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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?


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, April 21, 2011 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

a great story…
with a great ending….
and you were wise beyond your years…
though I guess that’s is what war does
to a person…
and quickly.

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By Reit1, April 21, 2011 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Profound!  Especially for age 17.  I love poetry and hate war, so the combination has a very sad feel for me.  I always loved dolphins, but I will think of them in a different way now because it opened my eyes to a different possibility - which is always good.

I am one of the “lucky” ones having never been caught up in the politics of a war…until now. And even now none of my loved ones have been to Iraq or the M.E.

Thought provoking.

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By Leefeller, April 21, 2011 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Tom, I really like your poem. Very emotional for me and it brought home long lost memories of when in Vietnam, (I was 19)  and why I suddenly lost any and all belief,.... for me it was very sudden,  I saw this epiphany, this shining light, showing me the searing hypocrisy for what it really was!

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By Tom Edgar, April 21, 2011 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

So somebody decides in Choisin that God’s my little helper.  I wonder how many of the mutilated and dying thought that?

I promised you a poem I wrote many years ago and every word true,  WW2 Action off the Florida coast where earlier the same night an American T 2 Tanker went to G(l)ory. No survivors, well actually no ship left either.
I add I was only seventeen at the time.

          MY MOM IS MY GOD.

No atheists in foxholes will you ever find
The Mission Padre intoned so sententiously.

A more appropriate wording he could have chosen
When addressing a mob of cynical Merchant Seamen.

Well, at sea shovels are very hard to find.
And digging watery holes so unproductive.

The Padre saw our exchange of glances skeptic
With our supercilious smiles at his invective.

When next your in some dire sea storm danger
To HIM you’ll turn to save you from the devil.

I then recalled from years before, my big fright
A war time tanker, dead calm sea, clear dark night.

Looking for any phosphorescent torpedo line
Whether missed or seen could still end your time.

Then off the starboard bow, I saw the deadly streak
It was heading fast, and true, and straight at me.

No time to reach the phone nor to ring the bell
To the Bridge I turned, and prepared a mighty yell.

But with legs like jelly and throat constricted
My voice had gone,  but ‘twas just as well, as then.

I saw two more killer trails, now with death to come
I could only manage a quiet, squeaky, Oh! Oh! Mom.

On came those fearsome wakes to strike home,
Then, on reaching our crashing bow wave foam.

They turned,without reducing speed, & in their stride
For Gratis and very playfully they surfed a ride.

Dolphins, to you, may be cute in aquatic shows
But not when imitating enemy torpedoes.

Jesus may have changed to good wine from water
Mom’s trick of torpedoes into fish, so much better.

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By Reit1, April 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment


I never concluded anything regarding what you said about that silly little best seller of 1988.  Rather, I asked if you were alluding to that. It was a simple query.  Then I followed up with “more’s the pity if you did”  IF…being an important and potent word there.

Do you honestly believe people are religious for self discipline and a way to look beyond themselves?  I am not suggesting those things don’t become aspects…but I think the beginning is either family upbringing, i.e. brainwashing, or converts who have a ton of guilt and need a superman to take away the responsibilities for their faults and sins whether real or imagined. Concider the prison system where most prisoners finally find Jesus.  (If only they’d found him BEFORE they killed people..hmmm). That is certainly how the xian story goes; Jesus takes away everyones culpability and responsibility. Silly as it is, that’s the story!  But my question you really believe what you wrote as a good response for why religion is useful??

Thanks for the run down on who translated for King James.  I appreciate that and will take note of it. *smiles* I am well aware of the was a sarcastic statement. Thus the > :O! <

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By THE SNED, April 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Felonious-there’s a huge difference between being in another country and watching something blow up..and having your back yard attacked….which is what happened in Europe. In my book too many unanswered prayers turned believers away…which is exactly why Mother Theresa died at best and atheist and at worse an agnostic. Why blacks remain in the fold has always confused me, but the black church is as much a culture as it is a religion..and besides the music is outasight. Too bad they are so anti gay…don’t understand that either but some day they’ll come around when folks read the rest of Leviticus.

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By Felonious Monk, April 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Hi Reit,

I’m afraid you’ll continue to be disappointed with my posts for your variety of reasons. Both you and I are undoubtedly fine with that… Sned asked to explain what I believe and I have, and the rest are points I wanted to make. Thanks for your feedback, though. Your rating of my posts and attitudes will assuredly remain the mirror of mine for yours, for reasons that seem fairly obvious…

One reason I think you may find them so off-putting has to do with whatever it is that could cause one to conclude that I was referring to myself as the person who made the 1988 predictions and this one. No sense explaining it. If that’s what you got from it, I find that absolutely fascinating and wish you well…

I mentioned the scholar’s interpretation of wild goat because he’s the one that speaks Hebrew, not me. I don’t know what he’d say about the word for just a goat. The King didn’t translate it, his people did, but they included in the original edition a letter explaining that they did the best work they could, though it was no doubt imperfect. Indeed… 

Personal discipline and a way to think beyond oneself are two reasons people find religion useful, though there are surely many others…

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your comment. No, my beliefs aren’t residue of having once had blind faith as a kid, since I never did. The Bible tale was always a fishy story, but when I DID believe as a kid, it was because of the feeling I experienced amongst that doubt, after studying Jesus’ philosophy and identifying with it for myself, not indoctrination. (My mother is the antithesis of the “believe it because I say so” person—much to the dismay of some of the believers in the family. She never pushed it on me, and I didn’t grow up in the kind of environment you describe, though we did attend church.)

In short, there are other reasons that people believe than what you allow for. This is not a knock, it just happens to be a fact. My own reintroduction to that end of things, after the strict atheist years, came from my neighbor showing me the connection between science and the “unexplained” or whatever. (Things like “the scientist’s expectations when conducting an experiment have been found to influence the behavior of what they observe.” It was his scientific knowledge that drew me, not religion or religious beliefs.) 

Though my own views are the topic raised again, I won’t elaborate on them further right now. But the other thing that lead me back to an open mind towards belief were the things I experienced as a teenager and adult, not anything someone said about faith.

Interesting fact, offered for what it’s worth: In a Psychology of Religion class, the book said that studies show 12/13-years-old is the time most people reject their parent’s religion (which makes sense, I guess). I’d never though of being part of a demographic in that regard—nor did any of the others in the class who said the same thing—but you and I share that distinction, as well. Little doubt as to why WW2 could finish the job, though (bless you for your service, and I don’t even mean that ironically)—although I happened to hear a preacher just this morning who said his experience at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War was actually part of what cemented his belief. Go figure. As Reit and I have said, people can use anything to justify anything, I guess…



Makes sense to me. Lots to comment on there, but I’ll do so another time. Thanks as always for the back and forth, from this unapologetic promoter of his field of study…!

Peace, out…


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By THE SNED, April 20, 2011 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Some ramblings:(thanks Annie…)
There are at least two kinds of people in the world that I can identify. Creative people, and talented people.And combinations of both. Personally I like dealing with blank everything.(Not sure I have or had a choice) Being creative is my strength and weakness.On the far opposite end are talented people who can play, paint, memorize, recite, but seldom create. Most folks are a bit of both..and probably better off for it.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that all ideas can be expressed in a sentence or two.All diet books have one page of diet info and 100 pages of BS and recipes. If I’m right about time, and no one yet to contradict it,(other than to say…“of course there’s time) then the whole universe falls into place and makes far more sense, with a sh..load less magic fact no magic at all.

If there is a god, s/he can’t be stupid, contradictory, unfair, mean, and inconsistent. So much for Jesus and Christianity (and a few thousand other religions) Liberty is good. Freedom is good. So what does that prove?

Does this make sense to anyone?

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By Tom Edgar, April 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

I’m beginning to think there are two F M’s The old one, and this new one who writes so that you understand and even, at times, with whom you agree.
I’m actually enjoying reading him.

For all that, and with reference to what I said previously regarding American’s obsession with religion, and their reluctance to divest themselves of all beliefs, then being suckers for new ones (any) still holds.

I feel people such as F M have seen the errors of the ways of blind belief but find it extremely hard to shake off the shackles of, indoctrinated from birth, religion. The old St Thomas Aquinas “Give me the boy and I will give (retain) the man.” It is difficult, my own schooling was in an Anglican establishment where I took all the 1’sts in religious studies.  Admitting all you had learned, theistically, was but fairy floss is very difficult.
Doubts began, for me, at age 12yrs. Participating in WW2, at the coal face, completed the transition.

St Thomas, in my case, lost the man, but too many do not wish to admit they were conned even when the evidence is before them.

I know no better people, as a group, than the Quakers for whom proselytising is anathema.  “Let your good works be done.” They also do not require belief in any doctrine other than Pacifism. I could go on with so many other things they have done locally, and I’m sure most of the other religions do to but usually it is done for the wrong reason. Promotion of their particular faith and in the name of their particular God.  Quakers seem to do it motivated by only love for fellow beings and motivated from their philosophy of the “Light Within.”

Oh heck I’m beginning to sound like a Promo.  Far be it for me to be actively promoting any religion, but to ignore the peripheral benefits to communities by some of these organisations would be hypocrisy, but no more so than when those same organisations who utilise their societal position to impose their mores on non believers. Or making sure the recipients of their magnanimity know from whence it comes.

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By Reit1, April 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment


I believe SNED said he wasn’t interested in philosophy and stated that if he was, he’d get a crib sheet on it.  I can’t really speak for him; but that is the way I read it, and I believe he just wants your ideas, not your credentials.  We all have credentials.  Let’s just discuss without being bloated with self importance.  No offence (and I mean this) but you do go on as if none of us have any education nor are aquainted with philosophy just because you haven’t seen us discuss things your way.  While some of what you say is interesting, a lot of it also reminds me of the saying “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bullshit”.  I don’t think that’s gonna work here.

Now, were you trying to allude to the idea that you are the man who wrote that silly book in 1988?  More’s the pity if you did.  Who can say?  Maybe I wrote “The Bell Jar” and my real name’s Sylvia and I am speaking from the dead.  So hard to tell in the cyberworld.

The word for “goat” in the Tanakh in Hebrew is Tarik not unicorn.  How could that translation be so confused by the King?  :O Some rabbis say that’s where the names like Derek and Taryn come from.  I don’t know about that.  But do know, (yes I know), that the person who wants to believe will cherry-pick anything.  It still doesn’t explain the bat being a fowl nor the hare chewing it’s cud.

You mentioned that some people find religion is useful to them.  In what way do you suppose?

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By Felonious Monk, April 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment


No, I’m not arguing all people need religion—and from my end, don’t see the seeds of that in what I said. Nor do I doubt that you and others believe some religious folks do good things (though some on the list may, who knows? I’ve found in any good-sized sampling of people, you’re liable to get one of just about every combination). Regardless, those are not thoughts associated with my own. I’m also not arguing that some people need religion (just that some like it and find it useful)—and as to why Europe is more giving, my first thought would be that they tend to have better social safety nets, so they’re more free to do so without putting their own well-being in jeopardy. Anything short of studying it in depth would be speculation, however, I suppose…

In my family, it’s pretty much just the opposite, with the last kids being the most non-religious. Oldest: extremely so at times, and sent kids to religious school (she’s the nurse with the nursing daughter). Next, perhaps even more religious, in a “live in the woods in a rural community and love them some Jesus” kind of way, increasingly as the years go by. Next, married the preacher’s daughter and home school the kids, left high-paying marketing job because he could no longer take the immorality of the profession, as it conflicted with his beliefs. Next, a mellow religious type who raised a similarly-dispositioned daughter. Then me, then the youngest—who last I knew didn’t believe at all, resulting in us being each other’s kindred spirits in the family.

I find your take on philosophy really interesting because I’ve personally never thought to equate it with religious thinking—unless talking about a religious philosopher. Historically, however, and in my own experience, I’ve most often seen it equated with exactly the OPPOSITE of religious doctrine, with many philosophers putting their necks at risk to say what they say, since their words and thoughts could get it cut off by the church. (And I should point out, Sam Harris is HIMSELF a philosophy major; didn’t hurt his atheism none, in fact it’s a basis for it.) I even once had a woman I was tutoring, when I told her my major, say: “Oh dear. You be careful with that philosophy stuff—it goes against the lord.” 

To each his or her own, but to me, dismissing out-of-hand all the great philosophical works of history would be as unthinkable as doing the same with the great works of art. Particularly since perhaps the biggest causality of a “no philosophy” outlook would in fact be SCIENCE, as the philosophers often quite knowingly and (to the acclaim of the scientists) purposely advanced the ARGUMENT of science before science followed up with their techniques. 

In fact, I would be hard-pressed to think of a better description for much of philosophy that your own words: examining what and why people think. And in further fact, one of the great 18th Century philosophers whose worked served a s basis for the American revolution/government, Montesquieu, is said to be the FATHER of sociology as a field, with his book(s), The Spirit of the Laws.

As I say: from my own view, someone like yourself can only be enriched by what they read in philosophy, with absolutely zero chance of it leaving them worse off. But if you’re not into it, then there it is…

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By Felonious Monk, April 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment


That’s interesting…and raises all kinds of potential conversation. It seems you, as well, can relate to WHY or HOW someone can believe…but your description is especially compelling because you don’t put the “crickets” immediately after the state of belief (which if you had, might imply that you believed then reached another conclusion, and thus no longer “communicated with God” or were communicated with by him/it). Instead, you say the message changed first, and it became about dominance and such, as you describe. I’d love to hear more about that, if you have any interest in discussing it…

The only God I could believe in, and which my current read of the Bible (as opposed to the one I was born into) shows is the entire point to its message (when read correctly, as I see it) is one of personal liberty—mentioned specifically and repeatedly—through belief in that liberty and the assertion of its principles. Not the fascist/dominant end to which humans take it, so that they can rule over others using religion as a cudgel. 

I confess to not quite getting the metaphor you close with. If it’s addressing a change in tone on my end, that would be due to reasons I’ve stated but would rather not rehash, now that the conversation is in a great place—at the proverbial “brass tacks” of the issue. No tizzies on this end, just pleasant conversation on both sides as I see it. If one chooses to apply particular motives to my comments from their perspective, however, that’s fine by me, if it means we can just keep going along the lines we are now…

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By THE SNED, April 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Fellonious…if your’e arguing that some religious folk do good things…no one here doubts that. If you’re arguing that all people need religion, no one here believes that. If you’re arguing that some people need religion, then why is Europe more giving than we are and less religious? I don’t think that anyone here believes that all people need religion..but will also admit that some seem to need it. They now say that the later born kids in family are more religious. Sure there are some instances where ordinary humans need something beyond themselves…in small town America church is where you find friends. And that’s a real need..and it has little do with god and much to do with being human and needing friendship.
PS: I am very happy with what I know…and have no patience with philosophical theory. I’m more interested in what and why people think and in sociology..which is why I have such high regard for the “primitive” peoples of the world or as Bill Buckley mistakenly referred to them as “The savages.”
I’ll get a crib sheet on philosophy and read that.

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

In the past, the being, the being beyond comprehension the one in charge would answer me prayers and address me hopes, occasionally he or she would actually let me know how things were going, but lately all I have heard from him or her is when someone doesn’t follow the written word of protocols, tow the rope to oblivion or follow the rules as they are the rules, seemingly written from above…..... But now it has come to this…..crickets! No explanations of why TD was down, this is the turning of all four cheecks, as the new leaves the old and how younger beans operate, especially now, as I suspect they are jumping beans, all in a tizzy over the Wedgies?

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By Felonious Monk, April 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment


I’m totally opposed to blind faith, as well, and think it weakens the arguments of any who hold their faith that way…makes their arguments irrelevant really, since “because the Bible says so” has less than zero persuasiveness on my end.


If you can believe it, and if I understood the radio program correctly, the guy/organization who made the claim about 1988 may actually BE the same person making the case now—complete with a list of rationales for why it was wrong then but right now. (Yeesh…)

As far as Bible inconsistencies, scholars I know of point to the failings of the 1611 King James translators, not to the source text itself. “Unicorns,” as one example, is actually taken from the Hebrew word for “wild goat.” They’d probably similarly say that a hare chewing its cud was a colloqialism of the English, not one of the authors…

Okay, gotta run. Best to all…

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By Felonious Monk, April 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

(Man, still WAY hard to post today. Here goes attempt number…I’ve lost count. May just be my antique PC, but I don’t know…)
More answers to Sned’s questions. These have been cut down from their original content, since there is no reason to try and say it all at once…

3. If you don’t [believe in an afterlife], what is your rationale for believing in a god?

When I do believe: Personal experience, and as a result of examining the issue in great depth, including the arguments from both sides. I don’t believe in a God that has human characteristics, but rather one that is beyond comprehension in that regard (as to what size he/she/it is: God-size). I also don’t think a “God” concept is one that is solely religious, either, but can be understood in a secular sense as the unknown X-factor of things that lie beyond our knowledge but we seek to know. (That idea can be expounded on.)

Were belief in God not so tied to a belief in the afterlife, in fact, I’d have much less trouble believing full time, having experienced too many “unexplainable” things that denote some kind of organizing force within this existence. Not necessarily some all-knowing all-powerful force that CREATED the universe, but a flow of energy in one direction that suggests something more than just what meets the eye.

4. If you believe in a god why do you find it necessary?
Not at all necessary, pleasant and useful. Also at times pointless and embarrassing. Except when it’s the EXPERIENCE of God, in which case it’s happy contentment and a sense that all is well, and will remain so even if trouble comes (until trouble comes, then generally say “Dang it, there is no God!”). 

5. If you believe in a god do you pray to that being?

Yes. Then a lot of times say: “Give me a break with the God stuff,” and: “It’s so frickin obvious that there is no God,” in which case I stick with sort of anti-prayers to myself.

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By Felonious Monk, April 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Hey all,

Anyone else have hecka problems posting yesterday? Sned, I even posted more answers to your questions (and it said comment received)that touched on what you ask, but they never showed up. I’ll post again right after this, but am trying to aim towards shorter snippets so it’s not a jumble of stuff. (Again, I think this is partly because I’m the only one arguing from this side, and there’s just a lot of foundational/peripheral stuff that goes long with making the whole case…)

I guess the reason I’ll never dismiss religion as a whole is what you allude to: all the good people and acts who are a part of it that DON’T fit the mold of the you-know-what-religious person. This includes nieces and nephews who do lots of helping others to no fanfare, and who have become perfectly lovely people. (One is graduating nursing school next month, like her religious/nurse mom, and has worked at a vet for 8 years because helping/caring isn’t IN her DNA, it IS her DNA).

There’s more to say along those lines, but in short, my view is that religious [add insult of choice] are simply that because that’s what they are, not because of religion. Much like the old Bill Cosby joke that says: “People tell me that cocaine doesn’t change who you are, it just makes you who you are even MORE. I say: ‘Yes…but what if you’re an a***ole?’” I think religion is the exact same way… and also has some very good attributes as a system of thought to go along with potential downsides.

As far as studying philosophy and having you’re own before studying it. That happens to be exactly what I did. My interest was sparked in high school after learning about Socrates and the dialectic style of debate, and was deepened by a neighbor several years my senior who when I was 16 became my teacher of both philosophy and Tai Chi (also the first person I knew who became “macrobiotic”)—but is also now a PhD in physics, and thus introduced an outlook where “spirituality” and science were not only not at odds, but were in fact the same thing. A view I still carry today…

When I started college at age 36 after twenty years of developing my own view (and thinking I would study computer graphics), I took philosphy my first semester and realized it was still my deepest passion. In fact, it was the very idea of proving or disproving the existence of God that was the single-most driver of that decision, and I figured it could be done one way or the other. Now I feel otherwise, and have a view more like Kwai Chang Caine of Kung Fu: “I seek not to know all the answers, but to understand the questions…” 

Okay, obviously this has gotten too long, but let me say: TAKE THAT CLASS! You will likely enjoy it, and may find that good philsophers aren’t so much exploring THEIR ponderous thoughts, but the ones we all have. Submerge yourself in it, now that your outlook is firm, and you may find they can even STRENGTHEN your own views…

Aren’t you glad I’m keeping these short? Oy vey…lol

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Blind faith, seems no different then other blind causes, so one religions blind faith can be switched to another. Politically it would be similar if a fanatical Fascist becoming a fanatical Communist! .......Anyway this was Eric Hoffer’s premise in his book “The True Beliver”. My copy is missing so this is from me handicapped memory!

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By THE SNED, April 19, 2011 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

What is at least interesting is the success of both the Mormons and Jehova’s witnesses. Some similarity in their beliefs. JW live longer (no smoking drinking or dancing)
No dancing? And both have whacky beliefs like the Mormomns and their underwear, JW thinking that man was put down here 5000 years ago. Both shun. When you’re out, you own mother won’t talk to you. What they do is stick together…and Jews have that capacity too. Very tribeish.  Which is where we’re all headed again. For sure tribes have lasted longer than any other form of “government. And it makes a great deal of sense even if their belief systems don’t..and I can’t claim that all their belief systems are nuts because I don’t know what most tribes believe. I do believe that, short of them all being conveted or killed by white man’s religions and disease…primitive tribes will out-live us all. I wonder what philosophers had to say about tribes. (I’ll bet..very little)

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By Reit1, April 19, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

That’s not surprising about the “end of days”.  In 1988 a man (don’t remember his name) wrote a book called “88 Reasons Why Christ Is Returning In 1988.”  Well, Christians (mostly out of fear which is revealing on a few levels) flocked to the stores to get this book which named September 12th as “the day”.  When September 13th came, the writer was nowhere to be found, but I am guessing a lot richer.
As far as the Bible story goes and this statement you quoted: “
“absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”  Okay, but what do we do with the Biblical errancies that are in the Bible?  The hare chewing it’s cud.  It doesn’t.  It eats, then poops it out and eats the nutrients from it’s waste in order to get nourished.  The hare does not chew it’s cud.  Nor is the bat a fowl.  Nor do unicorns nor satyrs exist yet all are mentioned in the Bible.  We know these are mythical beings adopted from Greek mythology.
@ Leefeller,
There are a lot of rumours that come out of the news stories about the Amish.  I don’t know any Amish people personally; they’re very clique-ish.  But I meant the religion as a whole.  Who really feels the need to bomb an Amish home?  Not even Muslims…yet, anyway.  I think the reason is because they ARE clique-ish and stay to themselves without proseletysing their beliefs to the world.  In fact, I am not sure what they’re beliefs are entirely other than they’re based off of Christianity.

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By Reit1, April 19, 2011 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Sure they do.  They just don’t brag about it.

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By THE SNED, April 19, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Tom Edgar
Thanks you for this

“The American obsession with religion is not replicated in Australia, etc….When the average American becomes disenchanted with the faith in which they were nurtured they are suckers for any other branch of Christianity, then when that fails for any other belief system”

Have a relative who went from die-hard staunch RC to Right winged Protestant -Intelligent-Design-promoter almost overnight. (It took another guy) The only difference is the use of A Nazi-like salute to the sky when she prays, and a firm belief that God brought them together. Stats had nothing to do with the fact that they met in an on-line Christian singles club…and for sure God had nothing to do with her divorce….or his.  God always wins in America!

Even Jimmy Swaggart is back on TV! “Oh we forgive you Jimmy!!!! again and again and again.You’re one of us!” I made my kids watch him with this preamble…“There is one of the most brilliant and dangerous men in America…a total fraud, and he gets away with it every Sunday no matter what he gets caught doing….”

Fellonius…why don’t you just sum up what you do believe, so we can discuss the possible differences? In summary form. One of the things I refused to do..and have yet to do is take a course in philosophy. I did it for a reason…(when I was a kid entering college) I wanted to develop my own philosophy first. Then I could judge. Now that I have my own…(and I certainly couldn’t write much about it) I have no real interest in spending the time reading the ponderous, I’m sure, works of others. That’s one reason why I don’t have to read Sam Harris over and over again as if it were a bible on atheism…it’s not. I read it through once.

I suppose one of the toughest questions that could be posed for atheism is this. “Do non believers (inlcuding agnostics) do as much to help others as believers do?” That’s worth a book…and maybe some discussion here.

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By Felonious Monk, April 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment


I suppose, although for me, that type of argument doesn’t really get at the real issues, and not because I don’t get it, but because I do. My own disparaging of such things takes a backseat to no one that I’ve seen or read—so the mere likening it to a child’s story is fine, but as far as being an argument that proves or disproves something one way or the other from my perspective, it is neither here nor there. It’s just seen as venting words of frustration with people viewed as incredibly stupid and gullible. Understood. I’ve felt exactly the same way many times…

As for the Bible creation story being “incomplete,” I think first of the legal principle that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Air wasn’t mentioned specifically; okay. There are ways a religious person could answer that, all perfectly in keeping with the Bible. One being that it was one of the things included in “creating the heaven and earth” ; or another would incorporate science and say, as science does, that oxygen was a result of water that existed on the Earth evaporating and creating the atmosphere, and which the Bible does mention.

Also, many Christians think “descent with modification,” as Darwin called it, was the WAY God created things, and have no problem with the Earth being billions of years old. I actually have more to say on it all, but many have indicated that if I get too wordy and specific (an occupational hazard for a philosopher, sorry; and hopefully I haven’t already), the ideas aren’t followed. This is also because I’m the only one making arguments from this side. (PBS just ran a great special on who wrote the Old Testament and how, as well). But also:

Pointing to immoral things religious people do, even in the name of their religion, is also a non-starter from my perspective as proof of religion’s inherent badness, because it seems to imply that the non-religious are, as a whole, somehow less so. I don’t believe that, based on plenty of evidence of immoral acts by the non-religious, and/or things not done in religion’s name. Other’s will disagree, but I don’t see it as objectively convincing. All it proves is that people are major league you-know-what’s for whatever reason is convenient. That I totally believe.

BUT MOST IMPORTANT: Here’s something we can all laugh at: A Christian group says emphatically that the world is going to end, based on their reading of the Bible, on May 21, 2011—which is to say, in just over a month. It’d be fun to organize a national day of “OOPS!” on May 22 in order to mock them mercilessly…

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By Leefeller, April 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Now the Amish are starting to sound more like Catholics, except the Amish don’t go for the little boys?

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By Tom Edgar, April 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Earlier comments re “New Age” leading to further apostatising prompts me to re-enter the fray with an observation or two, the debate having improved a little.

The American obsession with religion is not replicated in Australia, or for that matter anywhere in the enlightened world. When the average American becomes disenchanted with the faith in which they were nurtured they are suckers for any other branch of Christianity, then when that fails for any other belief system. Ostracism from society by not HAVING a religious belief is usually the outcome, that is why atheists lag behind even Islam,in the popularity stakes

Which leaves me with the following.  A tiny piece of paper I found that my late Quaker wife typed out.  Quakers and simplicity being synonymous,

Perhaps at the end
All we shall have
Is the sum of our loving
All we shall be
Is as much of ourselves
As we’ve found
Perhaps it is all
Unbelievably simple
Not as theology has it.

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By THE SNED, April 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

I would like to suggest that the story of creation is something that an 8 year old could reasonably re-create with no knowledge whatsoever of the tale. First comes the sun, not the planet, then you need soil, and then water, then you need plants followed by insects, fish birds and mammals.(Am I close?) In fact for 3 billion years the only life on this planet (according to science) was single cell animals. I think the bible missed that one…too small to see. But they did use their eyes…and common sense.Air was another one they missed…it’s invisible. So who wrote genesis? Not god by cracky…god can’t get it wrong.

Note on the Amish….A few years ago an Amish girl went to the police to report a rape. The Amish then kicked her out and shunned her. Why? She was supposed to forgive the bastard. Having just googled “amish rape” it’s apparently even more common than I believed.

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By Reit1, April 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

@Leefeller, I think that’s the common opinion to “live and let live”.  Who hates the Amish?  No one I know of.  We think they’re quaint and interestingly mysterious, but at least they keep to themselves.

For me the bigger problem is the 3 Abrahamic faiths. Other religions have brought their own problems, too..but none quite so atrocious as those three.  They have to go!  But the problem is…even if they burn out as other religions of the past, new ones are likely to be created because people hate to let go of life.  I personall don’t see what’s so great about living forever and worshipping a dictator for all eternity.  But really I think most just want to see dead relatives.  Jesus and Mohammed are really a back seat to relatives and virgins.

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By Felonious Monk, April 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Lattice of coincidence: just as I posted that last remark, a commercial for the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll hall of fame video came on, with CSNY singing: “We are staaaar-dust…”

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By Felonious Monk, April 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment


Yes, that is certainly one assertion. No need to convince on this end along those lines, I totally get what you’re saying.

As far as us being created from stardust billions of years old, that actually doesn’t contradict the reading of Christian doctrine I find most interesting, which has the “six day creation” being the start of what they call the Second Earth age, with the First being the billions of years old you speak of, and the stardust you rightly state we are made of being the “clay” from which we would be molded…

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By THE SNED, April 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

It’s called dust to dust…..every atom in our body was created in super novas millions or hundreds of millions or billions of years ago.

We don’t know if our thoughts are chemical or physical in nature…A CD does not have electrical charges is has code that is converted into electricity. We are electro chemical. But nothing is created within us…without input from the outside…food. Stuff is just converted from one form to another…nothing special about it or us.

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By Felonious Monk, April 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment


Continuing the afterlife discussion. (And to clarify, my answer to question 1 was essentially no, I don’t believe in an afterlife, at most I wish I did; but I’m answering question 2 as if I said yes just to examine the issue. A good debater should be able to argue both sides equally, as they say…)

As stated in the first part, I think Hume makes the best argument for why we just die at death. I read that in philosophy class and thought “Well, there it is. The guy nailed it and locked it up.” But…

If human life/consciousness continuing after the body dies is real, then it’s not a religious holding , it is/would be scientific fact. That’s why I find the “electricity” in the body interesting, because it gives us a leg up on the philosophers of earlier times, like Descartes, who established a mental state and a physical state, but were at a loss of how that mental state affected the physical (the idea of “the ghost in the machine”) with the best Descartes himself could come up with being that the mental acted on the pituitary gland and that somehow animated the body. (Hmm…not.)

But with modern science, we now know that thoughts actually create these electric impulses, and that that can bridge the gap right there. The reason I like the “conservation of energy” idea is both because that electricity in is the body, but also because that’s essentially the principle that would be at play with the soul/consciousness if it does in fact continue on. It’s not that the electrical impulses ARE the soul/consciousness necessarily (although not ruling it out either), but would be created by it. Soul/consciousness creates thoughts, thoughts create impulses, body moves.

But the soul/consciousness would ITSELF be an energy, and would therefore not be destroyed but only transformed within its closed system (in this case, that system spanning both sides of the YHWH/Flintstone veil)under the conservation of energy rule.

Okay, all for now. More responses to the aspects you raised later…


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By Leefeller, April 17, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

My passive nature wants to support the concept of live and let live, but my nature may be changing? So I find someone going to church and practicing the voodoo chicken gut thing,... in the past, I would say let them,... I would also suggest they should keep it to themselves or at least in their closet like Republican Newt Gangrape’s sexual exploits.

But no!.. They build temples,.. churches and stand on street corners shoving their proselytizing Water Closet handout in my face! 

I am starting to feel religion should be looked at in a different light, actually like pedophilia and scorned? (Unfossilizing actions would entail addressing the Catholics first,.... because they seem to prefer running interference on the topic of pedophilia)  So maybe another example of scorn would be more prudent!

Unfortunately, scorning may really not be adequate enough by itself,.... actually I am learning and seem to be answering my own questions as I write this. It’s as if I have seen the light!.... Yes!..... “I see the light”!

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By Reit1, April 17, 2011 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

I see it the other way around.  I feel like it’s apathetic to not talk about religion and the harm it’s done and continues to do.  It’s finally starting to get “out in the air”.  It’s necessary to evolve into skeptics whether they be agnostic, just skeptical or atheist.  The sheep herding that goes along with politics and religion has got to be thought through thoroughly and not just blindly follwed.  To do the opposite, that is, to let the religious reign with terror all the time is apathetic.  But the same is true of politics. Afterall, one without the other has never been heard of.  They’re bed buddies.

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By THE SNED, April 17, 2011 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Is not Atheism, really the same as Apathy, if so was I attempting to be apathetic with my Atheism?

To me Atheism seeks truth through science. While theism seeks god through any means possible…including magic, visions, and delusions.

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By Leefeller, April 17, 2011 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

You know this seems amusing, being on a site dedicating discussion on a subject of non existence!

I have wondered why some in Atheism found it necessary to counter the religious prioritizers, after all it seemed to me, if one does not believe why would it even be necessary to discuss it?

Tom answered this for me, when he mentioned the religious will vote their religion, which becomes political and could be a problem for non believers.

Is not Atheism, really the same as Apathy, if so was I attempting to be apathetic with my Atheism?

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By Reit1, April 17, 2011 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

Ok..sorry NG.  Had a phone call from overseas.  Let me be more clear with you NG.  I have a mantra.  If I am hungry, I eat.  If I am thirsty, I drink, if my hair is dirty,  I wash it.  If some terrorist/bully tries to push me, I push back.  Now, if that’s an emotional response that lacks logic for you in your civil subserviance - fine.  You could say I am just more of a Christopher Hitchens type than a Sam Harris type.  But if you don’t like it and it goes against your personal code of conduct - take it up with god.

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By Reit1, April 17, 2011 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

Yes.  That’s exactly what I am telling you.  Good call.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 17, 2011 at 2:52 am Link to this comment

So Reit1 you are telling me you don’t care if you violate the ToS here? A short sighted outlook. Is it worth getting banned from here to skewer Felonius Monk with it? I guess this is where emotion overrides logic eh? But it is your life of course. I just thought I would remind every body, including myself. I can understand the exasperation of the same old thing happening again with some one else. There will always be a some one else in our world.

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Well, FM someone has to underline things for you.  You seem to have trouble posting a decent argument about anything.  I am sure it’s because of the drugs you inhale…so you’re welcome!  Think nothing of it.

NG - I don’t give a good goddamn. smile Seriously..I just don’t. Not a fan of censorship. Not a fan of bullies.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

Thanx for more insight into you FM. “Fun” is it? Maybe my cat analogy to a dead mouse would fit here.

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment


I’ve had my fun and achieved what I wanted (using the tactics you highlighted)... so, MOVING ON:

I had some more thoughts on the “afterlife” post that I’ll get into later. But that flu keeps coming and going, and I have to rest to be well for my new job Monday (YAY!!!), so it can’t be now. But I’d like to discuss them with you if you’re not too put off. 

That first draft fleshed it out and was a decent start in my book, for one who at best wishes it were true, but I had some more thoughts on the aspects you touched on that I’d like to kick around if you’re up for it… 

I’m more than happy we’re turning the page. That was always my whole intent…


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By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Truthdig will not tolerate:

  * personal attacks on our writers or readers
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  * racist, sexist or other discriminatory or hateful language
  * statements that may be construed as urging attacks on political leaders, officials, security forces or civilians—American or otherwise
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This just to remind us. I highlighted the first 3 because I thought they are the most relevant to some of the commentators here to Felonious Monk and to FM himself.

So far that I have seen if it is to be accepted for arguments sake—-ghosts don’t have it good. Better to be dead than just echos of our former selves with just enough intelligence and memory left to know we are stuck in a fate worse than death. Unlimited purgatory. No thanks.

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Yes I know, Reet, I know. Thanks for underlining it as always…

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Doesn’t mean anything FM.  When Frank Goodman reported me, they booted him as well. smile

Ah well.  The 1st ammendment of the US never did mean a hell of a lot.  If you say the word “fuck” the word nazis all freeze in public.  As if the puritanicals of old didn’t make the word up.  Hypocrisy!!

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Did it have this content and a title “Truthdig comment policy”?

Hi [Screen name]—

It has come to our attention that you have posted comments that are not in keeping with our comment policy. As stated on, Truthdig does not tolerate off-topic comments. Also, “trolling,” as they say on the Internet, is not welcome at Truthdig—respectful, if spirited, exchanges are. Please familiarize yourself with our comment policy here:

  (Or as we call it in the business, independent confirmation of what I’ve said all along about one’s perception versus reality)

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By THE SNED, April 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

This has been fun…

James…it looks like you only had you hand slapped…if we don’t hear from you again we’ll ask that they send you a letter and ask you back.

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

James James!  Return to us!  You’re a good voice of reason here.  I do the attacks…or the counter attacks.  Besides, I have been “reprimanded” more times than I can remember for my conversation with Mr. Frank “I hate women” Goodman.  And he admitted that he reported me.

So, yeah, FM. You’re totally believable. *rolls eyes*

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

I just got one, too, James, it’s not just you.

Can’t imagine how anyone could perceive this thread as off topic… lol

Well, that’ll put my focus on Harris’ article at my leisure. It certainly has been enjoyable to this point…

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By Truthdig Webmaster, April 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Hello again, Truthdig readers. We encourage lively debates on our comment sections; however, comments need to stick to a few basic guidelines in keeping with our comment policy. You can find it here for a refresher. Thanks.

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

That sucks, James. Wasn’t me, I’da just said something on the thread…  you should stay (although I certainly understand)

Trainonious Wreck

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By Leefeller, April 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Rite1,  I have heard this story before, it may be religious I am not sure?

Two Christians were standing on a hill, one older Christan and a new born again younger Christan, ... glancing down the hill the young one says; ‘Yous see those cows down there, why don’t we run down and screw one of them?’  The older wiser Christan says….. ” No! we will walk down the hill and screw all of them.”

Last time I heard this joke it was two Republicans standing up on the hill,..... though I embellish!

Be honest with you, I have heard this joke before, but as it originally goes, it was ‘two bulls standing on the hill’. Only thing which actually caught me eye from Felonious comprehensive shit load of droppings and must say, I am relieved to know once again I am not alone in my surmising!

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I can never tell when you’re kidding.  I laughed at the Santa Claus sarcasm…but I was afraid to tell you in case you really were 21.  hahaha

Anyway, you’re ahead of me because I don’t remember anything other than “I like my pot!”  I mean, he hasn’t really said much.  He rambles on incohesively with things that don’t really have anything to do with much just so he can go “ohh ahh” while he masturates mentally.  This is a thread for discussion.  He thinks he’s going to take it over to practice an imaginary thesis.  He has “big daddy” syndrome.  He reminds me of a meatball.  They’re not good for much.  They don’t have brains.  But when you’re bored and confronted with them, they’re so amusing to poke around with a fork just to see where they’ll go. :D

SNED.  Interesting. I think we have a photon here with the initials John FM who goes about twice that.. Shhh synapses snapping out and all.  Shhh. Say nothing.  And don’t read anything he wrote or you’re going to find yourself in YHWHs Flinstone Mobile and a number of other crazy mental meanderings of blah blah blah blah “look at the big words I am using” blah blah blah.  :D Trust me, just poke it with a fork.

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By Leefeller, April 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

Yep, and thanks from me too!

You know the only thing I can recall from Felonious platitude of ramblings is the story about two born again Christians standing on a hill looking down on a field of cows?

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By Leefeller, April 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

Yep, and thanks from me too!

You know the only thing I can recall from Felonious platitude of ramblings is the story about two born again Christians standing on a hill looking down on a field of cows?

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By THE SNED, April 16, 2011 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Oh thank you Annie and Night Gaunt for saving me from
reading the ramble of rubble. (I trust these folk)

Of course the next question might be “Why do we deserve to live on?...what happens to sly slippery slugs,  pitifully pius priest predators, or amorphous ambling amoeba?

As for near death stuff. We Humans learned hundreds of thousands of years ago that we will die. The brain deals with that consciously and subconsciously for as long as we live. I don’t find it difficult to believe that we all end up with similar experiences to describe the act of dying..and that some have visited heaven given the amount of religious crap fed into some brains over decades of instruction.

Now for something completely different.

I was reading about quantum weirdness last night (Science News 11/20/2010) and this fact jumped out…on entanglement…where two entangled photons are separated and the spin of one is changed and instantly the spin of the other is changes.The calculated peed of any information that is exchanged between the two (meaning something caused one to know* what happened to the other) is 10,000 times the speed of light. One test was about 7 miles another about 86 miles. Of course this was a photon not a hungry human hunkering for the hereafter.*I would guess that operative word “know” is not right at all..but then again..what the “F” is it?  10,000,000 times the speed of light is almost 2 billion miles a second. (And they call our food “fast food?”)

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Buon giorno amico mio piu’ grande!

Insanity is your forte’..not mine.  I let you conitnue on in that arena. 

I knew you’d focus mainly on me.  You’re such an easy mark. wink  Competition does that to a man…who smokes a lot of pot.  But now I fear you’re just drinking the bong water.  Put the bong down…and back away..slowly.

There were no logical fallices (and yes!  I know what they are) in my argument to you.  So let me sum up..(I understand you are probably drooling from the buzz and need it dumbed down for you):  There can be none of what you went on about for what seemed like forever, because the brain dies and the brain is what makes us who we are.  Punto!  Nothing more need to be rambled on about just so you can stroke yourself. :D

Now, can you please get off the big “daddy chair” and explain Grand Unified Theory. I noticed you ignored it. Please don’t use google.  Try to use what’s left of those necrotic neurotransmitters.  :D

Your friend in YHWH’s mobile care,

Ms Reit1 (pronounced RIGHT one).  wink  Un bacio!

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By Felonious Monk, April 16, 2011 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

Hi Night-Gaunt,

    Yes, that’s the part that I think is the weak link in the argument, that there is some SINGLE presence that, among the electrons, somehow is a cohesive thing that stays together or moves on. That’s why I put Hume’s argument in, because I think he’s so persuasive on just that kind of point. I also thought of the “similar consciousness” angle with animals and such – although some do believe that animals move on, as well. Plus, the same argument for “afterlife” that makes the argument about “instantaneous” transfer from one place to the other actually doesn’t argue that there is a “spiritual” heaven in the end, it says that “heaven” occurs on Earth.

Yes, I believe (and mentioned in my first posts a few days ago) that I don’t think there IS an argument on either side that can “prove” these kind of arguments (especially TO the other side), so it ends up being six of one and half dozen of the other like you say. But it’s a fun topic to kick around…

Okay, that flu has really caught up with me tonight. More tomorrow.

Hi chemically-imbalanced paranoiac,

    No I didn’t think I could run you away, I DID run you away – and was absolutely certain your paranoid obsession would draw you back. Thus my writing to you. As I said before, I do so look forward to you facing me down. (Now I KNOW there’s a God, because how else could you have put the fear of God in my like that? Lol.) That’s an especially effective strategy to try again after having just blinked. I remember when Ross Perot did the same thing in 1992, I think it worked pretty well for him…

Yes, thank you for restating the Hume argument I put in my comment, as if I hadn’t said exactly the same thing. Goes a long way to disprove my point that you are incapable of reading and absorbing things because you’re so completely blinded by the avatars of your own mental imbalance/sickness. I also enjoyed your argument that there is no other place for YHWH’s Flintstone mobile to exist – because there is no other place for YHWH’s Flintstone mobile to exist. (Next logical fallacy for you to learn: begging the question.)

Just so you know, an argument is defined as a series of statements in which one or more are offered as proof for another – and since the Hume statement you used was provided by me, you’ve really offered nothing by way of your own argument, just piggy-backed on mine. Give ‘er a shot, even without the peanut gallery to tell you you’re awesome. You do achieve an argument with “Deikman is a New Ager, ergo wrong (except for the part you respect).” (Not unlike your comment to me that my writing sucks, after saying “Nice!” to a previous post. Very convincing.)  Please do expound. That sounds like an interesting line of thought.

[Side note: The reason I’m spending the time with you on all this is because it parallels some of the argument I’ll eventually be making about Harris. That’s why I’ve been laying the foundation with you.]

Now, now, didn’t daddy say he was teaching you patience? Three is almost done, along with the others. No presents till Christmas, and till daddy has them wrapped. And if you could send some weed, I’d love to burn up some neurotransmitters. Seems no matter what I do, this ol’ brain just can’t lose (unlike yours, which has already slipped a link.)

How do I know what’s in your head? Because you described it to me. Tomorrow I’ll post the comments that vary with reality, all in one post. [Unfortunate note, however: one sign that someone truly IS insane is their inability to recognize it. But we’ll give ‘er a go when you see some facts…not that you will be able to see them, per what I described]

Your good friend,

Felonious Monk

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By Reit1, April 16, 2011 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Hello pothead!  You thought you could run me away that quickly and then post something of substance, (albeit new-age nonsense) and I am not going to respond?  Well, as you can see, I am like a poltergeist (if there were any such thing).  I’m baaaack.  And I’m here to face you down.  Oh yes!  Grand Unified Theory.  Read about it. 

Anyway, science may state that energy continues on, but we also know that the very thing that makes up the human personality (or for example) ...the thing that makes you a jerk, and me an intellectual is our brain and the electricity that runs through it via neuro-transmitters and synapses.  Upon death these things that make us who we are -die.  The end.  There is no other dimension for you or I to be in YHWH or Allah’s Flinstone mobile. Capisce?  Because when the brain is gone - you and I are gone with it.  Who we are is now snapped off like a burnt out star.

While I respect some of Dr. Deikman and some of his theories, he’s really a new-ager and not to be taken as seriously as say…18th century Hume.  Or for that matter - 21st Century Hawking and Gould since Hume was an 18th century philospher and we’ve leapt since then.  Sorry, but that was a lot of mulling over and typing for nothing.  But at least you answered question number two…even if it was for a second time ..just in a different way.


Here’s an easy “off the cuff” question for you.  How do you know what I can see unless you’re looking through my eyes or can get into my brain?  You cannot.  And so it is with all of your assertions here.  They’re thoughts on your part that you’ve seen though YOUR eyes…the only eyes you can possibly look out of.  But that’s all they are…thank you for sharing.

Descartes ideas really have no bearing on anything in the 21st century unless you except the idea that he was at least a reknowned philosopher of his day. His 16th and 17th century ideas on the dreams can be much more easily addressed through the science of today and his ideas have been fairly well debunked through science and particularly through physics.  We have a much better understanding of the dream sequences and what’s happening when a person is in a coma or at the edge of death.  All can be explained through those old synapses burning out.  For example, while NDE’s have been experienced all over the world, one must think of the notion that secularists go to a secularist light, while xians go to a Jesus type situation and see dead relatives (with the light), and Muslims see virgins and of course that light again! etc. and so forth ad nauseum. 

Some more things for you to think about. smile Now get busy on #3. It’s interesting to watch your neurotransmitters burning out along with that ganja you’re smoking! Plus, I do so like to come back. smile  I’m pretty sure you’re happy to see me, too.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

Of course one could look at the electro-magnetic web of our neurons firing to be “the soul” and the “transparent observer self” you and they speak of. The one you can’t locate till you do with the correct equipment. The flow of electrons among biological mechanisms. But it changes from one micro second to the next as it works.

But then without not just consciousness but self awareness we would not be having this conversation in the first place. The question I have is, is there any other specie or species that also do so but have not the capacity or need to articulate it to us? Cetaceans and pachyderms come to mind. Also some bird species and cephalopods might have that capacity too. We will just have to wait till they are discovered to be true or not. (Should we ever resurrect extinct homonids and close relatives like Neanderthal we can ask them too.)

We can weave in and out of old style metaphysics and new style quantum action within our brains and all other ones on this planet. As science and knowledge moves into larger realms the occult or hidden aspect will give way. So too in some minds will the metaphysical ideas. But to some it will be six of one and half a dozen of another.

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By Felonious Monk, April 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

(See previous post)

What the Bible does say is that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” so to refine the Dino model, imagine that the top of Fred/YHWH’s car is a sturdy canvas that can support Dino’s weight. After he sticks his head through a hole just big enough to fit, a clay mask is formed around it that’s bigger than the hole. (And we’ll also have Dino not SITTING in the seat, but suspended off of it; yet this can still be considered being “seated” in the car, since he is still inside.) When the mask breaks (the person dies) the laws of nature (in this case, gravity) make him drop back down into the seat instantaneously and without effort. Such is the model of consciousness passing to the next dimension. Of course, gravity likely wouldn’t be the force in play, but whatever exists in that dimension. In fact, no such “falling” is needed, since this concept has us ALREADY in the place where we are going to be, while the body just falls away.

Support for the idea that we are seated in another dimension might be found in the work of Dr. Alan Deikman, who has a book called The Observing Self. In it, he describes four types of “selves” that exist in each person: the Thinking Self; the Emotional Self; the Functional Self; and the Observing Self. It’s the last one, the observing self, that could serve as evidence for a consciousness that is seated elsewhere. Deikman describes it this way:

“The observing self is the transparent center, that which is aware. This fourth self is most personal of all, prior to thought, feeling, action, for it experiences these functions. No matter what takes place, no matter what we experience, nothing is as central as the self that observes. In the face of phenomenon, Descartes’ starting point, “I think; therefore I am,’ must yield to the more basic position, ‘I’m aware; therefore I am’ . . .
“The most important fact about the observing self is that it is incapable of being objectified. The reader is invited to try and locate that self to establish its boundaries. The task is impossible; whatever we can notice or conceptualize is already an object of awareness, not awareness itself, which seems to jump a step back when we experience an object. Unlike every other aspect of experience—thoughts, emotions, desires, and functions—the observing self can be known but not located, not ‘seen.’ ”

According to the model I have suggested, the location of the observing self would be in the next dimension where it is seated. In YHWH’s Flintstone mobile.

One of the most brilliant arguers against a consciousness that continues on is philosopher David Hume, who gives an example of the brain as a riverbed, through which thoughts flow, and which—taken collectively—comprises the personality and unique characteristics of our individual consciousness. Hume points out that when there is a brain injury—when the riverbanks overflow, losing all semblance of it being that same river – that same person no longer exists, neither in consciousness nor personality. They are now someone else. How then, Hume asks, when the ENTIRE brain is gone, can we imagine that anything resembling that consciousness still exists. He says it can’t.

In keeping with the afterlife theory I’ve presented, I would say that Hume is wrong, the person doesn’t disappear, but instead has aspects that shift over early to the next dimension, awaiting for the rest to one day arrive. There are even personal accounts of people experiencing such thing in comas/ head injury, etc. that would fit with this. While it’s true that not all report such things, and some would call that dispositive, not experiencing it does not make it false, and not remembering it would be no different than forgetting a highly detailed and involved dream the moment one wakes up.

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By Felonious Monk, April 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

2. If you do [believe in an afterlife] where do you go and how do you get there?

The most sane telling I’ve encountered has the psyche, the energy of consciousness (remembering that science says energy is never destroyed but only transformed) or “intellect of the soul,” being wholly released to a field in which it already partly exists and/or has a foot in or is seated. Like a hand in a puppet, and at death the puppet comes off, but the hand is still there.

But where is there? Some call this another dimension. If so, I’d suggest it’s one that exists here among us as close as the air we breath, but not visible. At first blush this may seem fantastical. But given the freakiness of what we know actually exists in THIS dimension—things like relativity and the absolutely bizarre (and equally mystical to me) concept that somehow the speed we travel affects our experience of time—then the idea that there are dimensions we do not perceive hardly seems a stretch, at least to me. But then, I still find it hard to conceive that something larger than a Greyhound can fly through the air, yet it happens every day.

Theories of an afterlife would likely say that consciousness is qualitatively different than other energies (and let’s remember, mental energy isn’t LIKE electrical currents which are never destroyed but only transformed, it IS electrical current, and thus subject to the same laws, no?)—including its notable characteristic of self awareness. Additionally, they would say that that quality has its root in the “supernatural.” Which is to say, those things outside the laws of this known dimension. But forget about the popular concepts of supernatural ACTS (i.e. calling up thunder and lightning; human beings flying through the air on their own; rising from the dead), and just think of the locality of it. Which is to say, a PLACE outside of this known dimension (and by extension, its laws), not things that one can DO in THIS dimension that go beyond the laws and limitations we have found exist.

So as to “how you get there”—in the realest sense, according to this idea, you ARE there, and “there” is where all consciousness is seated. If there is a veil that divides the two dimensions, one model might have it as being like the top of Fred Flintstone’s car, if you will, which Dino presses his head against until he busts through. Yet his rear end is still seated in the car. That is one illustration of how to see the relationship between this dimension and the “afterlife” (quotation marks because it’s really just life, if it exists—and therefore more accurately called “the state after existing in this dimension”).

That is: by this concept, we are all Dinos sitting in YHWH Flintstone’s car, pushing our heads through the veil of the roof, peering out for awhile, then retracting back into the car. According to Christian doctrine, this is an instantaneous thing, not a “transparent likeness of oneself rises from the body (allowing us to see that we’re dead), then flies up into the sky to live with angels behind pearly gates.” Many, many Christians get this whole area entirely wrong in their reading of the Bible because, like Reit, they see the images on the inside of their eyes and mind and take it to be what actually exists in the outside world (which is why they start ‘debates’ with the attitude of: “Look, I’m right, so let’s just use that as the jumping off point.” Zealots of both sides are always that way, as it’s human nature.) Which is to say, people like that tend to be unable to read and absorb what’s ACTUALLY written, because they’re so arrogant (and, they believe, always right), as she herself proudly boasted, and thus project their personal psychological quirks onto others, then start making paranoid accusations and such, so they can close the gap between what exists in their mind and what actually is.


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By Felonious Monk, April 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Does Reit leaving count as her “facing me down”? (Lmao. As Hannibal used to say on the A-Team: “I love it when a plan comes together…”) Now that we’ve booted Ms. Ego/Full of Sh**, good news, folks: Soon after I told you I have no time because I’m always running off to work, a pall of flu-like symptoms descended on me last night, such that I could not fully recover for today: So I’m THIS close to being done with answer number two, and will post some time today. (It’ll take two posts, so it’s a good thing I’m doing them separately.) The Lord works in mysterious ways, no?

  And Sned, I owe you an apology. After dismissing your questions as frivolous, I have REALLY enjoyed answering them, and you have been the catalyst for some of my most detailed thoughts on the matter. A sincere thanks to you.

  Okay, good day to you all. It’s a beautiful morning isn’t it?

  (Btw, weed’s my drug of choice—and if I’d had some I probably would’ve been done with the answers already, since it makes the words flow like a mighty river. It’s good precisely because it DOESN’T change what I write, but only greases the wheels. Nope, what you’re reading is just ol’ Johnnycakes, none of the fun and exciting stuff she hypothesized…scary thought, eh?)

  Best to you,
  Cronyless Drunk   (heh heh…how you like that one, Sned?)

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By Reit1, April 15, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

HAHAHA Does size matter?  haha Good one! I like my gods BIG. :D

Ok…I am outta here for a bit.  I just refuse to go through another long drawn out diatribe of vitriolic palaver from a drug induced crazy man.  Been there, done that. 

Before I bid adieu for awhile, SNED (omg)...GLENNO!  Christ on a crutch!  I had forgotten about him until you just stated about “another whacko” before Frank and this psychotic.  I had to think back.. smile  No more for me, though.  You know where to write to me if there’s a chat of any true substance that I can learn from or add to.  Ok..I am off to Siberia to avoid Coventry Man..if you know what I mean. wink

Ciao my peoples! wink

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By THE SNED, April 15, 2011 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

Annie and especially Tom…I was about to write what Annie just wrote about Frank….FM posts like Frank did. Long rambling pieces…that said nothing, and answered no one, or added nothing. And we had another whacko before Frank who was awful in much the same way. Frank got tied up in his underwear the other guy probably didn’t know about them. Anyway, Tom you are correct. Time to say goodbye to Fellonious…he is stealing our time here.

Here’s a question we’ve never asked believers. Just how big do you think god is? a. pretty big b. incredibly big. c.Bigger than the entire universe. And the follow-up question. Does size matter?

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By Felonious Monk, April 14, 2011 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

As always, Reit, it’s like you’re reading my mind. Uncanny…

“I was, too, for making an ironic statement about Islam and bombing himself…”

Lol…VERY diplomatic way of saying that. Damn Muslims, they’re as bad as mouthy women, ain’t they? (Although Tom did stop shy of telling her to…that is to say, “making an ironic statement about her bombing herself.”

Who are the one’s touchy about being called out for drug-like thinking again, the ones who respond to it, or the ones who ignore it and move on? Yeah boy, if there’s one thing that makes ol’ Johnnycakes shrink away it’s drug talk… OH NO!!! I’m afraid the only crystal here is your crystal ball ...

And I’m quite self-conscious about my crappy writing, please be gentle. Poor me only has the critiques of the qualified to comfort me (English teacher first semester: “If I taught you anything, I’m be surprised and proud;” or the various “best paper in 11 years of this assignment;” “best paper in 15 years of this assignment,” etc… Lord knows only pathetic morons like me graduate with 4.0s. Do go easy on Johnnycakes, he’s a fragile soul…

(You go report me for telling you to go bomb yourse… er, debating online, and I’ll carry on as stated until I hear the sound of their boots.)

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Well, likely you’re right about the “Conventry” statement Tom.  But I have to say this to you-and not to be rude.  But this guy is giving you a taste of what Frank Goodman did to this thread for over a year.  He wrote long trolling ...well, blogs basically!  And that’s not tolerated here so he was bumped from the thread by admin.  I was, too, for making an ironic statement about Islam and bombing himself, but then I just changed my IP addy and logged back in.

I will say this; and believe me, I never thought I would defend Frank Goodman in anyway, but he was a lot nicer (at least to the guys).  He certainly had my “leg” like a dog takes a bone and won’t let go.  But his comments were much more smarmy toward me than they were crazily posted in “madman with meth lab fashion”. 

Whoa…sorry FM.  I see you’re touchy about the druggie thing, but like I told ya!  I was just being honest…like you!  smile  I see you’re having trouble taking the truth.  But actually, I do see you sitting in a homemade meth lab typing away as you concoct some crazy juice from homemade products.  Either that or you’re Signor Bipolare’.  You’re not on an even keel here.  You don’t write well at all.  You’re off topic with every post (we’ve all already discussed Mr. Harris’ Manifesto…many times), and you’re all over the place with an underlying “I’m an alpha - male and so will do whatever I want so nanana boo boo” attitude.  Are you going to spank all of us, too? 

And yes, you can take all your time.  In fact, take a year. wink  Fine by me.  See you next April! Arrivaderci!  Don’t call me; I’ll call you! :D

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By Tom Edgar, April 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

I did suggest earlier that the felony intent intruder should be sent to Coventry. i.e ignored.  That still stands. It is obvious that the guy is pulling your leg, and for him, having fun with what, to us, is a serious part of out lives doesn’t really warrant an answer.  It is of course your prerogative to play games or to lie in the gutter but the consequences are, that this forum could well deteriorate by the banality of the arguments.

Leefeller that really gave me a chuckle.  21.  Oh I well remember my 21st.  Three days after it happened.
Well I was in Bermuda on a Tanker on the day and I never could remember birthdays anyway.  I’m posting a poem I wrote many years ago separately for those idiots so often quoting “No atheists in foxholes.” and every word absolutely true.

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By Felonious Monk, April 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment


  I look forward to it…and let me tell you, it’s not like I’m TRYING to have the answers to the timeless questions of mankind, which have filled volumes throughout the centuries as the greatest minds wrestled with “just” answering the questions that are posed, be something that took longer than even I expected. (Also, I still reject that “nothing” has been said. Perhaps not on the other side, but every post I’ve made has been part of me planning my work and working my plan. Trust me, I haven’t done a thing that isn’t exactly purposeful TO my point. Apologies if it seems pointless from the other side.)

  As far as taking a long time: such responses involve the “precising” language of philosophy, as I learned it, so as to avoid ambiguity and gaps. And involves writing and rewriting and rewriting, etc.. Also, the damn things keep growing from within everytime I hit something and say “Oh, I have to touch on this.”
  I would love to go crank it out right now, but I’m frickin exhausted from the day (exactly the time not to write such things—this kind of chat is different), and really should go hit someone up for some money they owe, which means take a shower, etc., etc.. Then repeat every day. What’s a philosopher to do? Another answer will be done ASAP…but, really, can we do SOMETHING but just sit hear and watch/order my paint dry? Taulk amongst ya-selves, as the Coffee Talk lady used to say…

  (PS: The profs would likely love my underlying form and logic, but also likely pooh-pooh my poo-poo language. They would get it, though, in terms of the “you opened the door, I walked through it” line of thought and why it’s a good thing to do to balance the debate in this informal kind of setting…and seriously, Socrates was a smart-ass and a half in the same intentional way for those who begged for it)

  Hey Sned,

  I figure you can probably read the above. As for the Harris article: Yes, as I stated before, I even have a to-length-limit response to Harris started from the last time I was here, but—like the aforementioned answers—it just grows and grows like a torrent before I can beat it back in line. Such is philosophy…and I haven’t had the body/soul power to get ‘er done while my lovely girlfriend and I are just trying to keep the house. We’re both pretty wiped most of the time. You mean mean bas-terd!! (Lol…joke, it’s a joke.)

Smellonious Funk

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Fellonius (what a fun name to play with) What a guy. We ask you a few easy to answer questions and you need to write a thesis on Sam Harris?

FYI…I haven’t read My Harris’ piece in 3 years.And really…were the questions posed to you and whatsherface so awfully difficult to answer?

So fine…go away…it’s what we expected anyway.But gee..thanks for the answer to #1. You were swell. You got a A- on #1….but you failed the rest of the test. No make-ups.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

Well there it is. I doubt if Felonious’ professors would have given him good grades on some of his writing here at this forum. But I will wait for some meat. Until then we get well chewed bones. Hope its worth the wait.

I get rather cross when there is big hype then no follow through. In his own time. Well I’ve got time and will be alerted when he sends anything down the pipe.

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By Felonious Monk, April 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Reit, Sned, Leefeller, Night-Gaunt,

    Hey all. Reit, that was actually just the first answer, not five answers. The rest are still being finished. 

    (And before you crank up the band, just to be clear: If I want to take six months to finish them, I will. I feel zero compunction from anyone here to do a single thing you may want or say—and I mean this in a friendly way—nor feel you have the least bit more right or purpose here than I do, since that seems to be an implied undercurrent. I’m a free individual who chose last January to do an exhaustive analysis of Harris’ article, but haven’t had a window to until now, and will now do so at the pace I choose, at my own leisure, whether it takes a week, ten months, or five years—and having not the least little thing to do with what any of you may feel or think about it. That I’m enjoying myself leading up to that is immaterial to my larger goal. As for “feeling outnumbered,” you obviously don’t know that I live for facing down groupthink as one against the gang, and do it often.)

    I also understand that you think you’re right about your treatment of people, and that my writing (acclaimed by my professors—good enough for me) strikes you as being “druggie.” And anyone who calls y’all’s treatment of Erika (and tactics on the whole thread) a rational way to respond to someone would indeed find such thoughts weird. Couldn’t be more proud that you think so. Was her calling you cocky and the article ridiculous somehow OUTSIDE the standards you set? Or (as a certain someone so recently showed) is it just that you all can dish it out but you can’t take it? Hmm… Like they say in law, don’t open a door if you don’t want someone to walk through. (Or be surprised when I take you up on it.)

    I like this particularly mean-spirited comment from Erika:

Although I stumbled on this, it did not oblige me to comment. You have your views and I, mine.  I don’t need you to believe in God and you don’t need me to not believe in him. Just understand that a God-believer can be just as productive/intellectual. I don’t waste time praying for things to happen, I do something, I donate money, I even went to New Orleans to rebuild—which the whole comment about someone dying while talking to an imaginary friend was very offensive, since they were probably, and hopefully in
a peaceful place if they were talking to God, a lot of people are when they die—and I’m not here to shove my views down anyone’s throats, only to defend my stance.
Now, religion has only made me a more helpful person, and definitely happier with my life. Religion CAN be a good thing. Atheism too, but when both are insulting the other, it’s probably not as good.
Now, here I am throwing in the towel, and apologizing for coming off as arrogant. Is this proof that believing in a God can be stupid, but at least not harmful or detrimental?
    What a total b****!!! Lol… like I say, I’ve had my fun playing cat and mouse with you, and will indeed post answers as I see fit (and always feel free to turn your weird obsessiveness about what I do or don’t write to something else—like, you know, discussing the topic yourselves rather than simply trying to control me).

    In closing, though, I have to say that the best part of Erika’s response is definitely that it highlights the inability of some people—who have druggie paranoid fantasies about the motives of those who don’t cow to them, such that they sound like Glenn Beck’s latest book of pop psychology written after smoking a doobie (which they’re convinced is true, and that that somehow convinces those who know otherwise) to comprehend that when someone “gives up” and leaves, there is a distinct difference between them putting down their face and them throwing up their hands…

    See you soon…

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the response SNED.  I was thinking I needed to use cyber defender…but then only when I am here does my typing show up 5 minutes after I’ve typed it!

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment


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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Wow!  Crappy servers there Truthdig! Is it just me or is this site extremly slow??

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

And, NG, that’s exactly what we did with Erika.  She was a believer…we were gentler with her than she was with any of us in the beginning (I am sure ti wass a defense mechanism for her) but it ended well. 

However, FM is a NON believer.  But I still don’t know what his problem is with Harris’ manifesto nor any of us.  He really hasn’t said much other than juvenile insults until this last post.  No one has been unfair to him.  I go into the lion’s den of xians every Saturday just to get “bullied” (boo hoo) and I take it well…because I know I’m right even if I am alone.  It’s that simple.  When you know you have something valid to share, there is no reason to be so simple minded about it.  None.

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

And, NG, that’s exactly what we did with Erikia.  She was a believer…we were gentler with her than she was with any of us in the beginning (I am sure ti wass a defense mechanism for her) but it ended well. 

However, FM is a NON believer.  But I still don’t kow what his problem is with Harris’ manifesto nor any of us.  He really hasn’t said much other than juvenile insults until this last post.  No one has been unfair to him.  I go into the lion’s den of xians every Saturday just to get “bullied” (boo hoo) and I take it well…because I know I’m right even if I am alone.  It’s that simple.  When you know you have something valid to share, there is no reason to be so simple minded about it.  None.

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By James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil, April 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment
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Reit1 and Sned.  There you to go again, using facts and logic upon a believer.  Have you two no mercy?  No compassion for the deluded?  You decline to fight fairly but insist upon proof and, worse yet, use it yourselves.

I am sure there must be a special place in the theist hell for people that always refute myths with facts and rational thinking.  See you there :D

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By Night-Gaunt, April 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

You must admit it must be intimidating for any of those believers to ply their wares here. True a small island in a sea where we are the ones surrounded. We can be a bit more understanding and gentler. But still don’t have to take any guff either.

Maybe they might have an idea of how we feel when we are cornered in their world which is most every where else.

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment


Had a similar experience…but mine was over how babies are made. I actually cried while yelling at my mother that she had lied.(The old stork and stomach thing) I must have been somewhere between 6- and 8) My trust in her was shattered that day. (But I got over it)

Therefore..I never lied to my kids…not about sex…and Santa represented a spirit of Xmas….not a real person. And

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By Leefeller, April 14, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

You know now when I look back on it,..... my parents ganged up on me with my obnoxious brat sister on one of the most horriblest days of my life.  Aside from the explanation of why I resembled the post man, my parents in unison, (maybe nervous chuckling or possibly sadistic twittering, I do not know) they told me in no uncertain words. ..... Santa Claus did not exist! It was a shock to me, and the worst part was yet to come, when I was told it was not really Santa who ate the cookies drank the milk and gobbled down the Italian salami,.........I remember this mostist horrible day in my life,..... just like yesterday and this was way back on my twenty first birthday!

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Or as Hitches put it, “the difference between an atheist and a non-theist, (the latter title is what he claims to be), is the non- theist doesn’t want nor hope for an afterlife”.  Many atheists do wish there were one.

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By THE SNED, April 14, 2011 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Felonious’ “Is there a heaven response”

Good. Somewhere in the hundreds of posts I countered the bromide “their are no atheists in foxholes ” with the following.

In a foxhole,the difference between the believer praying and the atheist praying is this: “The believer knows god is listening, the atheist is simply hoping a god is listening”

So hope springs eternal…but hope doesn’t get you an afterlife, or a god. Nothing new but nothing wrong with that either. Cathartic for the writer…maybe.

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By Reit1, April 14, 2011 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

Not bad! I think that was likely an honest answer.  And it takes us through to number 6.  I would like to see answers to number 6. and 7.

Quit stalling.  It appears that you fear us and what we’ll say, so in typical “omg, they’re the opponent fashion” (which is all in your head) you attempt to strike the proverbial preemptive blow and insult people you’ve never met and don’t know anything about.  It makes you seem way less honest and much more like an idiot.  It does!  Now I’m just being honest. Almost all of your posts, with the exception of the second to last here, look idiotic and like the ramblings of a druggie.  Didn’t you feel better just giving the facts of your beliefs/non-beliefs?

Continue.  That was interesting.

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By Felonious Monk, April 14, 2011 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Ahhh, bliss…finally, the reasoned debate of my design. Thank you all for cooperating. I look forward to future guests with a proper respect for others…

(and look forward to answering the rest of the questions and working through the various other aspects of the thread over the next few months, and of Harris’ article…)


The Felonious One

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By Felonious Monk, April 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

[Sned says]: Okay Let’s have you answer some questions.

1. Do you believe in an after-life?

  I wish. I’d like to. The most I can claim is that I wish that it is true (“hope” may even be a bridge too far, since with hope there seems an implied certainty about the foundational beliefs that lead to it, in order to make that optimistic leap—at least to me) but most of the time I don’t think it adds up. Except when I hope that it isn’t true because I think I would hate to be alive forever, but I wouldn’t know if I just stopped existing—so that would be a better (and as the loudest part of my head instinctively says, most likely) outcome, to just be dead after death.

  Frankly, I don’t know how anyone just “believes” in a religion/afterlife, and have always been envious of those who do. (“Ignorance” is bliss and all that.) I HAVE truly believed in the past when I was a kid (for the years before the married pastor started putting his penis in married church members—or at least before we knew about it), but even then, it was more just a feeling of being filling with “the love of Jesus,” as it were, which kids really get, in a way adults have to try and intellectualize.

  Even then, the whole heaven thing was more like: “Well, that’s a nice thought, and it will certainly be a bonus if it happens.” But the popular depictions of heaven and the obviously-batty people who seemed to most fervently believe were the biggest obstacle to accepting it as is. It seemed like SOMETHING might exist after life, based on that damned good feeling that internalizing Jesus’ philosophy generated, but quite frankly, it didn’t seem like the shit they were telling us was most probably it.
  I also at times use the self-disciplinary principles contained in the sacred texts of religions which do believe in it, as a way to enrich myself and my life. That I enjoy, but it comes and goes.

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By Felonious Monk, April 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment


  Have I said it’s always good to see you? It is. Well met, sir (or ma’am; I’ve realized here and there I’m not always spot on with that call—although I’m almost never off in my first impressions of people, and seem to have judged you well…) 

  It’s funny, I JUST finished the first answer to my satisfaction—and to be honest, I’m loathe to post them one at a time, because of the shite-storm of frivilous BS that will inevitably come at each if done independently, such that we’ll just never get through with it if the young’ins start in their ways. But I think I got the foundation established I wanted (James thinks I was ever gonna post things with the asylum at full bloom, then try to have the talk about basic decorum AFTER the actual main discussion was underway. Cha, right.) I think they’ve been molded to about where I want them, though, with Socratic techniques along the lines of what my buddy describes as: “I can’t stop you, but I can break you of the habit.” Ol’ Soc used to say all kinda funny and cutting sh** to his students in the course of the debate in order to tenderize them the way he wanted. The same way I just added that intentional prod so that they WOULD come out with both BS barrels firing, but within the context of my design. 

  Anyway…because you’re so reasonable, and because I changed my game plan last night and plan to stay here as long as it takes to get the thread argument up to standards worthy of the topic (and participants like yourself)—and because I just finished it—I will indeed post the first response now (it’s no big deal, just an honest response) which should give us plenty of fodder so that I can get the rest of the answers together (some are done, others are close—but both sides are best served if they’re answered in the series presented, I think). It will be forthcoming right after this post, barring PC chaos (and assuming I can even get this to post).
  Then I gotta get run somewhere, so the kiddies can have lots of alone time with their new shiny object that they’ve already got their conclusions ready for, and are salivating to crack each other up and stroke each other’s egos over, regarding how funny and sharp what each of them says is (and of course how “delusional” and “because my parent’s believed it” mine is, when viewed through their “ME! ME! ME!” colored glasses…)


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By Night-Gaunt, April 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Promises, promises Felonious. At this rate you could have put in a question answered per and gotten several done. So far its called stalling and equivocation. Not to mention a need to degrade your opponents. I should know I’ve experienced it myself. They usually attack me for being “high and mighty, full of myself” etc. So you can can that blather it loses its adorability rather fast here. We’re just treating you , like Erica, in the usual believer as novis first. No need to hit them with college level stuff when they may not know the basics or even the most elementary rudiments. Wouldn’t you agree?

The more we learn the more we can adjust to each other. I for one don’t like to start name calling. I find it childish and counter productive myself. Some people resort to that from their long experience and not wanting to suffer fools or be treated as a fool. Also most unbecoming.

Stop stalling and just put in answers to 5 questions. Instead of promising to print a torrent so you can drown us in pages.

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By Felonious Monk, April 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Oil painter, actually (and used to be musician). Now I’ve even got people tracking me down saying they want more of what I call my “American-style impressionism” of urban scapes…probably do another show in a few months. Art and writing, baby. Been doing it all these years and now am getting some traction. Are you happy for me? Lol…

Naw, issues with Catholicism were back in the day, as described. It’s all live and let live nowadays…although I do strongly believe they should leave little boys’ pee-pees alone already.
(I don’t dislike Bill Donahue because he’s a Catholic, but as a person.)

Hey, speaking of your childish name calling (read: the main foundation of your argument thus far), it’d be kinda funny to say Leefeller is a fart smeller, wouldnt it? Anyone? Bueller? (Heh heh…that makes two for me, along with the one that made Ms. Reit very, very boo boo sad. [The implied joke about Sned’s moniker was in fact not name calling.] I get to use them as often as you all collectively have with me before they count as demerits, right? Lol…lordy raising children is fun. Hey, remind me to tell you about your next most favorite logical fallacy next to “appeal to the masses”: the ad hominem attack. Hint: I just was telling you about it.)

Okay, home early, but only because there was a flood that I have to clean up. Then guess what, kiddos? Daddy’s getting back to his special treat for you! Who’sa good boy? Are dey Daddy’s widdle some-day real debater. Yes…yes they are {{raspberry on stomach, muss up hair}}

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By Leefeller, April 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Speaking of babble,  Felonious seems to have already climbed his way to the top of his self built lofty Tower,...... we should place bets on his jumping off point?

Ganging up…. as it has been called, may more accurately be deemed, calling attention to oneself, granddaughter had learned this by the time she reached 6 months old.

Now, I suppose some people never grow out of it?

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By THE SNED, April 13, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

I like Erronious better..So far it’s transparent pages and not much more…although you do have some issues with Catholicism. (Good)...lots of insults, (fine)...give and take…(sticks and stones)...we await the wonderous revelations of the great thinker, philosopher, college graduate, procrastinator and maybe part time hockey puck decorator…(found art)
Go for it baby! We are all await something beyond nothing!
If the words “true” or “truth” or anythingh like it pop up you’re a Frank.
If not we migh have to consider you similar…Like “hot dog.”

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By James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil, April 13, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Feeble Moron, who has no time, has posted yet another rambling, senseless diatribe and again hasn’t responded to a single direct question.  Is anyone surprised? 

If this person ever posts a rational remark or even answers a question honestly and directly, it might even make me start believing in miracles.  In the meantime, it is entertaining to watch the lies, evasions and attempt to distract from ever doing anything reasonable.  Even more amusing is that he has deluded himself into thinking anyone is fooled.  But what’s one more delusion when your life is based upon delusions?

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By Felonious Monk, April 13, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Hey Sned,

  Absolutely, be happy to. I’ve got five pages (probably about 3 or 4 posts) of the other answers so far, and I’ll just tack those other two shallow softball questions onto the end. Note: I knew your supposedly “deep” concept about time was thought by you to be, like, tough or something (in reality, more like a laughable throwaway “challenge” a teacher might ask a beginner Philosophy of Religion class before opening the book and starting serious study of such matters), but you’re gonna get a real kick outta the implications of what you propose. Or, you know, I will, and you’ll find some meaningless superficial aspect of it to misconstrue, which you’ll seize on as a relevant retort but will just be more of the empty garbage y’all peddle here…  thanks, though, the questions were fun. I may post them tonight after work if they’re all together and the PC let’s me. Definitely worth the wait for all you who’ve been here for months or years blowing smoke up each other’s arses to feel like deep thinkers, though… a bit more wait certainly won’t hurt you, and may actually help build you some much-needed character…  smile


  Sorry, man… I tried to wade through that babble, but no relevant phrases jumped out as I scanned. Something about an old TV show you used to watch or something? Um, k. Thanks…


  I assume you’re saying that if enough of you are chickens**t enough, you can move your little self-affirming child-mind mob to ban me or something? Go for it, bro, believe me, with the time I intend to put in to straighten out the muddled mess of an “argument” that’s been shat onto this thread by y’all, that would definitely be the most ego/face saving route for you. But no need, of course, because Reit’s tremendous ego is going to “face me down,” remember? Lmao… And I guess you missed how I identify as much or more with atheists as I do with the religious, huh? (Not to concede your still-erroneous concept that because the TOPIC is atheism, somehow that means atheists have “more’ of a right here. Truly weird…though explanable.) Some of that may have been in my January post, though, so perhaps you couldn’t suss it out from the other things I said that make it perfectly obvious—plus you likely don’t have the capacity to hear or see anything but what pigeonholes me into the narrow concepts your psyche needs to keep things in so that your world remains ordered and manageable, as I pointed out y’all do just a few posts back. Thanks for underlining it…

  But none underline it so much as Reit, of course, who has now posted her second or third “I know what you said, but I know what you really mean” argument to “disprove” my charge that she does exactly that. Gotta love those captive to their own mind…

  Okay, kiddos, you be bad until daddy gets back…
  Love, Papa Felonious

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By THE SNED, April 13, 2011 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

More questions for Felonius Baloneyius

A. Do you believe in a higher inteligent power (other than youself that rules the universe)
B. If you do what’s your proof.
(and then why not try Erica’s unanswered questions…which evidently she couldn’t answer because we picked on her.

1. Do you believe in an after-life?
2. If you do where do you go and how do you get there?
3. If you don’t, what is your rationale for believing in a god?
4. If you believe in a god why do you find it necessary?
5. If you believe in a god do you pray to that being?
6. Which is more logical- to believe in something that you can’t prove exists or is it more logical to not believe in what you can’t see?
7. Do you believe because flowers are pretty and DNA is complicated?
8. If you believe that why do the majority of scientists who study complexity not believe?
9. Is it possible that most people who believe do so because they can’t deal with permanent death?
10. If the majority is always right why are so many poor people and middle class people in this country getting suckered by the Republican and the rich…“we want to protect wealth”?Boerner
Finally: If believe in an afterlife…what do you imagine will be the difference between that and death?
Oppps…one last. Do you know any atheists?

Now if you feel picked on let us know. We’ll report ourselves.

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By Leefeller, April 13, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

For some strange reason I all of a sudden remembered a long past television program of my youth, when I was a little kid growing up.  I recall anticipating every Saturday morning while being excited waiting for the show to come on. I even sent away my 50 cents for the vinyl screen cover and special crayons to watch the show in special effects.

Now,... I may have been a bit young for the program, because after several weeks of anticipation and waiting for my crayons and vinyl screen cover I found the show a huge let down,  especially after all it was still a cartoon show.

What prompted me to recall from the deep archives of me mind this old TV show? It was actually Felonious’s prehyped build up tease. It seems news shows of today, are always announcing a tease during the news before every advertising break,  but never getting to it until the end of the show, and almost always another let down.

So thank you….. Felonious,  for your part in helping me remember my child hood and one of my first of many let downs, you reminded me of a TV show of my childhood long forgotten and I am surprised I still remembered the name of the show;.........Winky Dink!

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By Tom Edgar, April 13, 2011 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Oops sorry about that pressed a wrong’un before checking and finishing.

This may be “Truthdig” but it is also an ATHEIST MANIFESTO., and as such you are a visitor to an alien outpost.  As for you staying until YOU decide to leave I believe my friend Frank thought that but found himself on the outer.  Not that I necessarily agree with the action but if the conversation continues to be increasingly boring with no intellectual input I understand some people could wish to become an Albert Pierrpoint.

From my point of view you are in the same position as Mormons and Over the Rainbows, 7th Day Adventists and other evangelicals, with one exception, they are invariably polite, well no longer to me because they have me listed as a hopeless case and stay away, especially since one of my horses tried to bite one.
Even the damned equine quadrupeds are atheists, come to think of it they probably all are, I’ve only heard them neighing,or the donkeys braying, never praying, admittedly there isn’t a great deal of difference there.

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By Tom Edgar, April 13, 2011 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

Nobosdy “Picked on Erika.  She bought the comments for being exactly the same as you. Never answer a question than carry on with gobbldeygook. Although she wasn’t quite as bad.

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By Reit1, April 13, 2011 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

ahahahaha Goddamn!  The King of Kings of stupid banter has returned…and this time it’s like Jaws…it’s out for revenge…for Erika.  hahahaha

OK..*yawn, stretch, yawn*.  I am done for a bit. :D ....still laughing! ............

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By Felonious Monk, April 13, 2011 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

Hey all,

  Have all the answers to Sned’s questions filled out but will still add to the first and “time” one. (Sugar Ray was kicked off Dancing…my girlfriend called it.) May post tonight but probably tomorrow, if only to work you out a bit more. (I know y’all think you/we haven’t been accomplishing anything, but like with Mr. Miagi and Danielsan waxing on/waxing off, you can’t see what you’ve gained but I can—and you all are shaping up just fine and according to design. Now paint the fence!)


  Wow, through the outsmart-yourself-double-reverse-too-cute-by-half way you have of convincing yourself that you’re reading my thoughts (like with your inaccurate gobbledy-gook about my one-liner being a confessional), you—after one reverses your conclusion—are 100% correct: I totally thought you were a guy, beginning from when you responded in January. (And when you added the “face them down” thing.) Although, male or female, you sit and call me “funny” names (we’ll talk: I can help y’all with the humor thing), to which I lobbed a response to you, and suddenly: “WAAAAAAHHH!!! I’M A GIRL!!!” Sorry, ma’am, but like we tell the kids: don’t dish out the name-calling if you can’t take it. Especially if the guy you’re talking to thinks you’re a guy. (I’d already commented back to Sned on his use of it and you were next in line.)

  As for your “gotcha,” guess you (of course) failed to glean what I was saying. Just so it’s clear: I stand by the comment (which was accurate regardless, since it was open-ended to those doing said thing), because you do/did exactly what I said. Is that clear enough?

  Interesting side note, Re: Tom and your comments: All you innocent upstanding souls here just trying to have a civil conversation (at least now, as you respond to training) were picking on Erika just before I came back to the thread (the aforementioned “ganging up” that appears to be a group favorite, then is denied when called on it), which is why I decided to come back and engage after three months of getting notices of updates and seeing it was just the frivolous self-affirming banter that’s the standard. (Which I’ve graciously decided to try and teach you to overcome out of the goodness of my heart.) It’s been chickens**t all along, but that just raised my interest to a point of writing. Which is to say: I need no lessons from anyone here on how to treat people, a bunch of discourteous me-too gangbangers. Especially when I came back specifically to give them. You may also notice that the idea of this being “your” thread that I’m somehow an outsider visiting is quite humorous to me. Um, the site is Truthdig, and I’m a truthdigger (Oh Christ, now Tom will take that as a secret coded Frank message.) I don’t know if y’all think you have squatters’ rights of ownership or something because you’ve commented for so long, but, um, I don’t give a pretty little rat’s behind about your sense of ownership. (Hell, I own this bee-yatch now, until I decide to give it up.) People from all over the world can come and comment here, each with every ounce of right to be here as you have.
Don’t fret, though, that mindset is just residue of the “appeal to the masses” fallacy I’ve mentioned before, which your rude and superficial mobmind had grown so accustomed to. Johnnycakes is here to help you out of all that, though, have no fear…)

BTW: Have you all considered what tune you’re going to cling to and believe/sing when I post the answers you curiously think I’ve been fibbing about addressing?

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By Night-Gaunt, April 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

I did find it odd that Felonius Monk (a play on the jazz musician Thelonius Monk’s stage name) spent time without really saying much pertinent to the subject. I can curse with the best of them but not on a casual basis and find its use to be discordant in our conversations.

Kindly answer the questions Felonius, if you dare, if you are truly sincere. Or say they are beyond your capacity and then we can move on. Otherwise you may want to move on.

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By Tom Edgar, April 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

John Felony
There was that other thing negating the possibility your were Frank Goodman.  He is not a person to use profanities to express himself and, to me, he has never spoken about the opposite sex with the contempt
you convey, but then he knows that, generally, I have more admiration for women than I do for those of my own gender.

No I do not accept that you go away, contemplate your navel, returning to give an intellectual answer to points raised.  You have never answered “Sned” nor myself, when asked direct questions. Actually mine were totally ignored not even being addressed in that manner of all Politicians of answering questions by giving non answers or addressing questions never asked or going off at a tangent irrelevant to the discussion.

You are of course entitled to hold a position at variance with ours, but it is an ill mannered approach to put forward an antagonistic unfounded argument, then ignore the questions arising.

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