3 Arguments Atheists Aren’t Allowed To Use Anymore

I mean you can, but you’ll look dumb.

1. Babies Are Atheists

The argument goes like this: Babies aren’t born with any pre-conceived notion of religion, God, or the supernatural world. These falsehoods are forced upon the child’s innocent, atheistic mind by his parents. All religion is indoctrination — there’s nothing inherent or natural about it.

This is an argument heavily promoted by the whole RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE crowd, which has always made me think, “Dang, I can’t wait to abuse my kids.” (What, you didn’t clean your room? Then I shall impose upon you…THE DOCTRINE OF THE EUCHARIST!)

The only issue I have with this particularly brilliant bit of intellectualism is that its face has been crushed by the massive fist of a 2 million pound, peer-reviewed study from Oxford.

The spent a whole crap ton of money, “involved 57 academics in 20 countries around the world, and spanned disciplines including anthropology, psychology, and philosophy” to conclude what I could have told you for five bucks and some likes on Facebook: Religion is an integral part of human nature. We are born with a belief in the supernatural. Children under 5, with no environmental or parenting influence, think religiously.

As Professor Roger Trigg, from Oxford University and the project’s co-director says: “Attempts to suppress religion are likely to be short-lived as human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts, such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods, and the possibility of an afterlife or pre-life.”

To this I would only add this: If you deny a child religion, he will only create his own. Tell him nothing about God and the spiritual battle of good and evil — he’ll resist you. You’ll see him with a stick one day, swinging at the dragons that surrounds him — a dogmatic supernaturalist.

Your meme is disallowed.

2. Priests Rape Boys

This is a sell-out argument, right up there with HITLER WAS AN ATHEIST SO ATHEISM IS BAD! Now to be fair, the Internet-Atheist crowd hardly ever uses it as an actual argument. It’s just this awkward, religiously pasted bit of snark that ends every post about why the Catholic Church is the worst thing in the world. (We got Bob Marley, and this is how you treat us!?)

Of course, there’s not a single sane Catholic in existence who would complain if you called out one of the priests who actually molested children. But the use of The Priest as a stereotype for “child molester” (I’m talking to you, r/atheism) is absurd.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, child-molestation is not a Catholic problem. It is a problem of Western culture in general. As Newsweek pointed out in their 2011 article Mean Men, “experts say there’s simply no data to support the claim [that the Church is “a refuge for pederasts”] at all …. based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. ‘We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,’ said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”

Dr Thomas Plante a Professor of Psychology and an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine says “available research suggests that approximately two to five per cent of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor” a percentage which “is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to eight per cent.”

A child is more likely to be molested by his parents, his neighbors, or family friends than a priest, yet there exists no stereotype about these groups. According to the US Department of Education’s report on the issue, entitled Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests.” Why, one wonders, in the ever-present debates over the pay of teachers, public school programs and the like, is there no brilliant, hip man who stands up and says, “Yes, but everything you’re saying is suspect because teachers rape children,” as many have said about priests on this blog. Why is there no stereotype against public-school teachers?

I suppose you can continue to make the argument, but don’t expect reasonable answers for too long. After a while it becomes a bit like Godwin’s Law, and all dem sarcatholic kids are just thinking,

Once again, for the sake of good discussion, don’t use this puppy anymore.

3. Light before the sun? #godsfake

This is a fun one, so I don’t blame deez-online-atheists for making this argument to me ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I just figured they’d tell their friends once it was answered. Apparently not:

Alright, not to burst the first-grade science class bubble, but light is not solely the product of stars.

According to Big Bang Theory, the first recognizable particle to form after the Big Bang were photons. Photons are “a particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation.” Light is the earliest product of the universe. This isn’t to say that the Genesis account should be taken as true science — this is to say it should be taken as true poetry.

Think: If you are an artist, and you want to create a painting, the first thing you need is a canvas. A canvas is the one thing all your colors, all your splashes and shapes, will have common reference to. It is the constant. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity shows us that light is that constant, that canvas that makes up the geometry of spacetime.

But that’s all besides the point. While this whole argument might work well with Creationists, it sure as hell doesn’t work with anyone who paid attention in high school.

So that’s that! Hopefully eradicating these molding crumbs of stupid from the Internet will lead to more fruitful dialogue for errbody. Love and kisses.

  • Ryan

    awesome.

  • Anonymous

    The first one is just stupid. Of course children are inclined to the supernatural; they have no frame of reference.

    • Ceevrgbv

      And therefore aren’t born atheists.

      • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

        Supernatural and superstitious thinking does not equate to theistic thinking, especially when you have a specific theistic entity in mind. If the mindset of a child can easily accept theistic (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. ) beliefs, as well as atheistic beliefs (from Buddhism to secular humanism to the atheistic Amazonian tribal beliefs of the Pirahã) there is no serious argument that specific theistic belief is predetermined. You can only make the claim by co-opting all superstitious tendencies, and that kind of makes the atheist case for us.

        Given that, I do think the ‘atheist babies’ meme is overused. It is useful to the extent that it showcases the limits of what ‘atheism’ as a term entails, which is why I cringe when I hear the same people who talk about atheism being defacto reasonable also appeal to how babies are atheists. One can be an atheist for reasonable or unreasonable grounds.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

        Therefore a child’s belief in dragons is exactly as valid as any religion?

        • http://alchemyoftheword.me/ Gideon Jagged

          Exactly right.

  • Nospam

    dumb

    • Jake E

      Hell yeah! I share you love of intellectual conversation as well!

  • Rainer

    It seems that, in regards to the first argument, one could take it a step further by saying that all children, being born with only instincts, are born stupid and with no knowledge. Thus, education, like religion, is forcing ideologies, such as mathematics, onto a child and indoctrinating them. Thus, as we stop teaching our children about God, we should also stop educating them.

    • Laircy

      Agreed; I always wondered why religious “indoctrination” is supposed to be bad but not any other subject.

      • jack

        Because other subjects are based on fact and do not include morals, while religon does.

        • Iapetus

          Indeed. Teaching children morals in unforgivable.

          ….waitwut?

          • Robert Loblaw

            Which morals would those be…? the ones about stoning women or the ones about the proper way to beat your slaves? both?

          • Steve M

            Absolutely Robert we should reduce all teachings of Christianity. We can extract bits a pieces to make it seem silly. There is no good reason other than logic and common sense to step back and try to see the teaching as a whole. It makes much more sense to believe in well nothing. I agree with you Robert there is no absolute truth. Evil is made up. If you look no further than the end of your nose and biases you will be fine. Everyone should really do what they want (oops that won’t work…Christian doctrine of free will says God leaves us free to decide) so I guess we just need to think like you Robert then we will all be fine.

          • amycas

            “We can extract bits and pieces to make it seem silly.”

            If the laws in the Bible were actually from an all-loving, all-powerful god then there wouldn’t be pieces that you could extract to make it look silly. There wouldn’t have been laws that call for the stoning of rape victims and laws about the proper way to beat your slaves. God would have said,”Hey women are people, equal to men, you should treat them as such. Also, don’t own other people.” That’s two huge concepts that god conveniently forgot to mention. It’s not my fault that you chose to follow a book that includes these teachings (even if you say you don’t follow those parts).

          • conditus

            “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male or female for you are all one in Christ”

            I could be wrong but that sounds pretty egalitarian to me.

          • Robert Loblaw

            ” Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT”

            Yeah, they totally didn’t differentiate between slaves and their masters. except when, ya know, they were slaves.

          • conditus

            Since I consider myself a slave to Christ I would say that I’m in good company with those slaves from long ago and as such will call them my brothers.

          • Robert Loblaw

            Humans really do make great pets.

          • conditus

            They make better people than they do pets, but to each his own.

          • Hi There

            Are you black? (I am so don’t say i’m racist)

          • Hi There

            So I’m you and you are me but im an atheist who follows nothing and you’re a Catholic follows a… what exactly.

          • dan

            a there in lies you problem, if you had an education in what we follow you might just be able to make sense of why your argument is so very flawed

          • dan

            context my man, it will change your life

          • Robert Loblaw

            Wow steve, i must have touched a nerve. I am curious though… how weak is your faith that you have to pick and choose from the bible what “is” and what “isn’t”? true believers don’t try to reconcile their beliefs with reality. they just believe. you’re a terrible christian! doubting your own god? shame!

          • Hi There

            The men whop wrote the bible wrote that doctrine to try to explain to the people why god cant make them do anything. Making the world record for The Greatest Lie In History.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PCE23QT2LVPT4M62JTS4V46LUI Christian

            The first of which was the mosaic law(no longer binding), the second was very different in concept than modern folks think when they hear “slavery.”

          • Robert Loblaw

            Oh yes… the old “context!” issue. I don’t care how “different” the old context was. It still prescribes how to properly beat people that you own and consider property. that’s still offensive, sick and wrong. since it’s so different, wouldyou like to be my “slave” in the old context? after all, nothing is wrong with it, right?

          • Peter

            If anyone is stuck on the issue of slavery in the old testament simply google it. There are many good and thorough explanations. It should help Robert and others understand why it occured and was allowed, by a loving God.

          • Hi There

            So a loving god created slavery… and you follow him?! … just kill yourself now… please…

          • dan

            and how do you know its sick and wrong??

          • Hi There

            S saying to serve your master as a slave ands fear him is different from the 200 years of the whites douching on the blacks oh, i couldn’t tell…

          • Jeff Tan

            Well you have the two greatest commandments in the Christian ethos: love the Lord your God .. love your neighbour as yourself. Which part is immoral? BTW your references to stoning women and beating slaves do not pertain to Christian moral teaching, do they?

        • Joseph O’Neill

          Then what is the basis for making a moral judgement on religion? Clearly you have a concept of “good” and “bad”, and if you have no religion, you must be getting these notions from somewhere.

          Is “good” just a personal judgement, and “religion” merely a widespread (to various degrees) common judgement? Is there a universal standard of “good” across all time and place? If there is not, then you really cannot condemn anything, as it may be “good” even if you think it “bad”.

          • Korou

            This is starting to look like Christians dodging the issue. Have a look at Marc’s last post on morality for explanations of how atheists can have moral standards.

    • musiciangirl591

      i always knew math was evil :P

    • Robert Loblaw

      I’ve never come across any mathematical principle that would tell a child they will burn in hell for all eternity unless they submit to the man behind the curtain. Is there an algebraic equation that goes something like… “1+3 = don’t associate with your neighbor because god hates them”?

      That’s the difference between education and indoctrination. Education enables a child to learn about the world around them. Indoctrination tells a child what to think about the world around them.

      “Thus, as we stop teaching our children about God, we should also stop educating them” – If you keep telling your children that the bible is the inerrant word of god and the only source of “truth”, you won’t really have to worry about them acquiring one of those pesky educations.

      • Joseph O’Neill

        If the “burning in hell” is wrong and abusive because it is untrue, then what does it matter for mortal beings? If it is true, then why would it be abusive?

        Catholics do not believe the Bible is the “only source of truth”. God is Truth and the only source of what is good and true.

        • amycas

          If it’s not true, then it’s forcing children to live in fear of a non-existent god who would sentence them to infinite torture for finite crimes. It would be like telling a child after they’ve had a nightmare that the monsters under their bed ARE real.

          If it’s true, then god is evil and not worthy of worship.

          • dan

            is that the god you believe in?

      • musiciangirl591

        God offers mercy, most people just deny it

        • Robert Loblaw

          Mercy, huh? from the punishment he hands down? Ever consider that you and your imaginary friend have an abusive relationship? “You make me hit you!”

          • Alexandra

            God is the master of gaslighting. Definitely a case of DV.

          • musiciangirl591

            DV? gaslighting? we condemn ourselves by our choices

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Right. And battered wives condemn themselves to their beatings. It’s all their fault really for choosing to burn that pot roast…

          • musiciangirl591

            i’m still really confused

          • Robert Loblaw

            If the wife didnt burn the pot roast, the husband wouldn’t have to beat her. it’s that simple. husbands aren’t abusive, wives abuse themselves for disobeying their husband.

          • musiciangirl591

            you make absolutely no sense to me

          • Robert Loblaw

            “god doesn’t send people to hell, we do it to ourselves!”

            that makes sense to you…

            “Husbands don’t abuse their wives. they do it to themselves”

            that doesn’t? it’s the same excuse, only involving different parties. as you said to me… “if that goes over your head then i’m sorry that i can’t break it down any further for you…”

          • musiciangirl591

            if it looks like a troll and smells like one…

          • Robert Loblaw

            That’s no way to talk about your mother!!

          • musiciangirl591

            wow, classy

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Claiming that humans condemn themselves to hell is like saying a battered wife condemns herself to a black eye from her abusive husband. It removes the responsibility from the agent with the most power over the situation.

          • musiciangirl591

            they make their own decisions, God doesn’t force them to make their choices, your parents don’t dress you don’t they

          • Jeff Tan

            Step back a bit: you’ve jumped way too far ahead in prejudging God as abusive and violent with the wife for a trivial burning of dinner. The orthodox Christian view of Christ as the judge is condemnation against an individual for gravely immoral acts that were freely done with complete understanding and without coercion. No one is condemned for trivial acts, honest mistakes, and crimes of passion for which one is sincerely contrite. The whole point of the Christian gospel is clemency that is paid for by someone else.

          • Hi There

            Your god judges on how good you loved him and did his will, The abusive husband judges you on how you love him and cater to him… how different… also hitting a woman is wrong and i do not agree with it

          • Alexandra

            He only abuses her because he loves her!

          • Nathan

            Here’s the analogy I prefer:

            When Man fell, when we decided “we’re gonna do things our way, we don’t need God”, we left God’s house to strike it out on our own.
            God is inside, having a grand old time feasting and partying with all the angels and saints, in saecula saeculorum.
            Meanwhile us humans, have found out that we were wrong, and that life outside sucks. However, stubborn creatures that we are, we sit outside in the cold, too prideful to accept the Son’s invitation to come inside where it’s warm and happy.

            We are outside because we want to be.

          • Alexandra

            I don’t remember choosing to go outside.

            You’re saying that God is punishing us for something that someone we’ve never met did?

            God created humans and put us in an position where we were certain to fail and then got so angry at us that he condemned everyone yet to be born for their curiosity.

            And then to atone for the fact that we are curious and imperfect creatures, he decides to come down to us in human form so that we can torture and kill him so that he can be the scapegoat for all of the bad things we do and be able to welcome us into his own kingdom. And the whole time, at the time of creation, he knew that this was how it was going to go down.

            We’re outside because he designed us to be.

            That’s the plan of a psychopath.

          • thoughtsandideas

            I think maybe there is a confusion about your understanding of God. You seem to be on a Catholic site arguing for a fundamentalist God. Sin is a tearing away from God. He isn’t condemning us, we are tearing away from Him. He designed us to be with Him, but true love must be chosen not forced, and so He gave us the ability to choose to love Him. This necessarily means He risked us not choosing Him. We made the wrong choice. I’m sure in your life you’ve made the wrong choice before. Take the cliche of touching the hot stove. That’s a bad choice. You’re mother didn’t condemn you to burn you hand, that’s just the natural result of touching a hot stove. There ARE consequences to things. Just because something has a consequence doesn’t mean its abusive. That’s stupid. Is gravity abusive because it won’t let me fly?

            Yes He knew that some would not choose Him, but He also knew that no one could join Him outside of love, and that love, like I said before, requires a choice and for us to have a choice, there has to be an alternative. We can choose to love Him, or we can choose not to. Heaven or Hell is just a consequence. Technically, Heaven is a gift for those who truly desire it, because we are all headed to Hell for our sinfulness. You are right He always knew He would have to sacrifice Himself to make up for the consequence of our sin, and he did it anyway. That’s not abusive… that’s self giving love.

          • Alexandra

            No, that’s insanity. That’s not love.

          • really?

            Its foolishness to the world. We claim that boldly. Its written in our scriptures. But true love requires sacrifice. No sacrifice=no love.

          • Hi There

            You should be able to understand love naturally. Not with a book in your hand.

          • Hi There

            Sin and right and wrong don’t really exist… however punishment through pain does. In early earth the cave men fended for themselves with natural law(kill or be killed) to govern them if they couldn’t get an animal and kill it for nourishment they would have just killed their neighbor and ate him. However the romans developed the first known law system (or was it hammurambi’s which was much more brutal) being that if you kill a man you will be punished in some way, the formed authority could overpower any man quickly, other men seeing this would immediately see that there is an order they have to now follow. Find a way to tell a caveman about god(wait until some atheist figures out a time machine theory or makes one… you’ll be dead by then) and the cave man will proceed to see that your muscles aren’t as developed as his from lack of strenuous work for food and natural eating and smash your skull with his trusty club and then eat you… and if you get the time machine you’ll forever be the person whose life endlessly finishes with a club to the face.

          • me76

            Except the caveman won’t understand exactly. The cave man isn’t quite evolved yet. We were still somewhat animals back then. Just like your cat would not understand God. This isn’t a pro God argument, just saying there is a difference between animals and people. And, I could bring a gun to defend myself against the caveman

          • me76

            Why would an omnipotent god, have to send himself, to die for himself, to make a rule- he MADE himself? Can you see the circular-ness in your argument? It doesn’t require me to sacrifice a cockroach, much less a person, to forgive someone for something. So, are you saying he couldn’t have forgiven us just by saying so?

          • Raul Valdez Jr.

            The point is hell is not loving, get it?

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Nice analogy. Problem is, it lacks a few elements, such as that God in your view has absolute control of how much life outside sucks, and had a hand at how much pride is actually in us (perhaps he made us too much in his own image?)
            and moreover ‘we didn’t decide to go anywhere. In your theology, Adam was the one who made the error and he’s been dead for millenia. What drove your god to create billions of hellbound humans ? How can you keep claiming that this god is love when he chooses to create untold suffering?

          • conditus

            The good thing is that baptism takes care of that whole original sin thing.

            Another good thing is that God actually makes it fairly easy to absolve ourselves of any sin we might pick up after baptism.

            Forgiveness is easy, all you have to do is ask for it. He’ll forgive you, I promise. I’ll put in a good word for you as well that should help.

          • Hi There

            Jesus’ death was supposed to eliminate original sin, you still get baptized with magic water…. so… god sent his son to die with no avail apparently.

          • me76

            Hmm, well why would you even leave the party in the first place if it was so good? First, you talk about not needing god, then a party, I don’t see the connection.

          • musiciangirl591

            ever have a near death experience, so close to the edge that you can see heaven? i have, God exists, Satan exists

          • Robert Loblaw

            Actually I have. I didn’t see heaven or hell. But it is funny you should mention that. if you believe heaven exists and satan exists, I assume you believe in hell… yes? hell. hmmm. that place god sends people? oh yes, such a merciful god. “do what I say or burn forever.” If I stuck a gun to your head and told you to give me your wallet or else I would shoot you… would you consider me a merciful being?

          • conditus

            God condemns no one to hell, we do it to ourselves.

            Besides, why does an atheist care anyway?

          • Robert Loblaw

            I didn’t shoot you for not giving me your wallet, you chose to get shot for not giving me your wallet! you did it to yourself!

          • musiciangirl591

            you still don’t make any sense

          • Robert Loblaw

            How does it not make sense to you? i’m just using the same excuse for shooting you, that you use to excuse god for sending people to hell.

          • musiciangirl591

            i’m not going to try to explain it to you again, i’ll just get frustrated

          • conditus

            If you shoot me I’ll ask God to forgive you.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            You probably won’t. By choosing to have yourself shot, you essentially committed suicide, and as such are condemned to hell by your own choice.

          • conditus

            No, if I get shot through no fault of my own and in defense of my beliefs that would actually make me a martyr. I’ll be in heaven praying for forgiveness of the one that shot me.

          • Hi There

            Wow… your view of it is sad… you say you’re a martyr for getting shot when someone simply wants your money, what is the worth of a piece if paper over life when it comes to a finish will you be dead on the floor as your mugger swiftly searches your body?What belief made you a martyr, giving up your life to keep money? To your god that would be greed… and you’d still go to hell anyway.

          • Robert Loblaw

            I wouldn’t shoot you, Unlike your god i don’t kill people for disobeying me.

          • WSquared

            Oh, really. So you wouldn’t kill a baby unlucky enough to be conceived at at time NOT of your choosing because your method of birth control failed.

          • Hi There

            Yeah a zygote or fetus isn’t a baby yet no matter how much feeling it has, so joke is on you.

          • Jesse

            There is an enormous difference between someone holding a gun to your head and God. The shooter exercises an active will to pull the trigger, whereas in one’s obstinacy, God has no choice but to passively permit one’s own damnation.

          • Robert Loblaw

            You’re telling me your supposedly omnipotent(read: all powerful) god has no choice in the matter? then why call him god?

          • conditus

            He does have a choice in the matter, but it goes back to the whole free will thing. Which would you prefer, free will which is accompanied by people acting in a not so nice manner some time or no free will which gives you a bunch of robots singing kumbaya all the time? If you choose free will than you have to accept that He’s not going to mingle in our affairs and will leave it to us to sort it out for ourselves.

          • Korou

            So will there not be free will in heaven, then?

          • Hi There

            If he has a choice he would do something…

          • dan and his great come backs!!

            Jesse uni-sex name, you be wrong. God made no Guns!!! WE DID, he said ” eat that apple and it will kill you”. She/He ate the Apple and BOOM we now die. He gave us some super advice and we ignore it. He says love me and go to heaven, when we don’t, we don’t. THAT IS CALLED HELL

          • conditus

            I’ll admit that this foray into atheist morality has been insightful. Apparently the victim of robbery is the trespasser and the robber is the one being trespassed against. Relativism is strange.

            If you want my wallet just ask, I’ll even throw in my cloak as well.

          • Robert Loblaw

            Atheist morality? this is god’s morality. you’re the one claiming that god doesn’t send people to hell, that people send themselves there. if you think my ananlogy is sick, then now you know how i feel about your god.

          • conditus

            Ok, so from what I can make of this so far, atheists want to be able to steal peoples wallets, shoot people for not handing over their wallets, beat women for burning pot roasts and not apologize for any of these actions and still expect God to be ok with this and then get mad with Him when he’s not ok with it and then they get mad at Him for offering a way to get back on His good side which they refuse. Yet somehow this is all God’s fault?

            I think I’ll stick to being Catholic, it’s not nearly so complicated and we’re not even close to being as angry.

          • Korou

            Conditus: you’ve not just missed the point, you’ve got it completely backwards.

          • Hi There

            Not to be an ass – Are you somehow mentally retarded to be able to draw the conclusion from an analogy that atheists kill when they see a human as the highest form of anything? We value the life of another man than anything, christians kill just as easily, go to Deep SouthTexas and shout “I’m gay!” Watch the god lovers pour in to shoot you with their 12 gauge…

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            (evading the shriking column)

            No, if I get shot through no fault of my own

            But it is your fault. No one was making a martyr of you in this example. You freely chose not to give your wallet, and therefore chose to get shot. You did it to yourself. If you had chosen to give your wallet, then you wouldn’t have been shot. And since killing yourself is a sin (if I recall correctly) you go directly to hell, do not pass go do not collect $200, “Get out of hell FREE” cards are non-redeemable.

            That is, unless you recognize that the one presenting you with the dilemma and controlling the choices available to you also bears a responsibility, in which case any argument that people send themselves to hell is dead on arrival.

          • WSquared

            Er, how do you know that you wouldn’t have gotten shot anyhow if you’d just handed it over? There’s no real way of telling. So this is just one twisted argument.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            I agree. However the twisted bit was imported from the theological concept it parodies.

          • Jeff Tan

            That’s prejudice again: God is compared with a mugger pointing a gun at you and unjustly trying to take what is yours. God is not demanding that you give him your wallet: he is asking you to take your medicine because you have a terminal condition: concupiscence, a tendency to sin. God did not create human beings with that condition: our ultimate parents took it on through their act of disobedience and passed it on to their descendants. God chose not to sterilise Adam and Eve because such an act is immoral. So Adam and Even were permitted to continue their line, humanity, and God designed a way to save humanity through humanity, i.e., with the participation of human beings. This meant several things: (1) free will informed by revelation of divine will, (2) human agents assisted by divine agents, (3) the development of human intellect, culture and society, helped along with divine revelation. Argh.. it is 1:41 AM and this novice (me) is trying to reduce Catholic doctrine for these ridiculously narrow text boxes with time constraints. I’m off to bed. Ladies and gents, please approach this subject reasonably and without prejudice. If God exists, he is infinite and perfect. Being perfect, he will not commit unjust acts, which violate virtue. He will not violate your free will, and he will not render unjust judgments to the exclusion of all relevant factors for each individual.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            That’s prejudice again

            No, its post-judice,

            God is not demanding that you give him your wallet: he is asking you to take your medicine

            In a world where he controls the effect of the medicine and the effect of not taking the medicine.

            because you have a terminal condition: concupiscence, a tendency to sin. God did not create human beings with that condition: our ultimate parents took it on through their act of disobedience

            Humans were presented as curious and gullible. Despite assertions to the contrary, they already had the tendency to disobey, and thus to sin.

            God chose not to sterilise Adam and Eve because such an act is immoral.

            Creating billions of people with a tendency to sin that would land them in hell is immoral? How so?

            And who designed the universe in such a way so that sin can be passed down to the next generation? This is my problem with theology. It consistently underestimates the power they attribute to their god.

            If God exists, he is infinite and perfect. Being perfect, he will not commit unjust acts, which violate virtue.

            But he will permit sin to be passed on to generations that did not actually disobey him.

            He will not violate your free will

            Fine. I freely choose not to go to heaven or hell after I die. I choose to no longer exist. Ball is in his court.

          • Hi There

            God is saying you give him your time and your love, both more important than money so what’s the difference. Talking to air is a waste.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            God has no choice but to passively permit one’s own damnation

            So much for omnipotence then!

          • Korou

            Yeah. I love it the way Christians SAY God is all-powerful – but when you start discussing theology with them you find there’s actually all sorts of things he can’t do. And the strangest thing is, not sending us to hell is something they say he can’t do, but actually it’s that he WON’T do it.

          • BOOM!!!!!!!

            He gave up his son to allow us, who sin without knowing all the consequence, so we could he would be allowed to forgive us in a Free world.

            He created a Free World not a Regime.

          • me76

            Why the HELL(no pun intended) would you forgive someone for killing your son for another act they committed against you that wronged you, BECAUSE they killed your son? Try to think about that, suppose your neighbor accidentally hits your car with his. And, the next day you see them kill your son. You run out, look at his body, look up at your neighbor and smile, and say “Oh, thank you for killing my son, I’m so sorry I yelled at you yesterday when you hit me, you’re forgiven!”

          • Jeff Tan

            Your notion of omnipotence is flawed. An infinite potency for what? Amoral power? No, amorality seems to be a form of neutrality to me, and a neutral value in a polarised spectrum sounds like a zero. He is omnipotently charitable — God is love, which means that he will not violate one’s free will and turn a human being into an automaton, not even for an infinitely minute period of time, because that would be contrary to charity.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            So God purposefully up the rules of the universe so that eternal torment is never a part of the equation is amoral neutrality, while standing idly while somebody, by following the rules of the universe he set up goes to hell is infinitely charitable?

            Really?

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            The good thing is that baptism takes care of that whole original sin thing.

            Another good thing is that God actually makes it fairly easy to absolve ourselves of any sin we might pick up after baptism.

            Forgiveness is easy, all you have to do is ask for it. He’ll forgive you, I promise. I’ll put in a good word for you as well that should help.

            Problem, that explanation is a band-aid. It has all the ear-marks of a post-hoc explanation, but it doesn’t jive with the idea of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator.

          • conditus

            Why doesn’t it jive? Because he’d rather forgive you than throw you into a the fires of hell for eternity?

            Maybe you desire a fire and brimstone god but I’m glad that I have the one that I have.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            That would have more weight on it if hell didn’t exist and persist specifically because of your God.

          • conditus

            Hell doesn’t exist because of God, hell exists because we create it. Hell isn’t someplace that God created, in fact it’s not a place at all, it’s a state of being. Don’t believe me? Than perhaps you might take the word of John Paul II:

            “hell is the ultimate consequence of sin itself… Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.

            “Eternal damnation”, therefore, is not attributed to God’s initiative because in his merciful love he can only desire the salvation of the beings he created. In reality, it is the creature who closes himself to his love. Damnation consists precisely in definitive separation from God, freely chosen by the human person and confirmed with death that seals his choice for ever. God’s judgement ratifies this state.

            In short, God doesn’t condemn us, we condemn ourselves.

          • Robert Loblaw

            Replying here to avoid the ever shrinking column… to answer your question, no, as an atheist, i don’t want to be able to shoot people, steal their wallets, beat my wife or any of that. all i did was take your claim that “god doesn’t send people to hell, people send themselves to hell” and replace god with “mugger”, and send to hell with “shoot you” in order to demonstrate the abject immorality of it all. you yourself say the concept is offensive, and now you understand why i find it offensive when you use it as an excuse for god’s behaviour.

            to say people send themselves to hell, not god… is the same as saying people choose to be shot, not the mugger deciding to shoot someone. that’s all i’m saying.

          • conditus

            Ok, so what you’re saying is that God telling me ask Me to forgive your sins and me saying, no God, I’d rather not I prefer to cling to them than let you absolve me of them is the same me telling a robber go ahead and shoot me? And Catholics are the ones that are supposed to be irrational.

            Anyway it’s been fun, but it’s late and I have to go about with my business of feeding the poor and comforting the sick and all those other things that us evil Christians do so it’s off to bed for me.

            Good night and God bless.

          • Robert Loblaw

            “supposed to be irrational” – remember, from my view i’m talking to a grown man that has an abusive relationship with an imaginary friend. so, yes… “god bless.”

          • Hi There

            Have you ever poked a finger into a soup kitchen? And do you go to the hospital and talk to people. If not don’t say it. And yes if you don’t see his analogy you are quite irrational.

          • really?

            Except you have the wrong perpetrator. We hold the gun to our own heads threatening to shoot, and he stands there saying “don’t do it”. He’s not holding the gun, you are. That’s what you can’t seem to comprehend. God is not “sending” anyone to Hell. He is not forcing, not fighting, not abandoning, not tossing, not beating, not neglecting. He is trying to call you out of the path to Hell. He doesn’t want you to go to Hell, He wants you to go to Him.

          • Robert Loblaw

            Uh huh. the omnipotent creator of the universe (and creator of hell) doesn’t send anyone there. he set up the rules so we’re born with original sin and demands that we apologise for being what he made us.

            Your god is not worthy of worship.

          • Hi There

            You’re saying I’d shoot myself, hahaha I love life too much for that, and I’m an atheist suggesting that goes against your own belief, doesn’t it?

          • me76

            It’s funny to think about. So, if I chose not to give my wallet and got shot, then does that mean I committed suicide? It was MY fault I got shot, NOT the mugger, so he goes to heaven and I go to hell for committing suicide?

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            (evading the incredible shrinking column)

            Hell doesn’t exist because of God, hell exists because we create it

            Cool story bro.

            It funny that when called on the abject immorality of the existence of hell it suddenly becomes ‘separation from god’ but in other contexts the eternal flames of torment where the devil tortures you for eternity is a staple of hell talk. A place of divine punishment. “place of fire”, of “everlasting fire”.

            Someone on this very thread described the options as: God can ‘forgive you’ or ‘throw you into the fire of hell’. Neither of those choices makes any claim about ‘separation from god’.

            Regarding Wojtyła’s statement, how does it connect with this bit from the Athanasian Creed?

            And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved

          • musiciangirl591

            i do believe in hell, but like conditus said, we make our own decisions and condemn ourselves, God offers His mercy for our sins and shortcomings, if that goes over your head then i’m sorry that i can’t break it down any further for you

          • Robert Loblaw

            just as i said to conditus, i’ll say to you… elaborating on my example:

            I didn’t shoot you for not giving me your wallet, you chose to get shot for not giving me your wallet! you did it to yourself!

            sounds like someone has stockholm syndrome. yes, you’re god is so merciful for offering mercy from his own punishments.

            Religion invents a disease and then tries to sell you a cure.

          • musiciangirl591

            God doesn’t punish… sounds like someone has some problems

          • Robert Loblaw

            Yeah, it’s called stockholm syndrome. you got it bad, honey.

          • musiciangirl591

            ok fine, i have stockholm syndrome, i don’t care what you think, you’re a psychologist i guess, so you can diagnose me with that then

          • Korou

            Try this:
            1. I have done nothing worthy of going to hell forever. Nobody has.
            2. God is the one who created hell and the system under which people get sent there.
            Now that’s bad enough, but (3)
            I think I probably speak for most atheists when I say that we are NOT in rebellion against God. We. Don’t Believe. In. Him. We actually, really, do not think a God exists.
            God could change that. He could prove his existence to us.
            But he doesn’t. He won’t. Instead He’ll send us to hell.
            See?

          • Jeff Tan

            You’re working with a lot of presuppositions that it’s difficult to see how you’d consider anything that is said anyway. What is hell? If you’re talking to Christians who deny that God made hell, and you find that puzzling, it is probably because you and they are not referring to the same concept in the first place. Hell is simply a state of being deliberately and completely a rejection of God. He is not vindictive, so it is not about punishment as such, but of penalty or consequence — for rejecting him.

            The Bible and various Christian teachers refer to hell as a place because there’s really nothing that will accurately describe everything about hell, so we can sum it up as “we don’t want to be there”. So if we don’t want to be there, and if God is truly benevolent, why would he send us there? He doesn’t. What he does do is simply to be: he is “other” or holy, he is love, he is peace, etc. He intends for us to be happy, and the happiest we can be is with him. But we have a free will, so we’re free to reject him, and the danger for this is very real since we share in the fallen condition that Adam and Eve took on as a consequence of their disobedience. If we reject him — freely, with full knowledge, on a grave matter and definitively (at the end of our lives), we are divided from him — that’s hell. If this is not definitive (not at the end of our lives), he is always ready to forgive. It requires an apology, of course, but that mercy is ever ready up to the end of our lives.

            What happens to our free will if we should be so blessed as to enter God’s presence forever? It doesn’t disappear, but it is perfected to the point where, coupled with what we learned in our lives, we wouldn’t reject God again.

          • Korou

            So how come Satan was able to sin in heaven?
            You are conceding it will be possible to commit evil in heaven, even if you say nobody ever would.

          • dan

            An angle, created by God as eternal and with free will, knows what the consequences of his actions will be. Satan said to God “I don’t love you” and he left heaven, you can’t forgive that, or rather Satan can’t reconcile that thought cause he knew what he was saying. We on the other hand were made with free will and TIME, so we don’t know the consequences of our actions. This means we can also choose God and go to heaven, but that ain’t a given and we can not choose God and not go to heaven, but that ain’t a given either. WHY WOULD A MAN SIN IN HEAVEN IF HE LOVED HIM???? FYI, angles are not made in heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

          • dan

            Hell is not a place…hell is just NOT heaven. Do you understand? if you don’t think he exists then you just need to do some more reading and listening and thinking and Loving and living and all that jazz.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            “Hell is not a place…hell is just NOT heaven”
            We know. And heaven isn’t a place either. At least you’re half-way there.

          • Marco Conti

            Sorry to barge in. I had 3 near death experiences myself while I was on a transplant list.
            No light, no dead relative. Certainly no satan. You’d think that at least once something would have happened.

          • Hi There

            Wait so you were going to hell… well sucks for you I guess.

            -Cheers

          • musiciangirl591

            i’ve been in an abusive relationship, don’t you dare ever compare my relationship with God to my relationship with Matt

          • Robert Loblaw

            You just don’t get it. matt is an ever merciful being. Matt didn’t abuse you, you abused yourself. if you had done what matt had told you to do, he wouldn’t have had to hit you!

          • musiciangirl591

            shut the hell up, you think you’re clever but you aren’t

          • Robert Loblaw

            You did it to yourself. if you had just agreed with me, i wouldn’t have had to say these things!

          • musiciangirl591

            i understand that i made dumb choices that led me to matt, i went behind my parents’ back when i chose to start seeing him, but i didn’t do it to myself, the comparison you drew is way off

          • Alexandra

            No it’s not. Religion is very much like an abusive relationship.

            Unconditional love does not include abandoning you to eternal punishment. That is not real love.

          • musiciangirl591

            well, i’m sorry if it sounds that way to you

          • Joe

            If my son leaves home, joins a gang and becomes a drug dealer who then participates in murder and other sortsf physical violence, I can still unconditionally love him. However, if he doesn’t decide to accept that love and return home to enjoy the fruits of forgiveness, I can’t make him. He has free will. God’s love and mercy is unconditional. If it wasn’t then then there’d be a sin out there so significant that he’d refuse mercy. His unconditional mercy is in respect to the sinner seeking mercy, not the willful individual who refuses mercy. You ask for mercy no matter what you’ll receive it. You don’t, because He respects your free will, He won’t force you.

          • Hi There

            Well god apparently sent his, more than likely homosexual, son to die for us all… what a wonderful love.
            <3

          • bobthechef

            They’re the same being, schmittwitt. And I heard he got inside your mom. How’s that a rebuttal, chief.

          • Me76

            How do you equate selling drugs and murder to not loving someone? How are they the same?

          • john

            Hell isn’t the punishment you think it is. It’s really the consequence of God’s love. He created us with a God sized hole that can only be filled by His love. This is an unimaginable and boundless happiness and joy for which He created us. The only thing that stops Him is us. When we chose to replace Him with something else, no matter how great (usually ourselves), we find that hole isn’t reduced at all. Hell is a self inflicted eternity living with that emptiness done with malice, knowledge, and full unchangeableconsent of the will. It’s just “punishment” in that we get exactly what we’ve chosen. It’s a consequence of the magnificent gift of free will.

          • Hi There

            Im sorry, I just couldn’t help but laugh at the “-god sized hole-” thing, not to be an asshole but you’re saying that god’s rule is, love him with all your heart or suffer forever… ha. buddy love your family, friends, your fellow humans, any other species (fertilized eggs don’t count) and overall yourself, because this is the only life you get live it as well as you can.

          • bobthechef

            What an infantile understanding of love and of God. He doesn’t need love. YOU need it, but you can’t get it unless you love what you desire love from first. If you tell God “nah, I don’t want your love, man”, he’ll treat you like the adult you should be and leave you alone. P.S. Also laughed at the God-sized hole bit, but the narrative is that man requires God (the mere fact you were created by God, or rather are being CREATED by God since creations is not a one time thing; everything is being created continuously), then dependency follows. I. The Fall was about breaking that tie out of pride. It’s your own damn fault, schmittwit!

          • bobthechef

            Actually it is. You just don’t understand love. You told God to f-off, and he says “If that’s what you want, I’ll get lost.” Hell isn’t burning in a dump. It’s God respecting your wish to leave you alone. It’s being alone for eternity. Funny how if you told your boyfriend to get lost, either verbally or through actions that show that you don’t really want him around, you would call him hanging around “stalking” or “creepy”. Love means respecting the other’s wish. Be an adult. No whiny brats in heaven. If there were, I’d volunteer for hell.

          • Key

            That’s like a child saying if my parents love me unconditionally they won’t punish me when I do wrong

          • Cafeeine

            No, That analogy is flawed in three major ways.

            1) Your parents may have to punish you, but they may feel they have no other option. They are constrained by reality and their own capabilities. They are not omniscient and omnipotent. God is.

            2) How exactly is requiring evidence of the existence of a god “wrong”, so wrong that it requires eternal punishment?

            3) Parental punishment isn’t just punitive, it has a purpose: to curb bad behavior. What does eternal unending torment after death curb? What does it serve?

            Drawing simplistic analogies so that you don’t need to think about the atrocious things your god is claimed to to won’t work, unless you ignore the glaring flaws to keep believing.

          • Alexandra

            I’m sorry you don’t see it for what it is. The similarities between God’s “love” and the “love” of an abusive partner are striking. God is the most emotionally abusive partner you could possibly have.

          • musiciangirl591

            then why are so many women so eager to become brides for Him, if He’s so emotionally abusive, my friend megan’s becoming one, and she’s never been happier

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

            Lol, invalid argument, you twit.

            Matt did not create a beautiful lil’musiciangirl591 that could feel emotion…Godid.

            What’s more, I fully believe that something happened to royally **** this world up. And I fully believe that God gave us the knowledge to know not to do it, in one way or another, but we did. And awesome, now we suffer. Does that seem unfair? Maybe it does to you, but I suggest you nut up, big shot, because this little pose of “god is abusive and i r nawt afraid of him.” doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the way things are whether you believe in a Creator or not. Wait! What did I just imply?!?! Let me be very clear about this, my friend…

            PEOPLE.
            Knowing full well that they shouldn’t.Make other people suffer.
            BY.
            CHOICE.

            God given or otherwise, choice is the only thing that also makes us free to choose to do good though. But quick question on that: why should I sacrifice my happiness to increase yours freely?

            Ah yes…the old freedom is obedience to the Creator switcheroo. I bet that drives you intellectual James Deans nuts.

            Just know this before you respond to what I said by bringing up gay rights and all your other issue-oriented liberal B.S.

            1. Get your government out of my religion. That applies to all kinds of marriage.

            2. Get you atheist marxist revisionism out of my Western Civilization. (if you want to try and wing some kind of Confucianist taoist reductionism–that’s cool. Enjoy your overwhelming freedom)

            3. Get your tired, half-assed analogies of human relationships out of my discussion about the Creator.

            4. Get help, because, whatever your religious persuasion is, or lack thereof, picking on victims of abuse is beyond low, and I hope those gullible enough to fall for all the demonizations of religion these days get a chance to see what you just tried to do to another human being whom opened up to you–a stranger, was hurt by you–a stranger, but

          • Hi There

            Not to be an asshole but god didn’t create anything.

            -Cheers

          • bobthechef

            Brilliant. I may not agree with a tiny detail up top or wherever it was, but I offer an overwhelming YES. Now grab your sword, the Church Militant is in retreat, and the ranks are infested with LIBERALS!

          • Hi There

            If god says “Damn You!” after you don’t obey and subjects you to a eternity of something close to how wrong rednecks(not to be racist) and religious freaks view sodomy and homosexuality, and you say this isn’t a form of abuse. Not to sound insensitive but I’d take the hit.

          • dan

            Completely agree wid you, that why i is a catholic!! In it

          • gregr

            You guys are totally fucking stupid talking about boring shit. Fuck you and atheists are a bunch of dick eating pricks.

          • http://alchemyoftheword.me/ Gideon Jagged

            Ah, there’s that warm Christian love and acceptance I’ve heard so much about. bless you too, gregr.

          • bobthechef

            You could use some abuse. Maybe it would, you know, snap that catatonic brain of yours awake.

          • really?

            Wow, you’re a D-bag if you have nothing better to do than troll people who were in abusive relationships. How is God abusive? What does He do that hurts you in the least. An abusive person hits someone. They actively react to something. God is not beating on anyone. Its actually the opposite of abuse. It would abuse for Him to force you into a Heaven you obviously don’t want to go to. Heaven is eternity with God. If you don’t like or don’t want to be with God, then why the heck would He force you to be with Him. Hell just means eternity without God. You don’t want God? Stop picking on people and just go to Hell.

          • Alexandra

            Neglect is a form of emotional abuse. Abuse isn’t always physical. When talking about domestic violence situations the most common types of abuse are: physical, emotional, financial, and sexual. You can be an abusive partner without ever causing them physical injury.

          • really?

            God’s not the one neglecting. We are. If anything, we abuse Him by refusing to acknowledge/love Him.

            God=love. So eternity in/with God is eternity in love. If we do not love God, who is love, then we cannot exist within love for eternity. Just like if I cannot breath underwater, I cannot live underwater. So if I cannot exist within Heaven, then obviously if I am to continue existing, I must exist elsewhere. To exist is a greater good than to not exist. That’s a philosophical truth. If you are going to argue that… go home. So rather than obliterate you into nothingness, God allows you to keep your existence because of His love for you. However, if you want nothing to do with this love, because love is a choice, He can’t force you into Heaven. You can’t exist there. Nothing is impossible to God. Thus, since existing where you cannot exist is an absurdity, or in other words nothing; it is impossible for you to be in Heaven.

          • Hi There

            You wrote a long… rant i guess that most people (like me) look at the first few sentences and see how nonsensical it sounds, one if you deny god to you there is no god, and if god was so great why woud he feel abused?

          • Hi There

            Mine looks even longer because of how slim it is… wow.

          • bobthechef

            Buahaha, yesss, you pencil.

          • cheeky wanker

            If we suppose that God loves us then how would it take away from his greatness to feel abused by the one He loves?

          • Me76

            Wow, abuse him by not loving him! Tell me, would it also be abuse if you refuse to pay the protection money payments, when the mob boss come around, and you actually deserve to your legs broken?!

          • bobthechef

            That would assume God owes you something (impossible: there is nothing to appeal to beyond God), or that he’s neglecting you in the first place. Maybe you’re just a princess who hates daddy for not buying her a Corvette.

          • RickRayFSM

            Another xian who never read the bible!
            When you read and study the buybull you eventually become an atheist/agnostic.

          • Hi There

            If people were made in “god’s” image then there wouldn’t be any assholes to hate in daily life… such as the douche bag trolling you… just saying…

          • bobthechef

            You have a Valley girl’s understanding of theology. For sure!

          • youllneverknow

            that doesn’t make any sense. just because i look like someone doesn’t mean i act like them. so basically your comment is invalid. We may have been created in God’s IMAGE, but we were not created in his complete holiness and personality-wise likeness.

          • PinkFlying Menez

            That’s like telling a person that they murdered themselves if they disagreed with you and the you shot them in the head. You control my words because I’m too stupid to think beyond this argument. Seriously, your making us look bad.

          • Brendanshelton7

            Seriously, chill out. Even though this was two weeks ago, you’re clearly trolling (nice name by the way), and regardless of your religious or anti-religious views, talking about someone’s REAL abusive relationship like that is just not okay.
            I know there’s a real person behind Bob Loblaw and if he or she doesn’t feel bad about harassing an abused woman… wow.
            Have a nice day.

          • Brendanshelton7

            And I’m completely serious about the name by the way. Hahaha

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377173672 Bryan Richards

            The person doesnt need to be real for the abuse to be real. You are right, abusive relationships are not ok. That is part of why atheists aren’t pro faith, it actually does harm people.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            then why are so many women so eager to become brides for Him, if He’s so emotionally abusive,

            Why do so many women attach themselves to abusive men in real life? Its not as if irrationality is unheard of in our species.

          • musiciangirl591

            whatever… its almost 1:30 in the morning where i’m at, i’m exhausted and worried about other things more important than arguing with apparent trolls on a Catholic blog, so good night, God bless, i’m praying for you guys :)

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Disagreeing with you does not make someone a troll, and calling me one while saying you’ll pray for me, reeks of sanctimony.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            You’re right. Disagreeing with someone does not make you a troll. Continually using something someone told to you to hurt them is being a troll.

            People like you and Alexandria are the worst kind of people. You have just gone around on this site and instead of giving good counterpoints, just go and twist details around on people. You have used your words only to to be negative and create conflict.

            Are you happy? Does it bring you joy to use things like abusive relationships to inflict further pain to someone?

            I’d say I’ll pray for you two, but I know you wouldn’t want it, so I won’t waste my time on God’s green Earth. Instead I’ll pity you. I’ll pity how you go and say the things you say just because someone believes something different than you. I’ll pity you because of how you deep down feel alone inside, and you go out on these sites just to try to share your despair.

          • aligirl

            well said, nate! ( applause)

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            For what it’s worth, the abusive husband analogy I used did not originate from any poster here. I didn’t realize that someone made a personal revelation about abuse until several comments later. My aim was not to bank on personal hardship.

            That said, I contest your claim that I didn’t offer counter-points. If you’re going to retreat into “Stop, that hurts” any time someone makes a counter-argument to your position, then why are you even outdoors speaking to people that might *gasp* disagree with you?

            According to you, people like me are “the worse kind of people.” You’re not the first person to express that about atheists, and that is a large motivator for me wanting to dialog rather than allow myself to be demonized. I haven’t started any conflict, I’m defending my position. You can keep thinking I’m a lonely despairing person if it helps you sleep better at night.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            I suppose it is a good thing that you edited your comment

          • bobthechef

            Perhaps she has other reasons to think so? Btw, our society is nothing but a crowd of limp-wristed wankers. Not getting what you want is considered abuse. Go back to the Middle Ages, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone whining about life, or how Hell is so uncool.

          • Hi There

            Not to be an asshole, but hey… you’re talking to air.

            -Cheers

          • PinkFlying Menez

            I’m thinking for you. (I can’t technically pray so)

          • Alexandra

            Abusive relationships are sadly more common than most people know, and it’s especially difficult to be able to distinguish what is abusive when the model of love that a person holds to is that of the Abrahamic God.

            I’ve known plenty of Christian women who stayed with in marriages that were emotionally, financially, and sexually abusive because they felt they weren’t submitting to their husband well enough and that he was only so critical of her mistakes because he loved her. If you believe yourself to be a fallen and sinful person, it’s hard to honestly believe you don’t deserve the abuse that goes on in a abusive relationship.

          • musiciangirl591

            so, i’m being abused in my relationship with God? even though He’s been so good to me with my friends, my family, my amazing boyfriend whom i love so very much, all the opportunities i have had and the experiences that i’ve gotten to do during the 19 years i’ve been on this planet? yeah i feel so abused by it that i’m loved and cared for by an amazing God that even though i’m legally disabled, i feel as if my disability is a blessing because it just makes me all the more interesting :), so i’m abused you say? i feel as though i am not, quite the opposite honey

          • aligirl

            Honey, it is obvious that you have chosen to reveal a part of your life that was quite painful, and in the process made yourself transparent and vulnerable. Unfortunately, it is quite apparent that there are those who are using that vulnerability as a platform to attack you and your beliefs, and are engaging in predatory behavior. :( . Quite frankly, it is pretty obvious that they are being used by the enemy for his purpose. So dont let them steal your joy and peace! Instead, think on those things that you KNOW to be pure, TRUE, GOOD and lovely! Eph 6: 10-20 to you! :)

          • Hi There

            Not to be an asshole – So are you saying anyone responding to her in any angle against god is being used by the devil? That’s a very shitty comment, don’t you think. The simple fact that those who argue god is false see your little banished angel of light as nothing. Also according to many of the church goings that were forced upon me by my schooling, things we do not contend to be true have no power over us… so please, explain to me how I’m being used by the “enemy” for any purpose, Atheists would be the true enlightened, we try to find proof and facts about things to deem weather or not they have any real value, a book is a book, it can be ripped, saturated, burned, and replaced. Why does one book’s value differ from another simply because it’s in the religion section. The Greek and Roman gods are in that section too, are these gods false because you’ve always had your eyes glued to one book?

          • Hi There

            Not to be an asshole but, Hahaha, god has been good with your friends, family and lover?! You chose them, you hang out with them, you love them, god has nothing to do with friends and such, its all your actions that get people to like you. Has god ever really caressed your cheek and held you as the fatherly figure that the money-hungry(if you haven’t seen why me saying this is relative… i don’t know what to tell you) church has made him out to be?

          • Raul Valdez Jr.

            I was a Christian 3 years, went to a church that taught the bible at 19. I am not blessed how I’d like to be. Does God favor you over me? Also I’ve been rejected many times that doesn’t give me the right to hurt anyone does it?

          • Korou

            I’m sorry you were in an abusive relationship. I hope you’re out of it and happier now.

            But I’m afraid that from our point of view God does look like an abuser. You know that if we don’t believe in him we will go to hell, right? That translates as “love me or I’ll punish you.”

            I’m sorry, I hope I’m not being insensitive and stirring up old hurts.

          • musiciangirl591

            whatever…

          • Jeff Tan

            Er, no, you don’t go to hell simply from not believing in God, particularly if you had insufficient opportunity to do so. Ignorance through no fault of your own is not a basis for culpability in this context. Hell is not something God throws at you. It’s more like a terminal illness inherited from the fallen Adam and Eve, who contracted it despite being warned off. The command to love God is the proverbial bitter pill that must be taken regularly to cure the illness. Now it can be unpleasant, but it’s the only cure, and the taste definitely grows on you. He won’t force it down our throats if we knowingly resist, so the decision is up to us. If we aren’t even willing to consider the proposition in spite of opportunities to do so, then we become culpable as well. And consider too that he is hardly overbearing in his propositions. Particularly today, all the information you can ask for is available out there on the Internet — assuming that you’ll give it a fair hearing.

          • Korou

            Thank you for your fair reply.

            1. Glad to hear it. I have not been exposed to convincing arguments for the existence of God, so I suppose I’ll die and wake up, somewhat surprised, in Heaven.

            2. Did God create hell? Or did He just refuse to destroy it? He could do if he wanted to. Thus, He is responsible for it.

            3. Why won’t he force the medicine down our throats? If a madman could be cured by administering medicine which would restore him to full mental health, would you respect his wishes not to be given what he thought was poison? Of course not.
            But you know what? God can respect my free will; he doesn’t have to force me to accept anything. All he has to do is prove his existence. After he’s done that he can complain if I don’t become a Christians (once we’ve established that God exists, we could then get on the the debate about whether or not he is worthy of worship).

          • dan

            How could God create hell? Hell is like, basically, the absence of God!! Basically heaven is with God, Purgatory is seeing God but not with him, and Hell is not seeing God at all.

            Satan was all like “i don’t love you God” and then hell was created cause hell is saying “i don’t love you God” and for a Human that is like, well, being burnt alive for all eternity, its like the worst place to be. when we did we understand and love God and put ourselves in Hell because we just ain’t worthy.

            Purgatory is a choice we make as well, its like taking a shower before going out with your Mother, why would you give your mamma a smelly hug?? you Love God but you know you need to make yourself right first, but it hurt to be a away from the thing you love most. Its really painful to see the one you love and not be with them, right!!!?!

            But Heaven…i mean MAN…dat is like…OMG…cause you with God the guy who loves you more than ANYTHING.

            We’re sayin, God is Love, Truth, reason, beauty

            Yo be sayin, Love condemns
            Yo be sayin, Truth be false
            Yo be sayin, Reason is stupid
            Yo be sayin, Beauty is Ugly

            Man, you make no sense. when you say those things I ain’t wrong, Yo just don’t know what i believe.

          • Hi There

            So the main point, bottom line is still “Love god or go to hell”

          • me76

            except who gave you the “disease” in the first place? How I am I responsible for what supposed the first humans did. If you commit a crime, your children are NOT responsible for your actions

            Ever watch Star Trek Deep Space Nine? There is a race called the Jem’Hadar who another race created with the need for a synthetic hormone to survive- that can only be provided by them, so assuming what you say is true, God put the hole there in the first place.

          • Disraeli

            If you’re still bowing and groveling before some god, you’re still in an abusive relationship!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377173672 Bryan Richards

            It has some strong parallels. God is going to hit you as well and you are the one that makes him do it.

          • Joel

            Did Matt allow slave ownership? Did Matt allow sacrificial killings? Did Matt allowing stoning? What, no? Matt sounds like a gem compared to god.

          • Chase

            wow… someone seriously doesn’t understand what that punishment is actually supposed to be lol

          • bobthechef

            No mercy, eh? Seeing how you’ve gotten away with all that you have (people never think they deserve much punishment for their actions, but they in fact deserve far FAR worse), Charles Manson has gotten away with all he has, I mean, that’s either mercy, or there’s no one home.

          • WhoaThereBuddy

            Most Christians today see Hell as allegory. I really hope you aren’t saying we’re all bible-thumping creationists with rifles and NRA tramp stamps.

          • Mzuark

            Wow, you completely crossed the line into “Asshole Atheist”

        • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

          (Evading the shrinking column)

          they make their own decisions, God doesn’t force them to make their choices, your parents don’t dress you don’t they

          What does dressing have to do with it? Is dressing a morally significant action?

          • musiciangirl591

            no i’m just saying that, you make it sound like God makes you make your choices, i’m using the parents thing to illustrate the moral choices…

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Your choices at any point of your life are dependent of your environment, your education, your biology. If your god is omniscient and omnipotent he has control of all these factors. He also has control over the existence of hell and the criteria for admittance.

            Lets assume that its my choice. Fine:

            I freely choose not to go to hell. I also freely choose not to go to heaven. I freely choose not to accept the dilemma presented to me by Christianity and desire to cease existing upon my death.

            Except in your scenario I don’t really have that choice, do I? I have the choice of two eternities, both of which seem torturous to me. If your god really cared for my choices he will grant me non-existence at the end of my life.

          • musiciangirl591

            i understand your point, but i’m guessing you’re an atheist or maybe agnostic? everyone has their own beliefs, i was stating mine, you just jumped down my throat trying to state yours…

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            I jumped in because I saw you defending what I consider a harmful and immoral position. Claiming that hell in the Christian religion is the choice of the individual and not the omnipotent designer of hell is exactly like excusing the behavior of an abusive husband. This stance can create a lot of suffering, and it would be immoral not to confront it.

            Beliefs have consequences, they are not harmless curios, teddy bears you only grab when you need comfort.

          • musiciangirl591

            immoral?

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Most definitely.

          • musiciangirl591

            eh, whatever, i believe what i believe, you believe what you believe, i don’t really care :P

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            eh, whatever, i believe what i believe, you believe what you believe, i don’t really care :P

            You don’t care if your beliefs are immoral?

            Okay. I still care though.

          • musiciangirl591

            no i’m just saying that i believe what i believe and you believe what you believe, my beliefs aren’t immoral in my book, and i’m not trying to convert you to Catholicism… thats all i’m saying there

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Thats all well and good, but saying you don’t want to convert me to Catholicism doesn’t change the immorality of your position. To stay on the same example, if you saw someone being abused, you’d try and help them, wouldn’t you?

            You commented on a public blog and I responded. It is not my goal to beat you over the head with it, so if you want to let this lie, fine.

            I could say more, but I made my point, if you want to think about it, that good, its all I can ask.

          • musiciangirl591

            ok then, i still believe that my position and beliefs aren’t immoral so lets stop arguing about it so i can sleep

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Good night

          • dan te

            FYI, GOD SENT HIS SON TO HELP US. HE DOES LOTS OF THINGS, BUT JUST BECAUSE YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES AND EYES AND MOUTH AND NOSE, DOESN’T MEAN HE IS NOT DOING EVERY THING HE CAN

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            “OESN’T MEAN HE IS NOT DOING EVERY THING HE CAN”

            So he can’t create a conviction in every human being that the God if Christianity is more authentic than every other god without turning everyone into an unthinking adoring zombie? I know beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt people exist,without being forced into liking them. You’re god can’t accomplish for himself what Joseph Ratzinger can do without trying (prove his own existence?)

            That’s a pretty low bar for a supposed omnipotent entity.

          • nasanerd09

            Probably no one will see this, as this is an old post already. Cafeeine and Robert, as well as the other atheists/non Christians/whatever you are I don’t want to fish through comments to check, you all seem to be very, very stuck on your idea of Hell. It seems that you are envisioning a place of torture, with fire, brimstone, wailing, screaming and the works. Let me tell you, as has been stated before- Hell is NOT a PLACE.

            It is not a physical place such as New York, it is an existence, such as your life. The fact that you are alive is not at all tied to the fact that you reside in a physical place. Yes, the physical laws of our universe require you to exist somewhere, but that doesn’t mean that a specific somewhere is required for you to exist. So it is with Heaven and Hell. They are not places, they are existences. After we die, we are not tied to a physical place anymore. So there does not have to be a physical place for us to exist.

            What Heaven and Hell are are two different existences. One is with God. It’s portrayed as the happy, cloudy, filled with angelic singing place that it is because we believe that God is infinite love, joy, happiness, blah blah blah, he is Love, he is Joy, he is Happiness, he is Good (good used as the noun, not the adjective). The other existence is what we call Hell, and it is an eternal existence without God. This seems like a place of torture to the Christian, or to most theists I’m aware of, because an existence without Good is torturous. However if you freely choose not to believe in God, to discredit his existence, to tell Him “I do not want to be with you”, as you seem to be doing, then when you “go to Hell” you are simply just entering an existence that you would prefer- one where God is not there. Such a place would not be torturous for you, since you have already decided that you did not want to be with God. It is the same as choosing an existence of nothing, a nonexistence perhaps. Perhaps my physics/theology is wrong here, it is late. What I do know is that not choosing God and effectively choosing Hell, for those are the only two choices, is not necessarily choosing torture. It is only torture if you do believe in God.

            As for God “sending us to Hell for not believing in Him” He does no such thing. God is the man who lives in the refreshing air conditioned house, with lemonade and cookies to boot, who invites you in out of the hot summer day outside. Most of us, or at least a significant portion of us, would accept the offer because we recognize that it is a good thing. Some however, decide they don’t want to accept the man’s hospitality, and would rather remain outside. Suppose the man was stronger than us and could force us to come inside and dine on lemonade and cookies if he wanted. However, this man is the epitome of love. Free will is one of our greatest gifts. Although he can go against our will and drag us kicking and screaming into the house, he CHOOSES not to because he RESPECTS us. That sir, is love. God does not send us to Hell, He allows us to choose an existence without him, without interfering, because he respects the decision we’ve made.

            We are not wives trapped in abusive marriages. We are the girlfriends who mess up occasionally, but whose boyfriends forgive us as long as we ask for it, infinitely, immediately, completely. We are also the girlfriends who have the power to say, I do not want to be in a relationship with you anymore, goodbye, and whose boyfriends respect our decision and do not harass us to remain with them.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Thanks for the reply nasanerd09.

            I can respect that your understanding of heaven and hell in this manner may work for you.

            I can’t help but notice that it is a narrative that is quite recent. The original conception of Hell is a place of punishment, a place of everlasting fire, destined for those who have done evil and who are dubbed ‘damned’. It is not an equitable metaphysical alternative lifestyle for people who prefer coffee instead of tea.

            Applying a different narrative now doesn’t change things like the Athanasian Creed:

            And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved

            Why is it that the idea of ‘hell as the freely chosen separation from god that He respects’ was offered only after the abject immorality (and physical impossibility) of the previous eternal den of flames was pointed out?

          • dan

            sorry, who gave you the “original concept of hell”? CAUSE IT WASN’T THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

          • dan

            Also, like it or not, i think you may end up in LOW purgatory and even slip into heaven. We done mate!!!

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Can’t. Heaven isn’t a place, so nowhere to slip to, remember?
            Have a good one, bud.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            The Athanassian Creed is part of the Catholic church teachings. You should look it up.

          • dan

            he can also create FREE-WILL which allows some one like you to say “there ain’t no God”, ask this, why would God want you in heaven? you don’t love him, so why do you think everyone here is telling you to love him? cause he sent his son to die to bring a “Cafeeine” like you into heaven, not cause you love him, but CAUSE HE LOVES YOU. sorry bud but he loves you a lot, he loved you 10 months ago, he loves you now and he’ll love you for ever and ever even if you decide not to go to heaven he will love you even then.

            (If he made free will then why would he force you to love him? do you want God/a god to force his will on you??)

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            Um.. All that love and he couldn’t manifest in a way different that every fictional deity mankind has invented? Cool story bro.
            Free will only works based on observation dan. I can no more use free will to believe in your god than I can to believe it’s raining sardine cans.

      • Phantasyman05

        So I’m indoctrinating my child when I teach them not to touch a hot stove or to stay away from the fireplace? Interesting theory.

        • Hi There

          Where did you read that? I must be reading something else.

      • http://spiritualadvocate.wordpress.com/ Frater Bovious

        This is silly – “Is there an algebraic equation that goes something like… “1+3 = don’t associate with your neighbor because god hates them”?

        I went to a Catholic School taught by nuns from Kindergarten to 8th grade. I was never ever told “God hates” anyone. I was repeatedly told “God loves everyone, even the sinner”.

        This is also silly – “If you keep telling your children that the bible is the inerrant word of god and the only source of “truth”,

        Not once in 9 years of my indoctrination was I told that the only source of truth is the Bible. I was in fact taught that truth is everywhere, like for instance 2+2=4. I was taught that Mendel, the father of genetics, was Catholic and that Catholics used their brains to ferret out the wonders of the Universe.

        Later in life I learned that Lemaitre, a Belgian Priest, first propounded what became known as the Big Bang Theory.

        He also published a paper on what is now known as Hubble’s Constant two years before Hubble AND was called out by none other than Einstein when he published his paper on an expanding universe – “At this time, Einstein, while not taking exception to the mathematics of Lemaître’s theory, refused to accept the idea of an expanding universe; Lemaître recalled him commenting “Vos calculs sont corrects, mais votre physique est abominable”[8] (“Your math is correct, but your physics is abominable.”)

        His physics were, however correct.

        And we have a two-fer here because the “Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of the creation” which Fred Hoyle disparagingly called “the Big Bang theory” demonstrates that at the moment of the big bang, the very universe glowed white hot, poetically described elsewhere as “Let there be light”.

        So much for religion making people stupid.

        FB

      • http://www.arsvivendiblog.com/ Inge

        My Atheist parents tried to indoctrinate me with Atheism. They ‘educated’ me and told me how to think and what to think. Religion to them is for weak people who can’t handle truth. Atheism is not really different from religion in this respect, you know. They disguise stuff as ‘education’ where it really is indoctrination.

        During public school, were most of the teachers were Atheist as well, every inquiry regarding faith was being played down, pupils with a religious background were mocked.

        Then I went to university got proper education (learned to think independently) and saw how my parents’ (and my high school teachers’) reasoning had flaws. I also discovered how the Catholic Church appreciates me as person more than my parents do. In the Church I can be the person I want to be. The Church encourages me to be critical, to ask questions. I like this a whole lot better than the ‘We know what is best for you, this is how the world works and religion is for sissies, you don’t need to look into that’ approach I’ve been getting before.

        • Hi There

          You don’t feed trolls, they do. And I hope you find some, but in reality the Catholic church is very oppressive, notice how they have a list of books that any catholic is not allowed to read (forgot the name) A book titled “Common sense for Fifth Graders” was put on this year because it said that religion is generated by the fraction of the human brain usually activated by despair and lack of hope, followed by need to follow and cling to something. The “church community” is more of a “Lamb to slaughter” Than they make out jesus to be.

          • Hi There

            *… They do it themserlves. *

            sorry just re-read

          • Rose

            I’m guessing that you mean to refer to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – the list of “banned” books. That list was last updated in 1948 and formally abolished in 1966 so it is fundamentally impossible for a book to have been added recently.

            Also, why do so many of your posts begin with “not to be an asshole” before you continue to do just that? Why not just be honest? What’s the point of pretending you are not mocking everyone you respond to?

          • dan

            ughem, excuse me, would you encourage the reading of the bible??

      • TheOne

        It is impossible to raise children without “indoctrination” your issue is with the way it is done in Christianity, which is fine, people can have opinions on indoctrination. However your opinion does not make it fundamentally wrong, or ‘abuse’, to raise children in a christian indoctrination. Many people think that you need to hit your kids to teach them, other think this is wrong, people think that letting your kids watch too much television is wrong. The entire legal system is an indoctrination, and it does have consequences for breaking the law, thus you could state that by adhering to laws we have to “submit to the man in the white house or go to jail”.

        This article points out a few ridiculous arguments against religion. There are many valid arguments for and against religion, but the author explains why these three are not good arguments. Yelling at religious people that they are wrong and stating emotional illogical biased statements like raising your children with religious indoctrination is child abuse, weakens the credibility of your argument.

      • bobthechef

        “…difference between education and indoctrination.” Clearly you’ve never gone to public school. Or wait, perhaps you have.

      • skwills

        Actuslly, Indocternation is Euducation. Doctrine means Teaching and to Indocternate means To instill a Teaching. Only in modern Times ahas “Indocternation:” becomes a sinister term. That said, what about Teaching Childre that Democracy is the only Valid form of Government and everyone who disagrees is a Monster?

        For that matter, I can present a Caricature of Atheism to make it bad. Teach CHioldren that if they beliv ein a go they will be unablw to think for themselves and all “Religious people” are violent monsters wantign to abolish Science and Reason and give us the Dark Ages. Is that a whole lot better?

        Religiion is nothign mroe than our beleifs, and the idea that Atheists have no Relgiion is absurd. Any value system you teach, anythign you tell CHildren about hwo the world works or came to be, will be indocternation.

        Besides, the Parents beleive the things they teach their CHildren, do you want them to teach them things that they don’t beleive to be True? In effect, to lie to their children?

    • Korou

      That was an interesting thing to say. I liked the way you implied that education and religion are two different things – they certainly are!
      Indoctrinating them? The difference being that if you take a child to school, even from the earliest age, and start teaching them, “1 + 1 = 3″ they will sooner or later tell you that you are wrong and they can prove it.
      Or to put it another way: teaching mathematics is a useful skill based in the real world; teaching religion is a harmless waste of time at best and a form of child abuse at worst.

      • dan

        at best it is an incredibly useful thing which is vital to the human race.

        i mean if your trying to be balanced in your argument

    • Jalera47

      children are born with religious belief – rubbish!
      If this is the case then I suggest that religious education (Indoctrination) should be discontinued everywhere.
      Then in 15 years time we’ll see how many Christians there are. (same goes for muslims, Jews, Mormons, etc).
      Mt bet is that there wouldn’t be many religious followers left.
      Jews are Jews, muslims are muslims, and Christians are Christians simply because theyvwere indoctrinated in childhood.

      • Jay13

        Even the Mesopotamian peoples had religion. They believed in spirits of nature who influenced things like the weather. They believed in earth mother. They are assumed to have believed in an afterlife based on the fact that they were buried in the fetal position. I’m not propagating any religion here, only pointing out a fact.

        • Hi There

          Not to be an asshole – Yeah, so? The Romans had a belief system before catholicism too, bringing Zeus up has no point in the current thing either does it.

    • Peter

      Surprise surprise, a religious person with poor skills in reasoning and logic….LOL

    • Popeye

      actually, no one is born with no knowledge. i guess you could say there are three kinds of knowledge: that which is revealed by the Divine, that which is learned through our senses and faculties, and that which is “written in our hearts”. There are innumerable examples of knowledge and behavior exhibited by all orders of organisms that are clearly not learned by the summation of an organisms experiences. simple examples can be seen in complex behaviors in organisms that have extremely short life spans and seem to know how to do something that will only happen once in a generation. you could say that many creatures come fresh out of the box with some baseline of knowledge that has been hardwired into their very being. it is apparent that human beings have the most complex concept included as standard factory equipment: a belief in a supernatural higher power.

    • MG

      Teaching your children religion is the opposite of educating them.

      • dan

        Teaching you children atheism is the opposite of educating them.

        IN FACT

    • Eunichman

      You use math as a measuring point… where math is a proven and reprovable science, ALL religion is based on beliefs and ideasd which can not be proven and reproven. We also teach kids the easter bunny, santa claus, and the tooth fairy, all false teachings

    • Nicholas

      Not really. One offers the ability to do well in life and one disappoints.

  • mamasaidso

    As a fellow Catholic redditor, I salute you.

  • Anne

    This is so wonderful! Keep up the good work. Also, first?

    • Anne

      oops. or not

      • Fisherman

        It’s ok, we’ve all been there before.

  • musiciangirl591

    number two is what i think when i hear “if altar boys could get pregnant…” thing, there is more cases of child molestation in places like happy valley with jerry sandusky (teaching and coaching), also on a related note, the diocese where i live (diocese of erie) does extremely thorough background checks on anyone applying for admission to the seminary and anyone who wants to work with children, they should really research their facts about all the dioceses in all the worlds before making a bold statement

    • enness

      Indeed, applicants being rejected is not an unheard-of thing at all in my locale (for various reasons — although obviously I’m not going to repeat any details).

      • musiciangirl591

        some of my seminarian friends when they were applying were complaining about the application process, the questions they ask are really interesting

      • musiciangirl591

        also, i have to get my clearances to work a retreat, i’m 19, the people i’m planning on working with are high schoolers (17, juniors), young adults, and older adults, thats pretty thorough right there :P

  • http://catholicanuck.blogspot.com/ JP

    I never thought about the light/canvas analogy in words, but as you did, I can see that that is always how I pictured it in my mind…a general background sort of light, waiting to be appropriately assigned

  • westley

    For #2, the main complaint I hear (and that you didn’t mention) is how priests, bishops, and other people who first heard about the allegations of abuse didn’t report it to the authorities but instead covered it up and moved the rapist priests around to repeat their crimes.

    • Maura Marcotte

      In all fairness to many bishops, when this issue first came to light, the prevailing understanding in the world of psychology was that pedophilia was treatable. Several years back, our now-retired bishop said that he and his fellow bishops sent accused priests for treatment, and were told by the doctors after several weeks/months that the priests were fine now and should be reinstated in new parishes for a fresh start now that they were better. While the whole thing is incredibly painful for so many, we have to keep perspective about what was really happening at the time.

      • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

        Maura, at the time these events you describe took place, was it ever the case that child abuse was not illegal? In how many of these instances were bishops, when presented with accusations and/or evidence of criminal activities, in contact with the local authorities?

        If the manager of a private club discovered a kleptomaniac in his employ, didn’t turn him in, paid for some treatment, sheltered him, paid off or silenced the victims and placed him back in a position elsewhere where he stole again, he’s be considered an accessory. Why does this not apply to the bishops? Claiming one follows divine laws does not excuse not following secular law.

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          In many — actually, I’d say, MOST — cases, civil authorities declined to prosecute. Either there wasn’t enough evidence to do so, or the parents of the child refused to press charges because they didn’t want to drag their child through a lengthy court battle. In other cases, the parents themselves begged Church authorities not to report the matter to the police because they were afraid of the stigma involved, as well as afraid of gossip or having their child identified as a victim of abuse in the press. Rightly or wrongly, if the civil authorities decline to press charges, the Church can’t override that decision; and while it was the wrong decision not to notify the authorities at the request of the parents, hindsight is 20/20.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            “In many — actually, I’d say, MOST — cases, civil authorities declined to prosecute.”

            There should be a paper trail to back that claim up, right?

      • adapa69

        Where does the shaming and silencing of the child victims come into play when “treating” pedo priests?

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          Can you be more specific with your allegations? Who shamed and silenced victims? Can this be proven?

      • Ash

        Maura, your attitude of excuse-making is one of the things that keeps the abuse scandal alive. Priests raped children. No decent person makes excuses for that. No decent person sends a rapist to some Catholic “treatment” center for a few WEEKS and then says “Yay, cured!”. A decent person protects children, not rapists.

        The problem in Catholicism is multi-dimensional, but the propensity of male-dominated organizations to value loyalty to the group over morality is one of the huge failings of the church, and it will never go away on its own. Male organizations like the church hierarchy or university athletic departments need outside oversight and female involvement to break down clannish behavior.

        The other major difficulty in the Catholic hierarchy that’s not faced by other male-dominated groups is that the members are religious. They believe in a god. They believe prayer works, so they tried to use prayer to fix problem priests. But prayer doesn’t work. You cannot make rapists stop raping by praying about it. If you don’t believe this, ask yourself if you would allow your child to be watched by a known rapist as long as you knew a bishop was praying for him. Answer honestly.

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          You do realize that it was secular psychologists treating the priests, and secular psychologists who assured the priests that the pedophilia was cured, right?

          Regardless, see my comments to “Cafeeine” above. In many cases, civil authorities declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence.

          • amycas

            That’s nice of them to worry so much about the mental health of the priest, but who paid for the victim’s mental health care? The compaint above was that the church cared more about helping the priest than in helping the victims.

    • BBane

      This is also common to the idiotic Western way of dealing with pedophiles. they hid them and moved them around in schools, sports programs and boy scout programs etc etc as well. This idiocy was shared by some in church authority but it was by no means unique to them. Nor was it unique to the Catholic church.. but you don’t hear “oh those Baptists.. can’t take ‘em seriously b/c they moved their pedophile pastors around in the 80′s….”

  • Patrick

    I’m an atheist, and I’ve never made these arguments, and I agree some of them sound kind of silly. Nevertheless, I’ll try to pretend that I’ve made them, and articulate what might be the real issue:

    (1) There is plenty of evidence that babies have innate theories about all sorts of phenomena, but I’m not sure at all sure how this is relevant to these theories being “good.” For example, studies have shown that babies have something like s an “innate physics” that they use to figure out how massive objects will behave; it works somethings like Aristotle’s physics (e.g., heavy objects seek the center of the earth, heavy objects fall faster, etc.). Many people who don’t study physics hold on to this theory for the rest of their lives, and it often serves them well enough in nontechnical contexts. It’s still a false theory, however, and the fact that people are naturally inclined to believe it doesn’t mean (a) that a good education can’t inform them about the correct theory or (2) that they wouldn’t be better off believing in something true. We wouldn’t want our bridges or airplanes designed by people who believed in these theories, after all. Babies also have a “innate psychology” that makes them think lots of natural phenomena have “minds”–the weather, cars, etc. Again, this isn’t a terrible theory (and lots of adults have thought similar things throughout history, and led happy enough lives), but it’s just false to think that humans are incapable of better, more accurate theories.

    (2) I agree with you–Catholic priests are no more likely to molest children than lots of other men in positions of power. My complaint (and I think it’s a pretty common one) is that the Church hierarchy for years impeded the ability of civil authorities to punish priests. Hence, pedophiles who were Catholic priests tended to escape punishment for longer than garden-variety pedophiles.

    (3) The normal atheist claim is that Genesis is literally false. Saying that it gets something almost, sort of right just seems to miss the point–just about every worthwhile work of fiction or poetry gets something right about the “real world.” In order to succeed, you need to show that Genesis is somehow qualitatively different than garden-variety works of fiction. So, you need show that it is “true” and not “true in a certain sense.” Your argument doesn’t show this. So, I think the atheists (whoever they are) are pretty much in the clear on this one.

    • Steven Dillon

      (3) reminds me of Colin Howson’s response to astronomer Robert Jastrow’s claim that the Big Bang models imply a biblical notion of the universe’s beginning, and mathematician John Lennox’s claim that the Big Bang models fits exactly with the Christian story of creation:

      “Exactly? Come now. In Genesis 1 and 2 there are two rather blatantly contradictory ‘narratives’ of the creation and, according to scholarly authority, by different hands, one of which has its origin in Babylonian mythology going back millennia before the time of the Old Testament. They do agree that heaven and earth were made in six days, but that agreed claim is not consistent with Big Bang cosmology. Obviously, consistency can be restored between any two sets of claims by suitably redefining terms, but if the redefinitions are sufficiently radical the practice is quite properly regarded as cheating. Jastrow only avoids the logical brick wall the impetuous Lennox runs straight into with the concession ‘The details differ.’ I’ll say they do. Saying that ‘the essential elements are the same’ is committing the scientific sin of being (very) selective with the evidence, accepting the bits that you like and ignoring or discarding the rest. Lennox and Jastrow are scientists, no doubt very good ones, but this isn’t good science. It isn’t good anything.”

      Howson (2011-07-27). Objecting to God (p. 92). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

    • http://twitter.com/TylerKlement Tyler Klement

      Re: (3)
      “This isn’t to say that the Genesis account should be taken as true science — this is to say it should be taken as true poetry.”

      While Marc is defending Genesis and saying it isn’t *as* scientifically inconsistent as people make it out to be, I doubt he believes that it is to be taken literally in the empirical sense. Catholic teaching is that the Bible is a story of humanity’s Salvation, not a physicis textbook, and that Genesis may not be taken literally when it speaks of the physical world. The central message of Genesis is on the nature of man’s soul, so Genesis is accurate in how it teaches concupiscence and portrays certain theological prophecies about the Savior. The only physical fact that the Holy See emphasizes about the Creation tale is that all of humanity descended from a common couple, and science is actually starting to support this.

      • Ian Calvert

        Although there is a common male and a common female ancestor, these people lived thousands of years apart. There is no common couple.

        • TeaPot562

          If there is a common female ancestor, at a minimum her father would be a common male ancestor. If she had only one male mate, that individual w/b a common male ancestor as well.
          TeaPot562

        • Albert

          Mike Flynn addresses this issue, on the time separation of mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam.

          The short of it is that those individuals are not the Adam and Eve of Genesis, that it is likely that when Adam and Eve appeared they were part of a larger breeding population, but the only ones with that special something making them “Man” and not… whatever it is everyone else around them was. (what sets man apart from pre-man: eternal soul, abstract reasoning, etc.)

          It is unlikely that the same mutation that brought about our current species occurred simultaneously amongst the large group that research points to as our original breeding population.

          the whole piece is worthwhile, if only to understand how someone can hold to the veracity of the Genesis account of creation while also holding to the latest and greatest scientific understanding of the same:

          http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-and-ted-and-alice.html

      • batman dad

        I thought the bible was skyman’s own words. You can’t pick and choose.

        • tissue box

          Ugh. People like you annoy me. The bible is a big collection of events (true or not) that happened before, during and after the time of jesus. Not everything is god’s own words, alot of it consists of fables, hymns and other people’s words. In fact, alot of teachings that christianity uses today are based off other people such as paul of tarsus. So don’t go around using that arguement, its stupid. (Im an athiest btw)

          • adapa69

            As soon as you can lay out the process for determining what’s a fable, a myth, and a fact that should be taken literally in the bible I’ll stop holding Christians feet to the fire about picking and choosing.

            Most Christians simply go with what society has deemed appropriate to ret con their understanding of the bible.

            For example slavery has moved from the word of god to just a metaphor. 1859 slavery in the bible was the true word of God and should be taken literally. 1865 suddenly the slavery in the bible was different and shouldn’t be imitated. 2012 slavery in the bible is actually referring to mans servitude to his boss at work.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20602584 Mark Duch

            Please google “magisterium.”

          • adapa69

            The magisterium never bothered to condemn slavery until after 1890. Seems the truthfulness of the word of god is a slave to secular society.

            How long will it take before the magisterium discovers that the condemnations homosexuality is just a warning about being narcissistic or some such garbage apologetic .

          • Choir203

            Well your Atheists friends in the Soviet Union used slavery and murder up to the time when John Paul11 and President Reagen toppled them, did you ever hear of the Gulags

          • amycas

            Two can play this game, your catholic friends used torture and murder during the inquisition and the crusades.

            The difference is that atheists don’t have a book from which they can pull quotes to justify such horrible behavior. In fact, the “atheists friends” you speak of in the Soviet Union were following an authoritarian communist ideology, not an “atheist” ideology. Atheism only entails a lack of belief in a god. Atheism does not proscribe or prescribe any behavioral rules. In other words: it wasn’t the atheism of the rulers in the Soviet Union that made them enslave and torture people, but it was the Catholicism and their reading of their own holy book that made Catholics engage in the inquisition and endorse slavery.

          • Hi There

            Yeah, we didn’t con a god as an excuse did we?

          • JayG

            Since we are speaking here of the revival of slavery with the discovery of the new world, I don’t suppose it would matter to you that Christians always considered the marriage of slaves to be a sacrament, same as free, and that Christianity helped move Slavery into a less severe Serfdom through the Middle ages. Generally we treated Slaves well, condemned the trade in our Councils…
            But to address you directly, consider that in 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be “a great crime” (magnum scelus); that, in 1537, Paul III forbade the enslavement of the Indians; that Urban VIII forbade it in 1639, and Benedict XIV in 1741; that Pius VII demanded of the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the suppression of the slave trade and Gregory XVI condemned it in 1839; that, in the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the “supreme villainy” (summum nefas) of the slave traders. Leo XIII, in 1888, addressed letters to the Brazilian bishops, exhorting them to banish from their country the remnants of slavery.
            What was your point again?

          • TiltedHorizon

            Leo IX (Pope 1049-1054) had priests” wives taken into slavery for service at the Lateran Palace.

            Pope Nicholas V, in his bull Romanus pontifex of 1455, gave his blessing to the enslavement of conquered native peoples.

            Pope Paul III confirmed in 1548 that all Christian men and all members of the clergy had the right to own slaves.

            Pope Innocent VIII accepted the gift of numerous slaves from Malaga.

            What was your point again?

          • Albert

            His point was that it is an untrue statement that “The magisterium never bothered to condemn slavery until after 1890.”

            The immoral behavior of Popes doesn’t make what they teach to be wrong, it only makes them sinners.

            If I say that adultery is wrong, but then I commit adultery, that only establishes that I am a hypocrite, or rather, human. It doesn’t establish that I think that adultery is right or good. I could think it a very bad thing, and still indulge in it.

          • Hi There

            Mark, one I don’t have to google that, the word is nonsense I’ve been hearing all the years of my life the church is a organization, like the government, It has “authority” because it put itself into play demanded followers and got them, the church has as much authority to teach as Hitler had to herd and kill jews like cattle. Was he assisting god in his trial to make life horrible for a group of people because of something their “ancestors ” did?

          • JayG

            If you bring up the slavery point, you need to be clear, because the OT makes a distinction between Indentured Servitude and Man-Stealing (the kind of Slavery we had in the U.S.). Indentured Servants were to be set free in the Jubliee year, the 7th year. Man-Stealing was punishable death, even if the Slave trader had not sold the kidnapped slaves yet.
            Please try to beat us with the correct sticks.

          • TiltedHorizon

            Jubliee applied to the chosen people; The Israelites. Not heathens.

            “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way.”

            Note the use of the word “permanent”. Fear not, I don’t bother with sticks or stones, that is a christian thing.

    • enness

      2) Wanna search “public school cover-up” and see how many hits you get?

      • keddaw
        • musiciangirl591

          jerry sandusky, joe pa? penn state? check out that cover up

          • Amenhotepstein

            Thaaaas Right! And Jerry, Joe Pa AND the President of the University were all forced to resign. Two University officials are facing criminal charges.

            So, when’s the Pope gonna resign?

          • musiciangirl591

            well, i’m just saying that people need to consider other scandals, like the high school teachers who sleep with their students (mary kay leuterno who got pregnant by one of her 14 YEAR OLD STUDENTS)

          • Alexandra

            Didn’t you learn this lesson as a kid?

            Like when I was getting in trouble and my mom was lecturing me, I’d say “Yeah well my sister did it tooooo!” Mom would shut that down and say “We’re talking about you. You broke the rules, it doesn’t matter what your sister did.”

            It is a childish move to say hey now, we’re not the only people who do bad stuff.

            We’re talking about what the Church did, don’t try to deflect the blame. Take responsibility for what was done and stop. It makes people lose respect for you when you can’t do the adult thing and acknowledge that wrong was done and it doesn’t matter what anyone else did.

          • musiciangirl591

            i do do the adult thing, quit treating me like a child

          • keddaw

            Yeah, horrible situations. Did Penn State say teachers AFTER THE DISGUSTING CHILD ABUSE SCANDAL shouldn’t report people who admitted child abuse?

            I don’t actually care if they did or didn’t, the Catholic Church in Ireland did!

          • musiciangirl591

            Joe Pa had every opportunity to tell the authorities, he never did…

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          Hm, interesting. To volunteer at my parish, even if I don’t work with kids, I have to take a class that all but beats me over the head with the information that I have to call the police IMMEDIATELY if I even so much as have a sneaking suspicion of anything that could be construed as inappropriate, in addition to notifying my immediate supervisor. And I have to renew that class every year.

          You might want to do some more research into your allegations, and get both sides of the story before leaping to judgement. For example: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/vatican-warned-bishops-not-to-report-child-abuse

          • musiciangirl591

            i actually have to get my clearances to work with children, want to know my age and what i’m doing? i’m 19 and i’m working a retreat with teenagers (juniors or age 17), young adults, and older adults

          • keddaw

            That’s because you’re a volunteer. The Catholic Church in Ireland, via the Vatican, vehemently opposes any secular law that breaches the sanctity of the confessional.

            Research done. Now you get to defend the church prioritising canon law over secular law at the expense of molested children.

    • Booishboos

      Just regarding (1)… yes, we do change the child’s basic ideas, but we replace them with something more complex. Real physics is far more complicated than childlike notions, and even if we tell them the “minds” don’t govern things, we introduce them to intricate systems that do. That’s much closer to replacing babies’ primitive religion with Christianity (which really is quite complex) than with “There’s no God.”

  • Clare

    Marc, you’re amazing. Honestly, you have a huge gift of being able to see through the cobwebs and idiocies and side issues and cut right to the core of things. And–gloria Deo–you use it. Every post of yours makes me think. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I just had to say.

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      If this isn’t sarcasm, my faith in humanity just took a hit.

      You do realize that the majority of this post is ignorant straw-man drivel, and doesn’t even begin to address any of the arguments it purports to demean?

      • musiciangirl591

        do you know he has freedom of speech :P

        • amycas

          Patrick wasn’t shutting down Mark’s freedom to speak. Mark is still here, writing and speaking. Patrick was utilizing his freedom of speech to criticize what Mark said. Criticism of speech =! restricting speech.

        • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

          He has the freedom to waste his breath spewing ignorant nothingness.

          I have the freedom to call him on it.

          • musiciangirl591

            its his blog…. go tell him that to his face

          • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

            You really don’t understand the internet at all, do you?

            You must be young. Please be quiet while the grown-ups are talking.

          • musiciangirl591

            i’m just saying if you want to call him out on it, do it to his face and see how brave you are then, i’m 19, thank you very much

  • metom

    1. You cannot determine a child’s beliefs and atheism is not a lack of belief but a desire to believe in what is there and a child so engrossed in their surroundings has potential…but from there they may not be due to their temperance
    2. It has been on the news, there are confessions, and its in the history books, maybe it is not often and your priest doesn’t molest children but its been done and will probably keep happening
    3. To automatically claim that something was there to create the first unit of creation BEFORE anything was created is still shady…your argument tries to describe photons as light units but there is no person that could have been there to see at the creation of photons and properly claim there is a god to put this into a bible…

    • annony11

      In regards to #2 – no one is trying to claim that no priests have molested children. We know that some have and that is a terrible tragedy. Marc’s point, as far as I can see, is that comparatively speaking, the ratio of child molesting priests to all priests is far less than child molesting public school teachers to all public school teachers for example. Child molestation is disgusting and horrific no matter who is the perpetrator. The simple fact is that, while some child molesters have been priests, many more have been from all other walks of life. We should be more concerned about molestation in general and less of a witch hunt because people have decided – against all evidence – that priests are more likely to be guilty.

    • lakingscrzy

      Your #3 argues that science has no credibility.

      • amycas

        No, it argues that there is no evidence that shows a god created anything. Science uses evidence and logical deductions to reach conclusions–that’s how we’re able to find out what happened on earth 2 billion years ago. Who wrote the bible, and how did they know that god created anything?

        • musiciangirl591

          who invented and pioneered the scientific method? :P

        • lakingscrzy

          You seem to have not actually read the thing you try and disprove, so I will withhold further conversation until you do. Oh btw, you’re welcome for the scientific method.

    • Anathema

      The bit about photons . . . you know that Marc didn’t make that up right? Photons are basically packets of light. And they existed long before the sun, moon, and stars. Marc’s a bit inaccurate when he says that photons were the first recognizable particle to form after the big bang. (Quarks, hadrons, and leptons all existed before photons.)

      No one was there when the first photons were formed. No one was there to watch the dinosaurs go extinct either. We don’t need eye witness testimony to determine whether or not something happened. There are other kinds of evidence.

  • http://www.thinveil.net Brandon Vogt

    I agree with Point 1, but even if the atheist assumes, “Babies aren’t born with any pre-conceived notion of religion, God, or the supernatural world,” that doesn’t make them atheist.

    An atheist is someone who definitively says “there is no God”–which, of course, requires a conception of God.

    So at best we us some Baby Agnostics.

    • Anathema

      If you define atheism as “the belief that there are no gods”, then babies aren’t atheists.

      If you define atheism as “the absence of a belief in any gods”, then babies are technically atheists. (But just because it’s technically true doesn’t mean that it’s a useful argument. The only thing it could be used to demonstrate is that before someone is introduced to a belief, they must lack that belief by definition. But that’s completely obvious to everyone anyway.)

      I’m not going to argue about which definition of atheism is the one true real definition. Both usages are fairly widespread. I’d say that both definitions are valid. So long as you are clear about which definition you are using, there shouldn’t be a problem.

      Whichever definition of atheist you use though, babies are definitely still agnostic.

      • Cal-J

        The second definition of atheism you propose sounds like the split personality of agnosticism.

        Just sayin’.

        • TheCivilJerk

          Gnosticism is the knowledge of God. To be Agnostic is to be unsure of his being (or lack there of). Gnostic theists “know” that their God exists, while agnostic theists believe their god exists, but without any real conviction.

          Gnostic Atheist is someone who says there is no god. Agnostic Atheist is someone who says I have no reason to believe in your God.

          The biggest problem in most debates is the lack of a universal definition for terms.

    • amycas

      I’m an agnostic atheist. I do not say,”There is no god.” I say, ” I lack a belief in god. Please show me some evidence.” Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

  • http://twitter.com/filiusdextris filius dextris

    Once you get a good 25-40 timeless posts like this one and the previous, you should bundle and publish them in paper form and sell out autographed copies for Catholics to curl up with give away as Christmas presents (especially to their Atheist family members).

    • Levon Mkrtchyan

      I assure you that this kind of action on your part will only serve to show your Atheist family members that you care about your invisible-man-in-the-sky more than you care about making your family members feel loved and accepted.

      • mastaofdisasta

        Yeah, those skytheists are so dumb. Fortunately the cure is logic, with a side of reason.

        reddit.com/r/magicskyfairy

        Join us.

  • Cjm305

    Ok. I’m an atheist. Frankly I found this a silly article for the simple fact that anyone trying to make an argument for the way they believe obviously is trying to justify their beliefs through fouled logic. The three arguments you have piled apart, as an atheist I have never even considered. Babies have not truly considered what their perspective on creation, being, or what it means to live simply because they lack any form of experience aside from sensory. Two, catholic priests graduating from the Vatican have a greater than 10% ratio of being a pedophile. That is rediculous and unacceptable. But on the flip side not every, much less the majority of priests has ever meant anything but good intentions and the understanding of faith to individuals. Three, we all believe what we believe. If I want to believe I have a personal connection to anything I do not force it upon anyone, much less do I actively tell them they are not right for thinking the way they do. We are a species with thought and as such not many thoughts are original, but please allow those with freedom to exercise it regardless of your stance towards their beliefs. Telling anyone they are wrong to believe in something is incorrect. Sorry. Please pull me apart in the comments below because I posted as an advocate for intellectual freedom or what have you, but as an atheist I believe what I will, and these arguments are silly to even address. Thanks.

    • CPE Gaebler

      “The three arguments you have piled apart, as an atheist I have never even considered.”
      Good for you. Unfortunately, there are many who differ.

      “Two, catholic priests graduating from the Vatican have a greater than 10% ratio of being a pedophile.”
      ……
      Source please?

    • Philosopher

      You’re an unusual atheist, by my experience. Generally, atheists tend to be objectivists to a point, they tend to say that theists and religious people are being unreasonable in their assertions. That automatically means that we are now in the realm of discourse and argument. An atheist who says “If I want to believe I have a personal connection to anything I do not force it upon anyone, much less do I actively tell them they are not right for thinking the way they do” is unusual, as even that assertion requires some sort of justification. Whether there is or is not a god (theism or atheism), and whether we are or not able to answer the first question (theism or agnosticism) are debatable, and so our conclusions require justification (it is reasonable to hold this _because_…). No one’s saying you cannot assert whatever you want to assert. But your opponents can also do so, and among their assertions can be ‘you are not holding x reasonably’. Hence, if you want to say your assertions are reasonable ones, you’ll need to make arguments to that effect. So, we have this post and the responses of atheists, the result of one common conviction, that reason can sort out what’s reasonable from what is not, and that we _ought_ to make assertions that are reasonable ones. Intellectual freedom of your sort, then, is certainly possible, but don’t expect people to take you seriously when you’re 1) unwilling to say other people who disagree with you are wrong and 2) you give no reasons for your own claim.

      • Steven Dillon

        Do you think folks could hold atheism as properly basic?

        • Cal-J

          They try.

    • Gail Finke

      I will only address one sentence here, because the rest is simply not worth it. “…catholic priests graduating from the Vatican have a greater than 10% ratio of being a pedophile.” What are you even talking about? Priests graduating from the Vatican — WHA?? And as for the made-up statistic: Please. Look it up, for goodness’ sake. The Catholic Church has an INFINITESIMAL pedophilia rate among priests. The number of priests accused of abuse of adolescent boys, on the other hand is slightly lower than the rate in the general public, and that rate is based on all the priests over a period of decades, not at any given time, and thus even lower. Should it be zero? Yes. But if you really want to help kids, pay attention to public schools. Not only is the abuse rate much higher, but the cover-ups are unbelievable. If you would like to be taken seriously in your claim to be an atheist because of your superior reasoning powers, you will need to do better than this!

      • Korou

        Have the recent scandals completely passed you by? The Catholic Church has a serious problem with priests molesting children, and an even more serious problem with covering up this evidence.

        If a teacher abuses children and gets found out by the school, that teacher generally gets arrested and loses their job. If a priest abuses children and gets found out by the church, that priest generally gets protected – transferred, covered up, etc.

    • musiciangirl591

      the last line, the “these arguments…” one, is that you addressing those arguments or him addressing them? i’m confused, but then again its 1:30 in the morning where i’m at

  • finishstrongdoc

    As soon as we learn to communicate, we know what it means to tell a lie. We lie; we know we’ve lied. We know the truth, but we’ve spoken the lie about it. We know, then, that the world is a deceptive place, because we’ve deceived. We know that there is a place where the whole truth can be known about ourselves; this we call “conscience.” We know we didn’t make ourselves. We know we didn’t make our conscience. We are born supernaturalists; we are born with a spirit. We know we are not the source of our spirit.

  • Regina

    Oh my RA! Egyptians worshiped sun god. . .Mesoptamians worshipped moon. . .sooooo the genius to Genesis is that it makes it pretty clear from the get go that there the Hebrews have a God that is before the sun and the moon and the stars and that their “light” that didn’t come from these created celestial bodies.

  • Lisa_marie_peterson

    The last line is awesome! Molding crumbs of stupid…hahaha!

  • Charybdis

    That last argument doesn’t work on Creationists either. And most of us paid attention in High School, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Human-Ape/100001623230964 Human Ape

    “1. Babies Are Atheists”

    If they are not atheists then are they theists? Are they born believing in a magical master of the universe?

    The truth is children only know about your magic god fairy because somebody tells them a god fairy is real. They never provide evidence for the fairy, but the child doesn’t care. He or she just automatically believes anything mommy and daddy say.

    Later when they grow up and go to a university they find out their parents are uneducated gullible cowardly morons.

    darwinkilledgod dot blogspot dot com

    • Cal-J

      “He or she just automatically believes anything mommy and daddy say.”

      Have you ever had a child? Because I’m sure the constant string of “Why? Why? Why?” is not “automatically believing anything mommy and daddy say.”

      Marc never said that they were theists specifically, and again, you have problems defining your terms. A “theist” believes in some form of supernatural godhood. This can be pantheism or polytheism (possibly even monolatry), not just our “magical master of the universe”.

    • musiciangirl591

      darwin was an ordained minister

      • Cal-J

        Also, Darwin’s brainchild has been under development for over a hundred years, because people keep having problems with it, but hey.

        • Anathema

          Well, yes, that’s rather how science works. Scientists are constantly trying to better understand the universe. The big bang theory has been under development ever since Georges Lemaître put forward the idea that the universe might be expanding in 1927. Atomic theory has been under development since John Dalton proposed it in the early 1800s. Why should we expect the theory of evolution to be any different?

          It’s not exactly surprising that Charles Darwin was wrong on a number of the details. He was still right about the bigger picture. Indeed, I think it would be rather worrying if we hadn’t refined the theory of evolution at all since Darwin’s day. It would mean that we hadn’t discovered much that Darwin didn’t know. I should hope that we’ve learned a few things within the past 150 years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Human-Ape/100001623230964 Human Ape

    “2. Priests Rape Boys”

    Even Catholics would never allow their children to be alone with a priest.

    http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/

    • Cal-J

      Troll. Ignore unless he has a point to make.

      • musiciangirl591

        confession, children are alone with priests then

        • Anna

          At my parish, the children attend the parochial school, have a day of confession. They wait in the Church, confession is up on the altar, in public eyes. musiciangirl591 has a point. I would not be so paranoid with every priest. But then I am not a parent. If I am, I guess I would stay outside with my kids. In this paranoid time, priest should be thinking of this and does something so as not to put himself in unwanted dubious situation.

          • musiciangirl591

            i wouldn’t want to be up on the altar with everyone watching me while i made my confession, that just seems really awkward, the way i made my first confession about 11 years ago was alone face to face and thats how i prefer it now

    • musiciangirl591

      what about during Confession? priests are left alone with everyone then…

      • Cal-J

        Shh. You’ll give the Ape nightmares.

      • xp35

        Yes, and, ideally, a wall between you. Another reason face-to-face is wrong.

        • musiciangirl591

          in the confessions i have had this year, i haven’t been in a traditional confessional, thats going out of style, i’ve been in chapels, offices, hallways, classrooms, cars, outside, etc.

        • musiciangirl591

          i haven’t had a wall between me and a priest in forever, i’ve had confession in chapels, sacristies, cars, outside, classrooms, hallways, gyms, etc.

    • Guest

      Guess you haven’t visited my parish yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Human-Ape/100001623230964 Human Ape

    Has anyone ever provided any evidence for the existence of a creature with unlimited magical powers hiding somewhere in the universe, or what Christian tards call god?

    No of course not. All you got is “I don’t understand science therefore magic.” or “Here’s a gap in human knowledge, let’s hide our fairy there.”

    “If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There’s absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god.”
    – Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist

    http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/

    • Cal-J

      Congratulations. The Church is undone.

      Problem 1: You seem not to understand what you’re talking about. First off, you identify “what Christian tards call god” with a “creature”, which would be justifiable grounds to beat you with a dictionary. A creature is a “created being”. As opposed to a Creator.

      Problem 2: Unlimited magical powers? Okay, now I’m sure you have no idea what your talking about, because if the best you can do is slap together two or three mystical sounding words and call that God, you… well, let’s just not say anything about that.

      Problem 3: “I don’t understand science therefore magic.” …My God, I would hate to have you on my debate team. You haven’t even made a coherent three sentences, and already you’re slinging ad hominem around. (After the whole “tard” thing).

      Look, if you would like to make a point, please, go ahead.

    • musiciangirl591

      St. Thomas Aquinas, arguments for the existence for God, check it out, its quite enlightening

      • Korou

        Not really.

        • musiciangirl591

          i think it is but then again i’m a speech path major and not a philosophy or a theology one

        • Cal-J

          You’re welcome to criticize them. Where do they fail?

          • Korou

            Infinite regress answers nothing. In other words, who made God?

      • Steven Dillon

        They’re generally not advocated anymore outside of Thomism, which occupies only a small space within the philosophical community.

        • JB

          Even if its true that they are not ‘advocated’ widely, it doesn’t make them not worth looking into. But, on the contrary, Aquinas’ multiple proofs are still essentially the same proofs that prominent theist philosophers will use. Particularly his proof in “On Being and Essence,” where he appeals to the need for a cause for all things not just at the beginning of time, but right here and now.

          • Steven Dillon

            I suppose each species of theistic argument has common features with each other. Aquinas’ arguments resemble earlier theistic arguments as well. Definitely an evolving dialectic. But, to clarify, I wouldn’t suggest his Quinque Viae aren’t worth looking into because most philosophers don’t take them seriously. Although, I think they’re unsound. By all means though, look into them, they’re good to learn.

        • musiciangirl591

          he’s still a very brilliant writer, him and st. augustine

  • Kev

    This is very poorly made. This first point basically says that people naturally believe in a god. I personally don’t believe that to be true, but that’s not what I have an issue with. The problem that I have is that the writer says the following:

    “If you deny a child religion, he will only create his own. Tell him nothing about God and the spiritual battle of good and evil — he’ll resist you. You’ll see him with a stick one day, swinging at the dragons that surrounds him — a dogmatic supernaturalist.”

    The fact that children believe in things like dragons and fairies doesn’t prove their existence. If anything, the fact that they believe these things as well as a god proves how ridiculous the idea of a god is.

    The second point is the “priests rape boys” argument. My problem with the Catholic Church isn’t solely tied to the amount of sexual abuse that was carried out by its employees. The Church actively tried to hide these abuses and made the victims feel like the offenders. Priests abused their positions so that they could earn the trust of the community in order to sexually abuse children, and then threatened them with eternal damnation if they told anyone.

    Also, for the third point, Genesis says that the moon is a light source, when technically it is not. I don’t think you can just pick and choose what parts of the Bible to accept as fact and which parts are just a “guide”.

    Either the Bible is the infallible word of God (in which case you take everything it says to be 100% true), or it is just a collection of stories written by people (the youngest of which are almost 2,000 years old) that were used during a time in which very little was understood about how the universe works in order to make sense of the chaotic world.

    • enness

      I’ll take your second and third points.

      2) And you think no one in the school systems or, hey, even in their own families does that much evil? Which is really scarier to a child, eternal damnation versus failing class/losing the approval of one of the second most important authorities in his or her life? Versus having their family torn apart?

      Jerry Sandusky ran a children’s charity, for crying out loud. But nobody wants to talk about this.

      3) Technicality aside, as far as most Earth-dwellers are concerned you’re splitting hairs. It makes the night sky bright, regardless of whether it is only reflected light.

      Things can be true without being literal. It’s how, as Marc rightly points out, we get poetry, fable, allegory…were there a real rabbit and hare that inspired the story? I don’t know. In the grand scheme of things I’m not sure it makes a huge difference.

      • asdf

        Hello, are most earth dwellers uneducated neanderthals? Splitting hairs on the moon being a source of light? A source generates light. The moon reflects it. I think anyone that completed high school is more than aware of this.

      • amycas

        2) shorter: schools do it too so pay attention to them!

        By the way, everybody talked about Jerry Sandusky, including those of us in the online atheist community. People were forced to resign over it and many are being criminally prosecuted. Is this happening within the Catholic church? Just because it happens elsewhere doesn’t mean the Catholic church wasn’t horrible for doing it too. Aren’t they supposed to like Christ on earth? They are the ones making the claim that they are called by god, so of course we would hold them to a higher standard.

        Why is it that a doctor who gives a life-saving abortion to a 9(may have been 10, can’t remember)-year-old pregnant girl in South America is excommunicated, but a priest who rapes children is simply given counseling and moved to another parish? You need to get your priorities straight here.

    • BBane

      So, you’ve just admitted that you know nothing about the difference between a fundamentalist biblical theology, and a Catholic one?

  • *facepalm*

    That was great… up until the end. That part was complete bull. Genesis IS a literal account and any Christian who believes in Evolution believes something that goes completely against the Bible ( please educate yourselves on what the Bible actually says – AnswersinGenesis.com ) for many reasons, but above all else it is taking man’s word above God’s. You cannot twist the Bible’s word to fit man’s theory, you believe one and reject the other, both simply don’t fit together no matter how much you try to force them to.

    • mastaofdisasta

      *facepalm*…further validating my theory that Young Earth Creationism has become a religion unto itself.

    • Cal-J

      Went to the website. Saw the giant ad about Jonah being in the fish for 3000 years. Closed the tab.

      We’re Thomists, by and large, and with that comes the belief that if God creates the universe, He would do us the favor of creating a self-contained thing that progresses according to the rules he gave it.

      If one of those rules includes the principle that groups of animals over time may develop traits that are better suited to their environment as necessary, than God is kind of awesome, because it would really suck if we couldn’t adapt as necessary.

      Now, I’ve seen very little in the original chapters of Genesis that indicate a truly literal account (your welcome to explain how it is one), but even then that doesn’t invalidate any of it. The basic principal is (I forget if Marc addressed it) that if it didn’t literally happen, then it is allegory of some kind. More than a few verses describe the sun and moon as being centered on the Earth, and we know that isn’t fact. Phenomenological language abounds in Scripture. It’s really kind of awesome.

      Now, when you say evolution, what do you mean? Not an insult, because some people mean up to a dozen different things with the word evolution.

      We’ll continue this conversation when you define your terms.

    • annony11

      Are you Catholic? If not, how do you explain John 6? If Genesis, while inspired by God actually written by man, is literal, the very words of Jesus MUST be literal.

      • CPE Gaebler

        Not to mention Proverbs 15:3. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere… better watch your step!

    • Gail Finke

      That is one view. It is not the view of the early Church fathers, who knew a thing or two about how to interpret Scripture. Nor is it the view of most Christians alive today, or (for that matter) who have ever been alive. Not saying you should not believe it, if you think it is best, but you should at least know that it is relatively recent and very limited.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      This view is antithetical to Catholic teaching. Please, read Humani Generis. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html

  • Guest
    • Cal-J

      The troll requires a comic to make his point for him. Intelligent. Ignore him.

      • Jeb

        Well, yes, as a catholic actually I do agree with the comic. I am not going to dismiss this guy as a troll , because he makes a good point. Priests should be held to a higher standard. And, statistically, they live up to the higher standard. Go priests!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

          that’s your example of living to a higher standard? Covering up child rape? There are three types of priests, the rapists, those who covered for them, and those who *should* be walking away from the church in disgust.

          • Cal-J

            There are also those who didn’t know. There are also those who figured on staying in the Church to help fix things.

            Also, I love how people always accuse this failure of belonging to the whole church, which requires a level of organization and secrecy that would make a conspiracy theorist’s head spin.

            I mean, really, think about it.

            Bishop 1: “Hey, we have a pedophile on our hands! You want him in your parish?”

            Bishop 2: “Yeah, sure!”

            …Seriously? Go after the particular bishops and priests involved in the cover up (demonstrable proof would be nice, mind you), but please, spare us “the Church” rhetoric.

          • amycas

            Now they do know. They should leave. You should leave. Stop giving your money to this horrible organization. If I found out that the Secular Student Alliance was doing something similar, I would leave. No question about it.

          • musiciangirl591

            ok then, adoptions will drop, people will starve, hospitals will close, educational facilities will close, and charities will be closed down too

          • Cal-J

            Why should they leave? I mean, seriously, your solution amounts to one giant rage quit.

            Again, your doing what loads of other people have done, and that’s accusing “the church” as a whole of corruption.

            No.

            Individuals within the church are corrupt; go after them.

          • Korou

            Are you going after them? This is a serious problem Catholicism is facing. We are not hearing that you are policing your own. We are hearing that you are, at the highest levels, covering up for them.

            You asked why you should leave? Because if you stay you are giving child-abusers and their enablers your support.

          • JoAnna Wahlund

            Let’s change this a bit. “There are three types of teachers, the rapists, those who covered for them, and those who *should* be walking away from the public school system in disgust.”

            Do you consider the above an accurate reflection of your feelings? If so, I hope you’ll start trolling the blogs of teachers in the public school system and condemning them for remaining in their profession.

          • Korou

            On the whole, teachers don’t get covered for. If they are caught abusing children they are arrested and fired. In contrast with the Catholic Church.

        • Cal-J

          Fair enough.

  • Alexandra

    I couldn’t even finish reading this. Marc is just trolling atheists for page views at this point. I really want to say I’m over this blog, but it’s like a car wreck. I simply cannot stop watching.

    • musiciangirl591

      are you sure you aren’t trolling this blog? :P

      • Alexandra

        You give me too much credit, Musician Girl.

        Trolling, being saying things that you know to be inflammatory and incorrect to generate drama, is what Marc is doing. I believe the things I say, and am really looking for conversation about it. I am not smarter than I present myself here to be.

        I don’t really believe Marc is so stupid to actually believe the things he’s writing, thus I think he’s trolling.

        He’s either trolling, or flam-tur-bating. A thing that I just made up that means saying things that you know to be inflamatory, but that you really believe, in order to generate enough friction with page hits stroking your ego and climaxing in a larger paycheck.

        • musiciangirl591

          umm… you kinda do that, you’ve insulted marc and mine’s age, he’s doing this to state something he believes in and if you think he’s trolling, then why are you here?

          • Alexandra

            Because fighting on the internet is a good way to pass the work day, I’ve had a lot of really interesting conversations on here, and learned a lot about Catholicism and what Catholics actually believe. I enjoy it, but I’m irritated that Marc is just blowing BS at this point to get atheist page hits. He’s capable of much better stuff that I’d rather bicker about.

            As for insulting your age, I’m not sure what you think that means. You and Marc have both said things that were wrong and the fact that you were wrong was clearly influenced by your young age. It was relevant at the time. It’s not like I was like haha you’re a teenager and teenagers are stupid, therefore you’re stupid.

          • musiciangirl591

            he’s allowed to do what he wants, freedom of speech honey

          • Alexandra

            Okay firstly, freedom of speech doesn’t apply in this situation. I’m not calling down the government to censor his blog.

            If you want to talk about freedom of speech, I also have the right to say I think what he’s writing now is drivel that is below him and he should try harder. This isn’t a freedom of speech issue.

            Secondly, don’t use pet names on me please. I make a point not to do it to you, so I’d appreciate the return of the respect.

          • musiciangirl591

            ok sweetie, you did do it to me once

          • amycas

            In these comments, Alexandra called you by your screen name. Are you referring to some other comments from past discussions?

          • musiciangirl591

            yes i am actually

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Perhaps you should get technical help if you’re unable to delete a bookmark or unsubscribe from an RSS feed. I think there’s software available or Firefox addons that will block certain sites from your browser.

      • musiciangirl591

        my boyfriend can help with that if she needs help doing that

  • Sam

    This might be a fun post to write, but it is pointless/pitiful. You think stupid atheists will stop using these arguments now? No, of course not. And the smart atheists never said these things in the first place. I heart reddit, but the world is a lot bigger, and most people are not as dumb as r/atheism.
    Also, 3) was kinda dumb. You are sacrificing too much by trying to draw *anything* scientific out of the genesis cosmogenesis stories.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.cassidy.16 Courtney Cassidy

    Patrick, I think you

  • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.morin.752 Taylor Morin

    You just keep knocking down those ‘Atheist’ Strawmen. I follow these arguments, and I’ve never heard a single one of those used once in the past decade. Try again.

    • mastaofdisasta

      Really? I’ve heard the “we’re all born atheists” argument a lot. Well, it’s not so much an argument as it is a soundbite.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      I’ve seen all 3 used, multiple times. Hang out on Catholic blogs long enough and you’ll see them, too.

  • aloooop

    as

  • Hipersonjak

    We almost never use any of these arguments though

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      I’ve seen all 3 used, multiple times. Hang out on Catholic blogs long enough and you’ll see them, too.

    • musiciangirl591

      i’ve seen number 2 used way too many times, usually when they are losing, backed up against a wall

  • batman dad

    Have never heard any of these. Certainly at least not in the way you assume everyone feels. Seems like OP writes worse than the people he criticizes… memes, ugh

    1) When you teach your kids about god and the tooth fairy they are, obviously, more likely to believe those tales. but if you don’t say anything, yes, they will make imaginary friends. these imaginary friends will NEVER be the same thing that modern religions believe in. if anything that study supports atheism; if we are naturally drawn to making stuff up, there is no need for religion in a world that is mature enough to seek definite answers and test them.

    2) The entire point is that catholicism doesn’t punish child molestation or even discourages it, preferring to just imagine it doesn’t exist.

    3) There is no proof to start with for anything in genesis, this isn’t an argument. Even if it were, I highly doubt the desert nomads and virginal monks who authored the many bibles would draw a blank if asked about photons.

  • Forgot MyOrange

    “Dang, I can’t wait to abuse my kids.” (What, you didn’t clean your room? Then I shall impose upon you…THE DOCTRINE OF THE EUCHARIST!)

    This comment seems to trivialize and ignore the actual concern noted – which is teaching kids about hell and eternal punishment in such a way that is documented to traumatize young children, in some cases, long into adult-hood.

    Are you denying this as a real concern or just assuming it never happens? Why do use an irrelevant obvious non-concern to make light of what seems to be an obviously valid concern?

    • musiciangirl591

      what about other forms of education, math, science, history, etc? those are imposed on children…

      • amycas

        Forgot myorange specifically mentioned documentation of children traumatized by a fear of eternal torment. Are there documented cases of children who were traumatized by learning math, science or history??

        • musiciangirl591

          me :)

  • James H, London

    That atheist-baby argument is so daft. Babies are also ignorant, incoherent and incontinent, and need to be educated out of that, too.

    So, will we have someone insisting that ‘We shouldn’t be imposing our own morality on childrens’ alimentary activity – let them work it out themselves, when they’re old enough!’ – I wonder?

    Ick.

    • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

      The ‘atheist baby’ analogy is meant to showcase the limits of what necessarily applies to every atheist, in effect, lacking belief in any gods. This is a claim that has not been shown untrue by this article by the way, since superstitious thinking does not equate theistic thinking.

      It is meant as a response to theists who assert that all atheists are perforce nihilists, philosophical materialists, evolutionists, satanists etc. and must adhere to all manner of naive philosophical positions of their choosing that said theists then easily refute and thus crow they have destroyed atheism.

      Atheist babies are not an argument for the truth of atheism, just an example of the term’s application. The analogy however is often taken too far, I think, and I’ve seen it used badly by some atheists.

      • Troy Spring

        Mr London, you have stuck with this post for a while now. I am pretty impressed. Good work! Honestly its crazy how much thinking and argumentation has been posted on this page. I will try to avoid making a point by point argument so as to not walk into a trap. But I have been a Catholic since I was a baby and I have to say. There are a lot of bad examples out there, of people who “claim” to be Catholic and who do not follow the teachings of the church. Yes this includes priests. I am 25 now and I agree it wold be difficult to choose a different path or go a different direction given the family life that I have and the discord it would cause if I went elsewhere. I too have trouble with the doctrines on hell. It hurts it sometimes does not make sense it seem unfair ridiculous unkind, unloving etc etc. Sadly I do not think my opinions on it have he power to change anything. Ultimately i am Catholic because it brings me happiness, by giving me purpose.. I do not condemn anyone, or make the assumption that anyone is in hell. A core tenant of our faith is “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. When I really take this statement to heart, it affects the way I live talk think and pray. Since I was young I have “experienced” God in many ways. I have seen actions of my parents and friends that can only be described as “love”. Our ultimate example of Love is Jesus Christ on the Cross, dying for us.. Self sacrifice. I have to tell you that gives me the strength in hard times. Long story short I do not know anything about your life. But I can imagine in one form or another you have a broken heart. Whether by God’s grace or some other form I hope that you can reach some form of eternal happiness. To be honest this world is not that great sometimes.. Is is great for you? If you have found the secret to perfect happiness here please let me know!. I am tired of all the arguments. I just want goodness to reign over all.. And if one day I die and thats the end, I still think “love” is the best way to live.. I know this might anger you but if there is a God I hope you get to feel his love too!

  • dersk

    With regards to point number two: historical evidence shows that if my daughter were molested at day care, it wouldn’t be covered up. If my daugher were molested at a Catholic day care, it would. The problem at a local Amsterdam daycare was identified relatively quickly and the guy’s on trial. They’ve also just found out that THOUSANDS of cases of priestly abuse over the past few decades in Holland and Belgium were covered up. It’s not that priests are more likely to commit abuse; it’s that the hierarchy of the Catholic church puts its own well-being above that of its parishoners.

    • Guest

      In many, if not most cases, the priest scandals were not “covered up” to protect the Catholic church, but the families of the victims requested it not be made public, so as to protect the child’s privacy. In addition, many priests were sent to psychologists in the beginning, who would claim the priest was healed of his sexual addiction. The priest would assume his duties on the basis of the psychologist’s conclusion. We now know that sexual addiction is very hard to just get rid of. I am not denying that a lot of cases were not handled properly. But take a minute to look deeper into the human psyche. We all want privacy. The Church just tried to handle the crises as best they could.

      • amycas

        pedophilia =! sexual addiction

        If I were the Catholic Church and a family requested that the abuse not be made public, I would have sent the priest to counseling and stripped him of the priesthood (and possibly excommunicated him as well). Then I would have paid for the victims’ counseling as well as paid compensatory damages to the family. If that’s the best they could do, then they shouldn’t be in the business of dealing with children or any other vulnerable group of people.

        • musiciangirl591

          i met a monk who works with priests who abused children, he counsels them… its just not public when they go to counseling but it does happen

    • guest2411

      Just plaint wrong. In almost any institutional setting in which an adult sexually abuses a child, there is almost always people besides the molester who knows something and who either does nothing or takes inadequate action. Name me one major institution (religious, school, camp, scouting, sports, etc.) that has handled child abuse situations well. Not one.

    • JHurd

      Today, you would be right. But most priest sex abuse claims stem from the 60s and 70s. Almost all sexual abuse of children at that time was lumped in with general abuse, and offenders thought curable. There were, are perhaps are, Ordinaries more concerned with scandal than safety. But not nearly enough to color “the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6CEZOOGD4PA36BAXT7LRHH3SCU DaveP

      dersk wrote, “historical evidence shows that if my daughter were molested at day care, it wouldn’t be covered up”

      As someone who has studied this issue extensively, that statement is 100% FALSE. You are making that up. Shame on you.

      An early 1990s study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in NY state revealed that ZERO of those cases were reported to police. Most were allowed to quietly move somewhere else or nothing happened to the perp at all.

      Please do not spread falsehoods.

      -

  • keddaw

    “there’s not a single sane Catholic in existence who would complain if you called out one of the priests who actually molested children”

    Really? Then perhaps you can explain why priests who did molest children were rotated to new parishes, or why accusers were threatened with damnation, shunned by their Catholic community, or paid off in order to drop the charges.

    This is not an argument against the existence of God, nor is it even an argument against the Catholic faith, but it does make one wonder what good the Catholic Church is if it is so protective of heinous criminals at the expense of the most vulnerable members of the laity…

    • Robert Loblaw

      In criminal cases where the accused uses the insanity defense, one of the indicators prosecutors look for is whether or not the accused tried to hide their actions/destroy evidence… by most accounts, truly insane people don’t try to hide their actions or destroy evidence. because they’re insane, they shouldn’t feel as though their actions were wrongful. So, what kind of catholics would attempt to cover up the abuse? Sane catholics… Deliberate, methodical and very much SANE catholics.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    These are all strawmen arguments, Marc. Maybe we can discuss some of them.

    1. By this logic, that means that we should encourage our children to continue to believe in fairies, dragons, unicorns, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for child-like wonder, but at one point it’s probably a good idea to let them know that these things don’t exist. The way your argument comes off here, it looks like you’re trying to say that because children exercise their imagination, we should treat that imagination as true. That’s not the case.

    2. Nobody is making the claim that all priests are rapists, however the sheer weight that the Catholic Church throws around to protect them is beyond compare. Even now, the Church was recently (about a year ago) opposed to a law in Ireland that would make it illegal for them to hide the existence of a child molester. I repeat, they are *opposed* to this because they think it will violate the sanctity of the confessional (http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Vatican-leader-slams-Irish-governments-confessional-law-as-absurd-126164123.html). And if hiding child abuse isn’t bad enough, we also have forced castration (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2109795,00.html), the mass kidnapping of children that often included drugging their mothers (http://philosophers-stone.co.uk/wordpress/2011/10/catholic-church-guilty-of-baby-snatching-in-australia-150000-babies-stolen-sold-in-adoption/), increasing the problem with AIDS in Africa by discouraging condom use (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids), and a whole host of other terrible actions that don’t even touch on their homophobic, misogynistic policies. Molestation is a shorthand for a whole host of inhuman, monstrous activities perpetuated by the Church.

    That all being said, none of that has anything to do with the existence of god, but it is designed to question why good people would support a group of child-raping, baby-snatching, castrating AIDS deniers who hate women and gays. What could possibly be worth supporting in that organization?

    3. The problem isn’t with the existence of poetry, the problem is with truth claims and how does one tell the difference in what is a pretty poorly written book. Ok, so if the Genesis account isn’t to be taken literally (*shush* don’t tell Ken Ham), then what is to be taken literally? What parts of the Bible are to be taken at face value and what parts aren’t? Can we safely ignore Jesus’s prohibition against divorce? Are all of the Ten Commandments really necessary, or are some of them metaphors?

    Now, if you want to argue (as Fred Clark and others have, and I can respect this) that the Bible is entirely a collection of stories *about* god rather than the Word of God, then I’m right there with you. We can gain a lot by studying literature, and just because some characters do terrible things, that doesn’t mean we necessarily look to them for moral guidance. We can learn from stories. But if you’re claiming that it’s the literal Word of God, then we have the problem of why the divine creator can sometimes be ignored or handwaved and why some parts are literally sacrosanct. Also, by what standard do we tell the difference?

    I hope that this has been a little enlightening. I’m going to assume that the atheists you’ve been speaking with just weren’t clear about the arguments and that’s why you spent a post attacking strawmen, so maybe between myself and a lot of other commenters you now have a better idea of what these arguments mean and can try to refute them on their merits.

    • Choir203

      You seem to blame the Catholic Church for all the World evils do you. Dr Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University of New York stated that a student has a 1000 times more chances of being abused by a public school teacher than by a Catholic priest
      Maybe you would like to discuss the murder rape and torture of Catholics and other Christians by the Atheist/communist Regime of the Soviet Union. NOW ARE YOU GOING TO COMMENT ON THE VILE BEHAVIOUR BY YOUR FELLOW ATHEISTS.

      • Alexandra

        Did you not note where Marc said that yelling about dictators being atheists is a horrible argument? Are you doing it ironically? I mean cos the all caps just makes you look insane.

        • musiciangirl591

          whats cos?

          • Guest

            It stands for because.

          • musiciangirl591

            oh, sorry, i didn’t know that, BECAUSE it doesn’t take that long to type out the whole word

          • amycas

            It also doesn’t take that long to capitalize the first word of every sentence, or to use an apostrophe (ex. “whats” should be “What is”, or “What’s”). What was that saying about taking the log out of your own eye first? You should know it better than I; it’s in your holy book.

          • musiciangirl591

            :P you’re funny

          • Alexandra

            Seriously, pot calling kettle?

            Also I didn’t use cos because I was lazy, it was just a word choice. Sometimes I chose slang, it’s not because of the typing.

          • musiciangirl591

            what about cause thats slang too

          • Alexandra

            Cause is a word that means something that makes another thing happen.

          • musiciangirl591

            yeah but there’s still ’cause

        • Dplunkt

          Alexandra, there is a difference in that Marx specifically called for the attack on religion. unlike Stalin or Hitler who were individuals who made individual decisions, Marxism explicitly pursued atheism as a doctrine. So the ongoing century long attack, in every Marxist country, on religion is fair game for this argument I think.

          • Alexandra

            That’s an interesting take on it, and I appreciate you articulating it without caps or talking about our “fellow atheists.”

            Mostly I think that’s Marxism’s fault, not atheism’s. Atheism isn’t a doctrine, and while Marxism might include crushing religion, that’s just Marxism’s agenda. Atheism is a pretty neutral thing in itself, it just can be associate with some radical things. While Marxism might espouse atheism, being an atheist doesn’t require that you be a Marxist.

      • Korou

        No, we’re not. Because they didn’t do it in the name of atheism.
        Atheism carries with it no particular code of morality. Let us know when an officially humanist nation commits atrocities, will you?
        On the other hand, if you’re a Catholic the actions you commit are supposed to be guided by the morality of Catholic Christianity. Which doesn’t seem to be very impressive morally.

        • conditus

          You could make the argument that the Cristero War in Mexico during the 1920′s was an attempt by the Mexican government to eradicate Christianity, specifically Catholicism from the country.

          I’m sure there will be those that can point to other reasons that the war was fought but at it’s core was an attempt by the secular government to rid itself of religious belief.

          • Korou

            I have to say that eradicating religion is not necessarily a terrible thing, although I’d prefer to do it by having the religious people realise that they were wrong.

            Still, it is understandable how a regime could see a religion as a threat and decide to act against it. What does that have to do with atheism? That’s politics.

          • Choir203

            Stalin, Lenin, Mao Pol Pot, tried abolish Religion and failed, no it is not politics it is murder, but of course to you Atheists do not murder I suppose

          • conditus

            Right, politics. How silly of me to forget that atheists are incapable of doing harm to others in the name of their belief.

          • Korou

            How would that work exactly?

            I mean, I know how Christians do harm in the names of their beliefs. They interpret God’s instructions to persecute and kill unbelivers, heretics, or abominations. How do atheists do that exactly?

            All atheism is is the absence of a religious belief. It’s a completely separate issue from morality. Atheists can have morality, certainly, as we’ve been discussing – but that’s got nothing to do with their lack of belief in a God.

            Of course atheists do murder. But not because they’re atheists; because they’re crazy, greedy, evil, or convinced they’re doing the right thing, to name a few reasons.

            Christians are also capable of doing these things for these reasons – but sometimes Christians do evil that they wouldn’t do if their religion didn’t instruct them to.

        • Choir203

          Tell us why your Communist/Atheist Brethren murdered Christians so, closed there Churches and in there places opened Museums of Atheism

      • Kaoru Negisa

        1. I don’t blame the Catholic Church for all of the world’s evils. But it takes a very specific type of blindness to deny that it’s done horrendously evil things, none of which can be made up for by any of its other activities. They drugged mothers and stole their babies in places all over the world. That alone should disqualify the Church to make any moral judgments about anybody else.

        2. Your point about public schools is a tu quoque fallacy. Are you arguing that because other people have done worse that makes all the cases of the Church doing it and covering it up ok? Also, how many children abused in public schools were castrated to keep them from telling? How many public school systems actively engage in victim blaming? How many public schools steal children from their mothers as babies to give them to parents they feel are more deserving? You’re focusing on one horrible, immoral, and disgusting thing and ignoring a whole lot of others.

        3. “Maybe you would like to discuss the murder rape and torture of Catholics and other Christians by the Atheist/communist Regime of the Soviet Union.” Not really. It has no bearing on this conversation. Again, this is a tu quoque argument, and not even a very good one at that. As others have pointed out, you don’t have to be communist to be atheist or vice versa. Either way, there is no hierarchical structure working to suppress information about these atrocities and protect the perpetrators of them, as opposed to the Church which knew about these things and did everything in their power to prevent others from finding out, as well as continue to fight, to this day, laws that would prevent it from happening again.

        • Choir203

          but you have to be an Atheist to be a Communist

    • gustav

      1. You are twisting the logic past its conclusion. The conclusion is: Religiously driven conceptions are innate; not: all innate conceptions are grounded in reality. For the record, though, I would posit the second, and posit unicorns, etc, as a degradation or perversion, to the extant that they are, from a legit conception.
      2. Your rant was cute. No organization has done more to shape western civilization, health-care, humanitarian work, academia, education, etc, etc, etc, than the Catholic Church. While all your bits could be picked apart, I’ll start with this to your ‘Catholics-hate-people-with-aids’ fragment: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032702825.html.
      3. The Catholic position is that the bible is literally inerrant. The “literal” meaning is that which the author intentioned and is inerrant. Contra fundamentalists who assert (and have hijacked the term) that the “literal” meaning is whatever it means to the current reader, the Catholic position asserts that “literary” devices (genre, method, context, culture, etc) must be understood. Thus the literal meaning of genesis 1 is wrapped up in its genre. All of the Bible is inerrant according to its literal meaning; there is no chopping up into “literal” parts and non-”literal” parts (such a conception betrays your understanding of literalism). Rather, the Bible must be interpreted according to its own literary techniques — and this is the task of exegesis.

      • Korou

        Have you seen Hitchens and Fry’s team debate about whether or not the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world? Interesting results. Apparently it was one of the most decisive victories, objectively judged, ever seen. The audience, at the end, had swung from pro-Catholic or neutral, to anti. From http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewmcfbrown/100014133/intelligence-squared-debate-catholics-humiliated-by-christopher-hitchens-and-stephen-fry/
        “I have just witnessed a rout – tonight’s Intelligence Squared debate. It considered the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world”. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, opposing the motion, comprehensively trounced Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe, who spoke for it. The archbishop in particular was hopeless.

        The voting gives a good idea of how it went. Before the debate, for the motion: 678. Against: 1102. Don’t know: 346. This is how it changed after the debate. For: 268. Against: 1876. Don’t know: 34. In other words, after hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774. My friend Simon, who’s a season ticket holder, said it was the most decisive swing against a motion that he could remember.”

        • Choir203

          The same Fry had to give a grovelling apology to the Poles after he accused them of running the Aushwich, and was not he the same Fry that was jailed for credit card fraud
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk › News › World News › Europe › Poland
          blogs.telegraph.co.uk › News › Celebrities › Will Heaven
          http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/…/stephen-fry-is-no-saint-so-why-let-him-pr

          Just thought I’d burst your bubble about your hero

          • Korou

            I’m afraid none of those links worked. and I’m not sure why it would have mattered if any of them were true? Does it invalidate the things that Hitchens and Fry were saying?

            Exposing and publicising the evils of the Catholic Church? Heroes indeed.

      • Kaoru Negisa

        1. I fail to see how this then has any bearing on the situation. Lots of conceptions are innate, but if they aren’t true then why bother claiming that they are?

        2. OK, so how many charitable acts make up for one raped child? I mean, is it like 1 school in a poor country = 1 castrated kid, or is it less expensive? You’re trying to justify the unjustifiable by saying “they did good things, too.” Lots of organizations have done good things without also being complicit in atrocities of this nature. Support them instead.

        Also, the article you sent me to doesn’t say that condoms don’t work, it says that African people used them incorrectly. You’re falling prey to the Perfection Fallacy, i.e. since a lack of education on proper condom use didn’t result in what we were trying to achieve, hence not being a perfect result, the solution is clearly to scrap the entire program in favor of religious finger-wagging, which is equally ineffective. A rational human being would have looked at that situation and said, “Ok, so people don’t seem to understand that you still have to use condoms while in a relationship, so we should work to eliminate the stigma associated with using condoms in a relationship.”

        3. How can you be sure of that? You say that fundamentalists have “hijacked” the term, but really there’s no reason to believe that your interpretation is any more true than theirs. It’s all speculation based on a number of factors including how you were raised, where you grew up, previous religious experience, etc. Ultimately, it’s no more provable than whether Kirk or Picard is the better captain.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          “no more provable than whether Kirk or Picard is the better captain.”

          NOW YOU ATHEISTS HAVE GONE TOO FAR

    • Sean Mccarney

      Same old semi-informed nonsense. Yawn.

      • Kaoru Negisa

        You could always provide evidence for why I’m wrong rather than being smugly superior.

  • articulett

    Hitler was a Catholic.

    It’s dishonest to perpetuate the lie that he was an atheist.

    • Choir203

      some Catholic, he murdered 3,000,000 Catholics and 3,000 Catholic Priests. Could you supply some imformation of the Church he worshipped in and the Priest who married himself and Eva Braun. I suppose you will tell us next that Mao and Stalin were Catholic

      • Alexandra

        Hitler was a Catholic. He might not have been a good one, or one you want to associate with, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a Catholic.

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          Hitler wasn’t even a practicing Christian, let alone a practicing Catholic. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1699/was-hitler-a-christian

          • Alexandra

            Do some more research. That’s not the only source on the internet, and it’s certainly not the best one.

            Hitler was absolutely a Christian, and he was specifically Catholic. Get over it.

          • musiciangirl591

            what about the priests he killed? the Churches he shut down? the seminaries he closed? Blessed John Paul II had to enter an underground one in Nazi occupied Poland because the authorities shut all of them down

          • amycas

            They also shut-down secular schools and burned any books that were atheistic in nature. What’s your point? He was a megalomaniac–an authoritarian dictator. If anything, he used the religion of the people he ruled to gain power and get them on his side, even he wasn’t religious himself.

          • musiciangirl591

            ok, you missed my point

        • musiciangirl591

          just because one is Catholic in name, doesn’t make them Catholic in practice, i know alot of “Catholics”

      • Gary Hill

        The Nazis and Catholics were both willing bedfellows.

        “At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with cool reserve and considerable suspicion, the Catholic Church, the greatest moral power on earth, through the Concordat expressed its confidence in the new German government.”

        Cardinal Faulhaber, 1937 who negotiated Hitler’s first international treaty – with the Vatican

        “I am now as before a Catholic…”
        quotation from Hitler was recorded in the diary of Gerhard Engel, an SS Adjutant, in October 1941.

        His second act? He banned all atheist organisations, including the Deutscher Freidenker-Verband, one of the largest of its kind in the world at the time 600,000 members. Their buildings were given to the church. Later he executed the chairman, Max Seivers.

        And Stalin actually was a Catholic at one time – he spent 5 years in a seminary training to be a priest. Pol Pot too was brought up as a Catholic, educated for 8 years by the Jesuits. Which is why Catholics were largely exempt from his pogrom, while Buddhists suffered very badly.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Hitler wasn’t even a Christian, let alone a Catholic. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1699/was-hitler-a-christian

      • TiltedHorizon

        The link you supply does not make clear the Hitler was or was not Catholic.

        Taken from your link:
        “The short answer is a definite “maybe” or, more precisely, “probably neither.” The looooong answer is somewhat more complicated. ”

        Regardless of what Hitler really was, Germany was predominantly Catholic and he used faith to blind people to the Genocide done in god’s name. Several of Hitler’s speeches referenced the Papal Bulls written by the Catholic Church, which are considered institutionalization of Anti-Semitism by many. Google: Bull Cum Nimis Absurdum.

    • musiciangirl591

      he killed priests, Blessed John Paul the Great had to enter an underground seminary in Nazi occupied Poland because the authorities were so anti Catholic

      • articulett

        I think you ought to vet your information sources better… Hitler was baptized Catholic, raised Catholic, and considered himself Catholic on his death bed– his religious views are a matter of public record–

        Europeans don’t seem to have this delusion that Hitler was an atheist that so many American’s have.

        You are free to believe whatever crazy crap you want to believe– just like the Scientologists but when you repeat lies, you just make your faith look corrupt and dishonest.

        Educating yourself is free: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

        http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

        All sources that say Hitler was not Christian are hearsay sources– with a vested interest. Why not read the translations of his actual speeches and writings? They are very clear. Hitler was not an atheist and believed himself a good Christian– as did all the Nazis (mostly Protestants and Catholics). Do a google search for what was written on their belt buckles.

        The Nazis did not treat freethinkers well and they banned the writings of Darwin so to perpetuate the lie that Hitler was an atheist while being a member of the sect that he actually identified with his particularly hideous.

        Shame on you. And shame on everyone who perpetuates prejudice against non-believers with lies.

        • musiciangirl591

          Blessed John Paul II? underground seminary?

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          Tell us again about the episode where Hitler was lying on his death bed and talking about Catholicism? Do you know something the other historians don’t?

          • articulett

            Gladly– Nazi General Gerhard Engel reported in his diary that in 1941 Hitler stated, “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”

            But wait, there’s more– check out this painting by Adolph– it would make a lovely Christmas card!http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Hitlermaryjesus.jpg
            And more! http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Hitlermaryjesus.jpg

            None of this stuff is a secret– these all are from archives and they are available throughout the web. The real question is– who started the lie that Hitler was an atheist? Is there any evidence for that from any nationally archived source– is there anything other then his supposed private conversations that appeared in a book called Table Talk? Anything? It’s despicable that Catholics seem to be the one who spread this rumor the most. Hitler considered himself to be Catholic– and that’s “Catholic” in my book. It’s not my problem that Christians can’t agree on who is and isn’t Christian. I’m an atheist; I don’t want anything to do with your crazy. Keep it private like you want the Scientologists to keep their dogma to themselves. Lying for Jesus doesn’t speak well for your faith.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            I missed the part where you explained about Hitler’s “death bed”. I thought he killed himself in a bunker. But then again, I did go to public school.

          • articulett

            It shows. Are you deleting my posts?

            So if you were hit by a bus today what evidence would show you were Catholic? What evidence do you expect to be there for famous Catholics when they die? Are you asking for special evidence because you don’t want to accept Hitler as a Catholic? Is there ANY evidence that would convince you? If not, why be dishonest and ask for it?

            He was born a Catholic, was never excommunicated, and considered himself a Catholic. He wrote about his Christianity frequently and made Madonna and child paintings. He never said he wasn’t a Catholic or that he was a nonbeliever. I doubt you would have this much evidence of your religious affiliation if you were to die alone in a bunker– would you? And yet I presume we could conclude that you were a Catholic (or whatever it is you would call yourself today)? What evidence could I provide to someone doubting your religious affiliation if you were to die today?

            I was raised Catholic, but I have made it clear that I am not Catholic– though I’m sure someone is counting me as Catholic. I no longer want to be associated with dishonesty like yours so you can bet if I were to die alone in a bunker– there is plenty of evidence to show that I did not consider myself to be a Catholic despite my baptism in infancy.

            Catholics appear to need inordinate amounts of evidence when facts conflict with their faith– but no real evidence when it comes to confirming the lies they imagine themselves “saved” and “moral” for believing in and passing on to others… just like religionists of conflicting faiths and believers in other supernatural thingies.

          • articulett

            What evidence would you require to accept that Mother Theresa was Catholic on her death bed? We know from her writings that she there were times when she didn’t believe in god (was an atheist) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1655720,00.html

            And what evidence would you require to accept that Hitler was?

            He was baptized Catholic– never disavowed his faith– wrote about his faith– acknowledged his Catholicism publicly shortly before his death– and was never excommunicated. If you died today– do you have more evidence that you were Catholic on your death bed than he had?

            I think you are avoiding the obvious. You’ve been lying and telling people that Hitler was an atheist when, in fact, he was a Catholic… the evidence shows that he was as Catholic as you are. So maybe now– you (and your fellow Catholics) can stop telling the lie about Hitler being an atheist. If you are trying to convince yourself and others that your faith makes you more moral– the least you could do is stop your lies and the furthering of prejudices against those who don’t share your beliefs.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “To this I would only add this: If you deny a child religion, he will only create his own. Tell him nothing about God and the spiritual battle of good and evil — he’ll resist you. You’ll see him with a stick one day, swinging at the dragons that surrounds him — a dogmatic supernaturalist.”

    How can this be asserted as a counter argument without tackling that it may explain how religion itself was created?

    “Of course, there’s not a single sane Catholic in existence who would complain if you called out one of the priests who actually molested children. ”

    Sure there is, his name is Marc Shea. He spends his time dismissing and underplaying the issue by saying: “child-molestation is not a Catholic problem. It is a problem of Western culture in general.”

    In Western culture, those in authority are held to higher standards, are they not? It means if a Police Officer commits a crime, that officer is subject to public outcry and judgement. Rightfully so, that is the price of failing to live up to the standards one is entrusted to enforce.

    In terms of Priests, those who are entrusted and viewed as arbiters of morality automatically have a higher price to pay than the flock they preside over. To say child-molestation is not a “Catholic problem” but a problem of Western culture also says, religion does not stack the odds one way or another, basically, it makes no difference. (so what good did it do?) Considering the claims of Religion, shouldn’t there be statically less cases of such abuse by those of faith? Or is ‘teachers do it too’ the best argument you have?

    • amycas

      I also don’t like that anybody would say pedophilia is a problem of western culture. Pedophilia occurs in all cultures, more-so in highly authoritarian and dogmatic cultures where the victims have nowhere to turn for help.

      • musiciangirl591

        so China?

  • Oyabob1234

    the fact that you used the big bang theory as a scientific reference is absurd.

    • musiciangirl591

      so if he used the THEORY of evolution it would have been ok?

  • Jtraughb50

    Just so you know it was the theory of Special Relativity, not General, that demonstrated that the speed of light is constant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seth.strong Seth Strong

    I disagree with point one because children don’t have a religion with rituals of any merit until they are introduced to one.

    I don’t think some priests molesting people qualifies as saying a religion is false. I do think it qualifies as an argument to make you suspicious of authority and systems that victimize your children and then hide the evidence. As such, the claim here is that Catholicism has a coverup mechanism. My claim that Catholicism is false comes from points not mentioned in this article.

    I’m not sure how point 3 even matters. If there’s some atheist teaching you science, you should be able to confirm the science in some other venue. And if they are wrong about science, it doesn’t make them wrong about the existence of a god. Lastly, Genesis isn’t science and you shouldn’t expect it to make scientific claims since it wasn’t peer reviewed.

  • Gary Hill

    I’d like to make a few comments based on the first argument.

    First, of course babies are a-theist. What else can they be? They are also a-mathematical amd a-language. Babies cannot conceive of anything as being ‘supernatural’ for the simple reason that they conceive of the whole of their existence as being ‘natural’. It takes a far more developed cognition to appreciate the distinction.

    Second, although there is a wealth of anthropological data to show that human beings do appear to be predisposed toward conceptions of a g0d-like entity, the idea that a monotheistic Abrahamic-style god results is simply not the case. Indeed, in many cultures, many of the gods are looked upon as foolish and worthy of ridicule rather than entities to be obeyed and/0r feared. It is a prime example of Christian arrogance to view the Trigg paper as supportive of their own theological views.

    Second, the fact that human beings have a predisposition to perceive phenomena in terms of being ‘supernatural’ is becoming increasingly explained by the strength and quality of neural mechanisms within the temporal lobe and the amygdala and the interconnections between them. I am an atheist of several decades standing and yet I have had a number of experiences (both from ingested substances and more naturally occurring) which religious people have told me are undoubtedly ‘spiritual’. Of course they are, if you want to give them that label. I see them as simply within the normal range of perceptions and emotions available to human beings as a consequence of neural mechanisms that have evolved over millenia in response to specific environmental contingencies. I can enjoy these states and even be inspired by them but does that prove the existence of a God to me? In no way. I would want far better evidence that this.

    Just because individual human beings can conceive of, imagine, perceive or otherwise have the feeling that a god-like entity exists does not make it a reality.

    • conditus

      Actually there has been a considerable amount of research done demonstrating that babies have an innate understanding of simple mathematical concepts. The evidence is fairly compelling.

      Likewise there has been quite a bit of research which indicates that babies are born with an innate understanding of grammatical principals that underly language. They might not come out of the womb speaking a language but they understand the way language works and as such are able to acquire a language and speak it without much difficulty.

      In short, babies are neither a-mathematical or a-language.

      • http://www.imagesandmeanings.com/ Gary Hill

        Actually, I’m well aware of the research you mention (I’m a cognitive scientist). As you state, an innate understanding of mathematics does exist. It is very basic though. The evidence for an innate grammar is highly contentious and equivocal at best.

        The point though is that despite these basic innate abilities, if a child is not exposed to language at all, or the concept of say arithmetic at all, the ability will stay very basic and if the exposure does not occur until past puberty the child is highly unlikely to develop these skills at all. Especially so for language. There are quite a number of documented cases of such people.

        So we have no basis to expect an innate understanding of religious experience to develop into much at all if it is not socially inculcated from an early age.

        Note I said religious experience – not spiritual experience (whatever that is). I’m sure a child not exposed to any religion at all could still have ‘peak experiences’, produced by specific patterns of neural activity. They just wouldn’t have any conceptual basis to perceive them as ‘religious’.

        • conditus

          I actually agree with you. Obviously if the results of this study stand the test of time it would seem to have some broad implications.

          One could make the argument that if we are expected to develop and nurture a child’s math and language skills that we should also do the same for a child’s innate religious ability. I won’t argue that this means that we should all send our children to catechism or Sunday school since the American in me believes that people should have the right to teach their kids whatever they want to, but I do think that it implies that we all have an obligation to teach them something about religion. Whether that means you teach them atheism or catholicism is up to you but I would hope that it would put an end to this silly notion that somehow teaching your kids about religion is indoctrinating them. For if it’s indoctrinating them to teach them to believe in God then it’s also indoctrinating them to teach them that there is no God.

  • iknowatheismisareligion

    wow, you stirred up a hornet’s nest! atheists are the most zealous religionists i ever saw. you pissed some people off who know that God doesn’t exist and they hate Him for it and are very vocal!
    i’m waiting for a blog from you about atheists being moral societal parasites. they sleep under the very blanket of Judeo-Christian ethics while peeing all over it – all the while trying to prove that atheism is just as good a religion because they can be just as good as those Christians demand (with their scale). how would society look based for thousands of years on the atheist religion ethic … waitwha?

    • musiciangirl591

      my friend dan likes to say (and i like to use it sometimes too) “i find it funny that atheists make a religion out of having no religion and out of not believing in God”

    • conditus

      I’ll admit that I find it odd that people have such strong opinions about something that doesn’t exist.

  • Hoover

    Such pathetic drivel. Not even worthy of being called apologetics (and that’s sinking pretty low).
    1) children have to be indoctrinated to even know about let alone believe in a god
    2) What rock are you living under. Priests DO rape boys.
    3) There was about 9 billion years between the big bang and when the earth started accretion. Not 3 or 4 days.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Re: 1) the study Marc cites disproves that. Did you even read his post?
      Re: 2) Marc never said they didn’t. Again, did you even read his post?
      Re: 3) …again, did you even read his post?

    • musiciangirl591

      read the post? it sounds like you didn’t

  • http://nathaniel-campbell.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel M. Campbell

    Point 3 simply demonstrates collective ignorance of the history of Christian theology and biblical exegesis. As anyone at all familiar with the writings of the Church Fathers should be able to tell you, it has long been recognized that the creation account contains, hidden beneath the letter, many far more important truths about Salvation History. For example, St. Augustine recognized perfectly well the inconsistency of creating light on day 1 but not the stellar bodies until day 4. He wasn’t stupid, you see; he–and most other great Christian theologians–understood that, if only taken literally, Scripture is not only confusing but self-contradictory!

    Instead, he–and most other great Christian theologians–dug into the text, reading it on many different levels of meaning besides the literal (the traditional three are allegorical, tropological/moral, and anagogical/mystical) to discover the hidden truths of God’s Word. Thus, to resolve the contradiction of day 1 light before day 4 stars, Augustine suggested that the creation of light on day 1 was the creation of the angels, followed by the fall of Lucifer in the separation of light from dark. There’s no need to strain modern physics in order to preserve some paper-thin literalism; instead, we should simply acknowledge that what was created on day 1 was a supernatural reality.

    It is only fundamentalist claptrap that ignores these traditional hermeneutics in favor of a nonsensical literal reading of Scripture that provides easy ammunition for the atheists.

  • http://www.sainteasy.blogspot.com/ Paige

    Yay! Someone used BOTH homophobic AND misogynistic in a comment on a Catholic blog. I can now sleep at night knowing that the world is good and true and super original!

  • Florence Gray

    Regarding the third point:

    Ask what frame of reference is being used in Genesis 1– I mean, where is the observer standing as he describes the creation of the universe? Answer: the surface of the Earth, as specified in Verse 2: “darkness was over the surface of the Earth, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.”

    So the earth was already created before Day 1, and therefore according to our science, all the stars were in existence as well. Day 1-6 describe what happened after that, from the point of view of someone on earth’s surface. The passage makes good scientific sense if read that way, and needn’t be taken as poetry (though it could). I can’t describe it all here, but one point is that light *would* appear well before sun and stars would be distinguishable, because Earth’s atmosphere was very thick at first, translucent but not transparent.

  • Alexandra

    For seriously though, Marc, I’m really disappointed this is the direction you’ve decided to go in. This is pure crap. You must know these are strawmen arguments.

    You’ve had a lot of posts recently about atheism that were more inflammatory than they were insightful that got a lot of attention from atheists because they were such utter nonsense.

    I’ve really enjoyed your essays about Catholicism. I learned a lot from them and had some really useful and interesting conversations with your readers over them. They were things that really spoke to your readers and it was really interesting to me where our common ground was. It often surprised me in a good way.

    The conversations I’m having on this one are just as much nonsense as this post is. No one is getting anything good out of this. Except for you I guess, in page clicks, and that’s just lame.

    • musiciangirl591

      i did! i love him and his posts :) and you may not like him but i find him enlightening and refreshing :)

    • http://odgie.wordpress.com/ Odgie

      The whole point of the post is that these arguments crap…that is why he is attacking them. Just because you have never used them doesn’t mean that thousands of other atheists have not. I’ve seen them all over the place.

      If the conversations you are having are such utter nonsense, maybe you would be better off not having them. And maybe you would be happier at another blog than hanging around this one complaining about the quality of the posts; better yet, start one of your own. Then you can dictate what does and doesn’t get posted. As it stands, Marc doesn’t owe you anything including say over what he does or does not post. In short, get a new routine because your usual bits (“This is so irrational!” or “I don’t like this post!”) are tired.

      • Alexandra

        Marc’s arguments against these arguments is crap.

        And I may very well find another blog to comment on, I just really liked this one and Marc’s writing. I’m just letting him know how I see it.

        • Isaiah

          I have to agree… Not that I find this one erroneous, because I think the point was that you just can’t use them as arguments anymore either because they are false or can be interpreted in totally different ways, but they sound more like my brain after I see something annoying on facebook. No more posts on atheism for a while please Marc!

          • Isaiah

            Actually, I did enjoy the last post…

          • Alexandra

            The last post about atheism or the post about pain? The pain one was pretty good. The infinity thing was a big flaw, but it was a good one anyway.

    • Sam

      Gotta say I totally agree with Alexandra. I think Marc has a great gift when he is writing about the Faith. But the obsession with Atheism is off-putting. I became a Catholic because I found the Truth, not because everything else is not Truth. When Marc writes about the Church it opens doors for those in Her and those on the outside to glimpse something Beautiful. But all the post lately about why Atheism sucks are just closing doors. No one is having any hearts or minds or even finding common ground in these posts. Just like he is never going to be drawn toward Atheism from blogs by Atheist writing long winded post about why Catholics are idiots, the same is true here. And I say this with the utmost respect, because Marc is talented and has much Truth to tell.

      • Sam

        Just want to amend that a bit. I don’t ‘totally’ agree with Alexandra because I don’t think it’s just for page clicks. I think Marc is sincere in his efforts, but I think he is going the wrong direction.

  • Jason Verrastro

    I do belive in a supreme being but do not confuse God and religion. As for point 1 i would point out a device called the “GOD Helmet” it induces a very weak EM field over a specific part of the brain causing the subject to feel an otherworldly presence. This could easily be confused for what some would call a religious experience. So do people find god without being taught’ i would argue no. they simply are experiencing the effects of a weak EM field. as for point 2. it is not that the catholic church has an excess of pedophiles it is the fact that when they identify one they cover it up. In fact it appears that they do not even discourage this behavior. As for point 3 the first visible particles may have been photons but there were many other subatomic particles that came first. The first thing that came from the Big Bang would have been a crap load of EM radiation and this runs the entire spectrum not just light. in fact photons would not have been able to form until things cooled down a little. This does not mean that there is not a creator but the church is not where you should put your faith. By all means, if you enjoy the social interaction of a cult the catholic church is a great place to start but you should really educate yourself on what you are really getting into first.

    • Albert

      knowing what goes on physically doesn’t mean there isnt’ somethign going on metaphysically. one could know all about pixels and refresh rates, but that doesn’t explain the abbot and costello skit showing on the screen.

  • Summer

    I have just a few brief responses.

    1. SPIRITUALITY is innate. Religion is indoctrination.

    2. What you suppress WILL rise to the surface eventually and find a (usually destructive) outlet.

    3. This one surprised me and made me respect you. I’m leaving it alone.

    • marie77_00

      Hi Summer, I like your reply but I have one question? Why wouldn’t a sexually repressed priest seek out women and not children. And due to the level of suppression, nearly 100% take vows of celibacy, wouldn’t we expect to see the level of child molesters higher than the general public and not lower.

  • FurryMoses

    No one seems to have brought the most obvious objection to the claim of ending the “no one is born an atheist” meme.

    No one who says that would deny that “Religion is an integral part of human nature. We are born with a belief in the supernatural”

    The *point* of saying such “born atheist” is to elude to the fact that everyone is born an atheist “TO YOUR RELIGION”.

    Standing in almost any part of India, a Christian is an “atheist”.

    In that sense, you are born an Atheist, because it takes time to learn about the particular religion discussed.

    Surely this is the obvious point being made in every single case that statement is used?
    Of course “supernatural” is natural to kids, but is “CHRISTIANITY” or “ISLAM”?

    Your child is born an atheist in respect to Christianity and Islam.

    You have to teach them about one particularly doubtful group of ideas and shove it down their throat, and mix it with a large bowl of believable soup. A broth they never lose a taste for.

    • QDefenestration

      I don’t think atheist means what you think it means…

      • FurryMoses

        … and it’s complicated enough that you can’t make the correction?

      • FurryMoses

        Atheism can be relative. It has to be able to.
        In relation to a Hindu, you should be considered an Atheist. He has many Gods and you don’t believe in any of them. He should consider you an atheist in respect to his religion.

        • QDefenestration

          I’m pretty sure the following conversation would never happen:

          Prof Godbole: Will you be celebrating the birth of Krishna with us tonight?
          Sebastian Flyte: Oh no my dear, you see I’m quite catholic…
          Godbole: ATHIEST.

          Nor would a Catholic consider a Jewish person an atheist for not believing in Jesus as God-man, etc. Everyone recognizes that the term atheist means “believes in no god” as the etymology is indeed “without God-belief” not “doesn’t believe in our god.”

          It is pretty obvious to any religious person that any other religious person has far more in common with them than an areligious person.

          Finally, even if your strange conception of the term was indeed employed by religious individuals, it does not change the ultimate point of Marc’s argument: that it is not indoctrination to raise a child as a theist. And though you say that picking one flavor of theism over another is itself indoctrination, it is far less so than raising them in denial of one of their most natural human inclinations.

          • FurryMoses

            If a man lives in India and is a Hindu with 7 Gods.
            He knows nothing of any other religion.
            You come to him and say you don’t believe in any of his Gods.
            At this point, of course he should consider you an Atheist.
            It means nothing to him, that you happen to believe in some other ridiculous God if you don’t believe in anything he’s aware of.

            It’s relative to him – to change this situation would mean he would have to devow his religion, acknowledge some other ridiculous God, just to be able to recognize you as a “theist”.

            It “is” indoctrination to raise a child as a particular strand of an unbelievable religion that hardly anyone agrees on. That splits itself thousands of ways based on the unjustified, random opinions of elders who interpret passages in hundreds of ways, generally to the satisfaction of their own personal standards and preferences. Children should be raised on common knowledge and “learn about” religion. Not engulfed in religion in a way that ensures their entire life is based on it and there’s no way out of it, despite the religious practice being one of unjustified faith in matters that cannot possibly be known.

          • QDefenestration

            What you are saying would be true, were it not for the fact that it’s absolutely bonkers.

            Would an atheist have to “acknowledge some other ridiculous God” in order to claim any individual a theist?

            In reality, most religions, and *especially* Catholicism, acknowledge that other religions get some bit of the truth- the relationship between Hinduism and Catholicism would begin with recognition of worship in a higher power, and only then differ on the details (and one of those details is (*not* that hinduism is simply polytheistic, as you’ve been implying. That’s extremely reductionist). Only the most ignorant of religious individuals would react in the way you describe. Westborough baptist types, *maybe.*

            As to the indoctrination question: what you describe applies as well to philosophy. To raise a child without hypocrisy, you would have to avoid “indoctrinating” them to *anything* you believe about the world, love, life, humanity, morality, etc, and that’s clearly absurd.

            The proper answer to raising children religiously should be to be quite open about other religions, to indulge their curiosity without claiming relativism, and, when they’ve grown up, to simply be loving towards them whatever their religious choices have been.

          • FurryMoses

            Except that no philosopy I know of requires absolute faith and absolute certainty in things that no one could possibly know. Bringing someone up religious is to engorge them in a faith, which is often difficult or impossible to get out of depending on the parents level of conviction (“Mum can I stop going to church?”)

            Which philosophy is like that?

          • QDefenestration

            …Any and every philosophical outlook, whether big P philosophy, or little p philosophy (life is good, do unto others, etc) relies upon premises, definitions, and assumptions which must be accepted absolutely.

            I mean this is pretty standard stuff dude… can you think of any Philosophy or “philosophy” which is entirely self-evident, which doesn’t rely upon absolute convictions? From Plato on down there isn’t one.

            And “engorge” is something you do yourself, no one “engorges” you. Unless you’re missing a preposition and they’re feeding on you.

          • FurryMoses

            Every philosopher’s convictions are open to being questioned. Christianity, in f amily situation especially, never is. Mine never was. Please be open here and recognize the difference between absolute certainty in faith, and a mere world position which is open to correction

          • QDefenestration

            I’m sorry, I’ve been misunderstanding your argument. I thought you were talking about religion qua religion, not as it occurs in actual families. Of course, you’re right, there’s a difference between a son talking to an evangelical mom and a dude talking to Aristotle. The former is indeed, as you suggest, probably going to demand absolute agreement whereas the other isn’t going to care.

          • FurryMoses

            No problem. Thanks, I think that’s as far as we need to go here ;-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

    Three at a time? Hurry, get me a bucket, gotta take care of the sea!

    Nah, just joking. Anyway, even if it was hopeless (it is) WE’D STILL HAVE TA DO IT!!!

  • Narutokun618

    Replyisis ch 1

    1In the kitchen a mans son sat on the floor crying and pounding. 2The child said “it’s not fair that the teacher marked my math problem wrong just because I forgot the dollar sign.” 3The mans son said “it’s just a small mistake don’t let it bother you besides I saw your grade on the test and it was good.” 4Then the son said “it’s not fair that the teachers can tell us what to do and we can’t do anything about it” 5″But son” said the father “not everything in this life is fair, in fact it is designed that way.” 6″Then tomorrow if the teacher corrects me I will just stand up and fight against her!” the son replied. 7″It is within your power to do so but I’ll tell you now that your choice has a recompense to it this way you are not surprised; and I will not interfear if you are punished.” his father implored him. 8The son still upset and said within himself “what shall I do to avoid this” and he replied “fine I just wont go to school tomorrow!” 9Now his father seeing that his son was destroying him self inside said “my son if I let you stay home from school I will be breaking the law and the authorities will come and punish me, is that fair?” 10The sons gaze now sunk to the ground and in a soft voice spoke, “no.” 11Now his father could tell that his heart had become less hard so he said “my beloved son I tell you the truth that you feel anger and despair because your relationship with God is not correct.” 12″But father” his son asked “I am slower at my work then all the other children and my teacher makes me stay in from recess to get caught up, it shouldn’t be this way because I can not help that I don’t work as fast and since I go to a catholic school she shouldnt she know better to show me mercy and compassion?” 13″This I tell you it is not for you to judge another persons mercy and compassion” and “what then should you go to another school? I tell you that no matter where you go there will be some people who love correctly and some who don’t.”

    Interpret this as you will “inspired” “literal”….”Metaphorical”…..”Typalogical”
    And you may discover my thoughts, all glory and Praise to our great God and King Father, Son, and Holy Spirit now and unto the ages of ages amen.

  • JMazz

    Interesting post. Maybe even more interesting is the sheer volume of comments by reported atheists. If atheists truly believe in “nothing” insofar as a creator, then why do they really care about us crazy theists? I mean, for theists, for Christians at least, we are called through our baptism to be witnesses to the faith. But what are theists called to? And better yet, who are they called by? If I were truly an Atheist, I’d have it all figured out, and I’d be the happiest person in the world. Nothing would matter, so therefore, theoretically, nothing would bother me. Yet, I find the opposite to be true. I don’t know many happy atheists. They all seem anxious, restless, maybe even sleepless, e.g., trolling the blogs late night so they can argue in support of their “nothingness”. Well, hell, why bother? Go find whatever it is that brings you the most pleasure or satisfaction, and wear it out! Why waste your time arguing with a bunch of crazy “God, Son, Virgin, blah, blah, blah” worshipers? It makes no sense. Unless what you are really looking for, whether consciously or unconsciously, is a tiny bit of reason, or, God forbid, faith, that you can grasp onto to help guide you to the truth. In fact, it can all start with a simple prayer. An earnest request: “Dear God. Show me that you exist.” That’s the first half of a prayer. The request. The second half is waiting for God’s reply. It is sure to follow. I pray that you may be open to it.

    • Alexandra

      The reason why I chat on this blog is because I enjoy learning about what it is that Catholics believe in and having interesting conversation about theism.

      I also really do feel like atheism is absolutely the correct state, and in becoming an atheist I became happier and more free than I ever had been as a struggling theist. I became more concerned with morality and with the negative effects that religion has on society. I like to think that by posting about my point of view there’s got to be at least a couple of people who consider the points and learn something from exchanging ideas. Mostly in the form of the importance of separation of Church and State.

      I’m not looking for God. I’m looking for good conversations and have hopes that those conversations help theists grow in their understanding as they have helped me.

      • Albert

        Please explain something i’ve never really understood… why are atheists concerned about morality?Why choose to abide by a moral code? If all there is to the universe is the physical, there can be no good or evil, no “ought,” only “is.” value isn’t something that is observable, measurable, etc. it’s abstract: either we make it up, or it exists and we somehow have access to it by means other than natural.

        ( I understand that Marc Barnes sort of addressed this question a few posts back, but insufficiently, I think. By attempting to be meme-y, he sacrifices his authenticity and ends up setting up the same kinds of strawmen that he points out internet atheists do.)

        • Alexandra

          I’m not entirely sure about what I believe in terms of morality, about it being absolute and what that means. I think we do make up what morality is based on our feelings of fairness and altruism which are innate to us. I do think that morality is absolute in terms of what is moral for me is moral for you, but that it’s not absolute in terms of absolute rules like killing is always wrong. Morality is something that we’ve created, but we have a common sense of what is good and fair.

          Mostly what I can tell you is why I’m concerned with morality, seeing as atheism isn’t a religion with dogma and teachings.

          Once I really fully realized that there is no afterlife, I realized that means that justice in this life is so important. The Nazis are just dead, they’ll never received the punishment they deserve, and the Jews they killed are just dead and they were robbed of so much.

          Knowing that this is our one life makes me compelled to want to help other people as much as possible. I feel it’s my duty to help other humans. We are so closely related, we really are each others brothers and sisters.

          Atheists are concerned with morality for a lot of the same reasons that theists are. We care about happiness and health and we want everyone to be able to enjoy life because it’s precious.

          • Albert

            Why is justice important? why must we give others what they deserve? That’s my question. Throwing your arms up in the air and saying “i don’t know why I’m moral, I just am” sure seems like you’re playing right into the theist’s cunning plan: the CHristian theist, after all, believes that morality is written on our hearts, and so that would explain why you choose to do “good,” which is a subjective value imposed by the individual or society on a world that is objectively value-less, at least according to atheist materialism that is consistent with itself.

            Being closely related is a nice thought, but why should it be the basis for one’s actions? altruism is good and honorable… why? why is enjoying life even a goal? why should I help my neighbor enjoy his life? these answers can’t be answered by an atheist.

            Helping other people is awesome, I think it’s good to do. But why can I even say it’s good to do? whence “good” and “bad” with respect to my actions, which are only ever judged subjectively, as there is no objective standard?

          • Alexandra

            We had this discussion a few posts back. I have answers for all of these questions, I’m just over talking about it for now.

        • TiltedHorizon

          Morality, transcends religion, it exists in Philosophy and Culture. What you are leaning towards is Meta-ethics: the attempt to understand the metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological, presuppositions and commitments of Morality.

          Morality is a byproduct of society. Simplistically speaking, it is an understanding of causality, the difference in knowing that “I” am made stronger by “We”, that reciprocal relationships between one’s self and others benefits all who participate.

          Religious definitions of morality places the weight of absolutism on the term. Such definitions make no sense when removed from society. If you lived on a deserted island alone, can you steal, commit adultery, bear false witness against thy neighbour, etc? Society is necessary for morality to exist and is dependent on it for continuance.

          So why am I concerned about morality? Because my morality will adapt to the needs of society while those who get theirs from the bible will wait on the latest translation of god’s word to win mind share.

          For example, the bible says nothing on the topic of in vitro fertilization yet the bible is still used to try to guilt potential parents to wait until god gives them children. This strikes me a wrong, I’m still waiting Christians to hop on that bandwagon.

          • Albert

            you didn’t answer my question, which is why do you value morality in a world without objective values?

            You say that morality requires society, and benefits society, which means there’s some value to society “working well” or something like that. Maybe I’m stupid and dense, but I don’t see how we can go from the fact that there are a number of individual organisms living in proximity to each other and arrive at the imperative to do what is best for that collection of organisms. even defining what is “best” brings in values or value judgments, which are by materialist definition subjective. Maybe what you do seems right to you, but why on earth should you do what seems right to you?

            you are correct that the Bible doesn’t talk about in vitro fertilization… which is why we have the teaching office of the Church to be a guide for morality. That’s something Catholics have that protestants and fundamentalists don’t. your sympathy for potential parents is awesome, but the ends don’t justify the means.

          • TiltedHorizon

            Your question was: “why are atheists concerned about morality? Why choose to abide by a moral code?”

            And I answered it. Society. If that does not answer the question then rephrase the question.

          • Albert

            why do you value morality in a world without objective values?

          • TiltedHorizon

            I said, “rephrase the question”, with the intention of making your question easier to understand. You need to define “objective values”. Are you talking about “truth”, “good”, and “beauty” which are subjective or something else? If you want to venture into the abyss of metaphysics, I’ll play along but you need to define your variables else this is kinda pointless.

          • Albert

            you’re dodging the question be claiming it’s unclear.

            for argument’s sake, i am assuming that there is nothing but the material that exists. Any thoughts I have, any consciousness I have, any choices I make aren’t really mine because they are the product of neuro-chemical reactions in my brain, changing and fluxing and synapses firing in response to external stimuli. There is no such thing as the soul, only the material. religious experience is explained away as certain neruons in certain parts of my brain making the illusory consciousness of “me” think that the immaterial is real.

            in this material world, there can’t be such things as objective values, that is “right” and “wrong” that is true for everybody, or “beauty” that is beautiful for everybody, or anything like that. The only thing that is true for everybody is the physical state of the universe RIGHT NOW, including the illusion of consciousness created in our brains by the processes poorly described above. There can’t be values because values aren’t material. Something isn’t beautiful, good, or true, it just is. There is no imperative I must follow, because that implies agency of which there is none . remember, material only! free will is an illusion! my choices are really the product of millions of electro-chemical proceses occuring in my brain, uniquely experiencing external stimuli.

            so, given that free will is a trick my purely illusory consciousness believes it has (for whatever reason) and given that nothing actually matters because there isn’t anything that is good, beautiful, or true, let alone pleasing or distasteful or ugly, we must draw the following conclusion:

            1) morality is a sham and you don’t have to abide by any rule. Sure, raping the girl next door might get you thrown in jail, but it doesn’t really matter because a) your brain made you do it and b) the autonomy of the person is a value we make up, so your raping of another person is not a violation of any moral law, it’s just a physical act.

            2) given that morality is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves, there is no reason why one should fight for a more “just” world, or for “marriage equality,” or for “peace,” or anything else for that matter. Any choice to do that (choice is an illusion, remember) is creating value in a world which has none. saying “gays should be able to get married” has as much correspondence to the truth as “I like vanilla ice cream.” it’s an arbitrary preference. you could even be convinced that it’s the best thing for everyone to let homosexuals to form unions with each other and call that marriage, but that just means it’s what you prefer.

            3. a sad result of this “truth” is that morality is made by whomever has the most tanks. society will conform to the way that the powers that be desire it.

            so, hopefully we’re at a place to answer the question:

            why do you value morality in a world devoid of objective value?

            or rather, why do you try to impose your preferential mode of living on others, when all there is is the material?

          • TiltedHorizon

            “you’re dodging the question be claiming it’s unclear.”

            I answered the question, based on my interpretations of it; which is why I asked for clearer definitions.

            As for your explanation, it’s a strawman predicated on the presupposition that free will and consciousness are illusions, an argument asserted by formulating an extreme moral nihilist stance and ignoring the function of these “neuro-chemical reactions”, which is to record and process information.

            Free will is the capacity to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. The choice is guided by one’s consciousness which is actually an umbrella term covering a wide variety of mental phenomena like subjectivity, causality, deduction, awareness, the ability to experience, feel, and remember; to name a few. Unless you can conclude each of these phenomena to be illusions as well, then consciousness and freewill remain unscathed by your assertion.

            Let’s examine these “neuro-chemical reactions” to see how this works:

            Place your hand in a fire, awareness registers the feeling of pain, deduction links the pain to the action of placing the hand in the fire, causality is now established, subjectivity has deemed the action to be unpleasant, you now have an imperative to not repeat the action, the value of avoiding pain has been established. You are now conscious of pain as negative stimuli and therefore, given the choice (freewill), will avoid repeating the same action. Value is therefore placed on avoidance of pain. Self-interest is formed.

            Self-interest assigns human values to cold, hunger, thirst, illness, pain, and suffering. That which can be felt can be empathized with. Self-interest becomes mutual interest which in turn is the basis of society. All of which becomes the collective value influencing the choices made with free will.

            So, since free will and consciousness are not illusions then any action that denies free will of self or others becomes an affront to consciousness. Therefore murder, rape, and thief are wrong because it denies the free will of the victim to not be murdered, raped or robbed. Homosexuals are denied their free will to marry; which makes it wrong. Potential parents considering in vitro fertilization are denied their free will to have children; which makes it wrong.

          • Albert

            I agree that free will and consciousness exist. but without meaning, there can’t be morality. ANd when there is only the material, then all we have is subjective meaning and subjective morality.

            so, why impose your morality when it’s merely subjective?

          • TiltedHorizon

            “without meaning” = Parapraxis? I think what you meant to say was “but without ultimate meaning” or some other metaphysical qualifier which grants divinity to definitions. Are you really suggesting that subjective meaning has no value; worthless, meaningless? All this predicated on a concept of morality that you cannot even establish to be true.

            For the sake of the argument, let look at the big one from the 10 commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.”

            For this to be an “Objective” moral truth the instruction must be literal and absolute; no loopholes allowed. Additionally it cannot have dependencies on fallible human interpretations which are subjective by nature; meaning no killing in self-defense, war, or one’s enemies. Such claims can be asserted by parties on both sides equally, meaning it grants everyone blanket rights to “kill” each other. You can argue that the commandment is meant only for the innocent as in, “Thou shalt not kill the innocent.” But since the word “innocent” is subjective one can still kill those deemed not to be.

            So what happens to an “Objective” moral truth that is dependent on subjectivity? It becomes subjective. Unless you can provide an example of “Objective Morality” which is without dependency then subjective morality is all that exists. So why do I “impose my morality when it’s merely subjective?” What other morality is there?

    • Dr. No

      Because atheists want to save theists from the perdition that believing in a deity entails. Save yourselves! Don’t praise any Lord!

    • TiltedHorizon

      By your logic, why would someone who already believes in god come to a site to talk about a god they already believe in. Could it be you need to feel reassured? If you were truly a theists you would have it all figured out, you would be the the happiest person in the world. Nothing would matter because this life is temporary, its the hereafter that is important. Nothing to do but wait to be called. Yet, I find the opposite to be true. If a believer gets cancer there is no celebration, no joy is felt that one is being called to heaven, instead they go to doctors in the hopes of prolonging this unimportant life. You would think someone who places so much importance on what comes after death would rush to meet it, instead they place so much time and energy in avoiding heaven. Well, hell, why bother? Why waste your time arguing with a bunch of crazies who think there is a good likelihood that god does not exist. It makes no sense. Unless some teeny, tinny, bit of you, whether consciously or unconsciously, thinks there may be some truth to it.

  • YoungPhilosopher

    Though that point is rather moot.

  • QDefenestration

    Dude, Einstein’s Theory of SPECIAL relativity is the one about light. General Relativity is the one applicable to the big bang, and concerns gravity/ the warpage of space. In fact, General Relativity allows Special Relativity to (seem but not actually) be violated in some cases, as they concern different reference frames.

    Easy mistake to make, given the similar titles, but one that you will be called out on by arrogant atheist types as proof that religious people don’t understand science.

  • QDefenestration

    Double post, my apologies

  • Dominikus Klein

    HITLER WAS AN ATHEIST SO ATHEISM IS BAD! I`m sorry!
    Adolf Hitler war bis zu seinen (un) seligen Ende ein braver kirchensteuer-bezahlender Katholik!

    • Choir203

      Could you supply the evidence you for this bit of fixtion

  • Phillip_g32

    Dig this…a child cannot differ between a deity and a folkloric figure, unless they are educated, ergo knowing God cannot be considered a natural innate process.

  • ROTSentertainment

    1.) babies are athiests. If you raise a child never mentioning religion or any kind of deity guess what: they don’t believe in a god or set of beliefs! Unless you’re gonna count monsters in the closet, under the bed, and parlor magicians.
    2.) every form of satire paints catholic priests as pedophiles. They are the stereotype priest.
    3.)I too list television shows as my sources

    ps I’ve seen every BBT episode, never seen that one, though Im going to ask my professor.

  • Matt

    It amazes me how someone ,such as RL, can spend over 1/3 of his day arguing points to no one who really cares. RL I hope one day you realize that the truth is so vast that it cannot possibly be stated in tweet or comment blurb. To realize the truth takes a lifetime of growth and hard work. nothing i have experienced in my life is ever at all “logical”. I dare you to open your heart and mind and attend a Mass of your choosing. You may be surprised by what you find.

    • Albert

      But, Robert Loblaw does have the greatest screenname ever. I hear Arrested Development. “Bob Loblaw”

  • http://writerwithacause.wordpress.com/ Prplcatz58

    Alright there is a mess of comments here so I’m just going to make a separate one. Firstly, I’ve been reading Bad Catholic for a while and love it! It’s hilarious yet informative.

    I’d like to reply to this comment specifically:
    “Try this:
    1. I have done nothing worthy of going to hell forever. Nobody has.
    2. God is the one who created hell and the system under which people get sent there.
    Now that’s bad enough, but
    (3)
    I think I probably speak for most atheists when I say that we are NOT in rebellion against God. We. Don’t Believe. In. Him. We actually, really, do not think a God exists.
    God could change that. He could prove his existence to us.
    But he doesn’t. He won’t. Instead He’ll send us to hell. See?”

    1. Hitler, mass murderers, pretty sure they’re worthy of hell….but also none of us are worthy of heaven, that’s why Jesus had to die for us to be completely united to God again.

    2. Okay I know this has been said over and over, but God does not send people to Hell. God loves us and wants to be with us soooo badly. Look at it like this: for people who reject God, why would this end in the afterlife? If you don’t believe in God why would you want to go to heaven which consists of perfect unity with Him and eternal worship of His holy name? This focus on punishment is where the perception of religion often gets messy. It’s about relationship. People who die with a broken relationship with God go to Hell (or purgatory, but that’s a whole other tangent). God’s presence is still felt in hell and the people there can’t stand it. Those who die in right relationship with God are reunited with Him in heaven.

    3. If you don’t believe in God, why are you so concerned with going to hell. Also, why are you putting so much effort into getting us to to realize belief in God is illogical? Your argument also implies that there is a God who is able to prove his existence. I’m not sure what proof you’re looking for, but in the end belief takes a leap of faith. God took on flesh and blood as Jesus, and people still didn’t believe in Him.

    • Alexandra

      NOBODY is deserving of hell. Not even Hitler. Infinite punishment for a finite crime is unjust. A truly loving God would not allow anyone to suffer that punishment.

      • guest

        Are you a proponent of capital punishment?

        At the moment of death all is revealed. Each and every person on the earth is given the opportunity to choose their eternal destination. Many choose hell from their free will.

        Marc – free will post?!

        • Alexandra

          No, of course not.

          You’re saying that at the moment of death you have the opportunity to repent? That you can live a completely depraved life and reject God, and at death you just have to ask for mercy and you’ll be welcomed into heaven? Is that Catholic teaching?

          • guest

            Don’t forget purgatory. The options are heaven, hell and purgatory.

          • Alexandra

            Can you explain purgatory to me? Or link me to a resource that explains the Catholic teaching on purgatory well? Does wiki have a good explanation?

          • guest
          • Albert

            no, the options are heaven or hell. purgatory is just a stop on the way to heaven.

          • guest

            True. Thanks for clarifying.

        • Korou

          Oh, good – so I’ll die, and I’ll go to a place where there is one door saying “Hell” and one door saying “Heaven” – gee, I sure hope I’ll make the right choice then!

          Do you think there will be free will in heaven, by the way?

          • guest

            No need to get all snarky Korou. It doesn’t aid discussion.

            Yep and they’ll both be wide open so you go in with full knowledge.

          • Korou

            Okay, sorry about that.

            Let me make the point as I should have the first time:

            You seem to be saying that a person will die, and then be confronted by the choice of either going to hell or going to heaven, and will be able to choose at that point. While I understand that this defends God from the accusation of actively sending people to hell, it does make a mockery of the whole business. I can’t believe you were serious in saying that. Maybe I misunderstood?

      • Albert

        But sin is a crime of a finite being against an infinite being, and so is an infinite crime, so to speak.

        The problem of free will and God’s omnipotence is not an easy one to get through. For me, it helps to understand God’s desire for us to Love: He is Love, and created us to love. to be love, one must be free, or else one is just an automaton. i can program my computer to love me, but is that really love? In order to love, one must be able to reject God, too.

        Hence, the sappy Christian devotional picture of Jesus knocking on the door to your heart… there’s no knob on the outside, because you’ve got to open it up from the inside.

        Love requires free will, or else it isn’t love. In order to love, we must risk hell.

        • Alexandra

          I’m sorry, but that’s such mind gymnastics BS.

          A truly unconditionally loving god would chose to prevent people from eternal punishment even if they rejected him. For the people I really love, I’d do anything, including violating their autonomy, to protect them from something as awful as hell. If God lets people choose to go to hell, when it is in his power to protect them from it, then he is not truly loving. We’re talking eternal punishment. Anyone who would knowingly allow someone to go to that fate is evil.

          • Albert

            mind gymnastics BS, or difficult to understand and/or accept?

            And then there’s the issue of your continued application of value judgments to what exists in the world:”Evil.” Why do you think you can say something is evil? What is the definition of good and evil? an atheist has only subjective definitions, while the Catholic Christian understanding is grounded in what we believe to be objective truth.

            You willingly admit that certain actions or beliefs are good and others are evil. Where does your understanding of good and evil come from?

            without a lawgiver, there can be no laws.

          • Alexandra

            Like I already said, we had this conversation for like a week. I’m over it.

          • TiltedHorizon

            “Where does your understanding of good and evil come from?”

            Same place yours does…. the grey matter between your ears. The moment you ascribe such notions to a higher power you basically state that you are incapable of figuring that out yourself. Do you really need god to tell you not to eat your own children? (that would be ‘bad’ by the way)

          • guest

            The door is open. The interior is fully visible. By free will you choose to enter. By free will you choose to turn your back. You can’t force anyone to love you. You can’t actually keep someone from doing anything. God gives His heart and soul to each and everyone of us. Yet at the moment of death, when all things become clear, people still turn their backs to the door and choose to enter hell. What will you choose to do Alexandra?

          • Alexandra

            The logical thing. Reject the evil god which there is no evidence for. Indeed there is ample evidence that suggests that evil god is a human creation. I live, and will die, happier for being able to recognize that that god doesn’t exist.

          • guest

            LOL – “I live, and will die, happier for being able to recognize that that god doesn’t exist.”

            You never did reply to the heaven, hell and purgatory info you asked for.

          • Korou

            Really? I’ve never seen it.

            Really. Honestly. Truly. We atheists – we don’t think God is real. We would be surprised to find out that God was real. We are innocent. We have listened to your arguments, and we sincerely think they are mistaken.

            Do we deserve to go to hell for this? You know we don’t, so you have to make up a world in which people secretly do believe in God but choose to rebel against him. Strange, yes, but if you didn’t believe that, you’d have to believe that God sent innocent people to hell.

          • guest

            “Do we deserve to go to hell for this?” – Absolutely not

            “We would be surprised to find out that God was real.” – I am so excited for you! You are going to love Him!

            God willing you’ll have a long life and when you meet you’ll say yes to his invitation.

          • guest

            It’s impossible to rebel against something you don’t believe in. If you are an unbeliever, so be it. Just because you’ve “never seen it” and “listened to your arguments” doesn’t make God less real. There are people in this world that secretly and openly believe in God yet choose to rebel against him.

          • Korou

            Really? Who are they?

      • QDefenestration

        Von Balthasar, a Catholic, not-heterodox theologian proposes a very real but very empty hell. Catholic teaching is only that Hell exists, not that any particular individual, or indeed *any* human individual has wound up there.

      • Guest

        God, the just loving God that He is, created Hell out of His own love. We have been given the choice to follow or to reject Him. Our rejection of Him is the choice of Hell. Now, I’m not underestimating His infinite mercy. Hell is the product of His love — also, His love for Lucifer. Satan chose to reject God. Hell is the one place God is not. It is the complete absence of God (the reason it is so torturous). Imagine, how are we to truly have free will and how are we to truly love God if there is no other choice?

    • Korou

      Next time, would you please press “Reply” – I only found this comment by accident.

      Anyway, pleased to meet you. I find this blog hilarious too.

      1. So, some people do deserve to go to hell forever? Hitler? Certainly a very bad an evil man. so how long do you think he deserves to have the flesh roasted off his bones in conscious and unending torment for? A year? Fifty years? A hundred? A million? A trillion? A never-ending eternity?
      Would you like to volunteer to hold the blowtorch on him?
      Hitler was a very bad man, but this level of punishment makes you worse than him.
      Good thing it’s not going to happen. Hitler is dead now. A better ending than he deserved, certainly. But at least he won’t be sharing time on the red-hot rack with me and other atheists, who are obviously just as evil and deserving of undending torture as he is.

      2. I know it’s been said over and over again – and it’s always been wrong.
      Follow the logic.
      God is all-powerful. Right?
      God created hell. Right? I mean, who else could have? And if someone else did, and God didn’t want them to, God could have just removed it immediately. By letting it continue, he sanctions it.

      In the same way, if God did not want a person to go to hell, that person wouldn’t. It’s simple.

      “If I don’t believe in God why would I want to spend eternity with him?” Well, (a) not believing in god has nothing to do with my liking him or not. (b) – come on – did you actually seriously ask me if I’d like to choose between spending eternity with someone I don’t like and spending eternity roasting on a spit?

      Are you saying that hell isn’t actually literal flames? Fine – but it is an extremely unpleasant place to go. Isn’t it?

      Basically, it’s your religion that’s messed up. Don’t blame us for it – we just take what you say and follow it to its logical conclusion.

      (3) You don’t actually think I’m concerned about going to hell, do you?

      This reminds me of an interesting conversation I watched once. It was on The Atheist Experience call in. A Christian caller was asking the host why he was so angry about people saying he was going to hell. The host answered that of course he didn’t believe he would go to hell – but the Christian did believe it. And he believed it was right for that to happen. “At some point in your life,” the host said, “you were told that people like me would go to hell, that we were such bad people that we deserved to be tormented forever. And you know what? You didn’t object to that. You said, “okay.”

      It’s not that we worry that we’re going to go to hell. It’s that we’re sad and angry that you think we ought to. You think we deserve to be tortured.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

        God didn’t “create” Hell. Hell is not a “creation”. Hell is a choice that you and others with free will are free to make. “If God did not want a person to go to Hell”, sadly, that person is still free to go there. God’s omniscience doesn’t extend to logical impossibilities like making an irresistable force strike an immovable object, or compelling a being with free will to make the choice He wants it to make. Why are atheists so hung up on not getting into Heaven, anyway? Heaven means perpetual worship in the presence of God. If that sounds abhorrent to you while you’re on earth, why would you expect God to “reward” you with that in the afterlife? That would be sort of like telling a rebellious teenager that you’re “rewarding” him with eternity in Mom and Dad’s house.

        • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

          Atheists do not care about going to heaven, or hell, as they think they are imaginary. We do like to hold Christians’ feet to the fire, so to speak, making them deny the claims in their rich religious history that ‘hell’ is a place of punishment, where flames of everlasting fire punish the damned, and trying to describe it as innocuously as they can, as ‘separation from god’ in order to get around the abject immorality of the earlier statements.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            If you choose it, how is it “punishment”? If you expect nothingness after death, do you feel that if you’re wrong you have a “right” to an afterlife at a luxury spa? Beggars can’t be choosers, as they say. If you found yourself unexpectedly with an immortal soul, wouldn’t you be happy just to have it, nevermind how uncomfortable the conditions were? Atheists complaining about “punishment” in Hell reeks of ingratitude.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            You’re confused. I’m not choosing hell and I don’t desire heaven . I don’t think either exists. This is not about what I think I ‘deserve’ in case I’m wrong, its about what Christian teachings have said about hell.

            And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved

            You can sugarcoat it. You can make claims all day long about how hell is simply the choice to live without god, or how Free Will makes God powerless to influence people’s choice no matter how much he wants to, it doesn’t change that Hell is described as a place of eternal punishment for not believing, as described in the Athanassian Creed above.

            Incidentally, do you really believe that an eternity of torment is better than a existence that is finite?

          • articulett

            According to Muslims, Christians “choose” to go to hell by worshiping Jesus as a god. They point out that god was clear about not having other gods before him. How will you be explaining that choice as you roast in Muslim hell?

            And how can you seriously convince yourself that you have a choice if the result of the wrong choice is ETERNAL DAMNATION (from a loving god– ha– who is omniscient and knew who’d pass and fail is crazy little test from the get go)? –”But officer, just because I was holding a gun to his head didn’t mean he didn’t have a choice to give me his money or not!”

            Laughable theology– but what can you expect from people who believe in invisible 3-in-1 saviors, ghosts, demons, angels, saints, Satan, and that crackers become the embodiment of their god if you say magic words over it. How is this more believable than myths past or the religions you dismiss as false? It makes no sense– you have to be afraid of hell to convince yourself that this “woo” is true.

            Wishing you get to live after death doesn’t make it so. You need a living brain to be conscious. Otherwise– you can just assume that trees are conscious and rocks and anything else. You can’t even make new memories without a working hippocampus.

            Grow up for the sake of your children. If you think it’s wrong to make Muslim children believe upon threats of hell, then you have no excuse to do it to your own.

          • articulett

            So, according to your theology– if that baby you are holding grows up to be gay or an atheist, s/he “chose” eternal torture? And what is this torture supposed to achieve? Does that mean it would be better if that child was aborted or died young? Would they bypass the hell that they would have gotten had they lived and go straight to “happily ever after”? Doesn’t an omniscient god already know who is and isn’t going to pass his nebulous rubric?

            Face it– your theology is creepy no matter how you’ve justified it to yourself. Humans are more moral than your god. We’d arrest you if you kicked your child for eating forbidden food– but you worship an invisible guy who created a place of eternal torment for his “children” that displease him. As with the Nazis– your theology allows you to imagine yourself moral as you facilitate horrors.

            For the record– I don’t “choose” nothingness after death. I’m a grown up. I understand that reality doesn’t care what I wish to be true. I would like to believe that the people I love are living happily in some other realm after death– or that reincarnation was true. But first there would need to be evidence that consciousness could exist outside of a material brain– real evidence that science could test, refine, and hone– before I’d care what any self appointed expert in the afterlife had to say.

  • Pacheco

    They can also let go of this zinger too The Christ Myth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yRx0N4GF0AY

  • Jared

    I choose not to believe in the invisible man in the sky without proper scientific evidence….and I’M the weird one? SMH

    • john1513

      I choose to believe with proper scientific evidence! Science cannot disprove God.

      • Korou

        Or fairies. Or Santa Claus. Or Vishnu. Or Thor.

  • Jay E.

    LOL I love reading the comments on these articles. Marc really pisses some people off.

  • john

    We’re all born with an innate sense of God in just experiencing our own nature and realizing that we much more than just fleshy computers, but possess something intangible- call it a soul. We are painfully aware of our own limitations and see that we must be the limited reflection of the unlimited God. To deny that is sticking your head in the sand.

    • Korou

      No, we are not.

      Take it from me.

  • Surprise

    “Experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue.”

    No, of course its not specifically a Catholic issue. Any hierarchical, sex-shaming, closed culture in which grown men associate with young boys and live separate lives from women, or are taught that women are a source of temptation (and possibly evil), are at risk from pedophilia.

  • Puffynips

    Catholics just love those little boys. Can’t deny that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bnaletto Bruno Naletto

    You just forgot to post this part: “Interestingly, we found that religion is less likely to thrive in populations living in cities in developed nations where there is already a strong social support network.”
    Yeah, children believe easily in god, but as we develop, we realize it’s a load of bullcrap

    • TheOne

      Anti-Theist Richard Dawkins stated in his book “The God Delusion” that babies are born atheistic and are religious by nurture. That is what the article is responding to.

      I think it ironic that Dawkins used this as an argument against religion and you are stating that “as we develop” we realize it’s a load of bull crap, you do realize how flip floppy this is to say in defense of anti-theism right? Your saying, “teaching religion is awful and unnatural, but since you proved it is natural, natural is just stupid and we need to learn that religion is bull crap”.

  • Alexandra

    I mentioned argument #3 to my darling atheist husband, who didn’t even have the benefit of a Catholic education like I did, and he started ranting about “NO! Genesis says the earth is created before the light!”

    I just double checked. Pwned Marc. In the Big Bang, the earth comes after light, that I know for sureies.

  • Alfar Kynwulf

    Been reading all the comments posted here for more than an hour now. By the gods…I am so glad I am an adherent of the ancient Northern European religion of Asatru. Seems we “barbarians” are more civil to one another, more respectful, and more kind to our fellow man that Christian or Atheist alike. Hail Odin, Hail Tyr, Hail Thor…. may I never disrespect or abuse another human being. Never shall I bring such same upon my ancestors.

  • carolyons

    This is a link to a story NPR ran a while back. It asks the question “Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?” I thought it was quite interesting.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129528196

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002061049390 Jeremy Corter

    Actually, there is a problem with the first one.

    The article, while it does mention children, is more about religion as a natural phenomena. If you read it, it focused more on adults and it does mention that people in more developed countries are less likely to be religious.

    There is also a problem with the children believing their mothers can know the contents of a box. By the time we’re four, our parents have been around us nearly all the time and have been able to answer almost anything they would ask. To a four-year-old, the parent is god-like, so it isn’t too hard to think of something else as god-like. If one reads further, children lose the god-like parent idea only a year later. This study also had nothing to do with babies, which, according to most experts, think more like scientists.

    The bigger problem here is that these aren’t really arguments for or against god. God could exist and rapes would still happen, for example, and atheists would be atheists, even if god existed (unless said god proved it’s existence).

  • Mathyeti

    The writer could use some training in logic. To start with, the caption on the baby photographs implies that atheists are evil. If that’s where you’re coming from, a dialog might be difficult!

    • TheOne

      I noticed that too, thought it was kinda funny, but I think other then that is was a logical, well stated, article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500564877 John Duffee

    My understanding was that it was always more that the Catholic Hiearchy didn’t give two figs and still haven’t finished cleaning out its own closet after they were forced to confront it after it was brought to light in public and temporal, legal authorities finally were digging into it.

    So less that priests raped and more that the church itself condoned such behavior by not rooting it out and actually covering it up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500564877 John Duffee

      After all, you don’t hear about them having taken steps to insure that no more molestation occurs, no, you’ve got them making as big of a stink as possible about how horrible it is to have to pay for birth control coverage on health insurance so that any business can get out of their duties.

  • articulett

    Gladly– Nazi General Gerhard Engel reported in his diary that in 1941 Hitler stated, “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”

    But wait, there’s more– check out this painting by Adolph– it would make a lovely Christmas card!http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Hitlermaryjesus.jpg

    And more! http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Hitlermaryjesus.jpg

    Next time google it for yourself: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Hitler+catholic+when+he+died

    Don’t waste my time asking questions you don’t really want the answer to so that you can imagine that you have the answer!

    None of this stuff is a secret– these all are from archives and they are available throughout the web. The real question is– who started the lie that Hitler was an atheist? Is there any evidence for that from any nationally archived source– is there anything other then his supposed private conversations that appeared in a book called Table Talk? Anything? It’s despicable that Catholics seem to be the one who spread this rumor the most. Hitler considered himself to be Christian– and that’s “Christian” in my book. It’s not my problem that Christians can’t agree on who is and isn’t Christian. I’m an atheist; I don’t want anything to do with your crazy. Keep it private like you want the Scientologists to keep their crazy to themselves.

    You’re welcome.

    • TheOne

      … this article has nothing about Hitler, do you just post this on any article that has to do with religion? I’m an atheist, and I don’t want anything to do with YOUR crazy. Geez…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pitheos Derek Dean

    I’m glad that you at least do not see Genesis 1 as literal history, but it is clear that the author is using the concept of “light” and “darkness” as being day and night.

    Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

    Therefore, it is highly likely that the author of Genesis 1 believe s/he was writing about the origins of day and night and goofed up by having God create the sun on the fourth day. I’m sure s/he wasn’t referring to photons given that day and night on the first day are connected to light and darkness.

    We can only go by the clues given in the text, not our scientific concepts that we have nowadays. So I’m taking my argument back and saying it is still a contradiction. Clearly Genesis was written as myth in ways very similar to the myths in the culture surrounding it. But I realize they aren’t the types of myths that Protestant Americans acknowledge, so I can admit they probably seem a bit silly. But when you look at them with unbiased eyes, Genesis is clearly a myth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pitheos Derek Dean

      And yes, on second thought, I realize this is a Catholic blog and that Roman Catholics don’t usually take the Bible to the same level of the fundamentalists . . . but this is still not about photons; it is a myth about the origin of the world.

  • aaron

    The problem is not that priest’s have sex with kids more than the regular public, but that the church hierarchy continues to protect such priests and those who allow the problem to continue. It is institutional corruption, not personal sin, that is the issue.
    For someone who has been abused by religion, and for other’s who have been sexually abused by those in religious traditions, your casual dismal as “well we’re no worse than others” attitude stings deep.

  • guest

    wow…..this is sooo funny….. people, being RELIGIOUS does NOT equal being spiritual, there is half of number 1 there, and being religious as these people think, is NOT inherent to mans’ nature. People do make up myths to explain the supernatural, thats the second half to their first point of nonsense, believing in Zeuss is no crazier than being a Christian that believes the bible as it is… ie believing in a god that cares about whether we get on our knees and tell him telepathically that we love him too and are thankful for allowing us to live…..

    To all Christians, at least recognize that you cANNOT use logic/reasoning to PROVE god exists, that is by your own definition impossible, ie. look up meaning of the word faith…. or just grow up and stop being scared so you can admit that religion is nonsense and detrimental to all of mankind, we do not need it to be good and moral people. And sadly, most religious people are quite far from being truly spiritual. As one famous person once said, “…but you (Christians in GENERAL, a generalization) are so unlike your Christ.”

  • Marco Conti

    #1 The way I have always interpreted point #1 was that babies are born ignorant of any specific god. Then based on their geographic location, ethnicity and other variables they are educated into one or the other religion.
    I have read the study where it says that we have this propensity for believing the supernatural. I also could have told them that. I just don’t see how the study supports the existence of the supernatural. If anything, the study confirms that we are predisposed to believing just about any preposterous story and that the only real difference is where and when we are born. To me that makes all religions pretty much equivalent. Equivalently unproven.

    #2 I was born in Rome, Italy. I was baptized in St. peter Basilica (not by the pope) and pretty much grew up surrounded by priests and nuns. I counted many of them as my friends. Even back in the early 70′s, before all the scandals regarding child abuse by the priesthood, I was aware of at least 20 jokes having to do with sexual impropriety between priests and altar boys. Another 20 jokes were about the local priest being a drunk and visiting the parishioners to score free liquor. Once I had to go and pull the “parroco’s” car out of a ditch so I can personally attest to the drunkenness part. The sexual molestation I can only infer by the fact that those same jokes had been around for longer than my grandparents.

    Clearly, this does not imply that every priest is a sexual predator, nor that even a large minority are. But enough to represent a subculture that was well known in the mainstream. Only back then no one was doing anything about it.

    Now, discounting the tragedy of those that were molested by these authority figures to score some imaginary point against atheists seems to me in bad taste. The arguments I hear from the religious are such that they always seem to discount the reality of what happened.
    What most people do not understand is that the problem is not so much with the priests molesting the boys and girls, a horrible crime to be sure, but with the church covering the whole thing up until it could not be covered anymore and proceeding to minimize it ever after. That’
    s the unforgivable sin. The priests are just human being, but when atheists bring up the argument they are not referring to the priests being depraved (that’s what you hear given your preoccupation with sex), they are referring to the church that protected them.

    #3 This is just silly. If you call Genesis poetry I will agree with you. But there are many people that take it as the real scientific explanation of how the universe came to be. from their viewpoint, genesis has to be literal else the rest of the bible is also “poetry”. If your standpoint is that Genesis is poetry, then we have no argument. But I’ll keep bringing it up with anyone that wants to teach genesis in science class.

    • TheOne

      You seemed to have taken this post as attempts to score points for the religious arguments. To me it seems to just be defending the offensive comments proposed by anti-theistic propaganda. You may have interpreted #1 as babies are born without a specific belief in a god, but Dawkins specifically accused religious people of child abuse by raising children into a religious belief and attested that a baby raised outside of religious indoctrination would be atheistic by nature.

      Such a small amount of of the population of developed countries believes Genesis as a real scientific explanation. Maybe 1 in 50? We have all met them but they represent such a small faction it could be ignored. The internet over represents them but think about how many people you know that actually think that. No actual movement has ever been made to teach Genesis in science class Intelligent design, though having it roots in religious concepts, was the only thing pushed to be taught in public school. It was validly shot down as nonviable and is not taught in public schools.

      Also these are shrinking philosophies, not up and coming ones. This means that they will fade away on there own, no need to waste time and energy on dead philosophies, just laugh at them.

  • Jcook1020

    You my friend are close minded. Children think religiously? No. Maybe some do, and if you were to let a child grow up completely independent of any adult support they would go back to basics. Maybe they would invent some being in the sky that makes it rain and whatnot which is exactly how religion was started. something created by mankind cannot possibly be real. none of the stories in the bible ever happened. if you believe they did you have to be an idiot. thus is god has never revealed himself to us except maybe through Jesus, whose existence i do acknowledge, how can we possibly make a claim that god is real or any of our beliefs are true. its human narcissism. we believe something we made up is all powerful. John smith claimed he was “the prophet of the Mormons” blah blah blah, i could claim that i am the next incarnation of Jesus but that doesn’t make it true. Its all just stories to explain something we don’t understand and will never do so. I don’t know what happens when i die, and neither does anybody. I am not saying religion is a bad thing because its not. It brings people together with a common belief and that’s great. But i don’t buy into the bullshit. Just because i can’t explain something, doesn’t mean i need to speculate, maybe its better left unanswered. Oh and one argument. If we agree that since there are BILLIONS of galaxy’s in our universe, there must be intelligent life somewhere. There is no way there’s not. Why would god send his ONLY son to save us from our sins? Does the other intelligence on other planets not deserve the son of god to deign them with his glorious presence? Are we that full of ourselves that we believe we are the ones god protects? our dirty, racist, murderous world. But wow yes we are. I think if you believe in any type of deity, you need to look a little harder think a little bit. stop following blindly something that you cant tangibly see fell or touch. stop believing in fairy tales and grow up.

  • http://twitter.com/DigiFluid Rob Korporaal

    This is a really terrible strawman piece. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen any of these used (in seriousness), and I dare to hang around the Fark comment threads.

  • TheOne

    I think its ironic how this post was considerably objective, simply stating why those three arguments are invalid. However most the comments did not address the original article at all, just went into a full blown anti-theist vs Christian war zone. I think the responses to this post demonstrate the mutual ignorance of internet atheists and theist alike.

    Good post, I had not yet heard of the Oxford Study. The end of “The God Delusion” explains the concept of Theistic education as ‘child abuse’ which, even though I am an atheist, I disagreed with strongly. I also disagreed with the semantic arguments that are constantly put forth by anti-theist. “If God is all powerful could he create a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it”, that is just stupid.

  • Ken

    Are we forgetting that a perfect god made us imperfect? Why? And why does he punish us for doing exactly what he is aware we will do, thanks to being omnipotent? And what was the deal with the angels who rebelled? Did they plot that somewhere god wasn’t aware of? And why weren’t the angels perfect, since they had no free will souls to consider? I really do want to know where all these answers are in the bible, since it is the only true authority.

  • Invidosa

    Not an atheist here, just a humble pagan. I wanted to make the point that pedophile priests are not my problem with the catholic church (I was in fact raised catholic and attended catholic school for many years, and I knew many wonderful priests ans sisters. Wen I wasyoung I actually wanted to be a nun when I grew up and I still hold these women in the highest regard).

    My problem is with the culture of secrecy that for so long was used by church members and church higher ups in order to hide are and protect pedophiles in the church. If the catholic church was truely run by men of god then the institution should have done everything possible to protect children and bring these criminals to secular justice.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WNOZWTFCU5QESKLQT2D7AQDGDM biblicalaaronc

    It seems that the author has tried very hard to dodge the real issues. In reverse chronological order, Earth would be like Pluto without the sun. So the issue is not that there was no light from the sun for plants to grow, or that god might not have created a flashlight for himself after already creating the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) in utter darkness. The issue is that it would have been a block of ice, and the plants and animals created on it would be cryogenics experiments. Now you could say, god fixed this too with a bunch of plug-in space heaters. But we are right to object that the bible suspiciously omits that detail.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WNOZWTFCU5QESKLQT2D7AQDGDM biblicalaaronc

    On the “babies are atheists” objection, the main problem is that the author in no way disproves this self-evident fact that babies do not believe in specific creeds, given that they have not yet learned them. This observation goes back at least to Feuerbach, though I suspect it could be traced much further. The study cited does nothing to contradict this observation either. It might show that young children are readily disposed to believe any nonsense they are fed by authority figures and they frequently engage in in the most dubious of fantasy thinking, but I agree with the author here that nobody needed a study to tell us that about young children.

    I don’t think that anyone misunderstands the atheists point that babies are not formally Christians, for example, until they are old enough to understand the basic tenets of Christianity. That is why sacraments like infant baptism were invented, to save the souls of children too young to reasonably be called believers in a particular creed. In Catholicism, in particular, children who have not completed First Holy Communion would not be considered sufficiently knowledgeable about the church to affirm its tenets in meaningful ways, and really, until Confirmation, usually in the teen years, children are not fully members of the church.

  • spookymulder8

    Not sure what you mean by “While this whole argument might work well with Creationists.” Given that you defer to Big Bang Cosmology, I suspect that you (unwittingly) reject Creationism, The Book of Genesis, Biblical Inerrancy, Church Dogma and Vatican I in favor of the naturalist philosophy of evolutionary cosmology.

    Anyway the argument doesn’t work against Creationists either. Much for the same reasons you describe above by the use of photons etc. The Sun and stars like it aren’t necessarily the only sources of light (The Moon isn’t a source of light, in that it doesn’t produce its own light, it reflects the light of the sun, lol atheists).

    To give the Creationist perspective and going by the Hebrew in Genesis and the consistency found in the Bible, the Light present at the beginning of Creation is known as the Shekinah Glory of God! The source of light in the beginning, was God Himself manifest. It can be argued that the so called Star of Bethelehem (more accurately written specifically as ‘light’, not star, though its appearance could be like one, but its movements definitely were not), was also the same source, God Himself, the same light present at the beginning of creation leading the wise men to Bethlehem where He who will make all things new again is born!

    I recommend looking more into Creation Science, the arguments demonstrating the falsity of biological and cosmological evolution as actual ‘scientific disciplines’ and the Church’s dogmatic statements throughout Councils on the topics of Genesis and Creation, including the Catechism.

  • starstuff

    Actually, I think that the light *on earth* before the sun is a pretty good point. Trees don’t grow in the glow from the Big Bang, after all. Just cause light existed somewhere in the universe before the sun is beside the point. The “priests rape boys” argument is one against the claimed moral authority of the Catholic church. The “babies are atheists” one has a point, but I agree it is silly and should be disregarded.

  • Mike

    Who are you to say this sort of thing, you arrogant little man?

    1. Instinctive errors in thinking, such as seeing faces in cheese sandwiches, are what cause babies to react in ways similar to religious people. Once we as a species started learning things we found that our instinctive reactions and assumptions lead us away from facts. Thus the scientific method. Babies are not Christian when they are born. They are just given to the same errors in thinking as Christians. Some of us grow out of those errors, others become bad Catholic apologists.

    2. Sorry if the factual statement that priests rape children bothers you. I’m even more unconcerned that you skip over the whole “My churches hierarchy hid and protected them” thing. It happened. Priests raped and abused children and other priests lied and covered for them. I further don’t give one red damn if you don’t like it that every Catholic who is not screaming to the rooftops for every priest involved in this conspiracy but turned over to the police is morally culpable. Have you no decency? Are you actually saying that child molestation by priests is OK because other people do it? Why, then, are the extensive cover ups OK? Frankly, you make me kind of ill.

    3. I doubt that any serious atheist made this argument, unless you were being bated. As atheists we don’t take your foolish creation myth seriously. Pointing out inconsistencies is a fun game that they may have been playing with you. There are to many of those to even begin listing here.

    By the way, you are factually incorrect. Photons didn’t appear until about 10 seconds after the Big bang in what is called the photon epoch, which was preceded by the Quark, Hadron, and Lepton epochs.

  • Myrd

    You ARE aware that those “arguments” are just mindless trolling right? If you want to dedicate time to further the cause of faith, attack the countless arguments they are at least moderately serious about? Or is the blatantly obvious they only thing you poke at in order to obtain a small sense of victory? This is like an atheist writing an article about this : http://www.skepticmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/water.jpg . It’s just a waste of time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377173672 Bryan Richards

    None of these are even taken very seriously by atheists. We use them to merely assert absurdities of religion. I would never actually use any of these to try to convince someone that was Actually interested in truth and reason.

  • Nick Ross

    I’m not sure any of these atheists points are really invalid. If anything, your arguments help support their case.

    For instance:
    #1 Babies are atheists – Even if people are predisposed to believing in the supernatural (which I might agree to), I don’t see how anyone can dispute the fact that this works against believers of a specific religion. Left to their own devices, people come up with COMPLETELY DIFFERENT supernatural beliefs. They don’t believe in YOUR god, they believe in one they imagined themselves (hence the pagans). Their gods and supernatural beings want different things, act differently and often share very little in common.

    Going even further with this point, it lends to the atheist belief that all religions were started by people simply imagining something… after all, they are prone to do that, right?

    Despite this, its plainly obvious that if you (or someone else) does not expose your child to YOUR religion, they are not going to end up with the same religious beliefs (and possibly none at all). So, IMO, this point really doesn’t accomplish what you think it does.

    #2 Catholic Priests molest little boys – I’ve never seen this used as an argument against religion in general. If anything, its an argument to not leave your child alone with a Catholic priest… and maybe also to question the practices of the Catholic church and their stand on letting priests marry and letting women carry the same roles as men.

    #3 God created light before the sun – It made me chuckle a little bit when I saw you used the Big Bang to defend your point. Usually when atheists bring this up, its because creationists believe in the literal interpretation of genesis. They think the universe is ~6000 years old and that the big bang is a bunch of lies from the devil. This argument is not aimed at people who have no trouble accepting scientific discovery, its aimed at those who do not.

    So, honestly, I’m not sure how you can conclude that anything has been debunked here. If anything, we’ve proven that people make up religious/spiritual beliefs – at which point I’m sure you’d rather have them be atheists rather than some pseudo pagans… we’ve affirmed that the Catholic church does have a molestation problem, and we’ve thrown creationists under the bus. For an atheist, isn’t this mission accomplished?

  • unpd

    Number one always makes me laugh.

    Considering I’ve personally interacted with children (that purposely weren’t exposed to religion and were home schooled in some very interesting, restrictive situations) who still go on to say something akin to “Of course God exists” and speak of Jesus much to their atheist parents’ chagrin… well, I’ve just never understood why people would think people would be born atheists. Then again, most I know think it makes sense to believe that atheism requires no faith or choice.

    Number two and three deserve a good facepalm. 3 is something I hear spread around often by those believing themselves clever. Since it’s easily explained by the text (and even without the use of science), all it shows is how little they pay attention to everything else written in the book.

  • marv

    1. Human beings from a very early age are born wanting to know more about the world they’re on trying to understand it. Thus your claim that religion is paramount is incorrect. I’d rather you said children need to be educated. Indoctrinating an education that has never been proven to children is the dangerous part!
    2. Agreed its a western culture problem and shouldn’t be used on an intellectual debate.
    3. Firstly in Genesis 1:1 Yahweh creates the heavens and the earth thus your argument has just been rendered invalid because the photons in the Big bang were formed prior to our earth being formed. Only in Genesis 1:3 does Yahweh create light (photons) after the heavens and the earth has formed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.monte.5 Joe Monte

    1. I never use that argument. Can’t seem to get much mileage out of that no matter how you slice it.

    2. PRIESTS RAPE BOYS. Why can’t I say that? How about: BISHOPS TRANSFER PRIESTS WHO RAPE BOYS TO UNSUSPECTING PARISHES. Or POPES PROMOTE BISHOPS WHO TRANSFER PRIESTS WHO RAPE BOYS TO UNSUSPECTING PARISHES.

    3. There ain’t no way in hell that bronze age Jews knew anything about the Singularity. Your crude reference to Einstein proves nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Egan-Penney/100001218915770 Egan Penney

    actually, what the research in your first point is saying is that humans have an innate tendency to assume agency behind events, even when there is none. if you think that’s a point in favour of religion, i suggest you read it again. we have an innate tendency to incorrectly assume that random events are caused and planned.

    however, specific explanations as to exactly who makes these plans are things that are acquired. “someone filled my bottle” is innate, but “mommy filled my bottle” is acquired by observation. “someone made the world” is innate (and wrong), but “god made the world” is acquired by indoctrination (and wrong). we may be born superstitious, but we are not born theists.

  • Leila

    Well technically speaking, most if not all babies are agnostics because they don’t believe or disbelieve in any religion… But that argument is just stupid wordplay >.>

    Anyway, I don’t have any religious beliefs, and I have yet to use any of these arguments, but I have heard others use them before. They’re really… bad. I know that there are still some arguments against religion that are plausible, but I’ve never heard or read something like this without banging my head against the wall.

    • Dan

      Hello Leila,

      Out of interest, what do you consider to be plausible arguments against faith?

      Dan.

  • Dan

    Good article, sound reasoning as always.

    On the comments found below:

    I really do worry at the number of people who consider our church to using “indoctrination” on people. They either are unsure what the word means or are gravely mistaken about the catholic church/faith. I mean i see no evidence for this accusation. It a bit like saying “going to school is indoctrination because they teach you about maths then you believe in maths” or “teaching scientific theory in school indoctrinates children because they start believing its true”. As i recall, i was, and am, a very argumentative child and always asked questions, and demanded answers. Indoctrination never works fully because the truth always prevails.

    God bless,

    Love Dan.

  • Confused

    Why do atheists come here? I mean… this is a religious site. If they hate religion so much, what are they doing here?

  • toenail

    atheism is the belief of no god, a child doesn’t know about god until he is brainwashed to ignore common sense therefore a child is an atheist when he is born and that argument that Hitler was an atheist is just something Christians say because most of them don’t bother doing research because if they did that would know that he associated himself with the catholic church and considered himself to be christian.. instead of assuming all atheists are bad ppl take the time to read the bible from beginning to end without all that skipping around and u too would be an atheist.

    • Dan

      Atheists aren’t all bad people, they are just wrong, and when someone is wrong they tend to do bad things. Like Hitlar, who was born Catholic, then distanced himself from the church and his actions lead to an automatic excommunication. out of interest, how did you read the bible? what literary tradition did you follow? have you ever read hamlet or othello? how did you read them? I think when a person reads an old complecated book, they must first understand the tradition or at least the context of what they are reading, or they are going to misread it.

  • http://alchemyoftheword.me/ Gideon Jagged

    I have a nitpick for all three arguments.

    1. Children are born atheists. I concede that children think irrationally about the way the world works. This doesn’t make them theists. It makes them believers in magic. One cannot call it a belief in the supernatural unless one also concedes that children believe in the natural and know the distinction between the two. Children don’t know how the world works; they must understand that themselves through experiment.

    Not only can’t children be considered theists, they can’t even be considered deists, for that entails an understanding about the universe and its origin that I cannot credit someone who doesn’t even think in terms of time yet, could possibly know.

    Indoctrination into the religions of the Book is child abuse. It’s not the doctrine of the eucharist that’s the problem, its the doctrine of hell. I cannot imagine a crueller thing to teach a child than that an eternity of torture awaits them if they don’t obey the rules laid down, like disobeying their parents by not cleaning their room when they’re told.

    2. priests rape boys. I agree, not an argument against theism. It is and will remain a legitimate argument against Catholicism so long as the policy of the Vatican is to shelter the abusers from civilian justice. Joseph Ratzinger is a de facto conspirator in a global child pornography and abuse network because he was materially involved in covering up evidence of abuse and removing accused priests from jurisdictions where they could be prosecuted.

    3. Any christian argument that relies on the bible as a source of authority is going to be ridiculed: as it should be.

    • Dan

      the guy just explained how you’re wrong (repeated yes, but corrected my spelling mistake)

  • Jwood

    1. Babies are atheists in regards to any specific deity any of the current world religions worship. Yes, natural selection did make humans have a tendency to believe in things they can’t see (defense mechanism that helped us survive) or tribal beliefs that promoted cohesion, again useful in surviving long enough to procreate. Check out Daniel Dennett’s book, Breaking The Spell: Religion As A Natural Phenomenon.

    2. This was never about the percentage of molestation by priests vs the general population. Regular folks don’t have their crimes systematically covered up. How’s this instead: Priests molest children and the Catholic Church covers it up and protects the criminals.

    3. Genesis is something that is indefensible, scientifically. Even on the first verse, it’s incorrect: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth”. The Earth did not exist in the beginning. Fail. It gets the order of how thing occurred in the formation of the universe and in the evolution of plants and animals on Earth. It’s an all around scientific fail. Could you imagine if some scientist came out and made the claims that Genesis makes. He/she would be crucified, pardon the pun.

    • Dan

      the guy just explian how you’re wrong

  • jens

    please stop to argue on a “scientific” basis for faith. Those are two completely different kind of thinking.. I’m so tired about all those atheist-religion arguments.
    Religion is something you believe in, science is something you logically try to understand. If you try to disprove god by sciences or if you try to prove a god by sciences you mess up those two systems.. and thats exactly why its not working..

  • newenglandsun

    There are two types of people in this world. Atheists, and people who read and study the theistic arguments.

    No seriously, I’m taking a philosophy of religion class right now and recently we had a discussion where I made comments and arguments about the Epicurean philosophy and my view on it and another student commented. I told him to re-read my argument because he apparently didn’t read what I had said. His response – “I did read it!” Um, no you didn’t otherwise when you wouldn’t have attempted to correct me on Epicurus when I said his philosophy was a “go to Hell” philosophy and argue that I was saying he believed that. That comment was a figurative expression on his close-minded attacks on those who disagreed with him.

    Any way, I also Hemant Metha’s response to your post here. He apparently also doesn’t read.

  • bullsjitalkin

    bullshitalkin

  • newenglandsun

    Origen beat the atheists to argument number 3! Damnit! They’ll have to think more.

  • B.C.

    Your first two are valid, although you might get more positive results if you named the theistic equivalents.

    In the third example your either making shit up or paraphrasing Answers in Genesis.

  • Andrew

    Got to love how when it suits you, you roll out one single scientific study to support your claim; when any other time you claim faith beats science……..

  • jesusisafag

    religion is for weak minded idiots who have no faith in themselves.

  • Nox

    Genesis does not merely say there was light before the Sun. It says there was sunlight before the Sun. It says that god divided the light and darkness into alternating periods referred to as “evening” and “morning”. And after three days of Earth experiencing these alternating periods of light and darkness god creates the Sun (and puts it along with every other star inside Earth’s atmosphere).

    Photons don’t address the problem. The author of Genesis confuses the cause-effect relationship between “the greater light to rule the day” and “day”. This isn’t atheists failing to understand your book. This is what your book explicitly says.

  • Andrew

    Oh no checkmate athiests… he sure showed me

  • http://alchemyoftheword.net/ Gideon Jagged

    You’re not here for an honest exchange of ideas. You are a True Believer and all your posts here are troll-bait. Go waste someone else’s time.

    —Gideon


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