The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Why Does God Hate Amputees?

November 4, 2005 | 131 Comments

Marshall Brain asks, “why does God hate amputees?” and suggests an experiment:

For this experiment, we need to find a deserving person who has had both of his legs amputated. For example, find a sincere, devout, Christian veteran of the Iraqi war, or a devout Christian in your church who was involved in a tragic automobile accident.

Now create a prayer circle . . .. The job of this prayer circle is simple: pray to God to restore the amputated legs of this deserving Christian. I do not mean to pray for a team of renowned surgeons to somehow graft the legs of a cadaver onto the soldier, nor for a team of renowned scientists to craft mechanical legs for him. Pray that God spontaneously and miraculously restores the soldier’s legs overnight, in the same way that God spontaneously and miraculously cured Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey’s mother [victims of rabies and cancer].

If possible, get millions of human beings all over the planet to join the prayer circle and pray their most fervent prayers. Get millions of people praying in unison for a single miracle for this one deserving Christian amputee. Then stand back and watch.

What is going to happen? Jesus clearly says that if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. He does not say it once — he says it many times in many ways in the Bible.

And yet, even with millions of people praying, nothing will happen.

I’ve yet to read a compelling theistic answer to the amputee problem, many of which are listed by Brain. Frequently the religious will argue that it’s no challenge to God’s omnipotence to say that He’s incapable of doing something that’s logicallly impossible, like making a square circle or forcing 1 plus 1 to equal 3. But the theory of most prayer is that He is capable of changing the operation of natural laws, which is the very reason people prayer for cures for cancer and other diseases. Certainly the magic behind altering the internal structure of a cancer cell is no different from regenerating a limb — why does no one ever even consider praying for the latter “miracle”?

Comments

131 Responses to “Why Does God Hate Amputees?”

  1. AK
    November 4th, 2005 @ 11:14 am

    Nice post. And what a coincidence! I just posted about miracles on my own blog too! Miracles are a contradiction actually.

    My favorite miraculous challenge would be to ask all the Christians in America to vote for Jesus Christ for president at the next election: one big write in campaign. If all the Christians did it, Jesus would win by a landslide. Lets assume they did so. Do the Christians expect Jesus to come down to run America, or do they already understand in their heads that wont happen? And what are the implications of this experiment?

  2. Jim
    November 4th, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

    Perhaps Jeebus loves the amputees’ limbs more than he loves the theists themselves, since he has called the limbs home before the worshippers themselves.

  3. MBains
    November 4th, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

    Gonna read that AK.

    LOL! Right on Jim!

    …He’s incapable of doing something that’s logicallly impossible, like making a square circle or forcing 1 plus 1 to equal 2.

    Uh, I know I can occasionally be a wee bit dim, but … Huh?

  4. Kate B.
    November 4th, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

    The standard answer I’ve heard about this one comes from Christ’s temptation in the desert, when Satan tells him to pray for miracles. Christ’s response is, “Thou shalt not tempt God.” It’s also commonly acknowledged (at least among the Christians I know) that the answer to prayer is rarely the expected answer, since God knows better than we what we need.

  5. jahrta
    November 4th, 2005 @ 2:37 pm

    That’s just more well-meaning and ultimately anti-human bullshit, Kate. I think most people would tend to agree that having legs is a good thing

  6. Kate
    November 4th, 2005 @ 3:18 pm

    But jeezus is a thigh man.

  7. Alpha Male
    November 4th, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

    Kate said: But jeezus is a thigh man.

    LOL. BRILLIANT.

    When I was involved in all that healing stuff as a christian, what Kate wrote is exactly what I was told and believe. God obviously has a purpose for somebody to be without his/her legs so we’d pray for the purpose to be revealed and so on. Looking back, it’s sad, really. To believe that gawd so loved somebody that he blew his legs off in a war (or gave somebody cancer) so that person can tell other who had their legs blown off about jeezus’s love for them.

    God can be such a dick sometimes.

  8. Jim
    November 4th, 2005 @ 3:35 pm

    Daphne’s Mom’s position is emotionally consistent with my own; their god doesn’t really love them, he prefers them limbless, and to “answer” their prayers by not really answering them at all.

    “God, please don’t let my daddy die”.

    “Little Timmy, your daddy deserves to die and you deserve to be alone and miserable. Praise Jeebus.”

  9. Tanooki Joe
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:03 pm

    “My favorite miraculous challenge would be to ask all the Christians in America to vote for Jesus Christ for president at the next election: one big write in campaign. If all the Christians did it, Jesus would win by a landslide. Lets assume they did so. Do the Christians expect Jesus to come down to run America, or do they already understand in their heads that wont happen?”

    Of course he wouldn’t accept. Everyone knows you can make more in the private sector.

  10. hermesten
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:11 pm

    “My favorite miraculous challenge would be to ask all the Christians in America to vote for Jesus Christ for president at the next election…”

    They already did; they voted for Dubya. Since Dubya is God’s pick for prez, it’s the same thing as having Jesus president.

  11. Mookie
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    Funny that xians say that “god does not need to prove himself to you” in such cases. God has NEVER proven himself. People throw out anecdotes, “my uncle was really sick… the doctors said he would never recover… but he did! It was obviously the work of god!” that really have no weight. The human body is pretty good at keeping itself fit, and to say that supernatural entities intervened is to belittle our own forms. Religion is human-hating drivel through and through.

    There are those who pray to get things done, and there are those who DO to get things done. Which group has more success at accomplishing their goals?

  12. kmisho
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:16 pm

    Nice thread.

    This is the evidentiary gap with miracles. Theists claims of miralces are always wispy, invisible or explainable. The atheist (myself included) says no miracle has ever ever happened to anyone or anything anywhere. Theists can dispute the atheist position only with words, not with evidence.

  13. Judas
    November 4th, 2005 @ 5:51 pm

    On a smaller scale:

    When a Chritian gets a flat tire on her car in the middle of nowhere, does she pray for God to magically repair the flat tire?

    If she is a rational Christian, she prays for God to send help, or she prays to God for her safety, or she pray for God to open her eyes to search for that misplaced spare tire and/or jack. She does NOT pray for God to magically repair the tire.

    Why? Do Christians not have enough faith that God can re-inflate a flat tire? Yet they do NOT pray for a magic fix!

  14. Rowan
    November 4th, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

    Good point, Judas – but what do you mean, “a rational Christian?”

  15. Anonymous
    November 4th, 2005 @ 6:53 pm

    “rational Christian” = Instant Atheist

    I hereby proclaim my prayers to be the most influential of all humans. As a child I prayed for God to stop meddling in human affairs, and sure as shit he seems to be doing just that.

  16. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 7:42 pm

    Shoot, I could win every argument I ever involved myself in, if I got to frame it, irrespective of actual facts. Still, it is more fun or, at least, more profitable to actually discuss reality than mistaken notions.

    So here is a little bit of info to get this going in a more meaningful direction. Magic=attempt to exert power over nature. Prayer=bringing one’s will into alignment with God’s will. Jesus told us over and over to pray for what we need, a roof, food, clothing, i.e. the necessities of life. You never, ever find him encouraging prayer for luxuries or things that would be a distraction from the things of God.

    The miracles Jesus performed (and he did so infrequently) were demonstrations of power to show that he is who he says he is.

    The notion that we should sit around and pray for an amputee to regrow his legs is preposterous. To suppose that we could force God to do it by getting millions of people to pray for it is just silly. Untold gazillions of people cannot force God to do anything. That would be magic. Not prayer.

    Why do amputees exist? Why does anything less than perfect (whole) exist? Are amputees worse off than the blind? Those who suffer from cerebral palsy? These are questions worth pondering. Not why that which cannot happen does not happen.

  17. sternwallow
    November 4th, 2005 @ 9:46 pm

    It is pretty clear, Sitting, the term prayer circle comes from the fact that thousands of xtians DD sit around praying for things. The things they pray for often are not impossible. There are many animals that can regrow severed limbs so it is no less reasonable to ask for that for a precious human than to ask for a cancer to be cured. These people, who squander valuable TV time praying, take Jesus at his word that, with sincere belief, all things asked for will be given (no small print, no strings, no foolin’, no “sometimes God says no”). It is clear from thousands of years of fervent prayers by saints and sinners alike, that Jesus and/or his daddy are simply incapable of making a simple and profoundly desired event happen. These wispy guys are not worth worshipping.

  18. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 10:22 pm

    Sternswallow:
    your take is interesting but I think it misses my point that the things we pray for are the things that it is licit to pray for. Yes, I know that there are animals that can regenerate lost limbs. But humans are not one of them. People can recover from cancer. It is certainly allowable to pray for that; hope for that.

    First and foremost, prayer is conversation with God. When we pray for others it allows us to share the burden that God carries for us, and, hopefully, enables us to grow more like Him. Now that is anthropomorphizing (and misspelling) on a grand scale but that is the nature of language– often painfully inadequate. Or maybe it is just me.

    Moreover, answered prayer is a fact that every Christian can attest to. Some of the things that have happened in my own life are, in retrospect, really miraculous.

    I cannot emphasize enough that we are not to pray for what is wrong or evil. We are to pray as Jesus taught us to pray. The Lord’s prayer is the model.

    Now it is true that we are encouraged to ask for good things and promised that they will be granted. But sometimes the answer is no– and you need to understand that we understand and accept that (most of the time). That is simply not a cop-out but a recognition that we don’t have the mind of God.

    I tell you truthfully, if I prayed for that fire-engine red Jeep Cherokee that I want (I look fabulous in red), I would be lucky if He didn’t smite me. I know better than to ask for things like that!

    Sometimes the answer is the right answer and we don’t recognize it for some time to come. But I have never known a prayer to be completely unanswered.

  19. Francois Tremblay
    November 4th, 2005 @ 10:23 pm

    My mind always boggles when I hear atheists complain about defining the god-concept with contradictions. They say that defining “god” as being able to effect contradictions is unfair to the theist. Well, basic Christian doctrine says that God popped everything out of nothing, acts against natural law, was both fully god and fully man, etc etc. How can the concept “god” NOT entail contradictions ?

  20. Mort Coyle
    November 4th, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

    Mostly what Christians pray for is that God’s purposes be accomplished (“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”) and that they be conformed to His will.

    God isn’t a trained monkey or a magical goose that squeezes out miracles on command like golden eggs. Whoever perceives God in that way, be they Christian or atheist, is entirely missing the point.

    And if we did have a prayer circle and asked God to heal the amputee and nothing occured, at least that person was surrounded by people who showed them love and care.

  21. Sitting Pretty
    November 4th, 2005 @ 11:03 pm

    Very well said, Mort!

  22. JP
    November 4th, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

    If someone where to do that experiment and nothing happened would that be evidence of god’s nonexistence? No. The proposed experiment puts forward a Christian God. In the Christian religion you can ask god for things through prayer but that doesn’t mean you will get them. Because man doesn’t know god’s plan and therefore his requests may not go with god’s plan.
    What the Bible says about making requests of god is put well in James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”, and John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”. The point being made is that for ones prayers to be answered for sure your desires and will have to be the same as god’s. If it is not then your prayer is not promised to be answered. An excellent example of this is when Jesus prays before he is captured and crucified. He prays to god and says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done”. God obviously did not answer that prayer from his own son. That is because it wasn’t god’s will.
    A passage that could contribute to such confusion over god answering prayers is John 11:22. Jesus says to Martha, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You”. This passage does make it appear that god will give you whatever you ask for, but the context is key. Jesus was speaking directly to Martha when he said that. His statement was not universal but was directed at one person at one point in time.
    So millions could pray for a man’s legs to come back. The prayers would be answered in one of two ways. No, this doesn’t go with my plan. yes, this does go with my plan. Neither answer would be contradiction and a no answer wouldn’t disprove god.

  23. Mark Plus
    November 5th, 2005 @ 12:18 am

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a christian talk about answers to prayers like he can just push the OnStar button when he has car trouble.

  24. Sitting Pretty
    November 5th, 2005 @ 12:50 am

    So do I, Mark. So do I.

    But just because some enthusiastic but, perhaps, less well grounded person talks as though he could assume that God was at his beck and call, doesn’t discredit an accurate assessment of the reality.

    Besides, you have surely had the experience of unburdening yourself to an understanding friend and coming away feeling much better. Prayer functions that way too.

  25. Mark
    November 5th, 2005 @ 4:09 am

    You know, it’s truly illogical to think that you can do ~anything ~ against the will of an all powerful God. If a mere human could do anything against the will of God, he’d be more powerful than God!

    Be that as it may, the Christians here are missing or evading the point. We atheists would just like to see ~one~ example of God helping an amputee grow limbs. One freakin’ example. We don’t expect God to answer every friggin’ prayer. Considering that God is supposed to have cured thousands of cancer, why is this unreasonable?

  26. Sitting Pretty
    November 5th, 2005 @ 4:36 am

    We are neither missing nor evading the point. You cannot demand that God suspend the laws of nature for your entertainment. If what you want is proof of his existence, go look for Him, just like the rest of us. He is not hard to find.

  27. Rob
    November 5th, 2005 @ 5:51 am

    Entertainment? If we want entertainment, we’d go watch a movie. Your finding God is indistinguishable from finding a delusion. Thats why its unacceptable as proof.

  28. Mijae
    November 5th, 2005 @ 6:14 am

    The only reason it’s okay to pray for something like cancer to be cured, but NOT okay to pray for limb regeneration is because to get limbs to point to as proof, the theists would have to actually get some real miracles.

    Cancer however, is internal and mysterious, so even if there are no miracles, it’s great for pointing to as a full-fledged miracle when it happens to go away… even when the process was helped along by all the current scientific advances in medicine!

  29. SteveR
    November 5th, 2005 @ 8:56 am

    Sitting Pretty said: ” These are questions worth pondering. Not why that which cannot happen does not happen.”

    Do you believe that any televangelist (or any man of god, for that matter) can cure pancreatic cancer, diabetes, hernias,etc. by laying on hands?

  30. Dada Saves
    November 5th, 2005 @ 10:46 am

    Hi Sitting,

    If God knows everything — including your thoughts — can prayer really said to be a ‘conversation’? In fact, given omniscience, prayer seems kind of superfluous to me.

    On a more serious note, when a Xian amputee dies, is his limb waiting for him in heaven?

  31. Sitting Pretty
    November 5th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    Hi Dada:

    God knows all my thoughts. But I don’t. It seems to me, to continue the conversation analogy, that it is often much the same sort of thing that happens when I am troubled or confused about something and I talk it through with a friend. The conversation itself clarifies the matter.

    But I don’t want to over load the analogy. There are prayers of thanksgiving, worship, etc. What they all have in common is that the focus is on God and His will. (Or should be).

    When the amputee dies? There is a wonderful full page ad that I saw once that Hobby Lobby (a chain of craft stores) took out in the paper one year (I believe it was Easter). It depicts an elderly man who has just died in bed. At the upper left of the picture Jesus is stretching out his arms in welcome and, in ghostly outline, a most beautiful young man is arising from the old man’s bed. Schmalzy and yet somehow true.

    I claim no expertise on the afterlife. It has never been the most important aspect to me, since what I care about is what is true and how I should live here and now. We do know that we are promised that we shall be embodied. We also know that nothing that is imperfect shall be retained. So one way or another, I suspect our amputee will be running with his dog among the stars.

  32. Mort Coyle
    November 5th, 2005 @ 12:48 pm

    SteveR: “Do you believe that any televangelist (or any man of god, for that matter) can cure pancreatic cancer, diabetes, hernias,etc. by laying on hands?”

    No televangelist can heal someone by laying on hands; no person can heal another person that way. As Christians, we believe that only God can heal someone in such a way. The who, where, why and how are up to Him. He may choose to allow us to be involved in the process (through prayer), but that doesn’t mean we are responsible for the outcome. We can ask (prayer), but we cannot dictate or demand.

    Dada: “If God knows everything — including your thoughts — can prayer really said to be a ‘conversation’? In fact, given omniscience, prayer seems kind of superfluous to me.”

    Prayer actually brings us closer to God, not the other way around. Someone once likened prayer to a man rowing a boat towards an island: Is the island moving towards the rowboat or is the rowboat moving towards the island?

    Mark: “You know, it’s truly illogical to think that you can do ~anything ~ against the will of an all powerful God. If a mere human could do anything against the will of God, he’d be more powerful than God!”

    If God were a puppet-master and we were His automatons this would be true. But God has imbued us with free-will; something which He seems to value most highly. As a result, He has given us the ability to make our own decisions and to choose whether to seek His will or ignore it.

  33. Mookie
    November 5th, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

    Looks like we have several people here that just hate humans.

    When I want to have a conversation with my god, I get a big bowl of spaghetti sans the meatballs and have a delightful chat. I relate recent troubles I’ve had in life, what’s on my mind at the time, and maybe toss out some things I can do to spend my time wisely. Needless to say, I am overcome with peace and tranquility; I know that I have been touched by his noodly appendage. I then eat the deity, burp, and get on with my life, knowing that his divine nature is now inside and a part of me.

    Some people would say that all I am doing is creating an alter ego in the pasta, conversing with it (a reflection of myself), and coming to a satisfactory solution. They would be correct, of course, and so I must claim that it is NOT a god that makes me feel better, it is my own self-reflection. The only difference between me doing it, and a xian doing it, is that I know what I’m doing and thank myself accordingly. Xians thank god and deny themselves any credit. So to have a relationship with god, one has to demean their own existence. How bizarre and hate-filled.

  34. Jeff Guinn
    November 5th, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

    The believers here have completely missed the point.

    The Christian history of miracles is larded with suspension-of-nature recoveries from various illnesses where it is impossible to discern between miracle and just happened to get darn lucky.

    At the risk of repetition, keep this in mind: all these miraculous recoveries are, by definition, suspension of natural processes that would otherwise lead to the sufferer’s demise.

    So if God is inclined to occasionally suspend nature to effect the odd miraculous recovery from disease, then why similarly suspend nature and regenerate the occasional limb?

    Well, there are two reasons. One, God hates amputees. Alternatively, all those other miracle claims are nothing more than larding supernatural argle-bargle on top of Just Got Lucky.

    Which is it?

  35. Mark Plus
    November 5th, 2005 @ 6:19 pm

    you have surely had the experience of unburdening yourself to an understanding friend and coming away feeling much better. Prayer functions that way too.

    Prayer would work that way, if a god existed and you received some tangible evidence that it received your message and maybe decided to act upon your request. After all, the bible repeatedly shows prayer working like a supernatural OnStar service. Christians living long after the bible’s composition had to come up with feeble rationalizations for prayer’s consistent failure in real life.

  36. Sitting Pretty
    November 5th, 2005 @ 7:16 pm

    Well, I think we, certainly I, have explained what prayer really is as best we can. Prayer and miracles are two different things. Miracles are well attested and to say that there have been none is simple historical ignorance.

    Moreover, that is the best reason that I can think of, humanly speaking, for God not to miraculously restore some one’s legs. For everyone who sees and believes the miracle, a thousand will dismiss it as bogus. The further away in time and place, the more those, who are disinclined to believe, will believe.

    I mean, really now, what can God do, more than He has already done, to get your attention? He brought Jesus Christ back from the dead. That trumps growing legs anytime.

  37. duckens
    November 5th, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

    Why Does God Hate Amputees?

    Because they “profane” his sanctuaries. (Leviticus 21:23)

    God forbids the disabled from serving as priests for this reason. This is why it was so revolutionary for Jesus to heal and hang out with the sick and lame.

    Perhaps God doesn’t want the disabled working for him because then, as now, people will ask, “Why doesn’t God perform a miracle you?”

  38. Sitting Pretty
    November 5th, 2005 @ 8:23 pm

    Nobody asks anyone who is disabled why God doesn’t perform a miracle on him. Miracles are the exception. You don’t seem to understand that if God undid every bad thing that happens, whether it is losing limbs, sight or whatever, he would be using us like puppets.

    Free will comes at a price. You may not want to pay it, but you don’t get a choice. Jihadists can behead me. They can blow 40 policemen up with a bomb. They are exercising their free will. God could stop it but that would make us slaves and not free to serve Him or free to say no.

    For that reason, miracles serve God’s purposes as well as ours. If you read the New Testament (yeah, I know, shudder!), you will see that most miracles were demonstrations that proved that Christ is who he says he is. It is always appropriate for us to ask that God take a particular burden away. But we have to be prepared to accept no for an answer.

    Christians understand that. They understand that this is not the best of all possible worlds and they also understand that this is not our final home. It is hard to overstate what a difference that makes.

  39. Mort Coyle
    November 6th, 2005 @ 2:56 am

    Not an amputee, but how about letting a quadriplegic speak to the issue:

    http://www.joniandfriends.org/videos/LarryKingLive_full.wmv

  40. DHR
    November 6th, 2005 @ 6:17 am

    I think I have the god-concept and prayer down.

    If I pray and something happens, praise Jesus!

    If I pray and nothing happens, praise Jesus!

  41. SteveR
    November 6th, 2005 @ 9:23 am

    Mort Coyle said: ” No televangelist can heal someone by laying on hands; no person can heal another person that way. As Christians, we believe that only God can heal someone in such a way.”

    You seem to be saying that the scripture found in Mark 16: 17-18 (” And these signs will follow those who believe; In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. “) is bogus. Or, perhaps, Christianity is rife with fraud and deception?

  42. Baconeatingatheistjew
    November 6th, 2005 @ 9:44 am

    The comments I just read prove something I already know: Theists are either deceitful or really stupid or a combination of the two. It seems they are missing the point of the post either on purpose or because they can’t deal with reality.
    To the theists here: do you believe that some people in history got their eyesight back or had leprosy or cancer cured because of prayer? Yes or no? And if your answer is yes, why do you find it impossible that prayer should also restore limbs? And if the answer is no, why do people pray for a loved one to be healed?

  43. UG
    November 6th, 2005 @ 10:12 am

    “God could stop it but that would make us slaves and not free to serve Him or free to say no.”

    And if we say no….we suffer, for ETERNITY, in Hell.

    To me, that sounds like a way to try to control and enslave people while still being able to sit back and say “it was his choice to suffer, he could have believed in me and SERVED me and be happy but…free choice and all, you know.”

    God is evil…if it exists.

  44. Mort Coyle
    November 6th, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    DHR: “If I pray and something happens, praise Jesus!
    If I pray and nothing happens, praise Jesus!”

    You’re on the right track. Praising Jesus either way would be an indicator that you really do trust Him. The correction I would make though is that it’s not a case of “nothing happens”, but a case of something other than what you asked for happening. A child will ask its parent for a great many things but the parent sees the larger picture and may not always grant the child’s wishes. Often, the child doesn’t understand why.

    As an example, if you look at the life of Joni Erickson-Tada, she has accomplished tremendous things, including giving hope and comfort to many, many disabled people; advocating for rights for people w/ disabilities; providing wheelchairs and medical care to disabled people in Third World countries, etc., etc. She has also developed a deep and rich spirituality. If God had healed her from being quadriplegic, none of these things might have happened. She considers her disability a great challenge and a gift.

    So yes, even though she didn’t get what she initially prayed for (healing), she praises Jesus anyway.

    SteveR: Re: Mark 16: 17-18, who is Jesus speaking to here?

    This is part of His commission (deputizing, you could say) of the 11 Apostles. The Book of Acts, as well as church history, tells us that they did go out and do what He told them to.

    Can this passage apply to any Christian? I think it’s possible, but the context is going out and telling people about Jesus who haven’t heard. Throughout history, where you continue to hear accounts of miraculous things taking place is with missionaries, who are working in the same context as the original Apostles and continuing to obey this commission.

    SteveR: “Or, perhaps, Christianity is rife with fraud and deception?”

    Yes, it is. Always has been. Jesus warned His listeners repeatedly about “false prophets”. Paul warned the leaders of the early church to watch out for “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. John spoke of “anti-Christs”. A great deal of the New Testament letters were written to combat fraud and deception *within* the church.

    Is this because Christianity is flawed? No, it’s because man is. Jesus told a parable about wheat and tares (weeds that look like wheat) and that the wheat and tares would be allowed to grow together.

    Baconeatingatheistjew: (Interesting name, BTW) “To the theists here: do you believe that some people in history got their eyesight back or had leprosy or cancer cured because of prayer? Yes or no?

    Yes, most definitely.

    “And if your answer is yes, why do you find it impossible that prayer should also restore limbs?”

    I don’t find it impossible. Where did you get that impression?
    I believe that God has the ability to restore limbs, but He’s not obligated to do so. He may have a more long term plan to use the loss of a limb (or other malady) to accomplish deeper purposes. I would certainly pray for an amputee to have a limb restored (if they wanted me to) but would leave the results up to God.

    UG: “And if we say no….we suffer, for ETERNITY, in Hell.”

    C.S. Lewis wrote “The gates of Hell are locked from the inside.” Point being that if one chooses to be separate from God, God’s not going to force anything on them. Personally, I believe that everyone, including you, will eventually be reconciled with God by their own choice; if not in this life, then in the next (this belief is known as Christian Universalism, BTW). The depictions of Hell in scripture are perhaps more Jewish symbolism than literal description.

  45. Sitting Pretty
    November 6th, 2005 @ 12:39 pm

    I disagree only very slightly with Mr. Coyle. I think that some will choose, like Satan, to go their own way. I want to emphasize that the choice of Hell is yours alone to make, Mr. Bacon. And, if that is your choice, by the grace of God, you will be happier there than in Heaven.

  46. a different tim
    November 6th, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

    “Miracles are well attested ”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Nice one.

  47. Sitting Pretty
    November 6th, 2005 @ 4:28 pm

    There is nothing I appreciate more than a man of few words. However, I usually expect them to convey something more than the current state of said man’s digestion.

    Come on, ADT, you can do better than that, can’t you?

  48. SteveR
    November 6th, 2005 @ 6:53 pm

    Mort Coyle says: “. . . who is Jesus speaking to here?. . .but the context is going out and telling people about Jesus who haven’t heard. ”

    He may have been speaking to the apostles, but he was clearly referring to the believers (Christians, being preached to by the apostles) being able to ‘cast out demons’ etc.

    MC : ” Jesus warned His listeners repeatedly about “false prophets”

    So, how do we discern ‘real’ prophets from those who are false? Readily apparent miracles that involved obvious limb regeneration (as opposed to nebulous ones) would certainly accomplish this. This was one of the points of the article. As long as ‘certain’ miracles are off the board, then the ‘real’ prophets are anyone with a convincing delivery mesmerizing the gullible sheep.

  49. Mort Coyle
    November 6th, 2005 @ 7:41 pm

    SteveR: “He may have been speaking to the apostles, but he was clearly referring to the believers (Christians, being preached to by the apostles) being able to ‘cast out demons’ etc.”

    Really. Tell me more about the hermeneutical approach you used to arrive at this conclusion.

    “So, how do we discern ‘real’ prophets from those who are false?”

    This topic is covered quit extensively in the New Testament Epistles. I’d recommend reading them for yourself. The ability to perform miracles is not necessarily proof of legitimacy, according to scripture. The real proof is the fruit; in other words, what are the results of a prophet’s ministry, lifestyle and teaching.

    There is a fascinating document called “The Didache” that was probably circulated among the Syrian Christian churches in around 100 A.D. It provides insight into how the early church viewed prophets and the safeguards they put in place to avoid the many false prophets and charlatans that roamed the landscape (then, as now). Here’s a link:
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

  50. Mark
    November 7th, 2005 @ 1:58 am

    There is nothing about regenerating a limb that would violate natural law or logic. So God could do it. But he doesn’t do it, so he must hate amputees.

    And the free will thing doesn’t change the fact that if God gave us free will, he gave it to us knowing that we would do things against his will. But if these things were really against his will, then he wouldn’t have given us free will.

    Defenders of the “God gave us free will” doctrine also ignore the fact that we already do ~not~ have free will to do a lot of things. For example, I don’t have the “free will” to incinerate the earth with a laser beam from the top of my head. And I would say that is a good thing, wouldn’t you? So what’s the problem with God taking away, say, the free will of a child murderer?

  51. SteveR
    November 7th, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    Mort Coyle: “Really. Tell me more about the hermeneutical approach you used to arrive at this conclusion.”

    Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ”

    ‘every creature’ = people being preached to

    Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved . . .

    ‘He’ = people being preached to who believe. Clearly, this refers to the multitudes, not just the apostles. There are a great many christian sects who interpret this passage as I have. Before you take issue with my ‘ hermeneutics’ , you may want to try to consolidate the ‘true’ christian viewpoint, what with dozens (hundreds?) of christian sects out there, reading the same scripture and ‘interpreting’ it to mean different things. And even if I’m wrong, do you really believe an omnipotent, omniscient being could (would?) be a party to such an ambiguous work?

    MC: ” I’d recommend reading them for yourself.”

    I have – that’s why I’ve gone over to the ‘dark’ side.

    MC: “The ability to perform miracles is not necessarily proof of legitimacy, according to scripture.”

    I thought that, by definition, all ‘miracles’ were good?

    MC: ” The real proof is the fruit; in other words, what are the results of a prophet’s ministry, lifestyle and teaching.”

    But WHO gets to decide wheter the ‘ fruit ‘ is appropriate or not ? You ? Pat Robertson ? David Koresh ? The only way to overcome this conflict of interpretive relevance is to demonstrate a supernatural control of the real world. Real miracle = true deity . Regenerate an amputated limb and I’ll be on the bandwagon. Not before.

  52. hermesten
    November 7th, 2005 @ 10:55 am

    What happened to the atheist board? Is this a Christian website now? Is there some kind of Bible Beater campaign to flood non-Christian websites?

  53. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 11:49 am

    Ah, Fred “Hermesten” Phelps has weighed in. The problem is not so much that we are taking over but the incredible degree of ignorance you all display about what Christianity actually teaches. We can let you all go on tilting at windmills, while the real world passes you by, or we can try to help you to a mature, rather than comic book, understanding of Christianity. Which would you prefer?

    SteveR: The fruit is not mysterious. The Bible describes them as peace, joy, etc. If you have a junkie who is able to overcome addiction and become the person s/he was meant to be, I am pretty sure we would all agree that that is a good thing. Likewise an abusive husband who is moved to get counselling and let friends and family help him to stop abusing and become a good family man… likewise.

    You have, however, pointed to the fundamental difference between Protestants and Catholics. Protestants, believing in sola scriptura do run the risk of having everyone interpret the Bible for himself. And that leads, as we see, to lots of sects. Catholics, who have the magisterium, which transmits church doctrine are in a better position to speak with one voice.

  54. Joe
    November 7th, 2005 @ 11:54 am

    The issue most depressing about prayer (and there are many) is that people actually think they are accomplishing something through prayer. So they can talk to themselves (prayer), then pat themselves on the back for being such a good person.

    If everyone stopped praying (completely), and instead simply completed on act of kindness, either individually or through a group, the world would immidiately become a better place. Also, if instead of going to church, synagogue, or mosque every week, and instead, spent the same amount of time doing volunteer work, the world once again would be a better place.

    Thus, by stopping prayer and destroying places of worship the world would only improve…

  55. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 12:33 pm

    I know this is well-meant, Joe, but again, it reflects a lack of friendship with reality. Why on earth would prayer or the existence of places of worship preclude anyone from volunteering or doing good deeds? The two things have nothing to do with good works, in terms of taking up someone’s time which could be better spent otherwise.

    In fact, of course, the majority of volunteer hours that are spent in various kinds of activities are put in by believers, a fact easily ascertained by googling “volunteers demographics”.

  56. Baconeatingatheistjew
    November 7th, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    Prayer is said to have at least a placebo affect on some people.
    Mind over matter and all that jazz. That being said, how come insurance companies don’t give a discount to those who pray or are prayed for.

  57. EclecticGuru
    November 7th, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

    If regenerating a limb would cause people to believe in god, and having faith in god is an important step toward accepting Jesus as Lord, and becoming a True Christian bears the fruits of joy and peace, etc.: Why Does God Hate Amputees?

  58. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 1:13 pm

    We are starting to repeat ourselves. God already performed the ultimate miracle in bringing Christ back from the dead. What more can he do? As I said, many comments ago, if you saw an amputee grow a limb back, you might be persuaded but what about those who don’t see it but only hear about it and dismiss it because “miracles don’t happen”? And, of course, as time goes by, those with no historical sense will think it less and less possible.

    No, at this late date, it would make more sense for you to weigh the evidence (start by reading the documents) and see what rings true. Using the light of natural reason and listening to the testimony of the godly will be of more use to you.

  59. EclecticGuru
    November 7th, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    Are you saying that raising Jesus from the dead was god’s last miracle?

  60. jahrta
    November 7th, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    “Are you saying that raising Jesus from the dead was god’s last miracle?”

    Actually, it was the ultimate act of nepotism (as jeebus is both god and, at the same time, his own son – more complicated than a “dynasty” sub-plot).

  61. Baconeatingatheistjew
    November 7th, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

    Hey, how come my comment about an insurance discount for those who pray didn’t make it on here yet?

  62. SteveR
    November 7th, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    SP: “The fruit is not mysterious. The Bible describes them as peace, joy, etc. ”

    These are worthwhile secular attributes, attainable without any religious influence. ‘False prophets’ would be fully capable of advocating and encouraging these pursuits. But the real question still remains – which ones speak for God?

    SP: ” Catholics, who have the magisterium, which transmits church doctrine are in a better position to speak with one voice.”

    What about the Mormons? Jehovah’s Witnesses? They speak with one voice.

  63. DamnRight
    November 7th, 2005 @ 4:28 pm

    Speaking as one who grew up in the Christian faith… spent 40 years in the Christian faith… and was involved in many many prayer meetings and healing services… I can state that I’ve never witnessed a healing of any kind… nor has any Christian I ever met… always 3rd or 4th hand anecdotes… not enough faith?… according to the Bible, faith comes from God, so why does he withhold it?… all we need is the faith of a mustard seed & we could move montains… ask for anything in His name & it will be done… JC promised we would do greater things than He did… seems to be one of those little unfulfilled God promises…

    … prayer serves only to assuage the conscience of those involved… it’s a feel-better activity…

    … I can achieve the same results by standing on one foot & swinging a frog over my head… anything positive happens, its the frog, nothing happen, it wasn’t meant to be…

    … I did buy into the whole thing for years… I guess the lack of God supplied faith finally gave out & rational thought kicked in…

  64. hermesten
    November 7th, 2005 @ 5:21 pm

    “The problem is … the incredible degree of ignorance you all display about what Christianity actually teaches. We can let you all go on tilting at windmills, while the real world passes you by, or we can try to help you to a mature, rather than comic book, understanding of Christianity.”

    Actually, the problem is more one of arrogant, condescending, self-righteous Christians who have appointed themselves to educate us heathens. Every one of these self-impressed Christian ass clowns, like SP, seems to think they are some kind of new light in the darkness, illuminating the one true path for us ignorant atheists, when they are just another in a long line Christian parrots squawking out the same nonsense over and over and over.

    Not a single one of these deluded Godidiots has anything to say that we haven’t heard 100 or 1,000 times. A couple, like Frank and SG, are decent enough fellows with whom it is possible to carry on a conversation. Most, like SP, are self-important fools who come here full of insults, smirking like the Chimp, telling us how much better and smarter they are than the rest of us.

    Shitting Pretty is so fucking stupid that it thinks we’re all living in some kind of atheist paradise where we never have to deal with any real Christians, but only see some kind of fictionalized verison on TV sitcoms. Unfortunately for us though, the simple odds make it a virtual certainty that each of us atheists probably knows about ten Christians for every atheist a bozo like Shitting Pretty knows.

    So, Shitting Pretty, take some time to wipe your dirty ass for a change, and wake up to the reality that what we think of Christians is based on what we know about Christians, because we have to deal with numerous self-righteous fecal covered assholes like you each and every fucking day. In the real world, to know you fuckers is not to love you.

    I don’t give a rat’s fucking ass what Christianity “teaches.” I care way more about what it excuses, justifies, and rationalizes. What really matters to me is how the cretins who call themselves Christians behave, and how their behavior affects me and the people I care about. The record so far is piss fucking poor. But if we have no more evidence about your religion than the existence of “people” like you, then we have all the information we need to know that your religion is a life threatening disease, a cancer to be eradicated.

    Oh, and by the way, when your shitty religion becomes something more than a fucking comic book, it will be possible to view in something less like comic terms.

  65. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    SteveR:
    Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They will have to speak for themselves.

    DR:

    I am always sorry to hear stories like yours. If it is as you say, I am guessing that you were in a more fundamentalist denomination and one that was overly literal in its interpretation of the Bible.

    Yes, Jesus said that we would move mountains. But do you not recognize the figure of speech that he is employing? A mustard seed is very tiny but grows into a very large plant. When he said that all we needed (to begin with) was a tiny bit of faith (which he likened to the mustard seed), do you not recognize that simile? When you read that he told the disciples to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, did you expect them to lay eggs?

    I ripped that last bit off CS Lewis who also added that the Bible is a book for adults. That in turn goes back to a thread from a while ago in which we talked about the Bible being a book written in a number of ancient languages in a variety of genres (history, poetry, fable, etc) over a number of centuries. It is not transparent to us as, say, a Harry Potter novel might be.

    I hope that you will find your way back and will pray that you do so. It is good to be in tune with reality. Shaking one’s fist at the cosmos gets tiring after awhile.

  66. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

    Ah, Fred, hermesten, Phelps, is in full cry, I see. I wonder how far you would have gone, Fred, if only you spoke English and weren’t filled with bile.

  67. hermesten
    November 7th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm

    Ah Shitty, I’m no longer “tilting at windmills?” You’re not going to pray for me like you are for DR? Don’t I need it more than he does? Watch out there, Pretty Shitty, your hypocrisy is showing.

    I love it when you self-righteousness clowns come preaching the “true” Christian teachings and then smite us with your arrogance and contempt. I have met a few decent Christians in my lifetime, but most of them are just like you: smug, arrogant, self-righteous hypocrites who use religion to camofluage their narcicism and venality.

  68. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 6:15 pm

    Poor Fred. How would you know if you had met any decent Christians? Anyone as hate-filled as you cannot see clearly. Do you really suppose that you can insult me? Who are you really angry at?

    You keep talking about all these smug, condescending and heaven only knows what else Christians you have met in your lifetime but why do I think that you met them all in your mirror?

  69. hermesten
    November 7th, 2005 @ 6:32 pm

    No Pretty Shitty, you’re way to fuckin’ stupid and arrogant to be insulted by anything anyone else could say to you. If you weren’t stupid, you wouldn’t even have needed to ask the question, since it has clearly been answered in previous posts.

    As far as why you “think” anything about anything, only God knows, and He’s not telling. But I’d guess that your mirror fetish is related to your narcicism.

    I’d take my own advice to stop feeding the troll, but a narcicist like you can’t possibly allow someone else to have the last word, so I’ll keep scratching and so you’ll continue to let us see what a hypocrite you are.

  70. EclecticGuru
    November 7th, 2005 @ 9:16 pm

    “God already performed the ultimate miracle in bringing Christ back from the dead. What more can he do?”

    Sitting Pretty has already admitted that God hasn’t performed any miracles in the last 2000 years.

    All that Catholic doctrine about saints and miracles and such is a bunch of lies. LIES!

    So don’t listen to Catcholics, Mormons, or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    God doesn’t hate amputees. He just doesn’t perform miracles anymore. Those glory days are over. We’re on our own!

  71. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 9:28 pm

    That’s wilful ignorance, Eclectic. Or else you can’t read up to grade level. God performs miracles every day. Only in a beer-induced stupor could you honestly misunderstand what I have said.

    I venture to say that 2000 amputees in, say, England could grow new limbs and you would dismiss that as limey propaganda. I wonder how many times I will have to make that point before you will demonstrate the intellectual integrity not to distort what I say?

    On the other hand, who am I to spoil your fun?

  72. EclecticGuru
    November 7th, 2005 @ 9:46 pm

    Oh, okay. So god doesn’t hate amputees, he miraculously regenerates their limbs every day. The problem is that I dismiss it all because it only happens in england!

    Now it all makes sense. Thank you for setting me straight. You have amazing intellectual integrity, SP. Don’t listen to those other atheists when they say you’re a piece of filth.

    It’s not true! You just know about stuff we don’t.

    Like all the limb regeneration. Taking place every day. In england.

  73. Sitting Pretty
    November 7th, 2005 @ 10:09 pm

    Compared to too many of you atheists, I am a beacon of intellectual and every other kind of integrity. Your “answer” makes no sense at all, except… yes, yes, I must be every bit as stupid as the raving hermesten Phelps says. I just realized you are admitting that you can’t answer the arguments I and others have made, so you distort them!

    Well, well, well, victory is sweet, indeed. Ihr schabelt vor Wut– es macht aber keinen Unterschied! Ihr seid schlecht weggekommen.

  74. EclecticGuru
    November 7th, 2005 @ 10:32 pm

    Of course you won, SP. You have god on your side.

    And if you ever lose a limb, I’m sure he’ll regenerate it for you. You are just that special! Congratulations!

    Now run along.

  75. Percy
    November 7th, 2005 @ 10:37 pm

    “I don’t give a rat’s fucking ass what Christianity “teaches.””

    Perhaps therein lies the problem. If you do not give a/n *insert low value object here* about someone’s beliefs, how likely are you to thoroughly and accurately research them (and no, researching it on skepdic.com doesn’t count)? If you do not thoroughly and accurately research their beliefs, how seriously should someone be expected to take the judgement you pass on those beliefs?

    “Not a single one of these deluded Godidiots has anything to say that we haven’t heard 100 or 1,000 times.”

    Maybe you’ve heard it so many times, but you still don’t seem to understand it. Is it because you don’t care enough to try, or is it because you’ve already made up your mind long beforehand?

    “What really matters to me is how the cretins who call themselves Christians behave, and how their behavior affects me and the people I care about. The record so far is piss fucking poor.”

    What kind of results do you think we’d get if we measured atheism by the same standard (keeping in mind the relatively brief period of time that atheism has been in the mainstream)?

  76. UG
    November 8th, 2005 @ 6:34 am

    “God performs miracles every day.”

    Evidence please. Give evidence that it is a miracle and that God did it.

    Wait, never mind. The definition of miracle is “an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.” So if we can’t explain it (due to current limitations on human knowledge) then the true believer will attribute it to the supernatural/God.

    So, if a person stays ignorant enough, then everything is a miracle to that person.

  77. SteveR
    November 8th, 2005 @ 8:25 am

    Sitting Pretty says: ” Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. ”

    That’s news to them.

  78. jahrta
    November 8th, 2005 @ 9:55 am

    Hey, SP

    In trying to show how you’re somehow living a better life, or that you’re more enlightened or more virtuous than any other individual on this site, aren’t you committing the sin of pride? Won’t you burn for all eternity in that nasty place you people are always going on about for that?

  79. hermesten
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:07 am

    “If you do not thoroughly and accurately research their beliefs, how seriously should someone be expected to take the judgement you pass on those beliefs?”

    There are so many things wrong with your response I hardly know where to start. You seem to be suggesting that you “thoroughly and accurately research” the beliefs of those you pass judgement upon, so I take it that you’re an expert on Hinduism, Buddahism, Shintoism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Islam –just to name a few beliefs upon which you have apparently passed judgement –you being a Christian and all.

    Then there is your problem with quotations. I say I don’t give a rat’s ass what Christianity “teaches” and you say:

    “If you do not give a/n *insert low value object here* about someone’s beliefs…”

    So, either you don’t understand the distinction, you’re careless about what you say, or your distortion was deliberate. In any case, I’ll explain it to you. What is taught about your religion is largely irrelevant for a number of different reasons. One is that different people calling themselves “Christians” teach different things. But even if we choose one of these “teachings” to be the true Christianity, it doesn’t matter, because the vast majority of people who purportedly subscribe to these notions either do not understand what they are taught, or they choose to behave otherwise.

    Now, there are a number of often used excuses for this –Christian’s aren’t perfect, just forgiven, etc, etc, etc– but the fact remains, and is even admitted to by an idiot like Pretty Shitty, that Christians are just as bad as everyone else. If Christians were better then maybe we could accept that tradeoff off for putting up with their bullshit. However, since they aren’t, there is no reason to put up with their bullshit and allow them to regulate every aspect of our lives.

    “What kind of results do you think we’d get if we measured atheism by the same standard…?”

    A distinct, measurable improvement. Though, I, and I would guess, many others here, don’t really care about whether or not people believe in God. My objection is to your religion and it’s ridiculous dogma. I have no problem with Unitarians or deists. All moral progress in the last two centuries has been in opposition to religious dogma and religious practice. Note, I’m not saying those in opposition were atheists, merely that they reject religious dogma.

  80. hermesten
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:15 am

    “Compared to too many of you atheists, I am a beacon of intellectual and every other kind of integrity. Your “answer” makes no sense at all, except… yes, yes, I must be every bit as stupid as the raving hermesten Phelps says.”

    Jahrta, forget about “pride,” what about good ole’ Christian humility? Ever notice how the assholes like Pretty Shitty all have egocentric nicks? “Sitting Pretty” is both smug and egocentric. When someone shows up with a nick like this one, or Heretic Slayer, it’s usually a safe bet that they’re pretty full of themselves. I love it too, because these are the people who talk the most about the “true teachings” of Christianity, and they are always the biggest hypocrites and the most smug and contempetuous of others.

    Shitting Pretty can’t stop itself. It’s fun to wind these morons up and watch them expose their pettiness and hypocrisy.

  81. DamnRight
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:23 am

    Quite an assumption Ms. Pretty… why assume I was from a “fundamentalist” sect of Christianity?… fact is, I’ve attended a wide range of denominations (including non-denominational)… none demonstarted any effectual prayer… so, JC didn’t actually mean that Christians would do “gretaer things” than he did?… he just said it to illustrate some point?… what point?… is that similar to his “many here will live to see me return” comment?… just more figurative talk?…

    … if the bible is for adults, why is it that little children remain the target for conversion?… is it that they can’t understand, so it works better?…

    … if it makes you feel better, pray for my return to Christianity… join the crowd of ineffectual prayer warriors that include my entire family (both sides)… once one has seen the light (I’m talking about rational thought), it’s highly unlikely one would return to fairy tales & wishful thinking… but, have fun, it will make you feel better about yourself…

  82. DamnRight
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    BTW… I did have a friend who lost both her legs to cancer… we never considered praying for her legs to be restored… guess we really did lack faith.. all we could come up with was praying that God would heal the cancer… we did that fervently for months… didn’t happen…

    … I also remember the many prayers & prayer meetings for another woman with cancer at another church years later… she died too… many claimed that this “was her healing”… so, if death, as pain filled as it was for this lady, is the ultimate healing, and a person being snuffed out in the prime of their life (or, as in the case of a young girl at the same church, before her prime) is God’s little miracle, all I can say is… “What a bastard He is.”…

  83. Sitting Pretty
    November 8th, 2005 @ 11:52 am

    As bizarre and vile as so much of what you atheists write is, this thread is beginning to fascinate me. The longer it goes on with all your ranting and raving, the less resemblance it bears to anything that has actually been said by me or any other theist.

    So, with that introduction, let’s see what there is to say about the latest outburst of hatred in the service of better living through reason and not superstion:

    SteveR said:

    Sitting Pretty says: ” Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. ” That’s news to them.

    No, it’s not actually.

    jahrta

    In trying to show how you’re somehow living a better life, or that you’re more enlightened or more virtuous than any other individual on this site, aren’t you committing the sin of pride? Won’t you burn for all eternity in that nasty place you people are always going on about for that?

    Interesting. I have said absolutely nothing about myself–I haven’t even indicated that I am a woman, despite your assumptions. I have written only about what Christianity teaches. I have not used myself as an example, nor anyone else for that matter.

    DR I watched my own mother die of lung cancer when she was barely 50. That is not a nice death either. The reality is that we suffer and die. What is new about this? I am sorry that your prayers for the lady who suffered so greatly were not answered in the way you wanted but that is often the case, as we have said here over and over. You all can’t seem to make the distinction between us exerting power over God, forcing him to do what we want, and asking Him for what we want in the certain knowledge that He will do what is best in any given situation.

    You can do better than this– if the bible is for adults, why is it that little children remain the target for conversion?… is it that they can’t understand, so it works better?… Some denominations “target” children for conversion, others don’t. But you might just as well ask why, if the Constitution can only be understood by adults, we teach about it to children. If sex is best left to adults, why teach about it to children? etc.

    Well, rave on, y’all. Rave on.

  84. EclecticGuru
    November 8th, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    SP, you’ve won the argument already. God has given you the power to defeat all heresy with your cunning and clever arguments.

    You have revealed that you possess the secret knowledge necessary to answer the question: Why does god hate amputees!

    VICTORY IS YOURS!

    If only these atheists were not blind to the miracle of regeneration that takes place in England every day, they would recognize that fact!

    Maybe you should post pictures and stuff. I bet that would prove it to them!

  85. UG
    November 8th, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

    Sitting Pretty LIES!

    Sitting Pretty said: “I have said nothing about myself” AND said “Compared to too many of you atheists, I am a beacon of intellectual and every other kind of integrity.”

    How, o speader of falsehoods, claim that you are a beacon of intellectual integrity (compared to others) and then turn around and say that you have said nothing about yourself? Claiming that you have more integrity IS saying something about yourself.

    You lie, twist facts, and claim flasehoods. Integrity my butt.

    Lies and false pride. Good thing I don’t beleive in Hell because if I did, I would say you are going there.

  86. DamnRight
    November 8th, 2005 @ 2:56 pm

    Sitting Prissy,

    … I find much joy in reading your vapid responses… I realize that it was from such a position that I found freedom.. you must try it… come over to the bright side… it’s much more freeing & fulfilling…

    … you suggest that God’s will trumps all… then, what’s the point of prayer… is it just trying to see if you can hit on what Gid already plans to do?… or can you actually change God’s mind (there is precident for that in the bible)… and if doing so would not be “what is best”, why risk that?…

    … and to suggest that teaching children some minor aspects of goverment is the same as asking them to make a life changing decision is really out to lunch…

    … I spouted these platitudes for years myself… it still embarasses me… but, I do know where you’re coming from as it is from whence I came… there’s still hope for you yet…

  87. DamnRight
    November 8th, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

    Hello again My Pretty,
    … just to clarify, were you suggesting that your denomination doesn’t target children (“Some denominations “target” children for conversion, others don’t.”)?… no Christian videos?… no Christian CD’s?… no Sunday School?… no home bible study?… no Christian schooling?… no Christian summer camps?… no DVBS?… no youth groups?… no church retreats?…

  88. roxtar
    November 8th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    Wait a minute. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian denomination? The Jehova’s Witnesses are not a Christian denomination? Maybe you can fill us in on some of the other non Christian denominations. How about Episcopalians? Mennonites? Church of God with Signs Following? Or perhaps only your particular brand of the pure Christianity is the real McCoy. Please, SP….enlighten us.

  89. Kate
    November 8th, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    Landover Baptists are the only True Christians ™

    Sheesh. Even I know that.

  90. hermesten
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

    Apparently Shitting Pretty isn’t posting on all the right websites and educating all the right people. I’ve worked with more than one Jehova’s Witness, and everyone of them considered himself to be a Christian.

    To show you what a fucking idiot Shitting Pretty is, here is a quote from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website:

    “We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

    On the Jehova’s Witness website, in talking about customs that displease God, they say:

    “What can guide us as Christians in deciding whether to observe a certain custom or not? We must carefully think about its possible connection to any unscriptural teaching, such as the belief that spirits of the dead influence the lives of the living.”

    So, they too, clearly consider themselves to be Christians.

    Guess these groups need to get in touch with Shitting Pretty.

  91. hermesten
    November 8th, 2005 @ 10:29 pm

    Next up, a prediction, from my crystal ball: SP will deny ever saying that Mormons and JW’s know they aren’t Christians.

  92. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 8:09 am

    Learn to read hermy Phelps. I said that it would not come as news to them that we (=Catholics and Protestants of the usual varieties) don’t consider them Christian denominations. And that is true. They can claim to be green cheese with all the passion and conviction that they want but it won’t make it so.

    Now, unless you can come up with something intelligent to say, I give you the victory in having completely derailed this thread. Hence, it is not of any interest anymore.

    How does it feel to be human (sort of) Round-Up?

  93. kate
    November 9th, 2005 @ 8:24 am

    SP has spoken. Raaaa-men.

  94. SteveR
    November 9th, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    Sitting Pretty said: ” I said that it would not come as news to them that we (=Catholics and Protestants of the usual varieties) don’t consider them Christian denominations.”

    That’s NOT what you said. In post number 65 you said:

    ” Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They will have to speak for themselves.”

    Hermesten is correct – you are the one distorting the dialog.

  95. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 9:41 am

    Let’s have a lesson in reading comprehension, shall we?

    Here is the entire subthread:

    #65 (I said) “SteveR: Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They will have to speak for themselves”

    #77 “SteveR said:
    Sitting Pretty says: ” Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. ”

    That’s news to them. (your remark)

    #83 SteveR said:

    Sitting Pretty says: ” Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. ” That’s news to them.

    No, it’s not actually. my remark)

    ********

    I go through this nonsense because your comment made me wonder, as I do so often, whether it is ignorance or malice that leads you all to continually distort what I and other theists say. Or are you so blinded by your hate that you really cannot read a statement objectively that contradicts your own views?

  96. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 9:48 am

    Now, let’s look at what Fred ” hermy” Phelps said:

    #91 “Next up, a prediction, from my crystal ball: SP will deny ever saying that Mormons and JW’s know they aren’t Christians.”

    Now do you get it? Let me spell it out for you: I said that they know we don’t consider them Christian denominations. I didn’t say that they know they aren’t Christians. I rather imagine that they do think that. So what? Green cheese.

  97. roxtar
    November 9th, 2005 @ 10:32 am

    Let me spell it out for you: I said that they know we don’t consider them Christian denominations.

    No, SP, that’s not what you said. Trying to twist it around is simply a flat-out lie, and the evidence is in post #65.

    I quote your exact words:

    “Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They will have to speak for themselves.”

    Words have meaning. It’s your words, SP, that speak for themselves.

    Go back to #65, then deny that you posted this. Show us where the words “they know that we don’t consider them….” appear in that statement.

    Or, on the other hand, you could do the ethical thing and own up to your previous statement and explain that what you said wasn’t really what you meant, and that your previous statement is inoperative, and that your command of the English language is inadequate to convey the thoughts that Jeebus has implanted in your coconut.

  98. jahrta
    November 9th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

    Now now, children. Let’s not bicker and argue over which people’s version of the imaginary sky god is real and which is not: that’s how holy wars get started. Is it any wonder that those in possession of basic reasoning skills rail against this type of stupidity? SP – look no further than tonight’s episode of Fox’s Trading Spouses to get a good hard look at what a “true christian warrior” looks like, and what kind of isolated and deranged individuals embrace this lifestyle. It amazes me that they still make people like this.

    By the way, I have no love for Jehova’s Witnesses – they came over to my wife’s house when she was kid no older than 7 and told her that her grandfather died because he didn’t embrace christ as his personal lord and saviour. Wonderful people.

  99. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 11:22 am

    Roxtar: What is wrong with you? I repeated the whole subthread for ease of comprehension in #95 and spelled out herme’s error in #96. Shouldn’t you be in school right now, anyway? Listen to your teacher when she tells you to pay attention to what you read.

    Let me try one more time. Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They know that the rest of us don’t consider them Christian denominations. That is not news to them.

    Now, tell me what is so hard to understand in those words?Only what? 4 (unique) of them have more than two syllables.

    Jahrta, in this one way you are right. This is bickering but, from my perspective, it has the purpose of showing with perfect clarity how unable most of you atheists are to argue with intelligence and honesty. It is no wonder that so many of you talk like a bunch of thugs on steroids.

  100. hermesten
    November 9th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    Post #91: “Next up, a prediction, from my crystal ball: SP will deny ever saying that Mormons and JW’s know they aren’t Christians.”

    Pretty Shitty: “Now do you get it? Let me spell it out for you: I said that they know we don’t consider them Christian denominations. I didn’t say that they know they aren’t Christians. I rather imagine that they do think that. So what? Green cheese.”

    Are these fuckers predictable or what? This tool is a hoot and a half. Downright Clintonesque –or should I say Chimpesque these days?

  101. hermesten
    November 9th, 2005 @ 11:52 am

    Post# 92 -Pretty Shitty: “… I give you the victory in having completely derailed this thread. Hence, it is not of any interest anymore.”

    Next, see Pretty Shitty posting 3 more times (96,96,99) out of the next 8 posts, AFTER losing all interest.

    Post #69: “…a narcicist like you can’t possibly allow someone else to have the last word, so I’ll keep scratching and so you’ll continue to let us see what a hypocrite you are.”

    Did I say this clown is predictable? I was wrong about it being a hoot and a half though, this bozo gives more hoots than any Godidiot who has ever posted here. You can’t get mad at a Godidiot who is this amusing.

  102. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

    What a witless nutcase you are Freddy. The minute you lie about me, I get interested again. I will continue to comment as long as you continue to lie. In fact, out of sheer cussedness I am going to flood any thread I see you comment on with corrections to your sanctimonious dishonesty.

    Yes, I am that much a narcissist (which you misspelled by the way). It will give me pleasure.

  103. roxtar
    November 9th, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

    What SP said (#65):

    “”Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christian denominations.”

    What SP said she said (#92):

    “I said that it would not come as news to them that we (=Catholics and Protestants of the usual varieties) don’t consider them Christian denominations.”

    The evidence is posted above for all to see. I don’t think I have any problems in the reading comprehension department, nor do I see anyone else calling me out for a mistake in comprehension. What is clear, however, is that you said one thing, then tried to backpedal it into something else. That might work in your prayer circle, but it’s not quite as effective when your previous statements are displayed for all to see and review. If you possessed any intellectual honesty whatsoever, you’d just come out and admit that #65 wasn’t exactly what you meant, and that #92 is a more accurate statement of your opinion. I didn’t think infallibility extended so far down the chain of command. Or maybe you weren’t speaking ex cathedra.

    Oh, and I’m pretty much done with school. I stopped attending after I earned my doctorate.

  104. jahrta
    November 9th, 2005 @ 2:12 pm

    Roxtar – are you actually asking SP to be accountable for anything s/he said or wrote? Aren’t you aware of the new rules? No theist is accountable for his or her actions these days – look no further than Bush & Co. to see this in action.

    It’s unamerican to expect apologies, admissions of fallibility, or to dare to question the motives or reasoning prowess of heir fuhr…um…the president.

  105. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    Big deal, Roxtar. I have a Ph.D too and so do most of my friends and colleagues at the university I am employed at. And I read five languages, speak two fluently, etc. What does that prove? They are a dime a dozen.

    Nor does it matter when dealing with atheists whose educational attainments may seem fine on paper. However, once they get to raving here they talk like brainless nitwits whose grasp of history reaches way, way back to the first Clinton presidency.

    You are a case in point. If you can’t see that I said that the Mormons and JWs know we don’t think they are Christians. You are hopeless. The point in itself is so minor but what it says about you and your ilk is fascinating and horrifying.

    What is your Ph.D in? Phys ed? It can’t be in any liberal arts area because you would have to know how to read which you apparently can’t. Or won’t.

  106. SteveR
    November 9th, 2005 @ 2:48 pm

    Sitting Pretty said: ” I go through this nonsense because your comment made me wonder, as I do so often, whether it is ignorance or malice that leads you all to continually distort what I and other theists say. ”

    You go through this ‘nonsense’ because you are trying to backpedal out of a clear fabrication. You combined what you said in multiple posts and attempted to pass it off as one original , homogeneous statement. This kind of obfuscation may work in your world, but here people are held to higher standards. Admit you were wrong, and move on.

  107. EclecticGuru
    November 9th, 2005 @ 4:13 pm

    Oh no! If SP was wrong about the JWs and Mormons, maybe SP was also wrong about the thousands of regenerations of amputated limbs taking place in England!

    My FAITH is SHATTERING even as I write this!

    SP! NOOOOO!

    I’ll never forgive you for giving me hope and then crushing it like that! NEVER!

    It is not nice to trick people into believing in god, it really hurts them when they find out you’ve been lying the whole time!

  108. hermesten
    November 9th, 2005 @ 4:35 pm

    Pretty Shitty, no lie about you could possibly be as amusing or damaging as what comes out of your own mouth. I’ve been chuckling for a good ten minutes at the thought that you might be employed by some university –that’s a fuckin’ hoot (at least if it has real buildings, classrooms, and students).

    I hope you’re not lying about flooding every thread I post on, but so far your record isn’t too good. I’m posted on the communion/annulment thread, and you haven’t posted anything, much less flooded the thread.

    Do you clowns have a playbook you post here by? Because you’re practically a carbon copy of every other religious hypocrite who comes here to edukate us heathens. Start out smug and condescending; rant about your superior intellect while you tell us about how all the other Bible Beaters, like Mormons, aren’t real Christians; lie like the Chimp, or Scott McClellan, when you misspeak; whine about the language and your ill treatment; insult anyone who disagress with you; and then start flashing your credentials.

    You are the embodiment of almost every stereotype of the obnoxious and hypocritical Christian –writ large– so I welcome your continued postings. One “Christian” like you does more to advance secularism than any ten atheists, agnostics, or secular humanists. And I also find your fixation on atheism funny as hell, since most of us who are antagonistic to religion don’t care whether or not somone believes in God. In fact, of the many people I know who think your religion is bullshit, only one is an atheist.

    With Christians like you around, I don’t have to say a fuckin’ word against religion. All any decent and thoughtful human being has to do is meet a smug, self-absorbed, didactic wind-bag like you, proclaiming his “Christianity,” and they’re on the road to deism or agnosticism.

  109. Steve From NYC
    November 9th, 2005 @ 7:32 pm

    I couldn’t slog through all 108 comments before writing mine. Most of this drivel that God gives uswhat we need and God works in mysterious ways, is so incredibly dumb that I seriously believe the true believers are inferior human beings. Don’t any of you ever think critically about anything? What dumbasses.

    How about this, to blow away your incredible Prayer nonesense? When the WTC first tower was hit, millions and millions of people around the world were praying in unison (remember, the event was viewed globally, as it happened) They were, for the most of them, doing an inner imbecile chant, which went something like this . . . “Oh please dear God, save those people in the burning building.” “Oh please dear God, don’t let any more people jump off that building.” God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to give us what we really needed in life, which was to send a second plane hurtling into the buildings. The millions continued to chant and sway and work themselves up into a real lather. “Oh please, dear God, save the people in those burning buildings.” etc. etc. God, in his beloved grace and love of us, brought the two buildings down. Then, the chant went as follows. “Oh please, dear God, find and save all of the people buried alive.” God, sent us a clue, a miracle. He revealed a cross of steel in the ruins. Oh my God oh God. This was far better than a Virgin Mary in tree bark. What a miracle! Hallelujah! Of course, no one was found. But the miracle stayed up and provided comfort to thousands of dimwits who worked in the site.

    All of the millions praying together reminded me of Star Wars II. When the dark star destroyed a planet, Yoda could feel the cries of the beings as they were slaughtered. Wow, kinda like the unison praying of millions of people.

    Maybe the Muslims who wished for the buildings to come down prayed louder?

    What about the 8 weeks of Hell the Catholics put the rest of the world through, as their beloved Pope was dying., and then finally buried? What were they praying for? God obviously didn’t hear them. And when he finally died, what were they praying for, have they no faith? I asked a Catholic this question and he said they were praying for the Lord to take the Pope’s soul into the kingdom of heaven. What ignoramous would actually pray for that? If there is a God, wouldn’t he be inclined to accept the Pope, above all others? What are they praying for? “Dear God, in case you haven’t made up your mind, please be kind to John Paul II?” Duh!

    Just one more thing, not prayer related. If God is so powerful, how come he only had one son?

  110. Sitting Pretty
    November 9th, 2005 @ 10:00 pm

    If you don’t have to say a word, why do you say hundreds of them; each more vile and obscene than the last?

    It is virtually impossible to understand what you all are ranting about. Do you think I have hurt the feelings of the Mormons and JWs by telling you that no Catholic or protestant denomination considers them to be Christians? Since they know that, what is the problem?

    And don’t try telling me that it doesn’t matter. That is about the equivalent of calling an egg a vegetable. We can eat both but they belong in different categories. Not to be able to categorize is a form of cognitive impairment, you know. Is that your problem?

    Funny how pointing out the obvious and trying to hold you to some sort of minimal standard of reading and truth telling gets your little knickers in a twist.

    And I am glad you welcome my continued postings. Of course, that explains why you derailed this thread, when it was virtually dead. The discussion had been half way intelligent and the theistic view point was, sort of, being heard. And that was more than you could bear, wasn’t it? You are a sad little man; the local crank who can’t be taken seriously by anyone in the neighborhood anymore. I guess all you can do is slobber on your keyboard. Go to it, little man.

  111. roxtar
    November 10th, 2005 @ 6:14 am

    Well, that’s a nice little ad hominem argument you make, SP, but you have not addressed the issue. When you muster the intellectual integrity to do so, I will respond. Until then, it’s sufficient for me to know these two things: (1) that you’ve been caught out, and (2) everyone reading this thread knows it, including you.

    Now run along and tell all your Christian pals how you kicked some serious atheist ass. But here’s a tip: don’t give them this URL unless you want to be exposed for the Sophist that you are.

  112. allonym
    November 10th, 2005 @ 9:28 am

    Let me take this thread back a bit and ruminate on some things:

    SP: “Free will comes at a price. You may not want to pay it, but you don’t get a choice. Jihadists can behead me. They can blow 40 policemen up with a bomb. They are exercising their free will. God could stop it but that would make us slaves and not free to serve Him or free to say no.”

    Then what of the free will of the 40 policemen? It is doubtful that, given the choice when they woke up in the morning, they would elect to be blown to smithereens by raving jihadists. To allow potentially good Christians to die by the hand of non-Christians in order to demonstrate that Man may choose to act against the will of God – is that not tantamount to using them as puppets? Abusing even? I hope SP can answer this with a generous dose of intellectual honesty, because it sure seems to render the “free will” argument entirely specious.

    SP: “Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christian denominations. They will have to speak for themselves.”
    …and later…
    ” I said that they know we don’t consider them Christian denominations. I didn’t say that they know they aren’t Christians. I rather imagine that they do think that. So what?”

    So what? I’ll tell you what: they have spoken for themselves, apparently even on their websites, and said that they believe themselves to be Christians. Tell me, then, who are the “false prophets?” I have known individual Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons to do some remarkably good works – truly remarkable people for their kindness, compassion and humility (not all, but some). Consider the ramifications of this in the context of your earlier statement regarding the criteria for discerning the true prophet from the false: “The real proof is the fruit; in other words, what are the results of a prophet’s ministry, lifestyle and teaching.” In contrast I have seen how many Catholics, etc. (apparently your definition of true Christians, and some of them prominent) have committed terrible deeds…rotten fruit, you might say. If faithful people of a religion whose fundamental truths you deny may yet pass the test of “true prophecy,” and certain of your own faith do not, then how can you lay claim to your beliefs as being the True Path; how do you rationalize the dichotomy? Please do not hesitate to really think about the implications of what I’m asking before formulating your answer, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Sitting Pretty.

    My interpretation of the point of the original topic is that we athiests can just as easily use theologically-styled reasoning to “prove” something as irrational as the statement that “God hates amputees” as any faithful person can use it to prove that God exists at all. That may not have been the point, but that’s what I take from it, and it frankly amuses me to no end. Getting to go toe-to-toe with religious zealots is really just a bonus;) Thanks for the wonderful thread!

  113. hermesten
    November 11th, 2005 @ 10:43 am

    Pretty Shitty, I haven’t posted in almost two days and I’m still waiting for you to “flood” the threads I post on. I guess that was just another lie.

    It’s not a coincidence that you’re the thread “liar” and yet are the one whining about the “truth.” You are a perfect illustration of the peversity of human nature.

    Allonym makes an excellent point: ye shall know them by their fruits. Your mere appearance here, under your own self-described pretext, is the embodiment of a lie. You can’t possibly be here to “teach” or “educate,” or even advocate for your professed religion, because your behavior is anti-thetical to education or conversion.

    You’re like many Christians all of us atheists encounter all the time. Your assumed first position is one of superiority. You start out intending to educate the witless heathens. You expect them to bow to your obviously superior wisdom, like the occupier expects those under the boot of occupation to bow to his power. Like the occupier, you can be nice, and for as long as your inferiors accept their inferiority and do not resist, you can continue to believe they will ultimately recognize and embrace your superiority.

    However, once this illusion has been dispelled, your true nature is revealed. My experience with many, many, Christians is that when it comes to debate, they fall into three broad categories. The vast majority are like you –travelling in a direction opposite to the Christian ideal. A smaller number is somewhat like you initially, but because they lack your stunning arrogance, instead of becoming completely nasty, they flee the debate. A small minority are like Frank. These people really do approach the Christian ideal, and the reason, I believe, is that unlike you, a part of them accepts, or believes, that they could be wrong. In other words, they are humble where you are arrogant.

    As I have stated on here many times in the past, I don’t think Christianity has anything to do with people like you being assholes or people like Frank being decent. People like Frank start out decent and find the decency in their religion. People like you start out as assholes and then look to religion either to rationalize their indecency, or camoflauge their true nature.

  114. Sitting Pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 11:04 am

    This thread needs to die at some point and I am going to do my part by making this my last post on it.

    I am not going to try to answer your questions, so much as make some observations about where the answers lie. You all are not really interested in the truth. You want only to be confirmed in your “disbelief”.

    Even God cannot make two propositions which logically exclude each other true. If I have free will and you have free will, one of us will be able to harm the other. That does not negate the free will of either one of us. But one of us can misuse it.

    No God is not using us as pupoets. We are exercising the capacity he gave us to act freely without him directing either one of us. Does intellectually honesty come into this answer? How about garden variety commonsense?

    Christian does not = nice or good. Christians believe a proposition; that God intervened in human history in the form of the man Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to himself. He has set out the particulars in the documents that have come down to us and have formed the Bible. Any group that deviates substantially (=in its substance) from the core beliefs that inform Christianity have gone their own way. The Mormons and the JWs fit this bill.

    Of course there are many lovely JWs and Mormons. There may be some nice atheists but one could never dervie that belief from what I see here. Niceness has nothing to do with squat. Believers must exhibit certain traints but they do not do so in lockstep. We are all human beings first. We have personalities and personal histories. Some of us are, by nature, melancholy; some cheerful. We will exhibit certain core virtues like honesty and truth-telling. We will do good deeds of one sort or another.

    We are also not talking about prophets (those who claim to have been given a special message from God ) but ordinary believers. Lots of ordinary believers are not nearly as good or kind (or whatever other virtue you want to supply here) as they should be or may yet become. Those that commit crimes are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Like any other sinner they must repent and make what restitution they can, in order to be saved. If that includes going to prison, so be it.

    What condescending garbage this little tidbit is: Please do not hesitate to really think about the implications of what I’m asking before formulating your answer, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Sitting Pretty.

    Do some intellectual work yourself. You don’t know enough about Christianity to get its claims or even its vocabulary right and you want to sit in judgement on me? Yeah right. What you are asking is a mixed up bag of elementary misunderstandings about some fairly basic issues along with a heaping helping of self-righteousness. It is the most tiresome trait of the atheists on this blog.

  115. Sitting Pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    Oh look who showed up to spew, while I was writing!
    Freddie, don’t take my silence to mean anything. I am out of town on business and this is my first bit of free time. I haven’t forgotten my little promise to you. So run away before I come looking for you…lol!

  116. DamnRight
    November 11th, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

    SP… many of us atheists have come from quite extensive Christian backgrounds… mine is 40+ years of experience… it is very arrogant of you to assume you have superior knowledge of Christian beliefs & biblical doctrine… you accuse others of being condescending… you are the reason we post here… you are so vain & egotistical it causes us to want to revile you… you choose your arguments, refusing to answer those you cannot or simply pass them off as foolish or irrelevant… it is Christians like you that attract the wrath of rational thinkers… it is people like you that make me glad I left it all behind… thank you for reenforcing my position… it is good to remember why one left such an establishment as the Christian church… it is pompous asses like you that give us reason to attack Christianity…

  117. hermesten
    November 11th, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

    Post#113 by SP: “This thread needs to die at some point and I am going to do my part by making this my last post on it.”

    Post#114, by…..SP: “Oh look who showed up to spew, while I was writing! Freddie, don’t take my silence to mean anything. I am out of town on business and this is my first bit of free time. I haven’t forgotten my little promise to you. So run away before I come looking for you…lol!”

    In the words of Steve Martin, Pretty Shitty, “how can you be so fuckin’ funny?”

  118. Sitting Pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

    DR:
    There are plenty of Christians who follow Christ but have no understanding of the historical development of doctrine nor interest in apologetics. There may be many Christians who have never given serious thought to why they believe. You may be among them. You simply do not demonstrate any particular understanding of doctrine. In that, you are identical to 100% of the atheists I have come across so far here.

    You wrote … it is very arrogant of you to assume you have superior knowledge of Christian beliefs & biblical doctrine…

    I assume nothing. I know that I have a vastly superior knowledge of Christian beliefs & biblical doctrine. I am better educated than 99% of the American people. That is neither smug nor condescending. It is a simple fact. I have the requisite number of years of post-graduate study and the degrees to prove it. Christian theology and philosophy form a significant part of my area of scholarship.

    You and hermy and all the rest are just going to have to accept and learn to deal with the fact that Christians are not all stupid sheep, despite your ranting and raving.

    It is clear in my case, at least, that I am far better educated and a great deal more articulate than most of you. That, too, is a simple fact. That is not smug, not condescending, not arrogant, not whatever other adjectives you have thrown my way.

    There are lots of us smart, educated, articulate Christians out there. We and our fellow believers are the majority in this country and we are not going away. Deal with it. (Hermey–go ahead and start howling now.)

  119. Sitting Pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

    DR:
    There are plenty of Christians who follow Christ but have no understanding of the historical development of doctrine nor interest in apologetics. There may be many Christians who have never given serious thought to why they believe. You may be among them. You simply do not demonstrate any particular understanding of doctrine. In that, you are identical to 100% of the atheists I have come across so far here.

    You wrote … it is very arrogant of you to assume you have superior knowledge of Christian beliefs & biblical doctrine…

    I assume nothing. I know that I have a vastly superior knowledge of Christian beliefs & biblical doctrine. I am better educated than 99% of the American people. That is neither smug nor condescending. It is a simple fact. I have the requisite number of years of post-graduate study and the degrees to prove it. Christian theology and philosophy form a significant part of my area of scholarship.

    You and hermy and all the rest are just going to have to accept and learn to deal with the fact that Christians are not all stupid sheep, despite your ranting and raving.

    It is clear in my case, at least, that I am far better educated and a great deal more articulate than most of you. That, too, is a simple fact. That is not smug, not condescending, not arrogant, not whatever other adjectives you have thrown my way.

    There are lots of us smart, educated, articulate Christians out there. We and our fellow believers are the majority in this country and we are not going away. Deal with it. (Hermey–go ahead and start howling now.)

  120. jahrta
    November 11th, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    Great – so you’re a “highly educated” individual who considers him/her/itself to come from a position of intellectual superiority (claiming to be better off in this respect than 99% of the American people), and have dedicated numerous years to post doctorate work to come to the conclusion that an invisible (and otherwise thoroughly undetectable and intangible) being of limitless power created the universe in sex days, resting on the seventh (why would an entity of limitless power need to rest at all?). You also believe that this same immortal and omniscient deity crafted us in his image, then doomed up all to a life of hardships and rigors when the devil (whom he allowed access into the paradise of eden) convinced us to eat an apple. According to devout christians the world is only approximately six thousand years old, in stark contrast to what any scientist of merit would tell you. I could also say the same about Pi equaling 3. Let’s not forget about Noah’s Ark (if he brought two of every species, what the hell was he feeding to the carnivores?). These are just a few of the myriad examples of blatant stupidity and statements which are contrary to common sense which should be a wake-up call for people to abandon such foolishness. The operative word in that statement is “should.” Here’s another glaring example of what kind of stupidity is being perpetrated in the name of religion:

    http://www.snopes.com/lost/fraction.htm

    (and yes, I know it is from Snopes, but they are a generally reliable source and this article is independently verifiable).

    SP – the fact that a “highly educated” person such as yourself chooses to embrace this variety of illogical tripe just further serves to illustrate our point that you’re an idiot. No amount of education at Bob Jones University can undo your christ psychosis, and we draw unfathomable pleasure by exposing your abundant ignorance and lack of ability to own up to anything you say while you simultaneously accuse others of being “intellectually dishonest.” While I agree with hermesten’s assessment that you’re a fuckin’ riot, I daresay it would be vastly more entertaining if we could forget that people like you are running the country while apparently doing everything within their power to destroy our international credibility…and fractions.

    Why don’t you just come clean and admit that you’re the same exact idiot as Heretic Slayer/Daphne’s Mom? Although I do suppose it is possible that you are yet another brainless, self-satisfied, self-righteous, smug peice of shit who comes here looking for a fight by pronouncing their superior intellect and grasp of the english language. There are certainly quite a lot of you running around these days, telling everyone exactly how to live their lives.

  121. jahrta
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

    heh…that should have been “six” days.

  122. jahrta
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

    …although upon further review, if god had engaged in six days of sex, perhaps he’d need a breather.

  123. DamnRight
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:16 pm

    Thank you Ms. Prissy for proving my point and reenforcing my opinion of self-righteous Christians.

  124. hermeesten
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

    Jahrta: “… so you’re a “highly educated” individual who considers him/her/itself to come from a position of intellectual superiority (claiming to be better off in this respect than 99% of the American people)…”

    Jesus used to take a similar position. Whenever someone would question something He said, he’d let them know in no uncertain terms that his dad was GOD, He was smarter than 99.99999999999999999999999999999% of the people on the planet, AND He could rat you out to His Dad and have you burn in Hell for all eternity, so you’d better fuckin’ deal with it.

  125. DamnRight
    November 11th, 2005 @ 4:36 pm

    Maybe that’s why he surrounded himself with uneducated disciples… so he’d feel superior… hmmm…

  126. Sitting Pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 6:41 pm

    Ok. We’ve gone as far as it is possible to go. There were just recently two lengthy discussions about evolution which I and most educated Christians accept as settled science and about the Bible as an aggregate of documents written over hundreds of years in a prescientific age which consists of fable, history, poetry, reportage, etc. You haven’t heard a word. Your fingers appear to be cemented in your ears. Getting them out would be a miracle even greater than the regrowth of an amputee’s legs.

    Hermey. You are one sick puppy. Amazingly, I am beginning to pity you.

    Jahrta: For someone who can occasionally talk like a normal human being, it is really shameful to watch you do the atheist waltz around reality. What a stupid post. Even you can’t possibly really believe that drivel.

  127. Jahrta
    November 11th, 2005 @ 7:46 pm

    SP – I consider being highly educated mutually exclusive of being devoutly religious. If you are considering yourself to be a devout christian, but are saying you don’t believe in the points i brought up, then you’re simply picking and chosing which parts of the bible you wish to believe. Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite? The way I see it, if some supreme being had any role to play in inspiring or writing the bible, as some fundies claim, then mustn’t it be 100% true? the gospel truth, even? Aren’t you a heretic for claiming that the earth isn’t 6,000 years old? :) If not, then explain. This is the thing that a highly educated person should be able to discuss eloquently and directly.

    There aren’t versions of the truth – there is only truth. If your bible isn’t “truth” then why bother reading and rereading it as the basis of an ideology you would use as a model for how to live your life? Wouldn’t once be enough for a work of fiction such as that?

  128. allonym
    November 11th, 2005 @ 10:33 pm

    Well, SP, you’ve got me pegged. I couldn’t possibly know as much about religious philosophy and doctrine as someone who has studied it professionally for many years, as apparently you have. Being an athiest I consider any length of study of religious doctrine a tremendous waste of my time. You are posting on an atheist’s blog; it is not necessarily our burden here to have theological expertise. You seem to insist I denounce your faith using comprehensive theological reason and understanding, but I submit that the burden is on you to prove the error of atheism by using scientific evidence and fact. That’s the only way you’ll get through to most of us, and I am quite sure you can’t do it.

    I don’t think it condescending of me to ask that you try to understand the thrust of my questioning. Unfortunately you missed the mark; your answers leave something to be desired. The intellectual honesty I am asking for is simply an admission that religious absolutism eventually translates into meaningless contradiction in almost all cases. If any person may trample the free will of any other, then what is the role of God? If God’s only purpose is to sit in judgement of our exercise of free will when our mortality has caught up with us, then of what use is prayer? Conversely, if God answers prayers, then wouldn’t the Earthly intervention be a violation of somebody’s free will? Religion just seems to be rife with this sort of contradiction, and every seemingly satisfying answer yields yet a dozen more.

    Within your response to me you said: “We will exhibit certain core virtues like honesty and truth-telling. We will do good deeds of one sort or another.” I sincerely hope that you are not implying that these virtues are only demonstrated by believers. I’m not quite sure from context, so please clarify.

    It matters not at all to me that you have had extensive education, to profess the superiority of it in the way you have is not to be humble (didn’t Christ supposedly teach humility?). You do not know me, or my background or education. I don’t think you know the same about anybody else here. You can say you’re not being smug or condescending until you’re blue in the face (and until ours are all turning green), but it comes to nothing amid the arrogance of so many of the rest of your words.

    I felt that I needed to speak my peace on these matters, but now I am anxious for this thread to end. Allow me, SP, to demonstrate what it truly means to make one’s post their last to a thread.

  129. sitting pretty
    November 11th, 2005 @ 11:17 pm

    allonym: If your first post had been as eloquent and as uncondescending as this last one, my response would have been different too. You all really don’t seem to see how hateful, malicious, vulgar and condescending you typically are, when you address us dreadful theists. Well some of us bite back. Only we do it with out profanity or vulgarisms.

    You wrote: The intellectual honesty I am asking for is simply an admission that religious absolutism eventually translates into meaningless contradiction in almost all cases.

    You originally asked about free will. This is a completely different question. What do you mean by religious absolutism? If you mean holding to the ordinary beliefs of Christianity as expressed, say, in the Apostles Creed, then what you mean by intellectual honesty is an admission that Christianity is false. That is sheer nonsense. Do you really think you know better than I and untold millions of other Christians past and present?

    You asked: I sincerely hope that you are not implying that these virtues (a whole bunch of good ones) are only demonstrated by believers. I’m not quite sure from context, so please clarify.

    In 114 I wrote: Of course there are many lovely JWs and Mormons. There may be some nice atheists but one could never derive (sp. corrected) that belief from what I see here. Let me try to make this even plainer. There are nice, courageous, helpful, wonderful, heroic, kind, generous, forgiving, etc people in every religion and among those professing no religion.

    Finally, I cannot say more than I have already said about prayer and free will. I am sorry that my answers don’t satisfy you but these questions have been written about at length in books and articles that if gathered in one place would probably fill a football field. If the answers interest you, do a little digging and maybe talk to a real live Christian that you know. The chances are that you do know some.

    Jahrta: SteveG and a couple of other Christians just talked about evolution at serious length in a recent thread and about how the Bible is to be read (i.e. not literally but with respect to the kind of literature it is, history, poetry, song, fable, etc.). Recent as in, last week? two weeks ago? I cannot improve on what was said there because I completely agree with them. As always the first 25 or so threads are probably the only ones you would find useful to read. Then everything gets circular, just like here.

  130. hermesten
    November 12th, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. SP, you’re a fuckin’ laugh riot. Your “last post” was back at what, #114, and now you’re on #130. Live, from the Bible Belt, it’s Pretty Shitty.

    Jahrta: “No amount of education at Bob Jones University …”

    You’re giving it too much credit. I’d bet something more like the Florida Bible Institute. But you make an excellent point. We live in an age when someone considers themseleves educated, not because they know how the world works, but because they’ve studied what other people have said about their invisible play pal. This is sort of like having a Phd in Dungeons and Dragons.

    If it makes you feel any better, people like SP aren’t running anything, except their mouths. The people that are running the country, like Rumsfeld and Cheney, and Rove, and Wofowitz, are ammoral opportunists who don’t give a shit about relilgion, except as a tool of power. They think religion is something to keep the great unwashed grazing outside the castle walls. The SP’s of the world are their useful idiots and cannon fodder.

  131. Percy
    November 17th, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    *Apologies, I forgot who originally said this*

    “Most of this drivel that God gives uswhat we need and God works in mysterious ways, is so incredibly dumb that I seriously believe the true believers are inferior human beings. Don’t any of you ever think critically about anything? What dumbasses.”

    Kind of amusing then, that the vast majority of the pioneering scientists, explorers, etc., were theists, eh? I mean, inferior beings could *never* do what atheists could do, eh? That’s why atheists were the ones who were behind all advances in technology, science, reason, human aid and care, morality, etc., right? Oh….wait….they weren’t. Well, it was a cute theory anyways :)
    ————————————————————————————————————-
    Hermesten,

    “You seem to be suggesting that you “thoroughly and accurately research” the beliefs of those you pass judgement upon, so I take it that you’re an expert on Hinduism, Buddahism, Shintoism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Islam –just to name a few beliefs upon which you have apparently passed judgement –you being a Christian and all.”

    I think you misunderstood me, and the difference between beliefs and religion. I believe that Christianity is the only right path. Consequently, I believe that all other religions are false (as a result of simple logic). But that doesn’t mean that I think that Siddhartha Guatma was a charlatan. I haven’t researched Buddhism enough to be able to prove various individual aspects of its teachings false. It doesn’t mean that I think that Muhammad never existed. I am not qualified to espouse what particular verses in the Quran mean in context. I can’t say who the Baghivad Gita was written by, or when. I’m not one to say exactly how Shintoism came about, or to make claims as to the nature of all of its beliefs. I do not pass judgment on such beliefs and teachings until I have thoroughly researched them. You, on the other hand, seem comfortable to pass judgment on many things with little knowledge of them (ala prayer, Jesus’ responses to critics, etc.). It’s as if you hold that everything about Christianity is in some way evil, or false in the worst possible ways. And by your own admission, you don’t give a rat’s a__ what Christianity teaches. Quite the intellectual authority on the Bible and what the consummate Christian believes, etc., now aren’t you?

    “So, either you don’t understand the distinction, you’re careless about what you say, or your distortion was deliberate. In any case, I’ll explain it to you. What is taught about your religion is largely irrelevant for a number of different reasons. One is that different people calling themselves “Christians” teach different things. But even if we choose one of these “teachings” to be the true Christianity, it doesn’t matter, because the vast majority of people who purportedly subscribe to these notions either do not understand what they are taught, or they choose to behave otherwise.”

    I find it incredible that you devoted an entire paragraph to arguing semantics, and never actually answered the question. Now THAT’s disingenuous. First, prove to me that the vast majority of people who are Christians do not understand the gospel (statistics, etc., would be preferred). Second, I want to explain a subtle distinction: some scientists believe in string theory. Some don’t. But they’re still scientists. There is something that links them together (a set of beliefs or practices). Christians may not agree about the interpretation of Revelations, etc. But they do believe in the gospel and various other core aspects of the Bible. Furthermore, Christians are not likely to believe things which are antagonistic to their beliefs (because then they wouldn’t really be Christians, lol). For instance, a Christian would not be an atheist. A Christian is not likely to be worship Buddha. In other words, the vast majority of what a Christian believes will come from the Bible or interpretations of it. Now, since what Christianity teaches is contained in the Bible, if you say that you don’t care what Christianity teaches (especially without qualifying it – I take “Christianity” to refer to pure, theological Christianity), you are really saying that you don’t care what’s in the Bible, or what it means.

    So, let me rephrase the question for you (so that you won’t be so offended by my word choices that you once again dictate a paragraph to them while avoiding the question): If you do not give a/n *insert low value object here* about what a person’s religion teaches (and therefore what they are likely to believe), how likely are you to thoroughly and accurately research those teachings? If you do not thoroughly and accurately research those teachings, how seriously should someone take you judgment of that religion?

    “However, since they aren’t, there is no reason to put up with their bullshit and allow them to regulate every aspect of our lives.”

    Lol, I’m absolutely *dying* to hear how Christians regulate *every* aspect of your lives. Do they put crucifixes on the toilet paper? Do you have to make 25 Hail Mary’s before you’re allowed into a public restaurant? Oh no no no, I got it: the fuel in your car was forcibly blessed by a priest!

    “A distinct, measurable improvement. Though, I, and I would guess, many others here, don’t really care about whether or not people believe in God. My objection is to your religion and it’s ridiculous dogma. I have no problem with Unitarians or deists. All moral progress in the last two centuries has been in opposition to religious dogma and religious practice. Note, I’m not saying those in opposition were atheists, merely that they reject religious dogma.”

    How can there be moral progress if morality is subjective? Or do you believe morality to be objective? I would agree in spirit about religious dogma – I believe everything needs to be properly examined and questioned. My problem is this: you say that you object to my religion – but do you really understand my religion? I’m a little wary of taking seriously the objections of someone who doesn’t give a rat’s a__ what my religion teaches. And do you understand the difference between the church and Christianity? Or between Christendom and Christianity? It would be foolish to make a judgment without knowing those distinctions.

    And yes, I’m sure we would find a marked improvement. After all, in the 250 odd years or so that atheism has been around, the bodycount it’s followers are responsible for has quite significantly overcome the bodycount of Christianity (what with the French Revolution, the Soviet Union, Hitler’s regime, the Viet Cong, the Camer Rouge, etc). A remarkable achievement that has furthered mankind.

  • Basic Assumptions

    First, there is a God.

    Continue Reading...

  • Search

  • Quote of the Day

    • Fifty Random Links

      See them all on the links page.

      • No Blogroll Links