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Bible Reading in Schools: Illegal for 50 Years

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Abington v. Schempp, in which an eight-to-one majority declared that school-sponsored Bible reading was unconstitutional. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was the mother of a plaintiff in a similar case that was consolidated with Schempp. (O’Hair founded American Atheists, also in 1963. Above, see a photo of O’Hair, who Life magazine called “the most hated woman in America” a year later.)

But the battle continues

While it may be a day to celebrate a long-standing legal precedent, we can’t rest on our laurels. Consider the “Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act of 2013” (SB2633), which became law three months ago. The title alone sounds pretty good—who would stand in the way of religious liberty?

The bill is full of equality language. Religious and secular viewpoints must be treated “in the same manner,” religious groups must be “given the same access,” a school district policy should be such that it “neither favors nor disfavors” religious groups, and so on. The governor’s press release said that the law “protects students from being discriminated against in a public school.” If you hate discrimination and you’re a fan of the First Amendment, what’s not to like?

Pandora’s box

But who decides what is religious? The law gives no test, so apparently the student decides. Religion is what each student tells you it is.

This puts a lot of power into unknown hands. Consider the 2011 case from Austria in which a self-described Pastafarian (member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) won the right to wear his spaghetti strainer—religious headgear, he claimed—for his driver’s license photo. Most of us can remember classmates who would delight in seeing how far they could push a rule like this. Remember that this law would apply to high school students. Might they wear a colander or a swastika (which actually is a religious symbol) or a necklace of an extended middle finger, justifying this as religious expression?

The law also permits religious speech from students at athletic events and in announcements made at the beginning of the school day. This is not allowed for school staff because, as government employees, their speech would be sanctioned by the government. But why imagine that putting it in the mouth of a student avoids this problem? Every student listening is obliged by law to be at school. They’re captive to all religious messages in the morning announcements.

And remember the Colander Problem: “religion” is in the eyes of student. Aside from vulgar language and time limits, the student has the talking stick. The same public forum that allows a Christian to talk about why Jesus is his savior allows the class jester to explain how Druidism or Satanism changed his life. Students can talk to their captive audience about the worldview of Mormonism or Wicca or Islam or (gasp!) atheism. Can the Christian parent want their child to be forced to sit through these daily messages?

The place for “Mormons and Catholics and atheists will broil in hell at 425° Fahrenheit” is in church, not the public school.

Perhaps the biggest failing in this kind of “religious liberty” is the bad light it shines on Christianity. Christian churches are already permitted and subsidized by tax-free status. Christians can already preach in the public square and hand out leaflets on street corners. But apparently that’s not enough. According to the government of Mississippi, Christianity is too weak to compete in the marketplace of ideas and needs a little boost. Home and church aren’t sufficient, and public schools need to be enlisted to fight the good fight. Is it just me who sees this as kinda pathetic?

How this will play out

Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Let’s review what we’ve seen in recent years. In 2007, Seattle-Tacoma airport was decorated for Christmas in a religion-free way after fights the previous year over what religious worldviews would be on display.

Don’t forget the city of Santa Monica, which used a lottery to apportion permission to set up religious displays on public property. When 18 of 21 spots went to atheist and freethought groups for Christmas 2011, Christians belatedly realized that a “let a thousand flowers bloom” policy doesn’t always work out so great. (I explored the “War on Christmas” more here.)

I suspect that we’re seeing in Mississippi the pendulum pushed to such an extreme that this law will swing back to smack the legislature. Once news stories of energetic displays of non-Christian religious freedom bring enough ridicule, I’m guessing that this law will be reconsidered.

Bottom line

You might object that we still have the First Amendment, so we already have a backstop for any excess that gets past this law. But then why have it? Where this law duplicates the First Amendment, it’s redundant, and where it expands religious freedom, it’s illegal. It’s a solution looking for a problem.

But many of you will have already seen the actual purpose of this law. In these days where Christianity is hijacked for the benefit of politicians, the value of this bill is simply posturing. Politicians, who passed the bill almost unanimously, have thumbed their noses at those pencil-necks in Washington and can now brag to voters about their brave support for Jesus.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people
which declared that their legislature should “make no law
respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”
 thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
— Thomas Jefferson (letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., 1802)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Y. A. Warren

    When do we start killing those who don’t honor the Sabbath? Which Sabbath Day?The Bible tells us that they are to be put to death.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Forget that! I’m pretty steamed about those jerks who gather sticks on the Sabbath. I’ll be first in line with a rock.

      • Y. A. Warren

        HaHa

  • PA_Year_of_the_Bible

    Pennsylvania politicians have introduced a similar proposal, and right-wingers are in charge in the legislature, so we’ll see if the bill starts to move.

  • MNb

    “remember the Colander problem”

    Why do you think this a problem? No one in Europe does. That Austrian guy has a nice photo on his driver’s licence. Everybody is happy and besides a few laugh nobody in Europe gives a damn.

    Isn’t that what you want? Nobody taking offense? Or do you prefer an eternal conflict with religious people? Sounds almost like the expression “militant atheist” makes sense after all.

    I’m all for “let a thousand flowers bloom”. It puts the “(non)-problem” exactly where it belongs: in the lap of bigot believers. Then this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXbZxFx5S3o

    will become normal in the USA as it is in The Netherlands.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Doesn’t bother me. It might be a problem to the legislature of Mississippi, however, when they leave defining religion to high school students.

      Sure, I’d like people to not take offense. You think that’s going to happen? When the class clowns vie for waxing poetic about Druidism or Satanism each morning? I doubt that’s what the legislators had in mind.

  • arkenaten

    The internet was the beginning of the end for religion.
    As agent Smith said.” Ït is the sound of inevitability.”
    One might as well try to prevent the dam bursting by plugging holes with one’s fingers….

    An aside. The edit option for commenters on pathos is marvelous. I hope WP eventually embraces this facility.

    • Norm Donnan

      Im afraid not arki, the internet has opened so many doors for religion,Christianity in particular to reach people and for people in other countries where information is controlled and limited,so it works both ways. Hell l wouldnt be here without it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Norm: I see your point, but Arkenaten has a point as well. Finally, those in the pews have easy access to other opinions about their religion. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

        • Norm Donnan

          Absolutely right Bob, as the third world,especially those like China and India gain access and youth in middle eastern countries come on line,l see nothing but positive change in many ways,I say “bring it on”.

        • arkenaten

          With the incredible amount of information available, especially in fields of science,merely a ‘click’ away, what do you honestly think the average individual (especially young impressionable minds) are going to plump for, Norm?
          The online KJV, and a Young Earth podcast or the subtle message found in a TV programme such as Big Bang Theory and a Richard Dawkins Youtube video?
          William Lane Craig or the late Christopher Hitchens?
          LOL! Bring it on indeed.
          You honestly think Indian and Chinese youth are still in the dark ages and religious ‘merchandising’ will bring them into the light?

          Dear oh dear. Are you in for a surprise!
          As the poker players say “…read ‘em and weep.”

          Yashua hasn’t got a chance in hell(sic)

        • JohnH2

          arkenaten,

          I just have to say: “I am a husband, a father, a graduate student… and I am a Mormon”.

        • arkenaten

          And so is Donny Osmond. I sense you are trying to make a point, JohnH2. Would you like to make it?

        • JohnH2

          I can’t believe you haven’t run into the “I am a Mormon” ads; they commonly seem to appear on Patheos among other places. My church has gotten these ads as well as Mormon.org and has been quite successful in spreading the gospel using the internet. Sure there are ex-Mormon and anti-Mormon sites but there are also quite a lot of other resources online too.

          It doesn’t appear to me that religion is or will die out due to the internet as the internet can be used just as effectively (or more so) to spread the truth of the gospel as it can to spread the idea that there is no God. What the Internet does do is force individuals and the church at large to confront and deal with issues that were previously ignored or overlooked, and this is a good thing which helps bring us closer to the truth rather then something that necessarily destroys faith.

        • arkenaten

          Sorry, never seen the Mormon thing before.
          I write on WordPress and generally only visit Bob over here at pathos

          Figures across the developed world strongly indicate that not only is church attendance declining but also belief in god, especially the christian version. I have no doubt missionaries are busting a gut trying to spread their stuff around Africa, going at it full tilt up against the Muslims, but where it counts, they are apparently losing ground hand over fist, even the Protestant church acknowledges this.

          Oh, and when i say developed countries I am not sure if I should include the States in that sentence….they appear to be quite low on the ‘list’ 33 out of 34 for some reason.

          As I mentioned in a previous comment, there’s likely no immediate need to rush to church and ask god what the hell is going on? ;)

          I believe the collapse will likely take a few generations, but critical thinking is already taking a hold, so who knows how fast it may pick up?

          Yes, there are plenty of splinter christian groups springing up all the time, which suggests a LACK of cohesion.

          Religious dogma is stagnant hence christians love to jump horse in mid-race…not a good idea.

          Science advances all the time. Religion has to continually adapt its game of ostensibly telling more creative lies.

          Archeology has already shown the Exodus and Moses story to be a fiction. See: Finkelstein and Herzog and most Jewish scholars acknowledge this as well. Even some christians.

          This doesn’t bode well for the New Testament.
          All one can say to believers is, enjoy your god while it lasts….

        • JohnH2

          Archeology hasn’t show that there was no Exodus and no Moses, what it has done is show how much we don’t know about what is in the Bible; which is obviously a heavily edited piece of propaganda from the time of Josiah with the combining of the records and traditions brought from the Northern Kingdom into Judah. Archeology hasn’t said anything about what the truth behind the propaganda was but we have every reason to believe that the story of Moses and of the Exodus was based on true events that really happened (as with most else in the Bible).

          Science advances all the time, and religion has stayed the same as to what it actually says. Religion is about how one should live; how should I treat those around me? The advance of science and technology have proven not that religion is wrong, but that we need it even more to instill in us the truths that everyone is our neighbor who we should love and treat as ourselves. The idea that science has all the answers is the idea of a college sophomore who has never even seen the close edges of the unknown upon which they walk, who is told things are facts with no reference as to what it means to be a fact in this case. Science will continue to advance, and I, unlike many scientists, am sure of that and that the universe is in principle understandable by man, this because of my religious beliefs and not despite them. It is a very false view to assume that science and religion are contrary to each other; They are both searches for truth, one via what God has revealed the other via seeking to understand the mind of God through the natural world, and it is those that view this as a conflict that are dying out, those that seek to deny what has been glimpsed of the mind of God through science.

          Religion generally has nothing to fear, and in a generation or two it is the extreme secularism which will have largely disappeared, because it doesn’t have answers to all that it claims to nor does it have the truth on its side, because the reality is there is a God independent of whatever any man may claim or think. Given the very apparent benefits to peoples lives, health, and well being that religion brings, and the very fact that there is a nation of Israel after nearly 2000 years, among much else, it is those that deny God who are blind to the obvious truth.

          Mormonism isn’t a splintering of Christianity, but a restoration of it via Divine Visitation and it is continuing to grow, with every indication that it will continue to grow.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Archeology hasn’t show that there was no Exodus and no Moses

          Sometimes, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. I’d be curious to know what the range of scholarly views on this subject are. If you’re saying that some scholars say that the Exodus is historical, sure. I can’t imagine it’s the consensus of historians. I even doubt that it’s the consensus of Christian scholars (though I have no strong data here).

          One point: 2 million people had to die off before the Jews entered Canaan. That’s 2 million buried corpses in a very dry place. Where are they?

          we have every reason to believe that the story of Moses and of the Exodus was based on true events that really happened (as with most else in the Bible).

          A big issue, of course, but this is a bold claim. Any reasons in particular why the Exodus story is true?

          Science advances all the time, and religion has stayed the same as to what it actually says.

          Well, yes and no. The Bible has stayed the same, but America in the last 200 years has been an incredibly fertile Petri dish. In the religion innovation game, America has some impressive laurels. 42,000 Christian sects—wow.

          Religion is about how one should live; how should I treat those around me?

          I’m pretty sure there’s a religious component, too.

          we need it even more to instill in us the truths that everyone is our neighbor who we should love and treat as ourselves.

          So religion is useful then?

          The idea that science has all the answers

          Alas, you’re right. Science doesn’t have all the answers. Problem is, religion has none of the answers. At least science has some.

          They are both searches for truth, one via what God has revealed the other via seeking to understand the mind of God through the natural world

          God is an unnecessary hypothesis. I’m pretty sure that God isn’t in the definition of science anywhere.

          in a generation or two it is the extreme secularism which will have largely disappeared

          What is this “extreme secularism”? Do you mean the U.S. Constitution?

          the reality is there is a God independent of whatever any man may claim or think.

          And that thought just rolls off your tongue, as if it’s not an incredible, unsupported statement. As if it might actually carry some weight with me. I don’t think we’re on the same page here.

          Given the very apparent benefits to peoples lives, health, and well being, that religion brings and the very fact that there is a nation of Israel after nearly 2000 years, among much else, it is those that deny God who are blind to the obvious truth.

          Wouldn’t it be cool if Christians got lots of supernatural benefits, from not getting sick to always finding a parking space quickly? But tragically, they stumble through life pretty much like the rest of us.

        • JohnH2

          I say that it is based on real events but is propaganda and you immediately jump to the conclusion that that I remotely think that 2 million people were involved? How does the record we have being heavily edited for propaganda purposes lead but based on some historical occurrence remotely lead to you thinking I believe in a literal interpretation of every point of it?

          “So religion is useful then?”

          Why shouldn’t religion be useful? You want it to be sitting around praising Jesus with no changes otherwise in a persons action? Have you ever actually read the New Testament?: Jesus clearly and repeatedly says that if you want to serve or praise him you do so by helping others and being a good person so if religion isn’t being used to inform ones actions towards others in a good way then it clearly has failed (Obviously this is restricting it to Christianity but the purposefulness of religion actually extends to most others that I am aware of).

          “religion has none of the answers.”

          None of the answers to what? To how to be a better person? To suggesting what is actually important and what will actually bring happiness in life? Those are the questions that religion does answer.

          “religious” – I don’t even know what you are trying to say here. Confucius seems appropriate here though: “Till you have learned to serve people, how can you serve spirits? Till you know about the living, how can you know about the dead?”

          “Do you mean the U.S. Constitution?”

          You appear to be laboring under the assumption that I am somehow against the divinely inspired Constitution of the US. I was not at all responding to the OP but to the comment that I was actually responding to. I am not entirely sure that Government should be running schools in the first place, but since they do, and if the should be, then it is a very good thing to not have religion dictated by the schools.

          “I don’t think we’re on the same page here.”

          I responded to the assertions and the tone of assertions in the comment I was responding to; I wanted arkenaten to be left with no doubts that I really do know there is a God; His tone and comment was to suggest that even the option of believing in God was not legitimate, so I refused to take a neutral tone and thus suggest implicit agreement to such an incredible and unsupported position.

          ” supernatural”

          I have had experience with what is wrongly termed supernatural; The rain and the sun falls on the just and the unjust alike, but the peace and joy that can only come from God by doing and being good allows, which in the end must come through Christ, is precisely the supernatural that is promised and desired. Impressive miracles are nothing when compared to the change that occurs in a persons life and heart as they turn to God. But as the Lord liveth that is bringing all the sons of Israel from lands He had driven them there are obvious and apparent miracles which anyone should be able to see happening.

        • arkenaten

          @Johnh2

          Well, I would side with the likes of Finkelstein and Herzog over your somewhat slanted religious perspective,aside for the potential negative political and cultural fallout such eminent people are likely to suffer theirs is a scientific approach.
          Even Albright, in his heyday was unable to tie-in biblical stories with archaeological finds.
          Harcore archaeology emphatically states there is no evidence of the Exodus and Moses was merely a narrative construct.

          This has been known for decades, yet for obvious reasons, the Israelis don’t want to make too big a song and dance about it.
          Furthermore, the Arab world wouldn’t be keen on acknowledging that the Old Testament is all nonsense either, now would they?
          Doesn’t make their religion or Mohammed look very clever, so for now they are obliged to bite their tongue.

          Sure, the Internet opens up the world of religion for many more people and gives it proponents a lot more opportunities to disseminate their nonsense in so many more creative ways,.
          The point you are missing, however, is, there is only so many ways you can tell a lie.
          And science and truth are so much more interesting.
          Sorry…Bill Gates and Co. did more for critical thinking and truth. Religion is a dead duck on the water. Nobody has told it yet…that’s all. Quack!
          Enjoy it while it lasts.
          Maybe Jesus will consider this a wake up call and make a plan for an early comeback? You never know, right? Maybe he’ll bring Moroni with him?

        • JohnH2

          Maybe the Jews will get their tenth red heifer, slaughter it according to ritual in order to purify themselves, and build the Third Temple at Jerusalem.

          Some time after or around then Jesus will return and Moroni will likely be among those that come with Him.

        • arkenaten

          Anywhere I can buy a ticket?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          you immediately jump to the conclusion that that I remotely think that 2 million people were involved?

          Uh … obviously. It’s in the story of the Exodus in your Bible. Or would you prefer to invent a new one?

          Why shouldn’t religion be useful?

          Sure, religion can be useful, but is that the point? The issue is whether religion is true or not, regardless of whether that’s convenient or useful or whatever. Or is this not your view?

          You want it to be sitting around praising Jesus with no changes otherwise in a persons action?

          No, that’s not what I want; it’s what I observe. The positive changes I see among Christians don’t appear to be supernatural, since there are other routes to the same thing.

          Have you ever actually read the New Testament?

          My knowledge of the NT is imperfect, I’ll readily admit, but you’re the one who didn’t know about the 600,000 men in Ex. 12:37-8 (!).

          None of the answers to what?

          Questions about reality. Religion claims to have answers to questions about reality, right?

          You appear to be laboring under the assumption that I am somehow against the divinely inspired Constitution of the US.

          I’ve seen no evidence that the Constitution was divinely inspired. What makes you claim that?

          You didn’t answer my question: what is this “extreme secularism” that you see?

          Impressive miracles are nothing when compared to the change that occurs in a persons life and heart as they turn to God.

          And these positive changes are explainable only because God caused them? No one else has similar changes that they attribute to other god(s) or reasons?

        • JohnH2

          If I say something is heavily edited and a piece of propaganda how does that imply that I think that an obviously high number, such as 600,000 is correct (assuming that translation is correct)? Why would the Israelites be afraid of a few hundred chariots if they have so many men? Assuming such a high number isn’t even internally consistent with what is otherwise in the Bible, suggesting that the number is heavily inflated.

          “What makes you claim that?”

          Modern revelation (in the D&C).

          “Religion claims to have answers to questions about reality, right?”
          Be more specific, what sorts of questions about reality are you claiming that religion has the answers to? Life after death, then sure, religion does answer that we continue existing in some form after death.

          ” what is this “extreme secularism” that you see?”

          The desire to reject and tear down all religion, ritual, and practice and the insane thought that doing so is somehow rational, despite all the evidence that doing so makes one more miserable, have a shorter life, and appears to be suicidal as to its future as a society.

          “positive changes are explainable only because God caused them?”

          What level of causation are you referring to? Whenever anyone of whatever faith or non-faith acts according to the laws of God then they are blessed for doing so, regardless of whatever they believe or don’t believe. The laws are irrevocably decreed by God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Modern revelation (in the D&C).

          So your holy book tells you that the Constitution was divinely inspired? I want to make sure I understand the point you’re making.

          And why cling to a supernatural explanation for a document when the natural explanation is adequate?

          Be more specific, what sorts of questions about reality are you claiming that religion has the answers to?

          I make no such claim. Was my position unclear?

          Life after death, then sure, religion does answer that we continue existing in some form after death.

          Yes, agreed. Lots of religions have lots of contradictory answers. I confess that they all look equally unreliable and unsupported by evidence.

          The desire to reject and tear down all religion, ritual, and practice …

          That’s not what you want, it’s not what I want, it’s not what any atheist I’m acquainted with wants, and it’s not what the Constitution dictates. Your fears are ungrounded–sounds like a group hug is in order.

          and the insane thought that doing so is somehow rational

          That’s kind of neither here nor there. The Constitution demands a secular state-supported public square but gives tremendous religious liberties elsewhere. Whether we like it or not (and it sounds like paradise for the believer), we’re stuck with it.

          despite all the evidence that doing so makes one more miserable, have a shorter life, and appears to be suicidal as to its future as a society.

          Have we agreed that the truth of religion is all that matters? Whether religion has nice or negative consequences on society is a secondary question, am I right?

          What level of causation are you referring to?

          What answer will stop you from dancing around the question and just answering it? I look at Christians, and sure, there are some positive changes (lots of negative ones, but let’s ignore those for now). Why imagine that these positive changes are explainable only by God? Why are natural explanations not sufficient?

        • JohnH2

          Revelation says that the Constitution was inspired by God, yes. Which means that the principles in the Constitution are a part of my religion.

          “Was my position unclear?”

          Yes, I am still not sure what you were asking there.

          “The Constitution demands”

          You realize that at no point have I addressed the OP and that my responses (up until now) were directed solely at arkenaten?

          “Have we agreed that the truth of religion is all that matters?”

          What part of truth and matters for what?

          I know that I do not have the entire truth of everything in the universe and etc. I know that God has revealed to every people that portion of His word which He has seen fit to give them. I also know that no one else has the whole truth, but that the church I belong to has been declared the only true and living church by God. I also know that actions are more important than belief alone. 

          So if a person is an atheist and lives as though they had the Law of God then they are just as blessed and, assuming they accept a greater knowledge of God, will be just as saved as anyone else of whatever religion they happen to be. If a religion, whatever religion, helps a person be a better and more moral person that cares for and helps others than that is something good, regardless of the correctness otherwise of the knowledge within the religion. If the religion does not help a person be better than it is bad, or at least being followed wrongly, even if it is the most correct one in its beliefs. Correct action is just as or more important than correct belief, but correct belief is finally important.

          Meaning that whether a religion has positive consequences on its followers and society at large is not so much a secondary question. Yes, the primary question is whether the beliefs of the religion correspond with reality otherwise, and more importantly with what God desires, but if it is what God desires and if it is to correspond to reality then it had better influence reality as otherwise how can it be said to correspond to reality?

          “What answer will stop you from dancing around the question and just answering it?”

          God works within the natural world and not contrary to it or outside of it; meaning that presumably everything is both caused by God as well as having, at some level, a natural explanation, two are not and cannot be in conflict.

        • arkenaten

          ”God works within the natural world and not contrary to it or outside of it”

          Bob raised a very valid point on a different thread concerning the old ‘Burden of Proof ‘ argument, and this comment has just reminded of it.

          You, like every believer, are wont to insert your deity, God, at every opportunity as the explanation for pretty much everything in such a context.
          Now, here is your opportunity, as a devout enthusiastic believer , one that has obviously approached his belief in a rational, logical manner,weighed up the pros and cons, not allowed cultural mores or inculcation to influence your thinking whatsoever regarding your god, God,to demonstrate and lay out every scrap of evidence of this self evident deity for all the non believers to ‘see’.

          With Bob’s permission? I will say….The Floor is Yours.

          Take it away, JohnH2 ….we are all reading with baited breath.

        • JohnH2

          arkenaten;

          The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from all the lands whither He had driven them: and has brought them again into their land that He gave unto their fathers.

          Meaning I already pointed out two big things which neither Bob nor anyone else has answered other than saying that something like it was bound to happen sometime, when the occurrence is absolutely unique in all known history. That makes the only response that has been given which denies God to be one that completely ignores all evidence and makes a nonsensical statement in order to avoid the other answer.

          I am really uncertain as to the desirability of laying out all the evidence as to prove God; as far as I can tell from scripture that doesn’t seem to be the desirable outcome. The desirable outcome is to get others to seek God for themselves before they are forced to acknowledge the existence of God by other evidences. To that end I suggest reading the Book of Mormon and follow the council found in Alma 32 and Moroni 10:3-5.

        • arkenaten

          Paraphrasing or quoting from a book, and I don’t really give two hoots whether it is the Bible, Qur’an, or Joseph Smith’s bedtime stories will NOT win you any friends or gain one iota of respect in a forum of this nature.
          If you wish to retain a margin of dignity and credibility then recognise what I am asking of you.
          I agree,this cannot be done by scripture.
          So, at the risk of you having to repeat yourself,for which I apologise, please, in as succinct a fashion as possible, demonstrate the evidence you have for your god.

        • JohnH2

          A few dates for you:

          July 30 70AD
          29 September 1923
          14 May 1948.
          June 7 1967

          I wasn’t just quoting from a book but pointing out real events which you can look up on say Wikipedia.

        • arkenaten

          Are you being facetious?
          I am asking you for for evidence and you offer me this nonsense?

        • JohnH2

          No, I am not being facetious and you have not shown that it is nonsense nor that it isn’t evidence. If you don’t have anything to say against the evidence then that is okay, I understand if you are so attached to your faith position that you are willing to deny empirical evidence of the existence of God.

        • arkenaten

          Please enlighten this poor fool then, how the 10th Legion’s destruction of the Temple is evidence of your god?
          I am sure other readers will be fascinated by your explanation.
          Oh, and no scripture if you please…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Meaning I already pointed out two big things which neither Bob nor anyone else has answered other than saying that something like it was bound to happen sometime, when the occurrence is absolutely unique in all known history. That makes the only response that has been given which denies God to be one that completely ignores all evidence and makes a nonsensical statement in order to avoid the other answer.

          What are these two things?

          I am really uncertain as to the desirability of laying out all the evidence as to prove God; as far as I can tell from scripture that doesn’t seem to be the desirable outcome. The desirable outcome is to get others to seek God for themselves before they are forced to acknowledge the existence of God by other evidences.

          Apologetics aren’t important to Mormons?

        • JohnH2

          “What are these two things?”

          The scattering and gathering of Israel and the usefulness or benefits of religion.

          “Apologetics aren’t important to Mormons?”

          I find it interesting and I am a Mormon. Generally though, not so much. The leaders of the church don’t really engage in apologetics and engaging in apologetics is something a person does on their own time because they enjoy it or find it interesting but doing so doesn’t give anyone authority in the church or a position in the church.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I already pointed out two big things [the scattering and gathering of Israel and the usefulness or benefits of religion] which neither Bob nor anyone else has answered other than saying that something like it was bound to happen sometime, when the occurrence is absolutely unique in all known history. That makes the only response that has been given which denies God to be one that completely ignores all evidence and makes a nonsensical statement in order to avoid the other answer.

          These are your big examples? A group of people retains its cultural identity despite having no homeland (like Romani or any long-lived religious sect), and that’s unexplainable? And evolution has given us a useful belief?

          I would’ve hoped for more.

          I find [apologetics] interesting and I am a Mormon. Generally though, not so much.

          So when someone asks for intellectual reasons why this religion (which looks like so many hundreds of other manmade religions) is actually real, while the other ones are nonsense, you just point to some vague indefinable emotional urging?

        • JohnH2

          “A group of people retains its cultural identity despite having no homeland (like Romani or any long-lived religious sect), and that’s unexplainable?”

          And is persecuted for about 2000 years and is restored to its homeland and this is foretold in scripture before the fact. It really is more unexplainable than what you are making out, because you haven’t actually attempted to explain it.

          “vague indefinable emotional urging?”

          It isn’t vague nor an urging nor wholly emotional. The Spirit is something quite a bit more real than that. The Book of Mormon is quite tangible and has the testimony of two sets of witnesses as to it being real but it is the Spirit that matters.

        • Kodie

          It is emotional. That’s all you have presented so far – nothing different than any other religious believer has presented. An amazing “coincidence” and all the rest just falls into place, emotionally. That’s what you said is supposed to happen. Also, Israel is not a coincidence. You can fulfill any prophesy you want to after the fact, and this does not prove any such thing was foretold, nor amazing that such a thing came to pass. It does not require the intervention of god or tell me anything you’re trying to get across about the validity or veracity of what you believe.

          You are using the same poor logic to arrive at a conclusion you like that all other religious believers use. Why do you reject their beliefs? What about someone else’s beliefs just does not ring true for you? Where do the edges just not meet for you that you can reject any other religious belief and still believe yours?

        • JohnH2

          ” You can fulfill any prophesy you want to after the fact,”
          I think you are ignore the time frame in question and the fact that the actors which had the prophecy and thought of the Jews as the continuing covenant people of God were not in a position to fulfill the prophecy. I suppose though you are emotionally invested in it having to had been a coincidence and so you can dismiss any prophecy whatsoever as coincidence.

          It is foretold, not only throughout the Bible but also in the Book of Mormon and in the Articles of Faith from my church and in my faiths dedication of the Holy Land in 1841.

          “Why do you reject their beliefs?”

          Whose and whats beliefs? There is some degree of truth in every religions beliefs and I know that I do not have all truth. I can only reject those parts of others beliefs which contradict what I know to be true, as God has given to all people that portion of His word that He has seen fit to give in wisdom. So I can say that most of Christianity is wrong as to the nature of God because it contradicts all of the accounts (including in the Bible) of those that have seen or talked with God, but that they are correct that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.

        • Kodie

          So you really think they just decided to make Israel and then later found out that it was “foretold” in the bible?

          You are extremely vague (might even say evasive) about what you know and how you know it. I want to know examples of what you reject and how you know their beliefs contradict what you believe. I asked you a question and here is where you answer with an answer or say something vague and uninformative again. Sure, your answers are going to be horseshit and be torn apart because they’re illogical. Your other course is to cling to what you believe no matter how absurd on the basis that you believe it is true and no other reason that the rest of us can see. How very like every other religion Mormonism is! How not completely different at all!

        • JohnH2

          Yes actually because the Christians involved were operating under the assumption that the Jews had been rejected by God, it is quite well documented.

          I gave you a precise difference between what I believe and what the vast majority of Christianity believes and why. I reject the Islamic claim that Jesus is not our Savior and our God, that should be obvious as to how I know that contradicts what I believe. I reject the Hindu claim of reincarnation as that is directly contrary to what is found in my scriptures as to the plan of salvation. I reject the Catholic claim to unbroken authority because that is what is in my scriptures. I guess I am not sure what you are asking for?

        • Kodie

          That is absolutely the evasive answer I was expecting.

          In essence you believe yours is true because:

          Muslims say 5+3=10
          Hindus say 5+3=99
          Catholics say 5+3=5
          Mormonism is correct because it says 5+3=2

          They all conflict with what you believe because they are not your belief. Why do you believe silly nonsense (that is what I call it) and not some other silly nonsense? Why was theirs not convincing to you? How did you arrive at 2? Because 10, 99, and 5 were in conflict with 2? Or because 2 is actually the logical conclusion?

        • JohnH2

          I am sorry I didn’t understand what you were asking. I know what I know in regards to religion because I followed the counsel given in Alma 32, Moroni 10:3-5 and thus came to know the truth of the Book of Mormon, and of the church I belong to. From that it logically follows that there are pieces of what the Muslims, Hindus, and Catholics believe that must be wrong. It also logically follows that pieces of what they believe must be right and that there are pieces upon which I do not know if they are right or wrong.

          Without knowledge from God then there is no reason to believe one set of silly nonsense over the other, it would seem making a choice that makes minimalist claims such as Confucianism could be best or perhaps what is most culturally advantageous given ones location. With knowledge from God then that changes and one should do what God says is correct for one to do; However, it is foolish to assume that one has a complete knowledge of God, and especially with what is in the Book of Mormon, it is wise to assume that any religion that produces good results has some amount of truth in it.

        • Kodie

          Since I don’t know what “Alma 32, Moroni 10:3-5″ says, I googled it, and the first result brings up a forum for Mormon recovery, in which I found an analysis of this passage.

          http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,898602,898612#msg-898612

          Alma 32 is set out like an experiment. It suggests that we try the
          experiment, and see if our belief can’t be grown into certain knowledge.

          First
          observation is that the whole notion of using Alma 32 as a blueprint
          for the acquisition of knowledge is logically dubious.

          Why should
          I accept the Book of Mormon as a guide to figuring out what is true? I
          would do so only if I already believed that the Book of Mormon is true.
          Hence, I need to be convinced of the results before I even start the
          experiment.

          At the same time, any other book (Quran, Bible) could
          be making similar claims. Even if the results are positive, I have no
          way of knowing if I wouldn’t have gotten exactly the same result using
          the Bhagavad Gita, for example. In order to figure out if the experience
          I have using Alma 32 and the Book of Mormon is unique, I would have to
          apply the same test to any other book that makes similar supernatural
          claims. The same can be said of Moroni’s Promise (Moroni 10: 3-5).

          I already know that’s how people develop religious leanings and security in their own certainty. Why is yours correct and all others false? As far as I can tell, it’s a trick you play on yourself until you’re convinced. It’s not something you can tell someone else, it’s just like every other faith in that way. Once you have one faith, all others are in conflict, obviously. You started yourself on a journey, forsaking all other beliefs, in preference of one. Coming out of the fog, you believe in that one and can distinctly recognize the conflicts of all other beliefs, thus rejecting them – for no logical reason I might add. Mormonism says 5+3=2. The correct answer is 8. 10, 99, 5, and 8 do not equal 2, but 2 is not the correct answer.

          You are being evasive like you don’t know what I’m talking about and you don’t think I know exactly what you’re talking about. You are talking about entrancing yourself in some kind of prayer to wish something true until it is for you. That has absolutely nothing to do with explaining why WHY REALLY yours is true and all others are false. There wouldn’t be other religions if they were all the same as yours. Only atheists seem acutely aware of why people might choose one over another, but you don’t have anything to add to this discussion. You belong to one tribe, who should care and why? You don’t answer these hard questions, you only know how to attempt conversion.

          You know how you got there, but you admit that it’s not the Mormon way to lay out evidence. You are a proselytizer just like any other Christian. There is no decision for the mark to make, nothing to compare it to. A Christian would make their spiel, the target would immerse themselves in the habit of the evangelizer, and by golly, if you’re gullible enough, you come out on the other side with a distinct belief that conflicts with all other beliefs, never having studied those beliefs or attempting to find out whether they are true. They are only rendered untrue by your exposure to a different one earlier.

          Or be like an atheist – there are actual reasons those beliefs, and yours, conflict with what is actually true. Try to answer the actual questions asked of you and stop trying to make exceptions from other faiths that your faith does not actually merit.

          You are saying you studied it and found it to be true, therefore everything else is immediately not true. Have you tried to study anything else? Have you tried to conceive of a world where your beliefs aren’t true and something else is? You have what’s called cognitive bias. No matter what anyone says, you are repeating from a script that your belief reigns true. You have not obviously considered as deeply anything else being true. You have not considered the veracity of any other religion or no religion. You infected yourself with Mormonism and you’re no longer objective.

        • JohnH2

          Kodie,

          The first result was LDS.org being the actual scripture assuming you actually googled those scriptures. I would suggest you actually read that first result instead of accepting the answer given. Moroni 10 specifically states that one can use the same procedure for any other faiths books; which is something I have regularly used: being offered to read and pray about someone else’s holy texts if they do the same for the Book of Mormon.

          Which means that I have read and studied quite a few other belief systems and conceived of what the world is like under that belief system. I note that I am able to determine when someone is from Islam, while you and Bob have shown difficulty doing so. That I regularly am quoting from fairly random religious sources while you and Bob stick to fundie. evangelicals. I am not sure how any of that makes you think that I haven’t studied other beliefs; as far as I can tell you have looked at a little bit of Buddhism outside of Evangelical Christianity (probably) and Bob has looked at nothing else other than Evangelical Christianity in any detail.

          “Why is yours correct and all others false?”

          Because God said so, as I have said. It is your assertion, with no evidence that you are right, that God did not say so and this because you believe there is no God. I am not talking about deluding oneself, I am talking about communication from God, which is quite a different thing altogether, I am not God so I can’t communicate as God to you to prove that God has communicated to me; the only way for that to happen is for God to communicate to you. I have given you the scriptures to suggest how you can go about doing that, if don’t wish to engage in the really simple task that it takes to attempt communication with God that seems to be more of personal problem rather then any sort of objective or logical reasoning; try it and see; you are also quite free to try the same procedure on whatever else you want, as per Moroni 10.

        • Kodie

          People get different google results. I was trying to read the passage you called up, such as if I googled the bible chapter and verse, I would find biblegateway and read the actual passage. I looked at it and found the analysis of it, from an ex-mormon and supported by several others to be an adequate response. You are saying you have to believe in god before you go looking to find truth in what god tells you, and so is the link I posted.

          I do not have to prove god doesn’t exist. You have to prove god exists. I am positive IF a god exists, not you or anyone else knows what he wants. You are gathering from the words and thoughts of men. If you have anything further to prove about the veracity of your faith, you have to start with why you think your faith is exceptionally unique in knowing, in the exact same way other believers of other faiths know, not only that god exists but what he wants. Every faith claims to know exactly what you know and how you say you know it. You are being evasive when you say the only reason you reject other faiths is because you have come to know yours is correct. That is not the only reason to reject those faiths, and probably the weakest way to determine whether a faith is false. The “I believe X so Y is contradictory and therefore untrue” is the same reason Creationists reject evolution. You have given no reason for anyone to go through the process of becoming a Mormon, nor any reason why anyone should agree with you or take you seriously.

        • JohnH2

          ” I am positive IF a god exists, not you or anyone else knows what he wants.”

          And how do you know what a Being you say is not existent does or does not what?

          “your faith is exceptionally unique in knowing,”

          Well, for one it believed in the literal gathering of Israel well before that started. The testimony of the prophets and apostles is also something unique. Probably the biggest thing that first gets people interested in my faith, outside of the Spirit of God, is the positive effects that are evidence in the average members life, which while I can provide statistics to back that up I don’t think I can actually demonstrate over the Internet.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Without knowledge from God then there is no reason to believe one set of silly nonsense over the other

          Seems pretty easy to just reject all the silly nonsense.

          But sure, knowledge from God sounds great. Why pretend that you’ve got it? Surely there are enough examples of people, both within Christianity and without, who claim to have had divine wisdom but have been wrong. Shouldn’t that encourage a little humility?

          it is wise to assume that any religion that produces good results has some amount of truth in it.

          Are we back to the usefulness question? Just because beliefs are useful doesn’t make them true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          you haven’t actually attempted to explain
          it.

          I don’t know what’s remarkable here that needs explaining.
          Is it the prediction? I assume you’re thinking of Daniel?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Revelation says that the Constitution was inspired by God, yes.

          If that’s your religious belief, OK. In an attempt to get us back to the original point, you’d said, “You appear to be laboring under the assumption that I am somehow against the divinely inspired Constitution of the US.” Call it inspired by whatever you want. I don’t see it as such, and the natural explanation for the Constitution is quite sufficient.

          You realize that at no point have I addressed the OP and that my responses (up until now) were directed solely at arkenaten?

          Am I intruding? Assuming I’m not, I thought I’d follow up on what seemed to me to be surprising statements about the Constitution.

          What part of truth and matters for what?

          If you don’t have an answer, that’s fine. Just say so.

          I know that I do not have the entire truth of everything in the universe and etc. I know that God has revealed to every people that portion of His word which He has seen fit to give them.

          Do you know these two things with equal certainty?

          So if a person is an atheist and lives as though they had the Law of God then they are just as blessed

          And the atheist who has a decent understanding of the claims of your church but rejects them as false nonetheless? What happens to that guy?

          If a religion, whatever religion, helps a person be a better and more moral person that cares for and helps others than that is something good, regardless of the correctness otherwise of the knowledge within the religion.

          Granted, but this is such a trivial point that I can’t believe you’re stating it as if it’s something worth celebrating. All that you or I care about (for this discussion) is whether the truth claims of any particular religion are true or not, right? If believers in that religion are nicer or less nice doesn’t much matter, does it? All that matters is that you and I accept the path that is likeliest to be true.

          If the religion does not help a person be better than it is bad, or at least being followed wrongly, even if it is the most correct one in its beliefs.

          Huh? If you are following the correct path but you’re not a better person for it, you’re not following the correct path? Perhaps you could rephrase.

          Correct action is just as or more important than correct belief, but correct belief is finally important.

          Item #1 on our agenda is figuring out the truth and accepting that. Then let’s figure out how to make people nicest.

        • JohnH2

          No, you aren’t really intruding; if anything I am.

          Yes, I know that I don’t know everything and I know that God gives portions of the truth to everyone with equal certainty.

          Knowing the details of my faith isn’t what matters; to be damned requires a full knowledge that something is from God and rejecting that knowledge. Knowing the details without knowing it is from God doesn’t seem like it is too bad of a situation to be in; knowing the details but not seeking to know if it is from God does put one in a dicier situation; but if one has sought to know if it is from God according as they understand it then them not knowing is between them and God and I am not in a position to judge.

          ” such a trivial point”

          I doesn’t seem at all trivial to me, if a religion makes a person a better person that seems to me to be highly relevant as to whether there is any truth in the religion.

          “Perhaps you could rephrase.”

          If what one knows is true and one is not better because of what one knows then one is worse off then if one were following something not true but was better for it. Or in other words: “The devils also believe and tremble”.

          “Item #1 on our agenda is figuring out the truth and accepting that.”

          Truth about God needs to come from God and should change action in positive manners if it is true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I doesn’t seem at all trivial to me, if a religion makes a person a better person that seems to me to be highly relevant as to whether there is any truth in the religion.

          Paradoxically, the atheist says almost what John says. Given that Christianity is malarkey like all the other religions, all that matters is the effect its adherents have on society.

          But coming from an open-minded viewpoint, “You should believe Christianity because its believers tend to be a little better citizens than those who don’t believe it” is not compelling. Seriously, that is a selling point that you might lead with?! Seems to me that “You should believe Christianity because it’s true” is about a billion times more compelling.

          Now, granted, there are believers who are Christian, not because they feel that there are intellectual reasons in favor of Christianity but simply because it’s comfortable or because that’s where their community is or that’s an important part of their personal identity. Maybe that’s true for most believers. I would’ve thought, however, that this isn’t where you would go. Is “Christianity is useful” any reason at all to become a Christian?

          If what one knows is true and one is not better because of what one knows then one is worse off then if one were following something not true but was better for it.

          I believe that protons are made of quarks. That belief is either true or false. Doesn’t seem to have made me any better—does that mean that my belief is false?

          Truth about God needs to come from God and should change action in positive manners if it is true

          “The Trinity is/isn’t true.” Does that truth change anyone, either positively or negatively?

        • JohnH2

          To be true is to correspond with reality. If something effects reality then it has some correspondence to reality and is not completely false. Religion is useful is a reason to be religious, but it isn’t a reason to be any particular religion; you could choose the one that is the most useful but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is actually true (narrowing the search space would seem reasonable though). So it should be enough to get one to choose to be religious, in the nebulous form of Confucianism or the negative form of part of Buddhism perhaps.

          Since Christianity that asks for anything other than praising Jesus (which doesn’t appear useful) also tends to ask for a lot more than what is apparently useful than the usefulness of religion doesn’t seem enough to cause someone to be Christian. In fact usefulness is highly limited so something conservative in its claims such as Confucianism or Buddhism or something similar would, if usefulness were the only thing, be much more rational over Christianity. One can choose some version of one of those religions without having to believe in God or any particular view of an afterlife (or lack thereof).

          I know that religion isn’t limited to usefulness in its truth; but usefulness is a partial prerequisite in my opinion. I am often suggesting a task to determine truth more than usefulness.

          “that mean that my belief is false?”

          The knowledge of things as they really are does make a person better. Quarks may not be useful in your everyday life but the knowledge of them is useful in particular tasks and knowledge has value for its own sake.

          ” Does that truth change anyone, either positively or negatively?”

          Actually, yes. The knowledge that God is literally the father of our spirits and is an exalted man directly leads to the divine feminine also existing. That God is embodied and like us changes completely what it means to be one with God and to be like God; which changes ones view of ones potential and destiny and provides motivation for further changes in action. That knowledge also changes what it means to be married and the potential of marriage.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Suppose in the true religion, there is no afterlife, and the creator god wants you to live an ascetic life, ignoring your fellow man and all pleasures. Knowing the truth isn’t very useful, but I’d still want to know that truth.

        • Nox

          “Every reason”?

          What any reason is there to think the Exodus happened?

          You acknowledge it is a made up story which was inserted into the bible for propaganda purposes. But because it wound up in the bible, that means it must be something which really happened?

          There is no archaeological evidence suggesting the israelites were ever there. There is a dearth of evidence for something which if true would leave an abundance of evidence, which is itself evidence that the exodus did not happen.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your so right John,the internet opens up people to so much information,good and bad,right and wrong. I believe many more in the world previously limited in being exposed to the gospel will find God because of the internet than the few who are mislead by poor science and thinking.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Poor science/thinking would indeed mislead (kinda by definition), but what about good science/thinking? Isn’t there a fair amount of that out there as well?

        • Norm Donnan

          Totally Bob,and l love science,even married a science teacher.But i dont think its the kind of science we are talking about here.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Perhaps I don’t know what the topic is. I thought we were talking about people with questions about Christianity being able to look things up on the internet. So yes, good science on the internet is exactly what we’re talking about here–good science showing young-earth creationist fundamentalists that the earth is indeed old and evolution is indeed well supported, good science showing that the Mormon historical claims have no support, good science showing that the big questions that the Bible answered to the satisfaction of Iron Age desert people are laughably primitive compared to what science says, and so on.

        • Kodie

          Well, you’re on the internet, Norm. You can expose yourself to the truth about science, but you prefer to stick with the lies. It is totally true that there can be a whole internet of truth and some people just can’t be made to look at it.

        • Nox

          If your religion can only maintain believability by keeping adherents from having access to information, the internet will hurt it more than help it. By being on the internet, you risk seeing evidence that Joseph Smith was lying. The gospel can only compete in a space where the information which proves it untrue is not available.

          For example, if your church teaches that the american indians were jews, they better hope the church is your only source of information. If your holy book mentions horses, chariots, silk and swords as being on this continent before the Europeans got here, your church has a vested interest in keeping you from ever reading a real history book. If the tenets of your faith are all badly misunderstood and bastardized tenets of the broader christian faith, you’d probably want to avoid having mormons find out too much about the history of their religion. If the church can only keep people interested in attending by denying them any awareness of their other options, they should be hesitant to send mormons to places where they will see people enjoying the non-mormon lifestyle.

          If you try to preach an insular religion which relies on potential converts having absolutely no information about anything in order to possibly believe anything you’re saying, you’ll do a lot better on the street in Utah than arguing with people who have access to non-mormon websites.

          Sure, you can put some ads on the internet. F*cking anyone can. But that does not at all suggest mormonism can survive being exposed to free speech.

          Why do you think the church makes such an issue of telling you what movies or shows you can watch? Why do they only want you reading books printed by Deseret? Is it because they want you to see information from a variety of sources or because they are scared sh*tless of you seeing information from a variety of sources?

        • JohnH2

          Being Mormon one generally runs into all the claims of Joseph lying and whatever else regardless of being on the internet or not; there are plenty of people that will talk of little else once they know you are a Mormon.

          The church says very little about what I can or can not watch, it suggests but does not demand that perhaps R-rated movies and ones with excessive sex or violence regardless of rating might not be the best things to watch. The church never mentions Deseret Book nor is reading “only” things printed by Deseret Book encouraged; it is in fact inconsistent with the doctrine expressed in the D&C to do so as we are to seek after the best of books. The church doesn’t seem all that concerned about seeing other sources.

          Investigators are encouraged to read more online and the chruch doesn’t rely on potential converts not knowing anything.

          Most Mormons (including me) live and grew up in areas where there were we were the minority; actually most Mormons are converts but the point still remains. It is ludicrous to say that we are not aware of non-mormon lifestyles.

        • Nox

          Not claims of Joseph Smith lying. Anyone can claim anything. And hearing someone claim Smith was lying is no threat to anyone’s faith. Conclusive evidence that Smith was lying could be a threat to people’s faith. It is the evidence that Smith was lying which can be found on the internet but never in any mormon approved publication.

          I realize the religion is practiced differently in different places by different individuals and even the official beliefs have evolved quite a bit.

          But “The church says very little about what I can or can not watch”, “The church never mentions Deseret Book nor is reading “only” things printed by Deseret Book encouraged”, and “actually most Mormons are converts” and “Investigators are encouraged to read more online” (unless you are strictly talking about official LDS sources) are just straight factually untrue.

          Do you assume none of us have ever talked to a mormon before? You suppose we cannot look up your doctrines and covenants ourselves? You seem to think you can represent the institution as whatever you want and no one will know enough about the real institution’s track record to notice any misrepresentation.

          Potential converts are encouraged to read the Book of Mormon and pray to god to reveal to them that it is true. This revelation is promised to come not from external evidence, but in the form of a strong internal sense of conviction (often referred to as “a burning in the bosom”) that what they are reading is true. Whether you’ve heard of it or not, this is in the official script taught to all mormon missionaries.

          The possibility of having any sense that what you are reading in the Book of Mormon is true, requires that you not already know the facts which contradict Smith’s account. So it is not as ludicrous as it might sound to you to say the church does rely on potential converts not knowing.

        • JohnH2

          Nox, you are upset about installing Internet filters for pornography, swearing, and so forth? I am very confused about why you think it is a problem for parents to attempt to shield young children from such things.

          ” this is in the official script taught to all Mormon missionaries.”

          I have provided links to Preach My Gospel here which is the actual thing that is taught to all Mormon Missionaries, if you wish I can do so again.

          “any sense that what you are reading in the Book of Mormon is true, requires that you not already know the facts which contradict Smith’s account.”

          No, it doesn’t. I know personally a decent number of people who were quite conversant in all of the facts which purport to contradict Smith’s account.

          If you could stop telling me what I believe then perhaps we could have an actual discussion.

        • Nox

          Upset? No, I’m pointing to it as a piece of data. It is an example, both of mormonism being afraid of outside data, and of the mormon church not matching your description of them here.

          I don’t claim to know what you believe. Beyond individual statements you yourself have made and your identification with mormon theology, I in fact do not know what you believe. I do know what the mormon church officially believes. And it is that which I have made statements about.

          If you mean the “you seem to think” part, I have still not told you what you believe. I have simply told you that the things you have said would only make sense from someone who believed they were talking to someone who had never met a mormon and had no previous knowledge of things like internet filters.

        • JohnH2

          Again I do not understand why you think that Internet filters on pornography do not match the description of what I was saying. Schools commonly put in place similar Internet filters and rating agencies regularly suggest that some films may not be age appropriate on movies. This is not about controling information but about saying somethings are only appropriate for adults (if ever) and attempting to shield children from such things including violence, swearing, pronography, neo-nazi sites, and so forth.

          Your statements do not match up with what the official statements say though, which is what I believe.

        • Nox

          Perhaps we are still misunderstanding each other.

          My main intended point here has been something you seem to partially agree with (“What the Internet does do is force individuals and the church at large to confront and deal with issues that were previously ignored or overlooked”).

          The part we disagree on is what happens afterward. That is, how mormonism or christianity in general can hold up when it is forced to answer its tough questions. Given that you think mormonism can withstand investigation, it’s not surprising you would come to the conclusion that investigation is not a threat.

          While it is understandable, you are still completely wrong to conclude this.

          There is a reason the church at large makes such a point of overlooking certain issues. They are afraid of certain questions because they do not have answers. When the church is forced to answer these questions they reveal the whole enterprise to be the shoddy fabrication it is.

          Any institution which is based on unquestioning acceptance of dogma (more if that dogma is observably untrue) has an interest in keeping people from seeing conflicting information. The mormon church basically owes its existence to keeping people from seeing conflicting information.

          This is why I had to jump in and say something here. I mostly don’t consider it worth my time to attack mormonism. It’s a local knockoff of christianity and when christianity goes away, mormonism will just kind of dissolve on its own. But if you’re going to describe the mormon church as less insular than other churches, you are describing the mormon church in a way that does not remotely correspond to the words and actions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their track record portrays the mormon church as among the most insular institutions.

          Just to clarify, it’s not like I’m suggesting mormons couldn’t figure out how to use a web browser (nor has anyone suggested mormons can’t be husbands or fathers or purchase advertisements). What Arkenaten meant about the internet destroying religion is that religious people will have access to ideas outside the spectrum of what their church allows. By allowing people to access whatever information they want, the internet makes indoctrination much harder.

          Any idea which can be conveyed in any series of words and images can be hosted on the internet. And as this would imply, the mormon scriptures can of course be hosted on the internet.

          But this kind of overlooks the point about the marketplace of ideas (which is the point you were responding to when you entered this thread). No one is saying you can’t put your ideas out there. You can. That’s the beautiful thing about the marketplace of ideas. Anyone can put anything out there, and anyone can choose from among the resulting variety. The problem this creates for cults is not inability to spread their message, but inability to keep their members from accessing outside information.

          There will still be christians in the digital age, and there will still be mormons in the digital age. It will just be harder to force people to participate in these religions (Once we get there, I don’t really object to people believing whatever silly bullsh*t makes them happy. My real goal is just for everyone to get a choice.) When more people are not forced to participate, fewer people will participate. When more people encounter evidence that the beliefs of their parents are not true, fewer people will participate.

          The origins of christianity and islam are partially buried in the sands of time. The origins of mormonism are documented and embarrassing. The mormon church has to hide its origin. It has to be afraid of you finding out what things it has already said and done. That is not a secure position to occupy in the digital age.

          If conflicting information is really no threat to the mormon faith, how is it that you can only bring yourself to refer to “claims of Joseph lying” and “facts which purport to contradict Smith’s account”.

          Your visible desire not only to not admit Smith was lying, but to not even mention “facts which do contradict Smith’s account” would seem to support the obvious fact that Smith’s credibility as a prophet is kind of important to the credibility of the mormon faith. One might even say the mormon faith is not equipped to ever consider the idea that Smith was lying.

          Is there any point at which you yourself could ever openly say that Smith lied (I’m not asking you to say he lied, I’m just asking you to consider whether this is conceivable)? How many lies would you have to catch him in before you could say that? And if you did admit to the presence of lies in your holy book, could your own faith survive that admission?

          My point in saying this isn’t to get you to question your own faith. You’ve made your decision there. What I’m trying to do is illustrate a point to you about what will happen when others question their faith.

          What do you think is going to happen with any mormons who can’t bring themselves to deny the overwhelming evidence of Smith’s deception?

          What happens to the mormon who isn’t willing to make bad excuses for their god? What happens to the mormon who isn’t satisfied to keep believing when they know they have been lied to? Does your church have any answers for them?

          For the people raised in the mormon church who become aware of the problems with the beliefs they have been taught, their hard questions will only be met by evasiveness from the church. In times past this would be the end of the journey for most of them. They would just not have any other option available to them and they would stay where they started.

          This will no longer be their only option. As it becomes harder for the church to control where people are able to look for answers, the church will find it immensely harder to control what answers people find.

          Those who venture into the marketplace to find answers will find answers there they never could have found at home.

          And for those poor souls who venture into the marketplace to preach the mormon faith, there can only be defeat and disappointment. All they will have available to them are the same sh*tty arguments you are trying to use here. They will have a story with a thousand holes, arguments that have already been deflated and no evidence in a forum where evidence reigns supreme.

          It may have been overly harsh to say the mormon gospel relies on the hearer knowing nothing. But it does rely on a lot of very large gaps in the hearer’s knowledge. Without this pool of ignorance to draw upon, your gospel falls apart under its own weight pretty quickly.

          When the missionaries try to misrepresent history to make it more compatible with mormon revisionist history, they will be doing it in front of an audience with access to wikipedia. When these cybermissionaries try to misrepresent what mormons believe for PR purposes, opponents will be able to point to LDS Inc’s own website to show the inconsistency (and for the observers, every argument they witness will show them how much certain beliefs do not hold up to examination).

          When asked for evidence of god, all they will have available to them will be that same facile script telling skeptics to read the Book of Mormon and pray for god to provide evidence.

          Speaking of the script, it’s kind of f*cked up that when I mentioned the talking points given to mormon missionaries stressing prayerful meditation of the BoM over verifiable reasons to believe, you portrayed it as some massive misrepresentation of mormonism. But now, only one day later on the same thread you are saying the exact same thing you just suggested mormons would not say.

          That happened right? I didn’t just hallucinate that?

          After I made my initial statement about mormonism relying on potential mormons being denied information, you said “The church doesn’t seem all that concerned about seeing other sources. Investigators are encouraged to read more online.”. To which I replied with something like ‘No, that is not what investigators are encouraged to do. I’ve read the f*cking script myself. Investigators are encouraged to read the Book of Mormon and pray to god to show them it is true’.

          Judging by your offer to link to the “actual” script, you didn’t seem to recognize this description as accurate.

          And yet, when Arkenaten asks you for some reason to think your god is real, you go right to “The desirable outcome is to get others to seek God for themselves before they are forced to acknowledge the existence of God by other evidences. To that end I suggest reading the Book of Mormon and follow the council found in Alma 32 and Moroni 10:3-5.”.

          Were we miscommunicating there? Cause I’m pretty sure you just called me a liar for accurately predicting what you were going to say.

          And no, I’m not upset. Again, I’m trying to make a broader point here. That broader point being that mormonism (like any variant of christianity but uniquely so) is built on appeal to revelation and has nothing else going for it.

          The mormon church does not encourage mormons or potential converts to investigate outside sources. Ever. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect. Unless you have some clarification as to how you weren’t just following that script, or something to add to your answers to Kodie or Arkenaten, I’ll just go ahead and assume you agree with me about the church’s preference for mormon approved sources and repeat my earlier question since it was the whole point of this whole thing.

          Why is the church so concerned with making sure all your information comes from them?

        • JohnH2

          “They are afraid of certain questions because they do not have answers”

          That has not been my experience.

          “beliefs of their parents are not true,”

          Over half the church are converts and the lds church continue to grow via converts. You are making a misrepresentation of who members of the church generally are and what they know of the outside world.

          ” how is it that you can only bring yourself to refer to “claims of Joseph lying” and “facts which purport to contradict Smith’s account”.”

          Because excluding Joseph Smith saying he didn’t practice polygamy when he demonstrably did, and this for the stated reason by others at that time of attempting to prevent yet more mobs from forming and driving out the church and killing the leaders (as did eventually happen), I have looked at the evidence which purports to say that Joseph Smith was lying and it is fairly shoddy.

          The Book of Abraham is probably the biggest thing, particularly the facsimiles. However, there is a correlation between the facsimiles (themselves) and other passages in the Bible. There are also quite a lot of things found only in the Book of Abraham and in gnostic gospels which weren’t available to Joseph Smith. I can’t claim to know how Joseph Smith was ‘translating’ or what it was that he was actually translating or what he meant by ‘translating’, but given the JST of the Bible (which is quite interesting in parts when compared to other texts not available to Joseph Smith), then I am fine with it not being a literal translation of the papyri that we have as of yet found.

          “That happened right? I didn’t just hallucinate that?”

          Looking back at exactly that singular paragraph then your portrayal does seem accurate, I was responding as you also said quite a lot else in the previous two paragraphs which is not accurate. You also suggested that I wasn’t aware of Preach My Gospel, which is also inaccurate as I was pointing out. I am sorry for the confusion, however you in your next paragraph perpetuate the confusion by conflating this with the idea that investigators are not supposed to research further, which is not found in Preach My Gospel.

          “has nothing else going for it.”

          I have been arguing for two other pieces of data which I feel are obvious enough and open enough that I feel comfortable pointing to them without feeling like I am trying to prove the existence of God. I know of quite a few more pieces of data but I have already explained my position on trying to prove the existence of God.

          “you weren’t just following that script,”

          What script? I do this because I find it interesting and enjoyable for me, I am not following a script.

          “Why is the church so concerned with making sure all your information comes from them?”

          I have not seen any such concern within the church.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sounds very open minded. I suggest inviting in atheists to teach a Sunday school class.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really think of the internet as spreading the idea that there is
          no god. I think it’s here, where people will find it when they look.
          People no longer have to embarrass themselves to ask their pastor or
          risk suspicion or diversion from the answers to their questions. They
          can look for it on the internet and learn everything they want to know
          and more. They can also find guidance and support for their deconversion
          because they know what it will cost them. If there were no internet,
          they’d have nowhere to turn to see if their secret thoughts are normal
          or acceptable outside their closed little world.

        • Norm Donnan

          Well Arke that depends what they are looking for. If a person in a previously closed country types in “who was Jesus” or “is heaven real”,what will they find,a link to a science site,or a book called “Heaven is for real”.They dont know about Dawkins or Hichens.If someone from a western type country is on the internet looking for other views on religion then yes they will find what they are looking for.What l believe will happen in 3 or 4 generations wont be Christianity disappearing,but be the standard everywhere and they will look back the same way as we do on slavery and race segregation and be appalled to think people aborted their children,had same sex marriage and blew others up in the name of religion.Oh and Big Bang Theory will still be on tv and be seen for what it is,a group of socially inept men,dealing with asbergers and other syndromes in the funniest of ways.

        • arkenaten

          Ironic that you would raise the spectre of slavery especially as this is sanctioned by your god within the very pages of your book, the bible.

          ”and dealing with asbergers and other syndromes in the funniest of ways.”

          With apologies to my gay friends, I am not sure what an ”asberger” is – maybe something you believe is sold at Mcdonald’s specifically for homosexual men, perhaps? Oh, yes…another group of “social misfits” condemned to death in your Book of Love, by your god.

          Try aspergers.

          ”They dont know about Dawkins or Hichens.”
          Dear oh dear, do you perhaps ever visit Youtube or is this not permitted in your church?

          The fact, irrespective of religious tantrums, is quite simply that religion is on the decline.
          You have had 2000 years to get it right and, I am happy to say, have been unable to deliver the goods.
          Shame… but that’s the way the game is played….Next!

        • Norm Donnan

          Why are you apologizing to your gay friends because l spelt aspergers wrong? And why do you think people go to hell for being homosexual ? Why do you think any church cares wether l go on youtube,its only a click away from here ? Oh and its good religion is on the decline,Gods really not into religion at all,its all about relationship dont you know ?Are you lucky Christianity has been “in control” for the last 2000 years otherwise we would all still be in the dark ages,the “goods” have been well and truly delivered thats why you have the freedom you have to live life how you do and have the option to disagree with me.If you dont understand what your freedoms are take a tripto the Middle East and give them your opinion and see how it goes down,pretty sure if you get to come home you will be thanking Jesus for you freedom….Next

        • arkenaten

          ”Why are you apologizing to your gay friends because l spelt aspergers wrong? ”

          I think this would be referred to a extracting the urine.
          But maybe MuckDonalds do make a gay-burger? I am not a fan of fast food, myself. Give you something else to be morally indignant about. God knows you need it.

          I stand under correction, but I think you will find it was the Church that was largely responsible for the Dark Ages.
          Although some progress was made in the field of engineering. The church sponsored the design and construction of some rather nifty tools for freeing the human soul from its body. While it was still alive and kicking, too.

          The religion of Islam also slammed on the brakes of common sense and reason in its part of the world.

          Worshipping camels, paedophilia and all that stuff.

          From the continual silliness you espouse you are living breathing proof of the intellectual regression religion and god belief fosters among its adherents.Not to mention a total absence of a sense of humour.
          Still, Jesus wants you for a sunbeam, right?
          Hows that working for you, BTW?

        • Norm Donnan

          Hey,Im a big Monty Python fan buddy and if there’s group of up tight people,they are well represented here,(but much more on Unreasonable faith and UN Friendly atheist) Oh and intellectual regression please,where do l start,do l feel threatened ?l dont think so.I will continue to shine my light because it works so well thank you for asking.XX

        • arkenaten

          Ah, so you’re the one christian that didn’t protest about the Life of Brian.
          I always wondered if I would ever meet him.
          “You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow ANYONE.”
          You must have laughed like a drain at that line eh?
          Then quickly looked around to see if any of your christian mates were watching!

          A movie that should be compulsory viewing in Seminary and all Sunday Schools.

        • Norm Donnan

          So true,Brian was a man,nothing more nothing less.The movie wasnt derogatory to Jesus Christ,but yes there were plenty of offended people.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Democracy, free speech, racial equality, women’s suffrage and all that–you’re telling me that we have Christianity to thank for that? I’m pretty sure that the Bible makes clear that God is on a different page.

        • Norm Donnan

          No,no He’s not,you just dont know Him yet.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          ?? You’re deluding yourself. The ethics of the God of the Old Testament has no place in 21st century culture.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (I see that arkenaten got to this before me. Sorry for repetitions.)

          They dont know about Dawkins or Hichens.

          Sure, someone curious about Christianity can find out all sort of things about the many sects of Christianity. And someone trapped within Christianity, unable to talk about their doubts with other believers, can do research in private and find out about the deficiencies in the Christian worldview.

          in 3 or 4 generations wont be Christianity disappearing,but be the standard everywhere and they will look back the same way as we do on slavery and race segregation and be appalled to think people aborted their children,had same sex marriage and blew others up in the name of religion.

          So not just Christianity but your flavor of Christianity with your particular views will reign supreme? Let’s just say that I’m skeptical.

          It’s odd that you cite things like slavery and segregation as bad things since the OT celebrates these views. (Genocide was cool, too.) Don’t thank Christianity for this change!

        • Norm Donnan

          I actually dont have a “flavor”Bob.Some things l like more than others but heh Gods a creative God and He likes to do things in many and various ways.And yes Christians were behind most of the cultural changes the world has seen.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You have a set of dictates or dogmas or whatever that define Christianity in your mind, right? That’s what I’m talking about.

        • Norm Donnan

          Probably,though lm not really sure what they would be.There is only one thing I do trust and that is God judges the heart of man rightly.The only other absolute is no man comes to the father but through Jesus,but what does that really mean ?And is it the way presented by the evangelical church only,l dont think so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You trust that God judges man rightly? How do you make sense of hell? Doesn’t infinite punishment for finite crimes seem out of proportion?

        • Norm Donnan

          What you fail to comprehend Bob is that you judge weather things are right or wrong by your standards,which may be high or low by my standards,but its all irrelevant because no one can meet Gods standards,thats why it is only through His grace that any person can go to heaven.You can never do enough to work your way there,can never act or live so religious that He is impressed ,when He looks at you,if He doesnt see Jesus,He will say to you ,”depart from Me,l dont know you”.What that means for you ,you will have to work out, but denial isnt an option and you wont be debating the issue either.Well why didnt God do this or that,He should have done this or that….no only then you will know He is answerable to no man.On the Love,Joy,Feminism site they have been doing an interesting discussion on the Jewish belief in hell,which is most unbelievers go there for up to 11 months.I hope they are right.It really doesnt stress me if Christianity as lve been told isnt 100% correct.When I die Im sure l will say plenty of times,”oh l didnt know that”,..”but l thought” ect.Bob your intellect,good nature or your parents beliefs or science wont save you or convince you,There is only one way.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          its all irrelevant because no one can meet Gods standards

          God? What god? I see no evidence of a god.

          And the moral standards of the guy in the Old Testament are pretty deplorable. Seriously—genocide? Slavery? The guy is a butcher.

          You can never do enough to work your way there,can never act or live so religious that He is impressed

          What a fun religion! Golly, I wish I subscribed to it. It must be so cool to imagine that you’re more worthless than dog poo.

          It really doesnt stress me if Christianity as lve been told isnt 100% correct.

          What if it’s 0% correct? What if it’s just another ancient mythology like all the rest? Kinda makes you wish you’d been a bit more skeptical earlier, I’d guess.

        • Kodie

          Norm – your “flavor” of Christianity denies actual scientific methods for ascertaining fact. You “love” science as if it were art – you appreciate things that are categorically scientific, zoological, botanical, geological, but you do not know anything about these subjects. You think god is an artist and made all the animals and plants and mountains and oceans. CLUE: that’s not science.

        • Norm Donnan

          Your right Kodes God is an artist of the highest order,and what l realized long ago is that your “brand” of atheism isnt looking for facts or evidence in science or any where else,all your seeking to achieve is to convince yourselves that you wont ever be held accountable for your lifes choices,your wrong.CLUE: science wont help you

        • Nox

          Previously closed country?

          Do you think anyone anywhere hasn’t heard of Jesus?

          Christianity already did have unchecked dominance. That period you’re dreaming of where the church wipes out the competition is in the past, not the future. Those frontiers of innocent heathens waiting to hear about Jesus for the first time are an imaginary construct your church uses to drive up donations.

          Your church had sixteen hundred years of complete ownership of european society (with the forced export of christianity to the rest of the world). Their poor management made such an oppressive mess of everything that a bunch of christians decided to rebel against their own church (and contrary to assertions on this thread, christian dominance didn’t lead to people being more kind and loving, but rather it lead to the worst abuses in human history). It was the poor decision making by your divinely inspired leaders that caused the church to collapse.

          The leaders you follow sowed unwisely. And you are reaping accordingly. That is nothing to boast about.

          They will never get back the power or credibility they lost. More people will realize that the church fails to offer good guidance. They will continue to move away from being “the standard” as they have been doing ever since they were “the standard”. Eventually we will look back at belief in heaven the way we now look back at belief in the four humors. We will see the bigots of today fighting against equality for gay people the way we see the bigots of yesterday who fought against equality for black people. The reputation of the church will start to reflect the atrocities of the church. And the tenets will just seem less credible the more we find out about real science.

          Even among those who call themselves christian today there is a general disagreement with the geocentrism and misogyny that are endorsed in the bible (of those who claim to believe the bible, most do not admit or know what is in it). Many tenets which were formerly taught by the church and believed universally by christians have had to be thrown out because modern christians can’t bring themselves to believe their own sh*t.

          Even the central idea upon which the entire edifice of christianity is built, the salvation plan, is doomed to be abandoned. What this idea roughly states is that god wanted to let people into heaven but couldn’t because he was still mad at everyone for one guy eating a piece of fruit thousands of years earlier. It wasn’t in his power to simply get over the fruit thing, since this same god had decided blood sacrifices were a necessary component for forgiving anyone. So the only way he could think of to trick himself into forgiving people would be to sacrifice himself to himself to pay himself the cost of the sin committed by someone else before we were born that he had decided we were guilty of. And if you believe this story and are willing to accept a third party being killed on your behalf to assuage your guilt for something you didn’t do, then after you die you will be reincarnated in the sky to party with Jesus forever.

          It might not seem this way since we’re talking about something you want to believe. But let’s keep in mind we are talking about an idea that cannot withstand a moment’s examination.

          How well do you really think this idea is going to hold up when more people get a chance to think about it and more people get a choice whether to believe it.

        • Norm Donnan

          Blah blah blah Nox,youve got to much time on your hands to write so much of a bitter diatribe.Now go and make a nice cup of tea and have a lie down.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Not much of a response. Tell Nox he’s off topic if you want, but don’t pretend that he doesn’t have a point. I’m afraid that Nox wins this round.

        • Nox

          I could see how being told your statements bear no resemblance to reality every time you open your mouth could get kind of boring after a while.

          But you were the one who wanted to talk about this scenario where christianity could survive in the presence of other options and there are whole countries that have never heard of Jesus.

          I was just pointing out that the key elements of your fantasy are completely missing from the real world.

          And really Norm, if the only thing that doesn’t bore you to disinterest is being unchallenged, how are you going to deal with being challenged (something which is probably going to keep coming up if you keep saying ridiculous things).

          If you are unable or unwilling to even try to defend your faith, how do you think this bodes for christianity’s fate in the infosphere?

          If every conversation between christians and atheists ends with christians making fools of their god, how are you ever going to take over the internet?

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh dear Nox if you only cut out your little barbs and get to the point you could say it in half the time.I was going to respond to your point but after re-reading it l still carnt find one,so lm off to intellectually rape and pillage the internet in the name of Jesus.(singing…Onward Christian soldiers)

        • Kodie

          I think there will still be Christians of some kind for a long time, but whack-a-loon reality-deniers like yourself have no leg to stand on, on the internet or anywhere else. Your ideas cannot compete in the marketplace.

        • Norm Donnan

          Which imaginary market place do you mean Kodie ? Oh and I take your reality and replace it with my own.

        • Kodie

          It’s called the “marketplace of ideas” and it’s not a real place at your mall. It’s you coming here to discuss your horseshit beliefs without supporting them with evidence, and us seeing how it conflicts with reality. You have a lot of confidence that your beliefs can win over what you label as uneducated third-world people who have never heard of Jesus before. The countries you name are modern and have access to the internet. Maybe you didn’t read about that, because you still think of them as primitive and tribal with no electricity or books or schools. Your basic idea is that you’re not smart enough to win over the modern educated world, but you perhaps can teach your delusion to people who have never had contact with the rest of the world. In your mind, they are isolated and pure and too uneducated to reject your beliefs. That doesn’t actually speak to a lot of confidence about what you believe in, but the audience you are hoping to find will accept what you are saying because they don’t have the resources they might need to reject them!

          Then Nox laid it out for you how wrong you are and you didn’t have an answer to that so you sputtered and pouted that someone else knows a lot more than you do that your fantasy is absurd. You are dependent on stupidity of your customer to sell your religion – face it, it’s because you’d have to be stupid to believe it.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh dear Kodie,you and Nox should hook up,maybe he’s Dutch aswell.You seem to understand his/her diatribe and if you both think that you are the pinnacle of modern intelligence then all the better,you go girl .It might be just what you both need to ad some quality to your otherwise lonely lives.

      • arkenaten

        In the past religion held the upper hand largely because of inculcation at home and school. But now…. aaah, when someone asks ‘Why?” or “How?” Google will provide a thousand avenues to find the answer, rather than be forced to listen to the lying son of a bitch standing at the pulpit.
        And the internet is FULL of deconvertees telling their story, (even I was flabbergasted with what I have read so far)on blogs , podcast, free ebooks.
        You and I wont see its full demise, but rest assured, its days are numbered.
        Bill Gates and co. have seen to that.
        Still saying your prayers, are you? :)


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