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Sam Harris Takes On the Muslim Cartoon Controversy and His Critics

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Posted on Feb 3, 2006
Sam Harris
Courtesy of Sam Harris

Sam Harris

By Sam Harris

Update: Sam Harris responds to the Muhammad cartoon controversy.

In recent days, crowds of thousands have gathered throughout the Muslim worldburning European embassies, issuing threats, and even taking hostagesחin protest over 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a Danish newspaper.  The problem is not merely that the cartoons were mildly derogatory.  The furor primarily erupted over the fact that the Prophet had been depicted at all. Muslims consider any physical rendering of Muhammad to be an act of idolatry.  And idolatry is punishable by death. Criticism of Muhammad or his teachingwhich was also implicit in the cartoonsחis considered blasphemy.  As luck would have it, blasphemy is also punishable by death.  Pious Muslims, therefore, have two reasons to not accept less than a severing of the heads of those responsible,” as was elucidated by a preacher at the Al Omari mosque in Gaza.

Let us take stock of the moral intuitions now on display in the House of Islam: on Aug. 17, 2005, an Iraqi insurgent helped collect the injured survivors of a car bombing, rushed them to a hospital, and then detonated his own bomb, murdering those who were already mortally wounded as well as the doctors and nurses struggling to save their lives.  Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Religious sociopaths murder innocents by the hundreds in the capitols of Europe, blow up the offices of the U.N. and the Red Cross, purposefully annihilate crowds of children gathered to collect candy from U.S. soldiers on the streets of Baghdad, kidnap journalists, behead them, and the videos of their butchery become the most popular form of pornography in the Muslim world, and no one utters a word of protest because these atrocities have been perpetrated ӓin defense of Islam. But draw a picture of the Prophet, and pious mobs convulse with pious rage. One could hardly ask for a better demonstration of the manner in which religious dogmatism and its pseudo-morality eclipses basic, human goodness. This behavior would be impossible without religious belief. It is time we realized that the endgame for civilization is not political correctness.  It is not respect for the abject religious certainties of the mob.  It is reason.


While ԓAn Atheist Manifesto received considerable support from readers of Truthdig, a variety of criticisms surfaced in the reader commentary.  I summarize and respond to some of these below:

1. Just because you havenԒt seen God doesnt mean He doesnҒt exist.  Atheism, therefore, is as much an act of faith as theism is.

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Bertrand Russell demolished this fallacy nearly a century ago with his famous teapot argument.  As his response appears to me to be perfect, I simply offer it here:

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

If a valid retort to Russell has ever seen the light of day, Im not aware of it.  As I tried to make clear in my essay, the atheist is not in the business of making claims on insufficient evidence, he merely resists such claims whenever they appear on the lips of the faithful.  I donҒt think it can be pointed out too often that the faithful do this as well. Every Christian knows what it is like to find the claims of Muslimsthat the Holy Koran is the perfect word of God, that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, etc.חto be utterly incredible.  Everyone who is not a Mormon knows at a glance that Mormonism is bogus. And everyone of every religious denomination knows what it is like not to believe in Zeus. Everyone has rejected an infinite number of spurious claims about God.  The atheist rejects infinity plus one.

2. You will never get rid of religion, so criticizing it is just a waste of time.

I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religious dogmatism in our world do not seem good. Still, the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the beginning of the 19th century. Anyone who spoke about eradicating slavery in the United States around 1810 surely appeared to be wasting his time, and wasting it dangerously.  The analogy is not perfect, but it is suggestive.  If we ever do transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with absolute astonishment.  How could it have been possible for people to believe such things in the 21st century? How could it be that they allowed their world to become so dangerously fragmented by empty notions about God and Paradise? The answers to these questions are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year that Darwin published “The Origin of Species”).

3. Religion is our only source of morality. Without it, we would be plunged into a secular moral chaos.

This concern is so widespread that I have responded to it at some length.  A version of this response will soon be published in the magazine Free Inquiry (www.secularhumanism.org) as The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos.Ӕ

One cannot criticize religious dogmatism for long without encountering the following claim, advanced as though it were a self-evident fact of nature: there is no secular basis for morality. Raping and killing children can only be really wrong, the thinking goes, if there is a God who says it is.  Otherwise, right and wrong would be mere matters of social construction, and any society will be at liberty to decide that raping and killing children is actually a wholesome form of family fun. In the absence of God, John Wayne Gacy would be a better person than Albert Schweitzer, if only more people agreed with him.

It is simply amazing how widespread this fear of secular moral chaos is, given how many misconceptions about morality and human nature are required to set it whirling in a persons brain. There is undoubtedly much to be said against the spurious linkage between faith and morality, but the following three points should suffice.

If a book like the bible were the only reliable blueprint for human decency that we have, it would be impossible (both practically and logically) to criticize it in moral terms. But it is extraordinarily easy to criticize the morality one finds in bible, as most of it is simply odious and incompatible with a civil society.

The notion that the bible is a perfect guide to morality is really quite amazing, given the contents of the book. Human sacrifice, genocide, slaveholding, and misogyny are consistently celebrated.  Of course, GodҒs counsel to parents is refreshingly straightforward: whenever children get out of line, we should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13: 24, 20:30, and 23:13-14). If they are shameless enough to talk back to us, we should kill them (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Mark.7:9-13 and Matthew 15:4-7).  We must also stone people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, worshipping graven images, practicing sorcery, and for a wide variety of other imaginary crimes.  Most Christians imagine that Jesus did away with all this barbarism and delivered a doctrine of pure love and toleration.  He didnt (Matthew 5:18-19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 20-21, John 7:19). Anyone who believes that Jesus only taught the Golden Rule and love of oneҒs neighbor should go back and read the New Testament. And pay particular attention to the morality that will be on display if he ever returns to Earth trailing clouds of glory (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:8; Hebrews 10:28-29; 2 Peter 3:7; and all of Revelation). It is not an accident that St. Thomas Aquinas thought heretics should be killed and that St. Augustine thought they should be tortured.  (Ask yourself, what are the chances that these good doctors of the Church hadnt read the New Testament closely enough to discover the error of their ways?) As a source of objective morality, the bible is one of the worst books we have. It might have been the very worst, in fact, if we didnҒt also happen to have the Koran.

It is important to point out that we decide what is good in the Good Book. We read the Golden and Rule and judge it to be a brilliant distillation of many of our ethical impulses; we read that a woman found not to be a virgin on her wedding night should be stoned to death, and we (if we are civilized) decide that this is the most vile lunacy imaginable. Our own ethical intuitions are, therefore, primary.  So the choice before us is simple: we can either have a 21st century conversation about ethicsavailing ourselves of all the arguments and scientific insights that have accumulated in the last 2,000 years of human discourseחor we can confine ourselves to a first century conversation as it is preserved in the bible.

If religion were necessary for morality, there should some evidence that atheists are less moral than believers. But evidence for this is in short supply, and there is much evidence to the contrary.

People of faith regularly allege that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Are atheists really less moral than believers? While it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion—delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were undoubtedly religiousand the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued throughout the period. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.) Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself—of which every religion has more than its fair share. I know of no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

According the United Nationsג Human Development Report (2005), the most atheistic societies—countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdomare actually the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest by the U.N. in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causalityחbelief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief.  Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a societys health.

If religion really provided the only conceivable, objective basis for morality, it should be impossible to posit a non-theistic, objective basis for morality.  But it is not impossible; it is rather easy.

Clearly, we can think of objective sources of moral order that do not require the existence of a law-giving God.  In “The End of Faith,” I argued that questions of morality are really questions about happiness and suffering.  If there are objectively better and worse ways to live so as to maximize happiness in this world, these would be objective moral truths worth knowing.  Whether we will ever be in a position to discover these truths and agree about them cannot be known in advance (and this is the case for all questions of scientific fact). But if there are psychophysical laws that underwrite human well-beingҗand why wouldnt there be?җthen these laws are potentially discoverable.  Knowledge of these laws would provide an enduring basis for an objective morality. In the meantime, everything about human experience suggests that love is better than hate for the purposes of living happily in this world.  This is an objective claim about the human mind, the dynamics of social relations, and the moral order of our world. While we do not have anything like a final, scientific approach to maximizing human happiness, it seems safe to say that raping and killing children will not be one of its primary constituents.

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns—about ethics, spiritual experience and the inevitability of human suffering—in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of human conflict.  The idea that there is a necessary link between religious faith and morality is one of the principal myths keeping religion in good standing among otherwise reasonable men and women.  And yet, it is a myth that is easily dispelled.


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By archeon, August 27, 2006 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just a short question to HiveRadical vis-a-vis mine and Val’s so called dogma.  If my views are godma, does that prove yours are not?  If my views are wrong does that prove yours are right?  If I can’t prove god does not exist, does that prove he does?  Well?  Sorry it takes more than throwing the question back to answer it.  You provide not proof.  You answer no questions.

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By archeon, August 27, 2006 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No-faiths is only negative if faith is a positive - if having faith is a negative then no-faith would be a possitive.

J-B you go from the assumption that “faith” is the good and positive thing.  I would argue that “faith” is a negative characteristic based on poor intellectual reasoning skills, and ignorance.

Rational examination of the facts - the empirical world and the texts of the faiths - will naturally lead intellegent curious and educated persons to the conclusion that “faith” cannot will away the CONTRADICTIONS, INCONCISTENCIES, and FALSEHOODS of the major religions.

I keep going back to the theology, the myths, and the “holy” texts of the religions because those are the “proofs” that the faithfull aways through out to the great unwashed as reasons to “believe”.  The faithfull always talk about the faith only in terms of the faith. Circular I know, but that is what they do - argue in circular self referencing terms.  I and others like me, are only asking that the faithfull address the logical contradictions, conceptual inconcistenies, empirical falsehoods without reverting to statements like: “God made it so”  “It’s in the bible/tora/koran/book of mormon” “Our intellects are to feeble to understand the will/nature/being of god” etc etc.  You the faithfull simply stating that god came to you in your dreams and told you to believe, is not proof.

What do you do with the contradictions and inconcistencies with a religion?  Ignore them through faith?  Will them away through circular self referential argument? Acknowledge that the system is flawed and possibly wrong?  Wait for the next prophet/messiah to explain them away?

Religion as awhole has been used as a way of controling people’s behaviour and thinking.  Often religions are founded on grand and beautiful ideas, yet are subverted by the establishments that govern these religions (churches, etc) into vehicles for enslavement and indebtedness.  Quite often religion and religious establisments are used as ways of justifying social and class structures, and are used as reasons for opposing social change and advancement.  I give as an example of this the way in which right wing christian groups (yes that does include the church of rome) oppose aids education, and aids prevention in Africa.  Granted local religious traditions are also often in opposition to rational logical and intelligent approaches to aids, but that makes my point even further.  Religion and religious groups also opposed trade unions, integration, women’s rights, children’s rights, etc.  Christianity was one of the bases upon which the extermination of the jews was based, Hitler and his cadre of followers were not agnostics or atheists they were by and large christians.  Granted their forms of christianity were shaped by remnant myths out of the Germanic pre-history, but christian non the less.  Nazism like Communism (or Marxist-Lennenism), are religions for they presuppose acceptance of the “revealed” truth of a prophet or messianic figure on faith alone.  Mao’s “little red book” was in essence a “bible”. Marx’s “Das Kapital” was in essence a “bible”.  Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was in essence a “bible”.  And like the BIBLE/KORAN etc, they do not stand up to rational critical analysis.  As long as one choses to remain within the framework of the self referencing paradigm of a religion the logical contradictions remain invisible, yet from the outside they are readily apearent, because of the greater wealth of information/fact/truth available with which to question the underlying pre-suppositions of the faith.

Religion, the abrahamic tradition in particular, askes of us to accept certain elements as given. And I list some of them:

1- God exists
2- God created the world, the universe, everything
3- Nothing existed before god
4- There is only one god
5- God is all powerful
6- God is all seeing
7- God is all loving
8- God is everywhere and nowhere

These are all unprovable, and must be accepted on faith alone.  In this tradition the mere act of questioning the validity of any of these basic pre-conditions of faith is an act of heresy.  In this tradition heresy is sin, wrong, and evil.  Heretics can be killed. You get the idea.

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By Jerub-baal, August 26, 2006 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mary - the reason I don’t go to Park City anymore during the Sundance Film festival is because I look a lot like Brad Pitt.  At first it was fun signing autographs and stuff but later it just got to be too much of a hasle.

Brad Pitt should go on Oprah and jump off of a couch.  He could talk about how his baptist upbringing oppressed him.

The no-faiths could go on Oprah and jump on a couch.  I don’t like the term “no-faiths” because the “no” makes it sound negative - like something is lacking.

Really, what could possibly be lacking?

Historical reliability, eyewitness accounts, and testimony that is far from self serving (remember most of the early followers of Christ were killed for what they believed). 

Abso-freke-n’lutely - the story of Tim Freke.

Oh wait a second that’s right they (no-faiths)do believe, yes, believe in statements made by Timothy Freke, a researcher who does not believe in eyewitness accounts and historical reliability but he does believe in testimony that is self serving after all his sensational statements got him in a magazine which is amazing.  He might as well join Doherty who claims all the Jesus stuff occured on a celestrial level and all of us Christians are missing the point.  The point being Doherty has more in common with a 2nd century gnostic then a modern day biblical scholar.

I just went to Freke website and did some reading - he’s a syncretist gnostic - probably fell out of the same tree J. Campbell was in -  which means his belief system comes from later questionable accounts - it serves his purpose to doubt older more reliable manuscripts.  Talk about Freke’s axe to grind.  I’m not sure I would be referencing him.  Maybe reference Josephus or Tacitus but then again those two historians would prove Freke wrong.

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By archeon, August 26, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The trouble with religion and it’s minions is this: an absolute refusal to concede that the basis of the belief may be any and all of the following:

1 - insanity
2 - lies
3 - misinterpretation of empirical data (observations)
4 - lies
5 - half truths
6 - lies
7 - ignorace

To concede that the basis of the faith and belief may be rooted in falshoods denies the absolute infalibilty of the godhead.  If even one thing of the faith based system is questioned then the whole system collapses because like a house of cards, it is built on shaky foundations.

For example:

If god did not create the world in 6 days, and in fact the evolution of the earth took 4 billion years then the whold story of creation is thrown into doubt.

If Jesus was not the literal and actual son of god, then the claims made on his behalf vis-a-vis his authority to grant redemption here and in the after life for earthly sins is false.

It is important to note that for the christians it is important that Jesus was born to a virgin, because sex is sin, and the son of God could not have been the product of a sinful union.  At the same time the idea of a woman and a god producing a man who is embued with extra-ordinary powers is not new.  It harkens back to Greek, Roman, Egyptian myth and theology.

One possible proof of the invalidity of the Abrahamic traditions is that within them are to be found remnants of far older myths and theologies.  That the mono-theistic hebrew based religion is in fact a synthesis of older poly-theistic cosmologies would indicate that the guiding text (the old testament) is wrong.  It would show that the Jewish claim to Israel/Palestine is not based on religious fact (that is the land promised by god to them), but on a tribal myth.

I claim that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be proven false, by examining the texts that are claimed to be the foundation of the faiths.  We don’t have to debate whether god can or cannot exist in an emprical way. The proof of gods non existance will not be found in the “real” world, it will be demonstrated by the contradictions, inconsitencies, and falsehoods found with in the religions.  One step on this path is to find within each of those religious traditions, elements that come from the polytheistic prehistory of man.

Within classic Jewish theology one finds elements that can be traced to Sumerian and Babylonian prehistory.  Christian theology and myth has been shaped by pre existing myths and cosmologies of its converts, Mexico and Latin america are good examples of pagan elements remaining in stanchly catholic societies.  Islam was shaped by the pagan beliefs of the Arabic tribes that were it’s first converts.

One final and indesputable fact remains.  The proponents of one religion, by necessity feel that those of another are “less”.  That they are further from god, and closer to evil.  This one thing alone is what has given rise to all the evils of religion, for it is the thing that allows for and justifies - racism, woman-hating, classism, slavery, injustice, inequity, and hate.  It is what justifies seeing those who do not believe as “other” and less than human, as less deserving of gods grace, and possibly devoid of it.

Religion and democracy are incompatible.  Religion is not democractic.  Faith is not rational.  Belief is not proof.

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By HiveRadical, August 26, 2006 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mary,

You assume that my relationship with God is akin to what it is between some pop-culture fanatic and the person the idolize. My question to you was not if one can prove a relationship exists to themselves, rather if they can taken any and all relationships and demonstrably prove their existance to others.

For example in History. One may have actual corespondances between individuals, or they may have merely circumstantial evidence that potentially could be indicative of some kind of relationship but not inherently proof of any relationship. Yet the work of historians, in order to try and discern history, to go beyond the mere re-presenting of the evidence they’ve found, try and implicitly place people in measured relationships. The only problem is that they utterly lack anything beyond the external output from these people and others who produce output related to or regarding them. They never acutually can know or prove or test their claims beyond merely asserting that some form of a relationship existed.

One may respond, as they address things in the world of relational psychology (or many aspects of psychology in general) that the relative nature and immeasurability of these things is immaterial as the results sought are dealing with something that is, at it’s core, merely a subjective interpretation of events and what that perception is perceived to create in the individual. But if that is the case. If even psychology and history are assessments are based on non-empiricaly based, non-quantifiable and relativistic output by the subjects then why should dealling with God be any different? Simply because we cannot prove through quantifiable empirical data that love, or justice exist or can exist or are correct views of potential phenomena or natural law does not mean that psychologists reject the notion of love as something unreal, or something who’s existance that those asserting to posses such or have received such must demonstrably prove to exist before they will accept it. Why don’t we apply the Santa Clause article (“Just because I cannot disprove Santa Clause doesn’t mean the burden lies on me) to love?? Why not? No one has measured it any more than one can measure the existance of God by asking adherents if they believe in God can prove the existance of God. Why do so many (even archeon) exercise such inconcistancies in implying the existance of things like justice without them being held to the same standard in their assertions as we are with God? Their beliefs have no more supporting them than our assertions of God do in terms of empirical, quantifiable, provable merit.

How are you to know that I don’t have a relationship with someone simply because you are never privy to our communications? I’m sure some ignorant observer of the communications of a clandestine officer never realized he/she was communicating with anyone. Even if the person has deeply scrutinized the doings of an agent doesn’t mean they’ve conclusively determined who that agent has and has not communicated with and hence had a relationship with.

So your analogy is flawed and the seeming basis of such are your dogmatic assumptions as to what is occuring and is tied to your bias determined view. Like one in the middle ages seeing an individual talk into some odd device like a cell phone would never know the reality of the communication if they were to forever be issolated from both the individual on the other line and any foth coming potential verifiers of such a one’s existance. If all they ever saw was a human talking into a device they’d likely misatribute things as you have and figure the person insane or possessed or some other alternative one could come to with such a sickly limited perception of what was going on.

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By Mary Wallman, August 26, 2006 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HR-in response to the crux of your response:
“Do you have to run relationships by tests of
scientific inquiriy before you believe them? If you
do, can you produce reports that include just
empirical data and things that can be subject to peer
review so that others can confirm your claimed status
as friend to someone??? Why cling to such a tool as
the ultimate arbiter of true and false when it itself
claims no such authority on things of that scale? Is
that logical or rational?”

I will begin:

A relationship is built on trust, time, and actions.  In a relationship, everyone wants something—however humble—from eachother.  The bottom line is:  do we share enough in common and do the gives/takes balance enough to justify reciprocity?  Since I don’t Know, can’t have a two-way Conversation with, have never seen GOD,—it is impossible to evaluate such a relationship. To claim to know him is like saying I know who Brad Pitt is because I’ve seen all of his movies, read about his supposed life in the tabloids, and watched his Oprah interviews religiously. I may even say that I think that he is beautiful physically—because I have seen his images in photographs and movies and television—even though I know Not his makeup person or what he looks like when he wakes up in the morning. I may agree with his views and see his heart as a kind heart in discourses with heavily-edited-through- the-magic-of-television-interviews.  But, has Brad spoken back to me?  Has he shared coffee with me, written letters (himself—Not fake ones) that I can show you, spoken to me by telephone, come to my birthday parties, attended school with me, grown up with me—or in any other way had any contact with me?  No.  I cannot claim to know him.  We have No connection with one another either physically, intellectually or otherwise.  He doesn’t even know that I am alive.  Yet, supposedly, he is a living, breathing, human being.  I can accept this much as fact because there has been mention of him and photographs of him in the periodicals of this day.  There are birth records and highschool graduation records, this part—I must confess—I have to go on faith about, as I have not seen them actually—-but if they Never materialize, I will have to ask myself some long hard questions, no?

To put it bluntly, if I expect any reciprocity for my adoration of Brad, I am quite mad and irrational then.  And perhaps a danger to society?  If I pursue him in any other way than with fan letters (which he most likely has better things to do than read), I am stalking him.  If I enlist others to follow him with me, I will be seen as more than a person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.  If thre is an old man with a white beard that sits on clouds in heaven who listens to our prayers, how do we know that he even wants to listen?  God hears all of our prayers?  Really?  Where’s the empirical evidence for that?

So, as an example of relationships that warrant exchange (or don’t), I can assert that I have no “relation” to Mr Pitt and thank him (in virtual reality) for hopefully (based on my faith in his alleged sense of humor) allowing this humorous analogy to be made.  But, any other claim is Not reasonable for me to make.

Sane people don’t pursue dysfunctional relationships.  Even though Brad is supposedly incarnate, this does not make him a candidate for friend by mere presence.  I don’t even know if I can friend request him on myspace.  God is not even incarnate.  Pray tell, how does one assess That?—Oh, but he Is on myspace!  So is Zeus, and Avalokiteshvara, and Buddha—all the greats come out to play on myspace.

To answer your question directly:  YES, there is a method to friendship.  Just as you should sniff out Anyone as friend or foe, you should investigate religious texts for their authenticity.  I am amused and surprised that needed any explanation.

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By HiveRadical, August 25, 2006 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Val,

It is a dogma, one you seem to hold, that anyone can effectively and sufficiently be rationally based while still remaining a being bound in finite reaches and the necesitites of making assumptions in order to make sense of whatever percentage of empirical and quantifiable and rational data they can build into their paradigm.

You are doing a personal equivilant through your assertion to the likes of Fox News. You are making an assertion that is not tenable. Fox News claims ‘fair and balanced’ you claim “rational politics based on empirical facts”. You see the fact that you use empirical facts and that you base politics on such is irrelevant because you cannot do it sufficiently, the only means of insuring such a view’s variance with any other in terms of being ‘safer’ or closer to the ‘truth’ is if it is absolute. That is it’s only better if you are not bound by the finite bounds we currently have as humans. Both you and Fox News are ultimately impotent in your proclamations on the virtues of your views because the premises around which they are built are fataly flawed. Merely reading over your stereotypical view of the errors and their corresponding factors it’s clear that you don’t understand why I personally take the veiws I do. You have a set view of a group of individuals you don’t understand and you’ve extrapolated an erroneous and simplistic view on the whole of them.

It’s so sad to see people that think they for certain have things figured out demonstrate how much kool-aid they’re willing to drink under the supposition that if it’s not a theist feeding it to them and it contains “empirical” facts and “policies” “considering” such things that it must be “safe” and correct.

When will those claiming to be founded in rationality come to the realization and acceptance that the underlying foundation of their overall world view is subjectively based hunches. When will they accept, as Isaac Asimov did, that they are as human and have subjectivity at their core jading their view and providing some dogmatic entity, whether defined or undefined upon which their whole universal view depends for coherence and legibility to the human intellect?

Kurtz: Isaac, how would you describe your own position? Agnostic, atheist, rationalist, humanist?

Asimov: I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

Why can’t all agnostics or atheists accept that they are not free from the subjective vacuum that draws in a dogma or equivilant regardless the amount of facts and empirical data and logic they’re able to fit into it it is never not subjective, if subjective in part then flawed all the same. There can be no demonstrable proof they can offer that will ever prove their overall view as being more viable, more tending toward survivial or morality or ehtics than the views they despise are ultimately. And this is a whole package deal. Nature isn’t leaning toward one end or the other of the political spectrum those who gain the most advantageous position to survive the rigours of entropy will prevail whether or not the failing side is demonstrably containing more empirical data and more policies based on human logic. Because ultimately our view of how the universe might work or how things might go is only as infallible as the most, even be it slight, flawed piece of data.

You say that you’d not have the specific skills and techniques of Hippocrates? Not that I’d disagree in an all being equal comparison. But I’d far sooner risk someone of that ages medical aptitude who also held to the Oath named for the man then I would one who had endless training in the modern andvancements of medicine but despised the Oath and/or the underlying moral assumptions of it.

Give me the fundamentals. If I have to chose between primative technology and inconvenience and the moral foundations that have permited civilization to survive to this point or all the pleasures and conveniences and novelties of the scientific realm void of the under girding of basic ethics and morality as it’s been constituted in the overall sustainment of civilization as a cumulative I’ll take the first. Give me life among moral barbarians before a life ‘mongst relativistic arrogant sophists and ‘rational’ thinkers.

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By Val, August 25, 2006 at 12:49 am Link to this comment
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“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” 
  Albert Einstein

The U.S. and the world (and the comments on this blog) increasingly polarize into two opposing camps: religionists and non-religious. What differentiates the two? Religio-politicians (theocrats) base their world view on deeply held emotional but fundamentally irrational beliefs: non-religious political leaders on (to their best efforts) rational politics based on empirical facts.

The insistence that fiction is truth, that lies are facts, marks religious societies and leaders. The two camps are distinguished, on the one hand, by rationality based on centuries of accumulated science and, on the other, by irrationality based on defending ancient superstitious tribalism. As Einstein knew, it’s one thing for tribes to fight with sticks and stones; another for global tribes to fight with nuclear weapons in the name of God.

One hallmark of religionists is their refusal to think or reason beyond their proscribed “authorities.” President Bush is repeatedly called “incurious,” for example. For the “faith-based,” the ancient authorities were good enough for ancestors thousands of years ago and they’re good enough today. Yet who in their right mind would seek a physician whose medical training had not advanced beyond Hippocrates?

Saying “Jesus” said or did anything exemplifies the Great Lie of religion. Any religion.

U.S. News asked researcher Timothy Freke (one of the authors of “The Jesus Mysteries”) if there is any evidence that Jesus lived. “None at all,” Freke answered. “The only evidence we have is fake. There is no evidence at all for the historical Jesus.” He is but one of hundreds over the centuries to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence.

The previous Pope famously said, “The Church is not a democracy.”

This administration of “faith-based” politicians “bears false witness” at every turn in its determination to force “religion” on America by undermining our Constitution and Bill of Rights, turn America into a theocracy and maintain its political and economic power. A senior adviser to Bush infamously said that an inquisitive critic was “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” In other words, this administration bases its policies on non-discernible reality. “Faith.”

Wherever Republicans hold power, or seek it, the process is the same. Last week, for instance, a judge opened an investigation into a faith-based group for gathering thousands of fraudulent signatures in their bid to overturn an ordinance granting equal rights to gays and lesbians in jobs and housing.

If gays and lesbians ARE understood and given equal civil rights, then American civil law once again contradicts Biblical teachings and “undermines” faith in the Bible. If the Bible is NOT the inerrant Word of God, but rather the work of fallible men, then religions based on that book fall apart.

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, speaking before the “election” of George W., said, “The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence. But you can’t run the world on faith.’’

Without a shepherd (religious authority) to follow, the sheep are lost. They have no information on how to contact God on their own.

When religion is the foundation of your life and that religion is based on lies, then your life is based on a foundation of lies. Like all liars who get caught, religionists try to wriggle out of it with more lies.

When the foundation of your country and politics is religion, as in theocracies, the foundation of your country and politics is lies. No lie is too great to preserve that.

The “religious” mindset, raised from childhood to believe and enforce lies, lends itself to unscrupulous, unethical actions to overturn democracy. Including stealing elections and starting wars over fictitious WMDs. Such people believe they’re on a mission from God and the ends justify any means. That’s what’s so dangerous.

Whether it’s Hezbollah Islamists claiming a “Divine Victory” in Lebanon (when in fact Beirut is destroyed) or Bush claming victory in Iraq (when in fact the country descends into civil war), there is no “victory”). Lie upon lie.

If Armageddon DOESN’T come, religionists (once again as throughout eons of “end of the world” prophecies that failed to materialize) look like fear-mongering terrorists.

From the recent UK Times article, “Societies Worse Off When They ‘Have God On Their Side’” – the paper also published in the Journal of Religion and Society concludes:

“Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today. According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

““In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

The study cites evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggesting that religion actually contributes to social ills. “The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

Sam Harris brilliantly reached the same conclusion in his essay which started these comments.

The discussion is not, “Is there a God?” Nor do the infinitely astonishing scientific laws underlying the universe depend on belief in fictional “historical” figures like Zeus, Moses or Jesus.

Rather, the discussion is over the role of religionists versus non-religionists in societies and world governments.

As Terry Curtis Fox recently said on The Huffington Post, “had Isabella and her confessor Torquemada not expelled the Jews and the Muslims from Spain, there would be no Zionism and there would be no radical Islamists. The travails of the 21st century stem directly from a Christian decision to impose itself on nonbelievers.”

With nuclear arsenals increasingly available around the globe, and religionists’ latest crusade to preserve their waning power and influence in the face of ever-encroaching rationalism, it seems but a matter of time before Einstein is proved correct.

“World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

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By HiveRadical, August 24, 2006 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
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Archeon,

Since when is continued revelation and the admission that God’s word limited to a single time as being insufficient an inherent refutation of God? It’s not an indicator of impotency in his word, simply the assertion that God addresses the dynamic nature of his creation in a dynamic and non-static manner. Simply because the constants of the universe change at high energy states doesn’t mean they are inconsistant or don’t really exist, just that they are as dynamic as the system they reside in or are constituent parts of.

Also how would you know that God would be unknowable or inherently outside the same plane of existance we are on? That itself is something that you could only know if you yourself were to posses omniscience and omnipotence, the attributes attributed to the divine.

I don’t say “there is no god”, I say “god is not as religion claims”, I say god is not a necessary condition for the world to be. I say it is possible for the world to be without god. I say that morality, ethics, goodness, love, kindness, are all possible without god.

Yet you cannot describe the above items in a provable and empirical form. They are as communicable as God is or less so.

The problem is that believers in god, cannot accept senarios where there is no god.  They cannot say: you may be right.  I do.

I can accept hypotheticals. You are the one limiting hypotheticals by your assertions and dogmatic statements as to what does and doesn’t prove or disprove God and what does or doesn’t represent the whole of religion, theology and the Abrahamic tradition.

What I see is this: the god of abraham is presented a certain way by the jews, christians, and muslims, and logical rational examination of the texts (this is the only source these three religions use as the basis for the faiths) clearly demonstrates that it cannot be.  If Jesus realy did walk on the earth, it neither proves or disproves his divinity - it would merely prove that he was.  If we find proof that he said what the evangilists claim he said, it is not proof that he was god’s son, he may have been insane - or using the language of the day to express his ideas in ways the people around him could grasp.


The very same argument can be applied to your assertions on things like equity, justice etc. You cannot prove either that they exist NOR that your perception and/or discernment of them is correct.

I am saying that god is neither provable nor disprovable.

That is a postive, yet undefendable statement, as to the characteristic of reality. It is, in essense, a dogma. How can you prove the above statement. I well agree with you on a level of interhuman and empirical senses of proof, but limiting proof to mere levels of empirical, quantifiable and clearly communicable things would utterly eliminate even your philosophical defenses and assertations as to the reality of the various attributes you claim are available and in existance, i.e. justice, equity, kindness, ethics, morality.

  I am saying that religionists have claimed to know, I am saying that as a result they have abused those who fall outside the religion if they did not accept thier view of god.
I am saying that the religonists see non-belief as evil.  I am saying that religionists see questioning of the belief and evil.  And they believe that evil must be destroyed.  The christians alone are not guilty of this.  I am an equal opportunity ant-theist and anti-religionist.
I am not and ANTI-GODIST.  I am against theology and religion.  I am for philosophy and science.  Cosmology is fairy tales and myth.

When is a system’s classification of outsiders an indication of it’s validity or truthfullness? You hold those in religion to be unjust and anti-equality, defacto claims of ‘evilness’. You advocate the abolition of our ideology. Do these effect the validity of your claim? If they don’t then why do you imply they affect ours?

With regard to cosmology how can you seperate any demonstrable and definable hold of justice or morality or ethics to be disconected from some attempt at some form of a cosmology?

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By HiveRadical, August 24, 2006 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

archeon,

My faith is something that is not like the other faiths you find easy to dimantle. I don’t believe in circular reasoning and begging the question. You ask how I know for myself, how I know that my personal relationship with God is real and genuine. To be honest I cannot communicate such to you anymore than I could communicate to you my feelings and status of relationship I hold with various persons in my life. Are we confined in our beliefs to strictly that which is quantifiable empirical and easy to exchange? If so what kind of existance is that? You cannot do such a thing with your views of justice and equity, yet you demand I do it of my relationship with God.

Look at your inconcistancies. On the one hand you mock Joseph Smith and his religion for the “everyman” in the VERY NEXT BREATH you claim that there should be no respecting of persons as a requisit for justice and equity. So Joseph Smith is funny and by some irrational assertion painted as wrong and absured for making a religion for the “everyman” yet how can your view of justice be served in any other way?

Then next level of your illogical demands is the claim for equality and freedom of one generation from the effects and outcomes of the previous generation. I don’t believe we hold any guilt from our parents. But to say that we can ever be seperated from the effects of the causes they intiated is to defy logic and nature. Are you then claiming that nature is unfair, unjust and unequitable? What of your claims for equality in the various avenues of social growth? How can society maintain freedom to progress on terms of merit and work and skill and keep all things ‘equal’ when nature itself and the very nature of merit and skill defy that? Are we to force all who have the work ethic, merit and skill on their own to be held back indefinently so they do not reach an unequal status in relationship to their peers? And where, praytell, is the logic in expecting cumulative advancement when the only means to equality you advocate is the antitehesis and super punative of all the very things that enact societal advancement????

You talk of the inanity of asserting and believing in somthing that’s existance cannot be demonstrably proven through empirical and quantifiable means, yet the very system you advocate and advance shares that very classification. It is a system that cannot be proven to have ever existed or to even have, at present, the possibility of existing. The very views of justice and equity you hold share in common with a belief in God the attribute of being undiscernable in their reality in terms of empirical and quantifiable and communciable data. You cannot prove that your form of justice and equity either exists, or can exist, or will ever exist NOR that it is infact true justice and equity. Are we to merely take your word for it? Or have you a scientific equation advocating such.

We are mocked as illogical under the banner of your few perceptions of some peoples defense of their faith, you state that I cannot expect anyone to see my statements for what they are simply because I’ve exposed my personal beliefs.

I’ll let individuals use their capacities of logic and ration to determine who is using logical fallacies to attempt to negate all that’s said by an individual and who’s ready to paint characatures of their opposition to demonstrate the facility of knocking down illusionary mock-ups of the perceived problems of the opposition.

Mary,

I ask you the same thing. The very idea of an ‘ethical’ or ‘moral’ being in a ‘relativistic’ world is as provable, communciable and empirically demonstrable by others as God is OR less so. Why then should we believe in it?

You yourself assert that science doesn’t claim to be the answer to everything or necesarilly most things. Why then do you demand that religion or anything be held to it ultimately?

Where’s the logic in taking a system that claims incapacity in it’s reach and treat it as the pentultimate authority?

Do you have to run relationships by tests of scientific inquiriy before you believe them? If you do, can you produce reports that include just empirical data and things that can be subject to peer review so that others can confirm your claimed status as friend to someone??? Why cling to such a tool as the ultimate arbiter of true and false when it itself claims no such authority on things of that scale? Is that logical or rational?

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By Mary Wallman, August 24, 2006 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
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Oh, and please show me how this passage is referring to earth’s circumference:
“‘If people believed the world was flat it is not because the Bible teaches it.  I would say the Bible teaches Christ knew otherwise by this next quote from Luke 17:34 . . .I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. “

- Now I don’t think the main thrust of Christ’s teaching was the world is round at this point but to have people working (day activity) and people sleeping (night activity) with a single event taking place at the same time would be quite unexplainable to a flat world person.  I don’t know if a person who doesn’t know Romans burned stuff can get that but it’s worth a try.’”

Is this another case of reading into things or taking passages out of context, or are you simply misunderstanding what was said? 

Your memes are showing.

People have burned things since there was fire.  I knew you were gonna bring that conspiracy theory into the arena, but again—no proof.  From what I’ve read historically, at the time, common criminals were crucified, real threats were assassinated.  Each would have been documented somewhere though.

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By Mary Wallman, August 24, 2006 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

J-B, you need to evaluate your own reading comprehension.  I said UNDISPUTED evidence.  Even Jewish scholars who are known for their diligent record keeping—curiously silent about this Jesus guy. 
re:  Day and night/world is flat….well, there are—I am sure—many myths (back then, during Jesus’ supposed time) including the world is flat-that have been disproven.  This is a fact.  If you teach otherwise, you will surely loose your job.

I WANTED to believe.  I looked many places for many years.  There are some beautiful ideas in every religion, if you cut the racist, sexist crap out of it.  But, unfortunately THAT is not allowed according to the books.  These books were written by men.  These men wrote them far after the events allegedly occurred.  Ever played whisper down the lane? —Not to mention the agenda of their time, socio-political and economic aspects of their time and maybe someof them were crazy?  Hearing voices?  Hungry & hallucinating?  It is too hard to tell knowing what modern medicine knows today (& psychology—see bystander effect and Milgram experiment) what happened thousands of years ago.

There is more irrefutable evidence of dinosaurs than Jesus. Why is there no physical evidence of J?  If there was real proof of Jesus’ existence, or any other god, don’t you think that would be the biggest news flash?  But, no all we get on the news lately is how people want holy war.  Everyone is pointing to the other as the hateful enemy.  Each claiming a righteous path.  Each holding to myths that both see as crazy.  For instance, Nasrallah and Bush are mirror images of eachother’s memes.

“meme

/meem/ [By analogy with “gene”] Richard Dawkins’s
term for an idea considered as a replicator, especially with
the connotation that memes parasitise people into propagating
them much as viruses do.

Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution. Ideas
can evolve in a way analogous to biological evolution. Some
ideas survive better than others; ideas can mutate through,
for example, misunderstandings; and two ideas can recombine to
produce a new idea involving elements of each parent idea.

The term is used especially in the phrase “meme complex”
denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an
organised belief system, such as a religion. However, “meme”
is often misused to mean “meme complex”.

Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans
(and presumably other tool- and language-using sophonts)
cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has become
more important than biological evolution by selection of
hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for
tolerably obvious reasons.”
-dictionary.com

Could society be the victim of conflicting memes?  Why is the burden of proof on those who see no proof?

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By archeon, August 24, 2006 at 5:33 am Link to this comment
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No, I don’t believe in the god of abraham because I don’t see any evidence of his existance.  I don’t believe in him because the texts used as proof are inconsistant, contradictory, contain provable falsehoods.  I don’t believe in him because he has found it neccessary to time and again “reveal” himself to man because the previous “revalations” were inadequate or incompetent.

If god exists, and if he created the world and universe, he would be outside it - and totaly incomprehensible to us, and any discusion of him would be impossible.  He would be unknowable and therefor no one would be able to say anything about god with any authority.

I don’t say “there is no god”, I say “god is not as religion claims”, I say god is not a necessary condition for the world to be. I say it is possible for the world to be without god. I say that morality, ethics, goodness, love, kindness, are all possible without god.

The problem is that believers in god, cannot accept senarios where there is no god.  They cannot say: you may be right.  I do.

What I see is this: the god of abraham is presented a certain way by the jews, christians, and muslims, and logical rational examination of the texts (this is the only source these three religions use as the basis for the faiths) clearly demonstrates that it cannot be.  If Jesus realy did walk on the earth, it neither proves or disproves his divinity - it would merely prove that he was.  If we find proof that he said what the evangilists claim he said, it is not proof that he was god’s son, he may have been insane - or using the language of the day to express his ideas in ways the people around him could grasp.

I am saying that god is neither provable nor disprovable.  I am saying that religionists have claimed to know, I am saying that as a result they have abused those who fall outside the religion if they did not accept thier view of god.
I am saying that the religonists see non-belief as evil.  I am saying that religionists see questioning of the belief and evil.  And they believe that evil must be destroyed.  The christians alone are not guilty of this.  I am an equal opportunity ant-theist and anti-religionist.
I am not and ANTI-GODIST.  I am against theology and religion.  I am for philosophy and science.  Cosmology is fairy tales and myth.

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By Jerub-Baal, August 23, 2006 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment
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Archeon
Oh, wait, you don’t believe there is a God because bad things happen to good people and the world is so screwed up - I almost forgot. 

The other day my little girl wanted to ride her bicycle.  Now I have never met a person in my life who has never fallen off a bicycle and because falls usually create scrapes, cuts, and bruises I told her no.  When I saw my neighbors getting ready to teach their little kid how to ride a bike, I went over and laid in to them - then called child protective services.

I got your thinking totally covered, What kind of a God would allow His kids to get scraped and raped and brainwashed shaped, and aped and creped (the thin french pancake).  All of this is going to happen if we allow freedom.  God could have made robots and there would be nothing but order in some form of slavery. 

So back to my little girl and the bicycle - I decided let her ride.  The ride is greater than the fall but you don’t believe that - you would rather have chains and no brains then to have a fall that leads to the worst sins imaginable and the repercussions of scrapes, bruises, and maybe head trauma.

But then again like I said, you have a reaction theology, it lacks logic but keeps you a victim.  At least now you get to interpret life through pain - what C.S. Lewis thought should have awakened you to God but instead it made you bitter.  Some people don’t believe the ride is better than the fall but that’s the beauty - even if you are a slave or in a Nazi concentration camp - because you can choose what to believe, love God - hate God, believe in God or believe in no God - it’s evidence God believed scrapes, cuts, bruises were worth the freedom - the ride. 

Four years later you have people who were professed Christians leaving the concentration camp saying if that’s the way God is I don’t want anything to do with Him. 

You also have other Christians leaving saying - God how incredible you were through that horrible hell - and they aren’t saying that because they read Maslow’s heirarchy of needs - although that would be your explanation. 

Bottom line – Is the world screwed up?  Yep.  Did God allow it?  Yep.  Could God have designed a world with freedom that didn’t have scrapes and bruises?  It’s kind of like asking can God create a rock bigger than he can lift?  If you interpret life through the scrapes and bruises – yes God is bad.
If you have wisdom (God’s Perspective) and understand life is a vapor – a flash in the pan compared to eternity – if you think about it from an eternity viewpoint – what may be 10, 20, 30, 40 years of excruciating pain is really a pinch in the arm.

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By Jerub-baal, August 23, 2006 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment
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Mary, the “oddity” of outside evidence would only be if we had 10,000 records of births and events in Jerusalem around 0-4 A.D. and no Jesus/Joshua was born at that time.  But the Romans were notorious for destroying artifacts of faith and even libraries. 

Why were the Dead Sea scrolls discovered in a cave on the side of a cliff?  Why were they hidden in jars?  Because everyone knew Romans burned stuff except you - you don’t know that. 

You think you would know that with all your world is round education.

The guys who did think the world was flat actually used limited observation (a science word) to come up with the thought the world was flat - they didn’t get it from the Bible. 

I did look up the word flat in the Bible and found one place where it does exist in the NIV.

HOS 7:8 “Ephraim mixes with the nations;
  Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.

If people believed the world was flat it is not because the Bible teaches it.  I would say the Bible teaches Christ knew otherwise by this next quote from Luke 17:34 . . .I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. ” 

- Now I don’t think the main thrust of Christ’s teaching was the world is round at this point but to have people working (day activity) and people sleeping (night activity) with a single event taking place at the same time would be quite unexplainable to a flat world person.  I don’t know if a person who doesn’t know Romans burned stuff can get that but it’s worth a try.

To Archeon who doesn’t travel in third world countries and see Christian aid and relief. 

When I got to Tanzania back in 1992 I was amazed at how many hospitals were run and supported by Catholics, Moravians, Lutherans, Baptists - without them, there were cities that would have notta a bandage.  About five or ten years before I got there the commnunist government took all the hospitals out from under Christian denomination control - it was a Muslim/communist thing.  By the way you don’t find to many muslim hospitals.  They tend to spend their money creating problems like in Uganda - Saudi Arabia paid Idi Amin for every dead Christian.  After the gov. stripped the hospitals of all the fancy multi-million dollar equipment and medicine and supplies they told the churches they had a change of mind and handed back the empty buildings.  Unfortunately the churches who lost millions were slow to rebuild and resupply.  Many of the different Hospitals are empty shells.  If you did your research though you will find major Christian movements rising up against abuse.  Industrial rev. = neglected children = Salvation Army, Sunday schools have a link to public education and when slavery did end in the U.S. you can’t thank the atheists for it - the most radical abolishinists were super freaky deluxe Christians.

Teaching A.P. History last year at least three of the secular textbooks I used referenced the woman’s right movement directly tied to the second great awakening.  There was even a study in burn out district towns (2nd GA) that still have the lowest crime rates in the country and some secular historians see that as left over influence.  I could go on and on and on but I don’t think you would believe the evidence - same reason you don’t believe there is a God.

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By archeon, August 23, 2006 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
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Religion is an instrument of social control.

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By archeon, August 23, 2006 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well HiveRadical what about the “revealed” texts of one Joseph Smith?  The “american” messiah?

So you have a personal relationship with God?

How was god revealed to you?

How can you be sure it was god?

When I talk about relgion being self referencing I mean this:

Does god exist? Yes.
How do you know god exists? The bible tells me so.
How do you know it is true? The bible is the word of god.
How do you know it is the word of god? God said so.
Where did god say the bible is the word of god?  In the bible.

OR:

Does god exist? Yes, and mohamed is his prophet.
How do you know? It is in the koran, and mohamed is the prophet of god.
How do you know the koran is true? You must die, and mohamed is the prophet of god.

After revealing you are an LDS, you can’t really hope to be taken seriously?  LDS - a church for the every man - started by Joe Smith.  It’s almost too funny.  JOE SMITH?

Equity and Justice - well lets see:

Promotion, position, and reward based on merit/skill/achievement/work rather than on privilege and social class.

Treating all human beings with respect.

Not condeming children to privation because of the mistakes of their parents.

Equal access to education.o all.
Equal access to housing and healthcare.

A living wage.

Equality before the courts.

Freedom of speach, Freedom of consience, Freedom from religion.

Seperation of church and state.

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By Mary Wallman, August 23, 2006 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HiveRadical, I appreciate your attempt to joust (semantically speaking) with Archeon, however; there is one major flaw in the foundation of all your arguments: no secular proof Jesus ever existed.  Odd, no record even of his supposed arrest and imprisonment by the Romans.  No birth record, no surname (never happened back then), and no contemporary (in Jesus’ time) evidence of his crucifixion.  This does not follow from ANY historical sources of Jesus’ sontemporaries that are UNDISPUTED.  No sources can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was the Jesus we have adopted.  Scholars have looked where the evidence should be, and found NONE. 

I’m curious, does your religion claim a Jesus?

Oh, and science doesn’t claim all the answers.  The scientific method (are you familiar?  Psych101) is what is used to prove something as real or imagined.  We have to measure.  If we cannot measure, we cannot prove. That is not to say that someday it can be measured (faith, proof of god, spirit, what have you).  Based on the evidence today, it is doubtful there ever will be….unless we do make more progress in quantum physics, perhaps?

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By Mary Wallman, August 23, 2006 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s review the real meaning of the word “liberal”-and NOT the derogatory insinuation of its meaning that fundamentalist fanatics like to attach to it—you know, the meaning indicating its derisive moral profanity (BUNK!).

LIBERAL:

1 open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values : they have more liberal views toward marriage and divorce than some people.
2 favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms : liberal citizenship laws.
3(in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform : a liberal democratic state.
4( Liberal) of or characteristic of Liberals or a Liberal Party. 
5(Liberal) (in the UK) of or relating to the Liberal Democrat Party : the Liberal leader.

6(THEOLOGY) regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change. 2 [ attrib. ] (of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training (liberal arts degree). 3 (esp. of an interpretation of a law) broadly construed or understood; not strictly literal or exact : they could have given the 1968 Act a more liberal interpretation. 4 given, used, or occurring in generous amounts : liberal amounts of wine had been consumed. • (of a person) giving generously : Sam was too liberal with the wine. noun a person of liberal views.

ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was [suitable for a free man,] hence [suitable for a gentleman] (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts. Another early sense [generous] ( compare with sense 4 ) gave rise to an obsolete meaning [free from restraint,] leading to sense 1 (late 18th cent.).

There is nothing to fear from free thinkers.  If there were no free thinkers then there would no jazz music, rock music, and much of Today’s country music. Movies conflicting with scripture (like the Matrix—which would paint Neo as a false idol—thou shall not worship!—that is to say: congregating in theaters to watch and adore movies that feature chosen ones other than Jesus or Mohammad)  My own mother, having been raised Nazarene Baptist, would still be in a dress and damned for marrying a Catholic (how welcoming—and forgiving).  Virtual reality would be seen as the work of the devil (electricity is sorcery, afterall).  Modern medicine with it’s vast life saving surgeries like C-sections (there ya go pro-lifers) and open heart surgery would be seen as sacrilege (desecration of the body, etc….playing Gaw-D!).  All the technology and art we enjoy today would be blasphemy on Some level…

Sure, not all of it is good.  But, in order to succeed at anything in life, you must make mistakes.  If you never make mistakes, you will never evolve as an individual.  That, is wicked.  That, is wasteful.  That, takes an assumption that you’re already perfect and don’t need any improvement—so let’s just let children drive and drink and vote.  Gaw-D made them perfect, right?  They don’t need any direction or guidance….

OK…I digress, but can conservatives who are shocked and awed by Any real debate regarding the validity of the bible remember our lessons in science (e.g. Copernicus’ mistake of orbital calculations, among other old chestnuts that science/society has has improved upon).  Please…..it is rational to believe that the bible is a fallacious “document,” that sane people should be wary of abiding by blindly—without question and a healthy skepticism.  This is how fanatics behave, and buffoons, and unreasonable people.

Personally, I have very little issue with the word, “conservative.”  It does Not describe “fanatics:”

ORIGIN mid 16th cent.(as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple, inspired by a god,’ from fanum ‘temple.’ The adjective originally described behavior or speech that might result from possession by a god or demon, hence the earliest sense of the noun [a religious maniac] (mid 17th cent.).

Conservatives like to rewrite history and language to suit their needs.  Staunch, poor conservatives need to realize that the “Conservative Man” wants to keep YOU down.  He’s NOT your friend in Jesus!  Don’t be fooled by his use of the opiate of the masses, religion.  Oh sure, ban abortion, but take away government assistance for young single mothers—who without educations have No hope of transcending the ghetto, barrio, trailer park or what have you.  This is a drop in the bucket of this new wave of religious morality.  And now, they want to spend more money on military ventures overseas—I’ll say it—for oil.  Remember, IRAQ is NOT PAYBACK for 9/11.  No connection. There were NO WMD’s.  But, Dubbya said “Gaw-D” told him to invade and take down Saddam.  Dubbya and Cheney’s buddies are enjoying the OIL NEPOTISM perpetuated under the banner of a Christian heavenly sham/bloodbath. But NOTICE, have your gas prices gotten any more “conservative?”  We should all guard ourselves from becoming fanatics, or zealots if you will. 

To you “conservatives,” believers or traditionalists—whatever you espouse: try to remember while in the passionate arguments, to think logically and accept when your ideas are demystified like an adult.  It is not horrible to be mistaken, it is human.  If we live in the past, it will surely be our demise.  Look, no one knows all the answers, but most of the answers we have today refute the majority of the bible’s—and Koran’s—all the gods of Abraham’s claims.  Give up the (holy) ghost.

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By archeon, August 23, 2006 at 4:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Islam is fucked.  I must admit given the choice between the three Abrahamic traditions, I would take the first two over Islam.  Maybe it is a clash of cultures.  If so, I for one would like my freedom loving European/Western culture to emerge victorious.

If Muslims worship death - lets have at it then.
Mohamed a prophet? for the stupid maybe.  Just look at the islamic countries, all of them shit-holes, all of them illegitimate, not one a democracy.

Thanks Inbal - i “enjoyed” that.

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By HiveRadical, August 23, 2006 at 3:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just love that no one will tackle my claim (based entirely in fact) that religion of any kind has always resisted justice and equity.  You talk about the kindly god that kills, religions that enslave, church structures that oppress and try to convince me that it comes from good rather than evil.  You quote dead texts that have no relevance today.  You put forth ideas that are silly and childish, if it were not so sad it would be truly laughable.

How do you define justice and equity? Frankly things like quantum mechanics looked so out of such that Einstein initially rejected them. If you’re going off of judgments made from your finite perception as to what does and doesn’t constitute justice and equity then it’s a simple matter to plaster just about anything you want in that light. I can do it with about any scientific or theoretic paradigm if I’m permited to have such a dogmaticaly certain view you do of things like the constituencies of justice and equity.

J-B and Hiveradical do you claim that religion has done good? do you claim that the fairy tales of goat herders have made anyone happy? can you honestly say that theologies of fear have brought any of us closer to a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it?

I can speak authotitatively for none but myself. But there are many others who, speaking for themselves, do and have said what I’m about to say—that is and affirmative that we’ve found happiness, joy, and a deeper understanding of the world and our respective place in it.

Religion and its salesmen and peddlars and pushers are the evil scum that has hindered our progress toward equitable societies of justice and peace.

I would ask what then is your authority for discerning what constitutes justice and peace? Is there some purely scientific computer program I can type a scenario into that will give me the definative answer as to what is the most just outcome to seek?

  Religions are based on theologies that ask for us to belive certain propositions about the nature of the world/universe that cannot be observed by those within it.  These propostions are revealed to those withing this universe by a “higher power” moving in mysterious autocractic ways.  All the unanswerable questions can be answered by saying “God made it so”, end of debate.

Your perception of communion with God (i.e. revelation) is rather lacking. You seem to be trying to end debate yourself by simply implying that any and all adhering to God seek reference to him as a means of avoiding debate. Certainly I’ve experienced it in some of my interactions with those claiming faith in God, but by no means is it a course of action that’s universal.

And at it’s core is it any different than simply saying there is no answer or that the answer is relative? Either way the door is left wide open to subjective alteration and enslavement of less than optimaly critical minds.

In the world of religion there is no need to question anything,

You are not speaking for all religions or even necesarily religion in general. Why my entire faith is centered on questioning.

no need to ask any questions of any kind, everything is answered by the “revealed” text, or god’s “prophets”.

Certainly God is the ultimate source of all answers. But that does not preclude searching on our part. In fact in my experience God has only answered those that have truely asked and searched. Thus true worship of God IS perpetual asking and searching.

  Religion asks us to give up rationality, sanity, and intelligence.

If that is your perception then it demonstrates why you hold the position you do. Religion doesn’t ask you to give up any of those. Religion asks you to consider the fact that you are presently traped in a finite paradigm that for an eternity of trying would still yield you an outcome of meaningless half answers. Religion asks you to ask questions of finite views of rationality and finite definitions of intelligence and sanity. Isn’t that the core of true scientific inquiriy? Question everything, even the questions and questioning up to this point?

 

  Religion makes all that completely unnecessary,

Not as a slight on you but the above demonstrates your overly finite and incomplete grasp and perspective on what religion truely is made up of. You are critisizing an illusion, a blury, on angle, and distorted illusion of something you only half see, if that. Inclusiveness, the idea that your perspective is not universal nor omniscient and humility could do wonders, even if they don’t line up with your current, albeit interesting, perspective on what constitutes ‘rational’ thought.

indeed rationality, sanity, and intelligence are unwanted crap that makes complete and total submission to the “god” impossible.

In science the refusal to accept the fact that one’s entire hypothesis or underlying theories that have been the foundation of one’s career is seen as ultimately bad science. Yet science on any grand view assessment of the universe must take on massive assumptions, assumptions with no more basis than biblical assertions of miracles and the such. Yet you seem to hold ration and science and logic as the only cards you need, never mind they all declare their eternal deficiencies while in the hands of mere mortals.

  All religions hate heritics.  All religions hate other religions.<blockquote>

Both patently wrong, non-demonstrable and rather dogmatic for one claiming rational superiority over just such things as ‘evil’ dogmas.

You speak only for your delusion as to what religions are and do and what heretics are and what they do.


<blockquote>  If one truly looks at the underlying principles of any religion you will find doctrine that will allow, justify and glorify the killing, raping, torture, enslavement, ellimination of followers of other religions.

Are you saying that there are no purely secular views only claiming allegience to ration and logic that cannot also find circumstances to carry out the above or equivilant acts? Are secularists and avowedly godless ‘ration’ loving people less capable of justifying such?

  For all religions the greatest danger are those who believe in no religion.  Who follow no god.  Who live moral, ethical lives without the reward/punishment of heaven/hell (or what ever variant of that the religion proposes).  For they are examples that there is another way.

I don’t entirely side with all your above assertions. I am curious, however, as to how such individuals determine whether or not they are living ethical lives? Is there some scientific equation I’m not aware of?

I’ve seen too many ethics discussions to believe that anything cannot be found to have some scenario in which it’s execution, regardless the perception of those facing the less desireable ends of those ‘ehtics’ decisions, can justify just about anything, if not anything.

Also, with the revocation of any reward for motivation how is it logical or rational to expect a reaction where there is no motivation? If there is nothing ot initiate or prompt something then where is the ration or logic that would advocate it will exist, or come into existance, despite the ex nihlo nature/non-existant nature of an impetus, of the cause?

Any talk of god, is naturally tainted by the long standing consensus reality understanding of what the idea of “god” embodies.  For those who follow the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism - HE (is male) is all powerfull (this mean ALL powerfull with no power greater than him that he can do anything at any time), is all seeing (this means he sees everything from the past, now, and into the future instantly and always), is infinite in love and wrath.

Yet he could not see the serpent tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. Yet he could not see Kain kill Able. (and I don’t just mean at the moment, god should have know before time, before the beginnning, before creation that these and all things would happen) And on and on and on.  Just because I create my own personal theology to explain away the inconsistancies and contradictions does not make my theology any more sound or true.

The above issues, like the seeming irrationality of things like quantum mechanics or the potential quirkiness and oddities potentially demonstrable in Superstring Theory. Make no sense in the finite and terse and out of context presentations you give.

Like the idea of something arriving before it leaves or being in two places at once or an electron passing from one lobe of an orbital to another without ever passing through the nucleus (things that even weirded out my college chemistry proffesor) All these things, if given equal terse and out of context treatment would seem just as inane and illogical and absured. Yet when you actually sit down and spend a life time of doing the math that’s what the equation yield.

I worship no god - the question of weather or not a god exists is not important - what I do know is that the god of the bible is a fiction.

A conclusion reached with assumptions along the lines of the Bible being sufficiently pure or a sufficient sample to discern such.

  This is what I take issue with.  The god of Abraham, Christ, and Mohamed is dead.  He is built on an idea out of pre-history from before the goat herders, an idea that has been around so long we actually believe it might be true.  Yet every day we come face to face with the truth - that it is impossible for the god of the bible to be.  That the texts that the faithfull hold high over thier heads are contradictory, inconsistant, and incomprehensible.  We can’t understand, so it must be divine. Crap. Crap. Crap.

Nothing in the above left open for one like myself who believes in personal revelation and modern prophets. Part (again you have so many assumptions as to what would and wouldn’t concist of this and that that it’s easy to see how such irrational and arrogant certainty as to the conclusivness of your judgements of the situation, AND your capacity to actually comprehend in any meaningfull way the acutall existant conditions, would lead you to such a quick sumarial dismissal of your delusion as to what constitutes God, his organization, word, work, and people.

If the USA is a christian nation, how can the killing of even one person be justified? Yet murderers are hung, posioned, and electrified.  Armies of young christian men and women are sent off to kill other young men and women.  While everyone prays piously in thier homes and churches, rivers of blood flow from the viens of human beings killed by christians.  Followers of the the “prince of peace” my ass.

Again I ask you to show me the ‘obvious’ sign of order in current theoretical models and do it so everyone can understand it. That , I would hope, would give you some idea of the excessive demands you make on the subjects you are deriding.

Please someone tell me your ideas - STOP quoting!
Tell me why are you a christian?
Tell me why are you a jew?
Tell me why are you a muslim?

I am a Latter-day Saint, a follower of Christ, because God personally answered my prayer when I sought to know the truth. No it’s not some empirical experience, but you can run the same test. You but need to not skip over any of the vital aspects of the experiment. You can’t expect the same result if the vital controls are not right. Any good scientist I would think would know at least that much.

I am not a follower, believer, practitioner, of any religion. Because the texts are inconsistant, contradictory, and contain provable false hoods they are not a good source material for a god theory.

Which is why I follow a religion that depends on none of them for it’s ultimate personal foundational certainties.

  The three Abrahamic religions have god reveal at different times differing texts, that talk in contradictory ways about the nature of god.  They are death cults, where the only reward is to be found and the end of this life - a life created by god to be full of toil and pain because he loves us so much, so that we might enjoy paradise better.  Fuck that god!  Fuck his prophets! And most importantly fuck his faithful!

A relation I’ve once heard went like this—

If all doctors but one in this world were quacks and fakers would it still be just, with the one true doctor amongst them, to classify them all as quacks and fakes?

Convenient, but not accurate, not just, not equitable.

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By Inbal, August 23, 2006 at 12:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s a link relevant to this forum.

This time I refrain from saying: “enjoy”.

http://jihadwatch.org/archives/006631.php

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By archeon, August 22, 2006 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just love that no one will tackle my claim (based entirely in fact) that religion of any kind has always resisted justice and equity.  You talk about the kindly god that kills, religions that enslave, church structures that oppress and try to convince me that it comes from good rather than evil.  You quote dead texts that have no relevance today.  You put forth ideas that are silly and childish, if it were not so sad it would be truly laughable.

J-B and Hiveradical do you claim that religion has done good? do you claim that the fairy tales of goat herders have made anyone happy? can you honestly say that theologies of fear have brought any of us closer to a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it?

Religion and its salesmen and peddlars and pushers are the evil scum that has hindered our progress toward equitable societies of justice and peace.  Religions are based on theologies that ask for us to belive certain propositions about the nature of the world/universe that cannot be observed by those within it.  These propostions are revealed to those withing this universe by a “higher power” moving in mysterious autocractic ways.  All the unanswerable questions can be answered by saying “God made it so”, end of debate.

In the world of religion there is no need to question anything, no need to ask any questions of any kind, everything is answered by the “revealed” text, or god’s “prophets”.  Religion asks us to give up rationality, sanity, and intelligence.  Religion makes all that completely unnecessary, indeed rationality, sanity, and intelligence are unwanted crap that makes complete and total submission to the “god” impossible.  All religions hate heritics.  All religions hate other religions.  If one truly looks at the underlying principles of any religion you will find doctrine that will allow, justify and glorify the killing, raping, torture, enslavement, ellimination of followers of other religions.  For all religions the greatest danger are those who believe in no religion.  Who follow no god.  Who live moral, ethical lives without the reward/punishment of heaven/hell (or what ever variant of that the religion proposes).  For they are examples that there is another way.

Any talk of god, is naturally tainted by the long standing consensus reality understanding of what the idea of “god” embodies.  For those who follow the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism - HE (is male) is all powerfull (this mean ALL powerfull with no power greater than him that he can do anything at any time), is all seeing (this means he sees everything from the past, now, and into the future instantly and always), is infinite in love and wrath.

Yet he could not see the serpent tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. Yet he could not see Kain kill Able. (and I don’t just mean at the moment, god should have know before time, before the beginnning, before creation that these and all things would happen) And on and on and on.  Just because I create my own personal theology to explain away the inconsistancies and contradictions does not make my theology any more sound or true.

I worship no god - the question of weather or not a god exists is not important - what I do know is that the god of the bible is a fiction.  This is what I take issue with.  The god of Abraham, Christ, and Mohamed is dead.  He is built on an idea out of pre-history from before the goat herders, an idea that has been around so long we actually believe it might be true.  Yet every day we come face to face with the truth - that it is impossible for the god of the bible to be.  That the texts that the faithfull hold high over thier heads are contradictory, inconsistant, and incomprehensible.  We can’t understand, so it must be divine. Crap. Crap. Crap.

If the USA is a christian nation, how can the killing of even one person be justified? Yet murderers are hung, posioned, and electrified.  Armies of young christian men and women are sent off to kill other young men and women.  While everyone prays piously in thier homes and churches, rivers of blood flow from the viens of human beings killed by christians.  Followers of the the “prince of peace” my ass.

Please someone tell me your ideas - STOP quoting!
Tell me why are you a christian?
Tell me why are you a jew?
Tell me why are you a muslim?

I am not a follower, believer, practitioner, of any religion. Because the texts are inconsistant, contradictory, and contain provable false hoods they are not a good source material for a god theory.  The three Abrahamic religions have god reveal at different times differing texts, that talk in contradictory ways about the nature of god.  They are death cults, where the only reward is to be found and the end of this life - a life created by god to be full of toil and pain because he loves us so much, so that we might enjoy paradise better.  Fuck that god!  Fuck his prophets! And most importantly fuck his faithful!

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By HiveRadical, August 22, 2006 at 1:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A response to Inbal’s post—

Comment #19145 by Inbal on 8/19 at 1:33 pm

Why I Am Not A Christian

The above title is a lecture delivered by Bertrand Russell in 1927. I think it is as relevant as if it was pronounced today.

To give you some notion, I’ll cite some extracts of it. Then you can see the whole piece, by pressing the link which appears below:

The First-cause Argument (that God exists)

… I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?’” That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause.
… It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject”.

That’s rather easy enough to overcome without an abandonment of a belief in God. I believe we are all co-eternal with God in essense. Creation is an act of assembling pre-existing substances into higher forms. There was no need for a begining with all things being eternal in essense.

The Argument from Design

You all know the argument from design: everything in the world is made just so that we can manage to live in the world, and if the world was ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design. It sometimes takes a rather curious form; for instance, it is argued that rabbits have white tails in order to be easy to shoot. I do not know how rabbits would view that application.
… You all know Voltaire’s remark, that obviously the nose was designed to be such as to fit spectacles…

Dualism combined with omniscience and omnipotence are some incredible combinations. The vibrance of existance and the absence of wasted space, time or effort rather speaks to the efficiency and perfect economy of the design.

The Emotional Factor

…You know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will remember that in Erewhon there is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that country and finds a new religion in which he is worshiped under the name of the “Sun Child,” and it is said that he ascended into heaven. He finds that the Feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated, and he hears Professors Hanky and Panky say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs, and they hope they never will; but they are the high priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says, “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once know that you did not ascend into Heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of that and he goes quietly away.

The existance of fakery and falsehoods as an anti-God evidential point is absured. Simply because there are those who’ve been fooled and those who fool in the name of something great or beyond them is no more an argument against the existance of God than the discovery of other forms of matter (dark matter/anti-matter) would be for disproving the existance of the present matter/energy we seem to be a part of.

Fear, the Foundation of Religion

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing—fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.

How is that any different than the chance upon which anti-entropic forces are seemingly engaged in? Chance seems to do some rather mean things to existance yet somewhere in it there’s some reason through which it (and possibly some other as yet unperceived aspect of it) have actually enabled the fight against entropy to go on.

You slam fear and it’s terrible terrible extentions but you seem to forget that, like chance, fear’s gotten human through to see innovation and advancement. Necesity being the mother of invention and innovation is such because it is born out of the accepting of our reality of being finite beings. Fear of a great many things has fueled humanities survival, like chance it’s brought terrible things upon us. But fear is what’s made your present existance possible, whether you’d like to admit such or not.

What We Must Do

…A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html

Enjoy

Like the fearless massess of young that fail to see the connection between a respect/fear for the realities of nature your claimfor “knowledge, kindliness, and courage” could be as easily spun to appear a horrible pursuit if we but use the same smear tactics you pulled on “fear.”

To everything it’s season. I’m all for knowledge, kindliness and courage. Let’s just insure that we are being knowledgable rather than just ‘know it alls’ that we’re being kind rather than just shortsightedly liberal, and truely courageous enough to not see mere acts of assertion as courage, rather that we see things as they really are, not mere horseshoe accountings of those things we perceive to be in the same ideological sub-species as these attributes.

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By Mary Wallman, August 21, 2006 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Archeon—yeah!  Have another !  Nice typos for sure…  Seriously, your fingers cannot keep up with your passionate views!

To J-B,

Thomas A Kempis:
Author of the ‘Imitation of Christ’, born at Kempen in the Diocese of Cologne, in 1379 or 1380; died 25 July, 1471…...hmmmm….was the world still flat then—OH YES—it was.  To many Christians.

Check out this quote of Christopher Columbus:

“Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians, and princes who love and promote the holy Christian faith, and are enemies of the doctrine of Mahomet, and of all idolatry and heresy, determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the above-mentioned countries of India, to see the said princes, people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith; and furthermore directed that I should not proceed by land to the East, as is customary, but by a Westerly route, in which direction we have hitherto no certain evidence that anyone has gone. - Christopher Columbus, journals on his voyage of 1492 (Markham, p.16)”

Reader’s Digest Condensed Version translation: “...I will go learn how to manipulate them and convert them so they recognize “Your Highnesses and Christians” as their rulers.  Then you will control all their wealth and I get a cut.”  That was the deal.

Funny, that….Things are still quite contentious between Christians and Muslims.  At least, there’s enough people who disagree enough to fight to the death.  But, what is happening under this banner of heaven?  Economies and resources are usurped, leaving populations without a say and a pot to piss in.  We all have to live together and the distribution of power and labor has to be fair, or there are wars.  This has nothing to do with the banner of heaven.  Christians always preach to “do unto others” the way you would want them to do unto you.  Christians don’t want to listen to Muslims proseltyzing any more than the contrary.  That is why the government has to be by & for the people.  Religion and faith add a host of other monkeyshines to the issue of people living in peace, most of which are motivated by greed at the bottom line.  Even if there are the faithful who are not materialistic, it would seem that constructs like churches and mosques are numerous and are always spared no expense while the people foot the bill and live with a fraction of it.  If god was so powerful, why would we need to be motivated by great art to prey…ahem, pray?  Take for instance Michelangelo, whose gay genius is all over the Sistine Chapel, among many places.  And yet, many an ungrateful church will not recognize gayness as a natural phenomenon of the world.  Sorry, you gays will go to hell Michelangelo, here’s some dough—thanks for the painting?

That’s just insane, but a mere example of faith and hypocrisy.

What about now?  What about what Mr. Harris has to say?  Doesn’t any of it ring as plausible for you JB?  Seriously, check out what he has to say.  I know it’s hard to get out of a box called faith, but it is liberating if you try.  What happens is you are free to manifest your total creative potential—-unfettered.  No one can do this but you.  I think that’s why I am here, why anyone is here—to manifest creative potential.  Not to fall asleep to the lullabies of religion and retreat into the primitive mind constructs.  This causes sickness, a sort of constipation of the psyche that manifests war instead of great achievement.  It slows down the evolution.  That is not natural.

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By archeon, August 21, 2006 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment
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Funny how many typos one makes when foaming at the mouth! LOL at myself!

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By Mary Wallman, August 20, 2006 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment
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We have not taken out the mystery, but rather—DEMYSTIFIED the previous misconceptions.  Is it so horrible to find out the truth about life through science and study?  Or should we just stay ignorant?  Let’s keep the world flat.  That’s going backwards.  Then, there would be no America in which for these types of conversations to happen without being burned at the stake.

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By archeon, August 20, 2006 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
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I see that Jerbal is still busy with the silly analogues and examples.

“there is nothing new under the sun” is a statement that acknowleges that we all have the same drives and fears today as those in the past, and that those in the future will also have.

The beach sand hole god thing is a truly silly argument for god.  It proves nothing.  It is an example of the self-referencing crap that religion always throws at those who want real answers: God is to great for us to understand (then why do the faithful always claim to “know” god), we are to feeble and small to understand god (see brackets above), god move in ways we can’t understand (ditto brackets above), you get the idea.  If god is trully beyond our feeble human understanding - then no one has any business telling any one else who or what god is.

If god is within the possibility of our understanding - well then we are prefectly justified in asking questions about HIS nature, and I would say we have a responcibility to ask the hard questions about HIM.

If god is within our understanding it is possible that HE is a construct of human imagination to comfort us in the dark.  This of course would mean that GOD does not exist - at least not in the form the Bible, Torah, and Koran would have us believe.

Religion is evil.  It is dangerous. It is hateful. It has no redemptive value.  It sets up “us” and “them” world orders.

The three abrahamic religions in particular are female hating, autocratic, patriarchal, death worshiping cults.  Religions where this world is full of troubles so that we might better understand the beauty of paradise.

Seriously, the GOD of Abraham is an asshole.  A god who would ask Abraham to kill his own son as a test of Abraham’s love/respect/fear of GOD, only men could come up with that as a true and moral test.

Religion is stupid, and the faithful are stupid.  Religion has done nothing to make life better for the working class, the poor, the powerless, the sick.  It has at every turn resisted social change, resisted social justic, resisted social equity, resisted liberation of women and children from the tyranny of men, resisted emancipation of the slaves, resisted welfare - workers compensation - state medical insurance, resisted peace - indeed it has promoted war.  Religion has everywhere bean the tool of the overclass to oppress the underclasses, by making the oppresive class stuctures divinely inspired and sanctioned.  It has been the cause of rape, pedophilia, sexual slavery, abuse, robbery, and lies.  It has not made one sane person anywhere at any time happy and fullfilled.  To long for a better after life, to have faith in the existance of “paradise”, precludes happiness hear on earth now, because the three religions of Abraham all ask for sacrifice and privation in this world to reap rewards in the afterlife. One even offers 72 prepetual virgins to rape.  All three offer perptual torture in the flames of hell as reward for the sinners - oh yes a loving and kind god, who finds it impossible to forgive.  A god who glorifies death, revenge, and sulking!

Science does not take any of the mystery out of the world.  In fact scientific understanding makes the whole thing seem even more incredible, more amazing, more beautifull, more vast, more limitless than simple saying “god made this to be like this for his own pleasure”.

For me allowing that the world may be as it is, because it is, that it is a chance random ripple, makes me smile and feel so very happy.  I don’t need GOD to fuck it up for me.  I don’t need a GOD who would give me drives, wants, needs, lusts, and capacities for love yet would be angry when I use them.

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By Inbal, August 20, 2006 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment
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Arch, you’re welcome.

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By Jerub-baal, August 19, 2006 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
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I can’t remember if it was Thomas a Kempis or some other dude but one day on a walk along the beach he met a little kid digging a hole.  The dude stopped and asked the kid what he was doing and the kid explained he was digging a hole to put the ocean in it.  The dude told the kid he was attempting the impossible and that the ocean could never fit in a little hole.  The little kid looked up and said, so it is with God.

Our communication has been deduced to a bunch of ones and zero and we sit around punching the computer thinking we know more now than what has ever been known.  We have some how taken all the mystery out of life using our incredible scientific minds.  We may have more information but do we have better creativity and poetry.  Our disdain for those who lived a thousand years ago is marked with an air of empty and pretentious bragging. 

We know more about love and treachery?

Can we really communicate better with our ones and zeros than Shakespeare, Milton, and Solomon who said there is nothing new under the sun.  I don’t think he was talking about more fuel effecient cars - he was talking about something science can not wrap it hands around. 

When Sagan talks about the Cosmos I might as well be listening to a Deist preacher from the age of the enlightenment.  We are going back in time instead of forward - and when we rediscover the wheel and give it a new name we want people to pat us on the back? 

The evidence of God’s existence may be best played out in buying 10,000 junkyards and blowing each one up with a MOAB bomb hoping to get a space shuttle or a ford focus - let’s settle for a tricycle.

Is that what you BELIEVE?
 
Let’s make it 10 billion junkyards and 10 billion explosions - you may get a fender on your head but you aren’t going to build, create, design, order, construct because that takes something other. 

In the end the scientific mind must walk away from God disturbed because our one’s and zero’s couldn’t explain him, our scales could not weigh him, and our measuring tape lays strewn on the floor in a jumbled mess reflecting our incredible cocky attitude and chronological snobbery. 

Perhaps the kid was right - God is too big to fit in our noggin and our limited rational of time and space.

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By archeon, August 19, 2006 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment
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Thankyou Inbal.  That was very good.

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By Inbal, August 19, 2006 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
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Why I Am Not A Christian

The above title is a lecture delivered by Bertrand Russell in 1927. I think it is as relevant as if it was pronounced today.

To give you some notion, I’ll cite some extracts of it. Then you can see the whole piece, by pressing the link which appears below:

The First-cause Argument (that God exists)

… I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?’” That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause.
… It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject”.

The Argument from Design

You all know the argument from design: everything in the world is made just so that we can manage to live in the world, and if the world was ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design. It sometimes takes a rather curious form; for instance, it is argued that rabbits have white tails in order to be easy to shoot. I do not know how rabbits would view that application.
… You all know Voltaire’s remark, that obviously the nose was designed to be such as to fit spectacles…

The Emotional Factor

…You know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will remember that in Erewhon there is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that country and finds a new religion in which he is worshiped under the name of the “Sun Child,” and it is said that he ascended into heaven. He finds that the Feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated, and he hears Professors Hanky and Panky say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs, and they hope they never will; but they are the high priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says, “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once know that you did not ascend into Heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of that and he goes quietly away.

Fear, the Foundation of Religion

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing—fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.

What We Must Do

…A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html

Enjoy

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By archeon, August 18, 2006 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
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Quite simply J-B, you have provided nothing that proves the truth of your argument.  Quoting texts that are at best poor translations of languages no-one speaks today, the idiom of which is today unknowable, is pointless.  Not one person today can say with certainty that he or she trully understands the subleties of the ancient languages.  Hell, we can’t even know for certain what the undertext, subtext, of books writen 25, 50, or 100 years ago is.  When you quote the new testament as if it were the “god given” truth, you are perpetuating a lie, and are part of the evil machine that has steam roled it’s way across the globe.  Leaving only hate death and greed in it’s wake.  The church infact is the first international transglobal corporation.  It has never once been a leading force for social change - quite the contrary it has resisted social justice and equity.  I am not just talking about the catholic church, but all the christian ones.  Each denomonation has it’s own agenda and that is this: more members so that more money flows to the church.  They are nothing more than vehicles for the church establishment to live mighty fine off the sweat and labour of the poor and stupid.  And don’t give me crap about the saints etc.  Take mother Teresa - she was not holy, she was not a saint, she was a soldier in the churches army to convince the poor it was their lot to be miserable - that their misery was noble, good, even divine. What crap - indeed, it was evil.  People need to feel powerless and insecure for the church to keep it’s death grip of fear on the mass population.

Like I said before, I have never met a religous person who was happy.  Faith and religion preclude happiness and fullfillment, they by necessity need the opposite.  If the world were a happy place with justice and equal oportunity, with out hunger, affordable health care access, welfare for the infirm and those unable (yes even those unwilling) to work, why would we need religion faith and the church?

Religion is a social control mechanism.  It was created by a powerclass to tell those under them that a higher power has chosen one group to be leaders, and another to be followers.  There is nothing rational or natural about religion.  Faith of course is unnatural - it is baseless - false - and stupid.

Please stop quoting the texts - they prove nothing!  I DO NOT ACCEPT THEIR DIVINITY!  The texts were written by MEN.  The three religions of Abraham all acknowledge that the texts were written by MEN.  None claim that god spontaneously caused their BIBLE to come into being spontaneously by the will of the GOD.  None are written in a language still spoken today - don’t give me some crap about Arabic - the arabic of Mohamed is dead today - just like the english of shakespear, the russian of Ivan the terrible, the latin of Ceasar.

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By Mary Wallman, August 18, 2006 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
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J-B, These ideas you espouse are ideas that we can live by.  Unfortunately, we (as a collective) don’t live by them, and many people in the world have different religious ideas that conflict with these ideas (. . .which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16).

People obviously cannot be held accountable to scripture.  Period.  Why is this?  Is it, perhaps, because unlike a system that is devised by people for people here and now—a promise of heavenly delights to be redeemed after death is too intangible a thing for the common person to abide by?  There’s nothing wrong with that, it just needs to addressed in its practicality.  Faith is not enough.  I liken this idea to the fact that love is not enough to keep a relationship working.  This idea of loyalty can only work if two people get some sustenance from the relationship.  Equality is something that the people have to have the integrity of which to be accountable.  The equality is what keeps the partnership alive and gives respect to the partnership.  I don’t find equality in religion, but I find it in relationships, with or without the god factor.  At the end of the day, I ask myself and notice of the others—did I do the next right thing?  The next right thing is what benefits the relationship—not just me.  I see our administration touting god and then take-take-taking.  What was taken?  My trust (going to war under the banner of christian fundamentalism vs. muslim fundamentalism and “terrrism” that was false), my attention was stolen (looky HERE!Afghanistan—but Bush & Co. really had designs on Iraq—which is now morphing into Iran and your god knows where else), let’s steal more tax dollars and put them into this military debacle as the prime rate has doubled….  I realize that this is not a Christian value system that is being promoted, and yet so many “Christians” align themselves with the workings of this administration—because they “feel” it’s right.  The critical thinking has gone out the window with the holy spirit, apparently.

Realllllly, we must keep god out of the governmental equation.  It has no effect on those who seek power.  So then, what is the power of this god?....oh, I guess that comes later, after we die.  Which there is no proof of existence….

Even John Lennon wanted to believe in an afterlife.  But so far, his son Sean has not been contacted as promised.

Let’s all just learn to get along without pushing belief systems on eachother (Do unto others…).  Let’s all promote scientific research that will help humanity (stem cell research).  Let’s not force women to have children they don’t want and can’t afford (abortion)—unless society is willing to pay for it (like that’s gonna happen—with fairness).  There are solutions to society’s ills, if the faithful are willing to change just a little to accommodate them.  They would have had to put their faith in some sort of living, breathing document.  This was not provided by holy scriptures of any sort—the power of foresight.  But, there are some dead white men (and probably women) that Did have the foresight to address the issue of religion and government.  But teens today can name all 3 Stooges instead of the 3 branches of government…
http://www.constitutioncenter.org/CitizenAction/ CivicResearchResults/NCCTeens’Poll.shtml

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By jerub-baal, August 17, 2006 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
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Mary I would say you are right in admitting those things exist in religion but I do not believe they exist in the teachings of Christ - just the opposite.  Christ’s followers were in the habit of getting into discussion who was the greatest, Christ made it clear the greatest was the least and set a model of servanthood - “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Matt. 20:26

Paul reminds the church in Phillipi to have the same mind as Christ (be like minded) have the same attitude which was a servant attitude.

When a christian husband reminds his wife she must submit to him maybe he should read Ephesians 5:21 (everyone is to submit to each other) and then 5:25 (the husband is to lay down his life for his wife - very self sacrificing not self serving) but those are often neglected because people twist and distort the Bible to their own advantage, “. . .which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16

As a matter of fact I would say a major part of the Christian calling is to suffer unjustly (1 Peter 2:20-21) and it is usually at the hands of nominal or immature Christians as I have found in my own life.

Has Christianity been corrupted by self seeking, power hungry types that emphasize what they can get out of it - yeah.  Is there money in it - yeah.  Do TV evangelists make me sick - absolutely.  Do most of them represent Christ’s attitude - not even close.  My wife won’t let me watch “christian TV” anymore because I get too bent out of shape.  I also know there are some small family type fellowships out there that help poor people, comfort the wounded, aren’t afraid to ask difficult questions, and are honest about their imperfections - that is what I call the body of Christ and I don’t find it kind of attractive - I’m absolutely in love with it.

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By Mary Wallman, August 16, 2006 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
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jerub-baal:  Where is the rational and critical thinking in your faith?  From where do you drive that?  Is it wise to deny yourself critical thinking processes in the name of religion?  What about the prejudice in religion (our club is right and the rest go to hell—or we’ll just eliminate them)?  What about the sexism in religion (woman must submit to her husband)?  What about the eye for an eye typed broadbrush declarations of justice?

Does time not give us any wisdom that the scribes may not have had?  They cannot possibly speak fully to our existence today, it is beyond their experience in the same way that voting for president is beyond an elementary school kid’s intellect (most of them will side with the ideology of their parents based on the one-sided economically driven partisan arguments they mostly are given at home).  They cannot be expected to have answers for a society that for instance gave women the right to vote and abolished slavery. 

As far as Moses goes, well maybe he was well educated for his time…but what does that mean today?  The world was still flat then, afterall.  I just don’t think that being a bible thumper is a valid position to enforce on today’s society.  It will never work.  Only a nation of laws lead by a living breathing DOCUMENT can survive…

Will the Christians give up their SUV’s in support of the oil crisis and help drive down the situation instead of driving it up with their false sense of securities?  Will they recycle and dispose of the disposable society that has been created?  Will they watch less television and dress without the bling-bling?  Will they stop spoiling their kids with things and give them more time?  (I could go on, but you get my point , I hope)

You see, to me the entitlement that comes from religious affiliations is akin to nepotism.  While I have NO prob with people who create their own wealth or inherit it, often religious nepotism is baseless as far as work done to deserve the fruits.  Fruits get spread around “god’s (secret elitist society) family” if one will simply submit to the belief system and declare membership to everyone & god.  (The fruits come after you die, supposedly…sounds like another one of my favorite scams:  insurance.  Insurance can pay off if there’s a catastrophe.  If not, well you just pissed away a fortune for nothing then…)  It’s really just a ruse though, because religions are run by MAN and MAN is not perfect and subject to temptation and corruption.  So what’s the point?  I really think that it is a waste of time and a disruption to society.  For instance, my friend dating a jewish man was expected to convert to Judaism or have her fiance’s inheritance revoked. These people didn’t even go to temple.  Because of the dangling of his inheritance, the man buckledto their pleas to marry a jewish woman who is barren—and he wants kids—which he could’ve had if he had married my friend.  His lack of character was not overcome by his faith.  His faith did not give him any sense of self, because only your parents and community can help instill that.  If faith gave us great character there wouldn’t be any priests fondling little boys. That’s why there needs to be some laws for us ALL to abide by…because the religions will never agree with one another, and they should not be allowed to aid and abet a fugitive.  Right now, there is an immigrant hiding in a church for sanctuary who came here to the United States illegally and is being asked to go home.  If she was any other law breaker, do you think the police would pause at arresting her?  They shouldn’t anyway.  The law can only be changed by legal residents who vote.  Until the people speak….  You, of course, are free to disagree with me and anyone else.  I am just saying that one’s religious views should not make them exempt of any laws.  If religion raised great people, there wouldn’t be so many jokes about the Congress and the House.  This is of course because religion, in the end, does not raise anyone.  To the contrary, it oppresses people because it does not encourage critical thinking.  Encouraging critical thinking is done in universities—with or without the gossamer of religious pretext.

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By jerub-baal, August 16, 2006 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
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Does my faith come from a goat herder who encountered God?  -yeah, I believe the well educated Moses of Egypt who was very literate encountered God in the desert

The Bible was written over a span of 1,500 years by more than 40 authors and I’m sure you can point out contradictions when you pull away from the meaning, genre, and context of what is being said but if you adhere to those three criteria the job becomes much more complicated.  When I read lists of biblical contradictions from nofaith scholars I wonder if forty years wondering in the desert with the job of protecting some goats might cause them to reconsider, probably not.

“my faith cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects” -The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict

By the way - over 200 Old Testament prophesies are fulfilled in the New Testament by Christ’s birth and life and even his death (Isaiah 53:5)
but if you don’t believe God interacts (miracles) with His creation because you don’t believe in a God what good is a list going to do?

If you don’t believe a God can exist, you won’t attempt to decipher life from that perspective.  You approach the Bible already set to laugh at John 14:6 or “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Doesn’t sound like a death cult although I admit baptism is a picture of death, burial and one other thing but I forget what that is. Oh yeah, new life found in Christ Romans 6:4 - the resurrection!  But everyone knows that I can’t share scripture with atheists without being accused of shoving and forcing and brainwashing.  It’s a catch 18 republished as a catch-22.

I’ve been reading the amazon.com reviews to the atheist documentary, The God Who Wasn’t There, which Sam Harris appears in.  I find it interesting that the critics to Lee Strobel’s book a Case for Christ beat him up for not interviewing people with differeing opionions but the title pretty much tells you he is presenting a case for Christ because he was a former atheist.
After examining the evidence, interviewing conservative biblical scholars, taking a look at outside sources (Josephus and Tacitus) he came to the conclusion the texts could be trusted as eyewitness accounts not storyland fairytales and his faith came by hearing the word of Christ.
Can I find 100 Jesus Seminar scholars who disect the Bible?  Can I find biblical scholars who say Jesus never existed?  Yeah, by the truckload.  Do they have the same evidence that the conservative scholars have?  -yes-  Then who is right?

We are back to the battle of the closed mind and name calling on both sides of the fence.

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By archeon, August 15, 2006 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
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You are welcome Mary!

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By Mary Wallman, August 15, 2006 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
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Thankyou Archeon 18306!

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By Mary Wallman, August 15, 2006 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
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Wow….Jerry, Jerry…quite contrary!  Are you then saying that you Do have faith in what a bunch of ancient goat herders had to say, versus what modern science and theory has disproven?

I think that it would be interesting to have a tally of all the “miracles” in the bible (and claims of people living for two-hundred years and such), going side by side with the scientific probabilitiy of it’s validity.  This is just the bible.  The good word (stoning people to death is okay?).  Oh, that’s right—-Sam Harris has pretty much done this already….READ IT!

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By archeon, August 15, 2006 at 4:10 am Link to this comment
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Well jerubal your recent post, with its intellectually preposterous analogies proves the point that - to have faith you must throw out rational analytical thinking.

Building an airplane out of bike and oldschool bus parts with out an understanding of the princples of flight (science) and then attempting to fly it off a cliff would take “faith”.

Building the same machine using science, and scientific method, with the resulting testing and refining, and proving, might well fly - or not.  But at least one could make an informed choice as to wether or not one would jump off a cliff with it. (action based on faith is NOT informed)

Flying in airplanes does not take faith.  We know airplanes fly.  We see the evidence and proof everyday.  I don’t see proof of God.

Your analogs are stupid, and reflect the same ones I have hear for years from the faithful trying to sway me to their camp.

BTW - I did not grow up in a religious household.  My atheism comes from the fact that the religious fairy tales are contradictory, hateful, harsh, unloving, opressive, silly, rude, woman hating, tools of men.  It comes from the fact that I have never met a single person who while professing to believe has been happy, satisfied, fullfilled, or kind.  God has never spoken to me, I have seen no manifestations of anything remotely “divine” in nature, and least of all among the interactions between people, nations, and countries.

I am completely satisfied in my understanding that I cannot know.  That while alive I will not know.  I live my life for life not death.  Lets be absolutely frank about it, Judeo/Christian/Islam are death cults, the faithful are expected to live life for rewards when dead - with the life filled with hardships, tests, and privations set by a unloving overlording childish god.

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By Jerubbaal, August 14, 2006 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment
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The presupposition of a reaction theology and the result of the term atheist seems fitting.  Most atheists that I know grew up in some form of organized religion or perhaps the reality is the more outspoken atheists that I know grew up in some form of organized religion - thus the resentment.  We could take a poll, but who really cares?  That being the case, I think atheists makes for a good name - it shows they are lacking in something, the way Harris explained it in his manifesto. 

The term “no faiths” is just stupid - think about it. Ok think some more.  Are you done thinking yet? 

True or False, riding an airplane takes faith.  Archeon says False and the answer is . . . 

Riding an airplane that I recently just built from spare bicycle parts and an old school bus takes faith true or false. 
Let me add, I have no engineering degree and have never done this before but meet me tomorrow at the top of the Grand Canyon because that’s when we are pushing off for our first test flight.
Now some people at this point would say - yes, that takes faith because you are asking me to do the absurd - commit intellectual suicide and drink some jim jones kool-aid. 

What if I said riding an airplane does take faith and jumping off of a cliff doesn’t.  It’s a bad analogy but there is a point I want to make.  My faith is based on reason and logic.  If I know an airline has a 1 in 100 survival rate and I book a flight - that’s playing poker with my life - no faith statement yet I know Christians who would say I have faith we will land safely, I would turn and say we have a 1 in 100 chance of that, I hope you’re right.

Now if I research an airline that only hires qualified experienced pilots, has a really clean and safe track record, keeps their fleet updated with the best equipment, and serves peanuts then I make a decision based on history, realiability, and even practical outcomes like bloatation and gas after eating the peanuts. 

Am I trusting the pilot?  Am I trusting several mechanics?  Am I trusting some Muslims aren’t going to… 
Can we use the words trust and faith in such circumstances?  According to the dictionary we can.

atheist think Theists are an absurd bunch of religious school bus flyers reading and believing fairytales and hoping they will fly after jumping off the cliff that has a pile of dead puddles at the bottom - like in Weird Al’s movie UHF.

By the way I’ve been camping the past few days and enjoying God’s wonderful, orderly, beautiful, and complex creation.  It makes me wonder why the Russell’s Tea Pot Gnome Scandal in this blog has not been dealt with in a manner keeping to atheistic hubris, which I’ve grown accustomed to.

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By Mary Wallman, August 13, 2006 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
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TRUEMUSLIM, now you are talking (without hubris) about an issue that we can discuss.  This is what I am waiting for:  People of faith who are willing to discuss the ideas that are hardwired into their religion.  How is that working for you—isolating yourself from the world?  It doesn’t really work for everyone else, BUT—the “others” will have to give up their exclusivity club in order to live in peace as well.  This is why America began as a nation of laws that had separation of church and state.  If your religious law happens to agree with the state law—good for you!  If not, too bad—you must still abide by the laws of the state or you will join an exclusivity club known as “prison.”  Sure, our laws are not perfect (perfection is an idea we can only aspire to anyway).  BUT—even though change may be slow—IT IS POSSIBLE here in America.  The founding fathers were wise to try to build CHANGE into a document that we can live by.  How does your religion do that?  No one KNOWS any truth about god—no one that is living.  I cannot contact the dead and ask them if they met a god, what did god look like, who’s right in their religion, etc…

  What we DO know is all the religions are hung up on being “RIGHT” about their god—to the point of hating and killing eachother! 

Just please answer thess questions:  Why are You right about your religion and dogma, and others that claim THEY are the word of god—wrong? 
What are you basing this opinion on? 
How are you any more correct about the laws of your religion than any other religion?  (You can’t All be right, but—apparently, you can ALL be wrong in the eyes of eachother.)
How can this be, really?
Why would your god be in alignment with a separatist view of people instead of a view that unites?
What kind of payoff is there for a god to put people on earth to fight eachother over these religious issues (is god that insecure the he/she needs validation outside of him/herself?  Why would you worship that?)

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By TrueMuslim, August 12, 2006 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i really dont know what makes me still send messages in here….i just cant see anything but an Atheism club…u all send the same thoughts and opinions…i just cant know why r u still in here talking to each others??...i thought that these was to talk with the religious ppl…but i cant see any one here….so this place..is just worthless…..and this is the real truth…a place where no arguments ....just one says…faith is stupidity….and the other reply saying bad words on Jesus and God..and…muslim is stupid….go ahead anyway…if u would ever think that this would make us look less…
then u must know that u r totally wrong..
as long as Atheist r talking with each others…
then really…to us..this argument is worthless

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By archeon, August 12, 2006 at 6:24 am Link to this comment
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Faith is belief in the absence of proof.
Faith is insanity.
Faith is stupidity.
Faith is baseless.
Faith is fear.
Faith is submission.
Faith is worthless.

Evolutionary theory is not about a chart that show the progresion from ape to man.  Evolution is about living things changing over time in responce to changes in the environment/eco system.  These changes in the environment/eco-system either increase or decrease the chance that plants or animals with certain qualities or characteristics propagate and pass these on to thier offspring.  All living things contain DNA, this DNA may be changed by internal and external forces, casing mutations which may be minor or major.  The changes in the DNA may also be “copy” errors.

Evolution is not about disproving or proving the existance of God, the spiritual realm, etc.  It is not a question that comes up.  Evolutionary Theory is not about cosmology or theology, it is about science.

Most if not all the crack pot evolutionary/science ideas are eventually disproven by science.  Those that are not may have scientific merit, and are investigated further.  Science is not about saying “this is how it is because so and so wrote this or that in a book 2000 years ago”.  Faith on the otherhand does resort to this as the final “proof” of it’s “truth”.  It is presented as unchanging, in fact the pedlars of faith often claim that questioning the thruth of the texts is an act of sin.  Fundamentalist literalists are guilty of this: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim.  Nothing will ever allow them to see the world any other way.

The trouble the “progresive” movements of the various religions is this: as soon as you begin to question the truth of the texts you also have to question the motivations of the writers of those texts.  Once you question the motivations, you must also question if the texts were truely divinely inspired.  This leads ultimatly to the questioning the existance of the divine.  Why would god have to take three stabs at basically the same “revelation”?  It is because he is not all powerfull, not all seeing - because he does not exist.  There are other religions too, if there is only one god why so many many religions?  Wait, I know, it is the handy work of the devil, a creation of the supreme all powerfull, all seeing god. Thus makin him a Creator who could not see that his creation (satan, man, etc) would turn against him.  Thus again rendering HIM impotent or uncaring or non-existant.  Neither of which is worthy of worship.

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By Mary Wallman, August 11, 2006 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment
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Jerru, have you had the absolute delight of reading Mr. Harris’ manifesto? 

Without trying to sound condescending, and I truly mean it—just read Harris’ ideas a few more times instead of defending yourself.  I find that it helps keep me on topic.

Also, I have been enjoying Val’s recommended reading on the origin of the bible and the Jesus Myth:
http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm
I haven’t finished it, but let me say that these ideas are very interesting as historical takes on the origins of the bible, Jesus and and his supposed contemporaries.

Thanks, Val.  You give very informative responses and great links to information that I do enjoy.

I am grateful for a conversation about atheism (or agnosticism) at all.

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By Mary Wallman, August 11, 2006 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
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“Since I’ve taught Middle School Science for five years – when my students ask me what I think, I tell them I don’t know – I wasn’t alive back then.”

This is my point exactly.  What’s your prob, jerry?  If you were honest, you would say you really are here to get another dose—like so many others—of reason.  I suppose that if you unpacked your prose a bit, it may Become obvious to you.  Keep at it, you’re doin’ great.

“These 2nd and 3rd graders then will never question evolution and will later get on the internet and tell people like me I’m crazy for not believing their obvious dogma.”  What—are You frozen in an emotionally developmental stage?  I think not—just as the kids portrayed in your scenario most likely won’t be.  This is not a reasonable view of any person’s total life experience.  (I was taught both and I still don’t think the world was created in 7 days by a guy in a white beard.)  Every culture has a story about the evolution of the world, so?  You can’t see the resemblance between parent & child, for example?—that’s obvious.  I never said that anything was perfect.  I rather like it that way.  If anything, everything is perfectly imperfect.

You seem angry.  Lighten up.  These ideas are a lot more freeing than religions that are elitist and exclusive.  For instance, if you don’t believe the same as I do, I don’t think you’re going to hell.  I won’t stone you to death or bomb your place of worship.  I won’t castigate you, or alienate you from society—disown you as a friend.  But—don’t be angry at Me if you can’t present evidence of god.  What’s more important is how we treat eachother.

Just like you (or I) weren’t around for the beginning of earth, I wasn’t there to hear Theists get booed off the stage for being “honest.”  Can’t really have an opinion about that, I didn’t witness the event. 

I have worked with people in kitchens who didn’t have the benefit of our faulty educational system here, however; that don’t believe in dinosaurs.  That’s right, they can go to the museum and see it in person and still doubt its authenticity as a real artifact.  They say it’s all a scam to take our money.  Oddly enough, they will tithe at a white man’s anglo-saxon house of worship, and believe in a highly controversial and disproven “shroud of turin”..  Interesting, isn’t it, what we find when we look beneath the veil.

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By Jerubbaal, August 11, 2006 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
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Mary says, “The real question is how to stay out of my business with your faith and my country. . .  I refuse to ignore the obvious. “

What is the obvious?
What you understand in your interpretation of your surroundings?

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. – W. Heisenberg

Hermeneutic – the art or science of interpretation, interpreting, explaining

Mary, you gave me the wrong definitions – don’t you see what the real problem is?

It’s not what you consider obvious, it is the art/science of how you came to that conclusion I’m trying to investigate. 

Your obvious has become your dogma minus the church.  Let’s sit down and think of a way we can get your dogma presented to others so I won’t have to get the boot from your country.  We will conform to your obvious and not ask any questions.  It sounds almost too mind numbing good.  Some of the ways we could do this is teach it in public schools as “obvious” fact instead of theory.  We could show PBS and National Geographic videos with cartoon characters to kids in 2rd and 3rd grade that actually show chemical blobs becoming life that crawls out of the ocean.  We could show a step by step progression chart from Ape to man.  Since the children don’t know the difference between fact and theory, law and postulates they will be brainwashed into thinking anything else is absurd.  We won’t share with them that the Ape to Human propaganda has been highly criticized by evolutionary scientists as faulty based on the hip bone postulate used.  These 2nd and 3rd graders then will never question evolution and will later get on the internet and tell people like me I’m crazy for not believing their obvious dogma.

Since I’ve taught Middle School Science for five years – when my students ask me what I think, I tell them I don’t know – I wasn’t alive back then.  Then I warn them to be careful of the “evidence” presented.  I give them examples of creationists who are loopy (yes, it’s a long list) and I give them examples of evolutionists who are loopy (Piltdown).  Then being the incredible brainwashing, shove it down your throat kind of person I am – I say, you decide.  In the past decade at National Teacher Associations there have been Theist teachers booed off stage for being this honest.  I don’t want to hear any of that woe am I the persecuted atheist crap unless you are from Kansas or Arkansas. 

Your next question I bet was rhetorical, “Can you not see any truth?”

Answer:  I don’t see your obvious as truth.  My hermeneutic is different so I get a different answer.  It’s what makes a Theist, Deist, and Atheist so different when presented with the same “facts.”

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By Mary Wallman, August 10, 2006 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
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Hey kids!  Just for fun, let’s review some basic definitions:

faith  
Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
A set of principles or beliefs.

fact
Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy.
Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact.
A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case.
Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts. (BIBLE, ANYONE?)
A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact.
Law. The aspect of a case at law comprising events determined by evidence: The jury made a finding of fact.

fiction  
An imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented.
The act of inventing such a creation or pretense.
A lie.
A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.
The category of literature comprising works of this kind, including novels and short stories.
Law. Something untrue that is intentionally represented as true by the narrator.

Now, let’s just take Creationism vs. Darwinism as an example.  What would win based on a body of evidence in a court of law?  Evidence.  Facts.  Not testimonials or fables…  Even if all the answers are not found in Darwinism, Creationism is nothing more than an anecdotal source as taken from the bible.  The bible is nothing more than some guys telling stories about what their perspective on a supposed event was—as told to a scribe because they themselves couldn’t actually spell. (Not that illiterates should not be privy to all the rights afforded them under our laws—so long as they can be assured that they are not being taken advantage of…blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum)

Who was it that said:  “May your God go with you.”  No words truer my faithful friends. 

If atheists make up only a tiny percentage of the population, society’s ills cannot possibly be attributed to them.  That would make them way more powerful than “faithys,” wouldn’t it?  As a previous contributer to this thread has already said- so many of our great advances in science were made by atheist or agnostics.  Can you imagine if there was less religious dogma in the way how much further we perhaps could be?  I suggest that you look deeper at how your beliefs cradle the dysfunctions of society before you push these beliefs on others.

The real question is how to stay out of my business with your faith and my country.  Our country.  I refuse to ignore the obvious.  Why do you-with the faiths-keep trying to tell me that I am imagining the facts that are obvious?  Can you not see any truth?  C’mon, if you are so smart—you can’t deny that there are way more holes in dogma than science.  It’s either pregnant or it’s not, but we all know how to get pregnant!

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By jerubbaal, August 9, 2006 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
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Val - I would love to set down with you and watch Oprah while reading a few self help books.  Maybe we could get Tom Cruise to find out how many negative ions we are emitting while we are at it and you can accuse me of brainwashing you or shoving my beliefs down your throat. 

I live in an area that is over 95% Latter Day Saint and I’m not.  I love the fact that I live in an area where you can openly talk about what you believe.  You can even try to convince somebody that what they do believe is absurd and people get a little bent but not too much because that comes with the territory. 

Now my neighbors think I’m weird because I’m not LDS but we have a pretty good neighborhood.  In our old neighborhood (2 blocks away) there were people who called us evil, and others who would not allow their children to play with ours because we didn’t think like them.  When I read your clip Val - I think you have a lot in common with those LDS.  Have you ever thought about becoming one?

You said, “I don’t care what anybody ‘believes’.”
It sounds a little intolerant but lets kick it around a little.  You see I understand your reply back to me as a belief statement.  You have put your faith in biblical scholars who don’t believe in the resurrection and think the Bible is a big fairytale.  I tend to trust more conservative scholar some of whom are Theistic but most have very diverse backgrounds, Protestant, Catholic, Pre-copernican anthropocentrists (just kidding).
So take the Tubingen German theologian who said the NT was written much later and conservative scholars were scoffed at.  Then a NT doc. is found dating as far back as 100 - 120 A.D.  Now who’s laughing?  It’s a pendulum and it swings back and forth and you could bring all your crap you have dug up on the NT to the table and I could bring all my crap I’ve dug up to the table and it would only be a headache.

What you have to admit and you probably won’t is that you believe - not proven, but believe the Bible is storyland fairytale.  I don’t believe in Joseph Smith and the LDS church probably for the same reason you don’t believe in the Bible.  I have examined the conservative and liberal scholars of the NT and the text itself and have arrived at the belief statement that the Bible is accurate, reliable, and therefore I’m a narrow minded bigot.  I’ll take the tag. 

I’ll continue to share what I believe because it is precious and I believe Christ honoring to share his love and forgiveness.  If I ever present it as proven fact realize that is how real it is to me - in the end though it’s a faith statement.  Sorry it offended you.  can my kids play with yours?

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By archeon, August 9, 2006 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
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I will never accept that the religious texts come from god.  For I know - and all the religions claim it to be so - they were all writen down on paper/parchment/sheepskin by men.  This is the one undisputed fact, no religion claims that god himself through an act of divine power caused the works to come into being with out a mortal as the conduit.  Why did god not simply cause the texts to spring forth from his will?  Because he does not exist - that is why.  Why do the texts and various translations contradict each other?

We come time and again up against the problem with gods will, his nature, and why if he is as the religions claim all powerfull and all see-ing why is he constantly surprised when this or that person does something bad?

The bible is neither factual or historical.  The koran is neither factual or historical.  They are insane rantings of self proclaimed prophets.  They are evil, and harmful, carry no moral authority, and should be discarded forthwith.

Faith is an act of desperation.
Belief is an act of submission.
Both demonstrate intellectual weakness, moral vagueness, ethical fluidity.

God is an asshole.
Jesus is an asshole
Mohammed is an ashole
All the texts are stupid and evil.

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By Val, August 9, 2006 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
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“I can trace my faith exactly back to the reliable, recorded, historical texts of the New Testament,” says Jerubbaal.

Precisely the kind of “thinking” offered by religionists. As already cited below, and readily available for anyone who cares to conduct rational research, neither the New Testament nor the Old are “reliable, recorded, historical.”

Your statement is tantamount to insisting the earth is flat, or hollow, in light of millennia of historic and scientific evidence contradicting those “beliefs” on the part of some.

What IS accurate is to say you can trace your “faith” back to the un-reliable, un-recorded, un-historical utterly contradictory texts. Which is to say, like all religionists, you base your faith on un-reality.

Though I’m glad you’re posting here, it’s pointless to “discuss” actual recorded facts with those who refuse to question or inform themselves, beyond parroting the manufactured myths of their religious “authorities.”

I don’t care what anybody “believes.” I DO care that religionists want to force their “faith” on the world and create theocracies by claiming their fictions are true, that up is down, black is white.

Religions’ vicious, bloodthirsty, anti-scientific, irrational history is exactly why the world is where it is today. Even the ancient “sacred” origins of “Communion,” the eating of flesh and drinking of blood, are denied and sugar-coated. This cannibalistic ritual has its origins in prehistoric warrior societies who believed that by ritualistically eating the flesh and drinking the blood of slain enemies, the tribe would “absorb” the strength and power of their adversaries. In the prehistoric context of the times, the ritual actually showed honor and respect for those slain.

Long since stolen by Christianity, the ritual now fuels Christian Soldiers fanatically bent on marching humanity into the abyss of their fictional End Times: namely, Death. Believing the world and flesh are Evil, salvation can only come through destroying both and finding Truth / God in some imagined Next World.

In short, “salvation” lies in condemning, renouncing and destroying physical reality—including sciences, rationality and humanity itself.

It’s easy to say this is “insane.” But like all “insanity,” it makes perfect sense when its origins in beliefs are understood.

No wonder Muslims chant, “Death to America! Death to Jews! Death to Infidels and Non-Believers!” Though trying for more subtlety, Christianity has and still does chant “Death!” to non-believers.

These are “religions” not of Life, Love and Understanding: they are Death Cults of Ignorance, Hate and Fear.

For those interested in real history, as opposed to well-meaning but mindless repetition of false “scriptures,” here is but one of any number of informative links—in this case on the origins of Christianity and the Bible.

http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm

Enjoy.

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By jerubbaal, August 9, 2006 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
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archeaon good job paraphrasing Romans 5:6 and 8 in your reply to my inane jibber jabber.  If I taught a Sunday School Class - I would want you in it because you would keep me from being fake.
I know it’s hard to imagine a fake Christian but there are some out there and if not held in check I could easily become one myself.  We all know fake Christians make fairy land pretend plastic dashboard Jesus upset.  Hey this is interesting, they also make the real historic Jesus as revealed in Scripture upset according to Revelation 3 and the church of Laodicea - let me catch my breath and try one of them paragraph thingy ma bobs xenu was trying to explain to me because next time she will be teaching me about run on sentences. 

I’m going to be honest with you xenu, I don’t know a whole lot about Iassu except maybe a mention of him from the syncretist J. Campbell.  What I do know about Christ is important because that is where my faith comes from (Rom. 10:17).  I can trace my faith exactly back to the reliable, recorded, historical texts of the New Testament.  I can look in my 4th revised New Testament Greek and can read the variants of other NT manuscripts.  Perhaps we are dealing with the most criticized text in the world.  Was it tampered with by the Catholic church?  If so we have manuscripts that predate the corruption of the church.  Paul even warns ahead of time with tears in his eyes that the church is going to be taken over by wolves who have their own agenda and want people to follow them instead of Christ (Acts 20:29-31).

What will it take for you to believe the Scriptures come from God instead of men - you may never end up believing that.  Jesus tells a story of a man in hell who makes a request to have a the poor beggar Lazarus rise again and go warn his brothers to repent because hell is a really bad place.  Now some people get stuck on hell and how horrible God is and the mean kid with the magnifying glass scenerio but that is not the point of the story.  Abraham simply says, they have Moses and the Prophets (God’s Word), if they don’t believe that then they are not going to believe some dead guy knocking on the door telling them to repent.  So instead of the rich mans bros. getting Scrooged they end up with the reality of Psalm 19 a reality most are walking away from.

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By Val, August 8, 2006 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks, Jerubbaal. But whose god invented the paragraph break? And where were you at the birth of that miracle?

Meanwhile, here we go again. Debating what “Jesus” said, meant or did—on or off a cross. Pointless and false, that “debate.” What did “Zeus” say, mean or do? Or “Thor?” Or “Rapunzel?”

The oldest known “jesus” story predates the supposed existence of christ by 3,500 years and is identical in virtually every detail. (In other words, it’s over 5,500 years old.)

It is Egyptian. Virgin birth in a cave / manger / stable. Named Iassu. Grew up performing miracles, including walking on water and raising the dead. Age 30, was crucified on an Eqyptian cross between two criminals. Three days later, rose from the dead and “ascended” in the sky.

The origins of these stories in antiquity are fascinating. So is the story of how they were imparted to illiterate populations by giving them “human” form and “dramas” that could be easily remembered.

Really, the best contemporary example of how religions are created and built, in all their cultish fascism and mind-control, is Scientology.

Read all about it!

http://xenu.net/

Google “Xenu” and be, uh, amazed.

December 25th? Not the birth of “Jesus.” It’s the day when the sun, having apparently descended as far south (below the equator) as it gets, annually, hovers there for three days in its “tomb,” (does this sound familiar?) before being “reborn” and starting its “ascent” in the sky again—rising north above the equator again, bring light and annual new life to the planet earth that culminates in “Spring.”

These are ancient astronomical / astrological observations couched in stories of mythological beings. They were stolen by successive “religious” mysthologies to help control and contain then-illiterate tribal populations.

The twelve “disciples?” Originally the twelve “mansions” of the zodiac, the twelve “relationships” of the sun to the earth each year, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve “seasons,” the twelve months.

Easter? Please. No relation whatever to “Jesus.” Originally the pagan goddess, Eastre, of fertility. Hence the symbols of the rabbit (fecundity) and the egg (from whence comes life), and the honoring of the sun’s position each spring, when new life begins on earth after “winter.”

Though humanity as a whole is no longer “illiterate,” I have never met or known a “Christian” who was willing to read or study the actual origins and history of their religion. Same may be said for Jews and Muslims.

Instead, they try to launch impassioned “debates” over what happened to some fictional character at some fictional moment, cloaking themselves in the phony “authority” of their “religions,” desperately hoping to divert themselves and everybody else from historically documented truths that prove the lie.

Failing that, they kill you. Either by name calling (“Heretic! Blasphemer!”), shunning or violence.

Especially with the internet, the truth, the research, the documentation, the writings, are readily available.

I can’t blame anybody for not wanting to know that their religious beliefs of a lifetime have been based on falsehoods and myths.

I can blame them for wanting to kill people who disagree, or who tell the truth.

I can blame them for insisting that civil laws conforming to their mythical beliefs be enacted, forcing the rest of humanity to conform to their fairy tales or be exterminated.

Religion is not “like” insanity: it IS, by every clinical (scientific) definition, insane.

Xenu, Yahweh, Jesus, Mohammed, Vishnu, Isis, Osiris, Thor, Zeus, Rapunzel? Thanks a lot for repeatedly leading humanity to the brink of destruction.

Okay. Maybe not Rapunzel.

Having said that, this is not to say that there is NOT an underlying reality to All That Is. Even Sam Harris, if you read him, may surprise you with his acknowledgement of this “mystical” reality.

But it can ONLY be apprehended personally, through one’s own efforts and consciousness. Billions have done so through millennia. One can “try” to talk about the experience, one can “point” to methods for experiencing it, but words almost immediately fail one, being human and limited in the face of what is infinite and limitless. That does not mean the experience is not real.

It DOES mean that one cannot impose the experience on everybody else.

Nor does it mean the experience of a greater “reality” has anything to do with fanatical beliefs in imagined characters and endlessly bloody, threatening, psychopathologies nor blind conformity to would-be outside “authorities.”

All you’ve got is You. All That Is is nowhere else. Within you? All That Is.

Always.

Now.

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By archeon, August 8, 2006 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
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jerubaall, your mindless recitation of the words in your bible are pointless.  Why is it important for god that we love him?  if he is infinite in love, etc, can’t he love us even if we don’t love him?  can he forgive?  what about accepting us as we are?

When I hear your words all I can imagine is a petulant god, who will punish me if I use the freewill he has given me.  If I can not chose a path other than the one HE wants me to take, with out fear of punishment, there is no freedom or freewill.  If HE is infinit he would have seen at the beginning of everything that I would STRAY from HIS path, and out of his infinit LOVE for me would have used his INFINITE mercy to ensure that I would not exist (thus sparing me and my soul the pain and eternal suffering of HELL).

So according to the “revealed truth in the bible” God is either stupid, or an asshole.  Both of which practically ensure HE is not a GOD, and that HE is in fact more deserving of our contempt than respect.

I am not forgetting what happened on the cross, I don’t just don’t believe it happened as written by those who came after Jesus.  They were assholes and bullcrappers.

Societies don’t need religion to give them rules that allow individuals to live in harmony and relative peace.  Primitive societies need an external “motivator” because just like little children, they do not understand that the rules are the thing that make a society - not the “law giver”.  I stop at a red light because I don’t want to get smacked by someone going through on a green, not because I am afraid of getting a ticket.

As for the 10 comandments.  Lets have a look at: “thou shall not kill”  seems straight forward enough.  Of course it is ok to kill murderers, or people fighting in an other army, or in self defence.  Hmmm that commandment is not so clear now, Ok I see i just can’t kill the the followers of the petulant judeo stupid asshole god.

I want to state again that christianity does not hold a monopoly on the stupid, silly, and insane.  The Jews and Muslims are right in there too.

There is no god!
We created god in OUR image!
We created religion!
God is dead.
(or he is eiter stupid, or an asshole)

The bible is full of lies, untruths, myths - and is self contraditory.  And also for the Torah.  The koran is a piece of crap, it should be ranked with worst of the worst in literature, it does not even rank with Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.  It is racist, woman hating, crap.  We can learn nothing from it - nothing, zero, zip!

Fuck GOD!

How would I handle it if asked: “what church do you go to?”  they would answer “none”.  They too have come to the conclusion that religion is a fairy tale, and that believers are insane.  I did not tell them to be this way.  I answered their questions, and let them decide.  Yes we celebrate Xmass, Easter, Halloween, Birthdays, Weddings, Deaths, these special days are infact about the interaction between people more than they are about some silly bullshit and fairy tales.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not dismiss myth and theology, cosmology, as totaly worthless.  They are attempts by people and societies to answer fundamental questions and are historically important.  Religious texts like the bible may have a place when read as “literature”, the koran I am afraid has no place, except as a historical curiosity - like “mein kampf”, or the “protocols of the elders of zion”, “das kapital”, any american fundamentalist christian writing, or other intelectually vapid drivel.

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By Mary Wallman, August 8, 2006 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
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jerubaal, I hear a “still, small, voice”—it is my conscience.  Anything more than that is an auditory hallucination.  Do not confuse religion with common sense.  Most people (even if they don’t have “religion”) have been taught basic moral truths passed down to us by the “everyone-who-came-befores.”  These truths are rules that all of us (who are about 99% the same no matter what) can live by.  Christians are not special in that respect.  This isn’t a competition, but rather a call for reality about the basic motivations of society as a whole.  Back in BC, I am sure that there were reasonable people who never heard about “Big G” who could live together without killing eachother.  Wanna know why?  Because I am here now—I am living proof of the potential of reason.  Take inventory of your actions and eliminate those behaviors that don’t work—while keeping those that do.  You don’t have to believe in God to do this.  We are free.  Actions have consequences most of the time.  You can count on it.

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By jerubbaal, August 8, 2006 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need those who contend with Baal and tear down his altars but we also need those who will listen to the still small voice.  They want the voice to be loud and perhaps as obnoxious as they are.  As they interpret life through pain they forget the worse thing that can happen to them is not cancer, death, or even constipation with halitosis (although that is bad), the worse thing that can ever happen to any human being is not to hear the still small voice and believe.  What other religion at the center of it’s core has God humilating himself, taking the form of a servant, taking the scandal of a cross, and hanging naked for everyone to mock?  Two thousand years later the mocking continues but so does the still small voice.  You will never hear it if you interpret life through pain and become bitter, you will never hear it if you cling to your own reasoning ability and make yourself god, and you will never hear it if you are religious, like the pharisees. God never wanted a man made religion with the element of people doing something in order to fix themselves yet that is what every religion is.  The first religion ever invented was a itchy fig leaf and we have not been able to come up with much better.  What God did want was people to love Him and adore Him with all their heart, mind, and soul.  Adore Him because He is infinite, without beginning or end, who else can say that?  He speaks and it is, a wave activated universe - our more advanced math theories support it (according to PBS, laughing).  Here’s the H-bomb though, you were made to enjoy God and worship him and what the 10 commandments really teach us is no one wants to honor God and those who do are probably playing a game that really never addresses the heart issues of self sufficiency and preservation.  Evangelicals have made the mistake of making the gospel about heaven because it appeals to the self preservation of us all.  Now we have people who have made a decision for heaven but could care less about God and as Jesus says anyone who wants to save his life will lose it.  The only way our hearts can be truely fixed and made right is through the scandalous and foolish perspective of the cross - Galatians 2:20.  As we scoff, laugh, and accuse God of forgetting us and abandoning us and not caring and being some kid with a magnifying glass torturing ants.  Don’t forget what really happened at the cross - when the creator of the universe hung gasping for breath knowing he would be rejected by the religious establishment and most of His creation the mystery remains.  The question no one is asking is how could someone that mighty and magnificent do that?  God is love.

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By Val, August 7, 2006 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, Mary. Good information.

Thanks, M Henry Day. Though I don’t know if “objective” information about Islam (or perhaps any religion) is available. Certainly, Sam Harris does an excellent job. So, of course, did Thomas Paine in revealing the facts about ANY “revealed” religion as being no more than hearsay.

As for the myth of the “golden age of Islam” which we are spoonfed, possibly the best (and most qualified) writings are by Dr. Serge Trifkovic.

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4626

All of Trifkovic’s writings on the topic of Islam and the west are excellent and informative—and factual. I tend to think the facts about Islam are what actually “bias” people. All anybody can do is to inform themselves (starting with the Koran and Hadith) and Islam’s history, and tell the truth accordingly.

Nor am I saying Judaism or Christianity is “better” than Islam. Just that those religions have, for the most part, moved a bit past killing “heretics” who won’t swallow them hook, line and sinker.

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By Mary Wallman, August 6, 2006 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Val, I did indeed struggle with what to do about the “church” question.  Well, perhaps in some ways that was why I was a seeker.  But as I said before, I did not find.  When we tell our kids that there is no Santa Claus, or Tooth Fairy, or whatever—there is a buffer:  they know they are gonna get presents from us anyway.  When someone has been programmed to accept an imaginary saviour that has bought them insurance for getting to heaven and enjoying a pleasurable afterlife after a life of struggle—there is no buffer.  My own father, who still attends mass every Sunday, admitted to me (when I was in a parochial elementary school and asked him about big “G”) that he was basically covering his ass just in case.  I think that’s what a lot of people are doing, living in an illusion instead of the moment. 

I have decided to cut out the “middle man” (sorry Santa), and make gift giving about family and gratitude.  I don’t want to give him the message that he can’t rely on me for giving him the straight story on anything—it would set a bad precedent.  This may also be part of teaching our kids how to lie—or know they are being lied to while quietly racking up resentments.  The ramifications are astounding when you really think about the mixed messages we give children.  If he wants to go to church, I will take him.  I won’t deny him the experience.  And I will ask him what he thinks about it.  I will tell him that he doesn’t have to make any decisions about faith (reminding him of the facts!), but whatever he decides I will accept—although I Will lovingly challenge faith if I am asked.  I want him to know that he has a choice.  I cannot in good conscience take advantage of childcare from a place that I don’t believe in supporting.  Although, if it keeps me sane, and he just wants to play with the kids in a nursery without dogma—why not?  It’s like letting him play at the playplace at McDonald’s—and he’s smart enough Not to eat the food there anyway!  This is one of the disadvantages I have in that I don’t “belong” to a church.  I was attending Unity for a while, but now I am soured on that due to the stink of big business and musical theater sopranos.

I wish that there was a place for Atheists/Agnostics to go that had that benefit—where you didn’t just sit in a congregation and have dogma shoved down your throat, but rather a community of people that discuss world problems, philosophy and other human interests and try to make the world a better place—and you know that your kids are being looked after by someone trustworthy.  I would be willing to share the burden of responsibility, so long as I am not trapped in kiddieland (haha!)  Is there some heaven such as this here on earth that I don’t know about?

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By M Henri Day, August 6, 2006 at 4:15 am Link to this comment
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Though Wikipedia is interesting, I wouldn’t cite it as authoritative. Nor would anybody who knows how it works. Still, interesting.

...

Maybe there are madrassahs around the world that teach understanding, tolerance and peace. I’ve not read one word of them. Ever. I’d love to.

Thanks, Val ! As a sometime contributor to Wikipedia, I hope to possess some little knowledge of how it works. And having read, e g, that disgusting example of political hagiography that passes there for a biographical sketch of the late Ronald Reagan (and having in vain attempted to correct some of the most egregious omissions and errors), I am well aware that not all Wikipedia articles meet reasonable standards of objectivity and veracity. But I provided a link to the article on madrasahs precisely because I regarded it as providing <u>elementary</u> knowledge regarding the phenomenon in an balanced and objective manner. As to the role played by the madrasahs in Muslim lands without a functioning secular school system, the most appropriate comparison would be to the schools run by religious establishments in Europe prior to the establishment of public (in the US sense) school systems there. You might possible enjoy reading about such outstanding scholars,  products of these systems, as al-Kindi, al-Khayyam, al-Ghazali, Rushd, Khaldun, Sina,and Battuta, but this goes beyond the purview of the Wikipedia article referred to above….

As to de Tocqueville’s views on Islam, they are hardly the most objective or balanced I have ever seen - but very well placed in time to serve a European colonialism that was beginning to make inroads in Muslim countries. He seems, for example (at least to judge from Val’s brief quote), to have ignored the eight hundred years or so in which Islamic countries - together with those in East Asia - led the world in scholarship and innovation. Perhaps we all have something to learn, theist and atheist alike, by reflecting over these facts….

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By Val, August 5, 2006 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
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Archeon—good points. There are many sources discrediting the existence of an historical Jesus. One of the best (excerpted in U.S. News’ Special Edition, “Secrets of the Da Vinci Code”) is “The Jesus Mysteries” by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. The editors from U.S. News pose the question to Mr. Freke, “Is there any evidence that Jesus lived?”

He answers, “None at all. The only evidence we have is fake.” And goes on from there.

For me, still, the best is Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason.”

And I meant the comment on height-challenged Mel Gibson as a joke, not “picking” on him: much in the same way Nicole Kidman famously responded when Dave Letterman (or Jay Leno) asked how she was doing after her divorce from Tom Cruise and she deadpanned,“Well, I can wear heels again.”

Unlike you, my limited run-ins with police (yes, once for a DUI) were justified, courteous and deserved. I’ve known a lot of big-city cops and sherrifs over my life and have nothing but respect and admiration for their tremendous dedication and courage in dealing, daily, with what often amounts to the worst of society.

(I was once privileged, In Los Angeles, to be invited to a sheriff friend’s retirement roast. She was a white woman in a long-time relationship with a black sheriff. There were maybe two hundred people there. Very few of us “civilians,” since civilians generally aren’t permitted to see this side of law enforcement. The crowd was completely racially mixed. I have never heard such filthy, racist, obscene, sacreligious, homophobic, sexist—hysterically funny [and yes, loving]—humor in my life! It went even beyond the genius of Richard Pryor. Nothing shocks me, and they could tell, so I was accepted even by those I didn’t know. But then, all the cops I’ve known are like that in private. I think it’s a protective reaction to relieve the stress they’re under every day, through humor.)

I don’t know what the officers said to Mr. Gibson either. But certainly nothing said in a routine stop for a DUI and speeding violation, particularly of a powerful celebrity in Malibu, would have provoked an anti-Semitic and sexist tirade. His alcoholism is one problem. His bigotry, hate and misogyny are another.

Frankly, I’m glad it happened and glad it’s receiving so much publicity. It helps fuel further understanding of both alcoholism and bigotry. There are a lot of people like Mr. Gibson who can use some help. Maybe a few will consider getting it as a result of his humiliating self-destruction.

______________

Mary -

I am curious about how you plan to handle religion with your three-year old, if you’d care to share it. The son of some friends of mine, and his wife, are strong atheists with two daughters—two and five. They live in Chicago. I often wonder what they plan to teach their children, especially when they begin school and other kids start asking, “Where do you go to church?”

From your posts, I can tell you must have thought this through. I’d be interested how you (or any other atheists) handle this issue not only with very young children, but throughout their grade school and high school years.

Pressures to conform to “some” religion are so great in so many parts of the country, and the world, that I wonder how you (and others) will address it.

_________________

Finally, for those not familiar with it, the site of MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) is invaluable. Straightforward English translations from the Arabic press.

http://www.memri.org/

Just two days ago, Iran’s President gave an address threatening the world with Iran’s nuclear technology. What’s so sad and tragic, if you read it, is that it sounds like an unloved, unpopular student at school begging and pleading for attention and respect—and threatening nuclear violence otherwise.

Of course, he (and they) have no respect for anybody else, so this becomes a classic illustration of principles learned in Psych 101.

Sad and tragic because one realizes that these populations, like all, by and large just want to live the best, most comfortable lives they can manage for themselves and their children and their communities and neighbors and countries.

Yet their religions, like ours, have taught them since infancy that they are sheep, “sinners,” who must look outside themselves for a shepherd, a leader, an authority, a messiah, for justification and “salvation.” Look anywhere but at their (our) own lives and beliefs for answers and solutions.

Yet their (our) leaders, power-mad, rile the flocks with impassioned emotional appeals to the worst human instincts.

I would like to think that education and facts will triumph over ignorance and superstition.

But, hell. The FDA in America can’t even approve Plan B for women from fear of and surrender to the Crackpot Christians’ anti-scientific religious dogma. So how can we expect Muslim countries to “just say no” to their religious crackpots?

We’ve been dealing with this issue for HOW many millennia?

Yet here we are in the land of the free in 2006 and the “sexiest man alive,” the most powerful actor / producer / director in Hollywood whose last (self-produced) movie was an anti-Semitic homoerotic sado-masochistic exploitation of the greatest lie in history, whose net worth thanks to the whopping success of “The Passion of the Christ” among “believers” raised his net worth to nearly $1 billion, ranting and raving on the Pacific Coast Highway at three in the morning about the “f——-g Jews” causing all the world’s ills?

THIS is how far the human race has come? THIS is what we defend, admire and pay to “entertain” us?

Not me.

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By Mary Wallman, August 5, 2006 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TRUECHRISTIAN:
I, for one, am really glad that there is something in you that itches to come back here and get some more doses of reality. As far as signs go, this is a good one…(I smile and make peace sign with fingers)
“Jesus said:The Devil came to steal…”
The devil must have also been at the Holy Crusades then…or the Spanish Inquisitions…or any other war, but I do believe it was a man inside Miss Jones (reference Gerard Damiano’s 1972 classic The Devil in Miss Jones—nudge, nudge, tee-hee—I’ll say No more). When is the Vatican gonna give back all the stuff they took through murder? In EVERY war is the quintessentially, religiously relevant rape and pillage on both sides to what ever degree, “Under The Banner Of Heaven” (good book by the way regarding the mormon’s “faith”). That is all justification. You Can justify murder—skin a cat if you will—countless ways. Just like Nasrallah, Bush believes that his religion can solve all problems of society and answer any questions concerning life. Every religion has it’s manual for life and go-to-guy/gal. You can make an answer for anything—-doesn’t mean it’s RIGHT. Why does there have to be an answer? People ARE uncomfortable with the unknown which is a shame because that’s when we are most creative & alive—when we realize that we many times are dangling in the domain of uncertainty.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? It has been highly disputed as to exactly where “He” was nailed. This is a drop in the bucket of lies….blah, blah, blah.

Words so beautiful and perfect should not have to be proven—and yet they can’t be. What’s the point?

No one else has beautiful words? Does every man believe that the promise of 72 virgins is beautiful. NO. Not a gay man, and not EVERY guy wants to doink a bunch of gals who don’t know how to have sex—too much work for most guys. And can you imagine the demands he would have? 72 women talking to him all at once rushing to get in their 20,000 words for the day. A man’s ETERNAL NIGHTMARE!! I hope these martyrs get their virgins, they deserve that kind of hell. THAT would be beautiful. See, to paraphrase Plato: Beauty IS the eye of the beholder. And not to mention that these “virgins” don’t seem to get anything but the “pleasure” of sex with some guy they never met—as if it’s okay to pay martyrs with sex (the oldest commodity)....what are these virgins? Chattel? Not even prostitutes. Slaves, then? Where’s the love, respect, warm and fuzzies and peace and tolerance for them? These pathetic virgins don’t seem to have any wants or opinions or needs of their own—they must be the machinations of some perverted male mind—who didn’t feel the need to appeal to any man over 18 and who didn’t really think out what he was saying very well…that is so insulting to me as a woman. I know I’m vascillating between dogmas but apples and oranges are all fruit.
“no one on the face of this world
ever
spoke like this,ever” ...let’s consider that. Shakespeare hadn’t even been born yet…He was a great story teller, too. Only he was honest and called himself a playwright. His plays touch on just about every aspect of what it is to be human as well—with way more poetry and honesty. The disciples were playwrights. Bad ones! Their stories were so fantastic that my willful suspension of disbelief could never even suspend for more than a few seconds. Thus, goat herders weren’t that smart and therefore easy to hypnotize and entertain. Not so true today.

Jesus (if he existed) was said to have charisma, a necessary feature for any rockstar….these ppl (goat herders) had no distractions, no museums, little theater & culture, fought for what little they had. Can you not imagine that family entertainment was in short supply for this society? Church is a family show…music, chanting, stories of viscious murder and brotherly jealousy and virginal rape…some churches are better entertainers than others. I should know. For many years I was a seeker and tried to find that one that “resonated” with me. I sought and I did not find. I found bad music and theatrics. Bad music was definitely intolerable for me…(yawn…“Next, please…”) only there was that unfortunate flaw in every church…that flaw of Ringling Brothers’ proportions—the “donation” during services. If a church has a bad show, they get a lower donation from people. If they only knew that the secret is in the bad writing—but you can’t rewrite a classic they say! Maybe Sunday is the only day these good people get to see a show. Such desperation for entertainment could lead to all manner of crime and kicks to fill in the gap of a monotonous goat herder’s life (I just love that goat herder’s reference—thank you corynski!)...So what happens…they have to hire musical directors, talent and artists, and clergy have to be schooled on giving good sermons (soliloquys) and therefore need to ask the congregation for more money. How else are they gonna “bring it” every Sunday? Why do they need to bring it—-to save us from ourselves! Shakespeare stands on its own without all the bells and whistles, by the way—It’s just better writing.

One can imagine that when it came to be found out that there was way more money than required, perhaps this is when social services were born…how else could they justify the numbers. Maybe they felt guilty and decided to give some of that money back to these poor people—“Well… They’re starving—let’s Feed them!”—Membership has priveleges. Oh yes, church is a business, too. They have accountants, managers and administration and that whole money changers thing seems laughable when you see how churches are run now. If there was a Jesus, if there was a St. Thomas and he was right—you don’t need a church. That’s what he says that Jesus said, if they existed. “The kingdom of heaven is within. Blah, blah, blah.” Why are there so many churches? Is it because its a great racket? Or simply because some guy had That part omitted because it’s a great racket—uhh, was it King James? Or someone before that—-WHAT? The bible was tampered with??!! Holy crap, we’re gonna have to write a new one—what? That’s sacrilege? Blasphemy? dang…I have digressed into absurdity—my apologies everyone. Shall the lord strike me down with lightning…....I’m waiting….......Oh look, I’m still here…..........

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By TRUECHRISIAN, August 5, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
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Recently read in a magazine: Now you can sell your soul to Satan on Internet.

.
—Does anyone know about this?

—Who invents such stupid sites?


—What are they trying to obtain with this?


am not suprised to read that. The demon’s ability to trick and
introduce errors of the worst kind into a entire group is
incredible[LIKE ATHEIST]. There are those who insist it is easier to
trick a entire crowd than to trick a indivual. It is certain that the
devil can strike very large groups., almost always it is clear that
human assent is involved, the human sin of free acceptance of satanic
actions. The motives of this acceptance are many; wealth, power, vice
and more.


The effect of Satan’s influence on groups is one of the most destuctive
and powerful. This is why the Popes, especially recent ones, insist on
alerting us-for example, Paul’s VI’s speech of November 15,1972, and
John Paul’s II sppech of August 20, 1986.


Satan is our worst enemy, and he will be until the end of time.
Therefore he uses all his intellect and power in attempt to thwart the
plans of God, who will the salvation of all. Our strength is the Cross
of Christ, His blood, His wounds, and obedience to His words and to His
institution, The Holy Catholic Church.


I think the devil does a lot of his work with the internet now.

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By I AM 0NE GOOD CRISTHIAN, August 5, 2006 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Recently read in a magazine: Now you can sell your soul to Satan on Internet.
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From:  I AM ONE GOOD CRISTIAN - view profile
Date:  Thurs, Aug 3 2006 8:10 am
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.
—Does anyone know about this?

—Who invents such stupid sites?


—What are they trying to obtain with this?


am not suprised to read that. The demon’s ability to trick and
introduce errors of the worst kind into a entire group is
incredible[LIKE ATHEIST]. There are those who insist it is easier to
trick a entire crowd than to trick a indivual. It is certain that the
devil can strike very large groups., almost always it is clear that
human assent is involved, the human sin of free acceptance of satanic
actions. The motives of this acceptance are many; wealth, power, vice
and more.


The effect of Satan’s influence on groups is one of the most destuctive
and powerful. This is why the Popes, especially recent ones, insist on
alerting us-for example, Paul’s VI’s speech of November 15,1972, and
John Paul’s II sppech of August 20, 1986.


Satan is our worst enemy, and he will be until the end of time.
Therefore he uses all his intellect and power in attempt to thwart the
plans of God, who will the salvation of all. Our strength is the Cross
of Christ, His blood, His wounds, and obedience to His words and to His
institution, The Holy Catholic Church.


I think the devil does a lot of his work with the internet now.

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By archeon, August 5, 2006 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truechristian:

Did he say that in English?
How do you know what he said, because as you know HE did not write anything down?
Did HE found the church or did his followers?
Was there an actual person named Jesus?

There is nothing - not one bit - nada - zip - nothing in the historical record (and the romans wrote down a lot of stuff) to show that what happened in Jerusalem about ad 33 did happen. There nothing to show that Jesus actually existed - beyond the selfserving gospels of the disciples.

Many people throughout history have said words to that effect, if you leave out the religous clap trap - then you are left with “love one another, forgive others”.  That is in fact the only way to live in a tolerant, kind, society.  People have know this for 10000 years before christ.  The “I died for your sins” means I am not responcible for my actions?  I can only live in the mansion if I buy the rest of the crap?  Where is freedom?  Where is tolerance?  Where is love?  How can HE love me if I am rejected if I don’t buy the religion? Where is freedom?  I am going in circles because it is circular, in religion there is only the circular all the theological arguments are self referencing, self affirming, and do not allow for questions.  They are fixed, unchanging.  They do not and can not incorporate new discoverys about the world - we have looked into the earth and have not found HELL, we have reached for the stars and not found HEAVEN!  Where are they then?

Just because christians claim that christ was the first to proclaim those words - does not mean it is the truth.  He was not.  Words and ideas to that effect can be found from the earliest days of writing.  I mean who does not understand that peace and love are better than war and death?

As for the muslims - why do the Koran and Hadith often conflict?  If the Koran is the very word of the all mighty one why would explination be neccessary?  Wouldn’t the very words of “god” be perfect and un-misunderstandable?  They would be perfect.  Thus either the Koran is imperfect, and could not be the word of GOD, or the Hadith are lies or at least attempts by mortals to manipulate the words of god for their own ends.  It is far more probable that Mohammed was not that bright, and like all cult creators was far too much in love with his own intellect, power, and ID/ego to see that his “religion” was silly.  He was a degenerate crazy asshole.

BTW - back to comment 3101 - Marx not Stalin said: religion is the opiate of the masses.  By which he ment: it makes them docile and easy for the “capitalists” to control and dupe.  Not that it provided them with any lasting or real “relief” for day to day drugery and struggle.

Laws do not come from god, they come from an attempt by people to live together in groups in relative harmony.  We should not kill each other because god said so, but rather because as social animals we must live in groups, and as rational self aware beings trusting each other is better for our offspring than fearing each other.  Only with trust do you develope - sharing and caring.  That is why neo-con righ wing religious political theory will fail it: is too self centered.  Fundamentalist Islam is a neo-con movement.

Lets be clear about this too: Nazism and communism are religions too.

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By archeon, August 5, 2006 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Val the Episcopal Church makes me laugh - they can’t even be honest enough to call themselves ANGLICANS! How can you expect them to be honest about the origins of their church.  The Anglicans here are also not honest enough to accept that they are in fact CATHOLICS.

Let’s all give Mel a break.  I think that picking on the fact he is short is not illuminating or productive.  If he is an anti-semite that is another question.  What we don’t know is what the police said to him before he lashed out.  I for one have always found the police to be arrogant, pushy, and power hungry.  He was drunk driving that is the important issue, I don’t actually give a flying fuck what he called the officer, or what other outbursts he had while drunk.  It is the DUI that shows poor judgement, lack of respect for others, and lack of control.  It is the DUI that is illegal.

Let’s be truthfull - the entire catholic church is anti-semitic.  Christianity is anti-semitic.  It is based on the idea that the Jews refused to accept (and god did know that this would happen)the Messiah, betrayed him to the Romans and then encouraged them (the romans) to murder him, so that the prophecy would be fullfilled.  In Christian theology the jews are responcible for the death of christ, not the romans.  The theology is circular because without the rejection/betrayal the prophecy fails yet the world would have been a better place - either way god does not come out of it well.

In the end the religious, the believers, and the faithful hide behind dogmas.  They are afraid to confront the vast unkown and accept that they can not know anything beyond the physical world.  They are like those people we all have met that can not stand a moment of silence - as soon as nothing is being said and there is a pause in the conversation they jump in to fill the void with utterly unimportant drivel.  Such is the way of the believers.  Fill the void, can’t leave a gaping canyon of nothingness, they don’t ever think of shinning a light on it to see how deep or wide it might be.

Rationality is about accepting that there are things we don’t know now, that we may never know them, and that saying “god” told me why this is, is not an explanation.

We must go out into the world and confront the believers.  We must challenge them, on the street, in their homes, in the churches, in the legislatures, in the schools, everywhere.

It is interesting that we nonbelievers are not welcome in the churches/synagogues/mosques but that the believers are infesting and contaminating the “temples” of rational thought - schools, universitys, and legislatures - with their drivel.  Yes I know that many of the great schools were founded by the religious - Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard…etc - they were founded on the principle of enlightened exploration of intelectual thought, where ever that might take us.  Religion has become more conservative over the last 100 years, more dogmatic, and less tolerant.  Just have a look at the current pope, and hitler youth - jew hating - german.  And a lying asshole. What about the last pope? Didn’t he come from a country where the locals though abused by the Germans during the occupation, gladly rounded up jews for them?

I have this question about the catholic church: with all the evidence of wide-spread sexual abuse among the clergy, are we to believe that some of these assholes have not made their way up to the vatican?  Some of the cardinals and bishops must have been maybe they still are abusers, maybe even the pope.

I don’t think the abuse problem has anything to do with the fact that priests can’t fuck.  It has to do with power, and as such I would be surprised and shocked if sexual abuse did not happen with other religions.

Imagine this - all male schools, teaching young boys and men.  Led by older men who believe they are the conduit of gods will.  Just imagine how much cock sucking and fudge packing is going on there!  Maybe that is why all the radical muslim young men seems so angry - sore assholes.

I don’t think that enabling the believers is showing them respect.  Ideas based on halucinations, lies, and fancy do not deserve respect.  They should be ridiculed and mocked to expose their falseness.  Though I often engage in them, personal attacks may not be productive.  I only use them to expose how little the so called believers actually internalize those elements of their religions that may in fact be good - ideas of love/respect/tolerance of others.

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By TRUECHRISIAN, August 5, 2006 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
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Jesus said:The Devil came to steal,kill and destroy.Islam religion did
exactly that.
Jesus also said that many will kill others thinking that they are
serving
God.

He also said this beautiful words,and no one on the face of this world
ever
spoke like this,ever:

I AM COME TO GIVE LIFE AND LIFE ABUNDANTLY.
COME TO ME,AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.
I HOLD THE KEYS OF HELL,DEATH AND LIFE.

I GO AND PREPARE A MANSION FOR YOU.
“I DIED FOR YOUR SINS”
“LOVE ONE ANOTHER,FORGIVE OTHERS”

This is the foundation of Christianity.

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By Mary Wallman, August 4, 2006 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment
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Archeon…upon reflection of your account back to the Ottoman Empire, I must say that I am touched by your ask of the deeper questions.  But, what is the frame of the question to believers.  To me, it feels quite like coming out as a gay person—against the convention of the majority of society.  Oh sure, I find little pockets like this forum to discuss these questions that are intrinsic to our life experinces, but how to be real with everyone else who seems to be so deeply invested and statisfyingly hypnotized by the status quo is the biggest quandary I know.  I think that this is key to other problems in society, in a general way which I would have to take pains to put into words.  For instance, I am a mother of a 3 year old whose best friend (at this time) is a young boy whose mother I am on the same page with ethically, morally—except for the fact that she believes in god—which we have never spoken of—and perhaps I have mislead her by attending her church.  I want to know her and felt that going to her church may give some insight—but then I simply cannot give myself over to the bible and such dogma.  But she is not worthless as a human being.  She is a cancer survivor and and a Math scholar—which gives me pause as to where she derives her faith from even based on numbers.  I do not dispute her faith and respect her enough to leave it be,  She has invited me to church—but never presses the issue.  Soon, they will leave town, and we will probably never see them again.  But with no family here, I will definitely miss her wisdom and the privelege of her trust. 
I don’t really judge her, I just see that she is hooked.  Most of the time when I have been the one to pull the rug from beneath someone (aka “call someone out on their stuff”), I was never redeemed for it.  These are questions that unfortunately will alienate people from us and our families and not that I really mind if they will paint me with such a broad brush—but the fear is like giving ammo to fanatics.  Do you know what I mean?

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By Val, August 4, 2006 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
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Though Wikipedia is interesting, I wouldn’t cite it as authoritative. Nor would anybody who knows how it works. Still, interesting.

Here, from over 150 years ago, is Alexis de Tocqueville on Islam.

“I studied the Kuran a great deal … I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.”

Maybe there are madrassahs around the world that teach understanding, tolerance and peace. I’ve not read one word of them. Ever. I’d love to.

Yes, it is possible to refute religion and even to mock it and still be invited to parties.

I don’t know how, but I manage. Recently, when some Episcopalians were in a self-congratulatory mood over Bishop Robinson (gay) and Jefferts Schorri (female and same-sex affirming) and the topic turned to the origins and “truth” of Christianity, I asked, quietly, “Do you even know the origins of your own church?” Nobody did, sadly. So I pointed out that King Henry VIII wanted another piece of p—-y and couldn’t have it under the confines of the Catholic Church, so he created another church to get it. And did.

Somebody said, “Wow! You really hate religion!”

“No,” I said. “I hate lies. They don’t do anybody or anything any good. I love the truth. But you have to read and study and ask questions to get it.”

It’s inconceivable to me that non-Muslim apologists for Islam have never bothered to read the Koran and the Hadith. Most don’t even know what the Hadith are.

Yes, there are some from the Middle East, though now safely living in the West, who are finally speaking out.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nonie-darwish/the-muslim-majority-must-_b_26467.html

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By archeon, August 4, 2006 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
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Yes I agree that our - western, esp. US interference in the countries around the middle east - has led people there to be suspicious and hateful towards us.

I suggest that the violent reactionary forces at work in that region would exist today, even without the existance of madrasas, Islam, etc.  The violence, and hatred is directed in my view of the situation, towards the west and their own governments (of the islamic nations) in equal measure.  Israel gives them a particular point on wich to focus - quite independantly of the question of legitimacy of any of the nations in the region.

We here in the North America, and Europe, forget that from western Africa to south east asia, the nations that exist today - with the possible exception of Thailand - are former colonies and tributaries of European imperialist powers of the 19th century.  The boundaries that exist today are the product of the needs of England, France, Belgium, Holland, and of course the USA - in 1919 and again in 1948.  It is interesting to note that in WWII, of the major fighing nations, only Canada did not have colonies and/or and empire.  And they (the imperial nations) were not nice to the locals (the colonies).

We stray from the subject - but it does make the point that the Europeans (Americans included) how where apparently followers of the prince of peace where quite happy to subjugate and oppress people of other faiths, and of course skin colour.  Americans were quite happy to oppress catholics and catholic nations - Cuba, Puerto Rico (still continues to this day), Nicaragua, etc. as long as they didn’t speak English, and the locals were brown.  There seems to have been very little Christ in their Christianity.

To the middle east, when during the first world war, Lawerence tryed to unite the Arabs into a nation, he was actively opposed by the French and the English - who were quite happy to help the arabs to die as long as they were fighting the Ottomans (Turks), because then at least white boys lives could be spared.  But they did not want the arabian peninsula to be too independant.  Britain was then worried about the need for oil to fuel it’s navy - as they had begun the transition from coal to oil to fuel the boilers.

I do stand by my assertion that relgion and faith must be actively resisted.  Every oportunity to confront the pedlars of lies and fairy tales must be taken.  Not only should religion be counterd by rational debate, but outright mocking also.  Rationality will never expose the inherent contradictions and lies - but mocking will by the visceral and silly reactions the believers will direct towards the mockers.

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By M Henri Day, August 4, 2006 at 2:01 am Link to this comment
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We make it easy for ourselves if we choose to believe that it is merely «a conservative view of ‹simple teachings› [that] leads to such hatred and violence». We can then conveniently ignore the consequences of «our own» governments’ (they claim, at any rate, to represent us) actions in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, etc, etc. Placing the responsibility for the hatred and violence in these countries solely or even mainly on madrasahs (the quality of which varies greatly, as a more careful reading of the Wikipedia article to which I provided a link in my earlier post would show) is to point out the mote in our neighbour’s eye, while ignoring the rather lethal (for that neighbour) beam in our own….

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By Mary Wallman, August 3, 2006 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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“Due to administrative mishandling, radical political indoctrination of students and adopting a more conservative view of the simple teachings of Islam, especially in certain Muslim countries such as Pakistan, the madrasahs nowadays are frequently deemed as ideological and political training grounds for hatred against the West. In Pakistan in particular, the heavy emphasis on religious teachings to the exclusion of more economically viable subject areas has been criticised. The Western media to some extent is also criticized for producing misleading reports on madrasahs.”—Wikipedia.

Interesting that a conservative view of “simple teachings” leads to such hatred and violence.

It would appear that wiki sees onus on both sides for the bad press on Madrasahs.  Interesting…

When I went to Catholic school, no one taught me anything concerning religion.  This may be due to the fact that I wasn’t witnessing anything that made sense.  No one was telling me that Jews for instance were Christ killers.  What I walked away with was the overall position that there were these men in high places telling EVERYONE what to do, without any real basis for their authority.  I made a much more personal connection to the views of Thomas Jefferson, who also wasn’t perfect.  His darker side wasn’t really a discussion until many years later—by white people, that is.  That is testimony to the education I received—even at the expense of the catholic ideas, the education was not diluted to support the catholic trut (4/5 of truth—minus any “H’s” that go against the view).  Oh sure, there were people against birth control (including condoms—this is here in the United States) and abortion (no stem cell research yet in those days).  Personally, I think that killing Africans is not the mission of the forbidden condom position in the church.  They are simply idiots with power.  They are dogma addicts—feeding on the opiate.  C’mon, they won’t let grown men have sex!  That is inhumane as far as I’m concerned.  It’s idiotic, and insensitive to insist that priests don’t marry or have sex.  How do they get these men to buy into this?  Snake Oil for redemption.  That’s unfortunately the dumbness of their views—their belief(lack of) system, and their stubborness to give in to rational solutions to the terrible problems regarding AIDS.  No self-respecting person should just go quietly in the night with what these neutered men are proposing regarding issues with which they have no life experience.  Oh, and they tell nuns they are “married to God”—-so sad, really.

Thanks Mel…for diggin up the dirt on the biggest ISM you suffer from:  CatholicISM.

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By Val, August 3, 2006 at 4:00 am Link to this comment
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I don’t know, Mary. Or anybody. People are dying around the world over these “issues.” Children.

Yeah, I guess the children will grow up to be taught whom to hate and kill in the name of their “God.”

But still. Five year olds? Killed?

In the name of “God?”

Sorry.

Religion is child abuse and insanity upon insanity.

Support it our get out of it.

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By M Henri Day, August 3, 2006 at 1:50 am Link to this comment
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Mary, from your postings I get the impression that you are concerned with seeking the truth of the matter under discussion, and also with formulating it in such a manner as to make it accessible to others who hold differing views. But when you write :

I believe that all people should be schooled in a basic knowledge of physics, math, psychology, biology and history before they can have a real opinion.  This does not happen in a madras, unless you count the making of a suicide bomb.

you controvert your own intention, as you draw all Islamic schools over a single comb, and make the unsubstantiated claim that none of them teach secular subjects like physics, maths, biology, history, etc. Do you really possess expertise in the field of madrasah curriculum, either through study of the subject or your own experience as a student in one of them, or or you merely repeating the calumnies that mainstream media in the United States, Israel, and even here in Europe love to propagate ? A more objective introduction to the subject, which is not without importance, can be found here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah ....

(Just to make my own position clear, I am a life-long atheist, who in principle is opposed to all religious schools (not, however, religious instruction after school) - Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh, Hindu, whatever - below the university level, wherever the state is both able and willing to fulfil its duty to provide children (even of so-called «illegal immigrants») with an adequate education which prepares them for a useful life in society. Where the state is derelict in its duties, we must, however, accept that so-called civil society, including religious organisations, steps in….)

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By Mary Wallman, August 2, 2006 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
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#16035 Archeon, all too true, yes…  the worst that the religious do instead of attack character (if they are following their own rules) is say:  you need to be saved.  Saved from the firey pits of hell and such.  They look at us with pity and compassion—until we dare show power against them.  Then we become “evil”—no matter how rationally we make our case.
I believe that all people should be schooled in a basic knowledge of physics, math, psychology, biology and history before they can have a real opinion.  This does not happen in a madras, unless you count the making of a suicide bomb.  They rely ALMOST entirely on their holy book.  The truth is “trut”—powers that be will happily withold the “H” in order to further their own self-interests/power agenda.

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By Val, August 2, 2006 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
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Go, Mel! When Variety’s Armey Archerd and Larry Gelbert are on top of you (today), there’s just no stopping it now!

Marilyn had the good sense to die young, like a few other legends.

Think! You’ll be forever remembered as the shortest alcoholic anti-Semite Catholic in Hollywood’s history!

Cheers! This round’s on us!

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By Mary Wallman, August 2, 2006 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment
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HiveRadical has it.  Some of the snobbery of recent (im)posters smacks of highschool cliques when it comes to the inflexibility of empathy they present.  For example it can almost be distilled to this immature argument:  There’s pop music, and there’s anti-pop.  Each one is a club that alienates due to alienation.  Can we first just stop with the alienation?  The dialogue has to be inclusive or you will undoubtedly receive the wrath of many “gods”—don’t you see?  Oh, yes, you may or may not believe—but MANY others do and alienating them is not the way to solve our global climate.
-Separation of church and state.
-Acceptance of cultures.
-Don’t tread on me…
-Free enterprise.
-Responsibility for YOUR actions, regardless of the (religious)  reasons.
-Service to others…
....All these and many more, NOT in this particular order.
I believe the real question is:  “How to plant seeds of sanity—in someone whose ideas may be programmed in a way that is dangerous to society—or in short, insane.”  This is the way to infiltrate the fundamentalists.  It’s exactly like infiltrating cults.  The cult has a belief system and you might have to walk WITH them a while to be able to plant ideas that will take away the desire that has been instilled in them.
...and now, perhaps I have sullied my own reputation!

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By Val, August 2, 2006 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
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Mary, this is not the forum for a comprehensive look at the Roman Church’s history of anti-Semitism nor its complicity in the logical culmination of the Holocaust. There are hundreds of works on the subject – with hundreds more refuting them, from Catholic apologists. “Constantine’s Sword,” to mention but one. Or Rolf Hochhuth’s devastating drama, “The Deputy,” first staged to worldwide controversy in 1963, based on his research into Vatican activities during WWII and Pope Pius XII.

Most recently, of course, Mel Gibson’s devastating drama on the Pacific Coast Highway. A staunch conservative Catholic, the actor drunkenly lashed out at the “fucking Jews” for all the wars in the world,” etc.

Now, alcohol lowers inhibitions. That’s ALL it does. It does not turn a pacifist into an axe-murderer, a sexual adult into a child molester, a straight into a gay, or an understanding individual into an anti-Semite. What happened is Mel Gibson’s truth. He is in fact what many have known for years: a height-challenged-and-ticked-off-about it (he’s 5’6”) overpaid arrogant homophobic anti-Semitic bigot.

Is his anti-Semitism representative of the Catholic Church in general, and of Catholics?

Yes.

One needn’t “hate” Catholics or the Roman Church (I don’t) to objectively study their bloody and vicious history since they wiped out the Gnostics around 300 A.D. (or C.E., if you prefer). One needn’t “hate” Jews or Muslims (I don’t) to objectively study their teachings and histories either. The truths are there for all to see.

Of COURSE followers of those religions deny and defend and accuse and apologize when the truth is told about them. Yet the facts of their teachings and actions remain for all to see.

The Roman Church is currently engaged in yet another genocide to protect its dogma: namely the extermination of 20-60 million Africans by its anti-condom-distribution policy in Africa. Not an opinion, BTW: a fact addressed earlier this year by the President of the Royal Society of Britain, the world’s oldest continuing scientific body (who cited those numbers), and other scientists around the world. Were the Church forcing those policies down the throats of Caucasian Westerners, the outcry would be deafening. So once again the Church is committing genocide and hiding behind the “cloak of God.”

Those who call themselves Catholic and who support the church through attendance and tithing implicitly support its teachings. Anti-Semitism is part and parcel of those teachings. “The Jews killed Christ.” Oh, they’ll distract and lie and claim it isn’t so (since the Holocaust made overt anti-Semitism unfashionable in most civilized circles). But it’s there in all followers and supporters, just as it’s there in Mel Gibson.

As Bill Maher said yesterday on The Huffington Post, “The disease isn’t alcoholism. It’s religion.”

Now, instead of demonizing Jews as “rats” (yes, the Church in Germany did, leading up to the Holocaust), the Church demonizes homosexuals as “intrinsic moral evil.” The actual phrase, penned by then Cardinal Ratzinger (now the current Pope Benedict), was that “homosexuality is an intrinsic moral evil.” Not “homosexuals.” “Homosexuality.” As if that subtle distinction did not utterly ignore the fundamental realities of sexual orientation among both humans and all animals (see “Biological Exuberance,” by Dr. Bruce Bagemihl). In other words, those who are homosexual, even those in lifelong same-sex relationships, whether humans or elephants or whales or giraffes, etc. (yes, all scientifically documented) are “evil.”

Not satisfied with that, Pope Benedict – the day after President Bush’s June 5 statement in favor of amending the United States Constitution to discriminate against some 30 million American women, men and children based on religion {by forbidding same-sex marriage) – issued an address to the world calling same-sex unions an “Eclipse of God.”

This from a Pope who was a member of the Hitler Youth. When he claims “every” youth had to join, he lies again. Hundreds of thousands did not. Again, the Church counts on your not knowing history, reality and truth. Those are anathema to religion.

So gays and lesbians are the current evil “Jews,” “rats,” “apes” and “pigs” according to the Church.

Mel Gibson’s homophobic anti-Semitic tirades are simply the true face of the Church, spoken by a man rich enough, powerful enough and drunk enough to believe he can get by with it. Give him credit. At least he’s telling the truth about his Church and all those who support it but are too financially stressed enough, not “powerful” enough or drunk enough to say it. Or those who feel too “weak” to speak out against their Church or leave it and not “fit in” with their communities (or worse: be ostracized or killed).

Mel Gibson is, tragically, the true face of Christianity and not just the Roman Church. In it’s way, his DUI will probably turn out to be his single most significant act in life—generating far more thought and conversation than even his “Passion of the Christ.” So, thanks Mel. Get well soon.

Christianity itself (as does Islam and Judaism) worships death. They are death cults, despite their protestations of “love” and “peace” and ultimate “salvation” in an afterlife (except Judaism).

To paraphrase the gay senior statesman historian / novelist / playwright / philosopher Gore Vidal from years ago: “If electricity had existed during the time Christ supposedly lived, then today on millions of necks around the world, people would be wearing, on millions of little gold chains, tiny electric chairs.”

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By archeon, August 1, 2006 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
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We forget, Islam is the most backward and neolithic of the religions.  It is unable to embrace western liberal democratic ideas of tolerance, equality, freedom of thought.  The god of Islam is an unforgiving overlord who demands unrelenting obedience and submission.  The word Islam is variously claimed to mean peace, love, or submission.  Now an language and relgion where these three ideas can be encompassed and combined in in one word is stupid.  We non arabic speakers will aways even if we did convert to one of the dozens of Islamic sects be lesser Muslims.  Yes I know that in the 9th century London was a filthy village on the muddy banks of the Thames - while bagdad was a thriving metropolis with indoor plumbing and running water.  Yet at the beginning of the twentieth century they were smelly goat herders and camel jockeys.  Islam has done nothing but harm to the Arabs, Persians, Malaysians, and most importantly the Hindus.  A religion of peace - give me a break, at least the Jews make no pretense about the vengfulness of their god.  Oh yes the Christians, followers of the prince of peace - 1200 years of raping, pillaging, enslavement, murder, in the name of their god and his Messiah.

Compared to the fucked up world that Religion has left us, chaos might seem orderly.

Fuck your God, and his prophets!
How does the above statment make you feel?

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By Mary Wallman, August 1, 2006 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
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Val, you make your point eloquently:
“Since religion is man-made, so will be its eventual threat to humanity and to the planet.”

It seems as though the virus spreading is indeed mankind.  How can we change the mental framing of religion?  Especially the heavy duty brain washing of Madrasses?  They start from a very young age polluting vulnerable minds.  This sort of programming in actuality forges neuropathways in the brain that are difficult to uproot.  I suppose most religions do this.  But really, aren’t we just challenging our drug (oil) dealer in the middle east?  We are behaving like junkies who fear they will be cut off from their supply…and the demand is so great.  They know they have something we want, and yet they have a bone of contention to pick with our society regarding how we live.  They think they can force their ideas on us….our we will perish.  They dangle the oil carrot and make us do things that are hypocritical.  Whenever we have helped out a middle eastern dictator it has come back to bite us in the ass later—we created the Frankenstein.  This is what I think regardless of religion. Religion just adds fuel to the insanity.

I would be interested to have you flesh out this statement a little more. I am aware of some aspects:
“Make no mistake: the anti-Semitism of Nazism was Catholic fueled for centuries.”
It was ,u understanding that the pope made a pact with hitler to save his own people….or something of this nature.  Is this completely sugar coated?  Please explain, I would appreciate it.

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By HiveRadical, August 1, 2006 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
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The dogmatism and warmongering here is rather ironic. The dogmas that antitheists here cling to to validate their claims of the necesities of violence against those who have a faith or gospel beyond that of atheism have as little at their core backing their relevancy as do the dogmas of any of the so-called fanatics. Here we seem to have one case of an emergence of the dogmaticaly non-dogmatic grasping on to a “final solution” with no more an empirical basis for it than what the National Socialists had.

Personaly, considering myself a man of faith, I will not take arms against any person that does not truly threaten my safety and freedoms. But if anyone takes arms against myself I will actively try and effect a defense.

I would think self claiming rationaly based individuals would see the issues with fullfilling the wishes and certifying the violent prophesies in a willfull act of violence with opposition elimination as the key aim. In trying to refute and make a “final solution” against those you view as “fanatics” you are giving the genuinely fanatic exactly what they’ve preached is coming and exactly what they’ve been looking forward to. I’m not excusing the violence others claiming faith make. I’m not saying that it should not be properly countered. I’m saying that an offensive, a “final solution” view seen by several who’ve posted here recently is something that will only result in the same end for the promulgators of such as was seen in the case of the promulgators who originaly made the phrase ‘popular.’

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By archeon, August 1, 2006 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
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Here is a problem that I see.  Yes it may not be the “correct” view to state that religion in any form must be resisted, opposed, and if neccessary violently beating down.  I would rather it not be neccessary that voilence be used in this struggle.  The trouble is this, the religious will if they see the non-religious as weak, use violence against them.  The history of the world makes this point and it is irrefutable.  The religious will only allow us - the non-religious - freedom and rights if they understand that we will resist.  Not by marching silently, or debating the virtues of our philosophy in our homes, but rather by actual physical resistance, and armed violent defiance if neccessary.

The truth of the matter is this: might does make right.  This is how the world has worked and this is how it will work.  Violence cannot be resisted with non-violence.  All revolutions are bloody.  In North America, in the US at least, there will be a showdown between the religious and the rational.  Only when we - the so called - atheists begin to spread the “gospel” (good news) of our phylosophy of freedom, rationality, and proof, with the same passion and conviction as the faithys will we be able to win.

We cannot allow religion and its hords of little salesmen to continue to hold the reigns of power.  They must be beaten back like the plague of locusts they are.

Religion is a cancer, and just like a tumour, it must be removed.

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By Val, July 31, 2006 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment
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Yes, it’s mostly preaching to the choir here, but interesting discussion nevertheless.

You’re right, Mary. Nobody will convince religionists that their faith is built on fairy tales.

The dangerous trend in America (NOT in Europe, BTW, where the opposite is happening) is the convergence of religion and state. Of course, it has long been the fact in the Middle East. So America (Judeo-Christian) and the Middle East (Muslim) are, to different degrees, on exactly the same track: manipulating religion for power, control, dominance and money.

Instead of drowning “witches” and “heretics”, however, or decapitating “infidels” and “Jews,” these three World’s Great Religions are now armed with nuclear weapons, or about to be (Iran).

It seems to me there is a convergence going on. As more and more people question religion (“The Da Vinci Code” being a hugely popular recent example) and explore its origins on the internet, and read pieces like Sam Harris’ or Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason,” religion’s authoritarian foundations are weakened, its power threatened.

Simultaneously, religiously driven political societies like ours and the Middle East feel increasingly under siege as more and more people discover and discuss the facts about their religions. The Vatican, for instance, becomes increasingly shrill and desperate (and sad) as the world learns the scientific truths about condoms, abortion, birth control, stem-cell research, same-sex relationships throughout the animal kingdom, the violent history of Popes, etc.

Thus increasingly strident reactions against science – the teaching of evolution in Kansas, say, or insisting that Infidels and Jews are descended from apes and pigs, in madrassahs around the world.

The more scientific information contradicts fundamentalist religious dogmas, the more vengeful religious fundamentalists become. They are literally fighting for their lives, since the “fundamentals” of their faith are being destroyed by fact and rationality, now more widespread and available than ever in history.

The process has sped up exponentially with the advent of the internet.

Religion’s ultimate response? The eventual response of theocracies from America to the Middle East as their respect and power and coffers continue shrinking?

It won’t be rational, since their very “faith” is irrational.

Historically, it has always followed the genocidal violence of their “holy” texts. Anybody may no read the Koran (and Hadith), the Torah and the Bible online and see for themselves how inhuman and bloodthirsty and hateful these teachings are.

No, the ultimate response from religion isn’t hard to predict, now that all three World’s Great Religions possess nuclear weaponry.

Since religion is man-made, so will be its eventual threat to humanity and to the planet.

Within three years will come a theocratic assault so horrific, so devastating and threatening both to a population and to the earth itself, that governments will be forced to respond.

If the global response is rational, it means the beginning of the end of theocracies (and the religions that spawn them). Religion may still be practiced in private, but governments will increasingly carefully monitor religious propagandists. They will have to.

If the global response is irrational, then further destruction in the form of reprisals will spread religious warfare wider and wider until the horror demands addressing. Depending on the catastrophic damage done by then to countries and ecosystems, it may be too late.

Nothing less than confronting the CAUSE of this coming holocaust will work. That cause is religion and irrational faith.

There is also no difficulty in “predicting” where the coming onslaught will originate.

It will come from Islam and the Middle East. Islam is the youngest of the Great Religions, roughly the age when Christianity initiated the Crusades. It is also the most vicious of them, as any objective reading of the Koran and Hadith makes clear.

The response is equally predictable: it will come from Judeo-Christian theocracies.

I have no idea how far humanity’s suicide will spread. The most recent example of what it takes to subdue an ideological theocratic beast in the present day is World War II and the ultimate destruction of Berlin, et al. (Make no mistake: the anti-Semitism of Nazism was Catholic fueled for centuries.)

But the prognosis seems starkly simple. Either religion as we know it will come to an end – and relatively quickly – or earth and its people’s will.

We haven’t long to wait – or speak out.

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By Mary Wallman, July 31, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
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Inbal:  I am not a fanatic.  Archey doesn’t represent me in any way—not even a negative reflection.  Your arguments are exactly mine—except for the fact that you are NOT going to convince a religious zealot that his/her faith is imaginary.  I believe that the only hope there will be is to convince people that a separation of church and state must be observed—it is key.  Due to the fact that no religious groups can agree on the rules of religion, we have only the domain of our societies to rule over.  We cannot predict the future in the respect of what happens after we die.  We cannot prove that we have souls, or whatever your religion calls it.  What we CAN do—this is where the focus needs to be—what we CAN do is prove how rules work or don’t for a society at large.  It doesn’t matter what your faith is, at the end of the day you must ask yourself:  Do my actions serve the group as a whole?  Am I selfish?—It doesn’t matter what you believe—it matters what you do.  If Santa Claus tells you to blow up the White House and you truly believe in Santa, it doesn’t excuse you from your actions.  We must be responsible for the actions of America overseas that cause the climate for radical fundamentalism to thrive.  We as a society must be responsible for being duped by republican think-tanks that frame everything to appeal to the more insane side of ppl—due to their religious beliefs aka the OPIATE of the MASSES.  Perhaps the real drug war lies here.  If we can take away this motivation and give these people something to LIVE for—not to merely SURVIVE for, I believe that they will start acting like people who really have something to lose by perpetuating insanity.
You say:

“It cannot be done by brute force. We must turn to the sane, intelligent and educated men and women on both sides with reason. We must change our education system, but first we must convince ourselves that this is our last and only chance.”

YES!—On BOTH sides—“believer” or non-believer.  This is what I am saying Clouseau, you can’t character assassinate it only adds fuel to the fire.  So all of the atheists must also have patience and KNOW that you will never “cure” people of faith, anymore than they will “give” you faith.  The only thing we can do is be accountable for our actions.  It’s too bad, but get real.

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By Inbal, July 31, 2006 at 12:03 am Link to this comment
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To Archeon of Thrace, Mary and many others,

Most ppl which visit this site are atheists or in the process of awakening. This is fine, but we all seem to grind water and ignore the grave situation the world is in, at which Sam Harris is pointing at. The fanatics are everywhere. Imagine only what would happen if they got hold of a nuke, biological weapon or the like.

While Global Warming, the Dissapearance of Ozon etc. are sure but at least slow processes, the religious wars are an imminent danger to the whole human race fanatics including.

What I’m trying to say is that a bunch of zealots are thriving for world domination, using schems worse than the mafia and the West is paralized by democracy, political correctness
and especially by naive believers who see the world is on fire but keep on saying: “yeah, but my God is better than yours”. This enrages the fanatics even more, cause more kerosine is added to the fire.

So, what’s the mission of Atheism? How can we save the planet before it is put to waste? Answer: by saying: “enough is enough”. Down with the fairytales. God was man’s invention and not the other way round. Neither your God, nor my God does even exist. In this way you pull the carpet beneath the feet of both sides. Because if God is a fairytale, what’s the point of fighting religious wars?

It cannot be done by brute force. We must turn to the sane, intelligent and educated men and women on both sides with reason. We must change our education system, but first we must convince ourselves that this is our last and only chance.

In this respect, Sam Harris is a pioneer and a real jewel. If we can get a hundred more Sams on our side, maybe our mission will be half achieved.

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By Archeon of thrace, July 29, 2006 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment
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Mary:

I was not trying to be diplomatic.
I am not trying to win friends and influence enemies.

I know that God does not exist, but Christ may have been an actual person, and Mohammed probably was.  So you see they may well have been assholes.

It is probable that Mohammed was an asshole, and full of bullshit tool.  Reading the koran is about as compeling as reading the “Book of Mormon”.  Reading the koranic commentaries is truely a chore - what a bunch of clap trap.

Christ if he did live, did not write down anything, so we can’t be sure if he is the original asshole of Christianity, it is more probable that Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John were the assholes.  But right now the biggest assholes of Christianity are the Pope, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Ian Paisley, any minister or priest.  Reading the writings of any of the early christian theologians surely will convince anyone that the whole thing is a sham, and the they were all assholes.  Christians are stuck with the contradictions of the “old testament” and the “new testament”.  How do you reconcile “an eye for an eye” - and “turn the other cheek”?  How many people who profess to be Christians follow the dietary laws of the old testament?  If I understand it right - Jesus was jew, lived his life as a jew, did not disavow any of the old testament, yet how many Christians follow Jewish traditions?

I used the statements:
God is an asshole
Christ was an asshole
Mohammed was an asshole

to illustrate a point.  It is not important if I believe them to exist - others do.  The believers will also believe the these statements are a personal affont to them, and they will feel justified to wish to do me harm - thereby negating the claims that theirs are religions of “peace”, “love”, “compassion”, “tolerance”.  The fact that those kinds of statements are concidered “provocative”, also makes this point.

There is no room for diplomacy in this debate.  Diplomacy is about hiding your true intentions, it is about secrect adgendas, it is about manipulation, it is about not telling the truth.  I don’t want diplomacy I want debate.  I want argument.  I want to be able to say what I want, where I want, without fear of physical harm.

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By Archeon of thrace, July 29, 2006 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment
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TrueMuslim - you are an idiot.  The palestinians could have lived happily in israel had the neigbouring countries not attacked israel in 1948.  If they had not fled - and had stayed they would not be living in refugee camps all most 50 years after that war.  All the countries in the middle east are illegitimate as they were all created by the political needs of the european powers after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (a muslim state) after the first world war.  The countries were all created to appease local warlords and little men who wanted to be someone.  The boundaries where not laid out according to tribal territories, but rather according to the needs of France and England with respect to oil.  How are the royals of Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the host of other pip-squeak minor wannabees of the arabian peninsula legitimate?  By and large they enslave the lower classes, mistreat women, hate westerners (yet love the american petro bucks that have made them powerful), are coniving facists, who forment instability for thier own needs and ends.  What has Saudi Arabia ever done for the Lebanese? or the Palestinians?  or the poor of Egypt? of Jordan? What has Kuwait done? Nothing, nada, zip, zero, nothing.  The most legitimate regime is the one in Iran.  It at least is a home grown one.

Maybe if the other states in the region had from the beginning in 1948 followed a path of co-existence then maybe we could now be talking something other than than the constant middle east crisis.

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By Archeon of thrace, July 29, 2006 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment
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Mary:

I have only become this way because of the constant and unrelenting abuse I get for being an atheist.  All of this abuse comes from the fairy story believers who squander their human free will on church, religion, and faith.

If one more person following some idiotic religion reproaches me for not believing, I think I will flip out.  It has taken a long time for me to be this bitter - but enough is enough.  I used to think that let them believe, what is the harm, if it gives them hope, and makes them happy, good for them.  But I don’t see it doing them any good.  Catholic priest are molesting children, raping female parisioners, stealing money, etc - Muslims riot and burn cars - The protestants and catholics are still at each others throats in Ireland - Shia and Sunni Muslims are killing each other in Iraq - Jews claim the holy land as given to them by God - Every where people are at each others throats because their god told them this that or the other thing was exclusively given to them.  The great joke of course is that the majority of them are followers of the same god.

I am willing to be tolerant.  I am tolerant.  But I can not just bow my head and say that everything is fine - you believe what you want, I believe what I want, and we will both be happy.  It simply is not so, given the chance and the power the faithfull would either convert me by force, or kill me.  Even though they talk about “love”, “compasion”, etc they will not extend tolerance to people of other faiths, much less and atheist.  They don’t even respect the atheist choice.  They don’t see it as a valid one.

If we can’t convince people to give up the belief in superstions past down from our goat herding ancestors, then unfortuantley in the end they will have to killed off - so that a rational world based on observable facts can be built.

When I can finally say:
God is an asshole
Christ is an asshole
Mohammed is an asshole
without any fear what so ever, then maybe we can say: live and let live.  Only when those statements are no longer provocative will true freedom have been achieved.

Personally I find claims on the part of the religious, insane, and moronic masses that I as an athiest will burn in hell, am evil, and should die hurtfull, insulting, and inflamatory.  If you dig deep enough into the theologies of the worlds three judeo based religions you will find that the true non-believer (as opposed to the other-belivers) is the most reviled.  They will accept that someone may be a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim because “at least they believe in god”!  Now an atheist puts forth the idea that maybe it’s all just a sham, scam, or fairy-tale.  This idea is a far greater threat than simply following some other halucinating so called “prophet”.

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By TrueMuslim, July 29, 2006 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
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execuse me INBAL but u seem u never read history…u never read whats before 1948…and 1947…u didnt that there was a country called palastine…and islamic arabic one…there in the same place of the country called israel…the english army was there..just like most world countries which had been under the english army….
1947 came…and the english Bullfor..(dont know his name spelling) came and give the palastinian land to the jews…and became this country Israel
why he did that?....we dont know
is this his own land to give it to whom he wants?
NO it isnt…..
why he did that?....i wish he came out of his grave and make us ask him..
now…this land called israel…is not a normal country…some ppl hate USA..but they have no right to kill the American innocent ppl…but israel is another issue….its not a normal country…its a country who came from nothing…killed the arab there and took there land…
NOW TELL ME…do u think if this didnt happened there would have been something called Qaida?...
iam not with it…but i just wonder..
nothing with this name would have came out to kill the israeli civilians..who know that they shouldnt be there…
so plz…dont blame those ppl whom u call terrorist…
maybe Qaida is a terrorist…but not Hizbollah and Hamas

NONE….this is the number of israeli civilians killed before the war against lebanon…all the other wars was against the army and none of the israeli civilians have been hurted

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By Mary Wallman, July 28, 2006 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Archeon…
“God is an asshole.
Christ was an asshole.
Mohamed was an asshole.
Religion is stupid.”
How is this a diplomatic position?  You can’t possibly win friends and influence enemies with this frame.  Besides, if they don’t exist—how can they have Any character good Or bad?  I’m not in agreement that character assassination is the answer—it’s hurtful, and your “inner hatefullness, bigotry, intolerance, etc”., is showing.  Why do we have to be angry?  I mean, it Is what it Is right?  Faith has been the condition for thousands of years—perhaps since the beginning of man’s consciousness of self.  I say: “more honey, less vinegar.”  All the “Faitheys” will just say that you are bitter because you lack dog(MA) in your heart…
“I would rather strangle my children than have them fall into the clutches of ancient superstitious claptrap.  If my wife were to start going to church/mosque/synagogue I would divorce her and never speak to her again.  The same for my siblings, parents, and friends.  When the next revolution comes hopefully all the believers will be killed off for the good of the planet.”  I don’t know Archey, sounds a bit Bunker-ish and genocidal to me.  If not even a bit Old Testament-ish…
This is absurd, heh, you must be joking… 
I rather like the part about:
“Be a good person, be truthful, help others, have compasion for the less fortunate (this one especially—although not represented by your other comments), be grateful for what you have, share the things that are in surplus in your life, smile as you walk down the street, this is how we should live our lives.”
Leave faith to the ppl who need it.  All I want is for the “Faitheys” to stop thinking they have a predestined duty based on fairytales to interfere with my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—so long as I am ethical as well.  We have laws, if you don’t like how some ppl follow them, change the channel.  But, if the majority of citizens are behind a position that has facts behind its danger to society, then I must accept that as law and abide by it—or suffer consequences like anyone else.  Otherwise it’s just as bad as killing a doctor that performs abortions.  You wouldn’t be a recovering catholic would you?

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By Archeon of thrace, July 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are preaching to the choir here.  Most of us understand religion and faith to be irrational.  We have to go out in the world and confront - yes - confront the believers.  We must challenge their belief constructs, and with a take no prisoners attitude, demolish them.  This way even though they all talk about “love”, “compassion”, “tolerance”, and a host of other religious platitudes, the inner hatefullness, bigotry, intolerance, etc will be exposed by their (the believers) reaction to us.

Be a good person, be truthful, help others, have compasion for the less fortunate, be grateful for what you have, share the things that are in surplus in your life, smile as you walk down the street, this is how we should live our lives.

God is an asshole.
Christ was an asshole.
Mohamed was an asshole.
Religion is stupid.

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By Mary Wallman, July 28, 2006 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On same sex sinners…any self-respecting head of state (the pope) will smash out and extinguish any fires that threaten to take money away from its coffers.  If priests marry, for instance, and their sons/daughters decide Not to align with the Catholic church, then the said progeny’s money may also leave the church coffers—hence no marrying priests.  Oh sure, they can “fire and brimstone” everyone into submission, but the tithing into lies will march on like the droning latin hymns.  They must keep us all hypnotized.  Feel guilty about sex, feel guilty about the poor—and yet the Vatican is one of the most gold laden establishments ever created in the name of dog(MA).  Why would there be even the slightest chance of creating a system you can bow out of?  C’mon—what and who are they doing to satisfy….  And the great joke is on them with their falling numbers of parishioners….There is nothing like child molestation to sully an authority figure—thankyou over-reporting media…..the child molesters will get their due in prison-eventually.  How long can the vatican play the shell game with the child molesters it harbors?  Here, on earth, is the only here and now there is—there is only one so far as we know.  It’s real, it’s not an illusion, it’s not a dress rehearsal, it’s now.

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By Mary Wallman, July 28, 2006 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Picture an imaginary room where people outnumber the food.  The person with the most food tells the starving people that he can indeed turn one loaf of bread into thousands.  What happens when the glycemic index falls?

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By Val, July 28, 2006 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oops. SAM Harris. SAM! (Mark Harris is somebody else I’m communicating with on this.)

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By Val, July 28, 2006 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
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What is perhaps most dangerous, to me, about the “religious” mindset anywhere it exists in the world is its inculcation of mindless and unquestioning adherence to authority upon generation after generation. As the previous Pope infamously declared, “The Church is not a democracy.”

The penalties for questioning religious authority are still quite real in many if not most parts of the world. Excommunication, shunning, loss of job and income, malicious ad hominem attacks, verbal and physical violence, assault and murder – these await those who tell the truth.

Without these threats, the lie that is religion would long ago have perished and we would consider “Jesus Christ” with the same compassionate condescension we consider those who once worshipped Zeus and Thor.

That is not the case. The three “Great” religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – increasingly imperiled by science (i.e., knowledge), spread ever more widely and rapidly thanks to the internet, have moved far beyond burning witches and heretics. All three now have nuclear arsenals and will, sooner or later, use them “in the name of God.”

Whether the issue is stem-cell research, ubiquitous same-sex lifelong pairings scientifically documented throughout the animal kingdom (i.e., as “natural” as opposite-sex lifelong pairings), global warming or the overwhelming evidence contradicting the historical existence of a “Jesus Christ” or a “Moses” et al., the unquestioned acceptance of religious dogma is threatened worldwide. So, therefore, is the political power it has always wielded.

Thanks especially to the internet, too many people around the world know too much and are finally saying, “Huh?” (Point in fact: how many people knew of Mark Harris’ writings ten years ago?)

Religion IS the tyranny of the irrational. Its pomp, circumstance, often magnificent architecture and music and constant hypocritical protestations of “Love” and “Peace” belie it utter ugliness, vicious inhumanity and psychopathic desire for control. One may be moved by the high emotional sentimentality raised by Handel’s “Messiah,” for instance, while conveniently ignoring the bloodthirsty texts which inspired it.

Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer sing “Ave Maria.”

The continued propagation of religion is responsible for the irrationality of the world situation, as it has always been. It provides “Godly” cover for greed, rapacity, land grabs, oil grabs, blood lust – the worse of human ignorance, intolerance, hate and fear (redundant though those are) – all under the rubric of “Love” and “Peace.”

Religion is by definition psychopathological. It is as “insane” and cannibalistic as Jeffrey Dahmer ever was. More so, perhaps, since it operates on a far broader scale.

Religion requires unthinking passivity and fear in order to “work.”

People call me “courageous” in my small sphere, for telling the truth. They say the same about Mark Harris is his much larger sphere. I don’t see it that way at all. It’s easy to tell the truth. Much harder to acquiesce to a lie in order to “fit in.”

“Fit in” to what? Who wants to fit in with Nazis? Who wants to be popular with bigots? Who wants to pal around with Jeffrey Dahmers?

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By Val, July 28, 2006 at 3:59 am Link to this comment
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Mary: right again. No, my anti-religious views aren’t popular. Particularly since I retired to the south several years ago. (I was born in the south, got out as soon as I could, at 19, and lived most of my life in Los Angeles.) Religious cultism is pervasive here. They don’t call it the Bible Belt for nothing.

Fortunately, I’m in a position not to care whether I’m popular or not. As it happens, ironically, I am. Though I’ve lost a couple of “friends” over this issue.

One quite recently. I almost never bring up this subject. But when others do, I jump right in. They can shoot me all they wish: I’m just the messenger. And I tell the truth.

You’re aboslutely right. People DON’T like realizing they’ve been made fools of all their lives, or that their cherished (if ill-thought-out) beliefs are founded on fantasies.

Conformity is BIG here. The “friend” I recently lost over this discussion actually said as much. “Don’t you care that you don’t conform to people’s religious beliefs?”

Now, what a stupid question. The implication being that one “should” conform even when one is better-informed.

She tried every trick in the book with me, including implied threats of shunning (which has never happened to me). I think what upset her most was that I DON’T care about “conforming” or what people think of me.

I had no idea what religion she was. But I pointed out the Methodists’ hypocrisy (to take just one recent example) in paying God-knows-how much for their PR slogan, “Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors” . . . then defrocking their only honestly lesbian minister earlier this year. “In other words,” I pointed out, “they’re lying from the get go. They DON’T have open minds, open hearts, open doors. All those LYING closeted gay and lesbian ministers—they’re fine. Just not the honest ones. So, even the church’s SLOGAN is a lie.”

Turns out she’s Methodist.

I have NO Catholic friends. Never have had. Acquaintances for a time, yes. But no real Catholic friends. Particularly now. Earlier this year, when I first read the President of the Royal Society’s statement (that’s the oldest continuing scientific body on earth) that the Vatican’s anti-condom distribution stance in Africa will be responsible for between 20 and 60 MILLION deaths, I was stunned. And stunned again to learn that the Vatican’s “scientific” liaison, Cardinal Trujillo, TO THIS DAY lies when he claims latex condoms are permeable to the HIV virus (they are not).

As you say, “crimes” are debatable. They’re also prosecutable. Without the Vatican’s rich and powerful cloak of “God” to hide behind, they’d all be in jail for genocide and aiding and abetting child molestation. Deservedly.

At the end of the day, all of us are responsible for the choices we make, including whether or not to investigate the facts and origins of our religious beliefs, whether or not to “tithe” to support genocide in Africa, etc.

The role of curmudgeon, here, is fine by me. As it happens, I have tons of friends who agree with me, to my happy surprise.

And if I get hit by a Mack truck tomorrow, I know I’ve lived honestly and cared deeply (and acted accordingly) about the human race and this planet.

That’s about all anybody can say, in the end.

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By Mary Wallman, July 27, 2006 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment
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The “debate” over who is a “true” Christian or Muslim or Jew is phony. Like “debating” which parts of “Snow White” are real and which are not [real].

that, my friend is RICH!

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By Mary Wallman, July 27, 2006 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
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Val:  to you I extend the olive branch.  You ask:  “Mary: does ANYBODY who espouses religion “think rationally?”—NO, and only sometimes if they are honest.
Read my last comment again, I hope you will see that you are INDEED preaching to the choir, no? (I can’t resist the religious references—it’s too fun!) 
A religion, like any other corporation, can “cook the books” to validate itself.
Some truths are conditional, experiential, not really debatable.  What’s the point, right?  Even finding the meaning to life doesn’t excuse you from actually living it.
What is debatable: crimes committed.  Reasons (except for self-defense) don’t excuse crimes.  Thomas Paine is a rational voice in deep isolation of our puritanical beginnings.  If not, how did we get where we are now as a country?  He had freedom of speech, too.  Why don’t more of these holy book disciples take stock of his ideas over fairytales?  Do you get the feeling that your anti-religious ideas are welcome?  I sure don’t.  People don’t like to be wrong and look bad, even if they were the unwitting participants of a Milgram experiment.  (talk about ego, huh?)

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By Archeon of thrace, July 27, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Faith, religion, belief are all signs of insanity.
The stronger the faith - the greater the insanity.
Religion is a fairy tale, a story, a self referencing set of rules seeking to explain the unexplainable to mushminded simpletons.  All theology is crap.  Only philosophy and rational thinking will lead us to the green fields of prosperity, peace, and love.  Only compasion, tolerance, and acceptance will allow us to respect each other.  All religions are based on an “us” and “them” view of the world.  Here is a question, if the jews are “gods chosen people” why did HE (god) send not one but two prophets with contradictory religious theologies?  It they are the chosen ones, why would it be neccessary to send a prophet to the non-jews (arab tribes people)? Would the infalable god not have seen the current mess in the Middle East that has resulted from this action?  The answer surely must be one of the following:

a: God is not all seeing, all power full, etc.  I.E he makes mistakes.

b: God does not and did not care what happens. I.E he does not hear our prayers, or is off creating other fucked up worlds.

c: God is not loving, but rather enjoys tormenting us and causing us pain.  I.E he is a sadistic overlord

d: There is no god.  I.E shit happens deal with it.  We are the cause, and only we can solve these problems.

Just saying to me that the world has evil so that I might enjoy the afterlife better, that I can’t see into the mind of God, that everything has a purpose - but I am too small and intelectually feeble to understand where I, others, and all the worlds crap fits in, is simply not good enough.

There is no God - none of anykind.
There is no spiritual realm - this material world is what there is.
We do not have a soul.
Death is the end. Period. Finished. Done.

Fuck God!
Fuck Jesus!
Fuck Mohammed!
Fuck the Buddha!
Fuck all the hindu gods!
Fuck all the gods of the American Indians!
Fuck any one who blieves in any of the fairytale nonsense sold the the masses as religion.
Yes fuck you all - Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindu-ists, Buddhists, anyone following anyone.

I would rather strangle my children than have them fall into the clutches of ancient superstitious claptrap.  If my wife were to start going to church/mosque/synagogue I would divorce her and never speak to her again.  The same for my siblings, parents, and friends.  When the next revolution comes hopefully all the believers will be killed off for the good of the planet.

George Bush is the greatest president?  What kind of moron would make that statement?  What bullshit.  George Bush is an asshole, and so is his wife - no she is a cunt!

Mock Mohammed! Mock Christ! Mock God!  And an especially loud FUCK YOU to every believer.

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By Val, July 27, 2006 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mary: does ANYBODY who espouses religion “think rationally?”

Belief in irrational murderous myths and fairy tales of historically non-existent figures is “rational?”

Sugar-coating the “holy” books that gleefully propogate murder and vengeance is “rational?”

Legislating hatred, murder and vengeance based on “holy” myths is “rational?”

The words are there, in the Bible, the Koran and the Torah. Kill every man, woman and child who doesn’t submit to the fairy tales.

Then wonder why the world is in the “irrational” tragic shape it’s in.

The “debate” over who is a “true” Christian or Muslim or Jew is phony. Like “debating” which parts of “Snow White” are real and which are not. A pick-and-choose distraction from the elephant in the living room. Which is to say the ancient tribal beliefs in the irrational that continue to fuel world politics and wars.

Corner Religionists (ANY religionists) with the rational truth, if you dare expose the irrational snarling fear and homicidal hate just beneath the scrim of all their “love” and “peace.”

There are lots of excellent writings out there, including Sam Harris’. None are better than Thomas Paine’s original “The Age of Reason.”

Our choice, it seems to me, as individual human beings, is to live rationally or irrationally.

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