The Raving Theist

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Dummkopf

August 9, 2005 | 76 Comments

Bill O’Reilly’s at it again:

Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without religious foundation is built on air; consequently all character training and religion must be derived from faith.

Yes, I’m just playing the old put-Hitler’s-words-in-someone-else’s-mouth trick. But if you fell for it you deserved it, because everyone knows that Bill’s sentences are much shorter and snappier. If you’re still having trouble telling the two apart, just remember that Dur Fuhrer abhorred pornography.

You might also want to take a look at the post from which I pinched the quote: Robert Flynn’s analysis The SOMA Review of whether Hitler was a Christian or an atheist. Before we turn the comments section into a battlefield on that issue, though, let me propose a compromise: he wasn’t religious, but spiritual.

Comments

76 Responses to “Dummkopf”

  1. Nick the Dick
    August 9th, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

    What was the holocaust except the logical culmination of Christianity?
    If Christianity is true Jews must be the vilest form of life; god

  2. GeneralZod
    August 9th, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

    Technically, I believe O’Reilly’s sentences are “pithier” rather than snappier. But otherwise, you are probably correct.

  3. Sternwallow
    August 9th, 2005 @ 3:02 pm

    Argh, I can’t help myself…
    O’Reilly’s sentences are full of “pith”

  4. qedpro
    August 9th, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

    If by “pith” you mean “shit”, then i agree.

  5. BlogWatch
    August 9th, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

    We Are All Hitlers

    In a world where anyone who is against you is labeled a Hitler or a Nazi, we get this link from the Raving Atheist: The Most Famous Christian of the 20th Century? The most famous Christian of the 20th century…

  6. hermesten
    August 9th, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

    Regardless of the wording, the sentiment expressed is not incompatible with O’Reilly’s demogoguery.

    As far as Hitler’s religious beliefs go, it may be an interesting academic excercise, but it’s largely irrelevant, since unlike the communists, the fascists weren’t out to make their countries atheistic. Whether they believed the bullshit or not, they saw religion as a useful tool for controlling the herd, and found it to be absolutely no impediment to any action they desired to take –just like our very own neocons. The fact is, whatever Hitler believed, however many high ranking Nazis were atheists, Hitler and Himmler weren’t shooting down Jews in the streets or dragging them into gas chambers: German CHRISTIANS did all the killing for them.

  7. Frank
    August 9th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    Nick the Dick — Calling the holocaust “the logical culmination of Christianity” is …well… based on erroneous assumptions. The message of Scripture does not, in any way, condemn Jews more than it condemns all of mankind for the necessity of Christ’s death. Christianity is the completion of Old Testament Judaism. Christians are “grafted into” the biblical Israel, according to Scripture. The gospel is for the Jew first and then the gentiles. I don’t deny that Christianity has been characterized as completely at odds with Judaism (sometimes by Christians themselves) but the message of the Bible is unmistakable: ALL of mankind is responsible for Christ’s death. The Bible does not characterize Jews as “the vilest form of life.” Jews are merely lumped in with the rest of us as sinners in desperate need of grace.

    hermesten — to say that “German CHRISTIANS did all the killing for them,” is a bit of a generalization, no? Sure, there were some Christians who served in the armed forces of the Nazis. But, as is typical in a lot of western civilization, being “Christian” is a cultural thing more than it is an actual thing. In America polls regularly show 70, 80, even 90 percent of Americans claim to be “Christian.” I’d venture not even half of them are actually Christians. If they were our churches would be filled on Sundays instead of our football stadiums. So, my guess is there were a lot of Social Christians in Hitler’s army who were no more an actual Christian than you are.

    Besides, the SS was, by design, a pagan organization. Those men were occultists who engaged in all manner of wicked, dark ritual. The SS didn’t even claim Christianity and, in fact, rejected it outright.

    Either way, the bottom line is this: You can’t lay the holocaust at the feet of Christ because even if Christians did participate in it, they were doing so in stark disobedience to the teachings of the One they claimed as their Lord.

  8. qedpro
    August 9th, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

    Frank:
    Your argument is based on the the “No true Scotsman” defense. The muslims use it to say that suicide bombers are not true muslims and apparently the christian use it to say that german christians are not true christians.
    To be a Christian requires only that you believe that JC died for your sins. It does not require a regular appearance at church.

  9. Sean
    August 9th, 2005 @ 5:22 pm

    I am pleased to announce that all atheists are more intelligent than Mr. O

  10. hermesten
    August 9th, 2005 @ 5:25 pm

    Frank, of course it’s a generalization: I’m sure there were non-believers who participated in the killing as well, but the vast majority would have identified themselves as Christians. I dispute your contention that the practice of Christianity has anything to do with church attendance. Some of the most pious Christians I’ve ever known reject the trappings of organized religion and don’t attend church. And anyway, churches and football stadiums are essentially the same thing: places of worship where people pray and talk about God.

    There is no “if” Christians participated in the holocaust, they did. I’m not suggesting Christians participated because they were Christians, I’m only pointing out that if the principles of Christianity are in opposition to what was done in Nazi Germany, it didn’t make any difference. Christians didn’t oppose Hitler’s regime, they activiely supported it or passively cooperated with it. Where was all the “principled” Christian opposition? Are you trying to tell us there were fewer “real” Christians in Germany than there were Jews? Where was the Christian “resistance?” –not just in Germany, but anywhere else in Europe? I know where they were in France –collaborating with the Nazis — while the left, socialists and communists, put their asses on the line fighting the Nazis. The communists were more prinicipled and had far more backbone than “Christians.”

    My bottom line is this: if your religion, which promises you eternal life, doesn’t provide people with the moral courage to stand up against evil, what the fuck good is it? If only 20% –hell 10%– of the Germans living under Hitler were “real” Christians, and being a “Christian” actually meant anything, fascism could never have gone anywhere. There would have been Christians protesting and dying en masse. But there weren’t any. None, zippo. Not a single Christian uprising even on the scale of the Warsaw uprising.

  11. Frank
    August 9th, 2005 @ 5:26 pm

    qedpro — Your argument is good up to a point. The “No true Scotsman” defense would be to deny affiliation with anyone who does evil. “You mean he killed a house full of puppies?” one would say, “Well, then, he’s not really one of us.”

    My argument is that there are a huge number of people who claim to be Christian who haven’t the first clue what that means. Even “good” people. Such is the case in any predominantly “Christianized” country. I’ve spoken with a great many people who profess to be Christians who still think “doing good” is going to get them into heaven. That is so far from the message of the gospel it isn’t even funny.

    It’s true that faith in Jesus Christ is the only prerequisite … “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead and you shall be saved.” But it is also true that the Bible tells us Christians will be known by their fruit. People who are truly saved have a desire to be around other believers. They have a desire to be obedient to the Word of God. Gathering together (church) is part of that. The validity of the conversion of a person who has no desire to meet together regularly with other believers is certainly suspect.

    Also, I did not deny the participation of actual Christians in the holocaust. It is easy for people (any people) to get caught up in the “patriotic” fervor of a nation. Christians were just as likely as anyone to be seduced by the clarion call of the trumpets of war in Nazi Germany. My point was that many people who claimed Christianity were not actually Christians and those who were and participated in the holocaust did so in stark contrast to the teachings of Christ. They are to blame for their actions, Christianity is not.

  12. Frank
    August 9th, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

    hermesten — Ever heard of Deitrich Bonhoeffer? He was a Lutheran minister and seminary professor. He was also a part of a very Christian resistence movement in Germany that included a number of high-ranking Nazi officers (including Admiral Canaris, the head of the Abwehr).

    Ever heard of Operation 7? This was an organized attempt by Christians who served in the Abwehr (Nazi Intelligence) and other Nazi organizations to smuggle Jews out of Europe. They forged documents that made the Jews look like Nazi agents being sent abroad. These Jews would get through Nazi lines and usually to the Americas because of the efforts of these Christians. It is also of note that most of the Christians in Operation 7 were captured and executed for their participation. Deitrich Bonhoeffer actually had the opportunity to get out before he was arrested but refused to do so because he still could help some Jews escape.

    Now, that’s just one example. There are others.

    Bottom line: Yes, some Christians did actively participate in Hitler’s regime. Others, had the strength of their conviction to resist and did so to the point of death.

  13. qedpro
    August 9th, 2005 @ 6:23 pm

    Perhaps it wasn’t the strength of their religious convictions. that made them resist. Perhaps it was because they “knew” what was happening was wrong. Certainly being a christian isn’t a prerequist for knowing that.

  14. BC
    August 9th, 2005 @ 6:27 pm

    Nick the Dick is a very sick prick. Sick he is that Nick the Dick.

  15. hermesten
    August 9th, 2005 @ 6:32 pm

    Frank, you’re a funny guy, but thanks for making my point. Yeah, Canaris was real “effective,” and Oskar Schindler worked for him too, so I’m surprised you didn’t claim Schindler as part of the Christian “opposition.” If you hit the history books, I’m sure you can name ten or twenty more groups with anywhere from 5 to 20 members. Whoopie fuckin’ doo. Al Queda probably has more members. The population of Germany was what, 65 MILLION? In 1932, there were 400,000 brownshirts. Yet there were so few Christians who opposed Hitler that you have to have a special interest in the topic to even know they existed.

    Come on Frank, Iraqis are blowing themselves up every day for what they believe in, and as bad as our occupation may be, it is nothing like the evil of Nazi Germany. And all you can tell us about is a handful of Christians who pretended to be good Nazis and helped smuggle a relative handful of Jews out of Germany. Yes Frank, they are better in their passive resistance than the vast majority of those who did nothing, and risked nothing, but come on, mere communists, “cheese eating surrender monkey FRENCH” communists no less, and without the promise of eternal life, actually fought the Nazi regime. Then you say “some” Christians actively participated in Hitler’s regime, and “others” resisted to the point of death, as if the numbers were relatively equal, instead of say, more like 10,000 who supported Hitler and did his bidding for every one who opposed.

  16. qedpro
    August 9th, 2005 @ 7:00 pm

    Frank – you said

    People who are truly saved have a desire to be around other believers. They have a desire to be obedient to the Word of God. Gathering together (church) is part of that. The validity of the conversion of a person who has no desire to meet together regularly with other believers is certainly suspect.

    So you’re saying that i would not be a true christian if i didn’t like hanging out with goose-steping homophobes. I beg to differ and i imagine god would too

  17. paul rinzler
    August 9th, 2005 @ 7:48 pm

    Frank wrote:
    “It’s true that faith in Jesus Christ is the only prerequisite …. But it is also true that the Bible tells us Christians will be known by their fruit. “

    Are they both necessary? Or is only one sufficient? If so, which one?

  18. Daniel
    August 9th, 2005 @ 7:53 pm

    Let’s not forget the Catholic church if you’re talking about Christians and Hitler.

  19. Percy
    August 9th, 2005 @ 10:27 pm

    Herm,

    Your comments about the communists are built on air. Yes, the Communists fought the Nazis, but are you forgetting that at the start of WWII the Communists were allied with the Nazis!? The Russians fought AGAINST the allies! In fact, it was only when Hitler INVADED Russia that the Russians dropped their allegiance with Nazi Germany and allied with the Allied forces. I would also note that the Russians fought so valiantly not because they were “principled”, but because Stalin had ordered that all deserters and retreaters would be shot.

    On your comments about Christians, I think your making quite a few generalizations and assumptions, while ignoring some important facts. First and foremost, the Nazis DID make serious efforts to control Christianity in Germany. Hitler tried to sack many of the priests in the Catholic church, and made serious attempts to disband and eventually infiltrate the Protestants. The Bible was often edited or rewritten to support Nazi propaganda (a particular example would be the Aryan paragraph).

    You’re then assuming that no Christian movement existed that opposed the Nazis. First and foremost, there were the priests that spoke against Nazism, which Hitler arrested and placed in concentration camps. Then, when the pro-Nazi “German Christian” movement began to spring up, the Confessing Church movement of anti-Nazis publicly opposed them. Most of the leaders were then put into concentration camps. As you can see, its not that the Christians did not actively oppose the Nazis, it’s that everytime they did they were placed in concentration camps. Pretty soon you run out of people to oppose Hitler, either because they are afraid of being placed in concentration camps or because they are already there (or because they’ve been sucked into the “German Christian” movement).

    You’re also ignoring the fact that the Nazi schools taught nothing but German propoganda. Hitler practically grew his own army – they did not just switch to fascism overnight. The children were raised on the Nazi versions of Christianity that the “German Christian” movement supplied. The fact that many Germans in Germany were Christian is, as Frank said, more to do with social traditions than actual religion – Catholicism, Protestantism and Lutheranism had been the major religions in Germany for many centuries before Hitler came to power. However, since Christianity at the time was mostly centered around that organized aspect, when the organized denominations did not or were not able to act against Hitler it seriously hampered the chances or organized Christian resistance to Nazi efforts. In the end, it was primarily the bastions of organized Christianity (Catholicism, Lutheranism, Protestantism) that failed to effectively confront Hitler, not the Christians themselves.

    The final point you’re ignoring is that most of the German people were ignorant of the incredible atrocities that Hitler had committed. The Nazi party controlled all German media, and Joseph Goebbels was excellent at propoganda. In fact, few Germans knew that there were concentration camps, or what happened in them. Few, if any Germans, knew that 6 million Jews had been so cruelly “exterminated”. It’s easy to comment on how people should have acted at the time, or where their faults were in there actions, but that is because WWII happened half a century ago.

    I’m extremely curious as to where you’re getting your figures that there were “10,000 who supported Hitler and did his bidding for every one who opposed.” Please back that comment up with some references.

    Here are some of my references:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Christians
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessing_Church
    http://members.aol.com/baronvanc/christia.htm

    ———————————————————————————

    Sean,

    I’m curious as to how you came to the conclusion that a person’s intellectual prowess is measured by which assumption they choose regarding how life came to be. Please tell me.

  20. Eva
    August 9th, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    frank, i had absolutely NOTHING to do with that fucker’s death….

    i think it was a suicide, really…

  21. Sean
    August 9th, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

    Percy,

    I used real rigorous methods that my bother will vouch for, just ask him. Problem is, I lost his email address. So you’ll just have to take my word for it. Thanks for the inquiry.

  22. Frank
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:09 am

    qedpro — When I say that Christians will have a desire to be with other Christians you hear me say, “…I would not be a true Christian if I didn’t like hanging out with goose-stepping homophobes.”

    Geez, qedpro! Let’s try to refrain from absurd projections, shall we?

    Paul Rinzler — Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, a person’s conduct after salvation is the evidence salvation has occurred.

  23. Viole
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:18 am

    A few things, Percy…

    One, I think you’ll find Herm was talking mainly about FRENCH communists.

    Two, Russia was the only country that tried to invoke the post WWI agreement to defend Czechoslovakia from German aggression. England and France refused, which would have put Russia in the position of fighting off Germany while the West watched. In the non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany, they agreed to divide Poland–which is probably where you get the idea that the Russians fought for the Germans–only they didn’t. There was no alliance between Russia and Germany, though it would have been just response to Western attempts to set the two nations fighting. The aftermath, either way, would have been devastating.

  24. SteveR
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:26 am

    Frank,

    Have xtians ever participated in evil deeds to the extent that they should be held historically accountable for these deeds? Or, when xtians screw up on a mass scale, are they always ‘defined’ away from culpability, as exhibiting behavior that ‘can’t be xtian’ ?

  25. Frank
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:36 am

    SteveR — I never said, nor implied, that Christians have never participated in evil deeds for which they should be held historically accountable. I have only maintained that when they do so they do it CONTRARY to the teachings of their faith, not in accordance with it.

    Christians are people just like everybody else. And I don’t know if you were aware of this, but people have a tendancy to do mean stuff. Christians struggle with the same things. A prime example in history is the period immediately following the Protestant Reformation. Catholics and Protestants went to war with one another for years. They committed horrible acts (both sides in the name of God). They are historically accountable for their actions. However, the things they did were in stark contrast to the teachings of the Bible. Orthodox Christianity is not to blame for their conduct … they, themselves, are.

  26. hermesten
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:37 am

    Percy, talk about comments being built on air –what’s up with all this “Russian” stuff? The “communists” I’m talking about weren’t “Russian,” they were French. I suppose you could add Poles, Czechs, and others too, but here’s a clue from my comments that tells you I wasn’t talking about the “Russians”: “…mere communists, “cheese eating surrender monkey FRENCH” communists no less, and without the promise of eternal life, actually fought the Nazi regime.”

    You see, the point of comparison is to compare “like” or “similar” situations for the purpose of determining or highlighting “differences.” I chose France, because I’m more familar with French WWII history, than say, that of Poland; and because the government of occupied France cooperated with the Nazis; and because the Nazis rounded up French communists and sent them to concentration camps. The right, conservatives, and Christians were the primary collaborators with the Nazi regime; the socialists, atheists, and communists were the primary opposition. If anything, the Christians were notable for their lack of opposition –especially when you factor in the consisderation that Christians already had the basis of an organization through their churches.

    Your apologetics are pretty hard to take seriously when you make statements like these:

    “Pretty soon you run out of people to oppose Hitler, either because they are afraid of being placed in concentration camps or because they are already there (or because they’ve been sucked into the “German Christian” movement).” and “In fact, few Germans knew that there were concentration camps, or what happened in them.”

    How come the atheistic French communists never “ran out of people to oppose Hitler?” Why are people who believe in salvation through Christ and eternal life “afraid” of being placed in concentration camps? How, exactly, does one “get sucked into” a movement that is contrary to deeply held beliefs? Sorry, but unless the Germans had giant irresitible sucking machines, saying someone just got “sucked into” something is a bullshit denial of all personal responsibility. Just what good is your religion if it makes no difference in your conduct, and you behave the same, and make the same excuses, as any sleeze bag without faith or religion? And finally, if only a “few” Germans knews about concentration camps, how could any signigicant number of Christians be afraid of going there?

    The contention that the German people didn’t know what the Nazis were doing is also bullshit. They may not have appreciated the full scope of what was being done, but they knew very bad things were happening, as you yourself admit when you say that Christians were “afraid” of being put in concentration camps. You can’t simultaneously contend that everyone was ignorant of anything bad happening but they were too afraid of the Nazis to do anything. Hitler had something like 4 million troops in Russia. What, you’re going to tell us that all 4 million kept what they did in Russia a “secret?” Ever watch the documentary “Shoah?” The Jews, and others, were being transported all over the fucking place in cattle cars. People saw them. Troops, who had families and friends, guarded them. Railroad workers switched their cattle cars on the tracks, or listened to their screams as cars waited, sometimes for days, in the switchyard. Anyone passing by the train station knew what was going on. Local people, like electricians and carpenters, worked in concentration camps, and even traded with the Jews confined there.

    Farms were operated by slave labor from the east and the west. What, the farmers didn’t know those guys speaking French weren’t Germans? Domestic slave labor was imported from the East –what, the people with these slaves, and their family and friends who saw them, thought they came West looking for a good job? I know, there is nothing unchristian about slavery, the Bible approves of it. Before the Jews were put in concentration camps, their property was confiscated and they were rounded up and put in ghettos. They had to walk the streets with the Star of David pinned on their clothes. What, all the good Christians thought they were just showing off –sort of like all the Bible beaters today with the fish on their cars? Just because the Nazis didn’t take out full page ads in the locals papers doesn’t mean people didn’t know what was going on.

    As far as the 10,000 to 1 number goes, why don’t we take a look at the complete sentence: “Then you say “some” Christians actively participated in Hitler’s regime, and “others” resisted to the point of death, as if the numbers were relatively equal, instead of say, more like 10,000 who supported Hitler and did his bidding for every one who opposed.” It should be clear that I used this ratio to illustrate the vast inequality between Hitler’s Christian supporters and his Christian opposition. I have no idea what the actual ratio is, but although this number is probably at the high boundary, there is no doubt that it expresses the essential fact that German Christians were Hitler’s biggest supporters. Make the number 1,000 to 1, or even 100 to 1 (which is probably the lower boundary), if it makes you feel better; it doesn’t change my point in the least.

    I saw Viole’s comments before I finished my overly long post, and she is essentially correct. Anthony Beevor talks about that very subject in “Paris After the Liberation.”

    As far as the “switch” to fascism goes, everyday in this country is a history lesson as we walk down the very same path. And guess what, the primary supporters of Bush and his proto-fascist regime are CHRISTIANS.

  27. hermesten
    August 10th, 2005 @ 10:40 am

    Frank: “However, the things they did were in stark contrast to the teachings of the Bible. ”

    You’ve got to be kidding, or you skipped over “Numbers” in Sunday school. Your credibility just took a big hit over that remark.

  28. Frank
    August 10th, 2005 @ 11:26 am

    hermesten — if you have a specific passage you think contradicts my statement please share it. I’ll be happy to discuss it.

  29. AK
    August 10th, 2005 @ 11:41 am

    I think one thing we learned through this comments discussion is that Christianity is a wonderful ideological tool if you want to persecute a given people based on race and/or religion.

    It was funny to see Frank try to differentiate between real Christian Germans and the “occultist” SS squads. Christianity is “occultist” but with more members. I mean, come on! Cannibalism (body of Christ)? Blood drinking? Sacrificing innocents (crucifixion)? Whats not occultist about the mainstream Christian thinking by the Germans of those days?

  30. hermesten
    August 10th, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

    KJN31:15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
    New Intenational: “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.

    N31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    New International: Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,

    N31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

    New International: but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    N31:52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the LORD, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels.

    N31:53 (For the men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.)

    So, the conduct of Moses’ soldiers, approved by God, includes:

    Murder
    Child Murder
    Rape
    Child Rape
    Looting
    Involuntary Servitude

    So, by this standard, if a US soldier in Iraq killed a ten year old Iraqi girl’s parents, robbed their house, raped the girl, and took her to be his personal slave, he’d just be doing what God approved –not just approved, but rewarded– for the men of Moses. Is it any wonder that most Christians had no problems with the Nazis?

    I find the notion that the Bible teaches any kind of univeral morality more than absurd.

  31. MBains
    August 10th, 2005 @ 2:07 pm

    … You can’t lay the holocaust at the feet of Christ because blah blah blah…

    Actually, you can’t do such cuz “Christ” is a fictional character. The Holocaust actually occurred.

    C’est la vie…

  32. John C. Randolph
    August 10th, 2005 @ 3:20 pm

    I’d have to say it’s pretty clear from his actions that while adolf was no atheist, he certainly wasn’t a Christian either. He saw himself as second only to god, and was quite convinced that god personally intervened to keep him from getting blown to pieces at Wolf’s Lair.

    He couldn’t be a christian, of course, since he considered himself superior to Jews. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew.

    -jcr

  33. AssBouncer
    August 10th, 2005 @ 4:50 pm

    JCR,

    sadly, as a fictional Jew, Jesus’ powers are somewhat limited and can in no way help when confronted with very real nazis

  34. boywonder
    August 10th, 2005 @ 6:34 pm

    Frank, you said (post 6):

    “The message of Scripture does not, in any way, condemn Jews more than it condemns all of mankind for the necessity of Christ’s death.”

    Um, the guy who Jesus knew would ho him out like a punk bitch was named Judas. Judas means “jew”. Is that just a coincidence? I would have to say that little piece of evidence qualifies as “a way” to condemn Jews more than others.

    Also, don’t you find it a bit odd that the Catholic church has not excommunicated a SINGLE Nazi, including Hitler? I suppose you’ll say it’s because they’re Catholics, but it speaks volumes for how bad followers of Jesus perceive the treatment of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis to have been.

  35. leon
    August 10th, 2005 @ 6:56 pm

    Frank

    The bible and the Quran were written by toothless, unbathed, unkepted, smelly, malnourished, lawless, sickly, unethical, uneducated, diseased, shitty assed men who had no toilet paper who ate rotten food and died from penis infections. Half the people 2000 years ago were semi-insane with delusions from tooth aches and filthy water. Throw that bible away and read some modern fiction instead.

  36. leon
    August 10th, 2005 @ 7:03 pm

    Frank

    Have you read god

  37. AssBouncer
    August 10th, 2005 @ 7:30 pm

    MAn, that Leviticus dude has got some issues…

  38. Frank
    August 11th, 2005 @ 10:25 am

    hermesten — In order to understand my response you will, for the sake of argument, have to accept a premise: God created all things. All of mankind rebelled against God and stands guilty before Him and deserving of His judgment. Now, I know you don’t believe that, but that is the biblical worldview and it is from within that framework I draw my conclusions.

    You present to me the passage from Numbers as evidence that God approves of murder, child murder, rape, child rape, looting, and involuntary servitude. Your assumption is that all of these bad things happened to “innocent” women and children. My response is, before God there are no “innocent” women and children. Everyone has sinned against God and deserves to suffer the punishment of His justice. Sometimes God uses unusual means to judge (as in the case of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, or in the case of the flood). Other times he uses other people to judge (as in the case of using the Babylonians to judge Israel or, in this case, using Israel to judge the Midianites).

    Murder (your word here) is defined as an “unlawful killing.” We don’t call executions of convicted criminals “murder” because their death is the just, lawful punishment for their crimes. Such is the case with God’s judgment on anyone. It is justice. In this case the Midianites, who inhabited Moab, were involved in seducing Israel to follow false gods. Israel fell into idolatry this way. God instructed Moses to deal harshly with them as the means of carrying out His righteous judgment. So, there was no “murder” here.

    to be continued …

  39. Frank
    August 11th, 2005 @ 10:42 am

    … continued from above:

    The passage in Numbers does not say (nor really imply) that rape was a part of what happened. God instructed the Israelites to “save for yourselves” the virgins. I understand that in today’s language everything implies sex but you cannot apply today’s language standards to an ancient text, it removes the text’s proper context. To “save for yourselves” is to incorporate these virgins into Israel (marriages, joining families is the implication, not rape). I’m not saying that this arrangement was a pleasant thing for those virgins, but this was the typical custom of warfare in that day.

    Looting? Nope, again. The biblical worldview is this: everything belongs to God. My property is not my own, I am merely a steward of what God has entrusted to me. It is His to take anytime He wishes, to use as He sees fit. In the case of the Midianites you have a group of people worshipping false gods. God judged them for it, executing the sentence of death they had earned. The property they had been enjoying was not theirs to begin with and God merely reclaimed it and allowed the Israelites to use it.

    Finally, you compare American soldiers in Iraq with the Israelites when no legitimate comparison exists. The account in Numbers is an historical account of what God did in a specific place and time. His instructions were given specifically to Israel for dealing specifically with the Midianites. There is no blanket instruction there for countries to do likewise anytime they see fit.

  40. Frank
    August 11th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

    boywonder — Trying to make a case that God holds Jews more accountable in Christ’s death than others because the man who betrayed Jesus was named Judas is a bit of a reach. In too many other places in the Bible it is made clear that we all are to blame for making Christ’s death necessary.

    You can say that this “little bit of evidence qualifies as a way to condemn Jews more than others” … but you’d be wrong.

  41. worldcitizen
    August 11th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    You present to me the passage from Numbers as evidence that God approves of murder, child murder, rape, child rape, looting, and involuntary servitude. Your assumption is that all of these bad things happened to “innocent” women and children. My response is, before God there are no “innocent” women and children. Everyone has sinned against God and deserves to suffer the punishment of His justice.

    There you have it. Christians are moral monsters. Repulsive.

    As far as the holocaust discussion, christianity was a hugely important component. German anti-Semitism wasn’t invented by Hitler with Mein Kampf. Hatred of Jews was part of christian tradition within the church and among common people for centuries, all over Europe.

    Frank, don’t you even read your own scriptures? The gospel of John (unlike the ones written earlier) features a Jewish mob screaming ‘Crucify him!’ at the Romans, as represented by Pilate, who wanted to release your Nazarene. ‘His blood be on us and our children,’ remember?

    You can insist that the mob is a metaphor for all of humanity if you want. But the historical fact is that that is not how it was interpreted in Europe for hundreds and hundreds of years prior to the rise of the Nazi party.

  42. worldcitizen
    August 11th, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

    Oh and by the way, RA, this:

    He wasn

  43. Frank
    August 11th, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    worldcitizen — why, yes, as a matter of fact I do read the Scriptures. Thanks for asking. I’m quite familiar with the passage in John that you cite. And, once again, we are talking about a specific historical instance. Yes, it was a Jewish mob yelling “crucify him!” What I don’t see in John is a passage immediately following that says, “…and so God held the Jews, only and specifically, responsible for the death of Christ.” What is in the Bible is passage after passage about how ALL have sinned (which is what made the death of Christ necessary). There are passages about how Christ GAVE his life (nobody took it). Indeed, nobody had the ability to take Christ’s life unless he freely gave it.

    Oh … “moral monsters?” … “repulsive?” … This is how you refer to people who believe and teach that we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves?” You went a bit over the top, don’t you think?

  44. simbol
    August 11th, 2005 @ 3:47 pm

    Frank
    “In this case the Midianites, who inhabited Moab, were involved in seducing Israel to follow false gods.
    God instructed Moses to deal harshly with them as the means of carrying out His righteous judgment. So, there was no “murder” here”

    If I can convince you that Shiva is the true god, are some christians entitled to apply me and my family the same god’s “justice” (aka murder) that was applied to midianites?.

    Applying the same standards that in the case of midianites, the christian missionaries killed by the japanese in 1597, were suffering no other thing than justice. After all they were involved in seducing japanese to follow false gods. At least from the point of view of japanese.

    Frank, since midianites did exactly what other missionaries do, what you are defending in fact, is that only christian can issue licenses for piracy. I warn you that I will sue your church before the WTO (world trade organization) for unfair practices, and will ask for our license, since it’s known and enough proved that Shiva does exists where christ existence it’s still under discussion.

    You can argue that in the japanese case there were more things that only religion. I will retort that you are very naive if you think that the pious moses’ soldiers were indifferent to raping, looting and carrying home nice pubescent girls.

  45. MBains
    August 11th, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    Worldcitizen, in #41, is absolutely right! I’ve got a def of spiritual with which I’m very intellectually comfortable but I was STILL laughin’ my ass off when I read that RA.

    Niiiice! LOL!

  46. Percy
    August 11th, 2005 @ 6:05 pm

    Herm,

    I know you were talking about the French. My point was to show you the irony of your statement, in, as you. It was a comparison, which, as you said, ” is to compare “like” or “similar” situations for the purpose of determining or highlighting “differences.”” Russian communists did horrible things, while *some* French communists did good things. I would challenge you, however, to find other instances of how Communism has helped a country. I’m also curious: what class were the “right, conservatives, and Christians”?

    “How come the atheistic French communists never “ran out of people to oppose Hitler?”

    How long were the Nazis in France? How long were they in Germany? See the difference?

    “Why are people who believe in salvation through Christ and eternal life “afraid” of being placed in concentration camps?”

    A good question. The simplest answer would be because they’re human. When their faith is tested, some people give in, and others hold to their convictions. It’s like that whether you’re an atheist, theist, communist, or capitalist.

    “And finally, if only a “few” Germans knews about concentration camps, how could any signigicant number of Christians be afraid of going there?”

    You forgot to read the rest of my statement. I said, “In fact, few Germans knew that there were concentration camps, or what happened in them.” First and foremost, I was talking about average German citizens. Consider this: the media was controlled by the Nazis. Do you think they broadcast who was taken into captivity each night? Do you think they broadcast where they sent them? Do you think they broadcast what happened to people in the places they sent them? Christians opposing Hitler would have knowledge of the concentration camps because they would have a reason to, and a means of communication – other Christians opposing Hitler.

    All your comments about instances where people should have known about the concentration camps are superficial. You are forgetting that the majority of Germans were ignorant of all the dealings of the Nazis. Word of mouth travels neither as swiftly nor as powerfully as mass media. The Nazis controlled the media. Sure, people were aware of Jews being rounded up. Sure, people were aware that people were being arrested in the middle of the night, etc. But the majority didn’t know where they were taken, and what happened there. So, as I said before, few Germans knew about the concentration camps, and those who did oftentimes didn’t know exactly what went on there.

    “I know, there is nothing unchristian about slavery, the Bible approves of it.”

    That’s a straw man arguement. Firstly, nowhere in the Bible does it approve of slavery. Second, where it does talk about slavery in the Bible, it gives strict rules for how slaves are to be treated. Furthermore, the slavery the Bible discusses is not the concept we usually think of. The slavery in the Bible is essentially our concept of employment: if you have a debt, you sell yourself to someone for X many years and that person agrees to pay of your debts.

    I never said that there weren’t more Christians supporting Hitler than opposing him. But you’ve completely ignored the reasons I gave as to why this was. Firstly, you seem to be assuming that Germany was a “Christian nation”, where everyone was Christian. This is not the case. Nazism was, in many ways, the “religion” of Germany when Hitler was in power. It controlled almost all vestiges of Christianity in Germany, from the Bible (parts of which were rewritten or added to to support Nazi propoganda) to the preachers who taught on it. Christianity at the time was a religion that relied very much on its leaders for spiritual direction. Hitler arrested all the leaders who disagreed with him. In their place, he put leaders who agreed with his ideals. You then ignore that Hitler “grew” his own army. The Nazi ideals they were taught allowed them to unquestioningly accept the Nazi version of Christianity that was taught on German pulpits. Furthermore, the Nazis controlled all the media. Anyone who didn’t agree with Hitler was quietly and efficiently swept away. Given all this, I think it’s incredible that a large number of Christians DID see the Nazi lies and DID oppose Hitler. In any event, I still think you should present some numbers – otherwise I can only conclude that you are assuming the vast majority of Nazis to have been Christian.

    “And guess what, the primary supporters of Bush and his proto-fascist regime are CHRISTIANS.”

    I knew you were taken to conspiracy theories, but this is a bit much. First and foremost, Hitler’s Germany was not necessarily fascist. It was socialist. This is from Wikipedia:

    The term fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini’s, that in various combinations:

    * exalts the nation, (and in some cases the race, culture, or religion) above the individual, with the state apparatus being supreme.
    * stresses loyalty to a single leader.
    * uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition.
    * engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
    * engages in syndicalist corporatism.
    * implements totalitarian systems.

    Please tell me how Bush has done these things.

    P.S. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, but it will be like this for a while; I’ve just moved, and Verizon won’t set up my internet until the 23rd, lol.

  47. Paul
    August 11th, 2005 @ 6:18 pm

    Frank said:

    “Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, a person’s conduct after salvation is the evidence salvation has occurred.”

    I see 2 possibilities:

    1. A person has faith, is saved, and then his/her conduct is exemplary — because of their faith, I’ll even grant.

    2. A person has faith, is saved, and then his/her conduct is crappy, or, better, is flawed just like the rest of us fallible humans.

    It seems that conduct would not be good evidence; the only good evidence would be whether the person had faith. That may be hard to determine objectively, but that’s the real determining factor. A person’s behavior after salvation could be indicative, maybe, but not determinative. Agreed?

  48. Paul
    August 11th, 2005 @ 6:28 pm

    Frank: That’s not the point. Look back to post #26. You claimed that Xtian x Xtian atrocities were “in stark contrast” to biblical teachings, and Herm merely showed you some portions of the bible to which atrocities are *not* in stark contrast. That’s all. And that’s the point.

  49. boywonder
    August 11th, 2005 @ 7:25 pm

    Frank, you have an intricate and seemingly indestructible house of cards built in regards to your faith. I applaud your determinism, however misguided I believe it to be. Everyone makes mistakes, some just a little bigger than others. Still, I respect your willingness to debate ad infinitum with hard core atheists. I just wonder how seemingly nothing any of us has said ever since you’ve been on this site has sunk in, in regards to disbelief.
    I’m used to religious people asking me “What would it take for you to believe?” Today, however, I thought you might benefit from a little reflection of your own when I ask this deceptively complex question to you: “What evidence would it take for you to no longer believe in a god or supreme being?” If you cannot think of anything, I would suggest questioning why it is that nothing would dissuade you. Because then you might begin to see that a belief that cannot be altered or thrown into question is unreasonable at the very least, and dangerous to your life at the most.

  50. simbol
    August 11th, 2005 @ 9:02 pm

    boywonder

    When a man justifies massacre in the name of his god, you are in presence of a fanatic, and more fanatic if such god is the OMNIBENEVOLENT christian god, because by deffending massacre he has to kill not not only mercy but also logic. Is an excercise in futility trying to insert a nanogram of doubt into the mind of such a fanatic.

  51. boywonder
    August 12th, 2005 @ 2:58 am

    simbol

    Different buttons push different people. Frank may very well be a fanatic (and I bet he will tell you if he is or isn’t). But Frank also shows intelligence. From there, anything is possible. From most of the deconversion stories I’ve read, many atheists and agnostics point to a few key problems or circumstances. It may take time, but the foundation is slowly being chipped away. Do you believe Frank is here to convert atheists? I doubt it. It seems more reasonable he has been around this long because of his curiousity.

  52. simbol
    August 12th, 2005 @ 4:45 am

    You can doubt it, but try to imagine you were a fanatic, Wouldn’t you try to convert an atheist?
    Intelligent?, maybe but i’m no sure since intelligence includes some dose o skepticism if only because it demands reasonable explanations to contradictory statements (the system is earth centered or sun centered?) But combine intelligence and fanaticism, and what you get?: the perfect fanatic. I think this is the case.
    Frank wil never accept he is a fanatic, it would implyes to abjure his cultivated twisted reasononig, what it’s exactly what makes him an fanatic. Escaping the fanatic world is like a miracle. It occurs but rarely. Is not a matter of being christian, after all there is a lot of christian that wouldn’t accept massacre eve if mandated by moses. The perfect fanatic is protected by a very width iron curtanin impenetrable by a perfectly logic reasoning with the power of a 100 megatons hidrogen bomb. The sad reality is that perfec fanatic exists.

  53. MBains
    August 12th, 2005 @ 7:50 am

    Re: #48 boywonder, that was beautiful dude! You be growin’ up man! LOL! I mean it though.

    Simbol came back with valid points about how fanaticism twists one’s ability to reason and you came back with the valid posit that it doesn’t necessarily preclude such an ability and and and…

    Good tete-e-tete

  54. MKW
    August 12th, 2005 @ 10:40 am

    OK, I have just stumble onto this board, and I though I am not generally one to be inclined to participate in message board discussions, I’m finding this one interesting. I suggest that Frank is a very smart individual, but my reading of his posts seem to suggest he posses a mental gymnastics ability normally reserved for the “True-believer” in any faith. As Dr. Michael Shermer has said, “Smart people are very good at rationalizing things they have come to believe for non-smart reasons.” I think we are seeing this with Frank.

    “Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.” ~Chapman Cohen

  55. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 11:28 am

    Paul — It is a rare thing, indeed, to find a person who exhibits “exemplary” behavior. Let’s dismiss your first possibility. Your second one is the more likely scenerio. Even after salvation Christians continue to struggle with their sinful nature and are bound to mess up. The conduct of a Christian is going to be, as you say, flawed. However, there are specific “fruits of the spirit” (as Paul called them) that will be in evidence — joy, patience, etc. Certainly it is possible for non-Christians to exhibit many of these characteristics (I’ve known many “nice” people who were not Christians). The telling thing is when you run across a person who claims to be a Christian but exhibits none of these characteristics. It is then that the verbal testimony of that person comes into question. I can agree with your statement when you say that a person’s behavior after salvation can only be indicative but not determinative. After all, the notion that only God knows the heart of a person is biblical. The bottom line for salvation is this: The actions of a person are NEVER, EVER the means of salvation. Salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, period.

  56. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    Paul — with regard to your post (#47), atrocities committed by Christians ARE in contrast to biblical teaching. God’s specific instructions to the new testament church is contained in the new testament. The conduct of the church is to model the love of Christ and to employ the principles you’ve heard before — things like “loving your neighbor” and “going the extra mile” and “turning the other cheek” and so on. There are NO specific instructions to Christians (after the close of the canon) directing them to make war on someone or to kill non-believers or anything of that nature.

    The key here is to understand that the Bible is a collection of 66 books. You have to read in context or you miss the point completely. It’s like a general getting a note on his desk that reads, “Kill ‘em all let God sort ‘em out.” If the note is a part of a humor piece by Dave Barry the general needs to know that. If it’s in a directive from the president he needs to know that, too. Context is everything.

    In proper context you cannot find any instructions in the Bible to the church that indicate it is their task to commit atrocities in God’s name. That, is the point.

  57. Eva
    August 12th, 2005 @ 11:51 am

    no….the point is to interpret the bible in ways that make god look good, regardless of what it says…

  58. MKW
    August 12th, 2005 @ 11:57 am

    Frank said:
    …with regard to your post (#47), atrocities committed by Christians ARE in contrast to biblical teaching. God’s specific instructions to the new testament church is contained in the new testament. The conduct of the church is to model the love of Christ and to employ the principles you’ve heard before — things like “loving your neighbor” and “going the extra mile” and “turning the other cheek” and so on. There are NO specific instructions to Christians (after the close of the canon) directing them to make war on someone or to kill non-believers or anything of that nature.

    MKW said:
    Frank, what it seem to me you are saying is that anyone who doesn’t share your views as to what a “Real Christian” is, is not a “Real Christian.” Your Bible interpretation is correct, and any other is incorrect? It seems to me that many people throughout recorded history have agreed with you, but in each of their cases, they thought their own interpretation was the correct one, and their interpretation didn’t always agree with yours. Additionally, we still have no general agreement between the thousand of Christian sects as to what it means to be a “True Christian”. Seems to me we never will because no two people can read the Bible, the theoretically inspired word of God, and agree on what the book say. One would think that an omnipotent, omni-benevolent, omniscient God would easily be able to write a book with a clear and concise meaning. Maybe she isn’t as omnipotent or omniscient as we are generally led to believe.

    “The mind of the fundamentalist is like the pupil of the eye: the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract.” ~Unknown

  59. hermesten
    August 12th, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

    Percy, I’d have to say your comments about communists are a “Red” Herring. The whole point of my comparison is not that Christians are bad, or that communists are good, or less bad, or that communism is better than Christianity, yada yada yada. I’m merely showing that there is absolutely no evidence that Christianity improves human conduct; no evidence that Christianity facilitates moral courage; or that Christians really even believe their own bullshit. Now you take someone like Stonewall Jackson: he believed the bullshit and conducted himself accordingly. He didn’t worry about being killed in battle because he believed that outcome was in the hands of God, and that he would go to Heaven. Yet you say these good Christians in Germany didn’t do anything because they feared going to a concentration camp.

    “Sure, people were aware of Jews being rounded up. Sure, people were aware that people were being arrested in the middle of the night, etc. But the majority didn’t know where they were taken, and what happened there.”

    Oh, well, that explains everything: they thought the Nazis were rounding up Jews and arresting them in the middle of the night in order to suprise them with bon voyage parties and ship tickets to America.

    “Christians opposing Hitler would have knowledge of the concentration camps because they would have a reason to, and a means of communication – other Christians opposing Hitler.”

    Oh, I get it, and they kept this knowledge a secret from everyone else in Germany because they didn’t want to make the Nazis look bad. And besides, if everybody knew about it, Hitler would get more votes at the next election.

    “That’s a straw man arguement. Firstly, nowhere in the Bible does it approve of slavery. Second, where it does talk about slavery in the Bible, it gives strict rules for how slaves are to be treated.”

    A straw man argument of what? That was a remark Percy, not an “argument.” But forgive me, I guess I just misinterpreted the Good Book. I’m not alone though, since apparently a whole lot of Christians in the American south interpreted the Bible as approving of slavery too. So I guess then, if our “law” had “strict” rules for how rapists had to treat their vicitims, and no punishment for rape, we’d be “misinterpreting” the law if we said it approved of rape. Percy, this is an atheist website. There are few drooling Bible Beaters here that are going to by this total bullshit.

    “I knew you were taken to conspiracy theories, but this is a bit much.”

    Wow, you did? And just what “conspiracy theories” might those be? Be specific. Tell everyone what I believe, since you feel qualified to speak to this.

    “First and foremost, Hitler’s Germany was not necessarily fascist.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That’s a good one. And the Pope isn’t necessarily Catholic. So, it’s not just the Bushies who define their own realities, or are you part of the Bush regime?

    As far as the developing fascism in America goes, your criteria, with point by point examples:

    “* exalts the nation, (and in some cases the race, culture, or religion) above the individual, with the state apparatus being supreme.”

    Hmmmmm……US is a “Christian” Nation. Chrisitiany is the reason our country is what it is, and why, for example, we allow people to be Jews, or Muslims. Bush is “God’s President.” God Bless America. Exporting “democracy.” America is good, our intentions are good, and we cannot be questioned. Everyone else falls short, or is bad, or evil. Soldiers must die in Iraq for the good of the nation.

    * stresses loyalty to a single leader.

    Support the troops, support our president. Typical right-wing propaganda from the Drudge site, attacking Cindy Sheehan for criticizing Dubya, being orchestrated by the Bush regime: “The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect. ” Not supporting Bush is supporting the terrorists. Democrats are liberal appeasers, espcecially all those evil democrats in congress.

    “* uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition.”

    Lets see. Public meetings where the public is screened to allow only Bush supporters. Staged events with fake backdrops. Arrest and harassement of people protesting Bush, while supporters get to express themselves without problem. Arresting people for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts. “Free speech” zones. Secret Service advance details that tell business owners along a Bush route to remove all anti-Bush material. No fly lists containing the names of anti-war adovcates. Intimidation visits from the FBI and Secret Service to people criticizing Bush. Ejecting people with the “wrong” politics from public venues, or preventing them from entering. Lies about absolutely everything, from WMD’s in Iraq to Jessica Lynch.

    “* engages in severe economic and social regimentation.”
    “* engages in syndicalist corporatism.”

    Severe economic and social regimentation: not yet. Syndicalist corporatism: can you say “Halliburton?” Can you say “Iraq (where US companies get awarded $50 million contracts for $100,000 jobs, and where hundreds of millions of dollars have gone missing)?” Can you say “Diebold?” Can you say ADM? Can you say defense industry: where, since 1999, over $2.1 trillion has gone missing? Can you say “sports franchise?” You’re not one of these people who thinks this country is some kind of capitalist “free market” “free enterprise” system are you? Are you completely unaware of the billions of dollars that go to giant corporations in this country, from all levels of government? Have you not heard of the recent Kelo ruling of the Supreme Court?

    * implements totalitarian systems.

    Can you say “Patriot Act?” Indefinite detention of US citizens without trial (and btw, the Bill of Rights doesn’t limit rights to “citizens,” it gives rights to all “persons.”). Sneak and peak searches. US government approved torture. Rendition of suspects to other countries where there are no limits on torture. Expanded government snooping powers. Extra-judicial killing as recently occurred in Britain, where the cops killed an innocent man. It is now revealed that the US has the same policy. The police can kill people on mere “suspicion” and if they get it wrong, all they have to do is say “oops.” And again, “free speech zones,” preventive detention, police harrassment, domestic spying, evasion of posse commitatus.

    These are just a few remarks and examples, there are plenty more. Plenty more.

  60. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

    boywonder — I have been here for a while and my continued support of my position and worldview as a Christian is really not a matter of things not “sinking in.” Trust me, I understand your arguments quite well. I understand why you continue to disbelieve. I don’t accept many of your arguments because I reject the premise from which they come just as your rejection of my original premise keeps you from accepting many of my arguments.

    Now, to your question, “What evidence would it take for you to no longer believe in God or a supreme being?” My answer is probably more generic than you’d like but here ’tis … I don’t know. I can tell you that if irrefutable, concrete evidence were presented that conclusively proved there was no God then I could stop believing. However, I have no idea what form that evidence would take. I can imagine no such evidence. The problem arises with the impossibility of proving an absolute negative. In order to prove there is no God you would have to know everything there is to know. We can’t do that. Heck, even if we did know everything there is to know, how would we know we knew it? The possibility would always exist that there is some other knowledge out there still to learn.

    Having said that I need to clarify that my faith is not built upon the notion God might exist. It is built upon a body of evidence and testimony that I have determined to be authentic and worthy of my attention and energy.

    simbol and boywonder — my reason for being here is simple, I like to think. I enjoy the intellectual wrestling match from being challenged by people who hold to beliefs far different from my own. Now, I won’t deny that I’d love it if God were to use our discussions to convict one of you of sin and save you. Hey, that’d be great.

  61. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

    No, Eva — reading ANYTHING in proper context is the only way to determine what it says. We all apply these kinds of standards to everything we read. It amazes me that when these same standards are applied to the Bible you consider it some sort of dishonest “interpretation.” But hey, I’m sure as an atheist YOU have no agenda whatsoever with regard to the Bible.

  62. Eva
    August 12th, 2005 @ 2:19 pm

    less of an agenda than you, frank….i don’t believe in a heaven or a hell, so your agenda is to interpret your god’s actions to be full of justice, love and “truth”, so you can deserve to go to heaven someday.
    i still don’t buy your “context” reasoning in regards to those parts of the bible than make your god sound like a really cruel, vengeful, egotistical, self-centerd jerk….
    somehow, for me (call me a reasonable, decent human citizen of the world), there is no context in which an all-loving god can order a bear to kill or maim some kids because they were making fun of a god-loving bald man, and still be called omnibelevolent.
    i understand the same applies to other anecdotes from the bible.
    context?
    no way.
    i insist, the point is to interpret the bible in ways that make god look good, regardless of what it says…

  63. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

    Eva — I didn’t mean to imply so much that you had an active agenda with regard to the Bible only that you, as an atheist, are probably predisposed to interpreting it in the worst possible light in much the same way you accuse me, as a Christian, of being predisposed to interpreting it in the best possible light. Your approach to the Bible is, I suspect, no more “objective” than my own.

    Your reference to the passage in Kings about Elisha proves my point. The passage is about much, much more than two bears mauling a bunch of jeering teenagers. Elisha did not call God’s judgment on them merely because they teased him. The story is about waaay more than that. But, because you refuse to read that passage in context you don’t know (as you insist on emphasizing) “what it says.”

  64. Mookie
    August 12th, 2005 @ 3:14 pm

    Frank said:

    “I can tell you that if irrefutable, concrete evidence were presented that conclusively proved there was no God then I could stop believing.”

    I can tell you that if irrefutable, concrete evidence were presented that conclusively proved there is/was a God then I would start believing.

    Had you grown up on a desert island with no other people, ignorant of the bible and every other religious doctrine, you would not believe in “god” or “gods”. Or, if you did, they would be entirely your own creation, independent of every other belief that humans ever invented. Which means that the only reason why you believe in god is because somebody convinced you there is a god, and so you look for evidence showing there is NO god, when you should be looking for evidence showing there IS a god. God cannot be proven to not exist, therefore, he does exist. Our arguments would be resolved very easily if you didn’t assume god exists.

    You cannot argue with this because it will all boil down to “faith” again, which, as we atheists know, is a bunch of nothing. “Faith” is meaningless unless it has something factual or tangible to back it up.

    To help you challenge your “faith”, try changing the word “god” into something else… like “snotrag”, or “puppykiller”. So that when you pray you change “god” with “puppykiller”. And don’t worry, your non-existent god – puppykiller – will not mind you referring to him as a snotrag or a puppykiller, because he knows that you are addressing him, and that the words you use to address him are arbitrary anyway. Sure, they just happen to mean something else in the English language, but that “god” word is overused anyway.

    I sincerely hope you try it, because I believe it will create some distance with you and puppykiller. Your relation to the world and puppykiller is almost entirely a result of language. If you destroy the mental connections you have with the word “god” and replace it with something less appealing (puppykiller), you begin to fray your system of belief, which, as we atheists know, is a function of language.

  65. Mookie
    August 12th, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

    Percy said,

    “Hitler’s Germany was not necessarily fascist. It was socialist.”

    Perhaps you are looking to the term “National Socialists” the “NaZis” (a derivative of National Socialists) used to describe themselves. Its obvious you visited Wikipedia, and copied and pasted some of the fascism article, but apparently you didn’t bother looking in the socialism article, or the other articles concerning the rise of Hitler and the nazis. Had you done so, you would realise that the nazis were almost diametrically opposed to socialism. Hitler was once a member of the communist party (hence the red band in the swatstika), but he renounced the party and its ideals. The nazis imprisoned communists and socialists alongside the jews and other “undesirables”.

    I know all this stems from you being an American (or an uneducated briton). You see the word socialism/communism and you react to it in the properly trained way: fear, loathing, ignorant dislike, etc. You can’t help being where you are, or being conditioned to respond to something in a certain way. You can help what you think you know, and can work to undo all that nasty propaganda. I suggest you read into socialism and communism, understand the context of the ideas (why they came about, when they did, etc), do some hardcore unbiased thinking (difficult for anyone), and be very, very careful about saying something that is so grossly incorrect, because people may think you to be a very foolish, uneducated person.

  66. Frank
    August 12th, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

    Mookie — I’ve been told by many here that the standard of proof they’d accept to begin believing in God would have to be conclusive … which is why I phrased my response the same way. My standard is the same as your own, just in reverse.

    I totally agree with you that “faith” by itself is useless. It is the object of that faith which provides the foundation. I don’t trust in my “faith” for salvation, I trust in Jesus Christ (who is real, and quite capable of coming through on his promises). The strength of my faith is not “faith” it is Jesus.

    Finally, as I said before, I do not believe in God because it can’t be proven He does not exist. I believe in God based on a body of evidence to support His existence that I find credible and believable.

  67. boywonder
    August 12th, 2005 @ 6:39 pm

    Frank said:
    “I believe in God based on a body of evidence to support His existence that I find credible and believable.”

    Being the pesky skeptic that I am, I would ask for an elaboration on the body of evidence that you find credible and believable. I would bet that it is much the same evidence that I find lacking, sorta how you said earlier that believers tend to interpret “evidence” in a positive light, while atheists tend to interpret “evidence” in a negative light. I would even disagree with that notion, however, but to be fair, I’ll go first.

    I find the bible and any other holy book entirely lacking in believability in many important ways.

    1. No holy books correctly fit into the context of the hisstorical period in which they are purported to have occured. Indeed, even apologists have difficulty reconciling this. Their defenses change with the times. Look at how fundamentalists derive ID from creationismand act as though ID has been around forever and is unrelated.

    2. There n’t even enough evidence to prove that there was an historical man named Jesus Christ. Indeed, the name Jesus Christ is greek for “the annointed savior”. It is a generic name used by previous other cults to describe their saviors. The churches deny those Jesus’ as false gods planted by satan. They deny the contrary evidence.

    3. The world and the multiverse is satisfactorily explainable from a naturalist perspective. God is not necessary in the equation. Throwing a god into the equation makes what we see and experience harder to explain. You must then explain god. This is completely unnecessary. We exist whether there is a god or not.

    4. Evil. Death. Completely unnecessary if god exists. Our universe should reflect the sympathies of our god. Our universe reflects blind indifference. Exactly what we should expect if there was no god. At best, this would reflect the sympathies of a limited being.

    5. Confusion. What’s the big secret? Free will and incorrect interprations of god should not exist. Either god is toying with us, or we are all wrong in our different theological beliefs. Wouldn’t it be so much easier for God to lay out His wonderful plan in plain language and for ALL to see?

    6. Heaven and Hell. Our lives on earth are completely unnecessary if they are some insignificant preamble to eternity. The endless torture for not “getting it” in this life is completely unreasonable and indicitive of a truelly twisted god. Would you beat your child for the rest of their life for ANYTHING at all? That would even include cold-blooded murder.

    There are many, many other reasons, but those are some of the big ones. Once you get a sense of the larger picture, it becomes difficult to feign belief. And that is what a lot of Christians are doing. They are going through the motions because Christianity is still considered acceptable.

  68. Paul
    August 12th, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

    Frank said:
    “In proper context you cannot find any instructions in the Bible to the church that indicate it is their task to commit atrocities in God’s name. That, is the point.”

    I have no idea what you mean by context in the specific instance of herm’s post #29. What is the specific context that would require understanding those passages as not sanctioning atrocities?

  69. Mookie
    August 12th, 2005 @ 9:58 pm

    Frank,

    I think you missed the key point. Had you understood it entirely, you would begin to doubt the silly fairy tales. Let me repeat it:

    “God cannot be proven to not exist, therefore, he does exist. Our arguments would be resolved very easily if you didn’t assume god exists.”

    Aliens cannot be proven to not exist, therefore, they do exist.

    That’s an assumption. Same thing with puppykiller. If you returned to the baseline “belief” (atheism), and tried to build up your “faith” without assuming that god exists, you will find that it all sounds like a bunch of crap. Sure, there are gems of wisdom in some texts, but one must wade through pages of bigotry, hatred, genocide, violence, and the activities of dirty tribesmen. You will begin to understand why religion sucks big balls, and why atheists are here to let you delusional folks comprehend the walls of your fantasy prison, so you can escape from the unnecessary torment of lying to yourself.

  70. Eva
    August 13th, 2005 @ 1:53 am

    frank, i could have agreed with your first paragraph in post #62. however, i can’t because i have been a christian, and you have not been an atheist.
    as to the second paragraph, indeed, you say god’s judgdement came because of other factors. ok. i can live with that.
    just don’t call your god omnibelevolent.
    and maybe now you don’t say i’m predisposed in my interpretation of the bible (but i admit i am now, but was not a few years ago), but i have stated repeatedly that i think you are predisposed in your insistence of interpreting the bible in the best posible light towards your god. this is a very human trait.
    but it is not a matter of context. if i have to cross reference elisha’s plight outside of this specific passage or outside of the bible, then don’t talk about context, because the bible’s books were not written by the same author, or at the same time. or inspired by god, but you know what i mean, as an atheist, by that.
    read as it is, your god is not very nice. taken in “context”, your god is not very nice either.
    i don’t know if i’m explaining myself adequately, but this is the best i can do right now, with a few beers up, and a wonderful homemade grilled new york steak and portobello ‘shroom with garlicky basil olive oil and fresh lime (homemade) and fresh salad dinner. (one i did not make).
    sorry, frank. you have earned my deepest respect, but i don’t buy this argument. it supports a belief in a cruel, vindictive god. that is particularly bad when gods in general do not exist.

  71. hermesten
    August 13th, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

    Paul, here’s the way I interpret Frank’s remark: “In proper context you cannot find any instructions in the Bible to the church that indicate it is their task to commit atrocities in God’s name.”

    I think he’s simply saying that this is an account of God sanctioned conduct, but you can’t find a “command” in the Bible to go out and do any of the these acts described in this account. This, of course, is just a big cop-out. It’s the same technique of re interpretation Percy is using when he says that the Bible gives strict instructions about how to treat slaves, but it doesn’t “approve” of slavery, because you can’t find the statement “God says it’s OK to have slaves” anywhere in the Bible.

    It’s suprising how post-modern and morally relativistic the theists can be when it is necessary to obsfucate.

  72. hermesten
    August 14th, 2005 @ 12:54 am

    “…the bible’s books were not written by the same author, or at the same time…”

    This is an excellent point, usually passed over when the Christians are flogging the “context” horse. And it reminds us that the Bible’s “context” was also determined by majority vote.

  73. Frank
    August 15th, 2005 @ 11:07 am

    hermesten — you’ve got the general idea of my argument but allow me to elaborate just a bit. The conduct of the Israelites in the old testament where they conquered is, indeed, “God sanctioned” and completely justified for the reasons I pointed out before. You are correct in understanding my point that there is no direct command for Christians to commit similar acts. Now, my argument that armies committing atrocities in God’s name AFTER the close of the canon is founded only partly in the notion that God’s orders to the Israelites was a specific order for a specific purpose. It is also founded in the notion that the Bible expressly directs Christians to engage in conduct contrary to the actions of such armies. Christians are commanded to “love their neighbor,” to “pray for their enemies,” to “turn the other cheek,” and so on.

    And it is all completely consistent with Scripture. You see, the old testament was recorded in a certain manner in order to show God’s holiness as opposed to man’s sinfulness. It shows the righteousness of God’s justice and it shows man’s need for grace. The new testament reveals the means of obtaining this much needed grace and instructions for the Christian life afterward.

    It is when the Bible is taken as a whole that the complete picture of Christianity is properly understood. It’s not a “cop out” it is just my understanding of the Scripture.

  74. hermesten
    August 15th, 2005 @ 11:44 am

    “Christians are commanded to “love their neighbor,” to “pray for their enemies,” to “turn the other cheek,” and so on.”

    Yes, but the Christian who really does any of these things, let alone all of them, is truly an exception. I think I’ve personally known one, maybe two, in my entire life. Ironically, the one who, while still, of course, imperfect, realistically embodied these characteristics, was almost universally ridiculed (behind his back) by his fellow Christians, while they instead, admired, the biggest hypocrites. Honestly Frank, I don’t think our society will “allow” anyone to be the kind of person implied by these commands, Christian or otherwise.

    In a more general sense, I think you and I would probably agree, more or less, about what these commands mean. The problem is, they are subject to interpretation, and they are relative. When someone doesn’t want to “love thy neighbor” they just redefine “neighbor” or “love.” This is a problem with all causes, no matter how nobly they may have begun. Second, third, fouth, and fifth raters eventually assume power in the movement, and the meaning and language is corrupted to serve their ends, instead of the movement itself. Christianity reached this point about 1500-1700 years ago.

  75. Frank
    August 15th, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    hermesten — I completely agree people in leadership positions corrupted the language to serve their own ends. It started early with Christianity. Paul’s letters that are included in Scripture address this kind of problem that had cropped up in the early church mere decades after Christ’s death and resurrection.

    The Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was really good at corrupting the church to serve political agendas. That’s why the Protestant Reformation happened. Then Protestants began doing the same thing the Catholics had done and those who wanted to honestly pursue the faith apart from hidden agendas went their separate ways.

    This sort of thing continues today and will continue. There will always be people who want to manipulate the church to serve themselves just as there are people who want to manipulate the government or their company or whatever, for selfish reasons. The integrity of any man is always going to be suspect. My point is only that the integrity of Scripture remains unblemished, despite what unscrupulous people do in the name of God.

  76. Paul
    August 16th, 2005 @ 8:13 pm

    Frank wrote:

    “The conduct of the Israelites in the old testament where they conquered is, indeed, “God sanctioned” and completely justified for the reasons I pointed out before.”

    So, literally and logically, atrocities are OK if god sanctions them; and that makes god atrocious.

    “You are correct in understanding my point that there is no direct command for Christians to commit similar acts.”

    The point wasn’t whether atrocities were generally and broadly commanded to anyone anywhere, or specifically to a certain cricumstance. That’s irrelevant to whether the atrocities were sanctioned even one time. An atrocity sanctioned only once is still an atrocity.

    “It is when the Bible is taken as a whole that the complete picture of Christianity is properly understood. It’s not a “cop out” it is just my understanding of the Scripture.”

    It’s logically premature to look at a judgment on the atrociousness of the bible as a whole, let’s keep to the atrocities that god sanctioned for the time being, then we can look at the whole bible.

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