Are you on this list?

It's certainly inclusive.

i-234f5508872d9376210f8455699f8508-hells_most_wanted.jpg

Wait…sports fans?

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I like the proximity of Evolutionists to Child Molesters.

By Matlatzinca (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Sweet, I make the list for 6 'crimes'.

Too bad there is no such thing as a witch or a psychic...
And it is pretty darn inclusive, I fall into seven by my own count. Now, what exactly is wrong with sitting down to watch a steelers game or the olympics from the fundie perspective?

One thing's for sure: the housing market in Hell will never go bust.

Damn... i fall in most of those categories...
How many times i burn in hell ?
Geez... the ones who make the sign deserve hell
for their own definition... liars, hypocrites who
were pot smoking several days in a row to come to
the idea in the first place...
PD: I have a question PZ... did you ever sleep ? Im in
a totally different time zone and there is always a new thread... great fun anyway...

By Lord Zero (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Those party-poopers! What's a guy to do through life? Just sit and wait?

By the way, the image link is bad.

Aw, man, I only hit nine of these. And I'm not even a sports fan. Also, if you really put two and two together, most of America's going to the pretend hot place--what other country is so "money-loving?"

Damn, only six from that list, and after my poor showing on the science test, 8 of 12. Maybe I do not really belong here.

Ciao

Since E-Sport its a common place concept
actually (lucky Koreans) does videogameplaying
califies as Sport Fan ? and what about Martial Arts,
they are not sports perse but...
You know im thinking if this its inclusive enough...
Hell must be crowded and those kinds of parties are
better.

By Lord Zero (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Hmmm. Looks like I am also on there a few times.

Why is pot smoking and not tobacco smoking up there? (no offence to smokers) Tobacco "defiles" the body, which I think is the scriptural objection to it. Is it only because of the illegality of pot?

In the Netherlands it's legal and that happens to be where I live...... So looks like I'm free from eternal punishment on that one. :)

Ha! I've never had a drink in my life.

Oh, wait. There's more....

By mikespeir (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

@#2, only 6?

Damn. I hate things which make me feel so moral: I seldom drink more than one beer, I don't gamble, I find the vast majority of pornography to be either disgusting or boring. . . at least I've still got my acceptance of scientific fact to fall back upon.

Talk about poll-crashing -- PZ, you ought to make this a poll: how many of the list do you qualify for? I'd love to know the number of people who can honestly say "zero."

Hehe... Lesbians AND homosexuals. That's a two for one!

I made 12 of those... He he he. and none but one was a violation of law. Keep 'em guessing.

By Barklikeadog (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Whew!, I'm safe. I only mainline heroin and speed and the 49ers suck so bad its impossible to like sports.

Woohoo! 7 out of 22 for me. Does this mean I'll only have to spend 1/3 of eternity in hell?

Hypocrites?
So, that all the banner-waving fundamentalists, too.
But don't you think Norway's going to get a little overcrowded as a result...?

No-one who hates sports fans can be all bad.

What boggles me, however, is drunkards and pot smokers. Apparently tobacco smokers, methheads, heroinists, etc are welcome in Heaven?

So rock 'n' roll, cigarettes and cocaine are okay? Happy days!

Shame about the masturbating - all those poor damned teenagers...

By Jamie Vaide (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we've barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

I love how 'murderers' doesn't make the list of "Hell's most wanted," BTW.

I got a 12 if you count the stuff I've done, but aren't currently up to. (Like smoking pot.) Okay I get an 11 if you don't count the ones I'm not currently up to.

What if your just a Porn-enthusiast (just saying) and not a Porn-Lover.

I've heard of war mongering or fear mongering (hint hint) but Whoremongering? What the hell is that?

But don't you think Norway's going to get a little overcrowded as a result...?

There's room for the overflow in Michigan.

By freelunch (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

#21 was me, BTW. No idea what happened to my name there.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Presumably the person holding the sign would disavow masturbating. That would then qualify them to be a liar.

As in Real Genius:

Mitch: [As the voice of Jesus] Hi Kent. Have you been touching yourself?
Kent: Yes. I mean, NO!

I wanted to write some parody bible verse in the style of Leviticus on the subject of sports fans, but how does one parody the notion that sports fans are among "Hell's Most Wanted"? I at least am neither brilliant enough nor caffeinated enough this morning to pull it off.

To my knowledge, methheads are tolerated. Doesn't the bible even tell the story of that really old guy, what was he called... Methusareh?

Wow, I've either done, claimed to do, or convinced people I've done almost everything on the list - except maybe for the really bad ones like child molester and repenting and turning to Jesus.

I have, at one time or another, been or done 12 of the things on that list. 13 if you count playing basketball in high school as being a sports fan. But then, I didn't really like sports and did it out of peer pressure, so that would be hypocrisy. I'm up to 14!

15 if you count the occasional lottery ticket as gambling.

Please also dismiss my ignorance. I just looked up "monger".

Though my dictionary says it is chiefly british.
"Take me to your Monger...?"
I don't know.

It's nice to see the Whore-Mongers finally getting some press. Really, people. It's hard out there for a pimp.

They list both homosexuals and lesbians. Lesbians are homosexuals. They could have eliminated the redundancy and made space for a category that wasn't quite important enough to make their list. Perhaps bisexuals, adulterers, or murderers. Well, maybe not murderers. Hell apparently isn't big on violent crime.

11 out of 22 - not bad. I guess I'm already halfway to hell. That's how I like to describe it to my family most of whom are devout Catholics.

I hit 11 of them. Glad to have my spot in Hell confirmed. I had always only suspected it. I'm gonna be the managing editor of the Hades Picayune. No shortage of news and scandal down there. After all, I hear Lucifer is a HUGE Yankees fan.

By shiftysquid (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm on there 14 times too!

I do love how this clown manages to spend so much time on sexually oriented 'sins', yet misses the one forbidden in the Decalogue, adultery.

Serena, I had always thought that the whoremonger was the pimp, the seller of the whore, but, apparently, some people use the word to mean the john.

By freelunch (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

It's a good thing for these folks that NASCAR isn't a sport.

Fifteen - top score!

Freelunch.

Really?
I assume you mean the "john" as in the "trick" or "client" and not the "potty".

:)
I learn so many things here!

I have 8 of those characteristics. I am not as much hypocrite as those American Talebans!

Ten! Woo!

I got eight, but I could never deny my atheism, or my evolutionistismiatity, without becoming a hypocrite.

Damned if you do...

By Jason Failes (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wow. Only 9 out of 22. I should try harder this weekend.

And just let me echo - SPORTS FANS?! Seriously, WTF is up with that?

By Missyann Thrope (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

blasphemer, money-lover, atheist, evolutionist, masturbator and porn-lover. Hmm, looks like I'm doing well. Maybe I should go out and add fornication, gambling and drunkard to the list?

By Necronomikron (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Interesting... Potsmokers are going to hell, but nothing about crack, heroin, amphetamines, HGH etc.

Even MORE interesting is that the person responsible for making the sign IS on the list... filed right under "Hypocrites".

Another clue that the sign-make is not the sharpest Crayola in the box - they totally wasted a line by listing both homosexuals and then making a separate line for lesbians. (Hey knucklehead - one sort of covers the other... D'uh!)

I sugest replacing lesbian with "Christians". HTH :)

13 for me.

By Suspect Device (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

12 of 22 for me. It could be a baker's dozen, but I don't really love the money. I would like to be friends with it however.

Eleven!!!1!!

By Steve in MI (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Damn. I score an Eleven.

Drunkard- college
Liar- Iraq... whoops
Thief- Gore... sorry Al
Sports Fan- duh
Money Lover- Oil me up!
Prostitute- I'm saudia arabia's bitch :(
Gambler- Iraq again.... double whoops
Pot Smoker- college again
masturbator- do u know a bigger wanker than me? thought so!
hypocrite- too easy?

Oops sorry! i counted eleven i was guilty of but it is only 10. I suck at reading and thought whoremongering said war-mongering. but i aint going to hell for that! yay!!

13; but I'm going to reconsider. I may just become a psychic witch (wizard? or are they ok?) and con people out of their hard-earned money. Then I'll nail 17 easily. Maybe 18 if I can make enough money to monger me up some whores.

Leviticus LXXOL:VIII(ff)

Say to Israel: "Those who strike, chase or lust after spheroids (being either perfect or oblique), either as a solitary perversion or in the company of others, be as the wearers of mixed thread and those who lie with a man as with a woman. You must strike this evil from your midst".

Say to Israel: "Those who gaze in adoration or admiration upon all lusters after spheroids (of any description), doing so either proximately or at a distance, are as those who consort in conjugation with other species, be they clean or unclean. You must strike this evil from your midst."

Say to Israel: "All suppliers of gain and support to the lusters after spheroids (of any description)and their adorers or admirers, by means of proclamation or invitation or transfer of assets, moveable or immoveable, or who profit from such lusting and gazing, be as the drunken and disobedient child to those who sit at the gates. You must strike this evil from your midst."

Say to Israel: "A double agony be visited upon those who gaze in admiration upon the lusters after spheriods (of any description)while simultaneously imbibing, species either alcoholic or calorific, or both, and masticating produce of grain or other vegetable or animal product. You must strike this evil from your midst."

Say to Israel: "Any doer of activity that results in adoration, adulation or the egregious sharing of seal or signature must be cast from the congregation and made to wear their shame as does a leper."

Hell sounds a like the place to be in the Afterlife. All fun and smart people seem to be going there, so count me in!

Wait a minute, evolutionists are atheists. That's what Ben Stein's movie was about.

Don't they ever coordinate their propaganda?

And psychics? Wow, they're really out for a select demographic, because if they give up their moronic psychic believers and sports fans, along with all of the educated segment of the population, they don't have many people left. If they had just included NASCAR fans, I bet they wouldn't have anybody for their audience.

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

Oh yeah, those dudes come by Sproul in Berkeley all the time. I saw a dude get in a serious argument with them about the masturbation thing once. It got pretty heated.

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Damn you got to be quick to post here! By the time I got my ideas typed up to make sense, other posters beat me to the points I was trying to make :( Sorry about that@@!

Maybe the Kooky Kristian could make a new line for people that double post? It would make more sense than some, I mean ALL of the other things on the list.

@gg #23:

With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we've barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

Um, YEAH... thus firmly ensuring the kick-assedness of the party!

By Steve in MI (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
I'm proud to be a glutton, and I don't have time for sloth
I'm greedy, and I'm angry, and I don't care who I cross

I'm Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don't care who gets hurt
I'm Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I'll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

-- Warren Zevon "Mr Bad Example"

Is there a prize if we qualify for all of them?

By BowserTheCat (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

freelunch: I do love how this clown manages to spend so much time on sexually oriented 'sins', yet misses the one forbidden in the Decalogue, adultery.

I don't see adultery in the decalogue. Here's the wikipedia paraphrase:

1. Worship no other god than Yahweh: Make no covenant with the inhabitants of other lands to which you go, do not intermarry with them, destroy their places of worship.
2. Do not cast idols.
3. Observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days in the month of Abib in remembrance of the Exodus.
4. Sacrifice firstborn male animals to Yahweh. The firstborn of a donkey may be redeemed; redeem firstborn sons.
5. Do no work on the seventh day.
6. Observe the Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Ingathering: All males are therefore to appear before Yahweh three times each year.
7. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice with leavened bread.
8. Do not let the Passover sacrifice remain until the following morning.
9. Bring the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple of Yahweh.
10. Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk.

Right? Or did you mean the rewrite? 'Cause the original seems to be mostly about the form of idols, festivals to be held, the limitation on child sacrifice, a ban on intermarriage as part of a program of genocide, and some culinary rules. And keeping the sabbath - the only one of real value.

@gg #23:

With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we've barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

Um, YEAH... thus firmly ensuring the kick-assedness of the party!

By Steve in MI (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I hit Eight. Nine if the Houston Rockets/Texans/Astros or the Texas A&M football teams are having good seasons any given year.

Only 5 for me, 8 if you use loose definitions.

Sports fans are on the list because they believe that you're supposed to "praise God in everything you do". The Christian god is surprisingly insecure for an omnipotent being.

What if you're not smoking your pot, does it still count?

Oh, we get to count the past too? Kewl, up to 15 then, and yes, I treasure each and every one of my sins.

Ciao

I scored 12! Woo-hoo! I feel a little robbed, though, that "Lesbian" is ruled out for me due to gender. I like having sex with women -- can I be an honorary lesbian?

By CaroCogitatus (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Ok is it just me that viewed most of that list (by no means all) as some sort of check list?

I'm currently running an 11, which is the maximum I'd go for. 3 of the remainder don't interest me intellectually, 4 don't interest me ethically, 2 don't interest me sexually (one of them is also ethically very dubious), 1 doesn't interest me financially, and 1 of them is a physical impossibility (although sexually appealing!)

Go figure!

Louis

P.S. If hell exists the it's the place to be. All the best people will be there. Better than that, it means that I don;t have to spend eternity with sanctimonious fuck ups like the person who made that banner. Sharp pokers being jabbed into my wedding vegetables for eternity is a small price to pay for no fucking fundies! ;-)

I think I'm on there 8 times.

So I only have seven that could be considered current. Historically I could add drunkard, liar, thief and probably money-lover, but those days are long behind me. If I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body, does that count?

w00t! I was a hit on 10 things on the list.

Sports Fans make the list since you are worshipping something other than the christian god if you are a sports fan.

off of that list, I am:
1) A drunkard
2) Maybe a liar, maybe not depending on the degree
3) A sports fan
4) A Blasphemer
5) A Money Lover
6) An atheist
7) A gambler
8) A porn-lover(I tend to prefer the soft stuff that emphasized the beauty of nudity. does that count?)
9) Evolutionist
10) Masturbator

I smoked pot once, so does that make me a pot smoker? And I used to be a hypocrite(when I was a christian). Do old sins count? And I've lusted after women other than my wife over my 25 years of marriage, but never slept with one of them. If I cheated on her, technically that would make me an adulterer rather than a fornicator. Does that count? I don't know what level of technical accuracy they are looking for.

That sign sounds like what a couple of prominent ministers were caught doing in the past few years. They said that they were sorry and that they were forgiven, they couldn't be wrong about that, can they? ;^)

"Oh yeah, those dudes come by Sproul in Berkeley all the time. I saw a dude get in a serious argument with them about the masturbation thing once. It got pretty heated."

You mean there was a lot of friction?

sports fans?

That's one I can sorta understand. :-) A sad waste of one's brief lifespan. If anything should be a sin ...

By Greg Esres (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Tied for first (if i read correctly) at 15!

What do we win??

:D

...witches? They're not past that shit yet?

Witches don't exist, folks... Just like your God. It's time to let go of the fairies.

When they include "porn-lovers" and "lesbians" on the same list, we are all doomed.

I'm only an 8, although now that I've seen the list maybe I should aim higher. What does god have against enjoyable things (excluding child molesting)?

I'm curious how famous historical figures, especially biblical figures, would score. For example, Lot, out of Sodom and Gomorrah, got drunk and slept with his daughters... that's atleast 3 no-nos right there.

I made the list several times.

Oh no... not only am I going to hell but Ben Stein will be there too (for lying, theft and hypocrisy - and that's just what he's demonstrated through expelled!)

I had always hoped that, if I was wrong and did end up in hell, I'd have the consolation of being in good company.

But spending eternity with Ben Stein and fellow Christian hypocrites... now that's eternal torment for you!

yttrai, go back, reread, try to make it to 16 and come in first, be creative.

Oh, and the prize, you will not spend eternity with fundies, a pearl beyond price.

Ciao

As a psychic sports fan who loves money, of course I gambled. But it never seemed to make me any richer. That's when I knew it was time to ask Jesus to come sit on my heart.

He'll turn your life around!

They clearly don't like somethings. We've got blasphemer, pagan, and witch all there though they missed out on heathen. Based on their views I think any pagan would automatically also be viewed as a blasphemer, and being a witch isn't too far away from being pagan. That adds 3 points basically just by having a non-christian religion. Psychic is on there too, which depending on the type of craft practiced by a witch could mean 4 easy points.

Homosexuals and lesbians too, seems they might have a bit against women or at least women who don't need men. I don't qualify as either, but I've got enough friends in those fields that this sort of thing rubs me the wrong way.

In the end though, I only manage 9 points at best. I gotta get my evil on and raise this score.

By Felstatsu (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

9 out of 22 ain't bad, I guess. As long as I'm allowed to claim lesbian and homosexual. And that's only Hell's MOST wanted, forget all the little Hellish traffic violations.

Now, I'm saying at least 10 out of 22 for the righteous dude holding the sign. His minister? At least two more.

Hmmm... I consider myself an "evangelical", yet I've managed to score a few ticks in 10 of those categories...

What's far more telling is what's left off the list:
- Gluttony (Is there a shot of these folks where we can gaze upon their rotundness??)
- Sloth (Was this shot taken during the workday perhaps?)
- Envy (Secretly jealous that they didn't get to hit the bong at Bob Jones)
- Sabbath-breaking (Hey guys, let's go to the Waffle House after church - yeah, there's a man serving me, but surely that's not the same thing as the male servant mentioned in the 10 commandments)
- Wheres Rock and/or Roll?!?! Everyone knows that demons play the intro to "House of the Rising Sun" at the gates of hell...

It's real easy to get on peoples cases for things that you successfully cover up around your churchy friends, but if these people actually examined themselves against the Bible they say they're following, there would be one item on that list - Everyone. I wonder if they would be willing to picket their own church for that same list of offenses?

I'm on for: drunkards, liars, thieves, blasphemers, money-lovers, atheists, porn-lovers, evolutionists, post smokers, fornicators, masturbators. They have homosexuals and lesbians (as if the latter is distinct from and not included within the former), but not bisexuals, so I guess I'm OK there.

Dammit, that puts me at 11. Can we count bisexuality as inclusive of the other sex crimes? That'd put me at lucky 13!

Lord Zero @#9:

As a taekwando black belt who's working in an Anglican school, I can assure you that the vast majority of Anglicans are actively opposed to martial arts, to the point that they refuse to accept it as a sports activity in the schools here, and this attitude is apparently representative of Christians in Singapore.

Even the ones who are considered not to be "Christian" by the Anglicans, but *mock shudder* "Catholic".

(Look, I just work here, ok? I go where the ministry posts me.)

14 out of 22, past and present included.

Why are pot-smokers on the list? I was under the impression that: " . . . the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:12)

And: "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matt. 15:11)

So, following the Biblical logic, "God" created Cannabis and thought it was just fine, "Jesus" himself said that your words and actions towards others are more important than what you put in your body, yet pot-smokers are going to Hell?

I'm on the list 13 times and open to most of the others (except the child molesting, of course).

Oh, son of a bitch. I wrote "post smokers" instead of "pot smokers." I don't smoke any posts. Plenty of pots, though. And I just realized that "child molesters" could be included with the sex crimes category, but I'm not one of those; so while I'm at it, that should read "sexy crimes." Good 'nuff.

I played with a Ouija board when I was 10. Am I doomed?

Oh, wait, masturbation is on there. Shit!

is that the "happy happy happy" guy's poster? (the guy who says "happy happy happy" while standing on a bucket at the edge of the berkeley campus)

Count me in for 9. 10 if you count the fact that lesbians are one of my favourite things. Hell yeah.

All the cool people will go to hell. Can you honestly see Hunter S. Thompson in heaven? He'd try to shoot himself again. Same for Bill Bailey, Arthur C. Clarke, Winston Churchill, Ozzy Osbourne, Anton LaVey and Jonathan Swift (any man with his wicked sense of humour could never get into this fundie heaven, even if he was a priest).

The soundtrack will be by Slayer, the Clash, Pantera, Motorhead, the Beatles, the Who, Iron Maiden and other bands who have sold their souls to Satan for their success and inspiration. Whingy shite like My Chemical Romance and FallOut Boy would also technically be there, but I imagine Samuel L. Jackson wouldn't stand for that shit and would bitchslap them all back into silence in the First Circle.

In a word, it'll be awesome.

By Facehammer (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

For example, Lot, out of Sodom and Gomorrah, got drunk and slept with his daughters... that's atleast 3 no-nos right there.

It's clearly drunkennesss and fornication, but it doesn't say how old the daughters were, so we can't know if it was child molestation, and incest as such isn't on the list.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Does putting the occasional 50p into pub quiz machines make me a gambler? Does cheating half a roll of tickets out of a badly set-up Skee-Ball arcade machine as a child make me a thief? Does watching the snooker and taking my father to the British Formula One Grand Prix every year make me a sports fan? (Do they even count as sports?) Seriously, I'm reaching here - I feel like six points isn't anywhere near enough to hold my head up as an amoral godless heathen!

Fornication is bumping uglies with someone you're not married to, so that covers pre-marital sex, adultery, and visiting prostitutes (unless you're married to a prostitute, but what's the point in that?). How they could display such economy with this word, but not see that lesbians are homosexuals, is beyond me. Or perhaps consistency is beyond them.
As for sports fans, perhaps they are thinking of watersports.

It seems that the political landscape is changing in the U.S.: They've taken "democrats" off the list! Unless, of course, this picture is not from the U.S., which I highly doubt.

By J. D. Burton (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

So, if I read this list of activities correctly, if you're a human being, basically, you're toast.

Is that about right?

By Fundy Abuser (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Sports fans? Is that a subtle hint that this sign is really just a parody of a fundamentalist? Or is it just an excellent example of Poe's Law in action: there really are fundies that are that insane?

By Jason Dick (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm 7 or 8 of those... AWESOME!

Ummmm...
Well, I made the list several times (didn't count), but just a linguistic quibble over the sign...

If you're supposed to turn to jeezus, shouldn't this be heaven's most wanted? As those who fall into any of these categories are already going to hell unless they repent? Which is the point?

Just sayin'...

By gramomster (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

@Stan (#57)

Sorry, but wizard isn't going to cut it, it's not on the list and is different enough from being a witch that it won't work.

The distinction is not in gender but in the way they practice their belief. Witches are more into try stuff out and use it if it works, analyze it if it didn't and figure out why. Wizards are more along the lines of, if it isn't in this book of things that have been done only one way for X number of years, I'm not going to bother using it.

In one way it could almost be viewed as scientists being witches while creationists are wizards, since the wizards just stick to a book they trust and don't ever move away from it. Their view is that if it isn't in the book then it's wrong.

By Felstatsu (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Hmmm...

They could at least have alphabetised it to make it easy to see if you fall into the "sin list".

*tick* *tick* *tick*

Yup, 19 so far, I'm not guilty of child molestation, but I'm guilty of just about everything else.

So, do I go for the chilly cold Dante'an hell or the firey toasty Miltonesque version.

Hmm... maybe if I die with my skis on? Snow babes/hunks are more my kind of thing than beach bunnies/himbos.

Hmm, let's see... I qualify for "Money Lovers", "Pagans", "Atheists", "Porn lovers", "Evolutionists" and "Masturbators".

I arguably qualify for "Homosexuals", since I'm bi - try telling those people that that's not the same. They likely include bi folks there.

Fundies like that would likely argue that I qualify for "Liars", "Thieves", "Blasphemers", "Gamblers" and "Hypocrites".

I do not qualify for "Drunkards" (I don't drink any alcohol), "Sports Fans", "Prostitutes" (although I wouldn't necessarily be averse to it), "Witches" (I've got friends who're Wiccans, but I'm not), "Whoremongers" (how *does* one monge whores, anyway?), "Child Molesters", "Pot Smokers" (I don't smoke anything at all), "Lesbians", and "Psychics".

Finally, I don't qualify for "Fornicators", either, although I wish I did. :P

So, that's 6 to 12 out 22. Hmm, I expected a higher score really. :)

First off, I'd like to know where this sign comes from and who created it. It's either the work of some fringe kooks (the likes of Fred Phelps maybe), or it's a parody.

Secondly, I actually think it's intellectually dishonest for you to use an absurd image like this in order to get in your cheap shots at Christians. This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to "Hell". Christians believe that as a result of Jesus' sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

Don't get me wrong. I would absolutely acknowledge that there are a number of justified criticisms of Christian ethical teaching. For instance, it doesn't seem morally right or fair that the faithless can't be saved, regardless of how virtuous their life is; nor do many of the apparent Biblical restrictions on sexual expression seem particularly logical or necessary. So I'm not constructing a defence of Christian morals or of Christian belief here (this isn't the place for it, and I don't want to have that discussion).

Rather, I'm pointing out that, as you know full well, the people who make these kinds of deranged condemnations are not representative of religious believers in general. It's not just that they're "more extreme" and that other Christians practise a watered-down version of the same wacky beliefs; rather, the theology of Fred Phelps and his followers, and other fringe cultic groups (such as the one which presumably created this bizarre sign, assuming it's not a parody), is completely divergent from mainstream Christian teaching in its ideas about sin, salvation and redemption.

Please note that even the Rev. Jerry Falwell - often viewed as the archetypal Protestant extremist - did not agree with Phelps' teaching that God hates homosexuals, nor would he have approved of this sign. Like all mainstream (Nicene Creed) Christians, he believed and taught that all sins can be forgiven through Jesus and that God loves all of humankind. I'm certainly no fan of Jerry Falwell and I'm not going to defend some of his more ludicrous statements - but I'm just pointing out that junk like this is not representative even of the fundamentalist wing of American Protestantism, let alone of the world-wide Christian community.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior. But if you're interested in actually engaging with the ideas of theists, this kind of caricaturing is not the way to go.

Whew! That was close, but murder's my, y'know... bag!

Rot in hell, suckers!

By Charles Manson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

hehe....I like how sports fans and whoremongers made the list but murderers and warmongers didn't. I guess they are try to reach the average person by throwing out a bunch of "sins" (sports fans? really?) and hoping something sticks.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Total buz kill Walton.

Jeez. Let us tally up our sins in peace.

It no where says this is indicative of all Christian thinking. The post only has 6 words and an image.

I am a Mets fan and have been since 5th grade, and I root for the Red sox and Cubbies and currently the Tigers, too..

Shouldn't VEGETARIANS or VEGANS be on the List? ( I'm a former vegetarian)

What about TREE-HUGGERS? and LIBRARIANS? LIBERIANS, too...

how *does* one monge whores, anyway?

If Whoremongery is anything like Ironmongery, you have to get them real hot then pound them for hours.

Ok:

Drunkards - Not an alcoholic. But when I was young and in the military, I got potted a half-dozen or so times. Then I wised up to it was cheaper (and far more entertaining) to be the designated driver and laugh like hell at my mates.

Liars - well, yes, sometimes you need to lie. Like when your girls are going through awkward stages and need some bolstering.

Thieves - I can't do that. I shoplifted a $0.15 clip at the five-and-dime (that damn peer pressure) when I was a teen. I still feel guilty. But since I did it once, eternal hell fire for me.

Sports Fans - Yes, though last year's season (49er fan) really sucked.

Blasphemers - God damn right!

Pagans - Not one of them. But I'm sympathetic. If I weren't joining them in hell, I'd sneak them snacks and drinks.

Prostitutes - They don't bother me at all. I have some prostitute clients. I do there taxes. For money. I guess that makes me a whore's whore. Burn me up.

Witches - If only magic worked. I'd be first in line. But since I wish it did, and wishing to sin is as bad as actually sinning - put me down.

Atheists - Got me there.

Gamblers - Well, I used to count cards in Reno. Was good at it. But when they went to the shoe it was too much work. The night I split a pair of Ace of Spades, only to draw a third on the split/double-down I gave it up. But, still, my finger prints were all over the chips - so to hell I go.

Porn Lovers - Who doesn't? :) Besides I was in the military, if you don't watch porn you're "gay" and the shit really hits the fan.

Evolutionists - Guilty.

Pot Smokers - Experimented in HS. Don't like it.

Fornication - Got me there.

Masturbaters - I'm a guy. 95% admit, 5% lie, nearly 100% do... Do the math.

Hypocrites - I'm sure my daughters think so at times. So I'll cop to it, even if I do think I'm pretty consistent in "I do what I say."

Sixteen. Though a few are just guilt by association.

i would think the faithful would be hell's most wanted, since apparently the rest of us are headed there anyway.

13/22. There will be a kegger in my corner penthouse on the 6th level of Hell, and you're all invited!

Mary, mother of God, was, by all accounts, between 13 and 15 years of age when she bore the Messiah.

Jehova is going to Hell for child molestation.

Speaking of Jeebus, his first miracle was turning water into wine. That drunkard too will burn in Hell for all eternity... with Noah.

By Sarcastro (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I call dishonest bullshit on Walton.

I hear that so often -- "Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity" -- and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This sign is fucking typical. You can find individual details ("sports fans", for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority, but others ("homosexuality") are practically the rule. Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation.

Pompous asses who try to explain that their favorite theological apologist has said that 90% of Christians are not really Christians make me sick. They are making excuses to remove odious behavior from criticism.

what's the ruling if you just inhaled the smoke from other pot smokers?

I am ashamed to say, I only made 8: Liar, Sports fan, Blasphemer, Atheist, Porn-Lover, Evolutionalist, Masturbator, Fornicator. But some funny accounting by moses....unfair you cannot claim all sixteen by association.

Secondly, I actually think it's intellectually dishonest for you to use an absurd image like this in order to get in your cheap shots at Christians.

Walton

You are sadly mistaken on this point. None of us need this silly sign to take cheap shots at christianity. The existence of christianity is reason enough. In fact, the existence of religion is reason enough. I say this least you accuse us of mocking only christians.

By Janine ID (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

When I was in grad school, I remember a person with a similar sign wandering around campus. Except that one of the entries on his list was "people who talk to cats". Excellent -- one more I was able to check off the list.

"I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists."

What if you smoke pot, but don't inhale? That should count twice.......

On Walton's dishonest bullshit,

The sad thing is, it doesn't look like Walton is even condemning the content of the sign at all. He probably agrees with the statement that the people listed are sinners. His point of disagreement appears to be the statement that these people are necessarily hell-bound. In other words, he's taking a condemnation of sin in sign-form and condemning it for being too simple and not properly qualifying its statements.

So, I'm not going to say it's so much dishonest bullshit as stupid bullshit.

By Jason Dick (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton @116
"Don't get me wrong. I would absolutely acknowledge that there are a number of justified criticisms of Christian ethical teaching."

Blasphemer! Well, looks like you'll be joining the rest of us in hell, so sit back, turn on ESPN, with the Playboy channel on picture-in-picture, crack open a beer, light up a joint, let whomsoever you like sit on your face during commercials, and enjoy the fast-track to sulfur-city.

By Jason Failes (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I could understand listing Cowboys fans, but all sports fans?

By Slaughter (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

What if you smoke pot, but don't inhale? That should count twice.......

I guess I understand their whole theology wrong. I thought Hell's Most Wanted = everybody. I also thought Heaven's Most Wanted = everybody. I thought the whole point is that these forces were battling over everyone's souls. Now I'm just confused. Perhaps it is not the case that I am an atheist, it's just that Heaven doesn't want me.

This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to "Hell". Christians believe that as a result of Jesus' sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

All sins can be forgiven, but as I understand it, you have to ask for forgiveness, or "repent", or else you will indeed suffer "the wages of sin". And that is precisely what the sign implies, that those who perform these "sinful" acts and don't repent are going to hell. How is that any different from "mainstream Christian doctrine"?

You might not like the packaging of the message, but the content is pretty standard Christian theology.

Tex: Woohoo! 7 out of 22 for me. Does this mean I'll only have to spend 1/3 of eternity in hell?

More like 1/pi of eternity. Now if they could come up with a list of 355 sins, we could all strive for 113 of them.

By Bob Munck (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

E @ 96;

Why are pot-smokers on the list? I was under the impression that: " . . . the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:12) And: "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matt. 15:11)

So Clinton had it wrong - it doesn't count as smoking pot if you don't EXHALE.

PZ nailed it @128. Sorry Walton, you don't get to play 'I'm rubber you're glue' for the brand of Christians/Christianity you don't like. By your own admittance Of Christian theology, these people are justified for this type of mentality, which I think we all can agree is despicable. Where we will disagree is how best to handle these extremists. Personally I think they need to be arrested for hate speech and psychologically evaluated.

I personally think that the hell they mean here is Texas in the summertime....

2/22

Akheloios #123 wins the thread.

10 out of 22.

Although "Lesbian" isn't an option for me, barring major inconvenient surgeries, so 10 out of 21.

By chancelikely (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Hate speech isn't against the law, and it should never be.

what's the ruling if you just inhaled the smoke from other pot smokers?

Posted by: qedpro | June 2, 2008 11:48 AM

Sorry, but you didn't leave the room. Eternal damnation and hellfire for you.

I never thought child molesting was a good thing to do but since its on that list maybe it could be worth trying ...
(Just kidding)

I thought we already burned all the witches.... is this to say they're regenerating from the homosexuals???

To Professor Myers at #128.

You are, of course, entitled to the opinion that what I am saying is bulls**t, but I can assure you that I am not being intentionally dishonest. I apologise if I have offended you or anyone else, and I am aware that I am entirely fallible and may well be wrong in any or all of my comments. But I am an honest seeker after truth.

This sign is f**king typical. - I have explained the theological reasons why it isn't logically consistent with typical Christian belief. There is a world of difference between saying "action X is morally wrong" and "anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell". The latter isn't actually consistent with Christian doctrine.

You are, of course, perfectly correct that a number of the actions on that list are condemned by some or all religious denominations. But let's look at some of the more controversial ones (leaving aside uncontroversial ones such as theft, since I assume you agree that theft is generally wrong).

Firstly, homosexuality is condemned as a sin by some, but not all, Christians. This is because scripture is actually very ambiguous about it. While Leviticus issues an unequivocal condemnation of homosexuality, this is part of the Mosaic law (which also condemns such things as eating shellfish and wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, and mandates male circumcision). Christians are specifically not required to follow the Mosaic law, as was made clear in Acts 10 and in several of the Pauline epistles. The New Testament says very, very little about homosexuality (1 Corinthians excepted, and that's simply St Paul's opinion; it isn't part of the Gospels). Jesus said nothing on the subject. So there is absolutely no good reason for Christians to condemn homosexuality. Some choose to, but you can hardly judge a belief system by the decisions of some of its followers. Any belief system is open to abuse.

You say Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation. - So you judge a belief system on the stupidity and small-mindedness of some of its followers? Do you really think that the patrons of redneck bars are the best Christianity has to offer, as regards intellectual caliber?

Pompous asses who try to explain that their favorite theological apologist has said that 90% of Christians are not really Christians make me sick. They are making excuses to remove odious behavior from criticism. - Firstly, I would not pretend that those who I disagree with are "not really Christians". I just happen to disagree with them. And I am not trying to "remove odious behaviour from criticism". Everyone and everything should be open to criticism, and I have no problem with you criticising the behavior of Christians. All I'm trying to do is to ensure that this behavior is represented fairly.

Speaking of Christians who claim that most other Christians aren't REAL Christians and should be punished like the non-believers...

Readers of this Pharyngula post might be interested in a recent spate of blog posts about Tony Perkins (of the Family Research Council). They ask how he can continue to be seen as a mainstream television pundit, despite a history of extreme rhetoric.

Start here:
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2008/06/tony-perkins-and-phineas-priests.h…

The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to "Hell". Christians believe that as a result of Jesus' sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

What's your point? Whoever wrote this sign believes that too. Various sinners are "wanted" in hell but they are forgiven if they "repent and turn to Jesus".

I've gotta side with Walton here. The only True Christians™ are the Rosicrucians, and specifically, those members of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. If you wanna criticise Christianity and the beliefs and actions of its adherents, please restrict your criticism to those of the doctrines of the Seven Periods of the Great Day of Manifestation, the Seven Worlds and the Seven Cosmic Planes, the Astral body, death as birth, and the Cosmic and Inner Christs.

All other self-professed Christians and their beliefs aren't True Christians™ or True Christianity™ respectively, thus it is intellectually dishonest to criticise Christianity by using such caricatures as representative of the faith.

Hope you don't mind my lending you a hand, Walton. By the way, what is your favorite chapter from the Cosmo-Conception? I personally love Heindel, even though I've had brief dalliances with the teachings of Leadbeater, Steiner, and even (hey, I was young and in love) Blavatsky.

I think it would be easiest to cut out the middle man and ask Walton what is ok to judge and criticize. Lay out/summarize what you feel is acceptable doctrine and let us review the principles of it. We may not agree that it truly encapsulates Christianity, but it seems fair to you. We'd be on the same page in that discussion.

To Jason Dick at #135.

No, I do not believe that all the things on that list are inherently wrong or sinful. Indeed, I would admit to having committed a few of them myself. And FWIW, I haven't been a practising Christian for a few years, though I still count myself a firm believer in God.

All I'm trying to do is to ensure that Christianity isn't misrepresented. There is a legitimate debate to be had about the validity of Christian beliefs, and indeed we've had quite a constructive discussion on other threads (though it started going round in circles after a while).

Most of the things on that list are only sinful according to some interpretations of Christian doctrine. The Bible says nothing about masturbation, for instance (the Onan story is about coitus interruptus, not masturbation). And my reply to Prof Myers details why homosexuality need not be viewed as a sin either. I certainly don't think there's anything inherently wrong or immoral about a stable, faithful homosexual relationship. A lot of Christians would disagree, but that doesn't mean that their view is the only "Christian" view.

"And my reply to Prof Myers details why homosexuality need not be viewed as a sin either. "

And you complain that OTHERS do not represent mainstream Christianity?

Hokey smokers!

I think I could stretch it to 22 of 22 if I go by Ray Comfort standards. A bi-curious female counts as a homosexual and a lesbian, right? Getting drunk once, and having tried Wicca and tarot cards makes me a drunkard, a witch and psychic. If I fondled my husband for a favor, I'm a prostitute, and since I manage my own "prostitution," I'm a whore mongerer. OK, and now for the big stretch. If hating someone = murder, then surely fondling myself as a minor makes me a child molester. Yeah? And smelling the pot smoke of someone else's joint makes me a pot smoker.

OK, so I really only consider myself "guilty" of 3 - 5 of the poster's offences, (if I'm an "evolutionist" I'm also a "atom-ist" and a "gravity-ist"), but why should they get to do all the creative "logic"?

Twelve times! They'll need to construct some new circles for me!

So Clinton had it wrong - it doesn't count as smoking pot if you don't EXHALE. - gort

Even then, you're OK so long as it's through the nose!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Okay, so let's say I repent - can I then indulge in all of this tomfoolery and then like, repent each time I try it? Hmm. Win/win sitch, ya think?

PZ - Re: Walton

I think you need to go easy on him. First of all, you're right that most Christians (and non-theists) universally agree on some moral ills - the fact that homosexuality is in that list simply indicates the different moral code between groups of people. (Being a jackass with a sign seems highly offensive to me, but is perfectly acceptable for Fred Phelps...)

Evangelicalism isn't the sole voice of Christianity - it's an imperfect expression of it that happens to be in the majority in this country.

Most of the people I go to church with (including me) often act like assholes. I have no way of justifying or rationalizing that behavior. That's what you get with the Christianity - a bunch of people who don't deserve what they're getting, yet act like God owes them. (Incidentally, that's what got God a-smitin' back in the Old Testament - you'd think we would have learned...)

TBN is a freakshow. (Literally and theologically) I don't know anyone who watches it, even among the fundies I associate with. We're just too timid to go against "one of our own" regardless if it's the moneygrubbing, big haired faith healers on TBN or Jim Dobson. (Which is wrong too.)

Finally, your redneck comment is very telling of the state of "civic religion" in America. The average Joe in that bar doesn't go to church unless his wife drags him with, yet will spout off right-wing, psuedochristian rhetoric about queers and atheists. That's no different than the obscenely rich WASPS who horde their cash, live like narcissists, berate their immigrant houseworkers and then look pretty at the Episcopal mass every Sunday. Civic religion (with it's 10 commandment displays, making a stadium full of people pray, etc.) is a farce. The sooner it's done away with, the better.

All I'm trying to do is to ensure that Christianity isn't misrepresented.

So the apologists are always telling us. Listen, why don't you guys go after the Phelpses, the Robertsons, the Falwells, et al.? They're the ones 'misrepresenting Christianity', not us.

Straighten these assholes out, explain the doctrines of True Christianity™ to them, and we won't put up any more pictures of actual billboards designed and paid for by actual Christians who hold actual beliefs like these and wield their actual political power accordingly, okay?

"Sports fans" going straight to Hell? Gotta be a misprint. I'm sure they meant to say "Cubs fans".

I'm not revealing my score until I know what the prize is.
To be fair to the guy: that he put sports fans on the list is surely a sign he's sincere: he's certainly not into populism. Round my way I'm the only one who doesn't fall under that category.
PZ : your diatribe to the unfailingly courteous Walton, who always supplies considered arguments, and goes into the points of his adversaries, is monstrously provocative
Peter

"I have explained the theological reasons why it isn't logically consistent with typical Christian belief."

It also isn't logically consistent to refuse to drink poison to prove your faith (Mark 16:18)(Or to take a loved one to a hospital rather than healing through prayer, or to not sell all your things and give the money to the poor), but no one does it.

If you are looking for logical consistency, you are in the wrong religion (actually, I can't think of a right religion, except possibly the more secular versions of Buddhism)

By Jason Failes (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Re #133 - was that from Blazing Saddles?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton in #155,

Okay. Makes you a better person than most Christians. But it doesn't negate the fact that most Christians (in the US, anyway) still do condemn the vast majority of the things listed on that sign.

By Jason Dick (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'd take another angle on Walton's criticisms of the criticism.

I don't think the sign is typical of Xianity. I don't even know what could be considered to be "typical Xianity", since you can have libertine antin-nomian Xians, puritans, and any number of in-betweens.

Most of us simply were not pretending that the sign is representative of Xianity, even though PZ tends toward that direction. We were just making cheap shots (really, how hard is it?) at a cheap sign made by cheap Xians. I did, and I certainly wasn't acting as if such cheap shots answer Bonhoeffer, or even Paul the apostle.

I was just going to make my single post and forget about it, since yet another example of idiotic religious displays fairly bores me.

We can have fun (or not) with any manner of stupidity, without it being any grand commentary on religion in general, or even Xianity at large.

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

Yeah, I think they could have left off "Lesbians" (already covered) and put in "Fraudsters" instead. You know, Falwell, Robertson, Popoff... Yeah, like them.

Leaving "Murderers" or "Mass Murderers" off the list, though... That's quite an oversight.

I'm only about a 7 on the Hell-O-Meter. God Damn it.

Oops, make that 8.

To Glen Davidson at #168. - I agree with your analysis, and I am glad you acknowledge that the Christian intellectual tradition is much broader than this sign would suggest, and that it's not representative of all or even most Christians.

I also agree with you entirely that the sign is idiotic, and I don't have a problem with people mocking it (indeed, I know plenty of Christians who would do so).

There is a larger point here that much of Christianity views certain things are sin, which modern secular morals do not. This causes friction between us forward thinkers, and those who rely on an ancient book for their morals. It is a reason we need to shed Christianity from society.

it doesn't have materialists, which is how i describe myself these days. :P

seems to me they could simplify and say Everybody but us.

Most of the things on that list are only sinful according to some interpretations of Christian doctrine.

Fine, but I thought you were objecting to the theological notion that sinning would send one to hell unless one repents. Is your problem with the specific sins listed? Or do you have a more general point?

And even with regard to the specifics, based on this survey I'd say that a large proportion of Christians would agree that all the acts listed are sinful (with perhaps the exception of being a sports fan). So I don't see how you can say that the sign is unrepresentative of Christian beliefs, at least as actually practiced.

(I will note, however, that I for one do appreciate Walton's willingness to tangle with the gang here in such a substantive manner.)

Damn, Walton, I don't know what cloistered little bubble you live in, but the picture illustrates the views of vast swathes of Christian Amurrka. Your eyrie of effete theologians may sniff at such crudities of Christian expression, but any cursory examination of Sunday morning television, or the AM radio band any day, will confirm that "mainstream Christianity" holds exactly such views.

And no one forgets that Hell is the default destination for everyone, whether or not they do anything on that all-too-Christian list. So don't even try to pretend that the Bible god is just or merciful.

Thanks for bringing up the Courtier's Reply once again!

Re: #133 - Cola --> keyboard

Oh, and 5/22 (I'm only counting present hits; as listed, they seem to refer to habitual acts).

By CortxVortx (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

But if you're interested in actually engaging with the ideas of theists, this kind of caricaturing is not the way to go. - Walton

Trouble is, Walton, theistic ideas (I use this term since theists can perfectly well have good ideas about other topics) seem not to be worth engaging with, when examined at all closely. There is no convincing evidence or argument for the existence of any deity, and conclusive evidence that the Christian god, supposedly both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, does not exist. Once that has been said, what's to engage with?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

13 times, I made the list an incredible 13 times, which is amazing considering I'm heterosexual and male.

If you are talking since maturity I've got at least 12. $100 and a condom could make it thirteen. Ongoing I'm afraid it's only six.

Why didn't BMW or Hummer drivers make this list?

I concur with Brownian. If "mainstream" and "real" christians don't agree with stuff like in the sign, then they should actually join us in mocking it!

Assuming they think it is as foolish as we do, then why are aren't they joining atheists in opposing them? As Brownian implies, if Walton is right then morons like these actually do far more harm to christians than they do to non-christians. Even if Walton is right, his apologetic approach enables the loonies as they take him and his kind down with them.

I judge Christianity on the basis of the stupidity and smallmindedness of the majority of its followers, and on the wretched quality of its fundamental doctrines. The whole concept of original sin is a deep evil that is central to Christianity, and leads directly to nonsense like the sign above. Like I said, you will find very few Christians who subscribe to all of the condemnations listed, but many who will endorse a significant subset ... because that is what Christianity is all about, finding evil in humanity and using it as a scourge to compel obedience.

And no, I will not go easy on Walton. Using good grammar to make apologies for horrors and stupidities and lies does not impress me in the slightest.

While I am as amused by this sign as anyone, I do believe that it is not a list of "sins" (individual acts)but "sinners" (lifestyles). That is, I would not label someone who occasionally gets drunk a "drunkard", but would you reserve that character assessment for someone who is "always" drunk. Similarly "whoremonger" is someone who makes a living off prostitution, not any one who has ever been a "client". As for the perplexing inclusion of "sports fan" perhaps that too does not mean the guy that watches Monday night football, or a season ticket holder, but the hard-core fan that wraps his life around sports rather than adding sports to his life. So, this is not a list of individual acts of "sin", but of sinful lifestyles that this person believes will send you to Hell.

To CortxVortx at #174 - I am in fact British, and don't live in the United States. While I'm very familiar with American politics and am a regular reader of many US political columnists (I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance), I haven't grown up in the same cultural and religious environment as most of the participants on this forum. That may explain some of the confusion.

About the sports fans, This too use to puzzle me. There is a reason for the linking of sports and sin. The key point is the second commandment and " You shall have no other gods before me." part.

These people think that using your spare time to enjoy sports and not bowing to God is a major, commandment violating, sin.

They are a rahter silly, unentertaining and undereducated crowd. I recommend avoiding them.

I fall in 11 of those and I'm a vanilla stay at home mom.

Re 166:
Re #133 - was that from Blazing Saddles?

Yes, and I assume posted in honor of recently deceased Harvey Korman.

(I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance)

Sadly, I don't believe that was a joke.

Walton loves Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter ?

Does the man have no taste ?

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Had to go back and find out who this dude Walton was. Found his lengthy post, including, among other things:

... cheap shots at Christians ...

Seems to me, (a) a lot of what they say implicate themselves, and (b) if, hypothetically, there is a distinction between the kind of Christian posting these kinds of signs and "normal Christians", I doubt you'll find "normal Christians" attacking and making fun of these. Either is a good reason to begin throwing pies here, IMO.

Hypocrites? That covers a whole lot of christians I know.

By Johnny Cache (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

To Professor Myers at #179.

Please note my lengthy reply to you at #150. I'm not asking you to "go easy" on me, nor have I claimed that the quality of my grammar has any bearing on this discussion. I would ideally prefer that you did not call me dishonest, but it's your blog and I can't stop you from doing so. I have absolutely no problem with you critiquing my ideas.

Rather, I was hoping you would engage with and reply to the argument I put forward at #150 above.

Not just Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. He earlier mentioned Jerry Falwell in a "positive" way.

Gag. Shudder. Gag.

Just tried linking through, and got a message saying "This image has been linked to without permission". How idiotic.

"'Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.'" (Matt. 15:11)"

Eeew, does that mean it's not gay if you swallow? And yes, 133 was the late, great Korman as Hedy Lamarr. Err, sorry, that's "Hedley."

Anyone who admires Limbaugh, Coulter and Falwell does not really strike me as being someone who cares much about his fellow man.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

To Serena at #190 - I did actually make clear that I'm not a huge fan of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. While I respect the strength of his beliefs, I dislike the way he politicised religion (even though this had positive consequences - the election of Reagan being one), and I always disagreed wholeheartedly with a number of his beliefs. Similarly, I don't think Pat Robertson is always a positive influence on society.

Well, before I say anything provocative with respect to PZ's denunciation of Walton let me just say that I qualify for hellfire at least nine ways according to the manifesto of 'sins' listed above.

And, you know, lying to people, stealing from people, some of these things listed, we all know these things are wrong.
And, even if they don't hurt other people directly, we know that some of these things (substance abuse, gambling, other addictions) can screw a person up real bad.

But do Christians as a whole really condemn people to eternal damnation for, say, rooting for the San Diego Padres? I kinda doubt that, PZ.

I would say, though, that quite a few do condemn people who practice alternative lifestyles: homosexuality, paganism, witchcraft, outspoken godlessness. That list would've been well-represented at Jupiter's the other evening, and it's my personal belief (not necessarily a point of view enshrined in Christianity) that we should not use another's identity as a weapon against them.

But you know what? The God I believe in would've chosen to have a beer with that crowd rather than attend a banquet for the self-proclaimed righteous. The God I believe in would've said, 'Neither do I condemn you.' And that kind of God, fanciful or not, is the kind of God that a lot of Christians actually believe in, just for the record.

But I also agree with some of the posters above. The public spectacle of 'civic religion' is the very essence of hypocrisy, with the modern-day Pharisees preaching their gospels of entitlement for everyone who backs their view of the social norms. And Brownian's sly post (#153) seems to embody Poe's Law, in that the most nuanced appeals to 'true religion' are indistinguishable from parody. Perhaps the ultimate sin is to presume we know enough about anything of ultimate concern (Tillich's definition of 'faith') to say anything ultimately...

Walton,

Better yet, why don't you reply to Brownian or Dennis N or Nick Gotts?

Walton:

Some of your points are valid, but still your argument is flawed. It is unreasonable of you to expect atheists (or any non-christian) to accurately judge who is a "true" christian according to your standards, whatever they may be.

The only thing we (nonbelievers) can do in this case is to take the speaker's word -- if he says he's a christian, then we accept him as such. There are a huge number of subdivisions within christianity and they pretty much all claim to be the only "true" form of christianity. The recent kerfuffle over whether (non-LDS) christians consider mormons to be christians is an excellent example.

So, do you really want PZ and the rest of us to decide whether you, or anyone else is a "true" christian?

First off, I'd like to know where this sign comes from and who created it. It's either the work of some fringe kooks (the likes of Fred Phelps maybe), or it's a parody.

I don't know where the sign to which PZ linked comes from, but I can tell you that christian-identifying protesters with similar signs are at every gay pride event I've attended, also at a recent performance art event.

I find it curious that someone who is as seemingly well-informed as you about kulturkampf issues actually that ignorant of the depth and prevalence of this form of nutjobbery.

By Bureacratus Minimis (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Ahh, 18 hits, the advantages of old age. The sixties were great, at least what I remember.

And, you know, lying to people, stealing from people, some of these things listed, we all know these things are wrong.

Damn. There go Odysseus and Robin Hood.

recently deceased Harvey Korman.

Shame - I'll watch Saddles one more time in his honour!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

This sign is f**king typical. - I have explained the theological reasons why it isn't logically consistent with typical Christian belief. There is a world of difference between saying "action X is morally wrong" and "anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell". The latter isn't actually consistent with Christian doctrine.

First, the bolded is a straw-man. The sign says what it says. Don't pretend it says something else.

Second. Bullshit. I trained for the pulpit before I realized what a complete and fucking scam religion was. Like it or not Sunny Jim, those beliefs are, in fact, expressed by the vast majority of Christian denominations in the US and abroad. There is no way, beyond rank intellectual dishonesty to pretend they are not mainstream biblical/biblicaly interpreted issues requiring, for the unsaved, an eternity spent burning in hell.

No matter how many times you put that pig in a dress.

Of course sports fans are on the list. They have different religions. You cannot serve both God and the Yankees.

I don't really love the money. I would like to be friends with it however.

Money isn't everything! But without money everything is nothing!
-- Scrooge McDuck

This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to "Hell". Christians believe that as a result of Jesus' sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

That's exactly what the sign implies at the bottom -- red on black, and in bad lighting, so perhaps you overlooked it: "REPENT, TURN TO JESUS".

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

even though this had positive consequences - the election of Reagan being one - Walton

Ah, I see the problem, Walton: you've got your head stuck on back-to-front.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

blasphemer, money-lover, atheist, evolutionist, masturbator and porn-lover. Hmm, looks like I'm doing well. Maybe I should go out and add fornication, gambling and drunkard to the list?

If you're female, I can help you out with those three ;o)

10! Woohoo, I'm going to hell!

Christians are specifically not required to follow the Mosaic law, as was made clear in Acts 10 and in several of the Pauline epistles.

Matthew 5:17 would suggest otherwise, and other than that, I'm not going to get involved in a discussion on which threads of the Emperor's New Clothes are the strongest.

Walton #181

a regular reader of many US political columnists (I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance)

Thou infectious shag-eared moldwarp!

Heaven, how boring it must be.

While I respect the strength of his beliefs

That is perfectly ridiculous.

Walton
Yeah, sorry I mis-typed (only slightly, I think). I just re-read your post.

So you were not a "huge fan" of the man. I think I am not alone when I say the very sight of the man makes me retch. He epitomizes everything that I hate about religion, christianity, creepy fat white guys..etc. So even a slight nod of approval makes me sick.

Hmm, 14 / 22. Amusingly, being a "sports fan" is NOT one of my transgressions.

By Disciple of "Bob" (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Having come back to this thread after confessing at #2 that I was guilty of 6 of those crimes I have to say I thought it was what you did since breakfast today that counted.
Whole life hunh?
In my whole life, I tried them all except being a lesbian and I just do not have the hairy bits for that else I would at least have tried it just to see what its like. Even tried to screw my cousin when i was 11 and she was 13 so that has to be a twofer right there(it happened in another country so screw you American crazy laws).

Oh and at #181 a brit who loves Ann Coulter AND Rush Limbaigh: that is just disgusting.
Shame on you.

Ahh, 18 hits, the advantages of old age. The sixties were great, at least what I remember.

13/22! I'll bring margaritas to the party.

What's with Mr. Wet Blanket? No offense, but have you read ANY of the rest of this blog? The main reason people get disgusted with religion is that there are so many contradictions and hypocrisy and bigotry that really, there's no way for any human to follow it and not go to hell. So yeah, this wacko with the sign pretty much sums up the main message of hatred that is so rampant in religion. Your philosophy may be all sugar-frosted, but it still has more holes than a torn fishnet. (perhaps the origin of the word "holy"? tee hee...)

To Bureacratus Minimis at #197, and to Brownian in various posts.

I think you and others have slightly misinterpreted my argument. I am not arguing that the creators of this sign are not "true Christians". I do not have the right, nor does anyone else, to decide who is and is not a "true Christian". Anyone who views themselves as a follower of Christ fits that definition.

I would not deny that Fred Phelps is a Christian. Whether he is a good Christian is another matter; his theology is very much different from mainstream Christian beliefs, and, like most people here, I find his views and activities to be morally offensive.

Since you brought the issue up, I have no problem with recognising that Mormons, JWs, Christian Scientists, and other non-Trinitarians are Christians. They view themselves as such and they strive to follow the teachings of Jesus. If God were so picky as to reject faithful people because they happened to be brought up in a slightly different religious tradition, I would not want to worship him anyway. For the record, I know many, many mainstream Christians (even liberal-minded ones) who reject the idea that Mormons et al. are real Christians; but I certainly do not think that way.

So I am not trying to make the argument that my own views represent "true Christianity" and that everyone else is not a "true Christian". As I've said earlier (repeatedly), I am no longer a practising Christian, and I haven't decided to which particular theological viewpoint I adhere.

Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That's all I've been saying.

And all I'm saying is, what do we judge it on then?

Re: #181

It certainly does explain a lot: You have no concept of the rampant, raging, rabid Christian fundamentalism that we in the Colonies have to endure. It's not the Father Ted / Vicar of Dibley Anglicanism you seem comfortable with -- it's the Elmer Gantry yahoo-ism of the unlettered Great Unwashed that has taken over the politics of this once-great nation to form the American Taliban of the Bush regime. When you claim that the sign and its sentiments don't reflect "mainstream Christianity," perhaps you should make it clear that you mean "British Christianity" -- I'll leave that to a native Brit to critique.

I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance

Wow. Those shining exemplars of crazed Christianity didn't clue you to the mood of the mob in the States?

Q: What's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?

A: One's a flaming Nazi gasbag, and the other is just a dirigible.

Anyway, no more polemics until you sample American-style backwoods "led by the Spirit" self-proclaimed priesthood-of-the-believer preachers who are totally convinced that any thought that pops into their mostly-inactive little minds is a direct communication from God Almighty, and anyone who questions it is a tool of Satan.

Seriously. This is mainstream Christianity in America. I was raised Southern Baptist; I know whereof I speak.

By CortxVortx (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walto, Walton, Walton. The small minded followers of the religion make up the religion, are the religion, represent the religion. Shall I go on? WTF, you can't separate the followers from the book, you are one right? A follower? What kind of religion would it be if you have no followers typical or not? Saying their doing it wrong doesn't absolve the rest.

By Barkliekadog (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds."

-How is it possible to caricature superstition when it is BASED on the extreme and the absurd?

To Nick Gotts at #205: I have no idea what you mean.

It is unreasonable of you to expect atheists (or any non-christian) to accurately judge who is a "true" christian according to your standards, whatever they may be.

The only thing we (nonbelievers) can do in this case is to take the speaker's word -- if he says he's a christian, then we accept him as such. There are a huge number of subdivisions within christianity and they pretty much all claim to be the only "true" form of christianity. The recent kerfuffle over whether (non-LDS) christians consider mormons to be christians is an excellent example.

Exactly. I think of it as the Pipeline Problem: there is no way to judge from secular, empirical, rational evidence which of the competing claimants really has the pipeline to a supernatural power. (Most of the time, when we try, we find that their supernatural powers don't know all that much about the natural world.) Does Joe say he's a "real Christian" because he follows a larger percentage of the Bible? Well, OK, but Moe says that he is the better Christian, because his books are more faithful translations of certain Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Meanwhile, Jack over here is saying that the scholars whom King James hired were touched by God themselves, so the KJV is more inspired than anything before or after! His ex-wife Joan had an epiphany after their divorce and now follows Marcion, so her Bible consists only of a "purified" Luke and a couple Pauline epistles, but dammit, she's got a personal relationship with Christ.

" If God were so picky as to reject faithful people because they happened to be brought up in a slightly different religious tradition, I would not want to worship him anyway."

What about people who are faithful to other religions? What about those faithful to the principles of humanitarianism? Your bible clearly states that anyone NOT fully 100% christian is doomed and rejected by your god. It says it MANY times over. I am sorry to mince and nitpick but that argument holds no water at all. Can you clarify how far you prefer your god to smite the unbelievers before you would dismiss him as excessively cruel and/or an imaginary construct of lonely and terrified early humans in desperate need of some kind of leadership?

And if the "essential Christianity" is a red herring, what can we do except investigate and criticize the most socially and politically powerful factions? When you care about creating change in this lifetime, chasing phantasms is a waste of time.

Ah Walton, you're British, that explains a lot. I don't think PZed has been exposed to Anglican doctrine - he's just extrapolating from the US Christianity he sees to the rest of the world.

Imagine, if sports lovers go to Hell, that means one ex-pope and a former Bishop of Liverpool. And a couple of former Bishops of Durham get in under Atheism.

15/22!

Someone who knows how to do this on-line, please put up a poll so we can log in our number of "violations." We could graph it and everything.

Twelve for me! Is that significant? If it's not, is it at least funny? Didn't think so.

You can't beat a post that gets both humor and a serious discussion. Thanks again PZ.

I believe with ever fibre of my being that Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter's biggest contribution to humanity would be if they were rendered down for their water to offset the coming aridification of the planet.

I believe this more strongly than any thinking Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Bahá'í believes in their god.

I hope the theists shall accord to me all the respect the strength of my beliefs deserve.

Its really bad that I saw that and got competitive. I should get a bonus one for that I think. But loose definitions: 15. Strictly defined (i.e. weekly or more) 6. And I wasn't even alive in the 60's... well sort of: I was gastrulating and very into organogenesis rather than free love and acid at the time.

I think we've now got past the initial point of contention which I was here to raise - namely, that this sign is not representative of all Christian doctrine or ethics, and that ripping apart the viewpoints of fringe nutters does not discredit the religion as a whole.

We're now getting into the same arguments about Christian doctrine itself, and its apparent logical inconsistencies and irrationalities. The truth is, as we established on other threads, I can't answer those. For one thing, I'm not very secure in my beliefs myself, and I honestly don't have an answer to some of these legitimate questions. For another, if I or anyone else could give a really definitive answer to the problems of (for instance) theodicy, this debate would be redundant. As it is, we keep going round in circles.

I'm here for two purposes, ultimately. Firstly, as an honest seeker after truth, I believe that debating and discussing matters with all sides is the only way to arrive at the best possible answer. Secondly, none of the other theists on this blog (a tiny minority) seem to be willing to tackle these issues head on and engage with the substantive problems (except Kenny, and his views seem to have been discredited).

I'll withdraw from this thread for now, therefore. This is, in a sense, an admission of defeat - not an admission that you're right, but an admission that I don't have all the answers.

I apologise to Professor Myers for the fact that I seem to have pissed him off somewhat (I don't honestly understand how; I thought I was being reasonably courteous). If he doesn't wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

Oh, did not realize Walton was British.
Walton, you probably don't realize the mind-numbing extent of the ridiculous claims of these backwater loonies... For that I will excuse some things, but please realize some of us were raised wracking our brains about this stuff and being told to basically sit down and shut up and go along with it on the threat of losing any and all connections with our families who would not want to associate with a nonbeliever.
However, I still don't agree with you and don't believe your arguement holds any water, though I'm glad to see you are at least being polite here.
I never say much, preferring to simply read this blog, but that post of yours hit a particularly sore point with me that really exemplified the hypocritical beliefs I have to deal with in my immediate family. It gets very frustrating watching them pray fervently over things that they could actually do something about, but prefer the course of inaction because "god will fix it"

Shooting fish in a barrel may be fun, and it's certainly easy. On the other hand, attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn't a very good practice if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history. Note that my complaint is not meant as a defense of Christianity--from my perspective that would be as irrelevant as an attack on it--but a comment on the absurdity of reducing complex human phenomena to propaganda cartoons. Anyhow, polemics is more interesting--and honorable--when it engages a worthy opponent instead of some stupid TV evangelist. Attack Gary Wills or Ralph Waldo Emerson instead of some halfwit, and maybe the exercise would come across a little less like making fun of a cripple.

Sheesh, they don't leave many behaviors off the list. We may as well have a complete list! Noticably missing were ignorance, naivite, gullibility, arrogance, power-mongers, slow-readers, denialism, anti-evolutionist, creationist, toothfairy worshiper, slow-learner, wishful-thinker, etc, etc...

By Latina Amor (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Funny.

"Sports Fan" is the only thing I'm not.

By Cygnus Tygger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Thus quoth Walton:

To Glen Davidson at #168. - I agree with your analysis, and I am glad you acknowledge that the Christian intellectual tradition is much broader than this sign would suggest...

Intellectual tradition? Ah, let's see - the Malleus Maleficarum, Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake, Galileo and Copernicus persecuted for the heliocentric theory, the Spanish Inquisition... Oh wait, they weren't True Christians now, were they?

To Brownian at #233 (I can answer this, since it's about politics rather than religion).

I don't always agree with what Rush and Ann say. In particular, I'm often appalled at their attacks on Senator McCain (a great war hero, a genuine conservative and a man I deeply respect, though I disagree with him on some issues). I think it's counterproductive to attack the Republican nominee; they should be lining up behind him to ensure that Obama - a man with little experience, dangerously naive ideas on foreign policy and a worryingly leftist philosophy - is kept out of the White House.

I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy. Ann in particular has been consistently correct in pointing this out. Given that you are all hostile to religious fundamentalism in general, I should have thought you'd recognise the threat to our values posed by fundamentalist Islam. (Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly. We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.)

I think we've now got past the initial point of contention which I was here to raise - namely, that this sign is not representative of all Christian doctrine or ethics

Whoever claimed it did?

Even when Myers says that this behavior is "typical," he still notes that "You can find individual details ("sports fans", for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority"

So are you having a good time playing in the straw?

Shit, I only got FIVE! I'm one effing lousy Blasphemous, Money Loving, Evolutionist, Atheist Fornicator, aren't I?

I'm gonna' go eat some puppies now...

By Wolfhound (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Have you noticed the conundrum here? Criticize the extremist kook Christian, and the moderates come on whining that you're only criticizing the extremists; criticize the moderates, and get protests that they aren't extremists. It's Catch-22. Perfect insulation.

The only answer: treat 'em both as equals, and slam both the lunatics and the moderates who give them cover.

According to this list, Hitler was a pretty moral guy...
Drunkard? No, he was teetotal
Gambler? No
Posrn-lover? Not that I know of
Whore-monger? No
Child-molester? No
Evolutionist? Despite what expelled says, no.
Blasphemer? Not that I know of (correct me if I'm wrong)
Money Lover?
Not really. He lived well, but not lavishly, considering that he was a world leader.
Pagan? No. I believe some of his followers were
Prostitute? No, although there are rumors about his early days on the bum in Vienna.
Homosexual? Not that I know of, although again there are rumors of his Vienna days.
Witch? no
Atheist? No, see Mein Kampf
Pot smoker? No
Lesbian? No
Fornicator? Hitler is thought by some to have been asexual, and died a virgin.
Masturbator? No, see above
Psychic? No

That leaves:
Liar? Yes, non-aggression pact with Stalin, "Work will amke you free" etc.
Thief? Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc.
Hypocrite? Yes.Can't think of specific examples, so I could be wrong

See, not such a bad guy. Could be heaven bound with a little work.
You guys, however...

Do I get a Godwin?

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Yeah, I've got 13!

As far as tight or loose definitions go, you can bet the person who wrote that sign would define even THINKING about doing any of those things as being guilty.

What? No Christmas trees? For shame.

Aren't - whatsit? - Benny Hinn and Uri Geller witches by their definitions? And what about Sylvia Browne? I may of course be unfair, but were I to draw a Venn diagram I'd make the intersection of believers and callers to the psychic hotlines (and readers of horoscopes, but that's all hunky-dory according to Genesis 1, of course) quite significant.

You wish to be an "honest seeker after truth?" Fine. Show some EVIDENCE that there is a shred of truth to your notion of an omnipotent and ubiquitous sky-daddy. Until you can demonstrate that there is any verifiable, measurable, repeatable, concrete reason to grant that notion any validity, you are spinning your wheels. Belief is not evidence, no matter how fervent it may be.

"...if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history."

I'm pretty sure the sociology of the religion is understood, as is its role in history. I think that understanding is where the majority of this backlash comes from perhaps? I can think of a thousand ways to pick apart christianity merely by focusing on the mainstream, normal, white-bread everyday christians that glide through life blithely uncaring about the principles they're endorsing.

If he doesn't wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

And the award for Most Dramatic Exit goes to...

Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That's all I've been saying.

Walton, this is indeed a good point, but how many examples like this are needed to demonstrate that the people who espouse these beliefs, though extreme, are not all that absurd, at least in a North American context?

I am in fact British, and don't live in the United States.

That explains a lot, my fellow European. Where we come from, what you said about majorities is in fact correct. Where the sign comes from...

Sadly, I don't believe that was a joke.

It's less probable than Russell's Teapot, though.

the late Rev. Jerry Falwell [...] I respect the strength of his beliefs [...] positive consequences - the election of Reagan being one

Where is the teapot again? Between Mars and Jupiter, or between Neptune and Uranus? Because I'm considering buying Hubble time and would like where to look for it.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Sports fans?

Even if it's the New Orleans Saints?

Or the San Diego Padres?

How do they define "evolutionist?" I don't know if I qualify. I mean, I'm not an evolutionary scientist or anything cool like that.

By BoxerShorts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton #241

It's nice to see that republican talking points are reaching your country through those internets.

We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.

Are you an officer of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders?

Sports fans?
Even if it's the New Orleans Saints?
Or the San Diego Padres?

Or the St. Louis Cardinals?

By BoxerShorts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I don't see most American conservatives willing to fight and die for the freedom of gays to be themselves and love who they wish. Actually, they wanna amend the Constitution against that.

I apologise to Professor Myers for the fact that I seem to have pissed him off somewhat (I don't honestly understand how; I thought I was being reasonably courteous). If he doesn't wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

Walton, it's not your tone, but the argument you are making.

I'm going to echo the sentiments expressed here by others and ask you to stay. We're a feisty bunch and tend to go on the offensive fairly quickly, but well-meaning, reasoned disagreement are appreciated and welcome here. Until you become guilty of repeatedly engaging in the behaviours listed here, you have no reason to feel that you don't have something to contribute.

Besides, as a Canadian, we need all the commenters who use -ise rather than -ize and -our rather than -or we can get.

Brownian, are you critizing the ardor with which we use our spelling? ;)

To Sports Fan at #257 - To answer your implied question, no, I have never served in combat, as I imagine you guessed. But I was expressing the fact that I would, ultimately, be willing to fight and die to protect my country and the freedoms which we all enjoy. I wasn't trying to be pretentious.

FWIW, I am a cadet in the OTC (similar to US ROTC, although it doesn't lead directly to the awarding of a commission). I'm thus technically a (non-deployable) member of the British Territorial Army, and hope to join a deployable TA regiment after I graduate from university. So I may have the opportunity to serve in combat one day.

Give me a break, I'm only 19 (well, tomorrow is my 19th birthday). :-)

I saw a sign like that one time, but it was even more extensive, and included, hilariously, "Church Gossips."

No hell for abortionists? Must be the readers digest condensed list, accent on dense.

#145

Akheloios #123 wins the thread.

Yes, definitely. I laughed myself silly. The "Hindenburg" gag in #218 is good too; I hadn't heard that one before.

I only hit 11, but I included "Liars". sooo......

That sign is typical of signs I see three days a week in front of the local porno shop. Those good christians have been protesting there for almost four years now. The gawdists of America are crazy. Am I the only one that wonders why the FLDS'ers aren't being charged with bigamy? Can't go messing with someones faith now can we. The fundies are screaming because the bible belters are finally being belted back. Good on ya PZ.

By Patricia C. (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn't a very good practice if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history.

Who said that was the aim of the exercise in this case? The original aim of the post was surely to share a chance to laugh at an unpleasant, intolerant fool (notice the category: "Kooks").

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

(Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly. We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.)

Posted by: Walton

But do you respect the strength of his beliefs?

To Serena at #190 - I did actually make clear that I'm not a huge fan of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. While I respect the strength of his beliefs, I dislike the way he politicised religion...

Posted by: Walton

By Janine ID (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Can only make the grade on 6. Unlike some here...

I, of course, am not guilty of any of these sins (except hypocrisy. Doh! got me).

By DiscoveredJoys (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

To Serena at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

Sorry, I meant Janine ID, not Serena.

Walton: I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

See Walton, most of us see the enemy in a wider horizon -- not just the Jihadis, but those who funded and helped create the Jihadis. Those would be your heroes - Reagan and Bush Sr., and McCain who wishes to continue their programs that will inevitably lead to an expansion of the Jihadis, not their diminuition. Those who ally themselves with the House of Saud, who sold weapons to Iran, who have funded bloody dictators across the world.

So Walton, from history, I can't take your claim to be willing to "fight for my freedom" at face value. It's the conservatives who are doing a dragnet on the internet, who are tapping American's phones, who are kidnapping folks off the streets, who are denying Americans their right to fair and speedy trials, who have created "no-fly" lists, who claim to have the right to abrogate the fourth amendment and use military force against American citizen, and who accuse anyone who isn't a flag-lapel wearing phony as suspicious. The same folks who did the same thing fifty years ago, and wouldn't allow Linus Pauling to travel abroad because he had "suspicious politics".

If anything, some on the right are in effect collaborators with the Jihadis. Remember we have always been at war with EastAsia!

Insert "to know" in the appropriate place in my last sentence.

To Nick Gotts at #205: I have no idea what you mean.

Reaganomics? Star Wars? Iran-Contra? Does none of that ring a bell?

Senator McCain (a great war hero, a genuine conservative and a man I deeply respect

Do you know what the Bush campaign did to him in the primaries, and how he reacted?

Also, where you and I come from, Obama and Clinton are quite genuine conservatives. Kerry would fit even better, though. And Schwarzenegger.

Obama - a man with [...] a worryingly leftist philosophy

For crying out loud, the man is about as leftist as Tony Blair!!!

the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism,

Cut the poetry. The defining struggle of our time is against paranoia, ignorance, and stupidity. You are much more afraid of the terrorists than can be justified based on their real power -- which means they have won. That's exactly what they want you to be: terrified.

specifically Islamic extremism,

No more dangerous than the Christian extremists in the USA. They have terrorists, too; the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was just the most spectacular act in a long line.

and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

I repeat: cut the poetry. Terrorists are criminals. What to do is to get the police to put them to court and then in jail. They are not an army, let alone one of a country. Nor are they numerous enough to form an army if they wanted to.

Given that you are all hostile to religious fundamentalism in general, I should have thought you'd recognise the threat to our values posed by fundamentalist Islam.

Only in the countries where they rule. That's bad enough -- don't get me wrong! --, but you seem to be irrationally afraid of them taking over Europe or something, which is an impossibility for a long list of reasons. (Such as the enormous attraction of Western culture, or lack of culture if you prefer, har har.)

(Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly.

I'm not trying to defend the man -- he's for killing people, and would qualify for "dangerous madman" even if he weren't --, but you should have read the transcript of his October 2004 video. (Was on http://aljazeera.net for years, but is no longer available.) There he rhetorically asks why 9/11 was perpetrated in the USA "and not, say, Sweden".

In his view, we are all going to hell anyway because we aren't Muslims in the first place. He's fine with letting us go there in peace. He "just" doesn't want any interference with his (religious) pet topics: support of Israel, support of the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

I want to see him in court, charged with instigation to and support of over 2700 cases of mass murder. But if I said I thought he wanted his followers to blow people up in Sweden, I'd be lying.

---------------------

Blasphemer? Not that I know of (correct me if I'm wrong)

That's a definition issue. Basically, it depends on one's idea of God.

Psychic? No

Again depends on the definition. He was deep into the occult.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Most of the people I go to church with (including me)..."

How often do you go to church without you?

Is it possible to be both a blasphemer and an atheist, or does being an atheist rule out blasphemy? Is blasphemy judged by the standards of the hearer, or the speaker?

To Frog at #277.

See Walton, most of us see the enemy in a wider horizon -- not just the Jihadis, but those who funded and helped create the Jihadis. Those would be your heroes - Reagan and Bush Sr., and McCain who wishes to continue their programs that will inevitably lead to an expansion of the Jihadis, not their diminuition.

I don't know quite what you mean here. Yes, it is true that the Reagan administration armed and assisted Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s - but would you really condemn them for that, given that Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union? Wasn't it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

And I don't see how McCain's policies will "lead to an expansion of the Jihadis". McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion - and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building - we cannot pull out now. Withdrawal would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and civil war; the Iranian-backed Shi'a militias would also take over vast swathes of southern Iraq, expanding Iran's power in the region. McCain, like it or not, is the only candidate with a realistic approach.

Those who ally themselves with the House of Saud, who sold weapons to Iran, who have funded bloody dictators across the world. - Our alliance with the Saudis is, again, a necessary evil. They are not the most pleasant regime in the world; I don't think anyone would dispute that. But, distasteful as it is, they do bring some degree of stability to the region, which is preferable to the probable consequences of overthrowing them/withdrawing support. The last thing the Middle East needs is more anarchy.

As to selling weapons, I am a firm opponent of selling weapons to dangerous countries, however lucrative the deal. I think it is a mistake that we have done so in the past. Security interests must come before profit.

It's the conservatives who are doing a dragnet on the internet, who are tapping American's phones, who are kidnapping folks off the streets, who are denying Americans their right to fair and speedy trials, who have created "no-fly" lists, who claim to have the right to abrogate the fourth amendment and use military force against American citizen, and who accuse anyone who isn't a flag-lapel wearing phony as suspicious.

Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario. And who is "kidnapping folks off the streets"?

Gex 279

I made it a point to attend church without myself. Or at least that is how it felt. It was all about survival.

:)

The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to "Hell".

No, the VAST majority of Christians don't know their own theology from a hole in the ground.

By Sarcastro (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton is 19 and admires someone for being a genuine conservative ?

What are his political views going to be like when he matures ?

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

PZ (244) - I recognize your conundrum, but doesn't that exist in other places where there is a wide spectrum of belief?

Does PETA provide cover for the Animal Liberation Front? What about Greenpeace and Earth First? Your local campus Marxist and Stalin? Bill Buckley and Alex Jones? Would you paint them with the same rhetorical brush you would Christians?

Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

I've got this bottom land in Florida you may be interested in. I'll throw in the Brooklyn Bridge to sweeten the deal...

By Sarcastro (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

10/22. Can't say I'm not proud of that.

To David Marjanovic at #278.

Also, where you and I come from, Obama and Clinton are quite genuine conservatives. - I agree to an extent as regards Clinton, but not Obama. While he is portraying himself as a moderate, it's very hard to tell; his platform appears to consist of "hope", "change", and little in the way of substantive policy. His Iraq plans are unworkable (as I've suggested above, immediate withdrawal would be a disaster and would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and chaos, or else being taken over by Iran). Also, don't forget his friendship with a convicted Marxist terrorist (Bill Ayers) and with a black-nationalist religious lunatic (don't tell me that you, as an atheist, approve of Rev. Jeremiah Wright?)

To address your other points briefly.

There he [Bin Laden] rhetorically asks why 9/11 was perpetrated in the USA "and not, say, Sweden"... He's fine with letting us go there in peace. He "just" doesn't want any interference with his (religious) pet topics: support of Israel, support of the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Firstly, it is perfectly true that Islamic terrorists do not target the likes of Sweden to the extent that they target the United States, and that the reason for this is, at least partially, the fact that Sweden does not interfere in the Middle East (and does not have the capacity to do so even if it wished to). But this does not mean that we (by which I mean the US and UK) are doing anything wrong, or are somehow "responsible" for 9/11. Are you seriously arguing that we should withdraw totally from the Middle East, leave the beleaguered nation of Israel (one of our few reliable allies, and the only Middle Eastern democracy) to fend for itself? We, as major powers with strong military forces, have a moral responsibility to intervene in order to stand up for the values in which we believe.

[Islamic terrorists are] No more dangerous than the Christian extremists in the USA. They have terrorists, too; the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was just the most spectacular act in a long line. - This is a ludicrous comparison, quite frankly. Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so. That doesn't make them any better morally, but it does make them less of a threat. Ultimately, the differences are both ideological and sociological, and it is pretty clear that there will never be a worldwide, well-organised network of Christian terrorists, laundering large amounts of funds, training their operatives at remote locations throughout the world and recruiting new members from a large, disaffected religious minority. On the other hand, that is exactly what we do face with Islamic terrorism.

I agree with you that, ideally, we would use the police and the court system to deal with Islamic terrorism. But it is too powerful and too dangerous for that. There are Islamic terrorist networks around the world - with the capacity to work acts of destruction, as illustrated not just on 9/11, but with the Madrid train bombings and the 7/7 bombings in London - and we need all the resources at our disposal to fight that threat, including our intelligence and security services and our police. We also need to take the fight to the terrorists themselves - the best defense being a good offense - which is what we have correctly done in Afghanistan.

I became curious to find out; what do religious people actually think about God and sin? An admittedly quick Google [ religion survey popular hell ] found this:

  Is God Angered by Human Sin?
http://www.thearda.com/quickstats/qs_98.asp

Note that the sum total of "Agree" and "Strongly Agree" is 56.3%, a strong majority. Hm.

A strong majority also believes in Hell:

http://www.thearda.com/quickstats/qs_72.asp

Now, the survey did not include the exact question "Do you believe that God hates sinners and condemns them to burn forever Hell", but I think that it could be inferred from the above that the answer to that is very probably "yes", for the majority of religious persons.

As I said, a very quick Google.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That's all I've been saying.

Walton, I appreciate you coming here and trying to defend the moderate religious view, but you yourself are making a strawman of what the sign says. As pointed out by Tulse in #140, myself in #152 and David in #264. The sign says that effectively everyone is a sinner and should repent and turn to Jesus. What's so extreme and unchristian about that?

Walton: And I don't see how McCain's policies will "lead to an expansion of the Jihadis". McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion - and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building - we cannot pull out now. Withdrawal would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and civil war; the Iranian-backed Shi'a militias would also take over vast swathes of southern Iraq, expanding Iran's power in the region. McCain, like it or not, is the only candidate with a realistic approach.

Can you not see that staying for a century (as McCain said) can only lead to fortifying the worst elements in Iran and Pakistan? The current government of Iraq (the one we're backing) is seen as an Iranian stooge in the ME! It's the Iranians who are gaining. We not only screwed up, we continue to screw it up by our so-called "stabilization". Our occupations is THE problem -- it's too late to stop Iranian dominance over Iraq.

Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario. And who is "kidnapping folks off the streets"?

How do you know? How could you know whether this information is being used to blackmail politicians? We know that this was done by Hoover's FBI back in the 50s and 60s -- why would we assume the good-will of the folks in power today? Isn't it the so-called conservatives who claim to be shy of unchecked government power?

I'm unimportant -- but you dare to imagine that folks with a dragnet over the entire internet (yes, lookup the Naurus 2000!) are unlikely to use such information for political advantage? What naivete!

Have you not heard of "extraordinary rendition"? We have picked up folks off the street (so far no confirmed cases within the US), and held them in secret, incommunicado for years at a time. Some of them have been innocent of any crime whatsoever -- see the El-Masri case. Really, it's unbelievable that anyone would defend such a flagrant criminal act.

And once again, the right-wing strawman comes out. No one is against legal wiretapping. But without the checks and balances of public juridical oversight over such wiretapping, we're being "protected" in the same way that the Soviets "protected" their citizens against "dangerous counter-revolutionaries". Don't you see how your arguments have been used since the 1850's to justify oppressive government tactics? That these same talking points would have been right at home in the USSR? We haven't gotten to that point yet, but I'd feel more comfortable the farthest we could be from our sworn ideological enemies, rather than being pale emulations of them.

I guess we've reached the point that simple realism is accused of "paranoia and exaggeration". Since this information is quite publically available, it's difficult to believe in the good-faith of those who deny it.

To Janine ID at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

Posted by: Walton

Falwell and his ilk did not need to use violence to get his aims, the control of the enacting of laws was the weapons of choice. As for these laws not being sharia, I would beg to differ. The laws they keep working for would reduce this person (female and lesbian) and others like me to being second class citizens. That is violent enough.

While you are correct about the violence done in the name of islam, just check the thread about Laila Huessain, it does not excuse the actions of Jerry Falwell nor of your heroes like Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh and *nn C**lt*r. They have worked hard to curtail my freedoms and I do take that personally.

By Janine ID (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I havent read all of the posts but here is what I heard recently. Some of you may have heard of brother Micah a crazy preacher who goes to unversites all round the eastern US. He has an extensive list of hell bound people.
lesbians
Homosexuals
smokers, drinkers and other drug users
fraternity and sorority members
people who kiss on the mouth before marriage
pet owners
sports fans
rock and roll, rap, even if xian rock or rap
catholic
baptist
atheist
jews, muslims etc
john lennon, jimmy hendrix, gandhi, MLK, Teresa
he estimates 98 percent of people in hell
he calls the televison helevision. lol
personally I cant think of anyone he doesnt damn
luckily hell doesnt exist

I only hit 11, but I included "Liars". sooo......

LOL! Suck on it, Epimenides!!! :-D

But do you respect the strength of his beliefs?

The obvious question nobody thought of. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

So it's the beliefs themselves, and not the strength, that you respect. That's sane of you.

(Well, respecting Foulwill's beliefs still isn't sane as far as I know, but you get my point, I think.)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton: Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so. That doesn't make them any better morally, but it does make them less of a threat. Ultimately, the differences are both ideological and sociological, and it is pretty clear that there will never be a worldwide, well-organised network of Christian terrorists, laundering large amounts of funds, training their operatives at remote locations throughout the world and recruiting new members from a large, disaffected religious minority. On the other hand, that is exactly what we do face with Islamic terrorism.

I think you should look more closely at phenomena such as "Joel's Army", the "Family" prayer group and other militant fundamentalist sects in the US. The threat of terrorist attacks on much greater scales is present, and I would not be surprised if some of our military actions have been motivated in part by fundamentalist doctrines. The intent definitely exists -- recall that a few years ago a US general declared that the US invasion of Iraq was part of a religious confrontation between "our" God and "theirs". One may even be tempted to believe that some of the supporters of the Iraq war were motivated primarily by religious, not geopolitical, considerations.

Wouldn't that be terrorism on a scale vaster than those piddling little jihadis? But they would be on your side!

This isn't paranioa, but geopolitical reality. Maybe you are unaware of some of your allies on this side of the Atlantic - but I doubt it if you follow Coulter and Limbaugh.

We, as major powers with strong military forces, have a moral responsibility to intervene in order to stand up for the values in which we believe.

This calls for another link to Robert Newman's History of Oil:

http://www.thedossier.ukonline.co.uk/music_satire.htm

(Scroll about 40% of the way down the page to find it.)

Sports fans might fall into this group because they're always tempted to skip church and stay at home Sundays in order to watch NFL football, French Open tennis, European soccer etc. Also they usually pay money for cable to get ESPN, TSN, etc.-money that should rightfully be given to the church. Those Learjets don't fuel themselves you know-regardless of the prayers directed upwards.

By skeptic99 (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Objections like the one here are plain bullshit:

Shooting fish in a barrel may be fun, and it's certainly easy. On the other hand, attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn't a very good practice

You make the mistake of thinking this is an 'extreme' or 'marginal' manifestation. Some of the trivial ones like sports fandom may seem extreme, but ARE widespread nevertheless - And, worse, ARE SCRIPTURALLY SUPPORTED (even if only through contortions like 'thou shalt have no other god before me' - if they can twist that to saying love nothing more than you love god, then complaining that it applies to loving sports is just a question of degree...).

Worse for your position is that there really aren't that many 'kooky' entries on the list. Of the 22 there, ones that are held as sinful by most mainstream flavors of christianity are:

thieves
liars
money lovers
pagans
homosexuals
witches
atheists
porn-lovers
whoremongers
child molesters
lesbians
fornicators
hypocrites

That's 13 out of 22, and really drug users and alcoholics would be put on by a good deal of christians, though admittedly not anywhere near as many as the ones I mentioned. Prostitutes and gamblers would be thrown in by a pretty good number as well.

What makes this 'funny' is the inclusion of so many innocuous things like liking sports, or the simple fact that someone would be openly so bigoted and hateful, but as much as moderate-christian 'defenders' want to pretend this is just 'extreme' and 'not representative of christianity as a whole', well, suck it, because MOST christians DO agree with the majority of that list. They're just tactful enough to not bring it up, and/or slightly more sane so that they don't go batshit crazy throwing in the kitchen sink.

Walton: Look up Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was kidnapped by US law enforcement authorities on spurious evidence (essentially, he knew someone who knew someone who might have once been in contact with a terrorist organisation) provided them by CSIS and the RCMP, "extraordinarily rendered" to Syria despite asking to be returned to Canada, stuck in a grave-sized hole in the ground and tortured for six months, with the complicity of the Bush Administration, who knew damn well that was what would happen to him.

Look up Omar Khadr, while you're there -- a Canadian-born Canadian citizen being held in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely because he was sent to Afghanistan as a fifteen year old boy, and he threw a grenade at some US soldiers. His military tribunal court date (at least he got one!) has been kangarooish at best and plagued with irregularities, not least of which is that the judge was dismissed. Despite the Canadian authorities' asking, Mr. Khadr has not been able to return to Canada.

These are just two cases.

And that is the kind of thing the Bush Administration and its lackeys worldwide support -- unlawful, indefinite detention, torture, kidnapping, and the violation of habeas corpus and due process. I don't care who's on the other side; surely we're collectively better than that. Some shitpot terrorist is worth giving up all that and most of the worthwhile civil liberties besides? (I note that Bush's people have not yet located nor apprehended Osama Bin Laden, and by Bush's own admission, don't really care about catching him, either. He's much more convenient as a boogeyman if he's wandering around loose, after all.)

And while we're there, let's talk about Zbigniew Brzezinsky admitting in an interview in a French newspaper that the US was funding and arming mujahadeen in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, hoping to goad the Soviets into invading so that they'd get bogged down in "their own Vietnam." And let's talk about the hyperexaggerated threat from the Cold War, and Iran-Contra, and the number of recycled Watergate and Savings and Loan Scandal felons still kicking around in US right-wing politics. Fine company you're keeping, throwing your hat in with that lot.

And that's not actually getting into all the right-wing Christian terrorism the Bush Administration has essentially ignored or blinked at. If you look at the history of right-wing terrorism in the United States, they've killed altogether many, many more people than Islamic terrorists ever did. (Lynching alone counts for thousands.) And yet, you and all people like you are so intent on hating Muslims and turning a single terrorist attack into a new world war, you're pissing your collective pants at the drop of a hat.

Grow up.

By Interrobang (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

They forgot one category: "People we don't like".

Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

Given that, in the US, some such wiretaps are not subject to any court oversight, how do you know what they are being used for?

And who is "kidnapping folks off the streets"?

The CIA.

Walton,
please allow me to cut to the chase...
Ann Coulter and Rush Bimbaugh are American jihadist. No different! Count the Bushs, Cheneys, Rumfelds and Roves and neo-con-artists with them...all delusional jihadists! Monikers could be Osama Bin Coulter and Muhammed Limbaugh. They are religious delusionists just like Osama Bin Lying. Only difference is our jihadists have cruise missles and F-22 Raptors with thermonuclear weapons. Does that make sense? And scare the shit out of you, yet?

By Latina Amor (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wasn't it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

This is a much more difficult question than you think. For example, in hindsight, it was probably the greater of two evils. If I had to choose between living under Brezhnev or under the Taliban, I'd choose the former...

Walton is 19 and admires someone for being a genuine conservative ?
What are his political views going to be like when he matures ?

Calm down, it's just Adolescent Rebellion™, he'll return to his parents' Social Democratic values when he'll grow up ;-)

And I don't see how McCain's policies will "lead to an expansion of the Jihadis". McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country.

That's it. That's what we're talking about. Keeping them in the country would only keep attracting people with a terminal messiah complex who either want to remove the Americans from the national soil, or the heathens from the sacred soil, or both.

I agree to an extent as regards Clinton, but not Obama. While he is portraying himself as a moderate, it's very hard to tell; his platform appears to consist of "hope", "change", and little in the way of substantive policy.

The substantive policy is practically identical to Clinton's, as far as I know (haven't bothered to check out his website). That's certainly among the reasons why it hasn't been mentioned more. I predict the parts that McCain disagrees with will come up a lot over the next months.

His Iraq plans are unworkable (as I've suggested above, immediate withdrawal would be a disaster and would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and chaos, or else being taken over by Iran).

And that would be different from the current situation how?

I'm completely serious.

No, really. Get out, get the UN in instead, and pay for it.

Never mind the fact that the continued presence of US troops so close to Iran would be used by the theocrats there to justify acts of ever greater paranoia* -- and would indirectly cause greater and prolonged suffering for the population of that country. The Assad dynasty in Syria can be expected to react similarly.

* Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not coming after you.

Also, don't forget his friendship with a convicted Marxist terrorist (Bill Ayers)

Never heard of it.

and with a black-nationalist religious lunatic (don't tell me that you, as an atheist, approve of Rev. Jeremiah Wright?)

Friendship? He wasn't there when the Irreverend preached that, and he has condemned those lunatic views how many times now?

(BTW, whether I'm an atheist is a matter of definition. I prefer calling myself an apathetic agnostic.)

But this does not mean that we (by which I mean the US and UK) are doing anything wrong, or are somehow "responsible" for 9/11.

Indeed not. That's not what I mean.

Are you seriously arguing that we should withdraw totally from the Middle East, leave the beleaguered nation of Israel (one of our few reliable allies, and the only Middle Eastern democracy) to fend for itself?

Not at all. I was arguing against the "they hate us for our freedoms and want to kill and/or conquer us all" mindset. I repeat: if he's still alive, I want to see him and any surviving henchmen in court for over 2700 cases of mass murder.

This is a ludicrous comparison, quite frankly. Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so.

Ah, really?

I agree with you that, ideally, we would use the police and the court system to deal with Islamic terrorism. But it is too powerful and too dangerous for that.

Ah, really?

There are Islamic terrorist networks around the world -

So what? That doesn't make them powerful. That only means there are several countries with three terrorists in them.

I agree about the "intelligence and security services" though. Should have mentioned them.

Some of them have been innocent of any crime whatsoever -- see the El-Masri case.

You didn't count Driving While Arab.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I wonder if this is Bible Jim, the guy who holds fort at the University of Idaho once a year around the time the weather starts getting warm. I have a couple pictures from his harangue back in 2001, and "Sports Nuts" was on the list. I notice this list doesn't have Mormons on it, which maybe means it's a different guy.

"Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario."

To echo frog, how do you know? How could you know? Why, for instance, did the Bush Administration feel the need to exempt themselves from FISA? You know, the old lawful (and yet still rather easy) way to get warrants for wiretapping?

Walton: Yes, it is true that the Reagan administration armed and assisted Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s - but would you really condemn them for that, given that Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union? Wasn't it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

By that logic, it would be justifiable to fund bin Laden to protect Iraq from US expansionism --- aka, completely illogical and insane. You know, in that Afghan case, it was actually the government of Afghanistan that invited in the Soviets --- making their unjustified aggression more justified than ours!

You see where we get once we enter this topsy-turvy world of wingnut politics --- everything has to be hedged by special exemptions due to our "moral superiority", since no symmetry exists. In short, no real morality, but simply apologetics for the unconstrained use of force. Kind of like Christian apologetics, come to think of it...

Only managed 8 out of 22. Maybe nine, but I don't think I have the self-awareness needed to tell if I'm a hypocrite.

I have to wonder what the maker of that sign does for fun.

And while we're there, let's talk about Zbigniew Brzezinsky admitting in an interview in a French newspaper that the US was funding and arming mujahadeen in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, hoping to goad the Soviets into invading so that they'd get bogged down in "their own Vietnam."

Wow.

Which newspaper?

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed, and the fundamentalist Christians themselves.

Let's see, I am an evolutionist but I am a sometimes sports fan, sometimes liar, sometimes thief, sometimes gambler and sometimes hypocrit (aren't we all).

Interesting it says nothing about murderers, as mentioned, or Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics. Or even polygamists and bisexuals.

Not only is the list incredibly inclusive, but it is only of Hell's MOST wanted. Presumably then, there are people who aren't represented on this list who are going to hell for some lesser offenses.

Heaven mus be a pretty lame place. Unless in heaven you spend eternity with all the awesome people who went to hell and in hell you spend eternity with all the fundies.

Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

What a steaming pile of fetid dingo's kidneys. Apparently Walton's ignorance of American history extends to the fact that our Glorious Organs of State Security have a long, well-documented and consistent history of seeing themselves as secret political police and acting on that vision.

We have no more good reason to assume that the right-wing authoritarian-follower personality traits which inspired those abuses (and which Walton is a marvelous exemplar of) are no longer in action than we would have to assume that someone with a past conviction for child molesting would make a good babysitter.

The history on Walton's side of the pond is probably just as shameful as it is in the USA, as secret police creeps are pretty much the same sort of creature wherever you find them.

@ Matt Penfold in #284: Bob Altemeyer's research on authoritarianism indicated that his students' RWA scores tended to decrease as they continued their college educations, but tend to rise again in middle age.

As for the going-to-Hell checklist, I'm not gonna tote up my score until I find out whether it's graded on a curve.

By Ktesibios (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton, so what if the Falwells of this country don't use overt violence. The fact of the matter is that they don't need to: they can rally their good little sheep and vote down gay marriage, protection from violence for gay and lesbian students, they can prevent GLBT folks from serving in the military, from having protection from housing discrimination.

You'll have to pardon this gay man for not leaping to my feet to sing their praises for simply not killing me. Even then, there are quite a few who do think that way (go browse the FSTDT archives for a bit if you don't believe me).

With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed,

What was his team?

(um, some religious tracts say the Jesus spent the three days in hell. Had to for some reason.)

By Cygnus Tygger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I don't see most American conservatives willing to fight and die for the freedom of gays to be themselves and love who they wish. Actually, they wanna amend the Constitution against that.

And when Walton's hero Reagan was in office, they cheered while we faggots died.

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

DM: You didn't count Driving While Arab.

Ah yes. In Florida, there were two medical students arrested and searched in the Everglades because they were overheard talking in a restaurant by a waitress in their native language. That was enough for them to be treated like terrorists. No evidence whatsoever, no "probable cause", other than speaking a foreign language and appearing brown (and being foolish enough to eat in one of our "family" eateries --- don't go to Cracker Barrel, Shoneys and such in the US if you are "suspiciously" brown).

But then I recall that once in Florida a swat team raided a restaurant because someone claimed that Khadaffi was eating there --- and that was back in the mid-90's.

By the way, I believe it was Le Nouvel Observateur that did the Brzezinski interview -- I recall reading it, and here's a link to a selection in couterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html

I don't have time to respond to the flood of responses tonight (it's the evening where I am and I have to do some work) but I'll respond briefly to Bachalon at #313.

[T]hey can rally their good little sheep and vote down gay marriage... - Yes, but there is rather a big difference between not wanting to extend marriage to homosexual couples, and going around blowing up buildings in order to destroy homosexuals and infidels. Wouldn't you say?

While I (as stated above) don't believe that there's anything wrong with homosexuality, and am in favour of allowing same-sex civil partnerships, I don't think that those who oppose such partnerships on moral grounds can really be compared to Islamic terrorists.

...protection from violence for gay and lesbian students... - All students, including gay and lesbian students, are protected from violence by the general law. If someone attacks you, they are guilty of assault/battery, regardless of your sexuality. No conservative has suggested making it legal to assault gays.

...they can prevent GLBT folks from serving in the military... - Is serving in the military an inalienable right? I'm not going to defend "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", but I think that decision should be made purely on the basis of what will be best for the combat efficiency of the military. If commanding officers on the ground feel that allowing open homosexuals to serve would not compromise the cohesion and combat effectiveness of military units, then I am entirely in favour of homosexuals in the military. (Here in the UK we have allowed open homosexuals to serve in the military since 2000 and it hasn't caused any particular problems.) But it isn't a rights issue; the only important factor is military efficiency.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that discrimination against homosexuals is a good thing. I am personally in favour of same-sex civil partnerships; some conservatives are against them. But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws. (Well, Fred Phelps does, but he is widely recognised as a complete lunatic. Jerry Falwell called him a "first-class nut".) On the other hand, Muslim extremists do, in general, want to destroy homosexuals.

There is no comparison.

Eleven... or twelve for me. Kinda depends on some of those definitions. At least I made 50%! I feel good about that.

There is no comparison.

What a selling point!

"Christians: Not as bad as Islamic Terrorists!"

So discrimination and bigotry is acceptable as long as it's not as bad as "Muslim Extremists"?

From way back, near the top:

[I]f you're a human being, basically, you're toast.

I think it's called original sin.

p.s. Only 9/22. I feel so unworthy.

By Bob Dowling (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton: But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights.

Are you f'ing kidding me??? They've moderated their speech in recent years, but it's only a decade since gay sex was legalized in many parts of the US -- Falwell et. al. were all for having the state intrude into the most private of matters! Denying marriage rights is clearly a violation of equal protection, just as "separate but equal" and miscegenation laws were.

These are people using the power of the state to violently attack gays, no question about it --- these are people who say that "gays" are responsible for 9/11 and the Katrina disasters, rather than their own compatriots who were actually in control of the levers of government that were supposed to protect us from those disasters.

You're right, they're not for stoning gays -- they're for throwing them in stinking cells for six months to a year, where they're likely to be raped, beaten and possibly even killed. They're for winking and nodding at those who terrorize gays, in the same way they winked and nodded at the klan back in the day. They (and you) simply refuse to legally recognize acts of terrorism and want to treat them as simple assault. Did Bin Laden "just" assault and murder on 9/11?

My respect diminishes with every one of your postings, as I see recycled right-wing nonsense underlying your "oh so sensible" Christian moderation. If this is what moderation looks like, I almost pine for the simple-minded honesty of a Kenny.

I can't believe I only can claim to be 10 out of the 22. Darn.

By Jim Benson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion - and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building - we cannot pull out now.

The fact that every poll shows a clear majority for a swift end to the occupation, of course, makes no difference whatever as far as you're concerned, any more than it does to Bush and his British stooges, or McCain.

In addition to being poorly planned and executed, the invasion was also a war crime, founded on lies (for the lies, if we needed it, we now have testimony from one of Bush's senior accomplices in his crimes, Scott McClellan).

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton said:

I do not have the right, nor does anyone else, to decide who is and is not a "true Christian". ... I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument.

Walton,
Don't you realize that this is just the same argument, rephrased? Instead of arguing about which sects count as Christian, you're now arguing about which Christian sects are absurd. But whose definition of absurd are you using? Your own sect's, of course. What you now mean is: these people are absurd and extreme as defined by my own interpretation of Christianity.

ripping apart the viewpoints of fringe nutters does not discredit the religion as a whole

Same problem. One man's fringe nutter is another man's devout, mainstream believer. If you want to demonstrate that this is fringe nuttiness, you have to tell us on what you base that claim. Number of adherents? As a Brit you should probably not choose that metric: protestants lose that one. Protestants ARE the fringe nutters according to the bigger Roman Catholic and Russian/Greek Orthodox churches. Adherence to certain core religious beliefs? We can't use that one, there's no way for an outsider to decide which core beliefs are better than any others. So, again, how does an outsider decide what to count as non-nutty Christianity?

So you judge a belief system on the stupidity and small-mindedness of some of its followers?

What else do you judge it on? Internal consistency? Christianity loses. Aesthetic appeal? Happiness granted? Those are in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps you could judge a belief system on the number of people fed or number saved from disease. In which case Science wins. In short - if you don't judge a belief system on the actions of its members, then what do you judge it on? Name your metric for judging belief systems.

I really hope you don't withdraw from the debate. Your comments have been interesting, if not entirely satisfying. And happy birthday.

#280 Nemo: I don't think being an Atheist necessarily makes you a blasphemer. Blaspheming - according to the dictionary - is about what you say, not about your thoughts.

..and for the record, I score 11ish. Damn all you pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians for breaking the curve!

Damn all you pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians for breaking the curve!

Especially us underaged ones who self-abuse each other!

Of course, my "all but sports fan" status means that I'm a liar in which case ...

I mean, you aren't judging yourself on the honor system are you? You'll never get to hell that way!

I think it's pretty well established that Walton's just repeating the No True Scotsman fallacy again and again.

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton:

Brzezinski: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

So which is it? Is the current hysteria justified or was the hysteria about the Soviets justified? You can't have both, according to one of the architects of the mujahadeen program in Afghanistan.

Oops, I signed that last one with my wrong name...

...well, you caught me in a bluff...

Athiest, maybe... Pagan, in a pinch... but Liar? Most def'

By wooz-- er, I m… (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh, wait! Its Hell's Most WANTED

They want the sports fans and lesbians and atheists and pagans because Hell is too crowded with Fundie hatemongers and they need some good pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians to liven the conversations.

Walton:

Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so.

I think you greatly overestimate the capacity required. What training did they have? Minimal flight school. What equipment? Boxcutters and synchronized watches. Almost anyone could have done it -- which is the truly scary part, I suppose. The only special element they needed was a willingness to die (and to make a lot of others die) for their cause.

Eric:

I don't think being an Atheist necessarily makes you a blasphemer.

No, of course not -- I'm asking if being an atheist precludes you from being a blasphemer. (Because, if it does, then I can't count that one towards my total.) That is, don't you have to believe in God before you can blaspheme? If we assume that the sin is in the intent, then an unbeliever can't really form the intent to blaspheme, can he?

So, if I understand this correctly, there won't be any ESPN or pay-per-view channels in Heaven, and they won't let me bring my Big Lebowski DVD with me.

"This is a bummer, man! That's ah... that's a bummer..."

With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed,

What was his team?

I don't know his team, but ancient scripture (aka old Canadian joke) tells us that he played goal in the NHL:

"Jesus saves!...and Gretzky scores on the rebound."

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I got nailed on only 2.Evolution and third from the bottom right.

And that's only Hell's MOST wanted, forget all the little Hellish traffic violations.

Yeah, "traffic violations" like murder, rape, abuse, etc that they apparently forgot to list there...

By Gustav Nyström (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wow, late to the game and it took 265 to mention abortion?!! And no mention of transsexuals?!! And no mention of anyone who covets a neighbors belongings or pieces of ass - that's a whole commandment there - two if you're RC?!!

Some people really can't make good inclusive lists.

By natural cynic (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Daniel.

You gotta get out of the house more.

Teehee.

Do you get to check one off if you haven't actually done the action, but seriously intend to?

wow - I'm 14 of those

Wow! 11 for me! I wonder if there is a special spot in hell reserved for those of us who like to drink while watching sports? (I spent most of Sunday night at a bar watching my beloved Australia scrape a narrow, lucky win over Iraq in the world cup qualifier)

Does it count if you wanna be a lesbian but don't have the equipment?

By natural cynic (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I'm amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics. Thing is, you can't really characterize the beliefs of particular Jewish or Christians groups by quoting a line or two from Leviticus. I don't give a damn if it's bad theology--I'm not a believer--but it is absurd from a historical or sociological point of view because the Bible that matters to particular sects and denominations is the Bible-as-interpreted. Thus it may say in the Jewish Bible, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," but actual Jewish law hasn't interpreted justice that way since before the beginning of the common era. Even believers who think they adhere to scriptura sola do not. Last month I listened to a radio preacher who claimed that the Bible literally fingered Satan as the tempter in the Garden of Eden, presumably because he's so used to the conservative protestant understanding of the story that he forgot the bad guy who shows up in Genesis is simply a talking snake. And so it goes. You can't make a faith out of a book, especially a book as self-contradictory as the Bible. Only the Fundies and, apparently, the village atheists think you can.

Somebody corrected me about calling Emerson a Christian. Since Emerson began his career as a Unitarian preacher and wound up some sort of pantheist, he certainly wasn't an orthodox Christian. He was, however, part of the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening in America and that was surely a largely Christian phenomenon. The first half of the 19th Century in this country produced a remarkable collection of religious figures, some rational, some barking mad, some progressive, others reactionary. What I object to is the tendency to dismiss all these men and women and their 20 and 21st Century counterparts as a bunch of Elmer Gantrys as if Fundamentalism, which was actually a rather late development, somehow typifies religion in the U.S. I figure that all religions are equally false if you consider 'em as systems of propositions about the universe; but it's just bad history to claim that they are always or even usually the source of social evils. For example, in American history, the churches were often on the side of the movements such as the abolition of slavery, women's rights, and universal education. They were, in fact, mostly very supportive of the sciences, trusting that the facts would support their spiritual intuitions. Ideological atheists, as opposed to those of us who simply don't believe in God, tend be pretty crude historians.

Is Walton aware that Rush Limbaugh goes on Viagra vacations to the Dominican Republic, one of the biggest world hotspots for the purchase of sex with children?

I got nailed on only 2.Evolution and third from the bottom right.

Poor boy. I hope you will soon get nailed frequently and often so you can get the fourth from bottom right.

Um, you *do* want to get nailed on more of them, don't you?

"9 current, 12 all-time."

You are doing 9 of those right now, all at the same time? Impressive!

By Ferrous Patella (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

JH: Somebody corrected me about calling Emerson a Christian. Since Emerson began his career as a Unitarian preacher and wound up some sort of pantheist, he certainly wasn't an orthodox Christian. He was, however, part of the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening in America and that was surely a largely Christian phenomenon.

So by this standard, all American citizens from the 19th century where "Christianish", since they were all certainly influenced by the 2nd Great Awakening?

Such sophisticated hermeneutics! Such a subtle understandig of history! Please, give me the village atheist instead - I'd rather have someone crudely right, than someone sophisticatedly wrong.

I'm on there for between 6 and 8, depending on whether you put "chronic" or "occasional, accidental" in front of "liars" and "hypocrites".

I'm not perfect, is all I'm sayin'...

If I can consider myself a lesbian trapped in a man's body, that would get my score up to 13. Can I get an Amen!... er, Awomen!... ah, you know what I mean.

Nemo: When I had religion, I was a blasphemer. Goddammit! Now as a nonbeliever there is no damnation and nothing to do the damning anyway.

8

By mellowjohn (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

not a very good use of space there: homosexuals AND lesbians, i'd have replaced 'lesbians' with 'intolerence'.

Good to see that you can have a drink, just not be a drukard!!!

By extatyzoma (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I feel tame - I can only get to 12, and that's if you count lesbianism as a subset of homosexuality.

Woe is me, I shall never acheive pure sinfulness...

I'm damned on nine counts.
Looks like I have some work to do.

By Karen Peralta (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wow I get all 22, I'm really regretting having sex while under-age now...or not ;-P Wow I'm kinda awestruck I am truly evil.

By Darth Gundam (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Wait a minute...psychics...they forgot GORGYLES!

PZ-

I'm calling bullshit on this game, as it's horribly biased.

You can't win unless you are, or have been, female!

Oh, well. I guess I have to settle for 20/22, but I swear to God, I'm really a good person!

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

@Eric #327: "In short - if you don't judge a belief system on the actions of its members, then what do you judge it on? Name your metric for judging belief systems."

Christianity's most generally accepted metric, according to its creator, Paul, is codified in Galations 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."

When judged by that metric, this clown and his obscene (and ridiculous) sign are a massive FAIL. And WTF? Sports fans?

And by the way, Jesus told us NOT to stand on streetcorners, praying and making a public display of religiousity. So, double FAIL.

Where the hell is "People who answer their cell phone during a movie"?

Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I'm amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics.

Somebody upstream made some claims, so village atheists are all fundamentalists? At least you practice what you preach and do not let your criticism be constrained by literal sources.

And whose claims do you mean, anyway? The only thing I saw resembling a bible quote is #58; if that's the one you are miffed about, you might want to take a closer look.

At least I'm not a sports fan. Actually, if you only count things done habitually, I only rate six. I guess I've let a sheltered life.
Why did several commenters say there were no such thing as witches? Most certainly there are. I can't claim to be one (yet). So far I just hang out with witches.

@ PZ, #128:

"I hear that so often -- "Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity" -- and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity."

...and #244:

"The only answer: treat 'em both as equals, and slam both the lunatics and the moderates who give them cover."

PZ...Wait, so would you then assert that Matthew Fontaine Maury fell into this category? According to Wikipedia, he's the "Father of modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology". Per Wikipedia:

"Maury lived by the Scriptures; he fully and unconditionally believed in what the Holy Scriptures stated; he hardly ever spoke or wrote without the inclusion of scriptural references; he prayed every day."

By buckyball (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Breaking it down I have to say I've done more than half of these at some point - but am only 'guilty' of a few on a regular basis. Some I wouldn't (or couldn't) do but am in favour of being done by those who choose to do it. A couple of others I abhor as much as the sign-writer - though probably for completely different reasons.

I echo ealier posters in wondering about...sports fans? Doesn't NASCAR go hand-in-hand with right-wing Xianity in the south of the USA? They'ver started showing it on tv here (Australia) recently, and I find it kind of strange - I thought the commentary was parody at first but apparently it's not. I'm hardly a motorsports fan but at least F1 has style.

My 'evil' of choice is cricket, preferably the five-day test version. Yes, it's crazy - but it's my kind of crazy.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton-

May I say something about Ann Coulter? She is a half-wit, a termagant, a dimwit, a blowhard, a worthless silicone nothing, physically ugly and could be likened to Eva Braun, who was Hitler's mistress. As it happens, these are all descriptions or characterizations Coulter uses for others in her book, "Slander." It ought to be called "Mirror".

And that was before she ridiculed Donny Deutch and his religion with some of the most unspeakable anti-semitic remorks while appearing as a guest on his show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s63rzfy8FFs

Walton, on another thread I said I liked you, and wouldn't mind sharing some beers and discussion with you, but you really have to rethink your love of Ann Coulter. She is about as lovable as flesh eating bacteria.

No beers for you!

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Maury lived by the Scriptures; he fully and unconditionally believed in what the Holy Scriptures stated; he hardly ever spoke or wrote without the inclusion of scriptural references; he prayed every day."

considering that xian ideology has exactly as much relevance in oceanography as in any other branch of science...

the answer is obviously yes, ALL of us would rightly chastize the good Mr. Maury, if today he chose to expound his ideology as explanatory of any of his physical observations. In fact, I challenge you to show us how Maury's brand of xianity informed ANY of his oceanographic publications, even back then.

moreover, we move on, and rightly so.

You might as well have brought up Mendel for all the good that would do you.

Journalists are not among those most wanted in Hell because, of course, they run the joint.

By john maxwell (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

May I say something about Ann Coulter?

may I?

Ichthyic-

You drive home a good point. Why the hell isn't sodomizer on the bloody list?

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

You can't win unless you are, or have been, female!

Or lie about it!

In God's eyes, we are all female!

Quack! Quack!

By Cygnus Tygger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

You drive home a good point.

:p

Only 10 for 22. I've got to get to work!

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I find this poster reassuring. If hell doesn't exist and nobody can go there when she dies, how can all these people's lives have any meaning?

o Serena at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

BULLSHIT.

Pure, unadulterated BULLSHIT.

As a Brit, you have no idea that the goals of Falwell and his ilk have always been to impose Christian law on the whole of America (have you even looked at what groups like the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, etc. espouse???). What they mean by Christian law, what they state openly and without shame or hesitation, is that homosexuality should not be legal (which means they would make it illegal again). Abortion would not be legal. Contraception would not be legal. Women would not be allowed to work, at least not after marriage, and don't be so sure that many other rights women have obtained wouldn't be taken away, like voting. Don't be sure that other minorities won't soon have their rights taken, either; racism is rampant in this group. And that's just what can happen to "Christians" in America.

These Christian Dominionists make it clear that atheists and any other non-Christians would not be allowed to stay in this country. It's convert or leave--or go to jail (maybe). They believe in extreme punishments for even minor crimes--you can serve years in prison for stealing a $500 TV here, they've proposed bringing back punishments now considered inhumane, the Religious Right are huge supporters of the death penalty, so, yes, I believe they would gladly torture or kill apostates or any other violators of "law" if they had full control of this country.

They (and the vast majority of what constitutes "conservatives" here) care fuck all about protecting rights like free speech. They only care about protecting their rights, and up yours to anyone who isn't marching lockstep with them. Disagree, dissent, question--they would gladly silence you. One way or another. Just look at how they structure their media shows. On radio, they will cut you off if you start making sense, or proving the right winger wrong. If he lets you on the air at all (you have to lie to make it past the screeners--and it's usually a he, btw). The wingnut TV host shouts over the people who disagree with him, literally drowning them out so that they can't be heard. That's what they do when dissenting voices are "protected" by silly things like secular laws. Take off those gloves (as the Religious Right would do), and I doubt they'd be more accommodating to dissenters.

What you are are seeing here is a backlash, the people who have had enough. Some have thought that this was a phase and it would pass. Some didn't realize things had gotten so bad because they're busy. But they're awake and aware, and they're sick of what this country has become. They're not going to be quiet anymore, and the conservatives and religious had better get use to that.

And please don't equate conservatives with "protecting rights" or "protecting us from threats." They don't. Conservatives in charge only drive the economy into the ground, cause the infrastructure of this country to deteriorate to dangerous levels and cause strife between Americans and with other nations. They have the reverse Midas touch. Everything they touch turns to shit. Since they're too busy lining their pockets and those of their friends, they ignore domestic and international problems until the problems give them little choice but to notice them (see: Katrina; see: sub-prime loans, see: NIE warning about impending Al Qaida strike). Then they fuck up when they try to fix the problem. This is hardly protecting us from threats.

To proclaim that other christians aren't true christians is not just typical of christians across the sociopolitical spectrum, it's a defining feature of christianism.

This is a tradition 2 kiloyears in development, as reflected in the observation that every single book of the N.T. contains at least one warning against false doctrines &/or teachers.

At first, this finely honed factionalism was little more than a source of humor to those not involved - but the chariot wheels really came off when certain Roman emperors gave certain christian overseers (root meaning of "bishop") power of execution to express their critiques.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Just look at how they structure their media shows.

...or their commercials...

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/what_if_they_wouldnt_sell_ca…

as to where their long-term interests like, those unaware of the "moral majority" movement, might want to take a gander at Pat Robertson's law school sometime.

http://www.slate.com/id/2163601/

http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2007/04/08/scandal…

oh, most assuredly these folks are interested in far more than "live and let live".

violence can take many forms aside from the directly physical.

like lie

Walton
There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior.

Walton is pretty much correct there. That really is all it would seem most here want to do.

PZ
I hear that so often -- "Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity" -- and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This sign is fucking typical. You can find individual details ("sports fans", for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority, but others ("homosexuality") are practically the rule. Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation.

Confirmation bias. What a truly unintellectual and emotionally charged 'argument', a childish diatribe PZ. You may be a fine biologist but you appear to know nothing at all outside of your field.

Brownian, OM
Listen, why don't you guys go after the Phelpses, the Robertsons, the Falwells, et al.? They're the ones 'misrepresenting Christianity', not us.

More confirmation bias. Pathetic. Why the focus on Christian fundamentalism, what about Islamic extremism?

Walton, this is indeed a good point

Walton, it's not your tone, but the argument you are making.

Hypocrisy. First you say his argument has a point, then you deny it.

CortxVortx
Damn, Walton, I don't know what cloistered little bubble you live in, but the picture illustrates the views of vast swathes of Christian Amurrka. Your eyrie of effete theologians may sniff at such crudities of Christian expression, but any cursory examination of Sunday morning television, or the AM radio band any day, will confirm that "mainstream Christianity" holds exactly such views.

it's the Elmer Gantry yahoo-ism of the unlettered Great Unwashed that has taken over the politics of this once-great nation to form the American Taliban of the Bush regime.

My god what an ugly thing you are. A particularly ugly example of snobbery. Effete? Theologians are gay? How old are you, nine? You are every bit as narrow minded and insular as those you rail against. No difference at all.

PZ
I judge Christianity on the basis of the stupidity and smallmindedness of the majority of its followers, and on the wretched quality of its fundamental doctrines.

That's an ignorant approach though isn't it? I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples. It may be a valid method in biology but that isn't how you critically examine ideas. Real intellectuals argue honestly (or try to) and do their best to represent their opponent fairly. They treat them as fellow human beings and do not heap scorn, derision and abuse in order to inflate their ego.

A laundry list of denials and excuses is not an argument.

Neither is ridicule.

Walton
I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That's all I've been saying.

Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism. However, it is also about the only point of agreement we have in common.

Patricia C
That sign is typical of signs I see three days a week in front of the local porno shop.

Still more confirmation bias, I though ya'll were supposed to be uber rational 'n stuff? Why is it that almost every single reply in this thread a bright shining example of bad reasoning?

Peter
your diatribe to the unfailingly courteous Walton, who always supplies considered arguments, and goes into the points of his adversaries, is monstrously provocative

One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

I hear that so often -- "Behavior X is not representative of True Atheism" -- and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Atheism is an ideology of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This blog is fucking typical.

See how that works?

By Brenda von Ahsen (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Ah yes, Brenda, we should take at face value (courteous, polite) those who then go on to defend Falwell and the other monstrosities of fundamentalism. Don't look at the pattern of substance, focus on the polite words and half-thought (and well-worn) arguments.

Nice try -- you are another example of exactly this kind of "moderation" which is only acting as a disguise for the worst kind of immoderate religion and politics. One of the best arguments against religion is the disingenuousness ("lying") perpetrated by it's apologists.

Why the focus on Christian fundamentalism, what about Islamic extremism?

because that wasn't on this sign?

summary of Brenda's post:

courtier's reply, combined with mucho concern trolling.

confirmation bias?

sounds more like projection on your part.

Lyle G:

Why did several commenters say there were no such thing as witches? Most certainly there are.

Certainly there are people who call themselves witches (like wiccans). What don't exist are "witches" in the common understanding of the word: people with supernatural powers, casting spells that actually work.

You're free to disagree with this point, of course, as we're free to laugh at you if you do.

You know Icthic, I'd be willing to go 2:1 that "Brenda" is a sock-puppet of Walton. The style is so similar, and old Walty suddenly disappeared when the underlying Falwellian politics suddenly spilled out.

Is there a law of conservation of concern trolling? Is there just one person who spends all day concern trolling PZ (maybe one of the producers of Expelled, now that their employment has ended?)

I mean, I'd expect at least one "moderate" Christian, or concerned "atheist", to not turn out to be a raving right-wing wacko! And you'd think they'd get better at it -- hiding their xenophobia just a little bit longer.

I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples.

even if the worst examples are the majority, which is exactly what PZ said?

just how many fundies do you think there are in the US, anyway?

there are over 30 million registered xian evangelists just in this organization alone:

http://www.nae.net/

so called "moderate" xians really do seem to like to hide their heads in the sand.

why do you think that for 30 years, the neocon wing of the republican party has so focused their efforts on wooing fundamentalist xians as a voting block?

because they are so rare?

the point being, whether they are the majority or not, in this country, politically speaking, they are the the face of xianity.

wanna change that?

don't yell at PZ for pointing out the bloody obvious, get political yourself and remove the fundie influence within your own social-grouping you like to call a religion.

To proclaim that other christians aren't true christians is not just typical of christians across the sociopolitical spectrum, it's a defining feature of christianism.

I'd have to agree.

I have a buddy who is an atheist-Jew (yes, it works; I posted his explanation in the Einstein thread), who spent some time studying the differences between protestant xianity and Judaism and wondered why there were thousands of sects of xianity, but only about 4 (according to him) for Judaism.

His conclusion:

the big difference between xianity and judaism was that xianity is based on BELIEFS, while judaism is based on DEEDS.

claiming one xian is not a "true xian" is exactly the thing that leads to new sects of xianity, and it's always based on some particular argument over some particular belief, rather than on actually ACTING as a "xian" in the world itself.

xianity essentially boils down to a whole bunch of philosophy, with little or no practical use.

It's small wonder, then, that there are around 38,000 sects of xianity.

no true xian, indeed!

To PZ re: comment 128:

I think Walton's missing the point that the sign _does_ typify and is representative of Christianity:

He may not agree with WHO it condemns, but he is perfectly in agreement with the idea that condemnation to eternal torture is the way to deal with those who don't live their lives according to what he thinks they should.

Icthyic: Islam also has innumerable sects. It's in the nature of state religions to try to invade your mind. Judaism hasn't had a state for thousands of years -- it's based on ritual, but you're left with freedom of conscience; if anything, Judaism has been defined by Jews resistance to accepting the local despots philosophical leanings. Islam and Christianity, on the other hand, have been tools of totalitarians, big and small, for almost the entire last 2K years.

Not surprising they want to crawl up into you forebrain, your hindbrain, and your brainstem. Note that Communism has finely defined sects and counter-sects, constantly in battle over who has the "true" communism.

In this thread, #17 takes care to point out that he is not a child molester.

Oh yeah, I hit 12 of them. Jesus fuck I'm screwed.

Psychics? What do they have against psychics? That just makes me want to roll a 2d6, scream "Storm Of The Emperor's Wrath" at the top of my lungs, and make a dramatic gesture at the fellow holding this sign.

By commissarjs (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

frog
I'd be willing to go 2:1 that "Brenda" is a sock-puppet of Walton. The style is so similar

Conspiracy theory? I can assure you that I am in many many ways the complete opposite of Walton. I live in the US, I'm female, I'm a skeptic, I'm on the liberal end of liberal and I think his other beliefs are ludicrous. I just don't agree with you which in your illogical mind means I must be exactly like Walton. Great powers of reason ya got there.

Icthic
even if the worst examples are the majority, which is exactly what PZ said?

Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don't access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it's adherents. You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it. You don't sling mud which is about all I have seen on this blog so far. Perhaps that's not fair. As far as I can tell, the only person with any integrity on this blog is Walton. The rest of you look to me like poo flinging monkeys.

just how many fundies do you think there are in the US, anyway?

there are over 30 million registered xian evangelists just in this organization

Non sequitur. So what's your point? There are thousands of religions. What does that have to with your strawman? Oh wait, that is your strawman.

why do you think that for 30 years, the neocon wing of the republican party has so focused their efforts on wooing fundamentalist xians as a voting block?
because they are so rare?

What does that have to do with anything? I along with Walton it would seem, am calling bullshit on your strawman.

don't yell at PZ for pointing out the bloody obvious, get political yourself and remove the fundie influence within your own social-grouping you like to call a religion.

Please try reading for comprehension, I didn't yell at anyone especially not for pointing out the obvious. You all sure can dish but you can't take any criticism can you? Even worse, the moment someone speaks up out comes the ad hominem, guilt by association and plain old thuggery. You're no better than they are and really, you're not helping. Besides, I am politically active and I'm very concerned about where this country is headed. I'm not that worried about fundamentalism though because I think they've had their day.

What is the average age of commenters here 15? You sure act like it.

By Brenda von Ahsen (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Crap.

I knew I shouldn't have watched that Celtics game the other night.

:-(

@Aquaria #373:

Great rant. I agree with you.

(Damn, that sounds so . . . dry. What I really mean is, YES. YOU ARE SO RIGHT!)

All right! Ten! Maybe ten and a half if you consider I use as an excuse the pagan holidays of my ancestors to engage in drunkenness, gambling, sports fandom, deep discussion (potentially about evolution) and, if all goes well, fornication. And if not, then there's always porn.

But since it's being used as a conduit to so many of the other ones, maybe it should count as more than a half?

Ok, so, eleven! Woo!

Brenda #378...

Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism. However, it is also about the only point of agreement we have in common.

Oops, you might want to know what you're talking about before you spout off. It turns out that the only thing you agree on with Walton is also wrong. According to the latest Pew evangelicals out-number mainline protestant christians by a factor of ~1.5 (most definitely not a straw-man) ... lookie:
http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

I'm confused. Is this sarcasm that is meant to underline an example of your "confirmation bias" pontification?

Also, I fail to see how Particia C's comment is an example of confirmation bias.

That's an ignorant approach though isn't it? I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples.

Whoopsie. Here, I'm afraid that you are guilty of quote-mining PZ.
The sentence following the one you quoted is as follows:

The whole concept of original sin is a deep evil that is central to Christianity, and leads directly to nonsense like the sign above.

Original sin is a fundamentalist concept which is found in all but the most marginal strains of christanity, including the main-lines. So, this fundamentalist tenant, which PZ considers of the most reprehensible, is a faulty pillar on which nearly all christian sects are built. As for judging a movement based on what the margins believe (or, don't believe) ... who the hell does that?

There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior.

Walton is pretty much correct there. That really is all it would seem most here want to do.

This is done because in one sense it's fucking funny. Sometimes you have to point out the utter stupidity you find as a reality check to make sure you're not the only one even if you know that you really arn't (it's called being human). Also, it serves as a wake-up call. If the majority of protestant christians out there are evangelicals & this is a representative sample of the kind of crap they believe, then people should be on their toes.
Brenda, it seems you are a typical example of main-line christians who mistakenly think that they are in the christian majority. Oh shit, was that a selection bias?

@ #365, Ichthyic:

"In fact, I challenge you to show us how Maury's brand of xianity informed ANY of his oceanographic publications, even back then."

I suppose you could start here:

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/matthew-fontaine-maury-pathfinder-of-sea-ps8…

It looks like there are even Scripture verses engraved on monuments to the guy.

@ #385, Ichthyic:

"I have a buddy who is an atheist-Jew (yes, it works; I posted his explanation in the Einstein thread), who spent some time studying the differences between protestant xianity and Judaism and wondered why there were thousands of sects of xianity, but only about 4 (according to him) for Judaism.

His conclusion:

the big difference between xianity and judaism was that xianity is based on BELIEFS, while judaism is based on DEEDS."

Well, if most Christians would actually pay attention to verses like Matthew 5:17, read Romans 6, and read the Book of James, they'd realize deeds are supposed to be a part of their faith. Problem is, most of them don't bother to look things up. Or worse, they never even bother with the Old Testament because they think it is "for the Jews" (which is inaccurate). Part of this can be blamed on basic human laziness, part on insufficient teaching, and part on the tired old verse "rotation" system that many large denominations follow. They repeat the same sets of verses year after year, and in the same format: a passage from the Old Testament, part of a Psalm, followed by some verses out of the New Testament, and then a few lines from the Gospels.

If believers would actually read their Bible in the first place, half of the errors that numerous teachers perpetuate would be evident immediately. But this isn't unique to only Christianity.

By buckyball (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I guess I'm doomed ... if I'm TOTALLY honest, I qualify for eight of the items on the list, including the worst of the lot .... Sports Fan!!!!!

Jack

#390 Brenda

Before long (though it might take a while; it's early in the morning in the US) someone's going to point out, perhaps impolitely, that if you don't like what's written here then you have the option to go somewhere else.

I think there is so much 'poo-flinging' (as you described it) because the majority of the posters here don't have that option. They live in a place where they can't get away from stuff (i.e. Xian stupidity of the sort illustrated in the OP) they don't like. It's rammed down their throats on a daily basis, and seemingly pandered to by the media and the government. I says seemingly 'cause I don't live in the US; however, from what I can tell this sort of thing isn't too far out of the ordinary. If had to live with it I'd be frustrated as well.

I'm interested to know what you would have them do instead.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Brenda:

You don't access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it's adherents.

This is a variant of Augustine's "Don't judge a philosophy by its abuse."
I'm afraid I'll call bullshit on that (pardon my indelicacy).
It's a cheap apologist's excuse. Because after all, track record is how we measure people: whether it's a group, an individual, or a nation.

You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it.

You must not have gotten that memo. It's been done. Done to death, I might add. Been put paid to, & laid to rest. But stubborn is as stubborn does, I suppose. Your cry for civil discourse will go unheeded. & why? Because the larger portion of the religious will do literally anything to reverse the trend. Go against every precept they've been taught. (After all, 'Love thy neighbor' was a localized environment, nowhere near as all-encompassing as the flock have been told.) This includes lying, cheating stealing, & even murder.
I'm currently reading GOD: The Failed Hypothesis. I'd recommend that you do a little more homework before you come wading in, fists flying.

Oh, & PSSST!

One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

Whatever happened to 'accessing the validity of an idea?' Are you 'accessing'? Oh dear. How does the saying go? Pot.kettle.black.
If you can't see how you've contradicted yourself, 'nuff said.

Well at least they added themselves to the list.

Hypocrites.

By ThinCritter (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that discrimination against homosexuals is a good thing. I am personally in favour of same-sex civil partnerships; some conservatives are against them. But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws.

Posted by: Walton

So you have no problem with GLBT people? Fine, Walton, you are a prince among christians.(Oh, wait, you are not a christian but instead, playing devil's advocate.) But simply because some conservatives like Barry Goldwater thought that GLBT people should have equal rights does not mean that a majority does.

I have to say, you are living in a fantasy world. No one wants to bring back the sodomy laws? Just in the last two weeks, two men were charged with sodomy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fortunately, those charges were dropped. But those "crimes against nature" laws are still in the book and can still be used. And a few months ago in Mississippi, a woman was charged for selling dildoes. Please do not tell me that all is fine and true conservatives would never do this. Most of us in the real world know better.

You claim to admire Rush Limbaugh and *nn C**lt*r. Please visit a site called The Free Republic, a place where those two are honored. You will not find many kind words about GLBT people. In fact, we are responsible for many of the ills of the world. Or are Freepers not conservatives.

One last thing, just because Falwell thought the Fred Phelps was crazy does not make Falwell a bulwark of reason. It merely makes Falwell less crazy. Just remember the exchange between Falwell and Pat Robertson on September 12, 2001.

Walton, you are just and other example of Sam Harris' argument that the moderately religious tries to make excuses for the religious extremists. You are giving respect to people that you do not agree with. Walton, you need to rethink just who you are.

By Janine ID (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/matthew-fontaine-maury-pathfinder-of-sea-ps8…

ROFLMAO

holy crap, talk about stretching a story!

given the logic of the argument presented in what you linked to, I guess you could also say that the modern submarine owes everything to Jules Verne, too.

seriously, that was pathetic. That wasn't religion informing his science, that was an idea presented in a story sparking an idea of something to test for. It was what he tested for that resulted in something interesting. If he gave credit to Jeebus, he's just as wrong about it as you are.

It's like if I used the idea of breeding striped animals by putting painted sticks in front of them, and then deciding because that passage motivated my interest in heritable characteristics, that I should give all credit for the discovery of genetics to a fucking bible passage.

again, think about Gregor Mendel; often called the "father of genetics", one can hardly say just because he was a monk, that all of his knowledge of genetics flowed from his wholly babble. In fact, his knowledge entirely arose from carefully designed experiments, not from a fucking book.

Is this the level of argument you wish to present???

I will give you credit for at least trying, though, which is more than most nutters will do usually.

Well, if most Christians would actually pay attention

...then they wouldn't be True Xians(tm).

Errr... I missed the "effete=gay" memo. When was that issued?

One sense may imply effeminateness, but of the various shades of meaning that is the least sensible in the context of the comment in which is was first used. You may have an eye for strawmen, Brenda - but you fail to watch your own. Because this gaffe occurred in the comment in which you bashed pretty much every-not-named-Walton for "bad reasoning," I believe your comment qualifies as an example of Coren's Law in action.

Other than that, I have to agree that this sign doesn't represent mainstream anything. In my corner of the USA, this kind of thing is beyond fringe. Questioning whether they are "real" Christians is pointless - of course they are. But "real" Christians all exist along a continuum; at one end we have the people at my church, you know, the one with the openly gay assistant rector, at the other, you have the freakshow that produced the sign PZ brought to our attention.

The problem (if it is a problem) with this freakshow is that at least one or two of their concerns are shared by even the most liberal Christians - I mean hey, who likes child molesters? - so there's some guilt-by-association going on, apparently. The question is, how much responsibility, incurred by their shared theology, do the liberal xians have for the freakshow?

Uh, it suddenly occurs to me that I'm way too tired to comment intelligently on this. Better sleep on it.

Oh, one more thing. Walton... Anne Coulter?

O_o

Also, Walton, don't fool yourself: even if you're correct to state that this freakshow wouldn't have received 100% approval from the late Mister Falwell, they're not as far apart as you think. The signmakers may be outliers, at the fringe of the fundamentalist big-top, but they're still inside the tent. Your distance from the USA may give you a more balanced perspective on some issues, but it may also rob you of the chance to see things with the clarity of detail required to make nuanced assessments of the relationships under discussion here.

Ok... NOW I'll stop trying to be intelligent. Gee, I wonder how thing are over on JWHorne's blog?

*smirk*

If you can't see how you've contradicted yourself, 'nuff said.

she could, but she won't.

hence, projection.

But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law

so George Bush and John McCain aren't mainstream conservatives?

why is one president (the one supporting ammeding the constitution) and the other the current nominee (who currently supports passage of legislation denying rights to homosexuals in his own state), then?

Why does the current administration draw heavily on personnel from publicly homophobic bigots like Robertson?

Walton, you are seriously dreaming.

Just because your local golf buddies aren't homophobes doesn't mean that you represent "mainstream conservatives" in any way.

So far no one on this thread has given one good reason why we shouldn't be mocking the hell out of this sign and the person who made it.

(Is Walton really 18? That's weird. I thought he said he had a legal background. How can you have a "background" in anything like Law at 18?)

How can you have a "background" in anything like Law at 18?

let me guess...

His daddy's a lawyer?

If believers would actually read their Bible in the first place

which version?

which parts of which version should they ignore?

bucky:

... do you REALLY think:

"if only they would just read their babbles, there wouldn't be 38000 sects"?

are you truly that deluded?

OK, I'm confused. If someone has the amazing and miraculous ability to read minds - wouldn't that be a "gift from god"? (assuming, of course, that the former is possible and that the latter exists)

Why would god give someone an ability and then punish them for having it? Sounds like original sin all over again...

By Grimalkin (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I wasn't familiar with Ann Coulter (don't think she's had much impact in Australia) so I had a bit of a look around.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell she's a vicious, hate-filled, right-wing mouthpiece who makes a living out of telling conservative xenophobes exactly what they want to hear.

And she's not a parody like Colbert, is she? No, I doubt he could come up with some of the vile garbage that she's spewed forth.

Walton, that you can claim to admire this person (and I use the term loosely) saddens me. I felt that some of the posters were unnecessarily harsh toward you; now I'm feeling less sympathetic.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell she's a vicious, hate-filled, right-wing mouthpiece who makes a living out of telling conservative xenophobes exactly what they want to hear.

that's about the size of it.

And she's not a parody like Colbert, is she?

nope.

If I cared what some would-be witch doctor thought of my personal life, I'd say I score on at least 3 of those.

As for Walton: Your arguments are much akin to the infamous
"No True Scotsman" argument.

I'm just sorry there aren't more on the list that I could claim to have done, just so i know I'm doing the right things.

How come they didn't include 'learning' and 'thinking' amongst the habits of the hell-bound? Avoiding those seems to be a necessary condition for this idiots. Or maybe 'reading anything other than the bible'. Not that many of them do that in any real sense.

I'm impressed they managed to spell all the words correctly and mainstain a standard of formatting. That probably entitles them to a PhD from a faith-based institution.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

How come they didn't include 'learning' and 'thinking' amongst the habits of the hell-bound?

maybe on the other side of the sign?

;)

In #415 I wrote:

I'm impressed they managed to spell all the words correctly and mainstain a standard of formatting.

Er, maintain. Lousy poetic justice (shakes head). No doubt believing in karma is on the list, too.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

I am highly offended by Frog's remarks at #382. Just because someone turns up and happens to agree with my position on one narrow point does not make them my sockpuppet. I'm astonished at the failure to assume good faith. Why is it that those of us who happen to disagree with the consensus view get labelled as trolls?

I can't prove that I'm not using sockpuppets, but I'm going to have to ask you to trust my word. For the record, you can find me on Wikipedia, Wiktionary and other WMF sites as User:Walton One (I won't post the link, since the comment will go into moderation), where there is more information about me. I've been a Wikipedia administrator for over a year. This is just to establish that "Walton" is not just a throwaway online identity, it's my usual handle, and I am a real person.

The reason I bowed out of the discussion was not because I was somehow exposed as something other than I am. It was because I went to bed (it was about 2300 here in the UK and I needed to get some sleep so as to get up early today). Re moderation, I have never purported to be moderate on everything. I'm moderate on religion, but unashamedly right-wing on politics. I have not pretended otherwise. Unfortunately, admitting that I like Ann Coulter - which was a throwaway comment tangential to the discussion - seems to have brought down the wrath of most of the forum.

Walton,

Yes, but there is rather a big difference between not wanting to extend marriage to homosexual couples, and going around blowing up buildings in order to destroy homosexuals and infidels. Wouldn't you say?

In terms of action yes, in terms of the ideology behind it? No. It's all a matter of magnitude. I'm not going to be grateful to someone for not killing me. Did you know that there have been at least two people who have run for office (and both received 10% of the vote) whose platforms included executing homosexuals?

While I (as stated above) don't believe that there's anything wrong with homosexuality, and am in favour of allowing same-sex civil partnerships, I don't think that those who oppose such partnerships on moral grounds can really be compared to Islamic terrorists.

Why not? Both are acting on their morals, yes? Both of them can have an adverse effect on the lives of people they don't like, yes? Again, it's all a matter of magnitude. You'll have to pardon me for thinking that you don't quite get it.

All students, including gay and lesbian students, are protected from violence by the general law. If someone attacks you, they are guilty of assault/battery, regardless of your sexuality. No conservative has suggested making it legal to assault gays.

Oh please, you ignorant little boy, you've never been to an American public school. There is a sickening amount of violence between students. Usually nothing too serious, but you know what? Teachers and administrators are more than happy to look away. I can think of at least three examples if you want them of just how schools treat GLBT students. No conservative wants to make it legal, no, but they sure do fight against anti-bullying laws that protect gay students.

But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws.

You are either a liar or you are ignorant. I prefer to see the best in people so I will assume that you don't have the benefit of vision that living here in America grants.

What do you call denying not just civil-unions but gay marriage? Opposition to hate-crimes bills that include a provision for sexual orientation (which incidentally also protects heterosexuals, but gee, you don't have anything to worry about do you)? Denying federal housing protection? DADT? Forced reparative therapy for GLBT youth?

What about the case in, I think it was Raleigh where two men were arrested under sodomy statutes?

You are either a fucking liar or you are fucking naive. Either way shut the fuck up; I'm sick and tired of hearing the same tired old arguments. I thought you people over the in the UK were supposed to be smarter?

With a nod to Walton, the sign sure doesn't have much in common with the Christianity of just 100 years ago.

No condemnation of card-playing, dancing, bare arms, high skirts, tobacco, or alcohol?

The Ladies' Moderance Leagues would swoon en masse.

It would appear that heaven is a very empty place, which would be fine for the truly dull people who are the only ones who would get there. I would guess most of them enjoy being on their own as just about any human interaction is likely to get you on this list some how.

Walton wrote:

Unfortunately, admitting that I like Ann Coulter...

Agreeing with her on some things - you have a right to your opinion - is tolerable; claiming to like her isn't. I went to the Wikiquote page and read some of the things she's said and written, and I was appalled. Sickened, even.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ann_Coulter

Based on that I would struggle to think of a more repugnant piece of human garbage. I sincerely hope it's all front, judiciously chosen to sell copies of her books and tickets to her public events - that would just make her a disingenuous leech, scamming right-wing suckers for cash. If she's being honest about what she says she's truly vile. A monster.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Brownian - are you some kind of monarchist, preferring British spellings over the more phonetic American ones.

Walton - Ann Coulter is a vile attention seeking lying gasbag who is in it for the money and the noteriety. Also, how was Reagan a conservative when he racked up huge deficits, a dubious feat which is now being surpassed by Bush and would be continued by McAin.

You support civil partnerships for Gays and Lesbians - anything less than the the same right to marry as the rest of us has is blatant discrimination. Civil unions is a spineless compromise with religious extremists.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 02 Jun 2008 #permalink

Walton,
Here's a few Coulterisms you might particularly enjoy:

"These broads [a group of 9/11 widows) are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis... These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

"They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

"I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning."

"The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet"

"We should invade their [Muslims'] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

"I think our motto should be, post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'"

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Ichthyic,please post the link to THAT Coulter piece,I cant find it lol,it would seem the right time for it lol.....

@Walton : I have been trying to keep up with the comments while at work during the day here,saw your earlier skirmish with PZ,and have to say,full well realizing im late to the party,that you really have all the tricks in your arsenal,from the Courtier's reply to the Scotsman,and while I dont think you are a troll,and probably not a bad person,your same ol' long refuted arguments are just plain tiresome mate...
I dont care if you want to f**k the Coulter abomination,or whether youre a right-winger or leftie,but you will forgive me when I say,Coulter,homophobia,moderate christian,right-wing jut...a pattern emerges....

Why don't they leave masturbators alone?

As W. Allen says, isn't it having sex with someone you love?

But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law

Quite simply a lie.

John McCain wishes to appoint more justices that like that state being able to break into queer bedrooms and arrest them for having sex (Scalia, Thomas....). He supported an amendment to the Arizona constitution barring any recognition of gay families as families.

Stop lying.

And, since you're just a punk ass brit kid, stop trying to lecture people who have been involved in American sexual politics, and who study and teach those politics, about what is an isn't going on in the US. Begone silly ignorant child.

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh,and on a personal note lol,I scored 14 on that list,which as I can see is by no means a winning score,but not bad either.....

clinteas,

But McCain can't be that dishonest and hollow enough to say absolutely anything. He's a good good man and awesome politician--the DC press corps told me so while they were having a bbq with him.

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

You know MAJeff,the press over here in OZ is an abomination,they couldnt spell Tucholsky if their life depended on it,but compared to the press in the US,I reckon we are still doing ok....

Our DC press corps has replaced the courtier class.

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

//But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law//

Even I on the other side of the world know thats BS....

@ Brenda No 390:
//Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don't access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it's adherents.//

Great choice of fancy wording there !

Shorter Brenda:Religion isnt wrong just because its followers are mostly batshit insane dimwit schizos.

Bah, when a fundie tells me I'm going to hell I just smile tell 'em, "I'm not worried, I memorized 'The Inferno' and my visit will be short."

why must they always lump us in with sports fans

there is no justification for sports fans, and that makes all the rest of us seem reprehensible

im generally ok with the devaluation of whole categories of people (paint them all with the same brush);

however, everyone knows that if you lump any group of people in with "sports fans", they will forever be damned and never be redeemed

there is no value to watching sports

@gord

I suggest you familiarize yourself with Cricket mate.....

Brenda wrote:

Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism.

So we atheists have made up the fundamentalists? You got us there. We probably made this sign, too.

Wowbagger wrote:

I think there is so much 'poo-flinging' (as you described it) because the majority of the posters here don't have that option. They live in a place where they can't get away from stuff (i.e. Xian stupidity of the sort illustrated in the OP) they don't like. It's rammed down their throats on a daily basis

Personally I don't feel like that. That's not why I ask, I'm simply curious. There are several people here who have asked why this sign is claimed to be not "logically consistent" with mainstream Christianity. That is a strong claim. So far we have got a blatant misrepresentation of the sign from Walton ("anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell") and dripping condescension from Brenda.

Walton and Brenda strike me as the next generation of trolls here,they have evolved from the lows of the Kenny and J...no boldisms,correct grammar,flowery descriptions,polite manners....but the same boring platitudes,just nicely packaged...

Jim Harrison (344) still doesn't get it:

Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I'm amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics. Thing is, you can't really characterize the beliefs of particular Jewish or Christians groups by quoting a line or two from Leviticus. I don't give a damn if it's bad theology--I'm not a believer--but it is absurd from a historical or sociological point of view because the Bible that matters to particular sects and denominations is the Bible-as-interpreted.

Do you see how both of your bolded sections above contradict each other, and only play into my point? When fundies (or ANY christian, really) 'interpret' the bible, what they do is take their position that they want to justify and then quote-mine the bible for a verse that supports that position. THAT'S HOW IT'S INTERPRETED! That's exactly what christians of all stripes do.

Now, most of them are pretty unobjectionable, even to nonbelievers. I'm a fan of no murder and no theft myself. But while some nice, intelligent, liberal christians agree to that point they refuse to go as far as justifying hatred of homosexuals - does that make them right or wrong, when you consider the greater number of fundamentalist or even casual believers who DO condemn homosexuality? And, guess what - THEY HAVE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR DOING SO! if you want to bitch about 'fundamentalist hermeneutics', you really ought to direct your ire at the fundie christians who are the ones really guilty of this, not those of us nonbelievers who merely hoist them on their own petard.

So, really, all your handwaving over hermeneutics doesn't really hide the fact that you dodged just how mainstream most of that list is with regards to 'sins' as christians call them.

You know, I really wish I hadn't disclosed my nationality and my age. I now get vicious ad hominem attacks such as that posted by MAJeff at #427 above, from people who think that my argument isn't worth addressing just because I happen to be young and not from the US. Be honest, how many of you would have correctly guessed my age or my nationality before I admitted them?

I want to clear a few things up.

Firstly, I am NOT homophobic. Have I said anything here which is dismissive, offensive or hateful towards homosexual people? I hope not, and if I have inadvertently done so, then I apologise. I believe in constructive dialogue, not hate.

Secondly, I have done my best to be polite, civil and constructive. I have not insulted anyone else on this forum. I have discussed the substantive issues in a detached way. But everyone else seems intent on making my personal characteristics an issue. If one more person calls me an "ignorant little boy" or anything close to it, then I can assure you that I will lose interest in participating in this forum. If I'm not wanted here, I won't stay.

Thirdly, in response to MAJeff's substantive points at #427 (ignoring the insults, which I won't lower myself by responding to), I support the appointment of strict constructionist judges and I think that Scalia, Thomas and Alito are broadly correct in their legal philosophy.

You say: John McCain wishes to appoint more justices that like that state being able to break into queer bedrooms and arrest them for having sex... - I presume this is a reference to Lawrence v Texas. Scalia and Thomas did indeed dissent from the majority opinion; but this was not tantamount to arguing that sodomy laws were a good thing. Indeed, Thomas described the Texas law in question as "uncommonly silly" and stated that, if he were a state legislator, he would vote to abolish it. All Scalia and Thomas were arguing is that said law is not unconstitutional under the US constitution - which is not the same as arguing that it should not be unconstitutional. And I agree with Justice Thomas. The states' sodomy statutes were repressive, foolish and thoroughly anachronistic, and I would passionately oppose any new attempt to criminalise consensual homosexual behaviour. But they were not unconstitutional under the federal US Constitution. The former is a political argument, the latter is a legal argument, and there is a difference.

Many constitutions in the world (including many US state constitutions), and the European Convention on Human Rights, do enshrine a specific right to private life, including privacy of one's sex life. I support that right, and I would have no problem with amending the US Constitution to include it, which would render unconstitutional any restriction on consensual homosexual behaviour. But the US Constitution, as written, contains no such right (despite what the Supreme Court claimed in Griswold and in Roe v Wade).

I disagree with the politicisation of the judiciary. Judges should not be appointed on the basis that they are "conservative" or "liberal". Liberals don't deserve all the blame in this regard, by any means, and judicial politicisation is not exclusively a liberal phenomenon. But the fact is, liberals are guilty of encouraging this trend; they are insistent on appointing judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes (such as the continuation of a universal right to abortion). They are concerned with the substantive outcome, not with good legal process and adherence to the law as it stands. And I believe this is wrong. Law ought to be firmly distinct from politics. Judges should be appointed who will read the Constitution and apply what it says, taking into account the framers' intentions; they should not be "updating" the Constitution to meet their own desired policy outcomes.

I would have no problem with amending the US Constitution to include it,

You're not a citizen. Who cares?

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

//But the fact is, liberals are guilty of encouraging this trend; they are insistent on appointing judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes (such as the continuation of a universal right to abortion)//

Ehem,Walton,now laddie,in all seriousness,conservatives would never dare to appoint judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes?
I thought you were mildly deluded,but that just sounds bad LOL

To Clinteas at #438: I am not a troll. I am not here to disrupt this forum or to irritate people. If I have inadvertently had that effect then I apologise. But you may note that, earlier in this thread, several posters told me that I need not leave the forum.

If you would all rather I left, then I'm willing to do so. But I think it's depressing that a few people on this forum seem unwilling to tolerate dissenting voices.

I can't speak for the motives of Brenda, Kenny or J, only myself. As I understand it, Kenny is a devout Christian (which I am not); J is an atheist like yourselves, but seems to have a problem with the word "atheist" for some reason which I don't understand; and Brenda refers to herself, above, as a liberal and a skeptic. So there really isn't much to be gained from lumping us all together into one - all we have in common is that we have dissented from the majority view on this forum, which seems to annoy you in itself.

Sorry about the incorrect italicisation in my post at #440 - only the quote from MAJeff should be italicised, not the entire paragraph.

I support the appointment of strict constructionist judges and I think that Scalia, Thomas and Alito are broadly correct in their legal philosophy.

Well whoopdie-do.
Strict constructionists can kiss my ass, pardon the indelicacy. We aren't living in the 18th CE anymore. The times, they have a-changed. 1 should adhere to the spirit in which the principles were founded, not to the strict lettering of them.
Easy out, though: would the Founders've been for or against gay marriage? Easy answer. They were for the most part Christians, so NO.
Life is fluid, the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?), & we shouldn't be forced to live by anachronistic rules.
So says a citizen.
So say we all.

Walton,
theres people here that have been on this blog much longer than me,but what Ive learned since Ive been here is that we go through a stage of open discussion,a kind of bring-it-on phase,with christian posters,and occasionally there will be a challenging thought,or new idea,and we love to discuss it,check it out,see if it has merits,but most of the time its really just the same ol' standard responses of the brainwashed and deluded,and that includes the moderates like yourself....I am yet to hear anything original from a Christian to convince me or even stimulate me,because I have heard it all before...You know theres a reason there are standardised responses to common christian arguments....So to reiterate,people who dissent with the majority view here I really really like ,if their arguments bring anything new to the discussion at hand(which occasionally happens)....
I would not want you to leave Walton,or Brenda,but be prepared that your arguments might get dissected by the many sharp minds on this blog,and Im not counting myself as one of them lol.....

Re #443. I've seen no evidence that Walton is trolling, and I agree with him that his age is not relevant. While his political views are at once naive and repulsive, he does address points raised by others. So as far as I'm concerned, he's welcome to continue participating. Similarly, I find Brenda's finger-wagging annoying, but she does contribute some substantive points. Again, not remotely comparable to J. or Kenny.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

@ Ferrous #347

"9 current, 12 all-time."

You are doing 9 of those right now, all at the same time? Impressive!

Well, I had a quiet night in with the wife.

Walton said

I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

I see you are only 19 so you will be too young to remember the IRA's terror campaign in the UK, which was funded largely from the US. The IRA leaders used to go on regular fund-raising drives to places like Boston where they received strong verbal support from people like the Kennedies. Many who do remember regard the new-found US campaign against terror with a certain amount of cynicism.

I think if you look it from Bin Laden's point of view, you will find that he strongly believes he is defending his people against American aggression and felt he had to 'take the war to the enemy'.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

To Krystalline Apostate at #445.

Life is fluid, the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?), & we shouldn't be forced to live by anachronistic rules. [emphasis added]

Exactly! Because some parts of the Constitution were always bound to become anachronistic or ineffective over time, it includes an amendment process. This amendment process is deliberately difficult and complex, and requires a high degree of consensus, precisely because the Constitution wasn't meant to be easy to change.

So some liberals, lacking enough popular support to amend the Constitution in accordance with their values, instead use the shortcut option; supporting the appointment of judges who will "interpret" the Constitution to agree with those values.

It is entirely true that society has changed since the 18th century. No one is disputing that. Which is exactly why the changing views of society should be reflected through laws enacted by democratically elected legislators, who are representative of society. It should not be for a tiny group of judges to decide what is and isn't the appropriate "modern" view of rights.

No one is suggesting that we should have to "live by anachronistic rules". Most of the rules which govern everyday life are not found in the Constitution; they're found in other laws. Contrary to popular belief, overturning Roe would not instantly create a constitutional ban on abortion. Rather, it would leave it up to state legislatures - who represent the people - to decide whether or not abortion should be legal, and under what circumstances.

So strict constructionism is not tantamount to "returning to the 18th century" or to introducing "anachronistic rules". Rather, it simply reflects the belief that the Constitution is limited in the scope of what it covers, and that other areas of policy should be governed by democratically elected legislators, not by judicial activism. Where there is a consensus in society that a particular provision of the Constitution is outdated and needs to be changed, it is possible to amend it. But judges should not be creating new "rights" which are not in the Constitution.

the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?)

The Ninth, in particular, comes to mind...

Walton, get over yourself, already, and cut the theatrics. The only person to mention banning you from the blog is you. You can stay and (try unsuccessfully to) defend your arguments without people having to roll out a virtual welcome mat every time you feel slighted.

If you had been called an "ignorant little boy", and variants thereof, by at least two posters, then I suspect you too would feel slighted.

Shoot, is there one single person on Earth who doesn't hit at least one of these categories, including the nutjob carrying the sign?

So what? Ignore the jabs and keep arguing the substance. This "If you would all rather I left, then I'm willing to do so" business is lame.

I think the constitution allows for gay marriage. It doesn't allow for the establishment of a national religion. Since it's the religionists that have the issue and are insisting it's only between men and women, and the constitution said all men (and women) are created equal... I don't think wedding same sex people is establishing "new" rights... because getting married is apparently already a right.

I'm going a little in circles... but I think you catch my drift.

Walton:

and judicial politicisation is not exclusively a liberal phenomenon.

O_o

Right.

That is correct, Walton, but your phrasing reeks of the distortion of reality that occurs when one is exposed to too much wingnut talk-radio. "Not exclusively?" LOL.

I like you, Walton, and I'd have been hard-pressed to guess your age and nationality prior to your disclosure, but knowing these details to help resolve some dissonances between my image of you (my best guess was American male of age 37, give or take 5 years) and the puzzlingly ill-informed and naive quality of some of your comments. (I advise you to take that as a compliment.)

You're almost exactly the same age as my middle brother (he turns 19 on Friday) and he's still learning to synthesize knowledge and new information into opinions that he can rightly call his own. I realize that I'm flirting with an ad hominem assessment of your comments, now, but knowing that you're 18 (ok, were 18 - happy birthday!) does cast the rather sophisticated arguments you made regarding the California SJC decision about gender and marriage in a different light. That is, it's easier to see them as a well-presented restatement of the kind of ideologically-driven sophistry that comes from the mouths of people like Limbaugh, rather than as a reasonable analysis of the decision based on years of experience in constitutional law.

I'm not going all ageist on you - I'm only 5 years older than you - but it's been a long five years, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I have some friendly advice for you: You're not doing yourself any favors if you rely on Limbaugh and Coulter as representatives of American conservative thought. Limbaugh, though he's not always completely reprehensible, jumped the shark quite some time ago, and Coulter is, in a word, contemptible. You can do better. Unfortunately, I need another cup of coffe (or maybe a hefty dose of oxycodone) before I can come up with some alternate recommendations... heh.

Nothing on the list for being a member of a Cult.

Bestiality is not mention at all...interesting.

"Jumped the shark" is new to me - origin?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oops.

Once I read the comments, I realized that I may have undercounted myself on a couple of items. As they say in Congress, may I have unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks?

16, and I've never been a Pagan. :-)

By Steve in MI (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

@Kseniya,

can i marry you now (finally)?
LOL

//and he's still learning to synthesize knowledge and new information into opinions that he can rightly call his own//

That is as beautiful an analysis of hot-blooded youth thought processes as Ive ever seen....

Hey Walton-

Are you a sports fan?

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jump_the_shark

It refers to the Fonz jumping sharks on water skis during Happy Day's popularity.

WTH? Exactly. Refers to straying so far from the original concept that's it almost unrecognizable.

NickGotts:

Jump the shark refers to a late episode of the long-running '70s US comedy Happy Days, where flagging ratings lead to a couple of episodes where the cast went on vacation. In one of these, the Fonz jumped his motorcycle over a pool of sharks. It is widely regarded as the death knell of the series, when it became obvious they were desperately trying gimmicks to revive the show.

It is similar to "having a baby", where a TV show will suddenly have a lead actor become pregnant in order to inject some interest in the show, despite the fact that it has no link to the overall arc of the show -- Little Richie in I Love Lucy was an example of this.

American cultural references are primarily TV and movie based -- to understand our idiom, you really need to have spent 50% of your childhood watching bad sitcoms and afternoon cartoons.

"Teacher --- 1 cm!"

I have explained the theological reasons why it isn't logically consistent with typical Christian belief.

What makes you think the typical Christian holds logically consistent beliefs?

(This quite apart from the fact that the "it" you refer to does not appear to be held by the maker of the sign.)

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

frog - thanks. Strange I hadn't come across it before. However, I thought I understood it - as meaning having gone completely Finchley* - but now that doesn't seem right. Is "Was once worth paying attention to but not any more" a reasonable literal meaning?

*Finchley is two stops beyond Barking on one of the London underground lines, also known for being Margaret Thatcher's parliamentary constituency.

By N ick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Various responses.

Benjamin Franklin at #461 - Not especially, though I do watch international cricket when it's on. I'm not keen on football (of the soccer type), which is the big thing in this country. However, let me assure you that I do fall into at least 5 or 6 of the other categories listed on the sign (assuming "drunkard" means "someone who gets drunk from time to time", and "evolutionist" means "someone who accepts the overwhelming scientific evidence for biological evolution as a mechanism for the development of species").

Kseniya at #456 - For the record, I am a law student and have actually studied constitutional law, though with a focus on the UK rather than the US (and our constitutional traditions are radically different; we don't even have a codified constitution). I didn't claim at any time to have "years of experience" in constitutional law; but I'm relatively bright, educated in law, and very interested in the US political situation. It is one of the fields where I'm not out of my depth. (Contrast that with, say, evolutionary biology, physics or economics, in all of which fields I am entirely out of my depth; and I've made clear that anything I say on those topics is a layman's view and that I welcome corrections from those more knowledgeable than me.)

I don't just rely on Coulter and Limbaugh, believe me. Nor am I just recycling their arguments. I think Ann Coulter is wrong about a lot of things: she's wrong to oppose McCain, she's wrong about "Darwinism" (indeed, I think she's clearly out of her depth when discussing science topics in general), and she has a fairly simplistic view of Cold War history which is, on several points, empirically incorrect. (See her book on McCarthy, for instance.) But she's witty, entertaining (a true mistress of the one-line put-down), and often insightful.

As regards other conservative politicians and authors, the conservative movement is, of course, not homogeneous, and the left-right spectrum itself is overly simplistic. I agree with a lot of Ron Paul's views, for instance, as regards the economy, federalism and the role of government, but I wholeheartedly disagree with him on foreign and defence policy. Similarly, I have many friends who are conservatives over here, but who would in the US be regarded as libertarians; the British conservative movement isn't identified so strongly (if at all) with religious belief, and so there's a very strong libertarian strand, particularly among younger conservatives, which is favourable towards same-sex marriage and other liberal social ideas. I myself am considered absurdly right-wing by most people I know, but in the US I would be a fairly middle-of-the-road Republican.

Walton:

I disagree with the politicisation of the judiciary. Judges should not be appointed on the basis that they are "conservative" or "liberal".

By any remotely objective assessment, conservatives are far more guilty of politicizing the judiciary than are progressives. Do you think abortion isn't used as a litmus test for judiciary appointments by the right?

"Activist judges" is simply conservaspeak for "judges who don't dance to our tune;" witness the screaming from the right about the Kitzmiller decision, handed down by a republican-appointed conservative judge who was vilified as "activist."

Kseniya: You're not doing yourself any favors if you rely on Limbaugh and Coulter as representatives of American conservative thought.

Pray tell, what good examples of conservative American thought are there? The handwaving BS of Fukuyama (who, by the way, is supporting Obama)? The barely repressed homoeroticism of Harvey Mansfield? Really, it's been forty years since American conservatism has had any intellectual content - they long ago abandoned any pretense at that, replacing it with Goebbelian propaganda. When Goldwater failed, he left a wake of political opportunists who got in bed with the worst scum of American society to re-make the Republican party.

Just ask McClellan.

NG: Is "Was once worth paying attention to but not any more" a reasonable literal meaning?

More like desperately trying to retain relevancy, but in the process clearly marking itself as irrelevant. A lame duck, in politicspeak. The corpse hasn't yet recognized it's own demise. "I'm not dead yet --- I'm feeling better!"

I once saw a preacher with a sign similar to this one which also included "Hebrews", "Muslims" and "Mouthy Women". Since I tried to argue with the guy, I fall into the third category, and I'm also an atheist but at least not a child molester.

Jump the Shark: Though I'm aware of the Happy Days origin of the phrase, but that was way before my time and I've never seen the show. The phrase has become familiar to me here in blogland. I use it in a sense similar to the phrase "run off the rails" though I realize the meanings aren't identical.

Epikt at #467: I actually don't think Dover v Kitzmiller was an example of judicial activism. Assuming the finding of fact (that intelligent design is creationism, and therefore religious) was correct (a question which I don't have sufficient knowledge to answer definitively), it was entirely correct to rule that it should not be taught in public school science classes. This contravenes the principle of the non-establishment of religion, which was a principle that the framers of the Constitution quite clearly intended to set down. So I don't see anything wrong with the legal reasoning in that particular case.

So no, "judicial activism" is not a synonym of "decisions we don't like". Roe was judicial activism not because its outcome was undesirable, but because it invented a wholly new right which is not in the Constitution, using flimsy pseudo-legal argument, and thereby deprived the American people of the right to determine the laws which govern them. I would feel equally outraged if the same technique were used to produce a conservative social outcome.

I don't deny that conservatives have contributed to the politicisation of the judiciary, but we have done so only in response to liberal judicial activism. When the liberals use judges to push through unpopular policy agendas and place said agendas beyond the confines of democratic debate, what do you expect us to do?

unpopular policy agendas

translation: expansion of rights "social conservatives" don't like

I scare quote that because a real social conservative would keep government out of people's lives, not try to control them.

Brenda, #378
Fundamentalism is not the strawman of atheism. 'Strawman' denotes no real people actually believe the viewpoint put up for discussion. But Evangelical Protestantism is the single LARGEST Christian group in the U.S., at 26.3% of the total US population* or about 75 million people. That's no strawman. Rather, it is more accurate to say that your moderate, inclusive theology (as a self-identified liberal) represents a strawman view of American Christians, since you are in a smaller minority.

Nor is it confirmation bias on PZ's part to point out that a popular activist in the single largest Christian group in the U.S. might possibly represent the views of, um, a large group of U.S. Christians.

*2008 PEW Survey of the US Religious Landscape

Eric

So some liberals, lacking enough popular support to amend the Constitution in accordance with their values, instead use the shortcut option; supporting the appointment of judges who will "interpret" the Constitution to agree with those values.

Posted by: Walton

Please be so kind as to take off your blinders. That is not a "liberal" tactic. That is a tactic that a person in power uses, regardless of ideology. Or do you think that over the past few decades, Reagan and the two Bushes have not placed onto the court judges who overturn Roe v Wade.

By Janine ID (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Ah, I see the problem with Walton -- he's got the Anglophonic disease, which has a tendency to lead to "Libertarianism" in the US (and I guess the British and the Australian equivalents). He's a lawyer.

It is the dreg ends of theology -- the desire to develop a synchronic logical system that will subsume other orders. It has led to the positive developments of Newtonianism, and the political tendency to value legitimacy in an ideological sense, thereby limiting open civil war among the elites.

Unfortunately, it is nonsense. No such creation can exist -- you can't find a closed (in the mathematical sense) constitution, because no such beast exists. This is why Libertarianism, US conservatism and it's cousins reminds me so much of Marxism -- it values some Platonic concept of reality over reality itself. The US constitution has to be interpreted as a codification of the facts on the ground -- not as some kind blueprint for those facts, any more than science can find a TOE. None exists in mathematics, science or law. See Goedel for the mathematical equivalent.

But the Anglophonic tradition of law (and related cultural phenomena) are emotionally invested in discovering this rare beast -- they are stuck in a philosophy of science that has been outmoded for over a century. Sadly enough, the Scottish pragmatists were among those who pointed the way out, but this still has not penetrated Anglophonic culture. Maybe it has something to do with an unwillingness to recognize the slow end of Anglophonic global dominance?

Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don't access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it's adherents. You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it.

I've been trying to address a concept for a while now. Brenda, since Walton seems to be a bit overwhelmed right now, would you like to defend the claim that the sign is logically inconsistent with mainstream Christianity?

As far as I can tell, the only person with any integrity on this blog is Walton. The rest of you look to me like poo flinging monkeys.

Would you also care to tell me how #152, #290, and #437 are the equivalent of "poo"? Otherwise, I'll be forced to conclude that you are full of ...poo.

BAH! Only 11.

Must-sin-more...

OK, in retrospect, the real question should have been, who has the FEWEST number of things on the list, as opposed to the most.

Here's my favorite example of how the US Constitution doesn't mean anything synchronically:
From the Articles of Confederation, Article VI:
No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

From the US Constitution, Amendment 2:
Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Obviously, Amendment 2 has to be interpreted in light of it's predecessor -- it's an explicit reference to Article VI "A well regulated militia", "security of a free State". But now no free states exist -- the US has a unitary military, and the states have lost functional sovereignty. How the hell can someone hope to interpret amendment 2 in any way, when the underlying context has changed, in practice, so radically? The US of 2008 is the legitimate successor of the US of 1789 --- but it isn't the same country at all in substance! The original was a confederacy (more centralized than it's predecessor) and the post-civil war US is an organic centralized state.

The constitution (and amendment 2) only has meaning by a complete reinterpretation, where the relationship between states and the federal government is reinterpreted, re-written, as relationships between individuals and the central state -- individuals suddenly are invented as sovereign entities entering into a compact, with the right to bear arms!

By deluding themeselves into believing that the words have meaning independent of the current social conditions, of the facts on the ground, Walton and other legalists simply remove our ability to make the document and it's history intelligible at all --- and then do what we do anyhow, force their social claims on a document that doesn't include them inherently. Aka, the whole game becomes a big lie (whether done sincerely -- by self-delusion -- or not -- Scalia is way too smart to not know this).

It's a delusional disease that the Anglophonic world is trapped in, raising idols of air to replace their ancestor's crucifixes and molten idols.

This is of course not a claim about whether we should have a right to bear arms, but about how we came to believe that we have the right to bear arms.

Walton:

I actually don't think Dover v Kitzmiller was an example of judicial activism. Assuming the finding of fact (that intelligent design is creationism, and therefore religious) was correct (a question which I don't have sufficient knowledge to answer definitively), it was entirely correct to rule that it should not be taught in public school science classes. This contravenes the principle of the non-establishment of religion, which was a principle that the framers of the Constitution quite clearly intended to set down. So I don't see anything wrong with the legal reasoning in that particular case.

So no, "judicial activism" is not a synonym of "decisions we don't like"

Actually, many American Conservatives, including, I believe, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter *have* claimed it was judicial activism. The fact, which you appear to agree with, that it was manifestly not an activist opinion, under any reasonable definition of judicial activism, is what makes many of us believe that the term "judicial activism" from the mouths of American Conservatives is simply code for opinions I dont like.

Oh, I thought it was more of a "collect them all".

Oops.

This is why I don't agree with 'organized religion'. It bundles everyone up into some big imaginary group, and other people who adhere to the same faith or teachings, but don't believe nor have even heard of what these morons are doing, are blamed for something they had no part of. Individuals should educate themselves on what's the best course of action for their lives, don't expect other people or organizations to do it for you. This is what happens when you do.

By Jon Jones (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Well, if you count all the things I have done up to this point (as opposed to behaviors I currently engage in), then about half of these descriptors can apply to me.

However, if only current behavior counts, then I make the grade for six. Won't tell you which six, though . . .

Owlmirror and I wrestled with Walton on the Constitutional issues (I think successfully) in the thread about marriage in California. Obviously, however, we didn't convince him as much as I had hoped.

And Walton, the most pressing issue in the world today is the battle between rationality and unreason. Terrorism, the issues we have in the U.S. with Christianist Dominionists, our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change, and many other problems are informed at their roots in this battle.

The problem is caused by the failure of public education in the U.S., and the absence of education in the Middle East. Reason is the only weapon that can destroy fundamentalism. In this context, religion is a big part of the problem, a fact that P.Z. and many posters here obviously recognize, because it actively encourages and rewards irrational thought and behavior.

Yes.

Btw, FreeThoughtPedia (the originating site for the picture) is an interesting wiki.

Main page label<7a>:

Gods don't kill people.
People with Gods kill people.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Nine for me but once again Atheists don't believe in hell, so, what me worry?

By bezoar@alltel.net (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Leigh at #487. And Walton, the most pressing issue in the world today is the battle between rationality and unreason. Terrorism, the issues we have in the U.S. with Christianist Dominionists, our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change, and many other problems are informed at their roots in this battle.

I can see what you mean, but I don't entirely agree.

I would concur that in the long run, encouraging education in the Middle East could certainly be a useful weapon in fighting the causes of terrorism. For instance, in Pakistan, the failure of the public education system has led to the rise of radical Islamic madrassas, the only educational option for many young people from poor rural backgrounds, who are thereby indoctrinated with extremism. So I don't disagree with that idea in principle, but I also think that in the short term we have to fight al-Qaeda and the other extremist groups which wish to destroy our civilisation. Striking at the causes of terrorism is important, but not to the exclusion of using as much force as needed to defend ourselves.

As to climate change, though I'm no climatologist and wouldn't care to argue the point, I am given to understand that a significant minority of the scientific community worldwide contend that solar cycles, a natural factor, make a larger contribution to global warming than anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Furthermore, as I understand it, it is also the case that the Earth has gone through numerous natural "warm" and "cold" periods in the past; and that the current warming trends have also been vastly exaggerated due to media hype and sensationalism. So while I don't oppose reasonable and moderate measures to control our impact on the environment, I do think we need to steer clear of media-fuelled hysteria on global warming.

I also don't think religion (except in its more extreme forms) need be seen as always holding back education and rational thought.

As to climate change, though I'm no climatologist and wouldn't care to argue the point, I am given to understand that a significant minority of the scientific community worldwide contend that solar cycles, a natural factor, make a larger contribution to global warming than anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Furthermore, as I understand it, it is also the case that the Earth has gone through numerous natural "warm" and "cold" periods in the past; and that the current warming trends have also been vastly exaggerated due to media hype and sensationalism.

You are, quite simply, wrong. There is overwhelming consensus among relevant experts that human production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is responsible for all, or almost all, the rise in global temperature over the last half-century. A joint statement to this effect was issued by the national scientific associations of the G8 plus China, India and Brazil in 2006; and the recent IPCC report draws on the published research of recent years to arrive at the same conclusion. The fact that there have been natural changes in temperature in the past is, of course, well-known to climate scientists, and is also irrelevant: does a detective investigating a suspicious death say "Well, there have been lots of natural deaths in the past, so obviously this isn't murder"?

You've been listening to rightwing fruitcakes again, haven't you Walton? Go to http://www.realclimate.org/, and click on "Start Here".

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change,

As NASA just admitted, but not officially, they contributed to the sham:

NASA's press office "marginalized or mischaracterized" studies on global warming between 2004 and 2006, the agency's own internal watchdog concluded.

In a report released Monday, NASA's inspector general office called it "inappropriate political interference" by political appointees in the press office. It said that the agency's top management wasn't part of the censorship, nor were career officials.

NASA downplayed the report as old news on a problem that has since been fixed. NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage said the space agency's new policies have now been hailed for openness by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

It is satisfying that a government office clears the government from any wrongs of interfering in agency policies. [/irony]

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

Good catch, Thorbear. Now what was the name of that boy wonder whom the Bush admin put in place to oversee the abuse and corruption of the science-advisory process? I seem to have blocked it out of my mind...

Kseniya:

Now what was the name of that boy wonder whom the Bush admin put in place to oversee the abuse and corruption of the science-advisory process? I seem to have blocked it out of my mind...

George Deutsch. The one whose degree was in something unrelated to science. Except it turned out that, contrary to what he claimed on his resume, he hadn't even finished that.

For the Waltons out there who might not be familiar with the issue, it wasn't an attempt by NASA to produce "hysteria on global warming." It was an attempt to censor its own researchers, to suppress results not supportive of administration policies.

@ #483:

It IS code for decisions they don't like. Their offerings for appointment to the Court indicate this rather strongly.

But the larger point, as is illustrated beautifully (depending on your perspective) by this moron's sign. They create labels, which then become buttons, which are then attached to peoples' emotions, and those buttons are pressed to get squeaky noises out of the apologetics that make up their electorate.

Lost a huge case to get religion into public schools? "SQUEAKY!"

Keep losing to pro-choice forces? "SQUEAKY!"

Gays and Lesbians can marry in other states now? "SQUEAKY!"

By BlueIndependent (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

@ #494:

I recently had a short tit-for-tat on a camping trip with someone who thought the daily weather prognostications here in Phoenix were intentionally heavily weighted due to pressure from quote "tree huggers" on the local news channels to inflate daily high temperatures to give the impression of Global Warming, when we all know GW doesn't really exist...

He also was adamant that a Toyota Prius had a more significant environmental impact than a Hummer.

By BlueIndependent (not verified) on 03 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Brownian - are you some kind of monarchist, preferring British spellings over the more phonetic American ones?"

Worse than that. He's Canadian. They need all those extra vowels to keep warm.

BlueIndependent: Lost a huge case to get religion into public schools? "SQUEAKY!"

It's more than just squeaky. You're assuming, like most empiricist, that they think like we do -- the evidence is the ultimate driver. But no, what drives them is the conclusions --- if global warming were true, then an organized response would be in order. But since an organized response implies "socialism" (socialism meaning any kind of organized response), which is evil/atheistic, therefore global warming must not be true.

It's the normal legalistic, rather than scientific reasoning. The goals (the law/the case/sacred scripture/the writings of the ancients) are pre-determined, so the role of argument and logic is to prove what must be true. Just like the Marxists where everything must be class struggle, and the Libertarians where everything must be a market (I've had that argument -- at the end of the day, everything that is good is a market by definition, and everything bad can not be a market).

So it sounds all "SQUEAKY" to you. But if you knew that the constitution must support prayer in school, then it only stands to reason that any case they lose is due to judicial activism. You also see this kind of "logic" on the left, where rather than recognizing that the US Constitution is an outdated and ultimately absurd document that has had numerous codicils abandoned by fiat and the gun, people insist that the constitution must be reasonable and protect their rights when read strictly.

"If one more person calls me an "ignorant little boy" or anything close to it, then I can assure you that I will lose interest in participating in this forum. If I'm not wanted here, I won't stay."

---Is that a promise, you ignorant little boy?

"Masturbators"

I suspect we're ALL doomed.