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Sam Harris
Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation. He is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of...




 



 
 

An Atheist Manifesto

Sam Harris argues against irrational faith and its adherents

Update: (2/08/2006 1:35 p.m. EST) Read Sam Harris’ additional arguments about The Reality of Islam


Editor’s Note: At a time when fundamentalist religion has an unparalleled influence in the highest government levels in the United States, and religion-based terror dominates the world stage, Sam Harris argues that progressive tolerance of faith-based unreason is as great a menace as religion itself.  Harris, a philosophy graduate of Stanford who has studied eastern and western religions, won the 2005 PEN Award for nonfiction for The End of Faith, which powerfully examines and explodes the absurdities of organized religion. Truthdig asked Harris to write a charter document for his thesis that belief in God, and appeasement of religious extremists of all faiths by moderates, has been and continues to be the greatest threat to world peace and a sustained assault on reason.


An Atheist Manifesto

Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of 6 billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?

No.

The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious.  Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.

 

It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87% of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God  should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: Most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.

We live in a world where all things, good and bad, are finally destroyed by change. Parents lose their children and children their parents. Husbands and wives are separated in an instant, never to meet again. Friends part company in haste, without knowing that it will be for the last time. This life, when surveyed with a broad glance, presents little more than a vast spectacle of loss. Most people in this world, however, imagine that there is a cure for this. If we live rightly—not necessarily ethically, but within the framework of certain ancient beliefs and stereotyped behaviors—we will get everything we want after we die. When our bodies finally fail us, we just shed our corporeal ballast and travel to a land where we are reunited with everyone we loved while alive. Of course, overly rational people and other rabble will be kept out of this happy place, and those who suspended their disbelief while alive will be free to enjoy themselves for all eternity.

We live in a world of unimaginable surprises—from the fusion energy that lights the sun to the genetic and evolutionary consequences of this lights dancing for eons upon the Earth—and yet Paradise conforms to our most superficial concerns with all the fidelity of a Caribbean cruise. This is wondrously strange. If one didn’t know better, one would think that man, in his fear of losing all that he loves, had created heaven, along with its gatekeeper God, in his own image.

Consider the destruction that Hurricane Katrina leveled on New Orleans. More than a thousand people died, tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions, and nearly a million were displaced. It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Katrina struck believed in an omnipotent, omniscient and compassionate God. But what was God doing while a hurricane laid waste to their city? Surely he heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Only the atheist has the courage to admit the obvious: These poor people died talking to an imaginary friend.

Of course, there had been ample warning that a storm of biblical proportions would strike New Orleans, and the human response to the ensuing disaster was tragically inept. But it was inept only by the light of science. Advance warning of Katrina’s path was wrested from mute Nature by meteorological calculations and satellite imagery. God told no one of his plans. Had the residents of New Orleans been content to rely on the beneficence of the Lord, they wouldn’t have known that a killer hurricane was bearing down upon them until they felt the first gusts of wind on their faces. Nevertheless, a poll conducted by The Washington Post found that 80% of Katrina’s survivors claim that the event has only strengthened their faith in God.

As Hurricane Katrina was devouring New Orleans, nearly a thousand Shiite pilgrims were trampled to death on a bridge in Iraq. There can be no doubt that these pilgrims believed mightily in the God of the Koran: Their lives were organized around the indisputable fact of his existence; their women walked veiled before him; their men regularly murdered one another over rival interpretations of his word. It would be remarkable if a single survivor of this tragedy lost his faith. More likely, the survivors imagine that they were spared through God’s grace.

Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved. Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs. Because he refuses to cloak the reality of the world’s suffering in a cloying fantasy of eternal life, the atheist feels in his bones just how precious life is—and, indeed, how unfortunate it is that millions of human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgements of their happiness for no good reason at all.

One wonders just how vast and gratuitous a catastrophe would have to be to shake the world’s faith. The Holocaust did not do it. Neither did the genocide in Rwanda, even with machete-wielding priests among the perpetrators. Five hundred million people died of smallpox in the 20th Century, many of them infants. God’s ways are, indeed, inscrutable. It seems that any fact, no matter how infelicitous, can be rendered compatible with religious faith. In matters of faith, we have kicked ourselves loose of the Earth.

Of course, people of faith regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering. But how else can we understand the claim that God is both omniscient and omnipotent? There is no other way, and it is time for sane human beings to own up to this. This is the age-old problem of theodicy, of course, and we should consider it solved. If God exists, either he can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities or he does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil. Pious readers will now execute the following pirouette: God cannot be judged by merely human standards of morality. But, of course, human standards of morality are precisely what the faithful use to establish God’s goodness in the first place. And any God who could concern himself with something as trivial as gay marriage, or the name by which he is addressed in prayer, is not as inscrutable as all that. If he exists, the God of Abraham is not merely unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man.

There is another possibility, of course, and it is both the most reasonable and least odious: The biblical God is a fiction. As Richard Dawkins has observed, we are all atheists with respect to Zeus and Thor. Only the atheist has realized that the biblical god is no different. Consequently, only the atheist is compassionate enough to take the profundity of the world’s suffering at face value. It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion—to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources—is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity. It is a necessity, however, that places the atheist at the margins of society. The atheist, by merely being in touch with reality, appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors.

Continued: The Nature of Belief
Dig last updated on Dec. 7, 2005


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THE SNED's avatar

By THE SNED, May 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, thank you for the book reference…you’ll also find some in
depth references to Constantine in the “Bible myths” book. Seems the reason he
waited till his death bed to be baptized was because baptism would remove all
his sins…and there were many. It was the thing to do in those days. Sin first,
baptize last.

Ah yes Paul.  His words occupy more of the new testament than all the other
writers combined yet he records but one Jesus saying. (Which one I don’t
remember). Now wouldn’t one wonder about that?  And none of the other
writers use the world “I” or “we”...as in “we” saw Jesus break bread. Then the
Prof and I got into the subject of “Quelle”...the unknown source for Jesus stories
that Luke and Matthew draw upon that are not mentioned in Mark.  According
to the Prof…Quell was created by subtracting all the like stories told in Matt,
Mk, Lk,  from the full texts..and the result is “Q.
” Any chance that Matthew and Luke just made up their stories?”
“Ok no!!!!” goes the Prof.
“Oh no why? ask I.
“We must move along..”

It’s too funny.

I’m also intrigued, Shenonymous by this statement you made. “The disciples
who personally knew Jesus when he was alive, were Peter, James and John,
none of which left any writings behind explaining anything about Jesus
or how he seemed to them, what did thing was his mission.

That’s 3 out of 12. Now I admit again I’m not a biblical scholar…and your
statement/claim is new to me. Please explain. (And there’s no way that
MT,Mrk,Lk knew him either..nor were they disciples.

Finally I ask this question of all..even G.

Is it ethical to teach a course in comparative religion and not reveal your bias
up front and explain exactly what that bias is. I could understand that in a
religiously based college could be expected..but here’s a prof in a public
institution trying to prove the validity of Jesus using simplistic C.S. Lewis
logic…and offering ridiculous responses to very legitimate questions. (or
avoiding to answer because of time constraints.)

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Night-Gaunt, how could we ever forget Paul’s not so invisible
hand at crafting the religion

What one comes to believe is really a matter of choice.  In matters
where there are elements unknown, there will always be an over-
abundance of theories of all estimations.  And this is true even
of sincere scholars who are tempted down one historical path
rather than another.

Jesus never knew Paul; they never met even once. The disciples who
personally knew Jesus when he was alive, were Peter, James and John,
none of which left any writings behind explaining anything about Jesus
or how he seemed to them, what did thing was his mission. Paul made
the claim that his interpretations were not an ordinary invention but
had come to him by some personal inspiration; he claimed that he had
personal acquaintance with the resurrected Jesus, even though he had
never met him during his lifetime and came to know him by personal
inspiration; moreover, he also claimed that he had personal acquaintance
with the resurrected Jesus, even though he had never met him during
his lifetime. He gained such acquaintance, Paul said, through visions
and rapturous transports, which he thought were actually superior to
real life acquaintance he might have had with the real Jesus during his
lifetime, especially on account of when Jesus was much more reticent
about his purposes.  I, Shenonymous, find this bit of revelation very
suspicious.

There is a great deal more to tell of this story of Paul and Jesus and
Christianity but I’m too tired to go on.  I’ll chime in again possibly
tomorrow after work.  Paul plays a pivotal role in the ascendency of
Christianity perhaps even more so than Constantine and therefore he
needs to be revealed for what he was if we are to understand the
phenomena.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Truly ironic. However to make the connexion complete between Jesus and Constantine I would add Saul of Tarsus who became Paul of Tarsus after his being struck by a beam from heaven changed him.  He was the one who changed Jesus’ Judaic only religion to a Paulian Christianity that spread among the Gentiles. Before that it was kept close to the vestment among those Jews who listened and followed the teachings of Jesus. So he primed the pump. But then Christianity was an underground religion too for the longest time.

I did wonder why Emperor Constantine was ignored so often by Christians. Without him who knows what religion or religions would be dominant now? Maybe the sectarian wars would have been more numerous and brutal than they were.

I do wonder about what he and his armies saw in relation to the “flying fiery crosses” that supposedly helped him decide that Christianity was the one to put his empire behind it>

Thank you both for the information.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 22, 2012 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

You are so intuitive, THE SNED!  How coincidental.  I agree he was
the main instrument of the course Christianity took almost 2000
years ago. Your observations seem fact based.  Having been raised
Christian (both as a Catholic and a Baptist), from church studies I did
know as a youngster then later as a college student in a couple of
comparative religions classes that it was on account of Constantine
that Christianity took the choking hold on the world that it did.  If you
are interested, John Firth’s “Constantine the Great: the reorganization of
the empire and the triumph of the church” is a definitive history and can
be downloaded for free as a 458-page pdf file at
http://archive.org/details/constantinegreat00firt the pages between  
and 158 stunningly shows his genuine religious virtue (quasi?
and/or ostensibly? or sincere is a matter of interpretation, and is the
opinion I have taken because of the really unChristain deeds he
committed) in contrast for his ambition for warring with perceived
political and other empowered enemies.

Starting with the facts of his birth, historians are not able to determine
whether or not Constantine’s parents were married or if Helena was a
concubine, so it is a possibility he was a bastard son which would be
seen as shameful if not completely sinful to the Christian religion he
established not only as a magisterial institution but also in taking the
license of emperors to do so to rename Byzantium as the city of
Constantinople (which means New Constantine, uh…after himself,
egotistically and placing himself closer to GOD?).

The records show that he was a military tribune, meaning he was a
military officer of the Roman Legion and was an official of the Roman
State when he returned after military duty to the colony Nicomedia on
the north coast of Asia Minor (Turkey) and southeast of Byzantium that
later became Constantine’s self-named city.  He started out with the
hand of power in the early 3rd century to the inception of what is called
the Great Persecution of Christians, the worst in Roman history that
destroyed churches, burned the holy books, imprisonment of priests and
murdered members of the religion among other human violations. 

P. 120 sort of gives a peek, a tiny peek at how the politics of warriors
had evolved.

Constantine and Licinius now shared between them
the whole of the Roman Empire. They were allies, but
their alliance did not long stand the strain.

then on P. 151 due also to politics transference from Roman paganism
to the monist religion of the Christians is foreshadowed. 

The Emperor Maxentius had begun his reign by seeking
to secure the good-will of the Christians. Eusebius, indeed,
makes the incredible statement that in order to please and
flatter the Roman people he pretended to embrace the Christian
faith and ” assumed the mask of piety.” Probably all he did was to
leave the Christians of Rome in peace. The chair of St. Peter had
remained empty for four years after the death of Bishop Marcellinus. 
In 308 Marcellus was elected to fill it and the Church was organised
afresh.

Thanks!  You are probably right that not many ever knew this origin of
the Christian advancement to western civilization.

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THE SNED's avatar

By THE SNED, May 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

to Shenonymous-another subject worth studying is Constantine. In my juvenile
college religion class I suggested that Constantine was as important to he
success of Christianity as Jesus himself. I thought the professor would have a
heart attack. “Not at all, not at all…the surrounding countries were already
Christian!” (end of discussion) But in fact the Romans were not Christian. The
army and the rich were pagans. Yet Rome was THE country in the world, and
Constantine’s acceptance of Christianity was the beginning of the end for
pagan religions in the empire. When Christianity was later made the official
religion of Rome they tore down pagan temples and persecuted pagans in the
same way Christians were. In reality it went on for almost 1400
years…especially in countries that were officially Catholic. Constantine did not
like conflict among his people…and the Christian sects were at each other’s
throats as to who or what Jesus was. So he stepped in…had religious texts
burned…he called the Counsel of Nicea….of which little is known…except for
the Nicean Creed most of us mumbled at one time or another….without having
the foggiest notion of how to explain the trinity. The other thing the emperors
did was put the clergy in political offices. You can imagine the effects that had. 
As Ehrman states, without Rome, Christianity today might not even exist, or
exist as a minor religion. If only that were true today…(By the way the Romans
allowed all to worship…only the Christians attempted to convert people.)

I laugh when people (including my professor) claim that Christianity has to be
true based on the fact there are some many Christians in the world….and yet
even I didn’t know the extent of Constantine’s influence for decades until I
picked up a small pocketbook on Constantine written by a British Professor of
ancient history. Quite the eye opener. I’d wager that the average Christian
hasn’t the foggiest idea of his influence. Not a clue. Why should they? The have
faith.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Recent research has shown the more you engage your analytical part of your brain the more the intuitive part where the belief comes out of. Even religious people when they must analyze they suppress their other part of the brain. It may explain why so many of them don’t want to analyze too much for they feel their faith slipping away.

Canadian researchers have demonstrated in a new study that analytical thinking and religious beliefs do not really go hand in hand. Their work suggests that even devout believers experience a shift in their religious views when they begin to think analytically.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Religious-Belief-Analytical-Thinking-Don-t-Mix-266748.shtml

Part 2
Furthermore, there’s no reason, evolutionary psychobabble not withstanding, to treat religious belief as something people cling to based on intuition or gut reaction. People do, in fact, become religious as a result of careful, critical study.

http://thepassivehabit.blogspot.com/2012/04/critical-thinking-and-religious-belief.html

However there are some flies in that ointment of an idea. Read on.

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By Tom Edgar, May 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mein Gott in Himmel. How long must one live before the bright light shines through?

Being antagonistic and one eyed politically is no different to the same attitude religiously.

Not being an American I have no affiliation nor feelings for Obama but I do know that the alternative, to my mind, is a whole lot worse. What is more as long as the Americans, and this applies here too, remain locked in to a two party system, them or us, attitude they will always have the same problems.

It should be obvious when the only truly independent, and atheist, in American politics always remains the only person that one can trust to be a Politician FOR the people and not for his own personal gain.

The average voter usually remains with the Party (and religion)into which he is born and nurtured, never once questioning that his loyalty is an unthinking one.

Recent research has shown THINKING people are usually non religious even if they were born and nurtured into it.  The same applies to Politics.
I was born and brought up, belonged to, and was once even a prospective candidate, in the Labor Party.  Thinking changed me.  Well that, and that the Labor Party is “Labor” nowadays in name only.  Haven’t voted for the “Party”  in many decades.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

To me from his actions, President Obama is a wolf in sheep’s skin or a hawk in pigeon’s feathers. Very dangerous but he is nice about it. Giving us Culture sops is nice but he is still busy building on what was laid down before concerning the behind the scenes National Security State’s growth and it is now wider, further and deeper than ever before. That is where his real form makes manifest. And it is ugly.

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By Tom Edgar, May 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

OH Here I am as a visitor once again. can’t navigate to this any other way.

How are Americans as migrants viewed here?  As favored cousins, much like a Pom (Limey).  Tolerated. If genuinely a migrant with intentions of improving ones status i.e. becoming Australian, then as the rest, Koreans, Chinese, Indian, well just about every nationality really, welcome aboard.  Now that isn’t to ignore that there are still pockets of bigotry,as exists in every country.

My wife and her siblings experienced this bigotry many years ago, and she was only Chinese from one relative from the 1850’s.  Happily much of that has disappeared, along with the wide divide between Catholic and Protestants.  I well remember in the 1950/60s weddings where the opposing factions would not enter the “enemies” churches.  Now they generally opt for a “Civil” wedding, if one at all.  That is how I was married, at the State Registry Office, throwing a spanner into the works too by refusing to take the oath on the Bible.  They had to search for the “Affirmation.”

New Zealand antagonistic towards Americans?  I don’t think they are any more so than to any other interloper, Oz included. Actually the largest single migrant group in Australia are New Zealanders.  I well remember the N Z Prime Minister’s rejoinder when his Australian counterpart remarked on the disproportionate numbers, (several thousand Oz in N Z over 400,000 New Zealanders here).  “That should improve the intelligence quota in both countries.”
No Sport I think you will find that in any country those who aren’t acceptable are those who want to remain identifiably allied to their original nationality, whilst superficially accepting the rights and privileges of the country to which they migrated.  This presents some dilemmas insofar as it is ridiculous not to point out any deficiencies in the system in the country of residence.  As much as I have a residual of affection for the U S A I would hate to have its Legal/Political/Religious system

The biggest single identifiable example was stated by Salman Rushdie when remarking on Far Eastern immigrants who fled their, invariably Muslim, homelands to better their lives in many other places.  I paraphrase.  “Why do they come, to this country, fleeing the system that caused them to migrate, then insist on introducing the traditions that caused them to flee?”

Grin… I think Obama is not a turtle on a ledge, more likely a Hawk. For the first term he is still shackled and hooded tied to his masters for sustenance.  In the second term he will not need their controls and could well fly away. IF IT SUITS HIM. No longer needing help for an impossible third term,  it is possible for him to be himself and do his own thing. IF IT SUITS HIM. Ah! I’m afraid the eternal Skeptic within me is always there.

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By grin1020, May 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Obama reminds me of a turtle on a ledge. You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb arse put him up there.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Leefella & Tom Edgar I had heard last year that a pioneering group of Dominionists were moving en mass to New Zealand. (To begin a take over perhaps?) Also it works out better if you just register. I did that years ago, much easier and faster. I got no down side from it.

Also Atheists are rated below rapists in the USA. And in places like Texas it is on the books illegal for an open Atheist to run for any office. I think I know who will be at the top of their liquidation lists should they do succeed and take over the USA. (You can bet that they have very long lists of enemies and perceived enemies.)

For Grin 2010 your comment is ZZZZZZ.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 13, 2012 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Polling here in the US, accordingly rates an Atheist below a Communist in the grand scheme of acceptance? May have something to do with Atheists not lobbying and buying their way into politics as as self righteous religious fanatics have?

So in the good old USA an orthodox out of the closet Atheist is shunned as common sense, reality and something seldom allowed out of the closet, called truth.

For what it is worth, I have changed my webby experiencing so I can read anything on TD, but responding is limited to once or twice a week, if I am inclined.  So I will be watching as long as this Manifesto lives.

Yes She enlightenment is limited to what I perceive to be the un-greedy, well myopically to those who would be signified as lower then communists, according to self righteous undeveloped mindless ones here in the good old USA.

I know yanks are not accepted with open arms in New or Old Zeland, but what of Australia Tom?

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By Shenonymous, May 13, 2012 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

Yes, we’ve all been away busy elsewhere…But when notices come
in of new posts, how can we resist?

THE SNED, response to April 23 the college experience, especially
at the freshman or sophomore level can be liberating or a mentally
crippling enterprise.  I happened to have had a potent professor
whose whole mission in teaching was to help people develop their
own mind using comparative philosophy and comparative religion.
There were enlightening discoveries that have lasted lifelong not only
for myself but many of my classmates that after decades we keep in
touch and are a level more aware of our world than most of the
population.  Will our expanded understandings afford us a more
enriched life?  Well maybe not in financial wealth, but to have a life
that has a broader capacity to enjoy more of what we call our life and
the world can only be extraordinary and dignify the organic experience
humans can have.  The universe is vast and most of the population not
only barely comprehends it, they cannot truly fathom it because of
limited intellectual development.  You assume too much perhaps.  The
arts are not missing from my life at all.  Also accomplished in music,
fine arts, and poetry, these arts have provided me ways of seeing and
experiencing the world that ordinary life or other academic pursuits
does not.

The Doane book you recommended is excellent for examining the
Bible in terms of the mythologies that existed prior to its writing and
to show it is not as original as imagined.  Written in 1882, it is as
thorough a scholarly work as one can be and useful for research.  And
Ranke-Heinemann’s, “Putting Away Childish Things” deserves to be in
one’s library if only because Pope John Paul II took her chair of Catholic
theology away from her for her skepticism about the virgin birth of Jesus. 
She had been the first woman to be the chair of Catholic theology in
1970 and the first to lose it in 1987 because she questioned the virgin
birth!  Yikes!  Oh well…she didn’t really lose much.  But her book is a
worthwhile read.  These are limited to the Judeo/Christian experience
while I find all religions problematic.

Unregistered commenters might have more problems than members,
Tom Edgar.  Sorry you are having such problems.  But I noticed years
ago, like five, comments by Unregistered visitors are held up for posting
by the site.  I’ve not found out why, as they do not give their reasons for
doing anything.  It took up to two days sometimes for a post to show
up, but it always did at the date and time it was originally posted so
sometimes if there were many posts since that time it could be thought
the post was not printed.  The only indication one gets is through the
emailed notifications that a post was made.  Except you don’t get your
own posting notifications.  Eh… que pouvons-nous faire?

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By Tom Edgar, May 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh! Smiling one.  In my case trying to Log In is near impossible and a great deterrent to making comments.

In the past I have logged in but only able to navigate back to this site by a circuitous navigation through Digs and then type in the site’s name.  Now that doesn’t work as evidently they haven’t heard of “Atheist Manifesto”. So back to being a lowly visitor.

Having just been through a State election here and having seen a moderate (very moderate) socialist Party annihilated and an extremely right wing religiously oriented, group overwhelmingly elected, I voted for neither. We are now seeing the fascist/capitalist machinations with the extremism reminiscent of that other religious group.

Now, thinking of the religiosity of the G O P candidate in the U S A for the Presidency, I have wondered what the outcome would be if Obama was an atheist such as our leader here? As it is, the incumbent has the disadvantage of being an unacceptable color and the challenger the wrong religion.  Does one cancel the other?

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By grin1020, May 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

No comments posted since April 26?  ZZZZzzzzz…

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, April 26, 2012 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

I am sorry Tom Edgar for my impreciseness. I last recall the number at 78.5% Christian in the USA. I live in Texas so I do know it. And that Texas has some of the most backwards thinking people here. Now Glenn Beck has moved his operations here too lately.

We have some of the best medical facilities here an yet we are first in lack of care. Texas is also first in executions too. Not something I would trumpet.

Thank you for you input here today Tom, an to all the other thoughtful people here too.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 26, 2012 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

An enlightening series of posts, I find little disagreement and much respect, thank you all!

Maybe unbelief should become just like them, and erect huge temples of ill repute, wear funny hats and shiny costumes in order to show how one can be unbelievable?

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By Tom Edgar, April 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

N G I think American Christianity is well over the 70%.  In the closing months of last year I travelled across America landing in a small Texas town (6,000 pop), where I was a guest of a highly intelligent and lovable person and the town’s only atheist.  O K that was Texas but I daresay the same or even worse could be found in many of those backward southern States.  My friend doesn’t call it Texarse for nothing.

Talking to fellow travellers on the Amtrak it was pretty obvious that I was the only unbeliever at the meal tables, although there was no animus that I could detect.  Maybe they thought I was just displaying a peculiar Australian idiosyncrasy. Actually that is close to the truth.

That being said it does account for the difference between Australian and American atheist’s attitudes.
Australian non believers, being in such large numbers,aren’t nearly as aggressive nor as vociferous in their opposition to religion, it is, generally, a non event.

A large proportion of our elected members actually make an affirmation instead of taking the oath, with our Prime Minister, the supreme example being a female, unmarried, cohabiting, atheist.  Her present lack of political popularity and credibility has nothing to do with her atheism.  She is just being a Politician.  Her Catholic opposite number is just as unpopular, for the same reason.

No worries about your mother, I had similar problems with mine who couldn’t understand, that I wold lie in bed listening to the (European) U S Forces radio network programmes that featured “Spirituals” ( Blues etc’,(after midnight).  I would reply “Mom I don’t necessarily agree with the stupid words, but I feel the music, and the intensity of the emotion.”

We have just had our ANZAC day parade for Veterans.  Oh yes I’m one. I won’t attend “Dawn” or any other service. But I involve myself in the parade as others march and some of us totter along.  Now I have to admit the hymn “Abide with me” is very emotive but the word sicken me especially as I hear them intoning about “Helper of the Helpless” and I see those hundreds of thousands of wasted lives of all faiths, who died, praying for the help that never came from a Deity but, occasionally, from a death defying Medic, or even, less often,  a misguided but well meaning Padre.  Most of those religious military members gave their blessings well behind the lines to those who were silly enough to think, along with the Cross on a necklace or the “Protective” amulet wearing believers of other faiths.  Both being much the same as those Catholic car drivers who sported “St Joseph” images that dangled across the windscreen of automobiles until the crash stopped their gyrations, along with their deceased occupants, when they wrapped it around yet another tree, or worse still another vehicle. “Oops Joe boy,  got yet another one wrong.” At least, in both cases, they died comfortably believing in the protection of a piece of alabaster or plaster.

I apologise I’m being more than a little bitchy today, even I can be moved to condemnatory rhetoric when confronted by human stupidity.

Peace be with you, and drive as if your life depended on it, it does.  Tom. E

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By Night-Gaunt, April 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

My mother asked me more than once that since I was an Atheist, why did I spend so much time reading about religion especially Christianity. Well to me the answer was obvious but I would patiently explain to her that I am surrounded by it an it behooves me to learn what it is an understand it. A logical conclusion for me but not her. But then she thought that somehow it was Christianity was a minority in the USA. Even now it is still over 70% here. I read other religions an those that are now considered only myth.

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By THE SNED, April 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Syn… all I admitted to was no real interest the distant past. And you’re right. I
am not much of a reader of books, though 90 % of what I have read are books
on religion and almost all of them on Christianity and most of them written by
Christians or ex Christians.  I also read science magazines. I compose music. I
cartoon..and do a lot of stuff it seems that you don’t. And so goes the world. I
also like to do my own thinking and on my own decades ago realized that time
does not exist…a subject matter that is only now being discussed in science
programs, although some came to that conclusion 2000+ years ago. That iced
the cake for my doubts about god…although I don’t say there is no god, just
that I see no reason believe in one.  I just took a “cough cough” college course
on the major religions by a prof who was hell bent on proving the validity of
Christianity…so I became the proverbial thorn in his side. I was very happy to
realize that fully 1/4rd of the class were non-believers. Perhaps you have an
opinion on whether or not a teacher of many religions should reveal his or her
bias up front.  I think it should be on the table.  I had to drag it out of this
person but many of the believer kids don’t get it. Imagine a third grade level of
understanding being taught at the college level. It’s sick. So we have fun in our
own sweet ways…and that’s the way it should be. My favorite books? “Bible
myths and their parallels in other religions” by Doan, and “Putting Away
Childish things” by Uta Ranke Heinemann.

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By Tom Edgar, April 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

I note the concern for the pending change in format delivery..  I ask. Is this concern merely those emotions that are always raised when “Change” takes place and the familiar disappears?

Is there not a touch of the “Conspiratorial” in the concerns, or are those worries genuine?

That being said, as we aren’t in control of the destiny nor the direction that this manifesto will take what can we do about it, precious little from my perspective.

In the main we are but exercising a little bit of intelligence, and I suggest maybe we are only trying to justify, and strengthen, our point of view to OURSELVES as I think we influence very few others.

Americans amongst us have a greater concern than we who are not suffering from the persecution shown to those who embrace atheism in the “Free” U S A.

On a personal level my only regret, on this column, is that I really do not know the personalities, domicile, and lifestyle, or even names of my co conspirators,  apart from that I enjoy the company, even of those I pity, and find so intellectually frustrating when the raise their serpent like heads in our garden of enlightenment.

On occasion I do wonder if the code names are actually a person I have known and met.  I strongly suspect so of at least one, but am duty bound not to acknowledge that identity here. As,in my country, there is nothing to fear from being an atheist as this encompasses a very large slice of the population, there is no need to hide behind a pseudonym.  I sincerely hope that one day the U S A will also be emancipated in this area.

My recent stay in hospital was enlightening.  At any time the ward held five patients.  New ones came, and the recovered left over the ten day period. Chaplains only visited by request.  In all that time only once was there a religious visitor and that to an elderly (my age) Chilean Roman Catholic who had only been in our country a year. He was enthralled that I had been, on several occasions in the past, to Ireland as he was under the misapprehension that country was a European bastion of his faith.  He was really upset when I told him that Ireland’s intense religiosity was a thing of the past, now only evidenced by the elderly, the young being better educated.  As one other patient remarked Jose only brightened up when someone brought him a (Spanish) Bible, in which he immersed himself.  Don’t knock it,  for him it was a comfort.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 23, 2012 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Thank you Shenonymous for your kindness. However I am concerned too since this site isn’t the only one about to change how they are accessed. I recall for several years there have been general warnings about turning the Internet into a two tier system. The ones with the money get all the best premium treatment an capacity. An those of us in the majority will have to suffer not having the speed an reliability an adds etc. Let us hope this isn’t the first shot across our bow on that.

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By Shenonymous, April 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

You are too generous Tom Edgar.  Night-Gaunt too.  I have been
an academic for so many years and have had to learn a Library of
Congress just to keep up with students, the reality is,,, have to keep
ahead of them!  Also writing papers is a professional requirement. 
Defending one’s thesis is part of the training.  Sometimes I think I
might be too meticulous, but less in this case would not be adequate. 
But experience is often just as valuable as book larnin’ in building a
repository of knowledge.

The advantage to having knowledge, I think, is how one integrates it
into one’s thinking.  You’ve consistently shown remarkable ability in the
reasoning department, Tom.  Your writing is impeccable and I always
look forward to your comments.

Since we are taking a moment for admiration, I’ll say I’ve appreciated N-
G’s comments lo these many years as well.  I sure hope we are not in the
twilight of Truthdig.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous is an expert in researching. She has been trained that way. An when I first saw her work here several years ago I felt the same way. So I sympathize with you Tom Edgar but don’t let it stop you from commenting.

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By Shenonymous, April 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

THE SNED, It doesn’t sound like you like to read too much.  But if
you do, you might also perhaps benefit from Farhat-Holzman’s
Strange Birds from Zoroaster’s Nest:  An Overview of Revealed
Religions
(I see I misspelled Birds in my note to Night-Gaunt,
my bad).  She gives a credible account of the beginnings of revealed
religions, that is, the Abrahamic Religions of Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam and Buddhism. Revealed religions rest on the notion that
god revealed his will or desires to someone who then transmitted god’s
revelation to others. For instance, Judaism believes Moses had a
discussion with God who gave him the ten commandments by which the
Jews were to live.  Christians usually believe that god, in the form of
Christ, revealed his will to his disciples, who then spread the word to
others. Mohammad was the recipient of a revelation from Allah that
resulted in the Qu’ran. Since Siddhartha taught the way to enlighten-
ment, Buddhism is considered as his having revealed the middle way to
all unenlightened beings.  Taoism and Confucianism on the other hand,
are non-revealed religions.  This means there is no important revelation
in either that must be taught to others. Instead, everything that can be
known about Taoism or Confucianism can be known by you without
anyone else absolutely needing to tell you about it. You can learn it all
on your own—at least in theory.  Of course, I believe all religions are
inventions by human minds.  Even so, they are most interesting in
illustrating just how creative the human thinking can get.

She also considered Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as the religions of
ancient western Greeks and Romans.  The only criticism I have of the
text is that it lacks an index.  But some of the chapter headings are:
1. The Mystery of Human Religion (I think the use of the adjective Human
    is superfluous or redundant, since no other animal has religion, oh
    well)
2. The Common Stream of Human Religion
3. Beyond Priests and Human Sacrifice:  Human Responsibility
4.  Good and evil:  No Shades of Gray
5., 6., 7.,
8. Zoroastrian Concepts in World Religions
9. & 10.
Epilogue:  The Future of Religion

She might be right or not but she makes some good observations
nonetheless.  She provides some good bases for discussion.

Seems to me that to understand what is going on in religions today
and their ascendance to power, their origins have to be understood if
anyone wants to overcome their influence on any significant scale.  It
has taken millennia to develop and indubitably is now in the collective
consciousness of the societies in which they thrive.  Carl Sagan is my
hero and I read his Demon Haunted World regularly just to get
re-centered sometimes from the effects of a world that seems to have
gone mad.  He does not make the claim that science has any absolute
truth.  And certainly religions cannot provide it.  What he says about
science applies also to religion, “that we cannot affect our own lives let
alone a nation or the world to make intelligent decisions if we do not
understand the underlying issues or causes.”

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By Tom Edgar, April 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

She.. You put us to shame.  Babes in the wood are we.
I may be more concise and brief but I put that down to having so much less knowledge, and lack your ability and expertise. I concede.  Tom

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By THE SNED, April 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous….appreciate the lessons. I’m sure I over simplified but it had to
take generations before humans were able to express themselves in art as in
the cave of France that dates back some 25,000 years with exquisite animal
paintings.

Personally I admire primitive cultures. (see my post Jan 17) They are as much a
part of the planet as an insect, animal or tree. While we “civilized” people, and
especially Christians (as a whole) have only come to recognize in the past 2-3
decades or so that without nature we have nothing…and are nothing.

I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that the great majority of us will die from a
plague, and many of those primitive tribes will survive. And It won’t take much
to see how barbaric we can all become in a few days of crisis because we are
so dependent on others, while the primitive tribes are all self sufficient.  My
opinion on the ancients carries no weight…just my own. And I am far more
interested in today’s religious mess, which seems to have no relationship
whatsoever to the past, except that some took on the role of spiritual guide
etc.

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By Shenonymous, April 22, 2012 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

THE SNED, the whole idea of paleontology, archaeology, and
anthropology is to provide empirical proof of what it is the scientists
are studying, investigating, examining. Empirical means hard evidence,
tangible, physical.  So their conjectures are a little bit (meaning a lot)
more substantial than guessing.  Of course you may believe what
you want.
                      “Shamanistic Traditions”
The peoples of prehistoric times and primitive cultures have laid the
groundwork for modern consciousness exploration. Our knowledge
of these groups comes from archeological or anthropological observa-
tion. In some cases, researchers have lived for long periods in the
wilderness with primitive peoples. We will find that return to the wilder-
ness has been used throughout history to explore the deeper layers of
the psyche.  The way of perceiving the world that emphasizes the
existence of spirits, ghosts, and gods who interact with men and inhabit
objects is called animism. Animism characterizes virtually all primitive
and ancient cultures. In many languages, the word for spirit is also the
word for breath—which leaves the body at death. Spirits could occupy
the bodies of living men and animals causing either illness or insanity,
but they often imparted higher wisdom. Psychic powers were ascribed to
aid from such spirits. Also commonly found in primitive cultures is the
correlative belief in a general spiritual force, or mana, permeating all of
nature.

Evidence from cave art, daring back at least 30,000 years, suggests
caves were used for magical ritual purposes. In certain cases it must
have been necessary to crawl for hours through the caves in order to
reach the locale of the artwork and related artifacts. It may be that
solitude inside such a cavern was an initiation technique used to explore
the inner realms of being. Markings on antlers and bones indicate that
people made notations of the phases of the moon as long as 30,000
years ago and suggest that the cave rituals and other cultural practices
had a seasonal or periodical orientation.
  It has been suggested that
prehistoric people may have been sensitive to different phases in the
lunar cycle as special times for meditation. The monumental Stone-
henge, built in prehistoric England
, is oriented towards equinoxes,
solstices and lunar eclipses during the equinox and suggests similar
usage.

There are more reports of hard evidence, and most natural art museums
have plenty of it, so you might spend sometime in one or two, it might
be enlightening.

Zoroaster’s thoughts about gods, Night-Gaunt, was the beginning of ‘all’
modern religions.  If you like reading you might try the amazing book by
Laina Farhat-Holzman, “Strange Bids from Zoroaster’s Nest: An Over-
view of Revealed Religions.”
  A very good used copy can found at
Amazon for about $2.75.

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By THE SNED, April 22, 2012 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:  I admit to having never read a paragraph on the creation of
shaman. And the authors of those references have to guess also, and might
not even provide a guess. And they could be wrong…or partially wrong. For
sure there is no written history of how it happened, and the odds are my guess
had to happen, if not once many times. Why? Good old common sense. If we
can imagine it…it probably happened. Once it occurred to one of these
magicians that this was a “business”... or a good thing…the concept probably
spread like wild fire among friends from neighboring tribes. It’s somewhat
related to the gays flocking to become Catholic clergy, because it gave them a
job and was the perfect place to hide the truth…in a homophobic environment.
(And given the amount of discrimination they suffered over the millenia, who
could blame them?) But showing a shaman in a cave painting has to be way way
after the fact. I would imagine that the costume came last. If I recall correctly
the first Eve is traced back to 300,000 b.c. (although David Attenborough in a
recent TV program on man’s survival on the planet indicated it was only
100,000 years. In any case 30,000 isn’t primitive enough for me. But I must
admit, Annie it is my theory, and I appreciate the provided references.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

The original point of religion in all of its manifestations was to also explain why things are an what motivates them. to me Judaism, Islam an Christianity are no more real than Zeus or Danae or Asura Mazda. Just wonderfully elaborate creations of fecund human minds to explain the unexplainable. Oh it had other functions including empowering certain women an men to leadership. To be called upon as directly related familiarly to the gods. Direct descendants as it were. God-kings which there are a few left in places like Japan, Britain an Spain for example. The Sun-Kings who wielded power absolute. But then in Europe the Catholic Church (Catholic means universal) shared power with the kings an sometimes were usurped by them like Napoleon the First did when he crowned himself. Some among our leadership both in an outside of gov’t want such power or at least allowed to operate independently of it as they see fit. They would like it here as they have in other weaker countries. We shall see if they get it or not. We are ripe for such a loss of our Republic sad to say.

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By Shenonymous, April 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

It is all right to have a personal theory about anything really, even
such things as shamans.  It could appear to be quite preposterous
that a primitive society could be sophisticated enough to “create
characters” smart enough to think they had spoken or interacted
with deities, imagined for sure, for we cannot suppose they did in
fact interact with deities.  But then that is not so far fetched since
we can see what has happened throughout history as religious
practice.  But, THE SNED, there are plenty of counterfacts to your
doubts.

Anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians specializing in primitive
cultures provide plenty of evidence (yes, empirical evidence that shows
precisely such magicmen did in fact exist and promoted panpsychism,
and exercised much influence over their tribes. 

Mircea Eliade’s ”Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy”
and Paul Radin’s, {i]”The World of Primitive Man,” and particularly
Michael Harner’s ”The Way of the Shaman,” and ”Shamans
Through Time,”
by Jeremy Narby, Jeffrey Russel’s ”A History
of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, heretics, and Pagans,”
and the article
”Shamanic Origins of Religion and Medicine “ in the Journal of
Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11 (1-2) Jan-Jun, 1979, by Weston la Barre,
American anthro-pologist and his textbook study, ”The Ghost Dance
Origins of Religion”
, studied this topic for decades, writes dancing
sorcerers date from the late Old Stone Age (Paleolithic c. 2000000 – c.
10000 B.C) and can be physically seen in the illustrations in the cave of
Trois Freres in southern France, where is seen drawing and painted on
the cave wall a man dressed up in the skins of various animals which
were hunted for food, and over which his ritual dance had power.  In
terms of dating, http://www.williamjames.com/History/SHAMANS.htm 
also gives information that more than 30,000 years ago cave artists
illustrated shamans led tribes in ritualistic practices.  That is pretty
primitive enough, I think.  la Barre further wrote that “The world’s old-
est profession is not prostitution, but actually is that of the shaman
or first professional.  The shaman is ancestor not only to both the
modern medicine man or doctor and the religion is priest or divine,
but also ancestor in direct lineage to a host of other professional types.
It would seem odd that both the doctor, the most secular-minded, and
the divine “shaman,” the most sacred-minded of modern helpers of
people, should derive from the same source. But we can readily under-
stand the seeming paradox when we recognize the basic nature and
function of the primitive medicine man of shaman.”

All of these references (and I could provide many, many more) sort of,
well not really sort of, but actually give Leefeller’s and Becker’s ideas a
bit more credibility than your unreferenced intuitions.

Just a bit of primitive man biblical trivia:  Exodus 22:18 says, ”You
shall not permit a kashaph to live,”
which in Hebrew means magician,
diviner, sorcerer, or one with a familiar spirit.  In central and southern
America, church authorities with the aid of the colonial administrators
put to death thousands of people accusing them of witchcraft.

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By THE SNED, April 21, 2012 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Leefeller “According to anthropologists like Becker the first religion was
formulated by shamans who reaped the opportunity of saying they spoke or
understood the gods and why things are as they are”

I have my doubts about this theory. Why? Because my own theory makes more
sense to me, and represents a more primitive man. To have created characters I
can only call shysters, or hucksters requires quite an advanced society that
trades frequently with others outside the group and has a fairly large
population. Step back to an earlier age where tribes are self more sufficient and
the shyster/huckster is an unlikely personality to have appeared. Liars? Maybe.
Thieves..now and then. But not huckster/shaman. There’s no room for that kind
of human. Not yet. The idea would wear thin too fast. He or she would be found
out quickly.

We know that primitives had to have been perplexed by nature. They thought
something was out there that they did not understand. Something that was very
powerful. Let’s say there’s a drought and these people have no idea what to do
or where to go. Somebody suggests that they try to appease the powers.
Eventually someone either suggests something that works, or is identified by
the group as having some luck/influence/ with that power. It’s possible that a
woman, in desperation, threw some meat outside the cave and a storm stopped
suddenly, or it rained suddenly. (Sooner or later there’s a coincidence between
man and nature that looks and feels like a miracle Like Fatima)...So one
individual is looked at with awe…and is given special special consideration by
the group. And once that person is given power he or she will not give it up
..and might even believe it to be true. Hence the first clergy…then you get to
Constantine thousands of years later and he and later emperors get the clergy
involved in politics,  pagans are murdered for centuries and you have the mess
we have now. It’s all about power…and fraud…lies…..and hucksterism.
Something Grin doesn’t understand because he reads only what he wants to
read…..and doesn’t look at religion with a critical eye. He wants to getto
heaven…and believes there’s a recipie to get in. If there is a god SHe must
respect intelligence. It’s her invention…we’re just sue it. Faith abuses it.

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By Shenonymous, April 21, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Ignore this second post.  I accidentally removed notification for new
comments to this forum.

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By Shenonymous, April 21, 2012 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

No need (ahem), Leefeller, to concern yourself with your use of the
word ‘need.’  I may not have been clear in my post that in the context
about which I was referring its use was limited to the implication there
was an inherent status of, or genetic programming, a predisposition
for religious tendency, that is, that there is a god-gene. 

Your offer of a social contract (yes, I am borrowing the term from
the political/sociological philosophers) that you will not impose your
unbelief on those who believe if they will not impose their belief on
your choice to not believe is all well and good and I think a moral
one.

However, the problem lies in the self-imposed need of religionists to
impose their belief on others. It is their “mission,” their divine assign-
ment to call all into their herd.  What are those which are being prosely-
tized to do?  What does one do to the one(s) attempting coercion to
believe and must become part of the flock?  Let those Christians and
Islamists who would respect your right to be atheist, or Buddhist, or
Zoroastrian (one can only be a Zoroastrian through family ties), or be
anything but be Christian or Islamist be named and put on a list and
those who won’t be put on another list so that we can all walk on eggs,
or if you prefer, thin ice and have utter respect for the blade either sword
or scimitar?  All very benevolent and righteously godly, wouldn’t you say? 
Greece prohibits all proselytism, see the WIkiP article: Proselytism at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proselytism#Other_religions

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By Leefeller, April 21, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

She, I may have written the word ‘need’ out of context to Hoffers works, for I was working from memory and do not have ‘The True Believer’ in my presence. It is very possible I over reached in my rant, but this is what ranting does, makes one feel better?

Same for you Night Gaunt, ‘Outliers’ brings to mind people living somewhere in a ‘Mad Max Movie’ which may be today as it appears, closer then we know? When I hear the word ‘Renegade’ I recall cowboy and Indian movies.

NG, ominous does not seem appropriate in after thought, I will dig into the archives of my Tequila soaked mind for a worthy option. 

Anyway God does not exist in me mind, but I have my suspensions about Santa Claus! I still feel it would be nice if people kept their pet proclivities to themselves, sort of like their sexual preferences and their superstitious ones too!

How about this, is this doable? I will respect your belief if you will respect my unbelief? Can this work?
Manni and I have agreed to it and I now feel uncomfortable belittling his beliefs and would hope he homered his part of the agreement. Can differences exist together?

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By Night-Gaunt, April 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

I never thought of “outliers” as being ominous myself. Just not part of the main cluster. Which is how it looks in a 2D or 3D representation of it. Evolution in many cases has such in its make up. Is that biological or mathematical or both? We Atheists are outliers. We crop up seemingly randomly but the genes needed an what is turned on an off for them are so widely dispersed it just seems that way. However environment too plays an important part.

Grin2010 there is no God just people. Does that answer your question? Your god concept is too small for just this universe much less any others out there an dimensions. I would ask you to raise your IQ points some. (It can be done as I have in the past.)

Just one quick question, Night, before saying good night.

If “The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait”, is true and I believe it is to be true. If it is true, who is to say that it will not be the “flexible ones” who will expire during this continuous evolutionary process. An evolutionary trait as strong as eye color will be hard to change its course. If you could stop the birds from naturally migrated south for winter, you may have a chance my brother. -Mike W

Because if you understand what flexibility means you wouldn’t ask such a question. Even Charles Darwin understood that was the superior trait. Not aggression, not intelligence, not viciousness but flexibility. The ability to take on a change in environment an survive an thrive. What some say is why the Neanderthal died out but Homo Sapient didn’t. Even though the N’s were taller, stronger, had larger brains an had survive 3 previous Ice Ages they still died out. (The big question is why?) Was it that Homos were more ferocious? More intelligent? More flexible in their adaptions like not being held to rigid conservative ways of living an thinking? That question has still not been fully answered yet. But even with their demise they didn’t leave without leaving some of their traits in us in our genome.

However it has been found that there are genes working in concert not just one gene for any trait by itself. An it would manifest in the brain structure wouldn’t it?

And it has been shown that certain kinds of people are more inclined to accept supernatural things from pixies to invisible entities. An for them they might even “see” them too even if others with them cannot. It is all in the brain an the brain is a manifestation of our DNA. And the brain won’t be fully mapped an studied for some time to come but we are getting tantalizing glimpses of it.

IN the “Unleashed Mind” in Scientific American Mind May/June 2011 Shelly Carson talks about an examine highly creative people who are also odd an eccentric. Like one of the more recent was was the late Dean Kamen of a long line of eccentrics who were also artists, authors an such creative people an yet weren’t “normal.” Charles Dickens is said to have fended off imaginary urchins with his umbrella as he wanted the streets of London. There are many others. And they all know an knew they weren’t fitting in. An now science has an answer.

Research by brain imaging, creativity study, an molecular biology suggests that these perceptions are not based on a few anecdotal accounts. That “weirdness” an creativity are linked. It has come down to how the brain filters impressions in these people they seem to get more input that most people never see or hear or are aware of. Now this has been known, that such creative people are strange for some time. Both Plato & Aristotle made note of how the playwrights an poets were a peculiar lot. That an the connexion of depression with creativity that was proven this century. Even the Italian Criminologist Caesar Lombroso of +100 years ago noted in his book “The Man of Genius” that this behavior is the same hereditary “degeneration” that marked violent criminals.

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By Leefeller, April 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

According to anthropologists like Becker the first religion was formulated by shamans who reaped the opportunity of saying they spoke or understood the gods and why things are as they are, I guess Shamans worked with the Chiefs even back then to make their own lives easier and more enjoyable compared to the common cave person.  So it goes, the Shamans supported by the chief worked it out, so both received gifts, did not need to sweat and hunt and probably had their choice of foxiest hairy butt maidens depending on their personal proclivities at the time, well when you compare them to the proclivities of Catholics Shamans of today. .  So for the common person of the time they where duped just like people are duped by the pope and their fearless leaders in the 21st sentry.  It seemed like a ‘grab what you want card’  back in the day, not much has changed today.

The need for people to have things explained to them was needed (the word need) so the appearance of alleged experts on the subject, the connectors of the unknown still bodes well today, even as we sip our cappuccinos and in my case Tequilas.

Then there is death, the fate of the dead is a powerful claim not taken lightly by those who demand explanations, again a need to know. All the fears of the unknown have influenced the lives of humans since humans decided to let superstition be sold to them by tribe to tribe opportunists who claimed to know what no body else know, so we had the working up cave guys propagated their terrors of the unknown, working on those fears.

So tis, the fears over disease, death, starvation, pain and suffering where addressed by the all knowing shaman, again little has changed, it is gods will or Clydes, depending on who ones god happens to be.  For the Shaman who was working on the blarney stone before its time, the grand prize was to explain the most frighting big bad wolf of all,... death! Now I present to you the afterlife, heaven, Valhalla, the list goes on the most used tool in history, the sludge hammer of fear.

In the end what is called; “The Fallacy of the God Gene “ should be more appropriately called ‘The Phallic Symbol of the god Genie”!

Leefeller Guy

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By Shenonymous, April 20, 2012 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Hey Tom, nice to see you back, both as a regular member and an ?
unregistered member.  LOL!  All this webbusiness will correct itself ?
over time.  I think many of the truthdippers are experiencing a
?melange of posting problems that is not the members’ fault.  I
?received a similar advice from CommonDreams.  They are changing?
their format as well.  So it looks like there are evildoers in the ?
blogosphere doing their dastardly deeds????  I advise being careful
?not to post personal information anywhere.  I do not do Facebook
?nor have time for twitting, what a word!  Life is too short and packed
with much more interesting things to do.

Leefeller, April 19 at 7:13 am says this a.m.

A while back, I asked, why cannot they keep it to
themselves and it was answered by Eric Hoffers book;
“The True Believer” simply put, some people need
a cause and it seems the blinder the better. For religious
causes are no different then any unleashed dogma.

Hoffer makes a great point when he says people with
causes need to promote there cause out of some sort
of grievance or need and there is the comfort of not
being alone, the companionship, in the end the blind
cause can become so important in the individuals life,
they lose individuality and become the cause, this is the
fanatic according to Hoffer and this is how I find so many
people blinded by their dogmas.

Without intending to ‘parse’ words, but words are all we have on these
forums, in the quote above, I purposely bolded the ‘need’ twice used. 
Inasmuch as the word ‘cause’ accompanies the two instances of the
word ‘need’, an implication of deeper emotion-based cause/effect
questions exists.  What is significant about that is an assumption of
a metaphysic, beyond ordinary thought, beyond ordinary emotional
thought.  The idea of ‘need’ implies something indispensible, in this
case an emotional reaction that is inherent, innate, genetic, evolution-
ary.  Perhaps it is, but there is not enough discussion here to make that
assumption without back up references.  One theory is that if religion is
an inherent need, then the logic leads to the conclusion must be based
on verifiable reasoning and only empirical testing will provide verifica-
tion. Premises have to be based on authenticated rationale. If there is
an inherent need for religion (and two of the three of the Abrahmaic
strain demand metaphysical causes), then the logic concludes, without
empirical evidence, that there must be that “god gene” of the kind
Mike W mentioned earlier. 

Geneticist, Dean Hamer, in his book, The God Gene: How Faith is
Hardwired into our Genes,
theorizes its title.  (Just a whispered aside: 
Greens and other third-parties might be ecstatic because it would
presuppose there is a “natural” proclivity, that is, a gene that could
be responsible for any number of beliefs, peculiar or not.  They could
claim with all legitimacy that their devotion to the environment, etc.,
was perfectly compatible with gene theory).

But then the gene involved, the VMAT2, counterargues Carl Zimmer,
science journalist for Scientific American, writes in his 2004 article, 
“Faith-Boosting Genes: A search for the genetic basis of spirituality”.
Scientific American, and PZ Meyers, scientist and biology professor
(Univ. Minnesota, Morris) in his article,  “No god, and no ‘god gene’,
either”. Pharyngula say the gene in question might be necessary
in brain activity of transmitting higher order processing, but there is
no evidence in the least that it has anything to do with ‘religious’ belief.

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By Shenonymous, April 20, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

2.
The idea that this age is spiritless, is not in any way an unqualified
fact since what is spiritual has not been defined, has nothing but
unproved opinion, and therefore, cannot be a reason to theorize with
any shade of truth that there is a necessity for a god-gene to exist. 
Spirit is more of an elusive chimera than what is called the mind.  But
what we call the mind is diversionary fodder for another time.

Besides, if it is a gene, then as a physical thing and it can be removed,
as gene splicing is an activity of reality.  It would not make sense that
if there was a god and it created a physical feature in humans and only
in humans as no other animal exhibits a belief in a religion, that god
would allow the gene to be removable! And yes, it would have to be
scientifically removed.  And if removable then it could be moved from
on individual to another to what?  Control the gene and its effect in
what diabolical ways?  For surely we do not deny there would be evil
men (like Hitler’s) who would use such genetic migration to effect
certain religiousities.

Atheism is not a religion.  Atheism is the antithesis of religion.  It is
not a belief system, as systems go.  Atheism means without religion. 
Nothing else follows. 

It is almost unbelievable how many are the gullible.  But then, also
reading Hoffer, it is not very far fetched.

For a bit of esoteric fun,
http://metabunk.org/threads/317-Debunked-FunVax-Pentagon-Briefing-on-Removing-the-God-Gene

I have to be off to work right now, but Mike W I have a response to your
post to me of April 19 at 6:24 pm that I will post this evening.  But to
quickly address your first complaint, simply said, I do not believe a deity
of any type exists.

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By Tom Edgar, April 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Oh I found a convoluted route to arrive back here.
My last two submissions as a non registered commenter have not been published.  Disappointing as I thought I was being very perceptive.

Mike W.  I would also not be an absolutist with regards to your “Possible” murder, even though on the prima facie evidence it certainly points that way.
However just as in so many people’s interpretation of religious beliefs, or in this case, and paraphrasing the Porgy and Bess line.  Wishing don’t make it so.

That religionists of any faith WANT to believe clouds their understanding and perception.  To stand apart and evaluate the evidence for and AGAINST a long cherished idealistic solution calls for higher intellectual characteristics than enjoyed by the average “Believer”.

In the case of criminal actions, under the “Westminster” system the law requires a judgement “Beyond reasonable doubt”. I think that most atheists use this corollary in coming to their judgement that Religion, fails the test and is only held by the faithful because of their unreasonableness.

As I stated earlier in the debate between Dawkins and the Australian R C. Cardinal, Archbishop Pell recently.  After fumbling and mumbling, Pell admitted he had no proofs just faith. Faith according to the dictionary is a stance held regardless of lack of proof.

In defence of the premise that it isn’t worthy of debate may I recount of the time when I was in hospital, on a drip.  Oh the Priests, Pastors and Rabbis are there scenting a demising convert.  An Episcopalian overhearing me tell an “Over the Rainbow”, I wasn’t in any way superstitious said he would debate me that,  to which I responded that not one religion over another was worthy of a debate.

Superstition and Religion being synonymous?  Well both are strongly (or weakly) held beliefs in unprovable outcomes.

Now to all those questioning this divergence to “Facebook” (It now appears at the foot of this page.)  I ask admin .“What the hell is this Facebook?”.  I understand it is some sort of site where you can brag, blag or blather about oneself but other than that I have neither knowledge nor understanding except that, I am led to believe, the C E O was once the head of the C I A.  Now if this is true I can think of no better reason for not becoming a member.  What thinkest thou? Please clarify for me.

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By Mike W, April 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Your position seems to state that an atheist (you) feel that no case has been presented so this is why you do not believe in supernatural places or beings. You also seem to say that because you feel that no case has been presented, it excludes you from even taking the ownership of your position. You are dismissing the “myth” so much that you say since the “case” does not exist, your “not-believing” can’t be even labeled “not believing” because there is “nothing” not to believe in.

I say that is a crazy. Why not simply say that you do not believe… or you “accept”, based on the lack of evidence, “it” to be not true?
You most likely want to distance yourself so much from theism that you dismiss it so strongly that you say the myth is so far out there, it is not even worthy enough to label it as one of the things that you disbelieve.


So,,,as I read your comment, I also watched “The First 48” in “picture-in-picture”. It is a real life homicide show where the police try to solve the crime in the first 48 hrs if possible because that is the best opportunity to do so successfully.
A father on the show informed the police that even with no evidence showing, no body, no gun, nothing but a missing daughter and a bloody car…, he believes with “all his heart” that her boyfriend was the one who killed her (if she is dead).

So, it got me to expand my thinking. A family member of mine entered my mind. A female cousin dead in her garage, ruled a suicide then changed to accident on her part from prescription drugs, confusion, then accidental garage door shutting causing death.

To make a long story short, “evidence” to many pointed to her husband. Marital problems, suitcase packed and hidden in closet, controlling, motive to keep child, money, 1st time cleaning out garage in years since moved in – finally car could enter, him being a cop authorized himself to move body and corrupt the scene,  etc. etc..
However, to his family, there was no evidence of a murder. There was no case. They refused to believe in this myth. Any of the above points were irrelevant because they refused to believe she was murdered because in their hearts there was no murder. She died by her own actions, alone in her own home and it was heartbreaking to them, her husband and their child.
Less than a year after my cousins death, a woman joined them in their “not accepting”, “not believing”, “A-Murder”. To this woman, this myth is just that – and not existing in reality – NOT TRUE. And, less than a year in putting his wife in the dirt (cousin on grounds of husbands jewish law, immediately buried no autopsy), married this woman. It sounds like the Drew Peterson Case but it is not, it is my case and my cousin Donna’s Case. But, for the new wife there was no case.

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By grin1020, April 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

SNED -

You said, “But I will always leave the door open to the possibility that we are creatures created by aliens. And using common sense perhaps you’d like to explain how your god came into being with all power etc etc etc.”

Well you got me on that one SNED. Using common sense I cannot. There isn’t anything common about having faith. We believe because God chose us first. We see the application of science as a tool to validate the Bible but that certainly isn’t to say that I can sufficiently verbalize the many validations. There are scientific-sound apologists that are able to do that. Even with that said, if one doesn’t have the honest desire to listen to the apologists, there will be no acknowledgement of the truths that lay therein.

In my own defense, I consider myself open-minded to the atheistic arguments; however I always return to examining nature and the fact that matter and energy left to its own, tends toward equilibrium…hardly a basis for living organisms. I certainly don’t have all the answers. Enough said.

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By Shenonymous, April 19, 2012 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Chiming in late of 87 pages of comments! I’ve been directed to this
thread a few times. Having read a few pages of comments no plan to
read any more. There’s no rule one can’t join an ongoing discussion:

Mike W, April 10 10:11 pm – It looks as if many misunderstand. It’s not

if a person comes to the conclusion of ‘Atheism” A = without
“Theism”’ for himself, he has accepted the belief of no heaven,
no hell, no judgement day etc…”

Atheists who understand their atheism say there is no reason to believe
there are supernatural places or beings, no justification is offered that
compels belief. It is not the case of ‘accepting’ a belief of no heaven, no
hell, no judgment day, etc. It is the case that no case has been made for
believing that those things exist. If evidence were provided, that would
be a wonderful thing for the atheist. We would all rejoice.

THE SNED, April 17 3:45 am - “I ?have just spent a semester in a college
religion class and the kids who are ?believers have no desire to read
anything that contradicts what they believe.”
That is the point. The
argument against a command religion is not whether or not a deity, any
god, exists, but that there is no questioning religious doctrines in the
Christian and Islamic Abrahamic religious tradition. To do so would be a
heresy or apostatical, punishable both here on earth with torture or
death, or in an alleged hereafter. While Judaism does not demand
unquestioned belief it does have tenets and commandments. But “On the
question of human nature, as in most areas of abstract belief in Judaism,
there is a lot of room for personal opinion. There is no dogma on the
subject, no required belief about the nature of humanity. There are a
variety of contrary opinions expressed on the subject, and one is no less
a Jew (and no less a good Jew) for disagreeing with any or all of these
opinions.” http://www.jewfaq.org/beliefs.htm - As a contrast, see
Hinduism http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/index.htm. For any
religion, see http://www.religionfacts.com/

April 16 4:51 am Your observation here parallels mine with respect to
spending eternity in a boring heaven/hell or just hanging out with some
supreme being who has an ego complex. It would be as boring as
watching a cow chew its cud. I mean, can you imagine!?

On what evidence do you base your comment, Mike W, April 17 7:28 pm,
“The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait just as
much as eye color an natural ability?”
If you are talking evolution, then
you are talking science and not from a belief in a transcendent
inexplicable, unpredictable agent or antecedents of human experience
beyond the experiential world. You seem to be musing rather than
presenting any coherent systematic organization of thought. One can
apply any term metaphorically to human actions, such as using the word
“worship” when talking about the attention paid to sports, but that is just
a sloppy way of using words unless a 1 to 1 ratio is explicitly made.  It’s
a common and rather vulgar use of the language, by the way.

Procreation is not the sole effort of the religious. Atheists procreate as
much, if not more often (no data collected here, mere conjecture based
on experience, having had twins myself). Having a belief or no belief
does not preclude a continuation of a species. Dogs and cats have no
belief systems to speak of yet they continue to thrive and evolve over
time as much as any living thing. Atheists are not dying off, but statistics
show they are growing in number and religions are dwindling. Luck has
nothing to do with it. It is simply said, consciousness.

Having been one of those notified by Truthdig, it looks like Yahoo might
be a viable path to more truthdipping. It seems to be a safe electronic
haven.  I’ve no idea what was TD’s criteria for notification. Must be a
plethora of reasons.

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2012 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Night Gaunt, outliers sounds ominous at first but other names seem to dove tail with outliers; ‘Renegade’ comes to mind and with less of a science fiction sound to it?

‘An atheist does not believe in the existence of god’ I may have miss quoted but this seems to be all there is to it in a nutshell.

No temples, no on ones knees praying, no demanding or doing the constant carpet baggers sales pitch in which other become Atheists or unbelievers. ( though I may be wrong on this?)  This simple concept seems to escape those who demand to hawk their bill of goods for it seems their dogma is not house broke!

A while back, I asked, why cannot they keep it to themselves and it was answered by Eric Hoffers book; “The True Believer” simply put, some people need a cause and it seems the blinder the better. For religious causes are no different then any unleashed dogma.

At the time I had little understanding in why do people care if other people believe in what they believe? I for one do not give a rats butt if other people do not believe in god or Santa Claus, actually now when I think on it I have seen Santa Claus?  I do not stand on street corners or knock on strangers doors or erect Atheist temples in the name of my unbelief, but yet, there are those who say Atheism is a religion?

Hoffer makes a great point when he says people with causes need to promote there cause out of some sort of grievance or need and there is the comfort of not being alone, the companionship, in the end the blind cause can become so important in the individuals life, they lose individuality and become the cause, this is the fanatic according to Hoffer and this is how I find so many people blinded by their dogmas.

Yes outliers or renegades we may be, heretics and infidels to others we may be, to myself I just plain do not believe.

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By THE SNED, April 19, 2012 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

God is as much an evolutionary result as our skin colors. God is an evolutionary
result of our advanced intelligence giving us an ability to ask questions, to
ponder things we didn’t understand, like lightening and drought, and thunder and
stars. And to create answers. So we believed that some thing was making all that
happen. A powerful thing.  Put yourself in a cave 10,000 years ago and you will
create a god, because you have a need to know why your are here and where you
are going. If we have a god gene…we built it from scratch…humans built it. Fear
built it. Fear of the unknown.  There is no reason to believe that our intelligence is
anything more than a mutation that will not survive, and it will be done and over
rather quickly, if David Attenborough is right and homo sapiens have been around
for 100,000 to 300,000 years.  We are over populating the planet. We have a water
crisis all over the planet. We will run out of land to feed ourselves. All brought to
you by a loving god?  Pretty ironic in my book.

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By THE SNED, April 19, 2012 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Grin..it all evolved from the big bang or big bounce…...and every ounce of iron in
your body came from super novas…not from some being. But I will always leave
the door open to the possibility that we are creatures created by aliens. And using
common sense perhaps you’d like to explain how your god came into being with
all power etc etc etc.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

If all the questions you ask about things are simple yes or no when it is far more complex then that then yes I can. An I did answer you. Is you competence at answers not Yes or No beyond you an that is why you go to the simplistic? It seems that way to me.

Our knowledge is still limited but it looks like something happened about 14.5 billion years ago that created our universe. But the idea of some supercilious god concept used as a reason answers nothing. Clear? Or should put it into a 3 graders level?

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By grin1020, April 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

NG for such a simple question I would have expected an answer. Exactly what do you mean when you say, “The universe is more than Yes or No”. Actually not, NG…So what is your answer? Y or N? If you can’t answer with a Y or N, then you shouldn’t be commenting on other peoples’ mental processes.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Thank you LeeFella I enjoyed your “ramble.” One thing about evolution is that is it also produces outliers. An from such outliers gives a species a chance to survive should the present traits become dangerous to their survival an environments are always changing. When it isn’t the species stagnate an are more likely to go extinct when some abrupt alteration occurs. We are outliers an so of course are in the minority. One major aspect of needing to believe is that it helps to cluster humans into groups. Which is a survival trait. We may always be in the minority an from what I see as a trend is a more fanatical hard line approach to various religions including Christianity right here. Hinduism, and Islam also. So we may need to be quiet about our point of view in the future should the US succumb to the hard core of Christian Nationalists in our midst.

Take care an hopes we can communicate here still. I can probably use Yahoo.

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By Mike W, April 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Night,

How are you doing today? I seem to only be able to write one post per night, if that. I would like to comment on a few of your thoughts.

I believe that it was Sned and I who discussed in the past a “god gene”. Maybe this is what you were referring?

“Either way that interpretation was wrong. The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait just as much as eye color an natural ability.
Right now the need to believe in such things as gods is good for human survival an until that changes it will remain so. However should the environment change in such a way that would make that trait dangerous to survival we would need to change or die out. Simple as that an yet not so simple.”(Night)


I agree. For one reason or another, Man seems to have the need to worship / believe in something “larger” than him. Was it simply past down from the original Sun/earthquake God worshippers? Was it simply an evolutionary process/Natural Selection that created the gene because “worshippers” survived? Did they survive by respecting Nature, laws, each other? Did they survive because a “sacrifice” gave them “Hope” which gave them an incentive and a motivational drive to hunt harder, plant the crops, survive that winter? I think probably yes. Could an “Intelligence” create the entire process for man by planting that 1st god gene seed? I doubt it but it makes one wonder. Did ever a saber-toothed tiger rip half its kill, drag it to the morning Sun and leave it sit there so The Sun would arrive again the next morning? Maybe so but then I suppose that tiger would have to get a little more food for itself. Maybe that is why that tiger went extinct or maybe he went extinct because he did no worshipping. Or, maybe it was the ice or a Meteorite hit.
Anyway, the question is why the gene, why human, why nothing else in nature with “unnatural” behavior like that?


Tom wrote:
“Less than thirty per cent of this country,and most Western Europeans (including Scandinavia) attend, regularly, places of worship. This does not mean that the majority are active atheists, possibly most don’t care, or would sooner watch “Footie” and drink beer. Arguably alternative Oz religious activities”

Yes, I believe “Footie” – Soccer, football, baseball, basketball – watching, following is an alternative to that religious fix/god gene. There seems to be an obsession, a worshipping, etc…To thousands of folks around the globe their “sporting team” comes before their marriage (house/money/food) religion, wife, kids and others. Maybe instead it is the male’s primal release that “the kill” satisfied in the hunt?

Night, I am sorry for my ramble of thoughts but my target is:
Not having that “god gene” keeps one in the minority. Kept in the minority via religious groups/acceptance in society/not interested in worshipping a “sporting team”, one will have less chances to procreate. Over time and through Natural Selection, “atheists” will die off and theists will live on.

So, this is why I previously stated “good luck my brother’.

Hope to hear from you again, night………..

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By Leefeller, April 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

Night Gaunt, I signed up with Yahoo as Leefeller, I feel or Hope Yahoo is not really intrusive, seems to work okay for email?  I did not receive a notice from TD about TD Day either, one thing I know for sure with absolutist certainty, it is getting closer every day.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Well I am surprised because my interpretation of some of the questions an answers that Mike W gave didn’t ring true for an Atheist as I understand it, but maybe an Agnostic (fence sitters holding their lucky rabbits foot just-in-case.)

As usual, now, Gring2010 just has to ask a Y or N question but don’t dare dip his toe into the waters of contention that goes far beyond such a mechanical act. Now you just look up into the sky, an if you can see the stars in our section of Orion’s Belt, you automatically believe that some super intelligence that predates universal formation did it? You do know that the improbability of such an intelligence existing is far more than the Big Bang doing it. An what about parallel universes? Are there parallel JHVH’s too? Or does one very busy entity preside over quintillions plus such universes? Or do you simply dismiss it? I’d expect the latter from you. No real depth of thought. Sad really that remarkable brain given so little real use. You are good at posting yes or no questions but at a loss for answering questions in the form of an essay. The universe is more than Yes or No, than your thought processes, an the religion you hold do. So there will always be antagonisms. Reality versus your Aristotilian thinking processes. The natural world is more nuanced than that Grin2010 far more nuanced an larger than your god concept. That is your problem.


Well LeFella if they really are going to do this abomination then I am out of here by their stupid lazy action. I will not sign up with FaceBook. Never. An I wonder why I got no such up date from them. Unless I simply missed it. Either way it stinks.

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By Tom Edgar, April 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Grin look out of your window without your blinkers on and tell me that everything you see originated from a magicians act from a being who, evidently, spontaneously came into existence with superman powers.

We don’t BELIEVE in the Big Bang, but do have an understanding that all the available verifiable evidence, so far, points to the probability of the theory being correct.  It is quite possible that this may prove to be incorrect,  should this happen then Science will adapt to the new evidence, something theology will never do as they maintain their BELIEFS are absolute and unchangeable.

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By grin1020, April 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

I wish to challenge each of you…please look outdoors right now. What do you see? Now tell me that you BELIEVE that everything you see originated in the big bang. Don’t think too hard; just use common sense. Do you believe it?

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By THE SNED, April 17, 2012 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Mike….Thanks for clarifying everything. So you’re one of us. I didn’t know that.
I do not have great memory archives. My impression of your past posts was that
you were somewhat confused but not a bad guy. You sounded like someone
who was waffling. Assuming you were not an atheist I asked a reasonable
question.
Beyond that I do disagree with your comment that people agonize anyway. I
have just spent a semester in a college religion class and the kids who are
believers have no desire to read anything that contradicts what they believe.
More importantly the prof was educated in one of the most right winged
conservative evangelical colleges you can find on the planet, and at an
advanced age he still believes what he learned then. Every challenge I made to
his teaching was met with disdain and answered in nonsense. For example. I
questioned the Xmas census…and asked why it wasn’t recorded in Roman
Records. His response. “Bethlehem was in a dink section of the Roman empire
and no one kept any record of what went on.” Not bad aye? Yet the text book
he uses, pushes the birth of Christ to 4 BC to accomodate a census taken
then…but then the census as reported in the NT makes no sense because the
Roman census did not require people to travel to their place of birth to be
counted. It’s all nutty.
Now this anecdotal, but it’s also my experience over the decades that people of
strong faith..who are as obsessed with it as much as I am obsessed with non
belief, and dislike for Roman Catholicism,  and Evangelical Protestantism, will
ignore any and every objection to his or her religion. Even the prof, stated this
in class.” Believers aren’t interested in theology. They are not interested in
being educated. They are not in church to be taught. They just want to know
that someone is up there and loves them. Period.” There’s a book out now
entitled” the Rise and Fall of the BIble.” The author, husband of a minister, 
clearly states that Christians have little knowledge of what’s in the bible. How
come? Because they don’t read it. And even those who do read it have selective
belief… It’s okay to hate gays, but stoning people to death who work on the
sabbath apparently is not good anymore. They don’t agonize. It reminds me of
the joke about the ethnic mine sweeper who is a guy who covers his eyes with
his hands then pokes his feet gently on the surface in front of him. If it blows
up he will not have seen it happen.  In terms of religion what the religious
don’t want to believe won’t hurt them.

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By Mike W, April 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

Ok, Sned. Let’s do this again. A few years ago we tried but we could do it again for old times sake.

On April 10th, I wrote this passage in regards to Tom.

“If a son and father both believe and live as Atheists, there must be “comfort” in the fact that they both share this belief together. There must be “comfort” that they do not have to agonize in following the almost impossible moral compass and direction of a religious organization. At the hour of death, there must be “comfort” in the fact that they needn’t worry about any judgement day, heaven or hell”

So, your 1st question to me is wrong already because I never said that I believe or follow a religious organization.
1. What moral compass of your religion causes you to agonize?
You stated that my mom is Catholic and I stated that I was schooled in it for 12yrs. In the past, I had mentioned that like you I educated myself on the subject and through the facts and with common sense, I became an atheist in regards to the different religions. However in the past, I would post contradictions in atheists’ or possibilities in a God, or specific countering points addressing Sam’s Harris’s Manifesto, human behavior, evolution, motivational Christian music, death etc. etc. ln turn, Sned, would eventually address me as someone who is religious/Catholic/Christian etc..I would have to remind you otherwise so you would then grill me on “my mother’s” belief. Sned, you get like a pit bull unable to release your jaws from a raw bone. You are obsessed and I worry bout you sometimes but then I remember that to worry bout a human for no other reason but because he is human was something that was taught to me back in Catholic School. School taught me that man was created in God’s image. It is Man that is the chosen species and that all else living was given to us for our personal usage. Love your fellow Man and if you do the gates of heaven will be open for you.

So that passage above mentions that an atheistic father and son need not agonize in the almost impossible moral compass (Contradictions in biblical law and changing rules) of a religious organization. Sned, I am not going to list the contradictions in biblical law, biblical stories, the origins of Christianity and all else to your desire so you might as well put that woody back in your pants now.

My dog, Bella, breathes, bleeds, feels pain, has emotion, empathy and remorse. She has both instinctive and learned behavior, active dreams at night and no different than my daughter at that age when it came to snuggling or sneaking.
See so, these days now, I need not agonize in doing the right “Christian” thing anymore. I do not believe in a Christian Jesus Holy Spirit God who warrants and pleads me to “worry” bout Sned. Sned, you are that raccoon that unfortunately got crushed by that truck tire. You are that hawk twisted in that kite line. You are that fish on the stringer, deer in the pickup bed, cat in the kill shelter and that horse breaking down in the stretch. So Sned, I don’t agonize or worry if your last days here are painful or bad. I need not worry bout many things anymore. I have my wife, mom, daughter, bella and more. But, if you could prove to me in an atheistic way that I should give a hoot more for you than the owl in my back yard then….than…maybe I’ll start agonizing over a moral conduct again.

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By Leefeller, April 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt; Link from ITW post;

I really like the feeling of community we have here at TD, always in disagreement as well as agreement, so I will attempt to stick it out unless I find it overly cumbersome, really annoying and if many of the posters I have grown to know over the years leave, It remains to be seen! Leefeller

Link: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/youre_on_your_own_kids_20120412/

By Inherit The Wind, April 15 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Dear Fellow TD Posters: (Repost #1)

I recently received an eMail from TD containing the follow two disturbing bits of information:

“With the new system, instead of logging in to your Truthdig account, you’ll see the option to log in and post comments using Facebook, Yahoo!, AOL or Hotmail. If you already have an account with one of these services, you won’t need to create a new login; and if you don’t have one, you can sign up for free.”

“You will not be able to use your current Truthdig account to post comments in the new system. We hoped to avoid this inconvenience, but could not find an alternative compatible with our site architecture. (We actually tried and failed to build a custom comments engine for this reason alone.) Once we get the new feature in place, you’ll need to use one of the aforementioned services to log in and comment. Remember you can create a pseudonym account if anonymity is important to you. We plan to preserve all comment archives, so you don’t need to worry about losing anything you previously wrote.”

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By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Lee Fella, I hope you are wrong about those changes. How did you find out about them? An I hope it won’t interfere with our conversations here. I’d be pissed.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Just one quick question, Night, before saying good night.
If “The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait”, is true and I believe it is to be true. If it is true, who is to say that it will not be the “flexible ones” who will expire during this continuous evolutionary process. An evolutionary trait as strong as eye color will be hard to change its course. If you could stop the birds from naturally migrated south for winter, you may have a chance my brother.
Mike W

You certainly seem to have a hard time fully understanding me, I blame my thought processes for that. For birds or any migrating animal to change what it does it wouldn’t be natural if I or other humans interfered with that. Unless you mean the present ongoing climate change.  Now that is changing the migratory timing right now. But I don’t think that is what you were angling for when you used it as a metaphor for my conversion. Can you change in that area? If the answer is no then you know mine.

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By Leefeller, April 16, 2012 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Great knowing you guys, Mark Twain was smart enough to keep it to himself, I like the comment about the rapist coming for dinner. Tom, I seem to recall your poem, it was right on and very well done, it was actually jogged me memory back to Tet in Vietnam when I read it.

Truthdig is changing its format, which sounds like a major change,from all sounds things will be quite different for commenting, this secession may end up being just like god and not exist?

By the way just getting to this article comments section seems to already require some hoops.

Take care all!

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By THE SNED, April 16, 2012 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

An observation or two:

In order for death to have silence one has to be conscious, to recognize the lack
of sound. In essence then, a silent death would be one awful hell. I’m for just
being dead. I also believe that the concept of a perfect heaven is a perfect
hell…and that death is the same as a perfect heaven. How so?

In a perfect heaven there is no disease, hence no need for doctors or nurses. No
arguments, so no need for lawyers and police, no need to shop since you
perfect abode comes with boxes and cans of food and freezers that are self
filling or self fulfilling. One always shoots par at the golf course, and the ball
always follows the same trajectory every game..no matter how you swing. You
get the idea. Boring as hell.  A totally dead death then is equal to a totally
perfect heaven.

In order for us to appreciate anything on this planet we have to have contrasts.
Nice day versus rainy day versus tornado.  Nice woman or man versus awful
woman or man, versus pathetic woman or man. Good sex versus mediocre sex,
versus no sex. Without the contrasts we can’t gossip, complain, weep, laugh,  or
even enjoy. (You can’t enjoy all the time) My eldest son lived in LA and hated
the fact that each day was basically the same. No winter, no spring, no autumn
colors. In one of his books Mark Twain wrote “Can you imagine what heaven
would be like if we couldn’t fornicate? (He used the more common expression)
He had a lot to say about humans and their concept of heaven. “They hate harp
music but they all look forward to playing harp in heaven.”

(For the believers there is now a monster book out on what heaven
is..http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Randy-Alcorn/dp/0842379428
Life hereafer for under $15.00

Samuel Clements was smart…he kept his more controversial thoughts to be
published after he died so he wouldn’t have to deal with the whacky believers
who would be more likely to threaten his life and wife….than help an old lady
across the street. And there is an issue that will never go away in American
society. After all Christians would rather have dinner with a rapist than an
atheist. You figure that one out. Samuel Clements didn’t bother. He just knew it.

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By THE SNED, April 16, 2012 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

Mike- “Sned, I can not let you monopolize my thoughts and words here.”

Okay I won’t. (Not that I know how… but I won’t anyway.) I’m sorry you can’t
answer my posts with a worthy response so I’ll simplify so you can make it
worthy. Here are three questions.

1. What moral compass of your religion causes you to agonize.“There must be
“comfort” that they do not have to agonize in following the almost impossible
moral compass and direction of a religious organization.”

2. Prove to us in any way you can that is factual (not opinion) that atheists are
less moral than believers.

3. Where do you get your news?

These are all serious questions. Non of them anti Catholic, anti American, or
anti anybody including you.

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By Tom Edgar, April 16, 2012 at 1:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

G’day Mike.  Yep read that lot and what is more comprehended. Even agreed except in parts.  Firstly slight misunderstanding on your part.  I only quoted the final part of my wife’s poem it was really a dying farmer’s wife telling her family not to weep, wail, and mourn as she was going to a better place.  Now my wife was a very strong Quaker, loved by any who met her as she was too nice just to like. If she thought of a hereafter, I think an unlikely attitude, she was certainly a freethinking Quaker, as most are.  Had no belief in Virgin Mothers, nor of J C as a godly figure and certainly not in the “Miracles” attributed to him. I can bring myself to actually agree with your basic philosophy as it seems to approach my darling wife’s. She did have a concept of a non Biblical power behind this throne but I couldn’t say for certain what it was, I daresay neither could she, just an ingrained belief.This damned system is misbehaving,  my last two letters have not been published, the background format is haywire and I can’t change spaces so I’ll bugger off, in the Australian vernacular.77certain

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By Mike W, April 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

Sned, I can not let you monopolize my thoughts and words here. I am attempting to find the time to read and contemplate a worthy response for the others and here I am stuck on again. Your double posting of time spent warrants a response from me but not a worthy one. You do not seem to try to understand regardless of how hard
Here I try – wrote a bunch then deleted – time not spent well. Sorry, Sned. I do not know how to respond to you.

Tom, I understand your position that you and your son do not have/had any belief in no God, heaven, hell and simply dismiss(d) it as myth. I also understand your point of not having faith in atheism because there is nothing to believe in not believing. I say that I understand but that is not to say that I believe it. Later in your posts, you admit (not to me but to a post to Night) . In that post, you mentioned that death was the beginning of “Nothingness”. You made reference to how your wife and poem mentioned that she was off to no dishes and no clothes to do, off to nothing for ever and ever. Tom, with all due respect to you and the ones you lost, it seems as if your wife found comfort in a belief that no more pain awaits here after death. That complete Nothingness awaits all of us. So, this was my point before. Having Faith and finding comfort in death with an unproven notion created in one’s own head. I too lean toward that notion that “dead” is simply silent nothingness. However, if I do not believe in a God/heaven/hell because of no proof. I suddenly think that I must not assume that dead is the beginning of “Nothingness” for there is no proof there also. To embrace death as the beginning of nothing or as a peaceful sleep is to have faith in an unproven, to hope for the best and to find comfort in an unknown.
I have to add that you mentioned that both your son and close friend had to endure a painful journey to, in all probability, the same place. And, this I agree with you. But, can you agree with me – in anything? I am out of time, and wish I had more to address Night too.

Just one quick question, Night, before saying good night.
If “The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait”, is true and I believe it is to be true. If it is true, who is to say that it will not be the “flexible ones” who will expire during this continuous evolutionary process. An evolutionary trait as strong as eye color will be hard to change its course. If you could stop the birds from naturally migrated south for winter, you may have a chance my brother.

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By Tom Edgar, April 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Lee. Glad you are fit enough to return.

Oh as some of you know I had similar experiences in WW2.  Without going into the whole story,  when the torpedoes came straight for me, on look out, my final words before they arrived were “Oh Oh Mom.” Well on that occasion the torpedoes turned into Porpoises. Prompting my poem titled My Mom is my God, praising her ability to upstage Jesus with his magicians trick of turning water into wine by turning tin fish into real fish. (I was only 17yrs)

Last night our National TV ran a program on the work of “Chaplains” within the hospital.  The Chaplain in this instance was Non Denominational and female, even I liked her. The patient was in a coma for two weeks and not expected to live, his parents came over from Britain receiving wonderful and compassionate assistance from the Chaplain, not once did she invoke God neither did she proselytise nor pray.
In any case it would have been counterproductive as the father initially stated “We are not God botherers.”  a common enough term in the U K.  The outcome was good as the young man eventually recovered enough to return to Britain for convalescence. 
Another segment portrayed a (Presbyterian) man with cancer with an Anglican Priest.
This ended with prayers by both with the older patient repeating them as he hadn’t attended a Church since childhood and hadn’t the foggiest idea of what praying was. He just knew he was, somehow, a Christian and wanted to make sure he was on the road to ?????. Sure renewed the indoctrination from the cradle. Oh! he died.

Reminds me of the drowning Mariner crying to Jesus for help.  Oops, sorry sport this is the Arabian Gulf.  Wrong intermediary, and I don’t recollect Mahomet walking on water. I make no apology for being facetious.

As the late Dave Allen would say.  And may your Gods go with you.. Tom E

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By Leefeller, April 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

“Where the hell is god?” Well this is just how I felt when I was in Vietnam back in 1968, we where anticipating the tet offensive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tet_Offensive) and we knew the Vietcong where going to hit us hard. I decided to go to the chapel and pray and rally some meager hope in what could be staving off my possible demise. When I reached the chapel there was standing room only, packed out the door of the screened chapel. Services could not be heard from my Mosquito infested vantage point, I remember the flies where taking turns in annoying the evening with the Mosquitoes that evening.  Standing in the heat feeling not so chipper,.... all of a sudden it hit me like a stick across the head!  .....  I was a blooming hypocrite just going to services because of my potential demise! Not enjoying my new revelation of hypocrisy I decided to go to the enlisted men’s club instead.

As it is;

“Where the hell is god?”

Guys TD is making some major changes in how they do postings, so this may be farewell depending on how it works out.

Thanks for helping me see the real light.

Lee

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By Tom Edgar, April 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Am I the only one who leaves no doubt to their domicile, identity, and general lifestyle? In doing so there is no need for this conjecture or puzzlement at the direction of thought.  Furthermore there is no need for this obsession with person attacks that so often leads to a total divergence from the original theme.

Now Sned, once again I am sorry to point out that your thoughts regarding Australia are more than a little awry. “One look and you see how populated it can be”  Oh no, that would be like seeing the desert regions of America only on a vaster scale and imagining a population like New Jersey. Water alone is the problem, even as it is becoming in the generously watered areas of the U S A. In China one doesn’t think of the Gobi being populated as densely as much as the other provinces.  Even our cattle need square miles to survive in some areas, not as in the U S A beast to five or ten acres, or even ten square feet if in a feed lot.  Vast irrigation projects such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme has only devastated, by salinity and water deprivation, massive areas downstream, whilst in America it made even better and bigger golf courses and greener suburban lawns.

However I diverge from the central point and that is the unlikelihood of there being a God in any of the manifestations of the past, and present.  Harris made it abundantly clear that there were too may points, supported by evidence,that leads to the conclusion that a superior being is not just unlikely, but impossible, whereas religionists, not necessarily only Christians, have never produced supportive, verifiable evidence to support their unfounded beliefs except in fertile imaginary hallucinations.

So what about a substantial input on the central theme instead of scoring off each others person attributes and personality failings?  I’m sure I must have a failing or two, as I become older I seem to have fewer and regret those I had in my past. Intolerance is one that I try to sublimate but it is difficult when confronted by the failings of those who follow a faith then indulge in pedophilia, and many other obnoxious acts such as abuse of women, or even occasionally of men, avariciousness that accumulates vast wealth to braggingly, or is it belated conscience? when indulging in philanthropy accompanied by publicity of their beneficent largesse.The hypocrisy,even J C said it to be the worse failing. Or as my father would say. Police Priests and Politicians. “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

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By THE SNED, April 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Well Mike, you remembered a lot. About half. And gort half wrong. But my
question was not what you remembered about me but what you knew in
general…which is why I asked where you got you information from, because it
amazed me what you didn’t know about Australia. Not that I’m an expert, But
geez, one look at that continent and you get an idea of just how populated it
can be. But let me address “There must be “comfort” that they do not have to
agonize in following the almost impossible moral compass and direction of a
religious organization.”  This statement is a laugh. It is THE juvenille belief that
atheists have no conscience and no moral code. That we can go out and do
whatever the hell we please not because it’s right or wrong but because some
being is out their judging our every move. To be blunt I find the idea of a god
watching over us every moment of every day to be beyond silly. As a metter of
fact I would recommend a short book to you written by an Australian Jesuit
titled “Where the hell is god?” In which he makes a very strong logical argument
that God doesn’t give a hoot what you pray for. SHe’s not listening. SHe leaves
the planet and it’s occupants to themselves. (I wrote to the author S.J. Leonard
and hoped he made Pope.) I’m sure I mentioned this here months ago.) I also
suggested watching a good video on atheists you might not know…and might.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU&feature=g-

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By THE SNED, April 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

But mere fact that you have to agonize over doing something right or wrong
tells me there’s something wrong in that! My dear man is your moral code so
weak that you agonize over giving a bum a buck, or taking in a kid of another
race, or moving next to someone of another race, offering to help a blind
person across a street, or helping a man put on his socks in a YMCA locker
room because he has a back injury. Does it bother you that you can’t rob a
bank. Does athesist rob people all the time. What are you listening to. And old
biook that says you should kill people working on the sabbath?  Do you do that? 
You agonize over such matters?  If you have kids do you make then thank you
for having sex with your wife so they could be born? Do you judge them day in
and day out wanting to know everything they do? Do you demand their loyalty?
What kind of parent would that be? What kind of a god is that? That’s a
dictator! (Watch newsfilm on North Korea) By the way…The Egyptian Book of the
Dead, now on-line has a prayer in it of a man who claim he did not abuse
children, that he shared his riches withe the poor. Two thought that don’t occur
in the NT and far younger than the ten commandments. And I must admit I did
find comfort is my quest top find God, when I realized that there was no such
thing as time (discussed here many times..and there are a number of shows on
the science channel that agree with that premise)....To me, that meant eternity
is both backwards and forwards. The universe, in whatever shape of form, is
ageless and endless. Hence no need for a god, which never made sense to
me…but was now confirmed. We evolve. Intelligence evolves.  No thing is born
with the power and knowledge of everything. (Which the argument for God
ignores)....“Oh he existed forever! Good you believe that…I can’t. And if there is
a god I will argue with her that I used the intelligence she gave me to reason
that she didn’t exist.
And if that’s cause for going to hell…send me there! You offer not an ounce of
proof that Atheists are less moral than believers. In fact people are better cared
for in countries that are secular. Look it up. And I have no desire to defend
America today. Google “Why American believe anything. Print it out and read it.
Oh yes….as a believer you just might argue that one of the proof points for god
is that there are so many Christians.  Suggest you read a few books on the
conversion of the Roman Empire by Constantine and the emperors who
followed him.

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By Mike W, April 15, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Sned , now, now. You know Mike W. Your protestant vs catholic childhood era, tainted you badly. It’s no wonder that your greeting to me is a mention of my mother, me being an odd one, and an anti-Catholic parenthesis on anti-gay and abortion. But, you say that I am a nice guy – which you would have mentioned in your next post to me – after saying that am I simply sensitive and had misunderstood you. So,,,,how have you been Sned? Doing the same?

Let’s start out with (“Let’s start at what you do know…” sned) what I do know. Sned lived a good American Life. I believe that he lived in the World War Era, maybe served also. His Pride in America is selectively strong. His Anti-Catholicism (Christian) views trump all other personal thoughts. This confuses him greatly in life. He worked his entire life and retired well. One of his greatest attributes was adapting and raising many kids in his household. Mass-Adoption, seemingly an American Christian Act, Sned proved a person with atheistic developed beliefs could pull off also. Sned just does not realize that in regards to his childhood, my childhood, my mother’s childhood and now “his kids” childhood, we all share one thing. We share our parents’ beliefs, views and opinions passed down to us. Sned, your Anti-Theism (esp anti Roman Catholic) overpowers your ever thought process and behavior. ‘God’ help YOUR kids! But, I think Sned is nice guy overall.

I am certain that Sned could have funneled his energy toward Tom instead. My points of American Dreams, American Health Care, American Patriotism, Australian’s White Australia Policy, life and death and how all humans cope with it were all valid and finally created great stories, opinions and thought provocative material pertaining to this subject. Sned, an aged American who lived his dream and life with honor and conviction failed to stand up for himself or his country simply because his “non-belief” system is the same as Tom’s. This is ok Sned. I am familiar with your behavior. But, anyway how IS your long retirement going? Is your house still with you? Or you eating well? Your electric must still be on for your computer is running. Was adoption expensive? Education available? Married a Catholic wife if I remember properly. Converted her from her mis-upbringing belief after you married too. Correct? Wedding nevertheless, kids, good job, government grants?, house I bet, music instruments and lessons if I remember.

So, Sned. Redirect your satellite view from above down upon this country, our homes, hospitals, schools, open door policy, churches, mosques, temples, etc…Remember what you, our grandparents and our government did, do and try to do as a Nation. I am not saying one’s better than another but there’s a lot more going on than “an arid desert” VS “an elevated snow plateaus feeding vast river system”.

Tom and Night. Thank you for your posts, your time put forth and especially Tom’s shared moments and thoughts of the difficult time of death of his wife, son and close friend. Sned, popped into the scene to divide us at the moment when we finally were starting to engage in deeper substance. I will need to read and reread your posts and hopefully I will be able to respond and contribute with equal quality.

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By Tom Edgar, April 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh dear Night Gaunt.  You shouldn’t be upset at Grin’s remarks about the an(d)  It was politely put and only reflected on why you wrote this way.  I will say it puzzled me but I just accepted it as it could have had several reasons. 1 It could be a really serious grammatical error, if so it is not polite to remark on it. 2. It could also be an interpretation of a colloquial aberration normally used in a specific area much as so many people mispronounce have as of, in sentences such as in. “He could have(of)”.  Once again not really polite to draw attention.  Then it could be one of those abbreviations so common today from text messages,. or even a deliberate shortening.  However as “an” is a real word as is “and” it is usual to use them in the correct fashion.  That being said I am reminded of a Tutor in debating class saying that if the words, content and message are understandable then the way they are delivered are of secondary importance.

Apart from the forgoing N G you are, as usual, spot on, although Mike wold probably interpret that as just you and me being in agreement on a subject to which he is in a diametrically opposing position.

Sned you are too kind.  Do I actually know who you are? Have we met somewhere?  I would like to think you are truly perceptive but Mike, poor fellow, would then think maybe you are my alter ego, or at least a bedfellow.

Now, Australia Socialist??? Maybe comparatively from an American point of view.  Compared to France Holland, and Scandinavia we are relatively on the right of centre and sadly destined to go even further to the right after the recent State elections.

Now I am one of those who actually has doubts about the existence of the “Christ” there being no authenticating evidence, outside of Biblical writings.  My musings on this is on the possibility of multiple evangelicals wandering around at the same time, much like the mythical Robin Hood.  A character who seemed to pop up all over the middle counties of England performing daring deeds, robbing and then helping the destitute this became encompassed into the mythical single figure and still lingers on.  This even has a modern day counterpart in the mobsters of London’s East End “The Kray Brothers” A most evil pair, who were revered by some for their philanthropy with their ill gotten gains.

My son in law, a crossword addict, said today, after answering his puzzle query which involved religious garb.  “I find it puzzling that you are versed in religion and an atheist.”  I said in reply.  “You have to have an understanding of your subject matter to be able to debate, fortunately for the atheists too many Believers have never questioned their rote learned understanding of their faith, to know the truth of its genesis let alone the manipulations of the varying faiths and sects over the past few thousand years.”  Herein lies what I referred to in Cardinal Spell’s abject performance against Richard Dawkins.  Away from his ritualistic application of indoctrinated Catholic theological postulations he was on unholy ground and was intellectually humiliated, especially when he ventured into Biology Dawkins specialty.. May Allah the Merciful forgive him.

I could be quite wrong in my wondering here, and I invite non Biblical proof to the contrary regarding J C’s existence. Or for that matter the Ark, or Moses and Exodus, but especially that supreme example of all cerebral manifestations “GOD”, any of the thousands will do.

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

I know..and I write like a moron. Sorry…I’m terrible at self editing.

Hello Tom…nice to read you comments again.

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Good grief all this stuff going on and I only now hear of it? Funny system they
have here. They must be having tech problems. I don’t understand Mike W’s
comments at all. Not that I’m smart. But what’s the argument? Over comfort?  Is
he defending America’s idiotic attempts at being pioneers all over again? Or
Christianity? Did he read the lastest survey of religion in the US…the greatest
and fastest growth is in the noners.  The No affiliated who don’t align
themselves with any religion. And our youth are less reliogious and much more
liberal than their parents. (Athesists have no ninlical reason to hate people for
thier sexual orientation. and believe in a woman’s right to choose. And there’s a
new book out on the heresy of America…about the Evangelical preachers saying
one can get rich by worshipping Jesus while Jesus message was not to get rich
but to help the poor….Isn’t this the same MIke W that was here a year or two
ago?  Hello Mike. Is that you? As I recall a Christian who is upset if we get upset
with him. There was something odd about him. Nice guy but had issues.Mother
a Catholic? Yes? Not like Glenno who has a hobby here of saying nothing and
continues his cowardly ways. Just for the record I would not recommend that
anyone take on Tom Edgar. He’s is all together together. Smarter than the rest
of us here.  And it doesn’t take a genius Mike, if you look at Australia from a
satellite, to tealize that most of it is arid desert. And they horrific droughts that
continue today.  You made comments like you never read a paper ir listened to
the news.  Or maybe you listent to Christian radio and the don’t talk about
other countries because they’re mostly   socialistic. And that’s why Tom had to
point that out too. So where do you get your news Mike? Let’s start at what you
do know…because what you’d said so far has left me, for one,  wondering. (Of
course you could say Tom has been educating you..and you’d get 5 stars from
me)

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By Night-Gaunt, April 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

You misunderstand me Mike W I was speaking of the variability an flexibility of the human species. An that includes a few of us who aren’t believers. If you knew anything about evolution you would know that for a species to survive some of them are born every generation with differences from the norm. A way of not keeping all the eggs in one basket. I’m sorry if I didn’t write it clearly enough for you. (Or you have a chip on your shoulder an you just thought you saw that in my writing.) Either way that interpretation was wrong. The need to believe, the urge to believe is an evolutionary trait just as much as eye color an natural ability.

Right now the need to believe in such things as gods is good for human survival an until that changes it will remain so. However should the environment change in such a way that would make that trait dangerous to survival we would need to change or die out. Simple as that an yet not so simple.

We gain comfort from our family members, memories, beauty of nature just like everyone else only without the burden of superstition or mysticism. That is all. Or do you constantly bat away the “false” gods (your Atheism) an purple winged elephants? No of course not. Neither do we.

Grin2010 now you stoop so low to make a crack at my grammar? Pitiful, barrel scrapings an bad etiquette. Tisk. You are a petty being after all! Welcome to the human race.

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By Tom Edga, April 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t know if you have some objection to an “Unregistered commenter”  In my case it is simply because every time I try to “Log In” I am at first accepted then bounced off leaving my only recourse the other method of entry. Admin seem unable to correct the anomaly.

No Mike you do not address my points you simply word them your way.  Your last is indicative of this. You state that my son and I have/had a belief in no Gods, heaven, nor hell, not true, we have/had NO belief in these myths. There is a world of difference. It is similar to your repetitiveness about having a belief in atheism, once again not true. There is NOTHING to believe in NOT believing. There is, of course an understanding, once again a philosophical approach to definitions, but as so often is the case the interpretation and elucidation can have a great variance according to the nuances of language and the individuals interpretation.

If I have ignored any part of your arguments I do not hesitate to state that I probably thought they weren’t worthy of attention, or, apologetically, even an oversight.

As it is with so many religionists I am always prompted to ask of “Gods” and their existence.  “Show me the verifiable evidence.”

Just this week on Australian television the leading R C Archbishop (Pell) debated with Richard Dawkins. When he was asked a similar question he fumbled and mumbled but eventually admitted there was no verifiable evidence.
Well if a Cardinal can’t substantiate his beliefs. Can you?
I dissociate myself from your comments regarding atheism being in a minority. This may well be correct in the backward countries but not in most advanced European nations and certainly not in mine.

On the same television show a poll was conducted on the question.  “Would the world be better off without religion.” The answer was roughly what the country’s religious affiliation reflects in the area generally. r said yes.
Less than thirty per cent of this country,and most Western Europeans (including Scandinavia) attend, regularly, places of worship. This does not mean that the majority are active atheists, possibly most don’t care, or would sooner watch “Footie” and drink beer.  Arguably alternative Oz religious activities.

Worldwide about one billion people are Hindus, additionally many others are not of the Judaic, Christian, Islamic tradition, Shinto, Animist, etc., so toward this bloc the attitude of the first three are atheistic. Well at least they think that they are wrong, and within even that triumvirate they each think the others are, to varying degrees incorrect,  with each section (especially the Christians) there are also many who have strong convictions only they are the “Saved.”

So when I ask “Show me the evidence.” I understand that it is difficult,  there being so many Gods, and differing beliefs, for which a multitude of conflicting evidences could be asked.  But I’ll settle for your God (and Archbishop Pell’s).

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By Mike W, April 13, 2012 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

I am comfortable with how I rebutted Tom’s points:

“If I lay my head on a comfortable pillow it is not a release from any affliction, I gain comfort from a warm environment not because I am being afflicted by a chilly one. To state otherwise only shows you are capable of selective searching” (Tom)

I then brought the discussion back to my original point regarding the topic of An Atheist Manifesto. I was part of the original crew here, put my time in, and paved the way for Unregistered Commenter Tom Edgar. A person who suggests that my comments are not worthy here, that I am simply stirring the possum. Unregistered Commenter Tom also then throws in his age of experiential knowledge to further insult my intelligence. I would have respected you more, Tom, if you had addressed simply one of my points. In that response, you could have concluded with a declaration of discontinuation with me based on your status of superiority. But, instead you took the high easy road out and addressed nothing.

Night, you have to stop, back up and take a breath. You sound like a Christian Preacher continuously reciting quotes from your atheistic bible. If I made a point to Tom or a good rebuttal or a bad rebuttal address it. Don’t be afraid of crossing your fellow Atheist. Remember, you believe that there is no God, no God who could punish you for that bad deed against your fellow believer.

Night, you believe that an atheist became an atheist because of the study of evolution, study of religion and the evolving facts of life? Your comments that atheists, esp you, are part of a minority of a species who is more flexible and will be the ones who will not “die out”. That’s a bunch of crap but like I stated before, I believe some atheists start acting, talking and believing no different than a religious branch of believers. Religion has always been used as a way of controlling a population, be it for good or for bad deeds. Atheism and Theism and different sects of each have and will always be here. To say that atheistic thinking humans is the key to survival is pure wrong. Who’s to say that it was not theistical thinking that brought our species this far already? We are on top of the food chain, surviving by Nature and by our own intelligence. Some may say since Theism of some sort has been since the beginning days of Homo sapiens, it was Intelligence that got us this far.

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By grin1020, April 13, 2012 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt -
I’ve got to know…do you have something against the use of the word ‘and’?

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By Tom Edgar, April 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry NG if I diverge slightly.  My son nor I had/have any fear or even concern with death.  Death means the beginning of nothingness.  Or as my late wife’s little poem about the dying farmer’s wife ended, ” I’m off to where there is no dishes to clean,  nor clothes to be sewing. So don’t cry for me now, nor cry for me ever, for I’m off to do nothing for ever and ever.”

Now dying is another matter altogether, one of the final requests my son made to me was. “Put me down Tom.”  His passing was very slow. and we had “Put down” so many animals before they got to that stage.
Very rarely is the natural process of dying a comfortable one. A devout Anglican friend in her nineties lay dying slowly from WW2 induced problems brought back from North Africa where she had been a Lieutenant Nurse (R N Z N C)  In her nineties she, only hours from her demise, said “Oh Tom if this is the way to heaven I really can’t recommend it.”
I’ve no doubt she thought she was on the way to that mythical place as much as my son thought otherwise,  both had to endure a painful journey to, in all probability, the same place.

I leave you with another part of my “Quaker” wife’s homilies. “In the end we are but a sum of our loving. Maybe it is all so unbelievably simple, not as theologists would have it, complex and profound.”

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By Night-Gaunt, April 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

So, YOU probably knew that I was trying to simply state a point that if a person comes to the conclusion of ‘Atheism” A = without “Theism”’ for himself, he has accepted the belief of no heaven, no hell, no judgement day etc… At the moment of death, this atheist very well may be afraid of death but not afraid of the “Nothingness” that he believes awaits him after death. This “faith” in this belief should certainly bring him comfort just as a person of religion finds comfort in heaven awaiting her after death.Mike W

Such conclusions aren’t belief as you twist it to be. But conclusions based upon observed phenomena. But you guys just can’t wrap your heads around the idea that we function differently from you. Yes we are a minority an it makes us neither right nor wrong. If you understood the Natural world including Evolution you can see where Nature is always making sure to have a few outliers from the main part. (Call it biological statistics.) The more flexible a species is the greater chance of it maintaining existence in a changed environment. For those that don’t have that potential they cannot an die out. We still have some flexibility in this area but the majority are automatic believers in some form of mystical things including “life beyond death” an such.

Yes unlike the usual ones you go after, we have our brains in good use. We reason an analyze an question you to the Nth degree. So of course you will consider time with us “wasted.” What do you think we think of it? It keeps us sharp if you are good at reasoning. If you are not it becomes disjointed meandering waffling.

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By Tom Edgar, April 11, 2012 at 1:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kriseorlmitey. Glenno??? Must be a “Mystic” if s(h)e can make sense out of the cornucopia of confabulate conundrums here expressed.

What it has to do with anything relevant to the theme of this article is beyond my intellect or qualifications, experience and 85 years. Certainly doesn’t address the reactions or propositions of those opposing M W’s meanderings, apart from being irrelevant to the article or anything else.

Now confess Mike You are just “Stirring the Possum.”
and you are not about to be actually addressing any serious topic.

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By Mike W, April 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

How are you Glenno? The years are going by, bud.

So, YOU probably knew that I was trying to simply state a point that if a person comes to the conclusion of ‘Atheism” A = without “Theism”’ for himself, he has accepted the belief of no heaven, no hell, no judgement day etc… At the moment of death, this atheist very well may be afraid of death but not afraid of the “Nothingness” that he believes awaits him after death. This “faith” in this belief should certainly bring him comfort just as a person of religion finds comfort in heaven awaiting her after death.

If a son and father both believe and live as Atheists, there must be “comfort” in the fact that they both share this belief together. There must be “comfort” that they do not have to agonize in following the almost impossible moral compass and direction of a religious organization. At the hour of death, there must be “comfort” in the fact that they needn’t worry about any judgement day, heaven or hell.

Tom states:
‘If Tom lays his head on a comfortable pillow, it is not a release from any affliction. If Tom gains comfort from a warm environment, it is not because (he is) being afflicted by a chilly one.’ 

But he is wrong for Tom’s pillow is only ruled “comfortable” because his head and neck has been in pain and strained in a balanced upright position all day. Tom’s “comfortable’ warm environment is only deemed comfortable because he needed warmth during a cold spell.
I am certain, if Tom has been bedridden and kinks and sores have developed, a “comfortable” pillow would not only have been the culprit but also will be the continuation of agony. If Tom was burning up in a fiery Tennessee or Australian house fire, he certainly would not seek “comfort” in a “warm’ environment but rather a “colder” one.

Glenno, yes these guys are wrong with their arguments. They go on the same old attack. Saying the same old things without even trying to figure out what angle I am asking of them.  I’m here wasting time trying to debate the word comfort used as a noun then a verb then how used in a sentence etc… “Night” brings up a Myth Bin and states that one could find comfort in people not in atheism. At Tom’s hour of death, he is not only finding comfort in atheism but finding comfort in taking parting shots at the USA, Tennessans, U.S. health care, Christianity, non-atheists.

Actually, Just Maybe These Guys are correct. They REALLY find no comfort in atheistic thinking during life and especially at the time of death.
It is nice talking to you again Glenno. You always try to understand my thoughts and I respect you for that. Thank you.

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By grin1020, April 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Mike W. -
Learn from my mistakes…I’ve wasted countless hours with these lost souls.
Titus 3:10 ESV
“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.”

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By Night-Gaunt, April 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Strange way of reasoning Mike W to say the least. Did you learn that in a Christian school or all on your own? A little tongue piercing cheek here? One can find comfort in others not in something like Atheism. We don’t substitute it in our minds “Atheism” for “religion” it just doesn’t compute that way.

Or are you constantly having to push all those other gods out of your head that you see as fake, false an unreal? No you just move with that one. For us there is nothing to put in a place like that in our minds. No need. So we pursue other things with out time an lives. No praying, no worshiping, no supplications etc. No such category, they all go into the Myth bin. (You’ve got one such “Myth Bin” too but you leave out one of the god’s an you have it in you “Religion bin.” in your mind.)  Remember that you next question.

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By Tom Edgar, April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You must be using a Tennessee dictionary, I suggest you use an Oxford. or even a Webster. If I lay my head on a comfortable pillow it is not a release from any affliction, I gain comfort from a warm environment not because I am being afflicted by a chilly one. To state otherwise only shows you are capable of selective searching.

As for me having “Faith” in my atheistic beliefs that is an oxymoronic statement in extremis. Faith is what you hold when you have no proof to support an understanding. Whilst it is virtually impossible to show proofs for the non existence of anything it is easy enough to disprove the negative by showing evidence for the positive.  In the case for religious beliefs I have never been shown one scintilla of supportive, replicable, and verifiable evidence that would show me the atheism isn’t valid.
ipso facto, atheism is a justifiable stance.

As there is, to my mind, no judgment day, no heaven, (nor hell) I’ll not let those to mythical prospects bother me let alone gain comfort from them.


As you are the proselytising visitor here I ask why do you bother? You are very unlikely to change our philosophy,  I dare say we will not be changing yours,  nor are we about to visit your “Abode” with the intent to enlighten you either.

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By Mike W, April 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

If atheism is defined as having no religious affiliation (no theism), an atheist WILL have comfort (no affliction) in their belief that there is no devil, no God and no judgement day when they die. They will certainly. Comfort actually sprang up the moment that their studies seemed to disprove theism in their minds.

Tom Edgar wrote:
“There is no comfort, just the satisfaction of knowing that, intellectually, we are free from the mental captivity of the dogmatic brainwashed enslavement of unproven religious beliefs.”

I believe that Tom does find COMFORT and satisfaction in his atheism in life and certainly at the moment of death.

Actually, COMFORT is defined as “relief from affliction”.
So Tom, come on. Please stop trying to intellectually belittle me. You forced me to grab a dictionary and a few pages past the exlibris was comfort being defined as a relief from affliction. And, it is clear that Tom Edgar is within affliction based on his words of ‘satisfaction and free from dogmatic enslavement’. His very description of death.

Faith is defined as -  belief which is not based on proof.
Could Tom also have faith in his atheistic belief? (Faith) Belief, not based on proof /in Atheism (without theism – which is based on faith)?
It does not matter to split hairs on words and definitions. My analogy of the words comfort and faith with theists and Tom Edgar at the hour of their deaths should have been clearly understood.

So, Tom, would you like to try again.  Regarding the fact that as your life here on earth nears closure, do you find comfort in the fact that your faith (or belief not based on proof on theism which is based on faith) in atheism is strong in your mind? If true then there is no struggle with judgment day, hell, loved ones neither here nor there and that there is not a heaven that based on unproven writings you will certainly not being visiting? Is there also comfort in your atheistic belief that your son and you will lie in dust and both shall be together ‘intellectually’ free and both in a state of total absolution?

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By Tom Edgar, April 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

I should have take a little more time in responding to the tripe from Mike W. so that I could educate him a little further.

Comparing Australia’s land mass with America’s is ludicrous.  In the first instance it is only comparable in size with the original 48 States not with Hawaii and Alaska with their mineral wealth.

Secondly we have no elevated snow plateaus feeding vast river systems.  Our inland areas, in the main are sparsely inhabited, and will remain so, our water availability to feed another 20 million let alone 280 million, is non existent, the present population is already experiencing potable water shortages. Whilst we have a small oil and gas production working it is but a fraction of the REMAINING stock in the Americas. To equate our wealth
with America’s to justify your totally unchristian attitudes towards your own citizens whilst we, as a mainly non christian nation, along with the other nations I mentioned show a degree of egalitarianism that Bible bashers preach but, generally, do not remotely practice unless solely to the adherents of their own particular religious persuasion.

For a degree in hypocrisy you are well qualified to graduate.  You tell me not to make comparisons between nations and their failings, then do so when comparing the U S A’s and my adopted country.  No wonder I’m glad I decided Texas was not the place to stay in 1945, along with the U K and other European nations. So I became a “Born Again” Australian. My parents not having got it right first time around.
The only alternative, and possibly better, was New Zealand, but then it does Shake, Rattle, and Roll periodically.

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By Tom Edgar, March 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again we have a person without any conception of the term “Atheism”. A = without “Theism” religious affiliation. There is nothing else added. Faith, Beliefs, whether philosophical, or political.

Faith by its very definition is that to which one clings when they have neither facts nor evidence to justify beliefs.  In atheism there is NO comfort, nor is there companionship in death, that is reserved for those who can’t think, and embrace religions in all their variety and complexity.
There is no residing for all eternity in each others embrace, once again that resides in the imagination of some religious followers. There is no comfort , just the satisfaction of knowing that, intellectually, we are free from the mental captivity of the dogmatic brainwashed enslavement of unproven religious beliefs.

For your pathetic defence of America’s unjust non health care system and qualifying Australia’s because of our lesser population density, I suggest you add those of most of western European and Scandinavian nations, or even your northern neighbour’s not so, comparatively speaking, meretricious service.

When making statements regarding another country I suggest you research your subject.  The “White Australia Policy” had absolutely nothing to do with “Post World War 2”, in which incidentally I was a participant, that infamous policy was well established in, and before, the 1900s.  In spite of that my own wife’s ancestry was Chinese man/Irish woman marrying in 1852. This didn’t negate racial bigotry, some pockets remain to this day, as they do in all the States of the American Union, and virtually all the world’s nations.

Defending your medieval social, non welfare State’s actions will never advance the health, education, and social justice systems of the U S A to match those of other advanced nations. Advocating and supporting a system that has a proven record of abject failure when compared to countries such as Finland or Denmark when your own country is so much richer only only shows that they have a more enlightened attitude to the distribution of available wealth, and a greater sense of egalitarianism. I close with this observation by an American who said. “If you want to live the American Dream, migrate to Denmark.”  I preferred Australia, the weather’s warmer.

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By Mike W, March 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

Edgar speaks of an atheistic bond between himself and his son. This bond has brought him comfort in life and now in death of one. Edgar believes that his son now lays in eternal nothingness, state of painlessness and eternal comfort. This state is where the bond between father and son unite in belief and which brought great comfort during their living days together. As his days are shortened here, faith in atheism and joining his son in eternal rest comes easier.


Australia with a population of 20 million and the United States at 300 million…and land mass of equal resources…sure enjoy your free health care.
Watch and see after another 280 million folks come on board.


U.S. Policy?? Ya say?
After World War II, Australia needed to replenish their deceased.
Australia needed to repopulate for rebuilding, money and to defend their land. Thus, entered the “White Australia Policy”. Repopulate the country side with white folks again. Yes, this policy stayed in place until 1972. 1972 1972!

Sounds a little “Germany” – Tom Edgar – stop comparing countries, policies, health care, home and savings lost to illness etc…Your brother’s gone. Your son’s gone and I am sure many more also.
Here too… loved ones gone. Never coming back. Finances made, savings and health diminishing, hopes down and hopes up. Health up then health failing…

That’s life over seas – here and there.


Tom, keep your faith the same as your son my brother until your very last breath. That way, one lad is not stuck alone from father or son.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Excellent video The Sned an am glad that Ayn Rand wasn’t part of the group. Nice music too. Did you know that writer/creator Michael J. Stazinski is also an Atheist an on his great show “Babylon 5” the welcome to the space station was a long line of religionists and an Atheist too!

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By THE SNED, March 29, 2012 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

Interesting video—“Atheist”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU&feature=g-
vrec&context=G23db544RVAAAAAAAAAw

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By Night-Gaunt, March 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

By Dr. Zaius, March 17 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The greatest murderers are the Communists who are atheist.  Mao Tse Tung
murdered 75,000,000 in China, Joseph Stalin murdered 50,000,000 people in the
Soviet Union.  Currently the most repressive and murderous regime is Communist
NorthKorea.  It is atheists who are the biggest killers.

Also N. Korea isn’t Atheist, they are forced to worship their leader as a god-man king just like the old days.

I was going to lay into you on that much used canard but Tom Edgar who trounced you in that department, took care of it masterly. Believe me Dr. Zaius, we have heard that before an no matter how often we correct them they use it again an again because it works for their sheep, I mean flock. But please attempt to rebut this from Tom, I dare you!

Tom Edgar, my mother died in 2010 from cancer. She was very Catholic an thought she had read in the Bible something she thought meant she would live for 20 or so more years. (Believe me when I say I wish she had been right.) She went from hospital to hospice an then died within a day. I wasn’t there but one of my brothers were.  I feel for you an know of something of what you are experiencing. I hope he doesn’t suffer.

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By Tom Edgar, March 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Lee.

I’ll not claim Australia’s Health Care system is perfection just that my experience of it was.  There are too many attempts to try and copy the American way. I would also add that in my recovery ward (five beds) there were patients who were covered by Health Insurance, and those of us who were not.  No difference in care and treatment. In my case the surgeon (The most senior in the hospital) would be paid by the State, the others privately.

Most of the medications I am now taking are heavily subsidised by the State.  per prescription, when officially listed, the price is $5.60. I was once prescribed shots at $4,000.00 per injection three times yearly for life.  I declined but each shot would have only cost me the prescribed price of $5.60.

For any attempt to gain near perfection I would advocate the total coverage of the population by a Government funded Health Insurance scheme.  Socialism? Not in my book, just social justice.
Last October I journeyed through the U S A, and in Texas I was confronted by a (Republican) lady who said. “These Socialist actions are always abused .” my reply was.“So you advocate that for the 1% who abuse the system the remaining 99% should suffer?”  Now this, to me, smacks of Fascist mentality which was epitomised by the Third Reich in occupied Europe in WW2 when retaliating for actions by the oppressed resisting their occupation.  But then I see little difference now between the Fascist acts within America, and internationally, by the U S A and those of Nazi Germany. Dare I add that in both cases Germany and U S A used Christian ideology as a motivating reason.

Forgive me I am wandering from the theme.  I am led to believe the Health care systems of Scandinavia and other European nations, notably France, are even
better than my experience.  All I can say is that, unless you are very wealthy, many third world countries would be served better than some of the disadvantaged in the U S A.

As for the U K I had a brother who lived there who took five years to die from spinal cancer, in all that time he never lost his home or bank account, and received extremely good “Free” care, as did my brother in law,  who died in similar circumstances.

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By Leefeller, March 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Tom,

Please get well and my condolence for your son. The medical care you speak of is in Australia, correct. I would like to keep your well written post for future reference, when arguing with the Knuckle Dragging opposition to Universal health care? Any other information would also be helpful, all we hear in the States is about the long lines waiting for health care, heard this from Ron Paul just the other day, but he was referring to England, while generalizing at the same time.

Wish you well.

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By Tom Edgar, March 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thought for a moment that whilst I was otherwise engaged the site had disappeared,but thankfully not so.

Oh what a fool.  Stalin an atheist? He started as a Russian Orthodox and a seminarian at that. and was buried in the consecrated ground of that faith. Oh he and his followers may have been nasty people, I still have a copy of a May Day March with the leaders on the podium actually crossing themselves in the Russian manner.  Mao Tse Tung was, to the best of my memory, still a traditional Chinese follower of the ancient ways, mainly Confucian and Ancestor worshiping.  In either case they did not murder in the name of atheism but in the name of power and control. This contrasts with the past atrocities committed in the name of Catholicism Islam and Protestantism all with the purpose of killing “Unbelievers” with the sole aim of enforcing adoption of the “Correct” faith. Oh, then there is the ongoing murderous activities of the U S A in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, along with a few bombings in “Friendly” Pakistan, all with an underlying “Crusading” Christian motivation and justification. It is no coincidence that those nations listed are also not Caucasian either

My apologies for my absence. You see I was keeping night time vigil alongside my, cancer ridden, dying (atheist) son when I suddenly found myself being whisked from that hospital by a Flying Doctor to the State Capital for open heart surgery and a bypass job, my son dying in my absence. Well, from neither episode, did I experience a conversion on the road to Damascus.  No blinding lights nor visitations. My only request, from my son, just prior to my attack, was.  “Put me down”. Unfortunately not a request to which I could accede.  He died, and I still live, both, still, atheistic. 

I am not looking for sympathy but for my American readers.  My son’s sojourn was three days in the General Hospital, then moved to the Palliative Care wing for a further seven days. A sofa bed was supplied to me with breakfast each morning, until my enforced departure when my daughter replaced me as watch keeper. My flight by Royal Flying Doctor, with ambulance transfers at each end, was followed by the operation then ten days in recovery, with all the care and attention one could possibly ask for along with first class cuisine. I couldn’t fault, in any way from the beginning to the final act where I was transferred by a private mini bus back to my country hospital, for final evaluation and discharge,  with the recovery ward in the State hospital, where the operation took place, telephoning two weeks after discharge, to check on my progress. MY cost for this and my son’s care?  Not a nickel.  All this in a country where attendance to ANY religious institution’s services is less than twenty five per cent.  The only religious visitor I saw was a personal one to a Peruvian gentleman in the ward with me. (Catholic of course). (He has only been in the country a year but received the same free treatment). Most of the nurses were not religious.  Now that is what I would call impartial dedication.

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By Leefeller, March 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Again, I am glad to see this site is still kicking, the recent Atheist non believer march was nice to see happening, and they had a good show on MNSBC Sunday morning ‘Up With Chris Hayes” for me it means I am not alone in my non belief, which is really amusing when I think on it.

“It is atheists who are the biggest killers.” If true, the moral of the story is don’t piss off Atheists?  Love such absolutists statements like this, guess it helps the meaning when one sees the light and decides not to believe?

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By grin1020, March 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

By the way, that crack about God taking the wrong boy was very mean-spirited indeed…it made me sad until I realized that one day I will personally apologize to Thomas. To be associated with an action that resulted in the death of another is never forgotten but it is very comforting to know that I will see him again. I am looking forward to being forgiven by him. Joy is found in forgiving others. Would any of you agree?

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By Dr. Zaius, March 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The greatest murderers are the Communists who are atheist.  Mao Tse Tung
murdered 75,000,000 in China, Joseph Stalin murdered 50,000,000 people in the
Soviet Union.  Currently the most repressive and murderous regime is Communist
NorthKorea.  It is atheists who are the biggest killers.

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By Reit1, March 1, 2012 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Rebecca was an unhappy troll.  I would respond to the rest of what you said, but it’s a police state in here with a bunch of unkind, misguided KGB word nazis.

But that might be why god is not great…nothingness is kind of boring. :D

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By Leefeller, March 1, 2012 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

Wow, checking out the new Truth Dig face lift and wondered if youse guys where still preaching the Atheist Manifestos?  Glad to see everything is not changed.  Who is Rebecca? Keeping on topic, God is not as great as you may suppose, which may have something to do with a lack of existence?

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By Reit1, February 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

ahahahaha Did we just get sent to the Principal’s office?  :D

Poor Rebecca.  Can dish it out but can’t take it.  Ah well!

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Jennifer Grey / Truthdig

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Dig Director's Blog

Feb. 6, 2006

In recent days, crowds of thousands have gathered throughout the Muslim world—burning European embassies, issuing threats, and even taking hostages—in protest over twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a Danish newspaper.  The problem is not merely that the cartoons were mildly derogatory.  The furor primarily erupted over the fact that the Prophet had been depicted at all….

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Jan. 26, 2006

While “An Atheist Manifesto” received considerable support from readers of Truthdig, a variety of criticisms surfaced in the reader commentary.  I summarize and respond…

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