The Raving Theist

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Mission Accomplished

January 5, 2006 | 37 Comments

Razorkiss has bestowed upon me a Scornful Skeptic Award for my post yesterday:

What an unadulterated, swilling stream of drivel-mouthed bile. I wouldn’t countenance that sort of comment on anyone. Anyone at all. It’s sick, it’s morally repugnant, and it’s an absolutely reprehensible thing to say.

You, sir, (and I use that term loosely) have truly “earned” your “award.” I refuse to call it “misguided”, or anything of the sort. IIt’s simply repugnant, and a discredit to anyone calling themselves an atheist. I can respect a person, regardless of their beliefs — I can’t, however, respect someone making a morally abhorrent comment like that.

What possesses people to heap scorn on an already painful situation?

Probably the exact same thing that possesses people, like Razorkiss, to urge others to “take a few looks” at such bile — an attempt to prove one’s moral superiority in some way. However, I think I accomplished that goal more effectively than he did. As I noted, my intent was to shame myself into behaving better for the rest of the year and discourage others from engaging in such Randroid atheist behavior (hello, Francois!). Also, as I indictated, the original post took me nearly an hour and I hate to waste time.

Razorkiss, on the other hand, seems to have been motivated by sheer voyeurism. It’s really not so hard to point to a bloody car wreck and say “that’s terrible” or to point to Jeffrey Dahmer and say “he’s bad.” What’s harder is to escape from a car wreck, or, being Jeffrey Dahmer, to repent and set an example for others.

I also think Razorkiss overstates my depravity. The parody reproduced in yesterday’s post would have been quite funny had the twelve miners survived. Although it refers to an “original” post which supposedly would have mocked the deaths of the miners, I certainly never would have posted something like that. I guess I did something close to it by posting the parody after it turned out that the miners were dead, but it’s not quite the same. Plus, as I noted, it would have been a disagreeable waste of time to just delete a post to which I had devoted nearly an hour.

Reviewing the comments to yesterday’s post, it seems to me that (1) the bad atheists are exposing themselves as such, (2) the good atheists are distancing themselves from bad atheism and (3) the theists have been fortified in their beliefs. So nobody should be complaining.

Comments

37 Responses to “Mission Accomplished”

  1. severalspecies
    January 5th, 2006 @ 12:56 pm

    TRA (or anyone else out there),

    Please, please, oh please answer this question…(so I can sleep tonite), …am I a bad atheist?

    If I am, I’ll make a resolution to become a better one, truly I will.. sniff, sniff

  2. Tony
    January 5th, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

    That thing yesterday was over the top. I like to read you generally for your spot on abortion alalysis, and the comic relief of everything else.

    That thing yesterday was beneath you, in my opinion.

    Sometimes even if you took an hour to do something, you need to take a look at it and go “naaah” and delete it.

    Using someone’s pain at the loss of loved ones to try and make a point (and not even make the point well) is, in my opinion, reprehensible no matter what (or lack of) your religious belief is.

    So why don’t you redeem yourself (heh, I made a religious joke) by saying: “I’m sorry, I $#^%ed up.”

  3. Mookie
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    Maybe theists blame TRA for the horrible trick god played on everyone. You can’t get mad at a non-existent god for not using his supernatural powers to save some miners at the behest of praying hordes, but you certainly can get mad at an atheist blogger who was perhaps too lazy to rewrite a post that was perfectly fine until god did not follow through. Some folks would rather bitch at a lazy, cynical atheist than deal with the faith-shattering realization that god had no intention of coming to the rescue.

  4. SteveG
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:17 pm

    Well said Tony.

    RA – How about if your ‘penance’ had been to simply eat the lost hour? How about if it now includes simply deleting the post altogether?

    While you claimed it was in part an act of penance, the ‘lost hour’ comment tacked on the end (both times now), along with the way you set it up, makes this claim appear disingenuous. Further, I don’t see how your goal of discouraging people has been accomplished in the least. Deleting the post at this point might serve that end though.

    It’s not about theist vs. atheist, or about being morally superior when something like this occurs. It’s about basic human empathy and refraining from using it as blog fodder.

  5. PanAtheist
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:25 pm

    Clueless of the events that unfolded, I read the parody, and the links to the real event at the same time.

    I FOUND THE PARODY FUNNY !!!!! :-)

    It’s a damn shame that they did die (but this is life and death and we bloody need to celebrate it at all times.)

    Please please post a link to a miner’s family support fund, as soon as you can, and I will happily contribute.

    Death is a funny thing. Dying and bereavement/loss can be terrible, and we need to help each other with that. I’d like to help.

    RA, You’re in the states, so please post a donation link if and when you can. We can help!!! :-)

  6. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    I’m not sure I know what to make of yesterday’s offering either. I think posting it took an act of courage (TRA knows how this stuff “looks” to other people), but tend to agree that leaving it up after it turned out the miners had all but one died was morally misbegotten (hower profound TRA’s original “point” might have been).

    In any case, if the parody is as repugnant as so many seem to think, perhaps the greater penance is to leave the thing up.

  7. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    I’m not sure I know what to make of yesterday’s offering either. I think posting it took an act of courage (TRA knows how this stuff “looks” to other people), but tend to agree that leaving it up after it turned out the miners had all but one died was morally misbegotten (hower profound TRA’s original “point” might have been).

    In any case, if the parody is as repugnant as so many seem to think, perhaps the greater penance is to leave the thing up.

  8. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    I’m not sure I know what to make of yesterday’s offering either. I think posting it took an act of courage (TRA knows how this stuff “looks” to other people), but tend to agree that leaving it up after it turned out the miners had all but one died was morally misbegotten (hower profound TRA’s original “point” might have been).

    In any case, if the parody is as repugnant as so many seem to think, perhaps the greater penance is to leave the thing up.

  9. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    I’m not sure I know what to make of yesterday’s offering either. I think posting it took an act of courage (TRA knows how this stuff “looks” to other people), but tend to agree that leaving it up after it turned out the miners had all but one died was morally misbegotten (hower profound TRA’s original “point” might have been).

    In any case, if the parody is as repugnant as so many seem to think, perhaps the greater penance is to leave the thing up.

  10. PhalsePhrophet
    January 5th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    Sometimes, comedy hurts?

  11. reeves
    January 5th, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

    Get over yourselves, you bleeding heart simpletons.

    The post was funny, almost as funny as the reaction from the family after they thought the miners lived.

    “Praise Jesus” — Oops.

    Then the comments after they found out the truth were classic.

    “We may not be smart, but we know family” What does that even mean?

    If even one person turns away from their stupid irrational beliefs, then the miners did not die in vain.

  12. Ian
    January 5th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    First off I feel absolutely no sadness for the miners, they were there voluntarily, knew it was the second most risky profession, and the “survivors” will return to work ASAP… what is there to be sad about? How about for the youth that have been lied to by our administration who want to create a holy christian empire and are forcing them to iraq to die, they can’t quit, they can’t come home if they want to, they can’t even run and hide. That makes me sad. Not a bunch of crying lunatics who took a risk and died and now are given prime time media real estate to pray to their non existant god for assistance and later will blame god for their loss. No pitty at all, no sadness in my heart, why should there be?

  13. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    January 5th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    Thanks for letting me in on this “bad/good” atheist thingie. Before you differentiated between the two – theism had me believing that we were all bad. (Unfortunately, considering my response yesterday I guess I’m one of the bad ones, snivel snivel).

  14. qedpro
    January 5th, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

    People reacted to the post as if RA had killed the miners. As atheists we all know God killed them. That’s why we hate God.
    We all laughed at the movie “Heathers” didn’t we.
    -my poor dead gay son………..just replace “gay” with “miner”

  15. qedpro
    January 5th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    And BTW – why should we be sad that they died. Don’t christian miners go to heaven and get the eternal blow job?
    They’re happy now. why cry?
    What’s a few less years on this planet when you’re spending billions in blissful eternity?

  16. Tony
    January 5th, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

    How about for the youth…

    Ian, did you mean volunteer soldiers?

  17. Kate
    January 5th, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

    Um, yeah. I didn’t run into any draftees in Baghdad…

  18. franky
    January 5th, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

    “Using someone’s pain at the loss of loved ones to try and make a point (and not even make the point well) is, in my opinion, reprehensible no matter what (or lack of) your religious belief is.”
    Valid point there Tony, the next time a xtian tells me at a loved ones funeral that if so-and-so didn’t know Jesus, they are going to burn in hell, what about you, I’ll make sure to point the same thing out, if I don’t punch them in the face first.

    Sorry, I’m having a bad day at work, anyone noticed?

  19. SpecialEdTeacher
    January 5th, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

    I think there are inherent risks in having a job like a miner. Of course, it could be argued that police officers, fire fighters, etc. also take a substantial risk in choosing that as their profession. However, I would think that most police officers and fire fighters take the job to make a difference in the community and do some good because they sure don’t make much money. Miners choose that occupation because it is a decent wage and doesn’t have educational requirements. I believe they knew the risks and decided to tempt the fates. You would never my behind in a mine 2 miles from the surface! I would like to take this time to share the good news of Jesus with you………….not really… he didn’t do much for those miners.

  20. RazorsKiss.net
    January 5th, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

    Mission? What Mission?

    To act like a completely amoral cynic, while scoring points off tragedy?
    If so… I suppose it was “accomplished.”
    Raving Atheist responds to my “award” from yesterday with a disingenuous “it was all according to the master plan” backpedal.
    He …

  21. hermesten
    January 5th, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    “Morally misbegotten?” Certain kinds of “thoughts” are now immoral? Better fucking watch out then, cause it won’t be long before the theocrats have us all in jail for lusting in our hearts, or wrong-thinking about the Bible.

    Ian, it looks like the Bushies fell into your trap. Imagine that, the same kind of people who minimize the tragedy in Iraq with the line that the soldiers who died there are “volunteers,” are shedding crocodile tears over tasteless parody. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to hold the people actually running the operation, responsible. Talk about parody and irony.

  22. hermesten
    January 5th, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

    “I would think that most police officers and fire fighters take the job to make a difference in the community and do some good because they sure don’t make much money.”

    Firemen, OK, but if you think this applies to cops, you must not know any.

    Most cops are dumb as dirt. The money they make is way more than they could get paid at any other job. Where I live, a fairly small town by the way, a brand new cop starts at $37, 000 a year. Qualifications? High school diploma and a 16 week course at the junior college. Plus, they get to carry a gun around and tell people who would otherwise be telling them not to put so much wax down the next time they mop, what to do and where to go.

  23. Naked Writing Dot Com
    January 5th, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

    What, Did He Change is Mind?

    PZ Meyers wish that papers would print a “God curses good people; ignores prayers” retraction of all the miracle stories regarding the coal mine tragedy is right on. There aren’t enough folks who raise their hand and point out that…

  24. SpecialEdTeacher
    January 5th, 2006 @ 9:03 pm

    hermesten said:
    Most cops are dumb as dirt. The money they make is way more than they could get paid at any other job. Where I live, a fairly small town by the way, a brand new cop starts at $37, 000 a year.

    I don’t agree with the statement that most cops are dumb as dirt. I live in a small city in Georgia and the police start out at about $25,000 and they are looking for people with bachelors degrees in criminal justice. A brand new teacher in Georgia starts out at almost $32,000 and we only work 190 days a year, and don’t face near as much danger as a police officer.

  25. ts
    January 6th, 2006 @ 4:43 am

    You’re really enjoying this aren’t you RA. Athiests on athiests, thiests on thiests, were will it end.

    Maybe with less than biblical proporcions.

  26. ts
    January 6th, 2006 @ 5:00 am

    The RA was mocking the belief, not the dead.

  27. Ian
    January 6th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    Soldiers in Iraq volunteered to defend the constitution, the one that has a bill of rights, the one that is supposed to have checks and balances and be based on truth and justice. Our government has betrayed the public trust, and misused the volunteers and turned them into forced tools of a violent empire building group of corrupt politicians. The moment the soldiers were sent to die on command based on lies they became victims of corruption, they did not volunteer to fight any battle for anyone, they volunteered to uphold the constitution, to fight corruption and injustice.

  28. hermesten
    January 6th, 2006 @ 11:51 am

    Mr. Ed, I’m basing my opinion on actually knowing cops and how they are trained. You seem to assume that because a college degree is required where you live, cops in general must not be dumb. Yes, some cities require a college degree to be a cop, but most do not. Certainly, there are exceptions. FBI agents, for example, are generally not dumb, and some are pretty smart.

    But the average cop is dumb. Educational requirements vary. For example, NYC requires an associates degree to be a cop, but LA only requires a high school diploma. State police are generally better educated, qualified, and smarter. It wasn’t too long ago that I was reading about a guy suing a police deparment is Mass. because they wouldn’t hire people with an IQ above 110 and they tested his IQ at 120. Sorry Ed, but 110 is DUMB. And in Texas, practically every police department I’ve ever heard of in a town with a population of more than 50,000 pays more starting than your $32K teacher gets in Georgia.

    And this “dangerous job” stuff is pure unadulterated grade A American bullshit. Spend 30 seconds looking it up on the internet. Cop doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of dangerous jobs in America. You’ve bought into the cop prop hook, line, and sinker. The most dangerous job is logging, followed by fishing. Even pizza delivery is more dangerous than police work: it’s the 4th most dangerous job in America, according to MSN.

  29. Alfredo
    January 6th, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    Again, we see a bunch of sad theists who are too fucking cowardly to face the potential backlash, spiitual and otherwise, of facing the reality that their “God” must have chosen to let those poor miners suffere and die (if said “God” actually exists…); instead, they choose to lash out at anyone who, even jokingly, points out this distinction.

  30. hermesten
    January 6th, 2006 @ 3:03 pm

    Ed, while waiting for my reply to be posted, let me disabuse you of the notion that it is dangerous to be a cop. That’s pure cop prop. Look up the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the US. Cop isn’t listed. Lumberjack is #1, fisherman is #2, and pizza-delivery guys fall into position #4 –delivery-sales (2002 –they were #9 on the 2003 CNN list).

    The lowest position on the lists I’ve seen has a death rate of about 25 per 100,000. A relative of mine was told in his police training that there are 65,000 cops in Texas, and that 10 died last year –including traffic and other accidents. That yields a death rate of 15 per 100,000, which makes being a truck driver almost twice and dangerous.

  31. Choobus
    January 6th, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

    This is such bullshit. Anyone would think the RA went into the mine and sabotaged it himself. This is media hype. It’s similar to terry Schiavo. Everyone was up in arms about one vegetable chick, but said and did nothing about the many thousands of other, less newsworthy, vegetables all over the country. So some miners died. It’s a tragedy; one of many tragedies. This one was slightly unusual and as a result was all over themedia. Does that make it extra tragic? Jesus H Christ, how about some fucking perspective?

  32. hermesten
    January 6th, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

    Ed, some more numbers. Based on the year 2000 data, more people died from getting hit by lightning (188) and running into deer with their cars (211), than died from being cops (151 nationwide). “Candles” caused 126 deaths. 594 died from CO poisoning, 714 in boating accidents, 4621 from drowning, and 9,000 from food illness.

    Being a cop is simply not very dangerous at all.

  33. EclecticGuru
    January 7th, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    How many people died because they were accountants?

    I am thinking it must be a hell of a lot lower than 151.

    The fact is, your numbers are kind of skewed. I, and everyone else who isn’t a cop, have no chance of dying because I’m a cop. You have to factor all of us out. However, everyone has a chance of being struck by lightning. So percentages would be a better indicator in this case.

    What percentage of cops died in the course of their duty? What percentage of people were killed by lightning. I have a feeling the former number would be significantly larger.

    I’m not saying that being a cop is the most dangerous profession in the world or anything. I just think it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than being an accountant or a manager at the Gap.

    I’d guess cop is up there with late night convenience store clerk.

    Now let’s talk about underpaid. Those poor guys are SCREWED!

  34. Lily
    January 7th, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    Alfredo:

    You seem to be stewing about a non-issue. I know, as does every other Christian on the planet, that God does not always intervene to protect us from the natural consequences of our actions or the actions of others. The miners died because of an explosion, which was either a result of human error or some set of of circumstances that, presumably, has a natural explanation.

    God did not chose to let them die, in the sense that you mean. Human beings need oxygen, in order to breath. If they don’t get it, they will die. This is all part of our human condition. We are not immortal nor can we avoid tragedy. Yes, sometimes God does intervene. He did not in this situation. This is no more faith-shattering, as someone above wrote, than any other tragedy.

    In the first horrors of grief, anger at God is perfectly reasonable and forgiveable, particularly in a case like this, where the families had been told the miners had survived. I can only imagine how exponentially more horrible that made the situation. Most of us have been or will have the experience of being angry at God. But we get over it, as time and perspective do their work and the love of God, expressed to us through our friends, fellow Christians, and kind strangers is poured out.

  35. Tony
    January 8th, 2006 @ 12:36 am

    Again, we see a bunch of sad theists who are too fucking cowardly to face the potential backlash, spiitual and otherwise, of facing the reality that their “God” must have chosen to let those poor miners suffere and die (if said “God” actually exists…); instead, they choose to lash out at anyone who, even jokingly, points out this distinction.

    So, Alfredo, you think we believe that God is some sort of magic genie who is supposed to grant our every wish? You believe that we think that a God who doesn’t grant our every wish is somehow either “bad” or “doesn’t exist”? Sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes good things happen to bad people. Perfect justice is not expected here on earth. Chesterton put it well when he said: “I know God will do what’s best for me, I’m only worried about how much it will hurt”.

    God doesn’t have any problem letting people suffer and die, even when they didn’t do anything wrong. If you don’t think so, check out any crucifix you happen to see.

  36. hermesten
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:55 am

    Yes, the total death figures, like 151, give misleading results. That’s why in an earlier post I did a rough calculation of death RATES for cops. However, I was unable to find a national figure for cop deaths per 100,000, so I could only make this calculation for Texas.

    To get an estimate for national police rates we can extrapolate the data for Texas to determine a number for cops nationwide (yielding about 848,000 cops) and use the 151 death figure –which is pretty consistent for year to year. This yields a nationwide death RATE for cops of about 18 per 100,000. #10 of the 10 most dangerous jobs has a death rate of 24 per 100,000.

    Looking again I did manage to find a report that gives occupational deaths as a percentage of all work related deaths, but again, no rates (http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.t03.htm). Cops accounted for 2% of all occupational deaths nationwide. Only 25% of these deaths were by homocide, and most were from traffic accidents. Combined retail sales worker deaths accounted for 6%; office and administrative support occupations accounted for 2%; and the construction industry accounted for 20%. Again, these are not death rates, but no matter how you look at it, being a cop just ain’t that dangerous.

  37. hermesten
    January 9th, 2006 @ 11:00 am

    Oh, and btw Guru, from the same report I cited in my previous comments, which are on hold: “management occupations” accounted for 11% of all occupational deaths, versus 2% for cops.

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