Strident, militant atheists?

This Quote of the day from Tommy Holland’s Vision blog:

“A Christian has to be Adolf Hitler to be called militant. All an atheist has to do is write a book.”

And I liked the comment:

“Maybe when atheists start blowing up churches in the name of Dawkins, such labels as “militant atheists” will merit more than derision. But not foreseeably.”

Credit: Carton from Atheist Cartoons.

Similar articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

132 responses to “Strident, militant atheists?

  1. Hitler was an atheist. You can’t avod the evil inside of you by pretending not to have a cause. There are some people today who think that religious people add nothing to society and must therefore be purged from it. The same potential for evil resides in every man. And every man reasons before he commits evil. Don’t think you can’t do the same.

    Like

  2. Daniel: With the exception of your first sentence, everything you wrote is almost correct. Atheists don’t target “religious people,” they target “religion.” You fight cancer by going after the cancer, not by going after the people who are infected with it. And it isn’t that religion adds NOTHING to society, just that it doesn’t add anything good to it.

    Tell me, though, how these two people are different: (A) An atheist who believes that religion adds nothing useful to society and therefore wants to purge society of it. (B) A Christian who thinks that Judaism, Islam, Atheism, Buddhism, et al. add nothing useful to society and therefore wants to purge society of them.

    Which one do you think will get the “militant” label first?

    Like

  3. Oh please! Hitler, whatever his beliefs at any given moment, was no atheist. His hatred of the Jews came directly from Catholic theology; he even used words in Mein Kampf that were derived directly from scripture, describing Jews as of vipers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hitler was an atheist. You can’t avod the evil inside of you by pretending not to have a cause.

    The stupid is strong with this one.

    His hatred of the Jews came directly from Catholic theology; he even used words in Mein Kampf that were derived directly from scripture, describing Jews as of vipers.

    Play the Mein Kampf drinking game.
    Read the book in a bar with a couple of friends.
    Every time Hitler says something about god or how god wants him to do something, then you drink a beer.
    You’ll get sozzled very quickly.

    Play the same game but this time only drink when Hitler says something nice about atheism or any sekrit codewords like “Darwin” or “Evolution” or “critical thinking skills”.
    You’ll stay sober all night.

    Like

  5. Andy,
    In this day and age, I don’t know who will get the militant label first. Maybe a few years ago I would have said the atheist. Not now.

    A Christian who wants to purge society of all other religions is not acting as God acted. He gave man a choice. Free choice. Forced belief is no belief at all. It’s slavery. It’s good to disagree with them and discuss truth, but to purge them would be to limit choice. God doesn’t do that. Neither should we.

    “You fight cancer by going after the cancer, not by going after the people who are infected with it.”

    You won’t get far it that’s all you do. You will never destroy an idea unless you destroy all those who possess it. Unless you have a a very mild idea of the word “purge”, you, as an atheist, still seek to limit free choice by purging society of religion. You’re only a few steps away, as all of us are, from tyranny.

    Like

  6. A Christian has to be Adolf Hitler to be called an atheist.

    Like

  7. Daniel: I would never want to “purge” by force. I hope to purge bad ideas by replacing them with better ones, then pen being mightier than the sword. Logic and reason are an atheist’s weapons against blind faith and intellectual oppression.

    If pointing out the idiocy and false logic of the religious choices someone else has made is placing a limit on free choice, then I guess I do “seek to limit choice by purging society of religion.” If calling an idiot an idiot infringes on someone’s free choice to be an idiot . . . well, you can see where I’m going with this.

    But to be complete, I don’t want to force people not to choose religion. I want to make religion obsolete by replacing it with truth and reason.

    Sure, there are nutjob atheists out there — as there are nutjobs adhering to any philosophical thought — but even a nutjob atheist knows that the violence he inflicts on others is by his own volition and of his own choice. Atheists, though, have no history of intellectual or philosophical repression. Perhaps that’s why we’re so misunderstood.

    Like

  8. A Christian who wants to purge society of all other religions is not acting as God acted.

    The Christian god is fine with other religions?
    Hmm, somebody has not read their bible.
    If you worship other gods…then you get stoned to death.
    Not scolded.
    Not fined.
    Not banished.
    Stoned.
    You get stoned to death.

    You will never destroy an idea unless you destroy all those who possess it.

    The dumb is indeed strong with this one.
    Whatever happened to discussion and showing people the error of their ways?
    Kooky ideas don’t live forever. They disappear for all sorts of reasons.
    Purging ideas does not equal purging people.
    Five seconds of rational thought and a modest knowledge of history would have revealed it to you.

    Like

  9. Before religious people start telling atheists about atheists, they should get some basic facts straight first:

    Lack of belief in gods

    Like

  10. “If you worship other gods…then you get stoned to death.”

    Does this apply to you? Do you fear stoning? No. These are obsiously not laws that apply to all times and all cultures. You have the same choice as any other man. God created man, gave him the ability to choose, and set a choice before him. “Of every tree in the garden you can freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Adam chose and we still choose today. The Christian should allow the same choice for every man, but he should still cling to the truth he knows and expel and refute the lies around him. If the truth purges, that’s great. But force shoudn’t be used unless there is a threat of imminent harm to freedom.

    I know why you bring up stoning and other harsh laws in the Old Testament, and leave out the rest of the Bible in your assessment of God. That harsh part of God that demands perfection is hard to reckon with and is easy to reject as unreasonable. You know, if that’s all there was, no man could have hope. I urge you, don’t ignore the merciful and gracious side of God either. He has provided a way to bring us to himself without requiring us to follow a list of do’s and dont’s. Jesus is that way. Without him, our imperfection could never be reconciled with his perfection.

    Like

  11. “Does this apply to you? Do you fear stoning? No. These are obsiously not laws that apply to all times and all cultures.”

    The God of Abraham, as described in “his” book is a violent, jealous god. Brtality in His Name is the rule, not the exception, especially in the old testament. He orders babies to be dashed on the rocks, fathers to hand their daughters to rapists and other heinous things. If that is where your morality comes from, you should be locked away from decent society

    Like

  12. Rudy,

    Thank you for illustrating my point. Good job.

    Like

  13. Daniel, if you think Rudy’s comment supports your case, you should read Mat 5:18. Your “new and improved” imaginary friend thinks you should be obeying all the rules in the Old Testament. If you don’t, why not?

    Like

  14. These are obsiously not laws that apply to all times and all cultures.

    You mean stoning?
    Stoning doesn’t apply to all times and to all cultures?
    Just some of the time?
    Ok.
    Why does your god like stoning some of the time?

    You have the same choice as any other man.

    This is not about me and my choices. I have nothing to do with your magic, invisible sky daddy and his laws that says quite clearly that you should stone people who don’t worship him.

    I know why you bring up stoning and other harsh laws in the Old Testament, and leave out the rest of the Bible in your assessment of God.

    Oh so now you are mind-reader? Bravo.
    How does the “rest of the bible” magically make your magic friend’s desire for stoning disappear?

    That harsh part of God that demands perfection is hard to reckon with and is easy to reject as unreasonable.

    Yeah. I think that stoning people to death is just a tad unreasonable.
    I think it’s disgusting.
    Even joking about it makes me uncomfortable.
    How come there are multiple infractions in your religious book that spells out stoning in no uncertain term for not worshipping your magic friend?
    Why the hell are they even in there in the first place?

    I has provided a way to bring us to himself without requiring us to follow a list of do’s and dont’s.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Whatever….
    (yawn)
    Now about this stoning business.
    Seems to have been pretty popular. It’s mentioned multiple times.
    It’s not like it’s a possible mistranslation or something.
    Why does your magic friend approve of stoning?
    Why doesn’t he say “Anybody who thinks that stoning somebody is ok for any reason at any time is one sick bastard and I command you all never to anything like this- Ever!
    No, really.
    Put down the goat and listen up, sparky.
    (…Burning bush lights up…)
    No stoning.
    I don’t care what somebody said about me. No stoning.
    None.
    Not one damned pebble.”

    (…insert dull rumble of thunder here for extra emphasis…)

    In fact, it would be nice if this was repeated again and again by the big cheese himself AND via all the prophets (including Moses) so that nobody could possible weasel around it.

    13 Year Old Rape Victim Stoned To Death

    Like

  15. Richard Christie

    I find it interesting that sometimes, in video clips linked to by Cedric, atheists complain about being discriminated against (btw, the Qualiasoup one above is very good).

    This doesn’t really seem to happen much in my country, New Zealand, at least not overtly or in my experience (although I’ve had a friend complain he was hounded out of a job because he turned down an invitation to join Freemasons). Here religion isn’t an important part of most of the population’s life, thank the Great Sweaty Football Sock 😉 .

    I’ve that in the USA such discrimination is almost routine in some states.

    So much for being a land of the free.

    Like

  16. Ropata, I have no objection to links being included in comments. But peppering pure links throughout blogs with no comment amounts to spam. I should really treat it as such.

    Why no comment? What is the relevance of the links? What is there to discuss? And how do the links relate to the post.

    As things stand the links are worthless. They may as well be removed.

    Like

  17. history provides numerous examples of atheist militancy, wars, and bloody revolutions. but if you want to keep lying to yourself be my guest.

    Like

  18. I think you are the one lying ropata.

    Sure non-religious ideologues as well as religious one’s have gone to war. Often the MO is very similar.

    But I have yet to hear of atheists going to war, in the name of atheism, and in an attempt to impose non-belief.

    But you guys have no trouble twisting reality to fit your desired argument. Its called the theological method.

    Like

  19. Why no comment? What is the relevance of the links? What is there to discuss? And how do the links relate to the post.
    As things stand the links are worthless. They may as well be removed.

    Spam is spam.
    Links without any real input from a real person is…spam.
    There’s not even a connection to a previous comment.
    Nobody is going to bother to click your links without good reason.

    history provides numerous examples of atheist militancy, wars, and bloody revolutions. but if you want to keep lying to yourself be my guest.

    So you resort to spamming?
    Huh?
    If you have something sensible to say then say it. Make a valid argument for once in your life. Grow a pair.

    Like

  20. hmm evidence that punctures your myth of “peaceful atheism” = spam ?

    Like

  21. But what is the evidence , ropata. You provide nothing but a link, no explanation. Somehow we are supposed to bow down and accept what you are thinking without a word from you.

    I don’t think you have Amy confidence in what is going in in your head. Otherwise you would have commented.

    What is your bloody point and why?

    Like

  22. well just as Cedric loves to posture as some kind of Bible expert and demand that Christians act in accordance with some obscure and irrelevant passage from the OT (*contra the example of Christ himself!), it seems fair to me to show some evidence of Atheists acting in full concord with the tenets of nihilism

    Like

  23. What evidence was that, ropata?

    Like

  24. should i post a hundred more links? they might be deleted as spam

    Like

  25. ropata, you are trolling.
    You need to think seriously about why you are doing what you are doing.
    Stop.

    Like

  26. That’s a laugh coming from the youtuber extraordinaire and bible misquoter nonpareil.
    Isn’t “trolling” your raison’d’etre?

    Like

  27. Ropata,

    Allow me to explain how this whole ‘argumentation’ and ‘discussion’ thing works.

    Step 1) You make a claim. Not a general one such as “Atheists bad” but one as precise as you can make it. “Atheists like to eat babies” is an improvement but you should also consider the evidence you can muster to back up your claim. Try to make your claim unambiguous. The example given could be understood as “Some atheists like to eat babies” or as “All atheists like to eat babies”. Which of those do you mean? Also, if such a claim is made the suggestion is that the atheists who do like to eat babies do so because they are atheists. If you think dietary choice is not actually causally connected to attitude to religion you should make that clear to avoid that ambiguity, too.

    2) Provide evidence for your claim. This is where the use of links is potentially useful. A nice youtube video of Richard Dawkins tucking into a plate of toddler’s legs would be appropriate, for example. Having already explained what your claim is will allow the listener/viewer to judge whether the evidence you provide is adequate to back up your thesis. That thesis, however, must be expressed using ‘words’ before the evidence as, otherwise, it is not clear what the evidence is meant to show. After all, a link all by itself may merely be intended to act as evidence of the fact that you’re capable of placing links inside comment boxes. Being naturalists, atheists do not generally believe in the ability to read other people’s minds. You should remember that when communicating with us.

    3) You engage with the reponses you receive to your claim and evidence. This will require that you seek to understand what the others are saying, that you evaluate their evidence – a video of the Pope cleaning his teeth with a broken baby’s jaw bone perhaps – and that you relate that information to your own views and evidence. A warning, when done effectively, this may require that you reconsider your views in part or in whole. It may also lead to you needing to provide further evidence, such as further videos of atheists eating babies, whose relevance will again need to be indicated (remember the no-mind-reading clause).

    Good luck. Not that there’s any such thing.

    Like

  28. That’s a laugh coming from the…

    A few problems here.
    First of all, nobody here is laughing with you.
    You are alone.

    There’s nothing funny in what you are doing.
    You are trolling.
    You need to ask youself what why you are doing and why you are doing it.
    Contact your parents, co-workers, minister of religion or someone you trust.
    Show them this thread.
    Ask them if they think you are trolling.
    If you would not be proud of people in the real world finding out how you behave on the internet, then that’s a bad sign.

    That’s a laugh coming from the…

    When I post something it’s almost always part of a discussion I am having with somebody else. I will always try to give a reason to a casual observer as to why they should click the link that I have provided.
    People like my links.

    Yours however?
    In the style that you present them?

    That’s called spam.
    People dislike spam.
    Stop it.

    That’s a laugh coming from the…

    Even if I really was a troll, this comment would not help you.
    You are using the tu quoque argument.
    Bad form.

    Tu Quoque Fallacy or Appeal to Hypocrisy

    Like

  29. Konrad, you must be new here. If you care to browse some earlier discussions you may find my attempts to use “arguments” “logic” and “evidence” fell on deaf ears, as Cedric preferred to post videos about donkeys and blather on about his smelly socks

    Like

  30. Richard Christie

    I watched your “real face of atheisn” youtube clip Ropata.

    I’m quite interested in your assessment of the strength of its arguments and conclusions.

    Do you think it was rationally put together and presented coherent evidence for its numerous claims?

    Like

  31. Richard, no obviously it’s a propaganda film. Much like the anti-religion junk seen in other threads

    Like

  32. I think the point here is that human nature and ambition will always seek to destroy and rule what it wants or cannot have, whether the human is atheist or theist or whatever. Man will always find a way to carry on the old game under the new rules. The atheistic assertion that the wars of Christianity debunk its validity no longer works. Atheists have the same history and the same human nature. Atheists do not carry on wars today in the name of atheism, but I can see the beginnigs of these things especially in the writings of members of New Atheism. “If religion is responsible for the backward ways of society, then religion must be removed.” This attitude of disdain is pervasive and it will not be long before it seeks to limit the freedoms of others. A purely atheistic society would not be possible without force. It also will not be long before they realize that to eliminate an idea you must eliminate the ones who possess it.

    We are no where close to this today, but like the New Left movement of the sixties, it won’t be long before patience will run out and action must be taken.

    To preserve freedom, we must all allow for religion, ideas, and non-religion. It MUST have a place in our society and we MUST find a way to dwell with each other in peace. Otherwise, tyranny is just around the corner.

    Like

  33. Do you think it was rationally put together and presented coherent evidence for its numerous claims?

    To which ropata replies…

    Richard, no obviously it’s a propaganda film. Much like…

    (…insert slow hand-clap here…)

    ropata, the idea is to…engage.
    You are just spewing insults and soiling your pants on the internet.
    Take the time to show this thread to someone you respect.
    A friend, a co-worker or perhaps your minister of religion.
    Ask them if you are being civil and reasonable or whether you are just trolling.

    Your behavour is no improvement upon the last time you were here.

    Like

  34. I think the point here is that human nature and ambition will always seek to destroy and rule what it wants or cannot have, whether the human is atheist or theist or whatever.

    Then clearly you have not done enough thinking.
    What about your god wanting to stone people to death?
    How does that work out?
    You just ran away.

    The atheistic assertion that the wars of Christianity debunk its validity no longer works.

    Huh?
    Who made that assertion around here?
    When?
    Stop listening to the voices in your head and focus on real people trying to have a conversation with you.

    This attitude of disdain is pervasive and it will not be long before it seeks to limit the freedoms of others.

    You’ve never really actually had a conversation with an atheist.
    Ever.
    You have no idea what you are talking about.
    That’s very sad.
    Would it really kill you to do a little research?
    Talk to an atheist.

    Atheists do not carry on wars today in the name of atheism…

    Well, that’s probably because it’s not possible.
    Atheism has nothing to say on the subject of war.
    Nothing.
    There’s nothing in the atheism manual about it because …there’s no manual.

    Atheism is not a lifestyle or philosophy or somthing with a bunch of rules that can be found in a book somewhere.
    It’s just an absense of belief in gods.

    You presumably don’t have a belief in Thor, right?
    Well, that means that you are an atheist with regards to Thor.

    How about Zeus?
    Don’t believe in him?
    Well, congratulations. You are an atheist with regards to Thor and Zeus.

    Now how does your atheism with regards to Thor and Zeus make you more likely to start a war or something nasty?

    (….Daniel thinks about it….)

    That’s right. It doesn’t.
    Not believing in Thor or Zeus has no bearing on your personal behaviour for better or for worse.

    You may be a nice person.
    But your niceness has nothing to do with your Thor-Zeus specific atheism.

    You may be a naughty person.
    But your naughtyness has nothing to do with your Thor-Zeus specific atheism.

    It also will not be long before they realize that to eliminate an idea you must eliminate the ones who possess it.

    Yeah, that’s what “they” think.
    Daniel, the master mind-reader.

    Christianity has no morality – The Atheist Experience #630

    , but I can see the beginnigs of these things especially in the writings of members of New Atheism. “If religion is responsible for the backward ways of society, then religion must be removed.” This attitude of disdain is pervasive and it will not be long before it seeks to limit the freedoms of others. A purely atheistic society would not be possible without force. It also will not be long before they realize that to eliminate an idea you must eliminate the ones who possess it.

    We are no where close to this today, but like the New Left movement of the sixties, it won’t be long before patience will run out and action must be taken.

    To preserve freedom, we must all allow for religion, ideas, and non-religion. It MUST have a place in our society and we MUST find a way to dwell with each other in peace. Otherwise, tyranny is just around the corner.

    Like

  35. Nuts.
    Hit the send button too soon before I’d finished editing.
    😦

    Like

  36. What did he want to stone people to death for, and who were the people he was talking to?
    Please don’t start a tirade about how I don’t know the Bible. Please just answer the question.

    Like

  37. What did he want to stone people to death for, and who were the people he was talking to?

    Does it matter?
    Does it really matter?

    The who or why?

    Think about it.
    We are talking about stoning a human being to death here.
    It’s sanctioned in your religious text.
    It’s specifically mentioned again and again and again.

    “But a witness who spoke to the BBC’s Today programme said she had been crying and had to be forced into a hole before the stoning, reported to have taken place in a football stadium.

    “More than 1,000 people arrived there,” he said.

    “After two hours, the Islamic administration in Kismayo brought the lady to the place and when she came out she said: ‘What do you want from me?'”

    “They said: ‘We will do what Allah has instructed us’. She said: ‘I’m not going, I’m not going. Don’t kill me, don’t kill me.’

    “A few minutes later more than 50 men tried to stone her.”

    The witness said people crowding round to see the execution said it was “awful”.

    “People were saying this was not good for Sharia law, this was not good for human rights, this was not good for anything.”
    But no-one tried to stop the Islamist officials, who were armed, the witness said. He said one boy was shot in the confusion.

    According to Amnesty International, nurses were sent to check during the stoning whether the victim was still alive. They removed her from the ground and declared that she was, before she was replaced so the stoning could continue.”

    Please don’t start a tirade about how I don’t know the Bible.

    The do yourself a favour and stop running away.
    Read your own book.
    Count how many “crimes” are punishable by stoning.
    Spell them out.
    It’s disgusting.
    Islamic laws on excuses to stone people are the same as the biblical ones.

    Like

  38. I really doubt that you even know by what standard you declare this practice to be wrong. If empathy was the standard, we could go ahead and stop all punishment. If culture was the standard, they are following their own laws, not yours. If suffering was the standard, we would still have to stop all punishment.

    Your story is one-sided. You didn’t tell the reason for the stoning. What was the offence. How was that offense viewed in their culture? What was the standard practice concerning the offence? Do most of the people there feel that this was acceptable?

    To the one being punished, the action is viewed as evil. And it’s easy to take her side. To the one giving the punishment, it is the satisfaction of judgement and justice. They choose one punishment. You choose another. Since, in your eyes, their is no universal standard by which to judge something right or wrong, you have no grounds to judge their actions other than what you feel. And what YOU feel is definitely not a good measuring stick since your idea of what constitutes harm is very different from another’s idea of harm. You have no basis here.

    Like

  39. I really doubt that you even know by what standard you declare this practice to be wrong.

    Huh???
    What do my standards have to do with your magic book?

    Your story is one-sided. You didn’t tell the reason for the stoning.

    What good reason is there for stoning a human being?
    We’re talking about stoning here.
    Stoning.

    How was that offense viewed in their culture?

    Stoning. The bible. The law of your god as written in your book. Hello?

    What was the standard practice concerning the offence?

    Stoning. The bible. The law of your god as written in your book. Hello?

    Do most of the people there feel that this was acceptable?

    Stoning. The bible. The law of your god as written in your book. Hello?

    And it’s easy to take her side.

    Her side?

    Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped.

    (…thinks deeply about this…)

    Yep. I’m on her side. I find it supremely easy to side with her.
    She did not deserve to be stoned to death.

    You choose another. Since, in your eyes…

    No, this is not about “my choices”.
    This is about your book.
    The bits about stoning, remember?
    Why are you running away from this?

    you have no grounds blah, blah, blah, what YOU feel blah, blah, blah your idea blah, balh You have no blah, blah, blah…

    No, that won’t do. Stick to the topic at hand.
    This stoning business.
    Seems to have been pretty popular. It’s mentioned multiple times.
    It’s not like it’s a possible mistranslation or something.
    Why does your magic friend approve of stoning?
    Why doesn’t he say “Anybody who thinks that stoning somebody is ok for any reason at any time is one sick bastard and I command you all never to anything like this- Ever!
    No, really.
    Put down the goat and listen up, sparky.
    (…Burning bush lights up…)
    No stoning.
    I don’t care what somebody said about me. No stoning.
    None.
    Not one damned pebble.”

    (…insert dull rumble of thunder here for extra emphasis…)

    In fact, it would be nice if this was repeated again and again by the big cheese himself AND via all the prophets (including Moses) so that nobody could possible weasel around it.

    Read your own book.
    Count how many “crimes” are punishable by stoning.
    Spell them out.
    Go on, tell us.

    How many different excuses are there in the bible are there for a person to be stoned to death?
    Stop running away from this.
    Spell them out.
    Spell them all out.

    Like

  40. This is not a conversation. This is a one-sided accusation. You just like saying stoning for any reason is wrong, but have no basis in saying it. I can’t continue if you don’t back up what you’re saying.

    Like

  41. You just like saying stoning for any reason is wrong, but have no basis in saying it. I can’t continue if you don’t back up what you’re saying.

    Ah, I see.
    You suffer from self-induced short-term memory loss.

    This conversation got going when you wrote something stupid and ignorant…
    This was the stupid and ignorant thing you wrote:

    A Christian who wants to purge society of all other religions is not acting as God acted.

    So how did god act?
    Well, god acted by telling people to stone people in his magic book.
    There were multiple way to get killed by a mob chucking rocks at you head and one of them was being an unbeliever.
    It’s all in the book.

    Remember the topic now?
    Does it all come flooding back to you?
    Good.

    You later did some hapless handwaving…

    These are obsiously not laws that apply to all times and all cultures.

    You mean stoning?
    Stoning doesn’t apply to all times and to all cultures?
    Just some of the time?
    Ok.
    Why does your god like stoning some of the time?

    See?
    My values are neither here nor there.
    That’s not what we were talking about.
    You just tried to bring them up as a dodge.
    No dice. That kind of dishonest crap doesn’t work with me.

    Let’s just stay on-topic. No wriggling. No weaseling. No running away.

    Why does your god like stoning some of the time?
    Spell out for us the various crimes mentioned in the bible that got people stoned to death. Some of them are truely nuts!

    Given that it’s your magic person making laws in your magic book, which ones do you think are appropriate?
    Spell them out.

    Like

  42. I have an idea Cedric, instead of writing tirades of wild accusations and demanding other people defend themselves, why don’t you make your case by collecting evidence, including chapter and verse, and showing why your particular interpretation of the bible should be taken seriously. But that is beyond you.. you don’t actually want to know anything about biblical scholarship, you’re off on another random Gish gallop on the evils of religion

    Like

  43. Daniel – I agree with the essence of this paragraph of yours:

    “To preserve freedom, we must all allow for religion, ideas, and non-religion. It MUST have a place in our society and we MUST find a way to dwell with each other in peace. Otherwise, tyranny is just around the corner.”

    And this is really the essence of secularism. The recognition that we are a pluralist society. That there should be freedom of religion and belief. That means that non-beliefs such as atheism and humanism have as much right to existence as religious beliefs.

    But don’t forget this is relatively new. Atheists used to be imprisoned for their non-beliefs. So our society still has relics and privileges for religions. For example tax exemption and government funding for religions – defining religion and supernatural belief as a charity. Then there is often imposition of religious ceremony.

    And, most pernicious, there is the attitude that religion is somehow special and cannot withstand criticism. Surely in a truly secular democratic society religion should be just as open to criticism as is sport, politics, art, etc. Without that freedom of expression society cannot make progress.

    Problem is that some of the religious seem to be incapable of understanding this. They interpret democratic criticism as an attempt to wipe out religion.

    Well – that is their problem. We shouldn’t suppress democracy becuase of that paranoia.

    Like

  44. I have an idea Cedric…

    Your ideas normally suck but go ahead, I’ll listen.

    …why don’t you make your case by collecting evidence…

    Reading comprehension fail.
    I already did this. Follow the links, dummy.
    Damn but you are slow.
    Follow the links.

    Stoning is in the bible.
    Really.
    Read you own magic book.
    Stoning is mentioned again and again and again.
    It’s not a typo or something.

    It’s really there.

    ….your particular interpretation of the bible should be taken seriously…

    No, no, no.
    There’s no “interpretation” going on.
    (Nice try though)
    Stoning, as in the practice of breaking the bones and skull of a human being with hundreds of rocks thrown by a sub-human mob, is mentioned frequently in the bible. It’s very specific. Tells you exactly how to go about it and everything. It’s rich in detail.
    There are multiple excuses for it.
    It’s disgusting.

    Daniel runs away and refuses to defend it because…it’s indefensible.
    In the 21st century, stoning is rightly regarded as being repellent and genuinely horrifying.
    There is not a single civilized society that approves of it at all.
    That’s why Sunday sermons never dwell on those icky parts of the bible.
    Makes people very uncomfortable.
    Brings up images of Fred Phelps and Islam0-fascists killing 13-year old girls who’s “crime” it is to be the victim of rape.

    Yet it’s in the bible, together with the talking donkey.
    Commanded by the magic invisible man way up in the sky himself.
    (Yep, a talking donkey, folks! Look it up)

    …you’re off on another random Gish gallop…

    Then you clearly have no idea what is a Gish gallop.
    I have not bounced from topic to topic.
    I’ve stayed firmly on message.
    Somebody tries to bring up a distraction or some other thing then I drag them back kicking and screaming back to the ugly topic at hand.
    Stoning.
    Now that’s what I call an ugly topic.
    Morning, noon and night.
    Haven’t budged.
    Haven’t galloped off anywhere.
    It’s all about the magic man and his approval of stoning.
    Stoning.

    Like

  45. Richard Christie

    For Ropata and Daniel

    Like

  46. Richard Christie

    For Ropata and Daniel

    Like

  47. Richard Christie

    Like

  48. Cedric please read the part of the Bible called the “New Testament’ where Jesus stopped a crowd of people from stoning a woman. And also please provide a doctrinal reference from a mainstream church that endorses stoning. If you are so indignant about this act of brutailty I suggest stop making false accusations against the Christian church, go to an Islam based culture and start protesting, see how you get on.

    Like

  49. Cedric please read the part of the Bible called the “New Testament’ where Jesus stopped a crowd of people from stoning a woman.

    Have done so.
    Doesn’t help. Not even a little bit.
    For all sorts of reasons.

    And also please provide a doctrinal reference from a mainstream church that endorses stoning.

    Why? How does a mainstream church endorsing or not endorsing something matter?
    The explicit and repeated laws from the magic sky-daddy about stoning in the bibe remain.
    They were there long before the establishment of any modern-day “mainstream church” well aware of the sensibilities of sane 21st century people.

    ….I suggest stop making false accusations against the Christian church.

    And I suggest that you stop listening to the voices in your head and read what I have written.
    Engage with reality.
    Never mentioned the “Christian Church”.
    Not even once.

    (…ropata starts up again because he doesn’t listen very well…)

    No, really.
    Carefully re-read everything I have written in this thread.
    “Christian Church”? Never said it. Not even obliquely.
    That’s just you lying and creating a strawman.
    You do that a lot.
    Shame on you.

    …you don’t actually want to know anything about biblical scholarship…

    Oh, sweet, sweet irony.
    Damn but I love this stuff!
    🙂
    Jesus and Adulteress (By:YahoshuaMyLord)

    Like

  50. So then
    – Jesus stopped the practice of stoning
    – Churches do not endorse it (in fact most are against capital punishment)
    – Christians do not do it, because we interpret the OT through the lens of the NT (new covenant, new law, new understanding, etc)

    And yet atheists in their boundless hubris try to force horrible interpretations of OT law on to Christians! Is that not a dishonest strawman tactic ??

    Like

  51. Richard Christie

    Ropata, your comment doesn’t address the point that your god appeared to condone and encourage stoning for a considerable period.
    Did the victims of stonings before the mark-two-version-god came along ever get an apology?

    Like

  52. Ropata, what makes the issue io stoning and other inhumane activities in the bible problematic is the word “holy”. If this was purely an old book it could be read for what it is worth, maybe for inspiration or amusement.

    No one would be required to take it seriously as commanding any ethics.

    The minute you make it “sacred” or “holy” and describe it as the “word of god” you have a problem.

    1: you can’t question it because to do so is questioning god. If it says stoning then stoning it has to be otherwise you are immoral.

    2: today Christians accommodate this by “interpretation”. But isn’t that insulting to your god? Who are you to reinterpret gods commands?

    Someone has pointed out that only the literalists are faithful to the “holiness” of the book. That it is insulting and extreme to interpret. So the interpreters are the extremists.

    3: the only sane way of handling this is to deny it is “sacred” or “holy.” Admit it is just a book like any other. That you can use it for inspiration, amusement etc. But treat it like any other book.

    That would solve a lot of problems. After all, why stoning would only be supposed by a minority of Christians today many actually do support other evils in that book – eg relating to women, race, slavery and homosexuals.

    Like

  53. The concept of literalism would be quite strange to the ancient Hebrews, most of whom could not read and thus relied on interpretation from the priests. It is impossible NOT to interpret – – every individual has a different perspective on the world. There is an old Jewish saying that goes something like “Gather 3 Jews for a debate, you will get 4 opinions!”.

    How is it even possible for someone who denies God exists to have a real understanding of the Scriptures? It is surley a conceit of modern humans that we can read a book in a simplistic fashion and gain perfect understanding of the author’s intent. Especially one so far removed from our time and place.

    Matt Flanagan has argued in the past that although these extreme punishments were on the books they were not necessarily common. And who are we to judge the circumstances of an ancient tribe for whom life was nasty brutish and short, and justice of necessity had to be swift. The OT outlines quite an advanced legal system, health regulations, and a greatly enlightened religion for the time, far more beneficial to human happiness than the satanic cults that surrounded them.

    Like

  54. Richard Christie

    The OT outlines quite an advanced legal system, health regulations, and a greatly enlightened religion for the time, far more beneficial to human happiness than the satanic cults that surrounded them.

    and stoning.

    Like

  55. Richard Christie

    It is surley a conceit of modern humans that we can read a book in a simplistic fashion and gain perfect understanding of the author’s intent. Especially one so far removed from our time and place.

    So stoning was ok back then? Since your god determined it was fit and proper, for the times?

    Let’s have your answer, not Matt Flanigan’s craven excuses for it.

    Like

  56. Ropata “It is surley a conceit of modern humans that we can read a book in a simplistic fashion and gain perfect understanding of the author’s intent. Especially one so far removed from our time and place.”

    But I thought it was written by your god – who is surely not the goat herder you seem to refer too.

    Come on, why do you treat the book as “sacred” or “holy” if it is as you say? Surely you should treat like any other old document.

    Like

  57. It is *inspired* by God, but written, edited, and compiled by fallible people. There are several passages where people are exhorted to test claims and seek the truth of matters. Christianity has a long history of theological debate and interpretation. Your theory that the Bible ought to be a perfect and final revelation is wishful thinking, that is the claim of the Koran not the Bible. The Bible is a much more honest and human work. It tells the story of humanity’s relationship to God, warts and all. It is not one single book with a single message, it is a collection of 66 books and letters, written in many different times, places, and societies, that have been recognised as uniquely insightful and precious.

    The complete preface in the Gideon bible: The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

    Like

  58. Richard Christie

    So how does the instruction to stone people fit in then?

    So stoning was ok back then? Since your god determined it was fit and proper, for the times?

    Let’s have your answers, not Matt Flanigan’s craven excuses for it.

    Like

  59. Since I am not a Bible scholar it seems reasonable to defer to one such as Matt. It’s the sort of approach that rational science-minded people would generally appreciate, or does that only apply if you agree with the conclusion?
    Here’s a general response to objections of the sort you raise, by Dr. Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University. I encourage you to read it carefully.

    Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?
    […] These are the charges made by the new atheists. Are they fair representations? I shall argue that they are not. Though certain OT texts present challenges and difficulties, navigating these waters is achievable with patient, nuanced attention given to the relevant OT texts, the ancient Near East (ANE) context, and the broader biblical canon.

    The new atheists are certainly rhetorically effective, but I would contend that they have not handled the biblical texts with proper care, and they often draw conclusions that most Christians (save the theonomistic sorts) would repudiate. And this judgment is not the refined result of some post-Enlightenment moral vision, but the biblical writers themselves point us toward a moral ideal, despite the presence of human sin and hard-heartedness. These new atheists give the impression of not having the patience for careful, measured replies, yet this is exactly what is required. John Barton warns that there can be no “simple route” to dealing with OT ethics.[17] Bruce Birch considers OT ethics as something of a “patchwork quilt.”[18] Thus, it calls for a more subtle and cautious approach than the new atheists take.
    […]
    Any treatment of the Hebrew Bible with regard to ethics, especially as an ethical resource to contemporary communities, must acknowledge the impediment created by the simple fact that these texts are rooted in a cultural context utterly unlike our own, with moral presuppositions and categories that are alien and in some cases repugnant to our modern sensibilities.[38]
    The new atheists miss something significant here.
    […]
    As I shall develop further below, we should not view the OT as offering an ideal ethic for all cultures across the ages. Rather than attempt to morally justify all aspects of the Sinaitic legal code, we can affirm that God begins with an ancient people who have imbibed dehumanizing customs and social structures from their ANE context.[39] Yet this God desires to draw them in and show them a better way:[…]

    Like

  60. Ropata, doesn’t it worry you that Matt can’t give a clear answer?

    On this divine command ethics he is saying don’t trust the bible if it conflicts with your intuitions. But don’t trust your intuitions.

    Isn’t that pretty feeble?

    Like

  61. The concept of literalism would be quite strange to the ancient Hebrews….

    But not stoning.
    Stoning seems to be a widespread practice in that part of the world.
    They all knew about stoning.
    Nothing strange to them about the stoning part.

    It is impossible NOT to interpret – – every individual has a different perspective on the world.

    Yeah but we’re not talking about a parable or some magical mystery story.
    We are talking about stoning.
    Repeated multiple times in the bible.
    Creative “interpretation” and different “perspectives” don’t help you.

    There’s no wiggle room here. There’s no way to spin this.
    Stoning is explictly sanctioned in the bible.
    Stoning.
    Not spanking or detention.
    Stoning.
    Rocks smashing into people until they die.

    There is an old Jewish saying that goes something like “Gather 3 Jews for a debate, you will get 4 opinions!”.

    Yeah. There’s another Jewish saying:
    Jesus was not the Messiah at all. Christians have it badly wrong on all counts. Read the bible. Get it right.

    How is it even possible for someone who denies God exists to have a real understanding of the Scriptures?

    Don’t have to accept your magic sky-daddy to notice that stoning is repeatedly mentioned in the bible.
    Same goes for the Muslims and their holy texts.
    No need to believe in Allah to spot the hideous nature of stoning.

    It is surley a conceit of modern humans that we can read a book in a simplistic fashion and gain perfect understanding of the author’s intent.

    Homosexuality anyone?
    😉

    It is surley a conceit of modern humans that we can read a book in a simplistic fashion and gain perfect understanding of the author’s intent.

    Yeah but Christians apply that only to the stuff that is disgusting and revolts the rational 21st century person. The nice, fluffy stuff is sweetly accepted.

    It’s very clear about stoning. It’s mentioned it again and again and again. The when and the wheres and the whos are all carefully explained in loving detail.

    <i.Matt Flanagan has argued in the past that although these extreme punishments were on the books they were not necessarily common.

    Who give a flying fart what a numbskull like Matt thinks?
    The guy is a tool.
    If brains were dynamite he wouldn’t have enough to blow his nose.

    …not necessarily common…

    (…stunned silence…)

    Holy shit.
    Not necessarily common?
    Stoning?
    Not necessarily common?
    WTF?1?!
    Unbefuckingleavable.
    Stoning was “not necessarily common”.
    Holy shit.
    What does the frequency of bashing someone to death with rocks thrown by an angry mob have to do with anything at all?

    (puke)

    And who are we to judge the circumstances of an ancient tribe for whom life was nasty brutish and short, and justice of necessity had to be swift.

    We are people who are civilized and regard stoning as monsterous.
    This is the 21st century.
    We don’t stone to death anybody.
    No even those we hate the very most.
    Stoning doesn’t get mentioned at Sunday sermons.
    It puts people right off their lunch.

    Yet your magic man sanctions stoning in his magic book.
    Gross.
    He could have banned it.

    He could have said…“Don’t care what you do to criminals but stoning is out. Disobey me on this and I will be truly pissed off.”

    A short blunt statement accompanied by a dull rumble of thunder plus a burning bush or two and that would be that.
    Job done.
    No effort at all.
    Didn’t happen that way though.

    Since I am not a Bible scholar it seems reasonable to defer…

    We are talking about stoning.
    Stoning.
    In your bible.
    This is not some obscure verb that might be a noun or cryptic reference to some mystic subtext.
    Stoning.
    It’s mentioned again and again and again in explicit detail.

    It’s the sort of approach that rational science-minded people would generally appreciate….

    Rational people are automatically revolted over the very idea of stoning someone to death.
    There’s no way to justify this.
    There’s no weaseling around this.

    Though certain OT texts present challenges and difficulties, navigating these waters is achievable with patient, nuanced attention given to the relevant OT texts, the ancient Near East (ANE) context, and the broader biblical canon.

    Which still leaves us with stoning in your magic book.
    “Nuanced attention” is neither here nor there.

    And this judgment is not the refined result of some post-Enlightenment moral vision, but the biblical writers themselves point us toward a moral ideal, despite the presence of human sin and hard-heartedness.

    The moral ideal of stoning.
    Wow.
    (shudder)

    John Barton warns that there can be no “simple route” to dealing with OT ethics. Bruce Birch considers OT ethics as something of a “patchwork quilt. Thus, it calls for a more subtle and cautious approach…

    Oh yeah. Sure.
    No simple route to dealing with stoning?
    Stoning is a patchwork quilt?
    (sounds very soft and comforting really)

    A subtle and cautious approach to stoning?
    How do you have a “subtle” and “cautious” approach to god-sanctioned stoning?
    The mind boggles.

    ….these texts are rooted in a cultural context utterly unlike our own, with moral presuppositions and categories that are alien and in some cases repugnant to our modern sensibilities…

    Oh yes. Stoning is alien. Very alien.
    Repugnant? Yep, in spades.
    Yet it’s there in black and white. Again and again and again.
    In the magic book.

    It is not one single book with a single message, it is a collection of 66 books and letters, written in many different times, places, and societies, that have been recognised as uniquely insightful and precious.

    With lots of “crimes” punishable by stoning.

    Like

  62. Richard Christie

    Ropata, why do you need to constantly defer to someone else’s opinion? The scholars say this, the scholars say that. There has to be something terribly wrong with your holy book if it can’t interpreted except by placing your faith in such middlemen.

    Ken paints the theologians as equivalent to political spin doctors, going to extraordinary lengths to paint black as white. Reading the weasel words on Matt’s site I have to agree. For over 40 years I’ve largely just dismissed religion as being stone-age hangover, irrelevant to my life, so I paid it scant attention. But Matt’s website (and that of the other one who frequents here but whose name escapes me, the one thinks he is some sort of theological Che Guevara (in comparison to Matt’s James Bond)) gob-smacks me, the article on Abraham’s choice is chock full of twisted reasoning.

    Please, you are the one writing in here, so you answer the queries. Don’t send me to Matt, I have little confidence in him.

    Thus far you have only acknowledged that fallible men wrote the bible, and that mankind at the time lived to more violent mores. Your friend above just excuses your god’s instructions for these reasons.

    My question remains, do you , as does your mate above, think stoning was ok back then?

    Like

  63. Richard Christie

    Yet this God desires to draw them in and show them a better way:

    That’s it Cedric. He’s playing humanity like a trout on a line. Playing along with stoning for a wee while, in a loving way, so he can draw us in, get our confidence, so we can later on graduate to the more civilised electric chair as practised in the bible belt of the US of A. In god they trust.

    Like

  64. I suppose simple minds demand simple answers to everything. But history wasn’t like that, and this stupefying rhetoric shows a lack of willingness to actually engage the subject sensibly

    Like

  65. So, the Jews stoned as a means of capitol punishment for picking up sticks on the sabbath.

    Americans only fine or imprison up to two years, doctors that thrust a sharp object into an almost completely born child’s skull and vacuum out the brains (partial birth abortions).

    Like

  66. ”Here’s a general response to objections of the sort you raise, by Dr. Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University. I encourage you to read it carefully.”

    A terrific suggestion. Here is what ropata’s “scholar”, while defending OT morality, had to say about the slaughter of the Canaanites. It is definitely worth reading this vile passage in its entirety:

    ”Fourth, the crux of the issue this: if God exists, does he have any prerogatives over human life? The new atheists seem to think that if God existed, he should have a status no higher than any human being. Thus, he has no right to take life as he determines. Yet we should press home the monumental difference between God and ordinary human beings. If God is the author of life, he is not obligated to give us seventy or eight years of life.
    As philosopher Charles Taliaferro writes,

    If there is a robust sense in which the cosmos belongs to God, then God’s moral standing from the outset is radically unequal to ours. . . . Arguably our rights [to, say, property or privacy or even life] are at least hedged if the ownership of God is taken seriously. Being thus beholden to God would not seem to entitle God to create beings solely to torment them, but if life is indeed a gift from God which no creature deserves . . . , then certain complaints about the created order may be checked.

    That being the case, he can take the lives of the Canaanites indirectly through Israel’s armies (or directly, as he did when Sodom was destroyed in Genesis 19) according to his good purposes and morally sufficient reasons. What then of “innocent women and children”? Keep in mind that when God destroyed Sodom, he was willing to spare the city if there were even ten innocent persons. Not even ten could be found. Given the moral depravity of the Canaanites, the women were far from innocent. (Compare seduction of Israelite males by Midianite women in Numbers 25.)

    What then of the children? Death would be a mercy, as they would be ushered into the presence of God and spared the corrupting influences of a morally decadent culture. But what of terrorized mothers trying to protect their innocent children while Israelite armies invade? Here, perhaps a just war analogy might help. A cause might be morally justified (for example, stopping the aggression of Hitler and Japan), even if innocent civilians might be killed-an unfortunate “collateral damage” that comes with such scenarios. Furthermore, the infants and children who were killed by the Israelites would, in the afterlife, come to recognize God’s just purposes, despite the horrors and terrors of war. They would side with God in the rightness of his purposes-even if it had meant temporary terror.” [emphasis mine]

    So there we have it. The wholesale slaughter of a people is fine and dandy, since the adults deserved exactly what they got and the kids were even done a favour. Furthermore, god can destroy human life however he sees fit because,…well because he’s god, dammit.

    If this is not proof for the corrupting influence of religion on moral thinking, I don’t know what is.

    Simply repugnant.

    I would also be interested to hear how Mr. Taliaferro, who is cited approvingly by the author, justifies his claim that while god is perfectly within his rights to create people in order to obliterate them afterwards without restraint, he is not allowed to torture them. I guess Mr. Taliaferro is no Calvinist…

    Like

  67. Do you focus on the unlikeable parts of your family and ignore the parts you might like? If not, why do you do that with God?
    And what gives you leave to accept other books in their entirety (even comparing book to book), and not accept the Bible in its entirety?

    “Let’s accept that the practice of stoning was true so that we can ridicule Christians, but not accept that God died for me.”

    “Let’s accept that the practice of slavery was true so we can bash the Christians with it, but not accept that God said to love your neighbor as yourself.”
    The selectivity with which you treat the scriptures is mind-blowing.
    No one believes in the partial character of the God you talk about.

    Like

  68. ““Let’s accept that the practice of slavery was true so we can bash the Christians with it, but not accept that God said to love your neighbor as yourself.”
    The selectivity with which you treat the scriptures is mind-blowing.
    No one believes in the partial character of the God you talk about.”

    so you believe in the total god that tells us to stone our disrespectful children to death, dash babies against the rocks, etc?

    Like

  69. YES I believe in him! ALL of him, not just the part you talk about. Most of all, I believe in ALL the character of God which allows me to understand harsh laws in light of God’s perfect holiness and our evil choices. How can a perfect being allow any corruption to dwell with him? Those laws you talk of were a device to show the Israelites that NO ONE is “good” in the eyes of the Lord, and the smallest, most miniscule infraction against him (if there was no grace or mercy) should be met with death and separation from God forever. The law was given to illustrate that. It was our “teacher” to bring us to Jesus who took the punishment for the miniscule infractions that separated us. *It showed us that we cannot hope to reach God on our own by following laws.* It is by his mercy, love, and grace that we are saved through faith. And even that faith is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God. *No longer are we required to follow a list of do’s and don’ts which was never able to save us anyway.* Praise God that he provided a way!

    So, go ahead and talk about stoning, it just illustrates the great gulf between you and God. Take the next step, and accept what God has done to bridge the gap.

    Like

  70. So, the Jews stoned as a means of capitol punishment for picking up sticks on the sabbath.

    According to the law of their magic sky-daddy.
    Written very carefully in their magic book.
    The magic man demands stoning.
    Your magic man.
    Stoning.
    For gathering sticks. Bloodly sticks.
    What kind of a demented force of evil would come up with a law like that?

    What are the other crimes, Daniel?
    Mention them. Maybe they are better…or even more insane.
    Mention them.
    I dare you.
    Swallow your shame and revulsion and spell them out for us.

    Given the moral depravity of the Canaanites, the women were far from innocent. (Compare seduction of Israelite males by Midianite women in Numbers 25.)
    What then of the children? Death would be a mercy, as they would be ushered into the presence of God and spared the corrupting influences of a morally decadent culture.

    But…but genocide is not really genocide if god commands it.
    Right?
    (…awkward silence…)
    Right?

    The twisted logic of the religious apologist.
    No wonder they don’t mention any of this stuff on Sundays.
    Awful. Truly awful.
    There’s no way to defend this sort of evil.
    Shame on those that even try.

    Do you focus on the unlikeable parts of your family and ignore the parts you might like? If not, why do you do that with God?

    Isn’t your god supposed to be better than ordinary people?
    Divine?
    Perfect?
    The source of all morality and goodness?

    Bit of a let-down comparing “him” to flawed, ordinary humans.
    Rather blasphemous, really.

    If a god is as morally flawed as a member of your family then you might as well not bother much with the worship part.

    And what gives you leave to accept other books in their entirety (even comparing book to book), and not accept the Bible in its entirety?

    How does “accepting the bible in it’s entirety” change a solitary damn thing?
    There’s still the multiple mentions about the stonings.
    They are still there, dummy.

    Even if the rest of the bible was all sweetness and light and Disney stories (which it isn’t) there’s still the fat, smelly turd lying in the middle of the dinner table that you just can’t talk about honestly.
    It hasn’t magically disappeared.
    Stoning.

    “Let’s accept that the practice of stoning was true…

    Stoning was true.
    It is true.
    It happened.
    People died.
    Really.

    … so that we can ridicule Christians…

    Nobodys talking about “Christians”, oh thick-witted one.
    It’s about your magic book and your magic man’s “divine” laws…on stoning.

    The selectivity with which you treat the scriptures is mind-blowing.

    The only person that is being selective is you.
    You are cherry-picking the nice things and desperately waving your hands at the homicidal, insane things.
    Every time you post here, you expose your moral bankrupcy.
    ropata can’t help you.
    He can’t even help himself.
    That’s why he bleated about “deferring” to…Matt of all people.
    Mentioning Paul Copan just added fat to the fire.

    Stoning AND genocide.
    Nice company you keep.
    It’s not even if the whole genocide thing was a once-off either.
    Oh no.
    Just like stoning, genocide of an entire people happened mutiple times.
    It’s all described in loving detail. Lurid detail.
    We even know how many women were captured as sex slaves.

    Like

  71. How can a perfect being allow any corruption to dwell with him?

    Well, yes.
    Exactly.
    It doesn’t work.
    You can’t square the circle.
    It’s indefensible.

    How does a perfect being revel in having people stoned to death in his name?
    A good and decent being would condemn it because it’s sickening.
    It’s wrong.
    It’s barbaric.
    Yet your magic man sanctioned it.
    Repeatedly.

    Those laws you talk of were a device to show the Israelites that NO ONE is “good” in the eyes of the Lord, and the smallest, most miniscule infraction against him (if there was no grace or mercy) should be met with death and separation from God forever.

    So he had people stoned to death?
    He got mobs to smash rocks into people’s skulls?
    People butchered because they gathered sticks?
    Odd way of communicating a theological point.
    Fail.

    And even that faith is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God. *No longer are we required to follow a list of do’s and don’ts which was never able to save us anyway.* Praise God that he provided a way!

    One can almost see the flecks of spittle decorating your monitor, the rolling of your eyes and the finale of rolling about on the floor in an ecstacy of being “slain in the spirit” as you babble incoherently in glossolalia.

    Can I have an AMEN?!?

    Tank you Jayzuuuuzzz, Tank yoooo.

    Mr. Deity and the Book, Part Deux (Episode Two, Season Three)

    Like

  72. Richard Christie

    Daniel wrote

    Americans only fine or imprison up to two years, doctors that thrust a sharp object into an almost completely born child’s skull and vacuum out the brains (partial birth abortions).

    Better the outcome in the middle panel of the post’s cartoon, eh Daniel?

    Like

  73. What we have here is a severe case of strident militant atheism desperate to show that God is evil, and Christianity immoral. It’s exactly the sort of hateful rhetoric and self righteous mindset that precedes purges pogroms and persecution. It’s a grossly perverse view of a faith that aims to bless humanity. You’re acting as fanatically and unreasonably as the fictional religious nuts you so despise. Copan’s piece deconstructed this unhelpful, unreasonable, and unscholarly approach. It’s just a pile of mad rantings. Reveals more about the state of the atheist mind than the true character of God.

    Like

  74. Richard Christie

    What we have here is a severe case of strident militant atheism desperate to show that God is evil, and Christianity immoral. It’s exactly the sort of hateful rhetoric and self righteous mindset that precedes purges pogroms and persecution.

    I do detect that you are feeling uncomfortable and put out Ropata .

    We’re only asking you questions.

    About what it says your book.

    We didn’t write it.

    Like

  75. You asked questions not in order to understand the truth, but in order to try and perpetuate your wicked strawman version of the faith that sustained western civilization.

    http://twitter.com/persecutionnews
    http://twitter.com/vomc

    Like

  76. Richard Christie

    You asked questions not in order to understand the truth, but in order to try and perpetuate your wicked strawman version of the faith that sustained western civilization.

    Not at all, I ask purely to see how you explain away such instructions from your god, the ones written in your holy book. It is tue that I, and others here, see such instructions as glaring flaws in your belief system.

    When no proper answer from you is forthcoming the questions from here only become more persistent, as it quite reasonable to assume that you are avoiding honest and rational analysis of the question. Reliance thus far on theological scholars has only childish and paper-thin argument.

    It appears that you simply don’t wish to take a good hard look deep into your faith’s inconsistencies. Maybe it terrifies you.

    I salute your willingness to tough it out but would prefer rational engagement.

    Like

  77. I ask purely to see how you explain away such instructions from your god, the ones written in your holy book. It is true that I, and others here, see such instructions as glaring flaws in your belief system.
    There are difficulties indeed to the modern western mind but the purpose of the bible isn’t to provide a complete answer to all atheist objections. I’ve illustrated that such answers are available to the honest seeker of truth. Your dismissive attitude to actual scholarship shows a lack of real engagement with the actual arguments on the topic, clearly you would rather throw about simplistic slogans or soundbites.

    Most any spiritual tradition asks us to believe things that may at first seem implausible. However, some degree of ‘belief in the unbelievable’ may actually be a necessary component of deconditioning ourselves to the narrow and restricted consensus reality of our particular culture.” One reason I believe secular people care so much about movies, fiction, modern art, and other trifles is that they are the only means they have to temporarily escape from the nightmare of their soul-crushing egoic existence.

    Wolfgang Smith agrees that what may strike the modern rationalist as “categorically absurd” is just the thing that might “serve as a bridge that leads beyond the phenomenal realm.” One way of bypassing — or shattering — one’s habitual and saturated way of thinking is to properly immerse oneself in the highly resonant, mythopoetic language of religion, which doesn’t necessarily rely upon conscious understanding to transmit its truth, but rather, activates perennial truths that are latent within us.

    I’ve noticed that there are certain aspects of Christianity that you simply cannot get your mind around, and this may be the point. Not for nothing are they called “mysteries.” However, it is critical to bear in mind that a mystery is not a wall but a window or perhaps bridge. Only at the lowest level of understanding — e.g., existentialism, scientism — does mystery shade off into absurdity. In that realm, one will indeed simply go around in circles, with no possible resolution to the world enigma …

    It is also important to note that there are obviously different modes of cognition aside from mere reason: intuition, inspiration, intellection, etc. Of inspiration, Schuon writes that it is analogous to revelation, in that it is a “divine dictation,” except that it is not a “lawgiving and obligatory Message,” but rather, “plays an illustrative role within the framework of the fundamental Message.”
    from Reason and Revelation: The Blind Reading the Blinding

    Like

  78. There are difficulties indeed to the modern western mind but the purpose of the bible isn’t to provide a complete answer to all atheist objections.

    “Atheist objections”?

    No, that won’t do.
    Christians don’t like the disgusting parts either.
    Never gets any air time at Sunday School.
    When Christians evangelise, they routinely avoid that part.
    Plenty of day-to-day Christians have no idea that there are laws on stoning that fit in perfectly with the Taliban and Islamo-fascists of all stripes. When they get read out those particular passages, the reaction is one of distaste and discomfort followed by some scrabbling around for an excuse to explain it all away and a determination to avoid the topic in the future.
    (With the possible exception of Fred Phelps’s church. They LOVE those parts.)

    As you yourself admit, the modern western mind is at odds with stoning.
    We are all revolted by it.

    I’ve illustrated that such answers are available to the honest seeker of truth.

    No, what you have done is look deep inside yourself and come up with no good answer.
    Zippo.
    So you, in desperation, reach for some authority figure to creatively “interpret” the magic book for you and square the circle.

    Your dismissive attitude to actual scholarship…

    No.
    Scholarship is all hunky-dory and all but if you have found a rational and solid answer to the whole stoning problem…then spell it out.
    Yourself.
    Do you yourself make any sense of it?
    It doesn’t seem like it.
    Don’t just defer!
    That’s surrender.
    That’s you dropping the issue in the “too hard” basket and running away.
    Poor form.
    We’ve read your quotes from the likes of Paul Copan.
    He didn’t do any better that poor ol’ Daniel who only came here to preach at us and wound up biting off more that he could chew.
    If anything, the Paul Copan material made him look like an apologist for mass genocide.
    It’s all too easy to imagine a modern war-crimes trial at the Hauge and some scumbag defendant cutting-and-pasting Copan as a defence.

    Not pretty at all.

    …a lack of real engagement with the actual arguments on the topic…

    You mean stoning?
    The topic of stoning and why your magic man has laws on stoning in your magic book?
    That topic?
    Stoning?
    Smashing a living person to pieces with rocks by a sub-human mob as the victim gurgles for mercy through a broken jaw and teeth?
    Because of a “crime”?
    That’s the “topic” you were referring to?

    We don’t engage with the “topic” of stoning?
    Oh, yes we do.
    It’s the hapless hand-waving apologists that desperately try to avoid mentioning even the word itself in their comments.

    Take poor old Daniel as an example; rolling around on the floor in his religious ecstacy.

    The topic here is stoning.
    Yet Danial can’t engage with actual arguments about stoning so he invents his own topics and then argues them, oblivious to the actual conversation around him….

    I think the point here is that human nature and ambition will always seek to destroy and rule what it wants or cannot have
    (…)
    Americans only fine or imprison up to two years, doctors that thrust a sharp object into an almost completely born child’s skull and vacuum out the brains (partial birth abortions).
    (…)
    “Let’s accept that the practice of stoning was true so that we can ridicule Christians…
    (…)
    So, go ahead and talk about stoning, it just illustrates the great gulf between you and God.

    Stoning is not mentioned at all. Danial wants to talk about the “real” topic.
    He wants to talk about the ( “actual arguments” 😉 )that he invented in his head.
    They are:
    1) Human nature and ambition.
    2) Abortion
    3) Ridiculing Christians
    4) The gulf between us and god (or something)

    Notice the distinct absense of STONING.
    STONING in the magic book.
    STONING mentioned multiple times in the bible.

    It’s Daniel that shows a lack of real engagement with the actual arguments on the topic. He’s got nothing so he brings up something (ANYTHING!!!) else to hopefully deflect the conversations somewhere else.
    Nobody fell for it.

    You, ropata, perform the same dog-and-pony show.

    …history provides numerous examples of atheist militancy
    (…)
    act in accordance with some obscure and irrelevant passage from the OT
    (…)
    I suggest stop making false accusations against the Christian church,
    (…)
    And yet atheists in their boundless hubris try to force horrible interpretations of OT law on to Christians!
    (…)
    It is not one single book with a single message, it is a collection of 66 books and letters, written in many different times, places, and societies, that have been recognised as uniquely insightful and precious.
    (…)
    I suppose simple minds demand simple answers to everything. But history wasn’t like that
    (…)
    It’s just a pile of mad rantings. Reveals more about the state of the atheist mind than the true character of God.
    (…)
    in order to try and perpetuate your wicked strawman version of the faith that sustained western civilization.

    Here again, stoning is not mentioned at all. ropata wants to talk about the “real” topic.
    He wants to talk about the ( “actual arguments” 😉 )that he invented in his head.

    They are:
    1) Atheist militancy
    2) a single, solitary unnamed obscure and irrelevant passage from the OT
    3) Accusations against the “Christian Church”.
    4) The forcing of horrible interpretations of OT law on to Christians!
    (The point here is that the laws on stoning themselves are not horrible but the atheists are making them horrible by “interpreting” it badly)
    😉
    5) A collection of books that have been recognised as uniquely insightful and precious.
    6) History is complicated.
    7) The state of the atheist mind.
    8) The faith that sustained western civilization.

    Notice the distinct absense of STONING.
    STONING in the magic book.
    STONING mentioned multiple times in the bible.

    It’s ropata that shows a lack of real engagement with the actual arguments on the topic. He’s got nothing so he brings up something (ANYTHING!!!) else to hopefully deflect the conversations somewhere else.
    Nobody fell for it.

    Stoning.
    It’s in your magic book.
    It’s repeated multiple times. In great detail.
    The magic man has multiple laws on stoning in his magic book.

    Like

  79. Now you are probably curious about what happens when sane, ordinary 21st century people are confronted with the concept of stoning in the bible.
    Fortunately, even Christians reject it.
    Heck, they don’t even believe that it could be in their bible in the first place.
    Nobody wants to touch it with a ten-foot pole.
    It’s indefensible.

    The Chaser’s War on Everything: Do you Believe the Bible is True?

    Like

  80. I hope you don’t expect much sincere or sober debate to continue after those last few efforts Cedric. Calm down and have a glass of water or something.

    Christian morals are exemplified in CHRIST not the harsh and alien landscape of the Old Testament (hint: “Old” Testament). As I have repeatedly told you. How could anyone take your ranting seriously compared to credentialed scholars of Ancient Near Eastern literature?

    You really are in love with your own bullshit.

    Like

  81. Christian morals are exemplified in CHRIST not the harsh and alien landscape of the Old Testament

    Tell that to homosexuals, women, slaves and the people that were stoned to death in your magic man’s name before magic man 2.0 showed up.
    (shrug)

    Christian morals are exemplified in CHRIST not the harsh and alien landscape of the Old Testament

    Yes, the OT is harsh.
    Yes, it’s alien.
    People in the 21st century don’t like it.
    Not even Christians.
    Certainly not you.
    You are much, much more comfortable talking about atheist militancy, accusations against the “Christian Church”, how history is “complicated”, the state of the atheist mind and the faith that sustained western civilization.
    Nobody has to twist your arm over those topics, do they?
    Oh no.
    You will go on and on about them if given the chance.
    Why, you bring them up all by yourself with no prodding from anybody else.
    Surprise, surprise.
    😉

    Anything, anything, anything but the ugly stuff in the OT such as stoning.

    Yes, it repeatedly mentions stoning.
    And the the magic man of the Old Testament seems to be very happy with that.
    So why is that?
    Even if we accept that “Jesus changed everything” how does that explain why there is stoning in the bible in the first place?

    What kind of a demented god would demand it in the first damned place?

    … compared to credentialed scholars of Ancient Near Eastern literature?

    You don’t even know what it is that they say.
    You can’t spell out what argument they use to make the whole “stoning is repeatedly mentioned in the bible” problem.

    You just quote and run away.
    You have nothing.
    Pure chicken.

    What you are doing is a repeat performance of your “many respected scientists and philosophers” routine.
    Argument from authority.
    Logic fail.
    It doesn’t work around here.
    It just makes you look helpless and gullible.

    Appeal To Authority & Faith Vs. A Good Reason – Atheist Experience 673

    Like

  82. I think your first problem is that you don’t believe in God, and the second is that you hate Him. And if you’re so obsessed with passing judgement on other cultures from some lofty moralistic black and white binary insanity you’ll never understand. You’re the mirror image of a bigoted fundamentalist.

    Like

  83. “I think your first problem is that you don’t believe in God, and the second is that you hate Him.”

    Not believing in a god isn’t a problem, but if it was then there would be a problem in hating him; how can you hate something that you don’t believe exists? I’d despise your god if I thought he existed, but since I don’t I’ll reserve my ire for the people who try to impose the atrocities of the bible on others.

    Like

  84. I think your first problem is that you don’t believe in God, and the second is that you hate Him.

    Awesomely dumb.
    Deep down, original, untreated, unrefined, all natural 100% dumb.
    When they handed out the brains, you were off taking a piss behind the pub somewhere.

    “I don’t believe in the magic, invisible sky-daddy….
    But…
    I hate the magic sky-daddy”

    Spot the basic logic problem here.
    🙂

    Let me help you with that.

    “I don’t believe in the magic, sweaty football sock…
    But…
    I hate the magic, sweaty football sock.”

    “I don’t believe in the flying spaghetti monster…
    But…
    I hate the flying spaghetti monster.”

    “I don’t believe in Bigfoot…
    But…
    I hate Bigfoot.”

    “I don’t believe in Hank…
    But…
    I hate Hank.”

    Kissing Hank’s Ass

    Like

  85. My last comment was actually a well-used quote from somewhere – just trying to inject a little humour. It’s a caricature of atheist thinking; do I really have to spell it out for you in words of one syllable? Here’s an example:

    Professor Thomas Nagel of NYU more recently wrote, “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time.”

    I’m not running away or appealing to authority, I’m trying to give reasonable replies – something which unfortunately you choose to ignore.


    Despite this, God’s attitude as evidenced by the sacrifice of Christ is: There are atheists, and I love them.

    Like

  86. …just trying to inject a little humour. It’s a caricature of atheist thinking; do I really have to spell it out for you…

    Oh, you were “just kidding”?
    Ok.
    Maybe.

    I’m not running away…
    You are running away from the parts about stoning in the bible.
    You seldom bother to even mention the very word itself in your comments.
    You will talk about anything else but stoning.
    It’s called running away and you are indeed doing it.

    Nobody care about your opinion about me or anybody else.
    It’s all water off a duck’s back.
    Nobody cares about your views on atheist militancy, accusations against the “Christian Church”, how history is “complicated”, the state of the atheist mind, the faith that sustained western civilization, blah, blah, blah etc.

    Discuss stoning in the bible. Try a little.
    Pick up your bible.

    …or appealing to authority…

    You do that on a regular basis. It’s your standard shtick. It’s who you are.

    “Many respected scientists and philosophers”?
    That was one of yours in a previous thread.

    Then there was you mindlessly quoting lame Craig in a previous thread.
    No actual discussion from yourself about Craig’s argument.
    Oh no, that would require some thinking on your part.
    Just a cut-and-paste job from you.
    That’s appealing to authority.

    “I got nuttin’ but these guys….they are famous, they talk about this so they must be right. I’ll just copy them. That will save my bacon.”

    You are, once again, appealing to authority by cutting-and-pasting Copan.
    No actual argument based on Copan.
    You are evidently incapable of that.
    Just cutting-and-pasting Copan.
    Appealing to authority.

    …compared to credentialed scholars of Ancient Near Eastern literature…

    Tremble in fear, atheist world. ropata is ready at the drop of a hat to cut-and-paste AGAIN!!! Not just from scholars of Ancient Near Eastern literature (oh no). Those scholars are “credentialed”.
    Yes, that’s right. They are credentialed!!!
    Tremble in fear.
    😉

    I won’t even bother about you trying to defer to Matt of all people.
    Let’s assume that was just a little joke on your part.

    I’m trying to give reasonable replies…

    No, you are not.
    You are avoiding talking about stoning in the bible every chance you get.
    You cut and paste.
    You throw out insults hoping that maybe somebody will bite and create a distraction from the unsavoury topic of stoning.
    Didn’t work.

    You want to have a reasonable discussion about stoning in the bible?
    Good.
    Finally.
    Let’s start by you giving your own opinion on the biblical laws that are punishable by stoning in the bible.
    Spell them out and tell us if you think any are reasonable as opposed to clearly being the product of a barbaric mind.

    Like

  87. This obsession of yours is a threadjack. I have given you enough information about the subject. Anyway, here’s some more (top link in google) I have stated my position over and over. You want to put me in the witness stand and judge my morals based on your quote mined, hysterical, and historically insupportable delusions? Dismissing the opinions of people who have actually done the research does not help your case, it shows that you are nothing more than a crank. Does it seem significant to you that Jesus was nearly stoned for blasphemy twice, and St. Stephen (the first martyr) died by stoning? IT IS NOT A CHRISTIAN TEACHING SO STOP TELLING LIES.

    You do not hesitate to to condemn others, but do you judge yourself? What is the atheist justification for its heinous totalitarian regimes and rivers of blood of the last century? If we just make up our own morals then anything goes I suppose, including mass slaughter.

    Like

  88. I have given you enough information about the subject.

    Not asking you for more links, you twit.
    What’s your opinion?
    Why can’t you think for yourself?

    Dismissing the opinions of people who have actually done the research does not help your case…

    Nobody is “dismissing their research”.
    It’s just that waving around somebody else’s opinion and hoping it will get you out of a jam is incredibly lame.
    It’s a blatant appeal to authority.
    Shame on you.

    Does it seem significant to you that Jesus was nearly stoned for blasphemy twice, and St. Stephen (the first martyr) died by stoning?

    First time you’ve mentioned it.
    Is that your argument?
    Can’t see how it would work though.
    After all, as I (and others here) have mentioned before the basic problem still stands:

    Even if we accept that “Jesus changed everything” how does that explain why there is stoning in the bible in the first place?

    What kind of a demented god would demand it in the first damned place?

    So, in answer to your question, no.
    No it doesn’t seem significant.
    Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t.
    It doesn’t magically erase the multiple mentions of stoning in the bible.
    Go ahead and explain why, though.
    Maybe you can make a good argument from that.
    I’ll listen.
    I’m sure we all will.

    IT IS NOT A CHRISTIAN TEACHING SO STOP TELLING LIES.

    First of all, stop yelling.
    It’s rude.

    Second of all, stop listening to the voices in your head and focus on what people are actually saying to you.
    Strawmen, remember?

    Nobody is talking about “Christian teachings”.
    AFAIK, the phrase has not been used once in this whole thread.

    We’re talking about stoning.
    Stoning in the bible.
    The topic you are strenuously avoiding at every turn.

    You can’t even bring yourself to type in the word “stoning”.
    That happens a lot to you.
    Your previous comment is an atypical example.
    You actually got around to typing in the word “stoning” but only because it related directly to magic man 2.0

    You have great difficulty typing in the word “stoning” otherwise.
    Odd that.

    Come to think of it, the your previous comment prior to that said nothing about stoning either.

    Nor the one before that…
    and (looking back through the thread) nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…nor the one before that…
    Hmm.
    Interesting.

    You just don’t like that word.
    I understand.
    It’s an ugly word and an ugly topic.
    At every turn you have twisted and writhed, consiously avoiding mentioning stoning.
    You don’t like it much do you?
    No.
    Christians don’t like it.
    Sane 21st century people don’t like stoning at all.
    It repulses them. It alienates them.

    ropata?
    Listen up.
    You can try to avoid talking about it all you want but…it’s always going to be in your bible.
    Its mentioned again and again and again and again and again.
    For the most absurd and brain-dead “crimes”.
    Explict details of stoning…in your magic book.

    Your magic book. Not ours. Yours.
    You can’t even mention it. That how uncomfortable you are with the subject.
    It revolts you as much as it does any other sane and decent person.

    Talk about it.
    Talk about stoning in the bible.
    Confront it.

    You want to have a reasonable discussion about stoning in the bible?
    Good.
    Finally.
    Let’s start by you giving your own opinion on the biblical laws that are punishable by stoning in the bible.
    Spell them out and tell us if you think any are reasonable as opposed to clearly being the product of a barbaric mind.

    Stoning for alleged adulterous women in Islamic Iran

    Like

  89. For the sake of argument, let’s say I support stoning for the offense of murder. Would you still call stoning wrong?

    Like

  90. (…Daniel returns after his moment of heavenly climaxing…)

    For the sake of argument, let’s say I support stoning for the offense of murder. Would you still call stoning wrong?

    Why do you bring up this new subject?
    Stop throwing up a distraction.
    This is not about what’s going on inside your head.
    You are not the centre of attention.

    “For the sake of argument”, indeed.
    Shove it.
    😦

    Try and honestly focus for once.
    Stoning.
    In your magic book.
    Sanctioned repeatedly in your magic book as your magic man’s laws.

    Try focusing on that for a moment.
    Just on that.
    Go on, try.

    Start by giving your own opinion on the biblical laws that are punishable by stoning in the bible.
    Spell them out and tell us if you think any are reasonable as opposed to clearly being the product of a barbaric mind.

    Like

  91. Why is stoning wrong, Cedric?

    Like

  92. Hello? Are you there? Answer the question. I can’t defend against your feelings on the matter, but I can discuss your reason and foundation for saying so. So, what is your answer?

    Like

  93. Cedric, you really are acting most irrationally. Your comments amount to insults, rude behaviour, false accusations, failure to comprehend, repetitive displays of ignorance and bigotry are simply useless. I feel as though I’ve been attempting to reason with a two year old who keeps throwing tantrums and soiling himself in public. The topic at hand is “atheist militancy” yet you somehow think it should be all about you and your horrible small minded worldview. We’re going round in circles not because people are refusing to answer or throwing up distractions but because you are repeating screeds of lies, ignoring rational replies, and yelling and throwing your toys out of the cot when you don’t get what you want. Of course I don’t like the idea of stoning, but it was the standard form of capital punishment in the ancient world, for the worst crimes. It is unbelievably insulting to assume I approve of it after all I have written. Now would you please stop acting like an incontinent child?

    Also why are you avoiding the topic of militant atheism that includes Napoleon, Nietzsche, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Kim Jong Il? No answer? You’d rather rant on and on endlessly about the legal procedures of a few bronze age nomads… meanwhile the impact of your evil philosophy is still killing thousands around the world.

    Like

  94. And once again ropata has managed to avoid typing the word “stoning” in his comment.

    …the legal procedures of a few bronze age nomads…

    “Legal procedures”?
    An interesting euphemism for killing people by smashing rocks against their bodies.
    Very sanitary.
    Much prettier than stoning.
    Stoning is a very ugly word.
    I understand you.

    “A few bronze-age nomads?”
    Is that the reason why the Old Testament exists in the way it does?
    Because it was written by…a few bronze-age nomads?

    (…awkward silence…)

    You want to go with that as your argument?
    Really?
    Are you sure?
    Don’t get me wrong, I personally think you are on the right track here for once but are you sure you want to take that track?

    Like

  95. Of course I don’t like the idea of stoning…

    Well, I should bloodly hope not.
    😉

    It is unbelievably insulting to assume I approve of it after all I have written…

    (facepalm)
    I have assumed no such thing.
    Re-read what I have written.

    I even said in one of my previous comments that…It revolts you as much as it does any other sane and decent person.

    That hardly equates me as assuming that you approve of stoning.
    Quite the opposite.
    Stop this woeful habit you have of “creatively re-interpreting” other people’s comments.
    Ignore the voices in your head.
    Deal with just the words you see in front of you on the thread itself.

    This is about stoning in your magic book.
    The one presumably sanctioned by your magic invisible sky-man.

    I’m asking you to talk about it.
    Talk about stoning in the bible.
    Confront it.

    Open your own book and go through the parts about stoning.
    How many ways has your magic man sanctioned the creepy and genuinely revolting killing of human beings by stoning for the most incomprehsible excuses?
    What’s your opinion of them.
    We get it that you “don’t approve “.
    Yet what is your opinion of them?

    Please don’t just cut-and-paste or provide yet another “link to authority”.
    Think for yourself.

    Like

  96. Daniel you say:
    “For the sake of argument, let’s say I support stoning for the offense of murder. Would you still call stoning wrong?”

    And then you ask “Why is stoning wrong?”

    How do you make decisions about this sort of thing, Daniel?

    1: Do you rely on your interpretation of your “holy” book?
    2: Do you rely on your moral instincts?
    3: Do you rely on moral logic – considering the information and making your own judgement?

    Obviously in my case 1 is out of the question. These sort of books enable sharia law authorities to use stoning. But with interpretation one can end up justifying anything. This sort of divine command ethics leads straight to the quagmire of moral relativism – and then to atrocities.

    Case 2 – intuitions – is obvious what we all use most of the time. We have to as we must make judgements unconsciously because of time factors. However, our intuitions are informed by, developed by, our learning, culture and experience. But it can often be wrong – as for instance the case where some people intuitively support discrimination against women, gays, people of other race, etc. Their intuitions just have not yet caught up.

    Case 3: We can all do that – if we put in the effort. Unfortunately, – this is often rationalisation – justifying our preconceived moral position arising intuitively. But in society we can make collective considerations and come to decisions, often changing laws in the process. We have done that with gays, women, race, prostitution, etc. And we have done it with the death penalty – at least in NZ.

    So its not hard to recognise that stoning is wrong. It causes suffering so as a conscious sentient, intelligent, empathetic, social being I oppose it.
    It is degrading for the victim and the stoner – that arise from our nature.

    Now you raise the question of using it for murderers. Where do you get that from. It’s usually used against women for the crime of “mingling” which is equated with adultery.

    Now as modern, rational, empathetic social beings we recognise that labeling things like mingling, adultery, etc., as crimes is inhumane. And don’t forget the bible advocated stoning for apostasy. Any human society does not see that as a crime.

    So stoning is obviously wrong in essence. It is wrong when used as a punishment for “crimes” which are not crimes (they have no victim).

    As for using it to punish murders (which it isn’t) – the arguments are the same as any used on the question of the death penalty.

    One could add to that for those who do accept the concept of a death penalty (a decreasing number of rational people) there is the question of choosing a “humane” method. Stoning must be one of the most inhumane methods around. It caused prolonged agony – and is meant to.

    I have absolutely no problem determining that stoning is wrong. Because I base my moral decisions on objective facts – about the situation and also the objective facts of our existence as humans.

    You seem to have a problem though, Daniel. I am picking that this is because you rely on divine command ethics, which destroys you ability to act as an autonomous human being. It leads you to sink into the moral relativism of relying on “holy” books for guidance.

    Like

  97. Why do you base your rejection of stoning on suffering? Is all suffering bad? Should much of our existence be spent avoiding suffering?

    More about stoning:

    If you wanted to stop people in society from committing terrible crimes, the offenders may think twice before committing crimes if they knew might be stoned. Think also about the effect it would have on society. That kind of a punishment would do more to psychologically deter bad behavior than lesser punishments. Crime would decrease pretty fast.

    Like

  98. Richard Christie

    If you wanted to stop people in society from committing terrible crimes, the offenders may think twice before committing crimes if they knew might be stoned. Think also about the effect it would have on society. That kind of a punishment would do more to psychologically deter bad behavior than lesser punishments. Crime would decrease pretty fast.

    Is this your opinion, Daniel?

    Like

  99. Daniel – just a little quote from the Harris interview in the latest New Scientist which has a special section “Science wakes up to morality.”

    “Questions of right and wrong, good and evil, are questions about human and animal well-being.”

    Daniel, if you don’t base your morality on human well-being, and hence the objective basis for that, you can end up supporting the most inhumane actions, like stoning.

    It seems you advocate stoning for criminal or bad behavior in our society! You advocate inhumane punishment?

    And by supporting stoning you also seem to support its current use for the non-crimes of “mingling,” adultery (for the women), rape (for the victim) and apostasy.

    Barbaric!

    And the bible does that.

    Like

  100. Stoning occurred in the context of the violent, lawless, very basic existence of the ancient Hebrews. Perhaps R. Crumb’s X-Rated Genesis would give you guys a better picture.

    Like

  101. Ropata, stoning is occurring in Iran, Saudi Arabia and (I think) Afghanistan. Maybe in other regions or countries which use Sharia law.

    It is given as a punishment for apostasy in the bible. Daniel is currently advocating it here. So let’s not pretend that it is not a current issue or that similar acts of barbarity are not an issue today.

    Like

  102. Richard Christie

    Perhaps R. Crumb’s X-Rated Genesis would give you guys a better picture.

    Interesting that you assume candid illustration of the bible to be X-rated.
    😉

    Like

  103. Genesis is pretty raw stuff. Not nice fluffy Sunday school material at all. BTW “Song of Solomon” in the original text really was treated as X rated in Jewish culture (not taught to students below a certain age) due to explicit sexual content, without the nice sanitised euphemisms of English translations.

    Like

  104. If you wanted to stop people in society from committing terrible crimes, the offenders may think twice before committing crimes if they knew might be stoned. Think also about the effect it would have on society. That kind of a punishment would do more to psychologically deter bad behavior than lesser punishments. Crime would decrease pretty fast.

    Spoken like a true Dominionist.

    Like

  105. Richard Christie

    Spoken like a true Dominionist.

    Sheesh Cedric, I feel I’ve just looked under a rock and viewed something really, really, nasty.
    I feel need to take a shower after reading that link.

    Like

  106. Ken,

    What is the objective basis for human well-being?

    Also,

    Which one will be the greatest detterence for crime? Being stoned by a mob 5 minutes after the crime or being arrested five minutes after the crime?

    If a man was raping your mother and you walked in on him committing this crime and a rock was near you, would you throw it?

    Like

  107. Which one will be the greatest detterence for crime? Being stoned by a mob 5 minutes after the crime or being arrested five minutes after the crime?

    Wow.
    (…reads the statement again…)

    No, really.
    Wow.
    (Looks under rock, put rock back down again in a great hurry)

    Creepy.
    I say that not as an atheist but just as a sane, humane human being.
    It’s like Western legal justice system never was.
    And all that human dignity and rights stuff was just a momentary distraction.

    (…backs slowly away from the insane one…)

    Mob Justice and the Poor – Killed by the crowd

    Like

  108. Cedric,

    Did you spend any time in one of Pavlov’s cages when you were a child? Did he walk by the cage you were in and yell words like “stoning” to which you dutifully replied “Oh, it’s bad. It’s bad”? I have yet to hear anything come out of your mouth except a pre-programmed response. Go ahead, come on out of the cage and try finding some reasons for your response. Come outside and join me for a meaningful conversation. The air feels nice out here.

    Like

  109. Well, it seems like Daniel is either sincere in his advocacy for stoning, or he is trying out the good, old „Atheists have no basis for objective morality, so they can not cogently mount any kind of moral criticism“ routine.

    Regarding the second alternative, this is of course patently false. I do not have to assume the existence of “moral facts” to make a rational criticism of the tenets of different moral systems, their presuppositions, their results etc.

    Naturally, one can always question the basic principles of any moral system to the point where no further justification can be given. But this is true for theism as well. Cutting off the justification regress with “God said so.” is logically equivalent to regarding the well-being of sentient entities as basic, non-justifiable principle of one’s moral system.

    As has been mentioned in this thread before, the problem for the theist is how to explain the presence of archaic, barbaric modes of punishment that virtually nobody in today’s world would seriously consider, emanating from the same source as notions he does very much approve of (“love your neighbour, turn the other cheek”), all the while holding on to the assumption that the very source of these opposing positions is a being of perfect goodness which communicated timeless truths to mankind.

    One option is to jettison the OT as much as possible, playing down its significance and/or emphasizing the cultural milieu it was written in. The obvious downside of this strategy is that it virtually kills off the notion of the bible being a reliable testament to the existence of a supernatural being. After all, if the OT is scarcely more than the recording of the superstitions of a few “goat herders”, why should we assume that the NT differs in this regard? The main reason seems to be that the latter’s message is more palatable to contemporary, liberal Christians.

    The other option is to bite the bullet (which Daniel seems to be doing, if he is serious) and accept all actions of the biblical deity as being morally justified, including stoning, genocide and ethnic cleansing (see the essay of Coplan quoted earlier for an example of such an approach). While this position is more internally consistent than its alternative, it is in blatant conflict with the moral intuitions of the vast majority (Christians or not) in the Western world.
    And Daniel, if you are not merely trying to play Devil’s advocate, but truly need to be walked through the reasoning as to why stoning is seen as abhorrent in our societies, I pity you. Maybe you should try watching a video of an actual stoning to help your thinking process along. As an extra bonus while watching, you could try to imagine someone close to you being in the victim’s position.

    Another interesting fact which gets frequently overlooked is that the NT god could reasonably be called infinitely more evil than its OT version. After all, the OT deity was more or less content with finishing off adversaries and offenders, but did not go after them post mortem. In contrast, it is in the NT where the concept of Hell as a place of eternal torment is refined. I am not sure that many people realize (or else prefer not to dwell on it) what we are talking about here: the infinite torment of human beings. I think it is glaringly obvious that no crime, no matter how heinous, is sufficient to justify exacting endless, excruciating pain.

    How such a notion can be squared with a being of perfect moral goodness escapes me. It would make any attempts at “conventional” theodicy seem easy in comparison.

    Like

  110. In contrast, it is in the NT where the concept of Hell as a place of eternal torment is refined. I am not sure that many people realize (or else prefer not to dwell on it) what we are talking about here: the infinite torment of human beings. I think it is glaringly obvious that no crime, no matter how heinous, is sufficient to justify exacting endless, excruciating pain.

    I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of Christians have no idea that Hell is a NT type thingy.
    Jews don’t go to hell.

    What crime would your children have to commit for you to torture them in your basement forever and ever and ever?

    Atheist Experience – Hell, Sin and gods Judgement

    Like

  111. “How such a notion can be squared with a being of perfect moral goodness escapes me.”

    Don’t confuse goodness with niceness. It is precisely because he is good that punishment exists, and we will be required to make the proper payment for every single minuscule evil deed we have done. (Lies, rebellion, evil thoughts, anger, malice, jealousy, envy, violence, hatred, bitterness, etc.)

    Like

  112. Daniel – you are falling back onto what I find is a very common form of theological dishonesty.

    You ask “What is the objective basis for human well-being?” That is a silly question and you know it. Because you then go on to justify punishment (or deterrence as you call it).

    How can you talk about punishment, deterrence, if you don’t fully appreciate that human well-being has an objective basis. The whole point of punishment is to destroy the well-being of an individual by changing its material basis.

    To stone a woman (for being a rape victim, for “mingling”, for adultery) or an apostate ( for not accepting your god) is to change the material, objective basis of their existence and hence their well-being.

    This sort of theological clever dickishness is really a sign of weakness. A sign that you can’t justify your command ethics and wish to divert the discussion.

    And you keep ignoring the reality of stoning.

    Like

  113. Richard Christie

    Lies, rebellion, evil thoughts, anger, malice, jealousy, envy, violence, hatred, bitterness, etc.

    Hey, that’s seems a pretty good summary of your god’s behaviour in the OT.

    Like

  114. “Don’t confuse goodness with niceness. It is precisely because he is good that punishment exists, and we will be required to make the proper payment for every single minuscule evil deed we have done. “

    No, that answer will not do.

    You see, there is no conceivable crime (or crimes) a finite human being could commit for which the “proper payment” would be torture of infinite duration and intensity. The punishment is necessarily disproportionate to the crime(s) and thus immoral.

    Even if you would spend every waking moment of your eighty years on Earth perpetrating wicked deeds causing suffering of others, it would be a neglible amount compared to the eternity of pain you would have to endure in the afterlife. Nothing you could do to others comes remotely close to what god foists upon you when he has you in his clutches.

    What makes it worse is that you do not even have to cause the suffering of others in order to spent an eternity in agony. Since simple unbelief is sufficient to condemn you, Mary The Agnostic can lead an exemplary life devoted to helping her fellow human beings and be rewarded with unfathomable, unending torture. To me this seems like a textbook example of irrational, immoral behaviour.

    And that does not even take into account the question of the morality of divine retribution in general. Is doing evil to the evil-doer to restore the cosmic good-evil balance really the best way for an omnipotent and perfectly good being to achieve its ends? To me, it seems incredibly unsophisticated and primitive. More like something which people of a less enlightened, more barbaric time and place, say around 2000 years ago in a backwater province of the Roman Empire, might come up with…

    Like

  115. lapetus,
    The notion of eternal torment was indeed a “Christian” innovation but the textual evidence for the doctrine is dubious. I think it was an innovation of the Roman Church (inherited from Platonism and Gnosticism), but the earliest churches embraced many of the teachings of Judaism. As you noted, the Jewish doctrine was not of spirit/body dualism – – personhood is inseparable from physical bodily existence.
    I believe that God is just and his judgment will be fair. In that vein, some people may suffer annihilation, but eternal torment is NOT a teaching of the early church. I would venture to claim that grace will extend to MANY outside the “Christian” label. (I might be a heretic for saying this but It is not our place to judge people’s hearts before God)

    Like

  116. @ Ropata: eternal torment is NOT a teaching of the early church
    And the modern church? I’ve heard any number of statements about being doomed to eternal torment from various branches of the modern church. Most recently directed at me personally by a local pastor who took exception to my writing & teaching about evolution. (And you might look at some of the various comments threads for articles around the time that Christopher Hitchens announced he has cancer.) So you’re being a bit disingenuous, I think, by saying that the early (very early) church didn’t have this doctrine but ignoring the fact that it’s promoted today.

    @ Daniel: If you wanted to stop people in society from committing terrible crimes, the offenders may think twice before committing crimes if they knew might be stoned. Think also about the effect it would have on society. That kind of a punishment would do more to psychologically deter bad behavior than lesser punishments. Crime would decrease pretty fast.
    Substitute ‘executed’ for ‘stoned’. Then go & see whether crime has ‘decreased pretty fast’ in those US states where the death penalty exists/has been reinstated.

    Like

  117. Hi Alison,
    Yes I admit I’m unfortunately in the minority – this eternal torment doctrine is disturbingly popular especially among the more outspoken evangelicals. I used to believe it too, but I was relieved of this ‘damnable doctrine’ after some long discussions with a friend from Laidlaw Bible college, and reading some works that refer back to the Hebrew. The tradition of eternal torment is not well founded on Scripture – the (few) references used in its defence have Hebrew meanings in accord with the Hebrew tradition of a final end – not eternal conscious suffering.

    Also, Personally I hope Hitch gets better – he is absolutely brilliant (even if I disagree with him).

    Finally, yes unfortunately theistic evolution is not a popular position amongst lay Christians even in NZ because of the antics of US creationists, they have set up a false dichotomy between their narrow interpretation of Genesis and incontrovertible scientific evidence. They think the Bible has to be 100% “true” according to their 21st century conception, without recognising what the book really is or where it comes from.

    I think some of these unfortunate errors come about due to lack of education – in both science and theology. It is regrettable and I’m sorry to hear a pastor has spoken ignorantly. I have tackled these topics amongst some of my church friends on occasion, possibly to my own social detriment. Most people just want simple answers, but life isn’t like that.

    Like

  118. “The tradition of eternal torment is not well founded on Scripture – the (few) references used in its defence have Hebrew meanings in accord with the Hebrew tradition of a final end – not eternal conscious suffering.”

    Well, if you read the respective biblical passages (e.g. Mark 9:43-47 or Luke 16;19-31) and take them at face value, they seem explicit enough. But of course, a different, even opposite interpretation is virtually always possible in biblical hermeneutics, depending on what you want the text to say.
    I will note, however, that most contemporary mainstream churches, which surely do not lack in hermeneutical and historical expertise, do not share your more benign version. Moreover, as you observed yourself, they may even consider your position to be un-Christian. But I will leave that to the theologians to decide.

    I have the impression that, while not being a Universalist who holds to salvation for all, you endorse some form of Annihilationism, where many are saved, while the unfortunate rest is quickly blasted into oblivion by god.

    However, such a watered-down version still does not let god off the hook.

    Imagine two atheists A and B. Atheist A is a happy person for whom the earthly live goes more or less well. From god’s eternal standpoint, we see a life cut woefully short, since Atheist A did not see the light and thus was terminally eliminated after death. But overall, we can judge the life of Atheist A in positive terms, since its earthly (and only) phase was a success.

    But then consider Atheist B. His life is an endless string of earthly sufferings, misfortunes and calamities. From the viewpoint of eternity, this life looks like an utter waste, for its only phase was completely dreadful. By bringing this sentient person into being and annihilating him after death, god has brought about divine evil.

    (Thanks to the philosopher David Lewis for this example.)

    Generally, I have no basic problems with liberal Christians who do not try to interfere with science or foist their worldview on the rest of society. Which does not mean I want to stop them from being outspoken about issues they feel concerned about. After all, a robust discussion is usually the best way to find a solution to a problem.

    What ruffles my feathers, however, is the assertion that only religion offers a secure basis for human morality. This is not only philosophically false, but historically more than dubious. Having a “strong faith” has never prevented people from committing the worst atrocities throughout history. On the contrary, if has often exacerbated conflicts because the participants thought they had a “higher power” on their side.

    Just consider the 30 Years’ War, which was as close to a purely religious conflict as it gets (although necessarily intertwined with political motives). The percentage of Europe’s population that was wiped out as well as the physical destruction was much higher than during the Second World War. If modern weaponry had been used, Europe would have been completely devastated.

    Like

  119. Luckily, God has endowed us all with moral intuition and other forms of cognition, as well as his commands, and the human moral sense has been growing stronger over the millennia since Christ (our greatest moral example). So it’s not “only religion” that provides a secure basis for human morality, there are several factors. There’s a serious examination of the morality of God in the face of abhorrent commands over at M-and-M. Admittedly a difficult challenge but I think Matt does a good job of facing the problem head-on.

    I’m not sure what your charge is regarding the 30 years’ war, OK it was a religious conflict but it does not follow that religion always causes conflict. Conflict happens for any number of reasons. Religion is usually a force for social cohesion and order, and Christianity was not conceived as a violent faith at all. There is plenty of historical evidence for the beneficial effect of Christianity on society.

    you endorse some form of Annihilationism, where many are saved, while the unfortunate rest is quickly blasted into oblivion by god.
    Yes that’s pretty accurate. But my earlier comments: “I believe that God is just and his judgment will be fair”, and: “It is not our place to judge people’s hearts before God” pretty much obviates your sad scenario. The Bible does indicate that some will face judgement and be condemned but I don’t like trying to judge who’s “in” or not because I believe God excludes nobody who sincerely seeks him, and tries to make the best of their life.

    Like

  120. “Luckily, God has endowed us all with moral intuition and other forms of cognition, as well as his commands, and the human moral sense has been growing stronger over the millennia since Christ (our greatest moral example). So it’s not “only religion” that provides a secure basis for human morality, there are several factors.”

    I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Namely, not that additional factors apart from religion are necessary for a workable moral system, but rather that religion is not needed at all for this.

    The reason is that the objective, ultimately binding nature of a theistically “grounded” morality is an illusion, achieved through a purely definitional exercise. The justification regress which necessarily arises if one attempts to provide an indubitable foundation for morality is arbitrarily terminated via recourse to god’s “moral perfection”.
    However, if you think about it for a minute, you will (hopefully) realize that this is no rational answer to the question “Why should I follow god’s commands?”. Rather, it is an artificial “Do not ask any further!” measure.

    Thus, when it comes to the justificational basis of his moral system, the theist is in the same boat as the atheist, the difference being that the latter freely admits it while the former tries to keep up the mirage of an “objective morality” anchored in the will of a deity.

    “There’s a serious examination of the morality of God in the face of abhorrent commands over at M-and-M. Admittedly a difficult challenge but I think Matt does a good job of facing the problem head-on.”

    To my eyes it is more a case of desperately trying to square the circle…

    Incidentally, Matt’s piece illustrates very well what I was talking about above. According to him, god’s commands and actions are of necessity morally good.

    Why?

    Well, simply because he defines god as being morally perfect. From that it follows that, unsurprisingly, his deeds and commands are morally good, as well.

    Q.E.D.

    And completely arbitrary.

    “I’m not sure what your charge is regarding the 30 years’ war, OK it was a religious conflict but it does not follow that religion always causes conflict. “

    My point was that the claim of religion being necessary for a viable moral system is not only philosophically false, but empirically contradicted by historical events. Despite societies of the time being steeped in religion, they fought a bloody, brutal war that went on for decades.

    In other words, since religion did not prevent this from happening and arguably even exacerbated the ferociousness of the fighting, it is hard to see how the argument about a necessary religious underpinning of morality could be maintained.

    ”But my earlier comments: “I believe that God is just and his judgment will be fair”, and: “It is not our place to judge people’s hearts before God” pretty much obviates your sad scenario.”

    While allowing even avowed atheists an eternal life is surely a noble notion, I think it is irreconcilable with core Christian doctrines.

    Proper Christianity requires a redemption, i.e. Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary to save us from something truly horrible: eternal torment (or in your watered-down version: terminal annihilation). H0wever, this redemption only works on the condition that we accept it through faith in Jesus, following his precepts etc.

    If everyone wins without regard to performance, then not only do these doctrines drop away, but so too does the rationale of the earthly life. If even the most obdurate atheist can be immediately forgiven without punishment, then there is no point to our life of trial in the vale of tears.

    So, while I find positions like yours, with their heavy influence of the ideas of 19th century liberal Protestantism, more human in comparison to concepts of eternal torment by a merciless judge, I fear that such a position is neither in accord with the relevant biblical passages nor with the way Christianity was practiced for most of its history.

    Like

  121. Iapetus, allow me to say (once again) that it’s always a pleasure to read your contributions to a topic.

    Like

  122. lapetus,
    I fear that such a position is neither in accord with the relevant biblical passages
    Actually there is good textual evidence in support of this position, and a growing minority of scholars to support it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annihilationism#1900s_onwards

    nor with the way Christianity was practiced for most of its history
    The doctrine of conditional mortality has appeared throughout Christian history (Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, even John Wesley seemed to be in favour), although it has been a minority view.

    Like

  123. …And those atheist kids going postal in Columbine…

    Like

  124. I love this thread. I’d forgotten all about it until now. Good times.
    Thx, nyghtflyer.
    🙂

    Like

  125. It’s fine for you to not believe, but you have no right to “stamp out” my beliefs. You are not worse than strident Christians, but also no better.
    I believe in God or some Godlike entity existing in the universe, and believe I have come to that belief rationally and that it makes me a better person. I also believe that many of the things dogmatic religions have laid on us are way bad. The deification of a man because he espoused some ideas that were not original to him and died in a way that was not all that uncommon is one of those things. Excusing every kind of injustice based on putting the reconciliation in an unprovable afterlife is another destructive dogma. But I find Unitarian Universalism, as it is intended to be, just great for me, and don’t understand why strident Atheists have to try and undermine our very undogmatic worship on the basis that it is worship. There’s plenty of evil in the world. Go get it and get out of my face.

    Like

  126. Go get it and get out of my face.

    Oh! Robert had his arm twisted and was forced to visit Ken’s blog. Against his will he was then made to read it and spend time engaging Ken by way of comment.

    Perhaps Robert South should worship Ken as Ken appears to possess supernatural powers of coercion.

    Like

  127. Sorry, Ken. Didn’t mean Ken in particular. Hey Ken, nice blog. I beg artistic license. A strident atheist actually came into my church and tried to tell us we shouldn’t worship because that is tacitly saying there is God. “Your failure to believe my dogma is making me feel uncomfortable, so quit it.” Why go into a UU church? Because we’re welcoming!. Why not go mess with the Southern Baptists or Catholics and tell them they better stop worshipping? Thank you Chairman Mao, let’s just burn the Constitution now and institute your State Religion. Picking on us is just as cowardly as my telling Ken instead of this person. But seriously, whether or not Atheism is a religion, I submit that it is a dogma. There is no God, you shouldn’t believe in God because it is unreasonable. There’s no humility in that, no reservation. I might be blind or deluded, I could be wrong and you could be right, but I’ll go on with my working theory. I’m not bleeding, I’ll live.

    Incidentally. Two State Vector Formalism. .

    Like

  128. It’s fine for you to not believe, but you have no right to “stamp out” my beliefs.

    How would such a thing be physically possible?
    You believe in unicorns.
    Ok.
    So…how does one stamp out a belief in unicorns?
    ……
    Yep, doesn’t work.

    I believe in God or some Godlike entity existing in the universe, and believe I have come to that belief rationally and that it makes me a better person.

    I believe in magic or some magiclike force existing in the universe, and believe I have come to that belief rationally and that it makes me a better person.
    (shrug)

    A strident atheist actually came into my church and tried to tell us we shouldn’t worship because that is tacitly saying there is God.

    Of course, they did. ‘Cause that’s what atheists do, right? Probably happens all the time. No doubt there are so many of them coming to your church that they have to take a number.

    (..awkward silence…)

    “Your failure to believe my dogma is making me feel uncomfortable, so quit it.”

    Goodness! You even have a real quote from this person so, um, your story must be real and everything.
    You must have had a good laugh at them when you pointed out that he/she doesn’t have a dogma, right?
    Right?

    But seriously, whether or not Atheism is a religion…

    Atheism is a religion in the same way that the “off” button is a TV channel.

    …., I submit that it is a dogma.

    You submit? Surely, it was the mystery atheist that was doing the submitting?
    Hmm.
    What did this atheist look like? Was it a man or a woman? When did this actually happen? Is it some story handed down from father to son as a tale from the old times or was it only last Tuesday just before lunch when this all happened and you got the quote and everything?
    You wouldn’t be just making stuff up now, would you?

    Like

Leave a Reply: please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s