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Ear to the Ground

Atheists Know More About Religion Than the Pious

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Posted on Sep 28, 2010
James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Well, this is awkward. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life undertook a study in which nonbelievers correctly answered more religious knowledge questions than the devout. Mormons and Jews also scored well and, like atheists, know more about Christianity than Christians.

Here are some of Pew’s surprising findings:

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

In addition, fewer than half of Americans (47%) know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. And only about a quarter of all Americans (27%) correctly answer that most people in Indonesia—the country with the world’s largest Muslim population—are Muslims.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 8, 2010 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

“A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_School_of_Economics
based on a U.S. sample, showed that Americans who are atheist and
liberal tend to have higher IQs by an average of 6-11 points.”

She, I will not parse the above comment, (I will leave the grammar and parsing to someone like Maani)  instead I will attempt to nitpick it to death, a Maani slow death in the manner of Maani!

1. It depends on what you mean by IQ’s?

2. An average may mean many things and 6 to 11 could mean 6 or 11.

3. Political Science is not religion so it is not absolute with the most important certitudes of religion!

4. Economics is even less religious than Political Science so if one is not a religion the other must not be either?

5. This London School place seems like it could be some sort of new Atheist conspiracy School? (Actually this sounds more like Els)  or not a school at all.

6. Based on a U.S. sample, did they sample intelligent Atheists from New York and Stupid Religious people from Texas? Did they even try to find a stupid Atheist or a not so stupid Religious person at a Nascar race track?

7. “Tend to”, now this is a real kicker, this could mean “tend not”!

8. Higher rather than lower IQ’s, could mean the opposite and could not mean anything at all.

9. As for liberal atheists, what of conservative atheists and atheists who happened to be insane and could really `be religious?

10. “Points” could mean many things, what kind of points, those points could be very impotent or they may not be real religious points at all, I mean it could be like the three bears they may be a point that is just right which was missed!

If you happened to notice after nodding off,..... I did not use the words “study” or “from”, I wanted to leave Maani something to work with!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_School_of_Economics
based on a U.S. sample, showed that Americans who are atheist and
liberal tend to have higher IQs by an average of 6-11 points.

Maani – cranberry juice! Yayyy, it is the best!  I love it too!  So I guess
we have something good in common.  However. “But nothing in your
above statement points to anything even resembling an “apocalypse.” 

It was a projection in the future, but nevertheless, as per your own
words, “unlike some (SOME) Muslims, the Jews and Christians don’t
particularly CARE whether you get to heaven,” Now that is odd.  Are
these Jews and Christians who don’t particularly CARE if they get to
heaven atheists?  I’ve heard of Christian Atheists.  And some Jews are
too.  But for the ones who do CARE, Jews and Christians will have to
worry about the jihadists at some time in the fewcha.  And I would
suppose that both the Jews and Christians will not take being made to
convert or bowing down to Islam easily.  There is centuries of enmity
between the Jews and the Islamists.  Some peace is being attempted
over the Palestinian problem, but as more time passes it looks like that
is a pipedream once again.  For it to work, the Arab world needs to
recognize Israel as a sovereign nation.  How likely do you think that is
going to happen? 

” 22% believe Jesus will return, ey?  Does that mean 22% are
crazy?”
 

It just might mean that.  Recalling the words of Lincoln about some of
the people being fooled all of the time.

The objections to religion are of two sorts - intellectual and moral. The
intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion
true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time
when men were more cruel than they now are and therefore tend to
perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would
otherwise outgrow. - Bertrand Russell

Ohhhh, that meat thing, Leefeller, was gross!  But thank you anyway. 
And you might be right about The Pious and the Advanced Meat
Recovery process.

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By elisalouisa, October 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

ITW: Actually, I’ve enjoyed MOST of the comments here, even EL’s.

Thanks for the backhanded complement ITW. It’s a start. grin

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By elisalouisa, October 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

You express yourself well Maani, this thread is all the better for your contributions thus no thanks necessary.

If you can, watch Dr. Kaku’s interview on C-span Saturday. You especially would find it interesting and I am curious as to your views concerning Dr. Kaku’s comments.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

“Likely and may” several words not known to the Pious shoveling their delusions.  Harris does not deal in absolutisms of delusions, he makes clear sense saying something is possible (something that may require thought) but not absolute, unlike religiosity which is absolute with out one bit of warranted proof of anything nearing certainty. So then this is called faith when the proof or truth is not wanted. One can enjoy a good story a myth or fiction, but when one believes fantasy to be certain fact, this is the problem for me which includes the whole gamete of religiosity.

Harris writes of religious fiction, which is what religion is to me.

“While most Americans believe that getting rid of religion is an impossible goal, much of the developed world has already accomplished it. Any account of a “god gene” that causes the majority of Americans to helplessly organize their lives around ancient works of religious fiction must explain why so many inhabitants of other First World societies apparently lack such a gene. The level of atheism throughout the rest of the developed world refutes any argument that religion is somehow a moral necessity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality—belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.

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

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By Inherit The Wind, October 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

“I also blame how our minds have been captured and conditioned by mass media and propaganda…. we don’t even know the half of it. “

And I blame “I Love Lucy” the “Flintstones”, but mostly “Scuby-Doo!” for it

Forced to take off my hat at a Lady GaGa concert, Leefeller? Will she take off something, too? (or am I being too sexist for anyone to laugh?)

Actually, I’ve enjoyed MOST of the comments here, even EL’s.  Nap’s have gotten wiser.  But you guys did something I thought was impossible:

You made LeeFeller get (mostly) serious!

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By Maani, October 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

EL:

First, I have forgotten too many times to thank you for all the kind words and support you have expressed throughout this discussion.

Second, re: “From what I recall [Dr. Kaku] did say that the mathematics were too much in line for there not to be a higher intelligence responsible for the creation of the universe. Paraphrasing.”

As far as I know, Dr. Kaku does not believe in the anthropic principle per se.  But he has, as you note, made statements that seem to “hedge” on that.

As I noted, he is probably a bit closer to Agnostic than Einstein was, though I knew Dr. Kaku well enough to know that he is not a “believer” within any acceptable definition of that term.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, October 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

C-Span II
1:30pm ET Saturday October 9th In Depth Thomas Kidd
God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution
Thomas Kidd

About the Program

Thomas Kidd, associate history professor at Baylor University, recounts the role religion played in the American Revolution.  Mr. Kidd contends that it was the belief in the right to worship freely that brought the colonists together, from
conservative Evangelists to liberal Deists, and remained a cohesive element following the War.  Thomas Kidd presents his book at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.

About the Authors
Thomas Kidd

Thomas Kidd is the author of numerous books, including The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America.  He is currently an associate history professor at Baylor University.

elisa: sounds like another winner.

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By elisalouisa, October 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

C-Span II Book TV
9am ET Saturday October 9th.
  In Depth - Michio Kaku

About the Program

Dr. Kaku is author of eight books, two of which are text books:
Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe (1995);
Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and
the Tenth Dimension (1995); Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st
Century and Beyond (1999); Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision
Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (2005); Parallel Worlds: A
Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
(2006); Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of
Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel (2008).? 

About the Authors
Michio Kaku

Dr. Kaku is a theoretical physicist and co-founder of the string field theory, a branch of the string theory.  He’s taught at the City College of New York for 25 years and currently holds the school’s Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1968 with a B.S. in Physics and received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 1972.  He’s the host of two science radio shows and the Science Channel television series Sci Fi Science.

elisa: This program also was on C-Span last weekend, perhaps Garth or Maani you did catch this program.  From what I recall he did say that the mathematics were too much in line for there not to be a higher intelligence responsible for the creation of the universe. Paraphrasing. Interested? Doubt me? Record the program and watch it later or when it shows.

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By Maani, October 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

garth:

“What’s his name, Kiko something or other, a phyusicist at UC Berkeley, had a much less frightening aspect to our willingness to accept a ‘belief in God.’  I think any discussion should start from there.”

Actually, Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist at CCNY; he studied at UC Berkeley.  (As an aside, Dr. Kaku was my professor for three terms at CCNY, as well as being a socio-political compatriot, in as much as we marched together in quite a few anti-nuclear protests.)

Dr. Kaku believes pretty much as Einstein did: in the “mystical,” but not in “God” per se.  However, one of his favorite lines (which he always says with an impish grin) is, “Personally, I think that the laws of physics are the only ones possible, that all other laws are mathematically inconsistent. Thus, God probably had no choice in creating the universe.”

Ultimately, I think Dr. Kaku is probably a tad more “agnostic” than Einstein was, but only slightly.

Peace.

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By garth, October 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

“AINNNK!!  Wrong.  In fact, if you look at the voting statistics for 2000 and 2004, you will find that the so-called “Christian Right” not only did NOT vote monolithically, but also did not vote in near the numbers they had before, and were, in fact, very much on the wane.”

In 2000, exit polls at voting stations were declared inreliable, even though they had been proven right in every election till then since they were first used.

In 2004, same story.  What does that tell us about polls?  It’s what the media wants us to believe.  I looked at some DNC mail out polls I received.  I wanted to nail them on the wall and shoot them.  These people don’t have a clue, and they’ll use polls to sound officious and do exactly what they planned on doing all along.

22% believe Jesus will return, ey?  Does that mean 22% are crazy?

What’s his name, Kiko something or other, a phyusicist at UC Berkeley, had a much less frightening aspect to our willingness to accept a ‘belief in God.’  I think any discussion should start from there.

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By Maani, October 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

“Maani seems quiet at home as the master of parsing and if…Harris…decided to debate Maani…Maani would obviously defeat Harris hands down…Simply by sending Sam Harris to an early demise for Harris would surly die of boredom if not taking it upon himself to commit suicide.”

This is among the highest compliments I have been paid by any atheist on these boards. Because the ability to parse is one of the highest levels of logic and reason.  In this regard, I find it amusing that most of the atheists here have painted all of the believers here (including Joan, who was a philosophy professor…) as (essentially) ignorant, imbecilic, unreasoning morons.  Yet here I am being told that my reasoning ability is SO good that I could outdo Harris from the standpoint of logic! Wow!  I know you will claim to being sarcastic, and that it was meant as an insult.  But all you do is show that you do not understand what parsing is, or what level of “reasoning” is required to do it.

You offer yet another Harris quote that I would like to…parse. (LOL)

“...22% of Americans are certain that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years. Another 22% believe that he will probably do so. This is likely the same 44% who go to church once a week or more, who believe that God literally promised the land of Israel to the Jews and who want to stop teaching our children about the biological fact of evolution.”

This one’s easy: note the word “likely,” one of the weakest words one can possibly use in supporting one’s claim.  That is, it is just as “likely” that that 44% does NOT also believe those other things.

“As President Bush is well aware, believers of this sort constitute the most cohesive and motivated segment of the American electorate.”

AINNNK!!  Wrong.  In fact, if you look at the voting statistics for 2000 and 2004, you will find that the so-called “Christian Right” not only did NOT vote monolithically, but also did not vote in near the numbers they had before, and were, in fact, very much on the wane.

“Consequently, their views and prejudices now influence almost every decision of national importance.”

Hyperbole.  Not that they DON’T influence decisions of national importance, but not to the degree he suggests.

“Political liberals seem to have drawn the wrong lesson from these developments and are now thumbing Scripture, wondering how best to ingratiate themselves to the legions of men and women in our country who vote largely on the basis of religious dogma.”

This is true, but, again, to a far lesser degree than Harris is suggesting.

“More than 50% of Americans have a ‘negative’ or ‘highly negative’ view of people who do not believe in God; 70% think it important for presidential candidates to be ‘strongly religious.’”

This is true, and I support his concern here.

“Unreason is now ascendant in the United States — in our schools, in our courts and in each branch of the federal government.”

Hyperbole again.  He would have to provide some pretty significant evidence of this.  He offers none that is relevant to this particular claim.

“Only 28% of Americans believe in evolution; 68% believe in Satan.”

I am as saddened as he is by the first statistic.  However, he uses fallacious logic again in putting these two statistics together: who’s to say that one cannot believe in both evolution AND Satan?  What makes these two statistics relevant to each other?

“Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.”

Yet again, he resorts to hyperbole when he could have made a much more supportable statement by not doing so.  Yes, ignorance is dangerous, particularly where lawmaking and government are concerned.  But “head and belly” is a tad much…

Peace.

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By garth, October 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Two of Christopher Hitchens’s criticism about Mother Theresa were her lack of actual help to the the suffering in India and her doubt about her own beliefs.  Hitchens said she might have been used by the Catholic Church, a sort of character agrandizement/disinformation.

Mother Theresa might have preached soul redemption at the expense of quality of life improvement, but I have nowhere heard nor seen of any great advancement in India on either front.

The beat goes on.  God or no God.

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By Maani, October 7, 2010 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

She:

“Perhaps you should join Joan and Nappie in a swig of Guinness, your parched mind could use the irrigation.”

Actually, I imbibe only non-alcholic beverages, so I’ll irrigate my otherwise parched mind with some cranberry juuice, thank you.

“Regarding Judaism and the conversion of the world.  Well, let’s do a little inductive logic.  Jews believe they are the chosen people of God. If all non-Jews want to get to Heaven, then somehow they must become Jews, and the only way to do that is by conversion. So, it is well-known that the Christians want to get to heaven.  Hence, by Judaic standards, they will have to be converted.  It is not far to come to the conclusion that while unstated, at the heart of Judaism is for anyone who wants to get to heaven they must convert to Judaism.”

But we’re not talking about “inductive logic” here.  You made a specific statement, to wit: “If you think your respect for the beliefs of others will stop the inexorable future Donneybrook, an apocalypse, between divergent faiths…”

“Apocalypse.”  That was your word.  But nothing in your above statement points to anything even resembling an “apocalypse.”  Yes, the Jews and Christians believe that one must become a Jew or Christian to get to heaven.  But that does not equate with forcible or violent conversions, or the need for any sort of “donnybrook”: unlike some (SOME) Muslims, the Jews and Christians don’t particularly CARE whether you get to heaven.  Yes, we (Christians) are told to evangelize and ATTEMPT to “bring people to Christ.”  But there is NO place in the NT that suggests using any type of force.  Indeed, Jesus made this crystal clear: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”  In other words, do NOT try to “ram it down their throats” or force anything.  If they don’t want to listen, simply leave.

“You seem unable to make the fine distinction of who said what between Sagan and Fields.  It takes a finely discriminating mind which perhaps you do not have the ability to do.”

Actually, it is you who refuses to accept that you were wrong.  You offered the quote and attributed it to Sagan.  However, that quote - those EXACT lines - are from the treatise by Fields.  As well, the Wikiquote page for Sagan says clearly, under “Misattributed”: “Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature. Appears in this essay: Emmett F. Fields. ‘Atheism: An Affirmative View (1980).’”

I repeat: you don’t read so good.  LOL.

Peace.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 7, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

A little food for thought, depending on ones proclivity for what goes in their mouths,..... opposed to what comes out!  Just one more thing to ponder in this here world. As I am a self proclaimed expert on horse puckey after many years of observation.  I can say with certitude the below link may in some strange fashion seem to make the Pious look almost practical!

http://www.fooducate.com:80/blog/2009/08/03/guess-whats-in-the-picture-foodlike-substance/

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Joan: “the art of building a pint of Guinness.”

No idea what you are talking about… other than pouring it slowly to minimize the fizz and foam… perhaps?

Yes, of course I’d LOVE to share a drink with EVERYONE on here… I love people!  But, like any other person, I have my moments… or hours… wink

Thought about this yesterday but was gone all evening and couldn’t share it soon enough, here goes:

I think when folks make a decision to NOT believe in a supernatural being, a GOD….. for whatever reason ( upbringing, observation, much study and contemplation and trying to understand the question: ‘how can God exist if there is so much suffering in the world?’

I think the person who chooses to not believe first of all in the existence of a God or supreme being… are simply rebellious… it is more a heart condition than a knowledge, character and experience condition.

I simply cannot deny His existence due to the fact I’d have to start lying!

For I have seen too much, experienced too much and have lived out the blessings AND sadly the curses found in His handbook… that for me lie would be to not only deny His existence but mine as well… does that make sense?

All the law and scripture can be easily handled by this:

LOVE.

Love people, learning what love really is ( beyond emotion and fuzzy feelings ).. and how is God’s most powerful and triumphant attribute?

Love.

Somewhere it describes God as being Love… “God is Love.”

What it interesting is that I myself have learned ‘how’ to further love folks from, you are gonna believe this- my atheist friends!

They can experience love ( for God isn’t ruthless nor mean or unjust ) while still not accepting / acknowledging / realizing the source.

I also blame how our minds have been captured and conditioned by mass media and propaganda…. we don’t even know the half of it.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 7, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Again, we find self proclaimed masters of delusions,.....  twisting and turning,.... parsing sentence after sentence, ...until parsed beyond recognition, reminds me of a dog chewing up my morning NYT. Such parsing has never been seen before except at Republican Conventions, the Original content of a sentence reconditioned to fit the comfort zone of silly myths, stories and deluded illusions.

Maani seems quiet at home as the master of parsing and if luck would happen, and and Harris in a drunken stupor decided to debate Maani, it is clear to me, Maani would obviously defeat Harris hands down…...  Simply by sending Sam Harris to an early demise for Harris would surly die of boredom if not taking it upon himself to commit suicide.

Some figures from Harris which are several years old,  prime material for more Maani parsing;

“The Nature of Belief”

“According to several recent polls, 22% of Americans are certain that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years. Another 22% believe that he will probably do so. This is likely the same 44% who go to church once a week or more, who believe that God literally promised the land of Israel to the Jews and who want to stop teaching our children about the biological fact of evolution. As President Bush is well aware, believers of this sort constitute the most cohesive and motivated segment of the American electorate. Consequently, their views and prejudices now influence almost every decision of national importance. Political liberals seem to have drawn the wrong lesson from these developments and are now thumbing Scripture, wondering how best to ingratiate themselves to the legions of men and women in our country who vote largely on the basis of religious dogma. More than 50% of Americans have a “negative” or “highly negative” view of people who do not believe in God; 70% think it important for presidential candidates to be “strongly religious.” Unreason is now ascendant in the United States—in our schools, in our courts and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28% of Americans believe in evolution; 68% believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.”

In addition to the sad state of things sited by Harris, what seems more sad to me, is Inherent the Wind is being forced to take his hat off during Lady Gaga concerts!


“Faith means not wanting to know what is true.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

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By Joan, October 7, 2010 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Contrary to your notion that obeying the Supreme Being is for the more dim minded among us who cannot figure our own lives, it has been my observation that living in accordance with the commands of a Supreme Being is not for the weak of heart, particularly in this day and age.  It’s much easier to change the rules, use some shape shifting “moral” code of one’s choice, than to defer to another’s choice that is especially unpopular.

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By elisalouisa, October 7, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Actually, the vacant, mental desert, (the drama is revealing) here is in the generalizing of terms some of which have been incorrect throughout this thread. The devil is in the detail.grin Who is a Jew? What is conversion into the Judaic faith? There is Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Humanistic Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Flexidox Judaism and Reform Judaism. So which branch(es) of Judaism feel that in order to get to heaven one must convert to Judaism?  Is there an exception clause such as the Catholic faith has which excempts those who have not “known” the true faith? The vacant desert is in the generalities that are put forth which may lead to incorrect conclusions thus filling the desert with plants that cannot survive the harshness of such places. Better vacant than dead plants.
Do not challenge that who is Shepotomas. Persoanal insults will come your way by the dozen.(At least)Your personality Maani is sweet. The one that takes the cake is that you are conceited! So untrue that it nullifies as untrue other comments by such a poster.

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2010 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

Joan,

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

and Leefeller!

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By Leefeller, October 7, 2010 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

This is like sane voices in the wind!

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

1. Maani
Leaving off the bye bye since obviously I returned, for reasons
explained but which in your pettiness you choose to leave out,
but that is all right since your defensive posture is always expected,
Maani.  And so I repeat, that will now show up for the third time
thanks to your quoting me, “I admit to being foolish enough to think
there was the possibility of real and intelligent dialogue available here
but it is a vacant mental desert.”  Indeed it is as arid as I said of your
personality.  Perhaps you should join Joan and Nappie in a swig of
Giunness, your parched mind could use the irrigation. 

I have not solicited that you should “miss” me Maani, as it is clear that I
am as big a thorn in your side as those that allegedly ringed your
savior’s head.  LOL

He said She said:  Quite true you did not say “all” in your repeat of my
description of religionists’ desperation.  So I stand corrected on that,
but I still did not say even “most” as you accuse, I said many many, is
that the superlative “most”?  I stand by my statement that many many
religionists assuage and fulfill their desperate for spirituality by using
the fictions of religion.  So our arugment reduces to the distinction
between many many and most.  Don’t you find that hilarious?  I do. 
The part of most that I don’t understand is many many, Maani.  And
the alliteration is hilarious too! LOL again.  Thank you for the mirth that
is “mostly” missing from the Christian gang bangers.

In your conceit you think all I have to say anything about is what “you”
are talking about.  Atheists are conscious of the good that some
religionists have done, and this is I have acknowledged and has
especially been by Sam Harris in all of his books.

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

2. Maani
Regarding Judaism and the conversion of the world.  Well, let’s do
a little inductive logic.  Jews believe they are the chosen people of
God. If all non-Jews want to get to Heaven, then somehow they must
become Jews, and the only way to do that is by conversion. So, it is
well-known that the Christians want to get to heaven.  Hence, by
Judaistic standards, they will have to be converted.  It is not far to
come to the conclusion that while unstated, at the heart of Judaism is
for anyone who wants to get to heaven they must convert to Judaism.

Turning to Islam and what is at its heart about converting the world. 
Here the Qur’anic directive of jihad is the agent and is very clear.

Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and
churches, the synagogues and the mosques, to see if His praise is
abundantly celebrated and if not, would have been utterly destroyed.
(Sura 22:40)
  In religious parlance, this use of force is called Jihad, and in the
Qur’an it can be classified in two distinct categories:
  Firstly, against injustice and oppression.
  Secondly, against the rejecters of truth after it has become evident to
them.  The literal meaning of Jihad is to strive for a cause with full
force.
In the Qur’an, it is used in this general sense as well as to
denote an armed offensive in the way of Allah. Here this second
meaning is implied. (My italics)

Jiihad obligations attributed by the theologians to Allah places jihad
within the domain of faith. Emphasized forcefully is that jihad is a
special domain of Islamic law.  And not all Muslims know it, and many
reject its ideology.  And it would be a great mistake to believe that each
and every Muslim identifies with the jihad-war ideology, this I strongly
acknowledge, just as I have acknowledged that most Christians are not
militant but extend kindness and care to humanity. But the notion of
jihad as a holy war is one of conquest. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (10th
century), for example, stated, “Jihad is a precept of Divine institution…
We Malikis [one of four schools of Muslim jurisprudence] maintain it is
preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited
the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy
attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam
or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against
them…”
Jihad ideology separates humanity into two hostile blocs:
the community of Muslims (Dar ul-Islam), and the infidel non-Muslims
(Dar ul-Harb). Allah commands the Muslims to conquer the entire world
in order to rule it according to Koranic law. Hence Muslims must wage a
perpetual war against those infidels who refuse to submit. This is the
motivation for jihad. 
http://www.studying-islam.org/articletext.aspx?id=771
Shall we turn this forum into one about Islam? 

You are not even close to any mark to be any degree off of it. 

You seem unable to make the fine distinction of who said what between
Sagan and Fields.  It takes a finely discriminating mind which perhaps
you do not have the ability to do.  So well, and ho hum.

No trying was necessary, I did what I set out to do.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 6, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Joan:

You prove your hypocrisy by your own words.  I say removing your hat out of respect is a Christian ritual, YOU quote your scripture showing it is how a man must pray, then tell me people telling me to remove my hat is NOT a Christian ritual because your scripture doesn’t mention Giants Stadium!  You’ve twisted your own arguments into knots!  Since neither Judaism nor Islam demand an uncovered head during prayer, where the HELL do you think your little ritual came from???

The reason you don’t use public land for religion is because the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights says government can’t make any endorsement of religion.  It can’t make any laws about religion. This has been interpreted by Supreme Court after Supreme Court to mean that religion is religion and government is government and never the twain shall meet!

So…Why do YOU have to take over public property for your Christmas celebrations?  My home town put up metal Christmas trees on the street lights, that lit up and had pots in them that had real Christmas trees in them.  They were paid for with tax dollars. They were put up by municipal workers on the payroll. The new living trees in them were paid for by taxpayers. The electricity was paid for by taxpayers.

Yet that wasn’t enough.  People like you demanded that they be allowed to put a creche on the public high school lawn.  There was and is a BIG church to the left of the school. There was and is a BIGGER church to the right of the school.  There was and is a still BIGGER church on the island in front of the school.  All of them had creches.  Why did there have to be one on the public school lawn as well?

You are the majority religion in this country. But from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and on down, the wise people who FOUNDED our nation sought very clearly to make sure that we most definitely were NOT a Christian nation even if most of the nation were Christians.

Got that?  We are a secular nation, not a Christian nation, made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Rastafarians, Sikhs, Wiccans, and many others.  The Founding Fathers made it very clear you don’t get special privileges because you are the majority.  Stop demanding them!

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By elisalouisa, October 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

It was not directed at you Shen it was a response to Mr. Lee f. I posted on 10/6 at a 5:50.m. the last sentence is what I am referring to. Again, there is no answer as to why people suffer. Mine was a general comment. By all means work to find cures to the illnesses that are part of our lives. No matter how many cures are found for certain illnesses there will never be a time when all illnesses are conquered. Our bodies gradually become immune to certain medications, especially antibiotics, causing havoc as to cures. There is mental suffering. There is suffering brought on by war and violence. Is that curable? I’m afraid that dark side will always find a way to make itself known. You don’t agree? That’s just fine.  Our body decays and weakens. We may prolong life, we shall never conquer death as we know it here. I know you search for answers as to what is the best way to live as to the economic and social well being of our people. That’s good enough for me. I do accept what is and work to better life as best I can.  I thank that Spiritual energy each morning that gave me life for allowing me to have the joy I have had and witness the beauty that such a One has created.  You Shen can keep asking,  who, what God is.  That is really not important to me. That Spirit lives and he lives within all. I say that knowing there is no need to further explain or comment, for me at least. Shalom.

Good post 10/6 at 11:15 p.m. Joan, God’s face is everywhere only people don’t recognize it. Lena was a great person as well as great singer.  You also Maani October 6 at 11:22 p.m. Your last sentence as to the definition of Atheism is right on, that is for the old Atheists. The New Atheists are another thing. Thus my response Oct. 6 at 5:20 pm to Sam Harris’s comment posted by Mr. Lee F. as to the stakes being high.

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By Maani, October 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

You offer a lengthy quote from Harris which I would like to parse, in sections:

“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.”

Harris’ logic is fallacious.  Astrology and alchemy are, as he states, pseudo-DISCIPLINES. But belief in God per se is not a “discipline.”  His conflation of these two is thus inaccurate: the word “atheism” has no relation to “non-astrologer” or “non-alchemist.”

“Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma.”

His use of the term “noises” is not simply non-specific, but does nothing to support his point. Atheism is, quite simply, the lack of belief in a god or gods.  Period.

“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…”

As I have noted, let us suppose for a moment that God decided to provide absolute proof of His(I use the masculine only for purposes of simplification) existence, and showed Himself to everyone at the same time - say, a face in the sky that could be seen by every human being.  What point, then, would there be for “faith?”  It is admittedly a paradox - but it is NOT answered away with mere dismissal. Sagan, again: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

“...and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.”

One assumes here that Harris is implying that, although God is not directly responsible for this, He allows it to happen.  But that leads to another paradox.  If there was no “bad” or “evil” in the world, how would we know what was “good,” since there would be nothing to compare it against?  As well, adversity, hardship, even pain and grief help us to grow, and make us stronger.  In any case, the “relentless destruction of innocent human beings” is SOLELY the fault of…human beings.

“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…”

Perhaps.  But very few people still believe in the gods of Mount Olympus.  Perhaps there is a “survival of the fittest” for religions, too?  LOL.

“..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…”

This is the first thing he says that is fully supportable - and, sadly, true.  And I completely agree with him here.

“...and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy.”

I don’t know about “much,” but, yes, some public policy is overly religion-infused, and there is too much attempt to legislate morality.  And I completely agree with him here, too.  Though I think his last comment about “medieval theocracy” is a tad overstated…

“Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.”

Here I think both Harris and EL are equally correct: the stakes are high for BOTH atheists and believers because the stakes are different for each, and there are aspects of each group’s beliefs and lifestyles that are threatened by the other.  Neither has a monopoly on existing or potential infringements of the others’ rights.

Peace.

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By Maani, October 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

On 10/4 @ 11:00pm, She said: “I admit to being foolish enough to think there was the possiblity of real and intelligent dialogue available here but it is a vacant mental desert.  So bye bye.”

On 10/5 @ 11:22am, She said: “Since this forum has devolved into pathetic petty bickering and name-calling, and contritely inexcusable I include my own behavior, it has become flimsy and without promise of any real dialogue and with that I bid you all a good life and say Havana nice day, Adieu.”

Which begs the old question: How can we miss you if you won’t go away?  LOL.

“Well, Maani, I didn’t say ‘all’ religionists are desperate, did I?  Who is it really using the broad brush?”

Apparently, you don’t read so good.  Here is what I said: “To simply broad-brush most believers as ‘desperate’ is beneath what I know to be your level of knowledge and understanding.”

What part of “most” don’t you understand?  LOL.

“Your claim, that ‘...man’s inhumanity to man was shown in far greater depth via atheists like Stalin, Lenin, Mao et al than via religion - even given all the holy wars, Crusades, inquisitions, etc.,’ is not quite true.  I do not argue that faith does not move millions of people to do great acts of selflessness on behalf of others.  Many Christian missionaries
devote their lives, often to the point of death.  The fact that self-sacrifice motivates from faith does not indicate that faith is necessary for acts of goodness.  Albert Schweitzer, an atheist, is known for having given his life to the sick.  I could name a bevy of atheists who devoted their lives as well to the needy.”

How interesting.  I was not even talking about the good that religion has done vs. atheism (only the bad that atheism has done vs. religion), yet you seem to have conflated the two, and ended up making a point for me that I was going to make later. Thanks!

“If you think your respect for the beliefs of others will stop the inexorable future Donneybrook, an apocalypse, between divergent faiths, then you are sadly self-delusional yourself.  It is denied because the reality is much too painful to admit.  It is not silly, it is at the heart of different religions.”

No it is not.  Show me where conversion of the entire world to Judaism - forcibly, much less violently - is at the “heart” of Judaism.  Show me where conversion of the entire world to Christianity - forcibly, much less violently - is at the “heart” of Christianity.  And although there are passages in the Qur’an that talk about conversion - and even passages in the Hadith and Sunnah that suggest forcible conversion - show me where such a policy is at the “heart” of Islam.

You are so far off the mark here that I wonder just how well-read you are re the OT, NT and Qur’an.

“Maani – you devil.  I always check out what could be a mistake I might have made.  This is the quote from Fields: ‘Atheism is the world of reality, it is reason, it is freedom, Atheism is human concern, and intellectual honesty to a degree that the religious mind cannot begin to understand. And yet it is more than this. Atheism is not an old religion, it is not a new and coming religion, in fact it is not, and never has been, a religion at all. The definition of Atheism is magnificent in its simplicity: Atheism is merely the bed-rock of sanity in a world of madness.’ From Atheism: An Affirmative View (1980) - Emmett F. Fields

Again, you don’t read so good. From the same paper (i.e., before Sagan): “The first step, then, in understanding Atheism is to disregard all the lies and propaganda that religion has spread against it. Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.”

Nice try.

Peace.

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Dear fellow, I did not want you to think I’d forgotten you.

I don’t see why any Christian is obligated to produce God for any atheist. Atheists are fussing that they are so annoyed when Christians do just that, in the first place. 

My bet is that God, Who in my experience has a real penchant to interfere with everyone’s affairs, has on any number of occasions introduced Himself to every atheist only to be shown the door or worse.

I think it was Lena Horne who said something like…God‘s face is everywhere only most people don’t recognize it. If you let God in the door, you get a very clear picture of how He looks in word and deed. You’ll know Him on sight eventually. **

My best assessment is that He tried to get to know you but you gave Him the cold shoulder. He’ll try any number of times but eventually if you continue to refuse, He’ll defer to you ...and eventually you‘ll die …maybe, then all hell will break loose…you’ll have the truth, one way or another now won’t you?

Maybe to be on the safe side, you should consider Pascal’s wager as an option.

**This is, BTW, why Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens, the self-made moronic on the subject of God, sound silly to those who have given God the time of day. This trinity of hostility consider themselves authorities on a sentient Being they obviously never met. They present themselves as experts on Someone they would not even recognize if they fell over Him. They have constantly, I suspect.

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Napoleon,

I am trying to acquire the art of building a pint of Guinness…know anything about that?  I had no idea the others here wanted to join our drinking club.

Slainte!

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

ITW (cont’d)

Re: the Christian mandate for males to remove their hats at professional sports events.  THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN MANDATE THAT REQUIRES MALES TO REMOVE THEIR HATS AT MAJOR LEAGUE SPORTS EVENTS. 


1 Corinthians 11 4-7
“4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head.
5
But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.
6
For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.
7
5 A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. “

Please note: Paul never mentions that male Christians are required to remove their hats at Giants Stadium for the POA or any other reason.  Verbose as Paul was, I’m sure had he wanted men to remove their baseball caps during football games, he would have felt free to direct them to do so.

In Catholicism, in which this courtesy is rooted, Christian men are required to bare their heads in the House of the Lord. Even though football is religious experience for many as I noted earlier, Paul, himself, as best as I am aware, did not recognize Giants Stadium as the House of the Lord. He may have thought that after the game exiting onto Route 3 and heading to the NJ Turnpike was hell itself, however. 

Striking out at Christians for the show of respect that a man remove his hat at certain times, like burials or during the POA etc. is again tilting at nasty windmills against Christians of your own making.  Do you also want to harangue christians as an honorable atheist by demanding we rescind all vestiges of the human rights and the benefits these rights entail that Jefferson carved out of the Christian precept we are equal due certain inalienable rights as a function of being children of God?  Probably not.

As for not doffing your hat…I unequivocally condemn anyone threatening you in any way for not doing so but minimally fans pay a pretty penny and give up a day to go to these games to be entertained, not to be faced with some quasi religious/political protest. Your show of disrespect to this tradition is not about challenging Paul‘s dictum for men to remove their hats in a house of worship. Keeping your head covered apparently deeply offends others, perhaps war vets who pay the tab for your safety here. You are deliberately antagonizing other fans…similarly if you started a crusade to eliminate Christmas trees at Jersey City public square…Why?

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

ITW

Who owns ublic land?


Public property is owned by the American people and most Americans celebrate Christmas. For two centuries we have done so. It is uplifting and puts food on the table for merchants and manufacturers who employ people who need to put food on their tables.  Seasonal work bolsters the economy. This celebration is a happy one, a pretty one and a beneficial one and for many still a deeply spiritual one. 

Of late there are folks like you who quibble about Christmas trees displayed in the town square like in Jersey City, outside Giants Stadium.  If the cost of trees raised the overall tax bill, OK, you might have a point. They don’t. Often they are donated. Anyone who makes a brouhaha over a Christmas tree in the town square basically dampens the joy of their fellow neighbors, the majority of whom in America celebrate the holiday soundly. Why do that?

I live year after year through the high holy season of football and baseball play offs that are upon us as we blog this very instant. These never ending games clog up prime time and occupy the men in my life for hours from September to February and somehow I endure.

Even though this land is your land and this land is my land, you think religious expression ought to be limited to certain locals. You did say that, in fact.

For a few weeks a year the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas because we are de facto a Christian nation. It is our right to do so.  The rest of the year, the decorations are out of sight, out of mind and you gripe about those few weeks if a Christmas tree is on a piece of public property that I, as a taxpayer for decades, own as well.  You are exactly the kind of person I think who would be offended if a Jew wore a yarmulke to work.

Lighten up and live and let live, why don’t you? Have a Guinness or two like me and my drinking partner, Napoleon the Great.

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

You seem, elisalouisa, to be speaking to the air, but I feel your
remarks are directed more at me.  So I take the bull by the horns
and reply.

Once again you are mistaken.  But your mistake is intentionally in
the service of your religionist orientation.  To show you, I’ll take your
post one sentence at a time using my atheist orientation to answer.

EL-“Whether one castigates by name or insinuation the intent is the
same as is the result, A whole thread has been devoted to deprecating
those who “believe” through crude ridicule.”

She - If any crudity has shown up it was in response to your original
crude remarks.  And if any depreciating of one’s point of view, it is in
reciprocal response to atheist’s beliefs being denigrated by you and
your comrades.  You are not a good judge of this since you are
defensive and the perpetrator of much of this denigration.  A detached
third-party, neither religious nor atheist could judge, but could such a
being actually exist?

EL - “Yet, there is the gall to act indignant at being called on it.” 

She - Gall is defined many ways and I will choose audacity as its
definition.  It has been absolutely audacious of the atheists to defend
their views that have been attacked from the first several posts on this
forum.

EL - “How can one assume that human beings suffer the most
harrowing abridgments of their happiness for no good reason at all?” 

She - This is too ambiguous to make any heads or tails out of it. 

EL - “Can such a one on earth possess wisdom that is all knowing?” 

She - If I can squeeze some meaning out of this scant sentence, I
would say, no.  Which is about all it is worth.

EL - “There is no answer as to why people suffer.” 

She - Wrong, there are medical both physically and mentally why people
suffer.  Diseases and physical ailments of all kinds.  TO say there is no
answer would prevent anyone from going to the doctor at all!  Do you
not go to the doctor, ever, elisalouisa? Perhaps you rely on a hands on
form of healing?  Okay, but I’d bet more people continue to suffer and
die from their illnesses.  Of course, we would have to have real
verifiable examples to see if I am wrong.

EL - “Again, no one is immune; laughter and tears, joy or sorrow it is all
part of the wheel of life.”

She - While I think I agree, with the exception: I don’t know to what
one is immune?  I like the part about laughter and tears, etc., and of
course “the wheel of life” is an ambiguous metaphor just like “the
labyrinth of life” is.

EL - “Resentment at times cannot be helped, this is a given.” 

She - At last one that we can agree on without any further comment.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and
willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then
why call him God?” – attributed to that venerable ancient, Epicurus

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By elisalouisa, October 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Whether one castigates by name or insinuation the intent is the same as is the result, A whole thread has been devoted to deprecating those who “believe” through crude ridicule. Yet, there is the gall to act indignant at being called on it.
How can one assume that human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgments of their happiness for no good reason at all? Can such a one on earth possess wisdom that is all knowing?  There is no answer as to why people suffer. Again, no one is immune; laughter and tears, joy or sorrow it is all part of the wheel of life. Resentment at times cannot be helped, this is a given.

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Maani – you devil.  I always check out what could be a mistake I
might have made.  This is the quote from Fields: 
“Atheism is the world of reality, it is reason, it is freedom, Atheism is
human concern, and intellectual honesty to a degree that the religious
mind cannot begin to understand. And yet it is more than this.
Atheism is not an old religion, it is not a new and coming religion,
in fact it is not, and never has been, a religion at all. The definition of
Atheism is magnificent in its simplicity: Atheism is merely the bed-rock
of sanity in a world of madness.” From Atheism: An Affirmative View
(1980) - Emmett F. Fields
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/emmett_fields/affirmative_athei
sm.html

and Sagan’s remains Sagan’s

But now that I see Emmett Fields’statement, I like his better.  So thank
you, for this unexpected serendipity.  And I now have run into a neat
atheists forum as well, so thank you twice.  Shall I say LOL?  5Yups
LOL!

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

I’m enjoying battle with the Christian gangbangers.  Let’s see, they
have 8 legs, I have 2.  Excellent odds.  That’s because atheists really
do know more about religion than the pious.

Well, Maani, I didn’t say “all” religionists are desperate, did I?  Who is
it really using the broad brush?  You try to paint me as irresponsible
a weezer as your comrades. LOL

But you are wrong.  I believe because you have not really read much of
Harris if at all.  In his book The End of Faith, pages 42-44, 170-171
and 182-184 he definitely links morality with rationality and scientific
reasoning.  My point is not if there is a universal morality, or that only
atheists have a moral perspective.  I said many many religionists have a
paucity of spirituality in their soul (mind).  My reasoning has to do with
that lack.  I see it as far better to realize morality on one’s own rather
than be coerced by a religion’s doctrines.  It would be far better of you
to report accurately. I see that’s not possible with your bias.  I wound
up my post saying that both religionists and atheists are moral human
beings.  I included religionists, albeit some are moral, so you fail to
make your point

The Sagan quote is from
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/70709.

He also said, “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is
than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”  And “If
you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the
universe.”  And “we make our world significant by the courage of our
questions and the depth of our answers.”

Your claim, that “… man’s inhumanity to man was shown in far greater
depth via atheists like Stalin, Lenin, Mao et al than via religion - even
given all the holy wars, Crusades, inquisitions, etc.,” is not quite true.  I
do not argue that faith does not move millions of people to do great
acts of selflessness on behalf of others.  Many Christian missionaries
devote their lives, often to the point of death.  The fact that self-
sacrifice motivates from faith does not indicate that faith is necessary
for acts of goodness.  Albert Schweitzer, an atheist, is known for having
given his life to the sick.  I could name a bevy of atheists who devoted
their lives as well to the needy. 

This reasoning, however, does not absolve the genocides perpetrated
by the likes of Mao or Stalin, who turned their brands of communism
into a religion; they too were irrational cult leaders… Nor was Hitler’s
Christianity, horribly skewed as it was.  These mass murderers were
enemies of organized religion, religion in the best sense of the word.
They were delusional as well as miscreants.  Their nefarious deeds do
not represent atheists not even a measurable percentage of them. Your
accusation is a gross exaggeration.  Such tyrants who direct genocides
tend to be deeply self absorbed and are not models of rationality. 
Religion suffers the same problem as do ideologies such as Nazism and
Stalinism.  It is the problem of the dogma on which religion and
aberrant social philosophies are based.

If you think your respect for the beliefs of others will stop the
inexorable future Donneybrook, an apocalypse, between divergent
faiths, then you are sadly self-delusional yourself.  It is denied because
the reality is much too painful to admit.  It is not silly, it is at the heart
of different religions.  The world is in the mess it is today between
Hindus and Muslims, between Muslims and Christians, and between
Muslims and Jews, for just the reason as I have specified. If you do not
wish to believe this, that is your prerogative; no one is forcing you to
believe anything.  My opinion, which is as valid as yours, is in diametric
opposition.  I could say you cannot lose a grip you never had.  I look at
this not from emotion but from a rational evaluation of history and
what can reasonably be expected.

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By Leefeller, October 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Only the Pious seem to castigate others by name with the consistency of the energizer bunny, at least on this thread!
Seems a most disgusting practice to tell others what they mean, what they think and possibly their line of work is all because of some mental problem. Self Righteousness so very apparent!

My experiences in Vietnam seem clearly emulated by Harris in his post below, just change Katrina to Vietnam or any other major disaster or so called war.

“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 abridgments of their happiness for no good reason at all.”

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By garth, October 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Forgiveness:

“You are exactly the kind of person who makes people feel like “the other”.  For that you should be ashamed. Maybe your god will forgive you….”

I guess the implication is that Joan will need to look to God for forgiveness because it ain’t coming from the man in the hat.

A friend of mine Herb Goldberg, visited Austria several years ago and he returned crestfallen.  He was mistreated in a square in Vienna by a tall,  mean looking Austrian policeman.  He attributed the mistreatment to his looking Jewish.

He was really hurt, as in wounded innocence. 

But he got over it.

I am sure the pain runs deep.  When you get to forgiveness, let me know.  I’d like to find out what follows forgiveness.

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By elisalouisa, October 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

You are too kind Maani, gentle and forbearing; traits that do not seem to be admired here and in fact might be taken as a sign of weakness, just as an apology is in certain circles. Failed wisecracks and ridicule seem to rule the board along with bully tactics concerning posts.
One must remember that this is mainly an atheist and agnostic website, Chris Hedges is one of the exceptions. Yet, without Chris Hedges this website would not be what it is.  Many come back week after week to put down Mr. Hedges and seek to criticize his brilliant manner of writing and also the content of that writing. Mr. Lee F. is one of those people.  As to Mr. Harris’s comments I say: on the contrary, it is those who believe “whose circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.” Some new atheists would pass into law that children cannot b taught religion. That is state control of your children. What a terrifying thought! Just ask Mr. Lee F. about that.  All types of believers would fight the new atheists if they were aware of this fact.
Joan, comments by word-of-mouth might go a long way as to the New Atheists and the desire of some in their group to give the state the final say as to what is taught children concerning religion.Their objective is to have the state put into law that children cannot be taught religious matter.

“Richard Dawkins, the UK’s most prominent atheist,  called on Ofsted to force faith schools to bring religious education into the national curriculum. Professor Dawkins said that the move would be the first step in ending what he calls the “wicked” practice of inculcating children with religious belief, as he steps up his campaign against religious education with a film that calls for the abolition of faith schools. Exerpt from The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

Yes, the stakes are very high.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Regarding signs and symbols related to religious connotations and such-

To be equal, there shouldn’t be any symbol of anything on public property pointing to any religion or belief or whatever…. yet look at what HAS been put up alongside these things or in their stead:

Greek, Roman and other mythological and mystical symbols… but these we say ok because they are this country’s historical heritage?

Yet we don’t consider the origins of these and how the hegemony really feel and believe in these things ( Masons and their interesting belief methods and symbol use and not forgetting to consider so many statesman have been and are members, maybe even more so committed to these type of fraternal groups as opposed to public membership in a religion )... and I think this same hegemony uses religion and the separation of people’s belief to further separate said people.

And that produces a thread like this.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

oan, October 6 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

A few thoughts regarding the Jew…First off, given your penchant to keep religion out of public view, I predict that you are the one more inclined to ask him to remove his yarmulke.
************

No, Joan, that’s not what I said and you know it!

I have NOTHING against public displays of religion.  If I did I’d want churches to remove the crosses on the top of their steeples, synagogues to remove scrolls and Hebrew lettering, and mosques to remove their crescent moons.

I just don’t want them on public property, or paid for by public money.

But that’s in keeping with your bizarre idea of what “freedom of religion” and “tolerance” means.  It seems to mean that YOU should be entitled to use public property and public funds to pay for and subsidize your majority religion.

And removing a hat as a sign of respect is a CHRISTIAN religious ritual.  That’s a historical fact.  YOU demand that it be secularized and that I should be forced to abide by it.

How is that religious freedom?  Maybe I will remove my hat.  But that’s not a mark of respect for the flag or the national anthem (both quasi-religious symbols). It’s merely out of intimidation.  These have NO meaning on how I feel about my country, or my love of it, and its Constitution (which says I should be free of such forced rituals).

You are exactly the kind of person who makes people feel like “the other”.  For that you should be ashamed. Maybe your god will forgive you….

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By Leefeller, October 6, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Attacking Sam Harris for speaking the obvious seems most pretentious and condescending Manni! Read Harris the Hack below (Manni attaking everyone for who they are instead of what they said, seems very weak).

Leefeller, sinking his teeth into reality, Harris’s comment below seems most profound in the obvious, something that sounds like the truth, must be a switch to some here?

“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.”

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By Maani, October 6, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

She:

“I would not deny that there are those, many many, who have deep emotional need for a perceived spirituality as these many have a paucity of it in their soul (mind).  Religion is one way to assuage and fulfill that desperate need.”

“Desperate?”  This is just about as presumptive, insulting and dismissive as anything you have ever said.  To simply broad-brush most believers as “desperate” is beneath what I know to be your level of knowledge and understanding.

“It is far better to be moral to one’s fellow man because one has come to see it from their own rationality than to be coerced by the dogma of a religion.”

But no one - not even Harris, the self-proclaimed neuroscientist-philosopher - has shown that there is any relationship between “rationality” and “morality.”  Indeed, it is the LACK of any such connection that weakens the atheist position.  As for “coerced by the dogma,” have you considered that many believers are not “coerced” but simply “convinced?”

“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature part of nature.”  You misattribute this to Sagan.  It was Emmett F. Fields.

“Religionists are retarded to recognize the degree to which their religious faith perpetuates man’s inhumanity to man.”

As I have shown repeatedly on many threads here, man’s inhumanity to man was shown in far greater depth via atheists like Stalin, Lenin, Mao et al than via religion - even given all the holy wars, Crusades, inquisitions, etc.

“There can never be, there is no possibility of, Christians respect for the beliefs of non-Christians, exactly as the Muslims and Jewish believe…”

Hmmm…I am a Christian who respects the beliefs of others, and sees no need to for the disdain or denigration of others’ beliefs.  And I know hundreds - no, thousands - of Christians who feel likewise.  And I know plenty of Jews and Muslims who also think likewise.  The common trap you fall into is thinking that simply because every religion is “exclusivist” to one degree or another that this absolutely necessitates a “confrontational” or “combative” attitude between them.  It does not.

“...and only a complete conversion of the entire world will satisfy the basic militancy of these three Abrahamic religions.”

This is just silly.  Although SOME Muslims do feel it necessary to create a global caliphate - and will go to “militant” lengths to do so, it is ridiculous to suggest that either Jews or Christians engage in “militant” evangelizing or conversion.

You are really losing your grip on the subject here, and allowing your emotions to cloud your otherwise admirable logic and common sense.

Peace.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

SheWoman….?

You said… that someone said something once somewhere… something that you personally believe to be gospel:

“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature part of nature.”

Last bit that the author omitted was:

“‘Atheism is more than just the ‘idea’ that gods do not exist, and ‘the idea’ that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively,....fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature ‘while always missing the main ingredient.. which is currently being called dark matter/energy.’”

That is what the author may have wanted to say…. but in their “attitude” of the world ( words are very important aren’t they? ) keeps them from having a ‘humble’ attitude, much like those children you used to teach ( hope they are ok )...

Do you drink early in the morning?; your rantings are getting better / worse. 

Sure i’d like to share a drink with all persons found herein, even you SheDevil wink ( I say that playfully, but surely you will respond with quite the picturesque comeback ).

Oh yeah, love it when you said THAT particular thought was your ‘original’ thought…. what is the fallacious definition of that fallacy? 

How can you respond with your supposed certainties and then say something like that?

And you desire proofs and references?

Look at your life, and look at what you’ve read in them there scriptures… for there is your proof.. for your life like mine is defined therein, now whether it will be blessings or curses, that is actually up to YOU! 

For history and its authors had tried VEHEMENTLY to cover-up Jesus and His Words… and have failed.. for people like me are the proof that LOVE exists and we can tolerate people like you… not because I’d like to, but because I see the bigger picture.

So it is no use to bring up things you’ll quickly say you already heard about and have debunked.. where in fact it was some other ‘know it all’ who had convinced themselves, and further have convince you.

It is beyond belief with me… or knowing… for I have seen.  Yet that cannot be proved… it was for my eyes only…. to keep me from further doubt.. yet I have seen.

God is Gracious… you should try him out some time.

He responds to your doubts and logic better than me… and even Maani 8^)

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

ITW,

A few thoughts regarding the Jew…First off, given your penchant to keep religion out of public view, I predict that you are the one more inclined to ask him to remove his yarmulke.
Second, were this Jew kosher keeping and were eating ham and cheese his only means to avoid starvation , damn straight I would pressure him to eat it and be thankful it was there to save his life. I would remind him of the Law of Moses…Yahweh’s command against killing, himself here . I would remind that a well respected rabbi , Jesu ben Joussef, counseled that the law was made for man and the man was not made for the law. To me saving his life is more to me than observing that particular law.  Otherwise, what do I care about his menu, pray tell?

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

You really are childish, Nappie dear.  Everyone knows I am a woman,
it has been said enough on Truthdig. How old did you say you were? 
What are we going to do with you.  You remind me of the little
kiddies in elementary school, so long ago that I taught.  Always
on the defensive by becoming offensive attacking the other kids and
applying pathetic little epithets that betrays your infantile mindset. 
But this adult always saw into their strategy.. and yours.  It is all right
when the religionists attack atheists but when atheist illustrate their
insanities it is not all right, right?  Offering to drink with everybody
after inviting Joan to a drink was rather hilarious.  You are sooo silly. 
If you want to have an adult discussion then please provide verifiable
evidence of what you present instead of your opinions or quotes from
the bible.  And act like an adult!  And use the quotes but explain them
in your own words to demonstrate your understanding of what they
mean.  Otherwise as I said, you are a religious babble dabbler.

And if I should miss that and am told about it, I provide them post
haste.  Otherwise don’t bother me or berate what I say since I always
provide references.

So you liked my statement did you? “Eventually these religions will have
their end of days and come to ultimate violent conflict to decide which
will prevail and earn heaven.”  I thought it was good myself.  LOL It is
my own original thought quoting myself.  More LOLs S imply because I
read the bible does not mean I believe it.  I read the Qur’an and the
Upanishads also.  Your logic is as faulty as you are your posts.

More on atheists:  More quotes:  Since he is the atheist du jour here’s
another one from that sage, Carl Sagan:

“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and
that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a
frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always
trying to understand all things as a part of nature part of nature.”

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

Maani - I posted too quickly, I see you added my limiting the Sagan
quote, as you said I left out the other half of his statement: “But
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”  I actually wrote that
on another forum, After Religion Fizzles.  Not recalling the exact source,
I must have seen Sagan’s entire quote at one time or another.  I may
have inadvertently left it off here, but I completely agree with it as
shown on the other forum.  Good of you to bring it up again! And good
to be reminded from where it came.  That Sagan was quite the atheist
mensch.  I have lots of other quotes from him that I now will post for
your enjoyment…and advise!  LOL

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

My love of drinking now….

Any little bit of info, of nuance of ANYTHING folks will throw back at you ( lesson reminding me again this morning ).

Ever heard of ‘figures of speech?’

I’m not trying to win here, ShePerson.

Just sharing, you can ‘believe’ to be the winner, the best debater, have all the aces in the hole and have read all the other non-believers and their embittered perceptions of those who hope, believe and love.

You win SweetPea!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

SheWoman:

“Eventually these religions will have their end of days and come to ultimate violent conflict to decide which will prevail and earn heaven.”

So you DO BELIEVE the bible after all?

And again, it is clear for all to see you may be bitter for things which have happened in your life, how mass religion has hindered you.. but do you really need to attack me personally?  Sure, I’m all those things and more… but of course you are not, right?  You seem to possess complete sober judgment over EVERYTHING that comes across your desk, huh?  And you seem to know yourself so well that you couldn’t possible be wrong in ANYTHING you expound… allow me to remove myself from thy presence, my lady.. jeez.

Whatever Sheeeee…. seems like instead of having an adult discourse regarding this article’s topic, you still come back with childish insults… as if that would diminish me or hurt me… ha. I hurt you with my words on some posts ago and got under your skin, and I wish to not have done that nor wish to do that anymore… so why tempt me and set yourself up… you that bored? 

I thought we were working towards a collective end?  Are we going to allow our differences, even spiritual or what have you, to dis-unify us further?

Might as well throw in the towel now, for it is this same type of bickering and impotence Hedges talks about when referring to thinkers.

Another story about the hats at the Games of Mass Distraction where all of Caesar’s chattel come and feast on distraction and mass think…. those folks do NOT represent a Christ as a whole, that scene represents what Rome has done to us…  Just as I alone do not represent Christ…. I hope to represent a toe or fingernail… if I can desire such a thing… So don’t judge scripture, God, Christ by the likes of me or those yahoos at your sporting distractions folks…. what logic is in that?

Yes, these events and industry, they are called comforts, signs of prosperity by some, but to others those are simply tools to render the masses ineffective and docile… entertained it is called. ( remember Caesar would put on games to deter his chattel from realizing their dire state of affairs.. and would throw free bread ( welfare ).

Fights break out there too because it is ONE side or team against another…. just like politics, almost like religion… but surely the duality and one winner, one loser is present there… seems like chattel cannot break away from a ‘one’ or the other choice… or so they’ve been conditioned to think so.

Nor can folks differentiate from a rowdy crowd at a ‘fun’ place to a political discussion about sensitive topics… night and day folks.. but yeah, guess I must have been that guy yelling to remove the cap..

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

Sorry, Maani, I am not familiar with the Carl Sagan you quote.  Can
you point to where he said that?  But if my sentiments are similar,
then horray for me!  Thank you, for I can add that to my lexicon of fine
minds that agree with me.

I do agree with Richard Feynman, one of my idols, however, who said,
“...I don`t have to know all the answers. I don`t feel frightened by being
lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose — which is the
way it really is, as far as I can tell. It doesn`t frighten me.”  Nor does it
frighten me that I might die and not know the fake comfort of an invented
god’s grace or forbidden entry to some mythological heaven.

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Again to Napolean DoneHisPart,
post at October 6 at 12:13 pm
Guinness all around..
I’d really love to sit down with ALL of you / us and have some
drinks one day… celebrate LIFE and both our differences and
similarities….”
 

NAPOLEAN!  You have expanded your love of drinking from Joan to ALL
of us?  Now elisalouisa, don’t you think Nappie is a bit more in love
with the drink than Leefeller?  LOL

I would not deny that there are those, many many, who have deep
emotional need for a perceived spirituality as these many have a paucity
of it in their soul (mind).  Religion is one way to assuage and fulfill that
desperate need.  I would say, however, that the human mind that has
evolved to a more quintessential degree, does not need the infantile
reassuring shroud of a religion. It is far better to be moral to one’s
fellow man because one has come to see it from their own rationality
than to be coerced by the dogma of a religion.  If you say it is not the
religion that makes the religionists moral then I would ask then what
use is it to have a religion then?  If it is merely to love God and to make
him happy then no outreach to convince others is necessary and
superfluous to religion.  Either way, both, then religionists and atheists,
are moral human beings.

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By Maani, October 6, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

She:

“Atheism is the tenacious conviction towards the most elementary principle of intellectual honesty, it is nothing more than that. It is this principle of mindful integrity that is absent from the fanatical religionists. This is the principle that one’s stated certainty is obliged to be proportional to substantiation: The more evidential support, the more belief is justified. Without an available body of facts, belief is not justified.”

You are paraphrasing Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”  And you are correct in doing so.  However, as so many others do, you leave out the other half of his statement: “But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Leefeller:

“Of course Sam Harris invokes fear into the complacent world of ignorance.  Truth of fact has a way of doing that.”

Would that it were so.  Harris is a neuroscientist who thinks that just because he is (allegedly) “learned,” and has a degree in a “science,” he is therefore qualified (moreso than you or She or me or Joan et al) to speak on matters of history, religion, morality, etc.  Poppycock.

Harris is guilty of the very same thing of which he accuses believers: extremist fundamentalism.  Except his is of the atheist variety.  Note that I have formally offered to publicly debate him - three times - and he has refused every offer.

As I noted in another thread, I debated Victor Stenger (often referred to as the fifth member of the New Atheists, he wrote “God: The Failed Hypothesis”) a few years ago, and he was unable to refute my comments about the creation of the universe (one of the two topics of his talk prior to the debate).

As I also noted in the other thread, the “New Atheists” have become their own worst enemies. Harris is a shamelessly self-promoting hack - even the other members of the New Atheists will have little to do with him.  Hitchens’ “God is Not Great” is so full of historical, logical and factual holes you could drive a truck through it.  As for Richard Dawkins, even many of his own colleagues in the scientific community have castigated him for his radicalism, some of them saying he is actually having an ADVERSE effect on science and science education.  (And this has been reported in the mainstream press in Britain.)

If you are relying on the “New Atheists” to bring “enlightenment” to the world - much less to change hearts and minds - you are backing the wrong horse.  Because if your goal is truly to educate people (read “believers”) in the hope that, at very least, they will accept science and scientific thinking (even if they do not give up their faith by doing so), you don’t do it by alienating them with insult, disdain, condescension and dismissiveness.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, October 6, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

It seems most ludicrous for one to believe in superstitions, myths and fiction as truths, especially to one who does not buy into the horse and pony show. The certainty of delusions can expect or demand all it want, but does not warrant acceptance based on fallacious stories.

“I see is habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world is suffering.”

Thank you again Bertrand Russell!

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By garth, October 6, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

ITW

Sounds like you want to live in country where you are free to wear a hat.

Many years ago, a manager I worked for asked me what I planned to do with my life.  I glibly said I’d like to retire early and move to the woods of NH and dive a pickup truck and we’re a red flannel shirt.  He said, “Sounds like your dreams are to wear shirts.”

I agree with you.  I went to Red Sox opener about 15 years ago and in the pre-game festivities I allowed myself to be over-served.  I don’t usually don a baseball cap but on this day I did. 

The national Anthem started and we all stood.  A group of voices from behind me started yelling, “Take off the hat.”  I forgot that I had my hat on until some friends with me pointed to the hat on me head, dontcha know.

I felt like you did.  I didn’t want any ruffians telling me what to do, but disgression being the better part of valor, I took off the cap.

It might’ve been my right, maybe not.  But I did not want to run into these people in the parking lot.  And they do lie in wait.  That’s what they do.

I so I gave up my right to wear a hat.

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

You are arrogant to assume because one is atheist one has not
read nor knows the Bible.  That makes you full of pious merde,
Napolean…  You can quote all the lines and verses you wish but
unless you remark on each one to show your understanding of
them makes you a religious dilettante.  The religionists on this
forum only give the outer appearance of knowing the Christian
religion they profess to practice.

As for the Truthdig forum at
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080511_render_unto_darwin_t
hat_which_is_darwins#
Do see the last posts of Shenonymous, August 9, 2008 at 12:38am,
and August 7, 2008 at 12:30am and I do appreciate the opportunity to
dredge them up once again as they still hold firm!

More about atheist beliefs:  Religionists are retarded to recognize the
degree to which their religious faith perpetuates man’s inhumanity to
man.  Two myths keeps their faith out of the realm of rational review: 
most believe that there some good people get from religious faith, that
is a sense of community, “ethical” behavior, perhaps an experience of
the supernatural they cannot achieve otherwise.  This I find
reprehensible and the reason for the horrid behavior one man or
woman commits on others. 

The second myth is that the terrible things done in the name of a god,
that is, religion, are not the result of faith but because of human base
nature, such as the emotion of greed, hatreds, and fears and that
religion is the right or only prescription. 

These two distortions of the truth prevent intelligence from overtaking
religious mental derangement.  There can never be, there is no
possibility of, Christians respect for the beliefs of non-Christians,
exactly as the Muslims and Jewish believe and only a complete
conversion of the entire world will satisfy the basic militancy of these
three Abrahamic religions.  Eventually these religions will have their
end of days and come to ultimate violent conflict to decide which will
prevail and earn heaven.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Guinness all around..

I’d really love to sit down with ALL of you / us and have some drinks one day… celebrate LIFE and both our differences and similarities….

Life is too short to NOT try and get along with others and learn to love them…. for LOVE is the final solution.  They should put that word LOVE into that “Final Solutions Act” as a REAL solution.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

typo-  do I agree with EVERY WORD ( of Joan’s )... it should read.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 6, 2010 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

We keep attacking each other without merit of who the individual is behind the screen.

I thought Joan’s comment was direct from HER, not her trying to sound eloquent or bombastic or ‘learned’ like WE ALL TRY AT TIMES, don’t we?

Do I agree like a shill with EVERY WORD? Of course not, I do have a conscience and brain that functions often enough.

After studying the Word, I didn’t see the need or purpose behind celebrating holidays ( which are more $$ makers for businesses and $$ losers for consumers ).. I mostly only celebrate birthdays because I think people are most important on this planet, before animals and before money of course….

Some atheists on here ( which I’d like to think as of ‘yet to realize their reality, their nature and their existence ) are too apt to pigeon-hole all believers or otherwise.

I see and read the same arguments which come from places of ignorance of the ‘other side’s argument’ for the simple reason that the Word of God has been maligned, and also those who pursue its adherence FAIL MISERABLY…. thus the need for grace…. we DESIRE AND ATTEMPT TO be like the Christ, but fail for that is perfect and we are imperfect ( except maybe for some scholars on here who have already supposedly arrived at ‘zen’ or ‘nirvana’ or whatever ).

You err for you know NOT the scriptures.

We are ALL models of hypocrisy folks!

Thus the need to focus on the perfect model..

You want to describe the mechanics of a widget by simply observing from the outside, from reading what critics have said, and then discuss what it inside and you haven’t a clue ( you haven’t seen the blueprints, nor spoken to the designer, but you state to already know what it is made of ).

How ridiculous!

Oh one more:

Jesus, the Christ ( or Yeshua or Yaoushua or…. )

Came to ABOLISH THE LAW by FULFILLING IT in his time, in his person… for NO ONE was able to fulfill the law and live up to EVERY single command ( all before him failed and fell short, like we do today ).

No need for hats and all that stuff… John 4:19-26

19"Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

SO FOLKS!  Whether you wear the yamaka or kippah or the high hat or not… Jesus wants you to be REAL AND HONEST about what is going on INSIDE… not the outer appearance or if you LOOK like you are good or a good believer or whatever…..

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By elisalouisa, October 6, 2010 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Shedding your need to establish your superiority through writing She would make your posts more readable. K.I.S.S. Just as all Christians are not similar in their beliefs so it is true of the atheists; the New Atheists are a separate breed, also referred to by some as the secular movement. Some atheists are tolerant, some are not.
See links below:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080511_render_unto_darwin_that_which_is_darwins
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070523_chris_hedges_i_dont_believe_in_atheists
http://www.alternet.org/rights/80449

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By Joan, October 6, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

ITW.

Me… wanting a Jew to remove his yarmulke and eat ham? Many Jews do, as a matter of fact, eat ham, that is and love to go to Christmas parties. Your comments, ITW, are just more myth based prejudice that many feed on to despise those who have a different view, a typical maneuver of some atheists against the faith- based.

You also deflect from points hard to address.

Down to business…You are the hate based American I fear…the one who hides his prejudice behind “intellectual” enlightenment and reverts to narcissism for spiritual direction and political values. 

Here is more accurate info about me. I really embrace religious freedom, the freedom to express religion. I oppose the restriction of religion to religious zones, so to speak, because it is an infringement on my freedom of religious expression. We have a menorah next to our town tree. And we gather as neighbors to light that tree, Christians, Jews whoever…it fosters a sense of brotherhood and hope for good in this world, something the new world order envisioned by atheists lacks.

You being an atheist, agnostic or a hobbit is no skin off my back. I am not going around whining about you or trying to relegate you to some closet or keep you out of view because the sight of you is offensive to me. You have a right to your own opinion but no right to prevent me from expressing mine, even if it is in the form of a Christmas tree. This is religious tolerance in action. That’s America…the America you will not salute but will feed daily from its bounteous trough. And a Christmas tree in the town square is not a matter of anyone suffering but the intolerant among us. The trees are rather beautiful and spiritually uplifting in their beauty alone. 

As for you doffing your hat during the POA, etc…here’s my point…I expect anyone lucid enough to post on this blog to be world- wise enough to comprehend in the grand global scheme of life, that America has not failed because it is not perfect. America will never be perfect. A man doffing his hat during the POA or whatever at Giant’s Stadium is a grand show of formal respect and recognition for the great things America has achieved and from which we, you, benefit daily. The luxury you have to afford the extravagance of those tickets to Giants’ Stadium and still put food on your table is a testament to America’s success and the good life you live here. But you deliberately go out of your way to irritate others and show open disrespect to those around you. You’re free to do it but it strikes me as narcissistic, hypocritical and selfish, simply bad manners. Don’t wear a hat.

My tax dollars go to many things I oppose and Christmas trees are what you complain about?  You’re fragile, my son. 

Napolean…I am very partial to Guinness… and thank you for your kind words and thoughts and you too elisalouisa….

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By Leefeller, October 6, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

My computer has been smitten by Santa Claus! My video card seems to have gone to religiosity and one sees on the screen a filtered fuzzy incomprehensibility most hard to decipher.

Of course Sam Harris invokes fear into the complacent world of ignorance. Truth of fact has a way of doing that. It is like sobering a drunk!Religious Fawning over a deluded world of illusions, seems so sad, when reality has much more to offer and I am being nice!

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By Leefeller, October 6, 2010 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Hitchens comment; “Religion poisons everything” at first seems overly stated, but after reading Harris and Bertrand Russel, I believe Hitchens is just more pointed.

“The question of the truth of religion is one thing, but the question of its usefulness is another. I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are not true.”

Bertrand Russel

An Atheist should no more have to listen to e alleged fiction of reltion then they should have to argue agasint the reality of Santa Claus!

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By Shenonymous, October 6, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa, October 6 at 2:10 am
and the prevarications of October 6 at 9:04 am
“This certainly would be a step toward teaching tolerance and
not just to our children.”

Would that tolerance include teaching to be tolerant of atheists? 

Intruding back after reading the latest malignant doctrinaire comments,
depending on the peculiar beliefs of a specific religion, if a person
really believes that covering, or uncovering, one’s head is a symbol of
respect for God and that act is important enough to determine the
difference between everlasting happiness and perpetual suffering, then
to treat heretics and unbelievers gruesomely atrocious becomes
justified. Zealous believers may even think it is decidedly reasonable to
kill them. Such is the belief of lunatic religionists.

Furthermore, about atheism: as the most vivid description of religious
skepticism, atheism is the tenacious conviction towards the most
elementary principle of intellectual honesty, it is nothing more than
that. It is this principle of mindful integrity that is absent from the
fanatical religionists. This is the principle that one’s stated certainty is
obliged to be proportional to substantiation: The more evidential
support, the more belief is justified. Without an available body of facts,
belief is not justified. It is as simple as that. Claims of certainty when
one really is without verifiable knowledge, that is, acting as if certain
about canons of belief for which no evidence is even conceivable or
offered as truth, is intellectually and importantly a profound moral
defect.  It is the atheist who uniquely has realized this. The atheist is
merely a person who has seen into the fictions, the inventions, the
exaggerations, and the falsehoods of religion and will not make them
his or her own.  For this the atheist is excoriated, denigrated, and given
bodily harm by those who profess to be followers of Christ, the
representative of infinite grace and kindness.  These pretenders are the
models of hypocrisy. 

The accusations on this forum about atheists and atheism is not only
ludicrous and asinine they are stupid.  It is the stupid who have some
glimmer of their own stupidity who makes the worst accusations and
exhibits the worst and fitful intolerance.  It is their purgatory.

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By elisalouisa, October 6, 2010 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

The rabid intolerance of the “new” atheists such as Sam Harris gives much reason to be fearful. If some in this new secular movement had their way religious teaching would not be allowed in any schools, private or public. Hitler also wanted the children. This indeed is fanatic intolerance determined to wipe out any religious concept, not just Christian. I suspect one of your motives for joining in this discussion Joan is to counteract such intolerance which, if you check this thread, becomes evident in the posts of one who believes himself to be a comic. Thanks for participating in this ever ongoing battle.

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

Joan Have your read Chris Hedges’ latest column “March to Nowhere”? You might find it interesting. Concerning our tax dollars and the holiday season, I would be in favor of helping the three major religions have a display during the holiday season. This certainly would be a step toward teaching tolerance and not
just to our children.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

The blind dogma of the Pious seems stifling to people who disagree or do not have a dog,  for the certainty of ignorance warrants nothing other than a raised eyebrow.

ITW; you may want to check out the New Harris article http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/200512_an_atheist_manifesto/#

Folks, it has been fun when it was not so ugly!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Joan,
You are exactly the kind of jingoist that we have to fight in this country.

I’ll bet if you saw an Orthodox Jew keeping his yarmulke on during the National Anthem you’d tell HIM to take the damn thing off!  And then you’d tell him to eat a ham’n'cheese sandwich and be thankful for the food.

You are EXACTLY the kind of person I was telling Maani about who thinks you have a God-given RIGHT to shove your “Christian” beliefs and rituals down my throat—and expect ME to pay for them too! 
“Thank you, Sir. Can I have another?”  Not me!

You can display your Christmas trees on any piece of private property you want, as long as the owner says “OK”.  Houses, churches, stores, private schools, and I’ll fight for your right to do it.

But not on public property and certainly NOT paid for with MY tax dollars!

You are the paradigm of “Christian” xeno-centrism.

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By elisalouisa, October 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Concerning religious decorations during the holiday season, it might be more proper if all major religions were represented; Christians, Jews, Muslims, evens atheists. Thus you could have a beautiful Christmas tree, a stately Menorah, the symbolic Crescent and an empty space perhaps like a sand box. grin

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Joan @ October 5 at 9:19 pm

No offense, but I wanted to buy you a beer after reading that one… great historical perspective on the inalienable rights… God is surely in control!

Where is today’s Jefferson?  Or ten or a thousand of them, ready to revamp our tired halls of justice filled with greedy vipers feeding off our efforts and deciding what is best for us…

What is best for this country HAS ALREADY BEEN STATED, SIGNED AND SEALED…. in that Constitution!

Everything since then has been predominantly bollocks aside from the obvious milestones of further attempted equality out of fear of recourse the forefather’s sins of chattel slavery… now morphed into an economic slavery.

Good point with the fear too…. so true, thanks Joan.

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By Joan, October 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Inherit the wind…

Christ Jesus, man, you have Christmas trees in the public square! and should remove your hat to show respect for the great nation you have had the good fortune to reside in during the luxury of a major league sport event!  How did you ever survive it?

Here’s a thought to ponder…you are safer living in a Christian dominated country in the year of our Lord, 2010, than in any other country, particularly one run by atheists as the history of the past century unequivocally reveals.

More to ponder. Jefferson brought us a mission statement for a new nation never used before but in the bloody makings for centuries. “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” 

Any Christian knows this ideology of equality is taken from the seminal precept of Christian thought.

All evidence throughout history to the contrary, a history that brutally shows men are clearly not equal, Jefferson, a very astute political philosopher has to sell this political lunacy based on equality of men to the more powerful.  So, Jefferson, our hero, comes up with this idea… All men are created equal in virtue of being made by God (This thinking has Christianity written all over it). Jefferson sells the idea to his fellow rebels because after all, if God made us all, we are equally his children, and because God gives the rights to each of us, no other ruler can overrule God and rescind our rights on their majestic whim like some pansy–ass King of England. 

Next the rebels bang out an action plan to insure these hard won, God-given rights are not usurped. We have come to call this action plan the Constitution of the United States of America.

So, ITW…take off your damn hat at the next ball game during the POA or whatever and thank a Christian for their beliefs because without that appeal to Christian thought by Jefferson, not a devout Christian in any traditional sense of the word…it bears repeating…without that strategic appeal to God as the unchallengable source of man’s equality, only God knows how we would be living in the year of our Lord, 2010, or whether the rest of the world would ever have heard of the term ‘human rights’.

Here’s my conclusion about the rabid intolerance of many atheists…If one will not tolerate God, not tolerating anyone or anything else comes very easy.

Why not tolerate God?

I believe it was Elisalouisa, a few pages earlier, who noted that the philosopher Thomas Nagel spoke about the fear of accepting God. Nagel’s right. It’s fear.  The minute we accept God’s existence, we are no longer gods and we rather like being gods, calling all the shots, knowing everything, accounting to no one, conjuring up our non-moralities that have the glorious ability to shape shift for our convenience, permitting our current whims, no matter how heinous like partial birth abortions…rather than us having to abide in lasting/irritating commands from an immovable God.  It’s mighty appealing to go that route. 


This takes the cake, though…Public funded Christmas trees upset your delicate equilibrium, huh, ITW?  I believe I should envy you your life that gives such luxury.

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By elisalouisa, October 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Quoting seems to be in style on these threads. Were the posts below intended to be humorous? From the weefeller.

Maybe for the Pious; either hypocritical or not, .....covering each others ass is part of turning both cheeks?

Feeling like a doormat and not really liking it? Seems uncomfortable and hurtful and unpleasant . . . .

Sanctimonious seems most adequately defined, when accredited to the Pious for hypocrisy seems a leading word when the pure as the driven snow Pious say Heretics are going to be the devils dishrag, ...................So which are you?
...... a bad mannered enlightened dishrag .....or a Sanctimonious Pious human doormat

In the eyes of non believers it seems very possible to label the devout in all their deceptions, piousness and meanderings as believers of something which does not exist as Sanctimonious, maybe with a few exceptions like Mother Tressa, elisalouisa and Sarha Palin for their pure, pureness! Disallowing of course for any snide remarks and any hints of dogma.

So for the believers it seems absolute truth, for the enlightened free thinker it seems like a huge pile of horse pucky,.

We know this can never happen because their is tax free money in those there churches and little children’s bodies and minds to be sodomized, by the self righteous!

Of course I like to make mischief, all in demented fun I assure you and in good taste of course. As for sinking me teeth into anything; those large tasty sanctimonious bulls eye Pious on a spit, .......turning cheeks seem to do nicely
**********
Enough said.

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By Joan, October 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous

Please quiet your thoughts for a few seconds and just take in mine for a few seconds. I have said something very simple.

“I’m as much Yahwehist as I am a Christian, believing in the OT God who smotes His enemies as much as His NT messenger, Jesus, who counsels us to be courteous and patient even with the world’s self-made moronic.  Yahweh understands some of His errant children who for all His efforts are so inexplicably and immorally recalcitrant that they deserve nothing less than some good old- fashioned divine retribution. “

Explanation: Yahweh of the OT took His enemies to task. He was not much of a turn the other cheek guy juxtaposed against His NT emissary Jesus who was.  I am saying that I am sympathetic to Yahweh’s notions of divine justice at times too. Yahweh’s willingness to raise His Hand seems to be one of the clearest contrasts between Himself and the Christ who did not raise his hand.

RE: head coverings at religious rituals…it has been a Christian tradition for men to remove hats and women to cover their heads for religious services.  Paul mandated it, believing that women should cover their hair, a sexual distraction. (1 Corinthians 11:21vs. 4-9 )

This custom was practiced in Catholic Churches until Vatican II. It is no longer enforced.
Whether this is the basis for removing hats during burials, the POA and singing the anthem, I do not know. Men also removed hats in the presence of ladies back in the day when women were ladies and when they entered a home as a show of courtesy.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2010 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Actually, it is not a Christian ritual.  But even if it were, why do you feel it “pushes” you to comply? Have you seen any “Christian police” who tell you to do so?  I don’t even STAND for the POA, much less take off my baseball cap.  And I don’t give one whit what anyone else thinks about it.
*****************************

When I say “push” me to comply, I mean it LITERALLY!  I’ve had guys poke me at football games to tell me to take off my hat! At the NY Jets in Giant Stadium!

But, as usual, Maani, I find you the most thoughtful of the faithful on this thread.  But as you have seen, Atheists and Agnostics are painted with VERY broad brushes and lumped together just as well.

She,

I’m not sure where you got this information on Yahweh and YHWH, but the Jewish tradition is that YHWH is due to Hebrew not using vowels, and the oral tradition of how this is pronounced has been lost, so Yahweh is merely an approximation of how you could pronounce YWHW.

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By garth, October 5, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, October 5 at 8:28 am Link to this comment


Angry?

Do you have any idea how many ways Christians casually force their beliefs into our lives? Whether it’s declaring Christmas a national holiday,
——————————————————————-

Do you have any idea how many Chinese restaurant workers have work on Christmas Day because of you?

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By Maani, October 5, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

ITW:

“Angry?  Do you have any idea how many ways Christians casually force their beliefs into our lives? Whether it’s declaring Christmas a national holiday, and using tax money to put up Christmas trees, or teaching our kids that ‘World History’ is the history of Christian Europe (who learned Muslim history before college?) to the absurd and insane assertion that Christians are discriminated and under attack in America, the fundamental premise is that America IS a Christian nation.  Even as honorable people seek to deny it and truly glory in their tolerance (I’m not being sarcastic), they don’t realize just how pervasive and invasive Christianity is.”

Actually, many of us do.  And many Christians agree with everything you said above.  Which is why the fault with most atheists and agnostics is that they simply lump every single Christian together, seeing no differences between them, and thus insulting and alienating potential “allies.”  My “problem” with the athiests and agnostics here is not their positions or viewpoints or lack of belief, it is their knee-jerk broad-brush generalizing of Christianity, and the ensuing way in which they treat, speak to and deal with Christians (and other believers).

“For example: When they play the National Anthem everyone stands and the men bare their heads.  This is seen as a mark of respect, but it is a CHRISTIAN ritual, and directly contradicts the Jewish ritual of keeping ones head covered. So? What’s the big deal? The big deal is that it is one of the thousands of ways that Christianity has permeated our lives and that pushes non-Christians to comply.”

Actually, it is not a Christian ritual.  But even if it were, why do you feel it “pushes” you to comply? Have you seen any “Christian police” who tell you to do so?  I don’t even STAND for the POA, much less take off my baseball cap.  And I don’t give one whit what anyone else thinks about it.

“My anger comes from Christians failing to realize and denying that this happens.  And, of course, there are those who insist it’s a Good Thing, that America was founded as a Christian nation.”

You are correct that we were not founded as a Christian nation, as the founders were largely deists and theists, not “Christians” (though there were a few).  However, we have since become a “Christian nation” in as much as the vast majority of the population is Christian.  Obviously, that does not mean that they have the right to impose their morality (or lack thereof…) on others, and there is no excuse for that.  But to suggest that we are not, at this time, a “Christian nation” is to ignore the facts.

She:

“The difference, Maani, is between professional and an uncredentialed sort of professional.”

First, a divinity degree is a credential, accepted by the State Board of Regents, which regulates the ability of a seminary or Bible College to confer degrees - which includes what goes into getting that degree.  The SBOR would very quickly pull its accreditation from any educational venue that did not provide the requisite training in the relevant fields, including psychology (which is part of “pastoral counseling”).

Second, the mere possession of a “credential” does not mean that someone is a good psychologist - or possibly even a very bad, maybe harmful, one.  So don’t get too caught up with “credentials.”  I know “armchair psychologists” who are leagues better As psychologists than many “credentialed” ones.

I would add that I know an even greater number of non-seminarian, non-Bible College ministers who are FAR better ministers than a good many that come out of seminaries and Bible Colleges - which are largely “cookie cutter” institutions that “mint” ministers who may or may not have an actual “calling” to ministry.

Peace.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 5, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

When someone calls your name, it gets your attention, doesn’t it?

God has many titles ( which are all to extol and worship him ) and then he has a name by which we get his attention.

To me, it is about you reaching out and connecting with that supernatural being, the one that we cannot understand… and his essence even more difficult to comprehend ( for we are fixed in a three dimensional world which science has state may be more like 5 dimensions, so one of those may be where that spirit is perhaps? ).

I too remember studying the world’s religions AND philosophy AND humanities and such in college / university… and have NOT stopped learning, reading and growing ( for school taught me HOW to learn things ) to realize that my course of study was bringing me into plurality with all others around me ( a novel notion but melting what is true, false and nonesuch all together into “all roads lead to the same place” which is absurd considering what folks believe and how they live their lives accordingly ).... and which, as I recall, would lead me faithlessness and further into doubt…

I’ve know folks go to seminary school, believing they will leave full of hope, faith and ready to boldly take on the world…. only to find their spirit hampered, their faith hurt or all together snuffed out!  And what they learn, from the study of man of another man of things of God without actually DOING what it says…. is like knowing about how to help someone.. and you don’t!  But you KNOW what can help them, but you DONT DO IT…. it stays in your head and thus you justify either believing it, disregarding it… or reading another itchy thing with will scratch that previous notion out of your mind… don’t we do that folks?  Isn’t the human experience something else?

As Jesus pointed out to the religious people of his time, they had taken what God had given them ( law, Moses, history, worship, temple ) and made their OWN religion, as it states….

It took only a short time for some early Christians to fall away from adherence to the Word and the Way and instead have created their own religion, full of pagan worship, praying to people instead of God, learning and repeating prayers which resemble druid practice more than anything actual community with God and personally bearing ones heart before Him… and this we’ve seen in MOST major religions, hijacked by state and statesman alike.

I agree, it is tough find a real Christian.  We’ve been manipulated in our minds so much by media, our conditioning effect is destroying ourselves as we destroy and devour one another.

We haven’t a clue how we’ve been instigated by media to have the thoughts and perceptions we do towards one another.. yet another high crime no one can muster its objectivity.

And now She’s feelings have been hurt because she exposed a bit about herself and some ( including myself ) have used that against her….

Sorry She, wish we could all just accept our differences and celebrate our likenesses and work towards a more peaceful resolution to the strife seen in the world.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

Watch out peaceful diatribe below;  seems the below statement, is a happy dance possibly a rectal,  showing something most beautiful and fluffy,..... does it posess self righteousness, piousness, love, compassion, reality?
I found it most touching to me heart, makes me feel shame for all my kibitzers. Especially finding my name included!


“On a rip are you SheShrill? It’s been a while and the venom has certainly built up, especially without a man to take it out on.
Look in the mirror Ms. She, take a good look and see in yourself what you hurl on to another.You and weefeller should go to counseling together.You have a man to look down on and he has what he needs, a women who gets her kicks from a man who looks up to her. No equal relationship possible here. You give the inpression She that you have been under psychiatric care for some time, to no avail. Many atheists are lost in that manner.Thus the persistent push to marginalize people who believe. Check out Carl Jung.”

Condescending Peace!

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By Shenonymous, October 5, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

The difference, Maani, is between professional and an uncredentialed
sort of professional. 

Raised a Catholic Christian with catechism studies, then a Baptist
with Bible Studies in my youth, and to provide college credit for my
reasoning, undergraduate degree in philosophy, several comparative
religion courses and other academic forms of religious and
philosophical studies, it has always appeared as extraordinary the
unbalanced attention given to ambiguity in documents used to justify
religions. More incredible is how immeasurable an amount of time has
been spent on an obsessive effort worry to “get it right.”  Single words
have generated tomes of consideration and heated argument written
about any of a number of words.  But why it occurs to me as so bizarre
is that it would seem more logical that a God, believed to be divinely
coherent, all knowing and perceptive, consistent and forseeing past,
present, and future, who wanted his people to obey his rules would
make it as simple and direct an activity as possible so that they could
spend the bulk of their time doing just that rather than the picayune
sifting and arguing over vowels and consonants.  Especially if he
wanted all those billions of people to have lived on this planet to live
and die then keep him company for eternity.  But that apparently is not
the character of the famous God.  That might be too logical.

Old Testament (Torah) Yahwehism is nonexistent. So, Joan, you are
required to explain your idiosyncratic meaning.

Like Muhammad is purported to have received the Qur’an, Genesis is
ascribed to Moses through divine inspiration.  The purpose of Moses in
composing the chapters of Genesis was to show the beginning of YHVH
(YHWH).

A bit of historical background:  The word Yahweh is derived from 4
letters, called the tetragrammaton which means a word having four
letters:  In this case “YHWH.”  From these four letters comes what is
imagined to be God’s name (as if God had to have a name!). These
letters are suppose to be unpronounceable (we have to think that was
the plan of the God who did not want to be revealed or named) and
contain no vowels, but because they will not be thwarted in their
intentions to know and have everything counter to God’s command and
covenant, even the name of God, though obviously circumvented by
God, Jewish men forced a word and that word is Yahweh, then even
more insistent, Christian men. The tetragrammaton only has meaning
for yahwehism as it applies to the Christian confabulated notion of the
Holy Trinity (God the father, Jesus the Son, and that very scary fellow,
the Holy Ghost, the good ole 1 in 3) after which a perversion of it made
as given in an earlier post. 

Reading many historians of religion, I have come to think the
scholarship of historian Geza Vermes and his conclusions about how
the Christian religion got its start, through the intention and crafted
action of Paul, makes the most sense. 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/mar/18/academicexperts.hi
ghereducationprofile
http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10691
http://www.tcpc.org/review/review.cfm?review_id=10

The relationship between YHWH and Jesus is a fascinating study and I
recommend it.  A few places…
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5048309
http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.995/article_detail.asp
http://www.yahweh.org/yahweh1.html  or do your own research.

Since this forum has devolved into pathetic petty bickering and name-
calling, and contritely inexcusable I include my own behavior, it has
become flimsy and without promise of any real dialogue and with that I
bid you all a good life and say Havana nice day, Adieu.

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By elisalouisa, October 5, 2010 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Anger or resentment?

There is a fine line concerning anger of atheists and agnostics ITW. Agnostics in a conversation about such matters are open to question and in some cases almost want to be convinced that there is a God. Resentment is more the word that describes their feelings. This is not true of the atheists I have known. There is an anger which blinds them as to the possibility that a higher source through divine intelligence may have possessed the mathematical formula, may have even been the originator of such a formula, to create our universe. It is almost as if their continual repetition of “there is no God” and the ridicule at those who believe will make it true. Their illusions carry them to a place where there can be no reconciliation with their creator.
Concerning your comment on removal of hats, it’s not uncommon to revamp some rituals when disagreement causes a group to break away from the mother branch. To my knowledge and observation followers of the Eastern Orthodox Churches when making the sign of the cross touch the right shoulder at one point, those of the Roman Catholic faith touch the left shoulder.  Small point but interesting.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2010 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

Angry?

Do you have any idea how many ways Christians casually force their beliefs into our lives? Whether it’s declaring Christmas a national holiday, and using tax money to put up Christmas trees, or teaching our kids that “World History” is the history of Christian Europe (who learned Muslim history before college?) to the absurd and insane assertion that Christians are discriminated and under attack in America, the fundamental premise is that America IS a Christian nation.  Even as honorable people seek to deny it and truly glory in their tolerance (I’m not being sarcastic), they don’t realize just how pervasive and invasive Christianity is.

For example: When they play the National Anthem everyone stands and the men bare their heads.  This is seen as a mark of respect, but it is a CHRISTIAN ritual, and directly contradicts the Jewish ritual of keeping ones head covered. 

So?  What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that it is one of the thousands of ways that Christianity has permeated our lives and that pushes non-Christians to comply.

A truly tolerant sectarian society does not do that.

My anger comes from Christians failing to realize and denying that this happens.  And, of course, there are those who insist it’s a Good Thing, that America was founded as a Christian nation.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2010 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

It seems the convictions of the religious (pious or not) is based on deluded illusions with what appears a fanatics degree of certainty.  These deluded convictions would in all likeliness not exist if truth or fact was allowed or at least at a level which evidence warranted.  Blind faith as certainty poses skeptical questions in my mind. It may be said, the certainty of the convinced believer seems deluded to the Atheist.

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By Maani, October 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

She:

“And mommies do have bosoms…”

Yes, but I “rock in the bosom of Abraham”...LOL.

“You state, Maani, you know what Gil Gaudia’s and ITW’s states of mind are and for those you have made an unprofessional assumption.”

No, I engaged in exactly the kind of “armchair psychology” that most of you tacitly supported when Gil did it to EL and me.

“Not liking it myself, I never present R&B so your remark is way off the mark. It shows how awake you are not.  LOL”

Pray tell, my sweet, what kind of music ARE you providing then?  Perhaps I am unfamiliar with its dulcet tones…LOL

“But I would say it is my opinion you show an an arid and insipid personality.”

!!  I must say, “arid” and “insipid” are words I have never heard used about me.  And I have heard PLENTY of words used about me!  LOL.

ITW:

I said: “Re ‘angry,’ there is no doubt that Gil is. I think ITW probably has a little anger in him as well. (Though he does attempt, usually successfully, to maintain a measured tone.)

You responded: “Maani: I thought you said you weren’t grouping me with the Atheists.  Now you are.
I am Agnostic.  I am not an Atheist. You seem to think like all the others…What’s the difference?”

What does your spiritual status have to do with your (possible) psycho-emotional one?  Could you not be an “angry Agnostic?”

Napoleon:

“So let’s play nice, agreed?”

Nice is good.  I always try to be nice.  I make it a point to express my opinion, and to defend it - strongly, if need be.  But I am always nice…LOL.

Peace.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

What the heck?

You ALL forgot about me in your soap opera run down!! :(

I learned my lesson when I went head-on with the Shepetapotomous, and would rather not engage in discussions which further separate otherwise synergistic, and delightfully enlightening at times, cunning and cohesively conscience communication.

So let’s play nice, agreed?

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

She:

“By the way Maani, it is only in your dreams that the atheists on this particular forum are angry.  They and I are content and calm about life, it is you who want to see our criticisms as anger.  Don’t forget I am the only one who provides music for you and everybody else.”

“They and I…”  Hmmm…didn’t you agree with the castigation of EL and me for “speaking for each other?”

Re “angry,” there is no doubt that Gil is.  I think ITW probably has a little anger in him as well.  (Though he does attempt, usually successfully, to maintain a measured tone.) 
**********************************

Maani: I thought you said you weren’t grouping me with the Atheists.  Now you are.
I am Agnostic. 
I am not an Atheist.
You seem to think like all the others…
What’s the difference?

You are a Christian. 
You are not a Muslim. 
Shall I refer to you as a Muslim?
What’s the difference to me?

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By Shenonymous, October 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

Maani -    “They and I…”  Hmmm…didn’t you agree with the
castigation of EL and me for “speaking for each other?”
 

Quite right and I retract any attribution to the other atheists on this
forum anything I said in reference to their states of mind.  If they
choose to, they certainly can speak for themselves.  “We” were however
castigated by the mindless el and Joan therefore I took it as being
thrown into a group.  It was an honest collective unlike the drivel and
dross and slobbering that goes on betwixt those of you who need the
crutches of the others.  You guys really are laughable in your
palsywalsies.  So much like frightened children.  You said it, Maani, you
have a mommie on board.  And mommies do have bosoms.  Laugh
laugh.  However, whatever I said about myself remains as I wrote. 

You state, Maani, you know what Gil Gaudia’s and ITW’s states of mind
are and for those you have made an unprofessional assumption. 

Not liking it myself, I never present R&B so your remark is way off the
mark.  It shows how awake you are not.  LOL   But I would say it is my
opinion you show an an arid and insipid personality. 

So Donald Duck believes the right-wing nut doomist Glen Beck’s hateful
hyperbole then gets to stick his thumb up his duckass, then becomes
gun violent and it is considered funny by the Christian residents of this
forum when he blasts the shit out of the magic Beck Box that really
represents the real live human being called Glen Beck.  Yup, the
ordinary mentality of the Christian effete. yeah.  Yeah, the way you
solve problems is to pick up a gun and blow the hell out of the right-
wing nuts . . . Yup, Yup, 5Yups and oh yeah.  Let’s laugh and laugh
and laugh yourselves right to your Gehenna.  Well I got more of a laugh
out of your hypocrisy. 

Well da da da datsit folks… I admit to being foolish enough to think
there was the possiblity of real and intelligent dialogue available here
but it is a vacant mental desert.  So bye bye.

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By elisalouisa, October 4, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

She: Oct. 4 at 8:14 pm

About elisa:

She:Your trench-mouth language show the quality of your life. Rarely do you or your comrades show aptitude worthy of much attention.
elisa: Must change my mouth wash. Just imagine what would happen if we showed aptitude worth of much attention.grin

She: I can see why you need some fresh air from all the smelly backdraft you are getting from the verbal farting you do on this forum.
elisa: As above so below. grin

She: It looks like you are having a bizarre religious back-slapping farting party with your comrades!
elisa: You mean it smells like. What did you say about having a trench mouth? grin

She: Remember I am Shepotamus.
elisa: Any relation to Hippo? grin 

She: Christianity attracts all kinds of perverse minds.
elisa: Who seek healing.   grin

She: it is only in your dreams that the atheists on this particular forum are angry.
elisa: This one speaks for itself. grin

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By elisalouisa, October 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Mr. GG Farewell speech: “So I have unwittingly blundered into a cesspool, and naively thinking this was a bunch of strangers commenting on a news article. . . . consider myself lucky to have escaped from the thirsty mob.”

elisa:
Especially at 5 p.m. Here’s to you Leefeller and Donald Duck grin

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By Maani, October 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Joan (to She):

“Maani, who is a seasoned bull elephant here and will remain standing until the bitter end no matter the shots fired. Mark my words.”

LOL!  But “bull elephant?”  I’m more like a cuddly old koala bear!

Joan (to She):

“Knowing that you know Maani is a minister, you pivot off my comments to Gil and take a jab at Maani, suggesting he as a self-styled psychologist dabbles with the psyches of the less fortunate. It makes him look foolish. I’d call that an assault on his integrity, an attempt to embarrass him…a failed
attempt, I might add.”

I would say “I can take care of myself,” but it seems I have mommy bear here to protect me!  LOL.  I do appreciate the support, of course.  But, as you note elsewhere, She and me (nice grammar, huh?) have a long history here, so I doubt either of us can really “damage” the other this way…LOL.

She:

“By the way Maani, it is only in your dreams that the atheists on this particular forum are angry.  They and I are content and calm about life, it is you who want to see our criticisms as anger.  Don’t forget I am the only one who provides music for you and everybody else.”

“They and I…”  Hmmm…didn’t you agree with the castigation of EL and me for “speaking for each other?”

Re “angry,” there is no doubt that Gil is.  I think ITW probably has a little anger in him as well.  (Though he does attempt, usually successfully, to maintain a measured tone.)  Leefeller is hard to figure out, but I’ll go with Joan’s assessment that he is basically the class clown - more of a “kibitzer” than an “angry young man.”  As for you, my little pretty (LOL), you seem to swing both ways (psycho-emotionally, I mean…LOL).  So you may be correct about most of those here, and I withdraw my broad-brush comment.  As for “music,” the problem is that I don’t like R&B…LOL.

Lee:

“Lets see if I can put this all together now; Gil became a physiologist because he has an informality complex according to Joan.  I on the other hand have a kibitzing problem which stems from something surely Joan will let me know what it is. Mannie believes gil is condescending among other things, which sounds condescending to me?  Elisalouisa may be crying in her chicken soup because I slashed her heart out slashing my kibitzers around!  So it seems I Leefeller, am also included in some hate monger grope excluding Inherent the Wind who is agonizedly sitting on a fence someplace reading a bible?  Did I miss anything?”

Brilliant!  Bravo!  You hit the nail squarely on your finger!  LOL.

Peace.

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Lee of Leefeller…

You got it all. That was great!!!

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Knowing that you know Maani is a minister, you pivot off my comments to Gil and take a jab at Maani, suggesting he as a self- styled psychologist dabbles with the psyches of the less fortunate. It makes him look foolish. I’d call that an assault on his integrity, an attempt to embarrass him… a failed
attempt, I might add.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

With all this arse kissing and support groupe stuff going on with each other, and the oh so great cheer leading, it has become impossible to follow who said what and what was really said.

Lets see if I can put this all together now; Gil became a physiologist because he has an informality complex according to Joan.  I on the other hand have a kibitzing problem which stems from something surely Joan will let me know what it is. Mannie believes gil is condescending among other things, which sounds condescending to me?  Elisalouisa may be crying in her chicken soup because I slashed her heart out slashing my kibitzers around!  So it seems I Leefeller, am also included in some hate monger grope excluding Inherent the Wind who is agonizedly sitting on a fence someplace reading a bible?  Did I miss anything?........ I have always had a real problem with soaps on TV,..... guess it must be me.

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

To answer your question: Do you slash?..let me just say that you are kibitzing with a former kibitzer of some talent herself.

My kibitzing had little to do with stimulating the brain and a lot to do with the desire to exert a sense of superiority. Nipping at what is closest to the heart best achieves it. I realized it hurt people who laughed but were actually… hurt…not my intent either. I gave it up.

Delivered under the guise of humor, a slash is a slash is a slash. I think you are a slasher…not all the time however.

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By Shenonymous, October 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Napolean DoneHisPart, October 4 at 10:34 am
Shenothing… why do you keep digging us this garbage?  

Hahahaha, I only trashdig from the odd assortment of religionists on
this forum.  Check your own waste matter.

FYI:  I have had and continue to have a wonderful family life with
children and everything!  Even beautiful and smart grandchildren.  I’ve
also have a wonderful academic teaching career and don’t care a whit
what you or any of your comrades think.  You appear to show only envy
anyway.  elisalouisa has a penchant for attacking people’s person with
ugly language insults, she has a long history on Truthdig doing that. 
elisalouisa you show a lame mind by being unable to provide a cogent
argument against those who disagree with the forceless opinions
attempt to impose on just everybody.  Your trench-mouth language
shows the quality of your life. Rarely do you or your comrades show
aptitude worthy of much attention.  When I look in the mirror, I always
see a fine person, worth looking at, and having had a good life.  I am
healthy, body and mind, and self-reliant.  I truly hope you and your
group in all honesty can say that. 

So glad elisalouisa that you are now using the word ‘many’ instead of
‘all.’  It shows your learning curve is not as limited as one might think. 
It is gratifying my criticism has had some effect.  Though I can see why
you need some fresh air from all the smelly backdraft you are getting
from the verbal farting you do on this forum.  LOL Course it looks like
you are having a bizarre religious back-slapping farting party with your
comrades!  How really funny. As I already said, misery loves company. 
Suggestion:  get some deoderant for the mind, it is called a bona fide
liberal education. 

Honeys you just cannot insult me enough!  Remember I am the
Shepotamus!  If you ever said anything of any import, I’d certainly be…
surprised.  By the way Maani, it is only in your dreams that the atheists
on this particular forum are angry.  They and I are content and calm
about life, it is you who want to see our criticisms as anger.  Don’t
forget I am the only one who provides music for you and everybody
else. 

Say, Joan, where have I attacked Maani?  You appear to enjoy
denigrating me.  Christianity attracts all kinds of perverse minds.

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Gil,

With respect to people becoming psychologists to keep their own fragile sanity from straying off its path, here’s the thing. First off, I appreciated your candid response. Second, I cannot speak for Maani’s choice of careers only my own. Third, it mildly annoyed me that instead of expanding on the observation you pivoted off the topic, a very interesting one, and thought it more important to take a swipe at Maani who is a seasoned bull elephant here and will remain standing until the bitter end no matter the shots fired. Mark my words. 

So for me, I say more candor, and less deflection which admittedly is a more threatening exercise.

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Re: Oct 4, 7:03

You’re just a hoot.

Somehow you are identifying those faith- based posters today with people who persecuted non- believers, whoever they may be, of yesteryear. That logic escapes me. How that translates into justifying rude behavior directed at EL or anyone else on this thread in October 2010 also escapes me.


Also, my namesake is Jeanne d’arc, Joan of Arc. After learning about her, it is my recollection that the majority of the victims of the Inquisition were believers who believed the wrong thing, not atheists. 

Tilting at windmills of your own making, are we, now? Maybe so, you merry prankster, but that’s all you’re doing which does not mitigate slashing those here who believe differently than you do. It rather puts you in the same class as the Inquisitors you rightfully condemned for their lack of tolerance.  They burned with fire; you burn with words.

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By Joan, October 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

She, 

Re: my Oct. 4 3:24 post, please note my correction.

“...I am NT Yahwehist enough…” should read “I am OT Yahwehist…” 

I apologize for any confusion that error may have caused you.

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By garth, October 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

If the commenters here are any represntation of the beliefs of Most Americans then we stand to be unconquered.

If, however, the Believers grab the top rung, then we are doomed.  From internal contradictions and human nature, evolution, the truth.

Within every argument of this sort is a falsity a contradicion that carried to utmost leads to sel destruction.

The US and Israel seem to be hell bent on ushering these beliefs to ‘our” graves.

You don’t ‘know’ and I don’t ‘know’. Logical argument is nice around tea, but this leads to serious shit. 

And you BSA’s are just that:  Full of Shit.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

ITW:

“As for your fellow religion defenders here: I am not an Atheist. I am Agnostic. There are major differences…Would you be offended it I kept referring to you both directly and obliquely as Muslims?  Yet I am respectful enough not to do so.”

If you go back over my posts, you will note that at no point did I include you in the She/Lee/Gil et al group.  So I am not sure where this is coming from.
**********************

Look at the wording carefully, Maani.  I did not include you in the group, but was referring to them.  If that wasn’t clear, I apologize, because my intent was to reference them, but not you.  I guess I should have and could have worded to more clearly show that I did NOT include you.

I did not get that from the quotes you included. It’s one of the reasons I detest the KJB: It’s written in language contemporary of Shakespeare, but without Old Will’s grace.  It’s also wildly archaic by our standards, and a TERRIBLE translation to boot.

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By Maani, October 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

ITW:

“As for your fellow religion defenders here: I am not an Atheist. I am Agnostic. There are major differences…Would you be offended it I kept referring to you both directly and obliquely as Muslims?  Yet I am respectful enough not to do so.”

If you go back over my posts, you will note that at no point did I include you in the She/Lee/Gil et al group.  So I am not sure where this is coming from.

“You’ve muddied the waters on going to heaven. Because now good works don’t mean anything.  Or do they? If they don’t then my point about being more concerned with heaven is yet again validated. Think about it: If your motive for helping someone out of pain or danger or starvation is selfish because you want to go to heaven, isn’t that STILL better than being pure in your faith, but letting them starve and/or die?”

I thought I was pretty clear here.  Works DO matter, but faith is the more important of the two, and work are to be done BY faith - which means through love, compassion, humility, etc.  Thus, if the motive is selfish (i.e., based on the hope for one’s own salvation, rather than the good of the person for whom one is engaging in the “work”), then “it abideth not.”  Certainly it is still better to do it than not do it.  But the doer would be dangerously wrong in believing that the MERE doing of it will work toward their own salvation.

Dr. G:

“So I have unwittingly blundered into a cesspool, and naively thinking this was a bunch of strangers commenting on a news article, I allowed myself to get trapped in your feces.  Well, even a brilliant psychologist can screw up, and I certainly did—not the first time in my eighty-one years either.  I’ll take a shower, fumigate the acquired stench from your association (with a few exceptions, of course) and consider myself lucky to have escaped from the thirsty mob of ‘loving,’ kindly, peaceful Christians foraging for heathens to excoriate, with nothing more than a few bruises.  Have fun all you Jesus-loving altruists, and keep up the good work spreading his loving message—it looks so good on you.”

That may be the funniest post I have ever read here!  However, I think you have it exactly backward - again because of your neophyte status here.  You say, “[I] consider myself lucky to have escaped from the thirsty mob of ‘loving,’ kindly, peaceful Christians foraging for heathens to excoriate.”

Au contraire!  TD has always and forever been a place where a “thirsty mob” of “heathens” come to “excoriate” believers.  And given that I have been posting to these boards for at LEAST five years, I know of what I speak!

I also agree with Napoleon here: “Not every 81 year old atheist is so cruel and embittered by life and doubt of their destination after death.”  Nor did I fail to note your remarkably unhumble, self-serving self-description as a “brilliant psychologist.”

If you are truly leaving, it will be a disappointment.  As I have noted, you are obviously highly intelligent, and make alot of good points.  You simply haven’t learned how to play nice in the sandbox without resorting to schoolyard sarcasm, insult and condescension.  If you were able to change your attitude and approach - by treating the believers here as fellow human beings instead of JUST believers - we might actually be able to have a real discussion and debate.

Peace.

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By garth, October 4, 2010 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

The recurring question seems to be:  Is there a God or isn’t there?

Secondarily to that question is the question: Do you believe or not?

The article was about knowledge of the Scriptures and how different groups rated on a knowledge test of the Bible.
This ituation is what mad dogs and Englishman are made for: playing tennis in the noon day Sun.

Hava nice day!

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By Leefeller, October 4, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Joan, Me kibitzsering is never aimed for the heart, which some people say is the second most important organ in the human body.  No,.....My kibitzsering sights are usually aimed slightly higher at what seems a lesser organ, and one which seems get little use in some cases,..... the well hidden area between the ears.  By the way do I slash?

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