The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXLVII (Honoring a Rapist)

October 31, 2005 | 55 Comments

Must a daughter always honor her father, even if he’s a scumbag? A reader challenges the Squad’s recent support for the Fifth (or sometimes Fourth) Commandment, noting that she “spent a lifetime growing up being degraded, called vile names, beat up so badly [she] had welts all over [her] body and sexually violated over a period of years.” In a meandering, awkwardly-worded answer, the Squad goes on the defensive — but never really addresses whether there are exceptions to God’s perfect laws:

Sexual abuse by anyone is wrong. When people in the church abused others, they were wrong. When your father abused you, he was wrong.

When you say you had a distant relationship with your father while he was alive, we applaud you because to do other than that would have put you right in the boxing arena. His jabs, physical, emotional and sexual abuse cannot be tolerated in our society.

In recent years, we’ve come to realize how widespread such abuse is, and even the church had to face its own sinfulness in this area. People like yourself do a great service by sharing your stories. So many people can relate to your experience. The good news is that you and many others are doing something about it. You’re not just a “whistle blower”; you’re trying to save humanity.

Now that your father is dead, he can only hurt you emotionally. May you find grace to acknowledge his wrongdoing, move away from any relationship that would lead to abuse, and set out, with the help of counseling and spiritual direction, to live as whole a life as you can.

What, exactly, is the moral of this answer? Note that the Squad immediately introduces the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, without any explanation of its relevance to the reader’s problem. Are they suggesting that people maintain a “distant relationship” with the Church as well? If so, where are they supposed to get the “spiritual direction?” And what’s with the analogy to a “boxing arena” — is father-daughter rape a regular part of that sport?

I’m also creeped out by their suggestion that she “find the grace to acknowledge his wrongdoing.” The phraseology is more than a bit odd. Usually, one “finds the grace” to forgive someone, after that person has acknowledged his own wrongdoing. What does “grace” have to do with realizing it was bad that daddy raped you? Is that revelation some sort of gift from God?

Comments

55 Responses to “God Squad Review CXLVII (Honoring a Rapist)”

  1. Sportin' Life
    October 31st, 2005 @ 2:03 am

    Note that the Squad immediately introduces the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, without any explanation of its relevance to the reader’s problem.

    I think the relevance is something along the lines of, “Sometimes bad things–like being a rapist–happen to good people.”

    even the church!

  2. Sportin' Life
    October 31st, 2005 @ 2:03 am

    Note that the Squad immediately introduces the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, without any explanation of its relevance to the reader’s problem.

    I think the relevance is something along the lines of, “Sometimes bad things–like being a rapist–happen to good people.”

    even the church!

  3. Sportin' Life
    October 31st, 2005 @ 2:03 am

    Note that the Squad immediately introduces the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, without any explanation of its relevance to the reader’s problem.

    I think the relevance is something along the lines of, “Sometimes bad things–like being a rapist–happen to good people.”

    even the church!

  4. Sportin' Life
    October 31st, 2005 @ 2:03 am

    Note that the Squad immediately introduces the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, without any explanation of its relevance to the reader’s problem.

    I think the relevance is something along the lines of, “Sometimes bad things–like being a rapist–happen to good people.”

    even the church!

  5. Tanooki Joe
    October 31st, 2005 @ 3:24 am

    The Squad message basically boils down to “Good luck with that whole ‘life’ thing!”

    I wish I could get someone to pay me to crap on a piece of paper and call it an editorial.

  6. Assclown
    October 31st, 2005 @ 3:35 am

    It sort of sounds like she has already acknowledged the wrongdoing. Also, if she has grace (that is, she is in a state of grace) doesn’t that mean that she has accepted and been accepted by Jesus and is therefore living as whole a life as it is possible to within the christian paradigm? Can you have a bit of grace? Can you have grace but not at the weekends?

  7. Francois Tremblay
    October 31st, 2005 @ 5:25 am

    Asking a Christian to justify his pitiful excuse for a morality is like asking a Neo-Nazi to stop worshipping Hitler. It’s so embarassing and there’s so much at stake that it’s only gonna happen if they leave.

  8. borgia
    October 31st, 2005 @ 5:50 am

    Utterly utterly execrable post from the GodSquad. I wonder if it is their rigid adherence to a barbaric and sadistic moral code that makes them describe rape, assault, torture and incest as mere “wrongdoings” and “jabs” or if they are just too squalidly misogynistic to not instinctively leap to the defense of the man.

    “the good news is that you and many others are doing something about it” So the GodSquad is anti-clerical now? Does that mean they are anti-themselves?

  9. Qwertz
    October 31st, 2005 @ 6:45 am

    On a thoroughly unrelated note, the forums appear to be [i]kaput[/i].

    -Q

  10. hermesten
    October 31st, 2005 @ 8:49 am

    There is no bigger moral relativist than a Christian. But after all, when your life is driven by your ideology you only have two choices when ideology and humanity conflict: deny your ideology or deny your humanity. Christians are like Stalinists, but without the full courage of their convictions. God likes His food hot or cold –the Bible tells us so– so He undoubtedly prefers a Phelps or a Stalin to the unpalatable luke-warm fare of the squad.

  11. Frank
    October 31st, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    The passage in the Bible says, “Children honor your parents IN THE LORD for this is right.” Parents have a biblical mandate toward their children and many instructions on their responsibilities, one of which is to “not provoke your children to wrath.” Basically parents’ responsibility toward their children (biblically speaking) is to love, care, and train them. When parents are fulfilling their obligations to their children then their children are to honor them. This is what the “in the Lord” clause is all about. It is obvious the father of this girl was not doing that. This girl is not biblically bound to honor him. Nor is any child biblically bound to honor an abusive parent like this.

  12. June
    October 31st, 2005 @ 10:07 am

    The only use for the Bible is for hitting that swine of a father upside the head with a few times next time he gets drunk. Or rip out a handful of pages from Psalms, roll them up nice and tight, and shove them firmly down his throat.

  13. MBains
    October 31st, 2005 @ 11:12 am

    May you find grace to acknowledge his wrongdoing, move away from any relationship that would lead to abuse…

    I really think this means that she must personally acquit HERSELF of any complicity in such abuse.

    If you haven’t been there then you may not realize how difficult this is to do completely. To “after the fact”, observers it is obvious that no child has ever any complicity in their abuse. To the abused child of the abuser, ain’t nothing emotionally cut-n-dry about it.

    The 2nd half of the above quote is indicative of the apparently high probability that women in abusive relationships are in them because THAT is what they know about relationships and, so, That is what they will seek.

    All in all, while the previous commenters are on point with their criticisms, this ain’t the worst “advice” the Sqwatters have ever dished out. Other than the simple fact that Xtianity is duplicitous quasi-wisdom, if her abuser didn’t use it ‘gainst her, it isn’t likely to hold back her recovery and ain’t so bad a first aid tool for recovery from such an early life. UNLESS she never recovers and just uses it as a crutch keepin’ her dependant & sheople-ish.

    I wish her well.

  14. Kate B.
    October 31st, 2005 @ 1:11 pm

    Does anyone know a good source (website? certain books?) of information on breaking patterns of abusive relationships? I have a friend who’s in a fairly abusive marriage (no drinking, no hitting, but lots of screaming, grabbing, and bruising, as well as sexual objectification). Her father was as controlling as her husband (and yet, father and husband can’t stand each other). Hubby refuses to go to counselling, and she isn’t going regularly (and all her therapist has done is put her on antidepressants). I have no idea where to point her, or even what to say. Any ideas, while we’re on the subject? Thanks.

  15. DamnRight
    October 31st, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    Since God not only condones, but commands rape in some instances, I’m surprised the Squad didn’t suggest that maybe this girl was possibly going against the will of God. Who’s to know, He’s so mysterious in His methods.

  16. chris
    October 31st, 2005 @ 4:51 pm
  17. Mookie
    October 31st, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

    Kate, tell her to get a divorce. She will be more able to go to couseling to help her dislike abusive males as husbands. No woman deserves to be mistreated, and a female that chooses a nasty male is only perpetuating the cycle of abuse.

  18. qedpro
    October 31st, 2005 @ 6:14 pm

    that’s the best part of christianity. be a complete sick, m-f’ing asshole and then repent. heaven awaits.

  19. Sitting Pretty
    October 31st, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

    I have only managed to see these two on tv once and never read the column. However, to use them to tar all Christians is pretty cheap. It is akin to using Michael Moore to tar all film makers. Easy but cheap and wrong, even though they all share a number of unpleasant similarities. These two stars of TV and press are simply Judaism/Christianity lite. Pretty faces for television and the mainstream press.

    Having said that, to call Christian morality relative is ignorance writ large. In fact it makes no sense to call morality Christian or Jewish or Buddhist, etc. There are very few differences among the world’s “moralities”. You will find none that thinks selfishness is good. Or murder or theft acceptable. I could go on an on but you need to think about what morality is before you go off on these tangents.

    Christ brought no new morality into the world! What a strange idea y’all have that you are somehow more morally pure and consistent than the rest of the world. It would be risible but I suspect that you really know, somewhere deep down, that not a one of you has ever had an original thought where morality is concerned. You simply pick and choose what you like from the world’s inherited knowledge of right and wrong and leave the rest.

  20. hermesten
    November 1st, 2005 @ 8:54 am

    “You will find none that thinks selfishness is good. Or murder or theft acceptable. ”

    This is obvious bullshit to anyone who knows even a scintilla of history. The Christian church has a 2000 year history of selfishness, murder, and theft. It’s all done with a rhetorical trick. Those “indigenous people,” why, they’re not “human” so the rules don’t count. We can steal their gold, torture them, and kill them, because they are just savages who don’t accept Jesus Christ as Lord. And it’s not “murder” when you kill a “blasphemer” and “redistribute” his property among the faithful.

    Oh, and those black slaves, well, they’re not really people either, and besides, the Bible approves of slavery, otherwise our Christian Nation and great Christian southern states would never have tolerated slavery. A religion that explicitly approves of slavery obviously does think selfishness is good, and obviously does approve of theft and murder. As Mark Twain said, the “law” remains, only the practice has changed, because most people learned to reject the indecency of your ridiculous religion.

  21. Sitting Pretty
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:01 am

    Nonsense. Show me where slavery has not existed (It still does in Sudan and only Christians are trying to stop it.) Show me where migrations of people on this planet have not led to gemocide, etc. You simply don’t seem to know enough history to make the claims that you make.

  22. Kate
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:14 am

    Gemocide??!! NO!! Not the diamonds!!!!!!!!

  23. Kate B.
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:19 am

    “Kate, tell her to get a divorce.”

    Yeah, we’ve tried that. She wants to see if it can “work out.” I just didn’t know if there was something I could point her to so she could be informed about the situation rather than just obeying me (instead of obeying her husband). Thanks, though.

  24. Kate
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    How about the morgue?

  25. MBains
    November 1st, 2005 @ 9:43 am

    Hi Kate B.

    The lady needs to learn how to effectively use “selfishness”. It is as simple as putting herself first.

    Like they tell you as the Airplane takes off from the runway: put the oxygen mask on YOUR OWN face first, lest you lose consciousness and your kid suffocates as well.

    I hope you read that Sitting Pretty It is in part an answer to your simplistic comments. They weren’t wrong completely. Just simplistic.

  26. Sitting Pretty
    November 1st, 2005 @ 10:43 am

    Huh? What have my comments to do with a woman in an abusive relationship?

    Again, I say, that all the nonsense about Christianity having a 2000 year history of genocide, selfishness, etc. is just childish ranting. Humans have a 10,000+ year history of genocide, selfishness, slavery, theft, murder, etc. To suppose that those would not have existed without Christianity is … pretty hard to believe.

    An adult ought to be in a position to understand that the human condition is a pretty weird mixture of good and bad. Again, you have not addressed my question. What is morality? Why do you think it is relativ e? (I will save you the time, trying to think of an answer–it is not.) Why do you think that you see clearly what millions of people over the entire course of recorded human history could not/did not see?

    If you give serious thought to this question, you may be in a better position to discuss the merits of Christianity. Until then, you are indulging in whimisical and impotent posturing.

  27. Viole
    November 1st, 2005 @ 10:56 am

    The answer to your question is obvious, Pretty one. We’re standing on their shoulders.

    Thank you for that extensive proof of an absolute morality, by the way. Now I realize how foolish I was to think that ignorance and stupidity had become a bad thing.

    As for your point, I doubt anyone was trying to say that Christians are worse than everyone else. Rather, they’re trying to say that despite finding the ‘one true faith’, they’re no better than the rest of us. Of course, if you’re looking for body counts, it was Christians who cleared North and South America of its native people, then imported a significant part of the population of Africa as their slaves. Of course, I’m sure that anyone else would have done similar.

  28. DamnRight
    November 1st, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    Are we supposed to ignore the Biblical sanctioning of genocide, rape, mutilation, slavery, incest, etc…?

  29. Sitting Pretty
    November 1st, 2005 @ 11:17 am

    Anyone else has done similar. That is what I mean about not knowing enough history to put our human history in context.

    Ignorance and stupidity have always been a bad thing. They have always been known to be a bad thing. They are still with us.

    As for the true faith. Now I understand your probem. It would be wonderful if there were a subset of perfect humans we could look to to see how we ought to act at all times. Actually, if such people existed, I imagine they would be ruling over us. I doubt we would like it.

    The Church is made up of the same kinds of people you come in contact with every day, are friends with and even love. They are all at different points on the spectrum from really, really bad to really, really good. What they have in common is belief in God and a desire to become the kind of people he wants them to become. Many Christians are far better people than the rest of humanity. Many are not.

    You do not understand, apparently, that Christianity promises forgiveness for failure and the power to keep on trying to be the kind of people we should be. It does not promise perfection in this life nor does it promise that its adherents will never make mistakes.

    Why am I getting a sudden picture of Don Quixote tilting at windmills? You are boxing with phantoms!

  30. Rocketman
    November 1st, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    Not to put too fine a point on it—but Christianity promises that it can provide forgiveness. And I’m sure that some Christians are mighty fine ducks….but the problem is that all of what you speak of comes at a price. Belief.

    Acceptance that your own moral compass is soemhow so flawed that you need an interpreter. And that interpreter gets it’s moral authority not from use or thought, but from adherence to a divine being that does not demonstrably exist.

    This leads you into a pickle. You must accept the existance of god or your morality is pointless.

    Moreover, your morality can be changed in interpretation as to what the god is saying.

    As to Kates friend–Unfortunately I have no information to give her. She will need to decide for herself and make the decision herself to leave her abuser.

    Unfortunately the same dynamic that inculcates worship without question and declares absured levels of self sacrifce as good also has prepared her for years of being treated like shit.

    She is probably in a situation where she feels more like a failure for abandoning a dickhead that if he seriously harms her.

    THe fact is if she really wants to do some good for herself and society she can stop rewarding this mans abuse with loyalty.

    Why should he change if she keeps rewarding him? More why should it be her responsibility to change him?

    But there is that subtle and pernicious brainwashing that says stand by your ape.

    Until she gets enough of a sense of self esteem to value herself–she will perpetually place herself into that situation. it’s what she knows.

    Perhaps some readings about low self esteem might be the place to go first.

    Sorry I don’t have anything more concrete for you.

    I hope she gets out.

  31. Sitting Pretty
    November 1st, 2005 @ 1:54 pm

    Rocketman: I appreciate that you tried to engage my comments on their merits. But I don’t think you succeeded in making your point: You said: Acceptance that your own moral compass is soemhow so flawed that you need an interpreter. And that interpreter gets it’s moral authority not from use or thought, but from adherence to a divine being that does not demonstrably exist. This leads you into a pickle. You must accept the existance of god or your morality is pointless.

    All our moral compasses are flawed. Otherwise there would be no crime, no misery, no abusive husbands, etc. How you derive that belief can occur without the use of reason escapes me. The vast majority of intellectuals that the western world has produced were/are Christians. Even without the existence of God “my” morality is not and cannot be pointless. Everything that Christians believe, summed up in the 10 commandments is or was held by everyone else in human history. You simply cannot point to any society that says adultery is okey dokey, theft, no problem, etc.

    Again, I come back to my original statement. Not one of you atheists has ever had an original thought on the subject of morality. You pick and choose from that which has been handed down by those who came before us and take that which suits you and ignore that which inconveniences you.

    Worse, you are easily led into every sort of evil because you really believe (or profess to believe) that might makes right. What? You say you don’t believe that? You are mistaken. Unless your moral duty is written into the nature of the cosmos, only your subjective preferences of right and wrong guide you.

  32. HappyNat
    November 1st, 2005 @ 3:41 pm

    “The vast majority of intellectuals that the western world has produced were/are Christians.”

    And the vast majority of the intellectuals of the Western world were not Christian.

    “Not one of you atheists has ever had an original thought on the subject of morality.”

    Well then why even discuss it then? Everything has already been thought of lets move on to other issues. But Pretty boy I am glad you have blessed us with your own original thoughts.

  33. Sitting Pretty
    November 1st, 2005 @ 4:18 pm

    Well, Happy, you may not have anything to discuss but since the rest of the gang continually talks about morality as though there were 57 varieties, it would be interesting to hear them try to defend that point of view. I don’t mind if you stay out of the conversation, not having anyathing to add to it.

  34. hermesten
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 7:53 am

    “Ignorance and stupidity have always been a bad thing. They have always been known to be a bad thing. They are still with us.”

    Yes, they are, as you have aptly demonstrated.

  35. Sitting Pretty
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 9:29 am

    Do you have something intelligent to say H? Or are you just a witless boob with too much time on his hands but no way to engage them that it isn’t illegal to do in public?

  36. Eva
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    sitting, you are so creepy……

  37. Sitting Pretty
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 1:04 pm

    Ah, another profound thinker!

  38. Eva
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    yes, that’s me!

    you are also very boring…..

  39. Sitting Pretty
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    Which explains your need to keep making pointless comments…

  40. Eva
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 8:36 pm

    glad that you agree with me, sitting……and if they do not have a point, it is because you are not worth the bother…..

  41. Borgia
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 4:12 am

    Sitting Pretty,

    “all moral compasses are flawed”

    In a vague, errare est humanum sense your are right. However saying so isn’t really a cogent counterpoint to Rocketman’s argument. He was saying that Christians, being acutely aware of the fallibility of their moral compasses, abandon the sticky, pitfall-ridden endeavor of creating their own morality based on empirical observation, opting for someone else’s morality based on divine edict.

    Incidentally, the existence of misery, abusive husbands and crime doesn’t prove the assertion that ALL moral compasses are flawed since it is entirely possible that a few bad seeds with mal-functioning moral compasses could account for all the misery, crime, etc. in the world.

    “how you derive that belief can occur without the use of reason escapes me”

    This seems to leave no room for the existence of irrational beliefs. But, we both know that irrational beliefs abound in this world and are as old as Adam. I would even go so far to say that there are more irrational beliefs than rational beliefs in the world today. That aside, it is just plain wrong to assert that the use of reason is the sine qua non of the belief-forming process….A casual stroll through the insane asylum shows that faith proves nothing.

    “you simply cannot point to any society that say adultery is okey dokey, theft, no problem, etc”

    With this one I’m tempted just to say prima facie absurd. Just to give you one example, in Mormon and many other societies polygamy was/is not only practiced but endorsed. Translation: adultery = okey dokey.

  42. Sitting Pretty
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 9:36 am

    Borgia:

    I was aware, when I wrote that about adultery, that someone would bring up the Mormons or the Muslims. That simply won’t hold as an argument against morality being universal. Sexual practices do vary from location to location but there is simply no culture that says that any sexual conduct is ok. There are limits and, as in the case of multiple marriage, there are still legalities that surround it and offer some protection to the wives. Adultery is the breaking of the marriage covenant which multiple marriage does not do.

    Again, you talk about morality, too, as something that is variable. It simply isn’t. You would have to find a society that endorses theft, cowardice on the battlefield, backstabbing of those who have benefitted you, selfishness, greed, etc, etc, and *teaches* that those are the right principles to conduct one’s life by to find a “different morality”.

    Naturally, there are thoughtless people who hold beliefs they cannot rationally defend. Many are found here among the atheists. But we are not talking about them. To hold that no one can rationally believe that Christianity is true is simple bigotry from those who know better. It is simple ignorance from those who really believe it.

  43. Borgia
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 3:16 pm

    Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that marriage covenants come in many different shapes and sizes. For example, covenants that prohibit polygamy and those that don’t. The diversity of such covenants does, I think, speak to the flimsiness of “universal morality” arguments.

    Is it simple ignorance? Let me ask you a question. A man rides into town and approaches two men conversing in the street. This man says: “I come bearing good news. There is a being, who although he has never been seen or heard, is stronger than Hercules, older than Methuselah, and wiser than Socrates. He desires that mankind act in accordance with these commands and we owe him this allegiance because it was he who created us. Will you believe in him and follow his dictates in exchange for eternal life?’ The first man immediately says yes and begins rejoicing in the street and the second thinks for a minute and says no. Now I ask you, which decision requires the suspension of reason?

  44. Rocketman
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 3:35 pm

    Right Pretty,

    Lets use some of that reason then shall we?

    1. You point out correctly that no society has a morality that says the murder of their own kind, theft from includive members or killing your brother to get more attention from you mom is right.

    2. These moral ideas are often bound into religious codes.

    3. There are as many different religions out there as there are cultures.

    So if moral codes came from god we would expect the beleifs around that morality to be strikingly similar.

    But we don’t.

    THe reasonable conclusion is that morality came first and religion encapsulating morality came afterward.

    Lets try that on for size shall we?

    Your version–morality which has at its core similar values around the world all came from a god that either gave a different way of worship to everyone in the world–or alternately everyone but those who believe as you do got it all wrong–except the mroality part..

    OR–my way–morality is common and selected for in human beings–a common set of values and beliefs –that each culture inculcated into their religions after the fact.

    Whcih would mean that morality came first–which would mean you don’t have a fucking leg to stand on.

    But go on and keep considering that we atheists don’t have any idea what we are talking about. In the end you demonstrate the insidious trap of your beliefs–if you have no religion’–w’all you ain’t got no possibility a’ having no morals–cuz god tol’ me so.

    You are wrong. You are deluded. You need to fuck off now.

    I’m done with you, piss off.

  45. Sitting Pretty
    November 3rd, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

    Borgia: posed the way you have posed the question it is obvious which decision requires the suspension of rational thought. But your question does not reflect the reality of religious belief, or, at least, belief in Christianity. I am aware of the arguments that you all use to dismiss the historicity of Christianity and the reliability of the New Testament documents but I, like millions of other Christians, scholars and laymen alike, do not find your arguments convincing in the least.

    From that perspective belief is perfectly rational.

    I don’t at all understand why the fact of variations in marriage practice seems to make the existence of universal morality a shaky proposition to you. Both monogamy and polygamy have exactly the same purpose–the regulation of unbridled sexual license with its attendant ills for the stability of the family (tribe, clan, etc). This seems to me to be perfectly rational and in no way contradictory.

    Rocketman: I may address your points later. Right now, I am too annoyed by your childish ranting and too contemptuous of your intellectual deficiencies to bother. Of course, if you now see how weak your position is and if you are lashing out in frustration… well, don’t let me stop you. That is a good thing.

  46. Borgia
    November 4th, 2005 @ 2:18 am

    I think it is a bit of a sidestep to say that my question doesn’t reflect the reality of Christian belief. How did I distort the reflection?

    Anent marriage practices, I would dare say that there are many attendant ills for the stability of the family in polygamous practices as well. Moreover, I really don’t see how polygamy is a regulation of unbridled sexual licence, on the contrary it seems to be its facilitator. To tether this point to my original argument, it seems to me that polygamy and monogamy constitute two diametrically opposed moral stances, or to put it another way, two opposite directions on the moral compass. As a result, I would say that the existence of both monogamous and polygamous societies somewhat weakens the argument in support of universal morality.

  47. Rocketman
    November 4th, 2005 @ 8:31 am

    Ahh yes… way to side step the fact that you are wrong–call me childish and then denigrate my intellectual capacity. It is obvious that you have no response to the actual content of my message-good for you.

    Did you really thing that kind of lame dismissal is any sort of a substitute for a reasoned response?

    Sounds to me much more like the desperate gasp of a pretentious first year university student out of his or her depth.

    You appear to me to be someone who is over impressed by their command of a slightly “better than the rest” vocabulary. Perhaps you might even be the smartest person in your little parish–but don’t make the mistake of assuming you happen to be the smartest person on this board. You haven’t made your case. You haven’t come close–and attempting to deflect a readers attention away from you deficiant and pompous attempts at a position have failed.

    And if I come accross as angry–maybe it’s because you have come here under the guise of being a reasoned theistic believer ready for an honest debate—when in actuality you are a desperate little cow whose every posting is dripping with the smug faith based babble while saying nothing.

    Do you think that you have said anything new here?

    Do you think that your insults–thinly disguised as reason make any headway?

    Did you think that your statements clothed in attempting to point out our essential emptiness and calling our reason and our search for dialogue to lead to our own truths pointless and a bag of tricks isn’t an insult?

    Or did you think that we were all too stupid to read between your shaky lines?

    Please don’t mistake my frustration at your assumption of truth and disgust at your assumption of tea party superiority to be anything but simple disgust.

    You have provided no original thoughts. You have provided no logical basisi for your belief.

    So back to the original point-put up or shut up.

    Or shut up and fuck off.

  48. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 8:56 am

    Rocketman:

    You are a very angry, disturbed person. I decided against any further attempt to reason with you because it is clearly impossible. Yours is not the language of a person at ease with his beliefs. You can’t even articulate them much less defend them.

    Take a couple of Zolofts and see if calm and reasoned discourse doesn’t feel lots better.

    Borgia, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. To me, as I said, the fact that both monogamy and polygamy limit licit sexual expression puts them on the same side of the larger question: regulated or unregulated sexual expression.

    I suspect we will have to disagree about your larger question, as well. You framed your question about belief in a way that makes belief totally irrational. That is not how belief happens. Even people who are born, so to speak, into a religion don’t typically fail to question it at some point in their lives. I, for instance, was not born into a believing home. I never entered a church until I was 19– and then I was a tourist in Rome. Yet, somehow, I became a Christian.

    You assume that there is no rational basis for belief. As I said above, I am aware that you all dismiss the historicity of the Bible but that is a position which very few scholars accept. Nor do I. If one believes that those documents do accurately describe an event that took place, it is hardly irrational to believe.

    If you could prove that the documents were false, that would be another matter. But as you know, you have very few real scholars on your side of the debate. They all seem to come from subject areas that do not require expertise in ancient languages and literatures, archaeology, history, etc. Until they do, you will not be able to persuade believers that they are being taken in by a hoax.

  49. Rocketman
    November 4th, 2005 @ 9:23 am

    Once again you attempt to sidestep the actual conversation with bullshit.

    You obviously have nothing to say of any value.

    Whats the matter? Afraid to get into it?

    Or woud you rather tell me to take more anti-depressants instead of addressing the point tht your arguments are built on a sand pit?

    Didn’t think so.

    Here’s a term for you ad hominem attack. It is a logical fallacy.

    In short you can’t attack my argument–so you attack my character.

    It is a weasel way.

    Oh and by the way–please don’t mistake my utter disdain and lack of respect for you for anger.

    I’m actually rather a happy drunk.

    But once again–facile dismissal isn’t an actual arguement.

    So to bring it back on line–morality is a useful adaptive trait to possess for social animals with communicative abilities.

    Religion is a useful way to codify and communicate moral rules to members of a society.

    As morality came first–your belief that your religion is true and is the only source of morality does not follow.

    You have typed quite a bit-nothing however to confront that basic arguement.

  50. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 9:36 am

    Your belief, Rocketloon, that you have made any sort of argument is faulty. You have not. Moreover, even if I could tease out some sort of actual meaning from your baloney, I won’t try because it would mean reading your vulgar ranting closely instead of skimming it and I will not. I simply do not possess enough bleach to cleanse my eyeballs.

    Just to prove you can, why not write three coherent sentences without an insult or a profanity? If you prove yourself worthy, I will answer. But if not, I will ignore you from here on out.

  51. Rocketman
    November 4th, 2005 @ 11:32 am

    This is an atheist website –fucker.

    I have nothing to prove to your sorry ass, nice try in setting yourself up as an authority you pathetic fucking lump of flesh.

    You can ignore me, but I’m going to dog your pretentious scum sucking anus of a mind till I don’t feel like it anymore.

    Oops.

    Guess I didn’t possess the mental acuity to formulate three sentences without an insult of profanity.

    Bet you’re a caution on the playground.

    Be seeing you.

  52. Rocketman
    November 4th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

    I like the bleach in the eyeballs thing.

    Why don’t you kneel down and open your mouth—then I’ll see if you’re worthy.

    ta ta.

  53. Borgia
    November 4th, 2005 @ 3:50 pm

    “Christ brought no new morality into the world! What a strange idea y’all have that you are somehow more morally pure and consistent than the rest of the world. It would be risible but I suspect that you really know, somewhere deep down, that not a one of you has ever had an original thought where morality is concerned”.

    This is the gist of what you need to defend. If morality is some primordial, universal, old as Adam immutable set of rules to which all societies then and now subscribe, albeit in some nuanced way, then what’s so special about Christianity? If the Koran, the Vedas and the Bible all inculcate are all mere expressions or codifications of the same universal morality, why should these books be revered as sacred and divinely inspired? If you really believe this wouldn’t reason and Occam’s razor demand the inference that religion, as rocketman said, “is a useful way to codify and communicate moral rules to members of a society”?

    Lastly, if you were to have said before the Grand Inquisitor in the 16th century that Christ brought no new morality into the world you would have had a hot-and-heavy date with the stake. Most christian would consider that deeply blasphemous.

  54. hermesten
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

    Come on Borgia, stop feeding the troll.

  55. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 7:58 pm

    Borgia!
    You get it. Exactly! (except the bit about an inquisitor or any other Christian having a problem with what I wrote). Christ brought no new morality into the world. How would we have recognized him as anything other than a crank, if he had? The world has had plenty of good advice about how to live. Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Confucius–these and many more have told us how we should live.

    But they could not give us power to do so. Nor forgiveness for when we fail.

    I am always amazed at the lack of real knowledge you atheists bring to the discussion of Christianity. What you think you know is usually so badly distorted as to be unrecognizable. Now in some respects that is understandable given the prominence of some of the … how shall I say it? more colorful devotees that the mainstream media likes to focus on.

    But in other respects it is not understandable at all. Why so much vehemence tilting at windmills?

    And that, in a weird way, brings me to Hermesten. What is his problem? Why is he so driven to be rude? Is his belief in his religion so shaky that even a mild challenge to something he thinks he believes in is so horrifying? Or is he merely a crank?

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