The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

C’mon People Now

August 23, 2005 | 27 Comments

I consider myself an Engine of Love, Powered by Truth. But Tertius — a militant and aggressive anti-atheist blogger whose scorched-earth rhetorical style I greatly admire — considers me a fox in the henhouse. In the comments section of The Dawn Patrol, he warned her readers of the dangers of playing footsie with the devil, even if he’s pro-life:

The Raving Atheist is a militant and aggressive anti-Christian who attracts a sizable audience of Christian-haters to his site — which serves as a platform for attacking God, Jesus and Christians at every opportunity. He is not an advocate of peaceful coexistence but is adamantly opposed to Christians having any explicit Christian voice in the political, economic, educational and social issues that confront society.

However I recognise that RA is a more logical and consistent atheist than many of the merely misinformed, foul-mouthed “internet infidels” who spew forth hatred of God all over the Web – and in his comments.

That RA’s stand on abortion is idiosyncratic from an atheistic perspective is demonstrated by the flack — scorn, derision and vilification — he has generated from many of his fellow atheists.

I do think that RA is genuine and sincere in his opposition to abortion-on-demand and I can stand with him on this issue as one who shares a common humanity, decency and concern towards the most vulnerable of our fellow humans. I commend him for his principled stand and would like to extend the courtesy of accepting that his atheism is an equally principled stand.

I would however caution Dawn that she had better have a long spoon if she is going to start supping with the likes of RA. Abortion is a terribly serious and pressing matter but not half as serious — and pressing — as hating and denying God.

I welcome people of goodwill — regardless of creed — standing together over issues of shared concern but ultimately they can be no true fellowship between atheists and Christians. They are irreconciably opposed and while Christians may want to be “nice” the atheists will take no prisoners.

I plead guilty to the first “militancy” charge, with the following caveats. I reject the central empirical and moral claims of Christianity as false, illogical and/or incoherent (see here and here for a brief summary of my objections to the salvation-by-belief-in-the-resurrection narrative and here for some general objections to the underlying god of the philosophers). Acted upon literally, those beliefs can have dangerous consequences, and I certainly direct derision at those Christians who misbehave in obedience to their delusional beliefs. Because all religions are false, I also attack the followers of other faiths who act on the harmful tenets of their religion. As I’ve noted before, I primarily focus on injustices arising from 1) penalizing innocent people and innocent conduct on the basis of false and irrational religious beliefs and 2) awarding people special privileges based upon their religious beliefs (for some examples, see the list in the first answer at this post, as well as here). I also attack atheists who reject good moral rules merely because they are coincidentally also held by religious people (see here), and agnostics who believe it is possible to evaluate a religiously-generated rule without also determining whether the underlying factual premises of the religion are true or false (see here).

As to the second charge, of intolerance, “peaceful coexistence” is not possible with people who seek the legal power to enforce their superstitions by punishing others for harmless conduct. But the breach of the peace is caused by those undertaking such efforts, not by those opposing them. I am certainly not opposed to Christians “voicing” their explicit beliefs — I’ve never so much as deleted a comment at my own blog, much less advocated that Christians be excluded from the public debate — but I certainly have an equal right to voice my opinion that they are wrong and oppose the enactment into law of penalties or rights which I consider unjust. If what Tertius means by Christians having an “explicit Christian voice” in policy is that the Christian view be granted some privileged status entitling it to easier enactment merely because it is Christian, yes, I do oppose that. However, I don’t reject laws merely because they happen to coincide with a Christian doctrine (which is inevitable insofar as Christians disagree among themselves on every debated moral issue).

Tertius probably does not really differ with me much on these points. He doesn’t want laws to be based on explicit principles of Islam, Hindu, Wicca, numerology, astrology, or even some sect of Christianity other than his own. But he wouldn’t oppose a law which impose a policy in conformance with his Catholicism merely because it was also supported by some other religion. So I am puzzled why he believes “fellowship” is impossible with atheists only, rather than with every faith that rejects the tenets of his.

The key, I suppose, is that he considers God denial (or “hating,” if one can hate what doesn’t exist) twice as serious as killing. Implicit in that belief is the notion that the Almighty is this insanely vain creature who tortures people merely for failing to believe what He has failed to make evident. Or for calling Him names. Now, I’m personally not sure if Abe Vigoda is dead or alive, but I doubt he’d roast me over a pit for doubting his existence, or even calling him an old fart. And technically, Tertius doesn’t know whether I actually exist (or whether I’m several bloggers) and he’s called me names

Comments

27 Responses to “C’mon People Now”

  1. Kafkaesquí
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    Can I be excluded from the ‘Christian-haters’ collective Tertius has by allusion placed me in? I mean, if I honestly *hated* Xians, almost none of my friends and family would ever call.

    Actually, please inform my family of Tertius’ words. I wouldn’t mind not hearing from them for a while.

  2. a different tim
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 2:18 pm

    I don’t hate Christians.
    I hate Christianity.
    it’s a “Hate the sin. Love the sinner” kind of thing.

  3. Graham
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 2:44 pm

    Personally, I love Christians. But then again, I was a Roman lion in a past life……

    BADABING!!!!

  4. Eva
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 2:54 pm

    i really missed the Godidiot of the Week section….glad you brought it back, even if in such an underhanded way.

    Godidiot of the Week, YEAYYY!!

  5. AK
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

    Yes!! Zing!

    Keep it coming RA!

  6. hermesten
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 5:21 pm

    “The key, I suppose, is that he considers God denial (or

  7. Brian K
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 8:05 pm

    I would be one of “those damn Christians” who prefers to mix logic with faith to form a potent moral backbone. Now, as far as Tertius’ comments go: He can blow it out his rear. There is absolutely no reason to go on an athiest bashing trip because it is stupid and irrelevant. God is more powerful than hate speech, we can leave any and all conversions up to God(whether he exists or not in anyone’s perception is irrelevant to this, he either does or doesn’t and thats as far as this conversation is going, I’m not interested in the Atheist version of Jehova’s Witnesses.) The way I see it, God has given me the gift of logical reasoning so that I may use it, and part of that is to stay away from idiotic “us Vs them” mentality crap.

    The way I see it, God judges us on what we do, not neccesarily what we believe. If after RA dies and is shocked to find out there is a God waiting, he will be able to answer the moral questions of “did you feed the hungry, protect the defenseless et al.” Since RA has shown by his actions that he is indeed a logical moral entity, there is no doubt in my mind that should there be a Heaven and Hell, RA will be in the former.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on far too much. I suppose my point is not to judge the whole lot by the idiotic few. The important thing is to judge actions and beliefs based on logical and reasonable grounds, which RA has shown.

  8. leon
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 8:50 pm

    God is more powerful than hate speech
    where did you get this information?

  9. Brian K
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

    It is clearly obvious, is it not? If you do not accept the premise God exists, than your question is irrelevant because it essentially makes the sentence read: *non existant entity* is more poweful than hate speech.

    If you do believe, as I do, in a logical God then a logical God would be the creator of logical people, logical people use logic, and logic is more powerful than hate speech, as it eventually wins out over hate speech(the timeframe which this takes is irrelevant).

  10. leon
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

    You avoided the question completely. It’s because you are inventing what you think your god is thinking. You do not know what your god is thinking. In fact, you know nothing about your imaginary god.

  11. Jason Malloy
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 9:51 pm

    I second Eva’s motion to bring back Godidiot segment. Also, I miss terrible photoshop gags!

  12. Brian K
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 10:12 pm

    I fail to see leon, how you know more about my God(whom you claim is imaginary) than I do.

    If you start with my premise then my conclusion is logical.

    You are the one who has evaded responding to the premise by inventing an answer that is only a real answer in YOUR imagination.

    My statement: “Logical God creates logical people, logic is greater than hate speech since history shows logic triumphs over hate speech given enough time(the duration of that time being ultimately irrelevant), therefore Logical God > hate speech.”

    Your Response: “God does not exist(even though I have no proof of this statement I have made as I cannot prove God does not exist through anything other than anecdotal subjective evidence), he is a figment of your imagination and even though you supposedly invented him you know nothing of your own invention.”

    So which is it, have I invented something I know nothing about even though I invented it or does my statement make perfect sense because it is in fact, a logical statement whose premise leads to a logical conclusion?

  13. leon
    August 23rd, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

    I fail to see leon, how you know more about my God(whom you claim is imaginary) than I do.
    If you start with my premise then my conclusion is logical.

    Ok, I agree with your first premise

  14. PhalsePhrophet
    August 24th, 2005 @ 3:12 am
  15. Eric
    August 24th, 2005 @ 3:51 am

    Brian K, you said “God is more powerful than hate speech”, and I say “Snarflitty is more powerful than hate speech”.

    So which is it, have I invented something I know nothing about even though I invented it or does my statement make perfect sense because it is in fact, a logical statement whose premise leads to a logical conclusion?
    (sound familiar?)
    we can leave any and all conversions up to Snarflitty(whether he exists or not in anyone’s perception is irrelevant to this, he either does or doesn’t and thats as far as this conversation is going, I’m not interested in the Atheist version of Snarflitty’s Witnesses.) The way I see it, Snarflitty has given me the gift of logical reasoning so that I may use it, and part of that is to stay away from idiotic “us Vs them” mentality crap.
    (still sound familiar?)

    I am sure Keven will be shocked when he dies, and Snarflitty is waiting. But Snarflitty will judge him by his actions, and not because he doesn’t believe in Snarflitty.

    How do I know all this about Snarflitty? Is it because I made her up? Anything brian says about her would be wrong, because how could he know anything about Snarflitty if he don’t believe in her!

  16. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    August 24th, 2005 @ 10:41 am

    RA said this:

    “The Almighty is this insanely vain creature who tortures people merely for failing to believe what He has failed to make evident”

    That’d make a great bumper sticker – although, maybe a bit long for most people’s attention span.
    ———————————————————————————-
    And I visitied that Tertius’ site … ugh – my stress level rose in no time at all.

  17. Brian K
    August 24th, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

    Eric: Since noone actually knows what God would refer to himself as, I fail to see how replacing “God” with the word “Snarflittty” makes any sense whatsoever. Perhaps words do not even exist in heaven and are merely a human concept that bears no relevance to the world beyond.

    If I did in fact invent God, it would logically follow that I know all his aspects, being his creator. To claim that I have A: I invented him, but B: know nothing about him is illogical. It can be either Not A: I have not invented him and thus B: I know nothing about him(or not all), or A: I invented him and Not B: I know everything about him because I invented him.

    I also fail to see how attacking someone for believing in what you claim is a non-existant being in is not just a massive waste of everybody’s time, considering you cannot sway that person’s belief anyway.

    I came here to find out where the athiest ethos comes from and what context surrounds it, not to get in an irrelevant shouting match over the existence of God/Snarflitty/Zeus/Flamin’ Pete the Destroyer of Worlds. I respect RA because he argues his points with logic and common sense, I only wish to know what happens when human authorities fail. If there is no divine authority to set wrongs right, then what is wrong with doing whatever you please so long as you can get away with it? If the answer is common sense, then one must question why common sense is the least common of all senses, and why this common sense has only been bestowed on a small portion of the population.

  18. jahrta
    August 24th, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

    Brian K:

    “If there is no divine authority to set wrongs right, then what is wrong with doing whatever you please so long as you can get away with it? If the answer is common sense, then one must question why common sense is the least common of all senses, and why this common sense has only been bestowed on a small portion of the population.”

    Well, I will grant you that last point, about common sense being a glaring misnomer. This is largely due to the fact that in this day and age we have in our country a crusader emperor, handed the reigns by a massive throng of religious idiots, ruling it through religion and running it into the ground. Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to this farce of a war and the only thing said in defense of it all is “they died for freedom/democracy/apple pie and puppy dogs” or something equally as vaccuous and insipid. I truly wish there was a hell because i would sleep better at night with the knowledge that some ‘higher power” would dish out the torture bush and his whole damn family deserve.

    Unfortunatley, I cannot take comfort in that delusion for i am burdened with the gifts of observation and reason, and it has been through the implementation of those gifts that i have come to realize there is no god, heaven, hell, satan or angels.

    Does this mean that i’m going to go running through the street with an AK-47, raping, killing and pillaging at will? I haven’t done any of that stuff yet, and i doubt i ever will. If someone came up to me and told me inequivocally that i would “get away” with something terrible if i went ahead and did it, i still wouldn’t because i received a proper upbringing and can discern for myself what is wrong and what is right. i don’t need to be threatened with an eternity in hell in order for me to be a good person.

    There may have been an era in the development of human civilization when such threats were necessary to keep people in line, but that time is over. You can argue that back when people had nothing to lose and no laws to live by, that belief in god was tantamount to keeping people from running roughshod over one another, but adherence to primitive BS for the sake of adherence is lunacy. The way i see it, man created god to preserve society, and society, once mature, removed the need for that crutch.

  19. jahrta
    August 24th, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

    Brian K:

    “If there is no divine authority to set wrongs right, then what is wrong with doing whatever you please so long as you can get away with it? If the answer is common sense, then one must question why common sense is the least common of all senses, and why this common sense has only been bestowed on a small portion of the population.”

    Well, I will grant you that last point, about common sense being a glaring misnomer. This is largely due to the fact that in this day and age we have in our country a crusader emperor, handed the reigns by a massive throng of religious idiots, ruling it through religion and running it into the ground. Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to this farce of a war and the only thing said in defense of it all is “they died for freedom/democracy/apple pie and puppy dogs” or something equally as vaccuous and insipid. I truly wish there was a hell because i would sleep better at night with the knowledge that some ‘higher power” would dish out the torture bush and his whole damn family deserve.

    Unfortunatley, I cannot take comfort in that delusion for i am burdened with the gifts of observation and reason, and it has been through the implementation of those gifts that i have come to realize there is no god, heaven, hell, satan or angels.

    Does this mean that i’m going to go running through the street with an AK-47, raping, killing and pillaging at will? I haven’t done any of that stuff yet, and i doubt i ever will. If someone came up to me and told me inequivocally that i would “get away” with something terrible if i went ahead and did it, i still wouldn’t because i received a proper upbringing and can discern for myself what is wrong and what is right. i don’t need to be threatened with an eternity in hell in order for me to be a good person.

    There may have been an era in the development of human civilization when such threats were necessary to keep people in line, but that time is over. You can argue that back when people had nothing to lose and no laws to live by, that belief in god was tantamount to keeping people from running roughshod over one another, but adherence to primitive BS for the sake of adherence is lunacy. The way i see it, man created god to preserve society, and society, once mature, removed the need for that crutch.

  20. eric
    August 24th, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

    Brian K said:

    Eric: Since noone actually knows what God would refer to himself as, I fail to see how replacing “God” with the word “Snarflittty” makes any sense whatsoever. Perhaps words do not even exist in heaven and are merely a human concept that bears no relevance to the world beyond
    Or, much simpler, there is no world beyond. Why make it more complex? All of your givens, God, Heaven, and “the world beyond” are human concepts, that bear no relevance in the real world when divorced from language, just like Snarflitty. Making something up doesn’t mean I can’t claim that the object has things that are unknowable… why can’t superman see through lead? (you know somebody will answer, but it will be a explanation in the context of superman, not the simpler answer of “because he doesn’t exist)
    Good luck on insisting that a debate on the existence of God is irrelevant… on an atheist board. If you are looking for a athiest “Ethos” then you will be disappointed. The nonexistence of God is the only thing we have in common, and you don’t want to talk about that. You said “If there is no divine authority”… and stop. “No divine authority” would be our only “given”.
    And, my experience is that you can sway a person’s believe with words. Somebody, sometime had to tell you about your god, and his super powers.

  21. benjamin
    August 24th, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

    “ultimately they can be no true fellowship between atheists and Christians. They are irreconciably opposed and while Christians may want to be “nice” the atheists will take no prisoners.” -Turdius.

    Turdius has this completely backwards, of course. He paints the Christians as the ones desiring to get along, welcoming good-willed atheists with open arms. However, atheists have not modified a secular pledge to include the words “under NO god”, expecting christians to recite this modified pledge in public forums. We don’t ask that the government print “There is NO god” on the money that all citizens use. Atheists don’t come together on Sunday morning, and recite lines from a book that claims all christians are corrupt fools, capable of no good (Psalms 14:1 ) In short, we are not the ones who have ignored the establishment clause of the first amandment in order to further our own religious agenda, or the ones teaching intolerance. The only thing we wont tolerate is the actoins of certain christians as they try to trample on our rights. Outside of that group of narrow-minded, self-righteous assholes, a fellowship is quite possible.

  22. Brian K
    August 24th, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    I consider myself an “Equal Opportunity Idiocy Basher”. If I have irreconcilable differences with someone then I shall attempt to avoid bringing up that topic, especially if its on a topic this nebulous and subjective.

    I will however, argue my point on any topic which can be objectively examined. In this case, the topic was on Tertius’ blatant assault on the proponents of atheism for no reason other than that they are atheists. I won’t pass judgement untill persons of any group start doing things that are actually dangerous to others, like vandalizing or burning churches for no reason than the fact that the buildings were churches, and even then I will only pass judgement on their actions and recommend the law do something to detain them before they strike again. If I find unjust laws being made I will fight them not because of some “God said so” rhetoric, but because those laws are indeed unjust. Whether or not there is a God, we must rely on society to hold itself together. Just because I believe there is ultimately retribution for evil actions, that does not mean I should allow the existence I currently have to fall into decay. If we can rely only on human arms to uphold the law, then we have to keep said arms in check and make sure they aren’t descending into an illogical and immoral position.

  23. Paul
    August 24th, 2005 @ 6:06 pm

    Brian K wrote: “If there is no divine authority to set wrongs right, then what is wrong with doing whatever you please so long as you can get away with it?”

    It’s because our morality is instilled in us by the society in which we grow up, and which instillation functions more or less well, thank you. Other primates know nothing of god and have their own social norms, expectations, etc. If they can do it, so can we.

  24. Jennifer
    August 24th, 2005 @ 10:46 pm

    Doing something out of fear of a higher power is the antithesis of “moral.” That’s why Atheist’s are the only Moral people

  25. MBains
    August 25th, 2005 @ 9:21 am

    Eric: Since noone actually knows what God would refer to himself as, I fail to see how replacing “God” with the word “Snarflittty” makes any sense whatsoever.

    Of course you fail to see that Brian. You have a god concept which you worship. THAT doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you’ve accepted disproven primitive assertions as fact. Therefor your Logic – though sound were it factually premised – is faulty.

    There may be something that created the universe or universes etc, et al. But our only reason for even hypothesizing such a something is our ancestors’ vast ignorance in combination with their evolving intellectual capacity for abstract explanations.

    Rest assured Brian K and all believers: there are no things which could be called gods or God. They don’t exist outside of thoughts within the brains of abstract-capable animals.

    Thusly, I see no reason we can’t be on the same side of any Constitutional issues.

    Sayeth the Raving Atheist! My atheism isn

  26. leon
    August 25th, 2005 @ 10:46 am

    I think churches should be burned to the ground. I will not start the fire myself, but I will not lift a finger to put the fire out either. If I see a church on fire I will not call 911 as long as a tax payer’s property is not in any danger. WHY? Because the 1st amendment clearly states that no law will be made that respects an establishment of religion, so explain the tax exempt status of a religious business (for a business it is) and as far as I know the clergy’s income is not taxed either. Well excuse me, but aren’t they using the public roads? Don’t our military forces protect church property also? Don’t the police show up at a church when they are called there? The agreement to the exemption was that religious organizations will not get involved in political matters, but they are pushing their politics in every body’s face daily!

  27. INCITE
    August 30th, 2005 @ 7:51 pm

    Carnival of the Vanities

    It’s that time again–the third Carnival of the Vanities to be hosted at INCITE. This time, by some miracle, the Carnival contains fewer than 50 posts. Rather, it contains a paltry 48. So without further preamble, here are this weeks submissions (and…

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