The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Decent and Honest

June 15, 2006 | 154 Comments

A bumper sticker proclaiming that vehicle’s owner is a “Decent, Honest, Atheist” adorns Shirley Setterbo’s car. It’s just an simple, innocent declarative statement, but somehow it’s provoked rage from McDonalds drive-through cashiers, conversion attempts and laughter from truck drivers. Shirley is naturally puzzled by these reactions. It’s almost as bad as the time she taped a sign to her butt to demonstrate the correct spelling of the phrase “Kick Me,” and discovered that people were misinterpreting it as an invitation to violence. The experience has made her so paranoid that she’s decided to leave her “Religions are just cults with more members” and “My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma” stickers behind on the refrigerator.

Seeking an answer to this mystery, I came across this possible explanation from Professor Mike S. Adams:

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I saw a car covered with sacrilegious bumper stickers. It seemed obvious to me that the owner was craving attention. I’m sure he was also seeking to elicit anger from people of faith. The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism. And, all too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.

In fact, just the other day, I heard a Christian refer to Michael Newdow as an “attention-craving SOB.” It reminded me of the time I heard someone refer to Annie Laurie Gaylor as a “b**ch.”

Professor Adams, however, disapproves of these hostile responses. He harbors no ill-will towards atheists, “even I see them attacking my basic religious freedoms.” Instead, he feels sympathy, because “[w]hen I look into their eyes I see an emptiness that evokes pity.” So instead of taking a hostile, contentious bumper stick approach, Adams suggests a kinder way:

The answer is simple. The advice was given to me by someone who sincerely considered the matter to be urgent. And that sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger. It was just a matter of one human being communicating his concern for another without being pushy and holier-than-thou.

If a Christian really believes the things he professes to believe, he will go to great lengths to share it with others. He would even crawl on his belly across a desert of broken glass if he thought he could reach an atheist. He would certainly do more than utter profanity and show contempt for the atheist.

The art of gentle persuasion is apparently effective in dealing with false creeds other just atheism. Just last week, in a piece called Charlatan’s Angels, the professor patiently explains why Mormon founder Joseph Smith was “a few fries short of a happy meal,” a “quack”, and a “fraud and a heretic.” And readers who e-mail him their opinions sometimes find themselves named as the recipient of his Jackass of the Year award. His site doesn’t sell bumper stickers, but when you’re as honest and decent as Professor Adams, you don’t need to advertise.

Comments

154 Responses to “Decent and Honest”

  1. Mookie
    June 15th, 2006 @ 10:49 am

    “even I see them attacking my basic religious freedoms.”

    Like when they make you say “under no god” in the pledge. Or make you swear on the Origin of Species. Or make you pay taxes on religious profits. Not to mention all the hatred and intolerance thrust upon the majority of the US population by an extremely minute minority. How unfair, how cruel, how low to “attack” religious “freedoms”. Attacking religious freedom is like attacking terrorist empathy.

    “[w]hen I look into their eyes I see an emptiness that evokes pity.”

    Same thing happens when I look into their eyes. Ha!

  2. Dave
    June 15th, 2006 @ 11:05 am

    How is an atheist bumper sticker “craving attention”?

    I don’t see how that is any different than the multitude of pro-religion bumper stickers out there.
    They are both advertising an “idea”.

  3. GenghisDirt
    June 15th, 2006 @ 11:23 am

    Every “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker effectively says “You’re going to be tortured for eternity if you don’t accept Jesus”, and my bumper sticker effectively says “You’re an idiot”. While they might not be intentionally offensive (I doubt that that friendly-faced mother of six with a Jesus fish on her car actually wants me to be burned at the stake) they are both meant to say “my ideology is superior to yours”, which can be taken personally. Just as someone’s Yankees decal effectively says “The Mets Suck”.

    It’s not a violation of any freedom of religion either, because the guy/girl who put that bumper sticker on their car is NOT REPRESENTING THE STATE. Putting the ten commandments in a courthouse, or requiring the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or printing “In God We Trust” on our currency are ACTS OF GOVERNMENT, as opposed to individual expression.

    Anyway, we all know all of this already. Right?

  4. Jason Malloy
    June 15th, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

    While archeology has failed to substantiate The Book of Mormon, the veracity of the Bible – both the Old and New Testaments – has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent years.

    Hahaha, nothing like Christian sleeze-nuts blow-harding about how weird those other religions are. No hocus pocus silliness in the bible, no sir, that’s all in that A-rab bible and probably the Chinese bible, if they got one.

    I have very bad feelings about a bumper-sticker that says “Decent, Honest, Atheist”. It’s one thing when stereotypes are true, and then maybe such a message serves a purpose (e.g., shaming “your group” into changing), but if a stereotype isn’t true then you are indirectly suggesting it is. Who would advertise themselves as an “honest Jew”?

  5. Thorngod
    June 15th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

    My take, too, JM. The sticker seems to imply that most atheists may not be honest. And that may well be true, but I’m sure it’s not more true than of theists. I also think a witty or humorous approach is preferable (vis. the Darwin fish swallowing the J-fish), rather than one that seems meant as an offence. -Just my own opinion.

  6. SeldomScene
    June 15th, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

    A-theism is a negation of somebody else’s beliefs, after all, so of course it ticks them off. Wouldn’t it be better to be positive?

    Instead of knocking god, we should show our support for science, history and democracy.

  7. Lily
    June 15th, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

    I must say I like Shirley. I have been reading her blog with a mixture of amusement and disbelief at what she puts up with.

    However, in the case of the sticky note which really was about as gentle a protest as one could possibly make, I do believe that there is one possible explanation that hasn’t been noted: the person who put the sticky note over “atheist” was genuinely distressed by the disrespect shown to someone s/he loves.

    I don’t think you all realize that those of us who are Christians in reality (and not just in name), really love Jesus. We think we know him personally in some sense and have experiences that seem to back that up. That is why your frequent snarls that faith is blind belief is so funny.

    Faith, at least as Christians understand it, is not belief in precepts or rules, but trust in a person we have come to know and love– we believe that he is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do.

    So disrespectful, vulgar slogans, pornographic pictures, et al. really disgust and/or hurt us. It should not be a leap to understand the reaction that many people will have. The mystery is why we don’t riot, behead, or both, in order to settle the score with those pesky blasphemers.

    Oops, no it isn’t. He told us not to do stuff like that.

  8. Shirley Setterbo
    June 15th, 2006 @ 7:33 pm

    Lily,

    You are scaring the shit out of me.

  9. Shirley Setterbo
    June 15th, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

    Pornographic pictures, beheadings? WTF? It’s just a bumper sticker…

  10. Lily
    June 15th, 2006 @ 7:56 pm

    LOL!

    You know who have mercy! I am not serious. I am talking about “art works” like Piss Christ, or the elephant dung madonna, when I talk about vulgar, pornographic, distasteful, etc.

    And while I am sure there are people, whose temperaments might lead them to vandalize, most of us who lose it are of the sticky note school of “protest”.

    I cannot see any American of any religious persuasion, or none, rioting, or worse over such things…

  11. Dave
    June 15th, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    Lily,
    Did you ever consider that the prayers or crosses that you find on many Christians desks could be offensive to members of other religions or the non-religious?

    Wouldn’t you feel offended if one of your co-workers placed a sticky note on your pro-religious symbol?
    (I’m assuming that you do have one on or near your desk, forgive the assumption if you don’t)

    The sticky note protest is wrong! No matter who it is done to.

    Dave

  12. Tommykey
    June 15th, 2006 @ 8:21 pm

    One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is that different people be able to express their different beliefs without coming into conflict with one another.

    As an atheist, I should be able to drive around with a bumpersticker on my car that reads “The Bible Is Not the Word of God” or “Jesus Never Rose From the Dead” or “The Quran Is Not the Word of God” without offended people trying to run me off the road, leave nasty notes under my windshield wiper or vandalize my car. Likewise Christians should be able to drive around with “Jesus Saves” or “No Jesus No Peace” bumperstickers and Muslims with “Islam Is the Solution” bumperstickers on their cars without being harrassed about it.

    As an atheist, I feel very privileged to live in America. While at times I have to grudgingly conform to the expectations of society and family, such as going through the charade of having my kids baptized or exchanging Christmas cards, I don’t have people asking me “How come I didn’t see you in church on Sunday?” If I could snap my fingers and cause everyone to abandon their religions, I would do it. But because I can’t, I just have to accept that a significant number of people in this country, not to mention the world, are going to believe in some sort of religion. To give Christian posters here like Lily a feeling of what it is like to be an atheist minority, just imagine Lily if you and other Christians composed 10% of the population of America and nearly all of the remaining 90% believed in astrology. It would boggle your mind how so many people could believe in something that to your mind makes absolutely no sense.

    Where I do have a problem with religion is when it is used by people to influence policy that negatively impacts on gays, or on science education, sex education and such. When it comes to a parent refusing a life saving blood infusion or vaccine for his or her child because it is against his or her religious beliefs, I say too friggin bad! I’m sure even Lily would agree that religion should not be an excuse to justify stupidity.

  13. Chris Treborn
    June 15th, 2006 @ 9:54 pm

    Thank you Lily! I didn’t know how to say what you said, but I know exactyl what you mean. The phrase” Jesus is love” is not just a soundbite, it’s really how we feel about Him, and it is saddening to see Him being abused all the time, when all he ever wants for people is happiness. Thank you Lily for your eloquence.

  14. Lily
    June 15th, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

    Very interesting comments since I last checked in.

    Actually, Dave, I don’t have any religious symbols of any kind in my office. But, I am sorry to say (I think), that is not because I don’t want to offend non-Christians but because I think dragging all sorts of personal stuff into the office is hopelessly bourgeois. I don’t like paintings of dogs playing poker, putti (naked cherubs), paintings of wide-eyed children (unless the actual off-spring of the person hanging it), etc. Flowers, small plants, pottery– that is the sort of thing I enjoy seeing on people’s desks. Mugs, I exempt altogether. I cannot imagine caring what someone drinks out of.

    Tommykey: that was a very fine post and I agree with your main point. However, I don’t agree that the majority needs to be tyrannized by the sensitivities of any minority. All minorities, feel out of place, at least on some occasions or some of the time. In a real sense, they are out of place and I feel sympathy for that. But how could it be otherwise? That is the nature of reality.

    To ask for more than peaceful co-existence is to bark at the moon. But there should be no question of expecting less.

    One thing that you said really stood out because I have seen it here many times before: Where I do have a problem with religion is when it is used by people to influence policy that negatively impacts on gays, or on science education, sex education and such.

    While there are undoubtedly politicians who “use” religion, if they think it will get them votes, serious believers don’t “use” religion at all. Reliigion isn’t an item of clothing that one can remove, when it is unneeded. It informs our world view, determines our values, etc.

    As Americans, religious believers have as much right as anyone else to marshal their evidence and make their case for what they believe is the best way to achieve as just a society as possible.

    Since believers are in the majority, that is naturally going to mean that many laws and social expectations (I can’t think of a better word right now) will be solidly grounded in religious principles. Since you presumably agree with laws against murder and extortion, etc. you probably don’t have a serious problem with a great many such laws.

    Religious liberty is our birthright as Americans. Nevertheless, when it comes to the life and health of a child, I don’t have the slightest hesitation in saying that 99.9% of the time, the parents must give way to the best advice of reliable doctors.

    I don’t want to say 100% because there are bound to be situations I am not thinking about.

  15. EK
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:22 am

    Did you notice what happened here, Chris Treborn? You don’t have to resort to calling everyone assholes and refusing to answer questions. Follow Lily’s example and learn to respond and answer without acting like a child. Please.

  16. Joe
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:45 am

    I was going to put a bumper sticker on my car that hinted at non Christian like behavior but I’m afraid it would only induce such behavior from Christians. Nothing says FUCK YOU like a key on your freshly painted car in the name of Jesus!!!

  17. physics teacher
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:01 am

    thank you both Lily and cris, I to know exactly what you mean. and with out trail blasers like your self I would not have to courage to express my oun personal love with God, the real God, The God I talk to every day
    Thor, I love Thor, And Thor lets my know everyday he loves mme back. He is real, and any one hoe says he does not exist is, well, hopelessly lost. They most not want the love of a real God. A powerful got with a great big hammer, who makes thunder.
    Foolish non beleavers, I feel so sorry for you, when I look in to there eyes I see the emptyness, the saddness, that only atheists have, mosty the scienceists have. poor old them. If your screen seems to be not working, maybe its because I got it wet from all the tears I been shedding for all those lost souls.
    mey they turn to Thor some day and except the true lord, the lord of thunder. and me Thor bless you all

  18. Erik
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:48 am

    Lily,

    I think the problem with the argument that believers are just marshalling their evidence like everyone else in how they want to create a better society is what happens when beliefs run counter to the actual evidence.

    So, for example, if reliable studies showed that orphaned children are far better off being raised in households run by two married people, irrespective of their genders, than if they are raised in foster homes or orphanages, then it would be irrational to deny the ability of same sex couples to adopt children. But when your values are based on beliefs that you firmly believe were transmitted to humans through The Supreme Being of the Universe, it is nearly impossible to understand how such values could possibly be wrong. This makes it difficult to overcome old prejudices that have been memorialized in sacred texts. So you will have a very large number of believers opposed to such adoptions, even in the face of the actual evidence.

    And we need not stop at the above example. The same arguments were used for interracial marriages and women’s suffrage.

    And let’s understand what some of this actually means. South Dakota has now passed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion statutes in the States. Leaving aside the secular arguments for and against abortion, the notion that the state can take away your physical freedom on the basis of a religious notion, a belief, that God puts a soul into every fertilized egg, is a serious violation of religious freedom. It is, effectively, the use of state power to enforce a religious notion for which there is absolutely zero evidence.

  19. Crosius
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:56 am

    Attention Seeking? You mean like:

    “God is my Co-Pilot”
    and
    “Warning: In case of Rapture, driver may vanish.”

    Both spotted on an old Monte Carlo tarted out with enough dashboard Jesus figurines, Votive cards dangling from the rear view mirror and chrome fish outlines to seriously threaten the maximum loading figures for the struts. There were even Triptych seat covers in the thing, and a bible in the back seat – I guess Jesus doesn’t find it disrespectfull to grind your back into his likeness for hours on end.

    Yeah, I can see how an athiest with a bumper sticker is worse.

  20. HappyNat
    June 16th, 2006 @ 9:14 am

    Chris said,”The phrase” Jesus is love” is not just a soundbite, it’s really how we feel about Him, and it is saddening to see Him being abused all the time, when all he ever wants for people is happiness.”

    You really think it hurts Jesus when people draw pictures of him or talk bad about him? I mean his own father sent him down here to be whipped, beaten, and strung up on a cross. I can’t see how anything we could “do” to him would be more abusive than what his father already did.

  21. Jahrta
    June 16th, 2006 @ 10:17 am

    “So disrespectful, vulgar slogans, pornographic pictures, et al. really disgust and/or hurt us. It should not be a leap to understand the reaction that many people will have. The mystery is why we don’t riot, behead, or both, in order to settle the score with those pesky blasphemers.

    Oops, no it isn’t. He told us not to do stuff like that.”

    Actually, Lily, I believe he told his followers to gather his enemies before him so that they could be slaughtered wholesale. I also remember him saying that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword upon the land. Yep – Jesus sure is love, if you happen to love violence. Is Jesus Scottish?

    Oops, I forgot – he isn’t anything, because as far as I’m concerned none of you have ever been able to prove that the man even existed in the first place. We actually have more evidence pointing away from a historical Jesus than we have supporting it (i.e., there was no town of Nazareth in or around the time attributed to the supposed life and times of Jesus as described in the bible).

    All you have is a compendium of short stories, poems and veggietales to support your assumption that he was a real person. You may as well bow down to Harry Potter.

    The fact that you have genuine love for a fictional character doesn’t make him any more real. I’m sure plenty of children the world over love Santa Claus.

    If I were to tell you I have genuine love for Sephiroth, wouldn’t you assume I was insane?

  22. Jahrta
    June 16th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    I forgot to respond to this gem:

    “Since believers are in the majority, that is naturally going to mean that many laws and social expectations (I can’t think of a better word right now) will be solidly grounded in religious principles. Since you presumably agree with laws against murder and extortion, etc. you probably don’t have a serious problem with a great many such laws.”

    You assume that without religion, no one would have ever passed laws condoning murder, extortion, and the rest? How many times do we need to tell religious people that these notions are shared by every successful society across the world, both religious and non, because they are qualitites indicative of a stable and healthy society? Some things are simply common sense, or so I would have thought. People don’t go around simply blowing people away (well, unless they’re psychotic) because there is an inherent understanding that if you think it is perfectly alright to do just that, it is only reasonable to expect someone else to come around the bend and deliver the same fate upon you and yours. People adopt practices and principles which are necessary for the growth and stability of a culture or society, and this invariably leads to the establishment of rules of conduct to which all civilized members of society are expected to adhere.

    I think it’s funny how the same theists who are so quick to say that without god and religion, there’d be rampant crime, aren’t able to explain:

    1.) why the population of atheists in the American penal system is a tiny shard of the total, and far lower by comparison to the number of atheists in the community in general.

    2.) why the crime rates in more secular countries are much lower by comparison to those found in America.

    3.) why the majority of the world’s most heinous attrocities have been committed, endorsed, covered up or written off by religious people.

    4.) why, as an atheist, I have absolutely no interest in killing people, stealing from them, or avoiding my personal responsiblities to society. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to say that if an atheist and a theist work at a soup kitchen, the actions of the atheist are more noble because s/he isn’t expecting some sort of “get out of hell free” card.

  23. Facehammer
    June 16th, 2006 @ 11:10 am

    Chris – if you honestly believe all this stuff, why are you so full of hate?

  24. Thorngod
    June 16th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    Concerning this personal acquaintanceship and “love” of the Jesus and God that Lily, C.T., and all believing Christians profess: It is a genuine thing, to which I can personally attest from my green early years. As a writer, I can also attest that the characters a novelist creates become “real” and palpable personages to him/her during the process of the creation, and remain so through and somewhat beyond the term of the process. The “believer” will want to deny and even deride this comparison, but the emotion-driven imagination is not merely capable of, but is prone to, every degree of love, hate and all other emotions toward a counterfeit or a chimera. Every lover adores, and is devoted to, a phantom.
    . Though there is nothing truly original in any particular of the Christ drama, the baby in the manger act, followed by the cruel death in act three, constitute the most powerful potion the priesthood has ever concocted. One need not have a PhD in psychology to understand the psychodynamics of Christ myth indoctrination. It matters not at all whether there was an actual person named Jesus of which a few of the traits and/or acts and/or teachings attributed to that personage are justified. All that matters is belief.
    . And finally, to you who “believe,” a challenge to your rationale. Immortals cannot suffer as you and I. A god on a cross was, is, and will forever be a god. Whether he has deigned to taste a dram of human anguish, or is merely faking it–and can you be sure he didn’t!–is neither here nor there. Against the infinity of his being, any human-level injury would be measured in infinitesimals. The Romans, during the lifetime of Jesus, would have crucified thousands of your fellow human beings; lowly, suffering, flesh-and-blood people like you and I, like your mother, your sister, your child. Weep for them–or at least for all those still being crucified. Gods have no need of your love–let alone your pity! -ctw

  25. Tenspace
    June 16th, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    Lily said, “So disrespectful, vulgar slogans, pornographic pictures, et al. really disgust and/or hurt us.”

    How is a coffee cup with “Atheist” printed on it disrespectful, vulgar, or pornographic?

  26. SeldomScene
    June 16th, 2006 @ 11:42 am

    We are always going to lose a debate that is framed by the other side. We are always going to be seen as “empty” and “hostile” when all we offer is “a-theism”, disagreement with the concept of theism.

    Yes, I know their concept is hopelessly stupid, but the true believers will never change their minds. And to anyone who might have a slightly open mind about it, we look as foolish as the believers.

    We are rational. They are superstitious. Doesn’t that sound better?

    So if you’re going to be negative, at least do it in a way that garner some sympathy and support for our cause from the vast middle watching this debate. Attack superstition, myth, fairy tales, and legends. Nobody believes in that stuff!

    And, against that, we can offer science, history, democracy. Galileo, Newton, Pasteur, Darwin, Einstein… Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln… they don’t talk about these guys much. They talk about one guy who didn’t do squat for humanity, who offers no role model for our children (study hard son, when you grow up you can die like Jesus did!).

    I live around the corner from a fundamentalist evangelical church and oftener than I like I get stuck in their traffic. I need a bumpersticker that would identify me as definitely not one of them. Hopefully something that would even irritate the car behind me in line, but not enough to get my windshield bashed in. So “Fuck Jesus” or even “God is Just Pretend” is out. I want to define the debate. It’s a shame to be too subtle, since it is admittedly fun to piss people off on their way to church, but that’s the price you pay (cheaper than a windshield).

    “Superstition is for Suckers”
    “People Should Think”
    “I Believe in Logic”
    “I Believe in We The People”

    or, as I tell my young son,

    “I Believe in You”

    more suggestions welcome…

  27. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 11:58 am

    Lily and Chris,
    I know you both mean well, and you “are” doing what you believe is the right thing as it relates to your faith. There is a problem with your reasoning. You are trying to bring milk to people who are lactose intolerant.

    We (most of us here anyway) have “already” tried it “your way” at one point or another.
    Here is how it happened for me:
    I always wondered what it was that others in my church were talking about when they said they had recieved “a sign from God”. When I enquired as to what God sounded like? They always responded with: “It doesn’t work that way” or something like that. Seems kind of strange, considering they were so sure!
    So I started looking at the “signs” they were referring to and wanted to know how they knew that the source was indeed “God” since he was not speaking to them directly. I found that the things that God was getting credit for, were things that God did not do – at least not directly. They were giving God credit for their car getting fixed, a new baby, being cured from a disease, getting a new job….the list goes on, and on. All of these things were happening to people who did not have faith as well, how did they know it was from God and not just happening? I also wanted to know why, if God was – indeed – responsible for these things, he was not given credit for other “less than desirable” things? If God created and controled everything, why was he not getting blamed, as well as praised? “Why have you forsaken me?”, outside of the bible, was a question that I never heard.

    The questions kept growing from there. Why are there two creation stories in the book of Genesis? How come God does not talk directly to people anymore? He did not seem to have trouble with it in the Old Testament. If Satan is simply a fallen angel, why would God not just “snap” his fingers and “fix” an obviously broken angel? Seemed like a better option than to let the troublemaker contiue the way he was. If God created Satan and God is perfect and good, why is Satan imperfect and evil? Did God make a mistake? How could that happen if he is perfect?
    Then I thought – What if the guy who wrote it down on paper got it wrong? I already knew that men and women were imperfect, why not the scribe that copied it from one language to another?
    I began reading some of the other versions. Almost immediately, I had a new question. Why is one bible called “the King James version”? I thought God wrote it!?!?! I found that while King James ruled durring the early 1600’s he authorized the creation and assembly of an official “Bible. He had a committee formed to do this monumental task requiring lots…. of…. imperfect…. men……….
    “hey wait a minute”
    The stories in the Bible happened at least two thousand years ago and were written around that same time. Why were these guys tampering with the Bible?

    The more I read the more I learned. It was not long before I had taken a BIG bite from the “Tree of Knowledge” and my faith died. I saw my fellow man staring back at me when I pulled back that curtain. I was not scared anymore. And I was saddened that the Bible was witten by men for very selfish reasons.
    Just as God warned Adam an Eve, it is true that if you eat from the tree of knowledge you will die. But it does not happen literally.

    Once you get there, you don’t “want” to go back.
    It’s not that we don’t understand, it’s that we understand far too well.
    Preaching here is just as rude as putting a sticky note on a coffee cup.
    And just as pointless.
    (stepping down from soapbox)

  28. suttsteve
    June 16th, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

    I suppose, if you believe fairy tales are real and think there’s a loving, magical fairy king smiling down upon all believers from the clouds, then you might imagine seeing emptiness in the eyes of those who are a bit more stable. More often than not, though, it’s not emptiness that’s seen, it’s pity for them. Going through life with their eyes closed, believing what other people tell them without even thinking about it, is a sad and unfortunate way to live.

  29. Lily
    June 16th, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    Ah! Another one of my gems of wisdom that you don’t remember me writing about Jahrta!

    I swear, I am going to send my own personal tatoo artist over to ink the answer to this on your wrist:

    You assume that without religion, no one would have ever passed laws condoning murder, extortion, and the rest? How many times do we need to tell religious people that these notions are shared by every successful society across the world, both religious and non, because they are qualitites indicative of a stable and healthy society

    Two words (color will be your choice): Natural Law.

    Over course, natural law comes from… you know who.

    Tenspace! Long time no speak. I answered this one in my post in answer to Dave’s: Mugs, I exempt altogether. I cannot imagine caring what someone drinks out of. In the context it was clear, I hope, that I find mugs bumper stickers, etc., not worth bothering about at all.

    Dave Are you new here? I know I don’t think I have seen messages from you before. If you are, you won’t know that there are answers to your questions and that I and, especially SteveG, have discussed the issues you’ve raised quite thoroughly over the last 7? 8? months or so. I don’t know if there is a search function here and I am a bit too pressed for time right now to go see. If there is, and you would like, you might take a moment to see what we have written.

    Erik and others too! Lots of great questions and no time to respond right now. Erik– the answer, which I can’t flesh out right now, lies in the give and take of democracy. While believers dominate, we are not, by any means, a monolith. We argue back and forth among ourselves, with others, etc. Sometimes it goes our way and sometimes not. That is how needed changes have come about and, if they are to be successful, incrementally.

    About this And let’s understand what some of this actually means. South Dakota has now passed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion statutes in the States. Leaving aside the secular arguments for and against abortion, the notion that the state can take away your physical freedom on the basis of a religious notion, a belief, that God puts a soul into every fertilized egg, is a serious violation of religious freedom.

    This is quite mistaken on a number of grounds. The “STATE” is not some thing out there, in America it is us. The South Dakota law was passed by the elected representatives of the citizenry. The fact that there were only one or two abortuaries there to begin with, and that the rate of abortion is so low (even adjusted for population), suggests that nothing has been imposed on them. If I am wrong, I would expect to see the bums thrown out of office in the next election.

  30. Man frae Dundee
    June 16th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    Jahrta said: (post #21)

    Yep – Jesus sure is love, if you happen to love violence. Is Jesus Scottish?

    Ah dinnae like this implication o yours that Scotsmen are violent. Ah’m gonna git a caber and whack you aroond the heid wi it until you learn yersel itherwise.

  31. Rob
    June 16th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    The explanation for Natural Law is that goddidit, Lily?

    I much prefer the explanations offered by the discipline of game theory myself.

    The flaw in attributing the origins of any conceptual idea to god whether it be natural law, or mathematics, is you hit this dilemma:

    How can god think without thought? In order for god to create, must he first be sentient?

  32. Jahrta
    June 16th, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

    Just because you remember every word you ever said doesn’t mean that we should, although it seems clear that you expect no less of me.

    Natural law comes from nature (hence the name). No god need apply. You can wail on about your unsubstantiated assumption that some magical mystical entity created nature, but you may as well try to tell me that a Unicorn once farted Springtime. Both are equally inane. There is nothing mystical about nature (human or otherwise). If you think there is, you haven’t looked hard enough to find the real answer. “Goddidit” becomes a handy excuse for being intellectually dishonest or lazy.

  33. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

    Man frae Dundee said:
    Ah dinnae like this implication o yours that Scotsmen are violent. Ah’m gonna git a caber and whack you aroond the heid wi it until you learn yersel itherwise.

    You crack me up dude!

    Lily,
    Unfortunately, there is no search function for the atricle comments. I will go and read them at some point to be sure.
    I think you missed or ignored my point though. Why do you subject yourself to the constant bashing? The folks that come here want to speak out and be heard. And from where I am standing, you (and C.T.) are trying to get us to shut up. (????)

    We have already walked the path that you hold so dear, and found it to be a dead end fantasy.

    Don’t you think you could find a more receptive audience? Or do you snuggle up to bears because you think they are cute?
    You have a right to your opinion and you have a right to say it, I just don’t think that this is the proper place for you to do it.
    You seem like a nice person, but your behavior makes me question that. Doesn’t everyone deserve to have a place where they can be themselves without it turning into a fight?

    Dave

  34. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    I already said Dave that I don’t mind the abuse and the rudeness I experience here, because if over the years I help even one person find Jesus then it will all have been worth it.

  35. Thorngod
    June 16th, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

    Go find Jesus, C.T.

  36. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

    that’s good advice Thorngod. Everyone should listen to you.

  37. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

    C.T.
    An admirable thought! Wrong audience.
    Jesus was a real guy (there was a man named jesus recorded by the romans as being crucified and it could be the man described in the bible), but he was no savior. I highly doubt that you will get any converts from this place.
    I come to this place to escape from religion and protest it, not to embrace it……

    It would be rude for me to speak against a chuch inside of a church. I consider it rude for you to spread the word here.

    If you insist on staying and commenting. Why don’t you take some time to understand why we have rejected religion? Would it not help you to understand your audience?
    I don’t mean atheist books. I’m talking about Jewish and hindu books and the like. (or pagan texts) I think you will find that the message is almost identical to that of the Christian one. At least read some books about the Galapagos islands and see evolution in action. If God exists, couldn’t he have designed the world to work the way it appears to work?

    At least consider why would a God would want his creations to worship him?

    If you insist on being here I will try to help you to understand why I don’t have faith.

  38. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

    Even if evolution is true, it just means thatr god created the earth and then let it develop according to His plan. I see no problem with that.

  39. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

    Good! Now we are getting somewhere! I don’t disagree with that posiblility, evolution could be part of God’s plan.

    Now ask yourself; why do Christians embrace the Old Testament? Isn’t that the book of the Jews? (Lewis Black pointed that one out the other day on HBO) Would it not be appropriate to learn the proper interpretation of the OT from a Rabbi?

  40. Facehammer
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

    Great, god started evolution. Ignoring that it’s an aimless process that was not in any way guaranteed to lead us to where we are now, how would god have started it? Why? What is this plan of which you speak? Why can we not eventually understand this plan ourselves, or start evolution on a new world ourselves, with sufficient knowledge and technology?

    Do you see now why god doesn’t explain anything?

    One more thing, that comes with this plan. Does following this plan give our lives meaning? If so, how?

  41. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    For all you know God may be adjusting evolution all the time. It might seem random to us, but God has infinite patience so to him it’s like shaping a piece of clay.

  42. ek
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

    I took the advice, and I am astounded to say that I found Jesus!

    I didn’t believe it was possible, I didn’t even believe Jesus was real. I was mistaken.

    Next week Jesus will be mowing my lawn. He is very interested in BushCo’s guest worker program, and he seems very excited about learning english.

    Then I was struck by an even more amazing happening. I found ANOTHER Jesus! This one was working at a local law firm, and he asked me if I had taken any of a long list of perscriptions. The fundies were right all along, Jesus hates medicine!

    So, after all of this one would think I was satisfied. But no, I needed more Jesus. I hopped in my time machine and went back to Waco, Texas in the early 90’s. Sure enough, I found Jesus…this time he was kinda creepy and, for some reason, felt the need to stockpile guns. I didn’t ask any questions because I didn’t have time. He was crucified before I could learn more.

    But I needed more, so I went back further, finding many a Jesus throughout the years. Ususally they were asking people to follow them to death or raping children, making me rethink my own morality. I made what I thought would be my final stop at around 30 A.D. To my surprise, I found nothing. No Jesus, Matthew, John, or whores named Mary. I became scared…what if it was all a lie designed to control populatons? No. I couldn’t believe it. I had to go back further, I had to speak with God. As I sped back through time I saw no great flood, no creation. Nothing other than business as usual. I watched as man regressed into hairy apes, smaller mammals, eventually becoming nothing more than proteins in a puddle. Where was God?

    Only in my mind.

  43. benjamin
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

    CT: “Even if evolution is true, it just means that god created the earth and then let it develop according to His plan. I see no problem with that.”

    I often wonder why more theists can’t say to themselves:
    “I know God did it. Science tells us how, and my religion gives me some insight as to why.”

  44. Thorngod
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:24 pm

    Uh-oh! Wasn’t J a rabbi? And Jewish, too. And you can bet your ass he was no Christian! He was really pissed about the shoddy way the blood sacrifices were being done in the great temple at Jeruselum. I think this thing Saul of Tarsus started would not suit J at all–no blood sacrifices, no circumcisions, no dietary strictures! But he’s dead now, anyhow, so I don’t guess he really cares.

  45. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

    Come on guys. Chris is open to possibilities. He just needs to approach them one at a time. I only said God could have done it, not that he, or anyone else, did.

    If he wants to stay, let’s make him part of the group and inform him with the parts he does not know.

  46. Lily
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:01 pm

    Man frae Dundee
    I think I’m in love! At least, I will be, if you tell me that you really can toss a caber!

    Dave This is almost stunning in its oversensitivity: And from where I am standing, you (and C.T.) are trying to get us to shut up. (????) If you think that hearing a different viewpoint equates to trying to get you to shut up, nothing I can say is going to make a difference. You need to ask RA to kick all theists off this site, although if he or the moderators merely asked theists not to post, I would automatically respect that. As to why I am here the answer is simple. What fun is it to talk only to people who agree with you?

    I am not trying to convert anyone here except as a by-product of correcting the horrifying biblical illiteracy and mistaken notions about morality, reason, etc. I see on this forum. It is slow going because most of the atheists here will tell me with a straight face that they know the Bible better than us dreaded and dreadful theists do and, of course, that they are reasonable, we are deluded, and so on.

    But, if I do my self-imposed mission well, at least you will know what you are actually rejecting and not the chimera you have conjured out of thin air.

    Benjamin In responding to Chris, you said it perfectly!

    I often wonder why more theists can’t say to themselves:
    “I know God did it. Science tells us how, and my religion gives me some insight as to why.”

    That is what we do, or, should think. Yes, I know that there are people out there who are not very scientifically educated who think that they must embrace an iron age understanding of the cosmos. But most of us don’t.

    In other posts I have talked about evolution (Chris is right that time is meaningless to God–what are a million or two million years to Him? And evolution is aimless? How do you know that, especially in the light of eternity?) and I have written a great deal about the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments. If I can locate them (a big if after so many months) I will cut and paste the best bits.

    A sort of Best of Lily post!

  47. Erik
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

    Lily,

    The whole point of the Bill of Rights is that there are certain issues for which there is no give and take in the simple (that is, >50%) majority sense. So, if my city were to pass an ordinance prohibiting the consumption of meat on Fridays, the resolution of that act is not to throw the bums out at the next election, but to have a court exercise judicial review and declare the ordinance to be an unconsitutional violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Presumably, you would have no argument with this?

    So, then, what’s different about the South Dakota analysis? If the impetus behind the new law is a religious belief (I’m not saying it is, but for the sake of argument), then it is also a violation of the First Amendment, and the democratic process is essentially inapplicable.

    A brief word about state power: the South Dakota law is a criminal statute; therefore, its enforcement may be had by the use of the police, i.e., state power. Passign a law criminalizing behavior is thus the exercise of state power. I was not referring to some limited number of people; rather, I was getting at exactly the idea that a majority could use state power in this manner to effectively impose a religious belief.

    Whether there is one clinic or many, the principle is the same.

  48. Facehammer
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

    I’m short of time, so I’ll make it quick – we know evolution is aimless because it has led countless species down dead ends, or caused changes we, from our somewhat elevated position, might consider counterproductive. “God’s plan, mehmehmeh” I hear you cry – again, why would we not be able to understand and replicate his methods and plan with a sufficient level of knowledge and technology?

    Chris – you just don’t get it, do you? God constantly meddling with evolution would defeat any purpose he had for originally introducing such a method, and a god is absolutely not needed in evolution anyway. And it’s not random.

  49. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

    I hate to say it facehammer, but God really does work in mysterious ways.

  50. ek
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    Lily, I take your last post to mean that you don’t believe in the whole 6-day, 6000 year old world beleif. If so, you are admitting that the Bible is not completely true. So how do you decide what to pick and choose? Why are the 10 commandments the word of god if the first bit of Genesis is not? Forgive me if you have covered this before.

  51. Lily
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

    Erik: You are absolutely right that passing an ordinance prohibiting the consumption of meat on Fridays would violate the Establishment clause.

    The South Dakota situation is quite different. If it were true that objections to abortion could never be arrived at through the use of natural reason and existed only among religious people as some sort of doctrinal matter, you would have a point. But that is not the case. Protecting innocent human life is not merely a religious doctrine but a societal and self-evident good.

    All laws impose the will of the majority on the objecting minority and enforce it with all the police powers the state has. Since we have mechanisms in place for challenging improper laws, I feel confident that we will have to wait a little longer for the coming theocracy, so many here believe is imminent.

  52. EK
    June 16th, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

    “god works in mysterious ways” is another way of saying, “I’m wrong, but I can’t admit it.”

  53. Man frae Dundee
    June 16th, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

    Lily said (post #46)
    I think I’m in love! At least, I will be, if you tell me that you really can toss a caber!

    Oh aye, up in mah windswept croft in remotest Grampian, what wi bein’ a bit lonely an that, I dae “toss my caber” frae time tae time, but I’ve never kenned it to impress a lassie afore.

    ‘Course, I’m no too sure whither ye Yanks ir clear whit alternative meanin “tossing ma caber” might huv, bit tak it frae me mah local Priest, Father Cummins, woulda gien me 50 Hail Marys fer daein that.

  54. Tommykey
    June 16th, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

    Where in the Bible does it say “thou shalt not have an abortion?”

    If God was pro-life, then why didn’t he have a problem with killing every first born child in Egypt as it is written in Exodus?

    To me it all boils down to one question: why should I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Creator of the Universe?

    Further to what ek wrote, there are not just 10 Commandments, but literally hundreds in Leviticus regarding personal conduct, diet and so forth. Did anyone here know that Orthodox Jews say a prayer to God after they take a dump thanking him that he gave them an orifice out of which they could pass their bodily waste?

    As I wrote in another thread, Christians look at history through the lens of the Bible, I look at the Bible through the lens of history.

    Thus, when Christians look at the history of the Middle East, everything revolves around the Israelites, Hebrews, Jews or whatever one wishes to call them. The neighbors of ancient Israel, whether they be Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Edomites, Moabites etc. do not exist for their own purposes but are merely tools by which God vexes his “chosen people” if they do not obey his laws.

    But if the Israelites really were the chosen people of the omnipotent creator of the universe, one would expect that they would be undefeated in battle and be more technologically and culturally advanced than their neighbors, and that God would have “given” them a land that was blessed with natural defensive barriers rather than being geographically vulnerable. But in reality, the ancient Israelites were a confederation of semi-nomadic tribes, while many of their neighbors, such as Egypt and the successive states in Mesopotamia were advanced societies. The Great Pyramid of Egypt remained the tallest man made structure on Earth until the 20th century. Pretty darn impressive if you ask me. In the ‘Histories’ of Herodotus, he makes absolutely no mention of the Israelites at all, yet he finds the time to mention that the people of Colchis (present day Georgia in the Caucuses Mountains) had woolly hair of a type seen among Egyptians. You would think that if the Israelites were the chosen people of God, somebody besides themselves would have recognized it.

    I will tackle Jesus in the New Testament in another post, as I don’t want to make this post too long. But in short, if the evidence is found wanting that the Israelites were the chosen people of the creator of the universe, that pretty much nullifies the NT, as Jesus is alleged by his believers to be fulfilling OT prophecy.

  55. Dave
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:20 pm

    Tommykey said:
    Christians look at history through the lens of the Bible, I look at the Bible through the lens of history.

    Truer words are seldom spoken.

    Lily,
    Debate on the perspectives of an opinion or position is one thing. But we really don’t need the theists to point out our errors. It just starts fights and distracts from a potentially meaningful debate.

    If there is a place on the net where non-theists can talk about their frustrations without a Christian ringing in to distract the conversation, I will happily go there to post. I get enough of the Christian point of view away from the net.

    Am I being sensitive? Maybe. But I would never go to a Ford site to tell everyone to buy a Chevy.

  56. Lily
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

    Oh dear, Man frae Dundee! I understand the Caber toss as a traditional athletic event. So it was called at the Scottish games I used to go to rather often when I lived in New England. Of course, you have just given me a whole new idea of what Scottish games might be … !

    TommyKey: I really need to cut and paste, if I am going to do justice to your questions. It is Friday night and I have a week’s worth of stress to rid myself of, in approved ways, of course.

  57. Lily
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:35 pm

    Again, Dave, I can only say that you need to take it up with RA and his moderators.

    If you get your way and this becomes an atheists only site, I give you fair warning. When the theists aren’t around, the atheists here start attacking each other. It gets really ugly. So we theists do serve a useful purpose, beyond the obvious, strangely enough.

  58. Tommykey
    June 16th, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

    Personally, I feel it would be rather boring if theists did not post here. Lily is not going to reconvert me to Christianity nor will I convince her to become an atheist, but I like the exchange of ideas and viewpoints. If we can’t change each other’s minds, then at least we can understand where the other person is coming from.

    Take your time Lily. You can even e-mail me at tommymae@worldnet.att.net if that helps.

  59. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

    Lily is right, we take all the abuse so you don’t have to. Have you seen the forums? Now there is a thread called Shitlord of the week. What is the criteria for being a “shitlord”? You just have to be a theist. That’s it. How very nice.

  60. Chris Treborn
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

    Oh, and no prizes for guessing who is behind this disgusting idea.

  61. Snap Crafter
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

    not just a theist there chris, but an extremely ignorant theist at that. No wonder you were nominated.

  62. Man frae Dundee
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

    Dave, ah cannae say ah’ve been followin the discussion here wi th’ greatest meticulousness, bit ah must say ye’re bein a wee bit exclusive there wi no wanting yer “theists” comin in here n that.

    I mean, ah find it helps whinivir Father Cummins comes to me askin why I’ve no been to Church for the last 30 year, and yer man Raving Atheist & the theists here dinnae half gie me a bit ammo when ah need to refute e’s argument regardin transubstantiatiotationion… sorry ah cannae say that, ah’ve been at the whisky again.

    Plus, it gies me the chance to meet fine fillies like this Lily ere, wha ah’m hopin’ll be o good wean-bearin stock, wide hips n that (if you ken whit ah mean), and mebbe a good sturdy frame, to help wi the sheep-shearin at this time of year. A man cannae handle a that hesel a hes life, ye ken.

  63. ek
    June 16th, 2006 @ 8:11 pm

    Snap is right. I doubt we’ll ever see quaker or lily (theists) nominated, and am sure chris will find himself on that list many times. You seem to consider yourself to be the in the same boat as the theists that think before they type. You are not. Please, take a few seconds to look over the questions asked and at least try to answer them. If you can do this, I will consider you to be….reborn, again.

  64. qedpro
    June 17th, 2006 @ 1:02 am

    The problem is that i’m sick of hearing from people like Chris and Lily. They’re broken records. Their entire persepective is completely scewed. They are religiously retarded in the sense that their brain is incapable of accepting any information that would contradict their beliefs. Not only would they refuse to hear anything that goes against what they think, their brain has filters that would prevent anything from entering. Its like they’re children that are running screaming na na i can’t hear you i can’t hear you. I guarantee every time they come across anything that contradicts what they believe they turn off, they throw it away, they walk away. The fact that everytime someone on this site asks a question they can’t answer, they either don’t answer it or spew their comforting “god works in mysterious ways” bullshit cause that’s all they can say and they have to go back to their happy place. Its just so frightening.
    Please Chris and Lily – its Gods will that you never come back to this site.

  65. Lily
    June 17th, 2006 @ 1:27 am

    Piffle. I have never responded that God works in mysterious ways to any question posed by anyone in any venue. You read and hear only what you want to and paint with a very broad brush.

    It is a common atheist failing. Its like they’re children that are running screaming na na i can’t hear you i can’t hear you. I guarantee every time they come across anything that contradicts what they believe they turn off, they throw it away, they walk away.

    Now that’s an argument!

  66. Snap Crafter
    June 17th, 2006 @ 1:37 am

    Lily! You just pegged Chris in one go!

  67. Lily
    June 17th, 2006 @ 2:18 am

    Not sure what you mean Snap.

  68. Snap Crafter
    June 17th, 2006 @ 3:15 am

    “It is a common atheist failing. Its like they’re children that are running screaming na na i can’t hear you i can’t hear you. I guarantee every time they come across anything that contradicts what they believe they turn off, they throw it away, they walk away.”

    Surely you’ve seen chris doing that? Especailly when he realizes that he was caught in his own irrationality. Well… sans that atheist part.

  69. Erik
    June 17th, 2006 @ 7:36 am

    Lily,

    I don’t really disagree with you (post 51). I just wanted to point out the hazards of using religious beliefs as a factor in legislating.

    But with respect to South Dakota: the protection of innocent life may be a laudable goal, but using a religious doctrine to determine what life is or to explain why a life cannot be terminated is problematic. The value of preserving life may seem self-evident to you; to me, it makes sense to try to get at the heart of why that is so that we understand the principles that underlie the instances in which we agree that the collective use of force may be used to prevent or punish a particular behavior.

    In other words, we should be asking ourselves why murder is a crime. I don’t intend to get into the reasons why I think it is; but rather to point out that establishing a secular basis for any law accomplishes two very important goals: (1) the impression to the individuals in society that the rules by which they are required to live are empirically justifiable, and (2) the ability of our self-governing rules to change as new facts about human behavior come to light.

  70. Lily
    June 17th, 2006 @ 8:03 am

    Erik: I think, for the moment at least, that we have achieved complete agreement.

    Snap: Oh dear. I was mocking qedpro’s “argument” by quoting it back to him. God does work in mysterious ways (which, apparently is what set him off), but I never use that obvious truth with outsiders because it takes too long to explain it.

  71. Michael Bains
    June 17th, 2006 @ 9:48 am

    Shirly rocks!

    That’s all I got.

    Sincerely

    A decent and honest human.

  72. Facehammer
    June 17th, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    Chris – you do realise that retreating to “god works in mysterious ways” is as good as admitting defeat, because it’s completely unfalsifiable, right?

    You’re not doing a great job of bringing us to Jebus if you have to resort to something so feeble. Shitlord of the week indeed.

  73. Snap Crafter
    June 17th, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

    Lily, I’m sorry, but how could ‘god works in mysterious ways’ be so complex that it would ‘take too long’ to explain?

    My point still stands that chris is a prime example of the attitude you were quoting. (I didn’t notice you were actually quoting someone because I didn’t bother to read quo’s spiel.)

  74. Kathy
    June 17th, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

    Shirley is great. I wish more of use had the guts to say what we believe in.

    In Washington state I am afraid to even have my darwin sticker on the car. Can you believe I have been yelled at in parking lots for that simple statement?

    ________________________
    Atheists laugh of the week:
    http://www.subversiveminds.com/rant/2006/06/12/message-from-god-sent-via-email/

  75. qedpro
    June 17th, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    Chris and Lily,
    You won’t believe it God spoke to me!!! He said to tell you not to come to this sight anymore.
    Why he wouldn’t speak to you directly i don’t know. wow what a revelation. It was so spiritual. I can’t begin to tell you.
    god sure works in mysterious ways…..

  76. qedpro
    June 17th, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    And just for the record Chris and Lily, I am open to ANY possibility. All i ask is that you prove it. I like many other atheists on this site would be the first to bow down if God proved himself to us. Well actually i wouldn’t bow down cause i think his morality is crap. I have better morals than him. But i digress….
    its like, yes i want to believe that aliens exist on other worlds and its a possiblity, but without proof its a belief NOT a TRUTH and that’s the difference.

  77. Lily
    June 17th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    I wonder what this “sight” is? Do you mean he told us not to look at you? Actually, since you despise me, I am thinking that it was Satan who took advantage of you to try and annoy me and make a duffer of you! :-) See? Prejudice makes you … vulnerable.

    Kathy: You live in one of the most liberal states in the union. I am finding it hard to believe that a Darwin sticker could provoke anything other than a yawn. Are you sure they weren’t being sexist and yelling at you for being a woman driver?

    And yes, I think Shirley is great, too. Even if I do scare her. I only wish I could accomplish that with my staff and students.

  78. Oz
    June 17th, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

    Washington is about as liberal as NY state is – dark blue cities, dark red everywhere else. In fact, with the large number of military bases around the Sound, the blue areas are lighter than New York’s.

  79. Chris Treborn
    June 17th, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    Lily Said

    “I wonder what this “sight” is? Do you mean he told us not to look at you? ”

    What’s that word I keep seeing again? Oh yes, PWNED!

    Good one Lily.

  80. Thorngod
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

    I think “believers” and atheists alike are pretty much in agreement that God moves in very mysterious ways (the atheists, of course, merely assuming his existence for the sake of the argument). Both sides might also agree that his son Lucifer is not nearly as devious. If it’s evil, or tragic, Lucifer probably caused it. Of course, it is Lucifer’s mischief that was resonsible for God’s sneaky reputation, since it isn’t always easy for us to disentangle the threads of their opposing endeavors. It is generally agreed among theogonists that God generated a second son (you know who) largely to oppose and rectify the shenanigans of Lucifer. This gambit has had limited success, and many are waiting for the third shoe to drop. Meanwhile, “believers” of all stripes remain in a state of extreme confusion and agitation.
    . By the way, the reason I tend to enclose the term “believer” within quote marks is that “believers” are in fact disbelievers. They don’t believe their eyes; they don’t believe their reason; they don’t believe what the wisest among us have been trying to tell them since near the dawn of civilization. They are “believers” only in respect to one silly body of superstitions (which, of course, they try to keep divorced from the dictionary definition and call by a presumably more dignified name). Still, they have earned the “believer” appellation, within or without quote marks, and are to be admired somewhat, I suppose, for being so staunch in their belief as to be able to deny clear truth.

  81. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    Facehammer,yes, how can theistic evolutionists like Francisco Ayala, Keneth Miller and Russell Stannard think that they can have the purposelesness of natural selection and the purposefulness of a god work together without contradiction.See Amiel Rossow’s essay on the Ying and Yang of Miller !Talk Reason for a refuatation of that nonsense.Mine is that as Stannard tries to state that we have a two category classification of origins [ natural selection ] and creation [ teleology].I answer that the first adeqautely answers the how of changes and it is begging the question t o ask for . for a why.just as the same fallacy ensues when one makes a distinction between contingency and a necesarry being[See Malcolm Diamond’s book on philosophy of religion for further discussion of the fallacy .Also Kai Nielsen’s.] Furthermore, the theist is at a lost to say how his creator operaltes – let it be? That is why I maintain all theists are creationists :they abandon reason for their faith [itself a circular arguement as Articulett @ Skeptic Society maintains, for one has to show a god to have trust in .] As I maintain logic is the bane of theists .Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.

  82. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    Facehammer,yes, how can theistic evolutionists like Francisco Ayala, Keneth Miller and Russell Stannard think that they can have the purposelesness of natural selection and the purposefulness of a god work together without contradiction.See Amiel Rossow’s essay on the Ying and Yang of Miller !Talk Reason for a refuatation of that nonsense.Mine is that as Stannard tries to state that we have a two category classification of origins [ natural selection ] and creation [ teleology].I answer that the first adeqautely answers the how of changes and it is begging the question t o ask for . for a why.just as the same fallacy ensues when one makes a distinction between contingency and a necesarry being[See Malcolm Diamond’s book on philosophy of religion for further discussion of the fallacy .Also Kai Nielsen’s.] Furthermore, the theist is at a lost to say how his creator operates – let it be? That is why I maintain all theists are creationists :they abandon reason for their faith [itself a circular arguement as Articulett @ Skeptic Society maintains, for one has to show a god to have trust in .] As I maintain logic is the bane of theists .Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.

  83. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

    Threborn ,why would a rational being make a hell whence one must be save and require human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice in the Torah is also irrational. Your god is a psychopath for all that and all the denocide and the Deluge and other matters in the Torah. Surely, you must be jesting that we rationalist-belevers in reality would follow you irrationalists-unbelievers in reality!

  84. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

    Threborn ,why would a rational being make a hell whence one must be saved and require human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice in the Torah is also irrational. Your god is a psychopath for all that and all the g enocide and the Deluge and other matters in the Torah. Surely, you must be jesting that we rationalist-believers in reality would follow you irrationalists-unbelievers in reality!

  85. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    June 17th, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    Threborn ,why would a rational being make a hell whence one must be saved and require human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice in the Torah is also irrational. Your god is a psychopath for all that and all the g enocide and the Deluge and other matters in the Torah. Surely, you must be jesting that we rationalist-believers in reality would follow you irrationalists-unbelievers in reality!

  86. Facehammer
    June 17th, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

    Chris, could you stop wanking Lily off and post something useful, please? Kthxbye.

  87. Chris Treborn
    June 17th, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

    Morgan, you can ask me thrice, but three times I will deny you! IF you want to learn about the bible I’ll be happy to explain what I can, but not when you act like a tool. Facehammer, what do you consider useful? Maybe something you agree with?

  88. Thorngod
    June 17th, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

    I have to admit to being as foolish as all you other guys in pleading for “believers” to reason (and I squirm in the knowledge of my foolishness). It is as obvious as the sum of one plus one that the early Hebrews (and all primitive tribes) interpreted the universe as best they could and explained the inexplicable with the ultimate term. Their more sophisticated descendants, ancestor worshippers all, have for the most part feared to challenge their revered ancient fathers, and cling to the myths in spite of their ability to reason. The notion of “faith” was a godsend (Ha-ha!) for them, and whoever invented the idea should be resurrected and roasted (on a stake, literally) at our next Druidic celebration. It is almost maddening that the faithful, who are otherwise perfectly rational humans, and as capable in every way as you and I, seem possessed by some curse that prevents them from exercising their normal reasoning ability, even to the simplist degree, in respect to any matter of their faith. It is psychological conditioning ne plus ultra, fortified by the ultimate wish and infinite fear. But we keep trying. It gives us something to do–and it’s one hell of a challenge!

  89. qedpro
    June 17th, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

    there you go again lily. instead of addressing the issue you go after spelling mistakes.

  90. Lily
    June 17th, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

    Sweetie: You didn’t raise an issue, unless the issue is that we shouldn’t come to this board. In that case, you need to read what I already said about that.

    Oops, I forgot. You don’t read what I write. It must ever be a mystery to you!

    Of course, if the issue is that G-d spoke to you, yawn… he has been speaking to you since the day you were born. You just don’t listen.

  91. Thorngod
    June 17th, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

    If I were God, and deigned to speak to a mortal, I am sure I could command his attention. If I spoke, he would hear.

  92. RJ Evans
    June 18th, 2006 @ 10:19 am

    “Jesus is love” ? Let’s look at that statment… How can anyone “love” someone they have never met, and may have never existed? I’m reminded of a quote from the movie ‘Contact’… I’ll paraphrase… “Did you love your father? Prove it” Well, on the surface this appears to be an impossible question to answer. However, it is easily answered. If your father is alive and well, the person who asks this question can answer it by simply asking the father if he feels loved by (insert name here). If the father responds in the affirmative, the question is answered. However, if the father is dead, the question cannot be answered.

    Love is a concept. To try and define the word “love” one must have someone who “loves” and someone who receives that “love”, AND UNDERSTANDS the definition of the word “love” as it is meant by the giver. I love my wife. I love my friend. I love chocolate. Of these three, only two can be proven. My wife and friend can answer the question, “Do you feel loved by…?) but the chocolate cannot. My point is that love does not exist unless there is someone to willingly receive it and understand it in the context with which it is given.

    I don’t love my dead relatives. They aren’t here to receive it. Therefore, I simply appreciate the memories. I do not love them.

    In summation…
    Using the word “love”, a concept, to define the word “God” or “Jesus”, another concept, is impossible. Subjectivity abounds and therefore, without the physical presence of “God” or “Jesus” there is no way to prove “love” for either. Lily, you need to be much more creative in your arguments.

    I have said this many times before in other forums…

    I will gladly participate in a debate over the existence of a “God” when there is a definition of the word “God” that ALL religions of the world can agree upon. Until then, I will not show respect for religion, but will gladly respect the person IF they earn that respect. Bumper stickers that assault religion are a fair play in an arena where religion has a stranglehold on, what is supposed to be a, free society.

    RJ Evans
    The “American Heathen™”
    ShockNetRadio.com & FreethoughtRadio.com

  93. Lily
    June 18th, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

    RJ:
    Your argument seems unpersuasive to me on a number of grounds. It doesn’t help that we have only one word in English, “love”, to describe a number of different relationships– erotic love, parental love, love of country, etc. …

    Love is, most emphatically, not a “concept”. Not a one of us goes running to the dictionary when we hear the word. If you tell me that you love bowling, I am not perplexed by what you mean. This is not true of concepts like “ontology”, epistemology, deconstruction, etc.

    Moreover, your definition would leave me cold, if I were your wife. If the object of love must be present, in order for love to exist, what happens when one or the other of you is out of town? Your object is just as absent in that time, as she would be if she were dead. Your proof is no proof at all.

    Indeed, love is not just an emotion; it is an act of the will. My feeling of being loved, in no way proves that my semi-significant other loves me. Many a wife of an adulterous swine thought her husband loved her, only to find out differently.

    What proves that my sso, friends, and cat love me are acts. When my sso goes to the opera which he loathes, willingly, just to please me, I know that he loves me. When my cat jumps in my lap and demands to be stroked, even though I just fed her, I know she loves me (in the appropriately feline way).

    What grows from the cumulation of such acts is trust. As I said above, faith is trust. Not blind belief in a set of precepts. We Christians believe that we have witnessed both in the past and now acts that have engendered trust, gratitude and, ultimately, love in us. These things do survive the grave or there was no love to begin with.

    As far as your remark goes Bumper stickers that assault religion are a fair play in an arena where religion has a stranglehold on, what is supposed to be a, free society. who here argued otherwise? And you will forgive me if I tell you that this is a free society and not a “supposedly” free society. If your sig can be trusted, you have a radio show or a network (can’t tell which). That suggests to me that you exercise freedom of speech, just like everyone else.

  94. Dave
    June 18th, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    For the “believers” (as Thorngod put it),
    How do you know God exists? Because the Bible says so? Or, maybe, because you can “feel the love”? (Or both?)

    Neither counts as proof or evidence.

    A book that is at least 2000+ years old (Old Testament 4000+), has been edited and translated on numerous occasions, and was authored by men who were NOT witnesses, has only questionable merit as an historical reference.
    Would you trust a 2000 year old medical book to be accurate?

    Feelings cannot be trusted. How many of us have behaved oddly based on our feelings? Especially when it comes to love.

    Science and history have never disproved the existance of God. However, I think we all would agree that trolls and orcs – do not – and did not exist, despite numerous books decribing them both in detail.

    God, unfortunatly, does not stand up to scrutiny.

    It would be really nice if there were an afterlife to look forward to, but it does not seem to be any evidence supporting it. (cheeze sandwiches aren’t evidence either)

    Blind faith is just blind. When I look up in the sky at night, I find it magical. And I do wonder how it all came to be. God just seems too easy, and a bit lazy. If there is a God, I would like to find him. But I’m not going to trust a bunch of VERY old dead guys and a gaggle of live ones that ignore what is real because it flies in the face of what they believe.

    Farewell (at least for now). I’m off to find a place on the net where there are more open minds and fewer closed ones. (that goes for both sides of the argument.) (Ooh! Maybe the will have apples from the “T.o.K.”. Yum!)

    Chris,
    You need to read more than just the bible if you want to make a convincing argument (and I suspect that your bible has a bit of dust on it). And if you truly believe in what you are saying, would Jesus ever call someone an “asshole”?

    Lily,
    Maybe you are right, but you seem unwilling to accept the possibility of being wrong.

    R.A.,
    I’ve enjoyed my stay, but I can’t take the fighting, and your forum is out of control.

    Dave

  95. qedpro
    June 18th, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

    lily,
    If an atheist had the power of God no child would ever be raped and murdered. No one would ever get cancer. There would be no holocaust, darfur, rwanda, AIDS.
    God is not love. If he exists, He’s a malicious fuckwad who screws with humanity the way a boy would screw with ants – setting them on fire with a magnifying glass.
    and just so you know, Nothing bad has ever happened to me in my life – nothing, it has been a great and rewarding life. I have rasied two wonderful kids, and spend much of my time saving dogs from shelters where Christians leave them after abusing them. i came to this conclusion studying history, looking at the facts and observing peoples suffering.
    Lily you are the most shallow, pathetic 1 dimensional person i have ever not met. You are so insecure that you actaully think you are God’s pet. I have never heard anything more delusional in my life.

  96. Thorngod
    June 18th, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

    So long, Dave. And may the force that through the green fuse drives the flower be with you.

  97. Oz
    June 18th, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

    To qedpro I would say that we would require the ability to handle godpower as well – it wouldn’t do to be overwhelmed like in Bruce Almighty.

  98. Lily
    June 18th, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

    Qedpro:
    Most of your sentiments do your heart honor (If an atheist had the power of God no child would ever be raped and murdered. No one would ever get cancer. There would be no holocaust, darfur, rwanda, AIDS.) but do not at all honor your knowledge of history.

    If I am the shallowest person you know, you must know some mighty deep people.

    Honestly, how prejudicial is it to judge anybody by combox rantings! If I judged you that way… well, you don’t want to know.

    And I’ll match your dog rescue with my cat rescue activities any day of the week.

    Gee, do you think it might just possibly be possible that there is more to both of us than this forum has brought out?

  99. Facehammer
    June 18th, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

    Chris – maybe something that’s not “Oh, Lily, you’re so great. Take me, right here, right now.”

  100. Thorngod
    June 18th, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

    I can hear it now: “Oh, God. Oh, GOD! OH GOD!”

  101. Facehammer
    June 18th, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

    Ehheh.

  102. Chris Treborn
    June 18th, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

    All right: atheists, are you 100% sure that there is no god? Won’t you admit that the existance is even possible?

    And I have already explained to other assholes dave, I am not perfect like Jesus. I see assholes where he sees only beauty. Nevertheless, I still hope that all people, even assholes like dave and facehammer, can know His infinite love.

  103. Rob
    June 18th, 2006 @ 7:15 pm

    Chris, I am honest enough to say that I can never be 100% sure there is no god… Its possible that this universe was created by a type IV+ civilization on the Kardashev scale, for example, but somehow, I suspect this isn’t what you had in mind.

    However, I am 100% sure that the god as described in most religions, in specific, the Judeo-Christian religion that I was brought up in, is an impossibility.

    I’m 100% sure that there is no afterlife given that there is thorough evidence that all our personality and thoughts are derived from the functions of the brain.

    And if the only criterion to being an asshole is disagreeing with Chris T, then I’m proud to be an asshole.

  104. EK
    June 18th, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

    All right: theists, are you 100% sure that there is a god? Won’t you admit that the non-existance is even possible?

    Then according to your book, I’ll see your doubting ass in hell.

  105. Thorngod
    June 18th, 2006 @ 7:28 pm

    Chris, the only possible form of “God” was discovered by Bernard de Spinoza, who as a young man had set himself the task of proving G’s existence. The possible God he proved (as well as anyone can prove a nonsubstantial or nonmathematical entity) was lightyears away from the one he initially set out to find. It is also the only one Einstein was willing to accept. Read Spinoza’s “Ethics,” Chris. It’s very simply written, every step of the argument logically established. Take your time. You can do it. Just think on step one. Whn you see it, take step two…etc.

  106. Chris Treborn
    June 18th, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

    EK, I do have doubts, all the time. That’s why I go to bible study every week and that’s why I often talk to the elders in my church. I admit to my weakness, so that I can grow stronger. Thorngod, I will try to read this book. Maybe I will find some common ground with you all (maybe!).

  107. Snap Crafter
    June 18th, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

    Wait Chris, correct me if I’m wrong, but you believe the Lord has actually talked to you, yes? If a diety talks to you, how could a person honestly doubt it? If you doubt a diety talking to you, are you crazy, or did you just not hear a voice at all?

  108. ranma1/2
    June 18th, 2006 @ 11:33 pm

    Chris Treborn,

    you said you stay here becuase you feel you can reach someone.

    What if , through your own ignorance, you drive people further away from christ due to your lack of research and substantiated evidence? Isnt that worse?

  109. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 12:16 am

    Y’all are piling on Chris pretty good here. I think it is time to stop because you are now locked in (and I never thought I would use this word) an asshat contest. Who wants to win that?

    Just to clarify a bit. All of us have doubts at times. How could it be otherwise? Peter followed Jesus for 3 years yet denied him when it most mattered. We are all human and subject to all the weaknesses and emotional wishy-washyness that implies.

    EK, I take your comment to mean that doubt will send people to hell, according to the Bible. I am a tad sceptical. Can you provide the cite?

  110. EK
    June 19th, 2006 @ 1:33 am

    I thought faith was the one requirement for a gold mansion on a gold street. And faith and doubt are about as opposite as reason and religion.

    By the way Lily, you must have missed post #50. I was wondering how you decide what parts of the bible to follow and what parts are lies. You seem to believe god used evolution over a long period of time to get life to it’s current state. So, was Mosass lying about the 6-day creation? You seem to appreciate science to some degree. At what point does science fail, and myth prevail?

  111. EK
    June 19th, 2006 @ 1:37 am

    Shi Treborn vomited:
    “EK, I do have doubts, all the time. That’s why I go to bible study every week and that’s why I often talk to the elders in my church.”

    Have you ever tried following up on those doubts with more learnin’ instead of washing them off your brain?

  112. EK
    June 19th, 2006 @ 1:59 am

    Sorry Lily, you asked me to cite the “doubt is bad” stuff. Here you go:

    Romans 14:23
    23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    James 1:5-7
    5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

    This next one is a favorite of mine (verse 22) having once been a christian. I did not doubt, and I asked nothing selfish. Guess if my prayers changed anything.

    Matthew 21:21-22
    21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

  113. Thorngod
    June 19th, 2006 @ 5:07 am

    Please pardon me for breaking into this pharisaic debacle, but I want to call your attention to a posting just made to RA’s “By Far” comment, which has to just now received only 4 postings since June 6th. I urge your attention to Post #5, just added, since it is rapidly aging and will shortly disappear from view.

  114. Thorngod
    June 19th, 2006 @ 5:25 am

    EK, I’m impressed. I thought I had had a thorough grounding in the scriptures!
    Lily: “Peter…denied him when it most mattered.” I may be misremembering, Lily, but is it not immediately after this that Jesus makes the remark on which the Papacy is founded: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (I’m quoting from memory, which is notoriously faulty–not mine, necessarily, but memory in general.) But “…thou of little faith,” referring to Peter, followed immediately by the reference to him as a “rock”! Incongruous, to put it mildly!(My “little faith” reference may not be quite on the mark. It’s been a few years!

  115. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 7:02 am

    Thorn:
    You’ve got a lot of verses swirling around in your head but not the order in which events happened.

    EK: Not one of those verses says that someone who has doubts is going to hell. Plus, there is that pesky little matter of context…

    Did Moses say that the world was created in 6 days?

    Yeah, I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you on that, I was trying to find the stuff I previously wrote so that I could cut and paste.

    Back in #43, Benjamin nailed my attitude perfectly: “I know God did it. Science tells us how, and my religion gives me some insight as to why.”

    I will write a bit later to more specifically address your questions what to take literally, what is mythic, etc. Right now, I am off to work.

  116. EK
    June 19th, 2006 @ 7:38 am

    “EK: Not one of those verses says that someone who has doubts is going to hell. Plus, there is that pesky little matter of context…”

    Um…need new glasses Lily? “But the man who has doubts is condemned” sounds pretty clear cut to me. Context doesn’t change the meaning of that verse. And if you aren’t willing to read it yourself (something tells me you have a bible laying around somewhere) I can post the whole chapter if you like. If that isn’t enough, I’m hoping you’ll try to explain how context changes anything instead of just calling it “pesky”. The second set of verses says a doubting man (and I’m assuming woman, when she’s not menstruating, marking her unclean) will recieve nothing from the lord. Isn’t eternal life in heaven something recieved?

    I realize the third isn’t on topic, I just put it in to remind you that prayers of the faithful go unanswered all the time. Hence suffering. Jesus lied (if he even existed).

    “Did Moses say that the world was created in 6 days?”
    Yes. On the first day blah blah, on the second etc…Are you familliar with the bible or are you just being intentionally dense?

    “I know God did it. Science tells us how, and my religion gives me some insight as to why.”
    Then why did he (or his messenger) lie about it in Genesis?

    Just something more for you to consider on your lunch break.

  117. physics teacher
    June 19th, 2006 @ 8:42 am

    shi treborn said in a previous post
    “Physics teacher, if you are teaching exchange students then you must be, at best, a high school teacher. What’s wrong, couldn’t hack it in grad school? I don’t need some loser drop out telling me anything, especially, if he is mentally impaired and can’t even spell properly” then in this thread wrote
    Even if evolution is true, it just means thatr god created the earth and then let it develop according to His plan.
    MEANS THATR god CREATED
    Learn to spell your self to hypocrituical, two faced shithead

  118. Tommykey
    June 19th, 2006 @ 8:48 am

    Another Bible error. Genesis says that God gave man dominion over the Earth. But in reality, if you really think about it, bacteria and viruses are the true masters of this Earth. Some bacteria are so important for us that if they were not present in our digestive tract, we would die. Many other bacteria are dangerous to us and can even kill us. A lot of the harmful bacteria develop immunities to whatever antibiotics we throw at them. To paraphrase the old saying, “bacteria, can’t live with em’, can’t live without em’.”

    And then of course there are those nasty viruses like HIV, the avian flu virus, to name a few.

  119. Thorngod
    June 19th, 2006 @ 9:56 am

    I have it on reliable authority that the Planaria were given dominion over the Earth. It’s in one of the opening verses of “Song of My Crobes,” authored by the first of the planariarchs.

  120. Tenspace
    June 19th, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    Christ Reborn said, “Now there is a thread called Shitlord of the week. What is the criteria for being a “shitlord”? You just have to be a theist. That’s it. How very nice.”

    Christ, you are not being truthful. A shitlord is someone who does not participate in discussion, who does not ask questions, who just spews their vitriol for no other benefit then some greater purpose they see in their own mind. Just being a theist won’t qualify you for shitlord status. Being someone who isn’t open to reason, who is ignorant of updated information, and who is only interested in telling and not asking… that will qualify for shitlord status.

    Steve G isn’t a shitlord. Quaker isn’t a shitlord. YesusFriend isn’t a shitlord. Francis most certainly is, and P-Dunn, CanuckFish, and whomadewho are in the running as well. If you would contribute in the forums, you might be honored with the status also, but you’d have to be obtuse, condescending, and in general, a combative, uncaring dick.

  121. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 11:57 am

    Ten: Will you please contact me or, at least, read your mod mail!? (mystic_mechthild@yahoo.com)

  122. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

    As promised, here are some things I have written before in response to another post, quite recently. I will edit it down but it may still come across as choppy…

    The Old Testament is a collection of writings (not dictated by God) in a number of languages written over a couple thousand years that document how the ancient Jews understood their history and their relationship with God. Believing, as we Christians do, that God acts in history, we believe that the lessons there carry important messages for us today.

    Christians accept that the Old Testament accurately depicts what God wants to reveal about Himself there because Jesus did.

    As you probably know, the Bible, the near east, the cultures, languages, etc of that time have been the subject of intense academic interest for 2000 years. Many fields are brought into the mix: archaeology, philology, ancient literatures, experts in the various biblical languages, etc.

    In trying to understand how to interpret the Bible, the most important thing to start with is the understanding that it is a piece of literature.

    What does it mean to look at the Bible as piece of literature? It means, among other things, to understand that it contains a number of genres (types of literature). For example, poetry (Psalms), history, chronicles, fable, laws, etc.

    Since no one was there to witness the creation, clearly Genesis is an ancient attempt (myth in its true and not derogatory meaning) to understand how we got here and why we (humans) find ourselves in the predicament we are in. Literal interpretations of a sacred text are to be expected from the uneducated and can lead to some painfully absurd beliefs.

    Because we are dealing with a text of many genres, one naturally interprets a fable differently than one does a narrative that purports to be relating facts (e.g. a gospel). It is plain common sense. For example: The Book of Job starts out with something as close as makes no nevermind to “Once upon a time, there was a man…” In other words, you have a story coming. But it is a story which makes an important point about the nature of God.

    Given the age of the text, one expects the writings of an iron age author to differ from those of someone writing in 65 A.D. and for those writings to reflect the cultures of the authors writing in them.

    The New Testament consists of the Gospels, many letters to new Churches and a piece of apocalyptic literature.

    The Gospels were written by witnesses to the events narrated or by those to whom they entrusted the message. Paul wrote letters (epistles) to the various young churches. In his letters he describes his ministry, encourages and admonishes the young congregations, and explains what is required of them by their new faith. So, in the New Testament, you have a body of texts that purport to relate facts accurately.

    Now you might dispute the truth of what is written in a particular book, but that does not make it a fable; it is still a report, but it is a report which you consider to be untrue.

    You can no more interpret the Bible correctly “cold” than you can interpret the constitution of the United States. In fact, you would have a far easier time interpreting the constitution, since it is much closer to us in time, written in English, etc. Still, strangely enough, there are people out there paid to interpret it.

    I found a quote from Richard Carrier (of Secular Web fame) that I think says it all:

    Amateurs often disregard the crucial importance of field-familiarity, i.e. that one must have a long and deep acquaintance with a particular time and culture in order to make reliable judgments about the probable and improbable, the expected and unexpected, and all the other background assumptions necessary to understanding the significance of any particular fact or claim–in short, one must be cognizant not merely of the literary context of a statement, but its entire socio-historical context as well. And that is no easy thing to achieve.

  123. Tommykey
    June 19th, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

    Lily, would you accept the texts of other religions as revealing truths about God? For instance, the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita contains a number of moral teachings about resisting tempation and materialism, rejecting evil, embracing the goodness of God (the Atman) within us etc.

    As I mentioned before, to accept that the Bible is the revealed truth of God is to argue that in ancient times, God only revealed its truth to one group of people, who were a confederation of semi-nomadic tribes at the time. Wouldn’t it be more logical for God to have “spoken” to the Babylonians, the Egyptians or the Phoenicians who had a high level of civilization and literacy, with the means of spreading such truth to others through trade?

    What your response (for which I thank you) leaves out with respect to my earlier posting is why should I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Creator of the Universe? Looking at the Bible objectively as an outsider, what in your mind should make it obvious to me why should believe that this collection of books should be held in higher regard than all others?

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  124. EK
    June 19th, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

    So you believe you know what bits are myth and what bits are truth. Okay. At least you are willing to admit that it isn’t the perfect word of god. I still can’t see how you believe in some of the characters and not others, unless it’s for your convenience.

    That being said, I want to thank you Lily for your response. Also I would like to invite you to the forums. We may seem harsh or cruel at times, but that is simply how most of us type. We really do appreciate theists that are willing to communicate their own thought, and you might have some fun.

  125. qedpro
    June 19th, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

    Qedpro:
    Most of your sentiments do your heart honor (If an atheist had the power of God no child would ever be raped and murdered. No one would ever get cancer. There would be no holocaust, darfur, rwanda, AIDS.) but do not at all honor your knowledge of history.

    Lily
    Please explain how my sentiments don’t honor my knowledge of history..

  126. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

    E.K. I spent a few months on the forum. Some people were interested in a conversation but mostly people just piled on and derailed it. At a certain point I just couldn’t stand it any longer. It is too vulgar and too argumentative for me. I have a stereotypical Irishman’s temper and fire up pretty easily. I didn’t like how snippy I had become.

    I most emphatically do believe that the Bible is the perfect word of God! But that does not mean that I think every word of it is completely accurate historically or to be taken literally. Those really are two different things. I think, as I said in my novel (above), it (the Old Testament) perfectly reflects what God wanted to reveal about Himself in it.

    How can I believe in some characters but not others? I am not exactly sure I understand your question. With the OT, I think there is a fair amount of plain old horse sense that can be applied. Take Genesis for instance. How many years after the fact was it written? Clearly, that question can’t even be answered!

    So we have a mythic account (and mind you, as literary types use that word it is by no means negative– it describes an approach to understanding the world one inhabits) that teaches us all sorts of lessons about the world the writer inhabited and how he had seen God acting in it.

    Tommykey: There are a ton of areas of agreement among all the major religions, even the non-Abrahamic ones! We believe, though, that where we differ, Christianity is right and the others wrong.

    You asked: Wouldn’t it be more logical for God to have “spoken” to the Babylonians, the Egyptians or the Phoenicians who had a high level of civilization and literacy, with the means of spreading such truth to others through trade? Probably. But He didn’t do it.

    However, I would never argue that he didn’t have them all in His care too! And certainly, the agreements among all cultures as to things like “thou shalt not murder” Don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, etc. point to His revelation of Himself in various ways to all mankind.

    As to why you should hold the Bible in higher regard than any other than any other text? Well, there is only one reason, really. Jesus believed it. I would certainly have respected the OT for the literature it is, without belief in God (and did for many years). But once I wrestled with the New Testament and came to believe that Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of the living God, then I could take His word for it.

    So, that, in a nutshell, is what I believe.

  127. Lily
    June 19th, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

    qedpro, I will be glad to answer you tomorrow. I have written so much here that I am exhausted. I need to recharge my batteries, so to speak.

  128. Thorngod
    June 19th, 2006 @ 10:48 pm

    Really now, Lily, in what other religion might Jesus have believed? There is nothing more obvious about religion than that believers almost always remain faithful to the variety in which they were indoctrinated as children. And most are certain that every other species of belief is in error, and may in fact be damning. Those believers capable of recognizing the obvious will invariably defend their faith by conceding the obvious and then claiming that they either received affirmation directly from God or reaffirmed the one true way through diligent study of the other major contenders. But though Jesus may be the one true way, I have never heard of a Muslim experiencing a spontaneous conversion to Christianity. Was it one of the Pope Innocents who said something like, “Give me a child until he is twelve, and then do with him what you will.” And as the poet from Naishapur said, “A hair perhaps devides the false and true–And upon what, prithee, may life depend?”

  129. EK
    June 20th, 2006 @ 12:45 am

    You’ll have to forgive me Lily, but it seems to me that god would want his “word” to be truthful. And if you want to claim that myths presented as truth are not lies, I’d have to question your sanity. If god was just messing with us when he told people to write things that weren’t true, what makes the jesus story believable?

    Sorry to hear about your problems with the forums. Not too many people survive it without understanding the ridiculousness of religiousness.

  130. ek
    June 20th, 2006 @ 12:54 am

    Lily said, “As to why you should hold the Bible in higher regard than any other than any other text? Well, there is only one reason, really. Jesus believed it.”

    Circular, no? You revere a book because one of it’s characters does?

  131. bernarda
    June 20th, 2006 @ 2:48 am

    “The New Testament consists of the Gospels, many letters to new Churches and a piece of apocalyptic literature.

    The Gospels were written by witnesses to the events narrated or by those to whom they entrusted the message.”

    Absolutely untrue. As I have mentioned before, Elaine Pagels among others has rather generously stated that we know nothing about the writers of the gospels. Since the first gospel was written after about 70 CE, the first “witness” would have to have been quite old for that or any period. “to whom they entrusted the message” is a total cop-out. That is the same thing the muslims say about the delirious ravings of Mohammed.

    “Paul wrote letters (epistles) to the various young churches. In his letters he describes his ministry, encourages and admonishes the young congregations, and explains what is required of them by their new faith. So, in the New Testament, you have a body of texts that purport to relate facts accurately.”

    Also as I have previously mentioned, Paul knew nothing about Jesus or the apostles. You could say that he made up his own religion based on his visions and mystical revelations. It is hard to describe him even as a xtian.

    “a body of texts that purport to relate facts accurately”, exactly, they “purport” to relate the facts accurately. In fact they do no such thing. It is all myth and mumbo-jumbo that in the end means nothing at all.

  132. Lily
    June 20th, 2006 @ 6:57 am

    Whatever, Bernarda. Pagels is not the Pope.

    E.K. Part of the problem you have understanding me is that you think of “myth” as a fictious story. That is not how it is used in religious studies or in literary studies (which is where I am from). To me the OT is wonderful; a collection of ancient history, stories, poetry, law, etc. all of which were written by a people recording its history, its dealings with God and trying to account for the distant past. The most ancient parts would have been handed down orally for many years before being written down starting ca 1000 BC.

    Often people think that oral tradition is quite unreliable. That is not, however the case. The argument used to be that what we think of the Iliad and the Odyssey could not possibly have been preserved correctly. However, two researchers (whose names escape me at the moment) did fieldwork among some illiterate group in the Balkans in the early part of the 20th century and were amazed to discover that the local bards were able to recite the same lengthy tales with out error night after night. I myself heard a one man show in the 80s by some fellow who performed a major episode from the Iliad for two solid hours without missing a beat. (It was quite amazing and entertaining too, which I had not been sure it would be>)

    The OT is truthful. It faithfully records what those ancient people believed about themselves, what they experienced and how they understood God to be working in history and what He expected from them. Now, obviously, if God had dictated a book about Himself, it would be flawless from every conceivable viewpoint. But He didn’t.

    You appear to be of the school that Jesus did not exist. This is not the majority opinion of the scholarly world. Thus my reasoning is not circular. If He is a real person who did what His followers say He did, then it makes perfect sense to believe He knows what He is talking about.

    Thorn You keep trying but you still don’t get it. I was not “indoctrinated” as a child. My parents were happy heathens. I never set foot in a church (except as a tourist in Rome) until I was in my 20s.

    E.K. As far as surviving the forums without “understanding the ridiculousness of religiousness” goes, sheesh! Most of the people who regularly contribute there are under 20. I am more than 2x that old; probably was out of grad school before most of them were born. They have a lot of learning to do before they can catch up with me.

  133. Thorngod
    June 20th, 2006 @ 8:11 am

    Lily, through your formative years, was your environment predominantly Hebrew, Moslem, Hindu, Bhuddist, Shintoist, Sharia, Sikhism–or was it overwhelmingly Christian? I’d give good odds on the latter.

  134. Tommykey
    June 20th, 2006 @ 11:41 am

    Here’s my bumpersticker idea:

    THE BIBLE: GOD DIDN’T SAY IT. I DON’T BELIEVE IT AND THAT SETTLES IT.

    The same holds true for the Quran as well.

    I just started reading Thomas Paine’s ‘The Age of Reason’ last night. I had always wanted to read it but never got around to it, and when I was at a bookstore on my lunch break yesterday I saw it and said “yeah, why not?”

    If I were to believe in a God or a Creator, I would likely be a deist. What Paine wrote reminds me of a scene in ‘Inherit the Wind’ when Darrow says to WJB that “there is more sanctity in a child’s effort to master the multiplaction table than there is in all of your hosannas and hallelujahs.”

    To paraphrase Paine, in order to be a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim, one has to believe that God revealed itself to a select few people or a person and that we should accept that this really happened, even though we cannot independently verify it.

    It is interesting that a Christian can believe that Jesus rose from the dead based upon the writings of the Gospel or that a Muslim can believe that Allah spoke to Muhammed and revealed the Quran, but if that Christian or Muslim’s neighbor woke him up in the late hours of the night claiming to have been visited by an extraterrestrial, the Christian or Muslim would think his neighbor mad.

    Though this argument has been hashed and rehashed before, it accepting Jesus Christ as one’s lord and savior was necessary for salvation, then why choose a mode of transmission that would guarantee that the bulk of the world’s population would not have even heard the message for centuries after Jesus is alleged to have risen from the dead. The same would hold true for Islam.

    This summer, I plan to read the Gospels again to determine what if anything Jesus is alleged to have said that has merit as a moral teaching. Then I will compare it to the moral teachings of other religions and if the moral teachings of Jesus are echoed in the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Analects of Confucius and so forth, then the only conclusion that can be reached is that Jesus is nobody special.

    Of course, for Christians, the basis of their religion is that they believe that Jesus was the son of God, and that he rose from the dead. But if there is nothing original about the moral teachings of Jesus, then there should be no basis for believing that the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection etc. really happened. After all, why would God go through all of that to put somebody on this Earth if he did not have anything original to say?

    One of the reasons why it took so long for the Bible to be questioned is that people had no access to alternative explanations. So, the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt was accepted without question. But, when the Rosetta Stone was discovered, European scholars finally had the means to learn how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics and lo and behold, there is no mention of the tale of Exodus. Not only that, but the Egyptians controlled Palestine during the period that the Hebrews were doing their 40 years of wandering.

    So tell me again why I should believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Creator of the Universe?

  135. Tommykey
    June 20th, 2006 @ 11:59 am

    sorry, meant “multiplication table”.

  136. Lily
    June 20th, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

    If, after examining the evidence, you find you cannot believe it, you shouldn’t. Nobody expects you to turn off the use of your natural reason, in order to believe something that you find unbelievable.

    This is a mistake, I believe: But if there is nothing original about the moral teachings of Jesus, then there should be no basis for believing that the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection etc. really happened. After all, why would God go through all of that to put somebody on this Earth if he did not have anything original to say?”

    Why on earth would we believe someone who told us something original? What might that be? That murder is ok? That adultery is fine? I cannot even imagine what something original would be. Certainly his emphases are often different but… We didn’t need Jesus to tell us that these things were wrong. We needed him to make it possible for us to get free of our sinful nature and give us the power to put into practice what we already know. Shoot, my earliest hero was Socrates. I still think his approach to life and learning is as good as it gets. Confucius isn’t bad either. But neither one has the power to free me from myself.

  137. Tommykey
    June 20th, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    No Lily. How about these concepts that were not original at the time:

    It is wrong to enslave people.

    It is wrong to discriminate against people who are of a different race.

    Men and women are equals.

    If Jesus was divine and had said such things, imagine how the 2,000 years that elapsed since then could have been different. That is what I meant about him saying things that were original from what others had said before him. But the reason why Jesus did not say these things was because he was not divine at all, but just a man whose mental outlook was shaped by the time and place in which he lived. As for the historicity of Jesus himself, I think it is up in the air as to whether he was real, though I am inclined to believe that the Gospels were based at least in part upon a real person.

  138. Snap Crafter
    June 20th, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

    Hey Lily, I have a philosphical question for ya:

    How can you, a caring moral being, be happy in heaven if there are innocent people burning in the hell beneath you?

  139. Lily
    June 20th, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    Snap:

    there will be no innocent people burning in hell. God sends no one to hell. Anyone who ends up there, chose to be there himself. And, by the grace of God, we must assume that s/he will be happier there than in heaven.

    One thing that I don’t think most of us think about enough is that having free will, having the ability to make real choices about things that matter, is a huge responsibility.

    We are also not so used to accepting the consequences of our behavior anymore. Nowadays, we find all sorts of excuses for deviant behavior. We accuse ourselves of being “judgemental”– but the reality is, there are outcomes that cannot be undone.

    A friend of mine lost an arm in an industrial accident. It was just the most momentary failure to exercise caution around a dangerous machine that he had safely used a thousand times but the outcome was the loss of his arm. No amount of apologizing or moaning about what a small mistake it was and how unfair is it that he lost his arm can put his arm back on. He has to live with the the outcome of his action (or lack thereof).

    So it is with the people who reject God. He allows them to go their own way and face the consequences.

    Since the soul is not material, I do not think that “burning in hell” can be anything but a metaphor for an unpleasant state of being. Something like being around your most unfavorite relative for the rest of eternity.

  140. Snap Crafter
    June 20th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    Hell doesn’t sound all that bad after all. I now face even the christian hell with anticipation.

  141. Lily
    June 20th, 2006 @ 3:56 pm

    Well, keep in mind you are taking my word for it. I could be wrong.

  142. Thorngod
    June 20th, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

    God is good. He is at least as merciful and I am. So don’t sweat hell. Even if it’s something you’ve damned yourself to, he’ll rescue you and reunite you with the good folks on high. He’s a good fellow, and ’twill all be well!

  143. Tommykey
    June 20th, 2006 @ 9:05 pm

    Lily, and your response to my post at #137 is?

  144. Lily
    June 20th, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

    What can I say? You seem to think that those “concepts” are original. They are not. I think, if you can answer the following questions, you will know what I would say, if I were to answer you in this comment. If, after thinking about this, you don’t understand what I am getting at, I will give you a straight answer.

    1. Why is it wrong to enslave people?
    2. Why is it wrong to discriminate against people of a different race?
    3. How do you figure that men and women are equals?

    As for Jesus being a man of his times: Of course. How could he really have been fully man, as we believe, yet have a 21st century mind? Or 16th or 19th?

  145. Thorngod
    June 20th, 2006 @ 10:17 pm

    I wasn’t asked the questions, but the answer to all three, Lily, is the same (which I’m fairly confident you agree). -But, a caveat on #3: Different cannot be equal; so I’m assuming you mean “due equal valuation of self, equal rights, etc.

  146. Brooks
    June 21st, 2006 @ 2:01 am

    So, if you spend your entire life spreading the gospel, but are stricken dead in one of your many moments of doubt, do you get a few extra seconds to change your mind, or is it straight to hell? Hmmm… If so, do Atheists get the same “grace period?” I know it can’t be answered, but it makes me wonder.

  147. Thorngod
    June 21st, 2006 @ 2:27 am

    Brooks, God doesn’t split hairs. You’re on course or you’re not. When you come to a fork in the road, you by god better take it.
    And when it comes to atheists–well, there’s nothing graceful about atheists–period!

  148. Thorngod
    June 21st, 2006 @ 2:45 am

    Lily, Jonathan Bloomer needs your input on the “Holocaust” topic. Hurry! It’s about to drop off the edge!

  149. EK
    June 21st, 2006 @ 2:50 am

    Hi Brooks. I tried the whole “doubt” thing. Lily seems to think her bible is wrong about things that have been proven wrong, but right about things we haven’t been able to test. I’m sure she’ll say “the bible isn’t wrong about anything, myths are just stories to explain the world around them. But god isn’t one of those myths…god is real, but the other stuff mosass invented are not. ”

    Sorry Lily, I don’t mean to be…mean. I just have a problem with your insistance that this is true:

    “Genesis 1
    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

    But, for some reason, the next 30 verses are not.

    Also, you never explained your circular argument that the bible is right because a character in it (jesus) says so.

    That being said, I truly respect Lily’s ability to keep coming back here, day after day, and respond to most of us without going crazy. I wish the other theists that post here could follow her example.

  150. Thorngod
    June 21st, 2006 @ 3:46 am

    Lily’s good. She ain’t no slouch! She knows her stuff. She’s probably a genius, but just hasn’t been able to dig her way out from under all the holy shit. If Lily were an atheist she’d be the leader of the pack.

  151. Choobus
    June 21st, 2006 @ 4:50 am

    Lily is a demented old cat lady. I think the evidence for this is overwhelming. However, I can’t help but have place in my heart for her. Sure, she’s a total nutjob, and maybe she gives crazy a bad name, but she’s not an idiot, and she might just be the good kind of crazy. The fact is, I WOULD piss on her if she was on fire. Chris T? No fucking way. SBW? That cunt-spaz bitch would be supremely fortunate if I allowed her to lick the week old smegma from my semi-erect schlong while I was enjoying a minute long fart. I have to admit, I have a grudging respect for Lily. And, secretly I think she loves old Choobus as well.

  152. Lily
    June 21st, 2006 @ 6:56 am

    Oh, YOU KNOW WHO! I dang near spewed coffee all over my monitor.

    Yes, I love Choobus. No two ways about it. Don’t ask me why. That is probably the only real proof there is that I am a total nutjob.

    Thorn, you are right about question #3 but I know what E.K. meant.

    E.K. “In the beginning God created…” is a proposition. Propositions are either true or false. I think that there is enough evidence in the material world, through the use of natural reason, etc. etc. to accept that. Others don’t. As I have said before, I don’t have a problem with people weighing the evidence and coming to a different conclusion. (Of course, I think they are all a bunch of demented pencil pushers and anti-matter nutters… but I digress.)

  153. Choobus
    June 21st, 2006 @ 7:39 am

    Lily, perhaps this is the ultimate evidence that the lord truly does work in mysterious ways. Or Jesus is fond of the crack. Either way, I prefer you to Chris Shitlord by a very large margin. And who can blame you for falling for my cheeky ways….

  154. bernarda
    June 24th, 2006 @ 2:57 am

    –“To me the OT is wonderful; a collection of ancient history, stories, poetry, law, etc. all of which were written by a people recording its history, its dealings with God and trying to account for the distant past. The most ancient parts would have been handed down orally for many years before being written down starting ca 1000 BC.”

    That is not what Finkelstein and Silberman say in “The Bible Unearthed”. “no archaeologist can deny that the Bible contains legends, characters, and story fragments that reach far back in time. . . . archaeology can show that the Torah and the Deuteronomistic History bear unmistakable hallmarks of their initial compilation in the seventh century BCE” (p. 23).

    –“The OT is truthful. It faithfully records what those ancient people believed about themselves, what they experienced and how they understood God to be working in history and what He expected from them. Now, obviously, if God had dictated a book about Himself, it would be flawless from every conceivable viewpoint. But He didn’t.”

    The OT is not history, it is a sort of national epic or saga which was written to try to create a group identity. Examples, Exodus never happened and the splendid realms of David and Soloman were at most small backwater tribal “kingdoms”–kingdom being a big word in this context.

    N&S, “The Bible is everybody’s concern. It contains our story of creation, our founding principles of monotheistic religion, and some of our western civilization’s most powerful prophecy, poetry, and religious laws. In a word, it contains our spiritual legacy. And that legacy has a thousand shades of meaning and wealth of insight to give. But is it history? Is it an accurate chronicle of a sequence of events, arranged in chronological order? Is that where its power lies? While hardly anyone these days gets exercised over the suggestion that the Mahabarata’s Hindu Prince Arjuna might be a powerful literary creation rather than a specific historical figure, or that a particular Achaean named Achilles might not have slain a particular Trojan named Hector, something strange and emotional seems to happen when doubt is cast on the historical character of the kingdom of David and Solomon.”

    As to the origins of the OT epic, “This occurred in the 7th-century BCE and reached a culmination, we argue, during the reign of King Josiah (639-609 BCE)and the primary history of the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History are the greatest achievements of this complex historical process. But they are not “history” in the modern sense.”

    So much the better, because the god of the OT was a psychopathic mass murderer. For a compilation of jehovah’s crimes and genocides, try “Jehovah Unmasked” by Nathaniel Merritt.

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