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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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By Maani, October 2, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Napoleon:

Re abortion, I agree with you in principle, but it is possible (without cognitive dissonance) to be against abortion but “pro-choice.”

This is based on two things.

First, I believe that if there is a “price” to pay (spiritually) for abortion, that is between the woman and the God she believes in (or doesn’t believe in).  Yes, we can strongly suggest she not undergo the procedure - and we have a right, under the laws of the U.S., to protest, etc. - but it is not for us to condemn or judge her: judgment and condemnation are reserved to God.

Second, I do not believe in “legislating morality.”  That leads down the slippery slope to theocracy.  I fully believe in the separation of church and state, and although the country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles (though NOT as a Jewish or Christian country per se), we are NOT a theocracy, and thus should be VERY careful about how we deal with moral issues vis-a-vis the “law.”

Note that I do not believe you are in any way suggesting this (i.e., legislating morality, much less moving toward theocracy), but I did want to add this to the discussion.

Agape.

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By Leefeller, October 2, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Absolutist meanderings forging on without circumspection, most uninteresting. I see the potential need for John Mannie the baptist to receive his ares on a platter again, even though he never seems to notice it and Nemesis is not available right now to remind him.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 2, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

maani,

Speaking of “circumcision.”  I read somewhere that a number of Christian churches or other organizations claim to possess Jesus’ foreskin (prepuce).  What, may I ask, maani (since you seem to know so much about Jesus, his thoughts, his intentions, his plans, his penis, etc.) would be the significance of the location of that bit of protoplasm—or is it protoplasm, or some other non-matter?

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By elisalouisa, October 2, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Maani, you make many good points in your response to ITW. Such facts are not often brought out. I hope to have the time to delve into it more thoroughly later on.

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By elisalouisa, October 2, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

        You arrive at your conclusion

                excluding a very necessary component.

You Mr. G should know that some discussions lead to nothing. All the facts are not there as the unknown must also be entered into the equation. You arrive at your conclusion excluding that very necessary component, one that cannot be realized on this plane,  thus your belief is based on a false premise nullifying your assumption.

Quote from your 9/29 at 1:21 pm post

“elisalouisa, contrary to the slogan that you and your fellow Christians have popularized in recent years with your baseball caps, tee shirts and bumper stickers, Jesus is not the reason for the season. Fear is.”

What is that? Baseball caps, tee shirts and bumper stickers???
You assume such things? No dear Mr. G. you are way off in more ways than one concerning my beliefs. Shalom.

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By Maani, October 2, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

ITW:

“[Napoleon] manages to try to explain how the 10 Commandments are directly linked to Christ…They are?”

Perhaps not as “directly” as you are reading his interpretation.  By way of comparison, it is similar to the way that the “intent” of the Declaration of Independence is “linked” to the Constitution: it is not “in” there specifically, but its “gist” is.

“He then tries to show that Christ ended the idea of family lines in Judaism — even though he was prophesized and is supposed to be of the House of David.”

It depends on how you look at it.  If one believes in the “immaculate conception,” then, yes, the bloodline was broken patrilinearly, despite the fact that Joseph was of David’s line.

“The implication of a ‘new’ Covenant is that the old one wasn’t good enough…God, the Omnipotent and Omniscient makes a Covenant via Abraham that isn’t good enough and has to be revamped…including abandoning circumcision — the mark of the Covenant.”

Actually, there have been a number of Covenants, including with Noah, Abrahamic, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Israel (as a whole), and David.  Each one adds to the ones before.  And it is simply not true that the New Covenant “abandons” circumcision.  Jesus was circumcised, as were all His (male) disciples.  Paul was circumcised, circumcised Timothy, and warned the Corinthians against uncircumcising themselves (spiritually).  What Paul actually said was, “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

“All the laws of Torah can be re-evaluated and tossed because SOMEHOW they no longer apply, even though they supposedly were dictated by God to Moses.”

Not so.  As you yourself point out later, “Jesus Christ NEVER argued against Jewish law.  He offered…MEANING and interpretations of that law, but never its abandonment.”

Indeed.  Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, til all be fulfilled.”  But you fail to see the most imporant thing here.  Jesus did not come to start a new religion, but to teach Jews how to be better Jews.  And THAT could only be done when they understood that what is important is not the LETTER of the law, but the SPIRIT of the law.  You seem to be arguing the former - which is exactly what fundamentalists do.

“Christians concentrate on how you get to heaven via accepting Christ…yet He didn’t seem particularly concerned with that, but MORE with how we treat each other.”

Not so; He was concerned with both.  “How we treat each other” is about the temporal world; our lives in the bodies we have.  “Getting to heaven” is about the spiritual world; the disposition of our souls.  In addition to the parable of the “narrow gate,” don’t forget that Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one gets to the Father but through me.”

“Yet, as we can see, the followers ALWAYS COME BACK TO THE SAME POINT: Theirs is the ‘true’ faith and all others are false.

Of course.  Because every faith is “exclusive” to one degree or another.  That is the nature of faith and religion.  What is important is how we “see” and treat those of other faiths while we are here.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, October 2, 2010 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Pious meanderings aside, (they seem always meanderings) we are memocircumcised by the word “sanctimonious” and as to the ever so slight possibility of associating the word to the one and only elisalouisa.

If indeed the connection to the puppeteer in the sky happens to have a few broken strings, then it may seem the puppets dancing with a hypocritical pious step instead of in line with the Pure Pious, it seems possible even higher sources would leave such Pious to be left out in the snow and labeled hypocritically pious?  Only to be saved by Hale Mary’s.

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 I also defer to the alleged self proclaimed wisdom of Manni, for what else is there?

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 2, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa,

If you really believe, “The universe is what it is, our maker worked for six days (periods of time) and rested on the seventh,” then you are way out of your league in any discussions but the most primitive. Perhaps you should stick to making soup, in which you undoubtedly excel; and which is one of the most primitive of foods in keeping with your level of expertise.

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By elisalouisa, October 2, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

                      Soup even Epicurus

                                    would have delighted in.

You seem to be mesmerized by the word “apology(ies)” G-man. No apologies necessary. The universe is what it is, our maker worked for six days (periods of time) and rested on the seventh. I suggest that you also rest. Now I am going to go make some soup that even Epicurus would have delighted in. No soup for you G-man.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 2, 2010 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Believers, most notably Christians, have created a bizarre manipulation of “truth” called “apologetics,”  one of mankind’s cleverest attempts at phony advertising that began with Paul of Tarsus and remains alive and well today on this website and others; an outstanding example being the meanderings of “Napolean DoneHisPart.”
For thousands of years, believers and “apologists,” have attempted to convince Atheists and other freethinkers, beginning with Epicurus, that there really is no problem with the existence of a benevolent god in a world full of plagues, tsunamis, (and in modern times) Holocausts, and educated professionals, who fly fuel-laden commercial jetliners into hundred-story skyscrapers.
The apologetic stretch for the identification of “good” in the face of unimaginable horror, is exemplified in the claim that some good was derived from the San Francisco earthquake in April of 1906 because in a few places near the sea it formed cliffs for affluent twentieth-century Californians to build homes with an ocean view. This is the kind of tortured reasoning that Mr. “DoneHisPart” is a master at but all it shows is that it is always possible to redefine terms, restructure ideas and waffle on descriptive categories creatively enough so that shperes may eventually be described as cubes. This has been done by one of the most eminent of biologists and free-thinkers, who unfortunately was also an apologist of sorts.  Self-described “Jewish agnostic” Stephen Jay Gould, in arguing for the peaceful co-existence of science and religion, created his concept of non-overlapping magisteria, NOMA, in which each magisterium was a “domain of teaching authority,” and by so doing, in 1999, he arbitrarily established the existence of two universes, despite the fact that as a scientist he was obligated to live and study in only one. 
He wrote, “. . . I have great respect for religion, and . . .  I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving, concordat between our magisteria—the NOMA concept.”
So it is possible not only for theologians and philosophers to play the game of “apologetics,” apparently even prominent scientists are not above this attempt to circumvent logic and common sense in an effort to placate the gods.  But over two thousand years ago, Epicurus, in a mere few sentences, refuted for all time, the pious, misguided circumlocutions of theologians, philosophers, scientists and ordinary people, apologists all, yet none of them have the slightest clue that they are attempting to define “truth” as ideas that are in accord with their own distorted reality.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 2, 2010 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Reading Napoleon’s dissertation I realize how myopic and dis-associatively neurotic people who tightly follow a faith are (Not just Christians).

He manages to try to explain how the 10 Commandments are directly linked to Christ…They are?

He then tries to show that Christ ended the idea of family lines in Judaism—even though he was prophesized and is supposed to be of the House of David.

He then goes on to a personal fave of mine: The “New Covenant”.  I love this because it shows the fundamental dis-associative quality of Religion. Excuse me for using Christianity as the example, but it equally applies to all.

The implication of a “new” Covenant is that the old one wasn’t good enough…God, the Omnipotent and Omniscient makes a Covenant via Abraham that isn’t good enough and has to be revamped…including abandoning circumcision—the mark of the Covenant.

All the laws of Torah can be re-evaluated and tossed because SOMEHOW they no longer apply, even though they supposedly were dictated by God to Moses.

“Oops. This is just a kludge to get you through until I give you the Messiah.”

See what I mean? While the Jewish religion predicts a Messiah (more precisely, Moshiach), the “Anointed One”, there’s nothing that says He will then toss out the laws God supposedly gave us.

Yet it is obvious that in writing the NT scriptures, the goals of the authors was to do precisely that.  We even see in Napoleon’s argument that rupture from Judaism.  Yet, reading between the lines of the remaining NT scriptures (themselves chosen by committee from a much larger array, and the rest suppressed), it is CLEAR that Jesus Christ NEVER argued against Jewish law.  He offered, like the Supreme Court, MEANING and interpretations of that law, but never its abandonment.

Yet over 2000 years the establishments that grew up to organize and govern His followers have come up with all kinds of nifty ways to justify moving away from their own scriptures, frequently for their own agendas—like Catholicism writing “no graven image” out of the Vulgate Bible.  A course in Art History will clearly show, via the religious art of Christianity down the ages, how the institutions crafted and warped the message to fit their own ends.

Christians concentrate on how you get to heaven via accepting Christ…yet He didn’t seem particularly concerned with that, but MORE with how we treat each other.  And THAT is no different than Jewish law (think about the High Holy Days and the chance to redeem the WRONGS you did to other people), or Islam’s 5 Pillars (one of which is charity, given freely).  Nor is it different than Confucius teaching the Golden Rule 500 years before Christ.  Or the Buddha’s paths to harmony.

Yet, as we can see, the followers ALWAYS COME BACK TO THE SAME POINT: Theirs is the “true” faith and all others are false.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 2, 2010 at 2:02 am Link to this comment

As for the commandment current talk as of yesterday explanations, here is my attempt for your consideration-

I think the commandments and all thereafter, yet before Christ, are an agreement, almost contract ( covenant it is called ) between the man / tribe chosen to represent God to other peoples, tribes, rest of the world -

1st Commandment refers to the establishment of this covenant between God and Jacob / Israel.  Jacob / Israel and his descendants as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the third patriarch of the Jewish people whom God made a covenant with, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, named after his descendants… which defines and puts them apart from the rest of mankind… as a holy people / tribe to be the example of the existence of God before mankind… to introduce God in the personage of Christ as history and faith has shown… so definition of God is here and the establishment of that they were not chosen for themselves but for God’s glory, to honor what God can do through time and patience with people and even with their selfishness and such….. and thus don’t put other so-called ‘gods’ or things folks believe will ‘help’ them in trouble or do grant blessings, good fortune or cool vibes… to simply “Quite the Counterfeit and Get Legit.”

The perspective in how religions are separated at this point on is that Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible, and later referenced in the Qur’an.  Jews, Christians and Muslims believe Ishmael is Abraham’s eldest son and first born… yet the commandments and path to Christ stems here historically and interestingly Christ destroys the bloodline / lineage power play because HE was the WHOLE POINT of having to look at bloodlines and lineage to begin with… for it was all to find HIM.

So it is silly to have any other type of gods or to try to conceptualize or recreate or fabricate or duplicate what IS, what WAS and what WILL BE… for that will always be beyond you and me… that is why came in human form, like becoming an ant to speak to the ants..

Think that may cover 1 - 5 and / or parts of others… 

Sabbath is easy I think- this people were taught to establish a day to worship the Lord, again these are Jewish / offspring of Jacob / Israel, under the promise of Immanuel ( God with them ) and surely he comes and establishes the NEW COVENANT.. and the thing is, Christ didn’t ‘throw’ away the rules or laws or commandments and ‘do not do’s’... but he FULFILLED them for they couldn’t humanly be done!  God himself had to meet that unbelievably unattainable existence of ‘perfection’ or complete harmony with LIFE as we somewhat understand at the moment…

And so, he ‘broke’ the paradigm stagnation of the Jews at that point in their history and relationship with God, and the promises and prophecy fulfilled ( and only few realizing, having the insight and humble presence before the Lord to see and be present for the moment )..

He stated that Today is the Day to worship the Lord, not just reflecting on a certain day… but being in tune Every Day and not leaving that ‘presence’ before GOD and to do good in-spite of intentions and in contrast to honoring the Lord whether you put time aside to focus on the Lord.. and would rather go and meditate like a yogi all day and ‘get closer to God’ some would argue and state… yet omit doing the good needed to be done that day… forsaking God’s lawful heart behind his plight with man for the sake of what the Jews had come to be at that time- a law unto themselves, devoid of faith in God and obeying His way… and thus missed the ushering in of the final covenant with man… now open to ALL OF MANKIND… regardless of pedigree, color, creed, etc.

So for one, the ten commandments are adhered to if you simply Love God with your heart and your fellow human on earth as if they were yourself… for you wouldn’t want to steal, hurt and fool yourself, now would you?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 2, 2010 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

Here is my abortion rant and slant mixed in with this topic… and this question:

Would Jesus or one who claims to know him and what Love is… ever allow or uphold anything tied to this decision called abortion / the eliminating from existence of those yet to be like you and me?

I tell you that is one defining line that knocks many religion’s rosters of any semblance to something that hits as morally and ethically basic…. and sadly so many so-called ‘christian’ churches… for folks, anyone who calls themselves whatever doesn’t simply make them so.. for their life and actions and words spilling from the earnestness of their hearts.. will define them so.

Let’s consider the reality of the natural, unabated act of consummation between a man and a woman; i.e.- the moment prior to inception which leads to birth / life… and thus the cycle of life continuation of our specie ( another poignant contrast in the discussion of homosexuality and its ties to nature / no ties to nature further argument dissemination )...

And for me to voice my opinion before the party in question, in this case the unborn child, how can I decide the allowance or law disallowing the act of killing people yet unborn, and to think I would do that to a seed coming from me..? 

Where is their voice, the victim of some other person’s either lack of discipline, responsibility, love, maturity, esteem, hope, faith, etc… would ‘choose’ to vacuum their child, relative, life like that?.... whoa.

How was I sold on that concept of a having a vote on the decision or even an act ‘made possible by the vestiges of science, modernization and the modern world approach to life, or at least a particular cookie Cut-Turd way of life?

Are we in the Roman States of Amerika or something?

Abortion is like uprooting a plant before harvest…. but that is a week metaphor, how about as soon as a sprout appears… doesn’t that strike your nerve if your mother had that choice and took it for whatever reason…. well, you wouldn’t be here to discuss it with us then, now would you? 

I’m glad my mom didn’t if she ever considered her ‘God-given freedom’ or ‘her rights under the blah blah blah’ however the slant and slide and dubious double-talked and jived side to side gobly goop… thank God she didn’t decide to flush my hair-chance of non-existence… never started.  Anyhoots.

Catch 22 is the illusion of the ‘freedom of choice’ being slapped onto everything, huh?  “you too can choose to kill your unborn relatives, who may have been the very people to look after you when you get old.”

I shouldn’t be so ridiculous, excuse me.

Yet folks do pay for the ‘choices’ they make..

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

To paraprase the “soup Nazi” who says to George, “No soup for you”! I say to elisalouisa, “No apology for you.”

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

I shall ride piggyback on your post of 10/2 at 1:29 a.m. if I may Maani. Your well written comments tell me we are in agreement.
No burning at the stake, maybe a hot foot. grin

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By Inherit The Wind, October 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

I take a different tack than GG:
I pretty figure that the first 4 C’s are for those that believe in…invisible beings.  But I DO like the one about not making any graven images….Which the Vulgate Bible subtly edited out.
As for “Honor thy mother and father”—Where does it say “Even if they pschotic, sadistic and predatory assholes!”?
But “Don’t Murder” works for me. (“Thou shalt not kill” is BORN to be broken, and justifiably so)
Don’t bear false witness.  Yeah that’s OK too.

Don’t commit adultery. To me, this is REALLY mis-interpreted.  Christians, Jews and Muslims alike like to think it means no pre-marital sex (and the current stonings show that’s what they think).  But why would THIS be a Commandment? Good, clean, harmless dirty fun? Nope.  But I think “adultery” means cheating on your spouse or betrothed.  It’s viciously painful to them, hurts your children and destroys trust.  That sounds pretty sinful to me!  But not unmarried people going for a fun roll in the hay!
“Covet” means try to get it away from your neighbor-like figuring out how to get his wife to have sex with you.  Not good.

BTW, the interpretation by Jesus that if your sheep falls in a hole on the Sabbath you still can fish her out isn’t profound or original with Him.  It was over a 1000 years old in Jesus’ time and in His religion—Judaism.  Life comes first and trumps ANY ritual. Your child is hurt on Saturday? Call the ambulance!  Life trumps ritual.  Jesus was just teaching routine dogma with that one.

The argument that the idea of there being a “conspiracy” to invent Jesus is spurious.  Was there a conspiracy to invent Dionysus? Perseus? the Trojan War? Gilgamesh?  No!  Myths and stories grow over time and become “truth”.

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By Maani, October 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

“Subtle manner of injecting venom is called poking fun Manni? Calling me Weefeller instead of Leefeller seems most poking. My short stature (being only 3 feet tall) aside, I never have ever made fun of peoples names, because I find it quite rude and in bad taste.”

LOL.  Well, you may be the last to know when it rains, but you’ll be the first to know when there is a flood!  LOL.

“Gil Gaudia, Ph. thank you for the word ‘sanctimonious,’ a most apt definition…”

Actually, not quite.  Sanctimonious is defined as “hypocritically pious or devout.”  Yet, as I pointed out to Gil at length, he is incorrect in his accusation of EL as “hypocritical.”

“Elisalouisa for some reason I have a distinct feeling, if the opportunity ever presented itself, you would in sanctimonious pious virtue be chomping at the bit to light the fires at my feet, if I Weefeller was tied to the stake for my most annoying Hereticness.”

First, I know of no atheissts who were burned at the stake.  LOL.  Second, I believe I am on very safe ground in suggesting that EL would not only NOT “light the fires,” but would show you true Christian love, compassion and forgiveness, and make every attempt to keep ANYONE from lighting the fire.

“Let me make it clear, it is my opinion, defending ones belief or ones non belief should not be necessary.  As I have mentioned in the past, Personally I believe belief or non belief should be a personal choice and it would be real nice if people kept it to themselves, just like their sexual preference, this is obviously impossible for religion seems to feed a need to recruit flocking followers.”

First, has it occurred to you that the faith-based here do not keep their belief to themselves because TD posts threads that give rise to discussions of faith, religion, etc.?  What?  Are we simply to refrain from engaging in discussion on those threads?

Second, you make a truly breathtaking assumption - a completely and totally insupportable one - that ANY of the faith-based here are professing their belief in an effort to “evangalize” to you or other non-believers.  That is just silly.  As noted above, we engage in discussion because the particular thread CALLS for it.  This is a thread on RELIGION.  So RELIGION is going to get discussed and debated.

?????????

Peace.

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By Leefeller, October 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Subtle manner of injecting venom is called poking fun Manni? Calling me Weefeller instead of Leefeller seems most poking. My short stature (being only 3 feet tall) aside, I never have ever made fun of peoples names, because I find it quite rude and in bad taste. Evidently not only the Pious seem to drivel in bad taste other posters have made fun of my name and my feelers have been hurt to the point of crying in my Tequila for hours on end, but only on Saturday evenings.

Poking fun may be in the mind of the Pious but it seems sanctimony tributes perpetuated by individuals seem light in nature to them,  but also very defensive to me.  So we end up with the same 3000 year old sheep herders manual thrown in our faces, with the normal annoying mind controlled and indoctrinated repetitious BS.  So for the believers it seems absolute truth, for the enlightened free thinker it seems like a huge pile of horse pucky,...... not sure if an absolute pile though, (because of my personal distaste of absolutisms).

Gil Gaudia, Ph. thank you for the word Sanctimonious a most apt definition, of which the word “Sanctimonious” I had actually forgotten over time.  Of course ludicrous is also appropriate. By the way I read your St Aguistin editorial and found it a most interesting read, must read more of your writing. 

Elisalouisa for some reason I have a distinct feeling, if the opportunity ever presented itself, you would in sanctimonious pious virtue be chomping at the bit to light the fires at my feet, if I Weefeller was tied to the stake for my most annoying Herticness!

Unfortunately history has shown us this is what happens when differences achieve a certain point. Ignorance leads people by the nose to burn other people at the stake, for nothing more than not believing or accepting religions pious principals, this is how it plays out in me mind. It seems this demanding of acceptance is not only sponsored by the religion of Christianity. In some cases poking fun towards other regions could be determinable to ones health and has been proven to be so. 

Let me make it clear, it is my opinion, defending ones belief or ones non belief should not be necessary.  As I have mentioned in the past, Personally I believe belief or non belief should be a personal choice and it would be real nice if people kept it to themselves, just like their sexual preference, this is obviously impossible for religion seems to feed a need to recruit flocking followers.

It seems to me we are very lucky here, and let me voice my appreciation to Truth Dig for our freedom to express or varying opinion; mine as well as others even in disagreement…....  including the sanctimonious and all so Pious.

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By Maani, October 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

EL:

ROFLMAO!!

Gil:

“One commandment is to take the Sabbath Day off. How many Christians follow that one?...By the way, it’s supposed to be Saturday.”

Matthew 12:10-12: “And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?, that they might accuse Him.  And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”

Jesus also said, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”

“The biblical phrase that includes ‘covet’ goes something like this: “Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s’ (including his Mercedes or 52 inch television?). In a society filled and fueled by the vulgarians of advertising, Hollywood and politics (most of whom are Christian) this may be the most difficult concept to get across to our fellow eternal sucklings.”

Setting aside the unsupported (and insupportable) comment that “most of whom are Christian” (and I forgot to add “sucklings” to the list of epithets thrown by “your” side…), you have not shown that this Commandment does not make sense, only that you believe many Christians don’t follow it.

“And yes, it makes sense to ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’ even if they have abused you emotionally, sexually and physically.”

One honors one’s mother and father for having brought one into the world - whatever may occur thereafter.  Because one is not always going to be under the sway of an abusive parent, and can still live a productive and, yes, happy life.  Besides, while there is no justification for abuse - and it should not occur at all - we simply cannot know what “good” may come from it later down the road.  (A short list of famous people who were abused as children but went on to achieve success were Brahms, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry Miller, Tom Petty, Tori Amos, and, of course, Oprah Winfrey - all of whom made “use” of their abuse in their art or life.)

“Of course there is such a highly moral message in, ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,’ therefore I am sure, elisalouise, that you have no pictures, paintings, photographs, statues and other tchotchkes around your house.”

It says “make unto thee” and “bow down to, “not “keep around thee.”  You don’t read so good…LOL.

“And let’s not forget that real important rule for all of society, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.’  Now, how’s that for arrogance and the fostering of ‘free will?’”

Hmmm…I would think that the people He saved would, in fact, be grateful enough to honor this request - and it is only a REQUEST because…well…they have the free will to accept or reject it!

Thus, you have not shown that any of these five Commandments “make no sense.”

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Maani, thank you for your kind words. You are truly an angel and correct in your comment that religion is now considered the “enemy.” Such a view is the new accepted way of thinking. As you say, believers should not be doormats. Along with that misinformation should be corrected so that History is not completely revised as to the influence of religion. Thank you for your courage.

I did pick up on your comment “the gate is narrow” Napolean and furthered on that thought. Hopefully, you did not mind.

One cannot assume that those who believe in a higher source of energy have a pious nature. Laughter is good for the soul, as every feller knows.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

I’ll leave it up to Leefeller.  If he says “Weefeller” was not offensive to him, then elisalouisa has my apology.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

How about addressing the real issue—the point elisalouise raised—that the Ten Commandments are what we need to live by, that “they do make sense.” I have pointed to five—half of them—that make nonsense. God should bat better than .500.

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By Maani, October 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

Gil:

“I was not referring specifically to elisalouise’s sins, but rather the very Christian way of carrying them out.  Come off sounding full of piety, but manage to inject the venom in a subtle manner…”

You are still missing the point.  As well, you are now making presumptions about her intent (and its depth) in poking fun at Leefeller.  Why do you presume it is “venom” and not simply “joking?”  Have you any other examples of her alleged “venom?”  Because I have dozens of examples of her joking (in other threads), as well her intelligence, gentleness and kindness (even in this thread).

In fact, read through the posts by her, Napoleon, OMGNA and myself.  You will find rarely a word of unkindness, much less disdain, insult or dismissiveness.  Here is what I find when I look at posts by the rest of you: religion is the “enemy,” it is “the greatest threat to all living creatures,” believers (broad-brush) are “willfully stupid” and “ignorant,” and EL is “vindictive” and “cruel.”

I would say the “venom” is coming almost entirely from your direction…

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment


I missed the narrow gate,

              “Weefeller” was my downfall.

                 
                                             
           
                             
                 

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

It is a narrow path Christ explained… and few find it.. the gate is narrow, and few enter through it…

If folks did take the time to read FOR THEMSELVES ( and humbly asking GOD or the Spirit or the One and Only ( however you’d like to acknowledge God ) to clarify the doubts, to show you if it is real, if the story is true… you’ll see, God is generous and will show you if you really want to know. ( Jeremiah 29:11-13 ).

For anyone up to the challenge to see if God is real or if Jesus really happened… simply start reading one of gospels, maybe a chapter a day…

I’d suggest focus on the personage of Jesus, and how he impacted those around him… it is deep stuff, and the type of perspective on life, people and God that NO OTHER RELIGION has been able to touch or even come close… and the message of love and peace is in a class all its own…

Who even came close?  Buddha proposed the universe and man are one and there is NO greater being… which is denying God or that idea.

Not to take away some values and morals found in the world’s religions… and there is a place where God does accept ‘religions’ so far as they help keep folks from furthering corrupting their lives and such… look for it.

In case you don’t see it or believe it… Jesus and His Way is simply a continuation of what was promised to the Jews / Israel long ago… and very few at that time followed the transition… and the expectation of Immanuel ( God with us ) among the Jews has been explained throughout the old testament…. but they became a religion unto themselves and in essence cut God out of the picture entirely ( the parable of the land owner and his hired hands who were supposed to share the harvest with him and ended up killing the sole heir in hopes of keeping the land / farm / wealth ).

I hear allot of the repeat arguments which wouldn’t arise if folks would actually read the text in its contextual form…. this would cease contentious bickering.

Let’s pick up new points of discussion, not the same old ones we keep hearing on tv, radio and what so and so said and thought they were right or that is what it says in there…

To me and my mind and conscience, faith in God and a belief and expectation that there is someone beyond out understanding that is omnipotent and does have your best interest ( if you are with HIM, not the other way around ) no matter what life throws at you ( consider Job and his trials although he hadn’t initially sinned to provoke curses from happening around him ).

When it is all said and done and one considers their life and the reality and finality of death…. and the fact that we all who read this will taste death… isn’t knowing, finding out if there is and if so… WHO is the GOD of history, of our existence of our very essence and miracle of life on this spec of dust flying through the vast universe… it is too coincidental and serendipitous to be thought ‘chance’ folks!!!!!

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

I was not referring specifically to elisalouise’s sins, but rather the very Christian way of carrying them out.  Come off sounding full of piety, but manage to inject the venom in a subtle manner like calling someone “Weefellow” so that it could be seen as possibly a typo, and therefore absolve you of any wrongdoing. This is the real act of cruelty, not like just simply calling someone a jerk; which is, not nice, but at least honest and straightforward.

As for the Ten Commandments, at least five of them have no bearing on morality at all;
1. Take Saturday off.
2. Honor parents, even if they have abused you.
3. Have no graven images—does that mean you have no family pictures aroud the house, elisalouise?
4. Do not covet. For cryin’ out loud the whole system is predicated on you having more than your neighbor.
5. Have no other gods. Well that cuts out the majority of the human race.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

                Whatever you say G-man.

 

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

The Ten Commandments do make sense, Yes, but only for those of you who haven’t read the Good Book lately. One commandment is to take The Sabbath Day off; (that includes K-Mart) How many Christians follow that one? Do you, elisalouise, you paragon of virtue? By the way, it’s supposed to be Saturday.

The biblical phrase that includes “covet” goes something like this: “Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s” (Including his Mercedes or 52 inch television?).

In a society filled and fueled by the vulgarians of advertising, Hollywood and politics (Most of whom are Christian) this may be the most difficult concept to get across to our fellow eternal sucklings.

And yes, it makes sense to “Honor thy father and thy mother” even if they have abused you emotionally, sexually and physically.

Of course there is such a highly moral message in, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,” therefore I am sure, elisalouise, that you have no pictures, paintings, photographs, statues and other tchotchkes around your house.

And let’s not forget that real important rule for all of society, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.”  Now, how’s that for arrogance and the fostering of “free will”?

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By Maani, October 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

ITW:

“Yet you choose to believe YOUR story and therefore that the others must all be false. And they each believe the same thing.”

Not so.  I may well believe that Christianity is the “true” religion (with respect to salvation of the soul), but that does not mean I disbelieve, much less disdain, the spiritual beliefs, experiences or revelations of others, or even some measure of “divine inspiration” in them.  Your view is unnecessarily “black and white” with no room for shades of gray.

“Yes, Occam’s Razor DOES tell us that if all these people around the world believe as strongly as you do that THEIR faith is ‘true’ and the others are ‘false,’ the obvious answer is that they are all false.”

But that was not what I was talking about.  I was suggesting that Occam’s Razor would support the notions that (i) Jesus existed, and (ii) that He preached a very specific ministry of love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, charity, service, selflessness, justice and truth, as expressed in the NT - since that is the “simplest,” “most likely” truth.  It would NOT support what amounts to a “conspiracy theory” that Jesus did not exist, or that he did not teach this ministry.

elisalouisa:

“Thank you for your post Maani and all your input which never includes tearing others down.”

Thank you for your kind words in support.  Though, at the risk of Gil accusing me of hypocrisy (LOL), I would say we are probably “casting our pearls before swine.”  (And no, Gil, I am NOT calling you and others “swine”...LOL)

Gil (to elisalouisa):

“Your snide putdown of ‘Weefeller’ betrays your christian hypocrisy as well as anything I have seen.  All holy and pious sweetness, full of platitudinous goodness, but underneath the vindictive cruelty that fueled the Inquisitions and modern jihads.  You do not fool anyone with your ludicrous sanctimony.”

You express an all-too-common - and incorrect - assumption here: that being “Christian” means one is somehow “perfect,” and never says or does anything wrong.  Please.  Being a Christian means ATTEMPTING to live a “Christ-like life” - within each individual’s ability to do so.  Do we “fall short” sometimes?  Yup.  Do we do and say things that may be a little (or even alot) less than “Christian?”  Of course.  This is because ALL humans are flawed; it is not “hypocrisy,” but rather weakness or in-the-moment spiritual “forgetfulness.”  As well, being Christian doesn’t mean we become doormats: we have passions and feelings the same as others.  And we express those passions and feelings the same as others.  Besides, elisalouisa’s tongue-in-cheek “Weefeller” is about 1000 levels less insulting or dismissive than a great many of the names and comments being leveled at the faith-based here.

Have you never said something about someone, or put someone down - even in fun?  If you have, there is an old adage about people in glass houses…

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Good. I am glad I don’t fool anyone for that is my intent GG man. The Ten Commandments do make sense ITW. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 1, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

I love how followers of the 3 Abrahamic religions are “put down every day”.  Something like half the world’s population is Muslim,Christian (including Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Greek/Russian Orthodox) or Jewish. Yet you would have us believe you are beleaguered by a small number of Atheists and Agnostics, albeit with big mouths.

“Evil” does not exist in the world independent of people. A dog or an apple tree or a shark cannot be evil, because they cannot choose.  A shark may dangerous, even deadly, but it cannot be inherently evil.  Sharks feed on other living things and to not do so means death.

Curiously, the Ten Commandments (once you get past the God ones and get to Honor the Father)...they make a lot of sense, as long as you don’t buy the bullshit interpretations of priests, rabbis and imams.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., October 1, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Dear elisalouisa,

Your snide putdown of “Weefeller” betrays your christian hypocrisy as well as anything I have seen.  All holy and pious sweetness, full of platitudinous goodness, but underneath the vindictive cruelty that fueled the Inquisitions and modern jihads.  You do not fool anyone with your ludicrous sanctimony.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

One must respond to your continual attacks as to religion and what you call hypocrisy. Many speak of religion but I have never seen anyone post that theirs is a holy life. No one can live up to what Christianity calls for, but we can admire that goal and fight the dark side within. You can take that any way you wish Weefeller. Moses, Christ and Muhammed were leaders moved by the Spirit. That so few people can be involved in the start of a movement and that movement be sustained for 2,000 years boggles the mind to say the least.  The essence of Moses, Christ and Muhammed lives on. Followers of these three great religions continue to be abused. Right here today. The positive element of these religions must be defended, lest we forget.

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By Leefeller, October 1, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

So words of enlightenment are the spirits move in mysterious ways for the Yin and Yang of it?  Then the same person suggests I should stay away from the booze…........... (Tequila)?

I know a catholic person who is the nicest person in the world, so one could judge all Catholic persons by this one example?
One important thing about this nice Catholic person, an acquaintance of mine seems to be, he has never told me the spirits move in mysterious ways and he keeps his religion where it should be, meaning religion is not the first thing out of his mouth, nor the second or third. He has never preached anything nor have I seen him fret over wonder beads, so my respect for him and his religiosity is very supportive.  Plus I have never asked him about pedophile s nor does he wear his religion on his forehead. He may not be very pious or self righteous, maybe that is what the difference compared to what is seen here!

Guess, what I am saying is I do not stereotype all Catholics as being morons, I know one who isn’t!

Yes the spirits do move in mysterious ways?

Maybe it is the perceived self righteousness and the constant piousness which reminds me of the move;......  “The Blob”. I see the constant oozing of stupidity and ignorance fostered as enlightenment which seems worse than a bad movie, touted as the cats meow! Somehow all this pious meowing seems to be effecting the neurons in my brain to say .....................Tequila!

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

No one know one how such a spirit as Christianity took hold and stayed for 2,000 years. Your understanding is not a requisite for it to be so; the same is true of other beliefs. In saying this there no admittance that such a religion is the true religion. Each must find his way. Leaders such as Moses,
Christ and others gave of their lives, in order to perform that task. The Spirit moves in mysterious ways and more than one leader may be called adapting to the needs of the people in teaching the way of life.  One should not presume such movements are false because what may be called evil also occurs in the name of that Spirit. Evil must be here because that is the universe.  The yin and the yang of it all. Light and dark, day and night, right and left, up and down and Life and Death. Some find their energy in ridiculing such religions, especially Catholicism. Judaism carried its people through many difficult times and taught a way to live where their people were educated and added to all life. Its offshoot Christianity established churches in small communities all over Europe, the U.S. long before there were schools and even law and order. These brave people who gave of themselves to help others deserve better than to be continually ridiculed and put down. My grandchildren have wonderful teachers in Catholic grade school. The people attending that parish are good citizens and loving parents. The priests administer to the people. This is also true of the Congregation and Rabbi at the Reform Temple of Judaism in our community. There is a difference in belief but they pray for each other and help one another. So what is the problem??? Never satisfied.  You should lament about what shall one day replace such religions. 
Weefeller should read posts more carefully and lay off the booze.  Continual ridicule with little input indicates who such a one really is. Thank you for your post Maani and all your input which never includes tearing others down.

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By esi42, October 1, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Thanks ITW for the mental image of God waving His “whatever” wink

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By Inherit The Wind, October 1, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Maani, October 1 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

Napoleon:

What a fabulous post!  Wonderful.  Yes, it has always amused me that many of those who do not believe in the New Testament or Jesus’ ministry (or that Jesus even existed!) are the same ones who do not believe in conspiracy theories (e.g., JFK, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, etc.) - not least because “there would have to be too many people involved, and someone would eventually blow the whistle” - but somehow they believe that two or three dozen people were able to construct a “conspiracy” that has lasted over two thousand years!  So Occam’s Razor apparently only works one way for them.  LOL.

************************

Your logic is flawed and myopic.  Not only has the myth about Jesus come down for 2000 years, but so has the myth about Mohammed for 1400 years. Then, again, so has the myth about Moses come down for 3200 years, the myth about Sidhartha Guatama, the Buddha, come down 2500 years, the myths about Brahama, Vishnu and Shiva come down 3000 years, all with people DEVOUTLY believing THEY have the truth.
That doesn’t even include the beliefs of Ba’hai, Sikhs, Shinto, Jains, Rastafarians, or the Animists in Africa and South America.

Yet you choose to believe YOUR story and therefore that the others must all be false. And they each believe the same thing.  These are only some of the CURRENT beliefs. 

Many have died out, such as the Greco/Roman religion of Zeus/Jupiter, the Egyptian gods that were worshiped for over 3000 years, and the pre-Columbian religions of the Aztecs and Incas.

Yes, Occam’s Razor DOES tell us that if all these people around the world believe as strongly as you do that THEIR faith is “true” and the others are “false”, the obvious answer is that they are all false.

The human nature DOES like simple answers, but it also likes the idea that when things get bad, there’s someone or something to turn to for comfort and the HOPE (that becomes obsession) that the someone/something can wave a hand or snap a finger and the bad stuff will go away….

It has nothing to do with conspiracy fantasies.

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By elisalouisa, October 1, 2010 at 3:39 am Link to this comment

Remove any negative feeling which might be construed as hatred from your heart Leefeller, then read Maani’s post again. This may bring more understanding as to the meaning of his words. Going easy on the tequila would also be beneficial.

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By Maani, September 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

“So one must believe in Conspiracy theories to be a Christian,...... now if that don’t beat all! What if one agrees there was a conspiracy, but not agree with the theory, what does that mean? Theory seems to be leading conspiracy by the nose.”

Oh, for Pete’s sake.  You know very well that is not what I was saying.  In fact, if anything, I was saying exactly the opposite!  (And I wasn’t doing that either…)

Peace.

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By Leefeller, September 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

So one must believe in Conspiracy theories to be a Christian,...... now if that don’t beat all!

What if one agrees there was a conspiracy, but not agree with the theory, what does that mean?

Theory seems to be leading conspiracy by the nose.

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By Maani, September 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Napoleon:

What a fabulous post!  Wonderful.  Yes, it has always amused me that many of those who do not believe in the New Testament or Jesus’ ministry (or that Jesus even existed!) are the same ones who do not believe in conspiracy theories (e.g., JFK, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, etc.) - not least because “there would have to be too many people involved, and someone would eventually blow the whistle” - but somehow they believe that two or three dozen people were able to construct a “conspiracy” that has lasted over two thousand years!  So Occam’s Razor apparently only works one way for them.  LOL.

In any event, thank you for your wisdom.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, September 30, 2010 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Napoleon for those beautiful words which echo and respond to those who do not see and feel, thus the ridicule. You are correct, it is about “knowing.” I know there is a higher source and accept that, not having to know all the details.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

You what IS interesting….

That this dude Jesus really did change the world already… look around you.

If he didnt really exist or it wasn’t God in human form…

Well, we ALL have fallen for quite a whopper, huh?

And to think that this particular story, which doesn’t give glory to England, nor Israel, nor Muslims, nor these guys and those guys… not even the Catholic church, for by their stats they first believe in / pray to Mary, then Paul or Peter…. and then maybe Jesus rounds out the top three ( look it up ).

If the world is a Jewish conspiracy, wouldn’t Abraham or Moses be the guys we’d be ‘pushed’ to listen to?

If it was the Islam guy, well… that be the one we’d be ‘forced’ to believe…

But you mean to say that ALL of europe took the bait?  And their royalty and commons?

Oh no wait, I forgot, all those religions were started JUST to subjugate the people, right?

But Buddha did exist, as did Mo with Islam, as did Mo with Israel.. but Jesus is the one who is always obscured from every existing in the first place, right?

And to consider his message, apart from doctrine, religious institution or your crazy neighbor… when one reads and considers the gospels and letters to the first century church… well, then you’d have to ask GOD to open your eyes to the truth… if in fact you’d want to see any truth in scripture…

Tough trying to find truth on tv, at the mall or even under the same roof sometimes isn’t it?

Bible still reads fascinatingly true, in both the blessings and curses I’ve found out… to my joy and sorrow… not because I simply ‘want’ it to be true or ‘want’ it to be true… but it happened to me ( and continues to happen actually ) like SLAPS of reality and conscience affirming realities every day I live.

Who wants to go around preaching Jesus and ostracize themselves from society and be ridiculed?

I surely am not bent on that slant.. but here I am… for those that do… it is not about ‘believing’ anymore I don’t think… it is about ‘knowing’ that it is all real…. very real and beyond our understanding.

So be a humble bumble and consider.

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By Leefeller, September 30, 2010 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

From what I understand Atheists do not believe in the existence of God this is not the same as denying that god exists. ......  It seems some people do not know the difference on purpose or because of some mental handicap?

Now it seems most Atheists do not spend a lot of time denying that Santa Claus exists either, so maybe this proves Santa does exist?

Pious people please do not get those St self righteous medals in a tizzy,...... I know a few Atheists who do not know as much as the Pious and I ask why should they?  Well, unless the pious start up the fires once again and start rounding up those so annoying Heretics for entertainment.

I have said it before, why cannot the fanatics of religions keep it to them selves?  I had hoped they could follow the tenants like “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” we keep hearing about.  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!

Hypocrisy is real and planning to stay like ticks on a dog!

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By elisalouisa, September 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Garth: In the ‘NY’ as you put it, Maimonedes is not mentioned, yet he’s the guy who stated the Golden Rule before Jesus the Carpenter.
*****
Before Jesus the carpenter? Check this out as to Maimonides

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides

What one terms evil must be part of our lives. Just like day and night there is the positive and negative. One cannot exist without the other. This vast universe is much more than we see or can even contemplate. There will be sickness, death,
destruction and war. That is the plane we are at. Even God cannot make 2+2=5.

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By samosamo, September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

****************

 

“”“I would shit my pants.  And starting a religion
is the last thing I’d think of. “”“
****************

garth, it would not be necessary to start a
religion, just start/build a church and say what a
few people want to hear and they will ‘flock’ to
you and quite possibly pay you very well. And you
would be no where near the first person to do so.
Also, the various variations on the theme we all
read hear on this post and other posts, bear this
out to some degree.

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By Maani, September 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

ITW, garth, gil et al:

My comments on Epicurus are completely supportable, but perhaps that is because they are supported by something on which you and I fundamentally disagree: the existence of the human “soul.”

I base all of my theology (which is hardly unique to me) on that single premise.  Thus, if you do not believe in an “immortal” human soul - one that exists after the physical body is dead - then we will necessarily disagree on Epicurus and much else.

Perhaps one day I will have the time to write out a relatively short treatise on this, which will likely still come to four or five full-length posts here.  But it is not possible to explain the theology behind my comments on Epicurus and “evil” in one 4000-character post.

Suffice to say that I (and many other theologians) maintain that Epicurus missed the entire basis of faith, free will, and evil, and his “riddle” is only relevant if we deny the existence of the soul and the entire notion of “salvation.”

Peace.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., September 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

For thousands of years, believers and apologists, have attempted to convince Atheists and other freethinkers, beginning with Epicurus, that there really is no problem with the existence of a benevolent god in a world full of plagues, tsunamis, (and in modern times) Holocausts, and educated professionals who fly fuel-laden commercial jetliners into hundred-story skyscrapers.

These are examples of “apologetics,” whereby the apologetic stretch for the identification of “good” in the face of unimaginable horror, is analogous to claiming that some good was derived from the San Francisco earthquake in April of 1906 because in a few places near the sea it formed cliffs for affluent twentieth-century Californians to build homes with an ocean view.

Of course, it is always possible to redefine terms, restructure ideas and waffle on descriptive categories, making it possible not only for theologians and philosophers to play the game of apologetics, apparently even prominent scientists are not above this attempt to circumvent logic and common sense in an effort to placate the gods.  But over two thousand years ago, Epicurus, in a mere few sentences, refuted for all time, the pious, misguided meanderings of theologians, philosophers, scientists and ordinary people, . . . . . . Yet none of them have the slightest clue that they are attempting to define “truth” as ideas that are in accord with their own distorted reality.

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By garth, September 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Maani, 

The paly on words was the Paul was knock off his ass on his way to Damascus.

But could you imagine the 70 or so who supposedly witness the cucifixion and then run into the same guy on the raod to I’ve forgotten the name of the town, it might as well be Lousiville?

I would shit my pants.  And starting a religion is the last thing I’d think of. 

Personally, I think the natural flow of events is enough.  We do not need interjections from Religionists nor Statist.

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By garth, September 30, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

By Maani, September 29 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment


Garth:

“The bible tells us, primarily, that you have to be a victim and you have to go to war, and your God, if it is Jehovah, will save you every time.”

Not quite.  The OT may say that (though not exclusively that), but the NY does not.  Make sure you calrify which religion you are talking about.  In this case, you would be referring to Judaism, not Christianity as expressed by Jesus, Paul, Peter, et al.

Maani,

I think that if you take close look at Catholism, it is aligned with Judaism, ritually speaking.

The Catholics in type, use a lot of Judaic sumbols and rituals.

In the article, Branfman says that most Catholics don’t know that the ‘communion’ is actually the ‘body and blood’ of Christ.  I think many Catholics know it but don’t believe it.  For old Catholics life was short, 50 or 60 years shortened from toil. For younger Catholics, the more or less, realist, all this makes little sense other than belief.  Maybe someone should define belief. 

We have plenty here who ‘know.’

To the atheist who said that that is why they are Atheist, I concur, when you delve into this subject, the mind boggles.  I exited saying such things to myself like, I have errands to run.  A wife to cater to, and many miles before I sleep.  I can only hope.

In the ‘NY’ as you put it, Maimonedes is not mentioned, yet he’s the guy who stated the Golden Rule before Jesus the Carpenter.

The NT is mainly Paul.  God bless him.

I’d like a slave, too.  And I’d like a woman who’d do what I asked.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 30, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

One of our greatest attributes but also the one which gets us on the wrong track… our ability to ‘choose’ and make a ‘choice’ every day….

We have the WILL to do, act, think, believe, ‘be’ anything in anyway we choose… Blessed is the man who chooses the Truth… and seeks it with all his heart.

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By AuroraBorealis, September 30, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reason atheists know so much is not because they have to in order to create arguments against religion.  In my case, it is because I enjoy reading about all kinds of mythology.  In my opinion, Christian mythology is just as interesting as Greek and Roman mythology (and there are a LOT of similarities). 

I also like to read science fiction and fantasy, but I don’t believe those stories to be true, either.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2010 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

There’s a further contradiction, one that the Greeks with their “pagan” beliefs didn’t have.

Christianity, especially, is confused: Is Hell the source of evil, or the place for the ultimate Divine Retribution for evil? 

For the Greeks, “Hell”, or, more properly “The Underworld” or “Hades” (named for the king) was one of the three divine kingdoms, along with the Heavens and the Sea.  The 3 brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, cast lots for who ruled which, and Zeus won the Heavens, Poseidon the Sea, and Hades the Underworld.  Hades is a cold, merciless, and cruel god, but he was never seen as an evil god or the source of evil.  He PUNISHED sinners, and the worst, like Tantalus and Sisyphus remain in our memories and language today.  He even had his own St. Peter: Minos, the Judge, who sent the good and just to the Elysian Fields, and decided on the punishments.

But Christianity (I’m ignorant of Islam on this point) have Satan as both the source of evil and the punishing “god” of evil—see how Dante’s Inferno exacts further and further torment as he descends the circles of Hell (Sometimes placing among the dead his still-living enemies!)  Yet if Satan is the source of evil and seeks to buy sinners’ souls, one would think he would WELCOME them and set them up as demons, imps, incubi and succubi, etc, not PUNISH them!

Then, again, there’s not just Heaven and Hell, but Purgatory and Limbo as well.  Between that and the thousands of patron saints of everything from autobody repairmen to lawyers and hair-dressers, you can’t tell the players without a score card!

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By Inherit The Wind, September 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?”

God is able to prevent evil - IF HE SO CHOOSES.  Thus, He remains omnipotent.
**********************

That doesn’t answer the question.  It sidesteps it.  You simply are saying, convolutedly, God IS able to prevent evil.  To say “IF HE CHOOSES” is simply a tautology, and therefore meaningless.  You have said he is omnipotent.

“Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing?

He is both able and willing - IF HE SO CHOOSES.  Thus, he remains loving.
**************************

But he is not willing.  If he was, then, being OMNIPOTENT, he would prevent evil.  He chooses not to. You haven’t even developed a tautology here. simply a total contradiction.  How does REFUSING to prevent evil ==> he is loving? In fact, it’s just the opposite.

If someone is going to do evil to MY kid and I have the power to stop it, I WILL.  Because THAT is what “Love” means.

“Is He both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?”

You say “from Satan”.  But Satan is Lucifer, and Lucifer, the Morning Star, is God’s creation. God created Lucifer and THEREFORE anything Lucifer creates is, in fact, a creation of God.  God, being omnipotent AND omniscient had to KNOW that Lucifer would create Evil.  All God had to do was wave his hand (or whatever) and either Lucifer would be no more, or Lucifer would never create evil.

So, again, God is responsible for evil.

You have argued yourself into a box. 

However, there IS a way out, but you must abandon your false premises.  God created EVERYTHING, but chose to create it so that He did not have to intervene ever again.  He waved his (whatever) and the Big Bang happened, creating the Universe and setting it flying apart. Remember: He created ALL the natural laws and Science has NEVER observed them being broken.  Whenever it APPEARS a natural law is broken, it has always turned out that humans mis-judged what that law was and needed to re-evaluate.  So…God CREATED the Natural Laws with the Big Bang and let it fly.  Even when, one nanosecond after the BB, and the Universe was 2 feet across, God was long out of it.

Thus since He does not intervene for Good or Evil, having set the Rule that once the Big Bang, He would never intervene again, then what happens, happens.  He is not “letting” evil happen. 

Unfortunately, while this makes sense, it means praying and “faith” and talking about miracles is a waste of time.

Thus, I am Agnostic.

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By Maani, September 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

OMGNA:

Thank you for your kind words in support.  However, to be perfectly honest, the worst “holocaust” (genocide) ever perpetrated was neither Stalin nor Mao: it was the U.S. genocide against the Native Americans, in which an estimated (depending on which historian you believe) 50-80 million were murdered.  And although many here argue that this was religiously inspired (and I do not dispute that religion played its part), most scholars do not consider “manifest destiny” to have been primarily religious, but rather economic: we “needed” the land for the growing (non-Native American) population, and for both agriculture and industry to drive the economic engine.

Peace.

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By omygodnotagain, September 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Gil PhD
The error in your evil argument is that God is above
good and evil. His job isn’t to be a fixer. Good and Evil are conditions of this world and people. The best description of what evil is was by St Augustine
“Evil is the turning away from the love of God”. It is an act of will granted to Mankind (sorry not PC)
who were made in HIS IMAGE and LIKENESS. A poor comparison, it is like a company giving you permission to use a credit card, you spend the money but you are accountable to the company whose money it is. Is it the companies responsibility that you paid for hookers and gambling chips with that credit card in Vegas and tried to say it was a business expense?

Maani
I agree with your earlier comment about Stalin, Pol Pot.. what most critics of religion refuse to recognize is that religion restrains Man’s (there I go again) worse impulses. The bloodiest battle in all history was the Battle of Stalingrad between Neo-pagan Nazis and Atheistic Communists, 1.5 million killed or wounded. The worst Holocaust (was not in Nazi Germany), but in the Atheistic Soviet Union 30 Million killed during the Great Terror by Stalin (who employed many Jews to do the dirty work, see Solhenitzyn’s 200 Years Together), the other was in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution estimates 20-60 million.
Religion restrains and teaches that there is a price to pay for our actions.

Why do Atheists know so much about doctrine because they have to construct arguments to oppose it. Further, what these questions were about refers to Theology, there is a difference between following a religion, a spiritual and moral journey and being versed in theology.

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By blueshift, September 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

The pious don’t care about ‘religion.’ They only care about their own, true religion.

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By Jack H, September 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

“This is all about data and has nothing to do with religious experience.”

Alfred LaMotte is exactly right. I will add that Westerners tend to confuse doctrine with religion, because Christianity is what they are familiar with, and Christianity has a lot of doctrine. Personally, I don’t believe in God, nor do I believe Jesus rose on the third day. People who get killed as thoroughly as a crucifixion kills them don’t come back to life again. Nor do I believe I have an immortal soul: the Buddhist doctrine of anatta makes more sense to me. All the same, I go to church every Sunday and get a lot out of it. I do a little charitable work (not just give money) and get a lot out of that also.

All you people who ridicule the idea of a “sky daddy,” guess what? A lot of Christians agree with you. (Probably Jews and Muslims too, but I can’t speak for them.)

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By anaman51, September 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think there’s a more ignorant creature on this planet than your average religionista. The tighter they cling to that nonsense, the more ignorant they are. I would be astonished if one could find two out of ten fervent christers that could correctly identify their own shoe size, let alone some drivel out of that stupid book of theirs.

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By Maani, September 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Garth:

“The bible tells us, primarily, that you have to be a victim and you have to go to war, and your God, if it is Jehovah, will save you every time.”

Not quite.  The OT may say that (though not exclusively that), but the NY does not.  Make sure you calrify which religion you are talking about.  In this case, you would be referring to Judaism, not Christianity as expressed by Jesus, Paul, Peter, et al.

Gil Gaudia:

“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?”

Actually, I can answer this without any problem, as I have heard others do as well.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?”

God is able to prevent evil - IF HE SO CHOOSES.  Thus, He remains omnipotent.

“Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing?

He is both able and willing - IF HE SO CHOOSES.  Thus, he remains loving.

“Is He both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?”

Although I realize you are going to have a cow (LOL), evil is the province of Satan, not God. Unless, of course, you consider natural disasters “evil,” since they are a result of God “setting in motion” the “laws impressed upon matter.” (Darwin)

“Is He neither able nor willing?”

He is both able and, IF HE SO CHOOSES, willing.  Thus, He remains God.

Why would God “choose” to “allow” evil?  Did it ever occur to you that “evil” teaches us things?  That without it, we would have nothing against which to measure “good?”

You fall into a common trap: the idea that God somehow wants “automatons” who simply worship Him BECAUSE HE CREATES THEM THAT WAY.  But then He most CERTAINLY would not be God.  God created humans with free will - INCLUDING THE FREE WILL TO ACCEPT OR REJECT HIS VERY EXISTENCE.  If God were to “show His face” to the entire planet - thus “proving” His existence - wherewith “faith?”

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  This may prima facie defy “rationalism” and “empiricism,” but it is the essence of free will: we either accept or reject God.  If we accept Him, there are benefits - and consequences (within “the world”).  If we reject Him, there are benefits (within “the world”), and consequences - though by rejecting Him, you also reject accepting and understanding those consequences.

I am simply laying it out from a theological perspective.  Epicurus’ riddle is not “flawless”; in fact, it shows a complete ignorance of the basis of faith and free will.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, September 29, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Being a lover of avocados ITW, I also have observed with sadness that the size of the pit is not in proper balance as to the contents of the fruit, but perhaps at one time that large pit was necessary to have a tree spring forth in less than ideal conditions. Survival of the fittest avocado tree lies in the size of the pit. grin

There is a source of energy that created the universe.  I could accept the Big Bang theory and everything that flows from it as you say. According to the Bible, there are also angels. As to Abrahamic religions’ model of God I cannot say and have gone beyond that point into just accepting the goodness of the Bible. I attend both Jewish High Holiday services and Catholic services where my grandchildren participate. It works out well.
“Next year in Jeruselem” is a prayer of the Jewish people and also some Christian branches as well as some Peace Centers. Could such a prayer repeated through the hundreds of years have an event come into being? Just throwing that out for thought.  In the orient there are those who believe that the world is all mind, setting into motion what is to be. Does this include prayer? Will science be able to prove that the power of the mind can affect events? Could such happenings be within the law of Karma? Interesting possibilities in those questions.
The Bible,has had and still has a large influence on Western Civilization. The Ten Commandments, which many ridicule, were for all intents and purposes instrumental in allowing our culture to proceed in a manner where law and order was observed. Some, such as I, do not take each admonition in the Bible literally nor the time element as to what took place. Were scribes there each moment to record what took place? I don’t think so. Some beliefs may have been added, some taken away and some reconstructed to fit within the framework of what the scribe or his patron believed.  The Torah is the basis for the Jewish faith and also the Christian faith with other books added.  One can continually scorn such writing or accept the fact that the Torah did bring the Jewish people through many difficult times.The same can be said of Christianity and its followers. Yes, many horrific crimes have been committed in the name of religion; atheist regimes have also have had their bloodbaths.

The declining attendance in churches and temples is but one indication of the fact that such religions are winding down. What will take their place? What will be the essence of this new “godless man,” perhaps embracing a world that revolves around television, shopping, and the Internet.  Technological mastery to him may not merely be a guiding ideal but the only convincing model of truth. Will there be a break down as to morality?  Of course there will be dissension as to what amorality is, etc.  How that question is answered by the new “godless man”  shall define the coming era.

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By Big B, September 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

I ask the same question of all my pious friends..

Why do you need there to be an invisible man in the sky?

BTW, christianity is the finest religion that anybody ever stole. Just look at all our stories legends and dogma, we “borrowed” them all from older more established religions like Judaism and Hindu and Buddism. Heck, the bible was re-written time and time again to suit whatever european king wanted his own version (to tell the faithful that they should listen to them, of course)

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By Inherit The Wind, September 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

garth, September 29 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

You rely on the words of Abraham, Joshua et al, too much.  The western culture relies on the the words of Abraham, Joshua et al too much.

Ed The Ukrainian used to take high peeve at the American’s interest in Eastern philosophy even though he was working in a Japanese owned company that employed mostly Chinese, or ABCs, American Born Chinese.

*********************

Not me! I don’t rely on Abraham and Joshua!

Who the hell is “Ed The Ukrainian”?

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By sallysense, September 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

render unto god the truth…
and unto man the illusion…
lest some first hand might get tied…
by second-hand conclusions!...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays to each’n'everyone!... smile

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By jim.w.w, September 29, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Of course Atheists know more about religion than do the faithful. It’s what made them Atheists in the first place.

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By garth, September 29, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

ITW,

You rely on the words of Abraham, Joshua et al, too much.  The western culture relies on the the words of Abraham, Joshua et al too much. 

Ed The Ukrainian used to take high peeve at the American’s interest in Eastern philosophy even though he was working in a Japanese owned company that employed mostly Chinese, or ABCs, American Born Chinese.

The bible tells us, primarily, that you have to be a victim and you have to go to war, and your God, if it is Jehovah, will save you every time.

The strength of the Mormon’s, as admitted by a Mormon follow, lies in the mere fact that Joe Smith took the time to write a ‘book’.  Others at the time were merely writing pamphlets.

What does that tell us?  What does that tell you?

I say: go tell it to the Chinese Buddhist, the Indian Hindu or just tell it to your congregation.

To borrow the words from a pop song 40 or so years ago, “It’s a strange, strange world we live in Master Jack.”

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By ocjim, September 29, 2010 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

I believe that the atheist’s plaint, “There is no God,” is usually just a rejection of self-centered organized religion, which puts God in our image and tries to distort that accepted image so that it fits our own convenience.

We cannot have a comprehension of God so religious leaders define God in their own terms or that of the self-exalted pious who preceded them.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 29, 2010 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

EL:
I’m not sure where you are coming from.  I’m not afraid that there is God—I’m afraid of a God that exists that fits the Abrahamic religions’ model. Namely, a god that created a universe with so many goofs and screw-ups that He has to CONSTANTLY intervene, violating His own natural laws, to affect things and people. A god that changes His decisions on how He will act based on whether someone’s prayin’ or not.

But I have NO problem with God saying: “The Big Bang will happen NOW!” and it does, and with it, everything that flows from it. (Or, if the BB is a mistake in cosmology, whatever He did to start it all).

“The avocado. I made the pit too big.”—George Burns in “Oh, God!”

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., September 29, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, “elisalouisa,” it’s more likely to be the fear of death that drives most people to religion.  They can’t face the inevitible, so they concoct the “heaven” fairytale.
Thomas Paine said it most pointedly in The Age of Reason, “All national institutions of churches . . . appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, . . .”
Fear, instilled early, overcomes the science; the reason; the logic and the common sense of the rational adult, who in the face of overwhelming threat, regresses to the role of a cowering child.
What better way to dispel all fear, than to construct a resurrecting concept of everlasting life beyond the death of the body, and then convincing people that there is nothing to fear at all—in fact death is a condition to be desired and sought after—accept Jesus Christ as your savior and you will go to Heaven.
In your mind, elisalouisa, and the minds of all your fellow Christians, you’ve turned religion into noble concepts like love, faith, hope, and charity while subordinating the real force behind the “human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, . . .”
    No, elisalouisa, contrary to the slogan that you and your fellow Christians have popularized in recent years with your baseball caps, tee shirts and bumper stickers, Jesus is not the reason for the season.
Fear is.

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By Gil Gaudia, Ph.D., September 29, 2010 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GOTCHA !

“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?”

Most Atheists love this riddle, because in it, Epicurus flawlessly outlines the implausibility of the God myth.  Yet for centuries, even educated people, have attempted to ignore, challenge and refute its inescapable chain of reasoning.  In doing so they have concocted various strategies, against the evidence and reason of science, including the one I like best; the unassailable bedrock argument of Christian apologists; reason’s greatest cop out, “We humans are just unable to understand God’s mysterious ways.”
Logic and reason are used exactly the way Atheists and scientists use them until . . . the contradiction that cannot be rationalized emerges.  Then it’s . . . We just can’t understand God’s mysterious ways.

GOTCHA!

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By Leefeller, September 29, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

If yous heretics out there can be nice and keep from getting too uppity in their faithlessness, ......maybe we will all get lucky and be spared hearing the ranting sermon on the “New Atheists”!

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By elisalouisa, September 29, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

              I am talking about something much deeper,

                namely the fear of religion itself.

 

“One interesting answer to the question: “Why do atheists want there to be no God?” comes from Thomas Nagel, professor of philosophy and law at New York University and no friend of religion. In his book The Last Word, Nagel writes,

‘Even without God, the idea of a natural sympathy between the deepest layers of the human mind, which can be exploited to allow gradual development of a true and truer conception of reality, makes us more at home in the universe than is secularly comfortable. The thought that the relation between
the mind and the world is something fundamental makes many people in this day and age nervous.’

Nagel then says:

‘I believe this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life.

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself. I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just
that I don’t believe in God and, naturally hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God. I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

All of the above is a quote from The Rage Against God second title How atheism led me to faith, p. 149, 150 by Peter Hitchens

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

I’ve known of two gentlemen who passed in their 80’s, who in their essence and character were as noble as anyone could have desired to be… yet these men, because of the evils they witnessed in their long lives in military, police and dealing with and knowing what goes on in government and business… somehow couldn’t ‘allow’ themselves the possibility of belief or faith.

They saw what organized religion and false doctrines had done to millions… and wanted no part in one man’s leadership over another in terms of faith-based things.. yet couldn’t pursue the faith themselves… why?  Could it be that ‘solo’ missions are not biblical when considering the new testament’s message ( parts of the body, cannot exist apart from the body )?

Nature and our very existence and conscience SCREAMS proof at us daily.. but we’ve gone in search of schemes and much learning and unfortunately fail to first learn humility.

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By elisalouisa, September 29, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Religion cannot be defined as a collection of facts, i.e. the more facts you have the more religious you are. Nicholas Hagger in his book Encyclopaedic History of The Light of Civilization  Prologue page xii defines religion as fundamentally about the inner experience of the soul unfolding to God. Atheists deal in facts, which is not the definition of religion and therefore have no idea what religion is about.  One might say that atheists are more knowledgeable in Christian dogma which alone could lead to a dead end.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Jesus mentioned that swords will be put into plowshares.. the real follower of Christ does not battle, fight, go to war, etc…

So in essence, if real Christians were in positions of public office / power, they would NOT vote for war, but instead invite the ‘evil doers’ over for dinner to settle things peaceably once and for all… and all nations would be fed by now this ‘Christian’ centered government.

Give to Cesar what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s.

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By garth, September 29, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

On C-SPAN yesterday, Sep. 28th, a retired US Army General cum Diplomat (or is it vice versa) talked of the the new US approach that would emphasize diplomacy and not just ‘bustin’ heads and forgettin’ names’. 

This would a more even approach to what he said later.  Interpreted directly from his words, the US thinks it is God ‘imself, and that it is not just on a God mission.  We want to re-create our style of Democracy, or should I say Government all over. Then when things are to their liking thay can sit back and declare, “Ah!  It is good.”

Such hubris, you might say.  Pride goeth before the fall. 

Well I say Summer goeth before the Fall, and with our bravest barbarians and out whispering wind drone missiles, we are unbeatable.

Not since Alexander the Great and all the rest that followed, has the world seen such a nation.  One that has become God ‘imself.

As we used to say to the elementary school kid drinking water excessively after recess and holding up the line, making others go to their next class thirsty, “Leave some for the fishes!”

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By bpawk, September 29, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

What needed to be mentioned in this article is that historical accuracy and historical truth were not considered when discussing knowledge of religion. Religion is akin to a fairy-tale and abounds with historical inaccuracies (consider archaeologists findings, secular scholars’ findings etc. for more historical truth).

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By bogi666, September 29, 2010 at 5:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of all the Commandments, which Commandment is the greatest and which is the 2nd greatest? ,Please advise thank you.

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By Tesla, September 29, 2010 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

Maani, as a matter of accuracy your paragraph
employing the tired tome concerning mass murderers
such as Hitler and Stalin is not only vacuous but
extremely disingenuous.

The cited characters were to the last man,
megalomaniac dictators that were acting on their own
personal (and proclaimed) agendas exclusively. All
were modern constructs that each had a direct hand in
shaping (Nazi-ism and Soviet style Communism). There
was no “higher” authority called into play. They were
not promoting the agenda of a 1400 year old
institution that claimed to represent the father of
all mankind.

Besides, to borrow a bit of logic from one of the
the other posters in this forum, the facts may not
state what they are represented to state.

The percentage of the existing world population
exterminated by direct involvement by the Catholic
Church for the reporting period was likely equal to
or greater than the numbers killed by all the
aforementioned dictators.

The problem IS the religion because it so easily
supports pretty much any good OR heinous activity you
wish to engage in while providing you with divine
cover.

That is the crux of matter. Apologists for the
Abrahamic religions often engage in circular
arguments (using their scripture of choice) to refute
simple, observable and verifiable facts.

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By PatrickHenry, September 29, 2010 at 3:33 am Link to this comment

Inherit,

“And people wonder why I’m Agnostic?”

Just in case.

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By Leefeller, September 29, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

I may not know more about religion than the Pious,...... but I know the Pious when I see em!

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By bogglesthemind, September 29, 2010 at 2:09 am Link to this comment

And why is that guy in the pic casting stones?

¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Is it not time to rise up against willful stupidity?

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By Fat Freddy, September 29, 2010 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

Yes, Fundamentalists need to tear out the entire Old Testament of their Bibles.

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By Lisa, September 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not surprised. It’s how they became atheists and agnostics in the first place…

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By bogglesthemind, September 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Is it not time that people rise up against willful stupidity?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

faith, good sense and thank you for stating such, I’ll forward it again with your permission:

Recall, the “Catholic Church” was not created until approximately 300a.d.

Where as the first “Christian Church” was created in the book of Acts (2:38) following the death of Christ. 

But, I sure agree with you as to the rest of it.  I am
reminded when the young lawyer asked Christ what is the basis, and he replied, “Love God and love your fellow man”.  Sums it up.  Yep, wish we could all do that.

Wanted to also state, that BIG organized parts of any religion, and as we’ve seen with ‘money-lead’ instead of Spirit-lead movements do eventually malign the Word, or start off doing so.. as one can read and contrast and compare with the very scriptures folks profess.

“you will know them by their deeds”

Like faith stated and with that I’ll add that the REAL disciples of Christ, who are consciously close to living out the message of Christ because of their belief and obedience to the message, are NOT publicized and advertised on TV or the radio!  If they were, the cries of heresy will be enourmous for folks would be SNAPPED out of their comfortable bubble of ‘cold wet feet’ living and their hearts will burn with conviction upon hearing the clear message, not a ‘modern’ rendition of definitions upon translation goply goop instead of believing what it says.

... You meet them on the street, in a cab, in a plane, on a train, on a bridge, at the store, when the best things just happened to you… or the worse things just happened to you.. etc… or when you’ve been asking for a change.

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By bogglesthemind, September 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

“ATHEISTS KNOW MORE ABOUT RELIGION THAN THE PIOUS”

That’s why they are Atheists.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 28, 2010 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

Number of points:
Hitler didn’t simply see Jews as a financial problem.  He saw them as a competing genetic type to the Aryan, and that only one of them could survive.  This was what the scholars have labeled “Biological Racism” because it meant, unlike traditional anti-Semitism, there couldn’t be a “good Jew” or a Jew who converted to Christianity and, therefore, was no longer a Jew.
Furthermore, the Aryan “race” isn’t German or Northern European, it’s Persian—and the name of the nation “Iran” is a variant spelling of “Aryan”.  Even Rudyard Kipling knew this:
“For as the Western riles,
The Aryan smiles
and weareth the Westerner down.”

True, funny and sad story. Last Saturday night we went to a friend’s wedding held in a fundamentalist neo-Baptist church.  The minister went on and on, quoting Solomon, and got to the “3 Strands in a Rope” part of the sermon they all love.  He told us “Solomon told us that a rope has 3 strands and that’s what makes it strong.  And he told us marriage is like that rope, with 3 strands: The husband, the wife, and Jesus Christ.”

At this point I looked at my wife and whispered “Solomon said THAT?????” 

Yeah, he said Solomon said that.  Kind of interesting since Solomon died about 900 years before Christ was born (931 BC)

And people wonder why I’m Agnostic?

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By AuroraBorealis, September 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
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Sorry, that last comment should have been @ Maani, not @Fat Freddy, my bad, I got the names mixed after reading both posts smile

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By AuroraBorealis, September 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
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@Fat Freddy: The teachings of the Catholic Church are hardly akin to those of Jesus, in any case.  Given the church’s long-standing hatred of Jews, his persecution of the Jews was not exactly out of whack with what that church was about. 

We’re also talking about a religion that was spread by force throughout Europe during the dark ages.  Their idea of ‘saving’ souls was to force them to accept Christianity or kill them if they did not.  Not much different to Hitler, really, even down to the pretense of following the word of Jesus.

It still doesn’t alter the fact that he (Hitler) continued to refer to God in his writings and in his speeches, and that he was never ex-communicated for his crimes (more telling than the fact that he did not renounce his faith, in my opinion), or that he had the support of the leadership.  His idea of what God wanted may have been skewed, but he was no atheist.  He was very much a Catholic in deed as well as word.

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By Maani, September 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy:

I agree.  Forgive me if my comment made it sound like Hitler blamed the Jews exclusively for Germany’s economic problems.  That certainly was not the case, as you note.

Peace.

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By Fat Freddy, September 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

Maani

As well, the main accusation against the Jews was economic: they were the moneylenders and, according to Hitler, had destroyed the country economically.  Thus, it was only secondarily a “religious” issue; it was primarily an economic one.

It was two-fold. Hitler blamed the Allies for the war reparations placed on Germany at the end of WWI, which were severe, and the resulting hyperinflation. He also blamed the Jews for undermining his attempts to restore the economy. Plus, he needed an excuse to take the Jew’s money to fund his war effort. The only thing Hitler really wanted from the Jews was their money. They were the only ones with money. FDR did the same thing in this country when he confiscated everybody’s gold to fund the war, he just did it in a more humane and honest way.

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By Fat Freddy, September 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Garrett

IIRC. Mormons have their own Bible. It’s called the Book of Mormon. It’s almost like a New New Testament.

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By Maani, September 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

AuroraBorealis:

“And to the person above who invoked Hitler: he most certainly was a Catholic.  He never denounced his Catholic faith; he was supported by the Catholic hierarchy and he most likely learned his hatred of Jews from Catholic teachings, since antisemitism was still being taught by that church after his death. Not to mention all his references to God in his writing and speeches.  Maybe he was ‘using’ his religion to further his cause, but that could be said of pretty much any Christian politician in the US these days.”

Although it is a sidebar discussion, as someone who has studied this particular facet of history in extreme depth, I assure you that you are incorrect.

Hitler did not need to “renounce” his Catholic faith: everything he actually did and said belied it: i.e., I can CLAIM anything I want; my words and actions either support that claim or not.  And there is nothing Hitler did that supported a “Christian” belief of any type.

Jesus preached love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth.  Hitler was the antithesis of ALL of these: hateful, warlike, unforgiving, lacking in compassion, arrogant, impatient, uncharitable, megalomaniacal, unjust and a liar.  What part of that shows a “catholic” faith?

Indeed, Hitler’s cynical “use” of Christianity was planned from very early on.  Not very long after he became chancellor (after the “false flag” fire at the Reichstag helped cement his grip) - as early as 1934 or 1935 - he had a meeting of the party faithful at which he stated, “It is through the peasantry that we will finally destroy Christianity.  One can be a German or a Christian, but not both.”  Thus, after eliminating the Jews, the Christians would have been next.

Indeed, Hitler was an equal opportunity murderer.  He began killing Christians pretty early, killing a total of over 2 million by 1945.  In one instance, he arrested all 492 parish priests in Prussia.  Two years later, only 10% had survived and returned to their parishes.  And Hitler’s alleged “cozy” relationship with the Pope was nothing of the sort.  Hitler HATED the Pope, and couldn’t wait to get rid of him, because Hitler knew that, although the Pope himself did not help Jews and others escape, many priests were doing so, and the Pope did nothing to stop them.

Finally, keep in mind that Hitler’s plan was to create a “master race” of “Aryans.”  But Aryan is not a religion, it is a bloodline.  As well, the main accusation against the Jews was economic: they were the moneylenders and, according to Hitler, had destroyed the country economically.  Thus, it was only secondarily a “religious” issue; it was primarily an economic one.

There are a great many scholarly books that speak to the issue of Hitler’s claimed “Chistianity,” from the “set-up” of Mein Kampf to his continued claims or his own faith, to the use of the cross as a symbol second only to the swastika.

Peace.

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By faith, September 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

Samson, Samson, you meant to use lower case “catholic” as in universal,  I am
sure.  Recall, the “Catholic Church” was not created until approximately 300a.d. 
Where as the first “Christian Church” was created in the book of Acts (2:38)
following the death of Christ.  But, I sure agree with you as to the rest of it.  I am
reminded when the young lawyer asked Christ what is the basis, and he replied,
“Love God and love your fellow man”.  Sums it up.  Yep, wish we could all do that.

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By Samson, September 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

LOL ... protestants don’t know who Martin Luther is?  ROFLOL. 

Always knew the Baptists weren’t too bright, but that takes the cake.  Do they ever wonder why the whole Christian world was once Catholic, but today it isn’t.

Oops, that’s right.  If you have faith, you aren’t supposed to ask questions.

Which probably explains why most of these idiots think that the Jesus who tried to teach them peace and love and to turn the other cheek now wants them to go kill the whole middle east.

Or, why the Jesus who looked after the poor and washed the feet of a beggar wants them to leave the poor to starve and die out in the cold.

Yep, there’s a whole lot of questions you could ask the ‘religious’ of the world today and they’d get them very, very wrong. Just like they get so much else so very wrong.

Love one another.  Get that part down pat, then get out of church before they mess you up.  If they keep talking after “love one another”, then they’ll just try to distract you from that simple path to peace.

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By AuroraBorealis, September 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Garrett:  the Mormons most certainly are NOT Christians.  Jesus was added to that ‘religion’ as an afterthought to make it more palatable.  Mormons believe that Adam is the God of this planet, and that each one of them, if they’re good and follow the Mormon rules, will get a planet of their own to rule over when they die.

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By AuroraBorealis, September 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it’s much simpler: the reason atheists in particular know more about all religions is that they are open to learning about many things in order to be able to form an opinion.  As opposed to someone who is committed to a particular religion and therefore closes their mind to anything but the specific ‘truths’ they are taught.

And to the person above who invoked Hitler: he most certainly was a Catholic.  He never denounced his Catholic faith; he was supported by the Catholic hierarchy and he most likely learned his hatred of Jews from Catholic teachings, since antisemitism was still being taught by that church after his death. Not to mention all his references to God in his writing and speeches.  Maybe he was ‘using’ his religion to further his cause, but that could be said of pretty much any Christian politician in the US these days.

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By Garrett, September 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ha, ths just shows your ignorance as well. you say ” Mormons and Jews know more about Christians than Christians”. Mormons are christian. The name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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By purplewolf, September 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy: You forgot fear. The biggest con of the Bush years we have ever seen.Okay, one of them anyway.

This report comes as no surprise.

“And God called them hypocrites*!” somewhere in the New Testament from my theology studies in college. Wanted to know what this side of religion thought, class was a disappointment as I thought we would have more question-answer session and not only bible reading and testing. 

* The only line from the bible I agree with, if there is a God, but yes, hypocrites describes most of the people who claim Christianity very well. In name only, but certainly not in deeds and actions according to their Jesus’s teachings.

The greatest threat to all living creatures is organized religion.

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