The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Christ is the Lord

December 22, 2008 | 563 Comments

Three years ago, I promoted and appeared in the atheist documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There,” dedicated to the proposition that Jesus never existed.

TODAY I DEDICATE THIS SITE AND MY LIFE TO THE WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.

christpost

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Comments

563 Responses to “Christ is the Lord”

  1. Lily
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:03 am

    Amen! 
    Welcome home.

  2. Jose Arevalo
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:19 am

    You disgust me.  I’m sorry I wasted my time reading your blog, but I’m never coming back again.

  3. Jeremy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:39 am

    I hope you know this already, but not all atheists share the sentiments of Jose there.  If your conversion is legit (and I assume it is) then best of luck to you.  I know my life has been dedicated to doing the best I can to find a worldview I can live with.  No religion has done that for me, but I can’t fault anyone for finding peace in one.  And there is no crime in changing ones mind.

    On that, if you don’t mind me asking, what is the nature of your conversion?  Empirical, personal, a mixture of the two, one thing in particular, a general feeling, etc..

  4. Ashli
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:34 am
  5. Adam
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:18 am

    God bless you, and may you find ever more peace, solace, and truth in Christ.

    I am grateful to be able to read your writing.

  6. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:45 am

    I am blessed beyond words to see this day come!! My son, Casey, saw me looking at the picture and said “It’s Jesus!“ Praise the Lord!! The Father and His angels are rejoicing in heaven!! I concur with Lily……..”welcome home”!!! :) OXOXO

    My heart breaks for Jose, but like you have always told me RT “no one is beyond redemption.” It is that truth and encouragement that gives me hope for my loved ones because I see that indeed “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) –  you are the prime example!! :) 

    Jeremy, I see that your soul is thirsty and seeking His living water. You can have it!!  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8). I understand how you feel about “religion” and why you might be hesitant in giving Jesus a chance. Though, let me assure you, Jesus is NOT “religion”. Religion is man made. Jesus Christ and His Word have been here since time began (John 1:1). Take it from a girl who was raised in the Methodist church….there’s a LOT more to God than what denominations and religions put out there!! It’s not about all the legalism, traditions, etc. it’s about a real one on one relationship with Jesus!! God didn’t mean as much to me then as He does now because back then, it was all rituals and traditions. Now, it’s PERSONAL!! IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! (Don’t take it to mean that I am knocking my childhood church, or any church at all. I’m just saying that God is more than what many churches – particularly the denominational ones – make Him out to be). 

    Knowing Him is all about love and grace!! You don’t have to “earn” anything or perform in order to attain salvation. All you need to do is start believing: “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10). 

    Jeremy, I’m here to help you if you decide that you want to give Jesus a chance to change your life and fill you with hope and joy!! It will be the best thing that has ever happened to you!! Please, feel free to contact me!! (And that goes for anyone else as well!). 

    God bless you RT!! How fitting it is that you should declare your faith in Jesus right before Christmas!! What a blessed Christmas miracle! It makes Christmas even sweeter to me when I think of moments like these; the moments for which Christ was purposed and sent for!! I look forward to seeing more posts from you and hopefully, you will tell the world the details of your conversion story so it can bless others as it has blessed me!! 

  7. The Next to Last Samurai
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:14 am

    Welcome to our family!

  8. Bryan
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:15 am

    Wonderful news.  May you grow in the love and grace of Christ.  Remember, a decision to follow Christ is just the beginning.  The life of faith will bring great joy, but it will not always be simple, easy, or understood by others.  Not every question you have will be answered in this life or answered in the way you hoped it would be.  But God is good.  Truly, truly good.  And He is faithful.

    I’m blessed to learn of this news here before the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  Thank you and God bless.

  9. Michelle
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    You may not remember me, but we went a few rounds on faith issues back when I was a blogger, RA.  I was thrilled to hear of your good news.  May God bless you, and welcome home! :)

  10. Jeremy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    Melissa,
     
    Thank you for your warm sentiments. I believe they are sincere. But I feel I must clarify a couple of things.  By using the term “religion” I’m simply using a sort hand for words like “faith”, “belief”, etc. in any variety of theistic worldviews. I am aware that faith is much more than the edicts of particular religious denominations.  It is, perhaps, an inappropriate short hand, though, so am willing to use different terminology.  
     
    Second, when I say I am searching for a worldview I can live with, I simply mean that I attempt to live my life in as honest a way as possible.  This means being honest with my self about what I believe “deep down” and admitting that I can never have all the fact with which to be absolutely sure about any position I might hold.  I have looked at the Jesus story a variety of ways (albeit not ALL the ways) including deep introspection and I have come to the conclusion that I simply don’t believe and I can’t pretend to.  I am, in fact, happy with this. I admit this may change one day. After all, RA has now become RT, so I guess anything is possible.
     
    I am an atheist, I am a secular humanist, and I am a skeptic.  I am also a husband, a son, a father and a brother.  I try (and sometimes fail) to treat my fellow man with kindness and respect, which is the way I hope others would treat me. I try to learn as much about my world as I can in as honest a way as I can. I reserve the right to change my mind. This is my worldview and it does bring me joy.  My only problem is that I don’t know everything.
     
    Then again, who does?

  11. bjorn_torunn
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    Ha, ha; you a believer–better than any joke in a  Christmas cracker!

    Still, atheist, polytheist or monotheist, have a great Yule and a Happy New Year!

  12. Welcome to the Church! | Kenneth Hynek
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:25 am

    […] read his blog, this conversion seems rather sudden, and one might almost be tempted to worry that it’s some kind of […]

  13. Carla
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:45 am

    Rejoicing with you, TRA!!

  14. Jennifer (Conversion Diary)
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:58 am

    I almost fell over when I saw this.

    When I first came across your site I was an atheist myself, back in mid-2006. Reading the comments from some of the Christians in your combox intrigued me — they weren’t the unreasonable people I’d stereotyped them to be. In fact, I found that they had some interesting arguments in defense of their faith. I decided to do a little research into this religion of theirs.

    Long story short, I’m now a Christian as well, after being an atheist my entire life. Since your site played a big part in my own conversion, it brings me joy to see this that is hard to describe.

    God bless you and merry Christmas.

  15. Carla
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

    Sorry, it is now and forever shall be TRT!! :)

  16. Time Immortal » Blog Archive » Welcome to the Church!
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    […] read his blog, this conversion seems rather sudden, and one might almost be tempted to worry that it’s some kind of prank.However, it is on the […]

  17. Irenaeus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

    Welcome to the family!

  18. Irenaeus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

    ….and looking forward, at your leisure, to the full story.

  19. Mark Shea
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    Heckuva Christmas present, dude!

    Welcome!  And thanks be to God!

  20. David
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

    Welcome to the family!

    “”Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4

    “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”” Luke 15:10

    “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24

    May God bless you and yours! Merry Christmas!

  21. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

    There’s a shocker!  Who could have possibly seen that one coming? [/sarcasm]

    Although I truly can’t fathom how someone can go from being a skeptic to believing that a deity poofed things into existence, and a guy rose from the dead after three days, based on a single book of dubious origin, more power to you if it makes you happy.

  22. Drusilla
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

    The best Christmas gift ever. Welcome home. God is so great!

    Jeremy – I look forward to many discussions with you.

  23. Josh Miller
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    What will amaze me – and no doubt the proprietor of this blog – is how folks will come along here (like nkb above) and claim that this conversion is irrational, void of any intellectual substance or reasoning.

    At any rate, congrats. I trust that you – just as I have – won’t give up on thinking about and fighting in your mind whether or not God exists. Read Aquinas and you can’t go wrong.

  24. Professor Chaos
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

    LMAO!

  25. Jennifer (Conversion Diary)
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

    Professor Chaos — it’s funny, I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering what’s up with you. I’ve missed your comments. :) Merry Christmas!

  26. Professor Chaos
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

    Happy Monkey and Merry Winter Solstice to you too, Jen!

  27. Margaret Catherine
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

    RT – A hundred thousand welcomes, now and into eternity! I’m one of those who, knowing you only through your blog, respected your honesty and thought/hoped/prayed that it would lead you to God. Praise to Him Who is Father, Son, and Spirit, that it has – and thank you for the work you do, already so much more than that done by many who bear the name Christian.

  28. Rachel
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    Alleluia!  Welcome home!

  29. Tenspace
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    Wow.  Good luck, RA, and thank you for creating this forum so many years ago, where many atheists found a true home on the internet.  Don’t be a stranger, visit ravingatheists.com/forum and share your stories.

  30. Julie D.
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

    Great news … congratulations and welcome! :-)

  31. le_sacre
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

    huh.

    why?

  32. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

    Epic troll is epic.

  33. Rev. "Suds"
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

    Well – congratulations on burying your head in the sand. I wonder what horrific even in your life pushed you running screaming into the waiting arms of your invisible friend.

  34. Helio
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

    Your religion is about as believable as that picture of an Anglo-Jesus comforting a group of racially diverse children……as of course the Bible says he often did.

  35. Rob
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

    oh my goodness.  i’m so sad to see this.  farewell, you were once a force for good and reason on the internet.  i’m sorry to see your mind stolen away.

    i wish you well nonetheless.

    it’s like the twilight zone.  i can’t believe it. :(

  36. Michael Zappe
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

    Welcome to the Church!  May God bless you richly this year!  Deo gratias!

  37. Nick
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

    What happened to you?  You used to have a brain, or at least seemed like it.  Since the de-enlightenment has apparently occurred, I will no longer frequent.  Perhaps some time in the land of ignorance will turn you around.

  38. Warren
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

    Love how you have the black kid staring in adoration at your white god. Given where he was supposed to have been born, isn’t Jesus just a little too Caucasian to be plausible?

  39. AnglicanPeggy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

    There is no way that this is for real.
    Just like that, huh? On the same day that you posted an atheist related topic? No transition whatever. Still have the basic assumptions beginning with “there is no God” up on top right.
    Nope.  Once again an atheist proves personally and morally unattractive by jerking the chains of other people who are basically decent and want the best for you.

    Then how you will laugh at how gullible and dumb they are for falling for it again. How very Bright of you.
     

  40. paul fauvet
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

    I see you’ve started this thread with a picture of a paediphile priest and four of his victims. I hope you’ve given their names to the police.

  41. Jen
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

    It’s sad so see someone who’s too tired or scared to keep thinking. Have fun with your death cult.

  42. Glen Davidson
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

    Assuming that your conversion is legit, what I’d point out is that it likely happened (in part) because you were too dogmatically opposed to religion.

    I see comments from atheists all the time denying that Jesus even existed, when the best inference from the evidence is that, of course, he did exist.  Most stories (including outright fiction) have at least a grain of truth to them, and Xianity almost certainly coalesced around an actual figure, presumably Jesus.

    What’s sad is that you apparently converted because atheism gives you the freedom to question, and yet Xianity typically does not (yes, some of the more “liberal” ones do, to varying degrees).  So it’s great that you felt free to take up religion if you so desired, yet it is not likely that you will have the same freedom within religion, unless you have specifically chosen such a religion.

    I would not wish to follow.  Then again, there does not seem to be much reason from the position of irreligion to fault the use of the freedom allowed by secularism, other than to warn about the frequent lack of such freedom under religion.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  43. Another Theology Blog » Blog Archive » Raving Theist Emerges
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

    […] Raving Atheist to a debate.  It doesn’t look like that’ll be happening after all, for obvious reasons. […]

  44. Austin Ferone
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    Chump.

  45. Caligula
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

    Bummer.

    @AnglicanPeggy: Judge not, no? Or does that only apply to “real” Christians? *lol*

  46. Irenaeus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

    Anglican Pegmeisterin, from what’s said here, I’m banking this is real.  Charity, eh?

  47. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

    I’m curious; Are you going to give us some insight as to how you went from your atheist viewpoint of no evidence of a god, to believing that Jesus Christ was the son of the Big Man, and that Christianity, of all the religions out there, is the right one?

    What kind of evidence did you unearth that changed your mind that drastically?

  48. Geoffrey
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

    AnglicanPeggy, 

    The Raving Theist is sincere.  I know this for a fact.  He’s good friends with Dawn Eden in real life (read, “offline”).  I ask that you please put your bitterness and suspicion aside.  After all, it is Christmas, no?

    Dear Atheistic Commenters,

    I understand your frustrations and doubts.  As the great philosopher Derrida argued, when a companion defects from our worldview, we often feel betrayed and fearful.  We usually escape this unpleasant feeling by projecting scorn onto the person in question, seeking to discredit him in any way possible.  This is nothing but a defense mechanism, and it keeps us from recognizing the real problem:  deep down inside, we are afraid of the “other,” because we are afraid the “other” might be right, or else might at least know something which threatens our most cherished convictions.  Thus, we naturally fear that which is different and unusual, as it threatens that which is familiar and normal (at least to us).  Derrida suggests that such fears are unhealthy and baseless, and that we should be more open to the “other” and approach life with a hermeneutic of hospitality.  By holding just a small amount of doubt about our own views, we can remain open to the views of others who may know something about the truth of things that we don’t.  In the end, such an approach results in a strong and reasonable faith, which is open to goodness under all its various forms.  

    That’s what having an open mind is all about, as G. K. Chesterton said.  You keep it open, at least just a tiny bit, to better discern what you should close it down upon when the time comes.

  49. Steve the Pirate
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    It’s sad so see someone who’s too tired or scared to keep thinking

    Yep.  Because throughout the span of human history, only atheists have actually done any thinking.

  50. firemancarl
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

    @#25 Warren. now that’s funny. Those kind of pictures always made me a tad uncomfortable. Ya, like jebus is a child molester and hey, he just found a “new friend”

    Oh, i’m calling POE on this one.

  51. Drusilla
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    “[F]ighting in your mind whether or not God exists” need not go on indefinitely. It’s terribly tiring and, at some point, it becomes silly not to acknowledge reality.

    After He saves

  52. Markus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    Did death scare you that much?

  53. Scorpy1
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

    Fakey McFakerson!
    Still, it was worth it to see the sheep bleat.

  54. Nope
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    Some people are more easily influenced and led than others.  After following you for so very long, it became clear that you were one of those people. 

    This was just a matter of time.  It really is too bad, but then again, you weren’t exactly a pioneer for the other side — so not much of a loss.  You’ll now be a poster boy for the deluded, and do more harm to the movement that you’ve joined than good.  So thanks for that.  You can clearly do more good for us by working for the other side.

  55. Aaron
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

    Is it April 1st already?

    What’s with the “Christ is Lord” post title, with the “First, there is no God” in the sidebar?

  56. IA_
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

    Surely now, as logical humans beings  we assume that we can be logical, and our faith in all logical propositions are built on the idea our logic is reasonable.

    We can not say RA (or rather RT) is illogical simply because he does not agree with us.  If we can be logical then it is reasonable that so too can RA.  If he were to trace out those conclusions we could detect a logical fallacy, say an Ad Hominem, “I think A, because B is held by Mr. C, and Mr. C is stupid, therefore B cannot be true.”

    But what is reasoning but our working out all the ramifications of our original assumptions we make and how they interact.  If A & B = TRUE then C = TRUE, if A & C = TRUE then D = FALSE.

    Were clear thinking Athiests and Theists differ intellectually it is not necessarily an account of one being more intelligent or more reasonable than the other, it is usually a matter of fundamental assumptions.

    It seems as though RA’s “Basic Assumptions” have changed.  Perhaps he now has different undestandings about good and evil, happy and sad, and time and space.  If these assumptions change then his conclusions will as well.

    Why do assumptions change or even remain the same?  Some people are simply stubborn or resistant to change, others hold onto ideas for emotive reasons.  Some people change their assumptions for logical reasons; because two assumptions conflict, or the conclusions of assumptions are self-contradictory.   Some people change assumptions becuase thsoe assumptions are not modeled in reality.

    Since RA has not given us the reasons he is converting, if this is not a holiday farce as bjorn_torunn believes and is a true conversion I think it is greatly premature to declare he “disgusts” any of us.

    RA, as a Christian I can say I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  57. Brian Coughlan
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

    I’d be intrigued to know which particular church you plan to attend and why.

  58. Truckloadbear
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    If jesus existed he sure as hell didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes.

  59. Brian's A Wild Downer
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

    why?

  60. speedwell
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

    RA, you still have freedom of thought.  But only the atheists will admit it to you.  Best of luck on your journey, wherever it takes you, and if it leads you back to us, know that we will welcome you with relief and understanding.

    Until then, however, we can only do our duty to the truth.  I regret that you accepted the lies, but if you ever change your mind, know that some of us will be waiting to hear your cry and to take your hand.  We’ve all made mistakes. 

  61. CaptainKendrick
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

    Dang. I always envied believers to a certain degree, because you have the capability to completely shut down your faculties of reasoning and intelligence so that you can have the feeling and expecation of a  warm fuzzy comfort of an afterlife. I sometimes wish I could do this. But no matter how hard I’ve tried, wishful thinking just does not make it so, so I’m stuck with the hard cold reality that we all will just be worm food someday, but I guess I can take comfort in that I enjoyed the trip and used my ability to reason and question the wonder of the universe while I was here. I wonder if there are any good prescription drugs (Prozac, Abilify?) which well help bend my will to see the sweet warm comfort of the fairy tales?

  62. Helioprogenus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    I have to say that this is a fascinating insight into the manipulative propensity of human emotion.  Either this conversion is one big scam, or it’s not.  If it’s a scam, then you’re working on the emotional weakness of the evangelicals and deceiving them.  If you truly have converted and become a believer, than all the rational readers who relied on a well written author now feel like their commitments have been in vain.  Either way, congratulations on manipulating one segment of the population or another.  Still, all the faith huggers here are ultimately the idiots to blame for abandoning empirical reasoning, and lying and cheating about their supposed atheist histories to convert others.   I guess the end justifies the means in their mind.  If you can lie and cheat a person, going against the very same 10 commandments you use to bash everyone over the head with, and then come around to accept the ethics and morality of that decision because you may be able to convert one person, you’re happy with yourself.  Well, I guess one has to be the ultimate hypocrite to maintain such disingenuous notions.

  63. Lord Zero
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

    Man, i used to check your blog years ago… i just read the news from Pharyngula and im really sad.
    I wonder what made you change your mind this way ?
    It cant be reason, since you already understood the
    nature of theism… so its was emotion ? Did you need a friend
    or a supporting hand and there was nothing there ?

    Im sorry, but again i hope, may you regain your own mind someday.

  64. Eva
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

    i am so sorry, tra….i will really miss you.
    i can’t say how really sorry i am. there are not enough words…this saddens me to no end…

    be well.

  65. Not The Mama
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

    Epic troll is epic, indeed. You got P.Z. good. Unless he’s in on the joke.

    And for Scorpy1 up there, which sheep are you talking about? The ones who are bleating “welcome back” or the ones who are bleating “you suck and I’ll never talk to you again”? Because they’re both funny, and the funniest sheep are the ones thinking they’re smarter than the other sheep.

  66. Someguy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

    You are just making Odin angry…

  67. Bob
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

    @34. Please excuse me if I have very little respect for what your dear philosopher Derrida had to say. To discard the arguments of someone who disagrees with you simply because “they are nothing but a defense mechanism” is intellectual dishonesty of the highest degree. If a seemingly rational person suddenly started believing that an imaginary figure, such as Santa Claus, was in fact real in a way the surpassed just the reality that it was a belief held by some, then my negative reaction to it would not be because I had doubts in my own knowledge that the jolly old elf did not exist, it would be because this once rational individual had fallen into the depravity of superstition and fantasy.

    I feel sorry for this “Raving Theist”, dismayed that he has now become delusional, and wish him a speedy recover to sanity.

  68. Irenaeus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

    Geoffrey bustin’ out the Derrida.  Nice move!

  69. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

    Like the old saying goes “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.” You can’t possibly know God and all He has to offer if you’ve never given Him the chance. Those of us that have faith believe it not only because it’s true, but because we’ve experienced Him firsthand.  I have witnessed far too many miracles and amazing things of God to think otherwise (and I’m sure RT will agree!!). I have story after story that I could tell you of things that have happened that have continued to solidify my faith, but nothing compares to when you experience it for yourself!! What do you have to lose? Why not honestly and sincerely seek Him for 30 days or more and see what happens?

    Even if we were wrong, what have any of us lost? All of you stand to lose MUCH MORE when you are proven wrong!! I pray that doesn’t happen. Thankfully, the Lord is so loving and patient and not willing that any should perish and is giving everyone time to repent and come to Him before He decides that He’s let things go on long enough and finally ends the madness in the world.

    If you all need proof, why not wake up and realize how all the prophecies given in the Bible have been fulfilled (and are being fulfilled even now in these end times!).  May God bless you and touch your hearts!! HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS!!! :)

  70. Kristine
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

    So, if I became a Buddhist, say, would you be glad? Just a hypothetical. (Or maybe Taoist?)
    P.S. Why is Jesus white?
    Did he speak English? (I know the answer; I’m asking you.)
    “Welcome to our family.” Interesting homily. All humans are part of the same family, no matter what.

  71. Dave
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

    Swapping cold reality for a comforting myth is something of a tragedy. Celebrating ignorance is not something I’m comfortable with. Nevertheless, you gotta do what you gotta go, so good luck!

  72. Bjørn Østman
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

    You believe now, I don’t believe. I believe you don’t believe. You don’t believe I believe. I don’t believe, I believe.

  73. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    “Those of us that have faith believe it not only because it’s true, but because we’ve experienced Him firsthand.”

    Yeah, like the people who have experience alien abductions firsthand.

    And what prophecies have been fulfilled from the Bible?  Wars and rumors of wars?  Pfft.  That’s been pretty much the status quo since the beginning of recorded history.

    As for prophecies fulfilled in the Bible, that’s not very impressive.  One guy writes out some prophecies, then another guy writes to say “Oh, yeah, they totally happened” with no real evidence.  Well, I’m sold.  That’s not a prophecy, that’s just foreshadowing.  Even Heroes can do that, and with the same degree of lousy writing.

  74. MarkW
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    “Even if we were wrong, what have any of us lost?”

    Only your ability to reason, an essential part of being human.

  75. darwinfish
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    If I ever get an abortion, I’ll dedicate it to you. Enjoy the vapid, glassy-eyed company, moron.

  76. Athesists and madmen never have doubts
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

    “It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.”

    “Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials. Even if I believe in immortality I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve in immortality I must not think about it. In the first case the road is open and I can go as far as I like; in the second the road is shut.”

    “The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist’s world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane.”

    (all quotes from Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton)

    Merry Christmas. He is Risen.

  77. MarkW
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

    You took the blue pill.  Understandable, but sad.

  78. Tualha
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

    Dear me, how pathetic. You used to think for yourself, and now you’ve let a bunch of Christians brainwash you. Hope it was worth it.

  79. Badjuggler
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

    Hey, Melissa!
    Please don’t pass the kool-aid.
    Thanks.

  80. Kamikaze189
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

    nkb wrote: “I’m curious; Are you going to give us some insight as to how you went from your atheist viewpoint of no evidence of a god, to believing that Jesus Christ was the son of the Big Man, and that Christianity, of all the religions out there, is the right one?”
    He converted, most likely, for the woman.
    Even assuming he writes a post explaining why he converted, it will doubtfully make any sense, and we could reply using his own words from the past — back when he knew what the score was.
    Wouldn’t that be fun?

  81. GregB
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    OK, so I guess now it’s time to look at all your old blog post and use all the logical and evidence based arguments that you use to discuss and use them against your new belief system.

    Let’s start with this one:  Can you name ONE true thing in the Bible?  Since you can’t prove that God exist or that Jesus ever existed answers like “God loves you” do not count as true.  It has to be provable, not just an emotion based “wouldn’t it be nice if . .  .” sort of truth.  Show evidence.  Circular logic is not allowed, none of this “the bible is true because the bible says it’s true” sort of stuff.

    Go ahead, find the most profound thing that is absolutly and provably true in the Bible and then ask yourself :”Is that it?  I’ve thrown away a rational thought process to believe in an invisible supernatural unprovable and probably non-existent being when the most profound and evidence based truth of the entire bible is this?”

    And even if you throw evidence and rational thought out the window and decide to keep your new faith based phylosophy PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t start to follow the anti-gay and mysoginistic wing nuts of the christian faith.  It’s bad enough that you’ve given up ration thought.  Don’t compound the problem by adding christian based bigotry as well.

  82. mr-zero
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    urghh. That just makes my skin crawl!

  83. Faith
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

    Ugh, my!  Atheists are such an arrogant, nasty bunch.  (I used to be one!)  Darwinfish alone is enough to make you want to believe in divine justice!

    Anyway,  RT, have a beautiful Christmas! 

  84. Just an Observer
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

    I was struck by the similarity between the athiest commenters and Melissa. The athiests are upset at the thought of the conversion to Christianity. Melissa is upset at the thought that you might have converted to a form of Christianity she doesn’t agree with. At any rate, God bless you. Remember, Christ founded a visible church and religion is not a dirty word.

  85. garth
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

    any reason you’ve put up a pic of such a historically silly european jesus? or is the idea of a non-white middle-easterner somehow scary?
    i guess you’ve already sacrificed rationality, a little side of racism should get things good and finished.

  86. darwinfish
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    oh yes and merry christmas: the holiday where christians celebrate the impregnation of a 14 year old by a murderous diety…who then lets a king slaughter all the under-2-year-old males in town! yay!

  87. Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

    Seems to me a folksinger named Bob Dylan made a public statement of his conversion to Christianity.  Slowly he realized that the people who had converted him had targeted him for conversion because it would be a feather in their cap among the evangelical community.  He was discouraged at the way he had been used. 

    The same may occur to you.  You may not be in danger from the atheists, although some have expressed their disappointment in strong terms.  I would watch for the Christians who have deceived you for their own ends.

    And Melissa, as a former Christian, your belief system is a house built on sand. 

  88. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

    It’s obvious that you can’t be convinced of anything even if I told you. Historical evidence can’t convince you and neither can my own experience, as evidenced by your rude and ignorant remarks. I could tell you to read Revelation to start with, but I don’t suppose you would.

    I would be happy to share more with you if you really wanted to know. Though, it’s clear that you only want to argue, refute, and shoot down anything I have to share. I know that it’s not good to cast pearls to swine.  You can’t very well hear anything when you have your fingers in your ears either. So, I will pray that your hearts will be opened and when you’re ready to receive, you’ll hear the truth…..I pray this in the name of Jesus.

    As you have seen with RT, it took him a while before he decided to believe. Lots of Christians debated all they could to change his mind, but it couldn’t convince him. So, what DID convince Him? Only a personal experience in which he witnessed God’s sovereignty and wonder-working power! (I look forward to when he’ll share the details of his conversion story with everyone!) Only GOD could change his heart, and only God can change yours.

    Like I said, just give Jesus a fair chance. Honestly seek Him. See for yourself!! I’ll be praying for you guys!! OXOXO

  89. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

    Geoffrey,
    You keep telling yourself that atheists are just afraid that theists may be right.  That must be it!

    Armchair pychology at its best (or worst, depending on your view).

  90. Zephyr
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

    Derrida can blow me. No one’s “afraid the “other” might be right”, they’re incensed that a companion, who previously held their worldview, has now apparently got intellectual conjunctivitis and “defected” to a belief system he’s spent so long arguing against.

    Sad to see the Raving Atheist is now just raving.

  91. Steve
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    Is this a joke?

    Did someone hack the site?

    Too bad.

  92. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    Melissa “Only GOD could change his heart, and only God can change yours.”

    If that is the case, why are you flapping your lips about this?  Let him do His job, and shut the fuck up.

  93. 300baud
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    Pepsi, Coke.  Left, right.  Widdus er aginus.  Red, blue.  Cristian, atheist.  Sure love them false dichotomies.

  94. Otto
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

    Oh you poor deluded guy!

  95. Joel
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

    I thought you’d been hacked when I first saw this. Apparently it’s in the up-and-up. I’m joining the chorus: Welcome home!

  96. Joel
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

    On the up-and-up. Oops!

  97. Michael X
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

    Melissa, you can’t be serious. You just spouted a monologue that could be said by any member of any religion and then followed it up with Pascal’s Wager. 

    We don’t believe your signs and miracles any more than you believe a Muslims and we’re not afriad of your hell any more than you’re afraid of the Hindu’s. 

    You also seem to be unaware that most athiests were christians (or members of some other faith) FIRST. We have tried it and found it terribly wanting. 

    It still remains unanswered what suports this conversion. I do hope that the Raving blogger has a better answer than the one you just gave.  

  98. Professor Chaos
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    darwinfish
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    “If I ever get an abortion, I’ll dedicate it to you. Enjoy the vapid, glassy-eyed company, moron.

    darwinfish
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    oh yes and merry christmas: the holiday where christians celebrate the impregnation of a 14 year old by a murderous diety…who then lets a king slaughter all the under-2-year-old males in town! yay!”

    God, I miss you. 

  99. CrypticLife
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    “Why not honestly and sincerely seek Him for 30 days or more and see what happens? ”

    have you tried honestly and sincerely being an atheist for 30 days or more?

    “Even if we were wrong, what have any of us lost?”

    If you’re doing a cost/benefit analysis on belief, you have no dedication to the truth.

  100. Rob
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

    white jesus is white.

  101. Jason
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

    Without even meeting you I can tell that you have the personality construct of an addict which is evident in your see-sawing from one extreme to another. You were a crappy atheist to begin with. Enjoy your mindless devotion to Jebus and the Deathcult.

  102. Geoffrey
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

    Perhaps, in the spirit of peace and goodwill, it would be interesting to state the rational case for God’s existence?  I find the atheist community’s tendency to brand those who disagree with them as “vapid, glassy-eyed company” quite unsettling.  Such characterizations remind me of the way Jews were vilified as money-squandering, occultic Christ-killers in medieval Europe.  Such stereotypes always lead to violence sooner or later, because it is human nature to war against the other, if the other is perceived as a threat.

    The insistence of some atheists that they have a monopoly on reason only serves to indicate that they severely overestimate the capabilities of reason and entertain an extremely narrow mind concerning the truth claims of others.  My suggestion is that they actually listen to their supposed opposition for once, rather than the caricaturistic narratives they either consciously or unconsciously project onto their opponents.

  103. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

    If we were called to be silent, Jesus wouldn’t have told us to make disciples of all nations. You can’t very well make disciples if you never speak your faith to anyone. You also make another assumption about God based on your ignorance. God works in many ways; through people, events, etc. Just because you aren’t open to hearing anything I have to say about God doesn’t mean that someone else won’t reach you in another way. Maybe you aren’t one who will be reached through a blog. Maybe it will happen face to face with someone. I don’t know. All I know is that I am not ashamed of my Lord and Savior, and I am not afraid to speak about Him and all He has done for me. You don’t have to like it or believe it, but I care enough for you to share my heart because Hell isn’t something I would wish on anyone!

  104. Drusilla
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

    Since you can’t prove that …Jesus ever existed

    There is historical evidence the Jesus did exist.

  105. Athesists and madmen never have doubts
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

  106. Carbon Monoxide
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

    Notice how nasty the atheist are and how their lives are consumed by hate.  If that is atheism, I want no part of it.

  107. AnglicanPeggy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

    I am sorry if I came off too harsh or uncahritable but I remain very skeptical.

    My apologies to the blogger if I am wrong about him. But I would like to see more evidence of what looks like a sudden unexplained 180 degree turn around coming from the same person who pulled just this sort of prank before.

  108. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

    “I find the atheist community’s tendency to brand those who disagree with them as “vapid, glassy-eyed company” quite unsettling.  Such characterizations remind me of the way Jews were vilified as money-squandering, occultic Christ-killers in medieval Europe.  Such stereotypes always lead to violence sooner or later, because it is human nature to war against the other, if the other is perceived as a threat.”

    You realize, of course, that it was typically Christians who were villifying those Jews, right?  And that Christians do the same with atheists to this day?  You can’t be elected president if you’re openly atheist, much less senator. 

    Sure, atheists might seem like they’re being mean to you when they call you deluded, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to try to kill you.  Besides, most atheists believe that this life is the only one we have and thus, it’s a much more precious thing than it would be if we had any kind of afterlife to look forward to.  Thus, taking that life from someone else is unforgivable.

    On the other hand, someone who thinks you’re reprobate, who thinks an all-powerful deity is on their side, someone who thinks you’re an affront to that deity (who happens to be their bestest invisible friend in the whole world)… now THAT’S the kind of person you have to watch out for.

    And I’m eagerly awaiting the rational case for God’s existence.

  109. David W. Irish
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

    Hahahahahahahah!!

    Great parody dude! It’s funny that people can still get yuks with phoney conversion gags.

  110. Fatboy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

    Melissa,

    Why not try informing some of us that haven’t been so rude as some of the other commenters?

    I’ll be honest.  I used to be a Christian, and even thought I had personally felt God’s presence.  But once I realized how strong of faith people from other religions have, and how convinced they are that they’ve witnessed the miracles of, and felt the presence of, their own deities, I realized how inadequate a warm fuzzy feeling is for determining a world view.

    I’d be interested if you could provide any good examples of Biblical prophesies being fulfilled.  The website, EbonMusings gives a good rationale for what would be considered “good.”
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/theistguide.html

  111. Jahrta
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

    I think we should consider the possibility that TRA was overpowered by a group of theists several years back who kept him alive only so they could witness his horror as they mutated his once-respectable blog into this mealy-mouthed pile of shit…this breeding ground for godidiots and their vapid sentiments. The horror…OH THE HORROR!

  112. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    Geoffrey: “Perhaps, in the spirit of peace and goodwill, it would be interesting to state the rational case for God’s existence?”

    I’m all ears, Geoffrey.  Have at it, while keeping in mind that you yourself limited yourself to a ‘rational” case.   So, no arguments from awesomeness, ignorance, wishful thinking, etc.

    Ready when you are.

  113. spondee
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    Who is Aubrey?

  114. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    “It’s obvious that you can’t be convinced of anything even if I told you. Historical evidence can’t convince you and neither can my own experience, as evidenced by your rude and ignorant remarks. I could tell you to read Revelation to start with, but I don’t suppose you would. ”

    I’ve read the New Testament seven times, as well as bits and pieces of the Old Testament.

    I was a Christian for my entire childhood up until I was about twenty years old, believing fervently, praying for salvation, being baptized and evangelizing.

    I’ve given Jesus a chance.

    Then, thanks to nagging doubts, I started doing research, trying to find solid evidence to validate my beliefs.  As you can imagine, this didn’t turn up the desired results.

    Oh, I fought against the doubts and feared I would burn in hell, but the more I learned, the less worried I became, because there was no evidence that my soul was in any danger of hellfire, much less that I had a soul at all.

    But I guess you could always say that God works in mysterious ways and he deconverted me so I’d have a super neat testimony at some point in the future or I hardened my heart to him at some time (probaby during those years where I studied the Bible obsessively, talked to pastors and prayed for help.  Guess I just didn’t believe enough or maybe it was one of those cute generational curse things.  Those crack me up).

    Also, no offense, but more and better people than you  have prayed for me in the past.  Maybe seeing Jesus come down in shining glory would convince me, or maybe it would mean I was hallucinating.

    And maybe I’ll see Bigfoot.

  115. Geoffrey
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    “And I’m eagerly awaiting the rational case for God’s existence.”

    Then you shall have one, Brandon.  Visit http://anothertheologyblog.stblogs.com/, 
    and leave a comment with your email address. We will be in 
    touch and set up a time to debate.

  116. Fatboy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

    Apparently, my comment is held up in moderation due to a link, so I’ll post it again without the link.  Apologies if this turns into a double post:

    Melissa,
    Why not try informing some of us that haven’t been so rude as some of the other commenters?
    I’ll be honest.  I used to be a Christian, and even thought I had personally felt God’s presence.  But once I realized how strong of faith people from other religions have, and how convinced they are that they’ve witnessed the miracles of, and felt the presence of, their own deities, I realized how inadequate a warm fuzzy feeling is for determining a world view.
    I’d be interested if you could provide any good examples of Biblical prophesies being fulfilled.  The website, Ebon Musings gives a good rationale for what would be considered “good” in the section “The Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists.”

  117. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    Drusilla; “There is historical evidence the Jesus did exist.”

    Really?  Once again, I am all ears.

    Now, maybe we need to define what constitutes evidence.  For example, people writing about some vague figure, generations after his alleged existence, just doesn’t cut it.

    Please tell me you weren’t talking about “evidence” like Josephus’ writings.

  118. Jahrta
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    Drusilla – there’s as much evidence (more, actually) for the existence of Harry Potter than there is for Jesus of Nazareth. There was no city of Nazareth around the time period during which he was supposed to have lived, by the way (although London is real) so that’s one for Harry right there. Get it through your head: if a book says that it’s the infallable word of a mystical magical deity, you can’t take it seriously, let alone foist it upon others to substantiate your claims of the supernatural without any SHRED of additional evidence. It’s incredibly frustrating, not to mention sad, that there are still people in every generation who manage to choke down this desicated turd hook, line and sinker. People, we’re fucked. Only idiots are breeding.

  119. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

    Can’t you just make the rational case for God here in the comments?  Even one or two paragraphs to get us started and we can see how things go.

    I’m a little hesitant to give out my email address in a situation like this, since the last time I did, someone signed me up for the OneNewsNow newsletter.  Cute, but mildly annoying.

  120. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

    Geoffrey,
    Does that mean you can’t make your case here?

  121. Jahrta
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

    I didn’t harden my heart to god…i just hardened my arteries with Wendy’s

  122. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

    Melissa: “If we were called to be silent, Jesus wouldn’t have told us to make disciples of all nations.”

    Jesus didn’t tell you jackshit, Melissa.  A book, written by some random people 2000 years ago, of which not a single one ever met this alleged Jesus, told you that this is what Jesus said.

  123. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

    By the time Jesus comes in all His shinning glory and every knee is bowing and tongue confessing, it will be too late. :(

    There is always hope for everyone until then. I’ll just keep praying. Like RT has told me ever since I have known him “no one is beyond redemption……if I can can change, anyone can change.” AMEN TO THAT!!

    I can hardly see why anyone would prefer RA over RT. What’s so desirable about someone who swears and defames everything under the sun? Do you all truly think society would be better off if everyone lived with such discontent and hatred?

  124. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

    “Jesus didn’t tell you jackshit, Melissa.  A book, written by some random people 2000 years ago, of which not a single one ever met this alleged Jesus, told you that this is what Jesus said.”

    I disagree. Considering you acknowledge that it was written by so many people and over a huge period of time, how could all their stories agree if they hadn’t witnessed it? And, since you have yet to experience Jesus at all, you can’t argue with my position since you have no idea what the presence of God is like….though I pray that you will experience Him and know Him soon. I’m praying for you.

  125. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

    Melissa,
    What’s so desireable about being a mindless sheep, following a deity that seems to be kind of a sadistic prick?

    By the time you die, you will have wasted your entire life (the only one you’ve got) repeating inane assertions for which you have absolutely no evidence.

    I prefer to live my life in an enlightened fashion, and enjoy what the world has to offer, instead of cowering and praying to a non-existent entity.

    To each his/her own, I guess.

  126. le_sacre
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

    “Why not honestly and sincerely seek Him for 30 days or more and see what happens?”

    well, most atheists find that belief is based on evidence and probabilities, not based on “trying a belief out” and “seeing how it goes.”  for me, belief is not a choice–it’s something that occurs when enough evidence has accumulated to make it implausible to deny something.  as an observant and thoughtful individual, i’m always on the lookout for more evidence for what the nature of existence is.  you know what continually provides newly discovered evidence, producing a strikingly detailed and cohesive and beautiful world-view?  science.  religion never produces anything new!  it’s just rehashing the same old stories over and over, jazzed up with completely subjective anecdotes that have no explanatory power.

    anyway, i started my life out as a hardcore christian, went to a christian school, etc.  at age 11, it suddenly occurred to me that the entire thing made no logical sense, and consequently i stopped believing.  i’ve been much happier ever since.  :-)  so yes, that was a lot more than 30 days, and i really tried with all my heart to make it work.  it just didn’t!

  127. Brandon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

    The issue isn’t that Christians are nicer than atheists or not.  Some people are nicer than others.  I’ve seen nice Christians and nice atheists, just like I’ve seen mean one on both sides.

    The issue is that one group is glorifying faith, which is belief without evidence.  That’s a dangerous thing to start doing, since it throws critical thinking right out the window.  If you believe one crazy, unprovable thing, why not more?  Why not anything?  And what if your invisible superman “tells” you to start killing the heathens?  Well, you can’t prove he DIDN’T tell you that any more than you can prove he doesn’t exist, right?  It’s just a bad time all around.

  128. Tina Marie
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    I still hear far more stories of Christians abandoning their faith than the other way around.

    I’m calling Poe as well. This sounds fishy to me.

  129. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

    Melissa: ” I disagree. Considering you acknowledge that it was written by so many people and over a huge period of time, how could all their stories agree if they hadn’t witnessed it?”

    Oh dear, apparently you are not up on the accepted timeline (even by scholars of faith) that the earliest of the gospels was written decades after Jesus was alleged to have lived.  Well, that would explain why you think the way you do.

    Melissa: “And, since you have yet to experience Jesus at all, you can’t argue with my position since you have no idea what the presence of God is like….though I pray that you will experience Him and know Him soon. I’m praying for you.”

    With all due respect (and there isn’t much left after your condescending drivel), you don’t have the first fucking clue what I have experienced.
    If praying makes you feel good, by all means, waste some more of your precious time.

  130. laughingatheist
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

    epic phail!

    lol

  131. Billy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

    …I smell a book deal….?

  132. Melissa
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    Your statement further proves my point! You are correct. Before it was all written down, it was all memorized and word of mouth. If you have ever played a game like telephone, you know that things tend to come out wrong by the time it gets to the last person. So, with that being said, how in the world could all the manuscripts of the Bible that have been found be as consistent as they are? It’s an impossible feat unless you have indeed had the eye witness accounts and the guidance of God in compiling His Word. The accounts of so many different people (who didn’t all live at the same time) wouldn’t match up if it had never happened!

    You’re right. I don’t know all you have experienced. All I know is that when you experience God, it changes your life and that is my hope for you. Maybe you have experienced Jesus and have just fallen away. I don’t know, and I apologize for my error in saying that you haven’t if indeed you have. Whatever the case may be, it’s never too late. You can always come home.

  133. Nick Gotts
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    Anyone notice the hidden message? Occasional letters are not italicised. Read backwards, these read: “Dedicated to Aubrey in the arms of Jeesus”. Either our host is rather careless, or this is an elaborate joke.

  134. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

    Geoffrey,
    If you want a debate, I invite you to the Raving Atheists forum (http://ravingatheists.com/forum/), where you can go moderated or not, whichever you choose.

    Be prepared to come with something better than warm, fuzzy feelings, or wishful thinking, or it could get nasty.

    Note: this forum used to be associated with this blog, before RA started having doubts.

  135. peter
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

    You’ve lost your mind poor you.

    So you’ve taken the “leap of faith” out of Nature and Objective Reality into the endarkenment of delusional belief driven by irrational nutso faith.

    A sad day for sure. A sad life yours is now.

    You need a deprogrammer.

    peter

  136. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

    Melissa,
    You are so cute when you try to rationalize your faith.

    Yes, I have played telephone before, and, without fail, the message gets garbled, in the span of a minute.  I wonder what would have happened over decades?  Hmmmm!?

    Is that the only reason you can come up with for why some of the details of the gospels match up?  Is it not possible that they were plagiarized?

  137. Michael X
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

    Melissa, the same can be said my any Muslim. If these are the reasons for TRA’s converson they are thin indeed.

  138. Mary Herboth
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    Welcome Home!
    What an awesome Christmas this will be!

    A Prayer in Praise of God’s Greatness

    Almighty, true and incomparable God,
    You are present in all things,
    yet in no way limited by them.
    You remain unaffected by place,
    untouched by time,
    unperturbed by years,
    and undeceived by words.
    You are not subject to birth
    and in no need of protection.
    You are beyond all corruption,
    above all change,
    immutable by nature.
    You live in unapproachable light
    and are invisible,
    yet You are known to all those
    who seek You with hope and love.
    You are the God of Israel,
    and of all who hope in Christ.

    Amen.

  139. Slaughter
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    He is converted! Allah be praised!

  140. le_sacre
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

    Melissa, that just doesn’t make sense.  biblical texts were copied the way other texts were copied–by hand, by scribes.  this is a method of copying that, while not perfect, produces nowhere near the errors of the “telephone” game.  additions to the texts were composed by christians–those who believed what was already written, and thus would have no reason to contradict it.  anyway, it would help your case if what you say about the bible were not similarly true of other religious texts.

    what would help your case even more, though, would be if you could provide some evidence *other* than the bible.  the fact that the bible itself tells you that the bible is the word of god is simply not an acceptable verification of anything.

    it’s nice for you that you have some indefinable subjective personal experience that somehow convinces you that the christian god exists.  however, countless others have had similar experiences about countless other deities.  what makes their experiences invalid while yours is valid?  why have so many devoted christians (like myself up until age 11) not received this experience?

    it’s also interesting to note that science is beginning to show us *why* people have such transcendent experiences, in that they may have a demonstrable physical basis (in essence, people’s brains may be wired to believe in higher beings).  see, for example, http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=17678842496675729569, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotheology.

  141. Nick Gotts
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

    The previous hidden message has now been removed, and replaced by one reading “secret message here”.

  142. Choobus
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

    Do you now do anal raving theist? Also, are you obliged to forgive me for being a cunt?

  143. anon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    Now it reads (secretly) “o secret messages here” < ;^)

  144. Ben Finney
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

    Who is “Aubrey”? Moreover, who is “Jeesus”?

    Are they related to “Poe”?

  145. Martian Buddy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

    Melissa wrote:

    Like the old saying goes “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.”

    “Why not honestly and sincerely seek Him for 30 days or more and see what happens?

    I tried it for a lot longer than that: 18 years, in fact. Know what happened? Nothing.

    Even if we were wrong, what have any of us lost?

    Do you tithe to your church? That’s money you could have put towards a more useful purpose. All that time you spend in prayer, worship services and church activities? Ditto.

    All of you stand to lose MUCH MORE when you are proven wrong!!

    If you have some evidence that (a) there is an afterlife and (b) it’s the one your religion claims exists, let’s see it.

    (Please do bear in mind that I’m a former Christian, that I’ve read the Bible, and I don’t find it convincing by itself – I want independent confirmation that an afterlife exists and that  the afterlife in question is the one you believe in.)

    If you all need proof, why not wake up and realize how all the prophecies given in the Bible have been fulfilled (and are being fulfilled even now in these end times!).

    One could make the same claim for Harry Potter, Anakin Skywalker, and Éowyn. When you know what the prophecies were, then it’s not difficult to write a story that “fulfills” them.

    As far as the end times go, people have been predicting Christ’s imminent return since the days of the early church. For some strange reason, it keeps not happening.

    HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS!!!

    Happy holidays. ;)

  146. cirrus2000
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

    AHhahahahahahahahahaha!

  147. nkb
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

    So, what’s up with all the secret, backwards messages in your post, RT?

  148. Slaughter
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    Y’all sure that’s Jesus in that picture?  Looks like Willem  Dafoe.

  149. cirrus2000
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    Melissa says:  “I’m praying for you.”  I presume that goes for the other atheists around.

    If that’s the case, I forgive you.

  150. Alex
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

    Great pic of Jesus, dude.  He doesn’t look at all semitic.

    Happy Monkey!

  151. vivian
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

    Is the raving theist now called the raving lunatic?

  152. Acroamatis
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

    Melissa,

    I can offer an explanation for why “all the manuscripts of the Bible that have been found be as consistent as they are”.  For the same reason that the police separate suspects as soon as they are arrested – if you give people time to get their stories straight, of course they’ll all give the same story.

    Written record-keeping long predates 1 CE, but papyrus, sheep skins, and other writing materials are fragile after a few centuries – and were never that strong to start with.  Certainly more fragile than those fossils Creationist Christians keep whining about (or those of them we’ve as yet been unable to find, at least).  So there were likely LOTS of written accounts of whomever the Jesus legend is based upon.

    As his legend grew (as such things are inclined to do), people refined their stories based upon previous records.  As legends are inclined to do, it grew with each retelling and became more widely known.  So by the time the first recoverable records were written, the legend was well-developed, and some magic tricks had been thrown in for good measure (everyone likes magic tricks!).

    It’s not a case of “it was so impressive, everyone remembered the same thing”, it’s a case of “oh, that story again”.  Take Cinderella.  The person on whom it was first based is lost to the mists of antiquity (the earliest known story was Egyptian and dated from around 350 BCE), but it certainly didn’t START with glass slippers and a fairy godmother.  It had been retold hundreds or thousands of times before the Grimm brothers penned their version.

    If you give people a few centuries, it’s a safe bet that their stories are going to be the same, rather than different.

  153. Ben Finney
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

    Ah okay, no secret messages here. Nothing to see, move along.

  154. anon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

    A mole’s life is hard — pretending all those long months/years!  ;^)

  155. Sad
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

    sigh…another mind lost to droves of zombie loving theist sheep…

  156. Liberated1
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

    !– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>
    It really saddens me to see this.
    It really angers me to read this.
    It really cheers me to hear atheists.
    It really tears me reading theists.

    So much insanity.
    Not enough humanity.

    R.A. if you are truly converted and deluded,
    read your own words with those eyes perverted.
    Make a counter argument for all of your posts,
    and you might realize that your brain is toast.

    May you find your path of enlightenment through your time of darkness.
    For no god will be there when you die and become one with the abyss.

    Sincerely,
    An atheist

  157. anon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

    … wasting sighs on a fraud …

  158. Dreamwalker
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

    I hope you find you way back to logical thinking someday!  Good luck though if it makes you happy.

  159. Crazyharp81602
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

    Welcome to Heaven, brother in Christ. Glad you chose eternity.

  160. Thandarr
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve tried to make myself believe that ridiculous nonsense. It sure would be great. But I have just not been able to pull it off. You have to tell us how you did it. I’m impressed.

  161. Edward Baker
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

    You’ve done the world a great disservice. Which is a shame from someone who used to have such promise.

  162. Jean-Paul Fastidious
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

    I would like to take this opportunity to announce my conversion from atheism to witchcraft. No, not wishy-washy wicca — real, old-school witchcraft! Just like the sort that Palin’s buddy Pastor Muthee fights against in Africa. Kill your crops and shrink your genitals witchcraft.

    RT, your new Catholic compatriots are killing my new witchcraft compatriots, so we are now blood enemies. Fair warning: I still have that locket of your hair and will use it against you via spells. Your rosary will be no match. Expect shriveling.

  163. GalapagosPete
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

    Folks, folks…it’s a gag. He’s playing the religionists – and darn near everyone else too, from the look of it.

    There’s a great big clue on this page, and no, it’s not the cheesy, condescending picture of white American Jesus looking down at the token black kid.
    Of course, it’s a good thing Jesus was white, because a lot of good Christians might be upset if he was some sort of non-white person. (Though I must ask, when is He going to get a haircut? And change into some decent clothes?)

  164. Theo
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

    Flying Monkeys!

  165. franz dibbler
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

    Welcome to the make-believe world of jewish, dinosaur-riding zombies who, despite creating the universe,  just cannot seem to handle money.

  166. MrNorman
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

    This is great satire…….an atheist fools who fakes a conversion to fool theists and atheists alike.  Kuddos!!

  167. MrNorman
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

    My last comment should leave out “fools”……..sorry for the confusion!

  168. Hideki
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

    R[A|T]

    If your site hasnt’ been cracked, can you please consider the following:

    There is still exactly the same amount of evidence for the existence of a god as there was before (None)

    The religions are in the main (I’d probably exclude some forms of buddhism) designed to control people, make money and gain your obedience in this life with promises of rewards in the next.

    Modern science shows no evidence for that which makes you you surviving after death, the brain quickly decays and with it everything that defines you as a person. (If even a few minutes without air is sufficient to cause brain damage that severely affects the person, how do you expect to make it to judgement day?!)

    Your post gave no indication of what caused you to switch to a religious  worldview, could you please give some information on what led you down this road and if you now believe in a theistic god (who answers prayers, meddles in human affairs etc.) or a deistic god (who set the parameters for the universe and took no further part in it)

    Thankyou

    — 
    Adam

  169. Brian
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

    This is the most pathetically hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. Anyone claiming to be an Atheist who later recants was never an Atheist.  Doubt and fear of damnation still lingered deep in your psyche.  The mind control of religion is a deep scar that often never heals.

  170. Kandel
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

    “What makes a free thinker is not his beliefs, but the way in which he holds them. If he holds them because his elders told him they were true when he was young, or if he holds them because if he did not he would be unhappy, he is not free. But if he holds them because, after careful thought, he finds a balance in their favour, then his thought is free, however odd his conclusions may seem.”

    – Bertrand Russell

    As an atheist, I find your conclusion extremely odd – even, given the timing, suspiciously odd. But if it’s legit, I can’t say you haven’t given it thought. Merry Christmas.

  171. shader
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

    I suspect this conversion is F. O. S.

  172. Zombie Jim Morrison
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

    Merry Christmas. He is Risen

    You ignoramus.  That “risen” thing is easter, not xmas.  Get your myths straight.

  173. Jack Black
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

    You stupid fuck.  How can you do such a thing, worship a being that doesn’t exist and doesn’t give a fuck about any one of us.  Dumb fuck.

  174. Joey
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

    Whoa!!!- There is no White Jesus. Are you going to be heretical??

  175. Dawn Eden
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

    Anglican Peggy writes:

    My apologies to the blogger if I am wrong about him. But I would like to see more evidence of what looks like a sudden unexplained 180 degree turn around coming from the same person who pulled just this sort of prank before.

    If anyone is surprised by RT’s admission, it can only be one who has not been following the movements of grace that have been evident in his posts for some time, particularly from his “More Than Words” post of June 2006 onward. His old links aren’t working right now, but you can read the post atop the page at the following URL:

    http://ravingatheist.com/?s=with+such+conversions+i+am+well+familiar

    RT, we first came into contact when you, as Raving Atheist, commented upon the following-linked post of mine, noting my un-Christian behavior in calling Julia Sweeney a “clod”:

    http://dawneden.blogspot.com/2005/08/sweeney-clod.html

    Although you were being tongue-in-cheek, I quickly grew to admire your charity in responding to commenters on your own blog, when they attacked you for your pro-life views. Even when you were an atheist, you taught me a great deal about turning the other cheek. Witnessing the seeds of grace take root in you and flower into Christian virtues–especially that of faith–has been and continues to be one of the great joys of my life. 

    I know that many of your readers have been praying for you for a long time. I continue to do so, only now with great thankfulness for what God has done for you, asking His continued blessings on you and your new apostolate. I’m also praying now for your atheist readers and hope your conversion will inspire other believing readers will do the same.

  176. Eric
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    I’m glad to see you finally took the plunge!  (I know, just opened up all sorts of drowing in ignorance remarks)  In any case, I’ll look forward to reading more of your posts and I also hope to read your conversion story someday.

  177. Amy P.
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    Welcome home.  May God bless your continuing journey.

  178. GalapagosPete
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    Whoa!!!- There is no White Jesus. Are you going to be heretical??

    Wha-? What are you saying? No White Jesus?

    That…that’s…possibly perilously close to blasphemy!

  179. Michael X
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

    Dawn, the best way to convert me is to hear his explanation for why he converted. I’ll judge its merits and if I’m convinced, I’ll convert.  

    Otherwise by your method, the many christians that have become atheists this week should inspire you to become an atheist too. 

  180. defaithed
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

    I would like to announce my conversion from atheism to belief in leprechauns. I do based on the exact same rigorous proofs and reasoning that led The Raving (A)Theist to belief in Jesus/God. (And I expect said Raving (A)Theist to join me in my beliefs in a couple years.)

  181. george.w
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    You always were a bit unhinged.

  182. Helen
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    Welcome home.
    I am not familiar with you or your writing, but I see commenters who are Christian saying you respond to people with great charity.  I am sure that those who are accusing you of yanking their chain are not giving you credit, because to mock the beliefs of so many so cruelly would be uncharitable, indeed.
    Belief in Jesus Christ has given meaning to my joys and sorrows.  I love Him as I love no other.   I truly hope you have found solace and meaning in Him.
    I am glad to call any man or woman my brother or sister in Christ.   God bless you.

  183. Simon
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

    That’s the saddest thing I’ve heard in ages.  I’m so sorry to hear it.

  184. Cthulance
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

    It’s about time you updated this page to reflect your theism. I always thought it more than a bit odd that someone so obviously a theist would call himself a raving atheist.

  185. jeney
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

    you’ll never, ever regret it.

  186. Crudely Wrott
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

    So long. And thanks for all the fish.

  187. Steven
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

    If you became an atheist because of that daft documentary then you are an intellectual light weight.

    So let me get this straight. You went from not believing in any god straight to Christianity. All those arguments that are so stupid now all of a sudden make sense?

    Enjoy the coolaid

  188. SteveG
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:23 pm

    What wonderful news!  Amen, and welcome home brother!

  189. Joanne
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    Hi, RT:

    I have only been to your blog once before, so I don’t really know much about you, except that you have evidently had a major change of heart – which has brought tears of joy to my eyes! Merry Christmas!

  190. Geoffrey
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    “Geoffrey,
    Does that mean you can’t make your case here?”

    No, it means I want to make it on my own blog.

  191. Wynette in Sacramento
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

    Dear RA, I haven’t read your blog for many, many months.  In fact, for some reason, I thought you had discontinued writing, but today you were on my mind, so I searched for your website and Praise be to God, what Good News!  Faith is the best Christmas gift anyone could ever receive!
    Your prolife, Catholic sister in Christ from Sacramento~  wynette

  192. Cthulance
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:48 pm

    That picture RT posted of the white Jesus surrounded by a racially diverse group of pawing children speaks volumes. Notice how adoringly they look up at him, and how lovingly he looks back. He appreciates that sort of wide-eyed and ignorant adoration. Little kids will believe practically anything. No wonder Jesus wants to surround himself with them.

    Similarly, no wonder so many religions target children.

  193. Albert
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

    RT (nee RA):

    Welcome to the family.  Thanks be to God.

    I do find it amusing how many of the atheist comments refer to “freedom of thought”.  In reality, there can be no freedom of thought if we are merely an amalgamation of matter interacting.  It would be like expecting Big Ben to have freedom in determining the time.  There may be variations, but this is merely the result of a broken mechanism that is itself subject to laws. 

    So enough with the “freedom of thought” stuff.  It is merely a way of avoiding the obvious fact that your worldview is based upon the thought of the Enlightenment and its now obsolete view of both nature and anthropology.  You are nineteenth century men in the twenty-first century.  Ironically, if demographics are to be believed, you are also an evolutionary deadend – a mutation that doesn’t reproduce.  How does it feel to be condemned to obsolescence by your own beliefs?

  194. shader
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

    @ #187 (Albert)
    “I do find it amusing how many of the atheist comments refer to “freedom of thought”.  In reality, there can be no freedom of thought if we are merely an amalgamation of matter interacting. ”

    You mean you can’t think of a way to reconcile free will with materialism, so you just assume “goddidit” is the answer.

    Consider this: your thought processes may be entirely deterministic (dependent solely on the state of the subatomic particles making up your body) but non-computable (there is no possible way to determine the state of those particles, and thus predict your next thought, without affecting that state and invalidating the prediction).

    In that gap between determinism and computability lies free will.

    Next crap thesitic argument, please.

  195. Trudy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:18 pm

    The heavens rejoice!

    Welcome home

  196. JohnnyA
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    People.
    It’s.
    A.
    Joke.

    Hardly surprising that so many credulous theists would fall for it, but some of you so-called skeptics are pretty disappointing.

  197. Athiest
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    What a tool you are….get a life.  No, join the other losers of the God Cult and leave the URL to someone more deserving, tool.

  198. bleehy
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

    I can understand vacilating between atheism and some form of deism, but straight to believing that God in a dead jewish carpenter is extreme. hope it works for you.

  199. Jason Failes
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

    But the evidence, or lack of it, has not changed; only you have.

    There is still no evidence for a god of any kind, and even less for any particular religion’s god, as far as I know.

    I guess I’m happy that you’re happy, but if all you’re going to do is repeat Christian dogma without giving any reasons or presenting any evidence, well, don’t expect me or anyone else in the reality-based community to come with you.

    Some part of me thinks this must be satire, but sadly people make purely emotional decisions about the nature of the universe on a daily basis.

    Remember, the universe is under no obligation to be the way you would like it to be.  All the fuzzy feeling in the world won’t change that.

  200. A Friend
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

    u pulled a nice one Charlie ..
    so when r u planning on tellin’ ‘em the *truth*? … on christmas day?

    and btw … at least Jesus in that picture should hv given them some clue. bummers!!

  201. JohnnyA
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

    Albert has apparently never heard of northern Europe, where not only are most people not theists, they actually reproduce! The end result?  Countries that are extremely prosperous and healthy! Go figger!

  202. JoAnn
    December 23rd, 2008 @ 11:35 pm

    And I said Praise the Lord when I saw this!! I then knelt down and thanked Him for this blessing. You were a lost sheep who has come home and found the truth. I’m soooo proud of you!!! I have a speaking ingaugement in Des Moines, Iowa at the Christian fellowship conference on Dec 27 at the downtown Hyatt, I would love to have you come as my guest to this event. My e-mail is Joann123@hotmail.com, I would love to hear from you and I would also like to service your holy johnson.

    Good day, Good day to the Lord

    Joann

  203. Kristine
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:26 am

    By the time Jesus comes in all His shinning glory and every knee is bowing and tongue confessing, it will be too late.

    By God (just an expression), I want to see that “shinning” glory! Or maybe that’s shimmying?

    Count me as one of the atheists who think this is a sham. But if it’s not, and you’ve really converted, then *snore* bring on the drinking game! Each adjective merits a shot:
    *blessed*
    *home*
    *hallelujah*
    *praise*
    *risen*
    *unto*
    *precious* (that merits a double shot!)
    and so on.
    Enjoy the kool-aid, I’ll enjoy the Scotch.

  204. Harry Thorax
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:30 am

    That was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go to set up a punchline. I never would have dedicated that many years of my life to pretending to be a theist only to “lose” my faith over several months so I could declare that there was no god just to punk the christians. Shows commitment though, I’ll give you that.

    It would have been funnier if you converted to Pastafarianism though.

  205. deb
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:36 am

    Blessings to you on your recent conversion! May your blog be the means of bringing many out of darkness into His marvelous light.

  206. Pikemann Urge
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:45 am

    Some of you people take yourselves way too seriously. If he’s joking, you’re going to look foolish. If he isnt’… so what? He is free to be Christian, I am free not to be.

  207. FO
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:53 am

    Congratulations on making your way into the intellectual pig sty I took so long to get out of.

    As for your name, when you dropped the “a-“, you should have also dropped the “-aving”… and replaced it with “-etarded”.

    Enjoy your new-found ignorance. It’s bliss.

  208. Andrew
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:36 am

    @ shader

    “Consider this: your thought processes may be entirely deterministic (dependent solely on the state of the subatomic particles making up your body) but non-computable (there is no possible way to determine the state of those particles, and thus predict your next thought, without affecting that state and invalidating the prediction).
    In that gap between determinism and computability lies free will.
    Next crap thesitic argument, please.”
     
    So Shader:  following your logic, a roulette wheel has freewill.

  209. Katelyn
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:56 am

    Please don’t be discouraged by the disparaging comments of some of your readers. In fact, if these people were my number one fans, I think that would be a very good reason to think I was doing something wrong.  Your more open-minded and intellectually curious readers will stay with you. 

  210. oldcole
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:44 am

    A nice illustration of “shit happens”.
    Maybe you will recover, I hope so. 

  211. Richard Norris
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:04 am

    If this is a joke, fine.  No problem.  But if it’s not, well…  you know that deep inside you you know the truth.  There is no THERE there. There is no source, no “ground of being”, no big Daddy waiting for you in a place made of precious metals and gems waiting to tell you “what a good boy you were!”  And there is no lying to that part of you.  It will watch your whole life pass by, and it will see you get more desperate as time goes on, as that final day marches towards you.  But not all of the desperation in the world will buy you one moment of existence after your bodies death.  That little part of you inside will sigh in resignation as your last breath leaves your body and accept the fate it knew was coming all along.  As your life ticks by and you crawl along the way of all flesh, enjoy the Hell you have made for yourself.

  212. Mohamed
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:24 am

    Wtf this is bullshit about ?!!!!?…. doesn’t even matter you’re all infidels  ;)

  213. Sam Smith
    December 24th, 2008 @ 4:03 am

    Oh my even-sweet loving, Jesus. I’ve never gagged so much reading all the shit on this page.

    I think I need medical attention.

  214. speedwell
    December 24th, 2008 @ 4:19 am

    RT, the atheists in this thread are very disappointed. I’m one, and I’m disappointed, also.  In fact, to me it feels like I heard that someone I knew in passing fell ill with an advanced stage of a disease they’d managed more or less successfully for years. 

    Please don’t listen to mean people.  They’ll get over their dismay and frustration.  I just want to make sure you are informed that you are a free rational human with freedom of thought, not a bond slave to any ideology or religion.  You are not locked in a cage.  You walked into this of your own free will.  Whatever you decide to do with yourself, please make sure it conforms with reality as best you understand it.  Nobody, Christian or atheist, can deny you the right to think or the privilege of finding your own way. 

    Be true to yourself.  You can be brainwashed into thinking that you don’t have a choice, but you do.  You always do.  I’m not saying this is a phase.  I’m sure you made this choice seriously and under great pressure of mind.  But now that you’ve made it… well, be sure you’re right.

    When nobody answers when you pray and the Bible starts to sound stale, when things happen that would not happen if what they say about God is true, when the best among the preachers turn out to be human like the rest of us, when you’ve examined religion from the inside and found it wanting, there are still those of us who will understand and approve of your struggle and your frustration, because we felt it ourselves. 

    Truth is what is always there even when you’re playing Let’s Pretend.  Stick fast to the truth… not what claims to be the truth, but what really is the truth… and you’ll be OK.  We will also be searching and fighting for what we think is true and real.  So long as we’re all doing that, we aren’t really enemies. 

  215. rudi
    December 24th, 2008 @ 4:28 am

    You have given in to your own demons, not the ‘lord’ you know perfectly well doesn’t exist.

    You are scared of death, scared of other people’s death, and rather than confront this you have decided to run away. This is understandable, it is human. But your own cowardice does not give weight to Christiobollox any more than it would to Hinduism if you happen to have been brought in India.

    See your fear for what it is – embrace it. You had the courage to do this before – why has it failed you now?

  216. Si
    December 24th, 2008 @ 4:57 am

    Ahh the power of religion.  Or is it the draw of a certain person who is religious? 

    I do admire your ability to completely go against a stance you have adopted for a number of years though.  And gee, it seems swell that you have a horde of faith driven compatriots to greet you with open arms.  Here’s to you having a happy and fruitful life under the auspices of your annoyingly deluded, yet oh so good natured, flock.

  217. Kevin
    December 24th, 2008 @ 5:21 am

    Sweet, now we have a mole planted on the inside. All is going according to plan.

  218. Smiley
    December 24th, 2008 @ 5:22 am

    Congratulations… you can now become the raving christian… which makes a lot more sense.

  219. weaves
    December 24th, 2008 @ 5:44 am

    LOL,

    bye. enjoy your…path

  220. Marion (Mael Mure)
    December 24th, 2008 @ 6:27 am

    Dear Brother in Christ,
    Welcome! I rejoice with you that you have found Christ at last. Isn’t He wonderful? May this Christmas be the best one you’ve ever had!

  221. Samuel Vimes
    December 24th, 2008 @ 6:32 am

    Congratulations. You’ve abandoned reason for madness, clarity for obfuscation and freedom for bondage. You’ve bought into the greatest con of the ages, and willingly support all manner of inhuman and degrading tenets of that faith, all in the name of a celestial white male who’s giving you a carte blanche to rape, pillage and molest the planet.

    So congratulations. You’ve joined one hell of an organization.

  222. bezoar
    December 24th, 2008 @ 6:33 am

    Did he have a stoke somewhere along the way?

  223. What It Takes To Convert An Atheist « Obsessed with reality
    December 24th, 2008 @ 6:46 am

    […] yet another broiling comment section ensues due to the latest conversion of former atheist blogger, The Raving Atheist (who apparently will be “The Raving Theist” from now […]

  224. James
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:02 am

    What a shame. Get well soon.

  225. Paul
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:09 am

    what a tool.  sad, sad, lout.

  226. Rob
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:16 am

    My, isn’t the little hornet’s nest abuzz.  If the majority of these commenters are in any way representative of your former haunts, then I can easily understand the decision to come home.  So quick to call names and to assume motives.  Almost like there is a personality derangement gene that comes specially packaged with atheism.

    In any case, welcome home.  Count it all joy…

  227. Psychodigger
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:30 am

    Idiot!

  228. Carla
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:01 am

    Merry Christmas to you TRT!! I am thankful to God for you! I have only known you a short while but cannot deny the presence of God in your life.  I pray that you have the most memorable Christmas yet! God Bless you!!

  229. Sam
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:31 am

    I personally like to think that this blogger is the greatest troll of all time.

    Oh, and in response to this:

    “So quick to call names and to assume motives.  Almost like there is a personality derangement gene that comes specially packaged with atheism.”

    Obviously there are mean-spirited people in the atheist community just like there are mean-spirited people in the believing-in-god community.

  230. Gary F
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:54 am

    Maybe you could provide us with some reasons for your conversion. Until you do that many of us atheists will just assume this is a prank. I for one am curious about your conversion and I’d like to know more about it. I’ve never met any ardent atheists turned Christian, though I’ve read tracts by people claiming to be former atheists. Those people always seem to show they don’t know much about atheism. Your perspective, in my experience then, would be both unique and interesting. Please let us know what caused this change of heart.

  231. Stewart Patersons
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:55 am

    Ah another client! TRA, now that you have given in to gullibility (perhaps?) I have a bridge to sell, plus we are selling knee pads at discount prices, so no need to get callouses when you’re grovelling before the Sand Goblin.

  232. Cynical J
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:59 am

    I think you are mocking Christians at Christmas time.

  233. Jata
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:06 am

    Wait, seriously? Do you seriously believe that? Did you even read it?

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  234. TT
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:08 am

    RT:

    You should get used to the persectution, brother.

    Irrational, vulger comments left by those who consider THEMSELVES to be hairless monkeys.  And like monkeys, sadly, there is a lot of irrational cheeps and throwing poop from the atheists  here (as usual).  Hell will be full of comments such as these, I’m sure.  How tiresome to read “thrown poop” for etnernity?

    “Reason” defined as mimicking Christian virtues while condeming them, claming that “Truth is unknown” as a Truth (both fatal contradictions, complete irreason). “Freedom” defined as materialist dogma, notice the complete lack of doubt and humility, the abosolute dogma “there is no God” — the complete faith in oneself you find with dictators, mental patients and psychopaths.  “Clairty” offered as no answers to suffering, existance, even Being itself…and no freedom to even ask.  All this you leave behind, Christian.

    Remember all Christians started as non-believers. “For Once I Was Lost, Now I’m Found” as the old hymn goes.   It’s a miracle that happens every day, but your conversion is still a miracle! Blessed be His name!

    Yours in Christ,

    TT

  235. annie
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:15 am

    Tears in my eyes.  Welcome!

  236. shader
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:16 am

    @Andrew

    Re the roulette wheel: if one were conscious, perhaps it would feel it did possess free will (free wheel?). I’ve not met any conscious roulette wheels, though.

    It is arguable however that a roulette wheel doesn’t qualify as a non-computable system – in principle it would be possible to simulate the result of any given roulette wheel throw fairly accurately given a powerful enough computer, based on on measurements that would not affect the state of the system (eg. multiple video cameras reporting the postion and velocity of the ball and wheel, measurements of the dimensions and mass of the ball and wheel made previously).

    The point is that when you get down to the scale of individual atoms, it isn’t possible to measure the state of a system without affecting that state. Goings-on at that scale don’t have an appreciable effect on systems like roulette wheels (you could ignore them and get a very accurate simulation using newtonian mechanics). Goings on at that scale in your cells concievably could have an appreciable effect on your consciousness. So your consciousness could be wholly deterministic, but not computable, no matter how powerful a computer you throw at it. Your feeling that you have free will could be vindicated by the fact that no-one could ever possibly predict your actions.

    That said, I think it is wholly possible that most of human consciousness is both deterministic and (in-principle) computable. After all, your friends or family can probably predict how you would react to certain situations.  Concievably a future super-computer with better information about you could do so more accurately. The theistic contention that if our actions are determined, we should not be held responsible for them, is obviously stupid.

    For those who need it spelled out – consider: one of the factors determining our actions is our environment, the social practice of holding people responsible for their actions forms part of that environment, so it likely has a causal effect on behaviour.

    As to the theistic contention that if our actions are determined, life has no ultimate meaning – yeah, so what? Life’s what you make it. Sky daddy isn’t there and doesn’t care. Get over it.

    And as for the theistic contention that if life has no ultimate meaning, there is no reason to be good, even no definitive definition of good… get back to me when you’ve reviewed the last century or two of developments in ethics.

  237. Shaking Dust Off Feet
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:1-5

    “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. Luke 10:8-12

  238. Susan B.
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    Raving Theist,

    Merry Christmas and God bless you! I somehow knew this would happen eventually. :-)

  239. Billy
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:57 am

    Interesting that according to the picture, Jesus and 3/4ths of the children are obviously fair-skinned northern Europeans.  (One child looks African-American)

    Not a single Israelite in the bunch!  (Who are Semitic in appearance)

  240. Albert
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:10 am

    Shader said:

    “Consider this: your thought processes may be entirely deterministic (dependent solely on the state of the subatomic particles making up your body) but non-computable (there is no possible way to determine the state of those particles, and thus predict your next thought, without affecting that state and invalidating the prediction).
    In that gap between determinism and computability lies free will.
    Next crap thesitic argument, please.”

    You obviously do not understand the difference between being determined and being determinable.  If the thought process is completely determined, then there is no freedom of thought.  Determinalbility is merely whether I can predict the range values of the funtion given its domain values.  The latter has no bearing on whether the correlation between the domain and range actually permits freedom. 

    I could also point out that if in fact our thought processes are determined, then your atheistic views and my theistic views are themselves predetermined and arguing about it makes about as much sense as yelling at someone for the color of their skin or their predisposition to high blood pressure.

    Next crap atheistic attempt at avoiding the obvious, please.

  241. Albert
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:21 am

    JohnnyA writes:

    “Albert has apparently never heard of northern Europe, where not only are most people not theists, they actually reproduce! The end result?  Countries that are extremely prosperous and healthy! Go figger!”

    JohnnyA has apparently never studies demographics.  Yes, Europe is currently largely non-thistic but this is relatively recent and since this development the birth rate has imploded.  They are currently living off the hard work of centuries of theists but fear not – their current reproduction rate is not high enough to replace their population.  This causes a bit of a cramp in their social welfare programs since it is based on the same financial model as a Ponzi scheme.  The solution over the last few decades was to import new bodies from the Middle East.  That many have been a mistake.  Oh well, welcome to Eurabia!!  By the way, those new guys are probably theists.

  242. Mel
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    Truth has a Name.  Truth is a Person, the Divine Person.   Be sure to read the Church Fathers, and pray.   Merry Christmas, and God bless you.

  243. Rhinoqulous
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    TRA (or would that be TRT now?) has inspired me to embrace my childhood worship of the allmighty Cthulu. Thanks TRT, it truly is an Xmas miracle!

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn and happy hollidays everyone!

  244. george.w
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:34 am

    They are currently living off the hard work of centuries of theists but fear not – their current reproduction rate is not high enough to replace their population.

    Oh, horsefeathers.  Europe was at just about an economic zero-point after WWII.  Their current economy has been built up from there.

    At its most theistic, Europe was hardly a model of economic productivity.

  245. Chas
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:40 am

    Been there, done that.  Now I’m a born again skeptic. Someday the light may turn on for you too.

  246. Shaking Dust Off Feet
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:42 am

    “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6

  247. Albert
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:00 am

    “Oh, horsefeathers.  Europe was at just about an economic zero-point after WWII.  Their current economy has been built up from there.”

    I guess all that stuff about the industrial revolution never happened.  And that couldn’t have possibly been real tanks, trucks, and planes the Germans used in the blitzkreig.  The Marshall Plan largely rebuilt factories that were destroyed in the war.  The major manufacturers in Germany before and after the war were largely the same.

  248. george.w
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:07 am

    Oh, right, I remember now… Hitler said it was the Germans’ Christian duty to go all psycho on the rest of the world.

    People were starving in Europe post-war. You can’t get your economy much lower than that.

  249. Coemgen
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:07 am

    What a shame – they got you in the end.

  250. Zel
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:10 am

    I call POE!!!!

  251. ignatov
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    Melissa: “You can’t very well make disciples if you never speak your faith to anyone.”

    Okay, fine. I’m a Mormon.

    “Hell isn’t something I would wish on anyone!”

    Please convert to Mormonism, Melissa. I don’t want you to go to Hell.

  252. Lyra
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:16 am

    This is a joke, right?

  253. TMR-Brat
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:21 am

    Welcome aboard, matey.

    While I celebrate that you have done the right thing, I am most curious, and perhaps you may write about this, was your conversion the result of a hard look and logical analysis of the premises of belief in God, or was it more of  the satisfaction of  a longing for Christ, “coming home” in other words.

    I wish you the best.

  254. defaithed
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    @Zel: “I call POE!!!!”

    I suspect the same. I think we’re looking at an April Fool’s joke, 4+ months early. 

  255. george.w
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:30 am

    You might be right, Zel.  Hard to believe a Raving Atheist would go for such a vapid, white-bread church vision of Jesus as the picture above.  Guess we’ll see.

  256. treborefir
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:46 am

    RA RIP

    The pic reminds me of one I’ve seen when doing some work at a Jehovah witless’ home.  Could that be the chosen religion?

  257. Pansy Moss
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. Welcome home. :)

    http://moss-place.stblogs.org/archives/2008/12/oh-like-we-didn.html

  258. Steve in MI
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

    Sorry to hear about your departure from rationality.  One question of theology puzzles me though: why did you choose an Anglo-looking Jesus over one with Hebrew or Middle Eastern features?  Apparently it’s true that we create gods in our own image.

  259. Will
    December 24th, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

    Well, I notice that the “read more” from basic assumptions no longer leads anywhere, and that the “hate sites” listing has been swallowed by “random links”. But go on showing what jerks you are, which is REALLY a great way to convince those Dumbs of our erros.

  260. steve
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

    I am sorry to see anyone abandon reason and reality. Sic transit gloria raving atheist. But hey, that’s your decision.

  261. Timcol
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

    I think the conversion would be more convincing if RA had expressed it in his own words and explained the why and how of it – rather than just regurgitating a creed.  So until that happens, I also suspect that this is a hoax (and not a very clever one). 

  262. Ryan
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

    “Don’t worry, Jamal.  Everyone gets to be white in Heaven.”

  263. Monado
    December 24th, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

    This reminds me of, “I have given up on reality and am now looking for a good fantasy.” Have a nice fantasy. Just remember, if you ever let yourself doubt again, that religious experience is generated in the brain by physical processes.

  264. Marie
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

    God love and keep you! It was a joy to read this.

  265. Tom
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    Welcome!!

    “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, authority, before all time, now, and forever!”  (Jude 24-25)

  266. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    Whether the final version of the Gospels we have is the word-for-word work of the saints is hard to say. Nevertheless, tradition does link the saints to their Gospels. St. Mark, identified with the Mark of Acts 12:12 and the Mark of I Peter 5:13, is mentioned in a quote contained in a letter from Papias (c. 130), Bishop of Hierapolis: “When Mark became Peter’s interpreter, he wrote down accurately, although not in order, all that he remembered of what the Lord had said or done.” St. Irenaeus (d. 203) and Clement of Alexandria (d. 215) support this identification. The Gospel of Mark is commonly dated about the year 65-70 in conjunction with the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
    St. Matthew is identified with the tax collector called as an Apostle (Mt 9:9-13). Papias again attests to the saint’s authorship and indicates that he was the first to compile a collection of Jesus’ sayings in the Aramaic language. For this reason, the Gospel of Matthew, at least in a very basic form in Aramaic, is considered the first Gospel and placed first in the New Testament, although the Gospel of Mark is probably the first in a completed form. St. Irenaeus and Origin (d. 253) again support this authorship. Nevertheless, some scholars doubt the saint’s direct authorship because we only have the Greek version, not the Aramaic, and no citations are made from the Aramaic version in Church literature. The version of the Gospel we have was probably written between 70-80.
    St. Luke, the beloved physician and disciple of St. Paul (Col 4:14), has consistently been recognized in Christian tradition as the author of the third Gospel, beginning with St. Irenaeus, Tertullian (d. 220) and Clement of Alexandria. The Gospel was written about 70-80.
    St. Irenaeus identified the author of the fourth Gospel as St. John the Apostle. He does so based on the instruction of his teacher, St. Polycarp (d. 155), who himself was a disciple of St. John. Throughout this Gospel, the numerous details indicate the author was an eyewitness. Also scholars generally agree that “the beloved disciple” mentioned in the Gospel is St. John. This Gospel was written probably about 80-90.

  267. Maria
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA! This is a joke, right?

    Either that, or we are witnessing intellectual suicide.

    And that’s just depressing. So say it’s a funny, please?

  268. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

     
    There exist four accounts of key events in Jesus’ life written within 30 to 60 years after his Crucifixion—and this within a culture that placed a strong emphasis on the role and place of an accurate oral tradition. Anyone who denies that Jesus existed or who claims that the Gospels are filled with historical errors or fabrications will, in good conscience, have to explain why they don’t make the same assessment about the historical works of Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Julius Caesar, Livy, Josephus, Tacitus, and other classical authors.

    Secondly, historical details are found in the Gospels and the other books of the New Testament. These include numerous mentions of secular rulers and leaders (Caesar Augustus, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Felix, Archelaus, Agrippa, Gallio), as well as Jewish leaders (Caiaphas, Ananias)—the sort of names unlikely to be used inaccurately or even to show up in a “myth.” Anglican scholar Paul Barnett, in Is The New Testament Reliable? , provides several pages’ worth of intersections between biblical and non-biblical sources regarding historical events and persons. “Christian sources contribute, on an equal footing with non-Christian sources,” he observes, “pieces of information that form part of the fabric of known history. In matters of historical detail, the Christian writers are as valuable to the historian as the non-Christian”

    Then there are the specifically Jewish details, including references to and descriptions of festivals, religious traditions, farming and fishing equipment, buildings, trades, social structures, and religious hierarchies. As numerous books and articles have shown in recent decades, the beliefs and ideas found in the Gospels accurately reflect a first-century Jewish context. All of this is important in responding to the claim that the Gospels were written by authors who used Greek and Egyptian myths to create a supernatural man-god out of the faint outline of a lowly Jewish carpenter.

    Various modern archeological discoveries have validated specific details found in the Gospels:

    In 1961 a mosaic from the third century was found in Caesarea Maritima that had the name “Nazareth” in it. This is the first known ancient non-biblical reference to Nazareth.
    Coins with the names of the Herod family have been discovered, including the names of Herod the king, Herod the tetrarch of Galilee (who killed John the Baptist), Herod Agrippa I (who killed James Zebedee), and Herod Agrippa II (before whom Paul testified).
    In 1990 an ossuary was found inscribed with the Aramaic words, “Joseph son of Caiaphas,” believed to be a reference to the high priest Caiaphas.
    In 1968 an ossuary was discovered near Jerusalem bearing the bones of a man who had been executed by crucifixion in the first century. These are the only known remains of a man crucified in Roman Palestine, and verify the descriptions given in the Gospels of Jesus’ Crucifixion.
    In June 1961 Italian archaeologists excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) uncovered a limestone block. On its face is an inscription (part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar) that reads: “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judaea.”

    Numerous other finds continue to demolish the notion that the Gospels are mythologies filled with fictional names and events.
     
    There are extra-biblical, ancient references to Jesus and early Christianity. Although the number of non-Christian Roman writings from the first half of the first century is quite small (just a few volumes), there are a couple of significant references.

    Writing to the Emperor Trajan around A.D. 112, Pliny the Younger reported on the trials of certain Christians arrested by the Romans. He noted that those who are “really Christians” would never curse Christ:
     
    “They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so.” (Letters, Book 10, Letter 96)
     
    The historian Tacitus, in his Annals —considered by historians to be one the finest works of ancient Roman history—mentioned how the Emperor Nero, following the fire in Rome in A.D. 64, persecuted Christians in order to draw attention away from himself. The passage is noteworthy as an unfriendly source because although Tacitus thought Nero was appalling, he also despised the foreign and, to him, superstitious religion of Christianity:
     
    “Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. “(Annals, 15:44)
     
    Robert E. Van Voorst, author of Jesus Outside the New Testament, offers a detailed analysis of scholarly controversies about this passage, and then states, “Of all the Roman authors, Tacitus gives us the most precise information about Christ” .  This includes Tacitus’s understanding that “Christus”—not Paul or someone else—was the founder of the Christian movement. He notes that Christ was executed under Pilate during the reign of Tiberius, and that Judea was the source of the Christian movement. All of which further confirms the historical reliability of the Gospels.

  269. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    Just because hunger is generated in the brain by physical processes doesn’t mean that food doesn’t exist.

  270. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

    Here are some key areas of agreement about Jesus that are found in all four gospels:
     
    –Jesus ministered during the time when Pontius Pilate was prefect of Judea (around A.D. 27 to A.D. 37).
     
    –Jesus had a close connection with John the Baptist, and his ministry superseded that of John.
     
    –Jesus’s ministry took place in Galilee.
     
    –Jesus’s ministry concluded in Jerusalem.
     
    –Jesus gathered disciples around him. (This is important, because Jewish teachers in the time of Jesus didn’t recruit their own students; rather the students came to them.)
     
    –Jesus taught women, and they were included among the larger group of his followers. (This, by the way, sets Jesus apart from other Jewish teachers of his day.)
     
    –The ministry of Jesus involved conflict with supernatural evil powers, including Satan and demons.
     
    –Jesus used the cryptic title “Son of Man” in reference to Himself and in order to explain His mission. (Jesus’s fondness for and use of this title was very unusual in his day, and was not picked up by the early church. This is a hugely important point for the one who seeks to understand Jesus.)
     
    –Jesus saw his mission as the Son of Man as leading to his death. (This was unprecedented in Judaism. Even among Jesus’s disciples it was both unexpected and unwelcome.)
     
    –Jesus, though apparently understanding himself to be Israel’s promised Messiah, was curiously circumspect about this identification. (This is striking, given the early and widespread confession of Christians that Jesus was the Messiah.)
     
    –Jesus did various sorts of miracles, including healings and nature miracles.
     
    –Jesus was misunderstood by almost everybody, including his own disciples.
     
    –Jesus experienced conflict with many Jewish leaders, especially the Pharisees and ultimately the temple-centered leadership in Jerusalem.
     
    –Jesus spoke and acted in ways that implied He had a unique connection with God.
     
    –Jesus broke all kinds of societal conventions such as talking to non-Jews, talking to strange women, touching lepers, touching dead people, performing tasks on the Sabbath and most of all, claiming to be “I am” (a reference to being God).
     
    –Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, at the time of Passover, under the authority of Pontius Pilate, and with the cooperation of some Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. (There are quite a few more details concerning the death of Jesus that are shared by all four gospels.)
     
    –Most of Jesus’s followers either abandoned Him or denied Him during His crucifixion.
     
    –Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week.
     
    –Women were the first witnesses to the evidence of Jesus’s resurrection. (This is especially significant, since the testimony of women was not highly regarded in first-century Jewish culture. Nobody would have made up stories with women as witnesses if they wanted them to gain ready acceptance.)
     

  271. Lirioroja
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

    I’ll post publicly what I told you privately a while ago – welcome home.  Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you.

  272. George
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

    I also used to be an ardent atheist, but I too have converted. I am now a dedicated Pastafarian. May the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster wrap His Noodly Appendage around you and keep you safe.

    Ramen

  273. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

    There are close to 5,700 full or partial Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence. Most of these date from between the second to 16th century, with the oldest, known as Papyrus 52 (which contains John 18), dating from around A.D. 100–150.

    In addition to the thousands of Greek manuscripts, there are an additional 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and thousands of additional manuscripts in Syriac, Aramaic, and Coptic, for a total of about 24,000 full or partial manuscripts of the New Testament. And then there are the estimated one million quotes from the New Testament in the writings of the Church Fathers (A.D. 150–1300).
     
    By comparison, the average work by a classical author—such as Tacitus (c. A.D. 56–c. 120), Pliny the Younger (A.D. 61–113), Livy (59 B.C.–A.D. 17), and Thucydides (460–395 B.C.)—has about 20 extant manuscripts, the earliest copy usually several centuries newer than the original. For example, the earliest copy of works by the prominent Roman historian Suetonius (A.D. 75–130) date to A.D. 950—over 800 years after the original manuscripts had been written.
     
    Compare the doubt of the Gospel accounts to the well known event of Caesar crossing the Rubicon that is part of our culture and language. 
     
    “There are no firsthand testimonies to Caesar’s having crossed the Rubicon (wherever it was). Caesar himself makes no mention in his memoirs of crossing any river. Four historians belonging to the next two or three generations do mention a Rubicon River, and claim that Caesar crossed it. They are: Velleius Paterculus (c.19 B.C.–c.A.D. 30); Plutarch (c.A.D. 46–120); Suetonius (75–160); and Appian (second century). All of these evidently depended on the one published eyewitness account, that of Asinius Pollio (76 B.C.–c. A.D. 4)—which account has disappeared without a trace. No manuscript copies for any of these secondary sources is to be found earlier than several hundred years after their composition. “(The Evangelical Quarterly 58, 319-336)
     
    Yet, nobody doubts that on January 11, 49 B.C. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, starting a civil war. Obviously, the more manuscripts that are available, the better scholars are able to assess accurately what the original manuscripts contained and to correct errors that may exist in various copies.  So we are willing to believe an event in Julius Caesar’s life but not events in the life of Jesus the Christ??

  274. nkb
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Albert: “It is merely a way of avoiding the obvious fact that your worldview is based upon the thought of the Englightenment and its now obsolete view of both nature and anthropology.  You are nineteenth century men in the twenty-first century.”
    :lol: That is too funny!

    A Christian telling us that we are behind by 2 centuries.  You’re following a 2000-year old book, written by a bunch of unknown, uneducated goatherders, for fuck’s sake!

    That’s like the Amish heckling people with electric cars, telling them they’re technologically handicapped.

  275. Carbon Monoxide
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

    nkb:

    How many books have you written that have been read by billions of people?

    Well?

  276. Nick Gotts
    December 24th, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

    That’s funny – that “Jesus” doesn’t look Jewish!

  277. Jacques
    December 24th, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

    Bully for you.

    ps.  God/Jesus/Buddha/Allah/Jehovah/etc., are all myths.

  278. SeanD.
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha….

    Nice one, well played…you almost had me fooled.

  279. Pikemann Urge
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

    To Carbon Monoxide: it doesn’t actually matter to the fate of my soul whether Caesar crossed the Rubicon or not. The Gospels make such claims and others.

    The Gospels’ claims fall short because the Gospels are not reliable enough for me to take them seriously. I submit that the Bible is man-made and the evidence is right there for all too see.

    BTW if you are interested in a rebuttal to the Rubicon point, see Richard Carrier’s article on infidels, ‘The Rubicon Analogy’.

  280. Brandon
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

    Carbon Monoxide

    “How many books have you written that have been read by billions of people?
    Well

    So, what, you’re saying that the more people read something, the more true it becomes?  That’s a perfectly sound and logical conclusion.  Praise Harry Potter for your wisdom and insight.

    Or are you suggesting that we should trust the author of such a bestselling book?  Ok, fair enough.  Who is the author?  Or rather, authors?  I guess they could tell a relatively ok story, even if their characterization wasn’t so great and the story was extremely inconsistent and had various contradictions of theme, as well as characters changing their personalities at random.

    Wait, are you going to say God wrote it through people?  Well, that’s silly.  How do you know?  Because the book told you so?  What if a hobo came up to you on the street offering a rant against the government that he wrote on some toilet paper.  What if he claimed that God told him to write it?  Would you believe him?  Why not?  Why the writers of the Bible but not the sun-baked hobo? 

    Well, how about this to win you over!  The hobo prophesied in his rant that it would be written on toilet paper.  And it IS written on toilet paper!  He also said he’d end the story with the words “the end” and that IS how his crazy story ended!  Those are two solid prophecies fulfilled 100%!  How much more convincing do you need?  There are none so blind as those who will not see!  The fool says in his heart that the story on the toilet paper is not true.  Scoffers and mockers will turn from the straight and narrow path offered by the toilet paper gospel, for wide and sandpapery is the path to hell.

  281. Eva
    December 24th, 2008 @ 7:46 pm

    carbon monoxide, i cannot believe you are saying that the james ossuary is real….

    it has been as debunked as crop circles and the chupacabras….

  282. Rosemary
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

    R.T.,
    I remember reading that a certain “Saul” (turned “Paul” after his Damascus Road conversion) experienced the same sort of skeptical reaction from believers. It took a while before they were convinced of his sincerity. He spent time in prayer and study before moving out into public ministry. Such a luxury may not be available to you in the blogosphere. Welcome (and keep the faith! ) – Rosemary

  283. BBjam
    December 24th, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

    Some people here do not know what form of christianity RA converted to: it would seem, from his capitalization of the phrase ‘Catholic Church’ in the Apostles Creed (The creed he posted), he converted to catholicism.

    Something that sets the catholic church apart from most other religions is that catholic theologians apply reason to faith, they say: if we observe A and B then therefor  God must do C.
    Catholicism also teaches the the physical world is basically good and meaningful, but corrupt. This means that according to catholicism science is good, and reason is a virtue, because, although there can be no prof of God, the world reflects him in some way.
    This stands in contrast to many forms of christianity, which teach that the physical world is either bad or unimportant.

    These things probably are at least part of the reason RA became RT.

  284. Taquoriaan
    December 24th, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

    Merry Christmas. I just returned home from Midnight Mass. :)

    Greetings from another ex-atheist who had to change her mind after processing all the evidence that my point of view didn’t agree with the facts. :)

  285. Brandon
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

    Eva

    “it has been as debunked as crop circles and the chupacabras….”

    If the chupacabra is fake,  then what the hell keeps suckin’ all those goats!?

    And then we finish up with a Catholic joke. 

    And… SCENE!

  286. Marc A
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

    I can’t believe someone who hosted an atheist site has converted.  The ignorance is stronger than I thought.  I don’t blame you for personally converting.  That’s your business.  But I think the fact that you, of all people, converted is sad.  WHY? How did this happen?

  287. Pentimento
    December 24th, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

    May He be praised!  God bless you, RT.  You may remember me – I’m Dawn’s friend, and you helped me with my friend Natalie’s family court case in Queens two years ago.  She has full custody now, but is still struggling.  Please pray for her – and we will be praying for you here.  Merry Christmas!

  288. Cthulance
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

    Greetings from another ex-atheist who had to change her mind after processing all the evidence that my point of view didn’t agree with the facts.

    What is all this evidence you mention?

  289. Jrod
    December 24th, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

    On the very same page as this post, at the top right, this is written:

    First, there is no God. In fact, all definitions of the word “God” are either self-contradictory, incoherent, meaningless or refuted by empirical, scientific evidence.

    Why do you no longer believe your own words?

  290. Bill B (AKA Theocoid)
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:34 am

    This is an incredible gift, RAT, to you and to us all. Welcome home.

  291. Bill B (AKA Theocoid)
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:41 am

    Okay, that A is supposed to have an overstrike. Pax tecum.

  292. GalapagosPete
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:54 am

    Carbon Monoxide said: Yet, nobody doubts that on January 11, 49 B.C. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, starting a civil war. Obviously, the more manuscripts that are available, the better scholars are able to assess accurately what the original manuscripts contained and to correct errors that may exist in various copies.  So we are willing to believe an event in Julius Caesar’s life but not events in the life of Jesus the Christ??

    So, Carbon, what you’re saying is that if we accept that Caesar crossed a river in a boat, we should therefore accept that another guy walked on water.

    Do you even understand how nuts you sound? For your sake, I hope you’re another Liar for Jesus (TM) instead of crazy.

  293. Barbara
    December 25th, 2008 @ 4:56 am

    Odd how the choirmasters of the First Church of Reason have no concept of how art works.  The picture of Jesus is not a sitted-portrait, it’s an artist’s imaginitive interpretation of how Jesus might look.  So what if some painter made him white? it has absolutely no relevance to Christianity’s teachings or the question of the veracity or falsity of  its claims.  

    RT, I’m not a reader of your blog, but as both a convert and an academic I can probably imagine what would lead you to belief in God.  In the end, it is ignorant to suggest, as some on this blog have, that an adult convert becomes a believer as a crutch to cushion him against the fear of death.    In my experience, my decision to accept Christianity had little to do with an afterlife, it was because I saw how strong people of faith were, I saw how their lives were invested with so much more meaning because of their belief in God, how their beliefs gave them strength in difficult circumstances.  I saw how people who turned to faith found healing from addiction, abuse and suffering.  Most of all I saw how much happiness and wisdom that people of faith were able to draw out of the simple act of living.   All in all, I realize that I may very well be wrong, that the raving atheoids of the blogosphere might be right, that there is no God, that when we die we become worm food.   In the end, worm food or not, my life will have been lived abundantly because my faith has given me hope, strength and joy, because it has made me more generous and less selfish, because it has healed some of my deepest wounds and given me a fulfillment I would have never dreamed of.  If this is all, its a big enough all and worth the risk of being wrong.    

    “by their fruits you shall know them”
     

  294. wildlifer
    December 25th, 2008 @ 7:18 am

    An earthly Jesus did not exist until almost 100 years after his alleged birth. One wonders too, just who was preaching/worshiping the false Jesus Paul refered to in 1 Corinthians? Was that false Jesus the one that was claimed to have walked the earth? The one Paul obviously did not believe in?

  295. NIRVANA4EVER
    December 25th, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    I am so sorry to hear of your conversion to the reasonless, intellectually stifling world of Christianity. It’s so sad to see a once-great mind abandoning rational thinking and drifting away into the murky waters of “faith”. However it is your choice and I can only wish you the best of luck with your new life. Goodbye.

  296. Michael McCleary
    December 25th, 2008 @ 8:39 am

    Praise God, I have a new brother! . . .um, too late ta buy ya a gift (O:

  297. Russ
    December 25th, 2008 @ 10:13 am

    I seem to recall you denying the holy spirit, knowing that Christianity teaches that this is the ONLY unforgivable sin.

    So…Enjoy hell, dumbass!

  298. Jason Failes
    December 25th, 2008 @ 11:02 am

    Two hundred and ninety comments, and I have yet to hear any actual reasons or evidence why one should believe in any god, let alone the specific God many here seem to prefer.

    Social support is not an argument for god.  Good feeling are not an argument for god.  Nice Christians are not an argument for god. Mean atheists are not an argument for god.  Shoddy history is not an argument for god.  Saying you have arguments but not presenting them is, obviously, not an argument for god.

    I agree that those who have been calling RT an idiot/intellectual coward etc are being both irrelevant and counter-productive (although I won’t go so far as to say that they are wrong),

    however, by focusing on the “mean atheists”, and essentially ignoring the good number of us who have asked again and again and again what actual evidence and reasons one could possibly have for converting, you have more than illustrated the overall weakness of the Christian position.

    There are no reasons.

    There is no evidence.

    You can choose to believe on faith alone, fine, but once you embrace that mindset, belief without proof, what except chance would cause you to believe in Jesus rather than Buddha, Mo, or Lord Vishnu?

    Without critical thinking, all things are believable.

    I’ll check tomorrow to see if anyone has posted any reasons, any evidence.  After that, you won’t have to put up with my mean and totally unfair questioning on this blog ever again.

  299. Albert
    December 25th, 2008 @ 11:24 am

    Eva and others,

    Carbon Monoxide never stated anything about the James Ossuary.  The only two ossuaries he mentioned were the one referring to the son of Caiphas the hight priest and one with the bones of a crucified man.  Both were points against arguments from silence (some skeptics had stated that Caiphas, Pontius Pilate, etc.  were fictional characters and that the Romans did not crucify using nails).  It does not help your argument for rationality and logic when you are trying to counter a sentence by stating something that has no logical connection. 

  300. Pentimento
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    Russ, RT denied the Holy Spirit before he knew Christ.  Now he knows Christ.  Saint Paul did the same thing – before he knew Christ.  Now he is Saint Paul, so we must assume his sins were not unpardonable.  RT made his statements while he was still in error and darkness.  We cannot believe that Christ will not forgive him his sins; there is too much historical evidence to the contrary.

    Merry Christmas.

  301. Tim Schultheis
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    Nobody will read this 295th comment – if you do, God help us all.

    Russ,
    You are a free moral agent – congratulations if this makes you happier and more kind & more generous.  If not, you can always reconsider, right?

  302. Kim
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

    Incredible news! In tears.

  303. Kim
    December 25th, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

    Two hundred and ninety comments, and I have yet to hear any actual reasons or evidence why one should believe in any god, let alone the specific God many here seem to prefer.

    The human body. The heavens. A tree. This beautiful  living planet. So many more I could mention. Who came up with such amazing things in their mind, much less created them? Certainly, the ordered intricacy we are all able to see all the way down to the tiniest molecule isn’t by chance. Some Great Mind had to be behind it. It seems so obvious to me.

  304. george.w
    December 25th, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    The human body. The heavens. A tree. This beautiful  living planet. So many more I could mention. Who came up with such amazing things in their mind, much less created them? Certainly, the ordered intricacy we are all able to see all the way down to the tiniest molecule isn’t by chance. Some Great Mind had to be behind it. It seems so obvious to me.

    All right then; if the existence of a complex thing is evidence of a creator, who created God? Surely God is more complex than his creations.

  305. anon
    December 25th, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

    The message “no secret messages here” presented in letters reverse-ordered and coded to be “revealed only to the initiated” (see M-W) is, in itself, a misrepresentation of fact.

  306. Carbon Monoxide
    December 25th, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

    What I am saying (which you giant intellects missed) is that you consider Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon history based on one account written well after the event (with no contemporary accounts available) but the Gospel, with thousands of copies available for comparison and research, written by four eye witnesses, is somehow not good enough for you.
    I can’t buy into your blind faith that Jesus didn’t exist.  If you were really thinking individuals, you would see that there is far more evidence of Jesus walking on the water, from purely a historical account perspective, than Caesar crossing the Rubicon.
    Now, the comment of “how many books have you written” is a reply to the remark made by one of your group suggesting that goat herders wrote the Gospels and therefore it is not worth reading.  If you atheists are so superior to these goat herders, then your resume should be impressive indeed.

    As for proof of God, I suggest Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.  I dare you to read it.

  307. cureholder
    December 25th, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

    >>>All right then; if the existence of a complex thing is evidence of a creator, who created God? Surely God is more complex than his creations.<<<

    An even more complex god?  But then who created that god?  Yep, it’s turtles all the way down! 

    I had never heard of the RA until today.  PZ Myers over at Pharyngula posted about RA’s conversion, so I had to come see.  I see the conversion as one of two possibilities:  (a) an elaborate prank, as many have suggested above, or (b) a reaction to a major life crisis, as others have suggested.

    My own mother would fall into the latter category.  She was reared in a non-religious household that was incredibly abusive and psychologically damaging.  Not that I am at all positing a cause-and-effect relationship there–after all, I grew up in a fundamentalist christian household that was incredible abusive and psychologically damaging. 

    In any event, at some point in her early 20s, my mother was hurt, angry, sad, depressed, all of those things that can happen to someone.  She was looking for a cure, and at just the wrong moment, someone took her to church.  Voila!  For the first time, she FELT loved, accepted, valuable, etc.  She dived headlong into christianity (unfortunately taking my childhood and the first 30 years of my life with her, along with similar parts of two of my brothers’ lives, and ALL of my third brother’s life, at least so far).

    So, RA’s conversion, if genuine, may indeed stem from some traumatic event that has caused emotion rather than reason to become the voice RA listens to.  If so, the change may be temporary.  If not, RA, I am begging you, please do not have children. 

  308. Chet
    December 25th, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

    Well, naturally. Reason-based atheism simply doesn’t support a sufficiently intense misogyny for the Raving Whatever.

    At any rate, it’s good to know that the true justifications for being opposed to abortion are religious.

  309. anon
    December 25th, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

    The question is:  For how long, or how often, must one endure whiffs of faeces to deem it neither salubrious nor palatable.

  310. anon
    December 25th, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

    The question of the actions of Julius Caesar vs. the existence of Russell’s teacup serves as a model of opposites: only a fool would doubt the first and accept the second.

  311. Christopher Humphries
    December 25th, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    Woot! Even if fake, still the Credo is published here :)

  312. paleotn
    December 25th, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste….on superstitious, religious delusions.   No matter.  We’re free to do what we want.  Nonetheless, I feel very sorry for you.

  313. Rebecca
    December 25th, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

    I just wanted you to know how happy I am for you!  

  314. anon
    December 25th, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

    Oh, well! … if published, how can it be doubted true?

  315. Inti
    December 25th, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

    Convert if you want, but do you really have to like such crappy art now?

  316. Ghoulslime
    December 25th, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

    Good riddance, imbecile.

  317. Ritesh Khadgaray
    December 25th, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

    may Buddha smile upon you :)

  318. Retha
    December 25th, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

    This is my first comment here. RA, assuming your conversion is real, I want to welcome you into a group that include reasoning people like Augustine, Aquinas, Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.
    I’d advise you not to try to make a case for the reasons for believing in God just yet. You see, you will -and do- know what an unprepared heart is like – a heart that simply disbelieve whatever it do not want to believe. A case for the truth of Christ would not convince such a person anyway.
    What is more, if you did come to Christ, you are, right now, pretty inexperienced in Christianity. Acting as if you have all the answers would just not convince. I’d advise you to contemplate God and His Word, instead of answering atheists just now.
    The comments here make it extremely clear that many atheists would merely claim you lost your mind, without ever considering your opinion.

  319. Margaret Catherine
    December 26th, 2008 @ 12:22 am

    Some people here are eager to hear your story; others are demanding an explanation. Neither need ever be given…something you know already, from the grace and the restraint with which you have acted throughout. Hearing the details might satisfy curiousity, but what is at the core of it is between you and God and absolutely personal to you.

    God bless you and keep you, this Christmas night.

  320. Cthulance
    December 26th, 2008 @ 1:34 am

    but what is at the core of it is between you and God and absolutely personal to you.

    That’s what makes declarations like RA’s entirely unconvincing to people like me. Saying “I found Jesus but I can’t explain, it’s personal” holds absolutely no appeal to anyone who isn’t given to credulity by default. I do understand how others among the credulous might find it appealing though.

    This guy found Jesus and declared it with a creepy graphic of his newfound object of adoration surrounded by kids (note that the black kid appears to be the only one on his knees).  He gives no explanation, no justification, no reasoning or evidence to support his decision. He just declares it. Of COURSE that appeals to other people of faith. That is, after all, what faith is. It’s believing what one wants to believe in spite of reason and evidence.

  321. Matteo
    December 26th, 2008 @ 2:25 am

    Welcome home RT.  May the Lord our God bless you now and always.

  322. GalapagosPete
    December 26th, 2008 @ 2:30 am

    Hmmm…IIRC, biblical scholars by no means agree who wrote the gospels, much less that they were written by eyewitnesses. Most scholars place the writing of the gospels a minimum of 30 years after the alleged events. Some claim as little as 10-12 years, but this does still cause me, at least, to ask: what took them so long? Couldn’t they find the time to write down the most important events in human history? I would have, but maybe that’s just me.

    In any case, you said one copy of one document versus thousands of copies of the other; even granting you are correct, what does the number of copies have to do with anything? If you had thousands of contemporary accounts from different people of Jesus’ miracles, maybe then we could talk, but all you have is hearsay of something that is, as far as we know, not possible, versus a guy riding a boat across a river.

    Evidence for flying/levitation, raising the dead, water into wine, killing a fig tree with a glance in a fit of pique: zero. People in boats: done it myself. (Full disclosure: I was on a lake, not a river. But I’ve seen people in boats on rivers.)

    Speaking for myself, I do not say that someone called Jesus did not exist; I imagine there were any number of men with that name at the time. No doubt many of them could have been rabbis, and one even a “messiah.” Whatever. But you will have to come up with evidence of superpowers before I accept it.

    As for reading Summa Theologica, no matter how clever his arguments are (and I’m sure they’re very, very good), a millions clever arguments don’t equal a drop of evidence, and you still haven’t provided any, and that’s what we need here. Until then, it’s just another fantasy.

  323. Anonymous
    December 26th, 2008 @ 2:53 am

    Is this a troll for comments?

  324. Jehannum
    December 26th, 2008 @ 4:24 am

    To be a raving anything suggests trouble, but I guess it will be much easier for you to rave now you are a theist.

  325. Margaret Catherine
    December 26th, 2008 @ 6:11 am

    Cthulance – Well, wait and see. It’s RT’s conversion, not mine; he may yet explain. :) If not, it’s his prerogative not to.

  326. Don
    December 26th, 2008 @ 6:42 am

    First, Jesus looks so Anglo/Saxon in the picute.  I thought that had he truly existed he would be much more Middle Eastern looking…
    Second, if you began a blog as an atheist and you have converted to Christianity, and especially Catholocism as your payer indicates, then you have cast aside your reasoning and your common sense to be ensnared in an emotional reaction to what must have been non stop proselyttizing by some one or ones.
    Common sense, logic, facts and science will be there when your facilities return.  Why once embraced they are discarded for fantasy, myth, fanciful scripture and mystical mumbo jumbo is an interesting question.

    Don

  327. Donato Infante III
    December 26th, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    GalapagosPete, regarding the Summa, the arguments are based on evidence that anyone can see.  However, you request evidence.  I was wondering if you could please tell me what a drop of evidence for God would look like?  What type thing are you looking for?

  328. Marion (Mael Muire)
    December 26th, 2008 @ 9:35 am

    As I read through many of these comments, I think plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    In the book of Wisdom of the Bible (ca. 100 B.C.), is written:

    “It was the wicked . . . who said among themselves, thinking not aright: ‘Brief and troublous is our lifetime; neither is there any remedy for man’s dying, nor is anyone known to have come back from the nether world. For haphazard were we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we had not been; because the breath in our nostrils is a smoke and reason is a spark at the beating of our hearts, and when this is quenched, our body will be ashes and our spirit will be poured abroad like unresisting air.
     
    “‘Even our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will recall our deeds. So our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and will be dispersed like a mist pursued by the sun’s rays and overpowered by its heat. For our lifetime is the passing of a shadow; and our dying cannot be deferred because it is fixed with a seal; and no one returns.
     
    “‘Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are real, and use the freshness of creation avidly. Let us have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no springtime blossom pass us by; let us crown ourselves with rosebuds ere they wither.
     
    “‘Let no meadow be free from our wantonness; everywhere let us leave tokens of our rejoicing, for this our portion is, and this our lot . . . but let our strength be our norm of justice; for weakness proves itself useless.
     
    “‘Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings . . .He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord.
     
    “‘To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us, because his life is not like other men’s, and different are his ways. He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father.
     
    “‘Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement . . . let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience . . .'”
                                                          [Wis 1:16; 2:1-19]

    Indeed it would seem that here we are 2,100 years later, and some things have not changed at all!

  329. Prince Thrakhath
    December 26th, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    Raving Atheist!

    Did you let the vultures in the forum brainwash you during a temporary low? Stand up an hit back!

    [Gibli 30:24]
    and the ones who call themself blessed shall fuck thy very hard in the hole whert no light shall shine for their brains are made of cheeze and their hearts are rotten to the core

  330. Pansy Moss
    December 26th, 2008 @ 11:31 am

    First, Jesus looks so Anglo/Saxon in the picute.  I thought that had he truly existed he would be much more Middle Eastern looking…

    So what? Artists tend to draw Jesus as they are comfortable. Since no one has a real photograph of Jesus, drawing Him with features they are familiar with would not be an odd or racist stretch. It’s not as if it is a drawing from life to begin with, so much of it would be wrong regardless of exact racial features.

  331. Jason Failes
    December 26th, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

    294 Argument from ignorance is not an argument for god.
    Argument from complexity is not an argument for god.*

    300 The size of the gospel’s print run is not an argument for god.
    The existence of self-appointed holy men is not an argument for god (indeed it is entirely too common).

    303 Excremental metaphors and a thesaurus, even together, are not an argument for god.

    312 Arguing that I would not believe you anyway is not an argument for god.

    322 Citing ancient poetry is not an argument for god.

    and none of these cut it either:
    http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm

    Well, since none of you seem to care enough about my eternal soul to give me a decent reason why I should convert to the One True Faith, I suppose I will go now, and look forward to seeing all my fellow atheists in hell.

    I do this for the company, the conversation, and the rock ‘n roll music.

    To those of you who do believe the Bible, I suggest you  read it.  The monster in those pages you call god is not worthy of your worship, threatening eternal damnation for the simple and natural act of doubt.  Even if true, it would be our duty to rebel against such a cruel tyrant.

    *and why is it always trees and stars?  Why does no one ever say “malaria, AIDS, genetic disorders, birth defects,cometary impacts, polio, and bot flies”?

    You want to give god all the credit but none of the blame, shifting it to satan, who is, evidently from all these unchallenged natural horrors, significantly more powerful.

  332. Hannah
    December 26th, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

    Dear Raving Theist, welcome to our family!! 

    God Bless,
    Hannah

  333. Bobby Johnson
    December 26th, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    Pray tell, just how does one have a personal relationship with an invisible, intangible, weightless, soundless, and scentless critter devoid of any heat signature detectable by NASA?

  334. Mary Kay
    December 26th, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

    Raving Theist,

    Thanks, you made my day :^)

    Welcome and God bless!

  335. Drusilla
    December 26th, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

    Pray tell, just how does one have a personal relationship with an invisible, intangible, weightless, soundless, and scentless critter devoid of any heat signature detectable by NASA?

    Ask Him for it.

    Well, since none of you seem to care enough about my eternal soul to give me a decent reason why I should convert to the One True Faith, I suppose I will go now, and look forward to seeing all my fellow atheists in hell.

    The best reason to convert to the One True Faith is because it is the One True Faith.

  336. Black Jesus
    December 26th, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

    At first i was like this is awesome but theN MY ASSHOLE IS RIPPING!

  337. Robert n G
    December 26th, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    RT, some years ago we bantered a bit in Dawn Eden’s comments. I recall trying to explain to you that I, a perfect stranger, would happily give up this life if I knew for certain that it would result in YOU obtaining eternal life. I meant it.

    I am delighted to have not been put to the test, however.

    Welcome home.

  338. Archie
    December 26th, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    Satan is denied one more certain soul!  Praise be to God!  By your example may more be saved.  Welcome!

  339. TotaTua
    December 26th, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

    WOW, what a Christmas Gift!

  340. Swk6
    December 26th, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

    Any disappointment I had has now given way to sheer joy.  For after reading the comments from your new Xtian fan base, I can only assume you have sentenced yourself to a real life in utter hell.  Have fun with that!!

  341. Mark Shea
    December 26th, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    The clueless way in which so many ruthless, sleepless, humorless, unsmiling and embittered atheists demand (on Christmas Day no less) that you drop everything and compose a Summa Theologiae for them to sneer at an ignore only confirms for me that Vox Day is on to something when he speculates that a great many atheists seem to suffer from some sort of personality disorder that stunts their ability to relate to and receive normal human emotional and social cues.  It’s just not normal to instantly assume you have won some big rational debating point when somebody doesn’t drop what they are doing on Christmas to answer petulant demands in a combox.  There’s a fundamental lack of the virtues the Greeks associated with the chest such as magnanimity and an absurd over-emphasis and self-congratulation on mere rationalism.  The longer I observe the mutually back-slapping herd behavior of Pharyngula types, the more convinced I become that what appears to them to be their vastly superior commitment to “rationality” is simply a sortion of rationalized way of medicating their deep and pervasive inability to relate to normal human beings and gather normal human social cues.  Their brains are no larger than the rest of ours.  It’s their atrophied chests that make it appear so to them.

    Get a clue, kidz:  It’s Christmas.  Normal humans, including a great many non-Christians, are goofing off and having a jolly time, not sweating about how to please some atheist divas in a combox who are, in any case, not actually interested in a word that might be said that challenges their cramped and tiny worldview.  Go drink some egg nog and get a life!

  342. Christina
    December 26th, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

    HUGS! Welcome home, Brother!

  343. Cthulance
    December 26th, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

    Cthulance – Well, wait and see. It’s RT’s conversion, not mine; he may yet explain. If not, it’s his prerogative not to.

    He’s going to have a hard time appealing to anyone who isn’t already credulous without offering up some sort of explanation. But you’re right, it’s his prerogative.

    I think that the reason no explanation has been offered is because deep down RA knows his conversion is indefensible. I’d love to see him prove me wrong.

  344. Cthulance
    December 26th, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

    The clueless way in which so many ruthless, sleepless, humorless, unsmiling and embittered atheists demand (on Christmas Day no less)

    I’m not ruthless, sleepless, humorless, unsmiling, or embittered. Yet I am an atheist. And if I post on Christmas Day, well… it’s probably because I am an atheist and thus don’t feel subject to the magical observances of those who believe in the ancient anonymous writings of patriarchal superstitious sheepherders who had no concept of even the basics of science and consequently, no real technology.

    If RA wants to throw in his lot with that primitive and credulous camp, I’d like to know why–even (perhaps ESPECIALLY) on Christmas Day.

  345. george.w
    December 26th, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

    I’m not at all convinced that RA/RT has converted, but dramatic change is always interesting. As for Christmas day, when it is time for a break from family, some watch a new DVD and some surf the web – nothing wrong with that. It is an asynchronous communication medium after all and RA/RT will get ’round to answering when he’s good and ready.

    Meanwhile, discussion is entertainment for some people.  Chill out, Mark.

  346. Rickey
    December 26th, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

    Hey RT, It’s not too bad if you didn’t get pulled in by fear.

    It’s still irrational, though.

    So, I call POE on your now Christly Saintliness.

    No, nothing else, just Poe.

    Love,

    Rickey

  347. GalapagosPete
    December 26th, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

    GalapagosPete, regarding the Summa, the arguments are based on evidence that anyone can see.

    Afraid not. Aquinas simply assumes the existence of his god and goes from there. Circular reasoning, to say the least.

    Maybe it gets better further on, but I have no intention of reading the whole thing.

    However, you request evidence.  I was wondering if you could please tell me what a drop of evidence for God would look like?  What type thing are you looking for?

    Sure. Repeated events, observed and measured by credible, competent witnesses, that violate the laws of physics and/or biology, that can’t be explained away as coincidence. The moon suddenly speeding up in the sky with no effect on the Earth; every single case of cancer (or any other serious disease) suddenly being cured at the same time all over the planet; chocolate no longer being fattening. Those sorts of things.

  348. GalapagosPete
    December 26th, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

    Mark Shea posts, “The clueless way in which so many ruthless, sleepless, humorless, unsmiling and embittered atheists demand (on Christmas Day no less)…”

    It’s good that Christians are so full of good fellowship, Christians like Carbon Monoxide (interesting name, by the way; how many people die from CO poisoning every year?) who post, “What I am saying (which you giant intellects missed)…” Nothing bitter, unsmiling or humorless there, eh? (Can’t speak to sleepless, and ruthless seems a little harsh.)

  349. Donato Infante III
    December 27th, 2008 @ 12:01 am

    GalapagosPete, to say that he simple asserts the existence of God is not fair to say the least.  That’s Anselm, not Aquinas.

  350. Mark Shea
    December 27th, 2008 @ 12:34 am

    Afraid not. Aquinas simply assumes the existence of his god and goes from there.

    GP:  If you’d stick your head outside the atheist echo chamber, you’d discover that you simply don’t know what you are talking about.  Before taking up the question “Does God Exist?” Thomas takes up the question of whether the existence of God is self-evident.  He answers in the negative: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm#article1  Try to have some idea what you are talking about instead of mindlessly regurgitating what your peer group tells you–especially if you are going to constantly chatter about your superior reasoning abilities.  If you are going to have a superstitious fetish about the three pound piece of meat behind your eyes as magically superior to the rest of nature, you should at least give evidence (that talismanic word!) that you use it.

  351. station agent
    December 27th, 2008 @ 12:46 am

    Good luck in all your metaphysical endeavors.  I wonder though, why must you be so resolute?  You converted once, seems silly to rule out another conversion.  But no matter what you believe, I hope it works out for you.

  352. defaithed
    December 27th, 2008 @ 3:14 am

    @Mark Shea: I liked your rambling longer post so much, I took the liberty of improving it with a few word changes. Enjoy!
     

    The clueless way in which so many ruthless, sleepless, humorless, unsmiling and embittered “believers” demand (on Christmas Day no less) that you drop reason and compose a proof of the Invisible Sky Fairy’s non-existence for them to sneer at only confirms for me that we’re on to something when we speculate that a great many deluded religionists seem to suffer from some sort of personality disorder that stunts their ability to relate to and receive normal human emotional and social cues.  It’s just not normal to instantly assume you have won some big rational debating point when somebody doesn’t drop what they are doing on Christmas to answer petulant demands in a combox.  There’s a fundamental lack of the virtues the Greeks associated with the chest such as magnanimity and an absurd over-emphasis and self-congratulation on mere “because my parents told me so” belief.  The longer I observe the mutually back-slapping herd behavior of fundamentalist types, the more convinced I become that what appears to them to be their vastly superior commitment to a Magic (and oddly Caucasian) Imaginary Friend is simply a sort of un-rationalized way of medicating their deep and pervasive inability to relate to normal human beings and gather normal human social cues.  Their brains are no larger than the rest of ours.  It’s their atrophied chests (under their clutched Holy Books) that make it appear so to them.

    Get a clue, kidz:  It’s Christmas.  Normal humans, including a great many Christians, are goofing off and having a jolly time, not sweating about how to please some genocidal, infanticidal, woman-loathing mythological
    Middle Eastern psychopath in the sky, and who are, in any case, not actually interested in a word that might be said that challenges their cramped and tiny worldview.  Go drink some egg nog and get a life!

     
    There. Thanks for the draft; all it needed was a little editing!
     

  353. Jasper
    December 27th, 2008 @ 3:36 am

    Raving,

    This is wonderful new. God Bless you.

  354. RUGGED IN MONTANA
    December 27th, 2008 @ 4:15 am

    If you’re ever in Montana, my congregation at The Reformed Aryan Church of White Butte would love to have you as a guest, in the spirit of Our Savior. Maybe you’d even join us in our missionary work, which mostly consists of spraying swastikas around town or threatening racially impure folks, I think you’d really enjoy it. Bless you in the name of J*sus and the holy white covenant!

  355. wildlifer
    December 27th, 2008 @ 5:04 am

    I keep coming back to see if this is an awesome Christmas Fool’s Joke …..

  356. Retha
    December 27th, 2008 @ 5:12 am

    Cureholder, post 301: It would seem your deconversion may indeed stem from some traumatic [childhood] event [or series of events] that has caused emotion rather than reason to become the voice you listens to?

    I am sad to hear your story, but do not generalize and tell believers not to have children. Statistics say that religion generally have another effect on children: http://christianrethinker.wordpress.com/2008/11/02/child-abuse/

  357. Frank Oswalt
    December 27th, 2008 @ 6:27 am

    @Retha (#350): In my experience it is a rare thing for Christians to back up their claims with actual research and I applaud you for attempting to do so. On the other hand, I recommend that you read the actual studies discussed in the post you link to. What you will find is that every single one of those studies found a correlation between regular church attendance and things like academic achievement, a positive outlook on life, etc. What they did not find was a correlation between religious beliefs and any of these things. On the contrary, some of these studies found that even conservative evangelical Christian teens diverged radically from the teachings of their church with respect to their belief systems. It seems that the vast majority of “Christian” teens are more appropriately characterized as deists than as Christians. Be that as it may, the studies are also careful to point out that correlation does not imply causation. Regular church attendance may correlate with higher academic achievements because both require a certain degree of discipline, not because church attendance somehow causes higher achievement. Finally, the studies are questionable from a methodological perspective because they are based on self-reports. It is well-known, however, that people do not report their church-going behavior accurately: many more people claim to attend church regularly than actually do so (see for example here: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/quick_question40.html). Thus, all that the studies you link to show is that there is a positive correlation between claiming to attend church regularly and high academic achievements.

  358. Retha
    December 27th, 2008 @ 7:41 am

    Frank
    The first study I quote compare church participation (something religious teens will be more likely to do) with positive outcomes. The second clearly compare Biblical belief to positive outcomes, not, as you claim, attendance. The third and fourth do, as you claim,  compare religious attendance (the former the child’s, the latter the parent’s) to positive outcomes.

    But since the first mean more than attendance, and the second definitely speak of beliefs, not attendace at all, you simply mis-represent if you claim they all correlate “claiming to attend church” with “high academic achievements.”
    What is more, academic achievement is by far not the only positive outcome mentioned.

  359. Retha
    December 27th, 2008 @ 7:43 am

    Oh, and the fifth example also compare beliefs, not attendance, with positive outcomes- not just academic.

  360. Abortion Blogger
    December 27th, 2008 @ 9:54 am

    HA HA HA!

  361. Frank Oswalt
    December 27th, 2008 @ 10:35 am

    @Retha (#352): “The second clearly compare Biblical belief to positive outcomes, not, as you claim, attendance.”

    I would like to see the study itself, but you don’t actually link to it, and from my own web searches it seems that it is not publicly available. However, I am a little bit doubtful that it contains the statistics cited on the site you link to. Even if it does, percentage increases are impossible to interpret meaningfully without the actual numbers and sample sizes. From the press releases that I have seen about the study, it focuses on the role of church activities, just like the other studies. It also finds, just like the first study, that “Christian” teens do not tend to hold Christian beliefs but more generically deist beliefs, and it finds that 2 out of 3 evangelical teens leave their church when they reach adulthood. Also, keep in mind again that all of Barna’s studies are based on self-reports: even if there are correlations of the kind you mention, they are correlations about claims, not behavior: people who claim that they attend church or hold certain beliefs are also more likely to claim that they have a positive attitude to life, that they don’t steal, etc. Hardly surprising, is it?

    @Retha (#353): “Oh, and the fifth example also compare beliefs, not attendance, with positive outcomes- not just academic.”

    That is simply not true: the fifth study you link to focuses largely on involvement in church activities, not on beliefs. Where it does look at beliefs, it correlates them with certain attitudes (whether those are positive is a matter of perspective), not with positive outcomes.

    I have to stress again, I find it highly laudable that you are looking for empirical evidence rather than just making intuitive claims. However, it seems to me that you are reading things into these studies that are not actually in those studies.

    I also have to say that I would not be surprised if church attendance correlated with positive outcomes in other areas of life. No one — theist, deist or atheist — would probably deny that the ritual and the sense of community associated with regular church attendance can have positive effects. I would, however, be very surprised if actual beliefs played any role for positive outcomes. You are, perhaps, aware of the fact that among prisoners, the proportion of people professing Christian beliefs is much higher than in the general population. Does that mean that Christian beliefs are more likely to turn you into a criminal? Personally, I don’t think so, just like I don’t think that Christians are less likely to steal, cheat on exams, etc.

  362. Steve in CO
    December 27th, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    I am pretty sure it isn’t “just me” in saying that the art you chose for this blog entry is at best cheesy.  Jesus as the Anglo-Saxon “surfer dude,” who likes to pet children is not, I’m guessing, what Biblical scholars would contend to be an accurate physical representation of a Middle Eastern Jew of two centuries ago.  But, hey, whatever floats your flip-flops I guess.

  363. Steve in CO
    December 27th, 2008 @ 11:36 am

    Meant two “millennia” ago … stupid brain.  :-P

  364. Lily
    December 27th, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

    It shouldn’t need saying but often does that God is not some sort of self-help aid. We believe because it is true, not because we expect to kick drug habits or lose weight. Of course, orienting one’s life towards truth does always have positive results– and sometimes they are spectacular. But dueling studies prove nothing. The issue is truth which is established on different grounds.
    Mark, I must protest your very mean screed.  As a long time denizen of these here parts, I can assure you that the atheists have greeted RT’s news with all possible civility and graciousness. Possible for them, I mean. You have been justly rebuked by one “defaithed” who has gone out of his way to demonstrate quite remarkable originality of thought in rebutting you.
    Indeed, even as I write, those wacky funsters, the Raving Atheists are preparing to bestow on RT their highest honor, “Shitlord of the Week” embellished by references to and pictures of fecal matter. If that doesn’t refute your charge that they are humorless, could anything?!! Would people suffering from personality disorders be capable of such wit?

    Indeed, I suggest that tears of repentance would be appropriate now. I am sure they will be forthcoming.

  365. Margaret Catherine
    December 27th, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

    Cthulance –

    Saying “I found Jesus but I can’t explain, it’s personal” holds absolutely no appeal to anyone who isn’t given to credulity by default. I do understand how others among the credulous might find it appealing though.”

    Say I read a great novel…an NY Times bestseller; gripping plot, grand drama, tension and intrigue dripping off every page, etc. Being the dutiful sort I am, I then recommend this novel to you and everyone else, enthusiastically telling you why it’s worth dropping everything and rushing out to buy it. Maybe you go to do it, maybe you don’t. However convincing my pitch is, until you go and read the book yourself, you won’t fully grasp what there is to like about it. And even then, you will not enjoy it for exactly the same reasons I do: you may not enjoy it at all, in fact. Your experience will be like mine; it will have things in common, but it will not be mine.

    When it’s an encounter with another person, that’s all the more true. You can tell others all about this great person you met; you can delineate every aspect of your times with that person: why, when, and how you came to be friends with them and what makes them so absolutely wonderful…but until those others actually meet that “great person”, they’ll just nod and smile and say, “Yep, he/she sure sounds great. I’d like to meet him/her someday. I feel as if I know him/her already.”

    It’s not that RT can’t explain his conversion. He could, should he choose to do so. It’s that there is absolutely nothing that can substitute for the one-on-one encounter of persons that is at its core. No amount of ink spilled by RT or any other Christian can explain that, only a like encounter on your part can.

  366. Margaret Catherine
    December 27th, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

    Um, has anybody seen my italics? They seem to have gone missing…

  367. Alex
    December 27th, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

    So, what’s the basis for your change in beliefs? Or was it an emotional rather than rational decision that you’re going to try to rationalize afterwards?

  368. MelanieB
    December 27th, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

    A very Merry Christmas. I’ve suspected for a while, was waiting to see you announce the good tidings. Saying a little prayer for you.

  369. Eva
    December 27th, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

    envious, lily?
    and the highest honor is Shitlord of the YEAR.
    can’t ven get this right. no wonder you never deserved the award….

  370. JaneC
    December 27th, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    I’m glad your rational soul led you finally to the Creator of that soul.  Welcome to the Church.  Your struggles and sufferings will begin in earnest now–being a Christian is rarely easy–but you will have God’s grace to help you bear the burden and the final reward will be worth it.

  371. lol
    December 27th, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    lol

  372. Smellyoldgit
    December 27th, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

    Welcome home – my arse.
    Truly a worthy Shitlord.

  373. Ibod Catooga
    December 27th, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

    Wow, you are a tard.

    And like it in the ass.

  374. Menyambal
    December 27th, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

    I like the twisted little deceiver’s grin on the hairy guy’s face. Another mind lost to the darkness and despair of knee-crawling and delusion.

  375. Abortion Blogger
    December 27th, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

    Oh wow, did she say that?

     “I would love to hear from you and I would also like to service your holy johnson. “- Joann123@hotmail.com

    I thought those good Christian folk didn’t get down like that. 

  376. Legion
    December 27th, 2008 @ 7:36 pm

    There is no Holy Spirit.

  377. Ted L
    December 27th, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

    Unfortunately if you have yoked yourself with the church of the ANTI Christ.  If you accept the authority of Romanism over the authority of Scripture, you MUST reject Scripture to accept Romanism.  Keep that in mind and get hold of a Nelson King James Study Bible…read it, study it, meditate on it, try the teachings of Trent against the clear teaching of the Holy Bible.  Flee Romanism and join a good Bible church:
    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/churchdir/!churches.htm

  378. Cthulance
    December 27th, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    Margaret Catherine wrote:

    It’s not that RT can’t explain his conversion. He could, should he choose to do so.
    It’s that there is absolutely nothing that can substitute for the one-on-one encounter of persons that is at its core.

    Are you implying that RA met Jesus personally?

    You claim it’s not that RA can’t explain his conversion. He could, should he choose to do so.

    When/if he explains it, I’ll evaluate the quality of that explanation and go from there. If he chooses not to do so, there is absolutely no reason for me to take his conversion seriously.

    Based on extensive previous experience, I strongly suspect that TRA has nothing new to add, knows he has nothing new to add, and so chooses to hide behind declarations of faith and cheesy Jesus pics. Again, I’d love for him to prove me wrong.

  379. Jazzdude
    December 27th, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

    Ted L wrote:

    Unfortunately if you have yoked yourself with the church of the ANTI Christ.  If you accept the authority of Romanism over the authority of Scripture, you MUST reject Scripture to accept Romanism.  Keep that in mind and get hold of a Nelson King James Study Bible…read it, study it, meditate on it, try the teachings of Trent against the clear teaching of the Holy Bible.  Flee Romanism and join a good Bible church:

    OK, I’m assuming a POE here, but if not…
    Surely you’re aware that the ‘Catholic” in the creed is a small “c” catholic referring to the universal church, and not the Roman Catholic church?  So TRT’s conversion is not the correct type or context to suit you?  Either you are a Poe or a capricious and hateful person.

    So sorry to see TRA lose his mind.  I hope this is a joke.

  380. george.w
    December 27th, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

    Unfortunately if you have yoked yourself with the church of the ANTI Christ. If you accept the authority of Romanism over the authority of Scripture, you MUST reject Scripture to accept Romanism. Keep that in mind and get hold of a Nelson King James Study Bible…read it, study it, meditate on it, try the teachings of Trent against the clear teaching of the Holy Bible. Flee Romanism and join a good Bible church:

    BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! That’s the problem right there, isn’t it? Not the right version of the corrupted scriptures about the bronze-age legends. For that matter, make sure you get the right edition of the right version of the corrupted scriptures…

    Oh, and be as sure to avoid the modern translations too, even though they are from even earlier manuscripts (though by no means original) than those from which the KJV were wrought, and translated with the benefit of additional centuries of archeology and scholarship.  Nope, it’s the KJV all the way.

    There’s a flavor of Christianity for everyone, and they’re all damn sure they’ve got it right.  And none of them can adequately explain why their religion is any better than the others either.  Ask a devout Muslim why his religion is true… and then get comfortable; it’ll take a while.

  381. Retha
    December 28th, 2008 @ 1:09 am

    Frank, it seems you, I, and the 5 statistical sources can agree that the church do (you may prefer the word “can” to “do”) have a positive impact on young people. “You prefer to believe that all those positive effects come from churchgoing, and not beliefs. Smith and Denton, who did the first study, conclude differently: “Something about religion itself causes the good outcomes for youth.” I would agree that not all the positive effects from church come from different beliefs. But a study like Barna’s (the second study I quote) seems to say that it do make a significant difference.(I do not link to that one because I do not find it on the Internet. But it certainly do compare 7 core Biblical beliefs to attitudes like resentment and lacking purpose, and outcomes like stealing and drug use.)
    Another study I could link to is this one: Churchgoing, as you would agree, and how important the young person find religion, is seperately correlated with positive outcomes. http://www.youthandreligion.org/publications/docs/RiskReport1.pdf
    But if you prefer to believe that none of this stems from actual beliefs, it is your prerogative. Even if the positive effect of church on kids is indirect, it stays a positive effect.
    Frank Oswalt wrote: “You are, perhaps, aware of the fact that among prisoners, the proportion of people professing Christian beliefs is much higher than in the general population.”
    Misuse of one inconclusive set of American prison statistics, while British statistics appear to say something else: http://christianrethinker.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/lies-damned-lies-and-atheists-in-prison/

  382. Sockpuppet
    December 28th, 2008 @ 4:05 am

    I’m not sure who to goad on more, the statistics battlers or the brewing interfaith warriors.

    For the stats battlers, a gold star to whoever figures out, on a scale of strength of religiousity, who has:

    The highest crime rates
    The highest divorce rates
    The highest rates of physical and sexual abuse
    The lowest average IQ
    The lowest average level of education obtained

    For the brewing interfaith warriors, let’s discuss:

    The trinity.
    Transubstantiation.
    The virgin birth.
    Genesis, with special emphasis on the age of the earth and evolution.
    The relative strengths and weaknesses of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Mormonism.
    The Bible’s take on slavery, women’s rights, abortion (find it if you can), and gay rights.
    The Bible’s take on the shape of the earth, the anatomy of insects, the effectiveness of poison on the faithful, and the ease with which mountains can be moved.
    The inerrancy of scripture.
    The requirements for salvation.

    I can see intelligent people having a legitimate debate about deism, but when it comes to Christianity, or any other particular earthly religion that makes particular false truth claims, and is clearly man made, well, it’s not even worth considering.

  383. Frank Oswalt
    December 28th, 2008 @ 4:53 am

    @Retha: Up to now I wasn’t sure whether you are an honest person who simply misunderstands the studies you cite or whether you are twisting them intentionally to fit your preconceived notions. Whichever it is, you keep misrepresenting the studies in question while failing to address the methodological issues I have pointed out. To be clear: Smith and Denton do not talk about beliefs, they talk about religious involvement even in the passage from which you cite.

    No, we do not agree that “church” has a positive impact. I think that any kind of regular, structured activity may have a positive impact. Church attendance may fulfil this function, but not because of the religious beliefs associated with it: as several of the studies you cite state quite clearly, “Christian” teens largely do NOT hold Christian beliefs.

    But I became convinced that you are not an honest person when I read the post you link to in comment #375: First, you reject reliable statistics that quite clearly show that 78.5 per cent of U.S. citizens are Christian, while 16.4 give no religious affiliation (the CIA is not a sufficiently reliable source for you, I guess). Instead you link to a page run by a private individual who simply claims with no evidence whatsoever, that 98% of Americans “believe in God”. Next, you simply claim that the statistics about religious affilliations of American prison inmates are wrong (the Federal Bureau of Prisons is not sufficiently reliable for you either, then). Finally, you claim that there is a British study showing that atheists are overrepresented in British prisons. You do not provide a link (surprise, surprise). From the figures I have found, no such conclusion can be drawn, mainly because British prison inmates do not match the general population very well (they are more likely to be young and male), and a direct comparison of percentages is difficult, but also because the prison statistics I found lump together those with no religion and those who did not specify a religion. I must therefore assume that you are just another liar for Jesus who picks and chooses facts and fiction as you see fit to support your lies. That is a shame, because I would really like to see more evidence-based discussion about the positive and negative effects of religious beliefs, religious involvement, etc.

    Although I am an atheist myself, I have always thought that it would be interesting to investigate the role of religion as a social phenomenon objectively and regardless of the truth of religious beliefs. The studies you link to were interesting in that respect. The twisted conclusions you draw from them are not.

  384. Lily
    December 28th, 2008 @ 8:15 am

    I suspect that I am not alone when I say that I am sick to death of the rudeness and vulgarity of the atheists who infest this place.

     Really, do you atheists see no value in ordinary, everyday civility?  What is it about you people that you feel that you are above the decencies that the rest of us normally observe? Do you talk to you employers like that? Your mothers?  No, you intellectual giants are comment box warriors– and we all tremble in fear, as we are lacerated by your rapier wit and humbled by your superior intellects. 

    You wouldn’t dare express yourselves the way you do here in real life which ought to be a clue. If you need another one, fork over the cash. Only the first one is free.

  385. Michael Bauman
    December 28th, 2008 @ 9:28 am

    Welcome, welcome, RT.  A  thousand welcomes to you.

  386. God is for Suckers! » Blog Archive » And Another One Bites The Dust
    December 28th, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    […] it seems there was an Xmas re-conversion recently – a well-known blogging atheist was ‘born […]

  387. 60613
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:34 am

    I’m dissappointed that you’ve given up reason for fantasy.
    However, we must grasp that which gets us through the dark places.
    I hope your future return to disbelief is not accompanied by too much pain.

  388. 60613
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:36 am

    @ Lily – # 378

    “I suspect that I am not alone when I say that I am sick to death of the rudeness and vulgarity of the atheists who infest this place.”

    We are no more rude nor less polite than are the jesus freaks who infest OUR web sites.

    Casting stones, Lily, will only get you fucked.

  389. george.w
    December 28th, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    I suspect that I am not alone when I say that I am sick to death of the rudeness and vulgarity of the atheists who infest this place.

    I’m sure you are NOT alone, Lily. I’m sure I am not alone when I say I am sick to death of the self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and condemnation-to-hell of Christians who infest the atheist sites I frequent. True they don’t (usually) use naughty language but they are quite comfortable dropping in on a group of atheists who are happily discussing environmental issues or a video game and condemning us all to eternal torture in lurid terms. Occasionally there are even physical threats, which is most unpleasant.

    Perhaps you are not one of those and if not, I congratulate you.  But here you are, as CS Lewis said, confusing refinement with virtue.   In the company of those who are simply not offended by profanity, it is not considered rude to cuss. 

    Everyone has their own style.  For example I use much less profanity online than I do in person.  (Weird, I know) But since you are not a cusser, try to look past the cussin’ to the intended message, if you can.

  390. wildlifer
    December 28th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

    Retha (375),
    Data on inmate religion isn’t of any use since no survey I’ve ever seen indicates when the inmate acquired his/her beliefs. In or out of prison?

  391. lucy
    December 28th, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    Welcome to the world of the mentally ill.

  392. Swk6
    December 28th, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

    Fuck off Lily.

  393. mcthfg
    December 28th, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

    Lily – it’s just that we atheists keep score.  Your religion has killed more people, lied to more people, hurt more people, and financially ruined more people than any other belief system ever created.  You’ve been preaching peace for 2000 years, but you’ve never pulled it off, and you claim a majority of the world’s religious population.

    Your religion didn’t come into being when you found it – it’s been killing people for 2000 years.

  394. Kevin
    December 28th, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

    Your “secret” project with Brian has gone on a little too long don’t you think? 2 & 1/2 years now? And it looks like you have every intention of pushing that to 3.

    You’d think that more atheists would be able to spot a deception when they see it.  I guess human nature is what it is. and atheist doesn’t necessarily mean skeptical.

  395. lily
    December 28th, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

    Lily – it’s just that we atheists keep score.  Your religion has killed more people, lied to more people, hurt more people, and financially ruined more people than any other belief system ever created. 
    This is, soberly speaking, hilarious.

  396. PurpleCar
    December 28th, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

    oh dear god…

  397. Swk6
    December 28th, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

    And you are, soberly speaking, annoying.

  398. Aaron
    December 28th, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

    Welcome!

  399. jurassicpork
    December 28th, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

    Are you fucking serious, dude? Please tell me this is some kind of Jon Swift practical joke.

  400. nkb
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:02 pm

    Carbon Monoxide: “How many books have you written that have been read by billions of people?
    Well?”
    None.  What possible point could you be making with that complete non-sequitur?

  401. nkb
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

    Carbon Monoxide: “What I am saying (which you giant intellects missed) is that you consider Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon history based on one account written well after the event (with no contemporary accounts available) but the Gospel, with thousands of copies available for comparison and research, written by four eye witnesses, is somehow not good enough for you.”
    There are millions of copies of Harry Potter books out there, so I guess the boy wizard exists, and can perform magic.

    “I can’t buy into your blind faith that Jesus didn’t exist.”
    Who said anything about “blind faith”?  Outside of the bible, which is proven to have been written well after the alleged Jesus existed, there is absolutely no evidence of this guy’s existence.  Until there is evidence, there is no reason to believe it.
    “If you were really thinking individuals, you would see that there is far more evidence of Jesus walking on the water, from purely a historical account perspective, than Caesar crossing the Rubicon.”
    Except that nobody fabricated an afterlife, or a family connection to a nebulous omni-everything god-creature, any kind of performed miracles, or, above all, a need to follow a religion stemming from these miracles, to Caesar’s alleged actions.
    Apparently, you’re not much of a thinker yourself.
    “Now, the comment of “how many books have you written” is a reply to the remark made by one of your group suggesting that goat herders wrote the Gospels and therefore it is not worth reading.  If you atheists are so superior to these goat herders, then your resume should be impressive indeed.”
    Using your logic, JK Rowling is a more reliable source than Aquinas or Augustine.  Noted!

  402. gzeuskraiste
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

    Sick Boy: It’s certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life.
    Mark Renton: What do you mean?
    Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed…
    Mark Renton: Some of his solo stuff’s not bad.
    Sick Boy: No, it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it’s actually just shite.
    Mark Renton: So who else?
    Sick Boy: Charlie Nicholas, David Niven, Malcolm McLaren, Elvis Presley…
    Mark Renton: OK, OK, so what’s the point you’re trying to make?
    Sick Boy: All I’m trying to do is help you understand that The Name of The Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.
    Mark Renton: What about The Untouchables?
    Sick Boy: I don’t rate that at all.
    Mark Renton: Despite the Academy Award?
    Sick Boy: That means fuck all. Its a sympathy vote.
    Mark Renton: Right. So we all get old and then we cannae hack it anymore. Is that it?
    Sick Boy: Yeah.
    Mark Renton: That’s your theory?
    Sick Boy: Yeah. Beautifully fucking illustrated.

  403. nkb
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    Drusilla: “The best reason to convert to the One True Faith is because it is the One True Faith.”
    :lol:  Holy Circular Logic, Batman!

  404. Steve in CO
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

    This is fantastic idea… create an obnoxious blog saying I’m an atheist, but yet defend and promote ideas and attitudes commonly associated with theists, and voila!  A winning attention getter… and then, as for the coup de gras (sorry for the franco-speak, damn frog people) pretend (or even real, who cares) to convert to Christianity?!?!  Genius.  Ha, ha.

    /snark

  405. nkb
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    Lily: “We believe because it is true…”
    :lol: Holy Circular Logic, Batman!  Again!  Is there a nest here somewhere.

    “Indeed, even as I write, those wacky funsters, the Raving Atheists are preparing to bestow on RT their highest honor, “Shitlord of the Week” embellished by references to and pictures of fecal matter.”
    Have you talked to your shrink about your unhealthy obsession with the RA forum?  I mean, it’s downright creepy that you would keep coming back to it, despite your revulsion toward it.
    Maybe if you ask Jesus, he’ll tell you to get a life.

  406. nkb
    December 28th, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

    Kim: “The human body. The heavens. A tree. This beautiful  living planet. So many more I could mention. Who came up with such amazing things in their mind, much less created them? Certainly, the ordered intricacy we are all able to see all the way down to the tiniest molecule isn’t by chance. Some Great Mind had to be behind it. It seems so obvious to me.”
    Let’s stipulate your asinine argument from awesomeness, now grace us with the logic that leads you to Yahweh as this being, and not the multitude of other deities, past and present.

  407. Jarnor
    December 29th, 2008 @ 12:37 am

    Perhaps I may likely seem off in my assessment, however here it is.

    If I were to make a joke announcement of my conversion (which is not to say this is, but to postulate) and read what my “friends” really thought of me, I’d be thinking long and hard about my “friends” and their moral guidelines.

  408. totustuusmaria
    December 29th, 2008 @ 1:43 am

    I want to offer you my sincerest best wishes.  I trust that what you have written in “on the level,” since, even though I don’t know you, I’ve read through your blog and I find it all to be quite sensible and well thought out.  You seem like a decent person.  As a Master’s in Philosophy student, I appreciate how what you have written has been with thought and intelligence.  I wish to offer you my prayers and my best wishes in your journey into God.  My experience has told me that it is the best journey than one can possibly make.

  409. Jo
    December 29th, 2008 @ 2:58 am

    Sucker!! LOL!!

  410. Foxfier
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:17 am

    Welcome Aboard.

  411. Lily
    December 29th, 2008 @ 6:40 am

     Jarnor has said a mouthful. One would never guess that  many of these “friends” ranted and raved on RT’s dime for years. 

    It is really peculiar that they are unwilling or unable to shrug and walk away, instead they foam and rage. It is almost as if they were afraid; as I suspect  they are.  Unable to think or express themselves rationally, they are reduced to sputtering vulgarities.  They mistake forbearance for fear and assertion for argument.

    The sad thing is that what we have seen here is all they have to offer. It won’t matter what RT addresses in his blog in the coming weeks and months. We won’t see rational discussion; we will see more of the same.  Hopefully, from fewer of them, though.

  412. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    More like disgusted than afraid, Lily.  And if you want to know what atheists are disgusted about, look here.

  413. ZT
    December 29th, 2008 @ 9:40 am

    Ah the battle of world views. It is such a grand adventure. Ultimately one will be proven right and one false. The problem is which one? Greta Christina has some justification for being angry however her target of her wrath is wrong. And in some cases it is a matter of conflicting opinions. I find it amusing. That many people (athiest, deist, Christian) get angry (or disgusted) at things they hold strongly to yet cannot seem to understand someone may have different ideas. And then in the next breath decry the need of tolerance.

    If you believe in the new usage of the term “tolerance” then your anger is miss placed and unjustified. If you do not believe in “tolerance” or acceptance of different ideas then go ahead and rage! I do. But I don’t believe in “tolerance” (aka accept all things). I believe there is good and evil and I believe in absolutes. Thus my anger is not based on pure feelings but belief that the world is not as G-d intended it to be.

    The Atheist has no footing for rage besides that of how they feel at the moment. They have no absolutes to base their angry from and thus no justification. Where one can look at an horrible event the one atheist can say that was sad, another would weep, and yet another would laugh. But non could be rebuked. If a Christian soldier denies an atheist soldier his rights then I can rebuke the Christian and point to G-d’s word for justification.

    The Atheist has no such basis for rebuke. One could say the right should be taken away from the Christian and another say no. But neither would be right or wrong in their eyes.

  414. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:00 am

    Well ZT, ain’t you special?  How do you stay balanced on the lofty perch from which you type? 

    But I don’t believe in “tolerance” (aka accept all things). I believe there is good and evil and I believe in absolutes. Thus my anger is not based on pure feelings but belief that the world is not as G-d intended it to be.

    What a fine justification for oppression, and a strawman to boot!  Nobody is pitching for ‘accept all things’.  More like ‘live and let live’, which Christians have long demonstrated an unwillingness to do as Prop 8 has recently shown. 

    And nobody is talking about restricting Christians’ rights either.  Just keeping them from restricting the rights of others.  You have the right to believe whatever the hell you want, and to practice your religion your own way, but not the right to force it on others by law. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said; “Your right to swing your fist ends at the other fellow’s nose.”

    Opposing oppression is not intolerance of others; quite the opposite.

  415. K T Cat
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    Having read a great deal of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, let me be so bold as to suggest what those two learned scholars would have said had they read this post.

    “YAY!”

    Welcome to a wonderful world, amigo!  Your courage in posting your conversion story is an inspiration to us all.

  416. nkb
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:24 am

    Lily: “One would never guess that  many of these “friends” ranted and raved on RT’s dime for years.”
    Relevance?

    “It is really peculiar that they are unwilling or unable to shrug and walk away, instead they foam and rage.”

    Holy self-pwnage, Batman!  Are you seriously talking about an unwillingness or inability to walk away from something?
    Is the same Lily that still, to this day, can’t stay away from the RA forum?  Self-awareness is not, and has never been, your strength.

    But to answer your question, maybe it has something to do with the misleading nature of his blog, where he is still posting on ravingatheist.com, complete with all the old items that would imply atheism, while loudly proclaiming that he is a Christian.
    In addition, it is always sad to see a seemingly intelligent person fall prey to the zombie worshippers such as yourself.  Would you “foam and rage” if someone you liked or respected was duped into joining a cult (say a Jim Jones like group), or would you just walk away?

    “It is almost as if they were afraid; as I suspect  they are.”

    And in all those years that you were “forced” to read and post in the RA forum, you learned jackshit, apparently.

    What exactly would atheists be afraid of?  If we were afraid that your fairy tale is true, why would we deny it?  What possible purpose would that serve, and what sense would that make?

    “Unable to think or express themselves rationally, they are reduced to sputtering vulgarities.  They mistake forbearance for fear and assertion for argument.
    The sad thing is that what we have seen here is all they have to offer. It won’t matter what RT addresses in his blog in the coming weeks and months. We won’t see rational discussion; we will see more of the same.  Hopefully, from fewer of them, though.”

    Actually, all the rational arguments, that have been repeated ad nauseam, fall on deaf ears, as you have aptly demonstrated.  At some point, we give up on trying to rationally discuss with willful ignoramuses such as you, and just give in to ridiculing.

  417. Alan
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:28 am

    God bless you. Welcome home.

  418. Now the Raving Theist « A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:50 am

    […] Christ is the Lord : The Raving Theist […]

  419. Edmund
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:52 am

    Congratulations, man.  I hope this brings you abundant peace.

    Edmund

  420. Jesus was gay
    December 29th, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

    a sucker is born every minute

  421. Unspeakably Violent Jane
    December 29th, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    When do we get the new assumptions?

  422. John
    December 29th, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

    Welcome home.  May the lord be with you.

  423. Lily
    December 29th, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

    GW-
    I meant to respond to what you wrote sooner but have been hampered by both a very slow and dying computer and uncertainty about how much I want to say– knowing as I do that it will do no good.  Heaven knows, there is enough vitriol here to float a boat and anything I say will simply provoke more. Still, I have access to a much more powerful computer at the moment and so will take the opportunity.  (Heaven knows if the HTML I am going to try to use to create white space will work. If not? C’est la vie. [p]

    You wrote:
    … I’m sure I am not alone when I say I am sick to death of the self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and condemnation-to-hell of Christians who infest the atheist sites I frequent. True they don’t (usually) use naughty language but they are quite comfortable dropping in …  and condemning us all to eternal torture in lurid terms. Occasionally there are even physical threats, which is most unpleasant.[p]
    There are nuts on both sides of the divide. Who doubts it? Certainly there is nothing like the Internet for bringing out the hormonally challenged teenaged males in droves and, unfortunately, their socially mal-adjusted adult counterparts (and it is primarily males who are the worst offenders). This, however, is not an excuse for boorish, anti-social behavior.  The atheist’s absurd belief that  his moral and intellectual superiority entails permission to flail and spew creates a toxic brew. 

    You wrote further:  … But here you are, as CS Lewis said, confusing refinement with virtue.   In the company of those who are simply not offended by profanity, it is not considered rude to cuss. 
    [p]
    This is hilarious. Can you really suppose that I am referring to a “damn” here and an “oh hell” there? That’s cussin’! What we are seeing here is dysfunctional, anti-social thinking and vulgarity (in its original meaning of “low-class” or “ill-bred”) of expression. Let’s take a look at a small sample, shall we? [p]

    –You used to have a brain, or at least seemed like it. 
    –It’s sad so see someone who’s too tired or scared to keep thinking. Have fun with your death cult.
    –Good riddance, imbecile.
    –If I ever get an abortion, I’ll dedicate it to you. Enjoy the vapid, glassy-eyed company, moron.
    –Without even meeting you I can tell that you have the personality construct of an addict which is evident in your see-sawing from one extreme to another. You were a crappy atheist to begin with. Enjoy your mindless devotion to Jebus and the Deathcult.
    –Do you now do anal raving theist?
    [p]

    You are right when you say that everyone has his own style.  But can you, in all honesty, call this anything other than  anti-social spewing by misfits? Is this how normal people relate to others? 

    In my definitely not  humble opinion, this is devolution in progress.

  424. Beau
    December 29th, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

    Thank you Lord Jesus for bringing new life.

    God bless and refresh you.

  425. Gail F
    December 29th, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

    Welcome home!

    BTW, I have never said or thought as many awful things about atheists as many of the atheists are saying about the RT and about Christians here. Rave on, folks. Entertain yourselves. And if this did turn out to be a prank? At least it will have been interesting to see who is being hateful and who isn’t.

  426. XaurreauX
    December 29th, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

    Assuming this is not a hoax, I’m just curious to know what swayed you to believe that a particular religion is the “answer?” How can you know that the non-falsifiable claims of one religion are “true” as opposed to the same type of claims made by any other religion? What element(s) made it real for you that you weren’t aware of before?

  427. Lynne
    December 29th, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    Welcome aboard, Raving Theist!

  428. JoAnna
    December 29th, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

    Interesting that no one has yet responded to Jarnor’s comments. If this is all a big colossal practical joke perpetuated by TRA, perhaps he perpetuated it in order to see what his friends really think of him. Most, sadly, have proven to be “fair-weather friends” — i.e., you like him as long as he agrees with you, but the second he stops, he’s suddenly persona non grata.  And yet atheists accuse Christians of being hypocritical.

    I think there are hypocrites on both sides of the spectrum, myself. It’s a human nature problem as opposed to one that’s unique to atheism or Christianity.

    The funny part about this combox — and I mean “funny sad” as opposed to “funny ha-ha” — is that the rage of the atheists is in total opposition to the “live and let live” philosophy that they claim to espouse. If we’re all just worm food eventually, who cares what we do in this life? Christian, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Morman, whatever — we’re all going to die eventually, and that’s the end of it. Finito. Nothing more. Who cares what we do in this life if what we do has absolutely no bearing on what comes after? It’s not like we will remember anything or suffer any negative repercussions because of it.

    So, to TRA’s atheist friends, just live and let live. If TRA chooses to be Christian, who cares? We’re all just worm food anyway.

  429. Jahrta
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

    Lily, how many times would you be bothered to calmly and rationally explain something – anything – to a retard before realizing that they’re never going to hear your words and let them sink in, andjust saying “fuck it”? Despite your much-flaunted edumacation and whatever apparent advantage you think you’ve garnered by having spent more time on this earth than some of us (myself included), you really have only managed to display an unquenchable thirst for ridicule as anyone can see through the majority of your astonishingly insipid comments. You serve as the example that proves the rule that not all religious people lack the wherewithal to form a sentence, but you effectively manage to tie a noose around your neck with every self-righteous and ignorant word you spew. You invite our ridicule, spite and vitriol upon yourself more than a slack-jawed yokel with his overalls coated in an inch-thick layer of cow shit who keeps stepping on a rake, slamming the pole into your head with bonecrunching velocity. What’s more, you seem to relish in it like a two-dollar whore in a golden shower.

  430. RJ Chavez
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

    Nice to see you put the reason that God provided you toward the eminently just and rational act of submitting, worshipping, and adoring the one, true, living God. It’s as it should be. Who’s next?

  431. Tony
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

    RT, truly great news.

    Deo Gratias

    But I think we’re going to have to contact the Vatican to perform the rite of exorcism on your blog.  There seems to be a spate of pea-soup-puking and 360 degree head turning here. :)

    (I wonder if they can do it remotely.)

  432. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

    Well, Lily, I guess that answers my wondering if you can separate content from style; you can’t.  They may not be expressing themselves nicely, but it’s because they have had enough of being preached at.

    I can’t speak for all atheists, of course.  But the point isn’t so much that atheists are morally superior as that Christians are NOT, as they so fondly suppose, morally superior.  And it’s no good saying; “Christians are not perfect, only forgiven,” either.  Christian political leaders think nothing of attributing to atheists the most vile of intentions, which is a whole different can of tuna from vile language.    A sitting US president once opined that atheists should not be considered patriots or citizens.  Atheists were the boogie-man in a number of political races this fall.   All because, try as we might, we look at the world and just cannot bring ourselves to believe in a god.

    Every time someone says they are a ‘values voter’ (to mean, against gays and abortion, and in favor of forcing their religion on school children) they lay claim to the whole concept that only their “values” matter, deliberately excluding those with humanistic values.  It was theists, believers in God, who seek even now to forcibly divorce eight thousand of their fellow Americans in California because they don’t like something that is none of their business anyway.

    What kind of response do you expect, to sanctimonious assault on liberty, to moral presumption, to telling someone that an unprovable, omnipotent being hates them enough to send them to eternal torture unless they profess devotion to Him? (always a Him, and don’t even try to call that “love”)

    Give me foul-mouthed honest vitriol anyday.  It is an appropriate response to the sweet, kindly hate that we’ve come to expect from Christians.

    In my life, I’ve learned that there is zero correlation of the language people use to how trustworthy they are.  Well, that’s not quite true; I have learned to be wary if someone goes out of their way to advertise that they are a Christian before the greeting is finished.

  433. Pansy Moss
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:54 pm
  434. Pansy Moss
    December 29th, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

    Oops, here.

  435. deb
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    What I don’t understand about all the venom being spewed here is why the animosity towards one who is simply exercising free will in choosing what to believe?

    As a Christian I cringe often when I see how some of my faith interact with others, especially those of the non-believing variety. Holier-than-thou looks good on no one, and Jesus himself spoke out sharply against such self-righteousness.

    I can’t help but get a sense of this same type of self-righteousness from many of the comments left here by those who are atheists.  Surely you have as much right as I to believe as you will. I feel no need to scold, judge or harshly condemn the path you have chosen–but your anger towards one who has deviated from your familiar paths is shocking.

    If you are concerned for the one who has converted to Christianity, that’s one thing. But to blast  so harshly makes me think there is merely indignation and offense that someone dares to think for themselves.

  436. Unspeakably Violent Jane
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    Who are you addressing deb?  Do you feel that I am being venomous.  That is not my intent.

    A former atheist made a public announcement on a once atheist blog about his switch to theism.   It would odd if people didn’t have something to say about it.   If a theist – say Dawn – announced her new found atheism, wouldn’t you have some questions.

  437. deb
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

    I wasn’t singling anyone out with my comments–there would be too many to mention.

    I get why there is a strong reaction to the announcement that this blog owner has converted from Atheism to Christianity–and of course, as you pointed out, there would be a big hoopla over the reverse happening.

    It’s the hatefulness of a good portion of these comments that has me so surprised. If anyone sincerely believes this person to be heading down the wrong road, why not attempt to kindly woo him back? Or is the belief system more important than the individual?

  438. Unspeakably Violent Jane
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

    I’m betting if the reverse were true, you’d have some really angry people – say people who purchased Dawn’s book or made a donation to Katrina at her urging, or who had been contributing comments to her blog for a long time.  It being a woman’s site the vitrol might be expressed differntly, still… 

    There would be some people that thought she was having a bad day…and many here wonder if this is one of RA’s pranks or if he did it for a woman or please family.

    And then you would have people like me who are curious and waiting, and would be concerned if this was some kind of breakdown, but as yet we don’t have any information.

    Maybe he’s lonely and faith is a small price to pay for nice company, or maybe he can’t fly without a net, or maybe he has an addictive personality and this fills the niche in a non chemical way, or maybe he saw a vision in his toast, or maybe he’s planning to run for office.

    Only the blogger knows.

  439. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

    If we’re all just worm food eventually, who cares what we do in this life? Christian, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Morman, whatever — we’re all going to die eventually, and that’s the end of it. Finito. Nothing more. Who cares what we do in this life if what we do has absolutely no bearing on what comes after? It’s not like we will remember anything or suffer any negative repercussions because of it.

    Spoken like a true selfish bastard.  No, I won’t suffer any negative repercussions, because I’ll be dead.  How strange that I should care about my children, my grandchildren, and the grandchildren of people I’ve never met. 

    For the umpteenth time, atheism does not presuppose nihilism. That is a misconception – a lie, actually – promulgated by religionists who can’t see any reason for morality unless there’s a sky daddy making them be moral.

    If nothing else (and this is just a starting point) I would prefer to live in a world where people can be trusted, where the water is clean, there’s plenty to eat, diseases can be cured, and the air is breathable.  For that to happen, everyone has to think about the welfare of the other guy.  We are our brother’s keepers.  Near as I can tell, a large subset of the Christian community stands next to Cain and denies any responsibility for others.

  440. shader
    December 29th, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

    @ Albert (234)

    Albert, abandon your assumption of an omniscient outside observer for a second. Now, from this perspective, how would a non-determinable existence differ from a non-determined one from the point of view of those experiencing it? Could they even be differentiated in principle?

    Care to outline how your dualist alternative works?

  441. Lily
    December 29th, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

    GW: Like most people, I can separate content from style– when there is content present. There isn’t any in the spewing here.  A basic modicum of civility is necessary in order to acknowledge  the humanity of  the “other” and make any sort of common life (i.e. community) possible. Those incapable of it are incapable of responsible citizenship.  

    In fact, you are all over the board in your apologia. Most of  your examples are drawn from the political realm, where your (plural) views are taking a beating. Even if the majority of those who are pro-life and against gay “marriage” are religious people, there are perfectly reasonable arguments to be made on secular grounds against them.

    It sounds very much like you are justifying the anti-social spewing I have been rebuking here, on the ground that you can’t get your way politically.  It must be tough to be a minority that holds unpopular opinions but the alternative to messy democracy is not palatable.

    While
    I share your revulsion for politicians who cynically use “values” talk and take positions they have no intention of actually supporting, once in office, that does not justify your attempts to demonize individuals and particularly not RT, who provided and paid for one of the most free-wheeling forums on the Internet for these folks. Most normal people, having gotten to know their host in some small way, could be expected to be a little bit more forbearing and a little bit more generous than the folks here have been (with one notable and noble exception). 

    And, finally, the last time I did the research, the accusation that Bush Uno had claimed that atheists shouldn’t be citizens looked very much like an urban legend. At that time (ca. 2 years ago) no one had found any actual documentation for the episode– only a claim by someone that  Mr. Bush had said it.  You might want to see if things have changed, since then.

  442. angele
    December 29th, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

    Late in 05 and early in 06, I just knew in my heart that this day would come. You have been too kind, loving  and honorable, for Christ not to be at work within you.
    Christ’s Peace,
    Angele

    PS. This has truly made my Christmas complete.

  443. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

    Lily, I have looked into Bush Sr’s disdain for atheists; it is consistent with other statements he has made and it was “clarified” by a spokesman.  I think he just has, or had, a (very common) blind spot about atheists, based on stereotypes as bad people.

    Other than using bad words in the presence of your delicate hearing, has an atheist ever harmed you, as a function of their atheism?  Tried to invalidate your marriage?  Tried to mis-educate your children in science?  Used your tax dollars to convert soldiers to atheism? 

    And yes, most of my examples are drawn from the political realm.  I have no interest in making you disbelieve God, only in getting Christians to respect the rights of others.  Scratch a social-conservative agenda and you get religion, most of the time.

    I think you are confusing democracy with the tyranny of the majority.  And no, I am not ‘excusing’ the pique of atheists responding here.  But when you and Deb, for examples, say that you just don’t get atheist anger, you are telling the absolute truth; you don’t get it.  Try being the minority and having a sanctimonious majority telling YOU to chill out and see how you like it.  You would probably have thoughts that, through lack of practice with being forthright, you don’t know how to express or may not express constructively.

  444. Jesus saves (by clipping valuable coupons) « Deadly Stealth Frogs
    December 29th, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    […] last week when the accurately named blogger 1 The Raving Atheist, two days before Christmas, announced his conversion to Catholicism.  Predictably half his readers greeted the news with shock and anger, while the other half greeted […]

  445. Albert
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

    Shader writes:


    Albert, abandon your assumption of an omniscient outside observer for a second. Now, from this perspective, how would a non-determinable existence differ from a non-determined one from the point of view of those experiencing it? Could they even be differentiated in principle?”

    I suppose the same way most of physics works now.  Physics is essentially based on mathematical equations.  We hope that mathematics is consistent.  We know that this consistency is non-determinable (Godel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem) but we assume it is determinate.  If religion is faith in things not provable, then not only is anything based on mathematics (and hence most of science) a religion, but it is the only religion that can prove itself to be a religion.

  446. Ellyn
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

    What a divine difference a (lost) A makes!   :)

  447. JoAnna
    December 29th, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

    The funny thing is, george.w, that whether you are a Christian or an atheist won’t really have an effect on your children or grandchildren, at least according to what you say. We’re all just worm food, so what does it matter?

    All laws are forcing morality upon someone. There are those in this world who think it’s perfectly okay to beat one’s spouse — and when we make laws against that, we’re enforcing our morality upon them.

    You can complain all you want about how Christians allegedly force (or try to force) their morality upon others, but it’s an empty argument since you also force your morality upon others every day if you’re against such things as rape, domestic violence, and so forth. If you’re pro-abortion, you’re forcing your morality upon the unborn.  If we were to refuse to force any morality upon anyone else, it’d end in anarchy.

    Also, george.w, perhaps the reason that people so often equate atheism with nihilism is because there are so many nihilistic atheists.  I, frankly, don’t see any reason for morality if there is no God. Why should you care about your children, grandchildren, and the children of others? We’re all just worm food in the end. Anything you do or left undone will ultimately not mattera whit. After all, what’s the point of doing anything we don’t want to do in this life if we’re all just going to die anyway?

  448. Dean Steinlage
    December 29th, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

    Welcome. Glad you’re here.

  449. george.w
    December 29th, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

    After all, what’s the point of doing anything we don’t want to do in this life if we’re all just going to die anyway?

    I guess there’s not much point in trying to explain it to someone who thinks that the only possible morality comes from a made-up being. If you think most atheists are nihilistic, you aren’t paying attention.  Google “humanism” to find out more.

    My standard reply is that if religious belief is the only thing that keeps you from stealing and killing, then by all means, keep believing. But the rest of us can look around and find other reasons to be moral. 

    As for laws forcing morality; sure.  But the US constitution requires a secular, universal justification for a law.  By that rubric, it’s easy to come up with secular reasons not to steal, not to murder, not to bear false witness.  You ‘god says so’, ain’t enough.  ‘Lot harder to come up with secular reasons to demand that marriage fit into a narrow envelope, or for the state to prefer one religion over another.

    Obviously, you’re stuck in the majority mindset; no need for you to think any further.  So I declare you the victor.

  450. Pauli
    December 29th, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

    Hey, brother, I just heard about you from Susan B and I’m happy for you. Some people here obviously aren’t thrilled, but God ultimately gets what he wants and he is going to get a lot of them to just like he tracked down you and me. Welcome to the faith, my friend. Keep on raving for Him.

  451. Brennon
    December 30th, 2008 @ 2:36 am

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve run across your blog, and I am very happy to see you’ve recently come to Christ.  Praise God! The angels are rejoicing in heaven and I am rejoicing here on earth.  Welcome home, brother!

  452. Cristina A. Montes
    December 30th, 2008 @ 4:18 am

    To Raving Atheist turned Raving Theist:  Welcome to a wider and more exciting world! It’s not easy being a believer, but “a hundredfold and life everlasting” in return doesn’t look like a poor bargain.

  453. IngoB
    December 30th, 2008 @ 5:10 am

    Congratulations to your conversion from a fellow ex-atheist (well, ex-apatheist would be more accurate). God bless. I hope you develop better taste in religious art, though… ;)

    Hey, atheists, lighten up? Too much vitriol really smacks of insecurity. You may be justified in worrying about your religious freedom (at least in the US, in Europe it’s more the believers who may worry). But going ape-shit on a recent convert isn’t defending that cause at all! Instead it just looks like a lame attempt at teen / sophomoric peer pressure.

    Lots of intelligent, educated people have been, are, and will be found on both sides: theist and atheist. That’s reality (for the past and present: fact, for the future: prediction with high likelihood). The quality of discussion would improve markedly if everyone kept that in mind.

  454. Michale
    December 30th, 2008 @ 8:25 am

    First, let me say welcome.  As you have seen peoples reactions can be all over the board.  It is really sad the people turn on you for your beliefs, but alas, that is the world we live in.  You seem to have “chosen” some good points of contact as you begin your journey, and I am sure you realize that it is just a journey.  You will be remember in my prayers as well as many others I am sure.  Take care and good luck on your journey and with the blog.  I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  455. Irreligious
    December 30th, 2008 @ 9:25 am

    Margaret  Catherine wrote:
    “… No amount of ink spilled by RT or any other Christian can explain that, only a like encounter on your part can.”

    In that respect, I suppose that being a Christian is a lot like being a Muslim,  a Scientologist, an adherent  of Santeria or any other faith-based belief system, in that you have to either be willing or predisposed to make that leap of faith. And if you are not, well, no amount of explanation will do.  Hmm?

  456. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    Jarnor and JoAnna (and anyone else who thought Jarnor had a valid point):
    .
    I believe the majority of atheists that are posting here only know RT from his blog, and it would be a stretch to call them friends.  Therefore, your “test” of friendship is flawed from the start.

    Personally, I don’t know anything about RT himself, short of what I’ve read on his blog.  The fact that I used the forum attached to his blog does not obligate me in any way to kiss his ass, or refrain from calling him out on what I think is a rationally indefensible position.

    I would hope that if I did something similar, all my rational friends and acquaintances would do the same.

  457. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 10:35 am

    Gail F: “I have never said or thought as many awful things about atheists as many of the atheists are saying about the RT and about Christians here.”
    .
    But do you believe that we will burn in hell for all eternity?  Personally, I can’t come up with anything that I could possibly post that would be more vile than that.

  458. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 10:41 am

    george.w,
    Just to fill you in on the big, fat blowhard called Lily: you have pegged her quite accurately.  She has never been able to separate content from style, always crying about the “bad” language, while managing to spew far more evil thoughts than we could ever come up with, all without the aid of swearing.

  459. SteveG
    December 30th, 2008 @ 10:49 am

    But do you believe that we will burn in hell for all eternity?  Personally, I can’t come up with anything that I could possibly post that would be more vile than that.

    We simply do not know, and we are in fact enjoined not to speculate (judge not, lest ye be judged).  The state of your soul is between God and you alone. 

    Also, no one here has told you for a fact that they think you are going to hell.  So it is a false equivalence between written vitriol against The Raving Theist, and unwritten vitriol that you assume on our part .

  460. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 11:03 am

    SteveG,
    With all due respect, I wasn’t asking you, I was asking Gail F.
    .
    I don’t imagine that you would presume to speak for all Christians on what they think the afterlife is like, would you?
    .
    I realize that nobody has specifically stated that atheists are going to hell, which is why I asked the question.

  461. Irreligious
    December 30th, 2008 @ 11:10 am

    Steve G wrote:
    “We simply do not know, and we are in fact enjoined not to speculate (judge not, lest ye be judged).  The state of your soul is between God and you alone. ”

    With all due respect, Steve G, yours is not a position that is assumed by all Christians. I’ve encountered many who have no compunction about judging others and attempting to proscribe the  rights of others and who insist that others  be held accountable to their religious belief system. I have met some who announce with great certainty those they believe are bound for hell. You may disagree with these people, but that does not stop them from doing it all the same. And when they do it, well, I find it offensive. Apparently, those Christian folks don’t care.

  462. SteveG
    December 30th, 2008 @ 11:34 am

    I realize that nobody has specifically stated that atheists are going to hell, which is why I asked the question.

    Fair enough.  Your follow up to the question seemed to imply that you already had the answer, but I’ll take you at your word that you were sincerely asking.

    And when they do it, well, I find it offensive.

    Can you explain this to me? Why would you be offended by something you consider to be a fairy tale?  I am not offended when a non-believer tells me there’s no afterlife.  I disagree, but I am not offended. 

    I would rather think that laughter should be your response to someone telling you such a thing.

  463. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 11:57 am

    SteveG,
    I am well aware that Christians have widely differing opinions of what the afterlife is like (no doubt in part to the everchanging interpretation of the Bible by the churches), which is why I was asking her to clarify.
    The following statement was conditional on her answer, and the fact that there is a decent chance that she is part of the group that does believe that.

  464. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

    SteveG,
    Would it be reasonable for a black person to be offended if someone states that all niggers are going to hell because they are not part of the chosen white race?  Or should he/she just laugh?

    Is it possible to be offended by something that has absolutely no basis in reality?

  465. Caesar
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

    You are witness to a fundamental difference in the treatment you get from atheists vs. theists here.

    If you abandon God, you don’t lose all your friends and commenters – they simply pray for you and hope you come back to the truth.

    If you abandon atheism, you get called an idiot, a Kool-Aid drinker, deluded, insane and a whole host of other unsavory things.

    You atheist folks should go to YouTube and search for where Penn Gillette videoblogged about receiving a Bible from a fan. He’s still a diehard atheist, but he understands the message and appreciates the gesture even though he thinks it is meaningless. You should check it out.

  466. SteveG
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

    Would it be reasonable for a black person to be offended if someone states that all niggers are going to hell because they are not part of the chosen white race?  Or should he/she just laugh?
    By the derogatory word referring to skin color yes.  To the hell part…if a believer yes, if a non-believer, I’d think not.
    Is it possible to be offended by something that has absolutely no basis in reality?
    Sure, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s like me taking offense when someone says the tooth fairy is not bringing me money for a lost tooth.  Why would I take offense at that?
    I’d think this is the equivalent for you.  At least that’s how it’s been presented.

  467. Irreligious
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

    Steve G wrote:
    Can you explain this to me? Why would you be offended by something you consider to be a fairy tale?  I am not offended when a non-believer tells me there’s no afterlife.  I disagree, but I am not offended. 
    I would rather think that laughter should be your response to someone telling you such a thing.”

    Sometimes laughter is my honest reaction, but often that is a luxury because, as an atheist, I am a minority and the point of view that I am deserving of such a thing as eternal torment is a prevailing one.

     And often, holding that point of view is not as benign as you may think. If someone honestly thinks another is deserving of hell, there tend to be other manifestations of that belief beyond merely voicing it, ostracism,  forced conversion or threat of bodily harm being at the extreme end of those reactions.

    Imagine being held captive  in an environment surrounded by Muslims who took whatever opportunity was available to them to tell you that you were going to hell. How long do you think that would be amusing to you.

    In other  words, a Christian in the U.S.  telling me that I am going to hell is not quite the same benign thing as a Raelian telling me that I won’t be beamed up to the planet Remulac if I don’t attone. 

  468. Jahrta
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

    Caesar – you just don’t get it. This guy blogged for years about atheism and provided a place for reasoned, rational discourse. It was an oasis of free thought and expression, and a much-needed one at that. If you review the older posts that vast majority were well-written and in-depth. Then some two years back or thereabout, he became increasingly irrational and veered way off track until we were graced with this conversion non-story (because there’s nothing really there – no explanation, no punch line). It was like watching someone slowly decay. He used to have a gift for satire and it would appear he’s currently using it to wipe his ass. That’s why some of us are mad or severely disappointed, to say the least. If he’s serious, he should share the reasons behind his conversion story, and if not, it’s just stupid. It goes way beyond being simply unfunny into the realm of pitiful.

  469. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

    Irr,
    This is what TRT posted:
    “I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy Catholic Church…”
    Based on the capitalization of “Catholic”, I assumed he was talking about the RCC.

  470. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    Caesar, what I notice is the Tribalism. 

    Each time a theist posts an atheist responds TO THAT PERSON, but most of the theist posters address the atheists as though we were a team, rather than individuals, and most are also careful to step over any direct questions.

    From my perspective it appears frightened a shrill.

  471. SteveG
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

    In other  words, a Christian in the U.S.  telling me that I am going to hell is not quite the same benign thing as a Raelian telling me that I won’t be beamed up to the planet Remulac if I don’t attone.

    I get your point in the larger sense, but not in the particular. 

    Where are atheists in the U.S. experiencing widespread violence, or threats of bodily harm at the hands of Christians?  Ostracism? Maybe at the hands of a particular family or community, but not a societal level.

    Even the most vile people calling themselves Christians (Fred Phelps) typically at most hold up signs with ugly words on them.

  472. Jahrta
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    SteveG – I’ve often thought that you were a well-reasoned, rational and logical poster, and I usually find myself agreeing with the sentiment, if not always the content, of your posts. I think the only real thing we’ve disagreed about (aside from that whole pesky “god” thing) was abortion. That having been said, if all other theists were like you,  dare say the majority of atheists would rejoice, but I think if you take a good, hard look at your surroundings, you’ll find the true face of theism. It isn’t anywhere near as cherubic and enlightened as your own.

  473. Caesar
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

    UVJ said “Each time a theist posts an atheist responds TO THAT PERSON, but most of the theist posters address the atheists as though we were a team, rather than individuals, and most are also careful to step over any direct questions.

    I agree with your tribalism statement. I do however wish to point out that theists by and large refer to the atheist community as “atheists” and “nonbelievers” with a few exceptions. Since we theists get swept into a pile in many cases it’s simply a reaction to those who lump me in with everyone else who professes to believe in a God. However, how many nicknames are there for theists in the nonbelieving community? Theists don’t really have an atheist equivalent for “fundy” or worse. I don’t see the hatred coming from theists that I do atheists or anti-theists.

    Jharta, I understand that this blog has been a beacon for some and the disappointment at what you see as an irrational defection, but the vitriol poured out over the author is not justified in my opinion. You may be dismayed at his choice, but abusing him because of it? How is that right, by anyone’s definition?

    I don’t agree with atheism, but I don’t viciously attack people who don’t believe in God, in fact I enjoy talking with them and debating them. It can get heated, but I don’t question the validity or sanity of my opponents when they disagree with me.

    A Christian calling for a return to reason, how unusual is that? Heh.

  474. Irreligious
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

    It is clear to me that you do not understand my particular point of view, Steve G. Perhaps, that is because you are not living it.

    Typically, I do not put myself in a position to test the tolerance of Christians outside of the Internet. I’m no fool.

    I know that I am not free to be as outspoken about my nonbelief as the average Christian is about his or her general  belief in a triumvirate deity. It’s far too threatening and, as such, an invitation for retaliation. So, generally, like most atheists, I hide in plain view if I don’t want to spend the bulk of my nonvirtual  life fighting, like I do on the Internet.

  475. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

    Since we theists get swept into a pile in many cases it’s simply a reaction to those who lump me in with everyone else who professes to believe in a God. However, how many nicknames are there for theists in the nonbelieving community? Theists don’t really have an atheist equivalent for “fundy” or worse

    Point taken.

    A Christian calling for a return to reason, how unusual is that

    Except that you aren’t asking for reason, you are asking for courtesy.  Not that keeping the debate on a higher plane isn’t of great value in keeping the ball rolling and minds working…

  476. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    December 30th, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

    Jesus RT, we can’t even use blockquote?

  477. Nina
    December 30th, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    I’m happy for you, truly, but I am also afraid…

    I’ve had such horrific experiences with converts that I fear you’ll turn into one of those awful, completely certain, clueless, insensitive, hateful so-called Christians…

    Just get it right…that’s all…just get it right and don’t become one of those stupid, small, mean, judgmental, cruel, heartless people. 

    The world has more than enough of those already, happily, stupidly doing Satan’s work…

  478. Rachael C.
    December 30th, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

    Raving (a)Theist, I’lll always respect your pro-life views, but I’m dissapointed that you’ve given in to the false hopes and lies of religion

  479. Drusilla
    December 30th, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

    But the US constitution requires a secular, universal justification for a law.

    Huh? Please provide the quote from the United States constitution. I certainly can’t find it.

  480. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

    SteveG: “By the derogatory word referring to skin color yes.  To the hell part…if a believer yes, if a non-believer, I’d think not.”
    Why is the term “nigger” offensive?  It just shows that the one using the word is racist, and believes black people to be lesser people.  Since that’s not true, why not just laugh it off?
    .
    If someone calls you a baby-raping murderer, no harm, no foul, right?
    .
    So, when exactly do you get offended?  Only when the statement is true?

    Sure, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s like me taking offense when someone says the tooth fairy is not bringing me money for a lost tooth.  Why would I take offense at that?
    I’d think this is the equivalent for you.  At least that’s how it’s been presented.

    How is that equivalent?  Someone telling you that you aren’t going to get some money for a tooth, and a Christian telling me that I will suffer the worst possible punishment that they can imagine, simply for doubting their myth.
    Yeah, that sounds equivalent!

  481. SteveG
    December 30th, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

    nkb,
    I don’t propose them to be equivalent, but by calling heaven and hell a fairy tale, you propose them to be equivalent.

  482. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    It irrelevant whether I believe the fairy tale or not.  It is the intent of the person that is important.

    If this person truly believes that hell is a fiery pit of suffering, and is condemning me, in the name of their god, to burn there forever, I think that’s pertinent.

    I’ll admit that I don’t take stuff like that seriously, and it usually doesn’t actually offend me, but I can see where other non-believers might be.

  483. JoAnna
    December 30th, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    George.w:

    I also would like you to quote the section of the Constitution that requires “secular” justification for imposition of laws.

    Also,

    But the rest of us can look around and find other reasons to be moral. 

    Oh, I’m sure you can. I’m acquainted with several humanists, and we have interesting discussions about the nature of morality. However, these discussions have only further convinced me that the source of moral inclinations is ultimately God.

    nkb – so if you don’t “know” — if you have a casual or purely online relationship, rather than a friendship — with a person, it’s perfectly justifiable to spew hatred and vitriol in their direction if they do something you don’t like?

    I find it hilarious that many on this blog are talking about how Christians act so vile and mean and hypocritical, when the majority of hateful comments to this entry aren’t coming from the Christians.

  484. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

    JoAnna,
    Please don’t put words in my mouth, where did I say that?  All I’m stating is that your test of friendship is a non-starter.
    .
    If I knew RT personally, my approach would be very similar, although I would probably not be talking to him on a blog.

  485. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    JoAnna,
    Could you please elaborate on what convinces you that morals have to come from God?
    .
    Either the humanists you are having discussions with are terrible at getting their ideas across, or you have your mind made up before you start.

  486. nkb
    December 30th, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

    While you’re at it, please present to us how you know that these morals come from your god.

  487. This should be interesting « DaTechguy’s Blog
    December 30th, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

    […] Atheist has changed the name of his blog to the Raving Theist and this post contains the following announcement: Three years ago, I promoted and appeared in the atheist documentary “The God Who Wasn’t […]

  488. JoAnna
    December 30th, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    nkb,

    Ever read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis?

  489. The Sheepcat
    December 30th, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    God bless you, RT.

    As someone who used to become pretty apoplectic myself over expressions of orthodox Christianity, especially orthodox Christian sexual morality, I have to say that the stream of vulgarity from many of the atheists here doesn’t exactly convey the sort of quiet confidence one would expect from people who know they are standing on solid ground. “Truth understands error, but error cannot understand truth.”

  490. Fr. J
    December 30th, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    Welcome and may God bless you this Christmas season!

  491. nkb
    December 31st, 2008 @ 12:01 am

    JoAnna,
    No, I haven’t.  Have you seen Wall-E?

  492. nkb
    December 31st, 2008 @ 12:03 am

    Sheepcat,
    Enough already with your amateur psychology.  If it makes you feel better that this is a sign of a lack of confidence, knock yourself out.  Whatever makes you feel better.

  493. James
    December 31st, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    Well, good luck to you.  However, you do know that you’re going to get it from the many Reformed Christians who think all Catholics are going to Hell because they adhere to a “false Gospel”, right?

    http://aformofsoundwords.blogspot.com/2005/01/romanism.html

    Oh well … can’t please everyone I guess.

  494. Tony
    December 31st, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

    nkb said:
    “I realize that nobody has specifically stated that atheists are going to hell, which is why I asked the question.”

    We Catholics define Hell as separation from God for eternity.  If you died and met God, would you want to go to heaven if He asked you?  Or would you persist in your denial and separate yourself voluntarily from God?

    Should I die and discover that in fact the flying spaghetti monster was all encompassing love, and he wanted me to share in eternal bliss with him forever, I’d imagine I’d be inclined to renounce my unbelief and take him up on his offer.

    How about you with respect to God?

  495. Irreligious
    December 31st, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

    Tony, of course, if I ever met a god in the flesh, I’d believe in it. After all, it would be right there. In the flesh. And if it was a white man with a beard who performed genuine magic (not illusions, but exhibited powers to suspend natural laws)  and he directly threatened me with  eternal, um,  separation from him and that state  required me to be fully conscious even after I had already died a natural death,  then I’d be a fool to not  believe my regenerated eyes and other senses and not do as he says.

    In all earnestness, I wonder why you ask this question? Isn’t this exactly the scenario you predict for atheists after they have died? 

    I really don’t mind other people having “faith,” but I struggle to understand why it is so important to them that I and other people have it, too.

  496. Chris Treborn
    December 31st, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

    PRAISE HIM!

    And look at all this filth from the aTheists. You unbelievers have no excuse to be here, but you are. Why do you think that is? IT is because you hate that which is good and embrace hate as your only connection to the universe and all that is within it unseen. You are pathetic, but He still loves you and will always be ready for you if you can just pull your head out of your ass.  Let us all give unto Him out hands so that he may lead us into salvation, as he has done for the former Raving Atheist, as it says in the Bible, heaven will rejoice that one sinner repents before 1000 faithful. 

    God bless you assholes.

  497. Eric P.
    December 31st, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

    For real?  If so, that’s awesome and I’d love to hear the story sometime. 

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say I’m glad that reason has led you from denial to reality.  (Hey, somebody had to say it!  “They see me trollin’… they hatin’…”)

    (Anthony Flew, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Frank Morison, A.S.A. Jones, Alistair McGrath… c’mon folks, it’s not that improbable!)

    Best wishes, peace on earth, goodwill to men, and all that.  I’ll be praying.

  498. GalapagosPete
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

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    Donato Infante III asks, reasonably enough, “However, you request evidence. I was wondering if you could please tell me what a drop of evidence for God would look like? What type thing are you looking for?”
    Honestly, I cannot imagine what sort of evidence could convice me, short of a personal appearance by the alleged deity itself. Even if something happened that defied the laws of physics and nature as we know them my first assumption would be that it was a natural phenomenon we didn’t understand.
    Furthermore, even if your alleged deity did appear and convince me of its bona fides, this would not mean that I would have any interest or desire to worship this being. Why should I? Why should anyone? Learn from, of course; try to understand, naturally; respect, sure; but worship?
    And what sort of advanced being would even permit itself to be worshiped, much less want to be? Other than as a way of dealing with a less-advanced culture that could not relate to it in any other way. Granting this was the case, do you believe that that is still the case, that humanity is still too primitive to relate to a being of advanced technology without worshiping it?

  499. GalapagosPete
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

    OK, the above is why one should not copy and paste from Word for the PC into this blog. Let me try again.

    Donato Infante III asks, reasonably enough, “However, you request evidence. I was wondering if you could please tell me what a drop of evidence for God would look like? What type thing are you looking for?”

    Honestly, I cannot imagine what sort of evidence could convice me, short of a personal appearance by the alleged deity itself. Even if something happened that defied the laws of physics and nature as we know them my first assumption would be that it was a natural phenomenon we didn’t understand.

    Furthermore, even if your alleged deity did appear and convince me of its bona fides, this would not mean that I would have any interest or desire to worship this being. Why should I? Why should anyone? Learn from, of course; try to understand, naturally; respect, sure; but worship?

    And what sort of advanced being would even permit itself to be worshiped, much less want to be? Other than as a way of dealing with a less-advanced culture that could not relate to it in any other way. Granting this was the case, do you believe that that is still the case, that humanity is still too primitive to relate to a being of advanced technology without worshiping it?

  500. Art
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    This is so obviously a spoof, and it’s completely foxed supposedly intelligent Brights! 

  501. The Sheepcat
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    Chris Treborn,
    Let’s see, you’re trying to show atheists that God is love by complaining about their “filth” yet addressing them by a foul name yourself? Perhaps your sense of irony is too deep for me, but I don’t get it.

    Irreligious,
    If you got to know the most wonderful person in the world, wouldn’t you want to introduce your friends to him?

  502. Lily
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

    Chris! Old buddy, great to see  What joy to see the old gang coming back. Can Lucy Muff be far behind?

    I am, however, a bit concerned about this:  Let us all give unto Him ou[r] hands so that he may lead us into salvation, as he has done for the former Raving Atheist … 

    Chris, you don’t have any hands. You are gonna be left behind! :(
    I will miss you.

  503. Promethus
    December 31st, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    This is clearly a joke.
    I don’t want to talk for Raving Atheist, but I’m embarrassed to see so many atheists on this board get so angry with him. 
    Kind of stealing the thunder from the theists…. who the joke was more than likely intended.

  504. Irreligious
    December 31st, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

    Sheepcoat wrote:

    “Irreligious,
    If you got to know the most wonderful person in the world, wouldn’t you want to introduce your friends to him?”

    If I believed that I had access to an invisible, most wonderful friend in the world, perhaps I might. But by the same token, I know I’m not particularly enamored of being introduced to other people’s invisible and allegedly wonderful friends? Would you find it at all acceptable to be force-fed that which Muslims or Scientologist  find wonderful?
     
    You may not mind a cursory introduction to that which they perceive as real, but would you not, at some point, balk at their persistent entreaties to find their invisible friend wonderful and compelling, even though its wonderfulness  eludes you?   

    They might argue that their bit of wonderful is just as accessible to you if you open you mind to it. Are you the least bit inclined to?

  505. The Sheepcat
    December 31st, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

    Irreligious,
    Force-fed, no. Your initial puzzlement, though, was about why they would want to tell you about God. I submit that if you didn’t try to introduce people to your hypothetical wonderful (albeit invisible) friend, you’d actually be acting pretty selfishly. Penn Gilette, an atheist to whom Caesar (#465 above) has referred, has said as much.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHS8adO3hM&eurl

    As for how such sharing should be done, that’s a separate question. We’ve all been subjected to tin-eared and over-insistent proselytizers for a variety of religions. I for one hope that I would act humbly enough to keep my mouth shut when overt evangelism is likely to drive someone further away from the gospel. The father in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) did let his son go away. A saying attributed to St Francis (probably inaccurately, from what I’ve read, but I still think it’s sound advice) is “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

    I hope that helps.

  506. Chris Treborn
    December 31st, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    Sheepcat, you are wrong, and to mix sheep and cat is an abomination. I am forced to talk like atheist to atheist because that is all they can understand. I say god bless you brother and they call me shitsucker and dadwanker. I say god bless you asshole and they are blessed by Him, for they know they are assholes.

    Lily, don’t worry, for even a man with out hands may shake with the lord, He can do anything for you if you will only ask him.

    God bless all atheist assholesa and happy new year to same fools. MAy you find Him next year so this is last year you spend as idiot asshole.

  507. Bobby Bambino
    December 31st, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

    Welcome home, brother!  I’ve always wanted to say the following to you when I see you on Jill’s blog and now I can;  God love you, RT!

  508. Gina
    January 1st, 2009 @ 12:41 am

    Congratulations and God bless!

  509. Pete Gowing
    January 1st, 2009 @ 3:47 am

    As a former athiest I can only say:

    May the peace of Christ be with you always

  510. Happy New Year « DaTechguy’s Blog
    January 1st, 2009 @ 8:25 am

    […] be so angry when an atheist […]

  511. pat scott
    January 1st, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    Seeing a link from Mark Shea’s blog and not knowing the story… it floored me and touched me in an unexpected depth. I so want to hear the whole story…. I am the mom of  Melanie Bettinelli, of “the wine-dark sea” blog… she and I were sharing just now about your kindness of sending her an email response. 

    I have had struggles with my own faith life (who doesn’t), being the type of person that assents to the probability but has a hard time with the reality of belief…. Acting “as if” I have real faith… but feeling so distant and remote, wanting to know if it is real or just wishful thinking. Acknowledging the people I trust have strong faith, and thus assuming there is something there that I just can’t touch.  Thank you. Your announcement broke through some hardened shell around my remoteness and the  Truth spoke through you. 

    May the Lord Bless you and keep you and may He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace!! 

  512. Jeff
    January 1st, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

    I see you’ve started this thread with a picture of a paediphile priest and four of his victims. I hope you’ve given their names to the police.

    I see atheists are keeping it as classy as they usually do.  By the way, the overwhelming majority of the cases of the very few abusive priests were NOT pedophiles.  Most of the abuse was of a homosexual nature with post-pubescent teenagers.  Much of this was due to advice the Church took from psychologists that it would be okay to have homosexual priests as they were just as able as heterosexuals to remain celibate.

    I guess not.  Oh, by the way, there is more abuse among teachers that in the priesthood.

  513. Victim of Christ
    January 1st, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    Jeff you asshole, if you think that childmolestation isn’t rampant in the catlicking church you ought to let them know because they have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to make it go away, which seems a bit silly if it is not really happening. You really are a dick.

  514. Victim of Idiots
    January 1st, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

    Victim of Christ said “if you think that child molestation isn’t rampant in the catlicking church you out to let them know……”

    Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the findings of Professor Carol Shakeshaft who stated “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests””….
    This stated in regards to her look into the public school system and the occurrence of sexual abuse.

    Calling other people a “dick”, fine, do it.  At least they don’t have to call themselves cherry-picking morons who yap on topics they don’t appear to have the slightest clue about.

  515. Victim of Christ
    January 1st, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

    Victim, if you think that priest abuse is ok because there’s more of it somewhere else then you are a pretty twisted bastard, and maybe a dick as well.

  516. GalapagosPete
    January 1st, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

    Victim of Idiots, I’d be much more impressed with Christians if they spent more time and energy condemning these priests and doing something to stop them and punish them instead of hiding the truth.

    Historically, teachers who molest children tend to end up in prison. Priests tended to be transferred to another parish or allowed to retire. The only reason that is changing now is that the victims have begun to speak up, not because Christians suddenly realized their leaders’ actions, and their own acceptance of them, were wrong.

    If you’re going to claim the moral high ground then you have to fight for it every minute of your life, and when you fail (and you will; we all do) you should be asking forgiveness of those you failed. I don’t claim to be more moral than anyone else, I just do the best I can not to let down those for whom I’ve accepted responsibility.

  517. Ann Marie
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 10:39 am

    With tears in me eye…I welcome you home. Could the next stop be Rome?

  518. JoAnna
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 11:35 am

    nkb, I highly advise you to give Mere Christianity a read (or a listen — you can find a free audiobook version of it here).  If nothing else, reading it may help you better understand where Christians are coming from. (Another good work is Chesterton’s Orthodoxy; you can find a free audiobook version of it at http://www.librivox.org.)

    I haven’t yet seen Wall-E, sadly; I’ve heard it’s wonderful, though.  Did you enjoy it?

  519. Francis Beckwith
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 11:51 am

    Welcome home.

  520. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    It’s a known fact that over exposure to the air kissing crowd will bring about the need for insulin shots and an eventual head explosion.

  521. nkb
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    @ Tony: We Catholics define Hell as separation from God for eternity.
    .
    Yes, now you do.  Are you telling me that Catholics did not believe in the fire and brimstone at one point?  Either way, that’s a moot point, since eternal separation from God is still the worst thing that could happen to a person, from a Catholic’s point of view.
    .
    If you died and met God, would you want to go to heaven if He asked you?  Or would you persist in your denial and separate yourself voluntarily from God?
    .
    I am curious: did you think that this was a compelling argument?
    Maybe you should educate yourself on what it means to be an atheist.  It means that a person does not believe in God (for whatever reason), not that he/she denies the existence.
    .
    So, now that this is clarified, I will answer your question: If God actually existed, and came to me, I would follow the evidence trail, which would now point heavily towards his existance.  Would I follow him?  Not sure.  If he is anything like that sadistic bastard in the Bible, probably not.
    .
    Should I die and discover that in fact the flying spaghetti monster was all encompassing love, and he wanted me to share in eternal bliss with him forever, I’d imagine I’d be inclined to renounce my unbelief and take him up on his offer.
    .
    And your chances of being right are about the same as being right about the FSM, or any other deity made up by theists through the ages.

  522. nkb
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    JoAnna: nkb, I highly advise you to give Mere Christianity a read (or a listen — you can find a free audiobook version of it here).  If nothing else, reading it may help you better understand where Christians are coming from. (Another good work is Chesterton’s Orthodoxy; you can find a free audiobook version of it at http://www.librivox.org.)
    Why is it that so many Christians assume that atheists have had no exposure to their faith (many atheists are recovering theists)?  Thanks for the advice, but I think I have a good enough handle on it.
     
    I haven’t yet seen Wall-E, sadly; I’ve heard it’s wonderful, though.  Did you enjoy it?
    I haven’t seen it either.  I thought we were just exchanging small talk.
    So, are you going to answer my questions from posts 485 and 486?

  523. Kristyn Hall
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

    God bless you.  The angels are rejoicing!

  524. Cara
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

    It’s not April.  You’re early.

  525. What It Takes To Convert An Atheist | Obsessed With Reality
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

    […] yet another broiling comment section ensues due to the latest conversion of former atheist blogger, The Raving Atheist (who apparently will be “The Raving Theist” from now […]

  526. JoAnna
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

    I apologize, nkb; I didn’t mean any offense.

    The reason I recommend both Mere Christianity and Orthodoxy is in order to answer your previous questions. Lewis and Chesterton, respectively, offer a far more in-depth discussion regarding morality and etc. than is possible via a combox discussion.

    Incidentally, while we’re doing small talk, my husband and I were saying tonight that The Princess Bride was one of the finest comedic films in existence. Would you agree? :)

  527. nkb
    January 3rd, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

    You misunderstand me, I am not offended.  But my point is that it is all too often that Christians assume that atheists have absolutely no insight into the religious world, and must be attacking it because they just don’t get it.
    .
    If I cared what some anonymous commenter on a blog thought about me, maybe I’d be offended.  In this case, I’m just giving you fair warning that this kind of approach can come across as somewhat condescending and patronizing.
    .
    Princess Bride was funny, and I enjoyed it, but it doesn’t even make my top ten comedies.

  528. JoAnna
    January 3rd, 2009 @ 8:00 pm

    nkb —

    I didn’t intend to imply that atheists have no insight into the religious world, so you misunderstood me. My only point was that it could provide additional insight.  I apologize for not making myself clear.

    What are your top ten comedies, out of curiosity? I’m always looking for movie recs!

  529. uberkuh - the artistic atheist - Blog Archive » The Raving Theist
    January 4th, 2009 @ 4:03 am

    […] Raving Atheist is now The Raving Theist. My initial reaction is that it makes much less sense to convert to Christianity than to a generic […]

  530. Ruth Leone
    January 4th, 2009 @ 8:34 am

    RT:

    Welcome Home!!

    I look forward to reading more here in the future ;-)

    Ruth
    Tiber Swim Team 2008

  531. Francis W. Porretto
    January 4th, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    Many others have already wished you a hearty “welcome to the family,” as I do, but I also want to salute your courage. I’m sure you anticipated the attacks you’ve received from some of your former admirers. Even when you’re braced for such, they can sting terribly.

    I’m not going to natter about your having “found the truth” or “turned to the light,” or any such. Christians aren’t supposed to be certain of our convictions; we’re simply supposed to live in hope. No less a figure than Pope Benedict XVI has noted that faith is inseparable from doubt…which is why hope is so important a virtue. May you grow strong in faith, and may it illuminate your days, whatever trials might lie before you.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Fran Porretto

  532. Matthew Edwards
    January 4th, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

    Congratulations from a former hard-line (but brittle) atheist who converted after (i) considering the evidence and (ii) opening my heart – simultaneously.  

    God bless you. 

    Matthew

  533. Greg Bell
    January 4th, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    I am an agnostic/athiest who is looking to follow. I am not there yet.

  534. GalapagosPete
    January 4th, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

    I am an agnostic/athiest who is looking to follow. I am not there yet.”

    Follow what?

  535. IC
    January 4th, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    Welcome!  As Ogden Nash said, here comes everybody! ;)

  536. ScottW
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:07 am

    Bravo! Welcome to the family. :)

  537. Patte
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

    “It is by faith that we are saved & not that of ourselves, it is a gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 I praise the Lord for His amazing gift of grace & regenerating power by the Holy Spirit. Like you, I am a great sinner & Christ is a great Savior.

    Welcome to the family!

  538. Un camino peligroso « Es justo y necesario
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    […] ¿Por qué digo que es un camino peligroso? pues porque en lo que un ateo se descuidan, puede terminar en esto. […]

  539. Jose V.
    January 5th, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    So what made you change your mind? I am very curious. I suspect you are joking, right?

  540. Timothy
    January 5th, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    Congratulations and welcome home to the Church!
    Some interesting comments from the atheists. The lack of kindness and outright mean spiritedness is somewhat surprising. But, we forgive them.
    God bless… +Timothy

  541. Jesus Christ! | The Return Of Scipio
    January 6th, 2009 @ 2:51 am

    […] Literally. […]

  542. LwPHd
    January 6th, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

    Come on guys.  Don’t give the guy such a hard time.  It takes the fun out of life.  When I pick a sports team to root for or a party to attend or a bar to go to, or some other subjective choice that doesn’t deeply affect my real life, I choose it more for the company than for rational reasons.

    Unless he’s signing up to kill abortion doctors or to bomb any trade centers, his choice is probably primarily for a warm and fuzzy social club of some sort.  Don’t disparage him so much.  I’m sure his rational faculties are still firing as well as ever when it actually matters.  I trust when he has to make an investment choice, a career change, plan a trip, or what have you, he’ll probably use observation and evidence instead of faith.

  543. nkb
    January 6th, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

    I didn’t intend to imply that atheists have no insight into the religious world, so you misunderstood me. My only point was that it could provide additional insight. I apologize for not making myself clear.
    You keep backing up, and I keep making the same point. By recommending a Christian book to gain additional insight, you are still implying that the atheist’s position must be because they just don’t get Christianity. It’s a moot point whether you accuse them of having no knowledge or incomplete knowledge.
    So, my argument is that the majority of atheists, especially the ones that are converts, have all the insight necessary.
    What are your top ten comedies, out of curiosity? I’m always looking for movie recs!
    I don’t have a top ten list ready, but movies that I would rank above Princess Bride would include Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Life of Brian, Dumb and Dumber, some of Mel Brooks’ early stuff (History of the World, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, a very underrated To Be Or Not To Be), Something About Mary, Airplane (1 and 2), Top Secret, some of the Marx Brothers stuff (Duck Soup, Horse Feathers), Animal House, This Is Spinal Tap, Caddyshack, Office Space, A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places, American Pie, Stripes, Fletch, Parenthood, and some of Charlie Chaplin’s classics (Great Dictator, Modern Times).
    This is obviously not a complete list, as I’m sure I’m forgetting some classics, and it is in no particular order, but you get the idea.

  544. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 6th, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

    Dumb and Dumber

  545. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 6th, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

    Oh, never mind, it was at the top of the list.

  546. Laura
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:02 am

    Welcome!

  547. Hoffy
    January 7th, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

    Wow, what a conversion, not that it was a surprise of course, the stereotype picture of Jeezus, the children, the adoration, the lies, christianity is the bastion of ruthless killers, like Judaism and Islam{not beef} it is absolute proof there is no god…………

  548. winter solstice
    January 7th, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

    I think this is a joke – he offered absolutely no reason for the change from atheist to fundamentalist theist and offered no evidence to base this newly found belief. I can’t take this seriously.  Maybe he just went metal? And it took place on the winter solstice – the birthday of the sun god for X sakes. All I can do is laugh out loud.

  549. Items of Interest - Thinking Christian
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:30 am

    […] returned and changed the title of his blog—and the tone. Quite remarkably, in fact. Check out these two posts especially, and also this […]

  550. Tom
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    for what its worth, cool man, best of luck

  551. From Raving Atheist to Raving Theist | Otium Sanctum - Holy Leisure
    January 10th, 2009 @ 8:58 am

    […] From the basic assumption of “First, there is no God”, this man has now declared “First, there is a God”. Raving Atheist has converted!  […]

  552. james
    March 13th, 2009 @ 11:09 am

    Great post, People need to read this.

  553. Christ is the Lord : The Raving Theist | Eng raving live today
    September 1st, 2009 @ 7:16 am

    […] He’s beatific friends with Dawn Eden in actual chronicle (read, “offline”) More: Christ is the nobleman : The Raving Theist Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: bitterness, bitterness-and, christmas, good-friends, put-your, […]

  554. From Raving Atheist to Raving Theist « otiumsanctum.com
    December 14th, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    […] From the basic assumption of “First, there is no God”, this man has now declared “First, there is a God”. Raving Atheist has converted!  […]

  555. Grace is Dark Matter « Catholic Exchange
    December 21st, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    […] not by flash, earthly power, or magic tricks does the dark matter of grace conquer the hearts of even his bitterest enemies, not with servile terrors imposed by partisans of some worldly system of fear, but with love and […]

  556. Grace is Dark Matter | Catholic Exchange
    December 21st, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

    […] not by flash, earthly power, or magic tricks does the dark matter of grace conquer the hearts of even his bitterest enemies, not with servile terrors imposed by partisans of some worldly system of fear, but with love and […]

  557. A Fellow Atheist Blogger Has Converted to Catholicism
    June 18th, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    […] the other way around, but it happens. (A few years ago, a popular blogger called The Raving Atheist announced he was a Christian and changed his site to The Raving Theist.)Anyway, I wish Leah the best. I won’t pretend to […]

  558. See This Atheist Blogger‘s Stunning Announcement That She’s Converting to Catholicism | Being 1732
    June 19th, 2012 @ 6:51 am

    […] other way around, but it happens. (A few years ago, a popular blogger called The Raving Atheist announced he was a Christian and changed his site to The Raving […]

  559. Atheist Leah Libresco Announces Conversion to Catholicism | TheBlaze.com
    June 19th, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    […] other way around, but it happens. (A few years ago, a popular blogger called The Raving Atheist announced he was a Christian and changed his site to The Raving […]

  560. Atheistische Bloggerin Leah Libresco konvertiert zum Christentum « Criticomblog
    June 23rd, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    […] erste Mal, daß ein atheistischer Blogger zur Religion gefunden hat. Ein Blogger, der sich „The Raving Atheist“ nannte, kündigte in seinem Blog vor ein paar Jahren an, daß er zum Christentum […]

  561. Atheist Blogger Leah Libresco Converts To Christianity | YouTruth
    August 27th, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    […] not the first time an atheist blogger has found religion. A blogger who goes by "The Raving Atheist" announced on his blog he was turning to Christianity a few years ago, The Blaze reported. The […]

  562. Delphine Staback
    April 28th, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    Since the invention of the printing press non-fictional literature has been used for the dissemination of the Christian message, and also for disseminating different viewpoints within Christianity. The tract (a small pamphlet containing an explanation of some point, or an appeal to the reader) was in use at the time of the Reformation and continues to be used as a part of proselytization.*

    Have a nice day
    <http://www.caramoan.ph

  563. Atheist blogger Leah Libresco converts to Christianit « cfcspn.com
    May 9th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    […] not the first time an atheist blogger has found religion. A blogger who goes by “The Raving Atheist” announced on his blog he was turning to Christianity a few years ago, The Blaze reported. […]

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