The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXIX (Evil Atheist Children)

May 25, 2005 | 134 Comments

“How to keep faith when grandpa’s a vocal atheist” is the title to this week’s God Squad column. It introduces a letter from a reader whose niece is trying to raise two young children in a religious home, but is burdened by a father “who’s an atheist and talks constantly about this.” I don’t know if the Squad is responsible for composing the descriptions accompanying their work (would they ever complain about a “vocal Jew”?”), but their advice only compounds the offense:

In this case, you should give your niece the courage to raise her children with God for two reasons: 1) they are her kids, not her father’s, and 2) without God, most kids never learn that they have been put here to serve others, not just themselves.

There are many non-aggressive, morally distinguished atheists, but faith is a great help to all of us, particularly children, in creating a modest, compassionate and pious life. You say your niece’s children are young, implying that her father’s atheist beliefs won’t be a problem until they’re older, but he needs to be put in his place.

One way is to have your niece write her dad a letter explaining how he’s making her parenting much more difficult, and stating that if he can’t control himself, he will not be able to see the kids. It’s not as if she’s training them to be drug dealers. She’s giving them a faith that will help them do good works and never lose hope for salvation. This is a noble thing to teach children, and her dad should not interfere.

(1) Let’s start by considering who’s really being “vocal” and “aggressive” here. I doubt the atheist grandfather has actually constructed a building to drag the kids to every Sunday and hired someone to preach at them. Nor does he make them talk to imaginary beings at meals and before bed, or fill their heads with visions of hellfire. That’s pretty vocal and aggressive stuff. Grandpa isn’t the crazy crank in all of this. He doesn’t believe in the boogie man or monsters in the closet, either, and if the kids were frightened by any of those things he’d likely voice his opinion regarding their non-existence as well.

(2) No, the issue here isn’t the niece’s legal right to raise her children without interference. First, note that the niece didn’t write the letter. It was written by her vocal, ignorant aunt, who wants her superstitions imposed on the little ones and has written to the Squad for back-up. Not only does the aunt want to interfere, but she wants the issue aired through a national syndicated newspaper column.

Second, I’m sure if the mother was encouraging the kids to play with matches, use racial epithets or just pick their noses grandpa might say something, and the Squad wouldn’t discourage the “interference.” They’re opposed to it in this specific instance because they think atheism is bad and theism (of whatever variety) is good. Parental rights have nothing to do with it.

(3) Yes, the Squad indeed does think atheism is bad. Apparently they’ve conducted some comprehensive statistical survey and determined that “most” atheist kids are selfish and never learn to behave otherwise without god (however “god” is defined). I guess Father Tom and Rabbi Gellman have been very busy on the playgrounds over the past few decades, interviewing millions of children about their theological beliefs and tracking their conduct through adulthood. (Father Tom might even have tracked some of them into the afterlife, to see how those who rejected Jesus have fared).

(4) Religion is the “problem.” Parents who indoctrinate their children with that most arrogant form of nonsense are the ones who need to be “put in their place.”

Comments

134 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXIX (Evil Atheist Children)”

  1. speedwell
    May 25th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

    “…1) they are her kids, not her father’s…” And not her aunt’s, precisely as you suggested. And not Society’s, and not the school system’s, and not the government’s, likewise. This whole case is basically a non-issue.

    Like it or not, this is the niece’s own situation to handle. So long as she isn’t abusing the children or allowing them to be abused, whatever solution she comes up with or doesn’t come up with is fine.

    Speaking of abuse, as an ex-Christian myself, I can’t say raising them as Christian children is itself abuse. It might even turn out that the outspoken old gent is verbally abusive himself. We just don’t know.

    To wrap this up, RA, I have to disagree with you that “…the issue here isn

  2. Delta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 11:02 am

    While I may definitely be wrong, I can’t imagine the grandfather being so atheist that he constantly brings up the issue in front of little children. I can’t exactly picture the child saying “grandpa, do you want to go outside and play hide-and-go-seek” and the grandfather responding “where’s your god hiding? bitch”. I bet the grandfather just refused to participate in the prayer before the meal, and maybe he grumbles about it, or makes some remark when they leave for church on sunday. The children probably barely even notice, but the aunt does, and it bothers her greatly. She wants the grandfather to cease not for the kids’ sake, but for her own.

  3. Chad
    May 25th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

    I have to disagree with TRA as well. Growing up as a hell-bound heathen myself, I had a grandmother that was quite religious. But, per my parents, she was not allowed to discuss any of that stuff with us. I didn’t know this at that time, but I know now. So long as it isn’t illegal or abusive (and I’m sure we can all argue the merit of religious teachings being mentally abusive), a parent has the distinct right to raise a child the way they see fit without the interference of other people.

    With respect to how much better religious children are: they aren’t. My experience growing up was quite the opposite. I grew up in a small town of about 7k people. Some of the biggest and most religious families (Christian or Catholic) were also the sources of the biggest troublemakers in school. It was the kids that didn’t have a religious background that I found to be the nicer (and more intelligent) ones.

    I had a neighbor whose mother was very Christian (and hence, so was he). We used to have some great arguments which always ended with no one ‘winning’. He always played the good Christian even claiming through most of highschool that he wouldn’t even have sex until he was married. By the time junior year came around, he had already screwed a girl in a graveyard. So much for being the ‘good Christian’. It’s funny how fast some people’s beliefs can be thrown to the side. Oh yeah, I think the final nail in the coffin was struck when he married a Jewish girl. Needless to say, there isn’t much of a relationship with his mother (who was very much against the marriage) anymore.

  4. MBains
    May 25th, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

    Second, I

  5. Jean-Paul Fastidious
    May 25th, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

    It would be interesting (assuming they didn’t see through the obvious ploy and ignore the letter, which they would) to write the GS as an atheist parent trying to raise atheist children with a devoutly religious grandfather who keeps bringing up God.

    Or maybe to get it past their filters, one could make the grandparent and mother different faiths. If the grandparent was an observant Jew and the mother newly converted to Catholicism, would they be so quick to say the grandpa needs to be put in his place?

    (I suppose the GS would argue that that’s an entirely different situation since their problem with the atheist grandpa isn’t that he’s interferring with his daughter’s choices in bringing up her children per se, but that he’s a godless atheist who, if given the chance, would turn the kids into self-serving, immoral, ignoble hellions who will only do bad works — even worse than training them to be drug dealers! However, since the hypothetical Jewish grandpa will be burning in Hell for rejecting the Salvation of our Lord, Jesus Christ, he could be exposing his grandkids to that same fate by tempting them with chocolate coins and babbling on about dreidels and such. I would think the temporary worldly badness of atheist-exposed children would be a miniscule difference when faced with the prospect of eternal damnation, so the two situations are really much closer than the GS may like.)

    Maybe RA should start a contest to see who can be first to sneak a snarky, hypocrisy-eliciting letter onto the GS’s desk?

  6. MBains
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:00 pm

    BTW, Chad used the phrase (Christian or Catholic). THAT is hilarious! My first wife always said Caths aren’t christians. I always laughed at her for saying it cuz its a little like saying that Jesus wasn’t Jewish. The latter wouldn’t exist without the former.

    Sorry for makin’ fun Chad. I otherwise enjoyed and quite related to your comments.

  7. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

    Why do atheists care how some woman raises her kids? This seems like an example of the kind of intolerance you people are always bitching about. Kind of hypocritical isn’t it? (Speedwell excepted)

  8. Mookie
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:07 pm

    Raising kids to be religious is a horrible idea! A bad idea is a bad idea, and religion has had over 2000 years to work out the kinks in human society. IT HAS FAILED. If we approach life using critical thinking and logic, we can find the solutions that work the best, over time. We use logic and reasoning to predict the weather, we don’t leave it up to superstitious beliefs to do so. Old Gramps is good to spread the idea of using empirical evidence instead of blind faith. Humans have the neocortex for a reason, let’s use it accordingly.

  9. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:13 pm

    That’s your opinion, and christians don’t care how you raise youre kids. We have a right to our own beliefs and so we should have a right to teach them to our children as well. You may not like it, but so what? It’s not your concern.

  10. Steve
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    Is it possible that the God Squat charlatans are actually closet atheists? For some time now, I have seen their various descriptions of faith consist of cheesy ‘do-good’ stuff like this from their present column: ‘She’s giving them a faith that will help them do good works and never lose hope for salvation.’ That’s like Spock hoping to live long and prosper. A true Catholic would say ‘Faith is the only way to save their little asses from the everlasting fire!’

    Subconscious atheism would also account for their ability to stomach each other, since – taken seriously – their faiths clash, and at least one of them is sure to go to hell.

  11. Delta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

    If my children have to sit through creationist babble at school because of your beliefs, or if my politicians spend time deciding how “sinful” homosexuality is rather than addressing real issues because of your beliefs, then it is most certainly my concern.
    If I care about my fellow humans living healthy and happy lives, then that also gives me reason for concern.

  12. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

    Delta, in a democracy you have to accept that people have concerns that differ from your own. Whatever you may think of the homosexual problem in Christianity the fact that is matters to a significant fraction of people means that it must be considered by their elected representatives. If this is unacceptable to you then America obviously is not the right country for you. You want to tell christians what they can be concerned about, but you would not take it yourself.

  13. Strange Doctrines
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:40 pm

    I think the RA is being terribly uncharitable to the children, and is failing to consider the mortal peril this uncle’s incontinent atheism puts them in. For if he in fact influences them enough, they may become infidels and subsequently curse their parents. At which point their mother will have no other choice but to slay them.

    So please, RA–have some compassion.

  14. SLINKY
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    “Subconscious atheism would also account for their ability to stomach each other, since – taken seriously – their faiths clash, and at least one of them is sure to go to hell.”

    Well, the Jew won’t go to hell because Jews don’t believe there is a hell.

  15. Dave
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

    JC – Where’s the Love, man?
    You’re just angry! You’re the one living in the wrong country! Reread the first amendment, shithead.

    Besides, why isn’t this aunt faithfully submitting to the will of the reigning partriarch in her family? By disagreeing with her own father, she is clearly going straight to Hell for being diobedient to the man of the house. The fact that God did not see fit to give her a penis, means that she is not entitled to her opinion, according to her OWN belief structure.

    BTW the worst kids in my school were the ministers/preachers’ kids.

  16. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 2:59 pm

    Dave, you call me a sh**head, which I think is a good reason to ignore your inane post. Also, your childish point about women not being entitled to have opinions is absurd. Come back when you learn how to debate with reason. You are making the intrelligent atheists here look bad with your low IQ.

  17. Mijae
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

    JCLOVE: “That’s your opinion, and christians don’t care how you raise youre kids. ”

    Did you read the God Squad post that these comments are replying to in the first place?

  18. jahrta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    JC”LOVE”…

    “Whatever you may think of the homosexual problem in Christianity the fact that is matters to a significant fraction of people means that it must be considered by their elected representatives. If this is unacceptable to you then America obviously is not the right country for you.”

    Did you actually think this through before you wrote it or did it just spout from your gaping pie-hole as if you were speaking in tongues? And yes, i know…asking a religious person to THINK through his or her actions, especially when they lead that individual to a website which openly embraces and espouses atheist viewpoints, IS a tall order.

    It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly ignorant and myopic religious people can be, choosing to focus on a non-issue such as the rights of homosexuals to lead their lives when there’s a war going on against a sovereign nation, perpetrated under false pretenses by the worst president history has ever known who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people on both sides. This country was founded upon the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not to mention freedom from religious persecution. You can take that a step further to mean that we should be free from the persecution your system of bullshit beliefs place on everyone else. if my holy book says that god hates redheads, and you happen to be one, does that make it ok if the president, who happens to share my belief system, works overtime to strip you of your rights while bankrupting the country with his idiocy? How can anyone with even a shred of grey matter floating around in their skulls take this as anything but a poorly-veiled hate crime, perpetrated on a national level? The republicans, being largely religious, hate gays, and so therefore their fuhrer takes it upon himself to try and appease them by targeting them with discriminatory legislature. I am about as straight as a man can get, but i tell you now, that there is nothing constitutional whatsoever about what your criminal fuck-knob of a president is up to, nor is there any reason imagineable to strip a gay person of his or her right to wed whomever the hell they see fit, or deny them the same rights as the goverment would afford any other straight couple. it is vile and loathesome discrimination at its worst and is no different its core than discrimination agaisnt any other group who has had to deal with this shit over the course of American history (blacks, jews, immigrants of all stripes).

    oh, and just one more thing. it’s a widely established statistic that about 10% of the population is now, and most likely always has been gay. If your god is suppsoedly all powerful and all knowing, why is he making millions of gay people every year? If he’s so loving, why does he condemn them for doing what’s in their nature? it’s not like they’re hurting anyone. you should ease up on the gays – if anything you’ve probably been surrounded by them all throughout your childhood, being as you’re so pious yourself – i’m sure you’ve met your fair share at the pulpit, and formed a large proportion of your own beliefs upon their sermons.

    oh, and the president’s job, mr. fuckwit, isn’t to appease the salivating religious masses by oppressing the minority. even an ass-half like you should be able to understand that.

    the one thing i will agree with you on is that America is not the country for any atheist. not anymore. not when an unbelievable asshole like bush can gain power because other unbelievable assholes like you vote for him in droves, if for no other reason than your church told you to, or becuase you outwardly share the same intolerances as he does. if there is a hell you all deserve to burn in it.

  19. Dave
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

    Dearest JCLOVE,

    I called you a shithead, because you asserted that atheists are living in the wrong country, and seem to be ignorant of the secular basis of our government. Imagine that someone on an atheist site would take offense at that?

    Secondly, yes, it is absurd to assert that women aren’t entitled to have opinions. However, it is the assertion of the Judeo-Christian (and Islamic) traditions that they are not. Do you want me to cite the numerous Biblical, legal, historical, and contemporary examples of this? Because it will be a very long list, indeed.

    Third, I can debate with reason with reasonable people. The purpose of my comment was nothing more than illustrating the absurdity of the religious way of engaging the world. That is, unquestioningly accepting a bunch of make-believe stories and rules that clearly benefit a certain segment of society at the expense of others, rejecting facts and reason, rationalizing one’s own transgressions against one’s own belief system, etc.

  20. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

    Jahrta, I voted for kerry you insignificant prick. I don’t agree with a lot of what bush does, and kerry is a christian as well, in case you forgot.

    I mentoined homosexuals only because Delta brought it up. Personally I don’t care what they do (although if you think they are not hurting anyone you try getting a buggery). Your tired tirade looks like it was cut and pasted from elsewhere. I am amazed at the ignorance I’m seeing here. I love democracy and one of the things that gives is my religious freedoms, and freedom to raise my kids however I want. You have that too don’t you? You and dave need to learn how to debate instead of just busting out in a poor quality rant. (here’s a tip tip to get you going, making up lies is not a good tactic. My church did not tell me who to vote for, asshole).

    Are there any intelligent atheists who want to have a real debate?

  21. jahrta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    maybe YOUR church didn’t tell you who to vote for, ass-hat, but it was touted all over the news that bush won because the “religious right” came out in droves, spurred on by the clergy. of course, ballot-stuffing probably helped a bit as well.

    and yeah, kerry was also a theist (catholic, if i’m not mistaken) and I voted for him because his stances on the issues – the real ones – weren’t dictated by his belief system.

    and i’m sure every gay man you pass in your travels is only thinking about busting your anal cherry, because that’s what they’re all about. yesiree, they’re all about hurting people and subverting your beliefs.

    if there’s a reason that what we’re saying sounds familiar or tired, it’s because people like us are far too familiar with people like you, and sick and tired of having to repeat ourselves by pointing out the OBVIOUS hippocrisy of your statements. and i would have thought that theists like you would appreciate the cut-and-paste method – otherwise, why would theists keep cutting and pasting passages from their holy books to try and substantiate their points on an atheist webpage?

    at any rate i’m done with you. you’re too stupid for words and your continued pressence here is an offense to all of us who value true democracy and freedom – not the brand being peddled by the church these days that comes in a variety of pointy ballistic packages.

    if you prefer to blog in places you’d find less hostile to your world view, the web is saturated with sites dedicated to people like you. you won’t find any of US challenging people’s views there, because we realize the futility of that endeavor.

  22. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

    As I said, are there any intelligent atheists who are interested in having a real debate?

  23. jahrta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

    maybe if you provide us with an intelligent theist we’ll take you up on that offer

  24. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

    Jarta, I thought you were done with me you dumbass redneck? Why engage if you are not interested in real dabate. I can only assume you have self control problems. Perhaps you can find some angst ridden teenagers who will be impressed by your “intellect”.

  25. Delta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:23 pm

    It is your right to believe whatever dumbass things you believe, but it’s also my right to try to lessen the impact of those crazy beliefs. Any other interesting posts in here I’ll respond to, but I’m done with you JC”Love”.

  26. eric bloodaxe
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:32 pm

    It seems (a) that the girl is raising the children in her father’s house, so his rules take precedent,or(b) she is taking the children to his house, if she doesn’t like the conversation, stop going there, explaining to the father the reason (c) The father comes visiting, set the ground rules before he enters.

  27. GeneralZod
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    “where’s your god hiding? bitch”
    This was the funniest thing I read all day!:)

  28. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:44 pm

    bloodaxe makes sense. The rights of the parents should be inviolate but they don’t have to go where they are not in charge if they don’t like it.

    By the way delta, if you are gay I did not mean to offend you. I am not homophobic

  29. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 4:53 pm

    Sounds like Jahrta doth protest too much

    “I am about as straight as a man can get……, but i tell you now……,there any reason imagineable to strip a gay person”

  30. jahrta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 5:00 pm

    where are you getting redneck from? and if you’re going to go around claiming to possess any type of an intellect it behooves you to learn how to spell and form grammatically-correct sentences.

    what you choose to do to your children is on your head. go ahead and fill them with love for jeebus. i don’t care – they’re your children. i believe that these notions are cultish and can only lead to stupidity en masse by those who believe wholeheartedly in them. in the end you’re punishing them by imposing your beliefs on them, which seems overly harsh seeing as how being related to you is punishment enough.

    some of the same people who scream and carry on that their rights to parent and educate their children as they see fit are under fire are the same ones screaming at the tops of their lungs in picket lines in front of schools and courthouses because they want creationism taught in public schools, which i find highly ironic.

    Oh, and i was never interested in trying to impress you, JC – generally speaking i don’t seek the adoration of pitiful insects such as yourself. your barbs and insults only serve to expose you for the fool you are.

  31. jahrta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

    wow…cutting and pasting words out of my post to try to insinuate something about my sexuality. why, not since “yo mama” jokes and “afaggotsayswhat” has the comedic bar been raised so high. I also liked how you arranged a sentence that makes absolutely no sense out of the components of one which did. you spoke earlier of teenaged angst, JC- is that because you’re entering adolescence yourself?

    you may notice hair growing where there was no hair before, and your voice may crack at odd times – be on the lookout for these perfectly normal signs of development.

    and for fucks sake, stop touching yourself! you’ll make the baby jesus cry

  32. Delta
    May 25th, 2005 @ 5:09 pm

    Thanks GeneralZod, I liked it too :)

  33. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 5:16 pm

    jahrta says “you spoke earlier of teenaged angst”

    when in fact I actually wrote “Perhaps you can find some angst ridden teenagers ”

    Now, I don’t believe the angst itself can be teenaged so you might like to check your grammar jahrta, since you love to correct others try getting it right yourself

  34. glenstonecottage
    May 25th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm

    BIBLETHUMPERS IN THE NEWS!
    A must-read for trolls:

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

    Melodious Mitchell Gets Booted From Court, Again

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Elizabeth Smart kidnapping suspect Brian David Mitchell was kicked out of court again Friday for breaking into song during a hearing to gauge his mental competency for trial.

    Mitchell had already been removed from his last three hearings after singing religious hymns and Bible verses.

    Friday’s hearing was only minutes old when Mitchell reprised one of his favorites: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand.” He sang the words at a February hearing, too.

    Accused kidnapper Brian David Mitchell is brought into court for his competency hearing Friday, March 11, 2005, in Salt Lake City.

    As he was led off Friday, Mitchell shouted, “He mocks and scorns the son of God. He mocks and scorns the son of God. … You know I speak the truth. You know I speak the truth.”

    Judge Judith Atherton planned several breaks throughout Friday’s proceedings so defense lawyers could brief Mitchell on testimony, though the lawyers have said Mitchell frequently ignores them.

    After the judge ordered Mitchell escorted out, testimony resumed from defense expert Stephen Golding, who has said Mitchell has become increasingly more mentally disturbed and unfit for trial.

    Golding said that if Mitchell goes to trial, the defendant has vowed that he won’t let Elizabeth take the witness stand and that he would do everything possible to disrupt the proceedings.

    “He will not permit you to question Miss Smart, because she is still his wife, and they will still be reunited,” Golding said, paraphrasing Mitchell’s statements.

    Golding also testified that he doesn’t believe Mitchell is being willful when he acts out in court.

    Mitchell, 51, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 59, are charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated kidnapping in the 2002 abduction. He’s also charged in the attempted abduction of Elizabeth’s cousin seven weeks after Elizabeth’s kidnapping.

    Mitchell reportedly believes he’s a messenger of God, and allegedly kidnapped Elizabeth, then 14, to keep her as a second wife.

    Barzee, who has filed for divorce, has been ruled incompetent to stand trial, and is being treated at a state facility. Prosecutors are seeking a hearing to force Barzee to take anti-psychotic medications that she refuses to take voluntarily. Her attorneys have vowed to fight the attempt.

    Friday’s testimony was also expected to include Noel Gardner, a mental health expert for the prosecution who has concluded the homeless street preacher is fit for trial.

    At the hearing last month, Golding testified that Mitchell has “a long history of tension, which has gotten into the psychotic spectrum.”

    Defense expert Jennifer Skeem, a University of California-Irvine assistant professor, also said at the hearing that Mitchell had become “recently delusional and more distressed.”

    Mitchell’s lawyers had previously suggested he was mentally sound enough to stand trial, but said they wanted additional evaluations because he was becoming increasingly unable to aid his own defense.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  35. Mookie
    May 25th, 2005 @ 7:00 pm

    “…in a democracy you have to accept that people have concerns that differ from your own. Whatever you may think of the homosexual problem in Christianity the fact that is matters to a significant fraction of people means that it must be considered by their elected representatives.”

    JCLOVE, you must remember that this is tyranny, and thus not a democracy. Jefferson wanted the Bill of Rights in the Constitution because he knew that rule of the majority was just as much a tyranny as rule by a king. You might want to think about that idea that “its okay for a large group of people to apply their morality to others”. That’s a horrible stance to take, and one that goes against democracy. The rash insults from my fellow atheists were more in response to your ignorance and accusatory stance. We value our democracy, we value reason and critical thinking. I don’t believe you understand fully the responsibility placed on you as the citizen of a thriving democracy, perhaps you should reconsider your citizenship and residence in this country. These values that we wish to impress on others are bigger and better than your fairy tales. Why? Because our methods get results, yours don’t.

  36. boywonder
    May 25th, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

    I find this godsquad article to be more offensive than most. The “he [atheist grandpa] needs to be put in his place” part is what really got me. Where exactly is grandpa’s place? I doubt they mean out of his daughter’s business. Is this place with all the other jews, hindus, muslims, etc.? This seems to be an overtly discriminatory statement. Although I should expect no less from the all-knowing godsquad, I suppose. And JCLove, a word of advice: Many atheists here would be glad to talk RATIONALLY with you, but so far, your posts have been as insulting as any of theirs. Take a few breaths and try again. Are you a liberal christian? That is the only explanation I can think of for voting for Kerry and not being anti-gay while still trying to be christian.

  37. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 7:37 pm

    boywonder, I was only rude in response to rudeness directed at me. All I was saying was that folks should be allowed to raise their kids as they see fit. Nothing more. Then jahrta goes off on me like a nutter. I can reconcile my christian beliefs with homosexuals by the fact that the bible says nothing against them, and jesus certainly did not. If anything he preached love for them as all men (and women). Some of my fellow christians don’t believe this, but that is their right.

    My understanding of our democracy is that the people are represented by congress, and if those same people don’t like something then that’s just a reflection of this country and we have to live with it or try to get different people elected. Some things are not their province though, like telling people what sort of sex is ok, or telling them how to raise children. That’s all I’m saying. The rest is due to misunderstandings and/or heated exhanges with big mouths who hate me for my beliefs and have no respect.

  38. boywonder
    May 25th, 2005 @ 8:10 pm

    JCLove, I would defend myself as well. Beleive the other guys when they say that they have heard much of what you are talking about already, so even though it may be new to you, it is very old hat to them( and myself). Many atheists lack the patience to tolerate some of the mindless garbage that is spewed from many, many christians. I too, agree that this country should be able to select its politicians to represent their interests. This is a problem, though. Politicians (the vast majority)only serve those whose money talks the loudest. It is also easier to motivate a base of sheep that will listen to their pastors to go out and vote together. I believe this is obscurring what you would call the majority opinion.

  39. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 8:20 pm

    boywonder, you are right, the system is imperfect. I had a friend from England where they cannot accept outside funding, and they are allowed only a few tv commercials in the run up to an election. They have problems too of course, but it is not uncommon to find that the people in the government are not millionaires like they are here. Sometimes there are even working class people in high office.

    In any case, I still believe that the essence of a democracy is majority rule. What else is there? This should be good enough provided the govt sticks to it’s assigned business and does not interfere with the private lives of its citizens. I know that they do interfere, but all systems are imperfect.

    Also, let me just add that some atheists have been known to spout mindless garbage as well.

  40. boywonder
    May 25th, 2005 @ 8:43 pm

    I’m sorry, I’m working, so my comments will be sporadic. I think we are close to our known version of democracy crumbling at our feet. What scares me more is that the rest of the world isn’t fairing that much better. I realize the fortune of living in a free society. Ours is becoming less and less free under our noses and most of our citizens aren’t even aware there are problems let alone care enough to do much about them. I even feel like a hypocrite at times for doing not much more than complaining about the problem. Pacifism in religion and secular society is as much to blame as bigotry and hatred.

  41. Mookie
    May 25th, 2005 @ 8:58 pm

    “What else is there?”

    Systems are not static. By stressing conformity, a dominant memeplex stifles other, potentially superior memeplexes. And it is domination for the sake of domination.

    A bad idea is a bad idea. And there are some that are so bad, they need to be removed from the human experience all together. We have done it with horrible diseases, and we shall do so with their mind-equivalent: either by becoming immune to it (via logic), or by an artificial distate for it. I don’t particularly care how it’s done, just that it is. I would prefer it to be by logic, because then its well-understood. Regardless, it would be such a great benefit to mankind if religion and its philosophical ramifications disappeared. The ends justify the means.

  42. boywonder
    May 25th, 2005 @ 9:43 pm

    I would like to give you an example of one of the problems in this country. Yesterday, my local NEWSpaper’s headline was: “Who Will Win American Idol?” In a much smaller side- column the headline was “Senate Comes to Agreement on Filibusters” How does American Idol qualify as news, let alone become the major headline over a subject that is going to effect this whole country?

  43. JCLOVE
    May 25th, 2005 @ 9:45 pm

    what about Bush cutting short his speech so they could start the Paris Hilton show?

  44. boywonder
    May 25th, 2005 @ 10:13 pm

    I was not aware of Bush doing that. Ofcourse, I try not to listen tio anything he says anymore. What is it with Paris Hilton? Famous for being famous? Even a Barbie doll isn’t hollow. How can anyone worship let alone stomach her vacant stare? I would like to say she isn’t as dumb as she looks, but she looks dumber than Brittany Spears doing Chinese math, or any math for that matter. It must be because the public will eat up ANYTHING thrown to them.

  45. PhalsePhrophet
    May 26th, 2005 @ 1:06 am

    The Squad said: It’s not as if she’s training them to be drug dealers.
    If religion were ingestible it would be a drug. What she is doing is worse; at least the dealers don

  46. speedwell
    May 26th, 2005 @ 8:56 am

    “A bad idea is a bad idea. And there are some that are so bad, they need to be removed from the human experience [altogether].”

    Oh, and you are personally the perfect fricking messiah of perfect ideas, I suppose. Or qualified to hire whoever is. Nice try.

    Suppose you finish formulating your perfect world order before attempting to suggest we should sanitize everyone’s thoughts.

  47. Chad
    May 26th, 2005 @ 11:13 am

    MBains, I was actually trying to explain this Christianity versus Catholicism to my wife the other day. When I was growing up, the two terms were simply used to distinguish between the Catholics and the non-Catholics. Growing up in NH, any other groups were pretty much non-existant, so we only needed the two terms. Obviously, a Catholic is Christian by definition and probably not everyone distinguishes the same way. No offense taken.

    The Brian David Mitchell vs. Elizabeth Smart case is pretty screwy. Why is it that when somebody like Mitchell (who is obviously a complete fruitcake) ends up being held unaccountable for his actions but somebody like the Pope, who professes to also talk to god, is revered by so many? Am I missing something? If I went around proclaiming that I talk to god on a daily basis then people would regard me as a freak, but somebody puts on some funny clothing and calls themself a minister/priest and it is suddenly respected. What a joke. BTW, if all of you believers actually believe in what is preached to you, then why wouldn’t you believe that Mitchell is a profit? He says god made him one. Isn’t that proof enough?

  48. AK
    May 26th, 2005 @ 11:54 am

    JCLOVE,

    The grandpa feels that religion is wrong. He is attempting to protect his grandchildren from an inhumane immorral superstition.

    Now lets imagine a Mr. “X”. Mr. X has a daughter, Mrs. “Y”, who is raising her children to be racists. Mr. X would be perfectly justified in attempting to protect his grandkids from his own daughters racist influences.

    In both situations, the attempts to protect the children from immoral or inhumane beliefs is justified. The children should be exposed to competing ideas, and allowed to pick the one they like best.

    This grandfathers influence will be severely limited at best. Likely, these children will subscribe to the superstition that their mother holds.

    JCLOVE, are you afraid that, if atheism and Christianity are to both be judged on their own merits, that the former will be chosen over the latter? Why do you object to a fair market of ideas being presented to the children?

    And empirical evidence shows that atheistic belief systems are typically held by exceptional people, while religious belief systems are often held by either mediocre people or immoral people. Societies with MORE religious fervor are morally inferior to those that have LESS religious fervor.

  49. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    with the perceived superiority of atheist paradigms set aside for the time being, there is one problem with presenting these views to children so that they may decide which set of beliefs they wish to take on for themselves: Atheists don’t have christmas, hannukah, kwanza, easter, purim, or any number of other festive holidays.

    any child who chooses to forgo these gift-giving holidays in favor of the merits of atheism based solely upon the virtue of thinking for oneself and asserting one’s own controversial voice and beliefs against a veritable sea of adversity in an otherwise theist world is truly brave and selfless. I think it takes a lot more convincing and maturity to embrace atheism for oneself than it does to simply go with the flow like all the other sheep while being rewarded with a steady stream of holiday-oriented treats for bleating mindlessly in a house of worship at set intervals.

    it is for this reason that i propose a competing atheist national holiday. it should be a time for people to question the nature and source of their daily news, the blather of their theist politicians and the true motivations behind the relentless and incessant proselytizing of overly-religious and intrusive neighbors/coworkers/family members. the only problem inherent with this notion is that this is precisely what atheists do on a near-daily basis as it stands already.

    so the only question remaining is “where are all my ‘atheist day’ gifts?”

  50. Viole
    May 26th, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

    Maybe we atheists should start our own holidays. There are plenty of real, actually cyclical events we could celebrate, like the solstices and equinoxes. Birthdays of famous atheists. Celebrate Newton’s birthday, and call it Calculus day. Darwin’s Day. I bet we could find a reason to celebrate every single day of the year, if we wanted, including leap years.

    Except perhaps various religious holidays, taken from all faiths, which we could call ‘Superstition Days,’ when we’d refuse to get out of bed.

  51. Mookie
    May 26th, 2005 @ 1:44 pm

    speedwell,

    I never claimed to have perfect ideas. But I DO know a bad idea when I see one. And there are some that go beyond mere majority agreement. It would be beneficial to all if we (humans) just stopped stockpiling weapons that were specifically designed to destroy us.

    As far as my desire to “sanitize”… yes, I am out there to do that. Because, remember, thoughts aren’t our own, they just are. You can pass on an idea to another person, and they can send one your way. Whether the idea has any merit or use for them is irrelevant. So, in short, our minds are not off limits, because we share ideas all the time, even ideas that were designed to negate other ideas. I judge ideas by how well they help humanity. Religion, as this blog illustrates, is a bad idea. It would be helpful to humanity if religion were wiped out.

    There is probably a “perfect” configuration, just like there is a “perfect” equation for solving a math problem. I don’t claim to know that configuration, but I do understand the means to that end. No need to pick a bone with me, I am not the thought police, I have no desire to duplicate in full my memes. I have bad (maladaptive for me) memes as do we all. Its a matter of selecting the memes that help us, and avoiding those that harm us. That’s what I’m all about.

  52. Mookie
    May 26th, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    So when is Atheist Day? What day symbolizes the use of logic and critical thinking as the basis of rational thought? I would suggest January 23, because when written out in numbers its 1/23. Its dorky, yes, but its my $0.02. Or maybe November 29, because its the two largest prime numbers you can have in each slot: 11/29. Hm, I suggest that every day be Atheist Day, because logic and reason are useful (and necessary) every day. Now to petition our representatives in office that we who are free-thinkers wish to indulge in a holiday that never ends because we bother to use our brains to determine the nature of the universe.

  53. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 2:02 pm

    How about september 26th, seeing as how it is my birthday? It WAS my idea after all ;)

  54. Lucy Muff
    May 26th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    Atheists day is sad day and we will pray for you extra when you choose date.

  55. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 3:18 pm

    you do that

  56. simbol
    May 26th, 2005 @ 4:16 pm

    Jahrta

    Don’t worry about gift-giving to children in chritsmas. On the contrary.Chritsmas is usually a good starting for atheism because always there is a rat child who inform the rest who really is child jesus. It will alway be a funny memoir when I told my parens I “knew” who was Santa and child Jesus. They laughed nervously.
    I propose “Guttenberg day” for celebrating writign and printing.
    Erathosthenes day for celebratin geography.
    Darwing day, for biology
    Einstein day for physics.
    Copernicus for astronomy

    and some memorial days:

    Servet, Bruno, Galileo and Ana Frank days.

    Change halloween and put “inquisition day”. The costumes are the same then burn some strawman and explain. Sound savage, but CNN an Al Jazeera are worst for teaching. Maintain the candies and compell the children to hang to their necks the tooth brush as an amulet.

    Change christmas and institute Child Emperor Day, when the kids will receive gifts, candies and can do whatever they want even play on the highway at their risk. There are some desperate parents that surely will welcome this proposition.

    Of course, not working days.

  57. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 4:25 pm

    the only problem with guttenberg day is that the guttenberg press gained worlwide recognition for its ability to “spread the word” by mass-producing the bible. That, and some people might get confused and think that this is the day they’re supposed to watch “coccoon,” “police academy 1 – 4″ and my personal favorite – because it co-stars peter o’toole – “high spirits.”

  58. GW
    May 26th, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

    Absolutely one of the best discussions that i came across in ages … and it ends with “we will pray for you”. How disappointing.

  59. simbol
    May 26th, 2005 @ 4:33 pm

    I forgot “Bacchanalia day” whe you can go outdoors naked, can smoke wherever or whatever you want and drive drunken.

  60. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 4:35 pm

    GW – if it makes you feel any better, LucyMuff is a troll who only posts fundie messages to get a rise out of the uninitiated.

  61. simbol
    May 26th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    Jahrta

    Printig allowed to know not only bible and Luther, but Erasmus, Spinoza, Galileo, Voltaire not to mention read directly Democritus, Protagoras, Epicurus etc, and this was a fatal blow to unity of western catholicism and the very foundations of christianism, which in turns was a prerequisite for unleashing free thinking.

    If you don’t agree after this arguments on Guttemberg day I can change it by “internet day” but remember there are a lot of christian websites.

  62. jahrta
    May 26th, 2005 @ 7:20 pm

    I know Simbol, I was just making a joke.

  63. speedwell
    May 27th, 2005 @ 9:18 am

    OK, Lucy, you’re on. We hereby declare the former “National Day of Prayer” to now be “National Atheists Day.” Ought to get more of you all bible beaters out there praying than usual. (lol)

    Oh, and Mookie, when you and your mental rehabilitation goons come around to tell me how and what I’m goling to be allowed to think, I’ll meet you at the door with my politically incorrect shotgun. Stand up front.

  64. jahrta
    May 27th, 2005 @ 9:50 am

    given the current political climate (i.e., “raining bullshit and blood”) I can’t advocate stongly enough the genuine need to be “politically incorrect.”

    oh, and make sure to get an umbrella.

  65. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 2:53 pm

    Christmas is now an atheists holiday. It is driven by capitalism and for the most part has nothing to do with our lord and savior. Even neglecting the fact that dec 25 was really a co-opted pagan holiday, the practise of celebrating JEsus on that day is more or less finished, and instead we now worship the almighty dollar. It is very tragic and telling that the time of year where we are meant to pay homage to Jesus is now the time of year with the highest suicide rates. So, you already have your atheists holiday. I should think you would enjoy it all the more considering what is once was.

  66. Eva
    May 27th, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    jc, do YOU worship the dollar on x-mas?
    ….you talk a lot about the “we”…..but, i swear, i’ve never seen anybody worshipping the dollar….
    but if you do, what can i say…..it’s your preference…..
    (i do not worship. anything…..i hate to be clumped with other people if i have nothing in common with them)

  67. DannyNoonan
    May 27th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    I like this:

    “It’s not as if she’s training them to be drug dealers. She’s giving them a faith”

    As if dealing drugs was worse than brainwashing your children.

  68. AK
    May 27th, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

    HAHA JCLOVE, I dont buy that for a minute. I have Christians complaining to me that Im a hypocrite when I buy presents for my family at Xmas time. Its has become more of a cultural traiditon than religious one yes, but to claim that its not about Jesus I think is an insult to all your fellow Xtians.

    Besides, to get down to it, Christmas was originally a PAGAN holiday… you know, that religion that Christianity plagarized and ripped off thousands of years ago?

  69. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

    AK, if you read my post you will see that I already said it was originalyy a pagan holiday. I am saying that it used to be about jesus and is now about crass commercialism for many people, even, I’m sorry to say, many christians who ought to know better.

  70. Mookie
    May 27th, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

    speedwell, you find the worst in things. Such negativity you have. And who says I will hire goons? The sleeping gas in your air ducts would work just fine. I have no quarrel with you, sir.

    In Austin recently, a smoking ban on bars and restaurants has passed by majority vote. I do not agree with the ban, because it is not my place to tell people what they can and cannot do. Your view of my views are way too reactionary. Slow down, son. I am not about to tell people how to live. It is my philosophy that you can do whatever you want, so long as you don’t interfere with anyone else’s right to do whatever they want to do. I have no problem with you being you, so long as you being you doesn’t mess up everyone else. Religion messes up a lot of folks, it messes up society, it resists progress. It is a cancer of the memes. We have no regrets wiping out polio, and there shall be no regrets when we wipe out religion. Do you want to live in a world where people suffer from similar (and yet, so dissimilar) delusions as to the nature of reality? Andrea Yates, the Catholic priests and their ilk are just the more disgusting of this delusional batch. Imagine a whole region of the world being trapped by this horrible dogma. Think the middle east and the US. Do you see now how some ideas just really really suck and need to purged from the memepool? We’re not here to dick around any more. Now that we understand what we can make of ourselves and our future, do we want to continue to stumble and fumble through life all the time?

    I ask nothing more than that people grow up knowing how to learn, how to be skeptical, how to analyze information more objectively. With cognitive filters like these, religion cannot find its way into the mempool. No more of this blind groping about for meaning and purpose. Reality in details gives us more accurate and useful answers to the questions we ask than religion ever could. Whatever you gathered from that is all in your head. If such symptoms continue, and should you need treatment, I would advise against pharmaceutical remedies. Go for the natural substances that relieve stress and anxiety.

  71. The One True Commenter
    May 27th, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

    Hey, JC,

    Make sure to tell Bill “The Loofah of Love” O’Reilly that Xmas is an atheist holiday now, so we don’t have to put up with that stupid gasbag reprising his “Liberals are destroying Christmas!” horseshit this year.

  72. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    I do not approve of Bill O’reilly. He is not my kind of christian as he seems ot have no love for anyone but himself and his cronies. His recent sexual abuse scandal demonstrates that he has no right to say anything about christmas to anyone. In fact, I wish him and Rush Limbaugh would shut up. They cause irreperable harm to compassionate christians with their hateful diatribe.

  73. leon
    May 27th, 2005 @ 5:19 pm

    JCLOVE said:
    They cause irreperable harm to compassionate christians with their hateful diatribe.

    Oh good, then keep them on the air.
    And BTW Jesus never existed.

  74. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 5:44 pm

    leon, there is a lot of evidence indicating that Jesus did exist. IT is a matter of faith as to whether he was the son og god or not, but there isa lot of evidence of jesus the man and teacher. It is not only christians who think so either. Try getting your facts straight before making sweeping claims.

    I assume that you are a fan of Bill O’reilly.

  75. AK
    May 27th, 2005 @ 7:22 pm

    JCLOVE, who exactly IS your kind of Christian? (I mean of the ones alive today on this planet).

    The existence of Jesus is irrelevant. Proving Jesus’s existence does not prove God’s existence. If you believe in the theory of relativity, or the laws of thermodynamics, then you cannot rationally believe in a creator of the universe.

    So JCLOVE, what do you believe in more? Evidenced godlessness, or an unevidenced God?

  76. AK
    May 27th, 2005 @ 7:23 pm

    I contend that both Muhammed and Jesus existed, and that God never did :P

  77. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 7:31 pm

    There’s no point arguing about matters of faith when both parties are almost certain to disagree. The existance of a man called Jesus on the other hand is something that can be understood with historical facts (or at least evidence). I was merely responding to Leon who feels that Jesus did not exist. I believe he is wrong.

    As for my kind of christian, it is the kind who does not judge people and who tries to live by the teachngs of Jesus Christ. Even if Jesus was not the son of God (although I believe that he was and is) I think that living by His teachings is still worthwhile since he preached tolerance love and compassion, things that are sadly lacking in the world today.

  78. The One True Commenter
    May 27th, 2005 @ 8:39 pm

    Fair enough, JC.

    As to the question of Jesus’s existence – and all snarkiness aside, seriously – what do you think of this site?

  79. simbol
    May 27th, 2005 @ 8:50 pm

    JClove

    —-“Even if Jesus was not the son of God (although I believe that he was and is) I think that living by His teachings is still worthwhile since he preached tolerance love and compassion, things that are sadly lacking in the world today.”

    Does this implies that only christians are tolerant and compasionate and feel love?

    What about the other 4 billion people of world population that are not christian? Cannot be possible that among these 4 billion people exist a lot of people tolerant, compasionate and full of love ? Are these virtues a Christian monopoly?

    More than 2000 years ago, when Christ have not been born, weren’t there people who was tolerant, compassionate and felt love?, Did you think ideas like tolerance and feelings like compassion and love were invented by christ or christians?.

    I conclude that you don’t need to be christian for being tolerant, compassionate and feel love. And if you examine deeply the concept of tolerance, maybe you cannot be genuinely christian and at the same time be tolerant of other beliefs different from christianism. How can you be indifferent to the ethernal damnation of those who doesn’t believe in the true faith? If you really love that people you have to force them to accept the true faith in order to save them. You must be intolerant if you loves them, because if you are tolerant your wil be accomplice in their damnation.

  80. boywonder
    May 27th, 2005 @ 8:51 pm

    So, JCLOVE, Why are you here on this site? Are you simply interested in alternate points-of-view? Are you trying to spread the teachings of christ? I’m not sure what you are hoping to accomplish here. If you want info on atheism, just ask. If you are trying to show us the teachings of christ, most of us have already heard it all. Do you just like to talk or argue?

  81. boywonder
    May 27th, 2005 @ 9:12 pm

    I cannot take the idea that there really was a man named Jesus Christ seriously. It is not even that I care whether or not he existed. I’ve looked for conclusive evidence like everybody else. Anything that I came across seemed to cloud the search further. I mean, I didn’t even know that there were other religions before christianity that used similar scenerios with a martyred man, many of whom were named christ or “the annointed one”. Also, the first christian emporer Constantine created the Holy Roman Catholic Church in 325 AD. This was done by FORCING the different faithes of the time to compromise to create one official faith in the eyes of the Roman empire. That is why there are many inconsistencies in the different books of the bible. Also, the subject of history itself is quite ambiguious. “History is written buy those who win the wars” comes to mind. To a certain extent, ALL historical data is biased. Some accounts more so than others, but basically, unless you were there, no account can be considered 100% bulletproof. Even if you were there, your own bias (good or bad) as a witness and historian puts a slant on an event. And a subject of this seeming importance furhter complicates any personal account by shear volume and contradiction. The disappearance of miracles in the modern era is a testimony to the ironclad witnesses of the past.

  82. JCLOVE
    May 27th, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

    one true commentator: the site you showed me is interesting but there are many refutations to the points they raise. I do not have enough information to get involved in the discussion. In some ways it doesn’t matter to me. I personally find that living by Jesus’ teachings is a rewarding thing to do and that is enough for me.

    Simbol, yes, you do not need to know christ to be compassionate. It just so happens that I find the teachngs of Christ to be a good way to live. (The real christ that is, not the christ espoused by some people who are in actuality saying things that are closer to the polar opposite of His teachings).

    Boywonder, I don’t mind people who disagree with me. I visit this site not to spread the word (that’s not my thing) but only to show that some christians are reasonable people and to promote respectful dialogue. I do not expect to change anyone’s mind about Christ or anythg else, but talking to people with different beliefs helps me to see things in new and sometimes illuminating ways.

    I don’t believe that people will be eternally damned for not believing (which gets me into hot water with some of my friends).

  83. Eva
    May 28th, 2005 @ 12:35 am

    jc, you go to great lenghts to answer other posters here, but you never answered mw (post 66)……

  84. JCLOVE
    May 28th, 2005 @ 12:43 am

    EVA said

    jc, do YOU worship the dollar on x-mas?
    ….you talk a lot about the “we”…..but, i swear, i’ve never seen anybody worshipping the dollar….
    but if you do, what can i say…..it’s your preference…..
    (i do not worship. anything…..i hate to be clumped with other people if i have nothing in common with them)

    No, I do not worship the dollar, ever. Are you suggesting that Christmas has not been commercialised??

  85. Lucy Muff
    May 28th, 2005 @ 1:17 am

    yous is all fools.

    atheist day is idiot day, end of discussion!

    Also, if Jesus is not real how is it He is with me always?
    QED proof of jesus right there, stupidos (actually, mucho grande stupidos)

  86. leon
    May 28th, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    JCLOVE said:
    leon, there is a lot of evidence indicating that Jesus did exist.

    What evidence?

    IT is a matter of faith as to whether he was the son og god or not, but there isa lot of evidence of jesus the man and teacher.

    Faith is merely the process of imagining something. Anything can be imagined, even imaginary things.

    It is not only christians who think so either.

    If somebody believes there was a Jesus, wouldn

  87. Eva
    May 28th, 2005 @ 11:06 am

    oh sure, JC……..just like mothers’ day…..the thing is, on x-mas you want to show appreciation to your people with gifts, and gifts you usually have to buy…is that what you mean by comercializing?
    maybe it just goes to show what is REALLY important in peoples’s life. you friends and family, instead of a make believe god in the sky.
    that’s all good and fine to me.

    however, what you really said was that “we” worship the dollar. and that i have never seen. perhaps you live in a place that has a lot of dollar churches, in which case, of course, you would see a lot of that. but don’t generalize.

    indeed, “It is very tragic and telling that the time of year where we are meant to pay homage to Jesus is now the time of year with the highest suicide rates”. (i quoted you). we can blame this to sunlight deficiency, or to the absurdity and uselessness of believing in a god.

    i’m glad though that the same problem does not exist on easter. on easter, you worship the almighty egg-hiding bunny rabbit, instead of the torture and murder (or sentencing and execution, you choose) of a jew that lived more than 2000 ago. and that maybe did not exist.

    (keep in mind that these holidays were originally pagan festivities, and not x-tian in origin, so i don’t see why you complain about them having lost their original purpose…….)

  88. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

    JCLove

    Why to take only and wholly the christian package when you can pick from several packages and build a nice personal package ?.

    Jews and Muslim are better at compassion. Muslim even fix a percentage of your income you are compelled to give to underdogs. Jews after some tests, have even eliminated hell as a part which carries many complications. By doing so, jews have extended compassion to afterlife

    Pick tolerance from the atheists, this is the only and genuine tolerance (TM) in the market, since atheist are no compelled by their god to impose the true faith (they have not god).

    Pick love from Voltaire: he highest form of love: to enlighten humanity for its betterment through reason and love of knowledge.

    If you are terrified by afterlife, pick some very refined version of transmigration or resurrection, (there are a lot in the market) and ask for a writen warranty. Christian product is untested and is relatively new in the market. Only proof christian quote has not been verified by a serious audit company.

    About the origen of the universe, christian product is very cheap and as usual you get what you pay. I reccomend you to do a preliminary test on big bang. It doesn’t answer all the question but seems to be more dependable than the rest of the products in the market. Someting like Toyota. Besides and the best, it promises new versions free of charge.

    And for the spiritual “high” you get when going to mass or praying I don’t reccomend chemical substances, in its place I reccomend a good book with Bach or Wagner in the backgroud and a glass of good wine, and to rest the eyes watching the slowing downfall of sun in a multicolor crepuscule. You can also try with yoga and the like, but I don’t know very much about that.

    Lucy muff: My English offends Shakespeare, your Spanish cause Cervantes to die once again. Teach me english and I will teach you spanish.

  89. Eva
    May 28th, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    simbol, don’t worry about your shakesperean blunders….el manco de lepanto does not care much about their blunders either…
    we are fluent in more than one language, and we should be proud of that….most people in the US are not….

  90. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

    Thanks Eva, I’d like give you a kiss for your stimulus, english is so difficult…

    JC Love

    “Most popular press articles suggest a link between the winter holidays and suicides (Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania 2003). However, this claim is just a myth. In fact, suicide rates in the United States are lowest in the winter and highest in the spring (CDC 1985, McCleary et al. 1991, Warren et al. 1983″

  91. Viole
    May 28th, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

    Eva, that’s because we know that English is the one true language, and if you worthless foreigners don’t learn to speak it, you’ll be sent to hell. Or am I confusing language with religion? Well, if you can’t read English, you can’t read the KJV bible, and as we know from Landover Baptist Church, those who don’t follow the KJV bible will burn in hell.

    For the record, I don’t speak a second language. I’ve tried, but I suspect the only way I’ll manage it is to spend a year in a country where most people don’t speak english.

    Oh, and Simbol, you write better english than what Lucy’s been posting.

  92. Eva
    May 28th, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    viole, i thought you also spoke russian….

    however, i have to agree with you in the KJV issue….because, obviously, the bible was written in english, the language of our lord, ronal mcdonald….err, i mean, Jesus Christ.

  93. Viole
    May 28th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    Oh, no. I’d like to learn Russian–and German, and Spanish, and Mandarin–if only so I could read the works of certain revolutionary thinkers and doers in their own native tongue.

    I have mentioned before that I’m part Russian(and totally hot!), but I was born in the great progressive State of Minnesota, in the very heart of the Fatherland of the Great American Empire to parents and family who speak only English.

    I’m a really awful student, though–not to say I’m stupid, I just don’t give a damn about grades–so I’m unlike to make another attempt at learning a second language.

  94. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

    Viole

    I fact, english is quite easy to READ for us latins once we master enough vocabulary. English genderless and pruralless articles, adjectives and verbs helps a lot. I’d say is one of the easiest languages for us to read. Problem is to write and speak for us who are used to latin-related languages with its different way of structuring sentences. As english became the lingua franca, one has to deal with it and that’s why you have to excuse me my blunders against the noble language of Shakespeare. It’s a pity that god doesn’t exists, otherwise surely he will help me whit this infernal language. Why TRA doesn’t include an automatic-correcting word spelling feature in this godless site? It would help not only my proper use of english but also Lucy’s. And thus, satan wil be best served since Lucy belongs to the same party.

  95. The One True Commenter
    May 28th, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

    JC –

    What about these “teachings” of Jesus?

    Mark 16:16 – He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Matthew 12:30 – He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

    Luke 19:27 – But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them-bring them here and kill them in front of me. (What is the point of a parable that ends like this? The source I saw most recently said “This seems harsh, but the point is that there are consequences to setting yourself against God’s will.”)

    Matthew 10:33 – But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

    Mark 3:29 – But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

    Matthew 10:34 – Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters

  96. Brandon
    May 28th, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    When my dad was diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago he found himself being flooded with casseroles and cakes–as if chemo therapy would allow him to keep down all that food. More importantly he was so disgusted by the constant flow of Get well cards with prayers and references to religion that he joined my blog and wrote a sardonic post in which he announced that he is not afraid to die and that he wished these people would keep their superstitions to themselves. He has since sent out a form letter to all the people who sent him cards, asking that they “believe as they wish and allow (him) to do the same.” To me that is real courage. Indeed, it was a lot more courageous than the Bible-thumping, big-government-is-taking-away-my-freedom religious fanatics who were the first cowards who ran to the federal government, begging it to save their sorry asses and to restrict their civil liberties after 911. if you ask me we face more danger from right wing theocrats than we do from atheists, agnostics, and human secularists.

  97. Brandon
    May 28th, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    When my dad was diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago he found himself being flooded with casseroles and cakes–as if chemo therapy would allow him to keep down all that food. More importantly he was so disgusted by the constant flow of Get well cards with prayers and references to religion that he joined my blog and wrote a sardonic post in which he announced that he is not afraid to die and that he wished these people would keep their superstitions to themselves. He has since sent out a form letter to all the people who sent him cards, asking that they “believe as they wish and allow (him) to do the same.” To me that is real courage. Indeed, it was a lot more courageous than the Bible-thumping, big-government-is-taking-away-my-freedom religious fanatics who were the first cowards who ran to the federal government, begging it to save their sorry asses and to restrict their civil liberties after 911. if you ask me we face more danger from right wing theocrats than we do from atheists, agnostics, and human secularists.

  98. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 5:42 pm

    Viole

    The english KJV bible was printed in 1611. The Reina Valera spanish bible was printed in 1602. As you see, for some mysterious reason, christian god prefers speak in Spanish or other Latin related languages. And, then in 1602, England was an obscure hole trying to bite some little pittance from the Spanish empire through piracy. Since then, no pirates fared better than them til the start of WWII.

  99. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

    cont..
    this criminal career of englishmen as compared with the virtuous one of spaniards, who brought catholic christianism, peace and progress to south america and parts of asia and Africa, shows the superiority of the Reina Valera version over the King James version.

  100. Viole
    May 28th, 2005 @ 6:17 pm

    Simbol;

    It doesn’t matter when the KJV bible was first printed; the only thing that matters is that the United States of America will crush you beneath its booted foot if you do not stop criticizing our national bible. It is English speaking America which rules the world, and so obviously god prefers our great and god-blessed country to yours. Spain might have been an empire four hundred years ago, but today it is nothing more than a stinking backwater pit of homo-loving mary-worshipping freaks.

    In more honest terms, those True Christian(TM) folks over at Landover Baptist Church would call me an anti-American, unsaved, hedonistic, homo-loving, lip-stick lesbian commie who will burn in hell for not tithing them ten thousand dollars when I had the chance.

    And that’s only if they were feeling charitable. Which they simple don’t do. Like Jesus, they come bearing a sword(alongside their KJV bible, of course).

    I’m not particularly fond of seeing the English language misused by someone who grew up with it, and should at least know how to use it properly, but I’m not going to insult someone for not speaking it perfectly when it’s a second(or third) language, and as I said, you’re doing better than Lucy.

  101. Viole
    May 28th, 2005 @ 6:25 pm

    Simbol;

    The only one of the things you listed that the Spanish actually brought anywhere is Catholicism, and that’s a very dubious distinction. They really brought death, slavery and the rape of a continent.

    The British, of course, did the same in North America, India, and parts of Africa. They merely did it after the Spanish Empire had begun to fall apart.

  102. Eva
    May 28th, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

    from MN! ha….my boyfriend was born and raised in Rochester….i’ve been there a couple of times myself…strange place indeed…..strange people too….hahahaha…no wonder.

    you sound like those x-tians that want to learn ancient greek, aramaic and hebrew so they can understand better the real meaning of the bible…..(haaaa!)

  103. Viole
    May 28th, 2005 @ 8:20 pm

    Ha. Well, if you ever come by that way again, let me know. I’m operating out of Minneapolis, though. I can guarantee I won’t be what you expect. ;)

    And I resent being compared to bible-thumpers. My reasons are not to understand their words, but to better understand what went wrong. I may be a commie, but I’ve no interest in being a party to yet another dictatorial failure.

  104. simbol
    May 28th, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

    Viole

    I agree in you not tithing christians 10.000 bucks. Thite them to me, a least I’am atheist.

  105. asdf
    May 28th, 2005 @ 10:55 pm

    “It’s healthy to go on retreats and quiet the mind and the body” Yep, even the Goon Squad needs some time off to focus on shutting down those brains of theirs.

  106. Lucy Muff
    May 29th, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

    I have never say I am native English speaker, so your insults about my language skill not correct or am I bothered.
    In actually, I chinese.
    Also, JCLOVE is right about christmas for it is very commercial now and gift to friends have nothing to do with Jesus birth so eva is wrong and JCLOVE is right. In my family we buy gift for church.

  107. Lucy Muff
    May 29th, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

    Simbol said:
    Lucy muff: My English offends Shakespeare, your Spanish cause Cervantes to die once again. Teach me english and I will teach you spanish.

    What my spanish do to beer (cerventes) ?? I don’t get it.

  108. simbol
    May 29th, 2005 @ 5:00 pm

    Lucy

    你 不 出生 中

  109. Lucy
    May 29th, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

    當然我活您蠢貨

    dumbass!

  110. boywonder
    May 29th, 2005 @ 5:18 pm

    Back on topic, it must be nice to have an atheist grandpa. I wish I had an atheist grandpa. I know one person over 60 that is an atheist. I imagine there are not many atheist grandpas in the world. It seems the older you get, the more conservative you get (not necessarily wiser), and the more aware and fearful of death most of us get. My own father is a good example. He was never political or religious, or even cared to know about anything like that. After he hit 50 and his father died, he suddenly became more religious. And I consider his father (my grandpa) to be one of the smartest men I met. But he was still irrational when it came to religion. He was wealthy, and told my dad if he wanted to inherit his money, he had to start attending church on a regular basis. My dad did half-heartedly until after my grandpa died. Then he seemed to genuinely want to go to church. He said my grandpa’s death was a wake-up call to him. He hasn’t tried the ‘go to church to get my money’ thing with me yet, but I haven’t ruled it out yet. Although I’ve already told him I couldn’t care less about his money. Plus I think he will piss it all away anyway. Does anyone here have atheist grandparents?

  111. simbol
    May 29th, 2005 @ 5:52 pm

    Lucy

    惋惜, why are you so 大发雷霆?

    BTW, 蠢 is not a proper word for a christian and well educated chinese lady.

    要好 ?

  112. simbol
    May 29th, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

    boywonder

    Boy, money is important. If only because is useful for pushing necessary changes. Remember the famous sentence from Henry IV of France “Paris is well worth a mass” when he was compelled to abjure protestantism in order to be King of catholic France. After he was enthroned he pursued a policy of tolerance, something unheard of til them in christian Europe, exactly the opposite cretinous catholics wanted, and became one of the best kings for the ordinary people. He said “There should be a chicken in every peasant’s pot every Sunday” really a LIBERAL. Get your money, abjure atheism and give that money to atheist causes. Sometimes ends justify the means. Over time, comeback to atheism, we will be waiting for you because you are pure in your heart. Anyway, nobody is going to check your computer when you write your diatribes against the almighty on this website. Sadly, Henry was assassinated by a fanatic catholic. Anyway remember: “Paris is well worth a mass”. Besides, there are some byproducts: Nice full fledged visits to ancient polytheist Greece and Roma and treks to places like PapuaNewguinea where you can see people living in the stone age and observe the process by which religion appears. Wouldn’t it be nice?

  113. simbol
    May 29th, 2005 @ 8:02 pm

    Lucy

    Tu frase china puede decir que yo soy un dulce ni

  114. boywonder
    May 29th, 2005 @ 8:39 pm

    Simbol, would you mind translating post 115? My second grade reading level for spanish can’t handle you writing. Something about how Lucy is either not from China or she is a baby?

  115. simbol
    May 29th, 2005 @ 8:56 pm

    Boywonder

    As lucy is putting pressure on me with her chinese, I did the same on her using spanish. But spanish is easier.

    Translating:

    Related to post 112: “Your chinese sentence can say either I am a cute baby or that I’m childish. Is not easy translating chinese. Whatever the case I propose you peace and friendship. Catholic ladies radiate the sweetness of the christ they carry in their hearts.”

    I haven’t translated the second chinese sentence.

  116. Lucy Muff
    May 29th, 2005 @ 9:04 pm

    ok, peace and friendship it is!

    I wish unto you also the peace and friendship of our lord and savior jesus christ. God bless you all.

  117. boywonder
    May 29th, 2005 @ 9:10 pm

    Simbol, thanks for the translation. I was under the impression (Lucy Muff, let me know if I’m wrong here) that Lucy Muff was probably a 30-something year-old American male that likes to start arguments in his spare time.

  118. leon
    May 30th, 2005 @ 7:16 am

    耶稣是粪

  119. glenstonecottage
    May 30th, 2005 @ 7:59 am

    boywonder said:
    Back on topic, it must be nice to have an atheist grandpa. I wish I had an atheist grandpa.

    My paternal grandfather and grandmother were both atheists, and they moved away from their small Missouri town when they got married to the big city of Cleveland OH, because they were sick and tired of relatives and friends trying to stick religion down their throats.

    On my mother’s side, I had one distant ancestor who lived in a small North Carolina town. Whenever the thumpers would hold a tent revival meeting in the town, my ancestor would erect a tent on his farmland and hold an ATHEIST REVIVAL MEETING!

    Halitosis, brother!

  120. simbol
    May 30th, 2005 @ 10:52 am

    Glenn

    Your distantant ancestors had guts. There weren’t dangerous consequences?

  121. Paul M. Martin
    May 30th, 2005 @ 8:40 pm

    There’s a lot to like about atheism, even though I wouldn’t describe myself as an atheist. On my blogpost of today May 30, I offer three possible definitions of God. I’m certain that atheists reject “God the Other.” I’m wondering if atheists necessarily reject “God the Somewhat Other” and “Oceanic God.”

    Now don’t start making fun of these names or positing others, like, say, “God the Somewhat Odd,” unless you read my post. I realize this is somewhat off-topic, so you could comment to the blog link on my name.

    On the other hand, trying to understand exactly what an atheist is – I wondered about this in a few comments a few months ago – can’t be that off-topic on an atheist blog, can it?

    What, I ask, is the soul of atheism – or, if you will, the phenomenology?

  122. PhalsePhrophet
    May 30th, 2005 @ 9:37 pm

    As a born again, militant, evangelical atheist, I think modern atheism is not only a lack of belief in a god, but a total rejection of any deity purported to have omi-powers over the universe. It includes recognition of the threat that faith in these deities creates and the desire to, at a minimum, speak up and rage against the machine. We are not confused agnostics, we know the Judeo, Christian, Islamic god is false. The subject has been covered here many times and TRA

  123. simbol
    May 30th, 2005 @ 11:01 pm

    If we all admitted that categories like mind, spirit, soul or conciousness are simply a whole brain at work and that once this brain cease to work what is left is garbage and no more than that, we all would be atheists. But since most of the people are terrified with this scenario, they recur to religion and their soothing remedies what is very sensible. My parents delivered me directly into Dante’s inferno and there the door’s sign reads: “lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate”

  124. TrixieKatt
    May 31st, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    Does anyone here have atheist grandparents?

    My maternal grandparents were both atheists. My grandfather was born to a large farming family in the heart of Missouri around 1915, and I don’t know much about his early religious history but I can’t imagine it was common to be an atheist. He and my grandmother were very interested in travel and archaeology, both major antidotes to god-belief.

    Also, my in-laws are 74 and 79, and one is atheist, the other agnostic. I’m not sure I agree that older people in general get more religious and fearful of death as they age, (addlepated Antony Flew excepted). In my experience, people who were freethinkers in youth remain so, often with the added benefit of being more at peace with the prospect of death.

  125. boywonder
    May 31st, 2005 @ 4:45 pm

    TrixieKatt, I suppose you are right about few freethinkers turning religious with age. I would, however, bet that self-described agnostics and plain old unreligious people have a tendency to become more religious. This reminds me of Pascal’s wager. Why not believe if the alternative is nothing, and I’m close to death?. From an atheist point of view, religion hurts society with its empty promises. But from a personal point of view of some one expecting death, it is a different matter.

  126. Paul M. Martin
    May 31st, 2005 @ 8:49 pm

    Phalseprophet: It’s the rage part I don’t get. All kinds of monstrosities happen every day that don’t occur in the name of religion. And religion, like most things people do, is gray, not black and white. Millions of people are led to more prosocial lives through their beliefs. Then you have people like Ghandi, King, Mother Theresa

  127. Paul M. Martin
    May 31st, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

    Simbol: I think the more we grow in consciousness or spirit, the less we are concerned with personal mortality. At least that

  128. simbol
    May 31st, 2005 @ 11:45 pm

    Paul

    First, let me tell you I’m not a militant atheist. Simply atheist. In fact I can live comfortably with people who are not atheists as long as their beliefs, whatever they be, don’t command them to kill their own comrades for heresy or other people for believing in a different god or being godless. That’s why I usually don’t interfere with the religious beliefs of the people who surround me. I agree with you that is foolish a manichean vision of religion. It doesn’t mean ,however, forgetting a past where institutionalized religions hampered heavily human progress.

    On the other hand fear of eternal death is a fact. Is not that you are not afraid of death, so am I. But believe me, if my 11 years kid were in peril of inevitable death, I would be terrified and it would be preferable for me that some good god were in the neighborhood. What would this mean? hope beyond reason. Since “no god no hope” I consider very sensible to chose god, not being this necessarily the mercenary option of Pascal.

    To confront definitive death without hope is an old conundrum for humankind. Greeks illustrate it with the beautiful myth of Pandora. After all evil was spread on the world, what was left at the bottom of the box was HOPE.

    “”Is

  129. Paul M. Martin
    June 2nd, 2005 @ 7:03 pm

    Simbol: I agree. Death becomes much more difficult morally/spiritually in confronting the deaths of those we care about, especially young people. I’m not quite sure I catch your drift about hope, but I think that in pointing to hope, you’re pointing to something central in what can make the prospect of mortality in a godless universe intolerable.

    Are you sure you’re wedded to the garbage pile metaphor? Because I wholeheartedly agree with the tenor of your closing paragraphs re. how little we know about the larger scheme of things. In intellectual terms, I’d have to count myself an agnostic as far as whether reality, in its full scope – whatever the heck THAT is – is ultimately producing a form of garbage, a form of worth, or something that has pretty much nothing to do with either concept.

  130. simbol
    June 2nd, 2005 @ 10:39 pm

    Paul

    My English is very limited, that’s why sometimes I’m not clear enough in what I write.

    On hope: I believe god, and his derivatives, religions, is a psychological mechanism for not renouncing hope when in despair, pain, fear and more important, confronting intrascendence. A byproduct of god, for some time was explanation of nature. Not anymore. This mechanism also was and is used for supporting malignant ideas, regimes and practices. As a psychological mechanism for supporting when in trouble I have not objection. Problem is that this mechanism is a knife that cut both ways: is good for helping but is also good for killing. A quandary.

    On the chimpanzee: The equation has a solution, the problem is the brain and brain evolves slowly. Can you imagine a man 1 million years ago plotting the trajectory of a rocket going to the moon? The fact is that men went to the moon. If religious wars dont kill us totally we will know wonderful things in the future and I think that among those things won’t be god.

    Why? because I dont see, for the time being, anything that tells me that I’m more transcendent than an ant, and transcendence and god are faces of the same coin. And believe me, I’m no tryng to be sarcastic.

  131. Paul M. Martin
    June 3rd, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

    Simbol: Your English is actually amazing. Now that you mention it, I can see it’s not your first language – I used to teach ESL to kids, so I should have spotted that. Anyway, your ability to conceptualize about such abstract subjects in English is great.

    People, even without any second language complications, can have such different things in mind with a word like, “transcendence,” that I’m not really sure we disagree about anything there. To me, “unimaginably wonderful things in the future” sounds quite a lot like what I’d want to call transcendence! Maybe it will somehow include ants!

    When you identify hope as being of such significance, I agree.

  132. PhalsePhrophet
    June 5th, 2005 @ 1:56 am

    Paul, the rage comes from the intrusion and oppression of basic human rights that religion compels. I agree that monstrosities occur without religion, however, when we add in the inquisition, the crusades, the religious stance on life and birth control, suicide bombers and Christian coalitions, we have not only substantially increased the monstrosities, we have done so needlessly. We are failing our species when we irrationally tolerate religion and allow these needless monstrosities to continue. It is wrong not to learn from natural monstrosities and continue to build in quake or tsunami zones. It is wrong not to learn from religion

  133. Paul M. Martin
    June 7th, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

    To my mind, all the “religious” stuff you mention is perpetrated by political extremism and psychological malady carried out in religion’s name. That’s why above I pointed to a bunch of positive stuff associated with religion when it isn’t basically perverted into an extension of the human ego that makes it that much more virulent.

    So I agree that religion has and is often misappropriated as a tool in the world’s arsenal for wrongdoing. But I don’t think that’s all there is to religion. It seems to me that targetting the outrageous abuses of religon makes more sense than targetting religion per se, and would rally rather than alienate people of good will and normal psychology within religion.

    The things you’re objecting to are things any sane person would object to.

  134. PhalsePhrophet
    June 7th, 2005 @ 11:13 pm

    Paul, perhaps you need to rename religion to get us over the hump. Any religion that proposes the omni-powerful god is in no way beneficial. Not to blame religion for the monstrosities committed in its name for centuries is ludicrous. We can easily explain away religions responsibility by claiming it was the act of man. But what if the man was religious? What if the man killed because he had visions god told him to kill? What if his holy book commanded him to kill all false prophets, all non-believers? Do we merely say he is a man out of control? Is the entire church, town or country out of control? What if he were never exposed to these holy books and these ideas were never known? Killing is certainly a harsh thought. What if it is simply the judge who is catholic banning parents from practicing a particular religion? What if it is school board members who try to get intelligent design inserted into science curriculums as an alternative to evolution? What if it is asking children of Atheists to pledge allegiance to one nation under god? What if a man risks his life by donating a portion of his liver to the local catholic priest because god compelled him? Is he crazy? Is the priest crazy? What if the man doesn

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