Pharyngula

Atheism is dooooomed!

I keep hearing people telling me this, but at the same time I keep seeing more and more out atheists, and atheism becoming more and more popular. The refrain is sounding more desperate than accurate — but then, among people for whom wishful thinking is tantamount to a mathematical proof, I suppose just wanting atheism to go away is sufficient to mean it must be going away. I was sent an awesomely pathetic article making just this same kind of weak argument.

There seems to be a growing consensus around the globe that godlessness is in trouble.

“Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide,” Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg told United Press International Tuesday.

His Oxford colleague Alister McGrath agrees. Atheism’s “future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its habitat,” he wrote in the U.S. magazine, Christianity Today.

Quoting a few of the usual suspects does not mean you’ve got a “growing consensus”. I don’t even know what “atheism as a theoretical position” means — it could imply that atheism is so dominant that it is taken for granted. As for McGrath…sorry, vacuous, mealy-mouthed, and boring are not sufficient qualities to make one an authority. Again, though, I have no idea what he is talking about — of course atheism is a private or personal belief, and what the heck does it mean for atheism to have inhabited the public domain without being part of individual beliefs? These guys are just stringing words together and pretending to be authoritative.

Two developments are plaguing atheism these days. One is that it appears to be losing its scientific underpinnings. The other is the historical experience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide that atheists are in no position to claim the moral high ground.

One: atheism is retaining its scientific basis. I think the authors comment is a veiled and credulous reference to the common claim by intelligent design creationists that they have scientific evidence of a creator. They do not.

Atheism has never claimed to hold the moral high ground; that’s religion’s schtick. What we have going on right now is growing evidence that religion does not confer morality, either.

This article started stupid, but it just gets worse and worse. Guess who they cite to back up the above claims?

Writes Turkish philosopher Harun Yahya, “Atheism, which people have tried to for hundreds of years as ‘the ways of reason and science,’ is proving to be mere irrationality and ignorance.”

When did Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar get promoted to philosopher? More appropriate descriptors would be convicted con artist and former mental patient.

We also get senile philosophers pontificating on biology.

As British philosopher Anthony Flew, once as hard-nosed a humanist as any, mused when turning his back on his former belief: It is, for example, impossible for evolution to account for the fact than one single cell can carry more data than all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica put together.

But we can account for all that data: accumulated variation for a few billion years will do the job. What is so hard to understand about this?

Other tropes in this amazingly dumb article include the imminent demise of atheism. I think Darwinism and atheism must be in a race to be first to collapse, contradicted only by the fact that both seem to be growing stronger day by day.

The stunning desertion of a former intellectual ambassador of secular humanism to the belief in some form of intelligence behind the design of the universe makes Yahya’s prediction sound probable: “The time is fast approaching when many people who are living in ignorance with no knowledge of their Creator will be graced by faith in the impending post-atheist world.”

Oh, and of course we have to have science backing theistic claims, with citations of a science journal.

A few years ago, European scientists sniggered when studies in the United States – for example, at Harvard and Duke universities – showed a correlation between faith, prayer and recovery from illness. Now 1,200 studies at research centers around the world have come to similar conclusions, according to “Psychologie Heute,” a German journal, citing, for example, the marked improvement of multiple sclerosis patients in Germany’s Ruhr District due to “spiritual resources.”

Wait…the studies that showed no statistically significant effect are now being used to endorse prayer? O Topsy Turvy world!

I was amused by the citation to that prestigious medical journal, “Psychologie Heute”. That’s German for Psychology Today, by the way, and the German edition is just like the American one: mass market pop psychology sold at your local supermarket checkout line.

It’s just sad that theists are reduced to this kind of feeble justification for their goofy beliefs.

Comments

  1. #1 https://me.yahoo.com/wmdkitty#83021
    December 31, 2009

    When did Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar get promoted to philosopher? More appropriate descriptors would be convicted con artist and former mental patient.

    PZ, please don’t insult the mentally ill by lumping this guy in with us!

  2. #2 raven
    December 31, 2009

    Just lies from desperate religious freaks.

    The reality is quite different.

    People are leaving US xianity at 1-2 million people per year, dropping 0.5-0.9%/year according to the Aris study.

    The Southern Baptists did a study that showed that 70% of their kids drop out after they can, age 18.

    In another few decades, xianity is projected to drop below 50% in the USA.

    And just how many of those box checking xians go to church anyway? IIRC, between 20-40% rarely or never go to church.

  3. #3 raven
    December 31, 2009

    Old post. The data is from death cult sources. They might know they have a problem. Their solution seems to be more brainwashing and threats. Doubt if it will work.
    *******************************************

    Xianity seems to be on the skids in the USA. By my reckoning, between 1-2 million people are leaving the religion every year. Below is data from fundie sources. They know it.

    I blame the fundies. When xian becomes synonymous with Liar, Hater, Ignorant, Crazy, and sometimes Killer, who would want to be one?

    lifeway

    Some Young Adults Are Leaving Church What?s their gripe? And what can you learn from this exodus?

    By Doug Horchak An April-May 2007 study in the United States found that young adults are leaving Christian churches in record numbers. The primary reason? They find their church irrelevant to their lives and many of its members judgmental or hypocritical.

    A survey by LifeWay Research revealed that seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23 And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30 ?

    ??This is sobering news,? says Ed Stetzer, director of Nashville-based LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. ?It seems the teen years are like a free trial on a product. By 18, when it?s their choice whether to buy in to church life, many don?t feel engaged and welcome,? says associate director Scott McConnell? (Cathy Lynn Grossman, ?Young Adults Aren?t Sticking With Church,? USA Today, Aug. 8, 2007).
    Barna poll:

    Even among young Christians ? [half] of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be, too judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    December 31, 2009

    When did Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar get promoted to philosopher? More appropriate descriptors would be convicted con artist and former mental patient.

    And fly-fishing enthusiast.

  5. #5 Miles670
    December 31, 2009

    I assume they’re just trying to make the people considering the ‘out’ status as atheists feel like they’re a minority. If they pedal this crap enough word will get round and maybe atheism will head back into decline, when I started reading the above worried me, but then I thought about it, the only people that will believe this are the people that don’t look for themselves, most intelligent people do these days.

  6. #6 Nevrotic
    December 31, 2009

    What’s really sad is that the people reading–not writing–these justifications will believe the lies and are conscious of no reason not to. It just makes their final conversion to atheism come after a more drawn-out and painful experience.

    And I second #1. Please don’t associate mental illness with fraud and lack of credibility.

  7. #7 aharleygyrl
    December 31, 2009

    I never even heard of the Atheism movement until a year ago. It has been increasing steadily, because of the net, I have found.

    I feel bad for Atheism, it gets a bad rap.

    People think Atheists are angry at God and/or Satan worshipers and/or bad immoral people. Until we can get the word out to the mainstream that none of these are true, I don’t see it rising up the way it should, and needs, to do.

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    December 31, 2009

    “God is dead” is dead? Oh no, how will my belief in no God withstand Flew’s ignorant babblings about biology?

    I don’t know that there’s been any upsurge in atheism, actually. It really is more the province of people with education and willingness to think, and likely will remain so.

    As long as those people remain, though, woo won’t win out entirely.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  9. #9 otrame
    December 31, 2009

    “Atheism is doomed”

    What, again?

  10. #10 John
    December 31, 2009

    On McGrath you write,

    “Again, though, I have no idea what he is talking about ? of course atheism is a private or personal belief, and what the heck does it mean for atheism to have inhabited the public domain without being part of individual beliefs?”

    though nowhere in the quote does McGrath maintain that the public and private realms are a dichotomy. We should not make things mutually exclusive that need not be. Rather his point is most likely that whereas atheism once had a more predominate position in public society, it is now losing its public voice and being relegated to the individual. Thanks.

  11. #11 raven
    December 31, 2009

    I’d like to claim that facts are to xians as crucifixes are to vampires. It doesn’t seem to work that way. They might be dumber than vampires and unable to mentally process data.

    This is an old study from 2001. Wish I had a more recent one, but doubt the numbers have gotten any worse. For the areligious anyway. The fastest growing religion in the USA is said to be Wicca. LOL

    religioustolerance.org:

    Polling data from the 2001 ARIS study, described below, indicate that:

    81% of American adults identify themselves with a specific religion: 76.5% (159 million) of Americans identify themselves as Christian. This is a major slide from 86.2% in 1990. Identification with Christianity has suffered a loss of 9.7 percentage points in 11 years — about 0.9 percentage points per year. This decline is identical to that observed in Canada between 1981 and 2001. If this trend has continued, then: at the present time (2007-MAY), only 71% of American adults consider themselves Christians
    The percentage will dip below 70% in 2008
    By about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S.

    52% of Americans identified themselves as Protestant.
    24.5% are Roman Catholic.
    1.3% are Jewish.
    0.5% are Muslim, followers of Islam.
    The fastest growing religion (in terms of percentage) is Wicca — a Neopagan religion that is sometimes referred to as Witchcraft. Numbers of adherents went from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001. Their numbers of adherents are doubling about every 30 months. 4,5 Wiccans in Australia have a very similar growth pattern, from fewer than 2,000 in 1996 to 9,000 in 2001. 10 In Canada, Wiccans and other Neopagans showed the greatest percentage growth of any faith group. They totaled 21,080 members in 1991, an increase of 281% from 1990.

    14.1% do not follow any organized religion. This is an unusually rapid increase — almost a doubling — from only 8% in 1990. There are more Americans who say they are not affiliated with any organized religion than there are Episcopalians, Methodists, and Lutherans taken together. 6
    The unaffiliated vary from a low of 3% in North Dakota to 25% in Washington State. “The six states with the highest percentage of people saying they have no religion are all Western states, with the exception of Vermont at 22%.” 6

    A USA Today/Gallup Poll in 2002-JAN showed that almost half of American adults appear to be alienated from organized religion. If current trends continue, most adults will not call themselves religious within a few years. Results include:

  12. #12 holyspiritdenier
    December 31, 2009

    The Jesus cult already looks like an alien tradition to many youngsters in the U.S. An American teenager reportedly asked, “What is that guy doing hanging up there on the plus sign?”

    Yes, I relish the prospect of the coming “Jesus who?” era.

  13. #13 blf
    December 31, 2009

    Of course atheism is doomed!
    Proof: Magic skygirl bothering has been around for many multiple kiloyonks, and hence must not only be true and correct and sufficient and necessary, but all-powerful and proven and required and with a bit of torture and child-raping and tithing you’ll believe it as well.
    Q.E.D.

  14. #14 Hypatia's Daughter
    December 31, 2009

    From the article:

    Flew still does not accept the God of the Bible. But he has embraced the intelligent design concept of scholars such as William Dembski…

    He he! Note how all these renegades from atheism are not becoming Nicene Creed Xtians – but, Gees, you gotta take whatever crumbs are being offered…..
    But how can Darwinism ever survive with so many top scientists turning against it? All them Dr-Reverends, philosophers, engineers, MD’s…. biologists? Hmm, not so many.

  15. #15 reyfox
    December 31, 2009

    “His Oxford colleague Alister McGrath agrees. Atheism’s “future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its habitat,” he wrote in the U.S. magazine, Christianity Today.”

    In other words, the future of atheism lies in not talking about atheism. Fuck these arseholes. Say it loud, say it proud.

    “A few years ago, European scientists sniggered when studies in the United States – for example, at Harvard and Duke universities – showed a correlation between faith, prayer and recovery from illness. Now 1,200 studies at research centers around the world have come to similar conclusions, according to “Psychologie Heute,” a German journal, citing, for example, the marked improvement of multiple sclerosis patients in Germany’s Ruhr District due to “spiritual resources.””

    1,200? Was 1,000 too round a number for them?

  16. #16 Celtic_Evolution
    December 31, 2009

    though nowhere in the quote does McGrath maintain that the public and private realms are a dichotomy.

    I don’t think PZ is making that point… he’s saying that individual beliefs are by default a part of the public domain in that individuals are part of the public domain, and making the distinction is nonsensical in the first place.

    We should not make things mutually exclusive that need not be.

    Indeed… you may want to explain that to McGrath.

    Rather his point is most likely that whereas atheism once had a more predominate position in public society,

    when was that, exactly??

    it is now losing its public voice and being relegated to the individual.

    Citation needed…

  17. #17 Tyro
    December 31, 2009

    Situation: Reporter wants to learn whether atheism is thriving or in decline. Solution: look to a census bureau.

    Instead we get two theologians! They have even less knowledge of statistics and population dynamics than they have about God, you might as well ask a mailman, at least they see a broader cross-section of the population. The fact that they chose these two buffoons shows they aren’t interested in any honest investigation but in writing a hatchet job.

    Rest of article flows from this bad start like puss from a self-inflicted wound.

  18. #18 Keanus
    December 31, 2009

    The article’s claim echoes the claims of protesters at Planned Parenthood (where I escort patients weekly) who loudly proclaim that history is on their side and that they’ll “win”. Reviewing the history of abortion and family planning in the US shows that’s decidedly not the case. That perception is just one of many fantasies with which they delude themselves, just like the writers of this article from Xianity Today.

  19. #19 Celtic_Evolution
    December 31, 2009

    at myself in #16…

    I don’t think PZ is making that point… he’s saying that individual beliefs are by default a part of the public domain in that individuals are part of the public domain, and making the distinction is nonsensical in the first place.

    Hmmm… that made more sense in my head… but reading it, it doesn’t seem to flow the way i intended it, so let me amend that to more simply:

    I think PZ is simply making the point that making the distinction is nonsensical in the first place.

  20. #20 RamblinDude
    December 31, 2009

    Nothing new. It?s the same old message. When religious leaders aren?t bewailing the decline of faith throughout the world, they?re bragging about how there?s a revolution for God sweeping the land and changing men?s hearts. Next article they?ll be condemning atheism because it?s on the rise, and corrupting god?s plan.

    It?s a basic religious premise across the board. One sermon its hellfire, the next it?s heaven. We?re fallen angels deserving eternal torment; we?re god?s exalted chosen lifted on high.
    Love/hate
    Hope/despair
    Forgiveness/punishment
    God is love/God is vengeful

    Bipolar fanaticism at its finest. It keeps their flock off balance and dependent on authority for what to think. And it makes great theatre.

  21. #21 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 31, 2009

    The atheist movement was doomed from the start,
    And the people to whom it is linked.
    I predict that we’ll see it all falling apart
    Just about when we all go extinct.

    These doom-spouting harbingers have it quite right,
    Though we hate what their sad message bodes;
    We atheists all will be seeing the light
    When our sun hits the end and explodes.

    If the greatest of cultures, as history shows,
    Rise and fall, and at last meet their death,
    Nonbelievers could too, cos that’s how it goes…
    But I don’t advise holding your breath.

  22. #22 IaMoL
    December 31, 2009

    An old joke:
    A third rate boxer retired to his corner after the bell. His manager, trying to raise the luckless fighter’s confidence says, “Don’t worry kid – he hasn’t laid a glove on you.”

    “Then somebody better keep an eye on that asshole ref ’cause somebody’s beating the hell out of me.”

  23. #23 DanielR
    December 31, 2009

    …studies in the United States – for example, at Harvard and Duke universities – showed a correlation between faith, prayer and recovery from illness.

    Actually that study did show a correlation if I recall ? a negative one. The patients who knew they were being prayed for recovered slower than the other two groups.

  24. #24 Zeno
    December 31, 2009

    Let’s see if I can summarize this:

    Anthony Flew abandoned atheism when he got old and senile. Therefore atheism is doomed because most people get a little goofy in their golden years.

    (I think I need to add a codicil to my end-of-life directive.)

  25. #25 Strangest brew
    December 31, 2009

    ‘It’s just sad that theists are reduced to this kind of feeble justification for their goofy beliefs.’

    Not sad as such…poetic maybe…as the theists disappear up their own jacksi ranting and raving about intolerance and discrimination…you betcha!

    There is great intolerance and enthusiastic discrimination against prolific liars and self inflicted ignorance in the 21st century.
    Only the terminally hard of thinking fall for fairy stories of any way shape or form.
    And only the ambitious sexually dysfunctionally avaricious take advantage and encourage the delusional fuckwits in the manufactured insanity they boast of as a ‘religion’.

    About time reality bit their scraggy arse methinks!

  26. #26 KLT
    December 31, 2009

    arrrgh…this is where I get annoyed at ‘my own kind’ for their lack of Scriptural knowledge.

    The rise of atheism and rejection of God & religion is part of Bible prophecy for this time period. It’s right on schedule.
    I’m already wondering how I’m gonna be able to deal with even more of you guys! =)

  27. #27 Celtic_Evolution
    December 31, 2009

    …the impending post-atheist world.

    Wait… when did we enter this apparent “atheist” world for which there will be a post- ?

    Did I miss the memo?

  28. #28 James Sweet
    December 31, 2009

    I stopped reading when you quoted them citing Yahyah. Maybe they should ask the Ayatollah for his thoughts, too.

  29. #29 John
    December 31, 2009

    Hey Celtic,

    What I’m trying to convey is that McGrath is probably saying that Atheism at one time had more of a voice in society, we can liken this to the Democratic Party having a vocal and public influence whereas other people might hold views that do not have as much of an impact on society. Perhaps there are a group of people who think that we should put cows on the moon, but these people are few and far in between and do not have as much of a pubic voice as compared to their strong individual beliefs.
    Similarly McGrath seems to be arguing that atheism once had a more public voice, it affected society in important ways (perhaps public policy), but now he is arguing that it is on the decline and the voice of atheists is becoming more private so that it is a position that one holds personally though it doesn’t have a large impact public impact.
    PZ is probably misunderstanding someone he berates and considers to be stupid. Thanks.

  30. #30 raven
    December 31, 2009

    arrrgh…this is where I get annoyed at ‘my own kind’ for their lack of Scriptural knowledge.

    The rise of atheism and rejection of God & religion is part of Bible prophecy for this time period. It’s right on schedule.

    You have no right to talk. Your made up book is clearly fiction. That is all the scriptural knowledge anyone needs.

    That nonsense about the bible prophecying anything is wrong also. The Second coming and The Kingdom of god was scheduled for the 1st century CE. It is not on schedule, it is 2,000 years late on its way to…..never.

  31. #31 John
    December 31, 2009

    Oh, I never took a position as to whether I agreed with McGrath, my effort was to explain his position, which probably doesn’t require a citation.

  32. #32 t3knomanser
    December 31, 2009

    Before one can convince me that an intelligence is behind existence, one must first convince me that intelligence exists. I don’t believe human beings are intelligent organisms (like all other animals, they are creatures of instinct and habit and genetics).

    The failure of intelligent design is that intelligence doesn’t exist in the first place.

  33. #33 JackC
    December 31, 2009

    These guys are just stringing words together and pretending to be authoritative

    I have just four words for you:

    Gillette Fusion Power Stealth

    JC

  34. #34 Andreas Johansson
    December 31, 2009

    I don’t know that there’s been any upsurge in atheism, actually. It really is more the province of people with education and willingness to think, and likely will remain so.

    Why do you think so? The European example certainly shows that atheism can take root among the uneducated and intellectually lazy. From where I’m sitting America seems to be following a similar trajectory, albeit offset by some decades.

  35. #35 Caine
    December 31, 2009

    “post-atheist world”? Er, a stage is missing here. What they want is for all the heretics atheists to go back in the closet and never, ever speak about religion at all. Too bad, so sad. I’m not about to shut up.

  36. #36 Gregory Greenwood
    December 31, 2009

    “The time is fast approaching when many people who are living in ignorance with no knowledge of their Creator will be graced by faith in the impending post-atheist world.”

    Of course, Anthony Flew glosses over the next part of this little fanatsy where those darned rationalists just will not give up their nasty heathen ways and simply have to be saved from themselves with a little judicious (yet simultaneously extra-judicial) imprisonment with maybe a side order of light to medium torture.

    For some reason, whenever I hear euphamisms like ‘graced by faith’ the first thought to cross my mind is that the sentence should properly end with ‘whether you like it or not’ in order to express the true Xian sentiment.

    Fortunately this is nothing more than a sick little fundie fantasy. Religion is doing a neat job of destroying itself by continuing to promote primitive bigotry and seeking to oppose scientific progress. At the same time, things like the internet are helping along the democratisation of knowledge. It is getting harder and harder to keep people ignorant, and ignorance is the life blood of all religion. These factors taken together make it a distinct possiblility that religious woo will one day be contained as an affliction of an unfortunate few who lack the power to warp society at large or force mainfestly unjust laws onto the statute books. While the complete extinction of woo is too much to hope for, I will be satisfied if it fangs can be extracted.

  37. #37 mstriz
    December 31, 2009

    @ raven #2

    People are leaving US xianity at 1-2 million people per year, dropping 0.5-0.9%/year according to the Aris study.

    Actually, on page 3 of the 2008 ARIS report, you can see that most of the drop in Christian identification occurred between 1990 and 2001, from 86.2% to 76.7%, about 0.9% per year, as you stated. But between 2001 and 2008, the drop was only from 76.7% to 76.0%, a mere 0.1% per year. And in raw numbers, Christians actually increased by 14 million, from 159M to 173M.

    “Nones” or nonreligious people only increased by 5 million (from 29M to 34M) between 2001 and 2008.

  38. #38 KillJoy
    December 31, 2009

    Atheism is collapsing? DOOMED?
    Crap. I suppose I had better dust off my copy of ‘Jesus and other Fairy tales’. Maybe a grab a hardhat. In case of falling atheists, don’t you know.

    Also:
    POST Atheist world? Doesn’t that imply that there was an atheist world to begin with?

  39. #39 Andreas Johansson
    December 31, 2009

    Of course, Anthony Flew glosses over the next part of this little fanats

    I think you mean Harun Yahya, who wrote the lovely little prognostication you’re quoting.

  40. #40 JohnW
    December 31, 2009

    This article started stupid, but it just gets worse and worse. Guess who they cite to back up the above claims?

    Writes Turkish philosopher Harun Yahya…

    Damn. I knew I should have asked for an office-chair seatbelt on Happy Monkey Day.

  41. #41 Andreas Johansson
    December 31, 2009

    POST Atheist world? Doesn’t that imply that there was an atheist world to begin with?

    Not necessarily – one may speak of, frex, the “post-Soviet world”, without implying the world was once wholly or predominantly Soviet.

  42. #42 Tony
    December 31, 2009

    Children always whine the loudest right before you take their lollipop away.

  43. #43 Owlmirror
    December 31, 2009

    The rise of atheism and rejection of God & religion is part of Bible prophecy for this time period.

    *facepalm*

    I’m already wondering how I’m gonna be able to deal with even more of you guys!

    I understand that there is a time-honoured tradition of sticking fingers in one’s ears, squeezing one’s eyes shut, and singing…

  44. #44 Celtic_Evolution
    December 31, 2009

    What I’m trying to convey is that McGrath is probably saying that Atheism at one time had more of a voice in society,

    He can say whatever he wants, but there’s simply no evidence that this is the case… inventing a false premise and then asserting its demise is a very old debating tactic.

    It’s like saying “rape and incest may be acceptable behaviors where you come from, but in America we don’t allow that!”

    See? I’ve asserted something completely made up, and then argued its opposite with a truth statement that has no bearing on the initial assertion. But it sure sounds like I’ve said something substantial.

    In this case McGraw asserts that atheism once held some substantial position or clout in the public domain. This is patently absurd. (At best he’s confusing atheism with deism, which was fairly popular in the time of the founding fathers.)

    He then follows that up by asserting that atheism now lies in the private beliefs of individuals, and thus must be in decline. Except that this is where it has always lived… his initial premise is completely invented. Atheism is only now experiencing a surge of popularity and organization that it has never previously enjoyed.

    PZ is probably misunderstanding someone he berates and considers to be stupid.

    No… I think he’s failing to understand someone who’s making non-sensical assertions for the purposes of, as PZ said, “stringing words together and pretending to be authoritative”.

  45. #45 raven
    December 31, 2009

    ARIS 2008 report:
    One sign of the lack of attachment of
    Americans to religion is that 27% do not
    expect a religious funeral at their death.

    Based on their stated beliefs rather than
    their religious identification in 2008,
    70% of Americans believe in a personal
    God, roughly 12% of Americans are
    atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable
    or unsure), and another 12% are deistic
    (a higher power but no personal God).

    America’s religious geography has been
    transformed since 1990. Religious
    switching along with Hispanic
    immigration has significantly changed
    the religious profile of some states and
    regions. Between 1990 and 2008, the
    Catholic population proportion of the
    New England states fell from 50% to
    36% and in New York it fell from 44%
    to 37%, while it rose in California from
    29% to 37% and in Texas from 23%
    to 32%.

    Overall the 1990-2008 ARIS time
    series shows that changes in religious
    self-identification in the first decade of
    the 21st century have been moderate in
    comparison to the 1990s, which was a
    period of significant shifts in the religious
    composition of the United States.

    I didn’t even know there was a 2008 ARIS report. It is a bit worse for xians than mstriz indicates. While 76% call themselves xians, only 70% believe in a personal god. Xian atheists? Why not.

    The Nones and the Deists run around 24% combined. I lump the Deists in with the nones for a simple reason. The Deists aren’t going to shoot me in the head for not believing in their god…..hmmm, what is its name anyway. The one sitting behind the Big Bang.

    At 24% the areligious make up one of the three largest denominations in the USA. The largest is usually claimed to be the RCC at 24%.

    If the surveys showing the kids bailing out of their toxic religions is correct, we may squeek by without the fundies destroying our country.

  46. #46 Flex
    December 31, 2009

    post-atheist world.

    The world, as in reality, is already atheistic.

    The things we can touch, taste, test, probe, and experiment with are all godless. Reality doesn’t have anything to do with gods.

    Is Yahya they suggesting that the age of miracles is returning?

  47. #47 KillJoy
    December 31, 2009

    @ #41

    Fair enough Andreas!

  48. #48 Celtic_Evolution
    December 31, 2009

    And in raw numbers, Christians actually increased by 14 million, from 159M to 173M.

    Meaningless… as long as children continue to be born to be born to christian parents at a rate higher than they die off, there will continue be some increase in numbers into the foreseeable future.

    The more important statistic is percentage. And as long as the percentage continues to decline, then christianity is, I’m afraid, in decline… you can bury your head in the sand all you want about the significance of the percentage, but it is, and will continue to be, in decline, by all accounts.

  49. #49 Mystic Olly
    December 31, 2009

    @ #1 and #6

    PZ was accurately describing Adnan Oktar as a ‘former mental patient’ as he was in fact treated at the Bakirkoy Mental Hospital for 10 months in 1987.

    However I wouldn’t approve of using the phrase ‘former mental patient’ as a pejorative.

    Hope you all have a great 2010.

    O

  50. #50 aharleygyrl
    December 31, 2009

    Atheism is just normal rational thought. There shouldn’t even be a term for that.

  51. #51 sbh
    December 31, 2009

    Alister McGrath’s point seems to be that atheism does not provide the sense of community that a religion does.

    In the old days, community was defined by where you lived. It was part of the inherited order of things, something that you were born into. Now, it has to be created?and the agency that creates this community is increasingly the voluntary organization. Christian churches are strategically placed to create and foster community. The community churches have proved especially effective in this role, and have grown immensely in consequence.

    He points to the former Soviet Union which he says “recognized the importance of creating rituals and events, which fostered social cohesion and a sense of identity.” By contrast atheists in the west have failed to create such a sense of community.

    In the United States, atheism spawns organizations; it does not create community. The state chapters and national convention of American Atheists, coupled with this organization’s atheist equivalent of creeds, certainly did something to create a sense of shared identity. Yet the community thus created seems to be based solely on distaste for religion. It doesn’t even have a good organizational base and lacks charismatic leadership?a fatal weakness, to which we now turn.

    This 2005 article can be read in its entirety here (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/march/21.36.html), but it’s not really worth it IMHO. He goes on for many words explaining that atheism lacks rituals and charismatic leaders and that Freud, Darwin, and Ingersoll no longer excite people. His conclusion:

    Might atheism have run its course, and now give way to religious renewal? The tides of cultural shift have, for the time being, left atheism beached on the sands of modernity, while Westerners explore a new postmodern interest in the forbidden fruit of spirituality.

  52. #52 aharleygyrl
    December 31, 2009

    I assume humans get smarter every year. Thus, that would translate into a decline in Religious people, not the other way around.

  53. #53 Insightful Ape
    December 31, 2009

    Hey guys, will you please stop confronting the “philosophers” with your numbers and stats. That’s not fair.
    The time is fast approaching when many people who are living in ignorance with no knowledge of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will be graced by faith in the impending post-christian/muslim world.

  54. #54 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 31, 2009

    “The rise of atheism and rejection of God & religion is part of Bible prophecy for this time period. It’s right on schedule. ”

    Anyone who believes in bible prophecy is not only stupid, but narcissistic. They’re stupid because it’s always been unsubstantiated, and there’ve been repeated claims, and they’ve all been wrong.

    It’s narcissistic to think Jesus, or the gospel writers, gave fuck-all consideration to the year 2000. They were concerned with getting their scattered followers through the DECADE. Most of that shit was written to be contemporary.

  55. #55 jugglingbuffoon
    December 31, 2009

    I looked around a little bit on the website and found things about how jews marrying non jews is a silent holocaust.

    This site is not only crazy, it is racist (not because judaism is a race, but because they think it is)

  56. #56 raven
    December 31, 2009

    Decided to find out how many xians actually belong to and/or attend church.

    The numbers are all over the place. This wikipedia article BTW, has been vandalized by xians. They do that a lot.

    It looks like between 20-40% attend church regularly. 20-25% never attend church.

    wikipedia Religion in the USA:

    Church attendance
    Gallup International indicates that 41%[60] of American citizens report they regularly attend religious services, compared to 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens,[61] and 7.5% of Australian citizens.[62]

    However, these numbers are open to dispute. ReligiousTolerance.org states:

    “Church attendance data in the U.S. has been checked against actual values using two different techniques. The true figures show that only about 21% of Americans and 10% of Canadians actually go to church one or more times a week. Many Americans and Canadians tell pollsters that they have gone to church even though they have not.

    Whether this happens in other countries, with different cultures, is difficult to predict.”[60]

    In, a 2006 online Harris Poll of 2,010 U.S. adults (18 and older) found that only 26% of those surveyed attended religious services “every week or more often”, 9% went “once or twice a month”, 21% went “a few times a year”, 3% went “once a year”, 22% went “less than once a year”, and 18% never attend religious services.

    An identical survey by Harris in 2003 found that only 26% of those surveyed attended religious services “every week or more often”, 11% went “once or twice a month” 19% went “a few times a year”, 4% went “once a year”, 16% went “less than once a year”, and 25% never attend religious services.

  57. #57 Dan L.
    December 31, 2009

    Actually, on page 3 of the 2008 ARIS report, you can see that most of the drop in Christian identification occurred between 1990 and 2001, from 86.2% to 76.7%, about 0.9% per year, as you stated. But between 2001 and 2008, the drop was only from 76.7% to 76.0%, a mere 0.1% per year. And in raw numbers, Christians actually increased by 14 million, from 159M to 173M.

    “Nones” or nonreligious people only increased by 5 million (from 29M to 34M) between 2001 and 2008.

    Ah, I see; you want to compare the raw counts between the two years. That way, the gain of 14 million Christians seems to blow away the gain of 5 million “nones”. Almost three times as much!

    Pretty piss-poor analysis. Since the raw counts aren’t benchmarked against population growth they’re pretty useless as a means of comparison. If the population rose sufficiently, you could expect the LEAST popular religion to gain members because it’s no longer a zero sum game.

    Using percentages, we see that Christians lost only the tiniest bit of market share. You don’t give the percentage for the gain in “nones” which is about 17%.

    So according to you, a drop of 0.7% is actually a VICTORY because it corresponds to a gain of 14 million people. And a gain of 17% is next to nothing, because it represents a gain of only 5 million people.

    Guessing you never took a stats class.

  58. #58 passing for human
    December 31, 2009

    Atheism implies theism. Many nonbeliever reject the term for just that reason. How can a negative sustain itself? And yet, the cruel and silly stories of religions continue to command worshipers or their priests and ayatollahs and whatever else do. Think for yourself. No religion wants you to do that. Then the entitlements of the religious elite will be ended. All gods and goddesses are constructs. We are growing, we are learning. Bleak it may seem at first, but there is great freedom without someone’s old god to drag you down.

  59. #59 Shatterface
    December 31, 2009

    ‘Might atheism have run its course, and now give way to religious renewal? The tides of cultural shift have, for the time being, left atheism beached on the sands of modernity, while Westerners explore a new postmodern interest in the forbidden fruit of spirituality.’

    Aw, heck – if the theists have postmodernism on their side I guess we might as well give up.

  60. #60 Crewvy
    December 31, 2009

    Atheism is doooooomed!

    Wishful thinking,or are their prayers working?

  61. #61 raven
    December 31, 2009

    So according to you, a drop of 0.7% is actually a VICTORY because it corresponds to a gain of 14 million people. And a gain of 17% is next to nothing, because it represents a gain of only 5 million people.

    There are some weird numbers in the 2008 ARIS report.

    76% of Americans are xians.

    70% of Americans believe in a personal god.

    4% or so of Americans are religious nonxians.

    If we assume the Jews and Moslems and Hindus believe in personal god(s), that means that:

    as many as 10% of the US population identifying as xian don’t believe in a personal god. Presumably they are xian atheists or xian Deists. Whatever.

  62. #62 KLT
    December 31, 2009

    Raven –
    Biblical prophecy almost always has an smaller *initial* fulfillment followed by a much larger *final* fulfillment. Which is part of the purpose for it…to serve as a warning.

    The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE and the destruction of Babylon by the Medo-Persian army led by Cyrus in 539 BCE, were *miniature* fulfillments of prophecy that would have a much larger fulfillment in ‘the last days’. The details contained in those prophetic accounts were accurately fulfilled during those times…(although they were written well in advance of the foretold events)…which is what lends strength to the fact that the *initial* fulfillment will also have a *final* future fulfillment.

    Let me give you an example:
    You are correct about the fact that the signs Jesus warned his disciples about did occur in the 1st century, however, when you consider the account, you’ll find that what Jesus was describing must also have a much larger fulfillment.
    For instance, ‘The great tribulation’ which was ‘cut short on account of the chosen ones’, occured in 66CE when the Romans first attacked the city of Jerusalem and then unexpectedly withdrew, leaving that ‘window of opportunity’ for the Christians to flee the city and escape to neutral ground before the Roman army returned to finish the job….however, as bad as the tribulation at that time was…(when the Romans came back and destroyed the temple and the city and took the Jews captive),…it definitely did not fulfill Jesus’ words on *as large of a scope* as he refers to here: “for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world?s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again” (Matthew 24:21)

    The *final* fulfillment of that verse hasn’t happened yet. There’s been plenty of ‘tribulation’ between warring nations which could easily top what the Jews experienced during the destruction of Jerusalem. That event, as well as the surprise attack on the ancient city of Babylon serve as *a foreglimpse* of future events related to the time period we’re living in now…especially in regards to religion losing its grip (collectively) on people, unlike any other time period in history.

    And I wanna know why some Muslims are even aware of the significance of these prophecies but most Christians aren’t? what the heck? =)

  63. #63 Kel, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Wow, they are really getting desperate now. It’s like they think that just because Hume is dead that his objections to design in the universe don’t apply.

  64. #64 raven
    December 31, 2009

    KLT:

    The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE and the destruction of Babylon by the Medo-Persian army led by Cyrus in 539 BCE, were *miniature* fulfillments of prophecy that would have a much larger fulfillment in ‘the last days’.

    Those were both known prophecies AFTER THE FACT. This is a common trick all through the bible.

    Biblical scholars use these to date when a book was written. Daniel was written in Aramaic around 150-200 BCE. The prophecies stretching backwards were more or less correct although he got some things wrong because he had a lousy history book. The prophecies for the future were all dead wrong.

    Same thing with Mark. He had jesus prophecize the destruction of the temple. No surprise, Mark wrote his book after the temple was destroyed.

    His future prediction of the imminent Second Coming failed miserably. Many think that is why Matthew and Luke were written, both being rewrites of Mark. It was getting embarassing to the xians.

    MY PROPHECIES for 1992 all came true. At the end of 20th century, a president will do great things with the national deficit and find a plump girl friend. The next one will reign for 8 years, start 2 wars and all but wreck the country. Predicting the future is easy when you have a history book.

  65. #65 Sioux Laris
    December 31, 2009

    It’s an ONLINE article from some who-cares Judaism bunko artists. And they refer to Harun, a dishonest creationist Muslim, as if he were not merely something other than the fascistic, money-grubbing fraud he is but their spiritual brother.

    Why bother to reply, much less refute? I don’t make it a practice to pick up the dogshit left by my neighbors unless there’s a reason.

  66. #66 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 31, 2009

    The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE and the destruction of Babylon by the Medo-Persian army led by Cyrus in 539 BCE, were *miniature* fulfillments of prophecy that would have a much larger fulfillment in ‘the last days’. The details contained in those prophetic accounts were accurately fulfilled during those times…(although they were written well in advance of the foretold events)…which is what lends strength to the fact that the *initial* fulfillment will also have a *final* future fulfillment. [ellipses in original]

    The Temple* was destroyed a mere 1,940 years ago, so we can expect the second coming any time now. That makes sense…if you’re stupid, deluded or both.

    *Not Jerusalem, which wasn’t even severely looted.

  67. #67 Rincewind'smuse
    December 31, 2009

    G.G. @10,

    I think that they’re on to this idea and I believe their response has been to splooge an inordinate amount of “info”(some of them pretty good mock ups of “sciency articles”) all over the net purporting to prove their claims. I can appreciate that for the average person the amount of garbage to sift through to get at any meaningful information can be overwhelming. A sort of “baffle ‘em with copious bullshit” gambit. All in all pretty discouraging.

  68. #68 Owlmirror
    December 31, 2009

    The details contained in those prophetic accounts were accurately fulfilled during those times…(although they were written well in advance of the foretold events)

    Anyone can claim that something was written before some event, but oddly enough, the texts that do so all too often have hints and clues that they were written after the events.

    Certainly nothing has been found that empirically dates any religious texts of so-called prophecy to before the events they claim to “predict”.

    Indeed, the Bible is riddled with predictions that were and are clearly false.

    which is what lends strength to the fact that the *initial* fulfillment will also have a *final* future fulfillment.

    So… in other words, God couldn’t be bothered to get it right the first time around, and couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone about this alleged “doubling” of prophecy.

    The *final* fulfillment of that verse hasn’t happened yet.

    Lovely. So you have an infinitely extensible “prophecy”.

    There’s been plenty of ‘tribulation’ between warring nations which could easily top what the Jews experienced during the destruction of Jerusalem.

    I’m guessing that the Holocaust doesn’t count because Jesus didn’t return immediately afterward. That’s how you know the “final” tribulation, right? Jesus will come back, so you know that whatever preceded that was the final tribulation.

    Just out of curiosity, have you even heard of confirmation bias?

  69. #69 Rincewind'smuse
    December 31, 2009

    Shit, blockquote fail;

    At the same time, things like the internet are helping along the democratisation of knowledge. It is getting harder and harder to keep people ignorant, and ignorance is the life blood of all religion.

  70. #70 MadScientist
    December 31, 2009

    I’ve seen letters from over 160 years ago predicting the imminent demise of religion; the numerous predictions remind me of the jesus cult predictions of the looming end of the world.

  71. #71 Flex
    December 31, 2009

    “…atheism does not provide the sense of community… from sbh @51, (but he doesn’t indicate that this is his viewpoint, just a point of discussion).

    I’d agree with that in a limited sense. Religious organizations form within and around communities, and people of the same religion tend to congregate together to form communities (for various reasons).

    Atheists, by definition, don’t have a religious organization to become part of a community. Although more and more non-religious organizations are being created to foster community feeling. (I’m a member of one myself.) But again, they are not usually atheist organizations but non-religious organizations, which brings up the next point.

    Community organizations to which atheists belong are typically not restrictive about membership. They will not turn a religious person away simply because they are religious. A person who is proselytizing will be asked to stop, and asked to leave should be become a problem, but generally all are welcome. To be fair, most community organizations which are religious don’t turn away atheists either, so long as the atheists are not opening mocking their religious beliefs.

    This difference, atheists joining non-religious community groups vs. religious community groups, suggests to some religious people that atheists do not belong to community groups. Clearly this is incorrect, belonging to community groups is a human trait, not tied to religious belief.

    My final point is that while religious groups, invariably, create an in-group and and out-group, generally atheists recognize that divisions of this nature are divisive. Atheists, generally, know that this is one life, one planet, one chance.

    Again, generally, atheists recognize that there will be no manna from heaven to feed the hungry, no burning bush to warm us, and no pillar of fire to light our way. We have to do this ourselves.

    Its a sobering thought, and one that prevents us from living the lives of reckless hedonism that the religious appear to think we should as we have no overweening sky-daddy to keep us in line.

    As humanity has become more aware of our relationship to each other and the world, our empathetic nature recognizes more places where we can act to reduce misery and create joy. Our moral nature demands of us that we do what we can, however little that is.

    Atheists are not alone in understanding this, there are plenty of religious people who understand this and have worked to remove barriers which create in-groups and out-groups and divide the world into the deserving blessed and the undeserving wicked.

    However, because atheists recognize that this is it, we get one chance at life and then we are no longer (many of us will not even be history in a hundred years), there is a strong imperative to do the best as possible in promoting happiness in this life.

    We don’t have the luxury of another.

  72. #72 Shawn
    December 31, 2009

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

    To paraphrase Richard Dawkins: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when that man is going to look and feel like an idiot when he admits he understands it.

  73. #73 KLT
    December 31, 2009

    Ok you guys,…do realize that you’re doing exactly what was also foretold that you would do? =)
    “For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ?Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation?s beginning.? (2 Peter 3:3,4)

    See? I get ridiculed all the time! =)

    And Raven, the sign isn’t just accurately foretelling a few events that could easily be ignored or overlooked…(btw that line about you predicting the president having a plump new girlfriend was funny.)
    What Jesus spoke of, made up a composite sign that could be recognized and distinguished from anywhere on earth. There hasn’t been another time period like this one in that regard.

    Because even if you wanna argue semantics or the fulfillment of some of the other signs, (claiming they are ‘too general’ to be taken seriously) there’s definitely one part of the prophecy which has never occured before…and has only had a recent fulfillment in our time period amidst the backdrop of all those other signs:
    “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

    Without the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible. Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

  74. #74 David Marjanovi?
    December 31, 2009

    Der Standard (the most serious widespread Austrian newspaper) of December 24th through 27th, 2009, reports dwindling memberships of Austrians in the Catholic and Lutheran churches and says that the fastest-growing “community of faith” (scare quotes in the original) is that of “none”. All this continues the trend from 2007 to 2008. The exact numbers for the by far dominant Catholic church will be published in January.

  75. #75 WowbaggerOM
    December 31, 2009

    In a way it’d be good for ‘atheism’ to be doomed – since, as it is, it implies that theism is the norm, and we are the ones demonstrating aberrant behaviour by not conforming to that norm.

    But the statistics imply that seems to be changing. Once people the majority of people realise atheism is the true default position and that belief in god is conditioned behaviour based on faulty premises then there will be no more need for the word ‘atheism’ than there currently is for ‘arapism’, ‘asexism’, ‘ahomocidism’ and ‘ahomophobism’.

    Death to ‘atheism’!

  76. #76 another
    December 31, 2009

    There seems to be a growing consensus around the globe that godlessness is in trouble.

    And for the under-five set, Santa-Claus-lessness is still in trouble.

  77. #77 David Marjanovi?
    December 31, 2009

    It’s entirely true that atheism doesn’t provide a community. If you want one, found a knitting club.

    Without the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible. Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    Bullshit. Christianity reached China in the 8th century ? on foot.

    What about all those false prophesies in the Bible, like Ezekiel 26:14 and 26:21, Ezekiel 29:10?13, Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, and pretty much this entire list?

  78. #78 Owlmirror
    December 31, 2009

    do realize that you’re doing exactly what was also foretold that you would do?

    Kind of like how a chain letter “predicts” misfortune for those that break the chain. OOOoooooh !!

    “For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ?Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation?s beginning.? (2 Peter 3:3,4)

    So…. if every single person on Earth converted to Christianity, you would know for certain that Christianity was false because the predictions of Christianity being mocked being “fulfilled” would be demonstrated as false?

    There hasn’t been another time period like this one in that regard.

    Nonsense.

    “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

    Don’t forget Matt 24:11.

    How do you know you’re not following a false prophet?

    Without the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible.

    Nonsense. “Global travel” has existed for the last few centuries.

    Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    So missionaries have been sitting with their thumbs up their arses for the last few centuries?

    What colour is the sky on your planet?

  79. #79 llewelly
    December 31, 2009

    “Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide”

    He’s right. Atheism as a theoretical position is being replaced by atheism as a factual position.

  80. #80 MikeTheInfidel
    December 31, 2009

    This is the same site that said that the real origin of Christmas is Saturnalia (partially true) which ended with human sacrifice (utterly false):

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm

    Not much to worry about from them, intellect-wise.

  81. #81 WowbaggerOM
    December 31, 2009

    KLT wrote:

    Without the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible. Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    Dude, seriously? You know, if argument via post hoc rationalisations and confirmation bias was an Olympic event I’d be putting my money on you to take the gold.

  82. #82 wackadoodle
    December 31, 2009

    “Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.”

    Even if we just go back to Colombus day era, and it was probably possible before that as well, people were traveling to every corner of the inhabited world. A priest in the 1500s could have preached to anyone living anywhere on earth, it just would have taken him years to get there.

    But theirs a very simple way to prove every single ‘prophecy’ wrong. Just ask the person why the ‘prophecies’ made by every single other religion throughout history are complete BS, then apply that reasoning to their religion. Of course people who actually apply the same logic to their religion as those ‘wrong’ ones they didn’t grow up surrounded by tend to be atheists anyway so it’s a moot point…

  83. #83 wackadoodle
    December 31, 2009

    I was gonna say Columbus’ days, then I changed it to Columbus’ era. But I screwed up and now it says columbus day era.

  84. #84 madbull
    December 31, 2009

    correlation = causation ? lesser pirates = global warming. all settled

  85. #85 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    Very nice big sky daddy you have there, KLT. He refuses use his powers in order to let all of humanity hear his message of love, preferring to let human technology to spread the word and letting millions be condemned without a chance. Better to have a prophecy.

    KLT, you are not mocked because you are religious. It is because you a a religious loon. I am sure the distinction goes past you.

  86. #86 cd
    December 31, 2009

    I’ve seen letters from over 160 years ago predicting the imminent demise of religion; the numerous predictions remind me of the jesus cult predictions of the looming end of the world.

    In a strict sense those religions do not actually exist anymore. All of them have moderated-changed doctrine- in substantial ways. The God of Christianity has obviously changed his opinion about divorce, gays, race, slavery, Jews, dominion on Earth, social democracy in the last century or two. He’s not as absolute as he once was. He’s gotten a lot more metaphorical and less authoritarian lately. He isn’t throwing as many thunderbolts or sending as many plagues or earthquakes, either.

    Like the former Communist countries now, here in the U.S. we had a big period of Return To Religion in the 1970s/80s/early 90s. We also had Bush Republicanism break out. Neither has lasted and those peoples’ children are not carrying on those beliefs. People apparently have to indulge themselves in ideas before letting them go. So I say: indulge away. Let people find out what people discover in seminary when they get deluged with godtalk and theology- that they actually only believe a small amount (if any) of the official doctrine.

  87. #87 cd
    December 31, 2009

    Without the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible. Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    I think you’re saying that walking and sailing and talking never actually did the job. You need electronic gizmos and other free riding on Modernity, or conquest. You need to bait the impressionable natives with magic and material prosperity, and they’ll sign up to get at that magic and prosperity…and then you pull off the switch, right?

  88. #88 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 31, 2009

    “”And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)”

    Oh, I can dispute this claim.

    You’re not preaching in the entire inhabited earth. Putting aside tiny tribes of people who’ve mercifully not been forced into the inhabited world, you don’t have active ministries in every part of the world. True, you should have christian ministries in.. most countries, but they’re not in all serious habitations.

    Notwithstanding that after accounting for sectarian differences, you don’t have presence in every country.

    “”For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ?Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation?s beginning.? (2 Peter 3:3,4)”
    We don’t argue there was a Creation, and we proceed according to non-God-derived codes of ethics.

    No Man of Woman Born and all that nonsense.

  89. #89 Abdul Alhazred
    December 31, 2009

    Fully thought out atheism with vocal opposition to religion maybe isn’t all that common. Maybe.

    But there sure are a lot of people who reject traditional religious beliefs while still identifying for cultural reasons, who just want to get along, and/or who think there “might be something”.

    That is not what used to be considered a believer, but they are part of the “not atheist” statistics.

  90. #90 Gregory Greenwood
    December 31, 2009

    Andreas Johnson @ 39;

    ‘I think you mean Harun Yahya, who wrote the lovely little prognostication you’re quoting.’

    Sorry, my mistake. Thanks for the heads up.

  91. #91 Notagod
    December 31, 2009

    “..t..impending post-atheist world.”
    Its^ a mormon secular death stick.

    Hey, the christian is making progress! It used to proclaim the jebus is comminng, the jjebbuss is cummingggg! Proclaiming the impending end of an atheist world certainly is a step away from their make believe world. No more jesus, I like it!

  92. #92 maxamillion
    December 31, 2009

    Ridicule gives purpose to KLT’s life.

  93. #93 Ebonmuse
    December 31, 2009

    I just love this line about the “growing consensus” that atheism is in trouble – a consensus that’s reflected, of course, in the writings of a bunch of kook creationists and an insular circle of mealy-mouthed theologians, and which is supported by no demographic or statistical data whatsoever in the article.

    Do these people even realize how pathetic they sound? Or do they think that this round of mutual back-slapping is really something that’s going to make the slightest impression on actual atheists?

  94. #94 Patricia Queen of Sluts, OM
    December 31, 2009

    …only in our modern era… Oh bullshit. God Almighty can communicate with us at any time in words of flame ten miles high. He’s Almighty, remember?

  95. #95 WowbaggerOM
    December 31, 2009

    Ebonmuse wrote:

    Do these people even realize how pathetic they sound?

    I imagine that the deeply religious can’t ever really listen to themselves when in the deepest throes of their woo-powered inanity.

    What comes to mind when I read this tripe is an ancient Greek theist saying something like ‘The growing consensus is that Zeus is real; you atheists are in real trouble’ – and where’s Zeus now, exactly? The only reason Christianity still exists is – as someone pointed out upthread – because enough of it’s proponents throughout history have been canny enough to find ways to redefine it to encompass human social evolution.

    But none of those changes has provided it with any more compelling arguments for being true – only more rationalisations to help ease their cognitive dissonance. And atheists will forever be pointing that out.

    Atheists: fucking shit up for religion for as long as it’s been around.

  96. #96 Alice Shortcake
    December 31, 2009

    So 10% of the UK population are churchgoers? Even this figure strikes me as being exaggerated. The English working class has always been massively indifferent to organised religion – I’m almost 50 and my parents didn’t go to church, none of my grandparents went to church and I’d be surprised if any of my great-grandparents went to church. Christianity in England is widely regarded as a hobby indulged in by a few mildly eccentric middle-class people on Sunday mornings.

  97. #97 Aquaria
    December 31, 2009

    thout the advent of modern technology and global travel, this part of the prophecy wouldn’t even be possible. Only in our modern era does the good news about God’s kingdom have the ability to reach the entire inhabited earth.

    Do we tell KnowledgeLess Twit that Emperor Ashoka of the Maruyan Empire (India) sent Buddhist missionaries to Europe and Egypt 250+ years before his popsicle decal deity was born (with modest success, no less), that there were Greeks occupying parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the same time, many of whom converted to Buddhism themselves, or how there was frequent correspondence from India, the Greco-Bactrian civilizations, and Greece itself. And this all went on despite the 4 – 5000 miles between Greece and India. It had already happened between India and Japan–the latter about the same distance from India as Greece is.

    Nah. Why bother? Evidence-based knowledge is poison to morons, especially deluded godbot morons.

  98. #98 Abdul Alhazred
    December 31, 2009

    He’s Almighty, remember?

    You’re forgetting, He likes to fuck with people.

    Together with his son.

  99. #99 Patricia Queen of Sluts, OM
    December 31, 2009

    You’re forgetting, He likes to fuck with people.

    Silly Abdul, that’s part of the Alknowing, not the Almighty.

  100. #100 Matthew Wilkins
    December 31, 2009

    This is exactly what normally happens during conflict. The losing side prints stories saying “WE ARE WINNING… HONEST!!!”.

    The truth is the religious are scared. They are having to mount a serious counter-offensive against reason. The next generation, at least where I live in the UK, are coming to realise that they don’t need a god to lead fulfilling lives or explain the origins of the universe or life.

  101. #101 Qwerty
    December 31, 2009

    Right on Patricia. Since when does God need a cell phone?

  102. #102 aharleygyrl
    December 31, 2009

    Religious people make me feel put off. I knew one who would go to the coffee shop all day, but never drink coffee or tea. Instead he asked for hot honey water. God apparently is against coffee and tea. So, it always made me feel like he was holier than thou and I don’t like feeling that way. I’m just as good as that asswipe eventhough I belt down a mean espresso!

  103. #103 Strangest brew
    December 31, 2009

    And even sinking in the foetid sludge of ignorance they so love to boast about, a solitary dog whistle issued by McGrath et al, to praise jeebus by more as a fake comfort then a hope as they slip under the rancid surface scum, echoes plaintively and for the most part ineffectively against the reality of a resurgent and damnably vigorous Atheist up-rising!

    And they are very frightened and very confused!

  104. #104 llewelly
    December 31, 2009

    So, it always made me feel like he was holier than thou and I don’t like feeling that way.

    That’s entirely wrong-headed thinking. You should feel sorry for the poor sod. He is deprived the joys of tea, coffee, and, especially, espresso, and why? Because he is infected with a contagious delusion. Pity the fool. And don’t let him get close enough to preach sneeze on you.

  105. #105 raven
    December 31, 2009

    I’ve seen letters from over 160 years ago predicting the imminent demise of religion; the numerous predictions remind me of the jesus cult predictions of the looming end of the world.

    A lot of those, maybe most were from xians. When times are slow they always claim persecution and that they are losing members because of satan or TV or Darwin or the Pope or their vaguely humanoid toad leaders or something.

    It is one of those ways of reinforcing in-group out-group identity.

    We aren’t claiming that the end of US xianity is imminent. The statistics say it has been in decline for the last 20 years. The statistics say half the US population, mostly other xians, are sick and tired of the fundie cultists. The projection is that self identified xians will fall below 50% in the next few decades.

    The fundies drove millions out of xianity. They haven’t changed or gotten any smarter and won’t. The normal people will have to keep telling them, “No you can’t rule, no you can’t destroy the USA, and no you can’t run my life.”

    There are examples where religious extremists have gained power. Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Iran. We are fighting wars in two of those countries, fought one intervention in Somalia, bombed Sudan, and tossed a few shells at Iran. Hopefully we won’t have to fight their buddies, the xian religious kooks in the USA.

    George Santayana: “Those who do not learn from history end up repeating it.”

  106. #106 Monado, FCD
    December 31, 2009

    Ha! No way to comment on the pathetically backwards article itself, either.

  107. #107 Lorelei
    December 31, 2009

    Dang, just when I got my nice red “A” is for atheist pin, too!

  108. #108 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Lorelei,

    You can always claim to be an adulterer.

  109. #109 Stardrake
    December 31, 2009

    Even Captain Kirk wants to know!

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

  110. #110 Nemi
    December 31, 2009

    Hi,

    Just wanted to give you praise for finally finding an appropriate use for Comic Sans. ;)

  111. #111 mdcaton
    December 31, 2009

    I keep saying, you have to bet these people. Corner them – ask them, do you really believe this? Really? What exact events can we observe or measure that would be a sign of the death of atheism? Doesn’t even have to be money, maybe when the term of the agreement expires, the person who was wrong has to post an announcement in a pre-agreed location. Invariably they find reasons to back out of the bet (often they just shut up and disappear), but then you can have fun reminding them every five minutes that their behavior is exactly that of someone who doesn’t have the courage of their convictions.

    And if they DO bet you, money time! Make sure you get the money in escrow.

  112. #112 raven
    December 31, 2009

    I hate to quote Christianity Today which is laughably misnamed. It should be titled Christofascist Morons Today or Death Cult Monthly or something. It is a fundie publication.

    But even they say that US church attendance runs around 25%. Some polls have it higher at 40% and the claim has been that people overreport when directly asked.

    This seems to be stable with maybe a slight decline over time. OTOH, 25% isn’t much. We as a society can drag along 1/4 of the population. All societies have groups that are being dragged along for the ride.

    Fundie Death Cults Today:
    {aka Christianity Today}

    Is Church Attendance Declining?
    A new study says no. Also: Russian seminaries’ enrollment woes, and more news on Christian higher education.
    Hunter Baker | posted 11/08/2007 09:56AM

    The latest issue (Sep. 2007) of the Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion includes an article by Stanley Presser of the University of Maryland and Mark Chaves of Duke University about whether there has been a linear decline in church attendance.

    Presser and Chaves take a different route to tracking religious attendance in their study. They think that when asked directly about attending church, people tend to overreport their presence in the pews. In this study, the two sociologists pay more attention to time-use studies in which individuals say what they did on days of the week to avoid asking participants directly about church attendance.

    According to the time-use studies, Presser and Chaves conclude that religious attendance did decline slightly in the period between 1950 and 1990. Mainline Protestant and Catholic service attendance also declined over that period. According to the authors, there is currently no theory of religious change that accounts for periods of stability alternating with periods of decline.

    However, Presser and Chaves determine that attendance has been stable (at about 25%) since the 1990s. That finding challenges the idea that our society is increasingly secular, or that the changes since the 1990s?technological improvements, the increase of scientific knowledge, and urbanization? have any impact on church attendance.

  113. #113 OriGuy
    January 1, 2010

    There’s an aspect of this that you all have missed: “Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg told United Press International….” United Press International has been owned by the Unification Church since 2000. The Washington Times may be coming apart at the seams, but UPI still carries a cachet of respectability that it no longer deserves.

  114. #114 DMMZ
    January 1, 2010

    Articles like this indicate that the Christian community feels the rug sliding out from under it. A bit of desperation on their part. Surely, McGrath also knows about studies done at Harvard Medical school that show prayer had no beneficial effect on cancer patients.

  115. #115 F
    January 1, 2010

    “Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide,” Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg told United Press International Tuesday.

    Lol. It’s not a theory.

  116. #116 F
    January 1, 2010

    O-oh. More Mad Libs.

    These guys are just stringing words together and pretending to be authoritative.

    Atheism’s “_______(n) seems increasingly to ______(v) in the private _______(n) of individuals rather than in the great _______(n) it once ______(v) as its ______(n),” he ______(v) in the ______(adj) magazine, Christianity ______.

  117. #117 John Miller
    January 1, 2010

    Well, reading the comments by the author and his supporters one would think Athism is the saviour of mankind and religion is made up of a bunch of deluded nutcases.
    Projection can do that. The fact is polls, science and common sense show atheism as a losing proposition which places one as an outcast of society bent on destroying what it doesnt understand, doesnt like and conflicts with its own version of a type of “Godless Religion.” Its no wonder, after seeing all theese comments that atheists, according to a poll done by the University of Minnesota, shows atheists as the least liked, least trusted, least acceptable group in the USA.
    One can only conclude that it is a delusion to think Atheists have any morality at all, save what each individual decides is moral. It is unchecked, anything goes amorality where one can come up with ANY number of moral codes at will and justify them all, convenience of the day.

  118. #118 Rorschach
    January 1, 2010

    one would think Athism is the saviour of mankind and religion is made up of a bunch of deluded nutcases.

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.Well done there.

    Its no wonder, after seeing all theese comments that atheists, according to a poll done by the University of Minnesota, shows atheists as the least liked, least trusted, least acceptable group in the USA

    The same would probably be true for Uganda, Turkey and Iran.You know, countries where fundamentalist religion has a major influence in politics.Like the USA.

    One can only conclude that it is a delusion to think Atheists have any morality at all

    Only if one is a brainwashed deluded religiobot.

  119. #119 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    John Miller, do you even know what atheism is?

    (Hint: It’s not a religion.)

    (Bonus hint¹: Santa ain’t real.)

    ¹ Because you seem so very clever.

  120. #120 Richard Eis
    January 1, 2010

    One can only conclude that it is a delusion to think Atheists have any morality at all, save what each individual decides is moral. It is unchecked, anything goes amorality where one can come up with ANY number of moral codes at will and justify them all, convenience of the day.

    Let me know when atheist organisations start condoning child rape and help cover it up.

    Athism is the saviour of mankind and religion is made up of a bunch of deluded nutcases.

    Considering the article is a flat out lie. Reversing the actual truth in several places this should come as no great surprise.

    Or is lying another thing which is perfectly acceptable and moral to christians?

  121. #121 WowbaggerOM
    January 1, 2010

    Its no wonder, after seeing all theese comments that atheists, according to a poll done by the University of Minnesota, shows atheists as the least liked, least trusted, least acceptable group in the USA.

    Christian lies + Christian credulity and intellectual dishonesty. It wouldn’t be the first time opinions have been shaped that way. Just ask the Jews.

  122. #122 Ivan Soto
    January 1, 2010

    “Awesomly pathetic article” is amazingly gentle. The column above really does say everything that can be said about the article it references. I’ll just add that quoting Harun Yahya as a “Turkish Philosopher” really does take the cake. That effectively is a gross insult to the Turkish people.

  123. #123 raven
    January 1, 2010

    John Miller dumb bigot:

    sense show atheism as a losing proposition which places one as an outcast of society

    Atheism correlates with higher intelligence and higher education. Hardly the hallmarks of outcasts.

    Religious fundamentalism goes with low socioeconomic status, ignorance, and higher social problems. It is no accident that Red fundie xian states always lead in ignorance, poverty, and human lives wasted.

  124. #124 raven
    January 1, 2010

    John Miller victim of toxic religion brain atrophy:

    Well, reading the comments by the author and his supporters one would think Athism is the saviour of mankind and religion is made up of a bunch of deluded nutcases.

    The most atheistic societies in the world today are the Europeans, New Zealand, and Japan. Hardly outcasts or the worst countries to live in.

    The most religious ones are Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan.

    We have fought military engagements in all the most religious ones for a variety of reasons, some at least having to do with our national survival and self defense. The most religious ones are all defective societies and some are hells on earth. The average life span in Afghanistan is 44 and going down.

    Atheism is no panacea. But it helps. Religions when they gain power always, always destroy societies. That is why we gave up theocracies centuries ago. Been there, done that, got the T shirt and piles of dead bodies and rivers of blood.

  125. #125 DaveWTC
    January 1, 2010

    We (atheists) would be “graced by faith” in a “post-atheist world”?? More like “grazed by flames”, in that good old tradition of Christian forgiveness!

  126. #126 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 1, 2010

    “It is unchecked, anything goes amorality where one can come up with ANY number of moral codes at will and justify them all, convenience of the day.”

    Really? You’re going to pretend Christianity, nay, Religion, doesn’t do this on a regular basis?

    Individual Atheists will each have their own take on what’s ethical, but to pretend we somehow justify breaches of our own laws when Christians (Or anyone else) don’t is stupid.

    See: Catholic pedophiles, anti-gay activists caught with cock in their mouths, Any Christian who quotes Leviticus, all Christian and Jewish slaveholders anywhere forever, Any anti-semite who belongs to an abrahamic religion, Confucians or Muslims who respect women, Christians who don’t view women as totally and completely equal, none of that complementarian bullshit, Buddhists who eat meat or harm living things (lolskillfulmeans), Hindus or Buddhists who act like they’re better then others based on their religion, and Jesus Tapdancing Christ on a Stick this is long. Shit, by proselytizing and judging us? You’re ignoring little things like the parables of the Goats and the Sheep, and the Wheat and the Chaff. So, you can go to hell.

  127. #127 Cerberus
    January 1, 2010

    It’s all pretty standard procedure really. The point isn’t intended to be a statement of fact or even reassure themselves. The point is the same as the constant screamings they utter about the gays. To get people scared to come out, to make people wary of supporting them, and to make it seem dangerous to live a life honest to oneself. This also helps protect themselves against people leaving them in numbers because someone who leaves is now alone against their former community and has to be willing to risk their whole families and circles of friends to be “out”.

    Thus more of the people wanting to leave feel stuck and by feeling stuck, feel they must make more of a public effort to support ramblings they may not fully support or only half-heartedly support.

    It’s all tactics to continue to try and forestall the inevitable day we all admit openly and without shame, who we are, what we really believe, and the like and those who seek to dominate and control end up pushed towards the margins.

  128. #128 reyfox
    January 1, 2010

    I foretell that a great Wombat shall rise from the Earth at an unspecified time.

    I also foretell that those who follow the prophecy of the great Wombat will be mocked and ridiculed!

    I also foretell at least a 50% fulfillment rate on these prophecies, which isn’t too bad.

  129. #129 Andreas Johansson
    January 1, 2010

    raven wrote:

    Atheism correlates with higher intelligence and higher education. Hardly the hallmarks of outcasts.

    Not a Dilbert fan, are you?

  130. #130 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    Andreas, Scott Adams is a dill, and Dilbert hasn’t much to do with higher intelligence…

  131. #131 raven
    January 1, 2010

    signsofthelastdays.com:

    Are we witnessing the decline of Christianity in America? When you examine all of the most recent poll numbers, the answer is inescapable. Christian churches in America are losing members rapidly, and this trend is especially dramatic among young Americans.

    According to a stunning new survey by America’s Research Group, 95 percent of 20 to 29 year old evangelicals attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years. However, only 55 percent of them attended church regularly during high school, and only 11 percent of them were still regularly attending church when in college.

    Those numbers have got to be incredibly sobering to the evangelical Christian leadership in the United States.

    The reality is that young Americans are deserting the Church in America in droves.

    The other day we came across an article in Advertising Age that blew us away. The article was discussing marketing and religion, but what impacted us so profoundly were some figures from the American Religious Identification Survey by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College.

    According to that survey, 15% of Americans now say they have “no religion” which is up from 8% in 1990.

    That would be bad enough news for evangelical Christianity.

    But there is some more news from that survey that is much worse.

    In that same survey, 46% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 indicated that they had no religion.

    Forty. Six. Percent.

    At least some fundies have noticed that xianity is slipping in the USA. Particularly among younger people.

    As usual they have their own spin. This is good news. It means god is going to show up soon and kill everyone and destroy the earth.

    As to why a visit from a genocidal maniac is good news, got me. Maybe it is hard for people to bother to believe in a supernatural genocidal maniac and hope they get killed soon.

  132. #132 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 1, 2010

    “Andreas, Scott Adams is a dill, and Dilbert hasn’t much to do with higher intelligence…”

    Well that’s silly. Wally, Asok, Dilbert, Alice, and the Garbageman are (generally) obviously more intelligent and better educated then the average person, and this just causes them more, not less, trouble at work.

    …Well, it causes Wally less because he specifically applies his intelligence on reducing his workload, not doing his job..

  133. #133 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    Rutee, I was talking about the strip, not about the informed attributes of the characters therein. :)

  134. #134 Rincewind'smuse
    January 1, 2010

    One can only conclude that it is a delusion to think Atheists have any morality at all, save what each individual decides is moral. It is unchecked, anything goes amorality where one can come up with ANY number of moral codes at will and justify them all, convenience of the day.

    That you can make that conclusion based on that information says everything I need to know about you.And that you are so simple that you don’t realize that ultimately regardless of an external code(do you really think it was magically brought down a mountain by the way?How quaint.)it always comes down to the individual deciding what’s right(or not). Think of the aforementioned pedophile priests as an example, don’t they have an external moral compass to follow?Are you really so naive as to believe there is ONE moral code that exists for all religions or are you one of those nuts that insist that the only proper code is yours?

  135. #135 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    Rincewind’s muse, yeah. I love that one.

    In effect, they’re confessing that they think themselves (and, by implication, everyone) amoral by nature, and it’s only the carrot (heaven) and the stick (hell) that necessitates their (simulation of) morality.

    (Not that they are¹, but they give no thrift to the idea that their religious “morality” is no less a human construct than that of those who have determined their own.)

    ¹ In general; doubtless there are some who indeed are so.

    (Consider this comment extremely parenthetic! ;) )

  136. #136 Rev. El Mundo
    January 1, 2010

    “…..the common claim by intelligent design creationists that they have scientific evidence of a creator.”

    Why we allow creationists to get away w/ the claim for a single creator for anything is a bit of a mystery to me. The single creator claim began when Paley said that if you find a watch during a stroll in a park, the only conclusion to come to would be that it had to have a designer. But this claim is, if anything, shortsighted. There is no reason whatsoever to claim a single designer at all. Instead, it would be most sensible to assume many designers – glass designer, spring designer, cog designer, etc. were responsible for the creation of the timepiece.

    Using this reasoning, finding a watch in the park can only lead one to a pantheistic conclusion for creation. The single creator conclusion is simply a rush to judgement.
    ~Rev. El

  137. #137 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 1, 2010

    Given my moniker, you can probably guess where I come down on the Dilbert issue. However, I’ve never felt one must be unpopular merely because one is a nerd. It’s kind of inevitable that you won’t be able to relate to the average American-Idol watcher, but then, would you want to?

  138. #138 thelogos
    January 1, 2010

    For some insights on Flew’s xtianity, Richard Carrier has had extensive correspondence with AF and makes the case that AF’s book was NOT written by AF.

    http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/search/label/Antony%20Flew

  139. #139 bastion of sass
    January 1, 2010

    “The time is fast approaching when many people who are living in ignorance with no knowledge of their Creator will be graced by faith in the impending post-atheist world.”

    I’m thinking that “post-atheist world” refers to a world in which atheists are tied to posts, then either barbecued (Goats on fire!) or left as lunch for the predators and scavengers.

  140. #140 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    January 2, 2010

    Atheism might come to an end in the sense that theism is not considered the ‘normal’ stance so dissenters aren’t labeled with a-thesim. Just as today, we are all a-leprechaunists.

  141. #141 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    January 2, 2010

    When it comes to the moral code, a youtube poster (Theologikos or so, from Norway) gave me the shortest way to derail the theists argument:

    “So, without the Bible telling you that bestiality is wrong, YOU WOULD…?”

  142. #142 Andreas Johansson
    January 2, 2010

    John Morales wrote:

    Rutee, I was talking about the strip, not about the informed attributes of the characters therein. :)

    Which was rather odd of you, as I was obviously refering to what’s true within the strip. One gets the impression you just latched onto an excuse to Complain About Strips You Don’t Like.

  143. #143 KLT
    January 2, 2010

    Owl Mirror/Wackadoodle

    OwlMirror re: Nonsense. “Global travel” has existed for the last few centuries.

    Wackadoodle re:
    “Even if we just go back to Colombus day…people were traveling to every corner of the inhabited world. A priest in the 1500s could have preached to anyone living anywhere on earth, it just would have taken him years to get there.”

    Yes, but were the majority of those Christian missionaries preaching ‘the good news’ regarding the advent of God’s Kingdom? Or were they teaching the virtues of Christianity and forcing conversion on the natives to subdue the ‘new world’ colonies and promote the rule and spread of their empires?

    The vast majority were not fulfilling the preaching assignment that Jesus gave them.
    How do we know that?

    First, the early Christians had NO POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT whatsoever. Even though they recognized governmental authority and obeyed civil laws, they only gave allegiance to God by supporting theocracy. They weren’t supposed to be backing man-made governments, they were supposed to be preaching about GOD’s KINGDOM government …just like the first line in the ‘Our Father’ prayer (which has been repeated billions of times all over the world)
    “Let YOUR Kingdom come”…”Let YOUR will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth”

    God’s Kingdom = Theocracy…(not democracy, socialism, communism, imperialism, capitalism, or any other form of autocratic monarchies and hierarchies, etc, etc) True Christians should only give allegiance to theocracy. Which is why those early Christians refused to participate in what the latter Christians did…such as ‘holy wars’ and ‘conversion by the sword’ on behalf of the government. Their apolitical stand and neutrality is why so many of them were killed and persecuted by the Roman Empire.

    Second, the few *genuine* Christians who came along during that time, who actually had enough knowledge of the Scriptures and were well-versed enough to work as copyists or translators, were usually banished as exiles or burned alive at the stake, as heretics, for attempting to educate the common people by providing them with the Bible in their native language.

    It’s been a long and arduous journey on the road to freedom and enlightenment,…which would even allow the spread of that knowledge.

    -That’s why Jesus gave the parable of ‘the wheat and the weeds’ at (Matthew 13:24-30) in order to alert the early Christians to the fact that there was going to be a long period of ‘spiritual darkness’ and a great apostasy which would encompass Christianity for a long time…on account of men who would betray God and turn their back on *true* worship, by promoting pagan and other man-made false doctrines which were never a part of original Christianity to begin with, and they would start to oppress and harm ‘the flock’ instead of lovingly caring for it, (like a shepherd should care for his sheep).

    So prior to the 20th century when ‘the last days’ officially began, there were only ‘flickers’ of true spiritual enlightenment of the gospel message, (such as during the Reformation period and onward), which is when ‘the light’ (spiritual understanding) would ‘keep getting brighter’ (Proverbs 4:18) as foretold.
    Which is another reason the gospel message couldn’t have spread “to all the inhabited earth” back then. Most Christians hadn’t come to a full or even partial understanding of it yet. Even men like John Milton and Isaac Newton wouldn’t publish their true beliefs about the Bible because it was so contrary to what most Christians were taught to believe at that time, and it was too dangerous to speak against the doctrine of the Church.

    So yes,…modern technology and global travel has been absolutely *essential* for the spread of the gospel message on such an enormous, earthwide scale.

    Because travel to a distant country isn’t enough. You have to be able to speak and translate the language to the common people so they can understand the message.
    Which is why volunteers of translation teams work around the clock trying to get the Scriptures translated and published on high-speed presses in so many languages? And the need for learning new languages just keeps growing.
    You should have more appreciation for just ‘how good’ we have it living in a free, democratic society …So many people live in abject poverty and despair, under the harshest & restrictive governmental regimes imaginable, which give them no hope for a better life, or future. And they literally break down and cry from sheer joy, when they finally have a Bible presented to them in their own language so they can read it for the first time.
    Any amount of ridicule is worth the effort to make that possible in order to help them.

    So if atheists are gonna hate Christians, at least be selective, by narrowing it down to the ‘phonys’ who’ve caused all the problems, and continue to perpetuate them.

  144. #144 Stephen
    January 2, 2010

    During my three years in church, I was told COUNTLESS times that “evil is overrunning the earth” and that “more and more people need god” and that “satan is controlling this world” and all the other bullshit… and now they’re saying that we’re disappearing? That’s a pretty big contradiction…

    Almost as amazing of a contradiction as the first two chapters of the bible! In fact, it only comes in second place because the bible is supposed to be a perfect god’s perfect creation, the people saying this crap are self-described imperfect creations (um.. imperfect creations that were created by a perfect god… don’t think about it too long, it might cause a severe headache.)

  145. #145 Paul-in-Lakeview
    January 2, 2010

    Atheists and theists would start to clear their foggy thinking by bearing in mind the following distinctions.

    (1) Any person who denies that the world was created by a god is an atheist, but a person can refrain BOTH from such denial AND from affirmation that the world was created by a god, in which case he or she, too, is an atheist.

    (2) Every person either denies or does not deny the existence of a creator god. The set of people who do not deny includes both atheists and theists.

    (3) To refrain both from denying and from affirming such a god does not entail believing that there’s no way to determine which position, denial or affirmation, is correct. Furthermore, to withhold judgment does not obligate a person to justify to another person his or her reason for withholding judgment.

    (4) Secularism and atheism are separate positions. Secularists affirm that materialism is true, yet if one is an atheist, it’s simply not necessary to affirm materialism, not even when secularists insist upon flipflopping back and forth between ‘secularist’ and ‘atheist’ as if they were synonyms. People who protest this point are probably guilty of just assuming that either there is a creator god or materialism is true. They need to ask themselves two questions: (i) is there a creator god?, and (ii) is materialism true?.

    The possible combinations of responses are YY, YN, NY, and NN. Of course, not all four combinations are true, not even for the relativist.

  146. #146 John Morales
    January 2, 2010

    Andreas,

    Which was rather odd of you, as I was obviously refering to what’s true within the strip.

    Really.

    this is your comment @129:

    raven wrote:
    Atheism correlates with higher intelligence and higher education. Hardly the hallmarks of outcasts.

    Not a Dilbert fan, are you?

    Dilbert.
    Dilbert (first published April 16, 1989) is an American comic strip written and drawn by Scott Adams. Dilbert is known for its satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring the engineer Dilbert as the title character.

    Any reasonable interpretation (without more context) of a reference to “a Dilbert fan” surely refers to a fan of the strip, not of the character.

    If you honestly think the strip is evidence against the proposition that “Atheism correlates with higher intelligence and higher education”, then make your case — because I think it was a non sequitur.

  147. #147 Anri
    January 2, 2010

    KLT sez:

    Yes, but were the majority of those Christian missionaries preaching ‘the good news’ regarding the advent of God’s Kingdom? Or were they teaching the virtues of Christianity and forcing conversion on the natives to subdue the ‘new world’ colonies and promote the rule and spread of their empires?

    So… if people were exposed to the bible and/or Jesus by people with expansionist agendas, god will ignore their faith? What exactly are you saying here?

    The vast majority were not fulfilling the preaching assignment that Jesus gave them.
    How do we know that?

    First, the early Christians had NO POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT whatsoever. Even though they recognized governmental authority and obeyed civil laws, they only gave allegiance to God by supporting theocracy. They weren’t supposed to be backing man-made governments, they were supposed to be preaching about GOD’s KINGDOM government …just like the first line in the ‘Our Father’ prayer (which has been repeated billions of times all over the world)
    “Let YOUR Kingdom come”…”Let YOUR will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth”

    So… real Christians aren’t supposed to get politically involved based on their moral views (which are, presumably, based in Christianity), yes? Are you saying the real Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics at all, or that they shouldn’t base political decisions on their understanding of what they take to be god’s word? Please clarify.

    God’s Kingdom = Theocracy…(not democracy, socialism, communism, imperialism, capitalism, or any other form of autocratic monarchies and hierarchies, etc, etc)

    You believe that rule by god is not autocratic? In what way?

    True Christians should only give allegiance to theocracy.

    So, for example, they should not consider themselves loyal citizens of any modern, western democracy… True Christians cannot be loyal US citizens, or British citizens, etc, yes?

    Which is why those early Christians refused to participate in what the latter Christians did…such as ‘holy wars’ and ‘conversion by the sword’ on behalf of the government. Their apolitical stand and neutrality is why so many of them were killed and persecuted by the Roman Empire.

    Until they got enough political power to place a Christian Emperor on the throne. But I guess he wasn’t really Christian.

    Second, the few *genuine* Christians who came along during that time, who actually had enough knowledge of the Scriptures and were well-versed enough to work as copyists or translators, were usually banished as exiles or burned alive at the stake, as heretics, for attempting to educate the common people by providing them with the Bible in their native language.

    Yes, until secular forces started shutting down the power that existed in the hands of religious leaders and forcing religious disputes to be settled in courts of law rather than battlefields and inquisitional torture chambers.
    We’re still working on that, in the more religious parts of the world.

    It’s been a long and arduous journey on the road to freedom and enlightenment,…which would even allow the spread of that knowledge.

    And, perhaps I’m misunderstanding you here, but people are more free and enlightened now that secular forces have beaten back religious control of humanity as much as they have?
    Or are they less?
    Please be specific in your answer.

    -That’s why Jesus gave the parable of ‘the wheat and the weeds’ at (Matthew 13:24-30) in order to alert the early Christians to the fact that there was going to be a long period of ‘spiritual darkness’ and a great apostasy which would encompass Christianity for a long time…on account of men who would betray God and turn their back on *true* worship, by promoting pagan and other man-made false doctrines which were never a part of original Christianity to begin with, and they would start to oppress and harm ‘the flock’ instead of lovingly caring for it, (like a shepherd should care for his sheep).

    As an aside, do you believe that a domesticated sheep is an animal you’d be comfortable in emulating? Do sheep know when they are in the hands of a poor shepherd, or an evil one?

    So prior to the 20th century when ‘the last days’ officially began,

    (Citation needed)

    there were only ‘flickers’ of true spiritual enlightenment of the gospel message, (such as during the Reformation period and onward), which is when ‘the light’ (spiritual understanding) would ‘keep getting brighter’ (Proverbs 4:18) as foretold.
    Which is another reason the gospel message couldn’t have spread “to all the inhabited earth” back then. Most Christians hadn’t come to a full or even partial understanding of it yet. Even men like John Milton and Isaac Newton wouldn’t publish their true beliefs about the Bible because it was so contrary to what most Christians were taught to believe at that time, and it was too dangerous to speak against the doctrine of the Church.

    In danger of… what, exactly?
    Being killed and sent to heaven?
    Is that a bad thing?

    So yes,…modern technology and global travel has been absolutely *essential* for the spread of the gospel message on such an enormous, earthwide scale.

    Because travel to a distant country isn’t enough. You have to be able to speak and translate the language to the common people so they can understand the message.

    God certainly can’t be bothered to do this himself, after all. That would mean more people would be saved, and fewer people would go to hell, and that’s what god wants, so…
    wait, I’m sure I missed something there.

    Which is why volunteers of translation teams work around the clock trying to get the Scriptures translated and published on high-speed presses in so many languages? And the need for learning new languages just keeps growing.

    I’m going out on a limb here, and suspect that most folks doing new translations of the bible are a) getting paid for it (not ‘volunteers’), and b) have a political agenda of some sort.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

    You should have more appreciation for just ‘how good’ we have it living in a free, democratic society

    Which, above, you say Christians can’t be loyal citizens of…

    …So many people live in abject poverty and despair, under the harshest & restrictive governmental regimes imaginable, which give them no hope for a better life, or future.

    And worldwide, by far and away, the most religious of peoples are the ones stuck farthest down that type of poverty hole, while the least are, almost without exception, nearer the top of that scale…

    And they literally break down and cry from sheer joy, when they finally have a Bible presented to them in their own language so they can read it for the first time.

    And I imagine they’re even happier when the scientific treatments for the parasitic worms that are eating their eyeballs get to them. I’m going to go out on a limb again and suggest that sort of thing does them a whole lot more good.
    But then, I believe in making people’s lives better – not trying to help them after they’re dead and therefore conveniently beyond follow-up.

    Any amount of ridicule is worth the effort to make that possible in order to help them.

    So if atheists are gonna hate Christians, at least be selective, by narrowing it down to the ‘phonys’ who’ve caused all the problems, and continue to perpetuate them.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t hate Christians, but I sure despise Christianity. Including the flavor you practice.

  148. #148 John Morales
    January 2, 2010

    KLT @123, your stupid claims are shot down by a little book in the Bible called “Acts of the Apostles”.

  149. #149 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 2, 2010

    Anri wins one internets.

  150. #150 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 2, 2010

    Anri wins one internets.

    I’m going to have to second that.

  151. #151 Owlmirror
    January 3, 2010

    Yes, but were the majority of those Christian missionaries preaching ‘the good news’ regarding the advent of God’s Kingdom? Or were they teaching the virtues of Christianity and forcing conversion on the natives to subdue the ‘new world’ colonies and promote the rule and spread of their empires?

    I always kinda figured that it was “any of the above”.

    They weren’t supposed to be backing man-made governments, they were supposed to be preaching about GOD’s KINGDOM government

    Strangely enough, God never made it clear what, exactly, that government was, and how it was to be distinguished from “man-made governments”. All of these preachers were always human beings, so I don’t see how they could make a government that was not man-made.

    God’s Kingdom = Theocracy…(not democracy, socialism, communism, imperialism, capitalism, or any other form of autocratic monarchies and hierarchies, etc, etc)

    Unless God actually speaks up for himself, your so-called theocracy will indeed be some human-run government, no matter what it’s called.

    How is a “Theocracy” different from a “totalitarian dictatorship”, anyway? You have a human (or some number of humans) in charge who claim to know what God wants — and funny enough, God always seems to want what this group of humans claiming to speak for him wants.

    Their apolitical stand and neutrality is why so many of them were killed and persecuted by the Roman Empire.

    Nah, it was because they were atheists — they denied the gods of Rome.

    Second, the few *genuine* Christians who came along during that time, who actually had enough knowledge of the Scriptures and were well-versed enough to work as copyists or translators, were usually banished as exiles or burned alive at the stake, as heretics

    Or in other words, as phony Christians.

    How do you distinguish genuine Christians from non-genuine if the non-genuine Christians claim to be genuine and that you’re the phony?

    Meanwhile, atheists say that Christianity itself is phony; indeed, all religions are phony. That makes more sense: When you have a bunch of people claiming to know what God wants, and never hear from God himself, it follows that all of those people claiming to know what God wants must be lying.

    on account of men who would betray God and turn their back on *true* worship, by promoting pagan and other man-made false doctrines which were never a part of original Christianity to begin with

    How do you know whether any given doctrine is or is not man-made?

    So prior to the 20th century when ‘the last days’ officially began, there were only ‘flickers’ of true spiritual enlightenment of the gospel message, (such as during the Reformation period and onward), which is when ‘the light’ (spiritual understanding) would ‘keep getting brighter’ (Proverbs 4:18) as foretold.

    This looks like you’re contradicting your own previous claim that “true” Christianity would be subject to greater and greater rejection. Remember? That was your whole point @#26.

    Which is another reason the gospel message couldn’t have spread “to all the inhabited earth” back then. Most Christians hadn’t come to a full or even partial understanding of it yet.

    How do you know?

    Even men like John Milton and Isaac Newton wouldn’t publish their true beliefs about the Bible because it was so contrary to what most Christians were taught to believe at that time, and it was too dangerous to speak against the doctrine of the Church.

    How do you know that what you were taught to believe at this time is correct?

    Because travel to a distant country isn’t enough. You have to be able to speak and translate the language to the common people so they can understand the message.

    Yes, and much early linguistics work was done by missionaries, centuries ago.

    You should have more appreciation for just ‘how good’ we have it living in a free, democratic society

    Believe me, I do. You are free to believe as you wish and preach as you wish, and I am free to point out the contradictions, both subtle and blatant, that your beliefs are founded on, and the logical fallacies that you make in arguing for it.

    That’s exactly why I would oppose your putative theocracy, which would destroy my freedom to criticise your beliefs.

    So many people live in abject poverty and despair, under the harshest & restrictive governmental regimes imaginable, which give them no hope for a better life, or future. And they literally break down and cry from sheer joy, when they finally have a Bible presented to them in their own language so they can read it for the first time.

    You might be misinterpreting why they’re crying.

    So if atheists are gonna hate Christians,

    I try not to hate anyone of any religion. Why are you suggesting that I hate?

    at least be selective, by narrowing it down to the ‘phonys’ who’ve caused all the problems, and continue to perpetuate them.

    As far as I can tell, all religions are phony, and they all cause problems and continue to perpetuate them.

  152. #152 SHASHI's
    January 3, 2010

    What a good article to start the day with !!!

    Theists opine the the summary starting with this null hypothesis ” The God Doesn’t Exist !”…the study takes different materials into accounts and refutes the study, that’s what religion calls the science !

    Religion must have been started with a dumb foundation so that as the population grows and gets educated and begin to think rationally, They realize this fact. This is the reason why Theism is at the verge of gradual decline and finally may meet the verge of minority.

    Atheists can make the difference in the world because they aren’t obsessed with dogmas. They know what they are thinking and are rational. May atheism serve the humanity and may peace prevail to a better height.

  153. #153 PNUT
    January 3, 2010

    The Imaginary Friend people are on the ropes. Their article reeks of desperation. That’s good.

  154. #154 PNUT
    January 3, 2010

    They keep trotting out Anthony Flew ,as if one Atheist losing their mind is such a big deal. He probably sold out for some Templeton money.

  155. #155 KLT
    January 4, 2010

    John Morales / Arni / OwlMirror

    John Morales re:
    “KLT @123, your stupid claims are shot down by a little book in the Bible called “Acts of the Apostles”.

    I’m assuming that you’re refering to the fact that the book of Acts shows how “The Way” was spreading throughout the ancient world and gaining such a foothold, that many people within the Roman Empire made exclamations similar the account at (Acts 17:5-7):
    “But the Jews, getting jealous, took into their company certain wicked men of the marketplace idlers and formed a mob and proceeded to throw the city into an uproar…they dragged Ja?son and certain brothers to the city rulers, crying out: ?These men that have overturned the inhabited earth are present here also,.. And all these [men] act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus.”

    This is once again the *initial* or miniature fulfillment of what was going to occur on *a much larger scale* in the future. After all, as you well know, the apostles and early Christians had their work ‘cut short’…long before extensive travel to the North & South American continents, as well as all the distant islands had been reached. So there were plenty of natives living in distant places who hadn’t been given the opportunity to hear the message. By the time global travel was really taking off, ‘the truth’ had long since been overrun by false/apostate teachings…including the superstitious practice of removing Jehovah’s name (YHWH) from the Scriptures and replacing it with the generic “LORD” or “God”…how can God’s name be “sanctified” (once again directly specified in the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” meaning: let your name be sanctified or made holy) or his kingdom be made known to ‘all the inhabited earth’ if the majority of Christendom’s missionaries weren’t even aware of God’s name because it had been removed from the Bible? Or if they were, had been forbidden to pronounce it? (unlike the early Christians who did not have that practice but widely made it known)
    …ironically the Vatican is trying to have it removed AGAIN.

    So if most people weren’t even allowed to pronounce the Tetragrammaton, and it was removed from the Scriptures, how could people even know who God truly is? How could they call on his name? (despite the fact that the Scriptures say that’s a requirement for salvation)… “For ?everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.? However, how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?” (Romans 10:13, 14)

    If the majority of mankind was never even told something as basic as the name of the one who was going to establish that ‘kingdom government’ and had never been informed about what blessings that kingdom government would bring to mankind, how could it be said that the good news of ‘God’s kingdom’ had reached the entire inhabited earth? (unless there was going to be a *final fulfillment* of that prophecy)?

    But look what Isaiah says in regards to that:
    …?YOU who are making mention of Jehovah, let there be no silence on YOUR part,…Pass out, pass out through the gates, YOU men. Clear the way of the people. Bank up, bank up the highway. Rid [it] of stones. Raise up a signal for the peoples. Look! Jehovah himself has caused [it] to be heard to the farthest part of the earth: ?Say, YOU people, to the daughter of Zion, ?Look! Your salvation is coming.” (Isaiah 62:6,10,11)

    “And I will set among them a sign,…the faraway islands, who have not heard a report about me or seen my glory; and they will for certain tell about my glory among the nations.” (Isaiah 66:19)

    **Arni and OwlMirror I’ll respond to your posts coming up**

  156. #156 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2010

    This is once again the *initial* or miniature fulfillment of what was going to occur on *a much larger scale* in the future.

    But it also contradicts your claim @#143: “First, the early Christians had NO POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT whatsoever. ”

    including the superstitious practice of removing Jehovah’s name (YHWH) from the Scriptures

    How is any religion distinguishable from superstitious practice?

    Or if they were, had been forbidden to pronounce it? (unlike the early Christians who did not have that practice but widely made it known)

    Where does YHWH occur in the gospels? Even the Peshitta and Targum don’t use it. The Greek LXX, gospels, and Pauline letters certainly don’t. The taboo on saying YHVH, or writing it frivolously, long preceded Christianity.

    If the early Christians did not have the practice of forbidding the pronouncing of YHVH, why would they have changed their minds and made it taboo? After all, they distinguished themselves as much as possible from the Jews who initiated the taboo, even to the point of breaking the Sabbath on the 7th day of the week.

    I note that funnily enough, even the original Hebrew of the OT does not use YHWH consistently.

    How could they call on his name? (despite the fact that the Scriptures say that’s a requirement for salvation)

    So God will damn every single Christian, no matter how good they are, if they don’t actually say the name? Or if they can’t speak, for whatever reason? To Hell with the deaf and the mute?

    For ?everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.? […] Romans 10:13, 14

    Pfft. The name is not “Jehovah”, that’s for sure. There was no “J” sound whatsoever in Hebrew. And the “v” may or may not have been pronounced as a “w”, and the exact vowels used in YHVH are not known.

    I guess everyone is damned — because no-one is saying it right.

    If the majority of mankind was never even told something as basic as the name of the one who was going to establish that ‘kingdom government’ and had never been informed about what blessings that kingdom government would bring to mankind, how could it be said that the good news of ‘God’s kingdom’ had reached the entire inhabited earth?

    If there is only one God, why is knowing that God’s name necessary — other than God damning everyone who doesn’t say the name right, I mean?

  157. #157 John Morales
    January 5, 2010

    KLT,

    Because travel to a distant country isn’t enough. You have to be able to speak and translate the language to the common people so they can understand the message.

    Not according to the Bible…
    cf. Acts 2:1-4; 10:42-46, 19:6.

  158. #158 KLT
    January 5, 2010

    OwlMirror & Anri (btw, sorry I misspelled your name earlier)

    When it comes to politics and Christian neutrality, this is a topic that both believers and non-believers alike continue to misunderstand…for the very reason that the majority of the Churches who represent Christianity don’t teach it to their members.

    -Imagine if you were married to a woman who told you she loved you and pretended she was devoted to you, but behind your back she was cheating on you right and left with every single man she met, going out to bars and parties and getting drunk every night, having orgies, bribing her lovers to buy her all kinds of gifts and expensive jewelry & clothes, going on vacations with them, etc….but then coming back home to you and expecting you to put up with her outragreous and disloyal behavior? Would you even care at all that she ‘dutifully’ cooked and cleaned and cared for the children? (pretending to be the perfect little stepford wife) after betraying you so badly?
    No of course not. So why would God feel any differently?

    That’s the reason God himself condemns his own people and likens them to a prostitute or ‘adultress’ (from a spiritual standpoint), because those who claim to represent God (symbolized by the harlot spoken of as ‘Babylon the Great’ in the book of Revelation), have flagrantly turned their back on him and his standards, while prostituting themselves to all “the kings of the earth” (or political governments of the various nations)
    by clammering to have an influence in world affairs in order to gain power, prestige and wealth.

    Revelation 17:5,6 & 18:3 says:
    …?Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.? And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus…all the nations have fallen [victim], and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the traveling merchants of the earth became rich due to the power of her shameless luxury.”

    -so God tells his people (those who truly love him, and want nothing to do with hypocritical, imitation Christianity) to:

    Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind…That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.” …
    ?Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again…because your traveling merchants were the top-ranking men of the earth, for by your spiritistic practice all the nations were misled. Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.? (Revelation 18:4,5,8,21,23,24)

    Christ’s ‘brothers’ are described as being: Ambassadors substituting for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

    Now what position does an ambassador have? They represent the government or nation which they support and they remain politically neutral in the affairs of the country to which they are sent, correct?
    Well that’s exactly what Christ expects of his followers. Yes, they should remain submissive to the governmental authorities of the nations in which they live, by paying taxes, obeying civil law, and being all-around upright citizens, etc. But their *involvement* should end there.
    Because they have another responsibility from their own ‘king’ …the commission Christ gave his followers of making disciples by preaching the good news about God’s kingdom, and being “no part of the world” (John 15:19)

    Actively supporting the efforts of various political parties, (and especially participating in war efforts against another nation) is in clear violation of God’s laws. Jesus said to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27)and warned: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
    Regardless of what nation they live in, a Christian’s primary allegiance always belongs to God, before man.

    If everyone actually followed this, there would not be any wars or political strife, or the kind of disunity and social prejudice that we see everywhere among people…that’s the whole problem. It’s a common human tendency to believe that your own ‘homeland’ or the nation in which you live, is superior to other nations. Feelings of nationalism are often exploited (especially during wartime) in order to incite feelings of superiority and hatred towards people of other nations. Causing disunity, prejudice and segregation,…and during wartime…the murder of innocent people. -Which is in direct opposition to Christianity.

    There are far too many counterfeit Christians ‘claiming’ to love and obey Christ, while doing just the opposite (or following only the convenient commands that fit into their lifestyle). And that’s why if a person doesn’t want to be ‘guilty by association’ in God’s eyes, they need to remove themselves from false religions that claim to worship God but don’t follow his requirements found in the Bible, as well as refraining from active involvement in politics.

    Most people (even if they believe it in their hearts) don’t have the courage to follow through on this, because they don’t want to be harassed or stand out as ‘different’ from their peers or surrounding community. That’s why being a true Christian is not easy…People tend to view religion as more of a social club, or some kind relgious buffet, where they get to pick and choose their ‘favorite’ doctrines and beliefs,…rather than viewing the guidelines and principles in the Bible as a ‘way of life’ which a person sticks to, come what may.

    PS -OwlMirror and John Morales you two are placing way too much emphasis on the minor details and ‘the letter of the law’ …instead of evaluating it by ‘the principles’
    Quit being such a Pharisee. lol =)

  159. #159 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 5, 2010

    That was the longest no true scotsman fallacy I’ve ever read.

  160. #160 aratina cage
    January 5, 2010

    Who let the dogawful godbot in? #158 reads like something one of those traveling Christian salespeople would try to feed me at my front door. A random passage with random emphasis on random words, with that look in their eyes that THIS MEANS SOMETHING! except it doesn’t.

  161. #161 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 5, 2010

    Yawn, still no physical evidence that his imaginary deity exists, or the babble isn’t a work of fiction. All presupposition, which is always wrong. What a boring insipid idjit.

  162. #162 Jadehawk, OM
    January 5, 2010

    #158: complete and utter definition and equivalence fail.

    when you’re in a relationship in which monogamy is obviously and clearly defined as necessary for being a good wife/husband(i.e. the majority of modern relationships), then having an affair is a sign of not being a good wife/husband.

    when you’re in a relationship where the rules are contradictory and fuzzy, and don’t apply evenly across the board (“open” relationships where jealousy commonly interferes; other similarly dysfunctional relationships), then what is or is not a sign of being a good wife/husband (or not) is almost completely arbitrary and subjective, and therefore the “you don’t REALLY love me” line doesn’t carry much weight.

    Religions (in this case Christianity) are the second kind of relationship. The do’s and dont’s are fuzzy, contradictory, and subject to cherry-picking, so that two people who disagree on absolutely everything can still think of themselves as Real True Christians™ and of the other as No True Christian™, and there just isn’t an objective way to determine which may be more correct.

    Hence, the No True Scotsman fallacy: just because you don’t want a particular group of people on your team, doesn’t mean they aren’t on your team, since you’re not the one who gets to decide which of the many contradictory membership rules are real and which aren’t.

  163. #163 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2010

    Would you even care at all that she ‘dutifully’ cooked and cleaned and cared for the children? (pretending to be the perfect little stepford wife) after betraying you so badly?
    No of course not. So why would God feel any differently?

    Maybe because God is supposed to be loving and forgiving?

    Are you saying that God is actually hate-filled and unforgiving?

    Now what position does an ambassador have? They represent the government or nation which they support and they remain politically neutral in the affairs of the country to which they are sent, correct?

    Wrong. Ambassadors don’t just passively sit there; they actively and vocally support the policies of their governments.

    Because they have another responsibility from their own ‘king’ …the commission Christ gave his followers of making disciples by preaching the good news about God’s kingdom, and being “no part of the world” (John 15:19)

    You can’t have it both ways. Preaching is being part of the world.

    Jesus said to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27)and warned: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

    And yet, Jesus also said that he came “not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

    Was he saying that he came to cause people to perish by the sword?

    Jesus also said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters?yes, even his own life?he cannot be my disciple.”

    Jesus was not very consistent on the whole love-hate thing.

    He also whipped the moneychangers (John 2:15). Clearly, he did not love them at all.

    Regardless of what nation they live in, a Christian’s primary allegiance always belongs to God, before man.

    And that’s not a political decision?

    If everyone actually followed this, there would not be any wars or political strife, or the kind of disunity and social prejudice that we see everywhere among people

    LOL. Because people who claim that their primary allegiance is to God never fight over who God is and what God wants?

    It’s a common human tendency to believe that your own ‘homeland’ or the nation in which you live, is superior to other nations.

    It’s also a common human tendency to believe that your own religion is superior to other religions.

    Feelings of nationalism are often exploited (especially during wartime) in order to incite feelings of superiority and hatred towards people of other nations.

    Feelings of religious absolutism are often exploited (especially during religious wartime) in order to incite feelings of superiority and hatred towards people of other religions.

    Causing disunity, prejudice and segregation,…and during wartime…the murder of innocent people. -Which is in direct opposition to Christianity.

    The same Christianity that holds to a bible that calls for the murder of innocent people?

    There are far too many counterfeit Christians ‘claiming’ to love and obey Christ, while doing just the opposite (or following only the convenient commands that fit into their lifestyle).

    How do you know that they are counterfeit?

    How do you know that you are not just following the convenient commands that fit into your lifestyle?

    OwlMirror and John Morales you two are placing way too much emphasis on the minor details and ‘the letter of the law’ …instead of evaluating it by ‘the principles’

    Your hypocritical special pleading is noted.

    Quit being such a Pharisee

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  164. #164 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2010

    #158 reads like something one of those traveling Christian salespeople would try to feed me at my front door.

    Funny you should mention that. KLT is witnessing for Jehovah…

  165. #165 KLT
    January 5, 2010

    Anri & OwlMirror (I forgot to answer some stuff)

    Anri re:
    “So… if people were exposed to the bible and/or Jesus by people with expansionist agendas, god will ignore their faith?”

    Of course not…especially if they lived at a time period in history when the majority of humanity didn’t have a proper understanding of Scripture. God makes that pretty clear in this verse: “For God is not unrighteous so as to forget YOUR work and the love YOU showed for his name” (Hebrews 6:10)
    That’s the whole purpose of the preaching work…making sure that everyone is given the opportunity to learn about God’s purposes (free from manipulated opinions and false info) so that they can make an informed decision for themselves.

    If you’ll notice in my post above, God’s anger is primarily directed at the religious leaders who were aware of the law, but failed to teach it and apply it properly to the common people, (who they looked down upon, mistreated and oppressed). In biblical times it was *a requirement* that ALL the people (even children) have ‘the book of the law’ read to them on a regular basis, and families were to be given access to it…not just the priestly class.

    Well as soon as apostate Christianity came into the picture, the ruling class immediately sought to make a separation between the laity and clergy…so that they could have more control and power to dominate society.
    The common people were denied knowledge of Biblical law and were only taught what their political and religious leaders wanted them to know.
    What better way to keep the population in fear and submissive ignorance, than by belting out ‘fire and brimstone’ sermons from the pulpit every week, to scare them? And then charging them an arm and a leg for the priests to offer prayers on behalf of deceased family members in order to get their soul out of purgatory so they won’t be tormented in hell for eternity?

    That’s what makes it so reprehensible, and why God is so angry…the Bible is a book of law, so aside from completely misrepresenting him from the pulpit, the religious leaders promoted their own political agendas and laws, not God’s (according to Scripture), by adding and subtracting things from the original.
    And to further prevent exposure, they took great pains to keep the Bible hidden from the people, in order to prevent the contents of it from exposing the gross misrepresentation of the law by those religious rulers, (who would have immediately been exposed as soon as the people actually read what the Scriptures say)

    You can’t oppress, and manipulate or extort money from the populace, if they realize you’ve been lying to them and swindling them out of their hard earned wages, right? That’s why for centuries the Church kept the Bible in a difficult language like Latin, which only a handful of educated men could read, and why they burned Bibles by the truckload, and killed translators and copyists who were attempting to translate the contents into a language which the common people could read and understand. There has never been another book in history that has survived so many attempts to exterminate it out of existence. Just that alone should cause you to reevalute your position of it. People always try to silence and repress what they don’t want others to find out…and usually that’s because it’s *the truth*

    re: “Do sheep know when they are in the hands of a poor shepherd, or an evil one?”

    Yes I think sheep can tell the difference between a shepherd who takes care of them, and one who kicks them and beats them with his shepherd staff! =) Animals shy away from humans who abuse and mistreat them, (and that’s without a human intellectual or emotional capacity). So how much more so would a person know the difference? I’m sure you can tell when you’re being lied to and taken advantage of, right? And especially in a case where you’re mistreated by an authority figure or denied justice by someone who is supposed to uphold the law.

    re: “…the 20th century when ‘the last days’ officially began,(Citation needed)”

    My post is already ridiculously long as it is, so there’s no way I can get into an explanation about 1914. I’m giving you a link for this one, as requested.
    Are We Living in “the Last Days”?

    re: “I’m going out on a limb here, and suspect that most folks doing new translations of the bible are a) getting paid for it (not ‘volunteers’), and b) have a political agenda of some sort.”

    Obviously, I can’t speak for members of other religions, but I can tell you that all members of my religion (Jehovah’s Witnesses) are unpaid volunteer ministers, including the translators. (even the ones who work fulltime and live at our Branch facilities & missionary homes around the world, only receive ‘room and board’ and a just a modest amount to cover the most basic living expenses) and yes, we are ‘apolitical’

    OwlMirror re:
    “This looks like you’re contradicting your own previous claim that “true” Christianity would be subject to greater and greater rejection. Remember? That was your whole point @#26.”

    Let me clarify. Religion in general is losing its grip on society and losing adherents. But my statement mostly applies to false religious beliefs which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, are being exposed right and left, and ‘coming out of the closet’ all over the place now. To you, that may just seem ‘passe’ … but it stands out as very significant to me, because this all used to be ‘taboo’ to talk about, let alone hear being openly discussed in the media!
    People are finally waking up to the same things we’ve been preaching about for years, and what I grew up knowing since I was a little kid…the pagan origin of holidays, that there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny, no hellfire and damnation, no trinity, and that the earth wasn’t created in 6 ‘literal’ days. So from my vantage point, there has been *a definite* increase in true knowledge coming to light among the mainstream populace.

    Re: “So God will damn every single Christian, no matter how good they are, if they don’t actually say the name? Or if they can’t speak, for whatever reason? To Hell with the deaf and the mute?”

    first off,…you’re being too literal! =)
    and second, if a person died in ignorance they will have the opportunity to learn and be educated about God in the resurection (John 5:28, 29) which most Christians believe only applies to heaven, but we believe that the resurrection hope for the majority of mankind will be on the earth. (restored back to a Paradise-like condition that humans will have a hand in accomplishing)
    Which is also what the Jews and early Christians believed in until Greek philosophy about immortality of the soul and the afterlife infiltrated Christianity.

    But ‘saying the name’ implies having knowledge and putting faith in Jehovah,…simply knowing his name isn’t enough, because knowing a name isn’t enough to believe in the existence of someone is it? For instance, I know the name of Zeus, but I don’t believe in him. =)

    And the deaf and mute are being included in that educational campaign. See??? So are the blind,…because it’s also translated into braille. =)

  166. #166 John Morales
    January 5, 2010

    KLT:

    Are We Living in “the Last Days”?

    So, you’re a Jehovah’s Witness.

    Shoulda known.

  167. #167 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 5, 2010

    But my statement mostly applies to false religious beliefs which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, are being exposed right and left, and ‘coming out of the closet’ all over the place now.

    Shinny shinny mirror

  168. #168 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 5, 2010

    Rev BDC, it’s even shiny. ;-)

  169. #169 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 5, 2010

    Shinny shinny

    oh good grief

    SHINY

  170. #170 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 5, 2010

    KLT still hasn’t presented any conclusive physical evidence for his imaginary deity, which means he is a delusional fool. And it is added to by thinking we are paying much attention to him other than to refute his illogical and ficticious nonsense. Which includes thinking the babble is anything other than a book of myth/fiction. Total delusional fool.

  171. #171 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 5, 2010

    yeah yeah yeah

    par the bigdumbone’s course

  172. #172 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 5, 2010

    ok

    *throws in the towel

    i give in

  173. #173 WowbaggerOM
    January 5, 2010

    Yes I think sheep can tell the difference between a shepherd who takes care of them, and one who kicks them and beats them with his shepherd staff!

    Your god, if he existed, would be a vile, capricious monster. I would most definitely not worship him for this exact reason.

    Oh, and while I think of it there’s a specific word for the staff shepherd’s use, and it’s hilariously apt when put into the religious metaphor of shepherd and their ‘flock'; it’s crook

  174. #174 Owlmirror
    January 5, 2010

    That’s why for centuries the Church kept the Bible in a difficult language like Latin,

    Latin was the original language of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t difficult for those who spoke it.

    Besides, what about the Greek Orthodox Church, which kept the NT in the original Greek language that it was written in?

    There has never been another book in history that has survived so many attempts to exterminate it out of existence.

    Don’t be ridiculous. No Christian wanted to “exterminate the bible out of existence”.

    Just that alone should cause you to reevalute your position of it. People always try to silence and repress what they don’t want others to find out…and usually that’s because it’s *the truth*

    Sorry, but I have higher standards of truth than just someone wanting to “silence” and “repress” something.

    Yes I think sheep can tell the difference between a shepherd who takes care of them, and one who kicks them and beats them with his shepherd staff!

    I’m not a sheep; I am a human — and so far as this human can tell, all “shepherds” are liars.

    Religion in general is losing its grip on society and losing adherents. But my statement mostly applies to false religious beliefs which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, are being exposed right and left, and ‘coming out of the closet’ all over the place now.

    The above sentence is confused — which statement are you referring to here?

    Do you mean that false religious beliefs being exposed leads to atheism?

    People are finally waking up to the same things we’ve been preaching about for years

    Er, the things Jehovah’s Witnesses were “preaching about for years” all existed and were (sometimes) preached prior to the founding of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    that there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny

    I am absolutely certain that there is no mainstream branch of Christianity that teaches that those two figures actually exist.

    So from my vantage point, there has been *a definite* increase in true knowledge coming to light among the mainstream populace.

    “‘True’ knowledge”? If people have been lied to about some parts of religion, then what follows is that other parts of religion are also lies.

    first off,…you’re being too literal!

    Your hypocritical special pleading is noted.

    and second, if a person died in ignorance they will have the opportunity to learn and be educated about God in the resurection

    If that were true, then missionary work is useless and redundant.

    Which is also what the Jews and early Christians believed in until Greek philosophy about immortality of the soul and the afterlife infiltrated Christianity.

    Are you saying that the soul is not immortal and that there is no afterlife?

    But ‘saying the name’ implies having knowledge and putting faith in Jehovah,…simply knowing his name isn’t enough

    Not much point in knowing the name if the person doesn’t exist.

    because knowing a name isn’t enough to believe in the existence of someone is it?

    That’s why God needs to speak for himself before I’ll believe that God exists.

    And the deaf and mute are being included in that educational campaign.

    Will their deafness and muteness (and blindness of the blind) be cured after they die?

  175. #175 KLT
    January 6, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead/Owlmirror

    Owlmirror I’ll get back to you later.

    Nerd of Redhead re: “KLT still hasn’t presented any conclusive physical evidence for his imaginary deity, which means he is a delusional fool”

    first of all, for the record, I’m not a he, I’m a she … and secondly, what you’re asking me is tantamount to asking me to show you physical evidence of the wind or any other invisible force in nature. You can’t physically see energy or gravity with your eyes can you? You have to gather evidence from the *effects* it produces on objects and the atmosphere around you, correct? Which is what I’ve been trying to do, and why prophecy is one very important factor in that regard. Here’s another:…the evidence of how much power the Bible has to change peoples lives and personalities for the better.

    Let me ask you a question. What percentage of people (would you imagine) have made a complete 180 turnaround in their life (such as overcoming severe drug and alcohol dependency, overcoming a violent and abusive temper, overcoming sexual promiscuity and addiction to pornography, overcoming a criminal past, etc) by studying a book on atheism like ‘the God Delusion’ -vs- studying the Bible? How many prison inmates do you think have been *reformed* from their previous course of life after converting to atheism -vs- becoming a Christian?

    Is that not evidence?…demonstrating the power of God’s Word “for overturning strongly entrenched things” (2 Corinthians 10:4)?
    Is that not tangible proof of what’s stated here:
    “For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and [their] marrow, and [is] able to discern thoughts and intentions of [the] heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

    How can an imaginary book of fairytales exert so much power in a person’s life if it was just a book? Does reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings have the ability to do that?

    If you can’t see the *effects* in a person’s life (which in some cases border on miraculous) when it comes to ‘stripping off the old personality’…and putting on ‘the new personality’ by making positive changes, simply from studying God’s Word and applying it, than you simply aren’t looking hard enough.

    Plus, do you know how many people have said they had been praying to know if God really exists, or said they had been so depressed that they were getting ready to commit suicide when shortly afterward JW’s showed up at their door? How do you explain that? Is it all just random coincidence? If you knew how often situations like that have happened (and in some of the most bizarre scenarios) I’m sure even you would think twice before brushing it off so quickly.

  176. #176 Owlmirror
    January 6, 2010

    Owlmirror I’ll get back to you later.

    O be still my beating heart…

    what you’re asking me is tantamount to asking me to show you physical evidence of the wind or any other invisible force in nature.

    No. It’s not. That’s a really terrible analogy.

    You have to gather evidence from the *effects* it produces on objects and the atmosphere around you, correct?

    What effects does God produce on anything in reality? How do you know that it’s God producing the effect?

    Which is what I’ve been trying to do, and why prophecy is one very important factor in that regard.

    If prophecy were 100% accurate and precise all the time, you might have a point. But it’s frequently either wrong or the result of confirmation bias.

    Have you read about confirmation bias yet?

    Here’s another:…the evidence of how much power the Bible has to change peoples lives and personalities for the better.

    Except that your entire thumbnail history of Christianity includes examples of the Bible changing peoples’ lives and personalities for the worse.

    How many prison inmates do you think have been *reformed* from their previous course of life after converting to atheism -vs- becoming a Christian?

    This is a non-sequitur.

    Why are so many Christians in prison, anyway? Why are there so few atheists in prison?

    Is that not evidence?

    No. It’s confirmation bias and selection bias.

    How can an imaginary book of fairytales exert so much power in a person’s life if it was just a book? Does reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings have the ability to do that?

    Have you seen how immersed and enthusiastic fan-fiction writers and role-players can get?

    If you can’t see the *effects* in a person’s life (which in some cases border on miraculous) when it comes to ‘stripping off the old personality’…and putting on ‘the new personality’ by making positive changes, simply from studying God’s Word and applying it, than you simply aren’t looking hard enough.

    No. You’re looking selectively, and with bias.

    Plus, do you know how many people have said they had been praying to know if God really exists, or said they had been so depressed that they were getting ready to commit suicide when shortly afterward JW’s showed up at their door? How do you explain that? Is it all just random coincidence?

    More confirmation bias and selection bias.

  177. #177 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    KLT:

    How can an imaginary book of fairytales exert so much power in a person’s life if it was just a book?

    Quite aside from the various Scriptures of various religions, have you:

    Ever heard of The Communist Manifesto?

    Ever heard of The Little Red Book?

    Ever heard of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health?

  178. #178 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    tantamount to asking me to show you physical evidence of the wind or any other invisible force in nature. You can’t physically see energy or gravity with your eyes can you?

    The Stupid! It HURTS!!!!!

    all of the above are measurable, objectively confirmed phenomena the existence of which has evidential support, can be explained by science, and doesn’t break any laws of physics.

    your sky fairy is none of the above.

  179. #179 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Plus, do you know how many people have said they had been praying to know if God really exists, or said they had been so depressed that they were getting ready to commit suicide when shortly afterward JW’s showed up at their door? How do you explain that?

    define “shortly”. since JW’s show up and everybody’s door at regular intervals, it’s not any sort of magic that they would show up after any number of memorable events.

    you’re just showing a lot of confirmation bias, really.

  180. #180 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    and secondly, what you’re asking me is tantamount to asking me to show you physical evidence of the wind or any other invisible force in nature.

    As I said, delusional fool, with no way of knowing whether you are a fool or not, based upon a book of known fiction called the bible. Hard physical evidence separates the rational from the delusional. Guess which side you fall on fool? Go back to your mental masturbation elsewhere. Your chances of convincing anybody here without showing evidence that your deity isn’t real, and your babble isn’t fiction, both of which you can’t do, is zero.

  181. #181 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 6, 2010

    what you’re asking me is tantamount to asking me to show you physical evidence of the wind

    I can easily give physical evidence of wind. This YouTube video is an example.

  182. #182 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Oops, correction for #180:

    Your chances of convincing anybody here without showing evidence that your deity isn’t real, and your babble isn’t fiction, both of which you can’t do, is zero.

  183. #183 Paul
    January 6, 2010
    How can an imaginary book of fairytales exert so much power in a person’s life if it was just a book?

    Quite aside from the various Scriptures of various religions, have you:

    Ever heard of The Communist Manifesto?

    Ever heard of The Little Red Book?

    Ever heard of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health?

    For god’s sake, ever been to a Sci-Fi convention?

  184. #184 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Paul,

    For god’s sake, ever been to a Sci-Fi convention?

    Touch.

  185. #185 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Let me ask you a question. What percentage of people (would you imagine) have made a complete 180 turnaround in their life (such as overcoming severe drug and alcohol dependency, overcoming a violent and abusive temper, overcoming sexual promiscuity and addiction to pornography, overcoming a criminal past, etc) by studying a book on atheism like ‘the God Delusion’ -vs- studying the Bible? How many prison inmates do you think have been *reformed* from their previous course of life after converting to atheism -vs- becoming a Christian?

    Is that not evidence?

    Um, no.

  186. #186 KLT
    January 6, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself re: “I can easily give physical evidence of wind”
    wow, I was sure that was going to be some kind of vulgar breaking-wind fart video. =) nice.

    John Morales re: “So, you’re a Jehovah’s Witness. Shoulda known.”

    Are you terribly disappointed? Do you find me even more despicable and loathesome now? =)
    By the way, what religious backround did you come from (out of curiosity) since you seem to know your way around the Scriptures pretty well. That same question goes for you too, Owlmirror…(especially in regards to your comment that “all shepherds are liars” from your experience) elaborate please.

    Owlmirror re: “The above sentence is confused — which statement are you referring to here? Do you mean that false religious beliefs being exposed leads to atheism?”

    Your other comment actually answers that, when you said: “If people have been lied to about some parts of religion, then what follows is that other parts of religion are also lies.”
    That’s where I was going with that. People have become so fed up and disillusioned with religion in general, that even when they finally learn *the truth* about the Bible, and what it really teaches, they no longer care,…because it either seems ‘too good to be true’ so they have a difficult time putting faith in that new knowledge, or they just prefer a more secular lifestyle, (since society has become far more secular-minded) …and it doesn’t help if you’re surrounded by people who mock you and think you’re a moron for believing in God, or as Nerd of Redhead likes to say ‘a delusion fool’ =)

    Continual cynicism and negative peer pressure is probably the best way to kill a weak person’s wavering faith by forcing it ‘to retreat’ back into the closet, until it no longer exists.

    But one thing’s for sure, the controversial ‘heat’ will act as a refiner…helping to make a much ‘clearer distinction’ between the two groups.(as I’m sure you can see, the divide has already been growing) Those who take their stand for God and those who don’t. The half-hearted believers won’t have the level of faith or endurance needed to stick it out when Babylon goes down. (or actually, prior to when that occurs) they’re like the seed from Jesus’ parable that falls upon the rocks, which doesn’t have enough depth to withstand the ‘season of testing’ mentioned here:
    “As for the one sown upon the rocky places, this is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled” (Matthew 13:20, 21)

    Did my explanation make more sense this time? That *true knowledge* would become abundant, but the majority of people won’t choose it, since your side will greatly outnumber ours. So the majority of half-hearted *believers* might not exactly turn into full-fledged atheists, but they’ll be more like secularist fence-sitters. =)

    re:”Are you saying that the soul is not immortal and that there is no afterlife?”

    Yep, that’s what I’m saying. (Unless you’re one of the 144,000 – Christ’s anointed corulers)
    “For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

    The earth was made for humans to inhabit, not heaven. That’s where the resurrection comes in to play,…(and yes, a deaf or mute or disabled person would obviously be cured at that time).
    “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.” (Isaiah 35:5, 6)

    The miracles and resurrections which Jesus and the apostles performed were meant to be a *foreglimpse* of the restorative healing and resurrection that would be accomplished on a far larger scale in the future during Christ’s millenial reign following Armageddon.
    That’s why Revelation 21:4 says:
    “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

    Has *the godbot* satisfied all your requests my lords?…or have you any more inquiries for your servant girl? =)

    (and Owlmirror that was a joke btw, you seem to be misinterpreting my humor, because you keep saying stuff like: “your hypocritical pleading has been noted”)

  187. #187 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Yawn, the delusion fool quotes the book of mythology and thinks she has presented wisdom instead of idiocy. Only a delusional idjit thinks that. Still no evidence for her imaginary deity or that her babble is not a work of fiction. In other words, a waste of a post, and a sure way for us to ignore what she says. She needs to understand she must to back to the beginning. If she can’t show physical evidence for her deity, then her babble is irrelevant, along with any theology developed from it. Basics and evidence. Requirements for rationality.

  188. #188 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    KLT:

    [1] Are you terribly disappointed? Do you find me even more despicable and loathesome now? =)
    [2] By the way, what religious backround did you come from (out of curiosity) since you seem to know your way around the Scriptures pretty well.

    1. On the contrary, I now better understand the social and cognitive quagmire in which you’re embroiled.

    No, I don’t find you at all loathsome and despicable — I find you pitiable and my heart aches for the person you might’ve been (and may yet be, if you can free yourself!).

    BTW, I’ve spent a number of hours at my porch in very polite discussion with JWs; alas, they’ve not come to my place in recent years.

    Basically, they try to tell me things are going to pot, and I point out that, on the contrary, eI and everyone around me have it better than ever before.
    Then they quote some Bible bits, and I quote the counter-bits¹, and since they cannot deny the Bible they evade the issue and move on.

    Fun, it is. :)

    2. I was raised a Catholic, but I grew out of it, because I keenly felt the cognitive dissonance arising by contrasting reality with the mythos I was taught. (Well, that, and the evident hypocrisy of my fellow adherents.)

    ¹ I’m not joking — you try it if you dare to — pick a verse, any verse², and then try to find one espousing its antithesis.
    Really not that hard to do, if you’re familiar with it.

    ² Well, perhaps nearly any verse that has a substantive meaning.

  189. #189 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    (especially in regards to your comment that “all shepherds are liars” from your experience) elaborate please

    I have noticed over the years that all religious authorities and apologists use the same types of fallacious arguments, and refuse to acknowledge any counterarguments. It might not be deliberate lying, but whenever I see it being done, which is pretty much every single time they argue for the truth of their particular religion, it certainly looks dishonest.

    People have become so fed up and disillusioned with religion in general, that even when they finally learn *the truth* about the Bible, and what it really teaches

    How do you know that it’s “*the truth*”?

    How do you know that what you say it teaches is real?

    they no longer care,…because it either seems ‘too good to be true’

    Or perhaps because those claiming to know what’s true don’t do a good job supporting their assertions; indeed, cannot support their assertions with either reason or empirical evidence?

    and it doesn’t help if you’re surrounded by people who mock you and think you’re a moron for believing in God

    I have argued with some very intelligent believers, and I don’t think they all are morons, but I do think that something wrong is going on inside their minds; some persistent failure of reason. I am trying to figure out what it is.

    This was interesting, in my search to figure out what is going on.

    The half-hearted believers won’t have the level of faith or endurance needed to stick it out when Babylon goes down.

    Why does faith or endurance even matter in this life if all will be resurrected?

    re:”Are you saying that the soul is not immortal and that there is no afterlife?”

    Yep, that’s what I’m saying. (Unless you’re one of the 144,000 – Christ’s anointed corulers) [Ecclesiastes 9:5]

    I assume that you would be content to not be one of those “co-rulers” yourself? After all, even assuming that you are correct, there are far more than 144000 Christians, so the probability of any individual one becoming a “co-ruler” is low and keeps dropping as the Christian population increases by birth and conversion. Is faith just a lottery ticket in a giant sweepstakes?

    Yet if you lose the “lottery”, then how does your ultimate fate differ from mine? According to your own theology, we will both be resurrected, and then, presumably, die forever afterward (how long afterward? A normal lifespan?).

    you seem to be misinterpreting my humor, because you keep saying stuff like: “your hypocritical pleading has been noted”

    Well, yes: You’ve been dismissing my counterarguments and committing the fallacy of special pleading, which is a fallacy based on an inherent double standard. It doesn’t matter that you’re being “humorous”; it’s still intellectually dishonest arguing in bad faith — especially when you keep on doing it.

  190. #190 KLT
    January 9, 2010

    Owlmirror/John Morales
    sorry for the delay…
    John Morales re: “Basically, they try to tell me things are going to pot, and I point out that, on the contrary, eI and everyone around me have it better than ever before.”

    Come now John, I think even you realize how subjective that comment was. One thing JW’s have is a pulse on what’s going on around the world…because they are involved with the people living all around the globe (even in the most remote locations…not simply one isolated area) So if anyone is in a position to speak with accuracy on world conditions it’s the people who are ‘in the trenches’ so to speak, on a daily basis, and who come face to face with civil conflict and government officials & authorities in every land, as well as people of all racial, religious, social & economic backrounds.
    I’m sure you didn’t mean it to sound that way, but from that statement I don’t see how you could possibly pity me at all when you apparently don’t have much pity for the billions of people who are needlessly suffering and going through enormous hardship and struggles as a direct result of humanity failing to actually *live* by Bible principles…(which is definitely getting worse for many people, even if it’s not personally effecting you and your local community)

    which brings me directly to Owlmirror’s question:

    Owlmirror re: “How do you know that it’s “*the truth*”? How do you know that what you say it teaches is real?”

    Are your referring to what my particular religion teaches about the Bible? I’ll assume that’s what you’re asking, based on the rest of your post. It starts with the basic question: “Do they practice what they preach?”…as I’ve mentioned before, Christian values are worthless unless they are put into practice…
    “For the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)
    “Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep?s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits YOU will recognize them…Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit;…Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men].” (Matthew 7:15-20)

    So, if *true* religion or knowledge produces ‘good fruits’ what would you expect that to include? If you were to conduct a survey of that question, what would be the most common answers? Probably stuff like:
    -doing good deeds in the community
    -programs to feed & clothe the poor
    -building hospitals
    -donating to charity
    -doing volunteer work

    Now that all sounds good…here’s the problem. Almost every nation has programs like that in place for it’s own people. The Nazis and the Communists provided those things for their own people too….while at the same time, committing heinous crimes against other human beings.

    So what’s the problem then? It’s not enough. None of those things are enough to be considered ‘good fruitage’ that Jesus spoke of, in-and-of-themselves. Why not? Simple answer:

    “And if YOU love those loving YOU, of what credit is it to YOU? For even the sinners love those loving them. And if YOU do good to those doing good to YOU, really of what credit is it to YOU? Even the sinners do the same…To the contrary, continue to love YOUR enemies…”(Luke 6:32,33,35)

    There’s your first major clue,…if you were to make a list of every single religion in the world (in an attempt to determine who is speaking the truth) you could cross off almost all of them on this point. A religion that claims to follow Christ’s teachings (more than just lip service) will obey this command by neither supporting or participating in the armed conflicts of the nations.

    It gets real easy to narrow down the list after you check off all the religions that participate, condone or have involvement in politics and warfare. Including those who have an actual history demonstrating that neutrality. Simply saying your against war means nothing without proof to back it up. Now JW’s aren’t the only ones who object, but I know they are free from blood guilt when it comes to the armed conflicts of the 20th century…up to the present…since my brothers are still sitting in jail cells around the world in places like Armenia and Korea for conscientious objection to war.

    So *the truth* (as far as religion and the Bible is concerned) elevates the standards of humanity and produces good fruits in the people who live by it. It helps people overcome hatred, violence, prejudice and nationalism. Because as I’ve mentioned, no, it’s not enough just to be a good person if you are indirectly contributing to the suffering and mass slaughter of millions of other human beings.

    So the Bible itself is *the standard* for determining the answer to your question, and acts like a roadmap which guides the way. If you really want to know, -vs- just proving me wrong, than why don’t you ‘test God out’? -Since he invites you to: “…test me out, please, in this respect,? Jehovah of armies has said.” (Malachi 3:10)

    I hope that answered your question, because I’m probably gonna get banned now for quoting so many Scriptures. =)

  191. #191 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 9, 2010

    I hope that answered your question, because I’m probably gonna get banned now for quoting so many Scriptures. =)

    No, more likely for being a delusional insipid fool who believes in imaginary deities (no conclusive physical evidence for it) and fictional babbles (a political book put together centuries after the fact), and who couldn’t recognize real evidence if it bit him. That never comes from the fictional/mythical babble. Then you show other signs of being a delusional fool, too numerous to mention. Rationality starts with the disbelief in your imaginary deity. Try it, you might like it.

  192. #192 John Morales
    January 9, 2010

    KLT,

    I’m sure you didn’t mean it to sound that way, but from that statement I don’t see how you could possibly pity me at all when you apparently don’t have much pity for the billions of people who are needlessly suffering and going through enormous hardship and struggles as a direct result of humanity failing to actually *live* by Bible principles…(which is definitely getting worse for many people, even if it’s not personally effecting you and your local community)

    I do mean it that way, and many of those people do live by Biblical principles — a received (rather than reasoned) morality which is thousands of years out-of-date which emphasises an imagined afterlife and disdains this real one, and which includes a built-in patriarchal misogyny and slavery (de facto or literal).

    Whatever makes you think I don’t pity them? Do you think I’ve a limited amount, and if I spare some for you there’s not enough to go around?!

    Be honest now, are circumstance for the majority of Earth’s population better or worse now than in 1000 AD?

    What society (if any) do you think historically lived by your Bible “principles”, and how would you compare it and the welfare of its constituents (the whole population, not just the elite) to your own?

  193. #193 WowbaggerOM
    January 9, 2010

    KLT, your argument seem to be this: because the bible tells to Christians to act a certain way, and Christians act that way, then the bible must be true.

    Surely you can see that there’s a problem with that logic, can’t you? Here’s a hint: it involves a circle…

  194. #194 Ryan F Stello
    January 9, 2010

    It’s people like KLT that help remind everyone that brevity is the soul/source of wit.

  195. #195 WowbaggerOM
    January 9, 2010

    John Morales – it’s 40.2C in the city right now; you coping okay with the heat out your way?

  196. #196 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 9, 2010

    So *the truth* (as far as religion and the Bible is concerned) elevates the standards of humanity and produces good fruits in the people who live by it. It helps people overcome hatred, violence, prejudice and nationalism.

    The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was fought between Catholics and Protestants. It was the most devastating war fought in Europe before World War I. Approximately 1/3 of the population of Central Europe died during the war. So what were you saying about the “good fruits” of Christianity?

    Please don’t do the No True Scotsman fallacy of “well, they weren’t real Christians.” All the sides (there were more than two) were fighting for their particular “true faith” and knew Gott mit uns!

  197. #197 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 9, 2010

    KLT says, “I’m sure you didn’t mean it to sound that way, but from that statement I don’t see how you could possibly pity me at all when you apparently don’t have much pity for the billions of people who are needlessly suffering and going through enormous hardship and struggles as a direct result of humanity failing to actually *live* by Bible principles…”

    Funny, they fail to live by Marxist principles and Islamic principles and humanistic principles and I could go on and on as you do, but hopefully you get the idea. People come up with wonderful principles–lots of them–but follow through has always been weak–and that includes Christians.

    In fact, the behavior of Xtians is one of the things that caused me to reject the religion at the tender age of 12. Their behavior has given me no cause to reconsider.

  198. #198 John Morales
    January 9, 2010

    [OT] Wowbagger, it’s pretty fierce here too. Just been outside to water the potted plants and try to keep the garden beds alive (drippers). I normally go barefoot, but had to put shoes on today.
    The lawn grass is already a goner, of course.

    I’ve had the A/C (I keep it at 26C) on since around 11:30, normally the house stays cool until around 1pm, being insulated.

  199. #199 KLT
    January 11, 2010

    Ryan/Owlmirror
    Ryan re: “It’s people like KLT that help remind everyone that brevity is the soul/source of wit”

    I know, I know. I’m sorry =) I have a problem with that. But in my defense, Owlmirror asks alot of questions! …and I just noticed that I completely skipped over one which I need to give another long-winded reply to. I’ll *try* to make it shorter this time. =)

    Owlmirror re: I assume that you would be content to not be one of those “co-rulers” yourself?

    correct…I would want to be on earth.

    “After all, even assuming that you are correct, there are far more than 144000 Christians, so the probability of any individual one becoming a “co-ruler” is low and keeps dropping as the Christian population increases by birth and conversion. Is faith just a lottery ticket in a giant sweepstakes?”

    Not at all. The Scriptures speak of 2 separate groups: the little flock (Christ’s anointed co-rulers who have the heavenly hope – Revelation 7:4) and “the great crowd” of ‘other sheep’ (the majority of mankind who have the hope of everlasting life on earth -Revelation 7:9)
    The first group or ‘little flock’ has a special privilege and responsibility, but they aren’t necessarily ‘better Christians’ or ‘superior’ in faith. So it’s not a lottery in that sense. The time period in which they lived actually plays a larger role in that ‘lottery’ (so to speak) Here’s why…

    The Bible speaks of 3 categories in regards to the resurrection. (Interestingly, the literal Hebrew harvest festivals have a symbolic correlation to this) Actually it’ll be easier (and take up much less space on this post) if I just give you a link that I posted on my blog about this topic awhile back. It contrasts the difference between Baptism by water vs baptism by holy spirit

    “Yet if you lose the “lottery”, then how does your ultimate fate differ from mine? According to your own theology, we will both be resurrected, and then, presumably, die forever afterward.”

    No, let me clarify. Anyone who dies during Armageddon does not have the hope of a resurrection, because that’s God’s *final judgement* against the nations who have ignored his repeated warnings and failed to repent by bringing their lives in harmony with his purposes. He will have given them ample time and opportunity to have done so by that point. So the time period we are living in now is unique in that sense… because unlike all the former generations who died in ignorance and have an automatic automatic or guaranteed resurrection, (barring individuals who also died during previous judgement periods) we are living in a time period of abundant spiritual knowledge which is described in the book of Daniel:

    “And the ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.
    And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.” (Daniel 12:3, 4)

    Right now is the *final harvest* or ingathering period, where that separating of the sheep from the goats is taking place…So everyone living in this current generation will need to make their decision one way or the other, prior to the start of ‘the great tribulation’ (which begins with the fall of Babylon the Great…that’s the first event which kicks off the series of events mentioned at Matthew 24:21-31) Those that are ‘marked for survival’ are members of that “great crowd” living right now, who will live through Armageddon. (Hence, the urgency of the preaching work).

    So if I’m wrong, I’ll just look like a silly religious fool and you guys get to make fun of me even more and say “We told you so, you big dumb idiot!” =) (no big deal)…
    But if you’re wrong, it means your life and everything else in store which you will be missing out on in the future. (very big deal)

  200. #200 Rorschach
    January 11, 2010

    KLT,

    are you for realsies??

    Right now is the *final harvest* or ingathering period, where that separating of the sheep from the goats is taking place

    And you know this how??

    Those that are ‘marked for survival’ are members of that “great crowd” living right now, who will live through Armageddon.

    Sounds vaguely fascist to me.

    So if I’m wrong, I’ll just look like a silly religious fool and you guys get to make fun of me even more and say “We told you so, you big dumb idiot!” =) (no big deal)…
    But if you’re wrong, it means your life and everything else in store which you will be missing out on in the future. (very big deal)

    Pascal’s wager was logically refuted around the year 1700.
    And it hasn’t gained any more forte since then.

  201. #201 Jadehawk, OM
    January 11, 2010

    Pascal’s Wager FTL…

    and incidentally, if you’re wrong, you’ll have wasted the only life you have on things that just aren’t fun or doing anyone any good(and are actually causing a lot of harm to others).

    if both of us are wrong (which is more likely that you being right, and less likely than us being right), we’d both get punished by whatever deity is real… and you should hope it’s not a jealous deity, because then you’ll suffer more than we will.

    seriously, pascal’s wager is the worst possible argument for living the life of a believer; ever.

  202. #202 KLT
    January 11, 2010

    Jadehawk re: and incidentally, if you’re wrong, you’ll have wasted the only life you have on things that just aren’t fun or doing anyone any good(and are actually causing a lot of harm to others).

    um, first of all, I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my faith in God. If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide, you would know just how real God is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings.

    And second, helping others come to an accurate knowledge about God and the Bible has produced amazing results in so many people’s lives. Maybe that’s not your ‘cup of tea’ …but nothing brings me greater joy or satisfaction than being able to really help people and make a difference in their lives. Plus, do you realize how special it is to have a huge international brotherhood, which is united and like one big extended family that you can depend on through thick and thin?

    Now THIS is what you call a ‘unity convention’! =) …all nationalities coming together in peace and unity, who have *officially* taken a stand to apply the following words: “…and they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
    How can you watch that and not see the good?

  203. #203 Jadehawk, OM
    January 11, 2010

    um, first of all, I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my faith in God. If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide, you would know just how real God is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings.

    this line might work on others, but not on me. I’ve spent the last 10 years dragging myself out of suicidal depression, and fuck if I’m gonna give an imaginary being any credit for the work *I* did to get better.

    And you shouldn’t either; it was PEOPLE who made you better, not imaginary sky-fairies.

    And second, helping others come to an accurate knowledge about God and the Bible has produced amazing results in so many people’s lives.

    on average, the existence of religion, and the christian religion in particular, produces more harm than good. for every person who uses the crutch of religion to fix their life, there’s a whole lot of women, gays, children etc. who are having their lives destroyed by it.

    Not too mention that religion is one of the leading causes of war…

  204. #204 Rorschach
    January 11, 2010

    And second, helping others come to an accurate knowledge about God and the Bible has produced amazing results in so many people’s lives.

    Yeah, like Giordano Bruno.Or Dr George Tiller.
    They really appreciated it.

    Now THIS is what you call a ‘unity convention’ zombie gathering! =)

    Fixed.

  205. #205 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2010

    Are your referring to what my particular religion teaches about the Bible?

    I’m asking about every single thing that you’ve been blathering here; completely lacking in logic or empirical evidence.

    It starts with the basic question: “Do they practice what they preach?”.

    NO. It starts with the basic question: “If you were wrong, how would you know?”

    as I’ve mentioned before, Christian values are worthless unless they are put into practice…

    I’m not asking about values, Christian or otherwise; I’m asking about knowledge of what is and is not factually correct.

    So *the truth* (as far as religion and the Bible is concerned)

    NO. Don’t talk to me about your religion or the Bible until you can demonstrate with logic and empirical evidence that anything they say is factually true.

    Because as I’ve mentioned, no, it’s not enough just to be a good person if you are indirectly contributing to the suffering and mass slaughter of millions of other human beings.

    How about the fact that according to your theology, God is both directly and indirectly contributing to the suffering and mass slaughter of millions of other human beings, and for that matter, will be so in the future?

    So the Bible itself is *the standard* for determining the answer to your question,

    NO. Reality is *the standard* for determining the answer to my question, and you keep on ignoring it!

    Although I note that God, in the Bible, violates his own “standard”…

    If you really want to know, -vs- just proving me wrong, than why don’t you ‘test God out’?

    I’ve got any empirical, real-world test of God, and no Christian has ever even tried passing it.

    I hope that answered your question, because I’m probably gonna get banned now for quoting so many Scriptures.

    If you stick to this one single thread, you will probably avoid being banned. No promises, though. I am not PZ.

    ============

    But in my defense, Owlmirror asks alot of questions!

    And you keep ignoring the most important one: How do you know that anything you’re blathering on about is actually true?

    “the great crowd” of ‘other sheep’ (the majority of mankind who have the hope of everlasting life on earth -Revelation 7:9)

    “Everlasting life”? How is this not in contradiction to your claim that there is no afterlife?

    Anyone who dies during Armageddon does not have the hope of a resurrection

    So God is, in fact, an unjust dick. Maybe not as cruel as claimed by those who preach an eternal torture in Hellfire, but still unjust, and still a dick.

    Got it.

    because that’s God’s *final judgement* against the nations who have ignored his repeated warnings

    What warnings? God does not talk.

    and failed to repent by bringing their lives in harmony with his purposes.

    Why should anyone bring their lives in harmony with an unjust dick?

    He will have given them ample time and opportunity to have done so by that point.

    Since God does not talk, he hasn’t given anyone any opportunity whatsoever.

    because unlike all the former generations who died in ignorance and have an automatic automatic or guaranteed resurrection, (barring individuals who also died during previous judgement periods)

    So God has already been an unjust dick repeatedly?

    we are living in a time period of abundant spiritual knowledge

    What spiritual knowledge? How do you know it’s knowledge and not delusion?

    Right now is the *final harvest* or ingathering period, where that separating of the sheep from the goats is taking place…

    I note that both sheep and goats are slaughtered without mercy as bloody sacrifices to Yahweh in the bible. This is not a comforting metaphor you’re offering.

    which begins with the fall of Babylon the Great

    Do I even dare ask what this even means? Especially since you’ll spout some silly, half-assed nonsense about Babylon not actually meaning the former ancient Middle Eastern empire?

    So if I’m wrong

    How do you know you’re not wrong?

    I’ll just look like a silly religious fool

    It will mean that you’ve dedicated your life to fooling yourself in the service of an imaginary unjust dick.

    But if you’re wrong, it means your life and everything else in store which you will be missing out on in the future.

    It will mean that I avoided fooling myself in the service of an unjust dick, even if that dick is not imaginary.

    And since I expect oblivion when I die anyway, I’m not losing anything I actually think I might even possibly get.

  206. #206 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2010

    And I repeat the question I asked above: Have you heard of “confirmation bias”? Do you know what the phrase means?

  207. #207 DaveL
    January 11, 2010
    we are living in a time period of abundant spiritual knowledge

    What spiritual knowledge? How do you know it’s knowledge and not delusion?

    I’ve found that understanding the religious becomes much easier once you realize that ‘spiritual’ is synonymous with ‘imaginary’.

  208. #208 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 11, 2010

    Yawn, KLT still hasn’t shown any conclusive physical evidence for her imaginary deity, so everything about the fictional babble is blather. The logical process of proving her theology start with showing her deity exists, not just presupposing it. Then, she must show that the babble isn’t a work of myth/fiction instead of presupposing it. That requires real work on her part. Only after the deity is proved to exist, and the babble is shown to be fact, can she go into using the babble for theology. This is why godbots never gain any ground here. They can’t provide the required evidence to prove their presuppositions, and just try to bullshit their way past the existence of their deity, and the correctness of the babble. They have a fatal flaw in their logic.

  209. #209 aratina cage
    January 11, 2010

    I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my faith in God. -KLT

    Why? Please explain how your faith in a god had any bearing on why you are alive right now.

    If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide -KLT

    Huh? What are you saying? Are you admitting that your belief in a god is all a facade to keep you from hurting yourself? (If so, fine, but that doesn’t make your god real in the least.)

    you would know just how real God is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings. -KLT

    This is perfect for showing how arrogant the belief in a personal savior is and how silly the belief is itself.

    Arrogant because your god is keeping you alive, aware, and capable of interacting with the world while turning its back on people less fortunate than you who don’t have the tendency to hurt themselves but nevertheless are being hurt. Why do you consider yourself so much more special than most other humans to deserve such personal intervention?

    Silly because there is no substance, no mechanism for why this particular belief works. For all you know, you could swap your belief in god with a belief in purple fuzzies and it would be just as useful.

    So if I’m wrong, I’ll just look like a silly religious fool -KLT

    Sorry, you already do.

    Funny you should mention that. KLT is witnessing for Jehovah… -Owlmirror

    Oh boy. I went back and read down a bit from when KLT joined the thread after you told me that and all the smugness and godbotting left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  210. #210 KLT
    January 11, 2010

    Jadehawk – it’s not ‘a line’ … I struggled with it for about the same amount of time you did.

    Owlmirror – yes I know exactly what *confirmation bias* means. But I’m speaking about *cause and effect* (the most basic scientific principle based on logic and reason)
    Fulfilled prophecy provides the strongest support of cause and effect, and of empirical and factual evidence based on the fulfillment of foretold events…but if you are just going to toss out every single point as being ‘confirmation bias’ well then there’s no point even reasoning on the subject.

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again, even when secular historians had previously claimed otherwise. Archaeological digs have unearthed the remains of places and people who were once thought to be fictional, forcing historians to retract their statements. Such as the Assyrian city of Nineveh which Bible critics refused to believe existed until the 19th century when Sir Austen Henry Layard unearthed ruins of King Sennacherib’s palace at Kuyunjik in 1849. (a site which proved to be part of ancient Nineveh)

    And the site of ancient Babylon (which is about 50 miles south of Baghdad, in modern Iraq), remains a desolate uninhabited waste (also part of fulfilled prophecy and foretold by Isaiah & Jeremiah) long before Babylon was uninhabited. In fact, the Dead Sea Scrolls (containing the writing of Isaiah) had been in existence for the better part of two centuries prior to the time when Babylon was entirely uninhabited …(which I’m sure you will no doubt shrug off as ‘confirmation bias’) despite the fact that Babylon was one of the most powerful empires in the ancient world, and to make such a outrageous and unrealistic statement like that, would be comparable to a man writing a book today, (in the year 2010), which claimed that America or Britain would be completely conquered, and the heart of American power – Washington D.C. or a city like London, -would lie desolate and in ruins for over 2000 yrs into the future (until 4010 C.E.) without anyone rebuilding on that site, leaving just a piles of stones,…and actually having it come true.

    And those are just a few examples.

  211. #211 Jadehawk, OM
    January 11, 2010

    Jadehawk – it’s not ‘a line’ … I struggled with it for about the same amount of time you did.

    yes precisely; YOU struggled, and you’ve managed; maybe with the help of others, maybe even with the help of a religious congregations. imaginary beings had nothing to do with it.

    and it still is a “line”. sappy stories are a way of making people feel guilty and make them shut up and grant you whatever point you were making. I will not let you do this. Suicidal depression or not, you’re still wasting your life and creating misery in the world because you are slave to religion. Whatever your particular story may be, it doesn’t change the fact that no god saved you from yourself, and therefore there’s no need to enslave yourself to the worship of one. You may think your misery can only be managed by religion, but so do most addicts. and I suspect that if religion had anything at all to do with you no longer being suicidal, that’s precisely what you are: an addict to religion. and that addiction is as unhealthy and damaging to you and others as all the other ones are.

    your Pascal’s Wager is still not working out. You’re living a life that is limited by your religion, and that causes harm. it doesn’t matter whether your god is real, another god is real, or no gods are real. you’re losing your only life over this wager, and you’re making other people’s lives worse by spreading the hateful(anti-gay, anti-women, anti-equality, anti-rationality) theology of Christianity.

  212. #212 John Morales
    January 11, 2010

    KLT:

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again […]

    Nope.

    “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

    “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.” (Mark 13:30)

    “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:32)

    Note: story-Jesus was speaking to those around him then, not to you.
    That generation has, in fact, passed away!

    (lemme guess, you’re gonna say this is allegorical, despite its context, right? :) )

  213. #213 John Morales
    January 11, 2010

    Jadehawk,

    yes precisely; YOU struggled, and you’ve managed; maybe with the help of others, maybe even with the help of a religious congregations. imaginary beings had nothing to do with it.

    This brings to mind a good friend (now mostly an acquaintance, alas) who attributes his survival¹ and (perceived) prosperity to Scientology.

    It was surely a life-changing experience for him, no denying it.

    ¹ An (ex) full-on alcoholic on a downward spiral back when.

  214. #214 Jadehawk, OM
    January 11, 2010

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again, even when secular historians had previously claimed otherwise.

    do you even realize that according to the gospels, Jesus was born both before 4BC, and in 6AD?

    The bible proves itself historically wrong on a regular basis.

    Oh, and did you also know that there’s no evidence for the following biblical events/things (some of which are even contradicted by existing evidence): The Garden of Eden; Noah’s Flood; the Exodus*; the Existence of David’s Empire; Nazareth at the supposed time of the supposed birth of Christ; and a handful of others, including the lack of evidence there ever was a Christ.

    *actually, there isn’t any evidence at all for a large number of Hebrews living in Egypt at any time, at all; and Egyptian history is exceedingly well documented

  215. #215 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 11, 2010

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again […]

    Wrong, wrong, and so wrong it isn’t even wrong. There is no evidence outside of the babble for the Flud, the Exodus, and Jebus. Three big lies. The prophecies had a real problem of being written after the fact to make it sound like they were true. Anybody who actually studied how the babble was put together could prevent you from telling such blatant lies. And until you have verified with third party evidence (from outside of the babble itself) everything as being true, instead of just accepting the presupposition that it is true, you will continue to blather nonsense.

  216. #216 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 11, 2010

    KLT, the physical evidence for your imaginary deity must pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin. A good physical object that can be tested. Something like the eternally burning bush of Moses, or of similar ilk. A wave of the hand to show the universe fails, as science has an explanation for that.

  217. #217 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 11, 2010

    Fulfilled prophecy provides the strongest support of cause and effect, and of empirical and factual evidence based on the fulfillment of foretold events…but if you are just going to toss out every single point as being ‘confirmation bias’ well then there’s no point even reasoning on the subject.

    Riiight.

    What OT prophecy precisely has been fulfilled?

    Note that vague predictions, predictions already fulfilled in the OT, translation errors (eg “young woman” to “virgin”) and self-fulfilling prophecies are not allowed.

    We need accuracy and confirmation from other sources to make sure that, to put it technically, people haven’t been making shit up because it suits them.

  218. #218 Knockgoats
    January 11, 2010

    Which is what I’ve been trying to do, and why prophecy is one very important factor in that regard. – KLT

    Considering JWs’ absymal record of failure so far as prediction is concerned, you’d be wiser to forget this one when you’re around people who might know about it. I’m old enough to remember the failed prediction that 1975 would bring the end of the current order of things – and that was by no means the first. Of course, JWs habitually lie about these predictions.

  219. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 11, 2010

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again, even when secular historians had previously claimed otherwise. Archaeological digs have unearthed the remains of places and people who were once thought to be fictional, forcing historians to retract their statements.

    By this tortured line of reasoning, all of the King Arthur mythology is real.

  220. #220 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 11, 2010

    @ BDC

    Not only that, everything between the fall of Troy and most of the religions in the world will be.

    Way to open the net a touch too wide, methinks.

  221. #221 Josh
    January 11, 2010

    …(which is about 50 miles south of Baghdad, in modern Iraq), remains a desolate uninhabited waste…

    Hm. Never been to Iraq, have you?

    Sorry, this is me being nitpicky, but it’s not at all accurate to describe that area as uninhabited. And it pisses me off when the ignorant refer to deserts with phrases like “desolate waste” and similar such nonsense.

  222. #222 AJ Milne
    January 11, 2010

    Oh c’mon, y’all… I mean, look: there is in this very thread evidence of yet another of the bible’s previously-thought-to-be-jes’-silly claims turning out not to be quite so loopy…

    …Insofar as, once you’ve met any of the babbling bible blitherers of the internets declaring their book of odd little fairy tales is like, wow, just so incredibly just like it actually happened, you do start to wonder if jes’ mebbe you are actually talking to a talking snake.

    In other news: dooooooooooomed!

    (/No, no reason. I just like how that word sounds.)

  223. #223 Knockgoats
    January 11, 2010

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically – KLT

    Another bare-faced lie. For example, the Bible claims that Solomon “ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River from Tiphsah to Gaza” (I Kings 4:24). If he existed at all, which remains unproven, his kingdom was considerably smaller than that. Again, the exodus from Egypt is disproved by the complete absence of any records of such an event in the diplomatic correspondence of the time.

  224. #224 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2010

    Owlmirror – yes I know exactly what *confirmation bias* means.

    You most certainly do not, given what you write below.

    Fulfilled prophecy provides the strongest support of cause and effect

    Prophecy claimed to be fulfilled provides the strongest support of confirmation bias on the part of the claimants.

    but if you are just going to toss out every single point as being ‘confirmation bias’ well then there’s no point even reasoning on the subject.

    And if you’re going to eagerly filter out all of the failures of prophecy, and distort the meaning of words to claim some or all of those failures as successes, then you are not reasoning on the subject. You are committing the fallacy of confirmation bias.

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically

    Since you simply ignore disproof, you commit the fallacy of confirmation bias.

    What do you think that the Bible being proven wrong would look like? What would convince you absolutely that it had been proven wrong?

    If your answer is simply that it can’t be, your confirmation bias is so strong that you cannot possibly think rationally about the Bible.

    but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again

    On the contrary to your “contrary”, it has been proven wrong historically, repeatedly.

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html

    Archaeological digs have unearthed the remains of places and people who were once thought to be fictional

    Archaeological digs have demonstrated that at least some of the people and places were indeed fictional.

    […]

    And those are just a few examples.

    Which just help demonstrate your confirmation bias.

  225. #225 Owlmirror
    January 11, 2010

    I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my faith in God. If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide, you would know just how real God is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings.

    If someone wrote: “I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my faith in Ganesh. If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide, you would know just how real Ganesh is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings.”

    Would that convince you that Ganesh was actually real?

    If someone wrote: “I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it wasn’t for my rejection of God. If you understood how strong my ‘natural tendency’ or inclination was towards suicide, you would know just how real rejecting God is in helping someone like me overcome those feelings.”

    Would that convince you that God was not real?

    The point is that having strong feelings about something is not evidence of the reality or unreality of that something.

    The only standard that is actually fair and meaningful for everyone is one that is not based on personal feelings, but on external empirical evidence.

  226. #226 AJ Milne
    January 11, 2010

    The point is that having strong feelings about something is not evidence of the reality or unreality of that something.

    I s’pose it’s just one more solid piece of evidence that I’m really not a very nice person, but every time I hear that ‘if not for Gawd, I’d have offed myself’ bit, I always get this nasty, twitchy desire to answer with something like: ‘Stupid deity… Comforting annoying emo wankers… Keepin’ em around, for no good reason. Stop doing that, already! I mean, sure, I guess they’re still alive this way, and I’m sure this is all very nice for their family ‘n all, but fuck are they ever annoyingly silly little gits…’

    I mean seriously… you say because of this god you’re still alive? And this is supposed to be a point in said god’s favour? Hey, as long as we’re adding this stuff up, deciding what good he is, after all, is he also responsible for jock itch? ‘Cos I figure that’s almost as annoying as you…’

    (/And no, I wouldn’t actually say this. And so honest, annoying emo person, if you’re still reading this, don’t go killing yourself on my behalf or nothin’. ‘Twas just the evil demon on my shoulder made me say it, honest. More to the point: it can be a lovely world, in between the miseries, and even without your precious delusions, honest. Ya stupid, godbotting wank… And before anyone decides I’m just unremittingly evil for having written this, I’d like to point out that my original draft, following Owlmirror’s, used the phrase ‘the elephant god in the room’. And I think my having passed on doing that should count for something, at least.)

  227. #227 KLT
    January 12, 2010

    oh that’s lovely … yes, let’s add insult to injury by verbally beating down this *girl interrupted* …do you guys like to kick little orphan kids or dogs on the street, and poor scalding hot coffee on homeless people too? =)

    AratinaCage
    there’s nothing arrogant about that. I don’t think I’m *special* I feel grateful and thankful that my self-absorbed thoughts and feelings regarding my own problems have changed, so that I no longer feel the need to take the ‘cowardly’ way out. Plus, it’s not my life that concerns me anyway. The only reason I would ever want to stick around in a world (which to me, resembles more of a hell dimension on earth), is to help others and make things better.

    Jadehawk
    I never said religion or Christianity (in general) makes the world better…I’m the first person to agree that false religion divides people and has caused some of the worst conflicts and atrocities in human history. But when people really live by and *apply* Christian principles, yes, it absolutely changes their life and others for the better and contributes to the overall peace and non-violence society.

    And the next time you say I’m wasting my life or JW’s aren’t making any difference, let me remind you that PZ wouldn’t even be able to have this blog if it wasn’t for people like us who have helped pave the way for freedom of speech in regards to speaking about religion (or any other topic contrary to the norm), with all the Supreme Court cases we’ve fought and won…which has given other minority groups the benefits to enjoy.
    Do you think you, or PZ, or anyone else on this blog, would be able to speak so freely about your disdain of religion on an open forum like this if those laws weren’t put into place? No, you’d be getting beat up, arrested, tarred and feathered, run out of town, and having your kids expelled from public schools, (like thousands of JW’s experienced for years), right here in America (which makes boasts about what a ‘free country’ it is) for having different beliefs and speaking out about them.

    And how about the human rights we’ve helped establish in regards to medical treatment? Do you know how many forced blood transfusions JW’s have had (and many have died from) because the medical community didn’t respect the Bible’s position on blood (which is another area showing the Bible to be way ahead of it’s time) since now, decades later…bloodless medicine and alternatives have become the *gold standard* for surgery, and are finally being recognized by surgeons and doctors all over the world.

    How can you say we ruin or waste our lives, when a friend of mine died from AIDS before he even turned 20 (losing out on his entire life ahead of him) after a blood transfusion was ‘forced on him’ against his religious beliefs. Only *now* are there legal measurements set in place to stop that kind of archaic violation of human rights.

    Who do you think pioneered the way for those new medical advances and treatment options?
    So you wanna rethink that statement Jadehawk?
    Watch and learn how many times Jehovah’s Witnesses have set legal precedents which YOU and everyone else in society now benefit from and take for granted.

  228. #228 Knockgoats
    January 12, 2010

    And the next time you say I’m wasting my life or JW’s aren’t making any difference, let me remind you that PZ wouldn’t even be able to have this blog if it wasn’t for people like us who have helped pave the way for freedom of speech in regards to speaking about religion (or any other topic contrary to the norm), with all the Supreme Court cases we’ve fought and won…which has given other minority groups the benefits to enjoy. – KLT

    What a disgusting hypocrite you are. JWs have done absolutely nothing to establish freedom of speech or religion, because they refuse to get involved in politics or civic affairs.

    And how about the human rights we’ve helped establish in regards to medical treatment? Do you know how many forced blood transfusions JW’s have had (and many have died from) because the medical community didn’t respect the Bible’s position on blood (which is another area showing the Bible to be way ahead of it’s time) since now, decades later…bloodless medicine and alternatives have become the *gold standard* for surgery, and are finally being recognized by surgeons and doctors all over the world.

    …and more bare-faced lies. The number of lives saved by blood transfusion is vast – far, far in excess of those who have died because of them. Incidentally, the Bible says nothing whatsoever about blood transfusion because – guess what – it hadn’t been invented when the Bible was written.

  229. #229 Jadehawk, OM
    January 12, 2010

    I never said religion or Christianity (in general) makes the world better…I’m the first person to agree that false religion divides people and has caused some of the worst conflicts and atrocities in human history. But when people really live by and *apply* Christian principles, yes, it absolutely changes their life and others for the better and contributes to the overall peace and non-violence society.

    all religion is false, and there’s no such thing as (positive) Christian principles. If you take out all the vile and evil stuff out of the bible, what you’d be left with is a small pamphlet of generic humanist principles that are part of all moral systems ever devised.

    And the next time you say I’m wasting my life or JW’s aren’t making any difference, let me remind you that PZ wouldn’t even be able to have this blog if it wasn’t for people like us who have helped pave the way for freedom of speech in regards to speaking about religion (or any other topic contrary to the norm), with all the Supreme Court cases we’ve fought and won…which has given other minority groups the benefits to enjoy.

    I suspect you’re as ill informed about American History as you are about Middle Eastern Archaeology. Not only is the U.S. a nation founded by atheists, deists, and unitarians, the Christian takeover of it didn’t even happen until the Cold War started. No Christians, and certainly no JW’s, were involved in expanding freedom of religion; they are however very busy trying to destroy it.

    Do you think you, or PZ, or anyone else on this blog, would be able to speak so freely about your disdain of religion on an open forum like this if those laws weren’t put into place? No, you’d be getting beat up, arrested, tarred and feathered, run out of town, and having your kids expelled from public schools, (like thousands of JW’s experienced for years), right here in America (which makes boasts about what a ‘free country’ it is) for having different beliefs and speaking out about them.

    you ignorant dunce, most commenters here aren’t even American. They are more free from persecution by godbots than any American, no thanks to you. It’s always been progressive politics and liberalism that protected people from persecution, not religion; religion ALWAYS, without exception, leads to oppression and persecution. If it weren’t for the a-religious founding fathers, this nation would not have the separation of church and state you’re claiming as an achievement for yourself. how pathetic.

    And how about the human rights we’ve helped establish in regards to medical treatment? Do you know how many forced blood transfusions JW’s have had (and many have died from) because the medical community didn’t respect the Bible’s position on blood (which is another area showing the Bible to be way ahead of it’s time) since now, decades later…bloodless medicine and alternatives have become the *gold standard* for surgery, and are finally being recognized by surgeons and doctors all over the world.

    How can you say we ruin or waste our lives, when a friend of mine died from AIDS before he even turned 20 (losing out on his entire life ahead of him) after a blood transfusion was ‘forced on him’ against his religious beliefs. Only *now* are there legal measurements set in place to stop that kind of archaic violation of human rights.

    Who do you think pioneered the way for those new medical advances and treatment options?

    you filthy liar. do you know how many people, especially children and women, your religion has killed by denying them blood transfusions?

    The bible doesn’t say anything about blood, your religion made that up. And millions of people suffer because of that, and many die because of your idiotic beliefs about transfusions. And bloodless medicine is *not* the gold standard for anything you idiot. transfusions are a vital part of medicine, and your backwards beliefs cause many to die and suffer because you deny them this medicine. what an excellent example of the evils of your particular religion!

  230. #230 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 12, 2010

    Let’s ignore your irrational and irrelevant attempt to justify your inane ideas. Conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Zilch. Conclusive physical evidence your babble isn’t a work of myth/fiction. Zilch. Ergo, any dogma you derive from this is pure and utter fiction. So, you have nothing to justify your ideas except your unsubstantiated belief in obvious works of fiction. You can justify to yourself all you want, but it won’t work with us. Hard evidence, which you never supply, is required.

    You posting here is a waste of your time, and only gives us hearty belly laughs at your inane and unsubstatiated claims. We laugh at you.

  231. #231 Jadehawk, OM
    January 12, 2010

    as an example of the murders your religion commits, there’s this:

    “In the CEMD [Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths] report the very high risk of mortality in women who refuse blood transfusion was highlighted. The death rate in this group was 1 per 1,000 maternities compared with an expected incidence of less than 1 per 100,000 maternities.”

    your religion kills women.

  232. #232 aratina cage
    January 12, 2010

    KLT,

    there’s nothing arrogant about that.

    To me, as an atheist who can see through the woo and past the Biblical pleas, it is arrogant. The god you have faith in is all a product of your imagination that you would impose on all of us, but it just so happens that you are one of the few people this god of yours actually cares about. Look KLT, all the unaided concurrent suffering of people who do not deserve it for any reason shows your god is evil, and the way your god keeps you alive in this hellhole, as you later describe the planet, makes your god a psychopathic asshole. If you were to wake up to the nonexistence of your deity one day, you would realize that it was all you the whole time and that your imagination is quite arrogant.

    I don’t think I’m *special* I feel grateful and thankful that my self-absorbed thoughts and feelings regarding my own problems have changed, so that I no longer feel the need to take the ‘cowardly’ way out.

    Well you are special as a living being, it’s just that you are not the favorite plaything of a deity. The idea that your needs are being selectively looked after over the needs of millions of others is what I am getting at. “Self-absorbed” though, that is arrogance, isn’t it? Maybe your self-absorbed thoughts have been swept under the rug of religion rather than honestly treated.

    Plus, it’s not my life that concerns me anyway. The only reason I would ever want to stick around in a world (which to me, resembles more of a hell dimension on earth), is to help others and make things better.

    At first glance that seems admirable, but I happen to think you are not making things better for other people by pushing your personal delusion on them. Are you really helping people and making things better if you are spouting off falsehoods all the time?

  233. #233 Rorschach
    January 13, 2010

    Sorry couldn’t help it..:-)

    The Bible has never been proven wrong historically, but on the contrary, has been vindicated as correct time and time again, even when secular historians had previously claimed otherwise.

    Sumerians look on in confusion as god creates world

  234. #234 Marc
    January 13, 2010

    Paul, I think there’s a few problems with your assertions:

    [b](1) Any person who denies that the world was created by a god is an atheist,[/b]

    This is not necessarily true. Deists, for example, believe that their god only applies to those areas that science has not yet discovered answers to. Since they believe in something that they call a god, they are theists, not atheists.

    [b] but a person can refrain BOTH from such denial AND from affirmation that the world was created by a god, in which case he or she, too, is an atheist.[/b]

    Actually, this person would either be an agnostic (i.e., they believe there is insufficient evidence either way), or an apathest (i.e., they really don’t care one way or another).

    [b](2) Every person either denies or does not deny the existence of a creator god. The set of people who do not deny includes both atheists and theists.[/b]

    Sorry, no. It’s not as black-and-white as you think. Again, an agnostic may believe that there is insufficient evidence either for or against a creator god. Or, an individual may feel that the existence of a creator god specifically is irrelevant to how they view the concept of god as a whole. Again, deists are an example. Pantheists are another.

    [b](3) To refrain both from denying and from affirming such a god does not entail believing that there’s no way to determine which position, denial or affirmation, is correct. Furthermore, to withhold judgment does not obligate a person to justify to another person his or her reason for withholding judgment.[/b]

    I agree with you here.

    [b](4) Secularism and atheism are separate positions. Secularists affirm that materialism is true, yet if one is an atheist, it’s simply not necessary to affirm materialism, not even when secularists insist upon flipflopping back and forth between ‘secularist’ and ‘atheist’ as if they were synonyms. [/b]

    Kinda. Secularists merely draw a distinction between the public life (i.e., laws) and the private life. A secularist may himself be a dyed-in-the wool True Christian, but believe that his beliefs apply solely to him and his fellow Christians. He might believe non-Christians are going to Hell, but not believe that it’s necessary to force them to legally live a Christian lifestyle.

    Basically, a secularist looks at what’s best for the group when determining public policy. Religion doesn’t enter into it. As such, it’s technically an atheistic position (in that belief in a god isn’t used to determine the law), but it doesn’t require that one be an atheist to follow it.

    [b]People who protest this point are probably guilty of just assuming that either there is a creator god or materialism is true. They need to ask themselves two questions: (i) is there a creator god?, and (ii) is materialism true?.

    The possible combinations of responses are YY, YN, NY, and NN. Of course, not all four combinations are true, not even for the relativist.[/b]

    You need to include people who don’t feel that there is sufficient evidence (i.e., agnostics), bringing your total up to six combinations (“U” for Unsure).

  235. #235 WowbaggerOM
    January 13, 2010

    KLT, I’ll echo something AJ Milne alluded to in his post and ask this quesion: why did your god make you suicidal in the first place? If it was to drive you into worshipping him then that’s hardly the actions of a good and just being, is it?

    Surely if your god is worthy of the adoration people seem to think he is he wouldn’t need to resort to extortion to obtain it.

    Any objective reading of the bible would provide a reader with a wealth of evidence to support the notion that the Judeo-Christian god is an evil, malicious, capricious monster of the vilest kind – petty, vicious and destructive; a spoilt three-year-old in an infinitely powerful body.

    How you can consider such a being ‘good’ – without completely redefining the word – is beyond me.

  236. #236 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 13, 2010

    Wowbagger, just a quick note, AJ Milne is a woman.

  237. #237 Jadehawk, OM
    January 13, 2010

    Wowbagger, just a quick note, AJ Milne is a woman.

    actually he isn’t. there was confusion about this in a Molly thread, and he clarified this for us (plus, I think the A stands for Andrew)

  238. #238 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 13, 2010

    Sorry about that. Jadehawk, I must have missed that. Yet again, I wish I could delete my statements.

  239. #239 Jadehawk, OM
    January 14, 2010

    yeah, it happens. for a while I thought Wowbagger was female; and the same for every poster whose handle ends in “a” :-p

  240. #240 Owlmirror
    January 15, 2010

    oh that’s lovely … yes, let’s add insult to injury by verbally beating down this *girl interrupted* .

    You might want to look up the etymology of the word “debate”.

    That having been said, I think it’s possible to disagree with less personally directed cruelty. I hope that you will not slide into depression as the result of having some people on Pharyngula say mean things to you.

    do you guys like to kick little orphan kids or dogs on the street, and poor scalding hot coffee on homeless people too?

    Please. You came here to Pharyngula on your own initiative, and decided to be wrong on this here part of the Internet.

    While there’s some meanness being directed at you personally, most of it is directed at your arguments.

    I don’t think I’m *special*

    Oh? Then why do you think God works for you, and not for all those who do in fact commit suicide?

    The only reason I would ever want to stick around in a world (which to me, resembles more of a hell dimension on earth)

    And yet, this world is exactly what will be permanently granted to those faithful Christians who are not taken up to heaven. Hm.

    Something tells me that you haven’t quite thought your eschatology through very well.

    I never said religion or Christianity (in general) makes the world better…I’m the first person to agree that false religion divides people and has caused some of the worst conflicts and atrocities in human history. But when people really live by and *apply* Christian principles, yes, it absolutely changes their life and others for the better and contributes to the overall peace and non-violence society.

    This is confused. Your final sentence conflicts with your initial one.

    And the next time you say I’m wasting my life or JW’s aren’t making any difference, let me remind you that PZ wouldn’t even be able to have this blog if it wasn’t for people like us who have helped pave the way for freedom of speech in regards to speaking about religion (or any other topic contrary to the norm), with all the Supreme Court cases we’ve fought and won…which has given other minority groups the benefits to enjoy.

    And this is completely confused.

    Kudos to JWs for sticking to their principles in courts of law — but the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and its applicability to all citizens of the States was laid down before JWs existed, and would apply regardless of whether JWs were the ones about whom the various precedent cases were argued.

    Would you agree that you owed your religious freedom to atheists if atheists had been the subject of those cases instead?

    Do you think you, or PZ, or anyone else on this blog, would be able to speak so freely about your disdain of religion on an open forum like this if those laws weren’t put into place?

    JWs did not put those laws into place. The court cases were over laws and actions which were in conflict with the First Amendment, and thus inherently illegal.

    And how about the human rights we’ve helped establish in regards to medical treatment?

    JW cases have been one small part of changes in medical treatments and medical ethics based on malpractice cases and attempts to ascertain where medical authority ends and patient autonomy begins.

    I hope that you will agree that a necessary corollary of the right to refuse some treatment for religious reasons extends to the right to have an abortion, and the right for someone with an untreatable condition in great pain to request a dignified euthanasia?

    because the medical community didn’t respect the Bible’s position on blood

    The bible has no position on blood transfusion. It has some verses about eating blood that JWs are — what was that phrase you used? — being much too literal about.

    To claim that the prohibitions on eating blood are “real” and “important” while all of the prohibitions in the bible that you blithely ignore are not real and not important is to commit the hypocritical fallacy of special pleading.

    bloodless medicine and alternatives have become the *gold standard* for surgery

    If they are alternatives, they are not quite the “gold standard” yet, are they?

    I note that “bloodless surgery” is not quite what it sounds like.

    How can you say we ruin or waste our lives, when a friend of mine died from AIDS before he even turned 20 (losing out on his entire life ahead of him) after a blood transfusion was ‘forced on him’ against his religious beliefs.

    I agree that contamination of blood supplies by pathogens is a problem, but the problem is to be solved by eliminating contamination, not eschewing blood entirely.

    Who do you think pioneered the way for those new medical advances and treatment options?

    Adolf Lorenz, per Wikipedia, for reasons having nothing to do with religion.

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