unhappy became “The Original Sin” that resulted in all of the suffering in the world?

    And do you believe that God thought he could best save humans from the results of this “Original Sin” by, about 2,000 years ago, impregnating a young Jewish girl with himself, and that after living as a human for 33 years old, God allowed himself to be tortured and killed?

    Well, only temporarily killed, because after a three day wait, God un-killed himself. Which he knew all along would happen.

  317. #317 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    I wonder if there is any good that can come of trying to reason with a mob? I doubt it but I will respond to a few of the less foolish comments and questions. Then enough. There is so much information out there— 2000 years worth, as a matter of fact that tackles every conceivable question about the Bible and its interpretation.

    Okay, in the spirit of fairness, I’ll give you Luke. Did he write all the New Testament himself? How about Revelation? That’s literal truth, is it?

    No. It isn’t. It is an example of apocalyptic literature, as I said earlier. John himself says several times that it is a vision, that he doesn’t know if it was a dream or real, etc.

    Why I should believe them (the words of Luke) is what I don’t understand.

    You shouldn’t necessarily. That is not the issue. The issue under discussion was “genre”. What sort of literature was Luke writing?

    Philip, Like so many internet atheists you really think these questions are stumpers and that we haven’t heard them a thousand times before. So let me clue you in:

    Humans are not allowed to decide to murder. God alone has the power of life and death in all circumstances and he can and does use it. This constant refrain that God is a murderer is simply fatuous. He alone gives life; he alone can put an end to it. You have nothing to say about it.

    I don’t know if can stop laughing long enough to respond to this– so killing pigs is murder, eh? I guess you must be a vegetarian.

    This was interesting:

    Are you thick? You have just conceded that you are cherry picking the hell out of your holy babble!! Which parts are real and which are not? The Flood? The Resurrection? Trans-subtantiation? Virgin birth?….and the lists goes on. How do we determine it without having to appeal to the disciplines of logic and probabilities? An objective epistemology is what I am looking for in here and not one borne out of comparative religious studies. Not that I am against such endeavours. But they do tend to spawn apologetic devices designed to confuse the issues even more.

    I must be thick to bother to argue but you appear to be thicker. All the parts are “real”. They simply have to be understood correctly. Reading the Bible intelligently is not “cherry picking.” It is … wait for it … reading the Bible intelligently. And no, it isn’t left to the 20th century to understand that. St. Augustine observed that the days of creation in Genesis were “God divided not sun divided” days. He also wrote a whole treatise on the subject of interpretation.

    St Jerome wrote that Genesis was written “after the manner of a poet”. If these 4th century people got it, why are you all struggling? What you don’t understand is that biblical literalism of the sort you encounter today is a 20th century phenomenon and a particular style of interpretation– very much like the various styles of literary interpretation that have plagued the study of literature for the last 50 years.

    An objective epistemology makes no sense in a discussion of literature. Heaven alone knows what that could even be. It is easy enough to see that the flood story was widespread in the world Israel was situated in– you’ve heard of the Epic of Gilgamesh, I suppose? That is what I mean by understanding the cultural setting of an ancient piece of literature. You can’t read it intelligently without that understanding.

    You are also mixing apples and oranges.
    Understanding the flood story is a wholly different matter than deciding whether the resurrection happened or not. One is a story. The other is a truth claim and must be weighed in the same way all truth claims (or propositions) are.

    I wouldn’t be to quick to call me or anyone else who tries to enlighten you amateurish. You all are ignorant of matters I know very well. There are a ton of scholars in the world who know those matters even better than I do. The fact that you don’t like being confronted with your ignorance is understandable but you must face up to and grow.

    Or not. Your call.

  318. #318 Fred Mounts
    March 27, 2009

    So? They also didn’t intend for women to vote or blacks to be full citizens or the internet to be free. Who cares what the founders wanted? If anything, I’d say that the founders intent was to create a flexible document that would allow future generations to arrange things the way they felt best, regardless of the founders’ precise intent on any given issue. Which they did. So why don’t we use it as such and stop worrying about what Adams and Jefferson might have thought of our actions?

    Indeed, Thomas Paine, who was heavily involved in the start of the new nation, contended that the present generation has only the right to dictate their own government; each succeeding generation must reframe the government in ways that are acceptable to the living.

  319. #319 Coyote
    March 27, 2009

    Bullshit it’s not cherry picking. The whole thing is a mess of lies and distorted stories: There is little to no “truth” in it, in much the same way that the Epic of Gilgamesh isn’t true, or the Iliad, or the Aeneid.

    When you grow up and realize your precious book is a book of myths, just like any other, you’ll look back on yourself and see a fool.

    Hell, I did.

    Also, any god willing to murder children to make a point is not worth an iota of belief, or time, or effort. He is a sick bastard whose followers need to stop making excuses for his behavior and accept that they are just plain deluded.

  320. #320 Dianne
    March 27, 2009

    But the trouble with that view is that it then gives the Supreme Court – a very small group of fallible human beings – absolute power to decide on the correct view of “constitutional rights” for our generation.

    If people don’t agree with a Supreme Court decision, there are a number of things they can do to circumvent or negate it. The simplest is to write (or encourage their legislature to write) a new law which answers the objection of the court but is substantially the same. A number of states have done this or tried to do this concerning the “partial birth abortion” bans which were struck down. I don’t necessarily agree with their actions, but they demonstrate that the Supreme Cour is not a group of some sort of all powerful dictators whose will can not be opposed.

    If that doesn’t work and the sentiment is strong enough, the next step is a constitutional amendment. Not simple, but clearly doable. Again, the “checks and balances” system comes into play to avoid a dictatorship.

    Finally, if the Supreme Court does not decide constitutionality, who does? Even if we agree that the founders’ intent is paramount, how do we determine what the founders would have intended on issues that they never would have considered. In 1776, the concept of a safe abortion didn’t exist so I doubt that the founders spent a lot of time worrying about whether it should be legal or not. So how do we decide what they might have thought of it? Ouija board?

  321. #321 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    maggie, every pastor I have ever had would say that you are a seriously deluded Christian. What on earth makes you think that the flood story isn’t real? What evidence do you have that indicates that the flood story is less real than the story of Christ? Because some guy in the 4th century said so? Where did he get his information? I can tell you that the entire Southern Baptist Convention, 15 million Christians, would say that you’re at best deluded and at worst a fake Christian because you don’t believe the Bible.

  322. #322 Coyote
    March 27, 2009

    Bullshit it’s not cherry picking. The whole thing is a mess of lies and distorted stories: There is little to no “truth” in it, in much the same way that the Epic of Gilgamesh isn’t true, or the Iliad, or the Aeneid.

    When you grow up and realize your precious book is a book of myths, just like any other, you’ll look back on yourself and see a fool.

    Hell, I did.

    Also, any god willing to murder children to make a point is not worth an iota of belief, or time, or effort. He is a sick bastard whose followers need to stop making excuses for his behavior and accept that they are just plain deluded.

  323. #323 CosmicTeapot
    March 27, 2009

    Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament.

    I know AnthonyK comes out with the funnies but that one is just so hilarious.

    I can’t breath. Thanks Maggie.

  324. #324 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Ok one more time into the breach–

    bastion of sass (great user name by the way) wrote:

    So, Maggie…

    You believe that the OT is allegory and needs to be read with that in mind.

    OK.

    Then, can we agree there was no “Adam and Eve” in Eden?

    Yes, though it would not disturb me to find out that I am wrong about that.

    Or, do you believe there a time when only two humans existed who did “something” that displeased God (which given the fact that God is all-knowing and almighty, he could have prevented in the first place)?

    Yes. That is, the story is telling us that something caused the bond between God and man to be broken. God’s omni attributes have little to do with it.

    And do you believe that that “something” those two humans did that made God so unhappy became “The Original Sin” that resulted in all of the suffering in the world?

    It is not a matter of God becoming “unhappy”. It is a matter of man destroying his spiritual nature through disobedience. Once it was gone, he was left a purely natural creature prone to error, death, etc.

    And do you believe that God thought he could best save humans from the results of this “Original Sin” by, about 2,000 years ago, impregnating a young Jewish girl with himself, and that after living as a human for 33 years old, God allowed himself to be tortured and killed.

    Well, only temporarily killed, because after a three day wait, God un-killed himself. Which he knew all along would happen. ?

    By Jove!! (So to speak), You’ve got it!

  325. #325 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #319, I wrote:

    Or, do you believe there a time when only two humans existed

    Meant to write: do you believe there was a time…

    and I also wrote:

    And do you believe that God thought he could best save humans from the results of this “Original Sin” by, about 2,000 years ago, impregnating a young Jewish girl with himself, and that after living as a human for 33 years old, God allowed himself to be tortured and killed?

    I knew before I hit “post” that that was ungrammatical, but I hit “post” anyway.

    Ugh! Obviously, I celebrated MAJeff’s Ph.D. with too much imbibing last night, and am paying for it this morning (Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it–for now).

  326. #326 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie, you still haven’t present any evidence that god exists anyplace else other than between your ears. No god, and the bible is a work of fiction. We are an evidence based blog. Show your work.

  327. #327 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Carlie, I am afraid you are mistaken. While a great many So. Baptists are much more literal than I, the scholars among them would mostly, but not entirely, agree with me about the Old Testament. So what? We do not worship the Bible. We worship Jesus Christ.

    What on earth makes you think that the flood story isn’t real? What evidence do you have that indicates that the flood story is less real than the story of Christ?

    The flood story probably does reflect a real flood– the area in which the Epic of Gilgamesh was composed is highly flood prone. But the waters cannot have covered the earth, if a dove could return after 40 days with a fresh green branch. There is also the matter of how many animals could actually fit on the ark …

    We know the story was taken from the Epic of Gilgamesh and shaped in a very sophisticated way to convey the Hebrew writer’s message about God, the covenant he made with Noah, etc.

    Where did he get his information? I can tell you that the entire Southern Baptist Convention, 15 million Christians, would say that you’re at best deluded and at worst a fake Christian because you don’t believe the Bible.

    LOL! “Believing the Bible” does not mean reading it uncritically. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and trust him– not the Southern Baptist Convention. He knows his own.

  328. #328 CosmicTeapot
    March 27, 2009

    Man, mention God, bring out the loons.

    Maggie, stop, you’re killing me.

    Honestly, my ribs ache.

  329. #329 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #327, Maggie wrote:

    That is, the story is telling us that something caused the bond between God and man to be broken. God’s omni attributes have little to do with it.

    Why do God’s “omni attributes” have little to do with this broken bond between God and man?

    Do you not believe that God is omniscient, and knew from the beginning of time that this “bond” would be broken?

    Do you not believe that God is omnipotent, and could have prevented this bond from breaking?

    And can you explain–in some rational way–why an omniscient and omnipotent God (who from the beginning of time knew all that would come to pass and could have stopped it in the first place)–thought the very best way he could re-bond with humans was, about 2,000 years ago, to impregnate a Jewish teen with himself, and then allow himself to be tortured and killed (but then un-die after three days)?

  330. #330 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie,

    Why do you hold the Bible is such high regard but not the Koran, the Poetic Edda, the Bhagavad Vita, etc?

    Why do you think Jesus was a prophet but not Mohammad, Joseph Smith, or L. Ron Hubbard?

  331. #331 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Well, only temporarily killed, because after a three day wait, God un-killed himself. Which he knew all along would happen.

    By Jove!! (So to speak), You’ve got it!

    That you think this is in any way indicative of rational thought – or that stating such strengthens your claim that the bible can be considered worthwhile – is really quite hilarious.

    You think your fairy tale book is far more complex than any rough, unsophisticated atheist can comprehend; that it’s a work of great nuance and subtlety and finesse. Bully for you.

    So, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  332. #332 phantomreader42
    March 27, 2009

    maggie the murderous maggot @ #320:

    Humans are not allowed to decide to murder. God alone has the power of life and death in all circumstances and he can and does use it. This constant refrain that God is a murderer is simply fatuous. He alone gives life; he alone can put an end to it. You have nothing to say about it.

    The passage above shows that you believe your god commits murder, and that’s just fine and dandy with you. You think your god can kill anyone he wants, anytime he wants, for any reason or no reason at all, and you can’t see any problem with that. You just can’t bring yourself to actually call it murder.

    Maggie, just admit that you worship a murderer. Tell it like it is. You’re obviously proud of your imaginary friend’s bloodthirsty tyrrany, so just say so!

    You’d still be a sick, hateful apologist for the worst mass murderer ever imagined, but at least you’d be less of a hypocritical liar.

  333. #333 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    Carlie @317: I see the point of the post you linked to, and I actually agree with quite a lot of it; but I don’t agree with the absolute terms in which it’s couched.

    As I understand it, the writer is contending that, by imposing legal restrictions – any legal restrictions – on abortion, we (that is, the public generally) seek to substitute our own judgment for that of the individual woman, and that we therefore manifest a distrust of individual women. And I see her point.

    But let’s draw a few parallels. As a society, we generally trust individual parents to bring up their children. We don’t prescribe how children must be raised; we leave it to the judgment of the parents, by and large, and allow them to instil their own values and choices. We do not assume that legislators and judges can make better choices than parents about how to raise children.

    Yet the law can, and does, intervene in certain limited cases. We do not give parents carte blanche to use and abuse their children however they wish; nor should we. They are wards, but not property.

    Or, if you dislike the analogy of parenting, given that a foetus is not a child and does not have the same panoply of rights: how about pet owners? The state does not prescribe how every cat owner must treat his or her cat. And it is for the cat owner to decide, in cases of illness, whether the cat’s life should be terminated. But in extreme cases of abuse, the law does step in and prevent the cat owner abusing his or her cat. Would you say that a foetus is worthy of less protection than a cat?

    Or the owner of a listed historic building. Such an owner can use their property how they please; but they cannot destroy or deface the building, because the community is deemed to have an interest in the preservation of a building. It is the property of its owner, but that property right is not absolute. Would you say that a foetus is worthy of less protection than a building?

    Likewise, by and large, I agree that it should be for the individual woman, not a legislature or a court of law, to make a decision about that woman’s pregnancy. Not being a sexist, I do not view women as any more inherently incompetent or malicious than men; nor do I believe that (middle-aged, white, male) judges and legislators are generally capable of making better choices about a woman’s pregnancy than the woman herself. And so I support legal abortion in the vast majority of cases.

    Yet – just as we trust parents and pet owners, but we do not trust them absolutely – so too we should trust a woman to decide when to terminate her pregnancy, but we should not trust her absolutely. Because, just like children, cats, and historic buildings, foetii are not mere inanimate objects to be destroyed on a whim. This is not sexist; we are merely applying the same standard to women as we would apply to a father, or to a male cat owner, or to the male owner of a listed building. If you think that Monticello and Mog the cat are more valuable than a foetus, and merit more protection from society, please tell me why.

  334. #334 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    phantomreader42 wrote:

    Maggie, just admit that you worship a murderer. Tell it like it is. You’re obviously proud of your imaginary friend’s bloodthirsty tyrrany, so just say so!

    Exactly. I’m impressed by just how much effort Maggie’s managed to put in proving my original point from post #175:

    I’d have some respect for the intellectual integrity of Christians if they would just admit their god is a vile, vengeful, human-hating monster; however, they just don’t seem to want to let themselves believe that the real reason they ‘worship’ the sick, capricious tyrant is fear.

    Maggie is, admittedly, a little more complex than that; she’s like the battered wife who defends her abusive husband from criticism no matter how many black eyes and trips to the hospital she’s had, concocting all manner of far-fetched stories to try and convince people ‘he’s a good man, really – you just don’t understand him like I do.’

    Another example of what religion does to otherwise capable minds.

  335. #335 CosmicTeapot
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie said

    I do not take stories literally.

    Except the Adam and Eve stories. By the way, which one, Genesis 1 or Genesis 2.

    What about Noahs ark?

  336. #336 Tulse
    March 27, 2009

    We know the story was taken from the Epic of Gilgamesh and shaped in a very sophisticated way to convey the Hebrew writer’s message about God, the covenant he made with Noah, etc.

    But if it is an allegory, and not all humans were in fact wiped out apart from Noah and his family, then what is the theological point of the story? The most straightforward interpretation is that God was angry at Man, all of them, and thus wiped the slate clean to start over. If the story is not literal, then at best the “covenant” made is not with all mankind (with Noah as representative), but with a tiny group of people who are hardly representative of all humanity.

    And, to return to a point others have made, if you don’t buy the Flood, why the Resurrection? Issues of “genre” will not save you in this case, since it is abundantly clear that, despite their style, none of the Gospel writers actually witnessed the events they “report”. There seems no more reason to believe that a Jewish leader rose from the dead than there is that a Jewish leader parted the Red Sea.

    (And before you go all Courtier’s Reply about sophisticated interpretations that simplistic atheists can’t comprehend, be aware that I was Catholic for over two decades — those kind of arguments don’t wash with me.)

  337. #337 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Feynmaniac asked:

    Why do you hold the Bible is such high regard but not the Koran, the Poetic Edda, the Bhagavad Vita, etc?

    I do hold the Eddas and BV in high regard. The Koran? Not so much, though it is very interesting as a scholarly subject.

    Why do you think Jesus was a prophet but not Mohammad, Joseph Smith, or L. Ron Hubbard?

    Jesus proved his claims. The others? Not.

    Bastion of Sass asked:

    Why do God’s “omni attributes” have little to do with this broken bond between God and man?

    Do you not believe that God is omniscient, and knew from the beginning of time that this “bond” would be broken?

    Do you not believe that God is omnipotent, and could have prevented this bond from breaking?

    Yes. But they are not treated in the story. It doesn’t even occur to the writer that those are questions. Of course, the rather obvious answer, given that we know how it turned out, is that God thought we were worth it. He thinks that free will is worth it. He could have created robots. He did not.

    And can you explain–in some rational way–why an omniscient and omnipotent God (who from the beginning of time knew all that would come to pass and could have stopped it in the first place)–thought the very best way he could re-bond with humans was, about 2,000 years ago, to impregnate a Jewish teen with himself, and then allow himself to be tortured and killed (but then un-die after three days)?

    He wasn’t “rebonding” with humans. He was paying the price in his own flesh for our sins. He was taking the punishment we deserve on himself. For some reason he loves us and delights in us. Otherwise he could have simply destroyed us as a failed experiment.

  338. #338 Tulse
    March 27, 2009

    Jesus proved his claims.

    OK, that is presumably an assertion of fact, and not allegory or poetry or what have you. So, the question is: What is the proof? There are absolutely no accounts of Jesus or his actions written by eyewitnesses, or written any closer than several decades after his supposed death. What do you take to be “proof”?

  339. #339 Teddydeedodu
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie @320
    “I must be thick to bother to argue but you appear to be thicker. All the parts are “real”. They simply have to be understood correctly. Reading the Bible intelligently is not “cherry picking.” It is … wait for it … reading the Bible intelligently.”

    Well, you cant possibly fault me for not understanding this crap. This is exactly what I meant by employing these confusing ‘devices’. How do you use the word ‘real’ in the context of the bible? Can I use the same methodology for other myths, say Norse for instance, and conclude that Thor is indeed ‘real’? If so, then how do I define its anti-thesis, ie. non-real?

    “St Jerome wrote that Genesis was written “after the manner of a poet”. If these 4th century people got it, why are you all struggling? What you don’t understand is that biblical literalism of the sort you encounter today is a 20th century phenomenon and a particular style of interpretation– very much like the various styles of literary interpretation that have plagued the study of literature for the last 50 years.”

    Im sorry but you are wrong here. These 4th century people didnt get it either. In the absence of scientific evidence to the contrary, for them the bible was literally true with its flood and creation stories. Added to that were the miracles and resurrection of Jesus which has continued well into today. So, it is a stasis that I see and not a devolution of biblical interpretations. ie. from literature to literalism.

    Reading the bible within the cultural framework of its origins is somewhat novel however. This is oh so close to a post-modernistic treatment. Unfortunately, it still skirts the issue of ‘reality’ and what is ‘real’. Some of us here are not interested in the truth values that can be arbitrarily assigned to a statement. Or to a belief. Or to a piece of literature. I for one am more interested in the methodology for arriving at such truth values. Hence, my insistence on an appropriate epistemology that can determine falsehoods and contradictions. For instance, I dont know why someone would insist (or should I use that word) that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. And yet not think the Flood was a worldwide event?

  340. #340 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie,

    At #327, you wrote that you would “not be disturbed” to find out that the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden were true and not mere allegory.

    How much of the biblical story of Eden would you “not be disturbed” to find wasn’t allegory?

    – That at one time, two, and only two, members of Homo sapiens existed on earth?

    – That God “poofed” these two Home sapiens into existence?

    – That a talking serpent tempted Eve?

    Where do you draw the line at how much of the allegory of Eden you might be willing to accept without any rational part of you being disturbed?

    And, why would you be open to the possibility that the story of Adam and Eve in Eden might be true, but not the other allegorical stories in the OT?

  341. #341 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie,

    I do hold the Eddas and BV in high regard. The Koran? Not so much, though it is very interesting as a scholarly subject.

    Apologies, I didn’t make myself clear. You are a Christian so you hold the Bible as your holy text, although you have made clear you are not a literalist. My question is why do you not see the Eddas, BV, Koran, or any other religious text for that matter as your holy text?

    Jesus proved his claims. The others? Not.

    Can you please elaborate?

  342. #342 Fiisi
    March 27, 2009

    “He alone gives life; he alone can put an end to it. You have nothing to say about it.”

    Then what’s with all the yapping about abortion being murder? If your deity is the only entity who can end life, it appears you’re just arguing with your deity.

    Your supposition also contradicts your deity’s commandment to not kill. If your god is the only thing that can put an end to life, then your god wouldn’t concern itself with such a rule. It would be irrelevant.

    Assuming arguendo,if your deity is the only thing that can end life, and apparently sends cryptic messages through random tragedies, what message is your deity sending to a woman with an ectopic pregnancy that will kill her if left untreated? Why does your deity use embryos as a weapon?

  343. #343 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    If you think that Monticello and Mog the cat are more valuable than a foetus, and merit more protection from society, please tell me why.

    Walton – Because they are already born, are already individuals, are not physically dependent on the physiology of another person. The analogy that really crystallized it for me was the one about kidney dialysis – if someone was hooked up to you without your prior consent because they needed your kidneys to survive, are you bound to stay that way? No. If you say yes but then change your mind, should you still be bound to it? No. Even if it’s your own mother? No. Anyone can feel free to criticize someone for making that decision, but they can’t stop them from making it. Because someone else cannot forcibly co-opt your body for any reason, full stop. We don’t even make post-mortem organ donation standard with opt-out because as a society we so strongly believe this to be the case. Even though there are organ shortages galore in this country, it’s still opt-in. Someone else cannot forcibly enslave your body, no matter the circumstance.

    I do have to say thank you for going to the link and taking the time to read it. Hopefully this doesn’t sound condescending, but I’ll throw in with the others who have noted your discourse getting much more sophisticated in the last few months. No matter what the disagreement, it’s much more useful and interesting to discuss issues when there is obvious thought and support behind the statements.

  344. #344 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #340. Maggie wrote:

    Why do God’s “omni attributes” have little to do with this broken bond between God and man?

    Do you not believe that God is omniscient, and knew from the beginning of time that this “bond” would be broken?

    Do you not believe that God is omnipotent, and could have prevented this bond from breaking?

    Yes. But they are not treated in the story. It doesn’t even occur to the writer that those are questions.

    But, putting aside the “writer” of the allegorical “story” of Eden, do those questions occur to you?

    And, if so, how do you rationally reconcile your belief in an omnipotent and omniscient God with the eventual breaking of the bond between God and humankind?

    And, as for “free will,” did or did not the omniscient God know from the beginning of time how Adam and Eve and the rest of humankind would chose to exercise the free will that he gave us?

  345. #345 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    I do not take stories literally.*

    *Except the ones I want to.

    There, fixed that for Maggie.

  346. #346 Endor
    March 27, 2009

    Flame duck, thanks for proving me right. I’m sure the irony of you dismissing the words of women in order to justify your misogynstic comment is entirely lost on you. We get it now – whenever you do something wrong, and can’t cop to it, it’s our fault. How very refreshing.

  347. #347 Bill Dauphin
    March 27, 2009

    Tulse:

    Your response (@341) to Maggie’s assertion that “Jesus proved his claims” was vastly more patient than what I had in mind:

    WTF?!?!?!?!?!?

  348. #348 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #340, Maggie wrote:

    He was taking the punishment we deserve on himself. For some reason he loves us and delights in us. Otherwise he could have simply destroyed us as a failed experiment.

    Why do “we” deserve punishment?

    What did “we” do, and when did “we” do it?

    Because at some point in time, some humans (and are these particular humans supposedly my direct ancestors, or not? Or doesn’t it matter?) break some bond with God, I need to be punished?

    And before these two (or more than two? What is it you believe about the origins of our species?) members of Homo sapiens broke a bond of some kind with God, did humankind not suffer, or experience unhappiness–God’s punishment–in any way?

    And if God become briefly human and took our “punishment” for us, then why are we still being punished? Did this masochistic act by God, like his creation of humankind, not turn out as well as he planned? (And how is it even possible for things to not work out according to God’s plan?)

    And if “we” did break some bond with God, doesn’t God, being both omniscient and omnipotent, bear the ultimate responsibility for the fact that the bond was broken?

    How can an omniscient and omnipotent God fail at an experiment?

    God “loves and delights in us”? He’s got a really perverse way of showing his love and delight. Sickness, disasters, suffering. Why would a “loving” God who “delights” in us show his “love” that way?

  349. #349 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    The analogy that really crystallized it for me was the one about kidney dialysis – if someone was hooked up to you without your prior consent because they needed your kidneys to survive, are you bound to stay that way? No. If you say yes but then change your mind, should you still be bound to it? No. Even if it’s your own mother? No. Anyone can feel free to criticize someone for making that decision, but they can’t stop them from making it. Because someone else cannot forcibly co-opt your body for any reason, full stop. We don’t even make post-mortem organ donation standard with opt-out because as a society we so strongly believe this to be the case. Even though there are organ shortages galore in this country, it’s still opt-in. Someone else cannot forcibly enslave your body, no matter the circumstance.

    Indeed. I agree that this is the most compelling argument for a pro-choice position. Even if the pro-lifers are correct that a foetus is a human being, with the same panoply of rights and liberties which we would ascribe to a newborn baby, there is still an argument to be made that since a woman is the sovereign owner of her own body, she has a right to deprive the foetus of access to it.

    I believe wholeheartedly in self-ownership (indeed, it’s at the core of my worldview), and so I can’t deny the force of this argument; the only response I could make to it is as follows. (I’m playing devil’s advocate to a certain extent here, but I think it’s important for these points of view to be considered.)

    Let’s assume that elective abortion, for any reason whatsoever, is legal in the first and second trimesters (as we both seem to agree it should be). One might therefore contend, perhaps, that if a woman – assuming that she is of full age, and that her pregnancy was not a result of rape – knowing that the possibility of abortion is open to her, chooses to carry the foetus up until the end of the second trimester, she has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the life of that foetus, and is therefore obliged to support it with her body.

    In this context, it works the same way as any other voluntary assumption of duties. By becoming a parent, one chooses to accept responsibility for one’s children, and one cannot change one’s mind and leave them to starve to death. Or, similarly, to use your own analogy: if I were to enter into a legally valid contractual arrangement to donate my organs after my death, I ought not then to be able to back out of it on my deathbed. Self-ownership – like any other form of property ownership – is limited by the duties and responsibilities which one voluntarily assumes in relation to one’s body.

    In any case, I think we’re arguing a relatively minor detail here; since abortions in the third trimester are (as you’ve repeatedly pointed out) extremely rare, and we both agree that abortion should be legal in the first and second trimesters, our disagreement (insofar as there is one) is more academic than practical. We both agree that individuals are entitled to control their own bodies. The only difference is that you seem to view this right as absolute and unqualified; I don’t believe in the existence of absolute rights. All rights are qualified by obligations.

    I do have to say thank you for going to the link and taking the time to read it. Hopefully this doesn’t sound condescending, but I’ll throw in with the others who have noted your discourse getting much more sophisticated in the last few months. No matter what the disagreement, it’s much more useful and interesting to discuss issues when there is obvious thought and support behind the statements.

    Thank you. I appreciate it.

  350. #350 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    Understanding the flood story is a wholly different matter than deciding whether the resurrection happened or not. One is a story. The other is a truth claim and must be weighed in the same way all truth claims (or propositions) are.

    and

    Jesus proved his claims. The others? Not.

    fucking priceless. a potentially fictional character from a propaganda piece “proved” his claims by… being a potentially fictional character from a propaganda piece.

    cicula logicz = ur doing it rite

  351. #351 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie: Jesus proved his claims.

    Jesus did, indeed, prove his claims – if the Gospel accounts are a true and accurate record of his life in every respect. There’s no reason to believe that this is the case. All four documents are pseudonymous and of uncertain date and provenance. They contradict one another in various minor details. None of them even purport to have been written by eyewitnesses. And they have no corroboration or support from other contemporary sources.

    None of this proves, of course, that they are untrue; but as you are making extraordinary claims (Jesus was a divine being who died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead, etc., etc.), the burden of proof is on you to substantiate these claims. If you cannot, this does not, of course, debar you from believing them – but it does mean that, if you wish to convince other people to believe them also, you must show why your claims are supported by more evidence than those of the thousands of other “revealed” religions in existence.

  352. #352 Dianne
    March 27, 2009

    Let’s assume that elective abortion, for any reason whatsoever, is legal in the first and second trimesters (as we both seem to agree it should be). One might therefore contend, perhaps, that if a woman – assuming that she is of full age, and that her pregnancy was not a result of rape – knowing that the possibility of abortion is open to her, chooses to carry the foetus up until the end of the second trimester, she has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the life of that foetus, and is therefore obliged to support it with her body.

    In principle I could see some validity to this argument. However, it has some potential problems.

    1. Legal does not equal accessible. Some women end up having second trimester abortions because there are no clinics available in their area or they don’t have the money to pay for one earlier. So I would say that abortion would have to be legal, accessible, and affordable before one could claim that a woman who did not get an abortion earlier had implicitly consented to care for the fetus.
    2. Things change. A pregnancy that appears perfectly healthy at 20 weeks may be life threatening at 28. Or a fatal defect may be found in the fetus, even at this very late stage.

    3. I’m not sure what whether the fetus was conceived by rape or not has to do with anything. Arguably, a woman who was raped might be in denial longer or delay care because of psychological sequelae for longer, but I think if that was so then it should be covered under the risk to life or health exception. Otherwise, it’s much the same decision however the fetus was conceived.

    4. Be that all as it may, you’re still privileging fetuses beyond the rights that any person who has been born receives. Suppose you volunteer to donate bone marrow to someone who needed a transplant to survive. You take all the necessary pretests and are found to be a match. You donate through stimulated peripheral blood donation. For whatever reason, in the middle of the donation, somewhat before enough sample for a transplant is collected, you decide you don’t want to continue and demand that the collection be stopped. What should happen? Should the blood bank state that since you agreed and have gone through the majority of the process (including what is, for PBSC collection, the most dangerous part, i.e. the stimulation with gCSF) you must continue? Or stop on your demand? It would be fairly immoral to stop then–someone’s life does depend on it–but should it be illegal? It is your body which you are putting at (very low) risk for someone else. Can they demand that you finish?

    As a practical matter, I don’t think that a law limited third trimester abortion to cases of risk to the woman’s life or health or fetal anomolies would really be a problem as long as abortion were readily available earlier–who in their right mind or out of it would delay an abortion if they didn’t want to carry to term, but I do think we ought to recognize that we’re proposing privileges for fetuses that adults and children don’t get.

  353. #353 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    I don’t believe in the existence of absolute rights. All rights are qualified by obligations.

    In actuality, I agree with you. In a perfect world, from a moral standpoint, I think someone who has decided to take a pregnancy almost to completion does have that obligation. However, there are a few reasons that I argue the absolute, all related to how reality interferes.

    1. Many women would like to get an abortion as early as possible, but can’t. Some states only have one clinic that provides abortions, and the ability to get an appointment is limited. The woman’s ability to get time off from work may be limited. Her ability to get transportation to the location may be limited. She may have to save up the money to pay for the procedure. In some states, she is forced to get an ultrasound and wait for another appointment another day, which doubles the problems. They should not be “on the hook” for changing their minds, because they didn’t. Society and the health care system forced it on them.

    2. Overton window. Ceding this much of the argument is a very slippery slope to banning all abortions, and I feel it’s my responsibility to hold that line. I trust women; I am sure that the number who would decide to undergo a dangerous, expensive, painful medical procedure at the end of a pregnancy just for yuks is zero.

    3. There will always be a need for late-term abortions. Placentas abrupt and threaten to kill the mother, fetuses die and don’t spontaneously expel. However, if late-term abortions are illegal, doctors won’t be trained in how to perform them. This makes already medically complicated emergencies into almost guaranteed tragedies. Even if it ends up all right physically, the doctor and patient will have to go through invasive legal procedures to prove that it was necessary.

    4. Just because I think it’s a moral responsibility doesn’t mean anyone else should. There are some moral absolutes in life, but I don’t see this as one of them. I can understand differences of opinion on this one, and think that the law should be as liberal as possible to encompass all of those possibilities (egad, that almost sounds like a libertarian!).

  354. #354 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    By becoming a parent, one chooses to accept responsibility for one’s children, and one cannot change one’s mind and leave them to starve to death.

    that’s only because if you feel no longer able/willing/capable of taking care of children not physically attached to you, you can abandon them into foster care, for example. the reason one may not kill born offspring is because there’s other ways of giving them up. this is not the case for fetuses.

  355. #355 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    Um, sorry for totally repeating you, Dianne. I was composing for about 20 minutes, during which time you already said it and better. That’s what I get for trying to multitask and taking too long to do anything!

  356. #356 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    I was composing for about 20 minutes,

    Which is still better than decomposing, I suppose.[/groucho marx voice]

  357. #357 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    Suppose you volunteer to donate bone marrow to someone who needed a transplant to survive. You take all the necessary pretests and are found to be a match. You donate through stimulated peripheral blood donation. For whatever reason, in the middle of the donation, somewhat before enough sample for a transplant is collected, you decide you don’t want to continue and demand that the collection be stopped. What should happen? Should the blood bank state that since you agreed and have gone through the majority of the process (including what is, for PBSC collection, the most dangerous part, i.e. the stimulation with gCSF) you must continue? Or stop on your demand? It would be fairly immoral to stop then–someone’s life does depend on it–but should it be illegal? It is your body which you are putting at (very low) risk for someone else. Can they demand that you finish?

    Point taken. I have heard people argue for a more coercive approach to organ and blood donations, of course; but as a libertarian, I certainly don’t advocate that personally. So I’ll accept the merit of this argument.

    On a side point: I understand your point about economic limitations on access to abortion, but one also has to acknowledge the profound illiberality in using taxpayer money – extracted coercively from everyone, including that substantial segment of the population which finds abortion abhorrent – to fund abortions. Just as your neighbour has no right to use the power of the State to control your body and deny you an abortion, you have no right to use the power of the State to take from him the fruits of his labour in order to fund a procedure to which he may well be strongly opposed on moral grounds.

  358. #358 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Tulse wrote:

    … that is presumably an assertion of fact (that Jesus proved his claims), and not allegory or poetry or what have you. So, the question is: What is the proof? There are absolutely no accounts of Jesus or his actions written by eyewitnesses, or written any closer than several decades after his supposed death. What do you take to be “proof”?

    On the contrary. Paul’s earliest genuine letter can be reliably dated to 50 or 51 A.D. That is approximately 20 years after the Resurrection. He is writing to a congregation that has been in existence for a number of years who know the story well. We also know because he tells us, as does the author of Acts, that Paul was converted within a year or two of Christ’s death, was himself perfectly aware of all that had gone on and knew the claims that were being made. He just didn’t believe them. That is why he sought permission to hunt down the Christians and exterminate the heresy.

    We know that after his conversion he cleared his understanding of the Gospel with Peter and James who were the leaders of the church in Jerusalem before going on his missions to the Gentiles.

    Moreover, the most widely accepted dates for the gospels are:

    Matthew: 70-80 A.D.
    Mark: 60-70 A.D.
    Luke: 70-80 A.D.
    John: 80-90 A.D.

    Yes, others offer later dates. But the scholarly consensus is what it is. We also know the authors used oral and earlier written sources, too.

    Proof? All history is provisional. It is always subject to better or fuller evidence being discovered. Nevertheless, history is a *discipline*. It is not just made up stuff. There are rules and techniques that historians employ when dealing with documents, archaeological finds, linguistic evidence and the like.

    The New Testament consists of 27 books that are primary source materials for the time and events in question. They can be compared and sifted (Please spare me the nonsense that gets trotted out regularly that the Bible can’t be used to “prove” itself. Of course 27 documents written by different authors, in widely different locations at different times can be used to get at what happened).

    The Bible is the best attested work of the ancient world. We would kill to have as much documentary evidence produced as close to the events in question to document Socrates, Caesar, Pericles, and a whole raft of others that we somehow think we do have good evidence for and information about. Livy wrote his history of Rome a good 800 years after the fact but is widely considered reasonably reliable. Why? How did historians come to that conclusion?

    In the end, one weighs the evidence for the claims of the New Testament and finds it either strong enough to give assent to or one does not.

    Teddydeedodu wrote:

    Im sorry but you are wrong here. These 4th century people didnt get it either. In the absence of scientific evidence to the contrary, for them the bible was literally true with its flood and creation stories. Added to that were the miracles and resurrection of Jesus which has continued well into today. So, it is a stasis that I see and not a devolution of biblical interpretations. ie. from literature to literalism.

    The problem is that you are mixing apples and oranges. Jerome and Augustine, as well as others, knew poems when they saw them, knew metaphors when they saw them, and were, in fact, much better situated to understand all that than we, because they were so much closer in time and culture to the original writers. You are simply wrong when you claim that they didn’t understand how much of the OT was not to be taken dead literally. They weren’t idiots. The could do simple arithmetic. It wasn’t left to 20th century atheists to figure out that 2 of every animal in the world could not have fit on the ark.

    In the absence of scientific knowledge, in the modern sense, of course they accepted much of what the Bible describes literally. So did educated people up to the 18th century. What else would they have believed in the absence of actual knowledge to the contrary?

    Reading the bible within the cultural framework of its origins is somewhat novel however. This is oh so close to a post-modernistic treatment.

    Nope. It is called intelligent or critical reading and has been around for a very long time.

    … I dont know why someone would insist (or should I use that word) that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. And yet not think the Flood was a worldwide event?

    What is the geologic evidence for a worldwide flood? There is, of course, the linguistic evidence that the word used in Genesis is the same one used for country or region. For the ancients, where they lived probably was the whole world to them.

    bastion of sass wrote:

    At #327, you wrote that you would “not be disturbed” to find out that the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden were true and not mere allegory.

    How much of the biblical story of Eden would you “not be disturbed” to find wasn’t allegory?

    All of it. In fact, if it turns out to be literally true, I guess we who thought it mythological are going to have one hearty laugh about it.

    I guess I really don’t understand what you are asking. It seems silly to me to posit that it is anything but a story and one, moreover, with a real purpose and a very sophisticated literary structure.

    There are two creation accounts with parallel structures. Why? Well one is cosmocentric; the other is anthropocentric. Was that an accident? In talking about creation, for example, our writer uses the plural form of sea (or waters). Why? Well, the singular form is the name of a Canaanite god. If we read carefully enough, we will quickly realize that Genesis is a book with a purpose.

    All the themes that are important to the Jews throughout their long history are laid out there. God’s covenants with them and their constant failures to live up to their end of the bargain; the motif of the victorious or successful younger son (I don’t suppose most of you know the stories well enough to realize how many times it is the younger son who prevails in these stories). There is a literary reason for that. Can you guess what it is?

    I could go on multiplying examples but this should really be enough to indicate what I mean by critical or intelligent reading.

  359. #359 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    What sort of literature was Luke writing?

    Theological fiction. Or, in the words of John Dominic Crossan, “prophesy historicized.” What, do you want me to take the introduction at face value, and ignore the content of Luke-Acts? I’ve no doubt the author wanted his contemporaries to believe he had penned the authoritative account, but his interests were theological, not historical. This can easily be seen in both Matthew and Luke. The ways each of them treated his sources, the emphases and de-emphases of certain material, the decision of what to include as-is and what to alter; all of these developments of the tradition happen along theological lines, and cannot be waved away as the product of the vagaries of memory or differing slants on a core of true events. The synoptic tradition invented a historicized narrative, set in a definite time and place, that had not existed before and, most important, had its foundation in prophesy and myth, not any actual events in Galilee and Judea in the 1st century.

    Jesus proved his claims

    What can you possibly mean? In the synoptics anyway, he doesn’t actually make all that many claims. Mostly, claims are made about him which he deflects, or redirects with a cryptic rejoinder. There are some though, and they are far from “proven”:

    Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Mark 9:1

  360. #360 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie still thinks she is critical. Not quite. Maggie, the critical questions are: What physical evidence is there for god existing? and What physical evidence is there that the bible is not a work of fiction?

  361. #361 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    one also has to acknowledge the profound illiberality in using taxpayer money – extracted coercively from everyone, including that substantial segment of the population which finds abortion abhorrent – to fund abortions.

    Nope. Jehovah’s Witnesses find blood transfusions abhorrent. Scientologists find any mood-altering medication to be abhorrent. That doesn’t count.

  362. #362 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Walton wrote:
    None of this proves, of course, that they are untrue; but as you are making extraordinary claims (Jesus was a divine being who died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead, etc., etc.), the burden of proof is on you to substantiate these claims. If you cannot, this does not, of course, debar you from believing them – but it does mean that, if you wish to convince other people to believe them also, you must show why your claims are supported by more evidence than those of the thousands of other “revealed” religions in existence.

    I think I answered most of what you are asking above. However, this gives me a chance to say something that I have not said clearly enough– Christianity is unique in making a historical claim about events that were widely witnessed. Mohammad claimed private revelation– well, ok. Who can dispute that? (I jest.) Most of the worlds’ religions have their origins in the dim and misty past. Where is the historical or archaeolgical evidence that can help support those claims?

  363. #363 Tulse
    March 27, 2009
    There are absolutely no accounts of Jesus or his actions written by eyewitnesses, or written any closer than several decades after his supposed death. What do you take to be “proof”?

    On the contrary.

    Maggie, nothing that you wrote is “contrary” to the statement that there are absolutely no eyewitness accounts of Jesus, or anything written closer than several decades after his supposed death. Indeed, you say things like:

    Paul’s earliest genuine letter can be reliably dated to 50 or 51 A.D. That is approximately 20 years after the Resurrection.

    and

    the most widely accepted dates for the gospels are:
    Matthew: 70-80 A.D.
    Mark: 60-70 A.D.
    Luke: 70-80 A.D.
    John: 80-90 A.D.

    In other words, all several decades after the generally claimed date for Jesus’ death, and no evidence that any of the writers actually witnessed the events personally.

    Try again — how did Jesus prove his claims? (And recognize, of course, that merely establishing his existence as a human being is not sufficient to prove whatever theological claims he made, and neither would consistent reporting of those claims, rather than reporting on the proofs of those claims.)

  364. #364 astrounit
    March 27, 2009

    Walton #310 says, “my issue with Roe is that it has little or no actual basis in the United States Constitution.”

    It doesn’t? You you really think it was not a legal decision by the Supreme Court based on the due process outlined by the Constitution?

    Walton”: “It’s pure fantasy to contend that the framers of the Constitution intended to confer a right to abortion;”

    It’s pure fantasy to suggest or imply that they ever encountered or found any need to consider the question in the first place. What are you inferring by your remark? That the framers had abortion in mind? Are you nuts?

    Walton: “…and Blackmun in engaged in pure sophistry in reading such a right into the provisions of the Bill of Rights.”

    So says YOU. I can see plenty of sophistry to throughout your cramming.

    Look. Either one views the constitution as a guide to the dynamic operations of law-making, or you view it as some kind of holy writ that says it all and can’t be ammended or improved as it’s society sees fit. Remember? That nifty idea called “democracy”? It’s ALWAYS a work in progress, or it ain’t a friggin’ democracy.

    Obviously, you have major problems with the expressed intent of the founders who wrote that document, and you have problems with the opinion of a Chief justice who made himself quite clear.

    Your MAIN problem is that you can’t even see past your own face.

  365. #365 Bill Dauphin
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk (@158):

    Sorry to dig so far back into the thread, but maybe we can get a moment’s relief from the relentless Maggie-ness of it all, eh?

    well, there isn’t exactly much to discuss on the “make love vs. fuck” thing… you can love someone without wanting to fuck them; you can want to fuck someone without loving them…

    Agreed, but my concern is that when you say, as someone did to sImon way upthread “the proper term is make love, not fuck,” they’re implicitly (and often perhaps unwittingly) denying the last bit of your quoted words above. Insisting on the language of “making love” inherently links sex with love, and thus implicitly rejects the notion that “you can want to fuck someone without loving them” (or, at least, that it’s appropriate to in fact fuck someone without being in love with them).

    Mind you, I doubt the personal who originally tsked over fuck was really interested in anything other than giving siMon “the business”… but that’s the thing about anti-sex bias: It lives in our language like a virus in our cultural lifeblood, and propagates itself through the actions of unwitting hosts.

    My desire to push back on the pervasive (and, I firmly believe, religiously motivated) anti-sex bias in our culture is the single unifying theme of all my comments in this thread. I believe, as in the quote I provided (via wikipedia) from The Ethical Slut, in “the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you,” but the opposite position — that sex is dirty and evil, except in very limited circumstances, and that pleasure distracts you from “the good” — is deeply embedded in our culture.

    In certain cases — like insisting on love-soaked language for sex, or jumping too quickly to the conclusion that talk about women’s sexual behavior is necessarily degrading and misogynistic (and no, I don’t want to revisit the details of the FlameDuck kerfuffle; I only ever wanted to extract a broader principle from that exchange) — I fear that anti-sex memes are being advanced incidentally in the language of people who wouldn’t consciously identify with an anti-sex position… and in those cases, I hope that speaking up will have some effect.

    And how all this relates to the topic of the OP is simple: With each passing example of the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement, it becomes increasingly clear that what’s in play in religious opposition to abortion is not about concern for human life at all, but all about religion’s desire to control sexuality and minimize people’s freedom to enjoy sexual pleasure. This is (IMHO) part of a larger religious intention to “rule” the world by belittling and demonizing worldly things.

    Some days, that makes me just a tiny bit cranky. YMMV. ;^)

  366. #366 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    Christianity is unique in making a historical claim about events that were widely witnessed. Mohammad claimed private revelation– well, ok. Who can dispute that? (I jest.) Most of the worlds’ religions have their origins in the dim and misty past. Where is the historical or archaeolgical evidence that can help support those claims?

    EPIC LOL

  367. #367 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    Bill:

    Oh, I’m very much in agreement with you on that. the odd attempt to sanitize fucking into lovemaking is not helpful for anything. (and i should note that even in a relationship, you can fuck, or you can make love, depending on the mood). This i think is similar to the “dangerous behavior” issue we had on some other thread a few months back: we still treat sex as something extraordinary and dangerous, only to be approached with great care, and as sanitarily as possible.

    another problem is that we’re often still operate in the madonna-whore complex, with the only difference that sometimes the value judgement is reversed (i.e. fucking everything in sight = good, liberated, sexually curious etc.; being a virgin = repressed, prude, etc.). what we SHOULD be doing is decoupling a woman’s worth/personality/standing from sex altogether.

    it would certainly help women (especially teens) stop making the decision on whether to have sex with someone in terms of reputation, and start making the decision on what actually matters: does she WANT to have sex with that person?

  368. #368 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Tulse wrote:
    Maggie, nothing that you wrote is “contrary” to the statement that there are absolutely no eyewitness accounts of Jesus, or anything written closer than several decades after his supposed death.

    This is silly. Yes, yes, I understand that you would like a 60 Minutes interview to prove it but tough. You have to use your head and weigh the evidence set before you.

    Ask yourself, why did the story need to be written at all, as long as the original eyewitnesses were alive to testify to what they had seen? The first need to write anything came when the Gospel was taken to the gentiles, who were not eyewitnesses– hence Paul’s letters. There were plenty of eye witnesses around to corroborate what Paul wrote or to correct him as necessary. He even names a bunch of them in one of his letters.

    In other words, all several decades after the generally claimed date for Jesus’ death, and no evidence that any of the writers actually witnessed the events personally. Even if they were not eyewitnesses (and we know that Luke was not) why did they need to be when the story was widely known, fully corroborated and still within living memory of at least a few of the first Christians?

    Try again — how did Jesus prove his claims? (And recognize, of course, that merely establishing his existence as a human being is not sufficient to prove whatever theological claims he made, and neither would consistent reporting of those claims, rather than reporting on the proofs of those claims.

    You can try like those before you to wish away the evidence but it is clear that a man named Jesus was crucified and buried. His disciples claimed that he rose from the dead. His tomb was certainly empty. From a grieving, rag-tag bunch fearful of arrest and probably execution, they suddently became confident preachers of the Gospel. How? Why?

    Apply Ockham’s razor to this. What explanation best covers the evidence with the fewest ifs, ands and buts?

  369. #369 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    Apply Ockham’s razor to this. What explanation best covers the evidence with the fewest ifs, ands and buts?

    Somebody made it all up. Seriously, you don’t want to try Occam’s razor here. Why didn’t anyone else write it down but Jesus’ closest companions, and why not for so long after? If the sky turned dark and dead people came out of their graves and walked around in town, as the Bible says, wouldn’t there be an awful lot of written accounts by everyone who could write? Shouldn’t there be some mention of such an event somewhere else in recorded history? It’s not like Jesus’ gang were the only ones who were literate.

  370. #370 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    On the contrary. Paul’s earliest genuine letter can be reliably dated to 50 or 51 A.D. That is approximately 20 years after the Resurrection. He is writing to a congregation that has been in existence for a number of years who know the story well.

    What story? Certainly nothing resembling the historicized account of the synoptics. The story he, his earliest congregations, and the Jesus movement of Jerusalem knew was of the resurrection, yes, and probably included a liturgical sketch of a meal tradition and a passion account, but that’s it. Paul shows zero knowledge of a teaching tradition (parables, beatitudes) and there are many instances in the genuine epistles where he would have referred to it if he’d known it, or if Jesus’ words as later reported in the gospels held any cachet at that time. He didn’t, and they didn’t, because they didn’t exist yet. Actually, it is important to Paul’s theology that Jesus’s earthly life was insignificant and hidden in the distant path. What mattered was that his resurrection appearances had happened, which were the sign that the end times were very near.

    We also know because he tells us, as does the author of Acts, that Paul was converted within a year or two of Christ’s death, was himself perfectly aware of all that had gone on and knew the claims that were being made.

    But the genuine epistles and Acts are flatly contradictory as regards major points of chronology and the content of Paul’s discussions at Jerusalem. Paul is a figure of legend to the author of Luke-Acts.

    We know that after his conversion he cleared his understanding of the Gospel with Peter and James who were the leaders of the church in Jerusalem before going on his missions to the Gentiles.

    How you can adduce these passages as support for the historicity of the synoptic account is just baffling to me. So let me get this straight: Saul has an experience of the risen Lord, who he believes to have been a near contemporary with a popular ministry in Galilee, and who had been crucified in Jerusalem just recently. He comes to believe himself saved by this experience, and enthusiastically starts spreading the good news of salvation. When he goes to Jerusalem, to meet with men he believes were actual companions of this figure in life, he has no desire to receive the teaching tradition, he defers not at all to any authority they may have by virtue of receiving discipleship from the savior in life but instead gets in an argument about purity laws? It’s preposterous. It’s glaringly obvious that none of the earliest apostles had any conception of Jesus having had an earthly ministry in the time of Pilate. It’s much too recent, and if it were true, all kinds of details would have been available to Paul. No, that tradition didn’t arise until the aftermath of the Jewish War of 66-70, when the time of Pilate was remembered by most but dimly, and through the veil of the carnage that had just happened, in otherwords, when that period had been made safely remote by time and circumstance to set a legend in it. Peter, James, et al, were apostles, just like Paul. The tradition that any of them had been disciples of a teacher figure had to wait for that figure to be invented.

  371. #371 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Apply Ockham’s razor to this. What explanation best covers the evidence with the fewest ifs, ands and buts?

    God doesn’t exist, neither did Jebus, and the bible is fiction.

  372. #372 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    His disciples claimed that he rose from the dead. His tomb was certainly empty.

    Elvis lives!!! The king is not dead!!!

  373. #373 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    This is silly. Yes, yes, I understand that you would like a 60 Minutes interview to prove it but tough. You have to use your head and weigh the evidence set before you.

    No, his question isn’t silly at all. This response is however. People have weighed the evidence and from any normal perspective it doesn’t always add up.

    why did the story need to be written at all, as long as the original eyewitnesses were alive to testify to what they had seen? The first need to write anything came when the Gospel was taken to the gentiles, who were not eyewitnesses– hence Paul’s letters. There were plenty of eye witnesses around to corroborate what Paul wrote or to correct him as necessary. He even names a bunch of them in one of his letters.

    The story is a mish mash of much older stories apparently melded into the social context of the time. The eyewitnesses if there where any are unknown. That Paul wrote letters is not nearly the question and those who he names cannot be corroborated.

    Even if they were not eyewitnesses (and we know that Luke was not) why did they need to be when the story was widely known, fully corroborated and still within living memory of at least a few of the first Christians?

    Nor was Mark, Matthew, John. It was not fully corroborated(how can one say that when you don’t know any corroboraters?)

    You can try like those before you to wish away the evidence but it is clear that a man named Jesus was crucified and buried. His disciples claimed that he rose from the dead. His tomb was certainly empty. From a grieving, rag-tag bunch fearful of arrest and probably execution, they suddently became confident preachers of the Gospel. How? Why?

    You can try and pretend the evidence is clear when it is not. Generally accepted doesn’t mean the evidence points that direction. There simply is no corroboration for it.

    We don’t know if his tomb was empty. It is a religious claim in a religious book. Mohammed isn’t around either. Nor is it hard to imagine a group of people continuing to preach a message. It is not exactly a rare event.

    In short your argument(even if I am sympathetic to it) is weak and ill informed.

  374. #374 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    The non-literalist Christians like to think of themselves as much more sophisticated than their fundamentalist brethren but they are just as willing to throw reason out the window. Honestly, how can you accept eye witness from 2000 years ago,written 60 years after events, as evidence for resurrection? Funny enough, I don’t even think this would even pass the standards the Catholic Church sets on miracles.

    If your standards of proof are as lax as this you should also accept the “eye witness” accounts of Big Foot, UFO abductions, El Chupacabra, etc.

  375. #375 Che-Taylor
    March 27, 2009

    be read with no understanding of the history, cultural setting, the language and its metaphors and symbols and, yes, the genres of those ancient people is illiterate. Simply illiterate

    Yeah, thats what God intended. Not to be clear in his book but to make you find often obsure other sources to understand the book his allegedly inspired in the first place.

    You read the Bible like fundamentalists do. You don’t have a clue, not a clue that very few reasonably educated Christians are literalists. You simply don’t need a Ph.D in Comparative Literature to know that a book that begins “There once was a man …” is telling a story.

    Unless of course the fundies are correct and you wrong. Seems their position is more consistent with you.

    You have set up an imaginary fundy (strangely, he looks an awful lot like you) rant and rage agaist it and glory in your superiority. Frankly, you are simply the atheist side of the Fred Phelps coin–ignorant, ranting, and hate-filled. Fortunately, like him, you are off in your own world and are of no real consequence. The world still has plenty of room for cranks.

    No one is ranting or claiming superiority here but you. You have had your arguments trashed and yet simply keep offering up insults. In truth this is not crank ville but methinks you have a house there.

  376. #376 bastion of sass
    March 27, 2009

    At #371, Maggie wrote:

    Ask yourself, why did the story need to be written at all,

    To prevent these kinds of blog discussions 2,000 or so years after God died/undied?

    So more unbelievers would believe and be saved?

    Why wouldn’t God have wanted a full and accurate contemporaneous written account of his human life and death/undeath? Wasn’t it within his power to have that done? Couldn’t he foresee that lack of such a written account would cause untold arguing, and doubts about his life and death/undeath in the future?

  377. #377 Tulse
    March 27, 2009

    It’s pure fantasy to contend that the framers of the Constitution intended to confer a right to abortion

    Confer a right? Are you unfamiliar with the 9th and 10th Amendments of the US Constitution?

    The Constitution does not grant rights to its citizens, but enumerates the rights of its government to limit the freedoms of its citizens.

  378. #378 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    Apply Ockham’s razor to this. What explanation best covers the evidence with the fewest ifs, ands and buts?

    A new kind of Jewish piety arose out of the religious and political ferment of Galilee and Judea in the 1st century CE, centered around midrashic retellings of prophetic texts in the Jewish scriptures like Isaiah’s suffering servant and the concept of a pre-existing divine wisdom come to illuminate the world (Enoch, Wisdom of Solomon et al). The tumultuous events of 66-70 CE in Judea led to a split of the adherents of this new sect and their Gentile followers from the worship communities of the Jewish diaspora. In the aftermath of this traumatic division, the first gospels were composed to act as a new liturgy for communities who found themselves cut off from the practices of the Jewish communities they had been associated with.

    And the world has never been the same since. But modern Christians adduce from that evidence of the atual, literal truth of the stories contained in the tradition. Clearly an example of putting the cart before the horse. My explanation is parsimonious, because we know from Anthropology and the study of other religions that mythmaking traditions don’t need founders; they need communities. And that Jewish worship communities of the early and mid 1st century Eastern Mediterranean began to express their anxieties in the medium of eschatalogical myth is the least surprising thing in the world.

  379. #379 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    JimC said:
    We don’t know if his tomb was empty. It is a religious claim in a religious book.

    No, Jim. It is a historical claim and is weighed exactly the way any historical claim is weighed. You can’t just dismiss it. There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.

    Yes, it is hard to imagine a group preaching a message when they are in fear of arrest and execution like their leader. Particularly one that involves a resurrection– a claim that could easily have been refuted by the authorities by producing the body.

    In short your argument(even if I am sympathetic to it) is weak and ill informed.

    No, actually it is not. You can fume as much as you like but I have the majority of historians on my side (about the historicity of the New Testament). Obviously, however, not all of them are persuaded by the evidence. So be it.

    Feynmaniac said:

    If your standards of proof are as lax as this you should also accept the “eye witness” accounts of Big Foot, UFO abductions, El Chupacabra, etc.

    My standards are as high as most credentialed historians are.

    Why oh why are people who are old enough to breed and vote so foolish as to trot out the FSM, Big Foot, et al? They are red herrings, one and all and an attempt to evade the issue.

    No serious historian disputes that Jesus existed, had a public ministry and was executed. The disputes center on what happened after his execution. Historians also don’t discount eye-witness testimony. Neither do the courts in this country.

    Ya gotta do better than that.

  380. #380 Bill Dauphin
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk (@370):

    We seem to be of one accord. Sadly…

    maybe we can get a moment’s relief from the relentless Maggie-ness of it all

    …apparently not. Everyone seems to prefer blatting on about whether or not teh Bible is Truth™. Personally, I think blatting on about sex is more interesting (not to mention sexier), but I guess I’ve been overruled.

  381. #381 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie, lots of claims, but no citations. Show us the corroborating evidence.

  382. #382 Endor
    March 27, 2009

    “It is a historical claim and is weighed exactly the way any historical claim is weighed. You can’t just dismiss it. There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.”

    *lol* and as well all know, as long as just enough people say its true, it is.

  383. #383 Tulse
    March 27, 2009

    This is silly. Yes, yes, I understand that you would like a 60 Minutes interview to prove it but tough. You have to use your head and weigh the evidence set before you.

    You’re dodging, Maggie. I made a very specific claim, “no eyewitnesses or accounts written earlier than decades after Jesus’ death”. You said that was false, then provided absolutely no evidence of the falsity of those specific claims.

    And just to remind you, this discussion originally started when you said that

    Jesus proved his claims.

    So even if you want to take the Gospels as evidence for Jesus’ mere existence (and the lack of contemporary references makes that somewhat less than firm), all of the arguments you’ve offered say absolutely nothing about his theological “claims”. Let’s grant that a human called Jesus existed — what is the “proof” that he was the Son of God and performed miracles? Not just evidence, but “proof”, since even Mohammed and Joseph Smith can claim contemporary “evidence” of exactly the same sort as you offer from the Gospels.

    There are a lot of very smart and well-read folks here, Maggie, many of whom are former believers who have had a lot of theological instruction. Don’t try to bluster your way through — if you want to argue these points, you’ve got to up your game.

  384. #384 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    It is a historical claim and is weighed exactly the way any historical claim is weighed. You can’t just dismiss it. There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.

    Not what I meant, there simply is no good evidence for the claim. Belief in such is simply a religious matter. There are not multiple accounts attesting the same thing. The accounts don’t agree on much of anything.

    it is hard to imagine a group preaching a message when they are in fear of arrest and execution like their leader. Particularly one that involves a resurrection– a claim that could easily have been refuted by the authorities by producing the body.

    No it isn’t. People go out and form movements all the time. Hell James Randi did an experiment and showed how easy it was some years ago. Likewise it would just as easily have been easy to say the body isn’t here if he never existed. I think your supposed reading of the text has missed alot.

    No, actually it is not. You can fume as much as you like but I have the majority of historians on my side (about the historicity of the New Testament). Obviously, however, not all of them are persuaded by the evidence. So be it.

    Yes it is, the majority of historians do not think their is evidence Jesus rose from the dead. That is an absurd claim. That many accept Jesus existed is true. That is a long way from supporting your claims. Most biblical scholars particuarlly the best like Erhman would differ on your take but all this is beside the point. Truth isn’t determined by vote and your statement that all aren’t persuaded by the evidence may speak to the poor quality of the evidence itself.

    It is clear the vast majority of the world’s historians don’t find it compelling. It’s a faith matter. The historical method will do the religion no favors, much as science hasn’t.

  385. #385 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 27, 2009

    Posted by: maggie | March 27, 2009

    The Bible is the best attested work of the ancient world. We would kill to have as much documentary evidence produced as close to the events in question to document Socrates, Caesar, Pericles, and a whole raft of others that we somehow think we do have good evidence for and information about. Livy wrote his history of Rome a good 800 years after the fact but is widely considered reasonably reliable. Why? How did historians come to that conclusion?

    This is so wrong in so many ways. The oldest works that can be called part of the NT dates from the third century AD. We have primary sources for Caesar and Pericles. We have works written by Caesar and Pericles. As for Socrates, there is enough primary sources to show that he lived. Just that one should take Plato’s accounts of his dialogues with a grain of salt. As for Livy, he is useful as a gathering of narratives about Rome. But as an authoritative account of Roman history, he never been seen as such.

    Anyone who makes the claim that; The Bible is the best attested work of the ancient world.; has no idea how historians work. Not one primary source to be had about the bible. No mention of Jesus in Roman records. Yet we have a detailed account of much of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

    Your foundation is mistaken and flawed. All assumptions you are making about the historical accuracy of the bible are based on flaws. You have repeatedly claimed that you are here to enlighten us. Yet you have no idea about how the study of history works. There really is no need to pay attention to any of your statement, they are grown from mistaken assumptions.

    Yes, I am dismissing you.

  386. #386 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    It is a historical claim and is weighed exactly the way any historical claim is weighed. You can’t just dismiss it. There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.

    Not what I meant, there simply is no good evidence for the claim. Belief in such is simply a religious matter. There are not multiple accounts attesting the same thing. The accounts don’t agree on much of anything.

    it is hard to imagine a group preaching a message when they are in fear of arrest and execution like their leader. Particularly one that involves a resurrection– a claim that could easily have been refuted by the authorities by producing the body.

    No it isn’t. People go out and form movements all the time. Hell James Randi did an experiment and showed how easy it was some years ago. Likewise it would just as easily have been easy to say the body isn’t here if he never existed. I think your supposed reading of the text has missed alot.

    No, actually it is not. You can fume as much as you like but I have the majority of historians on my side (about the historicity of the New Testament). Obviously, however, not all of them are persuaded by the evidence. So be it.

    Yes it is, the majority of historians do not think their is evidence Jesus rose from the dead. That is an absurd claim. That many accept Jesus existed is true. That is a long way from supporting your claims. Most biblical scholars particuarlly the best like Erhman would differ on your take but all this is beside the point. Truth isn’t determined by vote and your statement that all aren’t persuaded by the evidence may speak to the poor quality of the evidence itself.

    It is clear the vast majority of the world’s historians don’t find it compelling. It’s a faith matter. The historical method will do the religion no favors, much as science hasn’t.

    My standards are as high as most credentialed historians are.

    Thats just funny.

    Why oh why are people who are old enough to breed and vote so foolish as to trot out the FSM, Big Foot, et al? They are red herrings, one and all and an attempt to evade the issue.

    Nope you can’t see the analogy.

    No serious historian disputes that Jesus existed, had a public ministry and was executed. The disputes center on what happened after his execution. Historians also don’t discount eye-witness testimony. Neither do the courts in this country.

    Richard Carrier serious enough for you, he’s serious for everyone else. There are many more. They do discount eyewitness testimony when it can’t be substantiated as is the case with the gospels. We don’t know them, they don’t know us, and we don’t know anyone who knew them either.

    Ya gotta do better than that.

    But apparently you cannot. 20-30 posts later and your smugness is getting old.

  387. #387 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 27, 2009

    Posted by: Bill Dauphin | March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk (@370):

    We seem to be of one accord. Sadly…

    maybe we can get a moment’s relief from the relentless Maggie-ness of it all

    …apparently not. Everyone seems to prefer blatting on about whether or not teh Bible is Truth?. Personally, I think blatting on about sex is more interesting (not to mention sexier), but I guess I’ve been overruled.

    I am done with maggie. As I stated earlier (But while you posted this.) maggie has made a claim the is blatantly untrue. And this untruth is what she bases her arguments on. There is no further point going on with her. When and if she moves on to telling us how we should live according to her principles, it will be time to trounce her.

  388. #388 Feynmaniac
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie,

    Why oh why are people who are old enough to breed and vote so foolish as to trot out the FSM, Big Foot, et al? They are red herrings, one and all and an attempt to evade the issue

    No, they are not. They show how ridiculous some arguments are by replacing God with FSM and Jesus’ resurrection with Big Foot. People seem willing to accept fallacious arguments when they agree with the conclusions. The analogy is done to show how the reasoning is false.

    If you are willing to accept eye witness accounts as evidence for the resurrection of Jesus you must also accept eye witness accounts as evidence for Big Foot. Or at the very least explain why one is reliable and why one isn’t.

    Historians also don’t discount eye-witness testimony. Neither do the courts in this country.

    Yes, but they don’t rely exclusively on them either, especially if they are written decades after the events. In fact, there are statues of limitations partly due to the unreliability of eye witness accounts taken years after the events.

  389. #389 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    Saith maggie, of the empty tomb:
    There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.
    First, the later accounts depend on the earlier ones. There are not multiple, independent accounts.

    Second, the accounts differ substantially. Matthew obviously has an apologetics problem with Mark’s empty tomb story. Here’s Mark:

    When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. 16:1-8

    And here’s Matthew:

    After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

    Okay, so What guards? Earthquake, or no? What did the women do, did they tell the disciples to go to Galilee, or not?

    Luke has a different idea as well:

    On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

    Now, instead of the explicit “angel” of Matthew, we’re back to the generic “man” but wait, there’s two now? Notice also the unmistakeable marks of a developing scribal tradition: it’s their clothes that gleam “like lightning,” not Matthew’s “their appearance.” And what of the instructions to meet the risen Lord in Galilee? That doesn’t fit Luke’s program, since in his sequel, Acts, he has the ascension and Pentacost taking place in Jerusalem. He’s crafty, though, because he still includes a nod to the tradition he’s received, with that “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee…”

    These accounts simply do not “attest to the same thing” and, in addition, they show all the hallmarks of a written tradition developing unhindered by the need to conform to any literal, historical facts.

  390. #390 bootsy
    March 27, 2009

    Maggot must be the most credulous person in the world. I’m pretty sure Pope Nazi doesn’t even believe this shit, just sells it because it’s his job and source of power.

    Maggot, be sure not to be suckered into a game of 3-card monte. Even if the dealer claims to have read “St.” Augustine!

  391. #391 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    Everyone seems to prefer blatting on about whether or not teh Bible is Truth?. Personally, I think blatting on about sex is more interesting (not to mention sexier), but I guess I’ve been overruled.

    SIWOTI Syndrome. it’s incurable, and doesn’t get triggered by people who aren’t wrong :-p

  392. #392 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    No, Jim. It is a historical claim and is weighed exactly the way any historical claim is weighed. You can’t just dismiss it. There are multiple accounts all attesting to the same thing.

    We do? Show a single secular historical text that shows us that not only the cave was empty but that we know where the cave is…

  393. #393 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Hmm, it looks like an integral aspect of the Genre Defence is the intensity with which Christians using it defend the historical accuracy of the New Testament as literal truth is proportional to the intensity with which they attest that the inconvenient, unpleasant and unscientific aspects* of the Old Testament is not.

  394. #394 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Bravely, Feynmaniac jumped into the fray again:

    No, they are not [red herrings]. They show how ridiculous some arguments are by replacing God with FSM and Jesus’ resurrection with Big Foot. People seem willing to accept fallacious arguments when they agree with the conclusions. The analogy is done to show how the reasoning is false. Nonsense. Where is the physical evidence of Big Foot? There should be some since he supposedly is still around. Where are the hundreds of witnesses who have seen him (or the FSM) at the same time?

    If you are willing to accept eye witness accounts as evidence for the resurrection of Jesus you must also accept eye witness accounts as evidence for Big Foot. Or at the very least explain why one is reliable and why one isn’t.

    Let me know when multiple witnesses come forward telling the same story.

    Yes, but they don’t rely exclusively on them [eye witness testimony] either, especially if they are written decades after the events. In fact, there are statues of limitations partly due to the unreliability of eye witness accounts taken years after the events.

    Where courts are concerned, of course. Where historians are concerned, of course not! Really, look up historiography in a decent reference book or Wiki has a pretty good description (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography)

    Wierdly, JimC contradicted me and then produced my exact same claim! I had said:

    You can fume as much as you like but I have the majority of historians on my side (about the historicity of the New Testament). Obviously, however, not all of them are persuaded by the evidence.

    One would suppose this was clear. Not so for Jim responded:
    … the majority of historians do not think their is evidence Jesus rose from the dead. That is an absurd claim.(which I did not make) That many the overwhelming majority accept Jesus existed is true

    Yes. That is what I just said.

    That is a long way from supporting your claims.

    It is the starting place. No one said it “supports” my claims. Lets take little steps, then big ones.

    Most biblical scholars particuarlly the best like Erhman would differ on your take but all this is beside the point.

    Ehrman is a fine scholar but he is only one of many– and his views are not the majority view, though I always find him worth reading.

    Truth isn’t determined by vote and your statement that all aren’t persuaded by the evidence may speak to the poor quality of the evidence itself.

    Actually it doesn’t. It speaks to the relative paucity of it. The quality is amazingly high in comparison to what we have for most of ancient history. I have no quarrel with people who weigh the evidence carefully and don’t find it sufficient.

    CJO —
    First, the later accounts depend on the earlier ones. There are not multiple, independent accounts. Yes, there are. The fact that two of them clearly used some of the same source documents as another is quite irrelevant.

    What do the gospels have in common? Hmm? Do they all agree that Jesus was tried before Pontius Pilate and crucified? Do they all agree that he died and was buried? Do they all agree that he rose on the 3rd day? Do they all agree that he appeared to the women first? On and on it goes. In every important detail the stories, produced by different authors at different times in different parts of the world for different audiences agree. The contradictions have been dealt with many many times and simply do not discredit the writers or the Gospels.

    More than that, the authors do not embellish the story. They do not claim to have witnessed the resurrection. They claim only to have seen, eaten with and spoken to the Risen Lord. Equally important, not one of them glosses over the fact that Jesus appeared to the women first which is not a small matter. Women’s testimony was worthless and was not admissible in a court. Yet, the writers made no attempt to “strengthen” their case by having the apostles make the discovery of the empty tomb. In fact, that is exactly what happens in the non-canonical gospels that were written much later.

    Well, there is so much information available to you on these matters that if you ever wish to give it a fair hearing, you won’t have the slightest trouble finding it.

  395. #395 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Nonsense. Where is the physical evidence of Big Foot?

    The same amount of physical evidence there is for Jebus. The “evidence” is made up. Your Jebus has no historical record outside of bible, which is a proven work of fiction.

  396. #396 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    What do the gospels have in common? Hmm? Do they all agree that Jesus was tried before Pontius Pilate and crucified? Do they all agree that he died and was buried? Do they all agree that he rose on the 3rd day? Do they all agree that he appeared to the women first?

    synoptic gospel fail.

  397. #397 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    The fact that two of them clearly used some of the same source documents as another is quite irrelevant.

    It’s irrelevant that ~90% of Mark is in Matthew? That about two thirds of it is in Luke? That Matthew hews closely to the sequence of Mark, even though that author presents no compelling chronology for the episodes of the narrative until the approach to Jerusalem? Wow. These writers were not “using some of the same source documents as another,” they were copying and embellishing an earlier composition. The question of Mark’s sources is an extremely interesting one: nobody knows what those sources were, other than Daniel, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah, Psalms, etc.

    The contradictions have been dealt with many many times and simply do not discredit the writers or the Gospels.

    They have been waved away, like you did just now. Deal with the specific points I made, or admit that you have no answer other than the weight of tradition and a vague appeal to the authority of historians. I’ll reply only to the one specific point you argued:

    Yet, the writers made no attempt to “strengthen” their case by having the apostles make the discovery of the empty tomb.

    Matthew puts guards at the tomb! Did Mark forget to mention that there were guards, or is Matthew “strengthening” his case?

    One more thing: who were these eyewitnesses to the events of the passion? After the arrest at Gethsemane, the synoptics are unanimous on the flight of the disciples and that Jesus was alone (without friends anyway) for his trial and execution. Who could be trusted to accurately report these events, and how would the synoptic authors have been able to check up on that?

  398. #398 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Let me know when multiple witnesses come forward telling the same story

    This is as true of alien abduction stories as it is of the events of the bible. Otherwise, how come all those people have seen the same grey aliens?

    Coincidence? I think not. Maybe we’re just not reading Erich Von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods? critically enough. I mean, sure, some of it isn’t meant to be taken literally – but that doesn’t stop other parts from being completely 100% true, does it?

  399. #399 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie, here’s a tip for you. Many of us have read the bible, and even worse for you, know the history of that time period. We also know how the bible was put together. That is something most christians like yourself ignore. You can’t try to baffle us with bullshit. Answer the questions directly, or acknowledge you don’t have answers.

  400. #400 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    I’m guessing that, eventually, Cafeteria Christians like Maggie will extend the Genre Defence to include the NT as well, in an attempt to dodge the growing criticism of the lack of genuine historical support for it.

    They’ll have to move to completely nebulous ‘spiritual’ Christianity – but which is, strangely, almost exactly the same as the old Christianity – when they need it to be, of course.

  401. #401 castletonsnob
    March 27, 2009

    From CJO:

    One more thing: who were these eyewitnesses to the events of the passion? After the arrest at Gethsemane, the synoptics are unanimous on the flight of the disciples and that Jesus was alone (without friends anyway) for his trial and execution. Who could be trusted to accurately report these events, and how would the synoptic authors have been able to check up on that?

    Not only that, who were the eyewitnesses who supposedly documented the events from before Jesus’ birth until His public ministry?

  402. #402 castletonsnob
    March 27, 2009

    And why couldn’t Jesus be bothered to write His own story in the first place and save us all a lot of trouble?

  403. #403 CJO
    March 27, 2009

    Yeah, the birth narratives will be first on the chopping block when the genre defense follows Wowbagger’s predicted trajectory.

  404. #404 castletonsnob
    March 27, 2009

    And how can God die, anyway? God is, by definition, immortal and therefore incapable of dying.

  405. #405 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    don’t be silly CJO, he’s the son of god! there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him being born twice, more than 10 years apart! why would any sane christian ever want to discard such sensible stories?

  406. #406 maggie
    March 27, 2009

    Wowie– I don’t expect much from Internet mobs but this is below the ususal standard. You don’t have a clue what the extra-biblical evidence is. You don’t have a clue what outside sources corroborate the people and places in the New or, for that matter, in the Old Testament. Read a book, for crying out loud. None of this is hidden, esoteric or too arcane for non scholars. What can the “genre defence” possibly mean? It is just gas issuing from your anus. It is meaningless noise.

    It has been more than a century since any historian has seriously questioned the historicity of the New Testament. There is no longer any question that the New Testament is composed of 26 primary historical documents. No historian disputes that. Not one. There is only disagreement over how to weigh them. To dismiss them as fiction is pure ignorance and something more. Frankly I can’t deal with that. I cannot put in what God left out.

    Nerd– here is a tip for you. You don’t know 0.0001% as much about the history and transmission of the New Testament as I do, unless you have an advanced degree in the subject. That is a fact. You don’t know the history of the period anywhere near as well as I do, unless you have an advanced degree in the subject. If you do, you *might* be able to make the argument that you know it as well as I do. But don’t count on it.

  407. #407 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    You don’t have a clue what the extra-biblical evidence is.

    Bible evidence = fiction. We are talking historical record outside of the bible poor Maggie. There is no contemporary evidence for Jebus. Either produce the evidence or acknowledge you don’t have it.

  408. #408 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Maggie is far more sophisticated than your average internet troll. She is, after all, correct that there is a scholarly consensus that this Jesus character existed, taught, and was executed in first-century Palestine, and that the slightly later writings we know as the Gospels were based on his life and the nascent religion he left behind. She is also right that the Church Fathers of the early centuries had a far more nuanced appreciation of Biblical texts than the naive fundamentalists so ubiquitous in America today, including on blogs like this one. Her understanding of how to read the Old Testament is reasonable, if not very logical. She has a well-crafted set of intellectual tools for the difficult art of reconciling Christian faith with a basic appreciation of reality. Interesting that she can’t seem to manage the less difficult task of doing so in a reasonably pleasant way.

  409. #409 Carlie
    March 27, 2009

    . You don’t have a clue what the extra-biblical evidence is. You don’t have a clue what outside sources corroborate the people and places in the New or, for that matter, in the Old Testament.

    All right, put up or shut up. Cite your sources.

  410. #410 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, don’t ever, even for one moment, think we are less intelligent than you. And we definitely have people smarter than you. There is no contemporary evidence for historical jebus until you can cite reliable, unaltered historical source from outside of the bible. We have been waiting for years for such evidence.

  411. #411 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    All right, put up or shut up. Cite your sources.

    wonder if she’ll bother at all… or if she’ll try to pull out Josephus, heheh

  412. #412 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    All I’m saying that she is right about the scholarly consensus that Jesus existed and that the Epistles and Gospel were written not too much later (although she goes with the earliest plausible estimates). I think the existence of a slightly mad teacher-prophet is the most parsimonious explanation for the evidence we have.

    How did I disparage your intelligence?

    That doesn’t mean I — or many of the scholars who join that consensus — buy the idea that he was the son of God, and all the rest of that baggage.

  413. #413 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    How did I disparage your intelligence?

    By not citing sources for your claims. This is a scientific blog. Put up or shut up. You didn’t put up, and now you won’t shut up. Guess where that leaves you? Hint: we doubt your veracity.

  414. #414 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Nerd — As an very frequent reader of this blog, with a very similar attitude toward Christianity to that prevalent here, I am really surprised at your hostility. Can you seriously disagree that Maggie, unpleasant as she is, is a much more sophisticated writer than Simon, or Facilis, or that lot?

    And although I haven’t read Biblical criticism since I was an undergrad 30 years ago — when it helped cement my disbelief — the “Jesus never existed” thesis has never really caught on. For what it’s worth (not much) I did check that this was still the consensus with Wikipedia.

  415. #415 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Poor, befuddled Maggie asked:

    What can the “genre defence” possibly mean?

    For someone who touts their own intellect and education so often (overcompensating, perhaps?) I’m amazed you haven’t been able to work out what I mean by ‘genre defence’ and how you and your sort will eventually apply it to the entire bible.

    It wasn’t all that long ago that the bible was considered entirely true by all but fringe heretic groups of Christians; in recent times, however, the ‘shifting moral zeitgeist’, as Dawkins put, made such a position untenable amongst the self-described sophisticates of religion (the irony!).

    The biblical support for such unpleasantness as homophobia, slavery, oppression of women etc. became unpalatable by the standards decent society. ‘So,’ said the nascent Cafeteria Christians, keen to find a loophole that allowed them to retain the self-indulgent feelings that professing a faith gave them, but not wanting to have to deal with the fact that it is a religion steeped in bloodshed, hatred and misery, ‘what do we do about it? We still need to have the bible considered to be true – what do we do about all the nasty stuff we don’t agree with?’

    Cue the ‘Genre defence': give the appearance that it’s incorrect to interpret the unpalatable parts (by today’s standards) of the bible as having literally happened; instead, engage in a campaign to popularise using the tools of contemporary literary criticism and textual analysis to determine that those parts aren’t meant to be taken literally – and use the buzz-word ‘genre’ to indicate how they were able to reach the conclusion.

    Never mind the fact that this genre concept was in no way consistent through the texts of the OT; while one sentence in a verse might be literal truth it could well be surrounded by pages and pages of non-literal passages in a totally different genre. Diamonds in the rough, you might say – but only in the subjective sense.

    ‘Brilliant,’ cried the now out’n’proud Cafeteria Christians, ‘we can have our security blanket and our smug pomposity and moral superiority – and all without having to own up to those who founded our religion having used the bible to justify so many awful things, or that it has at its heart, a vile, human-hating monster god!’

    And, also importantly, distance themselves from those beastly, horrid dirty fundamentalists – they just aren’t good for PR, are they? Too easy a target for the opposition. Not to mention all the bribery, corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion, Dinosaur Parks and getting caught in airport bathrooms. Hypocrisy just doesn’t come out in the wash.

    So it works, in principle. The icky stuff can be handwaved away and the lovely fluffy bunny stuff emphasised – well, except if you happen to be anti-choice, or hate those awful homos; then you can draw on it at will. Just explain that those parts belong to the ‘take this part literally’ genre.

    But, as posters here have illustrated, historians – and the public in general, are now becoming more circumspect about the NT, and the historicity of Jesus’ existence. They aren’t just taking the spoon-fed pablum for granted anymore. Over time, and with further research and publication, this feeling will increase.

    Whatever will the Cafeteria Christians do? I suspect they will, as anyone tends to do – go with what worked so well for them before. If, all of a sudden, Jesus didn’t have to “exist” in “real life” in order to “save us” and “send us the message of his love” then of course the scriptures don’t have to be literal! Oh you silly atheists – you’re just like fundamentalists!

    Have you worked out what I’m getting at yet, Maggie – or do I have to draw you a diagram?

  416. #416 AJ Milne
    March 27, 2009

    With due respect to all present: I would agree it’s fair to say it’s a minority view that there was simply no historical figure behind the Jesus legends.

    I’d also say however: it’s a reasonably defensible view, notwithstanding its relative unpopularity. There really are no reliable, contemporary firsthand accounts of such a figure*. Summing up the issues, the historicity question seems to me to be ultimately unresolveable, despite certain scholars claiming the legendary hypothesis was a dead letter. I find myself thinking, generally, that this is an odd situation: the legend has grown so influential that it creates a certain momentum behind the notion that such a figure really was present–as this just seems a bit more parsimonious–but it really isn’t so cut and dried that there was. The shadow of the legend may be making it unusually hard for people to picture how such a legend could have grown from nothing, when, really, this isn’t impossible either.

    Anyway, like I said: probably unresolveable.

    *You know this stuff, but: there is general consensus the famous Josephus passage was tampered with later (tho’ to an unknown degree) by Christian apologists; Tacitus’ passage looks an awful lot like it was simply repetition of what Christians themselves were saying at the time; Suetonius and Pliny do not unambigously refer to the Jesus figure itself but to followers everyone knows were present in the times and places referred to anyway. Which leaves you with squat, really. It’s not unconveivable the figure existed, all the same, however–tho’ it does seem strongly to suggest at the very least he wasn’t nearly so big a deal during his lifetime as the biblical passages suggest.

  417. #417 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, I am a scientist, for 30+ years. Science is put up or shut up. Either I present the proper evidence to support my claims, or I never make them. I’m still waiting for your evidence, and Wiki won’t cut the mustard. Put up or shut up. If you can’t do either, we have you pinned down….

  418. #418 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Strangely enough, it was Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” that really convinced me Jesus existed. Bulgakov’s imagining of the confused, barely sane, and still somehow likable Yeshua just clicked with me somehow.

  419. #419 Kel
    March 27, 2009

    Modern archaeology has disproved much of the old testament, not to mention cast huge doubt on the new testament. Having a couple of names an places lining up hardly correlates that the whole book is true – especially considering the extraordinary claims therein. After all, we don’t think The Da Vinci Code is true because of the meticulous detail it uses to describe Paris!

  420. #420 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, what convinced you is irrelevant. Show the evidence your acknowledge you don’t have it. Any other choice puts your veracity into a tailspin of lies.

  421. #421 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Nerd, really, why are you so hostile? I certainly don’t care enough about whether Jesus really existed or not to go and spend a lot of time on it. I’m just trying to join the conversation and remark that Maggie is not as simple a troll as most of those around here. For Heaven’s sake, I’m not writing a scientific paper!

  422. #422 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, avoiding the answer again with concern trolling. Why is that? You have nothing, know you have nothing, and can’t publicly acknowledge you have nothing? I have called you no names, but just implied what untruthful people do and are called. Why are you so insulted?

  423. #423 AJ Milne
    March 27, 2009

    Adding the incredibly obvious (‘cos hey, some people are stupid, and frequently deliberately so)–note, of course, that the presence or absence of a historical figure (or, hell, several historical figures) has pretty much zero to do with how reliable the biblical accounts of his life/their lives are. I’d say I have roughly as much confidence that the new testament tells us much of anything of that life as I have that The Book of Mormon’s fanciful bumpf about angels in America is literally true. Which is to say: none. The noted legendary stuff borrowed from earlier deities is all too obvious, so we already know: this is a mythical account, shot through with exaggeration, hyperbole, probably no small amount of outright fantasy. Finding and identifying within all that slivers of truth about some guy from 2,000 years ago around whose brief life these wild stories grew is, to put it gently, difficult.

  424. #424 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Saying what I think in a conversation without an evidentiary apparatus is not the same as a “tailspin of lies.”

    I am insulted because you are accusing me of lying when I am not.

    I don’t even know what question you think I’m avoiding the answer to at this point.

  425. #425 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, show me the citations from the non-biblical contemporary historical literature showing the existence of Jebus. You may be slow, but we are not. And again, your concern trolling is avoiding the answer. Which, in effect to any intelligent people, like most of those looking and posting at this blog, is very unconvincing.

  426. #426 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    AJ Milne agrees that the “Jesus never existed” view is a minority one. I don’t happen to hold it. Am I supposed to prove Jesus existed? I am not interested in doing so, nor is it possible. Is my statement that there is a consensus Jesus existed, taught, and was executed too strong. OK, I remember it from long ago and Wikipedia is not a great source, though usually not too bad on stating what the scholarly or scientific consensus on something is. I’m not interested in going and finding more evidence.

    What is it that make me a troll in your eyes? That I said something mildly positive about the latest Christian troll, whose arguments are a bit more interesting than those of the likes of Simon?

    Seriously, Nerd, what have I done that’s got you so riled?

  427. #427 Che-Taylor
    March 27, 2009

    Gosh maggie is a tool.

    You don’t know 0.0001% as much about the history and transmission of the New Testament as I do, unless you have an advanced degree in the subject. That is a fact. You don’t know the history of the period anywhere near as well as I do, unless you have an advanced degree in the subject. If you do, you *might* be able to make the argument that you know it as well as I do. But don’t count on it.

    This blog is read and commented on by many professors and otherwise educated people. You tossing around your superior ‘knowledge’ as fact makes you 100% tool and an arrogant one at that.

    It has been more than a century since any historian has seriously questioned the historicity of the New Testament. There is no longer any question that the New Testament is composed of 26 primary historical documents.

    Of course, chosen from many many that where out there by vote. Don’t leave that part out.

    No historian disputes that. Not one. There is only disagreement over how to weigh them. To dismiss them as fiction is pure ignorance and something more. Frankly I can’t deal with that. I cannot put in what God left out.

    The books exist, no ones dismisses them as fiction. The stories told within said real books is another story and for that their is no significant corroboration from outside sources. Again as has been asked by others pleae cite the outside sources. And don’t toss Josephus around either.

  428. #428 John Morales
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator,

    Can you seriously disagree that Maggie, unpleasant as she is, is a much more sophisticated writer than Simon, or Facilis, or that lot?

    You’re easily impressed. Nah, Simon aside, the others (silverfox, piltdown, rooke etc) also started off with orotund allusions and delusions of aplomb. When their assertions are fisked and their claims addressed, the flustering blustering starts.

    I seen ‘em come, I seen ‘em go, there’s some around now. Maggie is nothing special.

  429. #429 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    “Show me the citations from the non-biblical contemporary historical literature showing the existence of Jebus” — I never said there was any.

  430. #430 Wowbagger, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Nerd, seriously – stop lashing out. Invigilator’s making a valid point; history has generally been on the side of Jesus existing. But that isn’t to say that it will always be so.

    Anyway, despite my using the concept of Jesus-as-myth against Maggie and the other patrons of the Genre Defence Christian Café, I tend toward the ‘Jesus-existed-but-as-a-person’ hypothesis; he doesn’t need to have no existed for him not to be Messiah – common sense and the obvious non-existence of magic tell me that.

    But, that’s not to say that anything actually written about him happened, miraculous or otherwise. Prior to the supposed crucifixion he might have been ousted by factional infighting (I dare any religidiot to deny that as a possibility) and buggered off never to be seen or heard from again. He could have settled down, married that nice (despite what her detractors said about her) Mary Magdalene, gotten back into the carpentry business and raised a few kids.

    The poor schmuck nailed to the cross (what’s that about a loving god?) could have been anybody – or nobody, for that matter.

    My point is, were my story to be revealed as undisputed truth (don’t ask me how), the Maggies of the world would be applying the Genre Defence to the NT quicker than you can say ‘moving the goalposts’.

  431. #431 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, your tone trolling is becoming tiresome. Jebus never existed until you show proof positive otherwise from legitimate sources outside of the bible. That is all I have asked for. And all that you have repeatedly avoided. General consensus is irrelevant. Cite the literature. If that doesn’t tell the readers and posters anything about you, they have their minds shut.

  432. #432 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    I have to admit that going back and looking at couple of Maggie’s posts again, she may have a more thoroughgoing knowledge of theology and Biblical exegesis than most of the Christian commenters here, but she does was overstate her case and her authority. I’m still amazed that Nerd jumped on me as if I were a hateful Christian troll as well.

  433. #433 JimC
    March 27, 2009

    Where are the hundreds of witnesses who have seen him (or the FSM) at the same time?

    Where are the hundreds of witnesses who support your case? Since it is important there should be an extensive listor do we just take it on faith?

    The quality is amazingly high in comparison to what we have for most of ancient history. I have no quarrel with people who weigh the evidence carefully and don’t find it sufficient.

    This is so blazingly stupid that I think it’s best to end the discussion with maggie. We have no writings of Jesus, no extra sources about him past whats in the gospels, no record of eyewitnesses past superficial mentions and you claim this is more than what we have for most others. Puh-leez. She is simply a troll and not a very honest one.

    The only thing you have gotten correct is that a majority of scholars think there is a prima fascia case that Jesus existed. I don’t think anyone ever questionedsuch a basic idea. Whether they are correct or not is a valid question. Otherwise you’ve typed alot and said virtually nothing in support of your claims. A waste of everyone’s time. Amusing though.

  434. #434 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    I never said there was any.

    Why didn’t you say that five posts ago? Acknowledging no evidence is not a sin. It is the truth. But then all claims of historical support for Jebus must stop.

  435. #435 Leigh Williams
    March 27, 2009

    A few thoughts before they fly out of my poor drug- and martini-addled mind, although I haven’t finished catching up on the thread.

    Walton, Carlie, Diane, and others who engaged so substantively on the abortion issue: Brava(o)! Walton, I find myself in considerable agreement with you. Dianne, I am in complete agreement with YOU, as my comments on “The fertilized egg is not a human life” thread will attest.

    Maggie, Good Show. Really. We read the Bible the same way, although we reach somewhat different conclusions. It’s Story. Plus, it takes considerable guts to face this crowd, dearly though I love them. Kindness is not their first virtue, bless their hearts . . . intellectual rigor is. But your presence has provided much of value and enjoyment here. BTW, I have archived your comment #361 for future study.

    Others who refuted her posts, also Good Show. It’s very healthy for us Christians to be called on bullshit and challenged. Rigor is a good thing, indeed.

    Bill Dauphin, thanks for your clear focus on the anti-sexual bias in contemporary life. As the mother of three young women and one young man, I can only hope I’m instilling the same healthy attitude towards sex that you embody.

  436. #436 Invigilator
    March 27, 2009

    Nerd — I am not trying to prove Jesus existed. I said that was the consensus and that I thought it was the most parsimonious explanation. That is all I said. why are you demanding I “prove” something I never asserted? And you are the one making the absolute statement now, that “Jebus never existed.” I think he did. I am not making and supernatural claims for him whatever. I think there was some guy — in an age of religious and political ferment, with prophets of all sorts wandering around — who was the basis of the bible stories and a new religion, that’s all. I certainly don’t claim it’s a fact, just the most likely explanation. So why the anger?

  437. #437 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    what bothers me most in these conversations is the fact that people still think if the whole deal in the “you have to disprove Jesus existence” mode. when what we should be thinking is whether the evidence is enough to prove it. and the evidence says that by 100CE, the Christ narrative was well established. that’s pretty much all we can say for positive evidence. what that narrative is based on is speculation, and I don’t feel like accepting the special pleading of “well, but he MUST have been real”.

    If you compare this for example to “Robin Hood”, the story became well established and written down similarly to the gospels, and there’s a handful of real-life, historically corroborated men who could have been the source of the story. and yet, we STILL don’t treat it as a fact that there was a real Robin Hood(tourist traps notwithstanding).

    why then do we jump to conclusions on Jesus, who has far less evidence?

  438. #438 John Morales
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk @440, indeed. I use King Arthur as my example, but yeah!

  439. #439 John Morales
    March 27, 2009

    Re: Nerd vs. Invigilator.

    Nerd, I think you’ve been unfairly harsh here.
    Invigilator’s main point is disputable (cf. my #431), but quite reasonable and only supports Maggie out of a sense of honesty. That’s only my opinion, of course.

  440. #440 Leigh Williams
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk and John Morales: Okay. But do you agree that the Robin Hood and King Arthur narratives are important cultural events, albeit within a relatively limited cultural mileau?

    What, then, of the Jesus narrative?

    I’m not arguing that an historical Jesus didn’t exist; I think he did. But whether or not he existed, the Story has been dramatically important in our civilization. What do you make of that?

    (I use “Story” as a shorthand for myths/narratives that attempt to deal with the nature of reality, the reasons things happen the way they do. Story is the way we reconstruct our experiences to provide a coherent view of the world.)

  441. #441 Jadehawk
    March 27, 2009

    Jadehawk and John Morales: Okay. But do you agree that the Robin Hood and King Arthur narratives are important cultural events, albeit within a relatively limited cultural mileau?

    What, then, of the Jesus narrative?

    of course the Jesus narratives are historically very important. the christian tradition is inextricably part of Western culture, and as such important to know and know about. I’m not dismissing the importance of the story to the history and development of our culture. I’m merely complaining about the jumping to conclusions about veracity.

  442. #442 John Morales
    March 27, 2009

    Leigh, my answers:
    do you agree that the Robin Hood and King Arthur narratives are important cultural events, albeit within a relatively limited cultural mileau?
    Yes.

    What, then, of the Jesus narrative? […]
    whether or not he existed, the Story has been dramatically important in our civilization. What do you make of that?

    I make it Jesus is equivalent to Mohammed, Siddh?rtha Gautama or any other founder of a major religion.
    Much of what we know about them is apocryphal, but, in the end, they were just people who served a seeds for the crystallisation of a religion.

  443. #443 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2009

    Invigilator, as a scientist, if I don’t have evidence acknowledging that fact early saves a lot of time, and also my reputation. Science is perforce an honest profession. It requires total honesty from its practitioners. It also means we scientists, probably wrongly, expect others to demonstrate the same level of honesty. You were later than you could have been coming to the table with the required honesty. Also, in science, everything is theoretically in doubt until secondary evidence is available to back up the claim, which is what I was asking for. Since there isn’t the required secondary evidence, the claim of historical Jebus is still very much in doubt.

  444. #444 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    PS And, of course, the ultimate treatment of the issue is Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

  445. #445 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    well, I kind of view Jesus and the Jesus narratives as equivalent to the narratives about Lao Tzu. we have no idea if either existed, but the narratives and cultural traditions that developed around those figures have shaped our world. however, claiming that they are real people who revealed the truth to the world… well that’s a completely different issue altogether.

  446. #446 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Jadehawk #447, that mirrors my thinking.

    John Morales #448, Whats a thread without a little Monty Python

  447. #447 Feynmaniac
    March 28, 2009

    Wowbagger, OM #418 FTW!

  448. #448 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    Wowbagger #418: Not kind, but uncomfortably accurate. John Shelby Spong, are your ears burning? Mine are.

    And yes, John, Brian resonates more than does Mel Gibson’s snuff porn (which I haven’t seen, by the way).

  449. #449 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Leigh William,

    Although you didn’t invite me to comment, I’m going to respond to your question anyway.

    But do you agree that the Robin Hood and King Arthur narratives are important cultural events, albeit within a relatively limited cultural mileau?

    But Christians go beyond the importance of the narratives to our culture; they consider that it’s indicative of a greater spiritual and metaphysical reality – and they make significant decisions about how they live their lives. And some of them – in the US especially – use the argument that it is reality to justify telling other how they should live their lives.

    Sure, we can learn important moral/ethical lessons from the stories about King Arthur and Robin Hood – but no-one’s suggesting that agreeing with some of the more esoteric concepts contained in those stories will make the difference between eternal paradise and eternal damnation.

  450. #450 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Leigh Williams – sorry!

  451. #451 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    Wowbagger, nor am I asserting that these stories will make the difference between eternal paradise and eternal damnation. What use paradise, if discussions like this are no part of it?

    But Christians go beyond the importance of the narratives to our culture; they consider that it’s indicative of a greater spiritual and metaphysical reality – and they make significant decisions about how they live their lives.

    This is a problem how, exactly? Is it that our business?

    And some of them – in the US especially – use the argument that it is reality to justify telling other how they should live their lives.

    Ah, there’s the rub. But I’ve no dog in this fight. In fact, I’m in agreement with you here. See post #469 on thread The heathen are raging again.

  452. #452 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Wowbagger is on the mark on this one, it being important to our culture has no basis on the truth behind it. To keep it as an important narrative is very different from how the book is used now – even in the God Delusion Dawkins talked about the books importance. But when people take that book as a conversation with God, when they take it as some insightful truth, that’s where such an argument breaks down. People argue for a legitimacy in one respect then use it in another. Kind of like how people argue that bit torrent should be legal for downloading Linux distros then grab the latest movies.

  453. #453 CJP
    March 28, 2009

    Reading on the iPhone(so awesome, sorry to gloat). More soon.

  454. #454 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    Wowbagger, you’re always welcome to respond to me.

    Kel, I’m no sure I’m understanding your bittorrent analogy. I think religious notions should be purely private and people have no business thrusting them into the public sphere. Does that more or less agree with where you were going?

  455. #455 CJO
    March 28, 2009

    I will not gloat about fat fingering my handle. Blame it on chimp cooties.

  456. #456 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    CJO, are your fingers twitchy because of that touchscreen, or are you slightly tiddly?

    It’s the latter for me. Observe how I morph into a Scottish Lassie:

    I’m no sure I’m understanding your bittorrent analogy.

  457. #457 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    Leigh,

    [Wowbagger] But Christians go beyond the importance of the narratives to our culture; they consider that it’s indicative of a greater spiritual and metaphysical reality – and they make significant decisions about how they live their lives.

    This is a problem how, exactly? Is it that our business?

    (Sorry, can’t resist jumping in).
    It is used to rationalise, and hence to justify and legitimise otherwise unconscionable policies and actions – e.g. human sacrifice. Historically, the Inquisition, the Divine Right of Kings and the conquest of and attempted cultural genocide perpetrated against Aboriginal Peoples worldwide during the age of colonisation were all justified by appealing to this certitude.

    It is our business because it affects our lives.

    I know you know it does, you’re a Pharyngula regular ;)

  458. #458 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Kel, I’m no sure I’m understanding your bittorrent analogy. I think religious notions should be purely private and people have no business thrusting them into the public sphere. Does that more or less agree with where you were going?

    It was partly a joke. But really it’s one of those things where anyone searches for a legitimate reason for using it, then uses it for different purposes. Like arguing that the narrative is important then take it as a narrative of God. Not going to disagree at all that it’s an important book in western civilisation’s folklore.

    But I really don’t see where you are going from there to using it as a book to guide worship. That fact of it’s cultural importance in history stands as a fact on it’s own. Maybe I’ve misread earlier up the thread.

  459. #459 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Leigh Williams,

    I guess what I’m asking is that, why does Jesus need to be of divine origin for what he said to be right?

    I’m not a Christian and never have been, and the majority of analysis of it (and other religions) I’ve encountered has been on this site over the last year or so; as a result I can be honest when I say I don’t really understand how one ‘does’ Christianity – but I don’t meant that to be insulting.

    What I see is that Jesus (if he existed and is responsible for disseminating the wisdom attributed to him) was simply expressing the philosophical viewpoints of a subgroup of people around at the time – the ‘Hippies’ of their day. In a way what he had to say was profound – but not so much so that it’s impossible to have originated from humans themselves.

    So, the lack of necessity for divinity to account for his forward-thinking wisdom, combined with contemporary attitudes toward the likelihood of him having performed the miracles he’s said to have performed (i.e. he didn’t, because we know magic doesn’t exist), and you’re left with a man who talked about truth – rather than a God who talked about Truth.

    The principles Christianity espouses should be accepted or rejected on their merit – not accepted carte blanche because a some people believe they came from God.

  460. #460 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    Yes, Wowbagger, Jesus was very radical. Pick an issue . . . women’s rights, poverty, religious hypocrisy, classism, “purity” . . . and he was as liberal as any left-winger you can find today.

    I guess what I’m asking is that, why does Jesus need to be of divine origin for what he said to be right?

    And I’m going to reply with a real case of in vino, veritas — he doesn’t.

    And frankly, I don’t much care whether he was uniquely divine or not. My take on his story is that we’re all divine children of God.

    And I fully agree that the principles of Christianity . . . leaving aside the very imperfect way hey are modelled by individual Christians . . . should be accepted or reject on their own merits.

    I think a good case can be made that the story of Jesus’s life and actions serves as an object lesson for all of us who call ourselves liberals, and by that, I mean us classic bleeding-heart, human-rights-for-everyone liberals.

  461. #461 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    John: “It is used to rationalise, and hence to justify and legitimise otherwise unconscionable policies and actions – e.g. human sacrifice.”

    Well, yes, but I did draw a distinction between “how they live THEIR lives” and the kind of public-policy meddling Wowbagger described this way:

    And some of them – in the US especially – use the argument that it is reality to justify telling other how they should live their lives.

    Just to be absolutely clear about it, this is my position:

    I don’t give a good goddamn how people construct their interior realities, nor about the way they furnish the insides of their heads with gods, pixies, fairies, or other fanciful creatures. I may think they’re silly, but as long as they’re not hurting anybody, it’s not my affair. (Yes, I do realize that sometimes they hurt other people. That, however, is a matter of public policy.)

    What I care about is ensuring that, in the public sphere, we stick to evidence-based reasoning. That caveat, by definition, keeps the gods, pixies, and fairies OUT of the discussion.

    In the public sphere, I don’t give a crap what the Bible says, however much I may read it privately or however dear to my heart certain passages are. IT’S NOT EVIDENCE. We have no business dragging it or any other specimen of “sacred writings” into public discourse.

  462. #462 jasonk
    March 28, 2009

    Yes, Wowbagger, Jesus was very radical. Pick an issue . . . women’s rights, poverty, religious hypocrisy, classism, “purity” . . . and he was as liberal as any left-winger you can find today.

    He had nothing bad to say about the widespread slavery that surrounded him. He used slavery as a rhetorical device in Luke 12 and 17 to speak approvingly about Christian obedience to God, and these times would have been a great opportunity to say “but real slavery is wrong” and he never did. The reasonable conclusion is that he approved of slavery.

  463. #463 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Leigh Williams,

    I guess my problem isn’t with Christianity, since a great proportion of what it espouses are principles I myself live by (to a greater or lesser extent).

    What I seem to be annoyed by is the means by which Christians justify their faith – I can’t begin to imagine how one can be intellectually content to believe what you believe. And people like Maggie irk me because they’ve decided to dress up their unsupported faith-concepts in pseudo-intellectual clothes.

    It’s putting the cart before the horse. Fine, they believe what they believe. They didn’t come to believe it because they read the bible critically and spotted the different genres and knew which to take literally and which to not; the believe because they were raised Christians just like any semi-literate fundie in the backwaters of some shithole in the bible belt.

    That one of their ilk happened upon the idea of stealing from literary criticism as a new and exciting branch of apologetics doesn’t change that.

    People believing in God and Jesus is fine; it doesn’t affect me in the slightest. But to try and justify it beyond ‘it’s how I feel; I can’t explain it any better than that’ requires me to ask difficult questions.

  464. #464 Tulse
    March 28, 2009

    Jesus […] was simply expressing the philosophical viewpoints of a subgroup of people around at the time – the ‘Hippies’ of their day.

    What a great idea for a musical!

    Also, as a reminder, this issue started when Maggie said that “Jesus proved his claims”. There is a real debate to be held about how likely it was that he actually existed, and how much biographical information we supposedly have is actually true, but as others have suggested none of that is relevant to the theological claims. Jim Jones‘ life is extremely well-documented, but the beliefs he preached were false. We know a lot of facts about Marshall Applewhite, but it turns out he was incorrect about the nature of Comet Hale-Bopp.

    A religion is pretty lame when it has difficulty just proving its founder existed.

  465. #465 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    Well, of course we’re self-identified Christians because we were raised that way. And if we were born in India we’d be . . . Sikhs. I kid; I once had a friend named Kindness Israel who had converted to Sikhism.

    But isn’t it odd that you and I have so much in common, philosophically? Hmmm . . . maybe I’m not so much a self-identified Christian as I am a self identified-Christian.

    Almost all people who feel an urge towards theism for whatever reason clothe their urge in the religious language they’re familiar with.

    Not always, of course. After finally feeling the pull towards God in my early thirties, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a Baha’i. It’s far more attractive, philosophically, than Christianity in many ways. At least it’s more “modern”.

    I gave it up as a bad job. Good lord, in my tiny East Texas town I’d have had a full-time job just explaining that it’s a religion. Most of those folks had never heard of Islam before 9/11, much less an offshoot from it.

    Using the religious context of your own culture is the default mode. It requires a huge amount of effort just to learn the new church-talk when you convert. Meh, why bother?

    Not to mention the inevitable estrangement from your family.

    Look, I love Bible study and the historical-critical method. Hell, I majored in English; what can you expect? But I believe because I have personal reasons for faith into which I needn’t take you. It’s really just that simple.

    No doubt I’m doing a piss-poor job of the Great Commission, but honestly, I don’t CARE if you become a Christian. I don’t think you should or shouldn’t.

    I don’t think it matters one jot in the long run. In your belief system, we both just die and that’s that. In my belief system, we continue this argument for a portion of eternity, after which we wind it up and go create a new galaxy together or something. Either way, my identification as a Christian and yours as an atheist are moot.

  466. #466 Leigh Williams
    March 28, 2009

    “The reasonable conclusion is that he approved of slavery.”

    Apparently he did, at least for himself. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”

    But I’m descending into snide apologetics, which I usually resist doing.

    It was a good point, jasonk.

  467. #467 jasonk
    March 28, 2009

    In the public sphere, I don’t give a crap what the Bible says, however much I may read it privately or however dear to my heart certain passages are. IT’S NOT EVIDENCE. We have no business dragging it or any other specimen of “sacred writings” into public discourse.

    Presumably this would also render inadmissible, as an argument against legal abortion, “Humans are not allowed to decide to murder. God alone has the power of life and death in all circumstances.”

  468. #468 windy
    March 28, 2009

    Strangely enough, it was Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” that really convinced me Jesus existed. Bulgakov’s imagining of the confused, barely sane, and still somehow likable Yeshua just clicked with me somehow.

    It’s a great book, but I don’t understand: why should it convince you that the historical Jesus existed?

    I don’t think Robin of Sherwood should convince me of the existence of a historical Robin Hood, even if he “would be so much cooler that way” as Calvin put it.

  469. #469 Bob Evans-aka Metsguy
    March 28, 2009

    CJO @ #270 said: “Going back further, Paul has no conception of a narrative in the legendary style of the gospels, contenting himself with the credal formula “according to the scriptures.” (1 Cor 15)

    Quick quiz for the Christians:
    What “scriptures” is Paul talking about, and what does that imply for “reading the OT in the light of Christ”?

    Paul has more than an ample “conception” of the “narrative in the legendary style of the gospels,” to use your words, CJO, as we’ll soon see.

    First, though, a little backround regarding Paul’s Christology.

    Upon exploration of the scriptures, one finds that Jesus is at the very center of nearly all of Paul’s utterances (“exalted above every name”) Paul makes Jesus the purpose of his every waking endeavor. He finds sustainance and passion in invoking the name of Jesus at every opportunity…”The Christ who gave himself up for me” (Galations 2:20). He proclaimed Jesus as “Lord”, alive and literally present always, among those willing to know him and love him (“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”). (Matthew 18:20) These words of Jesus were certainly not lost on Paul.

    As for your question:

    What Paul expresses in 1 Corintheans 15:3-7 (“In accordance with the scriptures”) relevent to Jesus’ death for our sins (confirmed by his burial) and also, his resurrection (confirmed by his appearances) is presented by Paul explicitly as fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. This finds concordance in Matthew 16:1, Luke 24:25-27 and Luke 24:32-46. Paul is well aware that fulfillment in the OT is found in Psalms 2:7, and Psalms 16:8-11. With regard to the specific mention in 1 Corintheans 15, of Jesus’ resurrection, concordance is found verbatim in the 2nd of the Psalms verses above, proving that Paul was referring precisely to that prophesy.

    Concordance is found also in Acts 2:27-31 and Acts 13:29-39 which, in turn, reverts for fulfillment to Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53:12 and also, very clearly, to Hosea 6:2-3.

    1 Corintheans 15:21-22 finds concordance in Romans 5:12-21.

    1 Corinthians 15:25-28 reverts to Psalm 110:1-7 with regard to “fulfillment” of prophesy relative to Jesus’ final relations to his enemies and to his Father.

    Paul is telling us in these verses that we are the beneficiaries of all that has transpired pertinent to Jesus’ death, and resurrection.

  470. #470 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    Lots of interesting comments– a few stand out:

    …Plus, it takes considerable guts to face this crowd, dearly though I love them. Kindness is not their first virtue, bless their hearts . . . intellectual rigor is.

    Intellectual rigor is not evident here. Is it in other threads? In fact, I have never seen so much vulgarity and belligerent nonsense spewed in my life. It could be mere ignorance of literature and history coupled with fatuous self approbation, I suppose. But an ignorant mob is still a mob. And still ignorant.

    Lets see. Well, Wowie replies to a sarcastic reference to his idiotic “genre defence” mantra with a long pointless diatribe about what “cafeteria Christians” will do when, when … well, when what? Do you suppose that anything will be said or proved after 2000 years of failure to debunk Christianity?

    But, as posters here have illustrated, historians – and the public in general, are now becoming more circumspect about the NT, and the historicity of Jesus’ existence.

    No, they aren’t becoming more “circumspect”. The issue is settled. In the absence of sufficient documentary evidence being unearthed say, Herod’s archives, it is over. Jesus existed. No one cares what nuts and atheists say about the matter.

    Then there is this from the aptly named Nerd to prove the point for all time:

    Invigilator, I am a scientist, for 30+ years. Science is put up or shut up. Either I present the proper evidence to support my claims, or I never make them. I’m still waiting for your evidence, and Wiki won’t cut the mustard. Put up or shut up. If you can’t do either, we have you pinned down….

    This is intellectual rigor? This is foaming at the mouth anger coupled with a lack of social skills and ignorance of the scholarly process.

    Then there is this from the same Nerd, who appears to have trouble recognizing reality, as well as anger management problems:

    Science is perforce an honest profession. It requires total honesty from its practitioners. It also means we scientists, probably wrongly, expect others to demonstrate the same level of honesty. (rest of the nonsense cut)

    When I stopped laughing, I googled “scientific fraud” just to make sure that I wasn’t misremembering anything. Get a clue– Nerd. It is the process that is honest (or as honest as it is possible to be). Not individual scientists. They are as human and biased as anyone else. It is the peer review process that weeds bias out. Even that doesn’t always work well but it is the best we have. The truth usually comes out eventually. It works that way in the discipline of history, too.

    Well, I won’t say it has been fun. It hasn’t. I am always disheartened and angered by deliberate ignorance and the refusal to engage with different viewpoints honestly. It is a good thing to have a point of view and to defend it honestly and intelligently. Most of you have not done so here.

  471. #471 Josh
    March 28, 2009

    In fact, I have never seen so much vulgarity and belligerent nonsense spewed in my life.

    You do realize that the amount of vulgarity in a collection of statements is not inversely proportional to its intellectual content, right?

  472. #472 Feynmaniac
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie,

    Intellectual rigor is not evident here. Is it in other threads? In fact, I have never seen so much vulgarity and belligerent nonsense spewed in my life.

    Vulgarity and belligerence are orthogonal to intellectual rigor. The use of curse words does not invalidate a person’s reasoning.

    Get a clue– Nerd. It is the process that is honest (or as honest as it is possible to be). Not individual scientists.

    I don’t think Nerd was saying individual scientist are honest all the time. In order for science to succeed scientist must be honest with their work and reasoning. When they don’t the field suffers.

    It is a good thing to have a point of view and to defend it honestly and intelligently. Most of you have not done so here.

    Since you believe in the New Testament please take a look at Matthew 7:1-5:

    1″Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    3″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  473. #473 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    I am always disheartened and angered by deliberate ignorance and the refusal to engage with different viewpoints honestly.

    And another irony meter explodes… do you even read what you have posted? Go back and look through what you’ve done. People challenged you on your view that a loving God has the right to kill his creation, and you responded by claiming that we are exhausting all the atheists arguments and mocking modern atheism. The focus was on how you view God, nothing more and nothing less. You deflected any criticism of the view of the God from the old testament by claiming that you shouldn’t take it literally, then at the same time advocating the story of original sin. Why can’t we look at the allegorical context too? That’s right, because your Christian so in the last 2000 years of scholarship only you are the one with the right interpretation…

    Hypocritical maroon!

  474. #474 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maudlin Maggie wrote:

    Lets see. Well, Wowie replies to a sarcastic reference to his idiotic “genre defence” mantra with a long pointless diatribe about what “cafeteria Christians” will do when, when … well, when what? Do you suppose that anything will be said or proved after 2000 years of failure to debunk Christianity?

    Hmm, ‘long pointless diatribe’? Perhaps you weren’t reading it in the right genre – you fundamentalist you.

    Cut to: The Vatican, October 1517. The Cardinals and some friends are sitting around enjoying a nice glass of Madeira. ‘Oh, Monsignor’, says one, ‘surely you’re wrong about this Luther fellow – do you really suppose that anything will be said or done after 1500 years of failure to dispute how Catholicism teaches religion?’

    Cut to: England, November 1859; religious creationist types are discussing the intricacies of the construction of Noah’s Ark – methods of dung disposal, portholes for the giraffes; that sort of thing – when someone comes in with a telegram and reads it aloud: ‘Charles Darwin publishes ‘On the Origin Of Species etc, stop. Implies God did not create all the creatures of the earth, stop. Please advise of course of action, stop.’

    Laughter ensues. One of them, after wiping the tears from his face, says, ‘Seriously – do you suppose that anything will be said or proved after 1850 years of years of failure to debunk creationism, a key element of Christian belief?’

    Another nods his head in agreement – but notices, out of the corner of his eye, a building being erected down the street. ‘Say, chaps,’ he asks, ‘Does anyone know what a… a cafeteria is?’

    Well, I won’t say it has been fun.

    Oh, that’s a shame – I’ve had an absolute ball. Do come back and visit us again, won’t you? I’d love a chai latte from the cafeteria.

  475. #475 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    It is a good thing to have a point of view and to defend it honestly and intelligently. Most of you have not done so here.

    Maggie wrote earlier:
    “Well, the comments here (those I have read) are as dumb as always.”
    “You better take a look at reality– God is in control. He gives life and he takes it away. You can shake your puny, impotent fist in his face, if you like. But it is futile.”
    “I did not deny that God gives life and takes it. I denied (actually, found ridiculous) your claim that he is a vile monster-god. That is worthy only of a particularly stupid 14 year old.”
    “It is incomprehensible to me that adults (as some of you must be) are so incapable of rational thought. You spew like ignorant teenagers who, at least, have some excuse– they have neither education nor life experience to inform their beliefs.”
    “I don’t agree with your thoughtless, ugly messages and the original post and am saying so.”
    “You do not give life and you have no right to take it. God never, ever commands anyone to murder. Remember that pesky commandment about murder? And please don’t trot out the Old Testament. I have no patience with fundamentalists.”
    “Of course, I believe in original sin. That is the point of the story of Adam and Eve. Stories have always conveyed truth– they do down to the present day.”
    “This is the sort of stupid remark that makes it impossible for me to take atheists seriously. Nietsche must be turning over in his grave to see what “atheism” has degenerated into.

    I’ll take hypocrite for $1000

  476. #476 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie

    Jesus existed.

    Then why can’t you cite contemporary evidence?

    The truth usually comes out eventually. It works that way in the discipline of history, too.

    Yes, the truth at the moment is Jebus is a mythical character. Show me otherwise. Where is your honesty?

  477. #477 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    I am always disheartened and angered by deliberate ignorance and the refusal to engage with different viewpoints honestly.

    Does anyone else picture Maggie as a small child, red in the face and stamping her feet, screaming at the top of her lungs because she won’t get her own way?

  478. #478 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    I am always disheartened and angered by deliberate ignorance and the refusal to engage with different viewpoints honestly.

    You must live with total self-loathing then. Do you honestly believe that each and every single historian accepts that Jesus was a historical figure? Then you sneer at Wowbagger’s “genre defence” by showing that you don’t have a clue about what he was referring to.

    Maggie, you suffer from the problem that you’re a little bit smarter and somewhat more educated than most people you run across. So you think that you’re a lot smarter and much more educated than everyone else. While you’re somewhat brighter and more glib than the usual run of godbots who drop in to enlighten the heathen, you’re not actually smarter or more educated than most of the regulars here.

  479. #479 strange gods before me
    March 28, 2009

    At the same time, while I don’t like the ratio of Roe, I do think, on reflection, that the same decision could, and should, have been reached on other grounds.

    This is a confession that you haven’t actually read Roe.

    Of course, while my interpretation would achieve many results of which you would approve … it would also render most coercive government welfare and entitlement programmes unconstitutional.

    A confession that you haven’t actually read the Constitution. I agree with your stated opinions about the Ninth Amendment, and your inferences about the Tenth. But tax-and-spend librulism is perfectly constitutional; see the Sixteenth Amendment and Article I Section 8’s authorization to “provide for the general Welfare”. You can keep your philosophies, but you’d need an amendment to take this power away from the Congress, and it’s weapons-grade kool-aid to call it unconstitutional as it stands today.

    Nice try at derailing another thread toward your jack-off fantasies. Women’s reproductive rights aren’t nearly as important as Walton’s libertarianism!

    Conservatives applaud the courts for upholding the right to bear arms, but decry them when they uphold the right to sexual freedom or freedom from religion; liberals take exactly the reverse position.

    One of these days you’ll have to stop lying about liberals and the Second Amendment. But I’ll let it slide today.

    Yes. But the trouble with that view is that it then gives the Supreme Court – a very small group of fallible human beings – absolute power to decide on the correct view of “constitutional rights” for our generation.

    And yet this is what the Constitution provides. You say this derisively as though there were another option available, as though we could do away with fallible interpretation. Still searching for your lost god, Walton? Have you tried stapling signs to telephone poles?

    I am not an obsessive localist and anti-federalist, as you seem to believe. The ideal is for as much power as possible to be returned to individual people;

    And therefore Roe should be overturned so that red states can oppress individual women? Makes no sense. Oh wait, I get it, women aren’t people.

    Carlie makes a good point:

    I trust women; I am sure that the number who would decide to undergo a dangerous, expensive, painful medical procedure at the end of a pregnancy just for yuks is zero.

    Well there’s the difference between you and Walton. Walton is sure that there are slutty sluts out there who like to have late term abortions for fun. That’s why he likes to bring this up over and over and over again. And that’s why he believes late term abortions need to be banned; if there weren’t slutty sluts out there killing babies for fun, there would be no need for such a law. His desire for such a law presumes the existence of such a problem.

    See, Walton Misogynist? You’re inevitably digging your own sexist hole, because your tools are sexist premises. Let’s see where how deep they get you:

    We do not give parents carte blanche to use and abuse their children however they wish; nor should we. They are wards, but not property.

    Depends. Are the children living inside a woman’s body against her will, giving her autoimmune disorders that will shorten her lifespan? When you conveniently forget the woman’s life, you’re being a misogynist.

    Would you say that a foetus is worthy of less protection than a cat?

    Depends. Is the cat living inside a woman’s body against her will, and will it tear up her reproductive tract on the way out? When you conveniently forget the woman’s body, you’re being a misogynist.

    Or the owner of a listed historic building. … Would you say that a foetus is worthy of less protection than a building?

    Depends. Was the building constructed inside a woman’s body against her will, leeching minerals from her bones and making them brittle? When you conveniently forget the woman’s health, you’re being a misogynist.

    knowing that the possibility of abortion is open to her, chooses to carry the foetus up until the end of the second trimester, she has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the life of that foetus, and is therefore obliged to support it with her body.

    In other words by choosing to carry the pregnancy, she has surrendered her body to the ownership of the state. Funny how one normal course of a woman’s life automatically makes her incompetent to own her own body.

    Or, similarly, to use your own analogy: if I were to enter into a legally valid contractual arrangement to donate my organs after my death,

    This is you using state coercion to force all pregnant women into contracts against their will. See how surprised I am.

    In any case, I think we’re arguing a relatively minor detail here; since abortions in the third trimester are (as you’ve repeatedly pointed out) extremely rare,

    You admit that you know these procedures do not happen except for medical reasons, and so you admit that there is no actual need for the law. And you do not dispute that the law kills women in borderline cases when medical necessity cannot be proven.

    Think you aren’t a misogynist, Walton? Wrong. You approve of killing women.

    You are a misogynist, because you have seen the stats demonstrating that abortion restrictions do not lower the number of abortions but do raise the number of women’s deaths, and you’ve decided that those women’s lives are less important than your own self-righteousness. Because the statistics demonstrate we aren’t talking about more fetal lives being saved, so the only thing being saved here is your own self-righteousness.

    Dianne raises another good point:

    3. I’m not sure what whether the fetus was conceived by rape or not has to do with anything.

    It has to do with whether or not the woman is a slut, and that’s important to Walton Misogynist. The introduction of rape as a mitigating factor is an admission that the fetus has no right to life, because if it did have such a right, it could not be faulted for its own origin.

  480. #480 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    I am always disheartened and angered by deliberate ignorance and the refusal to engage with different viewpoints honestly.

    You must live with total self-loathing then. Do you honestly believe that each and every single historian accepts that Jesus was a historical figure? Then you sneer at Wowbagger’s “genre defence” by showing that you don’t have a clue about what he was referring to.

    Maggie, you suffer from the problem that you’re a little bit smarter and somewhat more educated than most people you run across. So you think that you’re a lot smarter and much more educated than everyone else. While you’re somewhat brighter and more glib than the usual run of godbots who drop in to enlighten the heathen, you’re not actually smarter or more educated than most of the regulars here.

  481. #481 strange gods before me
    March 28, 2009

    But “abortion should be restricted on the basis of how closely you fit the opinion-holder?s view of a good woman.” So Walton Misogynist needs to sniff the patient’s panties, compile a dossier on her sexual history, and listen to her explain why abortion is really and truly abhorrent but she needs it please just this once, while she cries real tears of heaving remorse for not reverently dealing with the natural consequences of her sluttery. She’s betrayed her mothering instinct, and so she should get what’s coming to her, unless she does penance.

    See, Walton admits that his purpose is slut-shaming. If sex-having women would just admit that they are sinful and untrustworthy, then maybe there could be some compromise:

    I can understand the validity of pro-choice arguments; but I find it disgusting that anyone would treat it lightly, or would assert blithely that “there is nothing wrong with abortion”. It is, at best, a necessary evil. … I find it abhorrent that some of you treat it as merely an issue of “women’s reproductive rights”, as if the foetus were no different from, say, a cancerous tumour, and its life were of no consequence compared to that of the woman.

  482. #482 wriggles
    March 28, 2009

    not only is their god an abortionist….

    God as an abortionist is for me, more about the amount of pregnancies that end in miscarriage, (ironically?) called -spontaneous abortion. He of course takes it right up to the wire.

    I don’t understand why even if god does exist, they assume he necessarily sides with ‘pro-lifers’. Dog seems a lot less ‘pro-life’ than them, which means they are critiquing his morality.

    Maybe that’s why he’s permitted the flattening of a few houses of worship, accidentally, on purpose.

  483. #483 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Actually, change that from hypocrite to “oblivious hypocrite”, then after that I’ll take “Dunning-Kruger” for $800. Look, it’s the daily double. I’ll put down $2500 and answer it “Who is maggie?” Don’t care what the question is, it’s bound to be right with the display here.

    What an oblivious twit!

  484. #484 strange gods before me
    March 28, 2009

    If the compromise were that Walton Misogynist would never ever again make the poisonous Argument From 8.5 Month Abortions For Fun, it might almost be worth it. Liar that he is, he persists in this wankery, even though he was called out in October for the consequences of his lies:

    Pleading that your opinion doesn’t really matter anyway, like a moral coward. Of course your opinion matters. You get on the internet and dissemble to disseminate your views, on the highest-traffic blog on a highly-accessed server. You lie. Your lies spread. And they hurt women around the world.

    You lie about the politics of it, too. Your Wikipedia says “A more recent survey shows support for restricting abortion laws in the UK, and is cited by the Catholic Church in England and Wales as evidence of a growing unease with abortion. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jan/29/health.publicservices ” So there’s a growing anti-choice movement in the UK, and if you were a decent person who cared about women’s lives and health, you’d be speaking up for them. But you aren’t.

  485. #485 castletonsnob
    March 28, 2009

    I do sympathise with having to address multiple questions simultaneously, but let’s grant for the moment that Jesus existed.

    You believe, however, that Jesus died. This would make him human, because God can’t die, and it is impossible to be God and human at the same time.

    How do you address this contradiction?

  486. #486 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    Sorry about the double post. After I refreshed the page twice and didn’t see my post, I assumed it had gone to Never-Never Land and reposted.

  487. #487 strange gods before me
    March 28, 2009

    He lied again in January, and again and again that:

    I live in the UK, where there are no current plans to change abortion laws. Therefore, unless you’re British (which I doubt) or planning on moving to the UK, there is absolutely no way in hell that my personal opinion can have any effect on your “right to choose”.

    He knows there is a growing movement to restrict abortion in the UK, and he lies about it. We may conclude from his dissemblance that he secretly hopes it succeeds.

    He absolutely will not take responsibility for his actions on this subject. He believes that advocating his hateful, capitalist-violence-worshiping, far-right libertarianism can spread those abhorrent ideas and make the world incrementally more free for worthy rich people. But he will not admit that by peddling 8.5 month bullshit for the anti-choice lie machine, he can make the world less free for women. There’s no difference, ideas matter, words matter, save that for Walton Misogynist rich people matter but women do not.

    Hopefully this doesn’t sound condescending, but I’ll throw in with the others who have noted your discourse getting much more sophisticated in the last few months.

    Notice that his views haven’t actually changed in a long time, since June or earlier. He merely asserts that they have gotten more humane, adds a rhetorical flourish, and then everyone pats him on the back for it. He’s still the exact same lying Walton Misogynist. He’s just learning tricks to cover it up and win favor. If anything this makes him a more deadly threat to society. He’s practicing to be a Tory politician.

  488. #488 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    strange gods before me,

    Like many libertarians, Walton doesn’t live in the same world as the rest of us. Everything encounters an ideological filter. If some topic meets his ideology then it’s ipso facto good and everyone should embrace it. If it fails the ideological test, then it’s automatically bad and should be discarded. Unfortunately facts and real life go through this filter as well. If a real life situation isn’t ideologically pure, then Walton disregards it.

  489. #489 strange gods before me
    March 28, 2009

    Premises before people. I know. It’s my foremost complaint about him, the greatest barrier to his own humanity.

  490. #490 Tulse
    March 28, 2009

    And thus Maggie flounces out, having only offered weak arguments for the bare existence of her religion’s founder, and having done nothing to defend her original assertion that he had “proved” his theological claims.

  491. #491 Walton
    March 28, 2009

    strange gods before me (or Grammar RWA, as I believe you previously called yourself):

    I have no idea why you have this vendetta against me. You twist everything I say into something I didn’t say, and certainly didn’t mean.

    As I believe I have made reasonably clear, I support elective abortion in the first and second trimesters. An embryo or an early-stage foetus is not a person; it’s a bundle of cells, and its rights (if any) do not trump the woman’s right to control her own body. If a woman becomes pregnant, by whatever means, and decides that she does not wish to continue the pregnancy, for whatever reason, she is completely within her rights to terminate it in the early stages of the pregnancy. Humanity, and the rights attaching thereto, does not begin at conception. How much clearer can I make this?

    This makes me, by the political standards of virtually every country, a pro-choicer. I do not support the introduction of any further restrictions on abortion, either in the US or UK. How much more pro-choice would you like me to be?

    The only reason I was disputing anything at all on this thread is because some people asserted that abortion, at any stage of the pregnancy, is an absolute and unqualified right. I was questioning that statement, and saying that – while abortion is a right – it is not an absolute and unqualified one. (Just as no other right recognised in law is absolute.) I realise – and have REPEATEDLY and explicitly acknowledged – that late term abortions are incredibly rare, are illegal in most countries and are normally only performed to save the life of the mother. So no, I do not see them as a major issue, or something which requires any additional legislation to prevent. Have I made this sufficiently clear?

    I realise that this is not consistent with views I have expressed in the past. But am I not allowed to change my mind? And are you going to keep dragging up offhand comments I made a million years ago and repeating them at length on every thread? I am not a politician; I am not responsible for anything or anyone except myself; and I have the right, as every other human being does, to change my opinion.

  492. #492 Walton
    March 28, 2009

    And therefore Roe should be overturned so that red states can oppress individual women? Makes no sense. Oh wait, I get it, women aren’t people.

    As I said, I no longer think so. I was and remain ambivalent about the constitutional propriety of Roe, and I can’t say for certain that, had I been on the Supreme Court in 1973, I would have come to the same conclusion. But I think, on consideration, that overturning the decision today would cause a lot of harm, and would achieve nothing positive.

    I believe in principle that liberty should be protected even against the overwhelming will of the majority; and, assuming that there is no compelling reason why the liberty to have an abortion should be restricted by the State, the liberty to do so should be constitutionally protected. We seem to agree on this. And as I said, I agree with the substantive policy outcome in Roe.

  493. #493 Walton
    March 28, 2009

    Italics tag error above at #495: the entirety of the first paragraph was a quote from Strange gods before me.

    (I never got into the habit of using blockquote, so things sometimes get confusing.)

  494. #494 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    Interesting – Maggie showed up once more to insult everyone again, but neglected to provide a single reference of those she was asked for. If they are indeed so numerous and she is such a biblical expert, it should be quite easy to rattle off a couple for us. Methinks Maggie is all smoke and mirrors.

  495. #495 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    And thus Maggie flounces out, having only offered weak arguments for the bare existence of her religion’s founder, and having done nothing to defend her original assertion that he had “proved” his theological claims.

    Is this some of that “intellectual rigor” at work? I would have supposed that “intellectual rigor” might require reading and understanding what has been said before commenting on it.

    I do not have to offer, and so have not offered, any defense of Christ’s existence. That battle is so 19th century. The Christians won.

    I also am at a loss to know what “theological claims” Jesus made. I suppose you mean that I said that Jesus proved he was God by rising from the dead. Indeed, if that is what you mean we are back to the point of every thing I have written.

    Christianity rests on a historical claim. As Paul said in Acts 17:31: ?For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.?

    This is what makes Christianity unique. It offers a historical event as proof. Other religions base their truth claims strictly on authority or on private, unverifiable revelations. Thus the debunkers try to cast doubt on the historicity of the Gospels, even going so far as trying to wish Jesus away. The attempt has failed.

    There is only one honest avenue open to you and I have already stated what it is: You weigh the evidence carefully and decide that it isn’t strong enough to convince you. You don’t make bogus claims that the New Testament is fictional or unreliable or whatever else you try. You don’t hold it to standards that no other historical text is held to, assuming that you know what they are. You don’t ignore the fact that we have few manuscripts of other ancient works– sometimes just one; sometimes just one incomplete manuscript yet it doesn’t bother you in the least, apparently, that we make claims based on them about what happened in the past.

    The earliest manuscript for Caesar’s Gallic Wars comes from the 10th century A.D. Yet no one in the Classics community will allow you to get away with claiming that it is fictional or so late as to be unreliable. Care to guess how old the oldest manuscript of any work by Aristotle is? I could multiply examples but the intellectual rigor here is such that you won’t extend it to actually investigating any of this for yourselves, so I will spare myself the trouble and flounce off.

  496. #496 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    you have a very fuzzy definition of “historical fact”. actually, you seem to be having fuzzy definition of most concepts you try to talk about

  497. #497 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    also: multiple copies of the same document != multiple documents.

    you really suck at this.

  498. #498 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    Good lord, Maggie. Another 408 words, and still not a single reference. Not one scrap of the extra-biblical evidence you claim we are all blatantly ignoring. We’re begging you for it, Maggie. Yet you can’t deliver.

  499. #499 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    That battle is so 19th century. The Christians won.

    Maggie, in case you haven’t noticed, this is the twenty-first century, with new criteria. Jebus is a myth until you show otherwise. We are still waiting for your evidence. Since you are loath to provide evidence for Jebus, lets drop back to physical evidence for your imaginary god. Some nice piece of evidence like a continually burning bush, or a recent signed letter from god where the signature is on fire, only going out when the paper is folded, but reigniting when reopened. And eternally burning. We are waiting for your evidence Maggie. Provide something other than inane and easily refuted testament.

  500. #500 Feynmaniac
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie,

    You don’t hold it to standards that no other historical text is held to, assuming that you know what they are.

    That’s right and when it comes to the Gospels you have incredibly low standards that you would never apply to any other text. If you did you would believe in the existence of Athena based on the Iliad, the existence of Vishnu from Bhagavad Gita or in Atlantis simply because Plato mentioned it.

  501. #501 Maggie
    March 28, 2009

    Carlie– go back and find the post in which I claimed that you were ignoring the extra-biblical evidence. You won’t find it. I wrote that you don’t know what it is and that I stand by. I have no intention of trying to reproduce it here. The shortest book on the subject I know– and meant for a popular, not a scholarly audience, is 218 pages long.

    If you go back even earlier, you will find that I stated plainly, at the outset, that the evidence resides in the 26 historical documents that comprise the New Testament. I said that their nearness to the events they describe and the thousands of partial ((5000+))and a handful of full manucripts produced in virtually every part of the Greco-Roman world allows us to establish the reliability of the text. These are things that would make scholars of other ancient periods die of joy, if they had the like.

    Now, unless you all can come up with something new and to the point, I will flounce off. Again.

  502. #502 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Now, unless you all can come up with something new and to the point, I will flounce off. Again.

    Your god doesn’t exist, and your bible is fiction. Prove me otherwise by citing legitimate sources. Your continued evasions tell us something about how you view the truth, and it isn’t very pretty.

  503. #503 Ken Cope
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie is a flouncer, so Jesus the historical figure could do real magic tricks that were really really for real magic that wasn’t even a trick, that real people actually wrote about real people writing about them, gosh, oh, decades later, so that makes it real history too, I bet!

    What other kind of evidence could anybody possibly need! Hurray! I’m going to go to heaven, where Jesus will fix me so I’ll no longer have to feel any compassion for the atheists frying in hell. Maybe I’ll be allowed to zap a few in a Cosmic Milgram Experiment.

  504. #504 castletonsnob
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie,

    While they may be based on a historical person and some historical events, the gospels are not eyewitness accounts–they are religious propaganda tailored for various audiences. Their main purpose is to promote a “spiritual” truth, not a historical one.

    And, as I commented earlier:

    I do sympathise with having to address multiple questions simultaneously, but let’s grant for the moment that Jesus existed.

    You believe, however, that Jesus died. This would make him human, because God can’t die, and it is impossible to be God and human at the same time.

    How do you address this contradiction?

  505. #505 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    I wrote that you don’t know what it is and that I stand by. I have no intention of trying to reproduce it here. The shortest book on the subject I know– and meant for a popular, not a scholarly audience, is 218 pages long.

    You don’t have to reproduce it, just cite it. Tell us what sources you’re using. If you really know your stuff, it is a trivial matter to tell us which books/articles/authors/authorities you have gotten your information from. If, as you say, we don’t know what it is, how are we supposed to find it and read it ourselves if such knowledgeable people such as yourself don’t tell us? Without it, we can justifiably assume that you’re making it up. You may not realize it, but you’re engaging in a time-honored technique of claiming there’s evidence but then refusing to show it.

    And you can’t use the Bible itself. That’s circular. It’s saying “I’m right because I say so”. Doesn’t wash. Extra-biblical references, please. You’ve claimed there are so many it’s impossible to doubt the historical truth of the Bible, now pony up.

  506. #506 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie, believe what you will. The only way to change our minds is with the physical evidence you run away from showing. Your testament is worthless without the proper citations, and that is all you provide.

  507. #507 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie, the bible claims the impossible. There are multiple actions attributed to Jesus that simply cannot happen. And for this we have 2nd hand eyewitness accounts made decades after the event? There are plenty of other holy men who have had the same claims made of them, yet all claims are nothing more than anecdotal. There may have been a historical Jesus, there may be a figure the legend is based on. But a historical Jesus is not a biblical Jesus. If all you have is 2nd hand eyewitness accounts decades after the fact, you do not have a historical document.

    Was Matthew an eyewitness account when it talked of Jesus’ birth? Was Luke? How come they reference events surrounding Jesus’ birth 10 years apart? Why is that even the greatest historical critic of King Herod made no mention of the massacre of the innocents? Even if the gospels were based on Jesus, there’s no way that most of these facts could be known by the writers. As a historical document, the bible fails. Hell, the town Nazareth where Jesus was supposed to have been born didn’t exist until the 3rd century CE.

    The bible fails the historical test and it fails hard!

  508. #508 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    I wrote that you don’t know what it is and that I stand by. I have no intention of trying to reproduce it here. The shortest book on the subject I know– and meant for a popular, not a scholarly audience, is 218 pages long.

    Believe it or not, there are many of us who have access to books. I have closed stack privileges at two college libraries and I know there are others with similar connections. So give us the name and author of this 218 page book, along with any others you feel appropriate.

  509. #509 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    What is the matter with you, Carlie? Is this deliberate lying about what I said or are you really so prejudiced that you can’t hear me? The exact word I used, talking about sources other than the New Testament was “paucity”. Is that the problem? you don’t know what the word means?

    And you can’t use the Bible itself. That’s circular. It’s saying “I’m right because I say so”. Doesn’t wash. Extra-biblical references, please. You’ve claimed there are so many it’s impossible to doubt the historical truth of the Bible, now pony up.

    The Bible is not one book. It is a compilation of many documents written in many different places by different authors at different times. There is no real historian on the planet who would dismiss them as primary historical documents. The only issue is how much credence one can give to them and that does not depend on your prejudices or the state of your digestion. It depends on applying the usual techniques historians bring to the study of ancient documents.

    Here is the bibliography you asked for.(It is only the tip of the iceberg and it only contains English sources.) I won’t bother to list more because the likelihood of any of you reading or even looking at any of these is non-existant. Nevertheless, these are among the most prominent and best scholars writing in English. Most are still writing. Books are distillations of scholarship aimed at a non-specialist audience. Heavy duty scholarship takes place in peer-reviewed and excruciatingly dull journals (as someone, an intellectually honest atheist (!) I admire, put it). If you know what an index is and have access to one, you can see what they have published in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Brown, Raymond. An introduction to the New Testament. New York, Doubleday, 1997.

    Bruce, F. F. Are the New Testament documents reliable? 4th ed. Eerdmans, 1954. (It is still in print and it is available online)
    — Jesus and Christian origins outside the New Testament. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1974.
    –The real Jesus : who is he? London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1985.
    — The canon of scripture. Inter-Varsity Press, c1988.
    — Biblical exegesis in the Qumran texts. Eerdmans, 1959.
    –Men and movements in the primitive church : studies in early non-Pauline Christianity. Paternoster Press, 1979.
    –The canon of scripture. Inter-Varsity Press, c1988.

    Blomberg, Craig. The historical reliability of John?s gospel:issues & commentary. InterVarsity Press, c2002.
    —-Making sense of the New Testament. Baker Academic, c2004.
    –The historical reliability of the Gospels. 2nd ed. Apollos, IVP Academic, c2007
    –Jesus and the Gospels: an introduction and survey. Broadman & Holman, c1997.

    Witherington, Ben. Jesus, Paul, and the end of the world: a comparative study in New Testament eschatology. InterVarsity Press, c1992.
    –The many faces of the Christ: the Christologies of the New Testament and beyond. Crossroad Pub., c1998.
    –The Jesus quest: the third search for the Jew of Nazareth. 2nd ed. InterVarsity Press, c1997.

    N.T. Wright?He is so popular a scholar, theologian and bishop (Piskie variety) that a great many of his essays, sermons et al. are available at an unofficial website (http://www.ntwrightpage.com/)

    While he has written a number of popular works, most of his stuff is written for scholars or, at least, people educated in theology and Christianity.

    –The original Jesus: the life and vision of a revolutionary. Eerdmans,1996.
    –The challenge of Jesus: rediscovering who Jesus was and is. InterVarsity Press, c1999.
    –The contemporary quest for Jesus. Fortress Press, 2002.

    Apostolic history and the Gospel: Biblical and historical essays presented to F. F. Bruce on his 60th birthday. Edited by W. Ward Gasque and Ralph P. Martin. Eerdmans c1970.

    New Testament textual criticism: its significance for exegesis: essays in honour of Bruce M. Metzger edited by Eldon Jay Epp and Gordon D. Fee. Oxford, Clarendon Press. New York, Oxford University Press, 1981.

  510. #510 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    (as someone, an intellectually honest atheist (!) I admire, put it)

    If you admire intellectual honesty, then why don’t you strive for it yourself?

  511. #511 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    If you admire intellectual honesty, then why don’t you strive for it yourself?

    The same thought occurred to me.

    The exact word I used, talking about sources other than the New Testament was “paucity”. Is that the problem? you don’t know what the word means?

    The word does not mean “non-existent” which is the phrase that accurately describes the non-biblical sources for Jesus.

    I’ve read Blomberg’s book on the historicity of John’s gospel and I was not particularly impressed. Like many apologetic books by theologians, he assumes his conclusion and sets out to prove it, ignoring or belittling any contradictory data. I’ll look at a couple of the other books that you recommend.

  512. #512 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie,
    The exact word I used, talking about sources other than the New Testament was “paucity”.

    Liar. You said at #382 that “You can fume as much as you like but I have the majority of historians on my side (about the historicity of the New Testament).” The only way to know that you have “the majority of historians on [your] side” is to have documentation from them. A lot of documentation. You can’t say something, then say the opposite, and then claim to know what you’re talking about.

    If you know what an index is and have access to one

    Holy fuck, your condescension emanates from you like a day-old skunk carcass on the side of the road. You might be surprised to find out, but there are other educated people here. ‘Tis Himself had you pegged – you’re a bit smarter than everyone else at your church, and probably loud-mouthed enough that you always popped up with the right answer first at school, so you think you’re superior to everyone else on the planet. You may have been a big fish in your little pond, but you’ve just jumped into the ocean of the internet.

    I’m mildly impressed that you did provide a list; I’ll check out whether they’re any good later this evening after the rest of my activities for the day. In the meantime I hope others who already know them will weigh in.

    Heavy duty scholarship takes place in peer-reviewed and excruciatingly dull journals

    Is that your own opinion of journals, or what you assume my opinion is? Having published many times in such peer-reviewed journals, I find them to be not excruciatingly dull at all. I would much prefer references to peer-reviewed research than pop-culture books.

    The Bible is not one book. It is a compilation of many documents written in many different places by different authors at different times.

    And they contradict each other in dozens of places, or haven’t you noticed? Also, you are claiming veracity of each of them independently, in which case no you cannot use them to verify themselves.

  513. #513 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Yawn, Maggie, why not 10 posts ago, like a real truther. Now we need to to check that the references don’t just come back to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Josephus. We would be very disappointed in you Maggie if that was the case. At that point we would consider you a liar and bullshitter for not checking your references properly, which brings you whole scholarship into question, including your testament for god existing. If only one citation is bad, all are bad until proven otherwise. Care to remove any citations under that criteria?

  514. #514 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    Nerd #516

    Now we need to to check that the references don’t just come back to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Josephus.

    Josephus isn’t a good source. The passage in Antiquities of the Jews that mentions Jesus was likely a forgery written by a Christian apologist to provide historical evidence of Jesus’ existence. Parallel sections of Josephus’ Jewish War do not mention Jesus. Christian writers as late as the Third Century, who quoted from Antiquities of the Jews, did not mention the passage.

  515. #515 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    The Bible is not one book. It is a compilation of many documents written in many different places by different authors at different times.

    Pssst, Maggie – you forgot they’re also written different genres! That’s the real key to picking and choosing the bits you like and getting to ignore the bits you don’t like reading it critically, remember?

    Gosh, I should open my own cafeteria.

  516. #516 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Josephus isn’t a good source.

    I know ‘Tis, which is why I included him on the list. In other words, if all Maggies listed citations ultimately reference the same inaccurate sources, she is proven to be untruthful. Science is about making sure you don’t tell lies, so all references are followed back to the original source and verified. Maggie, again, care to remove any of your citations?

  517. #517 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie from the first post she made here showed a complete unwillingness to even try to understand where others are coming from. Just look at the way she dismissed arguments about the nature of God because of the old testament stories – no-one was saying they literally happened, yet she dismissed all arguments under that assumption. Then two posts later admits she believes in original sin that is born out of the old testament, claiming there is truth in all the stories. If she were intellectually honest, she would see that we were claiming the nature of God the same way she claims original sin. But no, she’s just another self-righteous twit who deals in insults then claims the moral (and intellectual)high ground.

    Just another pathetic excuse for a human being…

  518. #518 bastion of sass
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie still hasn’t addressed my questions of what the Christian God she believes in knew, and when he knew it; how much power God had/has over what he allegedly created and what we know about him and his existence; and who bears the ultimate responsibility of mankind’s not living up to God’s expectations.

    Frankly, while I can’t say I have no interest at all in the question of whether Jesus actually existed, that won’t resolve the central issue of my intellectual problem with the Abrahamic religions, and that is the central claim that God is omniscient and omnipotent and benevolent.

    I fail to see how God could be all three.

    Based on the evidence, the Abrahamic God is either incompetent, not-all-that-bright, a sadistic, bullying, egotistical monster, or, perhaps, all of those.

    What kind of all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God knowingly creates flawed humans, refuses to give humans anything more than cryptic and often-conflicting information about himself and what he expects from them, constantly tests the humans on their knowledge of him and his laws, then punishes them when they fail his tests–as he knows they will do–because of the flaws he knew about before he began to create?

    So, whether or not Jesus actual lived is irrelevant to me. The issue for me is the whole Christian concept of God.

  519. #519 bastion of sass
    March 28, 2009

    At #473, Maggie asked:

    Do you suppose that anything will be said or proved after 2000 years of failure to debunk Christianity?

    Do you suppose that anything will be said or proved after more than 3,500 years of failure to debunk the Hinduism?

  520. #520 CJO
    March 28, 2009

    I won’t bother to list more because the likelihood of any of you reading or even looking at any of these is non-existant.

    Crikey but you’re an arrogant git.

    Brown, Raymond. An introduction to the New Testament. New York, Doubleday, 1997.

    I own it. An excellent reference.

    Witherington, Ben

    Should have known. He’s an apologist whose books are useless for serious study of the NT. His laughably bad defense of the traditional attributions of the gospels is what you consider serious scholarship? I think I see the disconnect now.

    N.T. Wright
    –The original Jesus: the life and vision of a revolutionary. Eerdmans,1996.
    –The contemporary quest for Jesus. Fortress Press, 2002.

    I’ve read both of these. Wright is somewhat superior to Witherington, but I found myself reading these and other similarly uncritical books “against themselves” and doing that you can clearly see where the anxieties are. He helped convince me further that the gospels are mythical, not historical, in inspiration, though, of course that’s the antithesis of his view.

    For those who might be interested, here’s a far superior list, in terms of both insight and scholarly rigor:

    John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus and The Birth of Christianity. These are long and difficult books, but they’re absolutely essential reading for serious study of the origins of Christianity with emphasis on historical and anthropological context. We ultimately come down on opposite sides of the historicity question, but these books are tours de force.

    Burton Mack, Who Wrote the New Testament?, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins, The Lost Gospel: The Book Q and Christian Origins, and The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy

    If you’re arguing the gospels aren’t myth, and you haven’t read Mack, you’re not arguing honestly.

    Randle McCraw Helms, Who Wrote the Gospels, and Gospel Fictions

    That last is quite short, and dense with examples of how the NT was constructed out of OT passages interpreted as prophesy, not from history. Have a Bible handy.

    John Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes

    Just an awesome thesis: that the synoptics were written for the Jewish liturgical year, to serve as a proto-Christian liturgy for communities that had split from diaspora synagogue communities. He makes a great case for it too.

  521. #521 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    Yawn.

    Shorter Maggie: a couple of thousand years ago, religious nuts wrote stupidities and magic-man claims. Having been written long ago, these documents are historical, and the claims therein are factual.

  522. #522 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    Carlie:
    Having published many times in such peer-reviewed journals, I find them to be not excruciatingly dull at all. I would much prefer references to peer-reviewed research than pop-culture books.

    I am sure you would. However, you can log into Proquest, Ebscohost, Academic Search Premiere or any one of a dozen more and do the work yourself. It took me long enough to pull the books I own from my shelf and transcribe the necessary details. I’ve done my bit. The rest is up to you.

    CJO– most of what you cite is too far out of the mainstream to be useful to someone needing an introduction to New Testament studies. Some of it is dishonest crap (everything produced by the “Jesus Seminar”). Crossan is a Jesus Seminar leftover who isn’t worth reading, except as an example of what passes for scholarship on the fringes of New Testament studies. Randle McCraw Helms is pretty good but, again, is of no use to someone who wants to know where scholarly consensus resides. Burton Mack is also not worth reading, if one wants an introduction to solid, broadly accepted scholarship. He is worth reading if one wants a highly imaginative, very interesting but completely unsupported (by actual evidence) thesis about Jesus and the scriptures.

    There are a lot of different scholarly approaches to New Testament studies. There is also a distinct consensus position– or, perhaps I should say, cluster of positions. Your guys are not in the mainstream, although now that I know whom you read, I understand your opinions much better.

    Spong is a heretic who needs to debunk Christianity, since he is an atheist who didn’t have the minimal integrity required to get out of the church and stop pontificating on its dime, once he decided it was all bunk.

    Your dismissal of Wright alone, tells me plenty. You should have consulted the Arts & Humanities citation index first. Wright has been cited 140 times and not in English language journals alone. Funny thing that. He has an international reputation.

    Your dismissal of Witherington is even worse. His work has been cited 141 times in the last 15 years and he is still a relatively young man. How often has yours been cited? Also has an international reputation.

    Let’s see. Bruce has been cited 185 times since 1997. And much of his work is now 50+ years old!

    I think I won’t bother to multiply examples.

    Bastion Your questions, if honest, are excellent but cannot be answered on the fly (even if I weren’t exhausted, I doubt I would attempt to answer them). If you really want to know and are willing to follow up, I can point you to articles and books that I have found helpful.

  523. #523 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Ah Maggie, still no evidence for your imaginary deity, without which the whole Jebus argument falls into a heap of failure. I must say, I am very disappointed in you response. This is Pharyngula, where atheism is the default, and theism and Jebus must be proven though hard evidence. No god shown, so everything beyond god, like the bible and jebus, are still false. No need to look at your alleged evidence. It is false until the deity is evidenced. We are waiting for your burning bush or equivalent.

  524. #524 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    It took me long enough to pull the books I own from my shelf and transcribe the necessary details. I’ve done my bit. The rest is up to you.

    *plays tiny violin for all Maggie’s hard work of pulling things off of bookshelves and typing in the names*

    I have. Do you honestly think that nobody ever bothers to research anything they talk about? When I was in the process of realizing Christianity was a pile of dust I did look long and hard in the primary literature for good evidence for the validity of the events found in the Bible, and found nothing that convinced me. You claim that you have such evidence, but you’re telling me I have to go find it myself. Okay, then. That stunning argument, however, has failed to convince me that I missed something and that I ought to take the time to go do it all again.

  525. #525 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie, still missing from your Jebus citations is the contemporary citation to Jebuses life. Something from 4 BC to say 30 AD. Recent citations don’t count. Welcome to science.

  526. #526 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    I shouldn’t even bother to respond to this but what the heck:

    Kel, you are seriously lacking in reading skill and understanding. This is just preposterous:

    Maggie from the first post she made here showed a complete unwillingness to even try to understand where others are coming from. Just look at the way she dismissed arguments about the nature of God because of the old testament stories – no-one was saying they literally happened, yet she dismissed all arguments under that assumption.

    Oh, please. Come back to earth. The issue was the types of literature in the OT and the need to understand that it cannot be read cluelessly. Think here of the Skeptics Annotated Bible. That is clueless reading.

    No particular arguments were made since the idiotic “genre defence” nonsense pushed things in a different direction.

    Then two posts later admits she believes in original sin that is born out of the old testament, claiming there is truth in all the stories. If she were intellectually honest, she would see that we were claiming the nature of God the same way she claims original sin.

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense. I stated plainly many messages ago, that the Old Testament is, first of all, the Jews national story. It reflects their understanding of themselves, their history and their understanding of God– all composed over approximately 800 years. Because we think that all scripture is inspired, we accept that it has lessons to teach us. Important ones. But we believe that because Jesus said so– and he is God. If there were no New Testament, there would be no reason for us to think that the Old Testament was divinely inspired. That is what I mean when I say that we read the OT in the light of Christ.

    But no, she’s just another self-righteous twit who deals in insults then claims the moral (and intellectual)high ground.

    This is, soberly speaking, hilarious. Take out a mirror and have a look. Then take a look at Nerd’s treatment of Invigilator, to name just one particularly nasty example. However, I do see that I hurt your feelings and for that I am sorry.

  527. #527 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Maggie, you still haven’t aswered my questions. Why are you avoiding the proper answers?

  528. #528 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    The issue was the types of literature in the OT and the need to understand that it cannot be read cluelessly. Think here of the Skeptics Annotated Bible. That is clueless reading.

    Oh yeah, that was when you said the OT wasn’t to be taken literally, except for those parts that were.

    No particular arguments were made since the idiotic “genre defence” nonsense pushed things in a different direction.

    I think I was wrong when I said you didn’t understand the “genre defense.” Now I believe you do understand it but don’t want to answer the questions it raises because you don’t actually have a good answer. So instead you pretend it’s idiotic.

    Maggie, for some reason you think that we’re a bunch of stoopid, unedjumacted idjects. I can assure you, Madam, that this assessment is incorrect.

  529. #529 JimC
    March 28, 2009

    Burton Mack, Who Wrote the New Testament?, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins, The Lost Gospel: The Book Q and Christian Origins, and The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy

    She put mack on her list to support her argument. She’s a tool, you all should stop. He doesn’t come close to supporting her case and in fact states the plenty to the opposite.

    Then this:

    Some of it is dishonest crap (everything produced by the “Jesus Seminar”).

    Yeah, all those scholars are sitting around being dishonest. Not a one wants to know the truth. Don’t tell Robert Price. Your a tool.

    NT Wright I like, his stuff is good although obviously I don’t think he gets everything correct(who does). There is no Erhman on the list and he is more accomplished a historian than NT.

    BTW, having an international reputation is an argument from authority and frankly not worth much. It simply doesn’t matter in truth claims.

    Witherington is to much apologist and not enough actual researcher. As a previous poster mentions it’s kind of hard to take seriously someone who presupposes his conclusion first. Except for tools that is.

  530. #530 maggie
    March 28, 2009

    OK, I am guess I am going to have to toss Nerd a bone, even though it pains me to have to shame him this way:

    This is Pharyngula, where atheism is the default, and theism and Jebus must be proven though hard evidence. No god shown, so everything beyond god, like the bible and jebus, are still false. No need to look at your alleged evidence. It is false until the deity is evidenced. We are waiting for your burning bush or equivalent.

    This is painfully ignorant. Really ignorant. What empirical evidence do you think there could be for God? The very demand is preposterous. Science is limited to explaining matters that are natural and repeatable. So your demand for empirical evidence or “scientific proof” is one that can never be met.

    This does not demonstrate that there is no God. It demonstrates that science has a very limited domain. It is your a priori unbelief in the supernatural which lacks rational justification.

    Science can’t demonstrate or even comment on whether or not there are things outside of the physical realm. These are metaphysical claims and science is limited to the physical. The belief that we should only believe things which can be proven scientifically is called scientism and it is really bad philosophy. It is also self-refuting, since it cannot be proven scientifically.

    Frankly, belief in God, far from being irrational is actually very rational–more rational than naturalism, imho. Naturalism explains nothing but just assumes that everything is the way it is just because. Why? Just because. It would be nice to hear a convincing scientific argument that addresses why the universe behaves as if it were governed by laws, why we can apprehend those laws and express them in the language of mathematics and, even, why there is something rather than nothing.

    There are some things that science can never know, even on an empirical level. Such limits are the basis of quantum theory and chaos theory, unless I am much mistaken. What happened during the Planck era of the Big Bang is a limit on empirical knowledge, since the known laws of physics break down at that moment at the beginning of the universe.

    So, you cannot get very far with me claiming for science some exalted position in the scheme of things. It is just too limited and cannot explain the things that I most want to know.

  531. #531 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Masochist Maggie wrote:

    But we believe that because Jesus said so– and he is God.

    Ah, there’s the rub. How do you know he’s a god? Because he said so?

    If, as you say, the validity of the NT depends on him being a god, you therefore need an objective means of showing that he is, in fact, a god. Note: the existence of a human Jesus that matches the bible’s fanciful narrative is not enough, even if you managed that surprisingly (for someone who did as much as he allegedly did) difficult task.

    If there were no New Testament, there would be no reason for us to think that the Old Testament was divinely inspired.

    Gee, I bet all those adherent of Judaism are in for a rude shock! One of their holy books is only a collection of ludicrous fairy tales and baffling poorly-fact-checked history (amongst other things) unless Jesus was actually Yahweh Jr.

    I’m guessing this means the cafeteria doesn’t have a kosher menu?

  532. #532 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    This is painfully ignorant. Really ignorant. What empirical evidence do you think there could be for God? The very demand is preposterous. Science is limited to explaining matters that are natural and repeatable. So your demand for empirical evidence or “scientific proof” is one that can never be met.

    How can one “know” God if there is no interaction on the natural realm?

  533. #533 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    This is painfully ignorant. Really ignorant. What empirical evidence do you think there could be for God? The very demand is preposterous. Science is limited to explaining matters that are natural and repeatable. So your demand for empirical evidence or “scientific proof” is one that can never be met.

    Nothing ignorant about it. You keep saying Jesus is God and God is worthy of being worshiped. Nerd in particular but others as well as saying (and here I show my age): “Where’s the beef?”

    Let’s start with a basic premise. Atheists do not believe there is a god. Yes, I’m using the definition of atheism as my first point. I do this not because I think you don’t know what the word means, but because I’m fairly certain you’ve not yet realized the concept.

    To put this in more universal terms, you’re attempting to sell a concept for which there is no proof other than the beliefs of people who have spread the word before it. Whether you like it or not; whether you accept it or not, the fact remains: You’re attempting to convince us that something we cannot see, feel, hear, or otherwise partake of any empirical evidence of its existence, exists. Regardless of how much you believe in the story and how much it has affected your life and the lives of those around you, we do not.

    Next point to consider: Atheists do not need to believe in a god. We assert that the foundation for our actions and ideas lie in proven methods related to science and the establishment of undeniable fact. In this, we believe that we have everything we need to live a healthy, rewarding life.

    It’s hard to convince a man with two working legs that he needs to buy a third, or worse, get rid of his and try the ones you have on. And when he looks for your version and cannot see, feel, touch or otherwise prove that they actually exist, he’s going to insist on really good evidence that what you’re trying to sell is worth considering.

  534. #534 aratina
    March 28, 2009

    Would it really make Christians happier if it turned out that a human cult leader named Jesus actually existed and got shredded going up against the Roman machine? No, I don’t think so. All the Christians who care about this issue want is a modicum of proof that their beliefs have some basis in reality so they can blow off some of the heavy doubt constantly wafting about outside their churches.

    To their horror, Christians found they must go to extreme lengths to even extract a hint that a person named Jesus existed around the time the Bible espouses, and what’s worse is that doomsday preaching messianic Jews are plentiful in the same time period. Then there is the fact that, if it wasn’t clear enough to everybody else, the New Testament pieces specifically dealing with Jesus are fraught with historical quackery. The whole search for the historical Jesus turns out to be a Rorschach test in disguise.

    So what do we get from this historical search for Jesus? We get Christians like maggie who climb the mountain of evidence built against the trueness of their religious texts and declare that the air may be thin at the top, but their point of view is quite unobstructed. In the end, it doesn’t matter at all if a cultish person named Jesus is shown with significant probability to have existed because Christians on the whole are blinkered.

  535. #535 CJO
    March 28, 2009

    You should have consulted the Arts & Humanities citation index first.

    Riiight. Every time I even consider criticizing the claims made by a member of a club, I’ll be sure and check how many hearty backslaps he got from all the other members; too many, and I wouldn’t dare. He’s sure to be right.

    (Did you check Mack and Crossan before you blithered this patent appeal to authority?)

    I’m about done with this waste of glucose. It should be apparent to anyone who wants to read this thread that serious arguments are on the table about the historicity question and the mythical nature of Paul’s Jesus and the characterization of the synoptics as prophesy historicized. Maggie has responded to none of them with valid arguments of her own, content to feign lack of interest and lean on the very authorities the arguments are calling into question. If it’s “been dealt with,” then it should be as trivial as compiling a list of citations to also compile a list of these supposedly authoritative refutations.

  536. #536 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    Heh.

    I’m reminded of various SF stories I’ve read, where the plot device is time travel back to Jesus’ time.

    Here’s a particularly good one: Let’s go to Golgotha.

  537. #537 castletonsnob
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie writes:

    What happened during the Planck era of the Big Bang is a limit on empirical knowledge, since the known laws of physics break down at that moment at the beginning of the universe.

    On this we are in total agreement, but, obviously, we continue to completely different conclusions based on this assessment.

    For me, if something isn’t empirical, or accessible to our senses or technology or understanding, it is as good as nonexistent. Even if it did exist, I have no reliable, objective means to verify it, and neither does anyone else.

    Your god fits in to this category by your own admission; it existed, you believe, in a time before time, in a place outside space. The very concept of existence breaks down given those conditions. How does anything happen without time? Where are you when there’s literally no place to be?

    The most prudent and parsimonious tack to take, in my opinion, is to say that we don’t know what preceded Planck Time, and we may never know or fully understand. Positing an unknowable and immaterial god as some kind of explanation is nonsensical.

  538. #538 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    John Morales,

    I read the description of Let’s go to Golgotha – that’s brilliant!

  539. #539 Maggie
    March 29, 2009

    ???? Where on earth did I put Mack on my list? Dear, foolish atheist, Mack is on CJO’s list.

    Am I still a tool?

    Carlie: You are tiresome. Extremely tiresome. I suggest you look at 397 and 409. Don’t bother to apologize. I don’t care enough about your opinion for it to matter.

    Tis– I am going to explain this once more and that is it. If you can’t get it, you can’t get it.

    “genre defence” was the ignorant name given here to what literate people call intelligent reading. That is, reading with regard to the type of literature one is dealing with. In other words, being literate enough to know that there are differences among types of literature and one needs to know what they are, even if only intuitively– historical accounts, poems, satires, legends, the New York Times editorial page, etc. If you read a NYT editorial as though it were fiction you … wait! Bad example. If you read a NYT editorial page as though it were a poem, you would not be reading very intelligently. If you tried to claim it was written in dactylic hexameter, you would risk some painful derision from those with better reading skills.

    How does one read the New Testament intelligently? By understanding that the writers are making truth claims about events that took place at a specific time and in a specific place. In 4 cases in the form of a narrative; in the rest in the form of letters to congregations filled with real people. We will exclude Revelation because it is vision literature and even John says he doesn’t know if he was dreaming or whether it was real. He isn’t making truth claims about specific people at specific historical times in specific places.

    Now, understand this. What Paul and the gospel writers tell us about Christ’s ministry, death, burial and resurrection are truth claims. That means that if they are not true they are false. No ifs, ands, or buts. If shown to be false they cannot be salvaged by claims that they are “metaphorical” or “allegorical” or “mythological”. They are not. Everything, absolutely everything stands or falls on the literal truth of what the writers claim. There is no other possibility and the notion that any reasonably sane person would try to evade that hard truth by recasting the NT as something that it clearly is not is remote.

    Can I make my position any clearer than this?

  540. #540 Owlmirror
    March 29, 2009
    But we believe that because Jesus said so– and he is God.

    Ah, there’s the rub. How do you know he’s a god? Because he said so?

    And he didn’t even say so. Nowhere does Jesus claim to be God. He implies that he is “the Son of Man”; he speaks of God as “Father”, but nowhere does he insist that he and God are the exact same thing.

    And the synoptic Gospels have some verses which imply homoiousia, and some that imply homoousia, and more than a few that downright proclaim heteroousia. And the matter was not settled until several hundred years years later and the conflicts between the various factions were ended by the faction that proclaimed homoousia achieved political and social victory — not by reason, and not by evidence, but simply by having their guy on the throne, who made laws that favored them and punished the others.

  541. #541 windy
    March 29, 2009

    Frankly, belief in God, far from being irrational is actually very rational–more rational than naturalism, imho. Naturalism explains nothing but just assumes that everything is the way it is just because. Why? Just because.

    Riiight. I suppose Christians have no problems answering these, then: Why does God exist? Why is he good? Why did he create the physical universe?

  542. #542 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    “genre defence” was the ignorant name given here to what literate people call intelligent reading.

    Why does the term offend you so much? You’re practically frothing at the mouth.

    It’s the simple combination of two terms to reflect an observation – your ‘defence’ of your selective interpretation of the old testament by claiming that the ‘genre’ the aspects of it you cast aside are written in allows you to do so.

    That you dislike the fact that your so-called ‘intelligent reading’ can be summed up so succinctly (and far more accurately) doesn’t change that.

  543. #543 Owlmirror
    March 29, 2009

    What Paul and the gospel writers tell us about Christ’s ministry, death, burial and resurrection are truth claims. That means that if they are not true they are false.

    Is contradiction an acceptable way to tell if they are false? Such Jesus having been born both 4BCE and 6CE, for example?

  544. #544 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    Now, understand this. What Paul and the gospel writers tell us about Christ’s ministry, death, burial and resurrection are truth claims. That means that if they are not true they are false. No ifs, ands, or buts. If shown to be false they cannot be salvaged by claims that they are “metaphorical” or “allegorical” or “mythological”. They are not. Everything, absolutely everything stands or falls on the literal truth of what the writers claim. There is no other possibility and the notion that any reasonably sane person would try to evade that hard truth by recasting the NT as something that it clearly is not is remote.
    Can I make my position any clearer than this?

    Wow.

    A cry for help, from the imprisoned person in Maggie’s persona?

    If so, then to that true self I say: Cheer up, this is Pharyngula.

  545. #545 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    That means that if they are not true they are false. No ifs, ands, or buts. If shown to be false they cannot be salvaged by claims that they are “metaphorical” or “allegorical” or “mythological”. They are not. Everything, absolutely everything stands or falls on the literal truth of what the writers claim.

    What I don’t seem to be able to get through to Maggie is that, until fairly recently (relatively speaking), this is how the vast majority of Christians felt* about the whole bible, and many other aspects of their religion – hence my satirical comments upthread about the Catholic hierarchy in 1517 and creationists in 1859 – to illustrate that things change.

    For someone who seems to know so much about one aspect of the history of her religion she’s surprisingly ignorant of many of the other important factors – specifically, the social context.

    *And how many, not insignificantly, still feel; the very existence of fundamentalists illustrates that Maggie’s opinions are not shared by all Christians – why is that?

  546. #546 'Tis Himself
    March 29, 2009

    Tis– I am going to explain this once more and that is it. If you can’t get it, you can’t get it.

    You really are a condescending twit. You may feel superior to me but you haven’t shown any reason for me to accept your superiority. If you don’t want to answer questions or continue discussions, then don’t. But don’t be supercilious about it. I’ve been polite to you until now, but if you keep playing la grande dame then I’ll tell you what you can stick up your rosy red rectum.

    “genre defence” was the ignorant name given here to what literate people call intelligent reading.

    I’m literate, I’ve got a graduate degree, and I’m reasonably well read, but I’ve never heard of the expression “intelligent reading.” So as far as I’m concerned, “intelligent reading” is just as ignorant as “genre defense.” Incidentally, in American English “defense” is spelled with an “s” and throughout the English speaking world the first letter of the first word in a sentence is capitalized. At least that’s how literate people do it.

    That is, reading with regard to the type of literature one is dealing with. In other words, being literate enough to know that there are differences among types of literature and one needs to know what they are, even if only intuitively– historical accounts, poems, satires, legends, the New York Times editorial page, etc.

    Uh huh. <yawn>

    How does one read the New Testament intelligently? By understanding that the writers are making truth claims about events that took place at a specific time and in a specific place. In 4 cases in the form of a narrative; in the rest in the form of letters to congregations filled with real people. We will exclude Revelation because it is vision literature and even John says he doesn’t know if he was dreaming or whether it was real. He isn’t making truth claims about specific people at specific historical times in specific places.

    I was discussing the Old Testament, not the New. If you can’t keep up, take notes. But okay, we’ve got four gospels, a bunch of epistles, and John’s acid trip. There’s also the Acts of the Apostles, but who cares about it? Paul was such a minor character in the early church.

    Now, understand this. What Paul and the gospel writers tell us about Christ’s ministry, death, burial and resurrection are truth claims. That means that if they are not true they are false.

    That’s what literate people call a “dichotomy”.

    If shown to be false they cannot be salvaged by claims that they are “metaphorical” or “allegorical” or “mythological”. They are not. Everything, absolutely everything stands or falls on the literal truth of what the writers claim. There is no other possibility and the notion that any reasonably sane person would try to evade that hard truth by recasting the NT as something that it clearly is not is remote.

    I’ll teach you a word in Yiddish: Nu? It translates loosely as “so?” only with overtones of “okay, and now what?”

    Can I make my position any clearer than this?

    No, I’m sure you probably can’t. You’ve stretched your little brain just as far as it can go. However, you didn’t answer Wowbagger’s description of “genre defense” or my questions about the Old Testament. But you’ve done as well as we can expect, i.e., not particularly well.

  547. #547 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #525, Maggie wrote:

    Bastion Your questions, if honest, are excellent but cannot be answered on the fly (even if I weren’t exhausted, I doubt I would attempt to answer them). If you really want to know and are willing to follow up, I can point you to articles and books that I have found helpful.

    Of course my questions were honest! I’d be very interested in reading your answers–if you have any.

    While I realize that I asked a lot of questions, and I’m sure answering them isn’t easy, it seems to me that the questions I asked are things that most introspective Christians would have already thought a lot about and at least have some basic answers for–especially for someone who is as learned in theology and Christian philosophy as you are.

    I thought about these things when I was a Christian, and I still think about these things as an atheist. Never have found answers that satisfy me intellectually.

    So sure, point me to articles and books, but spare me the ones that conclude: “It’s a paradox,” or “God and his ways are a mystery which we can’t understand.”

    I need something that makes rational sense.

  548. #548 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself wrote:

    Incidentally, in American English “defense” is spelled with an “s” and throughout the English speaking world the first letter of the first word in a sentence is capitalized.

    I’m Australian. My term, my spelling :)

  549. #549 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    As long as we are talking about books I’d recommend “Who Wrote the Bible?”. It gives a nice account of the document hypothesis and how the Torah came to be formed. No surprise, it’s a hodgepodge of the fairy tales of goat herders, ancient regal propaganda, and was written mostly by priests looking out after their own self-interest. The apparent “mysterious” nature of God is really an artifact created by bad editing.

  550. #550 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #551, Wowbagger, OM wrote:

    I’m Australian. My term, my spelling :)

    Tsk. If ‘Merican was good enough for Jesus (and the pre-Babel Jews!), it should be good enough for the Aussies too!

  551. #551 Owlmirror
    March 29, 2009

    As long as we are talking about books I’d recommend “Who Wrote the Bible?”. It gives a nice account of the document hypothesis and how the Torah came to be formed. No surprise, it’s a hodgepodge of the fairy tales of goat herders, ancient regal propaganda, and was written mostly by priests looking out after their own self-interest.

    And not just their own self-interest, but seeking a complete monopoly on all religious services. It wasn’t just about getting rid of all other gods besides Yahweh, it was about getting rid of all other forms of worship — even worship of Yahweh — except at the temple in Jerusalem. And of course, making worship at the temple mandatory. Follow the money… and the (sacrificial) meat.

    I have some more complex ideas about how religion and politics and psychology all interacted to go from Judaism to Christianity, but it’s rather speculative and involved.

  552. #552 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Owlmirror wrote:

    I have some more complex ideas about how religion and politics and psychology all interacted to go from Judaism to Christianity, but it’s rather speculative and involved.

    C’mon, spill. You know you want to.

  553. #553 Leigh Williams
    March 29, 2009

    I have some more complex ideas about how religion and politics and psychology all interacted to go from Judaism to Christianity, but it’s rather speculative and involved.

    Owlmirror, I’d be very interested in hearing more about this.

  554. #554 Jadehawk
    March 29, 2009

    I have some more complex ideas about how religion and politics and psychology all interacted to go from Judaism to Christianity, but it’s rather speculative and involved.

    Come on now, do that thing you do, so well

  555. #555 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    Owlmirror,

    … but it’s rather speculative and involved.

    Please don’t tease.

  556. #556 Tulse
    March 29, 2009

    What Paul and the gospel writers tell us about Christ’s ministry, death, burial and resurrection are truth claims. That means that if they are not true they are false.

    On this we agree. Now what is the historical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection? Never mind all the claims of things any other human could do — where is the independent verification of the claim that he was divine? The claim that you said was “proved”, in contradistinction to the claims of other religions?

  557. #557 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Can we assume that Owlmirror’s lack of response indicates that he’s away working on his magnum opus?

    It – the spawning of Christianity from Judaism – is a topic worth examining. I recall hearing that it might have had something to do with the ideas and concepts filtering in from the east, i.e Buddhism.

    And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a far more satisfying explanation for the change in direction (freeing the Israelites in a metaphorical sense, rather than through a violent uprising) than the appearance of a magic man-god with a penchant for lepers, prostitutes, poorly catered weddings and bad performance art is.

    Jesus-as-God ‘introducing’ the concepts he did devalues the achievements of humanity. We earned the knowledge that we should be better to each other; we didn’t have it handed to us on a fucking platter.

    Credit, as they say, where credit is due.

  558. #558 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    What empirical evidence do you think there could be for God? The very demand is preposterous.

    Yeah, that’s what Jesus said. That’s why he didn’t turn water into wine for people, or heal a leper and tell him to go tell everybody about it, or heal a demon-possessed man and tell him to go tell everyone about it… oh, wait. Well, that’s why God didn’t give in to Moses’ demand for a physical sign for the Israelites, or to Joshua’s request for clarification, or.. oh, wait. Yeah, God thinks empirical evidence is preposterous and never does it.

    Don’t bother to apologize.

    Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it, especially since the two posts you cited there just contain you blathering, and none of those primary literature references you keep saying you have in your Hello Kitty diary but you won’t show anyone.

    By understanding that the writers are making truth claims about events that took place at a specific time and in a specific place.

    If they’re truth claims, and true, they should agree with each other, right? Then why are there so many contradictions among them on the details of what actually happened? That’s the kind of thing that’s more characteristic to, say, stories.

  559. #559 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    What empirical evidence do you think there could be for God?

    Easy, look at all supernatural events listed in the bible. If they really happened, and are not just drug induced hallucinogenic vision, there should be evidence available. Say an eternally burning bush (Moses).

    Maggie, for an atheist, who only disbelieves in one more god than you do (I presume you disbelieve in the Greek/Roman/Norse/Indian pantheons), I require something other than testimonial statements of belief for god to exist. Until the evidence is demonstrated, god doesn’t exist. Same with Richard Dawkins.

    You are using a form of a presupposition argument. You presume god exists, and we must demonstrate otherwise. But given the nebulous nature of god we can’t. YAWN. Guess how many times we have seen this inane and intellectually bankrupt argument.

    I’m sure you will be back with more meandering intellectual vacuous discourse. You have nothing else to offer to the discussion.

  560. #560 'Tis Himself
    March 29, 2009

    I’m Australian. My term, my spelling :)

    I’ve got no problem with Brits, Canucks, Kiwis and suchlike riff-raff misspelling “defense.” But folks from Oz should know better.

    If instead of wasting his political capital on WorkChoices, John Howard had implemented American spelling in Australia, an overjoyed electorate would have easily returned him to office (or at least his own seat) in 2007.

  561. #561 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    We apparently have the blood of christ, relics of the cross, Christ’s foreskin (all seven of them), among many other artefacts that could still carry the DNA of Jesus. If Jesus was as believers say, then we should be able to test the DNA and see it missing a male lineage. If we could examine the blood and show that Jesus was really the son of God as opposed to the son of man, then I’d believe. Though I’m guessing that even if a single artefact is a genuine relic of Jesus – any empirical testing would show Jesus is a man.

  562. #562 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #564, Kel wrote:

    I’m guessing that even if a single artefact is a genuine relic of Jesus – any empirical testing would show Jesus is a man.

    Even if the DNA of Jesus showed the existence of a father, I’d be surprised if that would settle the matter of Jesus’ divinity for most believers.

    They’d simply create new beliefs as explanations. Examples:

    – Since humans are made in God’s image, God the Father is literally “the father,” and that male DNA is his DNA; or

    – God put male DNA into Jesus to test the faith of believers; or

    – The devil put the male DNA into the sample that was tested to shake those of faith; or

    – God can do anything. If he wanted to put male DNA into Jesus, he could. After all, he put DNA into Adam and Eve didn’t he?; or

    – The story of the virgin birth is allegorical, a way for the writers of the NT to explain to unsophisticated people that Jesus was both man and God. But Jesus is still God; that part of the story is true.

  563. #563 CosmicTeapot
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie

    In the absence of sufficient documentary evidence being unearthed say, Herod’s archives, it is over. Jesus existed.

    So let me get this clear, despite the lack of evidence, Jesus existed? Your desire does not make it so.

    _____________<;,><_____________

    Think here of the Skeptics Annotated Bible. That is clueless reading.

    While The Skeptics Annotated Bible is a light hearted and irreverent look at the bible, it does raise some interesting questions which certainly question the validity of the bible as an historical source. (Can you name all 13 of the 12 tribes of Israel for example). Clueless, or just inconvenient.

    And let’s look at some of those inconvenient questions.

    As mentioned above, when was Jesus born? Before 4 BCE (Matthew) or 6/7 AD (Luke). Or are they both later additions to a growing mythos?

    Where exactly in the scriptures is the prophesy of the virgin birth?

    When Jesus starts preaching, his mother thinks he is mad. Why, has she forgotten about the angels of the lord, the wise men bearing gifts, the murder of the innocents and the flight to Egypt?

    When Jesus upset the money exchangers, why did they not do anything? What about the temple authorities. And the Romans were always on the alert during passover for trouble, yet they did nothing. The first thing they would have normally done is nailed the troublemaker to a cross for the insurrection. Perhaps they did, and the myths developed from then on to attempt to explain just exactly why the alleged messiah was crucified.

    At the trial of Jesus, was it a jewish custom to let a prisoner go, or a roman one? Why is this custom not mentioned anywhere else? And do you know what the main problem with Pontius Pilate releasing a man condemned for crucifixion is?

    Despite your assertions, we can only surmise that Jesus probably existed, he was a wisdom teacher from Galilee, and that he was crucified.

    The bible tells us more about the early christian church than the life and teachings of Jesus, who remains shrouded in the mists of time.

  564. #564 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Owlmirror
    Ah, there’s the rub. How do you know he’s a god? Because he said so?
    And he didn’t even say so. Nowhere does Jesus claim to be God He implies that he is “the Son of Man”; he speaks of God as “Father”, but nowhere does he insist that he and God are the exact same thing.
    You are mistaken. Jesus did clearly state that he is God. His hearers certainly understood that; they even tried to stone him for blasphemy. John 10:29-31. (See also Mark 2:7 among others) He proved his claim by rising from the dead. So his followers say, and so we believe.

    And the synoptic Gospels have some verses which imply homoiousia, and some that imply homoousia, and more than a few that downright proclaim heteroousia. And the matter was not settled until several hundred years years later and the conflicts between the various factions were ended by the faction that proclaimed homoousia achieved political and social victory — not by reason, and not by evidence, but simply by having their guy on the throne, who made laws that favored them and punished the others.

    There is a strong whiff of Sherman and Peabody’s Improbably History in your retelling. Here is the accurate version– the church from its earliest days was clear on the nature of Christ. The controversy arose only in the Eastern church, Alexandria to be specific, in the 4th century, provoked by one rather colorful and interesting character by the name of Arius. He eventually brought the majority of bishops in the eastern churches to his side, although one, Athanasius, vigorously opposed him. The Emperor Constantine who didn’t care one way or the other but wanted peace restored, convened the Council of Nicea to deal with the matter. It was attended by 300 or slightly more bishops, all but 2 from the east. We know of only two western bishops and two Roman priests, who represented the pope, in attendance. The Council lasted approximately 2 months and when the vote was finally taken, the traditional view prevailed– only 2 bishops held out for Arianism.

    I am not exactly certain why you brought this up. If you are trying to say that there was lots of controversy, as Christianity spread to different places and among people further and further removed in time and place from the original church, that is certainly true. Beyond that, I don’t know where you wanted to go with it.

  565. #565 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie is gonna to debate Owlmirror on the Bible?

    ***grabs popcorn***

    This should be fun.

  566. #566 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    He proved his claim by rising from the dead.

    Maggie, please detail exactly what happened after he rose from the dead. Given that it’s the most important, crucial piece of your entire religion, that’s the one “truth claim” that ought to be fairly accurate. Who did he appear to first? What did he say? How did they react? What happened next? That will give you something to do until Owlmirror gets back.

    Can I have some of that popcorn?

  567. #567 castletonsnob
    March 29, 2009

    Dear Maggie,

    If Jesus was God, He couldn’t die, because God is, by definition, immortal. He couldn’t be both human and God, because one can’t be perfect and imperfect, all-powerful and limited, omniscient and ignorant at the same time.

    The death and resurrection you promote as the foundation of your faith is contradictory, self-refuting, and impossible.
    Thus, according to Paul, your religion is worthless.

  568. #568 Tulse
    March 29, 2009

    He proved his claim by rising from the dead. So his followers say, and so we believe.

    You believe it because his followers say it? Mohammed’s followers say a winged horse flew him to heaven — do you believe them as well? Joseph Smith’s followers say that he translated golden plates — do you believe them as well? Theosophists believe that the lost continent of Lemuria was occupied by the “Third Root Race” of seven foot tall, sexually hermaphroditic, egg-laying, mentally undeveloped but spiritually pure reptiles — do you believe them as well?

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. The claim that a person rose from the dead is pretty extraordinary. If your “evidence” is merely a few accounts written decades later by people who weren’t even eyewitnesses, well, that hardly counts as “evidence”, much less “extraordinary evidence”.

  569. #569 CJO
    March 29, 2009

    Since I consider John Dominic Crossan one of the most scrupulous Christian scholars investigating the historical problems of earliest Christianity, both in terms of transparency of method and in his willingness to examine his own and others’ presuppositions, I cannot let stand maggie’s blithe ad hominem dismissal of his work as the product of a dishonest man:

    I’ll let him defend himself. Ask yourself, maggie, if this sounds like a dishonest approach to scholarship:

    Either all such divine conceptions, from Alexander to Augusts and from the Christ to the Buddha, should be accepted literally and miraculously or all of them should be accepted metaphorically and theologically. It is not morally acceptable to say directly and openly that our story is truth but yours is myth; ours is history but yours is a lie. It is even less morally acceptable to say that indirectly and covertly by manufacturing defensive or protective strategies that apply only to one’s own story. The Historical Jesus, pp. 28-9

    And, going one better, I would submit that Witherington’s apologetic approach, for one, is summed up very precisely as “manufacturing defensive or protective strategies that apply only to one’s own story.”

  570. #570 CJO
    March 29, 2009

    And maggie, all your smoke-blowing about “scholarly consensus” in your uniformly ad hominem dismissals of the scholars I cite is just too rich not to linger on for a moment.

    Here’s some “scholarly consensus” for you: The author of Luke-Acts was not –could not possibly have been– a companion of Paul. (In fact, none of the traditional attributions of the canonical gospels passes scholarly criticism, which puts Witherington much further out on “the fringe” of critical scholarship: you know, that’s about applying the very same methods to the NT texts that we would apply to any other anonymous ancient texts. Your sources don’t do that; mine do.)

  571. #571 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    CJO– your quote from Crossan makes my point. He may be a fine scholar but he is on the radical fringe and his emergence from the Jesus Seminar does him no favors.

    Let me be very blunt so that you will quit (I hope) trotting out the crazies.

    The Jesus Seminar was the dishonest, agenda-driven brain child of Robert Funk. His misson, as he publicly stated, was to undermine orthodox Christianity. Since you are in a quoting mood, let’s look at a small number of his choicer theses:

    We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine. Jesus’ divinity goes together with the old theistic way of thinking about God.

    The plot early Christians invented for a divine redeemer figure is as archaic as the mythology in which it is framed. A Jesus who drops down out of heaven, performs some magical act that frees human beings from the power of sin, rises from the dead, and returns to heaven is simply no longer credible. The notion that he will return at the end of time and sit in cosmic judgment is equally incredible. We must find a new plot for a more credible Jesus.

    The resurrection of Jesus did not involve the resuscitation of a corpse. Jesus did not rise from the dead, except perhaps in some metaphorical sense. The meaning of the resurrection is that a few of his followers?probably no more than two or three?finally came to understand what he was all about. When the significance of his words and deeds dawned on them, they knew of no other terms in which to express their amazement than to claim that they had seen him alive. (http://www.jesusseminar.org/Periodicals/4R_Articles/funk_theses.html)

    Funk hand-picked the members of the Seminar in pursuit of his agenda. Frankly, it was an embarrasment for and to the academic community, which mostly distanced itself from the Seminar, from beginning to end. The media swallowed it uncritically, of course.

    For those who don’t know how they set about “debunking Jesus”, they had an amazingly sophisticated and scholarly way of doing it. The members sat around, listened to a Gospel passage and then, with little or no discussion, secretly voted on whether or not Jesus had really said what was attributed to him by dropping colored beads into boxes. Red=Jesus absolutely said it; pink=probably said it; gray=maybe; black=nope. The beads were given numeric weights and the result was calculated according to some formula.

    Normally, scholars state their opinions openly and submit them for criticism and discussion. Not the Seminar! If it weren’t so incredibly embarrassing, the idea of scholars voting in secret would be hilarious. Needless-to-say, this is not scholarship; this is partisanship.

    Oh, yeah. How do I know all this? Why, they described it in the introduction to their “seminal” work, “The Five Gospels”. Anyone who wishes can read a lengthy excerpt from it at their website: (www.westarinstitute.org/Polebridge/Excerpts/voting5g.html)

    Color me orange– not impressed.

  572. #572 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie, color us orange, not impressed by your analysis.

  573. #573 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Even if the DNA of Jesus showed the existence of a father, I’d be surprised if that would settle the matter of Jesus’ divinity for most believers.

    Of course, they don’t call it faith because it’s based on evidence – even though most people who claim on faith really believe based on the evidence of the bible… which really isn’t evidence for anything.

  574. #574 CJO
    March 29, 2009

    Deal with the arguments, not the people, maggie. I didn’t cite word one of the Seminar’s output. The only thing that Crossan quote puts him on the fringe of is the community of Christian apologists. It puts him firmly in the mainstream of broadly secular critical analysts of the NT texts. Your reaction to it shows clearly to which camp you belong. Have you read either of Crossan’s books I am citing, or are you content to take a fallacious guilt by association stance? I don’t play the “I don’t need to read that because I know it’s wrong” game. I have read Witherington and Wright, I have explained why I find their approach problematic, and I will deal with specific arguments if any should see the light of day. Since the bulk of your output seems to emanate from a region where the sun don’t shine, as it were, I’m not going to hold my breath.

  575. #575 Josh
    March 29, 2009

    Is it just me or does Maggie’s analysis of the Jesus Seminar pretty much describe, accurately, the entire history of the ID movement?

  576. #576 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    If religious belief really was a matter of faith, you wouldn’t see religious apologetics. And you certainly wouldn’t see the likes of Maggagie trying to argue tooth and nail of the accuracy of the new testament. Her version of truth? That the particular mythology of the culture she’s born into has an accurate account of their man-god while all other cultures and their respective myths do not.

  577. #577 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Josh wrote:

    Is it just me or does Maggie’s analysis of the Jesus Seminar pretty much describe, accurately, the entire history of the ID movement?

    Josh, you can’t say that – ID means a literal reading of the old testament. And that’s just not a sophisticated or a nuanced or an ‘intelligent reading’ of the text.

    Maggie and her kind leave that to the dirty fundamentalists.

    What I don’t understand about Maggie’s position is that, if such a view of Christianity is the correct and necessary one, how come it’s only a recent development? Surely the Church hierarchy, with their thousands of scholars should have cottoned onto it some time in the past 2,000 odd years and stopped attempting to teach OT literalism.

    And why does this sudden urge to dismiss certain aspects seem to parallel discoveries in science and moral/ethical developments in Western society? Is that just a coincidence?

  578. #578 Maggie
    March 29, 2009

    You have gotten to the crux of the matter, CJO.

    The only thing that Crossan quote puts him on the fringe of is the community of Christian apologists. It puts him firmly in the mainstream of broadly secular critical analysts of the NT texts.

    He represents a strand of scholarship that I reject and, frankly, have little respect for. He is not “firmly in the mainstream of broadly critical…) What a lot of adjectives and adverbs! He is a well-known representative of a particular approach to biblical scholarship that I and many others reject. However, that doesn’t mean that I reject every word he has written.

    But in the end he and the strand he represents do not persuade me, or a large number of scholars and theologians who have worked and are working in this field.

    I am afraid we have taken this as far as it can be taken. I now understand clearly where you are coming from and I have made it clear where I am coming from. What more is there to say? At a certain point, it is useless to trot out dueling scholars– you are not going to change my mind, any more than I am going to change yours.

  579. #579 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    What more is there to say?

    Then prove it my not saying anything more.

  580. #580 aratina
    March 29, 2009

    you are not going to change my mind – maggie

    Duh! That was clear from your first post here.

  581. #581 CJO
    March 29, 2009

    What a lot of adjectives and adverbs!

    First time I’ve been criticized for using, you know, words to make an argument.

    Maggie wrong! Christianity stupid!

    That better?

  582. #582 'Tis Himself
    March 29, 2009

    H represents a strand of scholarship that I reject and, frankly, have little respect for. He is not “firmly in the mainstream of broadly critical…) What a lot of adjectives and adverbs! He is a well-known representative of a particular approach to biblical scholarship that I and many others reject.

    I am so reminded of Emo Phillips’ story:

    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?” He said, “Baptist!” I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” He said, “Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said,”Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off.

  583. #583 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    He is a well-known representative of a particular approach to biblical scholarship that I and many others reject.

    But Maggie, in a post upthread you wrote this:

    The Bible is not one book. It is a compilation of many documents written in many different places by different authors at different times. There is no real historian on the planet who would dismiss them as primary historical documents.

    How, if there’s ‘no real historian on the planet who would dismiss them as primary historical documents’ how can there be a group to be a ‘representative’ of?

  584. #584 Josh
    March 29, 2009

    …you are not going to change my mind, any more than I am going to change yours.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Though it has been fairly clear for many posts now, how can you honestly say that what you’ve been doing on here is having a conversation if you reject the possibility of your mind being changed? This, right here, is what’s dangerous about belief.

  585. #585 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    What a lot of adjectives and adverbs!

    Maybe that’s the next stage they’re working on as a followup to the genre defence – the ‘lexical category defence’. That way, anything that’s written with too many (or too) few verbs/nouns/adjectives/adverbs etc. can be dismissed as non-literal.

  586. #586 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #577, CJO wrote:

    Since the bulk of your output seems to emanate from a region where the sun don’t shine, as it were, I’m not going to hold my breath.

    That’s strikes me as a very odd reaction.

    Isn’t the usual reflexive response to this type of output exactly to the contrary–to hold one’s breath.

  587. #587 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    I now understand clearly where you are coming from

    You do?

  588. #588 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #586, Wowbagger, OM wrote:

    How, if there’s ‘no real historian on the planet who would dismiss them as primary historical documents’ how can there be a group to be a ‘representative’ of?

    Do you think it’s because this group isn’t composed of “true” historians? Clearly, they’re just colored marble-voters.

    You should consider only what true historians say.

    [And this time, I’m going to try to be more careful to hit “preview”, not “post” than I did for #589. Not that that eliminates all my errors, but it does help.]

  589. #589 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Wowie: I am beginning to fear that you are unteachable; you haven’t understood a word I have said. One of the things I have said is that “my view” is not a recent development. How many citations from ancient writers will convince you? Moreover, you don’t actually know what my position is, exactly. I have only bothered to discuss the necessity of understanding, language, metaphors, etc. Some of this is what Augustine (below) refers to as tropes. What is a trope? Wiki to the rescue! “A literary trope is a common pattern, theme, motif in literature, or a figure of speech in which words are used in a sense different from their literal meaning.”

    What I don’t understand about Maggie’s position is that, if such a view of Christianity is the correct and necessary one, how come it’s only a recent development? Surely the Church hierarchy, with their thousands of scholars should have cottoned onto it some time in the past 2,000 odd years and stopped attempting to teach OT literalism.

    Church hierarchy? Catholic Church? Well, OK. let’s see what they have to say about the OT:

    Para. 121-122
    The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.

    Indeed, “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.” “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, “the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love: these writings “are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.”

    (http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt1sect1chpt2.shtml#120)

    Let’s see, what did Augustine have to say about reading scripture intelligently?

    But in addition to the foregoing rule, which guards us against taking a metaphorical form of speech as if it were literal, we must also pay heed to that which tells us not to take a literal form of speech as if it were figurative. In the first place, then, we must show the way to find out whether a phrase is literal or figurative. (which he goes on to do)

    The chief thing to be inquired into, therefore, in regard to any expression that we are trying to understand is, whether it is literal or figurative.

    Moreover, I would have learned men to know that the authors of our Scriptures use all those forms of expression which grammarians call by the Greek name tropes, and use them more freely and in greater variety than people who are unacquainted with the Scriptures, and have learnt these figures of speech from other writings, can imagine or believe. Nevertheless those who know these tropes recognize them in Scripture, and are very much assisted by their knowledge of them in understanding Scripture.
    (From On Christian Doctrine http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/christian_doctrine/index.php)

    Does this help?

  590. #590 Owlmirror
    March 29, 2009

    You are mistaken. Jesus did clearly state that he is God. His hearers certainly understood that; they even tried to stone him for blasphemy. John 10:29-31

    Yes, that is indeed one of the verses implying homoousia; obviously, John was edited by the explicit homoousian faction or a member thereof. But I note that he backs off from there in verse 36; from being “one” with God, to being “just” the Son of God again.

    John 10:34 is actually pretty amusing, given your grandiose claims of “intelligent reading” of the OT. Jesus cites from Psalm 82 (?I said, you are gods?) as his defense. Is Psalm 82 literally claiming that humans are gods? Well… no. The very next verse in the psalm says “Nevertheless you will die like men / And fall like any one of the princes.” I don’t know about you, but my intelligent reading is that the psalm-writer; the human saying “you are gods”, was being deeply sarcastic about those he was speaking of (or to), in context.

    Looks like Jesus didn’t know how to “intelligently” read the Old Testament! Heh.

    He proved his claim by rising from the dead.

    Except that he is was only interpreted to have made the claim in the first place by the very late authors of John. The synoptics have no such claim; the “son” is not the “father” in them.

    So his followers say, and so we believe.

    Yet the “rising from the dead” is itself an interpretation of a non-directly-witnessed event which has much more probable naturalistic explanations, such as being made up as a story, or as something non-supernatural that was misunderstood, such as awakening from a coma, or as outright fraud; a carefully-orchestrated sleight-of-hand.

    The only basis that Christians had for believing it without evidence was to abandon reason. And you’re in the same boat.

    —————-

    Here is the accurate version– the church from its earliest days was clear on the nature of Christ.

    Garbage. Utter nonsense. The church did not exist as anything even vaguely unified until all disagreeing factions were purged or assimilated They certainly were not clear on the nature of Christ; that was why they had all of those councils. And the reason they were unclear was because the various factions interpreted different parts of the bible in different ways, because the bible itself is hideously unclear.

    The controversy arose only in the Eastern church

    Which contradicts your own thesis that there was “the” church, which demonstrates its unsustainability and inconsistency.

    The Council lasted approximately 2 months and when the vote was finally taken,

    So they voted… kind of like tossing pretty coloured beads in a box!

    Color me deeply unimpressed. Ha.

    the traditional view prevailed– only 2 bishops held out for Arianism.

    “Traditional view”, meaning “majority view which then became the tradition”. In other words, the dissenters were mostly assimilated, and the John-advocates won. Not by reason, and not by evidence, but by a popularity contest.

    If you are trying to say that there was lots of controversy, as Christianity spread to different places and among people further and further removed in time and place from the original church, that is certainly true.

    Of course. Because stories with no evidence to support them change in the transmission. God, for some strange reason, never offers direct clarification, probably because God isn’t real.

  591. #591 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Dear Josh. Chill, dude.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Though it has been fairly clear for many posts now, how can you honestly say that what you’ve been doing on here is having a conversation if you reject the possibility of your mind being changed? This, right here, is what’s dangerous about belief.

    A more careful reading of what I have said would, I believe, demonstrate that I am not convinced by the arguments made by the scholars CJO has named. If they can argue more persuasively or turn up good evidence to support their positions, of course I would change my mind.

    Weighing evidence for positions I did not formerly hold is how I, at the age of 25, ended up converting from atheism to Christianity. Funny thing, that. Thinking often does take one to unexpected places.

  592. #592 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I am beginning to fear that you are unteachable; you haven’t understood a word I have said.

    Right Maggie, we feel the same way about your and your ignorance. God doesn’t exist, your bible and Jebus are myths. What part of the TRUTH are you having trouble with?

  593. #593 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    I, at the age of 25, ended up converting from atheism to Christianity.

    Pray tell, what kind of atheism did you hold before? Was it a thoughtful, considered, researched atheism, or do you mean “My parents never took me to church”?

  594. #594 aratina
    March 29, 2009

    I, at the age of 25, ended up converting from atheism to Christianity – maggie

    Mmm-hmmm. Very funny.

  595. #595 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    If they can argue more persuasively or turn up good evidence to support their positions, of course I would change my mind.

    Yes, evidence. What do you have beyond your book of mythology, and why should your book of mythology be put on a greater standing than every other book of mythology throughout history?

  596. #596 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Oh, bother, Owl. Is that what I was led to believe would be a serious contrary position?

    There is only one church. It started, roughly, in 33 A.D. While the gentile converts certainly could be cantakerous, as Paul’s letters demonstrate, every letter and every sermon that exists from the 1st century demonstrates clearly that the first and 2nd generation of apostles and bishops were in agreement on doctrinal matters. That is simply an easily verifiable fact.

    Clearly, as time went on and the Gospel was brought to groups with different cultural and religious backgrounds, there would necessarily be questions; some new and some old arising, which did lead to controversy. So what? That is the nature of human nature. If the Corinthian church, established by Paul himself had to be smacked upside the head over doctrinal matters, how likely is it that others would escape fads, controversies and even heresies?

    By the way, it is childish to try and liken the Council’s voting on the Arian question after 2 months of vigorous debate to the Glasperlenspiel the Jesus Seminar wasn’t embarassed to engage in. In fact, it is a rather amusing species of conceptual Anschluss and fails badly.

  597. #597 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    why should your book of mythology be put on a greater standing than every other book of mythology throughout history?

    Easy – she has proof that her book was actually written at some point in the past. QED.

  598. #598 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie wrote:

    Wowie: I am beginning to fear that you are unteachable; you haven’t understood a word I have said.

    On the contrary, I know exactly what you’re saying; I just reject it because I see it for what it is: sophistry. Yes, I’ve been willfully obtuse, but I make no apologies for that – it’s what I do.

    The reason I keep pointing out what I point out is that, despite the fact that you hold this position, it is not one shared by all Christians and, until fairly recently, it was only a position held by a minority of Christians.

    Ussher’s calculation of the age of the earth from Scripture was in 1648 – meaning that literal creationism was part of Christianity less than 400 years ago, meaning that, at that time, Christians believed in a literal OT view of creation that, obviously, wasn’t countered by ‘ancient writings’.

    Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859, to great uproar amongst the religious community. If the Christians of only 150 years ago were such nuanced and sophisticated readers of the Old Testament, why did this happen?

    Slavery was endorsed by Christians (though not all) who using biblical passages as support for the practice. The civil war was less than 150 years ago, and the equal rights amendment only happened in the lifetimes of many people who are still with us today.

    The USA is rife with efforts by those who – despite your desperate attempts to distance yourselves from them – are Christians and who are trying to get literal Old Testament Creationism taught as fact in schools.

    Your attitude toward the OT is, in a way, commendable, because it is archaic nonsense by today’s standards. But that does not change the fact that you are omitting things which do not meet contemporary moral, ethical and scientific standards and have come up with concepts such as ‘intelligent reading’ to justify that.

    If your view of Christianity was universal (historically and contemporaneously) then I would have, as they say, no leg to stand on. But it’s a demonstrable fact that Christianity has changed, and changed much. Why? Because you and other Christians are as (or almost as) liberal and scientifically literate as the society they belong to.

    So, you abandon the parts that don’t fit the current incarnation. However, you still want to believe and turn to the bible for inspiration and justification – hence your position and argument.

  599. #599 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie, still nothing but bullshit for your position. YAWN. Boring godbot troll.

  600. #600 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie opined,

    Normally, scholars state their opinions openly and submit them for criticism and discussion. Not the Seminar! If it weren’t so incredibly embarrassing, the idea of scholars voting in secret would be hilarious. Needless-to-say, this is not scholarship; this is partisanship.
    Oh, yeah. How do I know all this? Why, they described it in the introduction to their “seminal” work, “The Five Gospels”. Anyone who wishes can read a lengthy excerpt from it at their website: (www.westarinstitute.org/Polebridge/Excerpts/voting5g.html)
    Color me orange– not impressed.

    You’re probably not impressed because you’ve deliberately misrepresented and lied about how the Jesus Seminar worked.

    Given that you’ve lied, why should we accept anything you’ve said?

    Typical theist – using lies in place of actual arguments.

  601. #601 Josh
    March 29, 2009

    A more careful reading of what I have said would, I believe, demonstrate that I am not convinced by the arguments made by the scholars CJO has named.

    What makes you think I’m not aware of that? That was quite clear, thank you.

    If they can argue more persuasively or turn up good evidence to support their positions, of course I would change my mind.

    Good. That’s how discussions work. Given what I’ve read so far, I’m rather skeptical that you’re not completely entrenched in your position (because you believe it). But I’m glad to at least read the words.

  602. #602 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Pray tell, what kind of atheism did you hold before? Was it a thoughtful, considered, researched atheism, or do you mean “My parents never took me to church”?

    There is no such thing as “researched atheism”, unless you are using a very strange circumlocution for “did you read Nietsche, Camus, Sartre et al.?” (Yes, to those 3 and many others. The current popular lot, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett are mental midgets in comparison.) In fact, I was a right proper little existentialist for awhile.

    Of course, it is possible to look at the world thoughtfully, research religions, and find them wanting. But research atheism? Is there a text book on the subject? A bibliography of canonical sources I should have read before claiming that exalted name?

    So, to answer the rest– my parents never took me to church. I assumed, on the basis of my limited understanding of science and my childish belief that there could be no such thing as a miracle that Christianity was all bunk. In other words, I held many of the same views I see expressed here.

  603. #603 Rilke's Granddaughter
    March 29, 2009

    Once again, Maggie lies.

    Oh, bother, Owl. Is that what I was led to believe would be a serious contrary position?
    There is only one church.

    False. Even the Catholic Church admits that it is made of multiple churches. There is no single church because there is no single standard for the interpretation and understanding of the scriptures and the extra-scriptural traditions that the Catholics, for example, value so highly.

    It started, roughly, in 33 A.D.

    Again, a lie. Paul’s version of the truth – considerably at odds with Jame’s more Jewish-focused cult – came considerably later than 33.

    While the gentile converts certainly could be cantakerous, as Paul’s letters demonstrate, every letter and every sermon that exists from the 1st century demonstrates clearly that the first and 2nd generation of apostles and bishops were in agreement on doctrinal matters. That is simply an easily verifiable fact.

    Again, a lie – one demonstrated by the very letters and sermons (and sorry, you lied about the sermons. Be ashamed); most of which were Paul’s attempts to correct what he saw as doctrinal errors on the part of the separate churches and bishops.

    Clearly, as time went on and the Gospel was brought to groups with different cultural and religious backgrounds, there would necessarily be questions; some new and some old arising, which did lead to controversy. So what? That is the nature of human nature. If the Corinthian church, established by Paul himself had to be smacked upside the head over doctrinal matters, how likely is it that others would escape fads, controversies and even heresies?

    You will note that you just contradicted yourself there.

    Loser.

    By the way, it is childish to try and liken the Council’s voting on the Arian question after 2 months of vigorous debate to the Glasperlenspiel the Jesus Seminar wasn’t embarassed to engage in. In fact, it is a rather amusing species of conceptual Anschluss and fails badly.

    You’ve been Godwined. Again, fail.

    Maggie, I’ve no objection to your religious nonsense – I don’t expect to change the mind of someone who so clearly is unversed in the topics she’s discussing. What I do find contemptible is the lack of reasoning, the outright obfuscation, and the deliberate mendacity of someone claiming to be a Christian.

    You make Christians look childish, unthinking, and uneducated.

  604. #604 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    There is no such thing as “researched atheism”,

    I apologize for using terms you couldn’t understand. What I mean is that everyone starts off as an atheist – nobody believes in a god unless they’re carefully coached in which one to believe in. However, that’s a default position, and isn’t based on any information. What I refer to is the position of having researched religions in general and found them all to be obviously lacking in anything resembling truth. It is often called “reasoned atheism”, which is the term I probably should have used. People like you, who never went to church and never really thought about it, aren’t that kind of atheist, and it’s disingenuous for them to act as though they had strongly held beliefs against religion that were then changed when in reality they went from not thinking about it to agreeing with whatever religion suddenly gave them the warm fuzzies.

  605. #605 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie, you have committed the crimes against Pharyngula of lying, godbotting, and proselytizing. How do you plead? Maybe you should just go before you get banned for your bad behavior. Your choice cricket.

  606. #606 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I assumed, on the basis of my limited understanding of science and my childish belief that there could be no such thing as a miracle that Christianity was all bunk.

    I don’t think Christianity is ‘all’ bunk – just the parts about there being a god, a single person meeting the description of Jesus doing and saying all the things atttributed to him and the descriptions of the supernatural events surrounding his conception, birth, death and supposed resurrection. Oh, and the miracles, of course – but you yourself admit they couldn’t have happened.

    Most of the bigger ideas espoused by Christianity are great – why would I dismiss the achievements of humanity via social evolution simply because my ancestors were under the misapphrension that the only way they could have reached such a point was to have a man-god teach them to be good to each other?

  607. #607 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    That was a shameful performance, R’s granddaughter. Ignorance married to arrogance produces utter nonsense. I am going to deal with just two:

    Church=body of believers in Jesus Christ. It does not mean “denominations”. Don’t build an “argument” or an ugly diatribe on quicksand.

    An enormous wealth of early church writings are available online in English. Avail yourself of it before making stupid comments that demonstrate only that you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

    One last piece of advice that you should take to heart immediately. Don’t be too quick to call anyone a liar or a loser, until you are sure you have stepped away from the mirror.

  608. #608 TING
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie wayyy back at #208
    It makes no sense in a Godless world to claim that anything is wrong or evil

    Then you go on to say that you were an “atheist” till you were 25.

    Does that mean for 25 years you were killing people indiscriminately??

    Somebody call the cops!

  609. #609 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Church=body of believers in Jesus Christ.

    Which would be fine – if they all believed the same thing. As it is, the beliefs of Christians are so wildly disparate that, when place on a spectrum, Christian beliefs can be shown to have less in common with those of other Christians than they do with those of members of other religions.

    This lack of universality seriously undermines its claims of ‘truth’.

  610. #610 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Nerd: You have committed the unpardonable sin of being a bore and a boor. There is no defense for that.

  611. #611 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Great argument. The only problem is I don’t understand what you’re all talking about. Best shut up, and learn what I can then.

  612. #612 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    The only reason Nerd seems boring to you is that Nerd has to keep asking you the same question over and over because you keep refusing to answer it.

  613. #613 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Wowie, stop it. Just stop it. You go from one clueless, preposterous statement to another. Christians do share the same core beliefs. Honestly, where do you get this stuff? The various denominations differ on incidentals; sometimes widely. Where fundamentals are concerned, they are in agreement. One is no longer a Christian once one rejects the Resurrection, Judgement, and all the other stuff you can find in the Apostles’ creed.

    And don’t dare trot out that idiotic atheist mantra “No true Scotsman”. Words have meaning. When they become so elastic that they do not describe something accurately, they are useless. Christianity describes a set of beliefs that one must subscribe to, in order to use that label meaningfully. It makes just as much sense to talk of God-fearing atheists as it does to talk of Christians who reject the resurrection, or any other essential.

  614. #614 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Oh? And what question has Nerd asked me that I have not answered?

  615. #615 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie, why don’t you try addressing the points I raised in post #601? Chew on that for a while before trying to invalidate the ‘No True Scotsman’ argument.

  616. #616 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Nerd: You have committed the unpardonable sin of being a bore and a boor. There is no defense for that.

    Maggie, you committed sins against Pharyngula by lying to us. If you weren’t discussing in earnest, and willing to acknowledge you could be wrong, that is lying. You kept avoiding hard questions which would undermine your position, again lying. You keep trying to present god and Jebus, which is proselytizing and godbotting. You see Maggie, the only way to get yourself out of crimes is simply to fade into the bandwidth, or actually acknowledge you could be wrong. I suggest fading into the bandwidth.
    And the question you have not answered is the physical evidence for your imaginary god. Which we both know doesn’t exist. Again, another lie from Maggie.

  617. #617 windy
    March 29, 2009

    And don’t dare trot out that idiotic atheist mantra “No true Scotsman”. Words have meaning. When they become so elastic that they do not describe something accurately, they are useless. Christianity describes a set of beliefs that one must subscribe to, in order to use that label meaningfully.

    It’s not atheists who refuse to identify common criteria for Christians, you dumbass! We’d love if the Christians agreed upon some, but instead “sophisticated believers” like Spong get trotted out as a response to criticism of particular Christian beliefs.

  618. #618 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Easy – she has proof that her book was actually written at some point in the past. QED.

    To be honest, if a holy book was not written in the past it means it had to come from the future – and I would be far more inclined to believe a book that breaks space-time than one that was written back at a time when earthquakes were caused by egyptians having gay sex…

    What makes the bible special, seriously? Sam Harris makes the point that there’s nothing in the bible that couldn’t have been written by a 1st century author – yet the greatest advances of understanding the universe in the last 500 years including the insights of Newton, Darwin and Einstein all are attributed to the work of man.

  619. #619 TING
    March 29, 2009

    everyone, we have reason to believe maggie has been committing major crimes till she was 25 (see post 611). Beware! If she loses belief in her almighty doG she will go on a rampage!! For the the children’s sake – pleeease don’t try and argue against her!!!
    I’m locking my doors just in case!

  620. #620 Guy Incognito
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie said:

    One is no longer a Christian once one rejects the Resurrection, Judgement, and all the other stuff you can find in the Apostles’ creed.

    I’ve met more than a few liberal Christians who think that hell is just an invention. Leigh Williams also believes that. How does that jibe with the portion of the Creed that states Jesus descended into hell?

  621. #621 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK @ #614 wrote:

    Great argument. The only problem is I don’t understand what you’re all talking about.

    IIRC, I think that at some point, the discussion was WRT whether it was OK for God to kill humans.

    But the current discussion involves Maggie’s claims that while the OT is merely allegorical, the NT is true, Jesus really existed, and there’s proof that Jesus was God.

    Maggie also says that no “real historians” question that Jesus really existed, and that Jesus’ divinity has been recognized since his resurrection (and the resurrection is supported by proof).

    Certain posters have taken Maggie to task for her position and claims. Maggie says these posters don’t know what they’re talking about.

    At least that’s my understanding. I hope I haven’t misstated the discussion to date or anyone’s position.

  622. #622 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Christians do share the same core beliefs. Honestly, where do you get this stuff? The various denominations differ on incidentals; sometimes widely. Where fundamentals are concerned, they are in agreement. One is no longer a Christian once one rejects the Resurrection, Judgement, and all the other stuff you can find in the Apostles’ creed.

    I guess a lot of those early Christian sects really were heretics!

  623. #623 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #620, windy wrote:

    We’d love if the Christians agreed upon some, but instead “sophisticated believers” like Spong get trotted out as a response to criticism of particular Christian beliefs

    Well, Maggie isn’t a Spong fan. See #525 in which she wrote:

    Spong is a heretic who needs to debunk Christianity, since he is an atheist who didn’t have the minimal integrity required to get out of the church and stop pontificating on its dime, once he decided it was all bunk.

  624. #624 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2009

    Ignorance married to arrogance produces utter nonsense.

    Funny thing, that.

  625. #625 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Certain posters have taken Maggie to task for her position and claims. Maggie says these posters don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I find this amazing. Would magaggie believe someone who claims to have seen bigfoot? Would she be more likely to believe it if a few different people claimed to have all seen bigfoot? Advertising has caught onto the fact that humans feed off eyewitness testimony, but the great thing about critical thinking is the transcendence from that to believing on empirical evidence.

    Will maggie care to explain why her particular mythology is true while every other religion, holy book, handed-down myth and legend is not? What makes Christianity unique?

  626. #626 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Maggie wisely quipped:

    Don’t be too quick to call anyone a liar or a loser, until you are sure you have stepped away from the mirror.

    which is fully consistent with her initial post here:
    Well, the comments here (those I have read) are as dumb as always. Pteryxx, thinks for example, that claiming something makes it so.

    Nice to see that you’ve stepped away from the mirror there maggie.

  627. #627 Tulse
    March 29, 2009

    I’m still not clear on what “proof” there is of the resurrection. Without some kind of proof, why should we take that claim more seriously than the myths of Hinduism or the religion of the Mayas?

    Again, just to be clear, Maggie has pretty much backed up to defending the mere existence of a Jewish preacher named Jesus. She’s offered nothing in support of his divinity except the claims that non-eyewitnesses have made at least decades after he died. Somehow we’re to take the consensus of the “Church” to be evidence, even though by that standard the 13th tribe of Israel came to America and Xenu trapped alien souls in volcanos.

  628. #628 windy
    March 29, 2009

    Well, Maggie isn’t a Spong fan. See #525 in which she wrote

    I know, I wasn’t accusing Maggie of resorting to the Spong defense, but her claim that atheists deny that Christians tend to share certain core beliefs is completely bonkers.

  629. #629 aratina
    March 29, 2009

    Would magaggie believe someone who claims to have seen bigfoot?

    Of course she would, Kel. Her parents never took her on weekly Bigfoot hunting excursions.

    But I’m biased. I thought maggie was a smug, condescending asshole the moment of her arrival:

    Well, the comments here (those I have read) are as dumb as always.

  630. #630 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    But I’m biased. I thought maggie was a smug, condescending asshole the moment of her arrival

    Apparently, that’s what being a True Christian is all about ;)

  631. #631 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #628, Kel wrote:

    Will maggie care to explain why her particular mythology is true while every other religion, holy book, handed-down myth and legend is not? What makes Christianity unique?

    Maggie already answered this (I think) @ #365 where she wrote:

    I think I answered most of what you are asking above. However, this gives me a chance to say something that I have not said clearly enough– Christianity is unique in making a historical claim about events that were widely witnessed. Mohammad claimed private revelation– well, ok. Who can dispute that? (I jest.) Most of the worlds’ religions have their origins in the dim and misty past. Where is the historical or archaeolgical evidence that can help support those claims?

    Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m convinced by that argument. Wonder why no one else has thought of it before.

  632. #632 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Ah I see, it’s abstruse points of early church history, brougnt up to suggest that modern Christianity, of Maggie’s exact stripe, is what God really meant all along.
    And people here question that?
    Un-fucking-believable.
    Still I shall certainly be using the “Spong Defence” from now on; whatever it is, it sounds cool. Who says early Xtian theology is a waste of time?

  633. #633 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Christianity is unique in making a historical claim about events that were widely witnessed.

    By that account aliens must have visited us given the number of “witnessed” events there have been in the last 100 years. Maybe Jesus didn’t resurrect, his body was abducted by aliens ;)

  634. #634 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2009

    Ah, the Spong Defense.
    Considering the rocky terrain, I think it appropriate.

  635. #635 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    “Spong Defence”

    Oh, don’t do that. She went absolutely off tap when I started mentioning ‘genre defence'; anything else along similar lines might just make her head explode.

  636. #636 Spong
    March 29, 2009

    Fuck off atheists, and leave my defence alone!

  637. #637 windy
    March 29, 2009

    John 10:34 is actually pretty amusing, given your grandiose claims of “intelligent reading” of the OT. Jesus cites from Psalm 82 (?I said, you are gods?)

    You can imagine the listeners thinking: “Oh, we are gods. We are gods. We are as gods!”

  638. #638 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    I’m trying to think of all the incredulous nonsense that has come up in the last 100 years as supported by eyewitness accounts:

    • Alien abductions
    • Alien spacecraft sightings
    • levitating Hindu gurus
    • People talking to the dead
    • Detecting people by aura
    • ghosts and other spirits and haunted houses
    • perpetual motion devices
    • loch ness monster, bigfoot, and other cryptozoological beasts
    • claims of psychic powers
    • the power of homoeopathy

    And so on… each day we deal with claims of the extraordinary – and these perpetuate through anecdotal evidence. People pass on what they saw to others and very shortly it becomes a widely-accepted belief. The satanic cults molesting children in the 1980s should serve as a warning to the problems associated with anything to do with memory. Yet what makes Christianity’s reliance on the anecdotal any more solid that the many who can testify in this modern age to either witnessing a UFO or being personally abducted; especially when multiple accounts cooborate the same tale?

  639. #639 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #628, Kel wrote:

    Advertising has caught onto the fact that humans feed off eyewitness testimony, but the great thing about critical thinking is the transcendence from that to believing on empirical evidence.

    As anyone involved with legal matters will tell you, eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and the accuracy of the recall of events fades quickly with the passage of time.

    It isn’t unheard of for eyewitness testimony which was documented almost immediately after an event to be contradicted by physical evidence such as DNA, photos, or video recordings.

    What our mind tells us happened–especially when there’s a time gap between an event and when we recall that event–and what truly did happen, often aren’t in accord.

    Have you ever had the experience of finding out, based on physical evidence, that an event you clearly and quite vividly remember, could not possibly have happened the way you remember it happening? I have, and it kinda shook me to realize that something that, for most of my life, I “knew” had happened, was merely something my brain had invented.

    The ways out brains process, store, and recall memories are, IMO, fascinating. And frequently more than a bit buggy.

  640. #640 windy
    March 29, 2009

    Oh, don’t do that. She went absolutely off tap when I started mentioning ‘genre defence'; anything else along similar lines might just make her head explode.

    Can we still use the Chewbacca defense?

  641. #641 Wowbagger, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I have to admit that when I first heard the name ‘Spong’ I thought it was made up. Finding out it’s actually a real name was a bit of a shock. Then again, I have a stunningly boring surname (by English-speaking standards) so almost anything else seems interesting to me.

    Maggie seems to be taking a long time to respond – perhaps she dashed off to the cafeteria.

  642. #642 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2009

    Here’s an excellent article on how crappy “eyewitness memory” is.

  643. #643 maggie
    March 29, 2009

    Wowie– I am going to write as simply as I can, what I believe about the Old Testament. You boast of deliberate obtuseness, so you will understand why I say this is the last time I will answer any question from you.

    1. The Old Testament is, first of all, the Jews national literature and reflects their understanding of their history, their understanding of God and God’s dealings with them.

    2. The Old Testament is sacred, divinely inspired Scripture.

    3. It contains stories and only a fool would read them literally. It contains laws. One would be a fool not to read them literally. It contains history. To be read literally. It contains poetry. Not to be read literally.

    The quotes from St. Augustine would convince a normal human being that from early on, educated people realized that scripture is full of poetic figures (poetic devices). Augustine said that it is a mistake to take what is meant literally as metaphor. He also said that it is just as big a mistake to take what is meant figuratively as literal. He got it. This just doesn’t seem complicated to me.

    The reason I keep pointing out what I point out is that, despite the fact that you hold this position, it is not one shared by all Christians and, until fairly recently, it was only a position held by a minority of Christians.

    Where did I ever claim that all Christians shared this? I said quite clearly that reasonably well educated people hold the same positions. Just like St. Augustine said that educated people were better equipped to understand scripture than uneducated ones. Big duh!

    Ussher’s calculation of the age of the earth from Scripture was in 1648 – meaning that literal creationism was part of Christianity less than 400 years ago, meaning that, at that time, Christians believed in a literal OT view of creation that, obviously, wasn’t countered by ‘ancient writings’.

    No kidding? Virtually everyone believed in a literal OT view of creation then. Of course, most people were Christians, at least nominally. I also believe, literally, that God created the world. The issue is not that fact. The issue is our understanding of how. Science answers some of the how and when questions and has certainly dropped positions it once held (like an eternally existing universe) and adopted others. Is it your position that everything science has ever believed and dropped in the light of fuller, better information invalidates its current understanding?

    Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859, to great uproar amongst the religious community. If the Christians of only 150 years ago were such nuanced and sophisticated readers of the Old Testament, why did this happen?

    This is almost pure myth. Darwin’s work was a best seller (as all his works were) and he was lionized from the beginning. The religious moderates and liberals were as enthusiastic as the general public. So well regarded was he that he got a state funeral which was nearly unheard of at the time for commoners.

    This is the summation of its description of the scientific theory of evolution in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    This is the gist of the theory of evolution as a scientific hypothesis. It is in perfect agreement with the Christian conception of the universe; for Scripture does not tell us in what form the present species of plants and of animals were originally created by God. As early as 1877 Knabenbauer stated “that there is no objection, so far as faith is concerned, to assuming the descent of all plant and animal species from a few types” (Stimmen aus Maria Laach, XIII, p. 72).

    At the end of the article, the author states:

    To what extent is the theory of evolution applicable to man? That God should have made use of natural, evolutionary, original causes in the production of man’s body, is per se not improbable, and was propounded by St. Augustine (see AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, SAINT, under V. Augustinism in History). The actual proofs of the descent of man’s body from animals is, however, inadequate, especially in respect to paleontology. And the human soul could not have been derived through natural evolution from that of the brute, since it is of a spiritual nature; for which reason we must refer its origin to a creative act on the part of God.

    This, I should say, comes from the 1913 ed. of the Catholic Encyclopedia (www.newadvent.org/cathen/05654a.htm)

    Slavery was endorsed by Christians (though not all) who using biblical passages as support for the practice. The civil war was less than 150 years ago, and the equal rights amendment only happened in the lifetimes of many people who are still with us today.

    Yet again, this does not reflect an informed view of reality. Slavery was the norm in the ancient world and it is still the norm in many parts of the world. Start with the situation in Sudan (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6455365.stm) Just as always, it is Christians who are at the forefront of battling it. While it took far too long for the the entire church to do the job of abolishing it wherever it had the influence to do so, it is Christianity that provided the moral argument for abolishing it: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Gal. 3:28). The southern slave owners certainly understood the implications of this– that is why many refused to let their slaves become Christians or be instructed in Christianity and it is why the Baptists split into Southern and Northern Baptists. (they don’t call themselves “Northern Baptists” anymore.)

    The USA is rife with efforts by those who – despite your desperate attempts to distance yourselves from them – are Christians and who are trying to get literal Old Testament Creationism taught as fact in schools.

    When did I ever deny this? When? Who by the way, is responsible for defeating these efforts? Not atheists. There are too few of you to pull it off. Think of the most recent, famous case and take a look at who the main players were.

    Your attitude toward the OT is, in a way, commendable, because it is archaic nonsense by today’s standards. But that does not change the fact that you are omitting things which do not meet contemporary moral, ethical and scientific standards and have come up with concepts such as ‘intelligent reading’ to justify that.

    Intelligent reading is not a concept. It is an ordinary noun modified by an adjective. Other examples might be, oh, I don’t know… how about “red dress”, “bad movie,” “cold brussel sprouts” or “overgrown garden”? I mean, quite literally by “intelligent reading” reading with your brain turned on.

    If your view of Christianity was universal (historically and contemporaneously) then I would have, as they say, no leg to stand on. But it’s a demonstrable fact that Christianity has changed, and changed much.

    Do you think we read Homer the same way the Greeks did? Or the English Romantics? The texts don’t change but our understanding grows richer and fuller over time as the necessary outcome of engaging with them.

    So, you abandon the parts that don’t fit the current incarnation.

    This is meaningless. Incarnation means “In flesh” what does that mean here? You are throwing around big words you don’t understand just as you have tossed out assertions about matters that you understand very poorly.

    I have abandoned no part of the Bible. Not one. You may continue to believe whatever you want.

  644. #644 maggie
    March 30, 2009

    Here is an excellent article on oral transmission of stories, events,etc.

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_tradition_bailey.html

  645. #645 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    I have abandoned no part of the Bible. Not one. You may continue to believe whatever you want.

    So when you came on here and we talked about the old testament in terms of God (not historical events) why did you dismiss us as taking it literally when we were doing the exact same thing as you say you are?:The Old Testament is sacred, divinely inspired Scripture.

    How is that view any different from the ones who criticised the nature of God in the old testament?

  646. #646 castletonsnob
    March 30, 2009

    So, Maggie, if Jesus was God, and God is, by definition, immortal, then how could he die?

  647. #647 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2009

    every letter and every sermon that exists from the 1st century demonstrates clearly that the first and 2nd generation of apostles and bishops were in agreement on doctrinal matters. That is simply an easily verifiable fact.

    Heh. I called your bluff.

    maggie, meet Papias:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.vii.ii.v.html

    The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature; and that, moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father; and that in due time the Son will yield up His work to the Father
    [and he cites 1 Corinthians in support]
    ?But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.?

    See? Papias, following Paul in 1 Corinthians, holds that the Son is subordinate to the Father, not identical.

    Just as one example.

    Clearly, as time went on and the Gospel was brought to groups with different cultural and religious backgrounds, there would necessarily be questions; some new and some old arising, which did lead to controversy. So what? That is the nature of human nature.

    Of course. Because Christianity is the product of human nature, and nothing more.

    By the way, it is childish to try and liken the Council’s voting on the Arian question after 2 months of vigorous debate to the Glasperlenspiel the Jesus Seminar wasn’t embarassed to engage in.

    Oooh, “Glasperlenspiel”; obscure German reference FTW.

    But it is infantile to suggest that there is any difference between any two different attempts to vote on whether “revealed” truth is true. What did Nicaea debate about? Whether the proof texts of John beat the proof texts of the three synoptics? Bah. It is all vanity and chasing after the wind. God is imaginary.

    But research atheism? Is there a text book on the subject?

    Perhaps this:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tAeFipOVx4MC

    maggie @#610:

    Church=body of believers in Jesus Christ. It does not mean “denominations”.

    You might easily be accused of lying, there…

    There are fourteen different definitions of “Church” on dictionary.com; “all Christendom” is 3rd, and “denomination” is 4th. On m-w.com, it’s 3a and “denomination” is 3b. The OED has about twenty-six definitions, with 4a as “Church Universal, and 5a as “distinct branch”.

    I could go on…

    Did someone die and make you queen of the English language? Or are you just utterly incompetent at using it?

    maggie @#616 (one of the numbers of the beast FTW!)

    One is no longer a Christian once one rejects the Resurrection, Judgement, and all the other stuff you can find in the Apostles’ creed.

    I note that the Apostle’s creed, being older than the 1st Council of Nicaea, does not include the unity of Jesus and God. Heh.

    And don’t dare trot out that idiotic atheist mantra “No true Scotsman”. Words have meaning. When they become so elastic that they do not describe something accurately, they are useless.

    Indeed. Indeed.

    So is the word “Church” useless, or not? Twenty-six definitions seems pretty elastic to me…

    Oh, and speaking of “elastic definitions” and “useless”, could you, as queen of the English language, please define “God”? Thanks ever so much.

    How about “death”? Could you define “death” for us, please?

    Christianity describes a set of beliefs that one must subscribe to, in order to use that label meaningfully.

    Looks like someone died and made you Papessa as well.

  648. #648 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    I’ll get to the rest of your post later on, Maggie – I have to be away from the PC a while – but I’ll deal with this particularly ignorant (and yet somehow representative) commment before I depart:

    This is meaningless. Incarnation means “In flesh” what does that mean here? You are throwing around big words you don’t understand just as you have tossed out assertions about matters that you understand very poorly.

    A Google search for the definition of ‘incarnation’ as per this url:
    http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+incarnation&meta=

    Run it for yourselves. The first line of the page it generates:
    embodiment: a new personification of a familiar idea; “the embodiment of hope”; “the incarnation of evil”; “the very avatar of cunning”
    ‘Big words I don’t understand’, huh?

  649. #649 windy
    March 30, 2009

    Do you think we read Homer the same way the Greeks did? Or the English Romantics? The texts don’t change but our understanding grows richer and fuller over time as the necessary outcome of engaging with them.

    Our understanding of Homer is richer and fuller than the ancient Greeks’? Eh…

  650. #650 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Apologies, folks ? this is going to be a long ?un. I?ll break it up in to a few posts.

    Part 1

    Maggie,

    How you keep mistaking rejection for misunderstanding I?ve got no idea, especially considering how often you keep touting your skills as a critical reader and interpreter of nuance. Let me spell it out for you: I know what you believe; I simply reject it as a valid answer to the questions put to you.

    1. The Old Testament is, first of all, the Jews national literature and reflects their understanding of their history, their understanding of God and God’s dealings with them.

    This is not a view shared by all Christians today, nor was it the case during the greater proportion of the history of Christianity. If the early church fathers felt this way, why were all Christians not made aware of it? Why did the majority of Christians remain uninformed of this for nearly 2,000 years?

    Fundamentalist Christians reject your interpretation. Why, exactly, do you get to be right and they wrong? What evidence do you have to support your claims that they don?t?

    2. The Old Testament is sacred, divinely inspired Scripture

    Why would the ?divine inspirer? provide incorrect scientific information? Why would he give us the tools to understand the universe but which would show the bible to be so very wrong about so many things?

    3. It contains stories and only a fool would read them literally. It contains laws. One would be a fool not to read them literally. It contains history. To be read literally. It contains poetry. Not to be read literally.

    Why, exactly, does putting something in verse form render it invalid? Is there a law or rule of literature which confirms this?

    Take The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde. Verse VI:

    In Reading gaol by Reading town
    There is a pit of shame,
    And in it lies a wretched man
    Eaten by teeth of flame,
    In a burning winding-sheet he lies,
    And his grave has got no name.

    ?In Reading gaol by Reading town? ? we can interpret that to mean the Reading gaol is near Reading town – but that?s a literal fact, isn?t it? Reading gaol is near Reading town. Even though it?s in verse.

    However, in the same verse, he also describes ?a wretched man, eaten by teeth of flame? ? poetic device. Flames have not teeth; we can dismiss it.

    Where are we now? We have fact and device in the same verse – whatever are we to do? We can?t deny that Reading gaol exists, nor can we argue that flames have literal teeth. Does that mean that some of the verse is fact and some of it is device? How on earth do we determine which to take seriously and which to enjoy?

    We can answer this because 1897 isn?t so long ago, and Reading (and, presumably, its gaol) still exists. We know that ?teeth of flame? is a poetic device because it?s in English, the language we speak, and we are aware such devices are used by poets.

    Someone who found only a scrap of paper with this verse on it and who doesn?t know English geography might assume Reading is made-up. They might assume that it is meant to be a fantastic description of some horrific, magical event where flames have developed teeth. It?s actually quite chilling if you read it in that context ? and is the perfect illustration for how meaning is conveyed.

    Your ?interpretation? of the bible is coloured by your preference for it not to have been considered fact, Maggie ? because the culture and the society in which you live deem it unpalatable. Not because of any intrinsic value of the material itself. They wrote what they thought was real and what they thought was God ? and they were wrong.

    That was more than 2,000 years ago. What?s your excuse?

  651. #651 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Part 2
    On the growth of liberal Christian interpretation

    Where did I ever claim that all Christians shared this?

    You didn?t. But that all Christians don?t share it is important, because it means that reading the bible the way you believe in the bible isn?t a necessary condition of Christianity ? it?s just your opinion.

    And we?ve got no more reason to accept that it?s a more valid interpretation of Christianity than fundamentalism is, do we? You have to do a little bit more to convince us that you?re right and they?re wrong ? and you?ve not done a very good job of convincing them, and they already believe in Jesus!

    On Ussher?s dating the universe from Scripture and it being accepted as fact

    No kidding? Virtually everyone believed in a literal OT view of creation then. Of course, most people were Christians, at least nominally. I also believe, literally, that God created the world. The issue is not that fact. The issue is our understanding of how.

    We?re talking 1648CE ? do the maths; I?m sure you?ll realise that there had been 1648 minus approximately 33 – that leaves 1615 – years of Christianity in which learned and scholarly Christians had access to the same scripture that you have today. If this ?intelligent reading? of yours was integral to Christianity from the start the Church should have had no problems with people pointing out the scientific inaccuracies of the OT.

    But that wasn?t the case, was it? Just ask Galileo. Why was he treated the way he was? Surely the learned scholars of the day would have seen this as a perfect illustration of how the old testament was not meant to be taken literally. By your logic Galileo should have been hailed a hero, praised and feted for helping the church further their understanding of the universe and God?s plan.

    But he wasn?t, was he? How long did it take for the Church to admit its mistake?

    On the self-correcting nature of science

    Is it your position that everything science has ever believed and dropped in the light of fuller, better information invalidates its current understanding?

    Obviously not. But scientists admit their mistakes and move on; they don?t concoct inane defences for it. I don?t recall anyone pointing out to Nobel laureate Barry Marshall that the medical community were justified in being wrong about gastric ulcers because all the research done on it in the past was written in verse form.

  652. #652 Carlie
    March 30, 2009

    It contains laws. One would be a fool not to read them literally.

    So rabbits, literally, chew cud.

    And grasshoppers have four legs, literally. Got it.

  653. #653 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Part 3

    On slavery

    Just as always, it is Christians who are at the forefront of battling it. While it took far too long for the entire church to do the job of abolishing it wherever it had the influence to do so, it is Christianity that provided the moral argument for abolishing it: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Gal. 3:28). The southern slave owners certainly understood the implications of this– that is why many refused to let their slaves become Christians or be instructed in Christianity and it is why the Baptists split into Southern and Northern Baptists.

    Forgive my ignorance – how long had Christians had access to Galatians? Was it lost until recent times? Was that chapter only discovered and published in the mid-to-late 1800s? Were those dirty fundamentalists keeping it a secret from the educated sophisticates?

    If not, and it had been part of the bible all along, why did it take Christians 1,800 years – including times during which they ruled most of the world – after they had known of Christ?s disciple’s supposedly specific and unequivocal opinion on the matter to actually do something about it?

    Three words, Maggie: Prevailing. Moral. Zeitgeist.

    On Charles Darwin and the rise of evolutionary science

    When did I ever deny this? When? Who by the way, is responsible for defeating these efforts? Not atheists. There are too few of you to pull it off. Think of the most recent, famous case and take a look at who the main players were.

    Again I refer you to the age of your religion ? over 2,000 years – and again I ask you why did it take so long? Surely if Christian scientists had not had entrenched beliefs in literal creationism they?d have worked it out a little sooner than they did ? it?s very hard to find something because think you?ve already got the untrumpable answer (Goddidit, as we like to say).

    And why did Darwin, a Christian (at least at the beginning), wrestle with his conscience over what he had found? Why did he not trumpet his findings as a way to celebrate the ?intelligent reading? of the bible? Could it be that such a thing didn’t exist in his time – despite the fact you claim it’s inherent in the scripture?

    Reality trumps opinion ? again.

  654. #654 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    Great Wowbagger, elegant and interesting!
    Re: grasshoppers/insects with four legs in the OT. Here’s a hilarious explantion from AiG:

    In fact, we use the phrase ?on all fours? in a similar manner. It refers to the action of the creature?walking around?rather than the complete inventory of the creature?s feet. In reality, the Bible is very precise in describing locusts and similar insects. Such insects do indeed have four legs with which to ?creep? and another two legs with which to ?leap.?

    So now you know. The bible is indeed inerrant, entomologically speaking.

  655. #655 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Part 4 (this is it, I swear)

    Intelligent reading is not a concept. It is an ordinary noun modified by an adjective. Other examples might be, oh, I don’t know… how about “red dress”, “bad movie,” “cold brussel sprouts” or “overgrown garden”? I mean, quite literally by “intelligent reading” reading with your brain turned on.

    Newsflash, Maggie ? if it didn?t exist before, you made it a concept when you applied it to a situation. How do you think expressions enter the lexicon? I?m rather to keen to have people pick up and use ?genre defence? ? it?s certainly appropriate and, judging by your loathing of it, extremely effective at hitting the mark.

    Do you think we read Homer the same way the Greeks did? Or the English Romantics? The texts don’t change but our understanding grows richer and fuller over time as the necessary outcome of engaging with them.

    This is the part that puzzles me the most about this bastardization of Christianity.

    Literacy has only been a given in the recent past. The printing press, too. The bible, for many years, wasn?t translated into local languages. So, for the greatest proportion of Christianity?s existence, its proponents have been unable to experience this ?richer and fuller understanding? that those contemporary Christians (who choose it – remember, it’s not a condition of Christianity to believe this) experience as the ?necessary outcome of engaging with them?.

    They didn?t have it, couldn?t get it and ? even if they did ? they couldn?t fucking read it. They had to have it read to them by a priest who chose what they did and didn’t hear – not exactly the best situation for allowing thorough analysis.

    Why did Jesus let that happen? Why would the church, his legacy, condemn so many millions (if not billions) of his faithful flock in complete ignorance of the ?true beauty? of their saviour?s words, thoughts and deeds? Why were they not given the gift that you have ? and which you, evidently, take for granted?

    The quotes from St. Augustine would convince a normal human being that from early on, educated people realized that scripture is full of poetic figures

    and

    I said quite clearly that reasonably well educated people hold the same positions. Just like St. Augustine said that educated people were better equipped to understand scripture than uneducated ones. Big duh!

    Only educated people can truly understand what it is to be a Christian? Is that what you?re saying? You pompous, ignorant, arrogant swine. Do you know so little of history outside the tiny, sheltered box of your theology classes? Think about what you?re saying ? that the greater proportion of all the Christians since the religion began have experienced nothing compared to what you, Maggie, take for granted as the ?only way? to be a ?real? Christian.

    Sickening.

    I have abandoned no part of the Bible. Not one. You may continue to believe whatever you want.

    You have abandoned a lot more than the bible. You?ve abandoned everything that is actually good and worthwhile about Christianity in the quest for self-righteous, self-indulgent rationalisation ? and your naked contempt for all your ?uneducated? co-religionists (past and present) dwarfs that of any atheist I?ve ever met.

    I?d take a fundamentalist over your type of Christian any day. They?re far more honest.

  656. #656 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2009

    I see Maggie was back with one of her self-serving bits of screed that said nothing intelligent, in spite of her frequent use of the word. Clue for Maggie: your bible is a work of fiction. If you dealt with it from that angle, you could actually mount an intelligent analysis.

  657. #657 strange gods before me
    March 30, 2009

    strange gods before me (or Grammar RWA, as I believe you previously called yourself):

    I have no idea why you have this vendetta against me. You twist everything I say into something I didn’t say, and certainly didn’t mean.

    What I do is point out the consequences of your preferred policies (women die) and the fact that you are content with these consequences (so you are a misogynist). You regard this as fundamentally unfair. I regard taking you at face value, without considering the consequences, as fundamentally dishonest.

    As I believe I have made reasonably clear, I support elective abortion in the first and second trimesters.

    As I’m certain we all made clear, we’re talking about late term abortions here. Your support for one does not mitigate the damage of your opposition to the other.

    The only reason I was disputing anything at all on this thread is because some people asserted that abortion, at any stage of the pregnancy, is an absolute and unqualified right.

    Please tell me exactly what I said to give you the impression I’m functionally illiterate. My arguments are for the proposition that abortion, at any stage of the pregnancy, is an absolute and unqualified right.

    I realise – and have REPEATEDLY and explicitly acknowledged – that late term abortions are incredibly rare, are illegal in most countries and are normally only performed to save the life of the mother. So no, I do not see them as a major issue, or something which requires any additional legislation to prevent.

    So you know that the 8.5 month abortion for fun is an anti-choice talking point, and you use it anyway. That’s a funny way of being pro-choice.

    I know you’re not calling for additional legislation. As a libertarian, you should have an allergic reaction to unnecessary laws remaining on the books. Your support for the current law shows your presumption of its necessity; in your mind there must be slutty sluts aborting viable fetuses for fun (a misogynistic premise). Otherwise you’d support repealing the restrictions.

    I realise that this is not consistent with views I have expressed in the past. But am I not allowed to change my mind? And are you going to keep dragging up offhand comments I made a million years ago and repeating them at length on every thread?

    Point of order: as the million year old links show, while you have gone from identifying as pro-life to calling yourself pro-choice, the substance of your views has not changed since June at the latest. I would love it if you’d actually change your mind.

  658. #658 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Apologies, PZ – I guess I’m feeding the troll, but I had to get that out of me.

  659. #659 Carlie
    March 30, 2009

    Wowbagger, that was incredible. It will be totally lost on Maggie, of course, but the rest of us find that to be fabulous.

  660. #660 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    What I find abhorred about Maggie is that she was so quite to condemn anyone who didn’t take the bible the way she did, even when we were doing the exact same thing as her. Did she apologise for her oversight? No. She just kept on insulting people here.

  661. #661 Carlie
    March 30, 2009

    What you wrote reminds me of a sermon I once heard. The pastor was talking about salvation, and specifically said that it was “easy to misinterpret the scriptures” with regard to how to be saved. Wait, WHAT??? The most important thing of all life, the very reason the son of God came down to earth and suffered agony and died, and it’s EASY TO MISINTERPRET based on the scriptures that GOD HIMSELF GAVE US??? Way to screw that one up, God. You might think he would make that part kind of easy to understand without an advanced degree, wouldn’t you? Unless God is an elitist or something. Or just a bastard.

  662. #662 Josh
    March 30, 2009

    Wowbagger, you shouldn’t apologize for that series of comments. It was a terrific read. And I think valuable.

  663. #663 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Wowbagger, your series was no longer than one of Owlmirror’s or David Marjanovi?’s well reasoned rebuttals covering many points.

  664. #664 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Thanks all. Maggie’s attitude bugged me – as you can probably tell.

    Wowbagger, your series was no longer than one of Owlmirror’s or David Marjanovi?’s well reasoned rebuttals covering many points.

    I think that’s a contributing factor to my awkwardness about it. Those are some huge shoes to try and fill, and it’s not as if I’ve got any esoteric knowledge of the bible to draw on and use.

  665. #665 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    You know she’s just not going to listen to you anyway, but good post there Wowbagger. It was a good takedown of one of the most arrogant people to have come on here – which would be okay if she was willing to learn. But no, even when she’s caught out she won’t admit error.

  666. #666 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    Re: Oscar Wilde.
    One of the quotes attributed to him, so possibly untrue, is that when he was on the platform of Reading Station, in the rain, and shackled, he is said to have remarked:
    “If this is how Queen Victoria treats her convicts, she doesn’t deserve to have any.”

  667. #667 Walton
    March 30, 2009

    strange gods before me @#660:

    I do not follow your argument. You seem to be asserting that:

    (1) There are very few late term abortions, and most of those which do take place are necessary to save the woman’s life.
    (2) Accordingly, restrictions on late term abortions are unnecessary.
    (3) Restrictions on late term abortions kill a lot of women.
    (4) Accordingly, restrictions on late term abortions are a way of causing unnecessary deaths of women.

    But don’t (1) and (3) contradict one another? If late term abortions, for reasons other than saving the woman’s life, are extremely rare, then the number of women potentially affected by restrictions on such abortions must surely be small? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim that late term abortions almost never happen, and at the same time claim that restrictions on such abortions kill lots of women. If – as you assert – no woman would want to have a late-term abortion for a capricious reason, then a law preventing her from doing so will not harm anyone.

    Premise (1) is clearly true; late term abortions are very rare, and almost all of those which do occur are necessary to save the woman’s life or health, as I have acknowledged in virtually every single post on this thread. I am not using it as a “talking point”. I am not claiming that there is an epidemic of these abortions. It is you who is claiming that these restrictions on late-term abortions cause large numbers of women to die; I don’t see how you can support this conclusion while simultaneously arguing that very few such abortions ever occur.

  668. #668 CosmicTeapot
    March 30, 2009

    Christians do share the same core beliefs.

    That is more applicable to modern day christians of the Pauline faith.

    The various denominations differ on incidentals; sometimes widely. Where fundamentals are concerned, they are in agreement.

    Again, this is more applicable to modern christianity. But in the centuries after the death of Jesus, there were many different thoughts on Jesus, such as his divinity, or whether he was the messiah, how to worship, etcetera.

    The Pauline letters are an example of this, differing from the jewish practices of the both the brother of Jesus, and the disciples of Jesus on things such as cleanliness, diet and circumcision.

    The main early jewish christian faith was destroyed in the sack of Jerusalem, leaving the Pauline doctrine as the winner of this war of conversion by default. What you have is the testimony of the winning side in the fight for converts to early christianity. Any other heretical (non-Pauline) writings were destroyed in the ensuing centuries.

    _____________<;,><_____________

    The old testament contains history to be read literally.

    You mean like Daniel?

    _____________<;,><_____________

    And don’t dare trot out that idiotic atheist mantra “No true Scotsman”.

    It is not an atheist mantra, it is a logical fallacy that is applicable to non-religious themes too. Why do you not want us to trot it out, because you know you are guilty of it?

  669. #669 CosmicTeapot
    March 30, 2009

    Wowbagger

    Owlmirror and David Marjanovi? do indeed have a large amount of knowledge, but it is your persistent and clear arguments which earned you your Molly.

    I too enjoyed your read.

  670. #670 maggie
    March 30, 2009

    Wowie?you shouldn?t have bothered. That was the dumbest dissertation yet. All the applause of the denizens here cannot make it smart. It is also evil. It is full of outright lies and deliberate twisting of what I have said, so that you can score points. It has nothing to do with honest discussion. If you actually believe this stuff then you are beyond reach of anything but supernatural help. I feel like I need another shower after having read this crap.

    Re the Old Testament. My ?interpretation? (Your word and it is an incorrect usage of it) is the consistent “interpretation” of the entire Christian community from AD 33 on. It is simply ignorant to claim otherwise. You cannot find any Christian body anywhere that has ever rejected the Old Testament as sacred scripture. Don?t bother to trot out small sects or heretics, even if you can find them.

    Why would the ?divine inspirer? provide incorrect scientific information? Why would he give us the tools to understand the universe but which would show the bible to be so very wrong about so many things? Another really stupid question. The Bible wasn’t dictated by God. It was written by men with the knowledge available to them at the time.

    I really had to state this?

    Your Reading gaol interpretation misses the point entirely.

    But that all Christians don?t share it is important, because it means that reading the bible the way you believe in the bible isn?t a necessary condition of Christianity ? it?s just your opinion.
    Who the hell said it was a necessary condition of Christianity to read the Bible the way I do?

    But that wasn?t the case, was it? Just ask Galileo. Why was he treated the way he was?
    More asinine fatuity. Galileo wasn?t condemned for