The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

More Than Words

June 25, 2006 | 52 Comments

Neither Christ nor Christianity shall ever again be maligned on this site, I have vowed. In contemporary America continuing this blog under such constraints might appear to rival the composition of a thousand-page novel without the letter “e.” Or perhaps without the alphabet, given that Christianity equates Christ with God, and that the denial of His existence could be fairly construed as an insult. The seeming impossibility of the challenge might suggest an abandonment of disbelief. Consequently charges of atheist heresy, of conversion to theism, have now been lodged against me.

With such conversions I am well familiar. Often I have questioned whether a committed, well-read atheist has ever come to faith. No one is better able to recognize the symptoms of a religious transformation than I. But my own diagnosis I will not disclose.

For now I will say only that the accusations are unproven. My critics confuse a commitment to silence with a commitment to belief. All I have promised is to refrain from attacking a religion, not to embrace it. No claim of heresy could possibly be sustained on the evidence of that limited pledge. And all other evidence, every word previously written and remaining on this blog, counts strongly against it.

That leaves open the question, of course, of whether my present views reflect the past. I have already said that I will not address that. The answer would necessarily either confirm or deny the alleged conversion. A denial would certainly betray my promise, because to announce I am still an unbeliever would effectively declare that I believe that the views I have vowed not to disparage are lies.

A confirmation of the conversion would not necessarily avoid that problem. If I did so and then continued this blog my sincerity could rightly be questioned. But shuttering the site could be easily be viewed as a cynical, expedient means to fulfill the promise — that I was saying nothing more about faith only because I had no good thing to say about it. And what would be left behind was a blog whose every word up to the moment of its closure violated the oath.

Perhaps the problem is that I made an impossible promise. I think not. I have noticed that with few exceptions the blogs and books that pursue the themes of this one care very little to discuss the truth of the premises that drive them, or even to identity the premises themselves. Few of my critics have set forth a systematic exposition of their own atheological views. Most neither know nor care about natural or revealed theology or the difference between them. Those who rant and rage against theocracy, of the problem of religion in society, rarely address the truth of religion itself. They avoid the question entirely but insist that for some unspecified reason it is best privately practiced. If pressed on why the authority of religion should not impose itself upon the state they rely only the authority of the Constitution, or on some principle of “obviousness” that they know will be appreciated by a sympathetic readership.

And on countless occasions I have been lectured that the only thing that unites all atheists is the absence of God-belief, rather than the affirmative denial thereof. It is insisted that no further conclusions, metaphysical epistemological or moral, can be drawn from that lack of belief. If that is the case, there are plenty of topics that can be discussed without expressly interjecting God. I can pursue them without breaching my promise to avoid blasphemy, and without committing to whether I am motivated by a desire to glorify Him or acting from an attitude which ignores Him.

I can only assure you that I will not be acting indifferently or agnostically. What has led me to this point, whatever this point is, is a firm conviction that I must go beyond words and set an example. I will not say whether what lies behind that conviction is God or not. You will have to content yourselves with the understanding that the truth of His existence, whether founded in fact, logic, or a combination of both could not possibly vary with what my words might command you to believe. But I will not tell you what I believe. And I will not tell you why I will not, and you will never trick it out of me.

Comments

52 Responses to “More Than Words”

  1. PhalsePhrophet
    June 25th, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

    Useless to convert at this level of blasphemy; God can’t seem to get over it as easily as rape or murder.
    Please don’t alter the name either; I would need new refrigerator magnets.

  2. Jason Malloy
    June 25th, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

    So why even continue the blog, if you’ve decided it’s interfering with issues you’ve grown to feel are more important?

    I enjoyed reading you for the last four years. Thank you for the often thought-provoking critiques and sometimes Onion-quality humor. Please don’t make yourself miserable by continuing with it after its lost its rewards for you.

    (compliments and sympathy in lieu of ‘WTF’, which I’m sure you’ll be collecting soon now)

  3. Anonymous
    June 25th, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

    “What has led me to this point, whatever this point is, is a firm conviction that I must go beyond words and set an example.”

    An example of what, precisely?

    While it’s all well and good to commit oneself to not being a curmudgeonly old goat, this particular gesture here strikes me as being a bit too publically self-conscious for such a pedantic mid-year’s resolution, and it’s all far too theatrical for me to believe that you intend to allow the *ahem* spiritual motivations for your *ahem* conversion to languish forever in the realm of speculation, winks, nudges, and other sundry forms of innuendo.

    Or, for a man who claims to be essentially unconcerned about what the unwashed masses know and don’t know, you seem extraordinarily preoccupied with what they think. Otherwise, given the fact that you’ve been writing for years about your personal beliefs as it is, you’d just claim whatever it is that you now are, act accordingly, and be done with it.

    So I’m sure we’ll all find out what’s going on eventually. At any rate, I’ve certainly never met a born-again Christian capable of keeping his or her mouth shut about it (though that might be a self-selecting phenomenon), and I can’t say that I expect anything different from you in the end, if such is indeed your fate. You do, after all, have a blog.

    That said, I intend to continue assuming that you’re an atheist until you say otherwise because, frankly, a conversion would be just so, well, boring. I just hope you don’t spend too much time contemplating why religion shouldn’t be able to impose its will on the state, because frankly, it’s not so difficult a question (and unless “religion” there is just a code-word for “Christianity,” it’s a meaningless question as well).

    Best wishes,

    Anonymous, because it’s not like my name would mean a damned thing to any of you anyway.

  4. Thorngod
    June 25th, 2006 @ 10:04 pm

    I don’t recall ever hearing of an atheist taking such a vow of silence. Is a monastery the next move? As for “a systematic exposition of [my]…atheological views,” I’m not going to type the entire book onto this blog space. It ranges far afield from merely contra-theological arguments. But I’m looking forward to the discussions that are certain to ensue from your startling announcement.

  5. Kafkaesquí
    June 25th, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

    RA, what pharmaceutical product are you on, and where may I procure some?

  6. Nokot
    June 26th, 2006 @ 1:22 am

    Oh well, it was a fun blog while it lasted.

  7. Holopupenko
    June 26th, 2006 @ 2:52 am

         Very interesting, indeed. (I say that honestly and sincerely with no hint of sarcasm–real or intended.)
         With respect to conversions from (or is it out of) atheism, you are no doubt aware of the fairly recent case of Anthony Flew.
         You and I are, no doubt, like polar opposites on many issues (although I’m intrigued by your pro-life stance!)… yet to agree with you in not attacking people directly is a given. Fantastic! I have my own curmudgeonly foibles against which I constantly battle, so your vow is a good one that will remind me to keep an even keel. I’m puzzled by those who criticize you for your vow or your pro-life position: what possible threat could these pose to reasoned discourse… or do your views rightly hit at the core of unsupported presuppositions snuck into their “arguments”… and hence construed as person attacks? Which leads to my next point…
         I wonder whether it is possible to challenge or argue forcefully against underlying ideas such that it will not be construed as a personal attack. Commitments to views, opinions, notions, antecedents, unsupported presuppositions, ideas, ideologies, worldviews are held to tenaciously. One can–and ought to, in fact–despise and reject certain ideas (racism and Nazism jump immediately to mind). One can do so from a deep gut feeling, by reasoning, by believing the authority of others, or a combination of all the above. In the interests of full disclosure, I despise atheism because of the damage to reasoning it poses. But, does that mean I despise atheists? No: I’m bound by the second greatest commandment to love my neighbor as myself… and that commandment put into practice continuously challenges and changes the person who strives (fits and restarts and failings notwithstanding) to bear that Cross with His help. Yes, it is a Cross–but ultimately a very sweet one. I’m not trying to preach or to convert you (it’s not in my job description), but I am stating a central position–a central reality–for the faithful Christian. That it may strike you as strange, unworkable, hypocritical may be the case. But, in the context of your post which deserves kudos, it is a position certainly valid for exploration and understanding.
         Why should the public square be a “naked” one–secular by default and unquestionable? Why should the deepest religious convictions of most of the people of this planet be relegated to mere opinions? Are the deepest, most-motivating beliefs of people count as nothing simply because they are religious beliefs? On what basis can such a presupposition be defended?
         Those are my stream-of-consciousness, off-the-cuff reflections on your post.
         Please don’t take offense at my well-wishes of “God’s speed” to you. It’s meant in the best possible way.

  8. Moleboy
    June 26th, 2006 @ 6:01 am

    “A denial would certainly betray my promise, because to announce I am still an unbeliever would effectively declare that I believe that the views I have vowed not to disparage are lies.”

    Well, yeah. If you don’t think that these statements made by theists are untrue, then you aren’t an atheist (a semantic arguement could be made about whether untrue statements are lies, but its obvious that you are equating the two).
    Maybe you should change the title to Raving Agnostic?

    I wonder.
    Lets suppose I came to you and said I had a million dollars. You looked in my bank account and saw I had one dollar. So you reply “No, you don’t have a million dollars”.
    Are you calling me a liar?
    If so, is that not a reasonable thing to do, no matter how deeply I believe i have a million dollars?

    I applaud any attempt to discuss and debate religious views (including atheism and agnosticism) without turning the situation into a schoolyard brawl, but that doesn’t mean that either side should conceed the point to their opponant just because the very act of disagreeing hurts their feelings.

    Thats not debate. Its not discussion. Its…I don’t know what it is.
    No, I do.
    Its a hallmark card.

  9. sdanielmorgan
    June 26th, 2006 @ 6:04 am

    …[mouth agape]…

    RA,

    What’s the point of this blog, now? Are you going to shut down? I’m not implying that atheists can only talk about God/religions, but a site like this one…well…it is the “RAVING” atheist, so what will you rave on about?

    You said:
    You will have to content yourselves with the understanding that the truth of His existence, whether founded in fact, logic, or a combination of both could not possibly vary with what my words might command you to believe. But I will not tell you what I believe. And I will not tell you why I will not, and you will never trick it out of me.
    Since when do you use “He” to describe the god of Christianity? Does their god have a penis? Don’t adopt their language, even if you won’t vilify their beliefs, or else I’ll have to suspect that you just did tell us what you believe.

    Whatever you go on to do or believe, good luck with that…I just hope your cognitive dissonance doesn’t equal in magnitude the incredulity with which the atheism community at large has received your…changes…

  10. Anonymous
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:09 am

    If you’re still an atheist, you’re a coward.

    If you’ve converted to religion, you’re an idiot.

    Either way, this is bad, bad news.

  11. Holopupenko
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:28 am

    Anonymous:
         Could you clarify something for me: if the blogger is a “coward” for having a different opinion from your own, why do you hide your identity? Why the fear, why the anger, why the insecurity?

  12. sarah faith
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    I have never commented here before, but I just had to mention to sdanielmorgan that just because Christians refers to God as a He doesn’t mean we think God is actually a “man”. Personally, I interchange She and He for God, specifically because of God’s lack of gender, since God made male and female in Her image, He is neither. Most people just stick with He because people get confused when you do what I do, and English does not have a good neuter. If I don’t call my dog an it (since it implies an inanimate object) I really am not going to be calling my God an it. There are a few misguided souls who do think that God is actually a man, and I feel sorry for them, because they are so unable to think outside of the physical world that they can’t imagine a truly supreme being who is neither male nor female, and therefore, they are not experiencing the fullness of God, and that is to be pitied. I suppose RA just referred to God that way to be respectful, since that is how most Christians would refer to God.

  13. Dada Saves
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:46 am

    You’re still going to malign Jews though, right? Or does that not work because Jeezus H. was Jewish? In fact the whole family was kosher: Jeezus, Mary, and Cuckhold.

    Your forums — which coined the terms Christ Psychosis, Jeetards, and theocrazy — will remain the last bastion of malignancy against the x-psychotics.

  14. Chris Arsenault
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:58 am

    Down every road of life there are a million turns. Continuing on the road takes many decisions. How do you choose your path? What happens when your path intersects with others?

    We often argue in the abstract, but our actions speak louder than our words. It is true that people’s actions about us, for us, against us, are really true – they are undeniably ‘in fact’. If they are genuine, then there is real respect there, if they are false, then it’s either hate or indifference. How do you know what another’s actions say? How do you evaluate what has been expressed? Are we touched at the level of thought or in our feelings?

    What has led me to this point, whatever this point is, is a firm conviction that I must go beyond words and set an example. I will not say whether what lies behind that conviction is God or not.

    Right now I see the Raving Atheist on this path in life, and he’s reached a particular, rather elusive, understanding. RA has realized a continuity that many, many others have not. It’s like saying silence speaks volumes, but others hear two or more different messages in the quiet.

    He seems to have a certain love and respect for a body of people who share many of his innermost feelings, and through their actions, they have demonstrated to him a truth more real than can be adequately expressed with words. Whatever is at the core of that truth, be it love, be it God, be it some inexpressable reality, RA has realized it in a rather profound way.

    It seems RA wishes to express his respect for this body of people in a way which shows his understanding of this truth, and that means to withhold from attacking what they believe, because if what they believe brings that kind of love and integrity, then he doesn’t want to undermine that, or express hate or indifference instead of love, towards this group he deeply cares about.

    Either you have it or you don’t. Either it’s there or it isn’t. Wrapping everything up in a sophisticated logical argument doesn’t speak from the heart and words will often fail us when we try to do so.

    On a weblog maybe the best expression of this love is to truly change what you’ve been doing. There’s that undeniable action, but then two different groups will hear two or more different messages (of what they think they hear, or what they want to hear) and the truth may be that it’s neither.

    What is clear from the last several messages is a profound respect and through his change The Raving Athiest is speaking from his heart.

    And that is more real and true than millions of words.

  15. June
    June 26th, 2006 @ 8:07 am

    It is inconceivable that a rational mind would convert to something as cheesy as Christianity. Just review some of the GodSquad’s advice, and you’ll come away reeling in disbelief.

    No, we must look to other explanations. TRA has a brain tumor. TRA is pulling our leg. TRA is testing our faith. TRA’s blog has been hacked. TRA is paying off a bar bet. TRA knows maligning God is irrelevant since he does not exist. TRA is scamming someone.

    Most likely, TRA is trying to get into the pants of some cute MILF he met at the CPC.

  16. severalspeciesof
    June 26th, 2006 @ 8:43 am

    Am I the only one hearing a knife being sharpened? I’m just not sure who or what the knife will be used on.

    I wait with baited breath.

  17. Tenspace
    June 26th, 2006 @ 9:10 am

    species, it’s “bated”, not baited (I learned this after earning the nickname baitbreath :) )… and I agree. The true motive has yet to be revealed.

  18. HappyNat
    June 26th, 2006 @ 9:26 am

    We all know, or should know, that RA likes his drama and his posts shold be taken with a spoonful of salt. These are two reasons I keep coming back, things stay interesting. I suspect they will remain that way.

  19. severalspeciesof
    June 26th, 2006 @ 9:36 am

    Tenspace,

    Thanks for the correction, though personally I like ‘baited’ better.

  20. Dada Saves
    June 26th, 2006 @ 10:28 am

    Sarah Faith:

    What’s wrong with the pronoun ‘It’? (Cap-I if you like). You say It’s not fitting for animate entities, but how do you refer to the biggest animated entity of them all, the universe? (He? She??)

    ‘It’ makes the most sense for the Xian God, as in “Don’t make It mad or It’ll smite you!”

    Perhaps anthropomorphizing God helps you sustain the quaint belief that you have a ‘personal relationship’ with it …

  21. Don
    June 26th, 2006 @ 10:49 am

    Perhaps anthropomorphizing God helps you sustain the quaint belief that you have a ‘personal relationship’ with it …

    That’s exactly why people believe in God. No human can believe in a God referred to as It, because God is a reconstruction within his mind of the parent that held him when he was an infant. It’s an artifact of the development of concepts of ownership and control that the god became a male authority figure.

    And since it, he, whatever, fills a need that is inherent to the human psyche, I think the RA has merely decided that, fundamentally, theists and atheists are much the same and it is taking a page from the theists’ book to look down upon them.

  22. Will
    June 26th, 2006 @ 11:08 am

    I see that you still list vatican.va as a “hate site”. Possibly we will received rationalizations on why this is not “disparaging”.

  23. tarkovsky
    June 26th, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

    Don’t do it! Don’t give up, Tremblay is not worth it!

    Your self-esteem is damaged? You feel bad? OK just take a few days off from this web site and come back later. Take a pill, have a drink. This is a *war*, friend. War against idiocy, superstition and mindlessness.

    THERE IS NO GOD. There. It is said, and without a single disparaging word.

    OK? Now go and be good.

  24. Thorngod
    June 26th, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

    CHRIS A– You are right that RA has acquired “…a certain love and respect for a body of people who share many of his innermost feelings, and…he doesn’t want to undermine that, or express hate or indifference instead of love, toward this group he deeply cares about.” That is just what RA said. In fact, it was the only really concrete thing he said.
    It was pretty much the same for Saul of Tarsus. He was spying on his blood brothers, and causing them grief, and that wasn’t sitting well on his conscience. His treachery got the best of him on that fateful road to Damascus and he suffered a nervous breakdown and set about redeeming himself in a most impressive manner. I’m not implying that RA is going to become RC, but the possibility is always there.

    SARAH F– Yahweh was definitely, indisputably a “He” to the people to whom your infallible Word was first revealed. The “misguided souls” you refer to may be the “fundies” and others who believe in “the old time religion,” and they may all be fools, but in this they are certainly correct. I personally do not care how anyone styles his or her deity, and I am very happy that Judaism and Christianity have mellowed over the centuries and become more tolerant of us heretics and pagans. I don’t want to fight your overwhelming numbers with clubs and pitchforks. But with reason and science we will easily keep you at bay. We will, at least, if you wish to continue to enjoy the fruits of medicine, calculus and technology.

    HOLOPUPENKO– I take issue with just one line of yours: “I despise atheism because of the damage to reasoning it poses.” That, my friend, is a hilarity of the first water! I doubt that the first primate to stand on his hind legs and survey the horizon was either deistic or atheistic, but he was sure as hell liberal and honestly inquisitive. And liberality and honest inquisitiveness are defining characteristics of doubters, freethinkers and atheists. While the ancient and not-so-ancient Hebrews were beating their brows and kowtowing to a ruthless Yahweh, Socrates and Pythagoris and Democratus and all those other freethinking Athenians were delving into the nature of things and planting seeds of truth that would eventually (after well over a millinnium of religious backlashing) bear fruit in minds of skeptics, “Diests” and atheists. The atheist says, “Show me!” But the “believer” will not, cannot, reason outside the artificial parameters of his great, silly Presupposition. A religionist requires either sheer stupidity or an impressive amount of gall to accuse an intellectual atheist of unreason!

  25. Chris Treborn
    June 26th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    What’s wrong unbelievers, trouble in paradise?

  26. Thorngod
    June 26th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    JUNE– Kudos! Very damned clever!

  27. Thorngod
    June 26th, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

    Paradise in trouble! Chris.

  28. Gathercole
    June 26th, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

    “and you will never trick it out of me”

    I don’t doubt it. After all, we never were able to “trick” RA into giving his opinion on the just punishment for abortion. I guess we’re just not smart enough to deceive someone into being honest and forthright.

  29. sdanielmorgan
    June 26th, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

    Sarah Faith,

    Was your dog born without a penis or a vagina, or both? If so, then a rare canine you have, indeed. If not, then you’ve made a ridiculous analogy, because your dog DOES have a gender. Do you refer to snails as “he/she” or “it”? They are hermaprodites, you know.

    You said:
    . I suppose RA just referred to God that way to be respectful, since that is how most Christians would refer to God.

    That’s exactly what worried me, and why I made the comment, Sarah. Perchance that sailed over you head?

    What was even more troubling with the phrase of RA that I quoted:
    You will have to content yourselves with the understanding that the truth of His existence, whether founded in fact, logic, or a combination of both could not possibly vary with what my words might command you to believe. But I will not tell you what I believe. And I will not tell you why I will not, and you will never trick it out of me.

    …is that he seems to miss that it isn’t, indeed, his “words” that change reality [or, what we should believe about it]…but that “fact, logic, or a combination of both” is literally impossible without some referential system, ie language. He seems to miss the fact that we aren’t “commanded to believe” anything, because of the existence of fact and logic. Sure, we have presuppositions and premises, but are those “commanded” by a language? No, only described by them.

    What I think RA is doing is hedging his entire newest form of “raving”: he’s claiming that 1) just because he doesn’t mention the existence of God [which is a far cry from bashing Xianity] doesn’t indicate he no longer uses fact, logic, and reason to determine the nonexistence of gods; 2) that what a person suddenly stops talking about doesn’t indicate a change in perception; 3) those of us who felt “commanded to believe” something are now off the hook, since we looked to RA for our daily epistemological foundation; and, most importantly, 4) he thinks we can only “hear” his words and not “see” his actions…especially in how he may choose, surruptitiously, to “remodel” his website and his forums and etc…he really thinks he can either “fool us” or exist in a serious double-minded state (cognitive dissonance I referred to in my earlier post).

    What we will see is if RA decides to start removing all references to Xianity and other religions as a “bad thing” from his site and blogroll and etc. What we will see, and not have to hear, is whether or not RA suddenly grew a “spirit” and “faith” ex nihilo. And then it won’t matter what he commands us to believe.

  30. Chris Treborn
    June 26th, 2006 @ 3:57 pm

    As much as I would like to welcome RA to the Love of Christ, I can’t help but feel he is pulling our legs. He does not show the real compassion and love that true converts have, which must be an amazing feeling. Believing in nothing for so long, and then having their mind opened up to the wonders of the Lord. I’m almost jealous! If RA wants to act myterious it’s probably because he’s up to some sort of shady doings, and not because he has seen the light. After all, if he truly has concerted, why be so circumspect about it? Those of us who love the Lord and more than willing to share the good news, even when it is not well recieved.

    RA, I hope you don’t have a brain tumor or anythig like that. Butr if you do, maybe now is the time to really thik about what Jesus can offer you. It’s never to late to repent.

  31. Eva, Mod.
    June 26th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    RA, does this thing about not making fun of christ or christians also apply to the forums?
    there is some concern about the members there…this should be cleared up.
    as for myself, i ask if the name of the blog will change to reflect your new worldview, whatever it might be?

  32. Shelley
    June 26th, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

    I for one, would LOVE to have my very own invisible friend to tell me how to live my life. But, alas, I’m rooted in reality. The thing is: I can’t prove there is no God, and uh…believers can’t prove otherwise. So why even argue?

  33. Andrew
    June 26th, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

    Gimme a “W”…
    Gimme a “T”….
    Gimme an “F”…

    WHAT’S THAT SPELL?

  34. erie miller
    June 26th, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

    well, old r.a. has gone off an another tangent. i humored him along when he declared that a hunk of protoplasym hanging off of a woman was sacred to him, now this.

    i suggest that the rest of you readers do as i’m about to do: ignore him. delete his web address and let him wander off in his own goofy direction.

    so long.

  35. Annie Banno
    June 26th, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

    Imagine my surprise, checking in after a long absence, and finding these 2 posts. I, for one, thank you, RA. Thanks very much indeed, my friend. It is very much appreciated, whatever the reason!

    I’m sure you’ll still find plenty to rave about, and how. After all, you said “Neither Christ nor Christianity shall ever again be maligned on this site.”

    For the myriad frothy-mouthed fans above, that’s just Christianity. RA’s got a whole bunch of other faiths still to rail against, if he so chooses.

    sdanielmorgan, Sarah faith is more on target than you know or may ever care to know. Quoting scripture won’t work for you, I’m pretty certain, since your probable thought is “how could it be inspired by God if s/he/it didn’t exist in the first place?” But if you cared to pry open that mind of yours to at least consider what you’re ignorant of, check out Isaiah Chapter 49, verse 15 and Chapter 66, verse 13. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that God as “Father” includes the perfections of human fatherhood and motherhood. John Paul I is quoted as saying, “God is a Father; more than that, God is a mother.” He was speaking metaphorically. God isn’t literally a father, or a mother, or a male or a female. John Paul II referred to “rahamim,” which is the “tender compassion coming from the motherly side of God.” The word comes from the Hebrew, meaning “womb” or “uterus.”

    A favorite author of mine explained that, even in the case of a really delinquent problem child, “a real mother ‘can’t help but love the brat.’…Just as God is more father than any father, God is also more mother than any mother.”

    FWIW to you, of course.

    It’s all really kinda how He loves even us, “the brats” here, on this combox, whether we like it or accept it or not.

    It IS true that when I was growing up, in the 60s and 70s, the image of God as “avenging, mean old man with white beard to be feared” was still prevalent. That has changed E N O R M O U S L Y since then. You’ve just gotta get with the times instead of clinging to that old, obsolete, outdated imagery, my dear! 8^)

    Really, it seems sometimes that some atheists just gotta have that old imagery to talk smack about, as you’ve done here. It’s too bad.

  36. Brian Macker
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

    RA,

    Sounds like you’ve gone off the deep end yourself with this post. Doesn’t seem like there is much point to this blog anymore. I guess you could continue by spouting off blasphemy against other religions like Islam.

    I never got your exact position on abortion. Is it that you are against it but would allow abortions to be legal or are you of the position that it should be against the law? I think that just as an egg or a sperm cannot make a human being along neither can a zygote make a human being without a womb. In this sense it is not truly and individual and cannot thus claim the same rights as individuals. Even children do not have all the rights afforded adults. Rights are gained at each stage of life and are not all there from the beginning.

    I do believe that if a woman has in agreed to the use of her womb for reproduction that once an embryo is formed that she cannot back out of that agreement without consent of her partner. No more than a landlord can eject a tenant with a lease. Thus married women should not have the option of aborting their children without the consent of the father. This has to be a two way street. If the mother can decide not to abort and then force the father to support the child then the reverse must also be true.

    So I don’t agree with you, nor do I agree with the “pro-choice” side either.

  37. Lily
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

    I have been gone a mere 5 days and the world has changed, or, so it seems. RA, you are the best. Always were, always will be. Us Dawn visitors like and respect you and you are always welcome to come rave with us.

  38. Brian Macker
    June 26th, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

    That was “alone” not “along”

  39. Thorngod
    June 26th, 2006 @ 10:18 pm

    Annie B– One of the most fascinating and entertaining aspects of Christianity is how He/She/It changes over time. As you pointed out above, HSI changed ENORMOUSLY over the past quarter century. (I know, you’ll say it was Christians’ concept of HSI that went off-kilter for awhile, not HSI–but that concept is all anyone, theist, skeptic, agnostic and atheist alike, can go on. Annie, if you are loved and respected by parent, children, spouse and/or friends, you’ve as much love and value as anyone gets in this unfathomable, infinite, hot-and-cold universe. And if you have a loved one in service in Iraq, I sincerely hope he or she is not captured by one of the Islamists who will torture him or her in exquisite ways in service to his version of your HSI Being. I respect you as a fellow feeling being, and I wish you luck and happiness, but the He/She/It you try to prove with quotations from superstitious neolithic herdsmen makes no sense to anyone with sense enough to reason.

  40. June
    June 26th, 2006 @ 10:45 pm

    — John Paul I is quoted as saying, “God is a Father; more than that, God is a mother.” He was speaking metaphorically. —

    WOW, LET ME WRITE THAT DOWN! And all this time I thought God was a huge, incompetent, revengeful prick who delights in bizarre punishment that only the human mind could conjure up.

    — God isn’t literally a father, or a mother, or a male or a female. —

    SO WAS JESUS CONFUSED WHEN HE SAID ON THE CROSS “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM …”? And is there some other stepfather God to whom Jesus refers when he says “In my father’s house are many mansions?” And God is also the mother, so Mary was good enough to suffer the labor, but then she can go pound sand? Who the hell is making all this up? And who the hell is believing all this?

    It’s laughable to imbue the grand concept of a Cosmic Creator with silly human emotions of rage and revenge and jealousy. Those are emotions felt by beings who are threatened by a superior power. It’s absurd to propose a God who keeps track of whether some minor organism on some puny planet of some trivial star system of some minor galaxy has a slice of bacon for lunch. The entire conception, the design, the scope, the production values of what theists typically present as “God” is so obviously limited by human boundary conditions.

    Last week, I was flying home, and as we were landing, some child in the rows behind us was wailing endlessly about being afraid of crashing and dying. After we landed, the father soothed the child with some BS about God holding us in his hands. And then they filed out of the plane, right by the pilot standing in the cockpit door, without so much of a nod, and went on their way. And I wanted to yell after them “Thank the pilot, you insufferably fatheaded godidiot! He is the man who saved you and your son! God had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

  41. Francois Tremblay
    June 27th, 2006 @ 6:44 am

    Hello, Raving Fool.

    “Few of my critics have set forth a systematic exposition of their own atheological views. ”

    O RLY? I did it months and months ago:
    http://goosetheantithesis.blogspot.com/2005/09/codifying-my-secular-worldview.html

    Did you check with ANY of your critics? Or is this just another case of projection, in anticipation to your conversion to Christ-inanity?

  42. Greg Long
    June 27th, 2006 @ 9:45 am

    So the atheists also have inquisitions.
    Who strikes the first match?

  43. bernarda
    June 27th, 2006 @ 9:47 am

    No problem with RA’s statement of faith, for xtianity is its own malignity.

  44. sdanielmorgan
    June 27th, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    Annie B.,

    sdanielmorgan, Sarah faith is more on target than you know or may ever care to know.
    And you know this…by faith, of course…[covers mouth with hand and snickers]

    Quoting scripture won’t work for you
    Depends on what you want to convince me of. If you quote it as support that a census took place in ancient Palestine around 0 AD, then that would “work” for me, given some independent historical verification, especially. If you quote it as support that Magic Men raised themselves from the dead, then no, it won’t work at all, no more than if you quoted Homer to convince me that sea monsters and cyclops exist.

    But if you cared to pry open that mind of yours to at least consider what you’re ignorant of
    That’s funny. My irony meter just broke it was so goddamn funny. Cause see, Annie, what you are ignorant of is that I am not ignorant of Scripture, and you just assumed I was: you know what happens when people assume? They make an ASS of themselves…

    I used to be a youth pastor at two different churches, and I am quite familiar with the Bible, Evangelical Christianity, doctrines and their scriptural bases, and also that the feminine was inferior in the minds of the Hebrews. YHWH was a fucking “warrior”, doll, not some pussy! (exodus 15:3) What kind of image should we get of that big bad bastard?

    Aside from that, did you know [were you ignorant of–I won’t assume “yes”] that when a woman gave birth, she was unclean longer if she birthed a girl than a boy…because girls are dirty!!! (Lev 12) Yes sugar, I know my Bible. And that’s why I don’t believe in any god of the Bible, male, female, hermaphrodite, asexual, whatever…

    That has changed E N O R M O U S L Y since then.
    Thanks to whom? Christianity, or secular humanists?

    Really, it seems sometimes that some atheists just gotta have that old imagery to talk smack about, as you’ve done here. It’s too bad.
    In the vein of quoting Scripture, exactly what image forms in your head as you read 1 Sam. 15:3, Annie? I’d love to know.

  45. Sarah Faith
    June 27th, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    sdanielmorgan, my dog was born male but honestly after dogs are neutered, they really basically are “it’s”. If we spoke Latin, we would be able to use the neuter and “it” would be okay. In the Hebrew Bible (aka parts of the old testament) the oldest books often refer to God in the plural, not masculine, and there are many places where God is refered to as “the womby one”. In one place She is described as carving our names on the palms of His hands which is something Grandmothers did. All this to say, it is incorrect to assume that the YHWH was male. This is a problematic assumption made when people only read the english version of the Bible (or French or Spanish, languages that do not have a “polite” neuter-I don’t exactly know how to define what I mean here, but lets say if you knew a hermaphrodite, even though “it” would be correct, it would not be polite to use that to refer to that person).
    I was saying that RA refering to God that way to be respectful and trying to honor his vow to not dis Christianity, NOT because he is a Christian…nothing sailed over my head, you just didn’t read my comment carefully.

  46. Jim from New Jersey
    June 28th, 2006 @ 1:09 am

    To all of RA’s theologically disadvantaged friends, you’re doing a bang up job in supporting whatever issues confront RA at this stage of his life. Wow, atheism is the gift that keeps on giving.

    RA, I’m impressed by your change of heart – whatever form it might be taking – and want you to know I don’t offer admiration too freely.

    The best of wishes whatever ultimately happens.

  47. sdanielmorgan
    June 28th, 2006 @ 5:50 am

    Sarah Faith:

    Do you think the masculine, or the feminine, parts of God were portrayed most clearly througout the OT? Do you think that the laws in Leviticus 12, and various other passages, reflect a cultural disrespect for women [considering them “lower” than men]?

    What picture do you have in your mind of God when you read 1 Sam 15:3, Sarah? Annie?

  48. Thorngod
    June 28th, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    JIM, it is certainly true that many atheists here have been a bit harsh. Many others have expressed empathy and concern. Generally speaking, I don’t think one’s atheism or “belief” makes a lot of difference, though I concede it probably does account for some. The “believer,” generally speaking, has a cozier view of things, believes the world is progressing on an elaborate but inexorable course toward the fulfillment of devine justice, and is inclined to aid and encourage those who hold the same or similar religious views. The atheist, on the other hand, sees the universe as harsh, utterly Darwinian, and indifferent to tears, prayers, and wishful thinking. The intellectual atheist understands that whatever the spiritual beliefs of any division of humanity, our welfare, survival and happiness depend on our own hands and minds. Consequently, the atheist will tend to be somewhat irate and incredulous toward any fellow atheist who appears he may be losing his guts and his bearings. There is also the somewhat frightening fact that atheists are outnumbered ten to one, and we can hardly afford the attrition. I have personally always been delighted to have so many adversaries to rail against, and I’m very pessimistic concerning the prospects of universal enlightenment. But considering all the human woe wrought over the millennia by religious absolutism and fanaticism, I am somewhat reluctant to praise or welcome “Christian charity” when I know it is partially imspired by a dangerous fiction and performed for a primarily self-serving purpose.

  49. Jim from New Jersey
    June 28th, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

    RA and Thorngod,

    First, thanks for keeping things civil Thorn. My remarks stem from observing a man’s friends abandon him. They happen to be atheists in distress over his *possible* desertion of orthodoxy, and their savagery can be likened to a documentary featuring canis lupus.

    And why you’d think I’m under any illusions about the nature of nature is unknown to me. My belief system regarding the fallen nature of everything around us is perfectly tandem with the unsympathetic , cold and brutal state of things. The only room for altruism or selfless behavior via reason rather than instinct is found in the human heart. Nothing else in our surroundings gives a fig one way or the other for us.

    Where that compassion comes from is the whole point of gathering at the Raving Atheist.

    Anyhow, your willingness to stand apart is nice and in stark contrast to people that have dumped RA unceremoniously. How cold.

    The other points will have to be wrestled another day.

    RA, you’re in my prayers.

  50. Matt Crandall
    June 29th, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    “You will have to content yourselves with the understanding that the truth of His existence, whether founded in fact, logic, or a combination of both could not possibly vary with what my words might command you to believe.”

    I’m surprised that only ONE commenter on here noticed that this paragraph, whether RA wants to deny it or not, is an indicator of conversion, an exposition of beliefs. Both in the words used, and the structure of the language, RA is preparing himself with a way out of atheism. He wants to be a Christian, but not be seen as a traitor to his ‘fans’, so this is how he does it.

    Well, I never really agreed with most of what he said before, so why start now.

    -olly

  51. mobatra
    July 5th, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

    Will you be removing all anti-Jesus, anti-Christ, or anti-Christianity parts of your web site? It would seems to be a logical consequence of your promise.

  52. Annie B.
    July 18th, 2006 @ 10:02 am

    Sdanielmorgan, with the use of phrases like “Does their god have a penis?” it’s sad but probably better that you are no longer a youth pastor at any church. It was that kind of crass flippancy that led me to think you were scripturally ignorant. My mistake.

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