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




 



 
 

An Atheist Manifesto

Sam Harris argues against irrational faith and its adherents

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


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


An Atheist Manifesto

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

No.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Reit1's avatar

By Reit1, April 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Oh John…blah blah blah and you know it.  You’ve nothing to say. You’re a shit disturber and nothing more.  You’re here solely to insult…and don’t think it passed me by that you chose to make fun of MY name because you know I am a woman. (god how it must have made you crazy when I trumped you - yet again!!) I am quite sure your balls shriveled.  Then you tried to cover it by referring to me in the masculine sense. You’re not so smart. :D

” I see you’re saying that you mean me and them as two distinct groups. Gotcha.”  Sorry.  Don’t see it at all.  I see you as two distinctly different groups and was just sayin’ about the fundies, ya know?  I didn’t include you at all! But you attempted to run with that one.  I caught ya! wink Check mate, goofy.

If you were really good at philosophy instead of bullshit, you’d tell us what it is that bothers you so much about the manifesto and then we could all discuss it.  But you choose to insult, evade, and even pick your favourite pet - as if you were a teacher.  Silly little boy. smile Make a point!  Besides the one on your head…get to it.  We’re all waiting…been waiting.  Tick tock.  This is like waiting on the return of the king of kings. :D

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By Felonious Monk, April 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Hi Tom,

  No, it’s John not Frank (and suffice it to say “Felonious” is an old nickname based on my surname). Well, you sound like a reasonable sort, off and on. I suspect once the formalities are over, you and I will get along just fine. Or could anyway…

  What it is see, is when I respond to what someone says, I actually READ and CONSIDER what they say, then respond. I understand it’s easier to do the canned prefab crowd-please robotron stuff that seems to impress on the fervent atheist side, but what can I say? I ‘m old school. (School of Athens, to be exact.) So right now I’ve got Sned’s first question half answered, took a shower to try and shake this frickin migraine, then later on my laptop in front of TV I’ll deal with his pitences—then struggle with something really difficult, like trying to guess who gets voted off of Dancing with the Stars… 

  Naw, what it is, Tommy—and I’ll think you’ll appreciate this—is like that old story about the young bull jumping up and down, saying to the old bull: “Let’s run down there and f**k one of those cows!!”—and the old bull replying: “No, let’s walk down, and f**k them all.”
  Or as we used to say back in the day: Always kiss ‘em before you f**k em…

  PS: I never did stir a possum, but I did once arm a dillo.

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By Tom Edgar, April 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

As much as I am in accord with my friends here I am afraid that I digress in the Frank Goodman Snr character assassination .  Not I hasten to add on his entries of earlier times to which you refer, of which I am totally ignorant.

But Frank is an occasional, personal e mail friend with whom I have had pleasant and enlightening, sometimes with the odd difference of opinion, conversations. We are, of course, diametrically opposed on religious matters but they rarely intrude in our personal mail.  Frank professes Islam but in my opinion is more like a non Church going Christian who, whilst accepting the broad philosophies of their faiths, remain outside the “Communities” eschewing the ritualistic aspects, and narrow ideology accepted by the more dedicated followers.

Oh he may be a “Possum Stirrer” and could well be of similar thinking as the lonely Monk.  But until I see reference to Frank’s favourite topic “Truth” I would withhold identifying the two as being the same person. Oh the “Possum Stirrer” is Oz for a trouble maker.

Monk’s entries are typical of those who have no intention of entering real debate but pursue a disruptive course to divert and obfuscate any meaningful outcome.  Argument for the sake of argument. It sows discord, and leads nowhere, which is exactly what any “Possum Stirrer” does.

Now if it is Frank, that is a big IF. With his obsession for “TRUTH” will be offended by the accusation of untruthfulness.  I make no apology, whilst not wishing to be personally offensive if somebody keeps insisting they will return to answer
an deliberately avoids the questions, to my mind, that is lying.

One other thing makes me doubt it is Frank. Monkey Boy talks of going off to “Work”.  Frank is only a little younger than myself. (mid eighties)  A lifetime serving member of the U S Military, long time retired, and without divulging his personal details I know he wouldn’t be in employment.  On balance.  I think No.  But I have been known to have made a mistake once or twice.

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By James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil, April 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You see?  Felonious has done it again.  A perfectly senseless post while evading any questions at all.

I repeat, Felonious, you are a liar and an intellectual and moral coward.  But, to give you credit, you are reliable.  You always lie, you never answer questions, and you never follow through on promises to “prove your points”.  What a hopeless POS you are. 

Apparently nothing is too stupid to embarrass you. 

How about this, Either put up or shut up, you silly little man. 

You say things about me from behind the safety of your keyboard that you would never dare say to my face.  Obviously, besides being the ethical and intellectual coward, you are also a physical coward, too.

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By Felonious Monk, April 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Hey Sned,

  Sounds good. I’ll start with your questions, offline so my antique PC doesn’t freeze and eat them (frickin thing took 6 times to post that comment yesterday) then post, along with the comments you think are somehow confounding about time. When I get them done I’ll post them (no time estimates since it’s just too fun shooting at fish in a barrel and making them dance).


Hi James,

  Cootchie cootchie coo… 

  I thought my argument included calling out the group’s heavy dependence on the logical fallacy “appeal to the masses; establishing my own stance/beliefs and my singular goal of conforming the conversation to some semblance of logical standards (since neither Harris nor the thread is); answering that my references to education were in response to specific comments that I would expound on later (steady…steady…); stating my view that atheism is a religion belief, and generally feeling out the opposition (such as it is) to get a sense of their limitations. (If only there were strengths. Perhaps they can be teased out yet if you’re lucky and I feel patient.) But you would know better than me what’s in my argument, right?

  Hey, can you tell what I’m thinking now?


Excreit (huhhuh…funny names),

  Here you go bud: “Felonious - I am far more arrogant than you will ever be.  I promise you.  I face down fundies to their faces on a daily basis and laugh at the times they call me “arrogant”. 

  I see you’re saying that you mean me and them as two distinct groups. Gotcha. And your first assumption in responding to my January post was before I stated my exact position (though still an assumption, since I never declared as “Christian”), while your second, quite humorously, took a one liner—about my favorite curse, “Jesus f***ing Christ” being the “king of king of curses”—to have a deep significance which betrayed my holding the very beliefs you claim you never said I had—rather than, you know, a play on the fact that Jesus is called the king of kings. But then, you started by misconstruing Harris’ quote to try and prove me wrong—er, “face me down”—so what do I expect if I continue to engage?


Night-Gaunt,

  I get the sense you have the best debater’s mind since you seem able to hold a position while entertaining others. Definitely good to see you. (Psst, James…any guesses what that last remark was besides just a comment to NG?)

  Yeah, that Bible shredding definitely had some interesting psychological nuances—and fortunately they weren’t the subconscious daddy-didn’t-love-me kind, but right up front and purposeful. Cathartic, if you will. The Catholic church had kicked us out after my parents’ divorce, then we spent a long time searching for the right church and found one where we spent many years. Then it came out that the pastor had slept with seven married parishioners who came to him for counseling (it was the 70s, and he was scum—even propositioning my mom, who told him to go get f**ked). So I said “Oh, yeah, all you Christian scumbag hypocrite motherf***ers (as it were)? Well here’s what I think of you and your make-believe piece of sh*t god”—then took the scissors and stabbed the Children’s Bible that the church had given me right through the hand-written dedication inside. Didn’t entertain any “spiritual” thoughts after that until about 15/16 when the New Age movement came along and presented an entirely different way to approach those kind of things. But after you’re that atheist for that long (at least in the formative years), there’s a large part of the mind that knows it can never go back even if it wanted to. I fear ol’ Felonious could never get beyond being that “double-minded man” that the Gospel of James says is screwed, in terms of getting any benefits from God… 

  Okay, off to work on Sned’s questions. Probably post them tonight or tomorrow, if only to see if I can make a certain someone wet himself. Peace…

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Reit1's avatar

By Reit1, April 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

I want to be ironic and just write “Heaven deliver me from another visit by Frank Goodman”.  But if it is him, we’ll know in a short time. In one aspect I hope it’s someone LIKE him (and it certainly appears to be).  Because the name he chose is just tooooo fun!  The Monkey, Felonious Balognious!  hahahaha

Oh…maybe he’s just typing his next essay to show how we’ve all made it too easy for him. :D I am so easily amused with weirdos. haha

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THE SNED's avatar

By THE SNED, April 12, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Erronious is starting to sound like Frank Goodman…a man who stayed around here for years before he finally saw how pathetic he was. His thrill was to see himself in print while casting little goodies here and there just like Erronious. Never any substance. Always obtuse. Odd.Arrogant. Not a Christian but a Muslim….white…couldn’t deal with women, his own son a born a again…..alleged lab technician or semi scientist, and until he finally left…a coward,as he promised to leave on a few occasions only to pop up again under a new name. What do you think Annie? Is Frank back?

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By Tom Edgar, April 12, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

I am afraid that as the Monkey is playing about with you and being a continuous liar he should be ignored.

LIAR? Yes he claims to answer when he patently does not even have the remotest intention of addressing challenges, or arguments. Only the most despicable of
visitors would be so discourteous as to be insulting when visiting, and then ignore polite requests.

As for Reit being arrogant,  Maybe so but then Reit has the qualifications, intelligence plus education to justify being both superior and arrogant, Neither of those attributes could be accorded the Monkey.

As requests, from those of us foolish enough to expect an answer, or even an admission of lack of ability to respond, are evidently not going to be addressed, I think Coventry is where this ill mannered person should be dispatched.

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By James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil, April 12, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@The Sned, Reit1, et al:  I think we are wasting our collective time waiting for the liar called Felonious to make a rational reply to anything.  I say liar advisedly, because he has made statements that are clearly not true,  For example, “I’m actually MAKING some of my argument as I write these glancing passes.” He actually has not made a single point.  Perhaps in his deluded mind he thinks he is making sense but he has not demonstrated anything but distraction denial, and delays.

How many really believe his claim to be “too busy” when he has repeatedly posted long, rambling and illogical nonsense?  I think that “Too busy” is simply another lie. 

Maybe he is hoping everyone will forget his original promises so he won’t have to fulfill them? 

Clearly this guy is a troll as well as a liar.  His claims are lies, his posts are attempts to evade responsibility for them, and he finds himself trapped by people who will not accept nonsense because some arrogant moron speaks it.  We are not theists here, so those tactics won’t work.

For myself, this is the last post for this jackass unless he makes a personal attack on me or actually says something of substance.  The latter alone might make me believe in miracles

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Reit1's avatar

By Reit1, April 12, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Atlien,

You forget one important component of Hitler’s Christian, magic Jesus.  Hitler went to heaven after repenting of his sins before putting a slug in his “dome” (I like that) right after he sent appoximately 6 million Jews to hell.  Afterall, you must believe in Jesus to get to heaven!!  Just saying!


Ok Felonious Balognious…answer the SNED please. (god that’s funny)! :D

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THE SNED's avatar

By THE SNED, April 12, 2011 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Dear Erronious…I made a claim about time and eternity. Would you address that claim? It’s very specifc. Has nothing to do with morality, stupidity, or magic. Thank you.

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By atlien, April 12, 2011 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

also, forgot to mention hitler is in heaven right now because he repented right
before he put a slug through his dome, chyea, put that one on the back burner for
a moment. oh also, felonious junk, get your shit outta here cause you suck

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By atlien, April 12, 2011 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

Gee Whiz! I do wish more christians were commenting on these post to defend
there beliefs that they’ve devoted their lives to! I got one question for you bible
beaters out there, could God microwave a burrito so hot he couldn’t eat it? Ha!
gets em’ every time. No but seriously, how can you believe in some sort of
deity? Maybe cause you’ve been brainwashed as little children and refuse to
give up those beliefs for fear of burning in a fiery inferno whilst being butt
fucked by satan (god’s arch nemesis whom the all knowing god created himself.
odd? maybe a little)? Probably, seeing as fear is the ultimate biological factor
that drives not only human survival, but human thought. It’s quite the trait,
fear. And if you look through history you may be able to recognize that. For
instance, Hitler brainwashed an entire fuckin nation to hate and kill Jews in
some of the most grotesque ways using fear tactics. During the European
colonization of new civilizations such as Africa, China, and parts of S. America
and L. America, Christians forced those cultures to beleive in their god or they’d
rape the man’s wife and children as they nailed him to a cross and burned him
alive.  Crazy shit I tell you, this world is fucked up

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Reit1's avatar

By Reit1, April 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad you were looking forward to me facing you down because I am about to do it. 

Please show me one place where I stated anything about you being religious, believing in a god, or being Catholic or Christian or anything of the sort.  Feel free to copy and paste.  You won’t find it, because I noted on your first post that you mentioned something about identifying with the non-religious as much as the religious but that you just didn’t like Sam Harris’ Atheist Manifesto.  (paraphrased ‘cause I’m not looking for it).

Take your own advice about broad sweeping generalisations.  And while you’re musing over my trump card, please remember to use the space you’re wasting to type…and answer questions that have been asked of you instead.  How impolite you are!

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By James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil, April 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I win again!  Felonious didn’t answer a single question, did not prove any point he has made but has done exactly what I said he would, deny, distract, delay.  The guy is a liar and an intellectual coward.  His tactics don’t say anything good about his morality, either.

I’m finished with this jerk.  I can’t believe a word he says.  He promises (threatens) much but delivers nothing.  Contempt and derision is all he has earned from me.

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By Felonious Monk, April 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Hey all,

  Wow, you guys really don’t mind making this fun and easy for me, do you?—although it is depressing to spend time chatting with folks who clearly can’t comprehend plain English. That’s not referring to the bedwetting self-congratulatory “gotchas” about when I’ll have the hour or two to write a proper response (as opposed to the 15 or 20 minutes it takes to write these off the cuff remarks), but also because you seem to have a deep psychological need to have me be some kind of fundamental Christian (or Catholic), no matter how many times I explain what my disposition is, or my repeated stated purpose of only upholding standards of logic worthy of the conversation you’re so woefully attempting to have. (Oh, and hint: you may notice [but probably not] that I’m actually MAKING some of my argument as I write these glancing passes. I often find this an effective means when there’s a whole lot to say, by laying some foundation and getting some of the issues out of the way. Any takers on how James will read that? Think I can make him say it a third time?)

  This lack of standards is not your fault, of course. When reknowned Stanford grads like Sam Harris set such a non-bar for the level of debate, it pretty much invites this kind of thing—just like the infantile level of public debate in the rightwing corporate media has lead to our current political impasses. Nevertheless, I’ll speak to the level of opponent I wish I had (one that can read AND grasp the meaning of words), and just know I’ll get back: “Huh huh, YEAH, that’s what fundies ALWAYS say! Right everyone?” When as a liberal I challenge the orthodoxies of certain members of the far left in a similar way on political discussion groups, it invariably, within three or four volleys, ends with the same curious (read: stupid) pigeonholing, and the cry of “Hey everyone, what do you think? We say he’s wrong, right?”—because they can’t just speak to the issue or know how to deal with anything outside the cartoonish roles they see all people existing in without calling-in their fellow mobmates to make them feel like somehow that means their argument has veracity.
  As for Bill Donahue, that guy is one major league carksocking a**hole, and I’ve told him as much in e-mails. Reit, as to your being more arrogant than me: yeah I know, that’s what I said. Good luck with that allowing you to “face me down.” Goodness, I do so look forward to that… 
  In closing (and laying some more foundation for that other response you’ve tickled yourself as being not on the way [despite it already unfolding]), I do so wish I could reach you the way Anne Sullivan reached Helen Keller, so that you had a chance to comprehend the broader world, and see that there are people who don’t agree with you—and yet are not fundamental Christians. Without openly swearing (as I much prefer), so as not to violate any posting policies, would it at all let you see beyond your curious myopia if I said that Jesus Christ is a fraud who performs oral sex unlawfully on certain people and bends over so that Christopher Hitchens can violate him with foreign objects—and that God can suck my d***—would that have any influence or your ability to comprehend my position? And if not, why?

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, April 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

One thing I have found that for a believer the more educated they are the more slippery they become in the area of argument. There are many tricks that can be done to obscure and lead down false paths. So for those of us who work to stay on top of it. And I am among the least educated here on that I too have been called everything from a “pseudo intellectual” to “arrogant and know-it-all” to “a sad, miserable person who doesn’t smile enough.” But I continue on anyway.

I wish it were true if only to continue to exist but I would never want to be in that nearly empty Heaven so full of worship for such a vain and arrogant god. It goes against my grain. Better to be in Hell with all the other interesting people. But since it isn’t real then it just means death. A disappointment since I could use an extended life even though it is against Nature. But I am imaginative and have concocted all kinds of alternate social arrangements that cross my synaptic paths.

Felonious Monk is somewhat entertaining. Though his rebellious and violent act against the family Bible is just fraught with interesting psychological nuances. But I’m not a psychiatrist so I will refrain.

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By THE SNED, April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

While we wait for for the brillance or Erronious Fullabalonyus,  (rim shot) have a laugh at this full page ad taken out in the NY Times by the Catholic League-truly in a league of their own. (Rim shot)

http://www.catholicleague.org/nytstraighttalk.php

No where in the article does Bill Donohue discuss the 2000 pages of clerical abuse in Ireland that included abuse of women by nuns…and an endless array of abuse of boys by the clergy along with the church’s usual turn of the other cheek kid, please?) rimshot. Nor does he mention the 3 priests who for were all abused in a seminary by a priest who later headed a wordwide organization of a Cathoic children’s movement. (Please remember that many youngsters were sent to study for the priesthood ) These three priests were ignored for decades and only last year was that abuser removed form his office. 

Bill Donahue makes a living on the attack…never shamed by the hideous actions not only of the lower level clergy but by the Bishops and Cardinals and no doubt Herr Ratzinger who was the head of the Curia for decades in charge of abuse…and he did a fine job.

I have to study Bill’s paper in depth…I’m sure it will stir up some other thoughts among the folks here. Hey you can read it too Erronius…We have no magisterium here who do the thinking for you..(If you’re a Roman Catholic) By the way…beware of Annie. She was a missionary…“if the cross don’t fit..you have to quit”)rimshot) That’s our Annie.
(Crowd cheers..bible belters duck for cover)

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By Reit1, April 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

I received a notice from Truthdig about Felonious Monk’s comment in the wee hours of the morning; I logged in, read it, and then logged out.  James (apparently I will be stroking your ego here because I agree with your post)..I logged out without comment (which is rare for me) for exactly the reason you explained.  I knew whatever thing he had to say wouldn’t be worth waiting for, and there’s nothing he could possibly say that will be new.  But I await the moment anyway. 

What’s the point in logging in to say that you’ll be back to explain - TWICE? 

Felonious - I am far more arrogant than you will ever be.  I promise you.  I face down fundies to their faces on a daily basis and laugh at the times they call me “arrogant”.  The last idiot even referred to me as an “intellectually arrogant person with a closed mind”.  I smiled. smile

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By Leefeller, April 11, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the announcement Felonious, I and the Great Unyun are waiting by my computer with trembling anticipation!

Guess soon as Felonious gets his toe nails done at divinity school,........  everyone well finally get to see the light bulb over his head. ...You know this is more fun then waiting for the next episode of South Park, or even watching the Republicans take down labor murals at State labor departments,... because the murals doesn’t show any bosses and business; like Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, or depict GE not any paying taxes.

Fantasy and fictionss are entertaining at times,.... especially when they provide new surprises by decoders deciphering from a 2000 year old goat herders manual on how all other peoples should be living their lives!

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By Felonious Monk, April 11, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Hi James,

  Yes, I assumed I’d get that response and—neener neener—here I am doing it again. Finished work at 2am last night and gotta run this morning until sometime tonight, then work tomorrow morning, but I’ll get something together for you, fear not. It takes time to address things properly. In fact, I still have a to-length-limit response I wrote from my last posts a few months ago that I never put up because I wasn’t done reviewing it (and it wouldn’t address everything now), then said screw it because I write like this constantly and lost immediate interest. I’ve checked back when I see new posts, but didn’t get re-compelled til now. (And yes, I’m enjoying that this non-comment comment is getting longer. Shh…I’m seeing if I can make you say the same thing again.)

Sned,
  Yeah, I didn’t start school til I was 36, so I’m down with the whole education vs. knowledge/wisdom type thing. I’m also down with the whole atheist slant (loved the humorous comment that the religious are clinging to their parent’s religion. I seem to remember at age 13 taking a pair of scissors to my copy of the Bible of my parent’s religion, stabbing it through repeatedly, shredding the pages, then throwing the remaining confetti in the garbage. Does that count as breaking from your parent’s religion?) There may be clerics who feel their religion is the right one, but the only example of that kind of religious zealotry here is coming from your side (I know some atheists like to say their’s is not a religious view—which means nothing to those of us who view it as exactly that). I’m merely exploring the issue and suggesting some semblance of logical debate.   
  The difference between my degree of arrogance and the others here is that I’m aware of it and use it with purpose. The other side seems to be unaware of the arrogance they exude…but don’t worry, Felonious is here to point it out (with more to say later). Okay, better go before James loses it…

FM

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By THE SNED, April 11, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

Dear Erronious…(nickname)
We will all be waiting with great anticipation. Oh yes…there are a thousands of educated clerics in the world…believing that their religion is the right one. Clue #1 that education is not an end all.#2 Define education. Primitive tribes have no degrees but will survive longer than any of us in the long run (If the the educated clergy don’t convert them into guilt ridden societies) as a matter of fact there’s a tribe in Brazil that can’t be converted because they only believe those who have witnessed something. Since Christ wasn’t seen by any on them in the flesh so much for the J.C.B.S.#3 And then there are our dear scientists who just don’t seem to run to church anymore. And finally #4 Nazi Germany and the resulting secular Europe. Much better educated….Oh yes..sorry forgot Mother Theresa…she died one of us…or damn close to it.
You do have a certain degree…of arrogance that is. So give us your best shot…we will like it more if it’s humorous.
Or maybe it will just turn out that way.

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By Felonious Monk, April 11, 2011 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

Sned (no punchline needed) and all,

  Why yes of course I can rebut all this, one hand behind my back and all that, but looks like I won’t have the chance until tomorrow or even Tuesday, since it will take time that I can’t spare from other tasks just yet. This is my first opportunity to even get online tonight. Reit, no I’m not posing as nice and civil while getting in shots, you’re just picking up on the fact that I’m a hell of a guy. Leefeller: overpaid? Oy, brother, from your lips to God’s ears (...or, you know, whatever). As for being full of myself, that’s for others to decide—although it does beat being full of what others seem to have chosen. Also: the references to education are a direct response to “arguments” made both here and by Harris (I’ll point them out later). Rest assured, I can tie up all the loose ends raised by your comments. Including “ganging up.” (Hint: under logical fallacies, look up “appeal to the masses” or some variation thereof).
  Got another hour or so or other work to finish and it’s already after midnight, so will get back wich’all later…
   
Felonious

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By Tom Edgar, April 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

I did actually miss that misappropriation of my observation regarding “Education” and broad versus narrow “Thinking”  Then the tonsorial “Tosser” carries on with “As a student of religion. etc.,” How much narrower can one get than to confine oneself to a study of fairy tales, myths, mixed in with a little history”.

To study areas of irrelevance of happenings, both factual and imaginary, then use those tales in determining actions thousands of years later is, to my mind, rather medieval thinking.

I readily admit if we ignore the past we will, and still do, repeat previous mistakes . But to study the past, then deliberately repeat the mistakes when all the evidence indicates different actions and interpretations, is to paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s “Importance of being Ernest.” Gross Negligence.

Studying religion to reinforce beliefs is hardly broad education if you ignore the evidence negating those beliefs. I would unequivocally embrace a religion, if for once, the “Believer” produced EVIDENCE supporting arguments.  Having studied, actually educated, in a religious school (Anglican), I have been there and done that.  I well remember the Head saying. “All Saints School and not the makings of a Saint amongst the lot of you.”  He was so right, we left with most of us, at best, not interested, the more intelligent being committed atheists.

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By Leefeller, April 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Some of my bestist friends are religious! (not really) Though in fact one of my best friends has a masters in Divinity which is amusing because he is a compassionate person and he was fired for his attempting to instill compassion at our local church, it apparently brothered the power brokers of the church he was, for attempting to promote compassion and caring about others into the dogma of the closed minds, was a…. no,no!

Since then, my friend has had his doubts about religion and even more so about god. Now his story is a long one,.... but my friend having his masters in divinity has been reduced to working part time part time at Home Depose for $8.00 dollars an hour….. What does this mean?

Felonious is a bit full of his self and probably over paid?

A side note to Felonious;..... you know guy, I would respect your belief in your God if you would respect my unbelief in your god!

Maybe I am being to naive?

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By Tom Edgar, April 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

The loneliest Monk.

If I turned up at a service in a main stream Church spouting oppositional profundities, I daresay the congregation would “Gang Up.”  Now we atheists don’t have bill boarded buildings nor advertise weekly or daily meetings to reinforce beliefs.  Generally we don’t even belong to an organisation as such, nor do we have paid pundits purveying prayers and propaganda.

This venue is just one that caters for the growing number of atheists to exchange their thoughts and know, that whilst small in number, we are not exactly alone.  When proselytising dogmatic theists come, uninvited, to this place or to our homes with the intention of denigrating and insulting our intellects with the purpose of making us accept their erroneous beliefs, I feel we are actually being polite in not only refuting, with evidence, their unsupported statements, but allowing, with courtesy, their arguments to be made.
This is in marked contrast to the reaction that would undoubtedly eventuate if the position was reversed.

On a personal level it appears you wish to convey that you comfortably straddle the fence between the
Believers and the atheists. That fence I’m afraid is of barbed wire.  I do feel you have made a very painful slip up.

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By Reit1, April 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

@ Felonious Monk: “I see that since my last visit the main tactic of rebuttal is still to gang up and willfully misconstrue (or perhaps genuinely misunderstand), as if when the mob backing one position is big enough that somehow proves it right.”

Could you be a bit more specific?  Who did we gang up on, and in what way?  This thread has been mainly dormant until Erika..and I think maybe one other before her.  So, could you narrow that down for me?  I ask because it appears to me that you came here just to bolster yourself via your education, to be insulting in a “I’m a nice, civil guy but I am going to sharp shoot these atheistic people and get a shot in” kind of way, and to slam Harris’ viewpoint because it doesn’t coincide with yours.  That is the irony that I see personally.  Can you help me with that?  Because you look silly…without any real point.  If you came here just for the above, at least be honest about it. What DO you expect from people who don’t believe in gods on an Atheist Manifesto thread?  We’re not going to agree with Erika and her goddy beliefs..snd as a person who claims to study philosophy, I shouldn’t have to be explaining that to you!  You’re severly lacking in critical thought if that’s what you expect.

I appreciate you clearing that up for me. Thanks in advance.

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By THE SNED, April 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

erronious Monk:(rimshot)
Unless you’re the I-see god-in-bushes type,(and that’s it)
there is one thing you can’t deny…and that is this. Everything that led you to believe (if in fact your are a Christian) requires a belief in an almost endless procession of magic that we don’t witness everyday. It also requires extraordinary belief that the bible is correct and without error. And it does not allow for the fact that in order for the big bang to bang there had to have been a cause…which means time didn’t start then.And while you might hope to live a life everlasting in heaven, wherever the hell that is, you don’t address the possibility that everlasting goes in two directions not one. There’s is a l;ot you can’t address without gobbldegook. And your comment about ganging up on folks is hilarious…and stupid. This is after all this is an atheist’s web site.Are we here to roll over? Some education you have my friend.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

But isn’t the whole point of many religions is to believe without proof? Of course who we are mutually exclusive here. No amount of education can compensate for that. The one already inclined to believe will find plenty to support his/her belief because that is how they will interpret it. Some of us will never have that inclination so we are unburdened by fanciful interpretations of the natural world that any natural theist would have with the same data. A biologically based bias caused by Evolution.

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By Felonious Monk, April 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

“A broad education should enable one to THINK.  Limited education is designed to stop you thinking.”


  The atheists here should indeed take those words to heart. (That’s speaking as a student of religion and philosophy whose belief that further study would lead to more reasons not to believe was greatly undermined upon discovering that it does no such thing.) I see that since my last visit the main tactic of rebuttal is still to gang up and willfully misconstrue (or perhaps genuinely misunderstand), as if when the mob backing one position is big enough that somehow proves it right. But the logic and argumentation (such as it is) is of course every bit as awful as what Harris tried to float—little more than boilerplate swipes for the like-minded to gather around and say “Yeah!” There’s not a proof for his position among it, just a bunch of inductive insinuation.
    Could I prove to you that there is a God? Almost certainly not. There are none so blind as those who will not see, as the saying goes—plus I have no interest in doing so, as the nature of any “proofs” is not of the variety likely to be found convincing. You want proof of Caesar to serve as proof of God. Just wanted to say that the underlying logic is still totally unconvincing to any not already convinced (as would probably be said in reverse) to help lift the illusion that y’all are in fact proving your point rather than just stroking each other’s egos…
  (Btw, I identify as easily with atheists as I do with the religious, I just can’t stand sloppy logic like Harris’ et al.)

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By archeon of thrace, April 10, 2011 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

The recent koran burning and resulting brutal murders o
the other side of the world seems to prove that the
religious are nuts.

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By Tom Edgar, April 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Oh it does seem that Erika has disappeared.  Maybe praying for spiritual guidance.  Or asking the Pastor.One thing is certain she’ll never admit that she cannot win by using verifiable physical evidence, as none can be found.

Reminds me of when I gave to an S D A friend a whole swag of MY OWN calculations and evidence that the Ark could never exist, and the “Flood” was a myth and absolutely impossible.
She came back the following week saying.  “I took it to my Pastor.” to which I responded. “I asked you to read and THINK for yourself.”  Her Pastor’s response was “Do not read nor listen to such things as this.”

A broad education should enable one to THINK.  Limited education is designed to stop you thinking.

Lee you are not really alone, There are millions of us in Australia, and numerous other nations away from the Americas.

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By Leefeller, April 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

The difference between an Atheist fanatic like myself and a religious fanatic, may possibility be; if a religious person made a big productions of and video taped a public burning O ....“An Atheist Manifesto”,...... I would ask for a stick and some marshmallows!...... We know what religious fanatics would do!

One of the best things about being an Atheist is knowing I am not alone!

So guys, thanks for being there!

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By Night-Gaunt, April 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

1. First: I tell them to get their act together and when all the believers have one religion, a god and one creed.

2. Second: Then they can come to me and show me the money shot that clinches it for them.

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By Reit1, April 8, 2011 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

Hi again Erika,

Don’t throw in the towel…just answer a couple of the SNED’s questions.

Also, no, saying you’re sorry for coming off as arrogant doesn’t prove that believing in a god can be stupid but not detrimental.  As long as you are satisfied with being delusional, then the truth will elude you because you won’t look further than your delusion to find it.  And a world like that has proven time and again to be very detrimental.  9-11 is a perfect example of this.

Sure there can be good people who are religious, but they are the little cogs that keep the big ugly wheel of warmongerers moving.  “Pass the offering plate please.”  Such nonsensical people who can’t even make their own opinions meet on their individual religions. They are divisive.  There are 30k denominations of xianty alone.  Shiite and Sunni Muslims still stone people and commit atrocities everyday in the M.E.; and through Shariah they intend to bring it all to the west and are doing so as I type. Religions cannot nor ever will be good.  But they may just bring about “the end of days” they so long for….just not the way they’ve taught.

The part where Sam Harris spoke about people in New Orleans talking to an imaginary friend might have pissed you off solely because of the truth of it.  The truth does hurt, and some of them (not all of course) probably would have fared better to do something besides pray.  Others actually said that it “strengthened their faith in God” (whichever god).  That shows you how powerful the fear element is in religion.

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By Tom Edgar, April 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

Far be it from me to cross swords with my fellow travelers but I, without being, semantic, proffer that it is true that we cannot prove in any way that God doesn’t exist, the opposite of course is equally true.

What we do, as any self respecting Scientist would do also, is search for the evidence disproving or supporting any belief or hypotheses. Supporting EVIDENCE that no “Creator” ever existed is abundant insofar as the evidence, so far, found shows no such being.  Believers on the other hand have never shown testable evidence to support their beliefs.  That it is impossible to prove a negative is obvious except where evidence for the positive overwhelms it.

ERIKA.  Either put up, or shut up, or have you done the latter already?  Show your EVIDENCE, not personal schizoid experiences, I have issued this challenge repeatedly, and have yet to find anyone able to supply the smallest piece of testable supportive evidence.  Where is God? more importantly from whence did God originate? Where is Heaven and Hell? How come Satan is equal in power and, where does it/he/she/reside.?  If there is such a being I married her daughter, who was, thankfully nothing like her.

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By THE SNED, April 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Erika…well you didn’t say you were a Christian, so maybe I assumed too much. Sorry.
Now this is a wonderful challenge.
“if you find a really good reason to be an atheist, or the RIGHT reason I can honestly say that it will make me rethink my whole lifestyle.”

Okay Let’s have you answer some questions.
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 not 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 Reoubkican and the rich…“we want to protect wealth”?Boerner
11. And here’s a kicker that’s tough to get. But try. There is no such thing as time. It’s a measurement for our use. All measurements don’t exist as a things. If you can get to the point of realizing that time doesn’t exist then all the words we use for time “Beginning, end, today, tomorrow etc” have no meaning to the universe. The universe has had no beginning and no end. And to me that makes all the sense in the world because I cannot conceive of a being coming into existence with all knowledge and power to create all of this.It makes no sense. And after all every atom in your body comes from the stars…not from mom and dad.You are made up of atoms that are billions of years old in time….but also have always existed in one form or another….perhaps lesser particles or forms we have yet to discover forever. There is no beginning and there is no end. And that makes far more sense than a start and a life everlasting..that accepts half the “not time” premise (everlasting) but not the first part.No beginning.
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?

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By Night-Gaunt, April 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Erika seems new to this site and to Atheists. Treats us like we are your average Bible believing, but mostly illiterate in, thumpers.

I find it curious she went to science concerning conception and not the Bible or the Torah in relation to what a pregnant women is. Curious considering here the idea of stopping abortions for religious reasons didn’t start happening till the early 20th century. And anyway it isn’t about life, its about whether the woman can control her body or a non-citizen fetus can via others telling her she is a slave to her condition. That is the real question.

Also I would ask her to disprove Krishna or maybe Osiris. If she can do that then she has a point. If she can’t then she might get the point. Study logical fallacies some time to save from saying such kindergarten errors.

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By Erika, April 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

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?

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By Reit1, April 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Well said!  And sadly, too true.

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By Reit1, April 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Oh and btw, something you mentioned that I bothered to remember and then easily forgot - but then just read it again ...(there are so many holes in what you’ve written).

People get religions wrong and that’s why there are religious wars, were religious wars and will always be religious wars?  But YOU have the entire truth?  And if it were you leading the sheeple there wouldn’t be any religous wars? :D

Who looks so cocky now?

(haha) yourself!

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By Reit1, April 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Hi Erika,

You write like an angry person. I am glad you’re happy with your life.

Having said that, I don’t put any faith in any god…and that includes any god of Deism. 

You’re right that we cannot disprove gods because as you so aptly put it: “and
you think you can discover God, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being that created everything?”

The simple answer is, no.  We cannot discover nor find any trace of any deistic evidence for Jesus, Mithra, Ra, YHWH, Allah, etc., ad nauseum.  That’s exactly why we don’t believe.  At least there is a LOT (but a lot) of EVIDENCE for gravity.  And DNA has freed and inprisoned plenty of people as well as united them.  Evidence my dear girl!  It’s a good thing.

Now, where’s evidence for any god?  There isn’t any.  That’s why we don’t believe.  Why are the gods hiding?  What kind of stupid thing is that?  Maybe it’s because we’re right - they don’t exist, not even yours.

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By Erika, April 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Maybe dislike gays, or abortion or women clerics”

-I like gays, I agree with women clerics, and am against abortion, which is not a
result of my religion, as the first two prove, but simply for my belief in life
starting at conception (I read it in a science book, but that’s probably not a
good enough source right?) Also don’t like war…just killing in general I don’t
like.

“Maybe you fast during lent because mom and dad did it”

-Nope. I don’t fast during lent. I’ve thought of fasting at other times though.
Gandhi did it and was a good man. Very important figure. Fasting can help you
concentrate and is a good practice of self discipline.

“Maybe you think that the gold foiled pages of the bible must mean that god
wrote it…just like mom and dad believed”

-There you go again assuming that both my mom and dad live with me or have
been with me since I was born. Well, they were. So good for you. We don’t have
gold foiled bibles though, those might be expensive. But I also don’t believe
everything the Bible says, as it was written by man.  So I pick and choose what I
think God would want, like helping others.

“Here’s something free for you to do. Go to Google books and download Bible
Myths and their parallels in other religions. It wasn’t written by one of us
here..but by a man in the late 1800s. Go to the section about the New
Testament…and give your mind a test or two. You see being satisfied with
Mom’s brain should satisfy you. There’s another world out there that isn’t
going to make you evil or stupid..and perhaps a bit brighter. Have a nice life.”

-Well first, thank you for wishing me a nice life. That’s pretty thoughtful. I
didn’t bother reading beyond the Immaculate Conception part, but I get the gist
of what you want me to know. There are parallels in religions? Thanks I didn’t
know that. Oh wait, I did. Sorry but I’m not a close minded Christian. And it’s
still annoying how you assume all my ideas are modeled after my mom’s? So
what is the point about religious similarities? Seems fine to me. In fact it almost
proves more of my point that yours. Why have so many people throughout time
had a similar idea? An idea that is seen in many forms but whose core is
virtually unchanged. Maybe everyone is onto something.

You see, I’m not close minded at all, I’ve searched high and low for faith. To be
honest, if you find a really good reason to be an atheist, or the RIGHT reason
(since this article talks about it as being the right thing to do) I can honestly say
that it will make me rethink my whole lifestyle.

PS Sorry about your mom, sounds like you had a rough relationship

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By THE SNED, April 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Erika…funny letter, congratulations. Most of us here see no reason to believe in god. Period. Most of us think that most people who do believe are okay too. It’s just that most who do believe copy what their parents believed ..like sheep following a shephard. It’s true around the world, and from sect to sect, belief to belief. If you were at all inquisitive that would be the first issue to explore, after all look at the folks who blow themselves up for the sake of 22 virgins in heaven. “Oh no!” you say..“I wouldn’t do that for my belief”..but you do other things. Maybe dislike gays, or abortion or women clerics. Maybe you fast during lent because mom and dad did it. Maybe you think that the gold foiled pages of the bible must mean that god wrote it…just like mom and dad believed. Here’s something free for you to do. Go to Google books and download Bible Myths and their parallels in other religions. It wasn’t written by one of us here..but by a man in the late 1800s. Go to the section about the New Testament…and give your mind a test or two. You see being satisfied with Mom’s brain should satisfy you. There’s another world out there that isn’t going to make you evil or stupid..and perhaps a bit brighter. Have a nice life.

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By Erika, April 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So… you’re all just arguing against almost all theistic beliefs EXCEPT Deism, in
which GOD would let people suffer because he does not intervene (in case you
do not know how to Google “deism”). And it is not an evil deist God, because if
people die, it’s not a bad thing because they will be in heaven, which is better
than Earth. This entire article is ridiculous. The only way I came upon it was by
Stumbleupon. Now let’s see… some of the points I bothered to remember.
Already pointed out the Deism one. Ah right… being religious causes suffering.
I’m quite happy with my life. So… WRONG. And so religious wars existed, exist,
will exist… but that is the PEOPLE who interpret religion the wrong way. There
is a wrong way to do anything. Eating is wrong because people can be obese.
You’re extreme. Case and Point. You’re so Goddamn (haha) cocky, the lot of
you. There is NO way to disprove God. It’s arrogant to say that there isn’t any
proof and blah blah blah, it’s only been decades since we discovered DNA and
you think you can discover God, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent
being that created everything? Even accepted truths like gravity are only
considered theory. Even science understands that you don’t have to prove
something, only disprove for it not to be accepted. And again, the exception to
almost all your arguments, is Deism.

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By Reit1, March 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

That’s exactly the reason the phrse “EVEN the Bible says that”...threw me.  I can’t speak for Tom of course, but I was thinking “and the Bible says to stone your rebellious kids, too…sooo…??!!  And as mean as I am I would never strike a child or adolsescent.  Threaten to - yea, but never actually do it.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Who knew such love can kill millions and enslave minds for centuries? Some love isn’t so nice.

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By Tom Edgar, March 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

Reit.  ReLove

Biblical…  Love is one of the
words so often used in the N T.
Love surpasses all things etc.,
Love thy neighbour, Love the Lord.
Or facetiously, Priestly love for the altar boy.

Sorry about that but I don’t want to sound like a Bible apologist.

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By Reit1, March 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Srching:  You should register and think outloud more often.  As soon as this thread begins to die, I have noticed someone inevitably comes around to revive it. smile

It’s a good thread.  And there IS something bigger than all of us in the great outdoors.  I personally don’t think it’s a big man-god with legs, eyes, ears, etc., who watches us and loves us. “Loves us”.  That’s a joke there.  But the churches do.  I believe it is only the vastness of the surrounding universe and the earth and it’s past years of aging. It can be breath taking.  Each person has to find their own way, though.

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By Reit1, March 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

No, trust me…I am mean.  I understand what you say but you are talking about older teens.  I am sure there are depression problems amongst adolescents in highschool…and even in middle school, although at that age they rarely formulate in their minds the idea that “hey I am depressed”  So I can see why I am wrong to YOU.  But no 12 year old would ever push me around with such banter.  Here’s another common one:  “I am going to call the police”.  These are not cries for help in my opinion.  Rather they are cries for one to get their way.  Let me rephrase, any good parent will know what to do.  But you’re right..unfortunately not all are equipped to be good parents.

What did you mean by that’s “even in the Bible”?  That one threw me.

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By Tom Edgar, March 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Reit . You are not necessarily mean, but certainly wrong.  Discussing rationally, which usually means asking and LISTENING. usually resolves the problem.
Suicides, threats, attempts, and even successful are usually a cry for help.  I have had two young people who made the last of those, but they had mental problems, and in both cases parents who should have helped, they were Psychiatrists.

There is no single answer,  I have had three children and I can’t say I was right in my way, there mother was. In my eighties I still have one living with me, and another visiting regularly, the eldest is dead. To say that parents know best is not always correct, they may THINK they know best. I once had a 16 year old employee ask me for sexually transmitted disease advice, I told him to ask his father.  The next day he said.“My father said there is no such thing as venereal disease.”  I found out his parents were illiterate, and his fourteen year old sister was pregnant. Not all parents are qualified to be one,  but that doesn’t mean they will be awful parents. Love is the answer, and that is even Biblical

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By THE SNED, March 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Srchng
” Are we, as self-aware humans, wired to believe in an afterlife to save us the pain of realizing that THIS is IT? Do some of us (like you) overcome this and see clearly? I am not sure, but I do know that I’m not willing to give up the search just yet.”

Put yourself back 10,000 years ago with no knowledge of science. The sky above could be as far away as a ceiling.
Thunder scares you.There seems to be a power you can’t see.
One day during a storm you throw some nuts out of the cave.
The storm stops. Others notice. You pleased the power.You have power, you invented religion…without knowing it.Now multiply that by 12,000 years of bullshit…and stop when Eric Hubble discovered other galaxies and scientists discovered that our universe was 14 billion year old. No Roman Catholic was allowed to read the bible until the printing press was discovered. The Magesterium states that only the Church leaders can interpret the bible. Most Protestants today have never read the bible.Most have no idea how the bible was written and by whom and on and on.
But religion has become a business that still deals in the unknown. Mother Theresa died an atheist…because when she started to work with sick kids…she noticed something. Prayers not answered. You were right. Heaven is here. This is IT. Knowing that doesn’t make you mean nasty or bad.

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By Reit1, March 23, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Well it certainaly worked for my dad!  I AM mean as grass. (assuming grass is mean).

I suppose if I had a child who was 16, sullen and not really associating with friends to speak of and s/he said “I don’t wanna be here anymore” or some such thing…I surely would be worried.  But I do think parents know what’s up with a typical 12 year old. All things in that regard are possible, but…I don’t think your basic 12 year old thinks of anything but themselves and what they want to do with their friends next.  I’m mean.  I admit it.

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By THE SNED, March 23, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Annie…you didn’t see or experience what I did, nor did I experience what you did. Nor do I know anyone who threatened suicide then did it. The person I knew didn’t threaten..that’s because that person was depressed. He had even suffered panic attacks in school for years without realizing that it wasn’t normal. A good parent can find out if those threats are a veiled demand for attention or not…making unrealistic demands or not. Maybe this woman let her child whine as a kid…and she paid attention to the whining instead of ignoring…but in the light of what we know about mental illness…in light of the amount of bullying kids are subject to…your dad’s method solves no problems if he guessed wrong. Having a conversation opens some doors….

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By Reit1, March 23, 2011 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

I must be mean as grass because I wouldn’t give her the time she obviously thinks she’s entitled to at age 12.  I used that line on my dad until I was about 17 years old.  Finally he brought a knife into me…turned my wrist face up and said “then get to it and quit talking about it.”  He called my bluff and I never used that line again.

Of course anything is possible, but it’s rare that a constant cry of “give me what I want or I’ll kill myself” actually ends in suicide.  By the very gesture it seems to me that a kid like that loves themselves too much to ever really harm themselves.  Most suicides are committed by older teens who have become remote and reclusive.. not trusting enough of anyone to truly give their thoughts.  I wouldn’t worry about it.  The more you play the tender heart, the more you are going to get played.

We’ve become a society of weaklings.  I’m with Don Henley. “Get Over It”.

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By Tom Edgar, March 23, 2011 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

The Sned has this problem right.  Puberty comes with many problems mostly parents.

When she says those words, don’t tell her, ask her why?
If she can give reasons then address them rationally, always showing that it is your intense love, and concern for her as a person, and for the security for her future. Most people want reassurances of love.  I never missed a day without telling my wife of my love, often several times daily, not for that reason but because that is the way I felt for the 46 years we had together.

If you want to keep your child then let her go. You don’t own her, they own you, make sure she loves you so much in return she won’t want to lose you. That doesn’t mean you compromise your beliefs or lack of them, neither does it mean she has to compromise.  True Love…. Accepts warts and all.

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By THE SNED, March 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

SRCHNG   You should take your daughters threats seriously and find out what’s causing her to think that way.This is not time for you to be cute and gutsy…Is she being bullied? Teased? Is she way overweight? Doing poorly in school? Never take threats of suicide as something that needs pronouncements from you that are really meaningless to her. Ask her questions till you find an answer to her reasons or seek help for her. These threats might not be serious, but at minimum they are asking for attention not proclamations. I hope you get the drift. Something’s getting to her…it could even be a priest. Take her out to breakfast and have along talk. Talk to her friends or a school counselor. And do not rule out anybody as being the possible cause….and I mean anybody. There is plenty of help availble…but get the best. Good luck.

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By srching, March 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks for the kind reply. I’m not sure if I helped my daughter or not, only time will tell.. I’m not even sure what I told her was correct-ya know? We are avid outdoor enthusiasts, and try to be as self reliant as we can… at least on weekends:), and I have to say, that’s where alot of my confusion (I think) comes from… when your out in the “quiet” it’s hard not to feel connected to something greater than yourself, but then you come back to town and the “church” almost ruins it for me… I think I’m leaning towards my own sense of the world and thereafter. That may be selfish of me, but it’s where I am now:) Thanks for letting me think out loud.

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By Reit1, March 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

Hello srching.  It’s almost as if the answer is in your name if you let it lead you to the truth.  And for me, the truth is, this IS it…there is nothing more so far as mine or anyone’s eyes and mind can tell.  And that’s true for even the faithful even if they kid themselves with the “trust and obey” card.  I know well how deluding it can be.  And it’s also very, very detrimental and difficult to walk away from that faith that is exactly what you said..“a desire” to believe there is something more to all of this. It’s nothing more than that.  But man, what pains it takes to let go…

In a way that’s sad, isn’t it?  To me (now) it’s sad that I ever thought I needed the faith of my family in order to be happy because the truth is…I wasn’t!  I felt like a big sinner who needed to confess to a possible paedophile every Saturday…and all would be well…MAYBE!  I was confused all the time, depressed, etc.  I don’t find so much peace in that as I do the idea of closing my eyes forever and letting go of all of it.

What you said to your daughter may seem harsh to you today, but I think it was good because it was born out of truth.  Brava! wink

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By srching, March 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
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Very interesting thinking here, I just happened upon this article because I had an arguement with my 12 yr. old daughter yesterday. She was mad at me and told me she was going to “kill herself” to get away from me (aah, yes, rules and boundaries suck, don’t they?)I got so angry with her for saying that so much lately(and yes, a bit worried) that I stuck my face into hers and told her “there is no heaven, heaven is in here” and I pointed to her head “don’t waste what time you have being alive by ending it so stupidly, live your life!”... I scared myself at saying what I have “feared” to be true outloud, and so my search has begun. Now, we are a RC family, lead by my husband, who has true faith, which I have always admired, partially because I have always struggled with it, and partially because it seems to give him a sense of peace and strength. Now, with that being said, I have to say that my problem isn’t so much with peoples’ belief and faith that there is something else when our bodies die, because that is something I wish I could have, and I don’t think faith is is such a bad thing!! However, organized religion is so corrupt that I think it is ruining the true spirit of what being human is. Are we, as self-aware humans, wired to believe in an afterlife to save us the pain of realizing that THIS is IT? Do some of us (like you) overcome this and see clearly? I am not sure, but I do know that I’m not willing to give up the search just yet.

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By Tom Edgar, February 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
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I read that article and found it somewhat amusing in that the lines.  “The Pope doesn’t have to be morally perfect.” seems to contradict the essential requirements of the qualifications for that position.
Morally Perfect.

As for the pervasive religiosity of Americans, it is caused by the same pervasiveness of Islam in M E countries.  From the cradle, intense indoctrination.
Consequently when any American becomes disenchanted with his family faith he is a sucker for some other belief system but NOT a non belief alternative.  The old R C axiom kicks in.  “You can take the boy out of the Church but not the Church out of the boy.”
P S It’s even harder with girls.  But R C’s always preferred boys didn’t they?

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By Night-Gaunt, February 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

We are in the most religious First World western country on the planet. We are ripe to be taken over by the most extreme of the extreme. Especially if they have big money backing and those who would benefit form such an alliance and usurpation of our present mostly secular gov’t.

I can certainly tell you that the idea of such a group in the high schools way back in the 1970’s &1980;‘s was unknown. I would certainly have been interested in that if I could have found one. Glad to see some progress today in our Regressive times.

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

My comment on the article below

For sure Atheism is not a religion, but by the same token how many religions are pro atheist? If Baptist, or Evangelical, or Roman Catholic kids start a religious group in a HS, by default they are anti-atheist, and for that reason alone atheistic kids should be allowed to organize if for no other reason than to demonstrate that hatred of anything but ignorance is not a part of of their lives (compared to the hate of or intolerance other humans and human actions preached by many religious institutions against women, gays, masturbation, birth control, abortion, and anything but the missionary position.(All under the guise of “love.”) ......sure…

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By THE SNED, February 24, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

copied from Alternet
author AlterNet / By Greta Christina

High School Atheists Are Organizing—Why Are Schools Pushing Back?
High school non-theist groups are getting dedicated support from a national organization but their schools are flipping out. What does this mean for the future of atheism?
February 22, 2011 | 

High school student Brian Lisco just wanted to form a student club. A senior at Stephen Austin High School in the Houston suburbs, Lisco wanted to meet with like-minded students; students who shared common interests, who could talk about ideas they found interesting, who could give one another support.

But his efforts were consistently thwarted by the administration at his high school. His requests to form a club were stalled for months, and obstacle after obstacle was put in his path.

Why?

Because the group he wanted to start was an atheist group.

His story is being repeated, with variations, around the country.

Atheist student groups have been organizing in colleges and universities for years, and their numbers are climbing at an astonishing rate. The Secular Student Alliance, an umbrella organization supporting non-theistic student groups, passed 250 affiliates this month—a number that has doubled in just two years. (Conflict of interest alert: I’m on the speaker’s bureau for the Secular Student Alliance, and am colleagues/ friends with several people in the organization.) And for the most part, atheist groups at colleges and universities meet with little resistance, and in many cases get a fair degree of support, from school administrations—who are familiar with the laws in such matters, and often have clear diversity policies in place.

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By THE SNED, February 24, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

But in high schools, it’s a different story. Resistance to atheist groups from high school administrators, while not universal, is depressingly common. According to JT Eberhard, campus organizer and high school specialist for the SSA, “Most of them seem to elect to try and drag their feet until the interested students either lose interest or graduate. The ‘objections’ are varied. I’ve heard ‘it would be too controversial’, ‘all clubs are secular’, ‘other groups already do the same thing’, and a whole host of other lame reasons.” Eberhard adds that a common tactic is to tell students they need a faculty adviser to form a group—a requirement that is, in fact, flatly illegal—“and then to make sure the group cannot find a willing one.” (The legal principle that high schools must give all students equal access to forming extracurricular clubs, with or without a faculty advisor and regardless of the purpose of the club, has been well- established… and it’s a principle that has been applied to religious groups, and was in fact strongly lobbied for by them.)

“A predictable pattern has actually emerged,” he continues, “1) Interested student gets everything in order, finds a faculty sponsor, and applies for their group; 2) administration stonewalls them; 3) students push harder; 4) administration crumbles, but faculty sponsor withdraws. I’ve seen this exact same scenario play out almost double-digit times in the six weeks I’ve been here.”

In a particularly vivid example of these tactics, an Oklahoma high school student who tried to form an atheist group was accused of trying to form a “hate group”... and when it became clear that the students knew their rights and were not going to back down, the faculty sponsor they had lined up withdrew under pressure, saying she had been told that sponsoring this group would be “a bad career move.”

But at the beginning of 2011, the Secular Student Alliance began a program specifically devoted to supporting high school atheist groups. With the help of a grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, they hired Eberhard, co-founder of the nationally renowned atheist conference Skepticon (and of the Missouri State University Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Skepticon’s official host), as their dedicated high school campus organizer.

The efforts have been paying off. It took four years for the SSA to get just 12 high school groups affiliated with their organization. According to SSA director of campus organizing Lyz Liddell, “We’ve had around four to six HS groups for most of the time we’ve been around, but there’s been no consistency or sustainability until recently.” But in just the first month since their dedicated high school program began, they have gained five new high school affiliates.

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By Reit1, January 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Oh….I don’t know Tom…

http://atheism.about.com/od/benedictxvi/i/RatzingerNazi.htm

Will he ever tell the truth?  Doubtful

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By Night-Gaunt, January 10, 2011 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Actually the present pope was in charge of the Inquisition, though it doesn’t have that name now. They predated and did many of the things the Nazis later did but for 400 years and several continents worth of torture and kangaroo courts and terrorism under their robes. The Nazis were just the past most recent reincarnation of the dangerous ideas.

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By Tom Edgar, January 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Reit.

I object to your equating the Pope and Nazis.
The National Socialists were never anywhere as close in hypocrisy as the Pope’s mob.

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By Reit1, January 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

It’s women’s intuition, SNED. wink

And the pope is not a comedian; he’s a Nazi.

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By THE SNED, January 10, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

To be fair….Annie (whom I admire beyond words,) and I disagree. Like Tom, I see no reason to believe in god. If god shows up and makes it very clear to not only me, but others (sanity check) then indeed I will ask “IT” if we could have a chat and discuss a few matters.

Annie says “there is no god’...I believe she is right, but I prefer my answer, because I can’t know, but my reasoning weighs heavily (99.99%) towards the non existence of the Kahuna. Therefore even atheists have different points of view.

And if there is a god….I would imagine there would be others. Like would WHO? want to be all alone? I think the primitives come closer to the truth by seeing gods all over the place. (Delegation of responsibilities)

And finally congratulations to the Pope, who by asking Islamic countries to protect Christians, seems to have forgotten the Church’s inability to protect Jews, and Gays and women, and Muslims, and the Cathars over 2000 years. The man is a comedian.

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By Reit1, January 10, 2011 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Hello again, Felonious Monk!

You are right. I did misquote Harris.  But I still think he’s right and you’re wrong. Even if it is the same parents of a child snug in their bed who is being prayed for everyday (I had parents like this) Harris is right to say that it is not good.  Because then if something does happen (and it does all over the world to the children of this prayerful people) then what? The excuse that “God must know best” is insanity. No good can come from such atrocities. Frustration, doubt and guilt ensue from such a belief system.

I can’t remember who said it, but it resonates with me; it goes like this: “The invisible and the non-existent look incredibly alike”.  And that is the position of the atheist.  What is up with the peek a boo gods?  It IS a silly, silly game!  How can we be children of god and yet Jesus is his only son?  It makes no sense. None of it.  Tom spoke about Afghanistan and the Middle East and their horrendous views of women and the western world as a whole.  As for the kook who shot Ms. Giffords the other day - we don’t know yet what his mental instability is. But it’s apparent he hasa one. Schizophrenia, paranoia, both?  I don’t know, but he appears to have distinct mental problems with or without religion.  But that can happen to anyone. David Berkowitz is not the Son of Light instead of the Son of Sam.  Kooks abound!

I found it odd that saying “Jesus fucking Christ” is the “king of king of all curses in your book” and yet you posit yourself as a mere philosopher and not a person who has, as SNED said [paraphrased], a smidgen of the belief in magic in them.  That’s not very philosophical at all.  And if I understand you correctly, that’s what you are saying.  But that’s very theological.  Maybe that is why Harris’ very well laid out manifesto hit a nerve with you.

As for the atheist, we know there isn’t a god.  It’s that simple (and yet there are many reasons - most are just a matter of critical thought but the most important are scientific) and because of it we are the pariah of the world.  This speaks volumes for the religious people who pepper the world with their insistance that there is one without any critical thought nor scientific facts to back it up.  And they do so in the name of bigotry, hatred, racism and a disquieting (to say the least) unbalance in reality.

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By THE SNED, January 10, 2011 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

I’d like to add that atheists have absolutely no belief in magic, and one cannot believe in a god without such a belief.
And one cannot be an agnostic without such a possibility of belief.

Outside of the chance that we were created by aliens smarter than ourselves to believe in a god or gods that somehow came into being with all knowledge of all things, (That science has sought to uncover in the past few centuries (and recent in terms of human existence) requires that “leap of faith” that is little more than an acceptance of the kind of magic none of us will accept in a stage performance. I find enough awe in the existence of bacteria…and rocks,and nice beaches. I am thankful for sand. I just give waves the credit for each grain.

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By James Smith, January 10, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
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Felonious, you seem to miss the points.  As has been said before, there are good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things.  Even bad people doing good things.  But for good people to do truly bad things requires religion.  Your examples of the recent shooter in Arizona was an individual, not an organized group as we see with religious atrocities.

Take the situation in Northern Ireland or the enmity between the Muslims and Jews.  IN both cases, the groups are close by race and religion than any would care to admit.  Yes, their murderous intentions are fueled by religion. 

So religion is the root of most of the world’s problems because it divides people, not unites them. Even worse, it takes very minor differences in dogma to inspire hatred to the point of, not just intolerance, but murder.

What atheist has ever participated in a killing at a family planning clinic?  How many atheists are part of groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the Arian Nation? 

As a group, atheists are not well organized. Yes there are some small groups. Even then, they are not politically effective nor are they truly united in goals and methods.  The only common denominator is they find no evidence for the existence of any deity. 

Their attitude ranges from mild agnosticism to what might be termed “Evangelical Atheism” and their intentions from accommodation to eradication of religion.  Mostly, atheists only desire to be free of illogical religious restrictions and are perfectly willing to permit anyone whatever beliefs they choose.  But no, the religious reich may NOT make up their own facts and impose them on others.  This is because “Beliefs, no matter how sincerely held, do not alter facts.”  When theists insist upon teaching creationists or “Intelligent Design” in our schools they are making up their own facts and forcing them upon my children and grandchildren.  That is wrong and I will not accommodate that, now or ever. 

They are free to operate their own schools where they can brainwash their own children until they are incapable of independent thinking or to distinguish fact from fantasy.  What those children will be able to do with their lives after such schooling is apparently unimportant as long as they “have faith”.  You might be interested in my blog article about having faith. 

http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/80/

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By Tom Edgar, January 10, 2011 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

I do not want to be seen as taking sides for or against Felonious Monk./  I went for years thinking the Jazz Musician of that name was “The Loneliest Monk.”

It always seems to me that theists of all persuasions want to prove that an atheist and atheism purport to be as are the religions, an oranised movement or if you like a Creed.

There is no central authority, nor organisation promoting atheism, it is simply those of us who choose not to have a belief in gods. We do not have temples, nor Priests, elected officials, nor do we have codes of conduct, funny dresses for men, nor exclusion of women, when we do meet, the functions have no primitive ritualistic procedures and the non believers may well be Judges or Bell Hops, Intellectuals or people such as I. 

In short we are just as are you. Except we don’t believe in something with which we have never been
presented with replicable, reliable, evidence of existence.  That you choose to do so is your own affair, but it is no reason why we should be disadvantaged socially, and materially, by those who hold different beliefs. Nor, I would add,  should believers organisations enjoy tax breaks and political or legal considerations, not available to us.

For myself, and I believe most atheists, it is that I choose not to believe because I have never seen evidence to make me believe. As our Australian Prime Minister said to journalist seeking to embarrass by asking her non religious position.  “I have never felt the need, next question?”

In rebuttal of the qualification regarding religious/non religious wars.  I know of no wars that have ever been specifically waged to establish or protect atheism.  I do know of many that have been waged very specifically pursuing religious reasons, and many more with an underlying current of religious motivation, for the latter, Iraq and Afghanistan readily spring to mind in the present era.

One of the regularly occurring accusations is that atheists are “Lefties”  In some instances this is true, but not always. The old stanza of.“If you are not a Socialist when young you have no heart, and if still one when older, no brains.” Is just as true for the those of the Fascist Right.  “If you are not a Capitalist when young you have no brains, and if you still are when older you have no heart, but a lot of money.”

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By Felonious Monk, January 10, 2011 at 2:26 am Link to this comment

Hi James,

    Which facts are religious people not entitled to and/or do they try to alter with belief? (And you may notice, per comments in my first and second post, that I am representing the religious side of the debate, but I am in no way limited to being a “believer”— just a philosopher.) I am in total agreement with people keeping their religious beliefs out of law (and the religious will fight to keep your views out of the law), and with the thought about freaks who don’t get their kids medical attention. I would put that on their being sick individuals, though, since there are plenty of religious people with the sense to help their kids. There are also plenty of negligent and abusive non-believing parents, as well.

    People seeing themselves above the law and common decency is also not something exclusive to or dependant on religion. The A-hole who just shot 20 people in Arizona was not religious or acting out of religion, and yet he did exactly that. A-holes are A-holes, religious or not. I suppose there is a decent point about being tax exempt, though it doesn’t fret me much. But, in that atheism is a stance within the religious realm (however one might argue against that), couldn’t they start a church of atheism and get the same benefits if they wanted to? Plus, parishioners pay taxes, and many others also avoid paying their fair share of taxes in this country, so it is also not limited to religious institutions.

    The assertion about religion being the root of all problems and always having been is a popular refrain, but it really isn’t rooted in fact. As much trouble comes from outside religion as in—indeed, there is little doubt that the VAST bulk of crime of all varieties that goes on in most countries hasn’t got a thing to do with religion, but with criminals. One need only watch the news or read a paper to see that for themselves. This is often said about wars, too, but a philosopher did a study for the New York Times recently in response to Dawkins making that assertion, and it is also demonstrably false. Most wars are not about religion. And it is also inarguable that religious people do a lot of positive outreach around the world, whatever else they may do. To ignore that is to ignore reality.

  As a philosopher, my purpose begins and ends with truth and rational thinking—which is why I know that atheism has no more a monopoly on it than religion. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The only black yoke is crappy human thinking, which occurs both in and outside of religion.

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By Felonious Monk, January 10, 2011 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

Hey Reit,
    (Okay, let’s give the BA a go here.) If you look back at what Harris wrote, the part you said I took out of context, you will see that you have actually misread it. He didn‘t say (quite clearly or otherwise) as you suggest, that “it is not good to believe that while children are being harmed all over the world, other children snug in their beds have parents who believe an all - knowing God is watching over them. He said that “Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. . . .this girl’s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this? No.”
    He is talking about the same parents of the one girl. And unless he was unclear in his writing, he was talking about it occurring in the same moment. (“Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her” is a statement of what is happening right now, as is “this girl’s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family.”
    This being the case, you are mistaken (or wrong, if you prefer) when stating “He’s right and you are wrong, of course.” Moreover, what you’ve gone and done in that simple statement is underline my point, because you have also offered no proof or support for that conclusion you have merely asserted it – which, as I said, is the favorite (only?) begging-the-question style of atheists. Just as he does when he asks/answers “Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this? No.” Zero support, zero reasoning. He appears to just believe that his saying it makes it so, just like the religious views he claims to hate. On the other hand, my response contains the reasoning for why I believe he is wrong.
  Also, a paragraph I had to edit out for space from my original response (written when someone posted this article to a discussion group) was this:
“Personally, I have no problem with either atheism or religiosity—and believe me, Harris would have to work a LONG time to try and equal the wanton offenses I’ve committed against the sacred values, buildings, and texts of religious belief. (Even having made peace with Christianity after an extended period of animosity, nary a day goes by that I don’t find cause to utter at least one impassioned “Jesus f***ing Christ.” The king of kings of curses in my book. )”
  I also like to say that, as for my own beliefs, my lifetime of analyzing it has lead me to believe that I will never know for sure whether God exists in this lifetime. Ask me on any given morning and I could go either way. Like Socrates and Maher, I believe that the best way to be wise is to know when you don’t know. This is also why belief in God (and atheism, by those who see it honestly) is called “faith.”
  As for Maher, that’s great he says that. It only makes it worse for him, though, because my comment was not based on his belief, but his characterization of others’ beliefs, when he says that there is simply no way Obama or other politicians could actually believe there is a God and they are lying when they say so. Apparently, he doesn’t know one way or other if there is a God – unless he’s speaking for others who claim FAITH in one, in which case he knows there isn’t. D’oh! Stick to the bimbos and doobies, Bill, and leave the theology to others. (I like Maher quite a bit, BTW. Wonder if he’s got a doobie.)
  Okay, reaching the allotted length again. Will have to be another post to respond to James.

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By Reit1, January 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

Oh! And Bill Maher has stated many times that he is an agnostic.  You can see him on Larry King saying that he doesn’t know and doesn’t wish to pretend to know one way or another about an existing God.  It’s more honest in his view to say “I don’t know”.  You might want to look that up for further reference.

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By Reit1, January 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Silence Felonious one!  haha I jest.  But honestly, you did really take that part of Mr. Harris’ manifesto out of context.  Oh wait!  No, only us atheists do that when we quote your holy books to you.  haha I jest again…sorta.  Anyway, what Harris said quite clearly is that it is not good to believe that while children are being harmed all over the world, other children snug in their beds have parents who believe an all - knowing God is watching over them.  He’s right and you are wrong, of course.

Read it again Mr. Monk! (love the name btw)  And the fact that atheists are probably (only probably..I have no stats but I believe it) more depressed (definitely not more anxious) than the religious is no more enlightening to me than a drug addict high on meth anphetamines is happier as well.  Delusions are wondrous things!  That is why they are used. Even I, as a fairly militant atheist, miss the other felonious monks on xmas eve doing their wonderful pomp and circumstance dance during Midnight Mass.  I love it! And I do miss it.  But it’s just a show..beautiful as it is.

Here…this is so everything can be placed exactly where Harris placed it and not where you asserted it was placed.

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

No.
The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious.  Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.”

Now about that BA of yours…...wink

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By James Smith, January 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
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Well Felonious, you missed the point of atheism entirely.  We really don’t care what delusions anyone has.  You are entitled to your own beliefs.  What you are NOT entitled to is your own facts.  This is because beliefs, no matter how sincerely held, do not alter facts.

Then when the religious reich wants to force those beliefs upon everyone else by passing them into law, they are harming others.  Just as parents who deny a child medical help because they are going “pray for him” they are harming those who cannot help themselves. 

Furthermore, when they believe themselves to be above the laws and common human decency that guides the rest of us, they are a danger to society as well as themselves.  Add to all of this that they have succeeded in exempting themselves from paying their share of the tax burden, they essentially are picking the pockets of everyone else. 

Most of the problems of the world, are, and always have been, cause by religion.  Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

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By Felonious Monk, January 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
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“The entirety of atheism is contained in this response: [No]”

      Really? That’s as deep as atheism runs is a one word personal assertion? That doesn’t even qualify as an argument—the definition of which being “a set of statements in which one or more is offered as proof for another.” You’d think a Stanford grad with a philosophy degree would be aware of that. My AA and BA in philosophy are from less (un?) renowned schools, but they done taught me that much in the first semester of ma edumacation. I guess the Stanford program must not be that good. Or he wasn’t as a student.

    So he sees “no good” in a parent who believes there’s an enveloping presence of love from which to draw comfort after their child has been raped and killed? Well then, I can see why the world needs to be saved from those who disagree with him, and all conclusions on such matters meted out only by those who share his view. To, you know, make it a less harsh and cruel place. I can also see why those who have no religion are more likely to be depressed and anxiety ridden.

  “That’s only because the self-delusion of religion does little more that draw on the fact that ignorance is bliss,” an atheist might argue. To which I’d say [ceding that narrow characterization for the moment]: “You bet’cha.” But where the point is to be happy, what exactly is the difference?

  “Because they’re wrong!” the atheist might continue, in that beloved begging-the-question style that is invariably their favorite. The style which amounts to little more than saying: “Look, I’m right, so when I posit something as self-evident, that means it is.” And would draw the response: No wonder you hate the view of religious people. We so often hate those who reflect back the most unattractive aspects of ourselves.

  Many atheists would undoubtedly then go on to say that the “ignorance/bliss” view isn’t just harmless—then place the blame for the whole of human atrocity at the feet of folks like those just trying to find reason to go on living after someone raped and killed their little girl. (But that’s only because they’re so much more understanding and insightful than any derelict so stupid as to not share their reasoned beliefs.)

    As for his assertion that atheism is “not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious”—well, I guess that’s mostly covered by the fact that, once again, atheists writ large find their own flat assertions so compelling that they think it equally so for everyone else. (“Hey, Bill Maher believes it! So, you know… there’s that.”) But the rest can be touched on by the statistic he mentions, which states that 87% of the world’s population claim to never doubt the existence of God; and added to by the fact that belief in God has always existed, most likely in numbers very much like today, if not more.

  Which is to say: Why exactly is the bulk of humanity supposed to surrender its view to the other 13% only on their say so? Oh wait, that’s right. Because they say so. (Duh, it’s so obvious.) And because atheists hate it when other people hold up their personal convictions as some unquestionable natural truth. (That’s their role, dummy.) Unless this guy is an aberration, Stanford should start teaching its philosophy students that a good debater should be able to argue both sides equally—which requires, among other things, a mind that opens at least that far. Short of that, however, at least point out that they’ll never get anywhere as a worthwhile philosopher with one word assertions they expect to be received as some kind of inescapable deductive truth.

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By Reit1, December 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Happy Kissmyass to everyone.  Nawww, that’s a bit harsh.  Merry paganism to all. 

SNED, that was a great post, especially in light of the fact that I recently argued with a Jewish man on FB who claimed to have empirical evidence of the census of Herod.  So, I asked him which Herod was it.  He was nice, I admit, but he had had an “experience with God” in Jerusalem when he lived there. He never answered the question. I tell you, it would be a very merry xmas for me if I had a nickle for everytime someone was sure there was a Jesus, YHWH or Allah because they’d had an experience with him/it.  All the gods are choosy.  I hate ‘em all. They never talk to me which means they meant for me to be born so they could ignore me and I would then go to hell when I die.  Damn them! :D

Is it really 6 years?  I know I’ve been here for 5…good job to all!

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By Leefeller, December 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Santa is and he does not believe in violence even for the naughty, but they just receive lumps of coal.  Happy Holidays and New years folks.

Surprised to find this thread still rumbling maybe this thread will last 2994 more years, after all it is already near 6 years old….....  no that would be improbable, for common sense and reason never last very long, as the world turns, it seems the to be overwhelmed by ignorance and stupidity.

Xmiss is fun even for this atheist, it is a pleasant seasonal family event for me with the spirits, the only saint of importance is old Saint Nick because he is, and so is Madam Saint Nick!

Great New Years all!

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By THE SNED, December 24, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Merry Xmyth!
Some fun time….The following letter was sent to a couple who have a web site (bethlehemstar.net)That claims tghey have found the Star.

Watched most of your show on EWTN..and read most of what you wrote. There are any number of problems with your conclusions.

1. No scientist will tell you that you can follow anything in the heavens (much less Jupiter) to anywhere.(More like everywhere) Period. You don’t address that issue and that is THE critical issue.

2. ” On December 25 of 2 BC as it entered retrograde, Jupiter reached full stop in its travel through the fixed stars. Magi viewing from Jerusalem would have seen it stopped in the sky above the little town of Bethlehem.” (see above) and…..


The date of Jesus birth was fixed by the RCC to counter pagan rites on the same day. So one of four conclusions can be drawn if you are right. a. God was talking to the pagans. b.God was talking to the Jews. c. It’s all a crock as the story of Horus, the Egyptian God has the same story! d. The pagans got it right the first time. (Suggest you download for free from Google Books “Bible myths and their parallels in ancient religions” written in the late 1800’s.

3. There is not a shred of evidence in Roman or Jewish history that Herod killed children en mass for fear of the birth of some power.(When the National Geographic stated the same recently, they were deluged with objections from Christians who believed that the bible is historically correct….which you have admitted it is not.(It is so easy to correct some errors, and ignore all the others)

4. Romans weren’t idiots. There was no census, or tax that would have demanded Joseph to go to Bethlehem from area to another area. (In the case of a census, it would make no sense whatsoever)

And if there were to tax, it would have meant that Joseph owned land…which he couldn’t have as he and Mary were dirt poor. Hence her offering of a pigeons. (it’s one or the other not both)

5. The Jews who wrote parts of the NT had to get Jesus to Bethlehem to fulfill scriptures. So they made it all up. On writer just puts them there without reason. The other writer creates reasons, using ancient mythology and bad Roman history.And the remaining writers ignore it all!!!!!

If you put as much time into reading about the history of the NT…you’d uncover the real truth, but then again you’d lose a following. And it’s tough to lose your star…isn’t it?

Conclusion. Nice try.

(who I am is of no importance in the search for truth)
Pax.

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By Night-Gaunt, December 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

The translation is “murder” not kill since it is okay to kill a murderer as in blood for blood. And then there is the problem of letting blasphemers live either.

Violence can just as easily be done in Islam as in Christianity as in Judaism. Just as easily.

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By FetusPudding., December 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
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I am an Atheist. I don’t see the problem. First of all, there’s always some sort of proof with Atheism. Such as the contradictions in the Bible: Like how Moses came down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. First God’s carving “Thou Shalt Not Kill” into stone, and then the next moment you have him telling Moses to go kill thousands of people. I don’t understand the Bible. It makes no sense to me. Does some Christian want to try to explain to me why God is real, and then prove your case with some actual proof/evidence? It’ll be hard, but I’m sure you can do it. You’ll have God on your side! :D *So much sarcasm*.

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By Reit1, November 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Whoa Face Window, that was funny!!  And yet at the same time a bit daunting considering people already seem to worship the vampirical, albeit vegetarian Cullen family and their disciples.  I guess it’s somewhat ironic considering the story was written by a Mormon.

People can be complete morons!

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By Face Window, November 25, 2010 at 4:55 am Link to this comment
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Atheism is the way of the educated, of the truth-seeker. I agree to your assessment of the narcissism of believing in an afterlife, I spent my youth believing in it. It’s bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit, and the church’s job is not to teach you the bible, to keep their followers they must carefully feed you only bits and pieces of the bible. Their job is to avoid all the parts of the bible that contradict the rest (which is a metric fuck ton if you have actually read it) while feeding you enough information that you won’t get too feisty and go reading it for yourself, like I did.

It’s incomprehensibly stupid, akin to people 2000 years from now worshiping the Virgin Edward Cullen and his retard disciples as they go on an epic quest to find a girlfriend they can avoid fucking.

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By THE SNED, October 6, 2010 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

“there are many places, and many more occupations where an atheist in America, would very quickly find he was unwelcome.”

Try dinner…...with a believer…at least that was a finding in a recent poll. I think we were ranked below a mob boss…and perhaps an orangutan.

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By Tom Edgar, October 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Well that was a lengthy discourse but worth the reading.
I have just finished a lengthier one by Karen Armstrong.  “The case for God.”.  For thinking people I recommend it, if you want to be reinforced in your atheism. Verbosity is her name, proselytising is the game. The first 95% could have been written by Sam or Dawkins,  the remainder was a diatribe of misrepresentation of atheism.  Karen writes exceedingly well with suggestions of her superior knowledge, and learning.  Many of the quotes she makes are beyond my ability, or desire, to authenticate. But like a Politician deliberate falsehoods or even not so deliberate ones are used to reinforce her writing.  viz.. The Australian term “Digger” came about from the British convict days.  False, it never arose until 1916. Karl Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the oppressed.” False he said the “Masses”  Little mistakes or deliberate disinformation does nothing to strengthen her weak arguments.

She condemns Sam Harris and Dawkins for their lack of Biblical knowledge, I’ll leave them to defend themselves. I also have no extensive religious education,along with neither knowledge nor desire to study alchemy, and the behavioural patterns of leprechauns.

Karen Armstrong, and others, have left their early indoctrinated beliefs but lack the intestinal fortitude to go further.  In Australia a rather prominent R C Priest, and broadcaster,Father Paul Collins left the Church, just ahead of being pushed for his outspoken dissent.  Asked by Philip Adams a National radio daily program presenter, why he didn’t come all the way with him, and become an atheist, responded with.“You can take the boy out of the Church but not the Church out of the boy.”  Fits Karen perfectly.

I’m afraid Sam that it will be a very long time indeed before the United States becomes like Australia, with an unmarried, cohabiting, female atheist as Head of State, in “The Lodge”  (= White House)  Questioned during the election fiasco. “Do you believe in God.” her answer was succinct. No, I’ve never found the need,  Next question.”

Islam is quoted as being the only religion where non believers are prohibited from certain places.  Well, whilst there is no official prohibition I can safely say that there are many places, and many more occupations where an atheist in America, would very quickly find he was unwelcome.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Geeze, this article needs to be posted again, I will need to purchase Sam Harrisis book, I find reason so much more refreshing then ignorance. Just realized this is an old article which was posted before I became a digger and had never read it before.

This is article is as fresh now as when it was when posted in 2006, today is 9th of October 2010. Leefeller’

It is as if I have just fallen off he rutabaga cart, actually I have just been dealing with the Pious and am punch drunk.

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By THE SNED, October 1, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

Go here for a new religion we can all follow…especially if you like Italian food.

http://www.venganza.org/

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By Night-Gaunt, September 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

I took the test and got 14 of 15. (My problem is with Job vs Matthew, so I have a minor disagreement.)

93% overall

97% of the public scored below me

1% of the public scored with me, or better.

This is a more general knowledge religious based test. I’m not strong on the details of any of them.

Go to the website and take the test, and read the breakdown too. Most informative.

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By THE SNED, September 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

More good news…a we bit funny.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_rel_religious_literacy_poll

?

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By THE SNED, September 27, 2010 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

I was rummaging through my files and found this wonderful list a famous sayings by atheists…I guarantee that most will bring a smile…if not a chuckle.

1. Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night — Isaac Asimov

2. I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life. — Andrew Carnegie

3. All thinking men are atheists. — Ernest Hemingway

4. Lighthouses are more helpful then churches. — Benjamin Franklin

5. Faith means not wanting to know what is true. — Friedrich Nietzsche

6. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. — George Bernard Shaw

7. Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut

8. I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. — Frank Lloyd Wright

9. Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. — Denis Diderot

10. A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. — Samuel Clemens

11. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. — Sigmund Freud

12. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. — Edward Gibbon

13. The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church. — Ferdinand Magellan

14. Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends. — Woody Allen

15. It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous. — Gloria Steinem

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By Tom Edgar, September 27, 2010 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

Oh Mr Teel Please climb off the canvas.  You have only been outpointed , so far,  can’t you try to stay the distance, or were those puny blows enough to flatten your arguments, and your ego?

I do become so upset when these proselytising, purveyors of nothing of consequence up stakes and leave without a wave of goodbye.

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By THE SNED, September 26, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

I have feeling that Dennis is like the proverbial pigeon on a statue..and he has left something. He claimed to have received some insight in some of our posts but I missed this comment in his post although I responded to it in a way.

“you all take the stance that since no proof of god is available,there is none”

Well that’s sort of a Duh. If there were proof none of us would be atheists….but there are really strong odds that we wouldn’t become Christians either.

I know of no one who has posted here who simply rants “there is no proof so there is no god.” Ret1 was a missionary. What’s that tell you?

Christians accept as truth a document that is self serving and more a piece of fiction than fact.
But it sounds goods and your neighbors believe it too…and so..well we all know the rest. Too bad your ministers and priests never talk about the Bible’s history, its contradictions, inaccuracies, edited content…that they all know about but won’t discuss.Because that might get people saying thing like “My god Louise, Bob is thinking!What will we do?”


And since you can prove that there’s a book around that makes claims that you can’t prove that anything in it happened either (of consequence)

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By Night-Gaunt, September 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Its called magical thinking for a reason. When there are no limits to such a being then nothing matters but the believer.

I tend to keep quite too about my Atheism. Usually some Christian evangelical type brings it up some where or worse asks me directly about it.

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By Tom Edgar, September 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

In my experience I only state my atheism when I have been CONFRONTED by believers.  I do NOT evangelise.
Many religious sects do.  If they want an argument they get one. But being married to a Quaker for forty six years taught me a little forbearance.

I put it to you Dennis that, if you are honest, you will admit you are the person who introduces religion into conversations, especially when you know that the other person is not religious, just as you are now doing by visiting an atheist site to evangelise.  Just as Mormons, Jehovah’s, S D A’s who all have the gross lack of good manners in visiting homes with the expressed intent of telling us we are wrong, and should embrace their particular superstitious beliefs.

SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS??  The belief in outcomes not founded on fact or evidence. Belief in anything regardless of reason or knowledge.  Seems to sum up religion to me.

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By Reit1, September 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

By dennis teel, September 24 at 2:47 am Link to this comment

***so i assume at least some of you people would delete the freedom of religion clause in he constitution?

No, but I would do away with all religious institutions with their tax exempt establishments.

****it’s generally the atheist that has the problem of my being a christian and begins to ‘challenge me’ verbally.

Maybe they’re trying to enlighten you for a better world.

****my only answer was “believe what you want and i’ll believe what i want” and i drop it,as i don’t wish to argue.

You say that the atheist usually is the one to challenge you, but then you come here and ask some questions of non - believers.  Then you claim that you think people should just believe what they want, etc.  How apathetic.  I suppose you won’t mind when Sharia Law takes over then?  It’s their right to believe in the taking of your infidel head, afterall.

***It’s called freedom to worship

Yes it certainly is.

***You all take the stance that since no proof of god is available,there is none and thusly atheism is the norm and the truth ,to the degree that the very lable “athiest” would’ve never existed had religion not come about.

Really?  Would you say you’re an aleprechaunist or a-unicornist?  You see, it’s religion that labels us with “atheist” as a title.  We’re just not superstitious. There are no proofs of gods and therefore no reason to believe.  Religion gives us the scarlett letter “A” and brands us with it.  As for my part, because of the intolerance, blood shed and division that religion causes, I am happy to wear whatever letter or slogan they want to give me so long as I am not forced to pay taxes on their synogogues, mosques or churches.  But since I am forced into their belief system, I prefer to be called “not superstitious”.  Because that’s what it really is.  Sure you’re free to believe whatever you want.  But I say do it in your own homes and quit forcing crosses and stars of david and other silly symbols onto everyone.  Majority rules?  Sure.  Majority ruled in Germany during WWII for awhile, too.  Never made any of it right.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

so i assume at least some of you people would delete the freedom of religion clause in he constitution?-Dennis Teel

Why would you say that? Because some of us have disagreements with a Christian religion (in general) slowly being made the de facto religion of state? That’s the problem here. Sure there are a few fundamentalists who would wipe out all religion (a cruel and ultimately futile gesture) to “help” Humanity. It fails because for the majority of people they are programmed by evolution to believe something like a god(s) naturally. Only a few of us have no such inclination. [The normal variation within populations. Not all the same characteristics are in one phylogenetic basket.]

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

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