Clues that Religion is False

Religion is falseImagine that you see someone wearing a tinfoil hat. What are they concerned about? Perhaps their thoughts are being read by the NSA or CIA. Perhaps some mysterious government agency is using radio waves to send commands into their brain. But that wasn’t the original purpose. Delusions change with the times, and there was no NSA or radio programming in the 1920s. Back then, the goal was to prevent telepathic intrusion.

Today, someone might fear alien abduction, but it might’ve been demon possession in an earlier time. Today, someone might fear government spying through computer malware, but yesterday it might’ve been fear about someone stealing their soul.

Signs of the times

It’s not just paranoid delusions that adapt to developments in science and technology. Bogus medical treatments also keep up to date. With new scientific interest in magnetism, Franz Mesmer treated patients with magnets in the late 1700s. With the discovery of radioactivity, radioactive products were popular in the early 1900s—radioactive toothpaste to brighten teeth and radium water (advertised as “Perpetual Sunshine”) to improve health.

We’ve seen this innovation in religion as well. The Fox sisters were key players in the growth of Spiritualism in the late 1800s, and they were investigated by well-known scientists. This gave them the luster of respectability. During the same period, Christian Science developed as a Christian response to scientific medicine.

More recently, UFO religions grew after UFOs and aliens became part of the culture. In 1997, the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide together to catch a ride on a UFO flying behind a comet. Raëlians prefer to enjoy life here on earth, with aliens providing technology for eternal life. Scientology’s mythology includes Xenu, the ruler of the Galactic Confederacy. The Nation of Islam also includes UFOs in its teachings.

New religions that would’ve been inconceivable just half a century ago include Kopimism, which views communication as sacred (“kopimi” = “copy me”) and Jediism, inspired by the movie Star Wars. Barely more credible are New Age views like those of Deepak Chopra, despite his frequent use of science-y words like “quantum” and “vibrations.”

What does this tell us?

If “Yahweh is the creator of the universe” were an instinctive truth programmed into every human heart, we would expect to see people moving toward Christianity, and there would be only one interpretation of it. However, the hydra of religion that we actually see, with new heads appearing daily, doesn’t look like what we’d expect if there were some universal, accessible religious truth. Indeed, it looks like quite the opposite. Religion is a response to vague supernatural desires, and these responses change with time and place. Far from coalescing into a single viewpoint, Christianity continues to mutate, with 42,000 denominations and counting.

Why does religion change and adapt? For the same reason that bogus medicine changes and adapts: hope.

If conventional medicine won’t promise you a cure, quack medicine will. Laetrile will cure your cancer, and stem cell treatments will cure your Parkinson’s. And if your life sucks—whether you’ve just been dealt a bad hand by life or you screwed it up yourself—religion offers hope. If you have guilt from past actions, here’s how to wipe the slate clean. If your present life is painful, here’s how to ensure a great afterlife. Religion is the cereal aisle at the grocery store—there’s something for everyone, with novel new products testing the water all the time.

Delusions, quack cures, and religion adapt to the times. None make convincing claims for truth.

There is a rumour going around that I have found God.
I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys,
and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
— Terry Pratchett

Photo credit: Tim Mowrer

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    If you have 50,001 competing religions, each claiming that the other 50,000 are bullshit and their adherents are going to burn forever in hell, there are only 2 logical possibilities:
    • Exactly 1 of them is right.
    • Exactly 0 of them are right.

    • CodyGirl824

      Richard, the issue is not whether or not any religion or its denominations are “right.” The issue is whether or not they are true. All religions have some elements of truth. Very few religions teach that followers of other religions are doomed to hell. Many people may claim that others who don’t follow their religion are doomed to hell whether this is a teaching of their religion or not, out of self-righteousness or a quest for power and dominance. Your dichotomy does not apply, nor does a view that religions are “competing.” Religious diversity is as natural and usual a phenomenon as cultural diversity, since religion and culture are intimately intertwined.

      • RichardSRussell

        the issue is not whether or not any religion [is] “right.” The issue is whether or not they are true.

        Right or true, take your pick. There’s still a maximum of 1 out of any disjoint set of belief systems. And nobody does “disjoint” any better than religions, with their various schisms, sects, apostasies, heresies, shunnings, and excommunications. (Not even gonna get into pogroms and witch hunts.)

        Your dichotomy does not apply, nor does a view that religions are “competing.”

        Of course they’re competing — duking it out for mindshare, in the brainpool where memes struggle for survival against others that share the same ecological niche. The various churches (not to mention outfits like Jews for Jesus) admit as much themselves. How naive do you think we are?

        You will not find an American astronomy, a Baptist biology, a capitalist chemistry, a mammalian math, or a feminist physics. There’s only one worldwide version of each, because they’re all based on facts, not opinions. Religion is nothing BUT opinions, no facts involved, which is why anybody’s word on religion is just as good as anyone else’s (to wit, no good at all).

        • CodyGirl824

          I simply find this “competition” model of religion to be a rather odd and narrow way of looking at religion, which as I said, has much more to do with culture and cultural diversity than with being “right.” I find this line of conversation to be rather superfluous and irrelevant, so don’t look for more responses on this thread from me.

        • Korou

          I’d like to point out that competition is a very valid way of looking at religions. Religious history is nothing but competition, whether it’s through warfare, persecution or persuasion. The religions of the world are all in competition with each other and, as Richard said, are all convinced that they are right – or, if you prefer, truthful.

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

          I agree. Whether it’s war or marketing, the loser dies. Both the battlefield and the cereal aisle in the grocery store are a good analog to the competition of religions.

        • ohnugget001

          The virus analogy with ever-evolving strains comes to mind as well. Biological warfare of a sorts.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’d say that generally the loser is more likely assimilated or absorbed,rather than completely destroyed, as in a Wal-mart style takeover. This way it can grow into a huge juggernaut in a relatively short period of time, much like Christianity or Islam did.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, various religions and sects from within the same religion, seem content to kill on another over theological differences up unto the present day, so it certainly seems relevant.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          I think CodyGirl824 is pushing the Karen Armstrong line on religion. A line which has no bearing on reality

        • ohnugget001

          CodyGirl824 loves her some psychology and is intent on consuming her Christianity-lite, remaining perpetually under the influence of Jesus in his hippie persona.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          To be fair, I wish more Christians were like that

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t. Sugar coating the same stupid bad ideas.

        • MNb

          You better do. Life for an atheist in Suriname is much easier than life for an atheist in certain parts of the USA.

        • Kodie

          No, I don’t either. Jenna has some balls ideas about atheism and I don’t find her to be hippie-dippie either. She is a pseudo-intellectual and still plenty intent on sharing her ideas on how atheists are wrong because we’ve never had an enlightening experience to know god like she does.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          That’s like saying there’s no difference between a 19th c christian abolitionist and a christian slave owner

        • Pofarmer

          Complete wrong analogy. The “God is love”, “God is nature”, “jesus is all around us”, types typically look the other way at the beliefs of the fundies. They are enablers, more or less.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          “typically”, “more or less”. You can overlook the differences, I choose not to.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve been on the recieving end of when a feel God lovey dovey Jesus is wunderful type enables a fundamentalist to stir up bullshit. I’d just as soon avoid it all, thanks.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          Fundamentalists stir shit up regardless. They don’t need the cover or permission of liberal believers. Boko Haram doesn’t need the permission of liberal secular muslims like the Quilliam foundation. In fact BH kill muslims who disagree with their theology. Religion is larger than what the bible thumpers get up to in the US.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, for sure, the problems are larger than just the U.S. but, really, what are the liberal Muslims doing to tamp down on the radicals? Largely nothing that I see, because the radicals are probably the ones who are more in line with the Koran, just like fundamentalist christians are probably more in line with the Bible. We need a new paradigm.

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

          When I criticize an aspect of fundamentalist Christianity, I sometimes get feedback like “well, it’s not like that in my church.” And I didn’t say that it did. But instead of complaining, Mr. Christian, how about some appreciation for my doing the heavy lifting of pointing out errors in a sect of Christianity that’s making you look bad?

          Too often, I see an odd kind of tolerance where the liberal ones defend the ones nuttier than them (Sam Harris’s observation).

        • Kodie

          When Jessica Alquist protested a Christian banner in her public school, who was issuing the death threats? When the American Atheists or FFRF wanted to send her flowers, why would not a single florist in Rhode Island deliver them?

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          On that we can agree. I can’t remember who said it but its been pointed out that if religious fundamentalism is bad then there must be something wrong with the fundamentals of religion

        • MNb

          That’s not entirely correct. Suriname is a very religious country, but there hardly is religious competition here.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          There’s very little religious competition in Saudi Arabia. So what?

        • MNb

          Saudi-Arabia doesn’t have all world religions; Suriname has.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          And so there’s competition in Suriname. Unless you’re saying the Christians and Muslims there don’t proselytize. And if that’s true then they’re not fulfilling a requirement of their faith.

        • MNb

          “And so there’s competition in Suriname.”
          And that’s a non-sequitur. In this country a protestant can be the director of a catholic school.
          Proselytizing is not a requirement of islam btw; neither it’s a requirement for jews, hindu’s and buddhists (yup, we have them all). Whether Surinamese christians should fulfill it or not is up to them to decide, I’d say. You sound like a judgmental fundie.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          What are you talking about? Why would religious competition stop a protestant from being a director of a catholic school?

          And where did I say that jews, hindus and buddhist proselytise?

          Da’wah is pretty important in Islam

          Also layoff the personal insults.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, at least here locally, a protestant indeed can’t be director of s Catholic school. What’s yer point here?

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          the point is that you lack reading comprehension

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, I think MNB’s point was in Surinam everyone gets along. In the U.S. I merely used his own example to enforce that there are some differences. Everyplace is different. I don’t know who pissed in your cheerios.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          I meant you lacked reading comprehension with my comment. So you’ve provided another example. Different religions get on quite well in Canada, US and Europe as well. How does all this prove that religions don’t compete? Religion competition doesn’t mean that believers are slaughtering each other.

        • smrnda

          I agree that some places do better in making religion a private practice. I’d imagine that it’s considered in bad form in some places.

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

          You’re talking about the Great Commission? I’m pretty sure Jesus was talking to the apostles, not the average Christian today.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob,

          Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

          Where do you get this idea? Teaching is preparation for baptism, which is a public and visible expression of a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Baptism is still practiced today in Christian communities throughout the world. This is just another example of rituals that Jesus instituted with his disciples that were meant to be continued in communities of faith that identified themselves with Jesus’ teachings.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          I think you may want to have a look at the evangelical channel from time to time. They seem quite keen on spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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

          They are indeed. I wonder, though, if they’re distorting the original meaning of the commission.

        • ThisIsTheEnd

          The whole of Christianity is a distortion of what Jesus may have meant

        • ohnugget001

          The competition model is most assuredly not an odd way of characterizing religion in general, although I agree it is merely one way. From many of your previous posts I can discern that you’re having difficulty with others ascribing negative connotations or outright attributes of religion (spirituality as you have called it before) especially to Christianity. I would encourage you to let at least this religion’s holy text speak for itself and it clearly shows Judeo-Christianity as an exclusionary belief system, very much in competition, indeed temporal war with ANY other belief system that claims a deity. You’re likely trying to perceive your particular faith as one of light and goodness, as many progressive Christians are wont to do, when it is anything but. And you can’t rid yourself of other people pointing this out, regardless of if you respond or not, by claiming it superfluous or irrelevant. Healthy criticism will dog bad ideas whether you like it or not.

        • avalpert

          ” it clearly shows Judeo-Christianity as an exclusionary belief system”
          You will have to unpack that – Judeo-Christianity isn’t a belief system at all. At best it is a forced categorization of many belief systems of which several are mutually exclusive.

        • MNb

          “I simply find this “competition” model of religion to be a rather odd and narrow way”
          Given the enthusiasm with which theists have smashed each other heads over the centuries your opinion doesn’t seem to be the default one.

        • Kodie

          You pick Jesus. Why?

        • avalpert

          “You will not find an American astronomy, a Baptist biology, a capitalist chemistry, a mammalian math, or a feminist physics. ”

          Well this might be a bit of a leap – you do find competing schools in the sciences even if most tend to die off over time. Science might be based in fact but it is still full of opinions.

        • RichardSRussell

          Science tends to converge.
          Religion tends to diverge.

      • avalpert

        “Very few religions teach that followers of other religions are doomed to hell”
        Your particular false religion does. Which is okay because the religion I was brought up in views yours as idolatry.

        • Pofarmer

          Heretic!

        • avalpert

          From the day I was born

      • MNb

        “All religions have some elements of truth.”
        How do you know?
        How do you know which elements are true and which are not?
        Answer: your underbelly.

        • ZenDruid

          Yeah, “Truth” is a gut feeling thing. You have to be well-trained in the gut feeling disciplines in order to discern “Truth”.

      • Greg G.

        Very few religions teach that followers of other religions are doomed to hell.

        But one of those religions could be the one Richard says could be true. Since faith takes over where evidence ends, one of them has as much chance of being correct as one you would prefer. Perhaps that god prefers atheists because they don’t accuse him of causing floods or sanctioning genocides. That considered, you may as well deny just one more religion than you already do.

      • smrnda

        This seems more to be a case that religious are human made and serve some social or cultural function. They may all have elements of truth the way that books written by many people in many languages have elements of truth, but an actual *true religion* should end up being much more obviously true than a made up one.

        I’m in agreement that religions have *some element of truth* – just I don’t think it’s any more than say, Ulysses by James Joyce. It gets some facts about Dublin right and creates some realistic characters.

      • wtfwjtd

        “All religions have some elements of truth.”

        Yeah, so does Mein Kampf. We know where that led.

      • Kodie

        Religious diversity is as natural and usual a phenomenon as cultural
        diversity, since religion and culture are intimately intertwined.

        I don’t think you read Bob’s post.

      • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

        The largest two religions, Christianity and Islam, do in fact teach that followers of other religions are doomed to hell. Some Christians reject that, but traditionally it has been quite clear, as supported by plain reading of the Bible. They compete explicitly as well, peacefully and violently, for adherence. Not every religion does, of course, but the largest and most successful do. That’s diversity.

  • Ron

    To put it in perspective, here’s a tally of all the gods who were never conceived more than once by anyone, anywhere else on the planet:

    http://www.graveyardofthegods.org/deadgods/listofgods.html

    One day, Allah and Yahweh will join that list as well.

    On the bright side, we no longer have to fear: Blood Clot Boy, Bloody Hand, Burnt Belly, Burnt Face, Cannibal Grandmother, or Cannibal Woman.

    • Kodie

      Some of us may have to fear Aunt Nancy. I don’t have one, thank Foot Stuck Child.

  • MNb

    I miss my favourite clue why all religions are false. It has been formulated by my compatriot Ferdinand Domele Nieuwenhuis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Domela_Nieuwenhuis

    He studied theology and lost his faith later. He put it this way:
    “to derive the divine from the concrete requires a salto mortale.”

    • wtfwjtd

      That’s a pretty good way of putting it!

  • wtfwjtd

    I think religion is also an attempt at identifying patterns in nature as well as our lives. As humans, we find comfort when we think we have identified patterns in an otherwise chaotic and random universe.
    If a religion manages to stick around long enough, it will eventually attempt and formulate some predictions for their followers, much like a theory will for science. Notice, whenever a religion gets around to this, it always fails. Take Christianity as an example. Jesus said a sign of the believer would be that they could do greater works than his; they would be able to drink deadly poison,and not be hurt at all; and the apostle Paul predicted the coming of Jesus in his follower’s lifetimes. All of these proved to be false, making both Jesus and Paul into liars, and demonstrating that Christianity was false. Note also, it slowed down the religion not at all; it simply adapted, and quit making predictions. The veracity of a religious system seems not to be that important to its survival–merely the zealousness of its followers.

  • Pofarmer

    Little update on the local hospital saga. Supposedly, since it is a Catholic Hospital, they are considered a religious organization, and thus can choose to not provide certain types of are. I plan on digging further.

    • MNb

      Are you serious? In the USA a hospital can be a religious organization?! Woah, I always thought the USA were so strict on state/religion separation. I just checked catholic Martini Hospital in Groningen, The Netherlands. Catholicism here means the patient can ask for pastoral care. These caretakers have exactly zero influence on health care.

      • Pofarmer

        In this case, seperation of Church and State is interpreted to mean that, apparently a profit making hospital can be a “religious institution” which means that it is free to ignore the wishes of the citizens that it serves, whether they happen to agree with that religion or not. Yes, it’s fucked up.

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

        Quit braggin’.

        • MNb

          I’m not braggin’. The idea that some religious goof decides health care issues shocks me; it was beyond my imagination.
          One thing that’s clearly better in the USA – and I’ve known this since long- than in The Netherlands is that it’s nearly impossible to sue a doctor when he/she screws things up. And when you succeed compensation is usually not enough to cover expenses. Dutch doctors are semigods.

        • smrnda

          In terms of doctors, are they criminally liable for poor care? Is there some board that assesses damages?

          I ask since I’m planning on moving to Europe, and I kind of want to know the system before I show up. Overall it seems far better than the US, but I still like to know any possible disadvantages.

      • Kodie

        The US is not strict on state/religion separation. It is somewhat oblivious to it at times. A rational idea would be that a hospital can’t have a religious belief, but the truth is that creating hospitals is one of the ways the Catholic Church likes to endear itself to the public and then screw people over when they ask for medical care they categorically refuse to support, for instance, most women’s reproductive care. They are actually trying to monopolize healthcare. This would be like a Jehovah’s Witness hospital refusing to give blood transfusions. For another thing, you get these “alternative care” clinics pop up that, because they’re not really medicine, can be rather specific in what they do and don’t provide, and a lot of it is what they can’t provide. No one is asking an alternative care clinic to do something it’s not licensed to do (one wonders what type of licensing they need to do what they do do), but imagine if this New Age crap were wealthy enough to monopolize healthcare in the US, for what amounts to herbal remedies and chakras healing, and these dumb fuck Catholics couldn’t get real medicine either.

        This is actually a hot debate in the US currently. The problem is that hospitals are not state institutions at all, and there is a firm resistance to our healthcare being served by the state as well. Hospitals are private businesses, which means a church can own one, in this case, the Catholic Church is quite in business for itself to dominate the healthcare field, sort of like Wal-mart likes to drive out small businesses and competing department stores. The issue occurs – what can a private business do and not do when they are serving the public. Can it fail to provide services that some people with no religious binding need and that are legal for them to have? Can it refuse to serve certain people whose lifestyle it does not condone?

        If you think about it another way, what is the difference between healthcare and books? Can the government force a privately owned bookstore to sell books the bookseller doesn’t like? No, of course not. What the bookseller is doing is curating his stock, it’s not censorship. Why should it be able to force the Catholic hospital to provide an emergency abortion? What it can do is provide alternatives for people who need serious anti-Catholic care and not allow Catholic hospitals to dominate healthcare provision.

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

          But the bookstore doesn’t get any state money. Hospitals do–Medicare/Medicaid at least.

          And there must be loads of state laws that apply just to hospitals. I haven’t researched this issue, and maybe the problem changes with the state, but I’d have thought that a Catholic hospital using religious grounds to pick and choose the care they’ll give has to violate something.

          They’re a de facto monopoly–they provide an essential service, and the competition isn’t always just down the street.

        • Kodie

          I haven’t done the research either, and I made the comment offhand. I think healthcare is something the state should provide. As long as they let the Catholics or any other private corporate body do as they will, the Catholics will continue to protest that it’s against their religious freedom. Healthcare is treated like a merchant business, where the merchant decides what goods or services to provide. Healthcare shouldn’t be one of those types of goods or services, and should be protected from selective merchants.

          I am also sure they get some government money, but if they are setting a broken arm, why wouldn’t they be paid by the state insurance providers for the service to be done? Can the state simply say, if you don’t offer a full range of necessary healthcare to patients who don’t believe your boogedy bullshit, we’re not going to pay you to fix their other ailments? If it really is the only hospital in the area, is that wise? Would an opportunistic hospital business step up then? Why aren’t they doing it now?

        • Pofarmer

          “If it really is the only hospital in the area, is that wise? Would an
          opportunistic hospital business step up then? Why aren’t they doing it
          now?”

          The culprit here is SMS healthcare out of St. Louis. What they seem to be doing at this point, is targeting areas where there is one hospital serving a particular area. For instance, my total county has about 20,000 residents. Local town around 12K or so. Nearest other Hospital is about 40 or 50 miles. One 40 miles to the west, next one 50-60 miles to the South. The one to the South is also an SMS hospital. The ones to the west are University of MO, and Barnes Jewish affiliated, so we have options there. These numbers might be hard for people in urban areas to fathom, but they do rather seem to be targeting areas where they can dominate health care in the area, and the chance of competitors coming in is low. I wish it had been more known and open at the time what SMS healthcare was, and how they were going to operate before our local hospital was taken over by them.

        • Kodie

          I see the problem being a few different things. I shouldn’t brag, I live in Boston. We have many hospitals, among the best in the country. My closest one happens to be Catholic though, and I’ve been there. It wasn’t great. I used to work (technically) for another hospital that is not Catholic, and has a weak reputation as well. I was employed in a section that was more to do with the university medical school, but my paycheck came from the hospital.

          One huge problem is that the public does not want the government overseeing their medical care. It seems like the perfect solution, but then look at state-run hospitals. They are the worst, under-funded places. A last resort, you only go there if you can’t afford anything else. All the hospitals I can look up say “voluntary – not-for-profit – private”. Where I used to work served a low-income area, and I sat through a few seminars giving pretty high statistics that the people who worked there would choose another hospital. I know I did – I fell stepping off the bus once and it was determined that I might have broken a bone and an ambulance came and they asked me which hospital and I said not where I worked even though it was closer, less than one mile away.

          I don’t know how the state can force Catholics to provide services. They can say maybe, you can’t call yourself a hospital unless you provide x, y, and z. I find the issue really complicated. The libertarian idea that private corporations should fix public problems like healthcare is blatantly false, but the state hospitals are subpar and probably incapable of becoming a Mass General, i.e., the hospital people would rather go to if they had a choice. If you could get whatever service the Catholic hospital wouldn’t provide somewhere else the state provided, I think you’d still choose to go to the Catholic hospital for everything else, since I’m guessing you prefer the highest quality available and not “on principle” boycott it just because it’s Catholic.

          I had a thought experiment last night as well. When dealing with what is legal, could the state compel at least one facility in the state to provide it? Obviously people everywhere need a hospital but does that mean all the hospitals and clinics can shut themselves down rather than let the state force them function adequately? Who would make a hospital available to people if no private business in the area chose to? I am not talking about popular opinion making strange laws to put clinics out of business – I am saying if popular opinion was, for example, against medicine altogether, so no voluntary hospitals occurred, who would put a hospital where it was needed? Is healthcare something the government can step in and put a hospital every so many miles if no one else does?

        • smrnda

          I’ve heard of this kind of stealth take-overs, where Catholic firms buy up hospitals to reduce choice. I guess with declining membership, this is their shot at power.

        • Pofarmer

          Seems to be working.

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

          I’ve heard that this is their blue state strategy. Where they’re doing well otherwise, you don’t see this.

        • Pofarmer

          And that’s the problem. I’m not a member of their fuckin’ church. They don’t have the right to deny a safe, legal procedure that the doctor is willing to perform. In the case at our hospital, the OBGYN in question had been performing tubal ligations for years. He’s well equipped and has no qualms about doing it. So it’s a matter of a Hospital, as an organization, forcing it’s values on those who do not share them. One of my buddies wives ain’t happy with the new dress code either. Apparrently it goes as far as no open toed shoes without wearing nylons. I didn’t even know they still sold them.

        • MNb

          In The Netherlands it’s not about the doctor willing or not. It’s what he/she gets paid for, so if he/she has religious objections he/she should find another job.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, I wish.

        • MNb

          Our Dutch line of thinking is this.
          Health is a public affair. Books are not.
          Government deals with public affairs, hence also with health care.
          Whether hospitals should be private businesses or run by government is open for debate (in The Netherlands they are semi-government, while many doctors run private businesses, which are heavily regulated), but no religious authority will have any say about public affairs.
          That’s why the Dutch think government should force the catholic hospital to provide an emergency abortion.
          Of course financing hospitals is a never ending debate: how much should government contribute, how much insurancy companies and how much the patients themselves?
          Mutatis mutandis it’s the same for education. The Netherlands have religious schools, but education is a public affair so government totally forces these schools to teach Evolution Theory in biology class.

      • smrnda

        Keep in mind that we do not have a national health services, so hospitals are mostly private and not government affairs. I’m assuming in other nations they are either government run of funded, but here they are private, so a religious hospital is legal.

        • MNb

          Yes, I understand now; I just never realized this could be the consequence.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not big on the idea of Govt run health care, hut I think I’ll take it over religiously run health care.

        • wtfwjtd

          We do have some gov’t run health services–like VA hospitals, for example. This, of course, is part of our crazy patch-work quilt of health care, which includes public “insurance”, private insurance, not-for-profit, for-profit, gov’t run facilities, etc. No wonder the system is such a mess.

  • smrnda

    Speaking of adaptations, the wiki on ‘koro’ is interested; it’s a kind of culturally bound paranoia that affects men, and it seems to have gone from being blamed on everywhere from bad spirits to communist agents.

  • Pofarmer

    Well shit.

    “INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR STERILIZATION REFUSAL CLAUSE

    Missouri allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide coverage for sterilization.

    To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Employers, plan providers, plan sponsors, health-care providers.

    What does the refusal clause allow?  No employer, health-plan provider, health-plan sponsor, health-care provider, or any other person or entity shall be compelled to provide coverage for, or be discriminated against or penalized for declining or refusing coverage for, sterilization in a health plan if it is contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

    Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

    Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

    Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

    Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

    Mo. Ann. Stat. §§191.724 (Enacted 2012).”

    • Pofarmer

      The good news is that they cannot refuse to pay for contraception coverage, at least. Looks like it just got slipped in, probably as a nosethumb to the ACA.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Imagine that you see someone wearing a tinfoil hat.

    That already tells me something; that person is a traditionalist. Tinfoil (actually aluminium foil) is out, and velostat is in.

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

      The readers of Cross Examined owe you a debt for keeping us up to date on the best ways to prevent alien mind control. Thank you, Brother.

  • Mick

    Christianity continues to mutate, with 42,000 denominations and counting.

    I’ve seen that number mentioned here: International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Volume 36 Number 1, January 2012

    I don’t believe it. I think there is something very shonky about the way in which the word ‘denomination’ is defined.

    I’d be surprised if anyone could compile a checkable list of even 1,000 denominations, and I’d be absolutely astounded if they could hit the 10,000 mark, let alone 42,000.

    • Greg G.

      There are many independent churches that do not subscribe to any denomination. They are counted as separate denominations, which is how those churches would prefer it. Some are hole in the wall types occupying an empty strip mall slot.

      Wikipedia had a list of major denominations that was about 700 to 800 when I saw it at least a year ago.

      • wtfwjtd

        I can name at least a dozen different churches within a mile radius of our house, and none of them are the same. We have a church on nearly every corner, even several within neighborhoods around here. Of course, I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt, YMMV.

        Say Greg, have you seen this place?

        http://www.explorepassages.com/

        This ain’t too far away from me, don’t know if it would be worth the trip or not, but I was thinking of taking my mom. I think she would enjoy it, and I thought it might make a nice history lesson for me as well.

        • Greg G.

          There are many churches near my house. With a mile and a half, there are two Korean churches, one from Ghana, one Polish, a few I don’t know, along with a big Baptist church at the end of the street.

          I wonder if one of the passages they cover is Ezekiel 23? Is it anything like the Creation Museum?

          I was in Kansas City a few months ago. Are you near there?

        • wtfwjtd

          Well, around here, I can offhand think of at least 3 independent neighborhood “Bible” churches, Baptist, AG, Methodist, Nazarene, Church of Christ, Catholic….and I’m just getting started.
          KC isn’t too far from here either. I saw Michael Wood on PBS a couple of years ago, doing a special in the Midwest; he said for this area there is at least 1 church per 100 people, which is far above the national average of 1 per 1,000. If organized religion is your thing, you have your pick around here for sure.

          I doubt if Ezekiel 23 would be a highlighted passage, lol. Not exactly a creation museum, at least I hope not. I thought it would be interesting for some perspective, to see how other folks view the Bible. I noticed they have a decent variety of relics from a lot of different eras, but the trail goes cold at about the 4th Century or so, much like we’ve discussed here.

        • Greg G.

          I was looking at more of the pages on the website. My initial ideas were incorrect. I see that it has actual artifacts of the Bible itself rather than imitations of the stories within it. That would be very interesting. I would go see it if I found myself near Springfield or if it finds itself near me.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, the artifact angle is what got me intrigued, and it looks like they have quite a bit of stuff. I’ve always been a big history and artifact buff, I believe this would be something I could enjoy looking at. I think a trip would be worth the gamble, since I could make it a “field trip” for my mom too.

        • Greg G.

          Well, if you would rather take your mother than me, then please post a comprehensive report.

        • wtfwjtd

          Hey, if you think you might be in the area of that place sometime, let me know and maybe we can meet up and get schooled together! If I get a chance to go here in a few weeks, I’ll let you know how it goes.

        • Pofarmer

          We recently made a trip to St. Louis, and my oldest commented on all the religious billboard. It seems like at least 1/3 of the signs along I-70 are either for a church or religious in nature. Ifyou drive along U.S. Hwy 36 in Mo the number of religious signs is staggering.

        • wtfwjtd

          That definitely emphasizes the point that religions compete, and that it’s also big business. I was talking to a neighbor in the last day or two, the company he works for builds large commercial buildings. One of their latest projects is a $5 million dollar, 36,000 square feet–that’s right–36,000 square feet– recreation center for young people. This tells me at least 2 things; 1) churches have mountains of cash to spend; and 2) they are hemorrhaging the younger generation, and some of them at least, recognize the consequences of this, and are throwing huge sums of money around to try and slow it down. Big business indeed.

        • Pofarmer

          Some of these projects might well have an awful lot of debt. They know that if they don’t hold the younger generation things won’t be pretty.

        • Greg G.

          I thought driving I-70 through Indiana was was bad with threats of hell but I recently drove to South Bend, where Notre Dame University is, and it was worse. Even radio stations that played secular music had lots of God talk. It seemed like the streets of South Bend that ran east-west were named for presidents and the streets that ran north-south were named for saints.

    • Mick

      wtfwjtd: at least a dozen different churches within a mile radius of our house
      Greg G: many churches near my house

      So a bit more work yet before we can verify those 42,000 different denominations.

      Actually I have doubts about the 42,000 figure because the researchers have never explained how they arrived at that number. Maybe they just had a group session where each person was asked how many denominations there were in the local area — and those figures (including guesses and duplications) were extrapolated to cover the whole planet.

      • wtfwjtd

        I haven’t actually investigated the claim, but as Greg alluded to in his post there are thousands of independent churches in the US alone. My guess would be that each of these would be counted as a “denomination”, as they each have their own specific belief system. Whether each of these claim to have a monopoly on truth, because of some special dogma or specific claim unique to their belief system, would require further inquiry.

        • Kodie

          I read a few articles that go about explaining the numbers (one of which criticizes critics for the way they come about the numbers). It seems that this high number could be a technicality and that many “denominations” don’t actually believe any different things. But it also seems a lot of times, a church in town isn’t serving a segment of the population and start meeting separately to interpret the bible their own way, or the way of the leader of this church. A lot are cults (I would say all are cults) where the connotation of a cult is that they prey on the vulnerable and take over their lives and change their personalities. I guess the usual cult has a charismatic leader.

          It’s hard for me to really understand some religious “brands”, like Catholicism or Mormonism – that each church of these would be essentially the same. The word is handed down from the top office and if you don’t agree with some of these rules, you’re essentially another denomination. I don’t know how you get consistency in a church, in a denomination across the globe.

          For example, Jenna says she is “Episcopalian”. And yet, she exhibits features of interpreting “Episcopalian” to mean whatever she wants it to mean. ctcss (some arrangement of letters like that, another Christian) applies his own personal denomination – something vague, something not mainstream. It doesn’t seem to have a name? It’s just “different”. Anton calls himself a Christian (I think it was Anton?) but he is more of a fan than a devout believer.

          You get personal ideas about what Jesus means to you, bam, another new denomination. I don’t think the number sounds outrageous. Every time a Christian responds to posts, they are different.

        • wtfwjtd

          “You get personal ideas about what Jesus means to you, bam, another new denomination.”

          That seems to be it in a nutshell, I’d say. Around here, if you get a half dozen or so disgruntled families in a church, they’ll often quit and start their own “non-denominational” church. And like Jenna here, toss in a little pantheism, some feel-good hippie stuff, or whatever, and now you’ve invented your own flavor of Christianity.

          IIRC, in order to hire someone as a preacher, and get them the special tax breaks, and to get your property tax-exempted, you have to file paperwork with the IRS. I wonder if they have an accessible data base that shows all these various churches? That would be a good start at getting an actual number to work with. OTOH, I’m sure many of these spring up for a while and then disappear, without doing any paperwork, so getting a handle on an actual number at any given time might be a little tricky. I don’t know just how accurate 42k would be, but there are a bunch of them, nonetheless.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, why is it that you think that uniformity of religious beliefs and expression is a sign of the “rightness” or truth of religion (in its entirety). Do you also think that there is such a thing as One True Culture or One True Language or One True Political Party? What you are talking about is standardization of beliefs and practices, not truth. Standardization of beliefs is not necessarily a good thing, since everyone can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong. In fact, isn’t this atheists’ claim against religion? Why do atheists think that if everyone were atheists, atheism would be true? Wishful thinking?

        • smrnda

          Some things don’t have a ‘right’ answer. There is no right way to make a movie, just ways that work and ways which don’t, and that’s a matter of preference.

          On religious’ belief, aren’t they supposed to be saying things which are true or false in a more universal, absolute sense? There is either a monotheistic god or there is not. This god spoke to Moses or he did not. Mohammad was a prophet or he was not. There are some claims made by religions which do fall into the ‘true/false’ category where they are either one or the other.

          The issue with standardization of beliefs is that it tends to happen when something is actually true. Physics is the same the world over. Different mathematicians prove the same theorems. Heck, even some public policy issues end up demonstrating that things either work or don’t work.

        • CodyGirl824

          smrnda,

          What is religion? What is the purpose of religion? Are we talking about “religion” in a general way or “a religion” such as Judaism or Christianity? When we think critically about what religion is and what its purpose is in anthropological, historical, social and cultural terms, we can see that religion is expressed in different cultures, at different points in human history, in different geographical regions and nations of the world in many different ways because that is the nature of human diversity. It’s not at all surprising, and religious diversity is a reality that does not give any “clues” as to the truth or lack thereof of any religion or of non-religion or anti-religion or atheism. Atheists are misguided to think in terms of religious “claims” regarding the history of any religion or the religious experiences of its followers.

        • Pofarmer

          Then what the hell are you supposed to judge anyone on? You’ve set up the ultimate non falsifiable hypothesis combined with massive appeal to authority and as populum. It’s a falacy, wrapped in a riddle, pierced by a conundrum.

        • Kodie

          Because it’s obviously made up to be whatever you feel like it is. That’s not knowledge. Comparing religious diversity to language and other cultural differences is exactly correct, it belongs in that category because it’s cultural from people and not divine from a deity.

        • Kodie

          Jenna, what do you say about…?

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree. Religion is not “divine.” Religion is an artifact of human culture as evidenced by the fact that every culture ever in human history have had and have religion. Deification is a human process of sanctifying and worshiping (an) existing reality, as in monotheism.

        • Kodie

          Why do you assert that god exists?

          Do you understand when we are telling you things, you are meant to read and understand them? You don’t have to agree with them, but you should not have such trouble with the words. You are in total ignorance of what atheism is. Atheism is a rational look at what humans invent for a god-head, and how they build cultures around their doctrines, and then comparing these to reality. It is a superstition. Atheism looks at these human behaviors and beliefs and constructs and see deliberate manufacture of bullshit that humans can believe, preys on their fears, offers them false hope, and denies reality in favor of a superstition.

          Do you have any concept of superstition? Can you think of any funny things people really believe but you know they’re wrong and kind of silly?

        • CodyGirl824

          I know what atheism is and it is not a “rational look at what humans invent for a god-head.” Atheism is merely an opinion about what atheists think other people believe about God, based on an arrogant and condescending cultural and chronological snobbery that simply disapproves of any and all human cultural, social and personal behavior focused on humankind’s relationship with the spiritual and metaphysical. The fact that atheists disapprove of other people’s religious beliefs, traditions, institutions and expressions is of no relevance or importance in the great scheme of things. If only atheists could accept and acknowledge this.

        • Kodie

          That’s just what you want to believe. Just like all your other beliefs that are demonstrably untrue.

        • Pofarmer

          Explaining away ignorance, is what it is.

        • wtfwjtd

          “…since everyone can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong.”

          You just blew your own argumentum ad populum all to smithereens.

        • Kodie

          They’re obviously at odds with the bullshit churned out by one church that they feel it necessary to create another one. Why do you think they’re all really the same and peacefully coexisting, when that’s apparently false to anyone?

      • Greg G.

        I Googled “number of christian denominations in the world” without the quotes. The fourth link was How many christian denominations worldwide? which linked to How Many Christian Denominations Are There? and Status of Global Mission, 2014, in the Context of AD 1800–2025.

        In the latter link, see item 41 under “CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS”. They now estimate that there are 45,000 denominations as of mid-2014. It estimates 4,736,000 congregations, or over 100 per denomination.

        “Denomination” is defined as separate organizations within a country. This does not mean that denominations are interchangeable with doctrines. It’s just the only sensible way to count them. I once attended a fiercely independent fundamentalist church. If you could prove that church had the same doctrine as another church, they would still not be put under the same denominational umbrella.

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

      I cite that factoid without hesitation because it comes from a Christian source.

      My guess is that any unaffiliated church is considered its own denomination.

  • SteveK

    >> Christianity continues to mutate, with 42,000 denominations and counting.

    And yet all of them are, I will assume, Christian denominations, so there really is no substantive difference in what they believe. If there were, the offending denomination would not be a Christian denomination.

    • Greg G.

      Catholics and Protestants killed one another for centuries because they thought the differences were substantive. Isaac Newton would have lost his position if he had publicly expressed his doubts about Trinitarianism during his lifetime. Southern Baptists split from Baptists over the issue of slavery. There are creationists who reject science. Some denominations hate gays. Some churches proselytize politics. Some churches embrace Paulinism while others don’t. Some churches reject the Epistle of James. Calvinists believe in double pre-destination, while Arminianism argues against them. Some churches believe in “Once saved, always saved”, others reject it. Some denominations have Bibles with various other writings as scripture. Some churches preach the prosperity gospel while others completely reject that. Are Mormons Christian enough for other denominations? There are differences in belief about the resurrection, whether it was physical, spiritual, or metaphorical.

      On the other hand, all religions are wrong for the same reason – faith.

      • wtfwjtd

        One would think if there was one god, he could speak to mankind in a clear, unequivocal voice. What would our world be like with no god? One would pretty much expect exactly what we see now–random, chaotic beliefs, with thousands of different people claiming to “hear god” or “understand god” in thousands of different ways.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why would one think this? There is no one human language that all humans understand. What makes you think that the “language” of God would carry the same meaning for every human being? And why do you think that beliefs about God are random and chaotic? Yours are, maybe, but are everyone’s? It doesn’t appear so to me since when I talk about God to other people, most of them have much the same idea as I do, certainly enough so that we can understand what we are talking about.

        • smrnda

          I could find pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews easily. All of them would have incompatible ideas about god or gods, down to which of them even exist. You can probably find lots of people in relative agreement, but that’s because with billions of people, some of them will tend to agree. It’s easier since some religions are very dominant in some areas.

          Actually, one could use mathematics as an example of a language that, to some extent, all humans understand.

          If there was some real god, that real god would be giving us better evidence than the gods that do not exist, no?

        • CodyGirl824

          Better evidence? Because a relatively small minority of humans don’t accept the evidence as evidence of God? I think that God would get about an A minus in revelation of Himself to humankind at about 90%. Not bad for a God that some folks claim doesn’t exist!

        • MNb

          Yes, if your god actually cared about us nonbelievers.

          “I think that God would get about an A minus”
          You’re grading god, but object if we grade the god as depicted in the OT? You’re quite a hypocrite, dear CodyGirl.

        • CodyGirl824

          I’m talking about numbers, not just opinions. Around 90% of the world’s population believe in God. So what numbers do you have to support your claim that the God of the OT is immoral?

        • Kodie

          It’s marketing. 90% of the world’s population aren’t going to be made to worship a being that they believe is a bad, bad man. You have to believe he’s good because you’re scared of what he’ll do to you if you don’t kiss his ass.

        • CodyGirl824

          As I pointed out before, this is the brave, stoic atheist argument. Your theory is that 90% of the world’s population are believers in God because they are afraid of hell, only atheists aren’t. This is just a theory that you have no empirical data to support.

        • Kodie

          Your assertion of a brave stoic atheist argument is equally unsupported. You think we deny god, and we tell you over and over again why he’s imaginary. You don’t have a god either. You are just afraid of one.

        • MNb

          Numbers decide the A minus grade you grant your god? That’s still judging. Plus it’s a random standard.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, and what percentage are willing to commit violence and abuse against one another because they don’t believe in the same God or the same teachings from the supposedly same God they do believe in. Your argument is completely hollow.

        • CodyGirl824

          Name one conflict between followers of different religions or denominations of a religion that are conflicts over theological questions and NOT over social dominance and economic or political issues. Just one that is clearly and solely a dispute over theology.

        • Kodie

          How come their theology doesn’t help them overcome the need for social or political dominance? Why are all you such suckers for that, either? Look at how the world thinks the US is a fucking joke because of Christianity’s impulse toward political dominance and scientific wrongness. They, like the Jews in the OT, use god as a bludgeon and a shield. So, really, hardly anyone gets anything good out of it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Christians are in the majority in the USA. Social dominance is a phenomenon associated with societies where there is a dominant majority with less powerful minorities, such as atheists. Again, it’s about numbers. What if atheists were in the majority? Would there then be no social dominance?

        • Kodie

          I’d like an educational and scientific dominance by people who live in the real world, not looking forward to the rapture who want ignorance to dominate. I am in favor of secularism, and freedom of religion. I just don’t think people who have to live on earth and raise their kids here ought to be dominated by fairy tales. Look at European countries where Christians are in the minority, but they still have the freedom to worship. No atheist domination. You are warped by your fears, encouraged by your faulty illogical belief system if you think it’s like Stalin or Mao.

        • CodyGirl824

          Just ask the Muslims and the Jews in Europe if there is no social dominance in these countries.

        • Kodie

          Are they not allowed to worship?

        • CodyGirl824

          Social dominance is not just about the freedom to worship. Are atheists in the USA not allowed to not worship?

        • Kodie

          I think there’s a difference between allowing religious diversity and allowing fiction to make up truth and laws that send all of us backwards. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to allow that. And worship what? A strong reverence for leaders to use correct information to lead us correctly, sure.

        • CodyGirl824

          The problem you have here, Kodie is that it is not a question of “allowing religious diversity” or not. It is a question of accepting it or not, recognizing it or not, living with it or not, because you can’t make it go away without violating the rights of citizens protected by our Constitution (those pesky unalienable rights that the DOI talks about, remember?) In our democracy people of faith have just as much right to participate fully in our political discourse and legitimate political processes as atheists do, despite the fact that you think we are stupid or delusional or illogical.

        • Pofarmer

          So, basically, you don’t think anyone should ever challenge your beliefs.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, we’re constantly proselytized to. You’re here. Are you here because you don’t wish your theology to dominate us?

        • MNb

          There is. Those who advocate it, like my compatriot Geert Wilders, invariably refer to the christian tradition in Europe to justify this social dominance. Isn’t that typical?

        • Greg G.

          You seem to be arguing against youtself. Is Christian social dominance in the US a good thing but in Europe, it’s a bad thing? Or is social dominance over atheists a good thing but it isn’t a good thing over minority religions?

        • MNb

          That’s an important, but in this context also an irrelevant question. You wrote

          “Name one conflict between followers of different religions or denominations of a religion that are conflicts over theological questions and NOT over social dominance and economic or political issues.”
          So this is about religious folks socially dominating other people.

        • MNb

          This distinction is irrelevant. Organized religion is politics, so they always go hand in hand. Members of religion A thinks religion B is theologically wrong and thus justifies its attempt to socially, economically and politically dominate members of religion B. It’s not very smart either that you demand theological questions to be completely isolated.

        • CodyGirl824

          I think that you are completely wrong here. Theological differences rarely cause conflicts. Economic inequality, racism, ethnic hatred, and struggles for social and political dominance and power are the causes of conflict. Theological or philosophical differences may be used in an attempt to legitimize and justify persecution, even genocide, but they are not the root cause.

        • Greg G.

          How about the motivations of an individual to join the Crusades? How about the Church’s war on witches since the idea that witches were real and that they were evil is purely a theological concept?

        • CodyGirl824

          On what teachings in the Gospel were these church authorities (all men) were they basing their persecution of (mostly) women who they accused of being witches? Don’t you see the social dominance issues in the witch hunts? Have you read the book or seen the movie The Crucible?

        • Greg G.

          They may have exercised social dominance in many ways but Exodus 22:18 (“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”) is purely theological. It was not just women who were tortured and killed, even respected men fell prey to the witch hunters.

        • CodyGirl824

          You have not addressed my question. Where in the Gospel is there anything about persecution and execution of “witches”? Do you know of any history of witch hunts among Jews? In the OT or in modern times? I’m trying to get at where you think the theology of the persecution and execution of those accused of witchcraft resides.

        • Greg G.

          Sorry, you are moving the goalposts so fast my head is spinning.

          Exodus 22:18 implies that witches exist and they should not be permitted to live. In medieval times, gospel-believing Christians traveled around Europe searching for witches, torturing them until they confessed and torturing them some more until they implicated others as witches, and so on. Once accused, there was no escape and they wouldn’t let you die until you implicated others.

          They were indiscriminant in who they tortured, rich or poor, men or women.
          Also, Catholics killed Protestants and Protestants killed Catholics but they could be spared by converting. Some preferred death to being forced to convert. Perhaps they were inspired by 2 Maccabees 7:1-42, which is in the Catholic’s Bible.

          This site mentions that King Henry VIII “had a number of Protestants executed for denying the Six Articles of 1540”, apparently referring to this, which were about fundamental doctrines of the Church.

          To answer the challenge of the original position of the goalposts, The Thirty Years War began as a religious war between Catholics and Lutheranism. It lasted long enough to evolve into other issues, mainly because the original theological issues were irresolvable.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, these are incidents of conflicts over power and social dominance, where theology is used as a pretext or attempt to legitimize and justify persecution of the less-powerful. You have yet to make a linkage between these acts and theology. Were the “original issues” in the 30 year war theological? Or was the war fought over the power of one group to be the one to be the one to dictate to the other the official, sanctioned version of what is right? This is the same quest for power that operated in Stalin’s persecution of the clergy and people of faith who openly practiced religion to enforce state atheism and the same thing in Mao’s China.

        • Kodie

          Theology was invented to be used as a pretext.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, what’s your excuse?

        • Kodie

          For?

        • Pofarmer

          The conflict between sunni and shia muslims, the conflict between catholics and protestants in Northern ireland, although that originally did have some political roots, which were religiously based. The Catholic extermination of the Cathars. The decision by the church to put Jews in ghettos in the 1500’s. The longstanding Catholic policy of not letting Catholics marry non Catholics, currently rescinded. Martin Luthers excoriation of Jews. That’s just a real short list. For much of history you can barely seperate the political from the religious .

        • CodyGirl824

          Please note the question that I asked. I want to know the theological issues that are the cause of these conflicts. Every one of these examples are examples of conflicts that have a social dominance, economic or political cause. If you want to call political conflicts theological conflicts, you have not answered my question. For example, the conflict between the Sunni and Shia Muslims is about social dominance, social class and struggles over political power and resources between groups who just happen to have different expressions of Islam. Where is their theological conflict? The reason I’m hammering on this is because most of the conflicts you identify are not caused by people’s religious/theological differences. They are caused by political and economic struggles, where social dominance is often legitimized through religious rhetoric although religion has little or nothing to do with the real conflict and its causes. Another more current example: Are atheists upset with Christian conservatives over theological differences or over politics and social dominance?

        • Kodie

          There doesn’t seem to be another use of belief in god other than to dominate others in god’s chosen-ness. Isn’t this the Jews in the OT? If you say that’s somehow different like their application of morality was, you’re a hypocrite.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t think you understand what is meant by the Hebrews’ Covenant with God and its relationship with their “chosen-ness.” They chose God.

        • Kodie

          They brutally enforced their dominance because they believed in god, and believe they were specially chosen by god to do so, or permitted them or encouraged them to do so. What they really did was whatever they want and justify it with their religion, just like all the other examples you used. There is no god to have a covenant with.

        • CodyGirl824

          So tell the ancient Hebrews that there is no God with which they had a covenant. Or you can tell modern Jews that there is no God with which their ancestors had a covenant. I sincerely doubt that they will find your opinion on the matter to be of any value or significance.

        • Kodie

          I’m not talking to them, I’m talking to you!!! You fucking asshole, respond to what I’ve written TO YOU.

          You fucking hypocrite asshole evasive intellectually dishonest idiot.

        • hector_jones

          Who cares what they think?

        • Greg G.

          The Orthodox Jews who don’t eat cheese and beef but not cheeseburgers because of the original Ten Commandments and insist on allowing a herpes-infected mohel to perform oral circumcisions are going to be easy to persuade with mere logic, doncha think? Many Jews are secular already.

        • Greg G.

          The best you could say is that Abraham chose Yahweh. His descendants got punished for any failure to continue following him properly and there wan’t a choice. That is, if you believe the Bible.

        • Pofarmer

          So, give me an example of the distinguishing charachteristics of sunni and shia other than their theology.

        • CodyGirl824

          Social and economic class and status and political power.

        • Pofarmer

          But why? They are the same race, same religion, same ethnicity, citizens of the same countries. What’s the difference?

        • Kodie

          Attributing everything to a god is not revelation of him. 90% of humankind is not skeptical or logical about these things.

        • CodyGirl824

          So you claim that only atheists are logical “about these things”? This is snobbery.

        • Kodie

          How is it snobbery? That I’m smarter than you? Sure. You’re not logical, and you have over 800 posts under this sock puppet I can refer to.

        • CodyGirl824

          Tell me, Kodie. Do you claim that you are an atheist because you are smarter than everyone who believes in God or are you smarter than everyone who believes in God because you are an atheist?

        • Kodie

          I said I was smarter than you. Reading comprehension fail.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you have other reasons for claiming that you are smarter than I am besides the fact that you are an atheist and I am a Christian? IOW, I want to know the basis of your claim to having superior intelligence.

        • Kodie

          Over 800 posts under your sock puppet persistently are wrong, and they are wrong because of your faith whispering in your ear that we’re wrong and you’re right, no matter what logical arguments we present to you. You read wrong and you think wrong. I could say it was faith that made you stupid, but I don’t know how smart you ever were to begin with. Not smart enough to avoid being sucked into the trap of stupidity you’re in now.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you clearly articulate your opinion: atheism is smart; Christianity is stupid. Therefore, atheists are smart and Christians are stupid. If someone is a Christian, s/he is stupid. This is called bigotry, not intelligence.

        • Kodie

          I said you were stupid. Again, try to follow the shiny red bouncing ball. Your faith has made you wrong about a lot of things. How is this bigotry? 90% of the world’s population is behaving like the animal they are.

        • CodyGirl824

          So now you add the claim that only atheists are human. All the rest of us who are believers in God are “behaving like animals.” Another example of bigotry.

        • Kodie

          We’re all animals, Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          Animals with a soul, Kodie.

        • Kodie

          This is why you go wrong with your thinking. Humans are animals who can be quite overcome with their own self-awareness that they create imaginary dimensions and call it spirituality. There is no such thing as a soul, but if you want to point to where it is in the human anatomy, go ahead and try me.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your understanding of humankind is astounding. There is a dimension of human existence that we humans call spirituality. You are simply one of those humans who denies this reality, but your denial does not make it so.

        • wtfwjtd

          Way to try and change the subject again Jenna. Where, exactly, is this “soul” located that you keep blathering about?

        • CodyGirl824

          This is a silly. Only physical things have a location, wtfwjtd. Show me the location of love in a human being or the location of personality or the location of self-awareness or the location of the ego. I merely point out the term (soul) that we humans use in our human language to describe the most salient difference between ourselves and animals. If you don’t think there is a difference between humans and animals, then keep up your search for the location of the soul. Only those humans who deny the existence of a spiritual dimension to our reality find a need to deny the existence of the soul.

        • Greg G.

          Show me the location of love in a human being or the location of personality or the location of self-awareness or the location of the ego.

          Put one ffinger in your ear and one in your nostril, then note the general directions where they point. That’s where those processes occur.

          Are you saying the soul is just higher brain function? That can be accounted for by the larger brain size relative to body mass. There is no need to use a baggage-laden religious term like “soul” for it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Whether or not you think the word “soul” is “a baggage-laden religious term” or not, the word communicates a certain meaning and concept, which is the function of language. Of course there is a need for the term. Those of us who are interested in talking about the soul need a word for it to communicate with each other.

        • Kodie

          …with no regard to the fact that it’s a fictional object and obscure, non-scientific language. You use the term to re-affirm your illogical and irrational beliefs in discussion with others.

        • Greg G.

          The human brain is very complex so it is capable of doing things that no other animal can do. If the things you are calling “soul” are just those brain functions, then define “soul” as that. In your own clique where you need a term for talking about brain functions while pretending that it could be what Christianity has referred to as a soul for two millenia, that’s fine. But make the distinction when you are talking outside your group that you are not using it in the traditional Christian sense of the word instead of blathering that we don’t understand the use of the word when you have a private definition.

        • Pofarmer

          Did you know cows have personalities too? And dogs, and cats? Is there a divine component there, as well?

        • Kodie

          You use the term “soul” to point out difference between humans and animals that really isn’t as wide a difference as you think. We’re different because we’re a different animal. They have qualities too, that we don’t have, and what theological implication do you make up to explain that? You make up what you don’t understand. That’s a big flaw in your intelligence and you patch it up with the word “soul”.

        • CodyGirl824

          I guess that I can conclude that only atheists don’t understand the meaning of the word “soul.”

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who made the claim that humans are animals with a soul. You’re the one who is defining soul as an immaterial object that exists as the term humans use to blah blah blah. You do know none of this is evidence that you were asked for.

        • CodyGirl824

          There is no such thing as an “immaterial object.” Anything that is not matter is not an object. So what “evidence” do you expect for the existence of the soul? It is enough that the word communicates a concept that prompts significance among those of us who use it.

        • Kodie

          There is no such thing as an immaterial object, so why do you keep insisting that souls exist?

        • CodyGirl824

          The soul is not an object but the soul exists. God is not an object, but God exists. This is yet again, your denial of the existence of the spiritual dimension of our reality. You are nothing if not consistent.

        • Kodie

          You are nothing if not inconsistent. I deny an imaginary fictional dimension of our reality that feeds you such stupidity and wrongness. If it were all right, you would be righter, but you’re not. You’re very not.

          I have another idea though. I looked over some of the posts I wrote yesterday that you retreated from answering. Too hard for you?

        • Pofarmer

          So then, what is a memory?

        • Pofarmer

          “Only those humans who deny the existence of a spiritual dimension to our reality find a need to deny the existence of the soul.”

          How is the concept of a soul useful, except as a tool to keep us in line.

        • Pofarmer

          No one is denying that there is a human dimension caused spirituality, and no one is denying that humans like to attribute things to something divine.

        • Kodie

          What humans call something they can sense but cannot point to is not something I denied. The problem is your faulty senses and your swift attribution of them to contact with a sentient being beyond the earth. That’s only human, but is sure is annoying when it’s explained to you how illogical that is and you keep interpreting what I say to mean something else.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is not illogical to think that there is something beyond the earth that is sentient (intelligent). Cosmologists are logical in theorizing that there was a Big Bang.Whatever it was that caused the Big Bang must have been intelligent, given that a universe that is comprehensible to intelligent sentient beings is its outcome and product. Are you calling cosmologists illogical?

        • hector_jones

          This isn’t what cosmologists think at all.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is my statement about cosmologists: “Cosmologists are logical in theorizing that there was a Big Bang.” I am asking if you think that the theory of the Big Bang is illogical. Do you?

        • hector_jones

          Your theory of the big bang is just stuff you made up. It’s not science.

        • Kodie

          Your full statement didn’t stop there; you added fiction. The problem is you’re so used to mixing up reality and fantasy that you can’t see the difference anymore.

        • Kodie

          Cosmologists are logical in theorizing that there was a Big
          Bang.

          Science.

          Whatever it was that caused the Big Bang must have been
          intelligent, given that a universe that is comprehensible to intelligent
          sentient beings is its outcome and product.

          Not science.

          Are you calling cosmologists illogical?

          No.

        • MNb

          Soul is a meaningless concept, CodyGirl. It doesn’t refer to something in reality. Just like phlogiston doesn’t.

        • Greg G.

          This post breaks a run of trying to put words you wish Kodie had said into her mouth.

          Explain “soul”. When doeit enter the body? If it is at conception, what about monozygotic twins? If it is after the individuals separate, what about chimerism where different fertilized eggs merge into one individual? Where does this soul function reside? What is its function?

          Are you sure your religion didn’t make up the concept to give you something else to worry about?

        • MNb

          The fact that you were not capable of anticipating Kodie’s answer, which is not hard to find, also shows you’re not as smart as her.

        • MNb

          This very illogical comment of yours shows that Kodie is smarter than you indeed.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Standardization of beliefs is not necessarily a good thing, since everyone can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong.”– Jenna, arguing against herself

        • CodyGirl824

          How so? You are the folks who claim that religious diversity is a “clue” that religion is false, so you’re complaining that it is not standardized.

        • Kodie

          2.3 billion Christians can’t be wrong though! You are arguing that they can be wrong.

        • CodyGirl824

          Wrong about what?

        • Kodie

          Do I need to hold your hand to read again? Read your own posts, you contradicted yourself. So sick of re-explaining you a few short posts ago.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, the 2.3 billion Christians in the world today may all be wrong about something, but you need to be specific about what you think it is that they are wrong about.

        • hector_jones

          They are wrong about:
          1. the existence of God
          2. the existence of the soul
          3. the divinity of Jesus
          4. the resurrection of Jesus
          5. the existence of heaven and the afterlife
          etc.

        • CodyGirl824

          Every issue here that you state except for #4, the Resurrection of Jesus is a philosophical, theological issue there are legitimate differences of opinion and different interpretations, so you cannot say that Christians are wrong about any of these articles of faith. But the Resurrection is a matter of historical fact. You cannot prove that Christians are wrong about the Resurrection, so claiming that you know that we are is beyond the scope of your cognitive, epistemological competence.

        • hector_jones

          I can and do say that christians are wrong about every single one of these things. Sorry you don’t like it.

        • CodyGirl824

          As I have stated before, this is merely your opinion. As with all opinions, we are free to take them or leave them, considering the source.

        • hector_jones

          And your beliefs are merely your opinion. I am free to reject them, considering the source.

        • CodyGirl824

          Absolutely true!

        • Pofarmer

          ‘”. But the Resurrection is a matter of historical fact. You cannot prove that Christians are wrong about the Resurrection,”

          These two statements do not go together.

        • Kodie

          YOUR OWN WORDS:

          Standardization of beliefs is not necessarily a good thing, since everyone can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong.

        • CodyGirl824

          Note that hector gives five points below where he thinks that Christians are wrong. Do you want to sign on to those?

          And please note that the same can be said for atheists. Every atheist can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong.

        • Kodie

          Own up, Jenna! You can’t read for comprehension – the issue was where you contradicted yourself, using 90% of the human population to assert “revelation” and give god a grade, and you know that’s not an argument. Don’t you?

        • Kodie

          You didn’t own up Jenna!

        • CodyGirl824

          It is a fact supported by statistics on the demographics of religion, which vary according to polling methods, that self-identified atheists are in the minority worldwide. That’s not the argument. The argument is that the number of people who believe in God, currently living and throughout history is evidence that God’s revelation to humankind of Himself is successful. That’s what this “grade” means.

        • Kodie

          YOUR OWN WORDS: since everyone can agree on something that is nonetheless, wrong.

        • CodyGirl824

          It doesn’t really matter whether or not people who God has revealed Himself to are right or wrong about God since they have made the conscious choice to believe in God as a result of that revelation, like my late husband HB. If God did not exist, we wouldn’t even have a word in any human language for God since there’s nothing at all to say about anything that does not exist.

        • Kodie

          This might be the 5 stupidest things you’ve ever said. I’m going to need a couple minutes.

        • CodyGirl824

          Take all the time you like. I promise not to hold my breath.

        • Kodie

          If God did not exist, we wouldn’t even have a word in any human language
          for God since there’s nothing at all to say about anything that does
          not exist.

          Can you tell me anything about these?:

          http://blog.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/wp-content/posts/2012/12/unicorn.jpg

          http://2.s3.envato.com/files/47161104/12_lepr_002.jpg

          http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/212/7/d/red_dragon_by_caiomm-d599wlf.jpg

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, you have given me the perfect example! This first picture is a horse, which is a real animal that exists, with a horn in the middle of its head, which some animals have, a rhino for example, with a long curly mane, which is possible for a horse to have. There is not one single element in this picture of anything that doesn’t exist, although this picture is doctored through Photoshop to create an ensemble of real existing objects and a creature that does not exist in nature. You can show me a picture like this one and we can agree that what it depicts is what we call a unicorn.

          Now, tell me, what is it that monotheism deifies that does not exist? I have told you that I call “God” whatever it is that caused the Big Bang, thereby creating everything that exists in the universe. You have yet to convince me that the Big Bang had no cause or that the universe that came about as a result of the Big Bang does not exist. Now, show me a picture of what you conceptualize as being what the word “God” names and we’ll see if we agree that this is what I also mean by the term “God.”

        • Kodie

          You have said you call god whatever, not whoever, created the big bang. Deifying a what makes it a who, and you have yet to convince me that whatever caused the big bang is a who, much less loves you and communicates with people from a spiritual dimension. Seriously, Jenna, you have no excuse for deifying anything. No rational excuse. And for you to claim that god has to exist because humans couldn’t make up something that doesn’t exist, like a fucking unicorn? MYTHS.

        • Pofarmer

          WEll, she does have Aristotle on her side. Which is a great big black eye for Aristotle.

        • Kodie

          I’m getting sick to death of her malarkey.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. Same tired trope, over, and over. Honestly, the only reason I even try answering is because I wonder if someone who is having doubts might see these arguments and say, hey, those guys make a lot of sense.

        • Kodie

          Really, a horse, with a photoshopped horn on its head. A human cobbled parts of different animals to imagine and illustrate a being that never existed. And Jenna tries to trap me, we can name all the parts, the parts are real and have names, we don’t need to say it: unicorn. “God” is nothing like that! It’s not cobbled together out of stories and feelings and human traits such as jealousy or destructive anger, much less love, preference, judgment, or the ability to create, and a pathetic need to get attention. It needs so much attention and protection from criticism, so, sensitive is another human trait cobbled onto the mythical creature “god”.

        • Pofarmer

          And maybe a beer.

        • Kodie

          The fact does not exist that there is a god. You are giving god a “grade” on how well you believe he’s revealed himself because the world is full of imperfectly gullible believers. Who the fuck are you to judge god anyway, hypocrite? THIS IS NOT YOU OWNING UP, you are just dodging and throwing up the same things you already said, ignoring that you contradict yourself.

        • Greg G.

          I once heard that a South American tribe thought that a certain type of tree frog was a god. At least they didn’t have to make the case that the tree frogs existed, they only had to believe the frogs were gods. They were never able to make a persuasive case that the frogs actually were deities. But they are still a step ahead of all the other deists and theists in the world.

          The existence of a god should not have to be argued for with ambiguous evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          You apparently don’t understand what deification is, Greg. This SA tribe deified the tree frog and yes, we can be sure were not concerned about the existence of their tree frog god. If you understood what monotheism deifies, you also would see that there is no need to argue about the existence of what monotheists deify and label/name “God.”

        • Greg G.

          It’s a deity 9r it is not a deity. Deifying something is a process of the imagination. It does not make a real thing a deity and it doesn’t make an imaginary thing a deity. Even worshiping something doesn’t make it a deity. It’s just a worthless hobby.

        • smrnda

          Just because people think that gods exist, or that they have seen signs, does not mean that gods exist nor that what the people call ‘signs’ are anything of the sort. Maybe the vast majority of people are just superstitious, and a small minority can avoid being duped? the fact that many people believe something does not mean it is likely to be true. There are such things as cognitive biases that mean that in many situations, most people, thinking naturally, will arrive at incorrect conclusions.

          I would imagine a decent % of people believe in ghosts. I think the evidence is laughable, yet I am sure a bunch of people will tell me they’ve had clear experiences.

          Overall, the evidence can be explained away through cognitive bias.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is exactly what atheists do: explain away the evidence through their cognitive bias.

        • Kodie

          Bias toward logic?

        • smrnda

          If there was solid evidence, it would not be able to be explained away through cognitive bias.

          You understand how double-blind placebo trials work, correct? These trials are done in order to see if a drug is more effective than a placebo. “I took Remedy X and I felt better” is not evidence that remedy x works.

          So far, all evidence I have see is nothing but anecdotes, and so far, no religions are offering any claims that are falsifiable and can be tested. If I decide to offer off a drink offering to Zeus and nothing happens, the followers of Zeus will tell me it’s because I didn’t believe.

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s take a fer instance. A month or so ago we were leaving the local YMCA. It was just at dark, and I wanted to get kids home as it was a school night. There was slow traffic coming and I rolled a stop sign to get onto the main street ahead of it. Well, turns out it was a police officer. He flashed his lights at us and pulled me over. No big deal. Showed him drivers license and insurance and he gave me a warning and let us go. So, yesterday or the day before, I find out that my wife told the boys that they should thank God in church that I hadn’t got a ticket. So, how do you falsify that God had no part in it? I’m a 43 year old father of 3 with no tickets for 10 years, driving a white Chevy Traverse. If I had been a 16 year old, I very likely might have got a ticket. But, the way I figure it, if God hadn’t wanted me to get a ticket, he could have delayed me in the Y parking lot about 2 seconds. He could have had me stop at the stop sign. He could have had the officer not pull us over in the first place. The very last possible thing would have been to have the guy pull us over and at the very end somehow influence him not to give me a ticket. It’s highly improbably given the chain of events, but it’s also nearly impossible to falsify. Such is the nature of “faith.”

        • MNb

          Proper faith is not falsifiable at all. That’s OK with me, but denying it isn’t OK at all.

        • Pofarmer

          “That’s OK with me, but denying it isn’t OK at all.”

          Could you clarify?

        • MNb

          Faith is holding some claims that can’t be tested – like my beloved fairies in the backyard. If anyone likes to believe that, go ahead. It’s a free world etc. But as soon as I claim that those fairies are backed up by science, no matter how indirect – ie I am going to argue that “experiences” confirm them – I claim more: objectivity or intersubjectivity if you prefer. That claim is by no means justified, not even if 2,3 billion people support it.
          Because, like you made clear yourself in your example, such claims can’t be falsified by any means. Hence faith is only capable of making claims in retrospect. To admit this is a matter of intellectual integrity.

        • Pofarmer

          O,k. This is what I thought you meant. That it’s o.k. for someone to hold faith based positions, but they need to understand that they are believing without evidence and why others think so.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you have faith that the sun will rise again tomorrow based on no evidence?

        • MNb

          So you reject the scientific method after all? We have a theory of physics that predicts it and we have an abundance of observations that confirm that theory.
          Do you need faith that you will fall downward when you jump off a high building to convince you you shouldn’t do so unless you foster a desire to die? I don’t. I rely on Newtonian Mechanics plus observations, whether done by myself or by other people.
          My methods are deduction and induction. Yours is your underbelly.

        • CodyGirl824

          As I have said before, science is merely the systematic method of inquiry into how God’s creation works. I have no problem whatsoever with the scientific method. It is, however, limited in its application because there are many vital questions that we as humans have that cannot be addressed through science, since science is merely the study of the physical material world. Atheists really paint themselves into a corner by denying the spiritual, metaphysical realm of our existence and simply have nothing worthwhile to contribute to humankind’s knowledge of ourselves in relationship to the totality of our reality.

        • Kodie

          The questions science doesn’t answer, you attempt to answer with flawed human imagination. This is the same human imagination that can invent actual solutions to problems, such as not being able to fly like birds. This can be tested and applied consistently. Yours are based on fears and invent comforting answers because there are no answers, and in plenty of cases, nothing to be afraid of. You actually had to invent an afterlife punishment because earth isn’t’ dangerous enough and it doesn’t seem to target the people you think deserve it.

        • Greg G.

          Science is the systematic method of inquiry into how the universe works. It comes out the same whether you assume there is a god behind it because it 8s a robust method that has no need of the god hypothesis. If the only way to see evidence for god is to believe and wish to see it, there is a problem with your methodology. A thorough, systematic search should provide s9me unambiguous evidence of a deity Iif Iit Iinteracts with our universe.

        • CodyGirl824

          You do not understand what deification is. This is a chronic problem with atheists.

        • Kodie

          Deification is the application of fiction to reality, anthropomorphizing natural non-living things and events. Your chronic problem with atheists is that you can describe something and we get it, we just don’t believe it, as there is no credible evidence. Your experience isn’t knowledge and theological implications are useless to science.

        • hector_jones

          You do not understand what reality is. This is a chronic problem with believers.

        • Greg G.

          How could atheists know what theists think they understand? No two theists have the same understandings. What do you mean by “deification”?

        • CodyGirl824

          Deification is a linguistic and intellectual process
          through forms of “story-telling” that involve mytho-poetic language, symbolism, allegory, anthropomorphism, and other forms of linguistic, conceptual representations of existing reality. The conceptualized and imagined deity does not “exist,” although the reality that is deified does exist. Synonyms for deification are glorification, veneration, idealization, adoration, sanctification. An example: We readily acknowledge that Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, does not exist, but no one argues that rain does not exist. The same is true of all 200 Aztec gods. The representations of the natural phenomenon or human characteristic are not existing gods but the natural phenomena they symbolize do exist. Many atheists do not understand or refuse to acknowledge what monotheism deifies, which is the reason for the lack of relevance of their claim that there is “no evidence that God exists.”

        • hector_jones

          Yes you’ve said all this before and it’s just pseudo-intellectual rubbish.

        • CodyGirl824

          I was responding to Greg G., who asked a specific question. You seem to have felt that it was important to share your evaluation of my response, whatever it is worth, which IMO, is nothing.

        • hector_jones

          Greg was hoping you would come up with something new and interesting. I was just expressing profound disappointment on his behalf. I thought it was important enough to share my evaluation, just as you seem to think it’s important that you repeat your worthless opinion over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over …

        • Kodie

          I agree with hector.

        • Greg G.

          Thank you for the explanation.

          Are you saying that you are calling something that does exist is a deity? Are you calling actual forces of the universe your God? If so, your position is no better than the SA tribe. Pretending that something is a god does not make it a god outside of your head.

          If you think other theists agree with you, it is only because you use the same words that they use but you don’t clue them in to your private definitions.

        • Kodie

          It’s a symbol that also tells you things? Natural phenomena need no deification to understand them in language. That is a fictional dress you apply to everything, and you seem to know that.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t deny the spiritual, I do deny the metaphysical, because, ya know, evidence.

          “simply have nothing worthwhile to contribute to humankind’s knowledge of ourselves in relationship to the totality of our reality.”

          Oh do c’mon. At this point, I think Atheists, or at least secular endevours, are the ONLY ones who have anything worthwhile to contribute. Psychology, sociology, medicine, science

        • Pofarmer

          What MNb said.

        • Jeff

          The sun will *appear* to rise, based on the rotation of the earth on its axis. This is not a faith issue, because it’s not a random guess. There’s a history of this happening for thousands of years. It’s been studied, and explained, repeatedly; we know why the sun appears to rise every day and the fundamental principles that explain that can be applied to other mysteries, and explain those also. The forces that would have to conspire to make the sun *not* appear to rise tomorrow are unbelievably unlikely, and would probably include the unintended side effect of tearing the planet apart. Because something as big and dense and filled with momentum as a planet isn’t going to just stop nicely.

        • CodyGirl824

          You went off on a galactic tangent. The issue here is the idiosyncratic definition of faith as “belief without evidence” that atheists like to use to express their disapproval of religious faith.

        • Jeff

          Okay, then I’ll differentiate between reasonable faith, like the kind I have that the sun will appear to rise in the morning, and blind faith, like the belief in leprechauns and fairies and other assorted supernatural creatures. Reasonable faith is based on reason, evidence, testability, repeatability, and successful predictions. Blind faith is based on whatever your imagination conjures up. It’s reasonable to believe the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, based on reason and evidence and testability and previous successful predictions. We understand the mechanics of why the sun appears to rise, and we understand the mechanics of what it would take to stop that process (and like I mentioned before, such an event would be as catastrophic as it is unlikely).

          There is no reason to believe in your spirit realm. There’s no evidence for it, the observations we *do* have are notoriously unrepeatable (and thus as valuable as a fever dream in terms of relying on them to understand the universe). Maybe, *maybe* the spirit realm really does exist. But there’s no reason to think it does, not without evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          At the risk of repeating myself, we have talked quite a bit before about scientific research into such activities and processes as meditation and mysticism. Again, I suggest that scientists would not inquire into phenomena that are not real or that do not exist. Here is a bibliography:

          William P. Alston (1991). Perceiving God: The epistemology of religious experience.

          Eugene d’Aquili and Andrew Newberg (1999). The mystical mind: Probing the biology of religious experience.

          Andrew Newberg, Eugene d’Aquili and Vince Rause. (2001). Why God won’t go away: Brain science and the biology of belief.

          Dean Hamer (2004). The God Gene: How faith is hardwired into our genes.

          Abraham Maslow (1971). Religions, values and peak-experiences.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, and we already explained why you are interpreting them in ways the researchers do not infer.

        • wtfwjtd

          You could just as well thank Zeus, or the FSM, or….take your pick. Much of our lives are more or less a collection of random events, it’s pretty simple, really.

        • Pofarmer

          “Much of our lives are more or less a collection of random events,”

          Which is what makes the concept and issue of free will somewhat thorny. We are constantly at the mercy of others actions.

        • Kodie

          Life is something of a battle to change what we can and accept what we can’t. A lot of people tend to mix them up. I used to post to a forum with some kind of pagan lady, pagan-ish, I guess, and her explanation of “spells” was setting goals and taking the steps needed to meet them. That makes sense, but it’s not magic. I guess her idea was that it isn’t magic, but that a lot of people are impatient and looking for shortcuts. If you want things to happen, you have to do things to make them happen. (See Also: “God helps those who help themselves.”) A lot of people make excuses and blame other powers against them as if they don’t have a choice. I also know more than one person who try to control things they really can’t, and that doesn’t mean they can never control some of these things.

          The truth of everything religion tends to ignore is that we are not flying solo down here on earth – we have each other to help and often enough have to work uphill against. They are always confusing atheism with the idea that we’re promoting ourselves to some god-like status, that we can do whatever we want with no consequences, beholden to no one. In my life, I have authority over nearly no one. How god-like is that? Am I supposed to go out with a machete so people listen to me and do what I say? What kind of fantasy butchering of atheism is this? I have no control over what theists think about atheists other than to try to communicate it. So how lucky I am that I have the “free will” to deny there is a god! Where god doesn’t strike me dead, people get involved to try to make me feel mistaken and like less of a human being, less enlightened, really short-sighted. They have no control over me, but they think they have to warn me about god. That’s all evangelizing is – to warn all the others that god is a nasty piece of work who will send me to hell after I die. We all die, we all go nowhere. I’m not afraid of these consequences because they’re false.

          Twisting this threat into some awesome goodness, the love, the light, the way, heaven, peace, eternal bliss, whatever, that I’m missing out on – that’s like, I wouldn’t deny something like that if there were evidence. Trying to make god not seem that bad is part of the package. They’re here to warn me what he’ll do and some of them think they’re just here to make sure I don’t miss out on the limited offer before it expires. They go together. But they think god makes that call ultimately and if I won’t listen to them, I’ll really be sorry when I die. Why do they keep trying to control everything on earth, other people to go along with their superstition.

          They say we’re given this earth to endure, they expect to be surrounded by sinners who don’t care, who challenge their faith, and this is somehow heroic for them, but they also spend a lot of effort trying to adjust this world to their preferences, what they interpret are god’s preferences. God has a heaven, that’s his preference. Mind yourself, and leave everyone else alone. If god is there, we shouldn’t need to hear about it from other people. We don’t have free will once we’re aware of Jesus, our choice is believe or go to hell. They act like there is a freedom to choose hell, that we deny what’s coming later to live for today, while the practical choice is to believe in Jesus, and use this belief to throw our authority around down here to get a spot in heaven. THERE IS NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.

          If you’re scared of the bogeyman, of course you’ll make the safe choice. You’ll avoid making mistakes and avoid enjoying life for the promise that you can have heaven, for what? What is good about heaven? Is it the limitless gorging on food and drink and drugs and sex that we’re supposed to deny ourselves on earth? What’s pleasure in heaven that we’re supposed to box ourselves up and patiently wait to die?

        • Pofarmer

          “Am I supposed to go out with a machete so people listen to me and do what I say?’

          I wish I could remember if it was Hitchens or Dawkins or who that said that claiming something came “from God” was a way to make the message more powerful than “because I say so.”

        • CodyGirl824

          You are making a very big deal about what is probably just your wife’s simple and sincere expression to the Creator of her gratitude for the fact that you did not suffer by getting a ticket. Your wife has faith in God. You do not. That’s the difference.

        • Kodie

          You think god gives a shit about traffic citations?

        • Pofarmer

          I would call it miss placed irrational thinking, but, take yer pick.

        • CodyGirl824

          I get it. You want to apply scientific methods of inquiry, including experiments, to our understanding of what is spoken about using the term/name “God.” This means that you are a scientific materialist or naturalist, correct? You simply have a worldview that is dedicated to denying the spiritual dimension of human existence.

        • MNb

          First some nitpicking: you are a scientific materialist as well unless you deny that science works. What you mean is philosophical materialist.
          Dedicated is the wrong word. It suggests an agenda while there is none. That worldview – you won’t be surprised that I embrace it as well – simply says there is no reason to assume anything more than matter/energy, while there are two reasons (as far as I know; there might be more) not to accept such an assumption.
          1. Dualists never have succeeded (and they have written about it at least since Aristoteles’ De Anime) to make clear how the immaterial interacts with the material. Any attempt to do so attributes some material features to the proposed immaterial entity (whether it’s fairies, souls or gods) and thus brings it into the material domain. As we know (think of Zeus and thunder) this always has failed. Here matter should be understood the way physics does, ie matter/energy as expressed by both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
          2. Dualists never have succeeded to develop an objective methodology to research the immaterial domain, assuming there is such a thing.

        • Greg G.

          There are a hundred things in my room that get an A+ in revelation that they are real. I’m pretty easy to convince that something exists. All it takes is unambiguous evidence. God doesn’t even rate a grade because of his attendance record of never, ever attending class.

        • wtfwjtd

          If a loving god wanted something from me, he would tell me in a clear, audible voice; there would be no mistaking it. If my eternal soul depended on this message, a loving god would not leave the communication of such a vital message to sinful, fallible mankind. Furthermore, he wouldn’t be sending confusing, contradictory, and muddled messages to the very people who own souls are also at stake. A loving god would communicate clear, consistent messages, so the people that he loved would be absolutely clear what he wanted. The fact that we see the opposite of this– confusing, muddled, and even violent messages that people pretend to hear from god, is clear evidence of a failed theory. Either god is not loving, or there is no god at all. There is no other logical conclusion.

        • CodyGirl824

          wtfwjtd, my late husband HB was a life-long atheist until his late sixties. At age 68 he had a conversion to Christianity that came through a series of clear communications, which we Christians call “signs” that convinced him that God was calling him to follow Christ’s teachings, which he did faithfully for the last decade of his life. He experienced a complete transformation of his personality, including being cured of his alcoholism. It took HB quite a bit of time and suffering in his life to come to the point of being able to “hear” God. I think of “hearing” God and being open to receiving signs from God as much like listening to the radio. Unless I “tune in” to the right station, I won’t get the message. This is done through a willing and open heart and prayer and meditation. God is a loving God and unless the message we hear from God is one of love, healing, joy and comfort, it is not from God. I hope that some day you can “tune in” and hear God calling.

        • wtfwjtd

          Personal emotional experiences don’t mean a thing to me. The fact is, people “hear” their god telling them to hate and commit violence, and your denials don’t change this. A failed prediction is a failed theory; therefore, Christianity is false.

        • CodyGirl824

          People may claim that their evil actions are not only sanctioned but commanded by God. This is what is false, not Christianity. Where did Jesus Christ command his followers to do anything that is evil? When did he himself do anything evil or do any harm to anyone? Christianity is the antidote to evil, not its cause.

        • Pofarmer

          This is the same Jesus Christ who announced he was coming back with a sword, and armies of Angels? That dude?

        • MNb

          People may claim that their good actions are not only sanctioned but comanded by God. This is what is false, not Christianity.
          What’s the difference?

          “Where did Jesus Christ command his followers to do anything that is evil?”
          Why should I assume that JC has anything to do with god? The default is that we doubt someone’s mental health if he/she claims to be a son of god.

          “When did he himself do anything evil or do any harm to anyone?”
          When killing off innocent pigs. Also the Sermon on the Mount is not as nice as you christians always claim.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2013/05/fisking-the-sermon-on-the-mount/
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2011/09/the-evils-of-the-sermon-on-the-mount-part-1/
          For the record: CH is a former liberal christian who has studied philosophy of religion for a year at Notre Dame and DF is a professional philosopher and ex-evangelical.

          “Christianity is the antidote to evil, not its cause.”
          As an antidote to evil christianity has spectactularly failed last 2000 years. The doctrine of atonement is one cause indeed. Jesus failing to condemn slavery another.

        • Kodie

          They interpret the bible, they make theological implications. They feel certain as you do, they feel transcendental experiences like you do! Christ didn’t command or not command anything, you dipshit. You seem really certain that a real god only communicates really good things to people like you, but your “evidence” is personal feelings. Guess what, that’s ALL it is. Everyone has personal feelings, and a lot of them attribute their feelings to a deity, they interpret these feelings to command them, or to make decisions.

          How can you say that you don’t understand this?

        • Kodie

          Oh Jenna, say something about this question.

        • MNb

          “Unless I “tune in” to the right station, I won’t get the message.”
          Ah – your latest version of “you first have to believe and then you’ll understand the evidence”.

          “I hope that …..”
          I wish you strength with hoping.

        • Pofarmer

          He probably decided it was easier to just give in than drink to get away from your nonsense.

        • CodyGirl824

          My late husband had his conversion before we were married. In any case, this is really a cheap shot but, unfortunately, typical of how atheists’ morality guides them to treat Christians when we share our own and our loved one’s spiritual experiences. Again, casting our pearls … as Jesus warned us about in Matthew 7:6.

        • hector_jones

          We don’t want you to share your own and your loved ones’ spiritual experiences with us, any more than we want you to share your sexual experiences with us. Gross.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are the one who is gross.

        • hector_jones

          Oh wow you really got me with that “I know you are but what am I” response. Didn’t see that one coming.

        • CodyGirl824

          All insults and grossness aside, if you are totally closed off to people of faith sharing our spiritual experiences with you, then I can suggest some very good books where you can learn about such experiences without interacting with anyone. A good place to start is Abraham Maslow’s book (1971). Religions, values and peak-experiences. Another is William James “The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature.”

        • hector_jones

          Yeah I’ll get right on that.

        • Pofarmer

          Let me know what you find.

        • Pofarmer

          You didn’t share your spiritual experience, you shared your interpretation of a third parties experience that you may not have even known at the time.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not true. You wrongly assume that spiritual experiences end with conversion.

        • Pofarmer

          Who said anything about conversion?

        • CodyGirl824

          You claim that I am describing “third party experience” about someone (my late husband) who I “may not have even known at the time.” The question is “at the time of what” since you claim that I am a “third party” to his spiritual journey as a Christian when I was his partner in his journey, no “third” about it. Why are you making these assumptions? Is this an attempt to tell me that I didn’t experience what I experienced and I don’t know what I know? This is the typical tactic of atheists when it comes to other people’s spiritual experiences: a desperate quest to contradict the evidence.

        • MNb

          Oh CodyGirl, you’re funny. Pofarmer doesn’t contradict the evidence – he tries to explain to you why you haven’t provided any evidence for what you claim.
          So your late husband converted when he was 74 (correction: 68). Nobody has any problem accepting that fact. Good for him. So what? So nothing.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, my husband converted when he was 68. We were married when he was 74. He spent a life time as an atheist and the last years of his life as a deeply devout Christian. For him and for me and the many people who were impacted by his conversion, this is not nothing. I merely attempted to share a bit of his story to tell how signs from God were what what opened his heart in his conversion process. To you it is nothing and not evidence of anything. To him, these were signs (evidence) of God’s love that brought him love, joy, peace, and many blessing as a transformed man of faith, a “saved” Christian. I know how annoying real life stories of salvation are for atheists and what efforts you go to to diminish and dismiss them.

        • Pofarmer

          So did you know him when he had these miraculous signs and converted or not?

        • CodyGirl824

          I told you numerous times, I did not know HB at the time of his conversion. I did, however, know people who played a role in his conversion and testified as to the signs that he was given. I also know many people who knew him before and after his conversion and testified to his transformation. Further, he had spiritual experiences in my presence and with me that we shared during our life together. At his memorial service, attended by several hundred people, our Episcopal priest who was HB’s spiritual advisor drew a parallel between St. Paul on the road to Damascus and HB’s conversion experience. Some day I plan to publish his testimony, which he left in my care and which I have shared many times both with skeptics and people of faith.

        • MNb

          “I also know many people who knew him before and after his conversion and testified to his transformation.”
          Nobody contradicts this.

          “the signs that he was given.”
          Please elaborate. Which signs? How did they know these signs came from god and not from self-delusion? What was their methodology?

          “he had spiritual experiences in my presence and with me that we shared during our life together”
          Which spiritual experiences? How did you share them? How do you know these spiritual experiences can’t have a materialistic explanation? What was your methodology?

          “our Episcopal priest ….. drew a parallel ”
          So what?

          “Some day I plan to publish his testimony”
          Yeah, there never can be a shortage of such testimonies, like there never can be a shortage of testimonies about alien abductions.

        • CodyGirl824

          False analogy, MNb. Do you know of anyone, personally or otherwise, who was transformed from being a life-long atheist to a deeply devout Christian through an alien abduction? In particular, a transformation that a respected religious leader in a community likens to St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus? Please tell us where we can find testimony of this.

        • Kodie

          You seem to think that nobody would be able to believe in a false god, nobody could convert without the existence of a god. All it takes is believing lies and mistakes, not being logical or skeptical about these things. It’s still just a story. A person can believe a story that isn’t true and a person can have a transformative experience as a result of belief.

          You are interpolating there is someone at the other end converting this person and changing them. Answer a lot of my posts from yesterday, because you failed to give me answers I was really curious about. what new excuse you’d make up or new way of failing at reading comprehension, the mental gymnastics required just to keep your beliefs and not confront the fact that other people regard it as a fiction.

        • Pofarmer

          blah, blah, blah, yes, our brains are powerful, sometimes they do unexpected things. Here’s the problem though. You are here, telling us, well vaguely, about your husbands experiences and conversions that happened before you met him. You are not even giving us direct third hand information, but anecdotal third hand information, and the rest of it is anecdotal FOURTH hand information. But none of that even matters to me, because I can’t directly verify any of it. The whole thing could be perfectly true, or perfectly rubbish, it matters not, because to me, it is nothing. I didn’t experience it, and I can’t directly verify it, so it is evidence of naught other than someone says that someone had a miraculous experience. And, even if I could talk to your late husband, it’s still just that someone says that they had a miraculous experience. So what? Once again, I can’t verify or experience it, so it might as well not have happened for all it matters to me.

        • Kodie

          And you know what, we’ve been over this a couple times, but she never did say what those signs were. They were testified to by other people, but she won’t say what they were.

        • CodyGirl824

          Pofarmer, the point is that these spiritual experiences are real. They happen to real people who we know well and intimately. They happen to us. They are first hand experiences. We can see them ourselves, speak to people who participated in them, and verify them by observing their impact on other people’s and our own lives.My late husband’s experience was first hand. I had his testimony first hand. I knew people who were involved in these experiences with him and heard their first-hand testimony. I observed and participated in spiritual experiences with HB first-hand during our life together. An entire community knew HB and understood why our priest compared his conversion to St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Everyone who knew him, knew first hand that something had happened to him that profoundly changed him from a life-long atheist into a devout Christian.

          Now, this may not matter one whit to you, but his life and conversion had a profound effect on many people who knew and loved him.

          The point here is that this is what atheists are up against: the fact that intellectual arguments against God are of no consequence to those people of faith who have experienced and continually experience God and have a relationship with God.

        • Pofarmer

          You really don’t get it.

        • Kodie

          Although I have personally pointed this out to you many times, as have others, you don’t seem to notice the difference between having an experience and naming the source of these experiences as a sentient universe-creator from a spirit dimension.

          Lots of people have these experiences. I do sometimes. Nobody is disputing, NOT ONE PERSON DISPUTED these experiences occurred.

          REPEAT THAT BACK TO ME AND I WILL TELL YOU MORE.

        • CodyGirl824

          And I have posted Abraham Maslow’s statement, perhaps more than once, about the universality of these spiritual experiences where he says this: “…They should, therefore, come to agree in principle on teaching that which is common to all of them, i.e. whatever it is that peak-experiences teach in common (whatever is different about these illuminations can fairly be taken to be localisms both in time and space, and are, therefore, peripheral, expendable, not essential) …we may call [these] the “core-religious experience” or the “transcendent experience.” (p. 20). Maslow says, “Small wonder it is then that the mystic, trying to describe his experience­, can do it only in a local, culture-bo­und, ignorance-­bound, language-b­ound way…” (p. 72). Maslow proposes that when we strip away all of the cultural, linguistic, religious traditions’ symbolisms and metaphors for describing these experiences to each other, what remains is the very core from which all religions spring and which give meaning to our lives. This includes atheists and believers alike.

        • Pofarmer

          “what remains is the very core from which all religions spring and which give meaning to our lives.”

          That would be our brains.

        • CodyGirl824

          Our brains are the organ of the body that process and interpret experiences; They do not manufacture them. Or do you claim that the stomach produces food, or the lungs produce air? Did you skip Physiology 101?

        • Pofarmer

          What is a dream, then?

        • hector_jones

          I asked her about that days ago. Of course she didn’t reply.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you ask? Do you call dreams “experiences”? I’m not sure that neuro-scientists would define them as such.

        • hector_jones

          Once again you shift the goal posts and instead of using a word the way every other speaker of the language does, you come up with your own idiosyncratic meaning. Stop doing things like this and I’ll stop calling you a dishonest hypocrite.

        • Pofarmer

          Are you going to argue that you don’t experience a dream?

        • hector_jones

          Right now, yes, that’s exactly what she’s arguing. But tomorrow if it suits her to argue that one does experience a dream, she will argue that.

        • Pofarmer

          How can you argue that the brain doesn!t have output? What is a thought, or an idea, or an emotion?

        • Pofarmer

          How do you explain satisfaction? It’s an experience we make.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, I do not consider “satisfaction” to be an experience. Why are you all over the place with the use of this word? Perhaps we could agree (stipulate) that what we are talking about are experiences that A. Maslow calls “peak experiences” that are characteristic of self-actualizing persons? These peak experiences are NOT produced or generated by the brain.

        • Pofarmer

          That is your interpretation and not Maslows. Do people normally let you get away with this rubbish nonsense?

        • Pofarmer

          What the fuck Maslow is talking about, and what you dream you’re talking about, are not the same thing. This should not be difficult, unless you are being willfully ignorant or as stupid and lacking comprehension as much as kodie asserts.

        • CodyGirl824

          Be specific. In what way do you think I have misinterpreted Maslow? Most of the time in this discussion of Maslow I have quoted him verbatim from his book published in 1971. “Religions, values and peak-experiences.” Please point out the exact text where you think Maslow’s own words don’t say what Maslow is talking about.

        • Kodie

          Please point out the exact text where you think Maslow’s own words don’t say what Maslow is talking about.

          Sneaky lying asshole.

          YOU are putting words, interpreting Maslow’s words to mean what you WANT them to mean, not what they actually say.

          I have told you dozens of times and you fail to respond. Sneaky unintellectual, lying fucking asshole. You do not deserve better language. This is me being justifiably exasperated by your ignorance and inability to keep the fuck up. You keep repeating Maslow’s words as if Maslow’s research supports your beliefs. IT DOES NOT! You add fiction and personal twerpy interpretations via your goddamned theological implications! The science does not say that. You can’t tell the difference, because your head is up your fucking ass.

        • CodyGirl824

          After that little tantrum, do you feel better?

        • Kodie

          Is making snitty little dishonest remarks like that better than actually comprehending the words you read? I’m sure you’ll forget all about it and bring it up again in 2-3 days. You keep saying the same thing, and we keep telling you to try to understand where you’re wrong in the reading. You forget that?

        • Kodie
        • CodyGirl824

          Equivocation fallacy alert! Answer the question: Do you consider dreams to be “experiences”? Using the word “experience” as a verb does not address the question. Remember that what is at issue here is whether or not the brain manufactures, produces, generates experiences, such as in spiritual, transcendent, peak or core-religious experiences as A. Maslow talks about them and as neuro-scientists like Andrew Newberg, M.D. study them.

        • Kodie

          Maslow never said “peak experiences” come from outside of the brain from a spiritual dimension. Reacting to your beliefs can make experiences. If I told you I was going to give you a million dollars, you’d get pretty excited, wouldn’t you? You’d start planning and shopping and thinking of all the things you’d get to do with the money. But it’s a lie, Jenna. I don’t want to give you a million dollars.

          That’s how the brain works – you believe a lie is true, then you experience the lie as if it were true. If you can sustain the lie as if it were true, you continue to have experiences as though it were true. NO SPIRIT DIMENSION REQUIRED.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is silly, Kodie. Do you really know all about how the brain works? You seem to know next to nothing about how the human spirit works and how the spiritual dimension of our reality works, so you have very little credibility in the field of neuro-science.

        • Kodie

          Stop trying to mash your spiritual dimension into Maslow’s research and address what I actually said.

        • Kodie

          You can’t, can you, Jenna.

        • Kodie

          I know next to nothing about how the human spirit works? That’s really funny, you know more than I do about something fictional, what has that to do with credibility in a field of science? I know enough not to mix them up. What has one got to do with another? Do you say to someone, you don’t seem to know how to roller-skate, so you have very little credibility in your blueberry muffin recipe?

        • Pofarmer

          Newberg

          “Based on our model presented in prior works as well as our book, it seems that all unitary experiences — ranging from mild aesthetic experiences such as watching a beautiful sunset to the most profound states that may occur only after years of meditation — may have their basis in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and the flux of neurotransmitters. We have even suggested that there is an aesthetic-religious continuum that is based upon the progressive activation of the holistic operator such that the more profound the experience, the greater the sense of unity. Our recent brain imaging studies of Tibetan Buddhist meditators have begun to provide empirical evidence for the specific mechanisms involved in this continuum of experiences.”

          Have you fucking got, that, is that clear enough?

        • MNb

          I agree! Brains are thoroughly material. As there is no mechanism or procedure that enables the immaterial to interact with the material the conclusion must be that all “spiritual” experiences – like me hearing voices – have material explanations. Your brains made your god up.
          Thank you again, Cody.

        • Kodie

          That explains why you’re saying such stupid things, actually. You don’t produce thoughts on your own.

        • Kodie

          Fail.

        • Pofarmer

          Jenna, you really, really, really, gotta learn how to read.

          Peak experiences
          “Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as Peak experiences,
          which are profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or
          rapture, during which a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient
          and yet a part of the world, more aware of truth, justice, harmony,
          goodness, and so on. Self-actualizing people have many such peak
          experiences. In other words, these “peak experiences” or states of flow
          are the reflections of the realization of one’s human potential and
          represent the height of personality development”

          Maslow was as Humanistic psychologist. Nowhere on his hierarchy of needs is listed “spiritual.”

        • CodyGirl824

          What’s your point? One term that Maslow uses for peak experiences is the term “spiritual” and also the term “core religious.” These experiences, by whatever name, are a characteristic of fully self-realized individuals.

        • Pofarmer

          He also says rapture. His point is that we make these experiences, not that we are experiencing something else.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Maslow does not say that we “make these experiences.” Self-actualizing individuals have these experiences and seek them out by opening themselves to such experiences, but do not “make” them. Maslow discusses how only people who consciously block these experiences do not have them. If you claim that Maslow says otherwise, please provide a citation of his work and page number so the rest of us can verify your interpretation, as I have done.

        • Kodie

          What is the SELF in “self-actualizing”?

        • CodyGirl824

          Here’s a good summary of the concept of self-actualization and how Abraham Maslow studied it:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_actualization

          It says that Maslow refers to the self as a person’s “… core-nature that is unique to them.”

        • Pofarmer

          Maslow was a HUMANIST psychologist. Let that sink in for a moment.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am very well aware that Maslow is a humanist psychologist. This is part of the reason why I think that atheists should pay attention to his writings and research.

        • Kodie

          I think you ought to pay attention to the 99 other times I said there is no correlation between Maslow’s research and your conclusions. There is no indication from having experiences that those experiences COME FROM outside of one’s own brain.

        • CodyGirl824

          And I have responded that the brain is the organ that processes and interprets experiences but does not generate or produce these experiences. This is just your own unscientific belief, without any evidence to support it. Maslow’s research indicates one fact: experiences that he calls “transcendent, core-religious, spiritual or peak experiences” are almost universal to humankind. Everyone has them, except for a minority of people who consciously block these experiences. Based on his analysis of and research with people who are mature, self-actualizing, highly functioning people, Maslow concludes that they have these experiences regularly and more often than people who are not self-actualizing. Nowhere in his research does he suggest that these experiences are not real or merely “come from inside the brain” as you claim. Maslow’s research is consistent with later research from neuro-science such as Andrew Newberg’s. If you want to post citations of peer-reviewed research articles or books that suggest that the brain generates peak experiences or spiritual, core-religious experiences in highly functioning individuals, please do so. Otherwise, get over it.

        • Kodie

          Jenna. Nobody here ever said those experiences were not real. You’re the stupid dumbfuck who interprets this as meaning there’s a spirit dimension where they originate, thus the revelation that god is real to 90% of the population. Where did you arrive at that conclusion because it wasn’t from Maslow.

        • Kodie

          The problem here is you can’t tell the difference between two sentences, such as when Mnb said “theology ought not mess with cosmology,” and you AGREED by mangling the order to say “I agree, the cosmologist has no reason to get involved in a discussion with the theologist”.

          Those are two different statements that have opposite meanings and you still can’t tell the difference. I don’t trust you to be able to read Maslow or any other scientific research and give us valid, truthful information. It’s in your nature to lie about what you don’t understand – that’s what religion is.

        • Kodie

          Maslow said it, you believe it, that settles it?

        • CodyGirl824

          Since you complained that Maslow’s research is not up-to-date, I suggest that you look at the neurological research of Dr. Andrew Newberg, M.D. Here is a more recent book he authored, but not his most recent, which you can look up on the internet:

          Andrew Newberg & Mark Waldman (2009). How God changes our brain.

        • MNb

          Thanks for looking up. I suspected something like this, but was too lazy.

        • MNb

          “the point is that these spiritual experiences are real.”
          How do you know which ones are real and which ones aren’t? What is your methodology? Or do you accept the testimonies about alien abduction as real too? That would be interesting.

        • MNb

          Ah, premature conclusions really make you feel good, don’t they? I didn’t present alien abduction as an analogy. I certainly didn’t claim that alien abduction can transform someone to a deeply devout christian. One must be a deeply devout christian like you to produce such a silly brain twist. It is at these moments that I think back of your hilarious claim that you can’t recognize any rationality in atheism; how you are capable of goofs like this one it becomes credible indeed – it’s just your lack of logical faculties.
          The only claim I made is that the shortage of testimonies like your husbands is about as big as the shortage of testimonies about alien abduction. I allow you to go one step further: there is exactly as much reason to accept these testimonies.
          Don’t agree? Please tell us about you methodology to decide which testimonies are reliable and which ones not. My guess: your underbelly.

          “In particular, a transformation that a respected religious leader in a community likens to St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus?”
          Why should I respect him?
          Is this your methodology? When a testimony is about a transformation that some authority approved by you gives a testimony about then it’s reliable, but when it’s about alien abduction given by some authority not approved by you it is unreliable? That’s just another description of your underbelly.
          Everything you write goes back to one point: your underbelly. Is that the fertile ground you intend to drop your spiritual seeds on?

        • CodyGirl824

          MNb, You say this: “The only claim I made is that the shortage of testimonies like your husbands is about as big as the shortage of testimonies about alien abduction.” You are wrong about this. There is no “shortage of testimonies” about people’s spiritual experiences. Just because you don’t hang out with people who share their testimony with each other (what we Christians call “witnesssing”) doesn’t mean that such testimony is rare or unusual. In fact, it is probably more rare that people of faith have not had many spiritual experiences since these are part of every faith journey.

          Remind me what you mean with this “underbelly” stuff.

        • Kodie

          Yet another reading comprehension fail.

        • CodyGirl824

          How so?

        • MNb

          “There is no “shortage of testimonies” about people’s spiritual experiences.”
          There is no “shortage of testimonies” about alien abductions either. That’s what “as big” means. That’s why your husbands will add exactly zero.

          “you don’t hang out with people who share their testimony with each other”
          Wrong again. I do. For instance a couple of JW’s have visited me at home three times to present their testimony. A good colleague of mine is a devout catholic. I listen to her. I train other teachers – teach them math and physics. Now and then, when it doesn’t get in the way, they present their testimonies too. For the third time: my female counterpart (and also my vice-director plus another good friend) are practicing muslima’s. Etc. etc.
          I am probably the only atheist in a very religious village.
          What I mean is exactly what I write: you think with your underbelly, not with your brains.

        • hector_jones

          If you were actually paying attention, Jenna, you would have noticed by now that MNb is not a native speaker of English. When he says ‘underbelly’ he means ‘gut’. This would be obvious to any native speaker of English but you.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, as I remember MNb quoted some source for the use of this term. In any case, now I get the picture. I applaud MNb for being bilingual (or perhaps, multilingual)!

        • Pofarmer

          Thomas Paine, The age of Reason, chapter 1.

        • Kodie

          What signs did they testify that he was given?

        • MNb

          “I know how annoying real life stories of salvation are for atheists”
          Strawman. Must I remind you once again? My female counterpart believes. My ex-wife believes. The first is muslima and the latter converted from islam to christianity after her second marriage. Their religiousness never ever has bothered me at all; it’s very likely that I will visit mosque again in July at Id-ul-Fitr. Moreover – I have told you this before as well; that you have “forgotten” shows how narrow-minded you are – I have had my share of “spiritual” experiences as well: Out-of-body, “seeing” the future, hearing voices. The difference between me and you is that I don’t think my personal experiences should be the standard for the rest of the world. The fun thing is that only a year ago I learned on Mano Singham’s blog that hearing voices is far more common than I assumed and that there is a fine scientific theory for it.

        • CodyGirl824

          You might find what Abraham Maslow says about this interesting:

          Abraham Maslow says this about what he terms “peak
          experiences” in his book, Religions, values, and peak-experiences (1971). “.. to the extent that all mystical or peak experiences are the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and have always been the same. They should, therefore, come to agree in principle on teaching that which is common to all of them, i.e. whatever it is that peak-experiences teach in common (whatever is different about these illuminations can fairly be taken to be localisms both in time and space, and are, therefore, peripheral, expendable, not essential) …we may call [these] the “core-religious experience” or the “transcendent experience.” (p. 20)

        • Kodie

          No, you said he had clear communications, which you Christians call “signs”. I wrote several posts yesterday that you failed to respond to, and I will take these non-responses as an intentional retreat so you would not have to answer them.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, you can and will give non-responses any sinister meaning that you choose to, but a non-response is simply non-response.

        • Kodie

          I know you don’t know. You can’t think of a theological implication so you retreat. Then you pop up and give posts on subjects as if we’ve never discussed anything. We answer you, you ignore, you repeat yourself. You never learn anything. You are here to dispense with and dismiss the atheist idea/belief that there is no god – you actually consider us to be believers in denial so you can open the fucking window of opportunity to proselytize us from your lame script. So when I ask you something we haven’t talked about before, I really would like to fucking know how you’ll mangle it exactly or whether you are capable of retaining information for more than 5 seconds before you answer me a post with “like what?” because you can’t follow a thread. You are too busy talking and no listening. You’re just rude and self-absorbed in your mission to explain the inexplicably stupid.

        • Kodie

          You actually did never say what these experiences were that others testified to. You revert back to cranking out your fictional interpretation of Maslow’s research. You don’t tell us your experiences or your late husband’s, and why we need to believe you and have them too. I wonder if you’re afraid we’ll have a reasonable natural explanation for your experiences that you will have to … well no you’ll never face up to it, you will stamp your foot again.

        • Kodie

          Have you read any newer research in that area? Sick of hearing about Maslow. People have experiences, they’re great. They’re not in any way indicative of a spirit guide at the other end of the line.

        • hector_jones

          Wait a minute, the other day you said your husband was an atheist until age 68. Now you say he had his conversion before you were married. Are you saying your husband was 68 when he married you?

        • CodyGirl824

          He was 74 when I married him.

        • hector_jones

          So he was your second husband?

        • CodyGirl824

          Why are you interested in these details since you have already stated that you find this type of sharing distasteful? Morbid curiosity?

        • hector_jones

          I find the spiritual stuff distasteful. Asking about whether you have a previous husband isn’t spiritual. But you know, if you don’t want to answer the question, that’s fine. There’s no need for you to pretend that I am somehow contradicting myself by asking it. Besides, I’ve lost interest at this point anyway.

        • Kodie

          Because you sound 15.

        • Pofarmer

          Enough with the swine talk
          So you were dating when he had his miraculous conversion ?

        • Kodie

          You’re not suggesting he converted so he could get laid, are you?

        • Pofarmer

          Far be it from me.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m sure that he found whatever was “revealed” to him very convincing.

        • Kodie

          It was just an anecdote, you are using it to demonstrate something it’s not strong enough to demonstrate. You get defensive when we criticize you, you’re the one who used your late husband. You are deflecting because someone hurt your feelings. Why didn’t you answer my post about the difference between clear communications and what you Christians like to call “signs”?

        • Kodie

          “Signs” is not clear communication; it’s pretending to see a message where there is no message and then being certain it was. It’s coincidence and emotions. Clear communication is when I write something to you in language, in words from the dictionary, and expect you to comprehend what those words mean. The fact that you often add your own personal interpretation and try to read signals between the words I write and are consistently wrong tells me everything I need to know what you do with “signs”.

        • Kodie

          Jenna, I would really like you to respond here.

        • CodyGirl824

          To what? To your accusation that I am consistently wrong? Why should I. If that’s what you want to believe, you’ll believe it.

        • Kodie

          To your mistake. You said clear communications, you clearly mean vague signs interpreted to mean messages from god. Do you understand the difference? Do you have access to a dictionary? Why should anyone take you seriously?

        • CodyGirl824

          In the case of my late husband HB, he never had any doubt whatsoever that these signs (messages, communications) were from God. You don’t have to take me seriously. In fact, I know that you don’t. Some people do, but not you. They have their reasons and so do you.

        • Kodie

          They weren’t clear communications, they were subjective interpretations of random events. The problem is you wouldn’t know clear communication if it bit you on the butt, since you went out of your way to define “clear communications” as something you Christians call “signs”. In the real world, those are two way different things.

        • CodyGirl824

          My husband’s signs from God happened in the real world.

        • Kodie

          What were these signs from god? You never tell us so we can analyze them for ourselves. And you assert they are

          1. Signs.
          2. FROM god.

          I say they are subjective interpretations of coincidental events. Selectively choosing what to believe based on tea leaves or rainbows or whatever the hell it was.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure stuff happens in the real world. Something like 1% of the teen pregnancies in the U.S. are reported as Virgin births, I think is the number. It’s like a whole flock of miracles.

        • Kodie

          What you are describing are affirmations, things you remind yourself – values you have and positive thinking. They’re your own thoughts.

        • Kodie

          Jenna, where are you? Why didn’t you answer this?

        • Jeff

          If god has a message that he wants to communicate, he should just say it to people instead of making them do some silly little ritual first. And if he chooses not to communicate something because the recipient chooses not to do the ritual, then that message can’t be that important, can it?

        • CodyGirl824

          What “ritual” are you talking about? What I am describing is what we commonly call in the vernacular, a change of heart.

        • hector_jones

          Your deification ritual.

        • Jeff

          The ritual of “tuning in,” to use your phrase. Here, watch this:

          God, I am willing to listen to whatever message you wish to convey to me. I prefer email, but a face-to-face conversation will work as well. I don’t like talking on the phone as a matter of personal preference but I’ll make an exception for you. I’m comfortable with texting, but I have concerns that the format may not be conducive to the kind of conversation we’d have. I’m also on Steam a lot, so feel free to message me there.

          Cody, I can’t get more willing or open than this. I am literally telling god that I am willing to listen to whatever message he wishes to convey to me, and I am providing several options for how he may convey that message. God knows that I’m willing to hear his message, because I’m *telling him so*. Prayer and meditation seem like a waste of time, because I communicated quite plainly to god without them. I don’t normally opt for sports metaphors, but the ball is in his court now.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are giving God your conditions for communicating with you, while telling God that you have no intention of communicating with Him through prayer and meditation. I can’t read God’s mind, of course, but it seems to me that what you lack is humility before God. You expect Him to do all the work.

        • hector_jones

          So this stuff is work for God is it? I don’t see him doing a lick of work, frankly, the lazy sod. All I see is you carrying his water for him.

          This is just another, as MNb puts it, “you have to believe in God first” replies.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am speaking in anthropomorphic terms, as are you. God doesn’t do work and He doesn’t need water.

        • hector_jones

          Then your god really is fucking lazy if he can’t be bothered to do something that isn’t even work for him. This shows a real lack of commitment on his part.

        • CodyGirl824

          God has His reasons, like expecting the commitment to come from you/us.

        • hector_jones

          Like I said, lack of commitment, lack of initiative. It’s almost as if he’s … not real.

        • Kodie

          See, that’s just you rationalizing an imaginary figure and how he must behave because he obviously doesn’t care for clear, direct communications with people, he has to be interpreted from your surroundings and felt in your tingly places. God’s “reasons” are your made-up reasons for an absent deity.

        • Jeff

          Of course I lack humility! I’m not going to go into a relationship with him bowing and scraping and self-flagellating. Whatever relationship we have, we will begin it as equals. If he can convince me to be a subservient toady, then good on him. I’ll be the most simpering, brown-nosing, sycophantic servant he’s ever had, so long as he tells me why I should. But I won’t do all of that *first*, with the hope that he’ll explain himself later.

          And no, I don’t expect god to do all the work. But I expect him to do something. I expect him to meet me halfway on this, because while I don’t expect him to do all the work involved in having a conversation with me, I’m also not going to do all the work myself.

          Oh, and thanks for reminding me: one of my other conditions is complete unambiguity. I will not interpret signs or guess at voices in my head. When god speaks to me, it had better be in a way that is unambiguously god or I’m going to ignore it. For all the things he expects of me, that’s a pretty modest request.

        • CodyGirl824

          Please keep me posted so I can know if Almighty God sees fit to meet your conditions.

        • hector_jones

          Your sarcasm betrays the truth – you know God won’t make any effort to communicate with Jeff. It’s entirely up to Jeff to believe he is communicating with God first. And yet you can’t comprehend why we think your god is imaginary.

        • CodyGirl824

          But I do comprehend why you think that God is imaginary. It’s because of how you imagine God to be.

        • hector_jones

          So you are saying that my standards are too high. And I agree. They are too high for your lazy god to meet. But unlike you I do have standards. If you don’t have them, you will end up believing all sorts of crazy nonsense, such as christianity.

        • CodyGirl824

          Have you articulated “standards” for God to meet? You have merely demonstrated that you have constructed a straw man god that does not exist to confirm your cognitive bias that God does not exist. Surprise, surprise! You have given us your judgment against God based on how you imagine God to be, not to mention your self-righteous judgment against His followers.

        • hector_jones

          A shred of evidence would be a good start. But face it, you’ve admitted repeatedly in this thread that your god isn’t interested in providing even that much, because he ‘has his reasons’. Make this easy for me, and instead of giving me a million bad reasons to believe, give me the single best reason you’ve got. Let’s hear it. Oh wait, we’ve been down this road before and you told me to read the bible. I’ve done that and I don’t believe. So now what?

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, I have told you that if/since you are willfully blind to the evidence available to all humankind of the reality of God, then whatever evidence I have that is uniquely mine based on my own experiences and relationship with God will make not one shred of difference. St. Paul says it much better than I in Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

        • hector_jones

          You haven’t pointed to one shred of ‘evidence available to all humankind’ other than the bible, which I’ve read and which I reject as much as you reject the Book of Mormon and the Koran. Paul is full of shit.

          Your own personal experiences don’t interest me either. I’ve heard plenty of that kind of thing from your fellow believers and I’m completely burned out by that kind of useless, anecdotal evidence.

          This is what is so laughable about your god. He supposedly knows where I am and what I’m up to. He could communicate with me right now if he wanted to. But instead he sends me the likes of you – a person so completely lacking in intellectual integrity, that I find it more believable that the devil himself sent you to convince me there is no god.

        • wtfwjtd

          Now, come on hector, those invisible qualities of god are clearly seen, just like the FSM. See how we can play games with words? Invisible means invisible, except… when it means “clearly seen”. See how that works? Are you convinced yet?

        • MNb

          I am, but that’s because I like my pasta dishes and my beer.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ramen! (And elbow macaroni, and rotini, etc. etc.)

        • hector_jones

          God is invisible, inaudible, immaterial, but I’m being wilfully blind for not believing he exists. And the reason I should believe is because Cody’s dead husband believed and so did the Ancient Hebrews.

          The clearly seen thing makes me laugh. Believers really can’t make up their minds on whether their god is obvious or completely invisible because ‘he has his reasons’. They can’t make up their minds whether he is busy proving his existence or we have to just take it on faith (which is why the whole ‘free will’ argument was concocted). One day Cody argues that the problem with atheists is that the phone is ringing but we refuse to answer. The next day she’s telling us that we are the ones who have to pick up the phone and make the call.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, one problem that atheists have is your inability to accept and understand allegory and metaphor.

        • hector_jones

          Such as?

        • MNb

          Allegories and metaphors only have meaning when they relate to reality. Yours doesn’t; moreover, as Hector pointed out, yours contradict each other.

        • Kodie

          I think we understand it, you don’t understand it. You have a fixation on something metaphorical and then say that there is a real relationship. I said another thing about this a few days ago and you never ever responded. You can’t make up your mind what it is, but you know what it is, and only you do.

        • Kodie

          The sky and the earth exists, what more evidence do you need? You need to understand what monotheism deifies. Your idea/belief that god does not exist is dispensed with and dismissed so we can open the window of opportunity to discuss what Jenna believes.

          Jenna’s anecdote about her late husband mentions that he received “clear communication” which “we Christians call signs”. Which the fuck is it? Theological implications are interpretations, which are personal, but 90% of the world’s population believes and will all go to the many rooms in god’s mansion through the gate and over the fence because the “figure of speech” Jesus used about sheep. It’s too much to ask for theological agreement because religion is cultural like language, and it’s too much to expect god to obey a request, and it’s too much for god’s morals to elevate to our standards. We are expecting a supreme deity, after all, we are not that impressed with Jenna’s excuses for a poor-ass funky lazy, impulsively angry god who fixes it so Pofarmer doesn’t get a traffic ticket.

          Why doesn’t god punish Pofarmer, he broke a fucking law. That’s alright Pofarmer, just glide out into traffic without taking time to look and make sure no traffic is coming. Because you know what? God fixes traffic accidents too. Maybe he was spared, his wife thanked god for not getting a ticket, but I think god lulled Pofarmer into a false sense of security so he can really punish him later. Someday that lucky break will come back and bite you, because god has a plan.

          Well, that’s the sign I got from god. It would seem kind of mean of me to say those things if I didn’t have god’s agreement when I judge other humans for not being perfect like I am. I take the theological implications of a situation and prayed on it, until I came up with a short rant about not following our rules of the road, which are objective rules, handed down by god and given to every licensed driver. We have free will to ignore the rules, but we’re only endangering ourselves, and only god can punish us or forgive us of vehicular manslaughter. Having an accident would teach him that not stopping is a sin, because natural consequences within the logical physical world are evidence of sin and god. It’s really a miracle nobody got hurt.

        • Pofarmer

          “Why doesn’t god punish Pofarmer, he broke a fucking law.””

          That’s actually a great point, and it’s another fatal flaw in Christianity today. Everything good is because of God, everything bad is because of humans. Mark Twain talks about this.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, Jenna keeps throwing around this 90% number, and I was thinking about it some last night. Doesn’t this really say a lot about our brains? It’s not that these Gods exist, it’s that our brains are all wired in the same way, and we tend towards answering questions we don’t understand in the same ways, with nuances. So, yeah, we’re all human, and mostly wrong about what that means.

        • CodyGirl824

          Pofarmer, what atheists claim is that their brains answer questions correctly and produce the “right” meaning but the rest of the population’s brains don’t.

        • Pofarmer

          What atheists tend to claim, is that we want emperical evidence to base our beliefs on.

        • CodyGirl824

          I know that this is what atheists claim based on their preference for scientific materialism and/or naturalism as their philosophical bent. However, they/you butt up against the limitations of science for answering existential questions, for which there are no “right” answers.

        • hector_jones

          You butt up against the same limitations. You just don’t realize it. To get past it, you then make stuff up. That’s all religion is.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t know what you mean. What limitations?

        • Kodie

          The limitations you referred to you in your own fucking post. Do you even read what you write?

        • Pofarmer

          And you bust right through the limitations with utter bullcrap.

        • Kodie

          Unanswerable existential questions is another one of those animal behaviors we happen to have. Doesn’t mean there’s a god to someday answer them for you, sorry.

        • MNb

          Oh, actually Cody’s own experiences do interest me. I just have the annoying habit to compare them with the experiences of apostates – say Pofarmer. Then I notice this.
          When we ask Cody about god’s share in her relationship with him/her/it, especially how he/she/it communicates with her, she becomes elusive.
          When we ask Pofarmer about god’s share in his former relationship with him, especially etc., he tells us it was unilateral. He did all the work (praying, meditation, rituals, whatever) and god nothing.
          The conclusion is easy.

        • CodyGirl824

          And the conclusion is that if I believed about God what Pofarmer believes about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t have a clue what my belief systems have ever been.

        • CodyGirl824

          True. I can only judge what you believe about God based on your statements here on this blog site. My understanding is that you are an atheist and therefore, do not believe in God. Correct? If you do not believe in God, it is most certainly not because of what I believe about God.

        • Kodie

          I don’t believe in the god you believe in. I have addressed this before and you retreated without statement – what do you make of the testimony of people who knew god and then came to understand that their knowledge was false?

          You dispense with and dismiss them, you asshole. You cannot conceive of something that doesn’t exist in your world, by your own personal definition of impossible, that it could be a god does not exist. It so confounds you to acknowledge that, you willfully ignore it.

        • Pofarmer

          ‘If you do not believe in God, it is most certainly not because of what I believe about God.’

          I wouldn’t assume that.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you mean that you only stopped believing in God when I came onto this blog?

        • Pofarmer

          Not at all, but don’t assume that your various interpretation aren’t what turned me off.

        • MNb

          Don’t you even know the difference between past and present? What he believes now is not the same as what he believed in the past.
          Of course this is irrelevant for my point. My point is the comparison between your relationships with god – yours in the past and present, Pofarmer’s in the past. Pofarmer did the same as you in the past: praying etc. You tell us your god answers you, but you can’t tell us how. He tells us that he never got answer.
          In other words, every time you write how you have to make a serious effort to seek contact with your god by means of prayer etc. I think of Pofarmer and other deconverted people who tell me how hard they tried – but god never was at home.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your relationship with God is what it is. I bear no responsibility in the matter.

        • hector_jones

          My relationship with God is identical to yours – it doesn’t exist.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you have no relationship with God, why do you work so hard to convince yourself and others that God doesn’t exist?

        • hector_jones

          This question has been asked and answered about a million times now. You need a new list of ‘gotchas’. We’ve been over the old list several times already now.

        • Kodie

          Evasive, evasive, lying full of shit Jenna. Are you really saying that we do believe in god?

          Have you ever considered that it’s the people? The less people who believe in god, the less ignorance and stupidity there might be. Believing in god makes people like you, and you’ve demonstrated wrongness as a result of your beliefs, not rightness. You have no correspondence to reality except you exist and apply your idiocy amongst other people.

        • Kodie

          Before, you accused us of having a higher moral standard that god could not meet, and now you are saying our standards of existence are too high? Maybe yours are way too low did you ever think about it that way? Because I think about it all the time. God’s existence is the biggest cover story for his non-existence. He really really really is real! You just don’t get it, you don’t feel it, you don’t attribute natural events and things to a supreme creator! He doesn’t jump when you say jump! You have to beg him! You have to beg your imaginary friend to tingle you so you know he’s there, if you interpret these feelings like I do!

        • Kodie

          It’s how you imagine god to be. You are a wingnut, Jenna. A pseudo-intellectual arrogant wrong-headed know-nothing. If you are evidence of a real god, the things you say do not compute in the real world. It’s you who have a problem with the complexity of the real world who has to make up shit and get mad at us when we say you sound like a fucking lunatic.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Your sarcasm betrays the truth – you know God won’t make any effort to communicate with Jeff. It’s entirely up to Jeff to believe he is communicating with God first. And yet you can’t comprehend why we think your god is imaginary.”

          Jenna’s already making up excuses in anticipation of god’s failure to communicate. You have to give this “god” character credit–he’s nothing if not consistent (failure!)

        • CodyGirl824

          God’s failure to communicate with Jeff? If Jeff reads the Bible, God is communicating with him. He may not get the Word however, but that’s not God’s fault.

        • hector_jones

          Once again Jenna tries to have her cake and eat it too. For a long time you told us that the bible isn’t the word of God at all, but rather the musings of the Ancient Hebrews as they struggled to understand what God is. Now you are telling Jeff that he needs to read the bible and that will be God communicating with him.

          This is what people can’t stand about you, Jenna – your complete lack of intellectual integrity. You make whatever argument suits you at one moment, then happily argue for the opposite later when it suits you then. This is dishonest and hypocritical of you, Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          Allow me to correct you. I say/said that the Bible is the Word of God, with the word Word written with a capital letter to mean the message. The Bible is not the words of God, but the words of ancient Hebrew authors who wrote the sacred text. If Jeff reads the Bible, he may (or may not) get God’s message or Word through the words of the ancient Hebrews. I shouldn’t be accused of dishonesty and hypocrisy based on your obvious misunderstanding of what I actually said. But then, you don’t seem to have much trouble finding pretexts for your insults, hector.

          You might want to read the Gospel according to John 1:1 to see this usage: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

        • hector_jones

          Yeah it’s the Message of God but you can’t tell me what parts are from God and what parts are just the words of the Ancient Hebrews.

          You most definitely want to have your cake and eat it too. You will claim the bible is the Words of God when you want to argue something in the bible is accurate or true, but the second you can’t defend it or don’t want to (e.g. genocide), you will resort to claiming that that’s entirely the fault of the imperfect, merely human, Ancient Hebrews who wrote the text. You are a dishonest hypocrite.

        • CodyGirl824

          I have no need to defend the Bible. I didn’t write a word of it. I simply wish that you would attempt to understand what the Bible is, for whom it was written, for what purpose and by whom and in what cultural context and historical moment so that you might grasp that God’s message or Word that is communicated to humankind as the ancient Hebrews’ tell us about their Covenant with God that shaped and guided every aspect of their social, cultural, religious and daily lives. God’s Word cannot be understood by picking out (or picking on) parts of the ancient Hebrews’ account of their relationship with God as they understood God and how they experienced God. And hey, if Jeff finds the OT difficult to understand, which many of us do, he can concentrate on the New Testament, most particularly, the gospels, which together, as they should be read, comprise the Gospel. Or if he is sincere, he can seek out any other of the many means that God communicates with us rather than simply demanding a command performance from the Almighty tailored to his requirements.

        • hector_jones

          I simply wish that you would attempt to understand what the Bible is, for whom it was written, for what purpose and by whom and in what cultural context and historical moment …

          I am certain that I understand all of this far better than you do.

        • CodyGirl824

          Perhaps, but if so, it doesn’t appear to have helped you understand God’s Word.

        • hector_jones

          Because there is no such thing as God’s Word. That’s just in your head, Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is silly, hector. If God’s Word is just in my head, as you claim, then who wrote the Bible and why is it acclaimed as God’s Word by billions of people throughout history and billions more today?

        • hector_jones

          Once again you go ‘ad populum’. But you will then deny that you are doing any such thing. What a fucking mental mess you are.

          Let me ask you this – are you a complete fucking idiot? The words in the text of the bible are not ‘in your head’ but the idea that said words are ‘God’s Word’ IS just in your head. English – how does it work? You fucking moron.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, this is not an ad populum argument. I merely point out that the term “God’s Word” is express a concept about the sacred text of Judaism and Christianity that has been and is used to describe the Bible by billions of people and thousands of years before I was even born and will probably continue to be described this way for many years after I’m gone. Belief in the Bible as God’s revelation to human kind is not just “in my head” and it doesn’t even matter whether or not you believe in God, the Bible is God’s Word. This fact is not altered in the least by your insults and profanity, which are merely indicators of your lack of arguments to counter this reality.

        • hector_jones

          As predicted you insist it’s not an ad populum argument. I could set my watch to you.

          Oh and there’s the classic ‘you use profanity because you have no arguments’ line that every apologist trots out after being such a dishonest scumbag that the apologist should be thankful he or she wasn’t called much worse.

        • MNb

          “and will probably continue to be described this way for many years”
          So what? If it’s not an ad populum it’s not an argument at all. It’s meaningless.

        • MNb

          The text of those Ancient Hebrews is on paper – even online. God’s word is in your head. The fact that it’s in the heads of a few more billions of people doesn’t change it a bit.

        • Kodie

          Something that doesn’t exist can’t have any words. People who use god as a puppet can have words, but I don’t see how your myth is any better than another. You never did answer that. You don’t seem to understand that people have imaginations that suppose things that aren’t true because they don’t know what is true. You could even say myths are failed hypotheses. They are wild guesses that do not withstand and are surpassed by scientific research.

        • Pofarmer

          If she doesn’t understand the bible any better than she understands the scientific literature she quotes, then, whoo boy, are you right. And the funny thing is, I never felt like I really understood the bible until I lost my faith.

        • MNb

          “what the Bible is, for whom it was written, for what purpose and by whom and in what cultural context and historical moment”
          We do and the logical conclusion is not what you add, which contains several unvalidated assumptions (like that there is actually a god), but that it largely contains fiction.
          The OT is not difficult to understand. Neither is Revelations. The only step you need to make is accept the secular point of view. Then every single Bible passage becomes pretty easy.

        • CodyGirl824

          Hey, MNb. It really doesn’t matter whether or not you believe there is a God when reading the Bible. The people who wrote it, transmitted it and preserved it as their sacred religious text believed in the reality of God. If you choose to read the Bible based on an atheistic paradigm, I’m sure that it will be difficult if not impossible for you to comprehend.

        • MNb

          “I’m sure that ….”
          Yeah, as sure as the members of the Flat Earth Society are that the Earth is flat indeed. Shrug.
          Btw I wrote deliberately not “atheistic paradigm”, but “secular point of view”. Christians can pull that off too. That seems to be beyond your limited imagination.

        • hector_jones

          The people who wrote it, transmitted it and preserved it as their sacred religious text believed in the reality of God.

          So what? Those people were mistaken.

        • Kodie

          That’s what they say it is, but they were superstitious. They were creating a myth.

        • Pofarmer

          Hot only that, but it’s Greek philosophy/theology, nothing to do with Ancient Hebrews.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          One of my favorite logic techniques is reduction to absurdity. Like so, If Jeff reads Mein Kampf, then Hitler is communicating with him. He may not get the Word however, but that’s not Hitler’s fault. Of course, the key distinction here is that Hitler wrote Mein Kampf and the Bible was written by humans. I have no reason to think that the Bible which says that Jesus was crucified and resurrected was any more inspired by God (assuming that God inspires only truth) than the Qur’an which says Jesus was never crucified. And that’s assuming that God exists to inspire something in the first place. Unless of course, God is deliberately trying to mess with us by inspiring contradictory revelations.

        • CodyGirl824

          “Contradictory revelations”? Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, which can only be a miracle, an event that has a metaphysical cause, is a reality and an historical fact. If the Qur’an does not accept Jesus’s resurrection as reality and fact, that is not “contradictory revelation.” It is merely the belief about Jesus of the religion of Islam. I think what you may need to revisit is the meaning of God’s revelation of Himself to humankind. You are very fuzzy about these concepts in terms of Bible truth.

        • MNb

          “Jesus’s resurrection from the dead is a reality and an historical fact.”
          Because it’s in the Bible, which is divinely inspired, which closes your circular argument.

          Mohammed’s ride along the sky, which can only be a miracle, an event that has a metaphysical cause, is a reality and an historical fact. If the Bible does not accept Mohammed’s ride along the sky as reality and fact, that is not “contradictory revelation.” It is merely the belief about Mohammed of the religion of christianity. I think what you may need to revisit is the meaning of allah’s revelation of himself to humankind. You are very fuzzy about these concepts in terms of Quran truth.

          The Flying Spaghetti Monster pulling of the Big Boil, which can only be a miracle, an event that has a metaphysical cause, is a reality and an historical fact. If the Bible and Qur’an do not accept the FSM’s Big Boil as reality and fact, that is not “contradictory revelation.” It is merely the belief about the FSM of the religion of christianity and islam. I think what you may need to revisit is the meaning of FSM’s revelation of His noodlyelf to humankind. You are very fuzzy about these concepts in terms of the Gospel of the FSM truth. You can find it here:

          http://www.klps.pl/pliki/gospel_fsm_eng.pdf

        • CodyGirl824

          How can the Bible accept anything about or from the Quran? Both the OT and the NT predate the Quran.

        • MNb

          Why would this be a problem for your god, he being allknowing etc.? Oh wait – the Bible is written by human beings. Yep – that includes the Resurrection story. Humans are fallible and have strong imaginations, which means that you should seriously consider the fact that it’s made up. That again means your claim of reality and historical fact is based on quicksand.
          Thank you, Cody.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Resurrection “story” is the testimony of living human beings who were witnesses to the events and their impact on them. This fact cannot be and has not been refuted.

        • hector_jones

          Fail.

        • MNb

          We have gone over this before and you came up with the court analogy. Those witnesses are not independent – they are even hearsay – and thus in the best case we have Testis Unus Testis Nullus and in the worst case – because of your court analogy – none of them are allowed at all.
          This is creacrap strategy.

        • hector_jones

          It’s clear that Jenna doesn’t listen to or remember a thing we say. She just repeats her talking points over and over and is perfectly happy to cover the same ground over and over because she has no memory of ever having been refuted. It’s like being in the movie Groundhog Day with her.

        • MNb

          In my experience this is typical for all apologists: stick your fingers in your ears and begin to sing “Lalalalala”. The more of them I meet the less difference I see between extreme creationists like Ken Ham and so called modern, liberal, progressive christians.

        • CodyGirl824

          I said that no one has successfully refuted the historicity and reality of the Resurrection. This doesn’t mean just here on this blog. It means no one in the entire field of NT scholarship or history has successfully refuted the truth of the Resurrection, despite many attempts. This is simply a fact that makes atheists very uncomfortable, which is why I get the “kill the messenger” attacks from folks like you.

        • hector_jones

          Jenna, we’ve been over all this ground before ad nauseam. Claims aren’t established simply because they aren’t refuted. The burden is on you to prove that Jesus was divine and that he was resurrected. You have not proven any such thing. Do you believe that Muhammed flew on a horse? It hasn’t been refuted, so it must be true, according to your own reasoning.

          But as I have said, we’ve been over all this. You are simply too addle-minded by religion and the Dunning-Kruger effect ever to have a hope of seeing how terrible your methods are at discerning fact from fiction.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, there is no burden on me to prove anything about Jesus. The gospels and the NT are in the public domain and are the subject of much excellent scholarly study and analysis. I don’t believe that the Resurrection is true because it hasn’t been refuted. It hasn’t been and can’t be refuted because it is true. There isn’t even any attempted refutation of the truth of the Resurrection that passes the common sense test.

        • Kodie

          That’s not an argument in favor of Jesus or in opposition that Jesus is fictional. It’s just you stamping your foot.

        • CodyGirl824

          The “Jesus is fictional” claim is exactly what I’m talking about that doesn’t pass the common sense test.

        • Kodie

          4.7 billion people don’t have as much common sense as you?

          That’s snobbery.

        • Kodie

          Do you think you’re winning?

        • hector_jones

          Except you posted just before that it’s the refutation of the resurrection that doesn’t pass the common sense test, not the idea that Jesus is fictional. You can’t even be consistent for 5 seconds.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, the theory that Jesus is fictional is one of the favorite refutations of the miracle of the Resurrection. The false “reasoning” is that an account of a fictional Jesus who is resurrected is fiction and therefore, no miracle occurred. This is what I call the “genre fallacy.” It makes no sense to approach the gospel accounts as if they were fiction, because they are not. They are testimony.

        • Kodie

          This goes the other way too, especially for people who like to jump to conclusions like you do. Jesus may well have existed, I don’t care. Why do you call this the genre fallacy? It makes a lot of sense to sort them to what they actually are, which is myth. You think because he existed, then he must have resurrected, which is far-fetched.

        • Kodie

          To clarify, when I say “Jesus is fictional” I mean the myth that he was literally the son of a god and resurrected from the dead and through some violation of the laws of physics, is able to offer salvation from punishment for sins listed by a god that were formerly unforgivable by this alleged god. A person can have existed, I don’t care one way or another, it proves nothing. God and Jesus miracles are alleged, and that’s all they are. You swallow “testimony” whole when you’re not skeptical of the sources. You never did say why you do not consider carefully the testimony of people who believe in something else. You easily treat them like fellow Christians as the whim strikes you, without ever having to confront that their beliefs contradict yours. Cultural differences don’t matter to you. You have a bullshit answer for everything. So what? None of us believe you.

          I think your problem is that you don’t really understand, although we’ve tried to explain, what’s irrational and illogical about your expressions. Do you find the challenge of convincing atheists with your bullshit invigorating? You have a hard-headed certainty that this is not bullcrap, because you have managed to share this with someone else, and they weren’t skeptical either. You are over-confident in the quality of your arguments because of other people believing the same things as you do, and all we’re saying is that’s not surprising your shit works on gullible people. You don’t actually try to understand us in the same way you expect us to believe every goddamned inane comment you make, just because other people before had.

          Your arguments are illogical, you confidence in your arguments means you have no awareness how stupid you sound. Keep flapping away, maybe if you’re wasting enough time here, you will not have the chance to actually convince anyone that you could have. That’s on the plus side.

        • hector_jones

          Jenna just proved that she doesn’t even understand the core belief of Christianity, that the death of Jesus was a sacrifice by God and not just an unfortunate occurrence.

        • Kodie

          Actually, she backpedaled. She believes both or either simultaneously. Either way, it’s love. It has to be love. There is no other way to interpret what may or may not have happened or the variable intention behind it. It’s love no matter what because she believes that it is.

        • hector_jones

          Oh she backpedaled. She wasn’t being sarcastic in her reply to me, she was serious? Ok then. I wouldn’t want a nun to have to rap her on the knuckles with a ruler.

        • hector_jones

          Nah, the favorite refutation is that the resurrection never happened, even though Jesus himself might have been a real person who got himself executed by the Romans.

        • CodyGirl824

          And this is, of course, the “favorite refutation” because the Resurrection is a miracle, meaning an event that was supernatural and metaphysical that only God could cause to happen. Therefore, atheists must deny it since it is clear and convincing evidence that God exists.

        • Kodie

          Your problem is you believe it happened, and if it did happen, that would certainly be strange. However, you don’t have clear and convincing evidence that it happened. You have a story. Calling it testimony does not give it any substance, since this is just your interpretation, and we all know how faulty your interpretations have a habit of being.

        • hector_jones

          And like 99% of Christians, she probably didn’t become a Christian because she found the story of the resurrection so plausible. The vast majority are simply taught from childhood that they are christians and then the specific things they are required to believe, such as the resurrection, are taught second, after the child is already told that they are a christian.

          Even the ones who convert due to some later ‘experience’ rarely say that that experience had anything to do with suddenly finding the resurrection story convincing. Instead, they find the resurrection story believable because they are now Christians. Then they act all butthurt and angry when the rest of us don’t find their miracles the least bit convincing, which is a completely irrational reaction to being told that someone doesn’t believe in miracles as opposed to every day things.

        • Kodie

          They have to be trained to find the application of the term “testimony” convincing in itself. They have to be trained not to find it the least bit odd that this is a death cult. I can think of a lot of conversations that might use different characters and find it appalling, whereas this is a beautiful gesture of god’s, to place his own son on a journey toward torture and death. That’s so beautiful of god to do that? Normally, when you do that, you don’t see your son again, for a variety of reasons, only the first of which is he’d be dead. Andrea Yates did the same thing to her children, and they called her a monster – Christians did. I’m not quite that harsh a judge when it comes to condemning people.

          Speaking of monsters, before this comes up again and I forget, Jenna has a list of tropes and I want to use the word “monster” to draw some analogies.

          A child fears a monster under the bed. That’s a real experience, but there’s no monster. You can look and see – no monster. You can believe in monsters for a long time, you can even name monsters. Jenna says if something weren’t real, you couldn’t think of it. I show her a unicorn, a mythical creature, and she laughs and breaks it down into parts. What is god but an invisible and fearsome collection of parts? Not physical parts, but human characteristics and emotions, generally unhealthy and abusive ones, needy and desperate, creative, and to the extent that it nurtures a dependency on it, such that kneeling, begging, and constantly praising it are suggested. It has more power than you or I, but doesn’t follow through on threats, while instead, dishes out punishment based entirely on chance and location. Sending a “message” to the whole country by killing, injuring, or displacing thousands of people who happened to live somewhere on a geological feature of the earth – did god create the earth with these faults so he could use them someday to punish or warn other people?

          But what is a monster? That word doesn’t have a clear picture of what it looks like. It’s whatever you fear. It’s not a real thing – a real thing would be a rapist, or a serial killer, or a person who pushes people off the subway platform, or a parent who trusts god so much they don’t give medicine to their child. Meanwhile, there are places where there is no medicine and children die, so that’s really a luxury to have access and merely reject it. And that’s a god you can trust. Having a fear is an emotional experience I don’t take any differently than having a “peak” or religious experience. You can fear something real, like, your mother calling and saying she’s 10 minutes away, or that the company you work for seems to be not getting any new clients lately, or your child seems different, but you’re afraid to find out it might be drugs or depression or someone is bullying them. Maybe you fear these things, and nothing is really wrong.

          The living experience is one of acknowledging a future and, being uncertain about that future, invent possibilities. What is a possibility? That’s another thing you can imagine without it being true. A person can have a wide range of emotional reactions to things that are not true and will never be true, and we have plenty of words for things that don’t have any definite properties other than being scary, in the case of monsters – a noun, not considered abstract as “justice” or “peace” or “comparison”.

          I don’t know what’s supposed to be more credible about the story of Jesus’s resurrection by calling it testimony. The authority of that word seems to convince a lot of people that it must have happened, despite it being impossible. They know it was impossible, that’s why it’s labeled a miracle. Humans invent a lot of language to cover areas of unknown, unknowable, indefinite, or not immediately explicable, as well as the imagination to invent things that can only happen in fictional worlds, so I find it odd for someone to assert that it has to be real or else humans wouldn’t have a word for it. And the experiences are real, so they must come from outside the body from the source. Like the experience of fear of monsters under the bed comes from monsters under the bed.

        • MNb

          It’s my conviction that this applies to every single “rational” or “reasonable” argument. Never ever has a believer reconverted because some argument rather “proves” belief system X iso belief system Y. That’s why it’s called apologetics, etymologically related to apologies, in other words, making up lame excuses in retrospect. All apologetics is intellectually dishonest.

        • hector_jones

          Another fail by you, Jenna.

          We deny the resurrection because miracles, i.e. events that are supernatural and metaphysical and that only God could cause to happen, don’t really happen, and because the bible isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that such things really happen.

          It’s sad that you find this so difficult to comprehend that you must resort to arguing that we deny the resurrection because it’s just so darned convincing but inconvenient for us.

        • CodyGirl824

          How do you claim to know that miracles “don’t really happen.” Are you omniscient, so as to have knowledge of everything that has ever happened throughout human history? This is what is required in order to make this assertion. What we can say for sure is that you weren’t there so you really don’t know what happened and what didn’t happen.

        • Kodie

          Actually, that’s all that’s needed to argue with you. You didn’t support your claim that miracles do happen.

        • hector_jones

          Her methodology is to say to herself ‘miracles haven’t been refuted, so therefore they could happen’. Then she makes the leap of faith from ‘miracles could happen’ to ‘this particular miracle, the resurrection of Jesus, did happen, and it proves that Jesus was the Son of God and that Christianity is the true faith’. Yet she’s the one who asks whether I think I am omniscient.

        • Kodie

          Her methodology is to continuously assert there is clear and convincing evidence because it’s testimony. If it were a fictional story, it would be clearly labeled and easily ignored. Someone slaps a label on it, and that gives her all the conviction she needs to believe it’s true. And we ask her about other testimony for other beliefs, or testimony of people who no longer believe there is a god, but she ignores these lines of inquiry. She gave an anecdote about her late husband’s conversion, but she didn’t say what the testimony was so we could analyze it. She was asked several times, but she seems to think it’s enough to tell us he was converted. She does not address all testimony consistently.

          Another thing that most Christians do is assert that the evidence is convincing because obviously they were convinced, and others are convinced. There is a disconnect between what is convincing and what is true. I offer snopes.com. Millions of people can believe something is true because it is told in a convincing way, and is labeled as testimony. The vehicle of many urban legends is some variation of ‘this really happened to my cousin’s neighbor’s niece’s co-worker’s mother’. That’s testimony – the “this really happened” and is not a story, and the chain of people the story was told to is plausible. No, I wasn’t there, but my cousin is smart, reliable. If it wasn’t true, he wouldn’t repeat it. It’s too weird for a mere human being to make up. We don’t go to the source because it’s inconvenient.

          Christianity and the main event propelling it are just like an urban legend. Theologists are just like my cousin, and the earliest records are somewhere around the neighbor’s niece – it didn’t happen to her but the story was told to her, and we have her word to take on it. The actual source is distant enough not to be able to ask for yourself. It’s too unusual not to keep retelling. No matter how well it’s debunked, people insist that it’s true, not because of the testimony but because of their feelings.

        • CodyGirl824

          Again, Kodie, if you have a source that irrefutably “debunks” the gospels and the NT accounts of the Resurrection and the resurrected Jesus, please send a citation. Otherwise, you are just rambling.

        • Kodie
        • Kodie

          I know you’re not smart, so don’t even try to pretend you’re smarter than me. I know you didn’t read it, and you have no argument to address it.

        • MNb

          So you require us to read all kind of goofy books, but you even refuse to read a short but important article like this:

          http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/hume-miracles.asp

          “What we can say for sure is that you weren’t there so you really don’t know what happened and what didn’t happen..”
          Yeah. I wasn’t there when you were born either, so as far as I am concerned you could be found in a cauliflower as a baby. Or perhaps you’re offspring from an alien. You aren’t there either when the fairies in my garden tend my flowers, so you don’t really know about them either. You weren’t there when the Flying Spaghetti Monster pulled off the Big Boil, so you don’t have any reason to reject that one.
          You are a loon like Ken Ham indeed – and similarly antiscience. Just like him you say “Scripture says so, hence it’s a historical fact.”

        • CodyGirl824

          First of all, please note that I do not and cannot require you to read anything, including my posts. But thank you for the link to the article from Fordham University about David Hume. Now, let’s examine Hume’s “maxim” from the article regarding how to evaluate testimony since it is very apropos to this discussion:

          David Hume’s maxim: ‘That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish….’

          This is a statement of the very problem that atheists face regarding the Resurrection. The devices and strategies they/you use to try to discredit the testimony of Jesus’ followers and the gospel accounts and impeach the credibility of the witnesses to/of these events are even more miraculous than the Resurrection itself.

        • Kodie

          You are just too credulous, and not just about this. It shines through in every post you make, and every wrong turn you go along the way. We can see the mistakes you make in accepting this testimony, there is nothing too hard to discredit it – you’re just stamping your foot, it’s true, it’s true! We’re not just attempting to discredit it – it’s discreditable. It doesn’t have the substance you wish it had, and it dissolves upon serious inquiry. You’re not actually using your investigative senses to figure out what’s true – you want it to be true, and that wishful thinking is the only leg it stands on. That’s just tough shit for you, you can’t even comprehend what atheists are saying. You look at all the energy and conclude that it must be because we need it to be not true. We don’t need it to be not true at all. We don’t need it to be not true because atheism isn’t a belief system that we need to find “evidence” for and discredit any religions in order to cling to it. If your religion were true, it would seem true to a rational person, but it doesn’t. We could all be Christians if we had to be, if the evidence was actually there to support it.

          But you don’t believe anyone. You have lies about us to believe, and that’s what you’re going to continue to believe – that’s a huge clue that you’re wrong about Jesus. Your reading comprehension lacks and your logical abilities lack. You fell for a story and now you want us to take you seriously by reading back to us from your script what you wish was our motivation.

        • MNb

          Oh sure, if it happened it would be convincing evidence that some god exists.
          If.
          It’s the other way round. You must maintain that the Resurrection is a historical event or your belief system will fall apart. But you have nothing to back up your claim that it is a historical even but hearsay from one source. This testimony wouldn’t be allowed in court as I have told you before, but you refuse to admit, cowardly as you are. You know this, hence your lame attempt to duck the issue by claiming that you don’t have to prove anything. Science is more tolerant, but still rejects it because a) Testis Unus Testis Nullus and b) because of David Hume’s On Miracles.
          So in this special case, that gives you such a warm cozy feeling in your underbelly, like the one you get at home after a cold winter stroll, you reject both legal and scientific principles. At the core you’re just like loons like Ken Ham.

        • hector_jones

          Invoking ‘common sense’ in defence of miracles is pretty fucking funny, Jenna. I told you you were only funny when you don’t mean to be, and you prove me right once again.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yeah, that’s a riot, all right. Especially since Jenna can’t name a single miracle when asked. They’re all in her head, just like her god.

        • CodyGirl824

          Can’t name a single miracle? The Resurrection of Jesus. Until you atheists and Jesus-deniers can disprove this miracle, the most widely known miracle in human history, you ain’t got nothin’!

        • wtfwjtd

          Too bad for you it’s just make-believe.

        • CodyGirl824

          Too bad for you, it’s real. Your disbelief does not alter this reality. Why fight it so hard? After all, it’s only Love.

        • MNb

          Why do you neglect the pastafarians Big Boil? After all it’s only Love. Not too mention that way too many people would have been better off without Divine Love. Of course at this point you will pull off the old canard “if something good happens, praise the lord; if something bad happens, blame mankind”. That attitude makes me sick.
          How do you mean, too bad for us? I am not under the impression that our lives are any worse for our disbelief. But you’re correct that our disbelief does not alter reality. It describes it correctly.

        • Kodie

          A thirst for blood sacrifice isn’t love, neither is the bargain to believe it or go to hell for eternity.

        • CodyGirl824

          Who shed Jesus’s blood, Kodie?

        • Kodie

          I don’t understand the question. God demanded it or it wouldn’t have happened. God needed to be paid, that’s the story. Now you hope that one person can offer to die to save everyone else, but that’s not how things work, it’s just how you get out of being a good person. If it is how it works, that’s not love.

        • CodyGirl824

          You confuse omniscience with omnipotence. Because God knew that the Roman and the Hebrew authorities would crucify Jesus does not mean that He made it happen. In fact, Jesus’ crucifixion was very predictable, given what he preached and the threat he posed to the authorities who executed him.

        • Kodie

          My understanding of this story is that god invented Jesus as a conduit to preach about him and then he would later have to die in order for the salvation to take effect.

          My actual understanding of this is Jesus was a charismatic nutter who developed a following like David Koresh and his cult.

          Neither of these scenarios exemplifies love. That’s just a part of your fantasy, overlooking the obvious thirst for a blood sacrifice and acting like an abusive prick.

        • hector_jones

          John 3:16 and following proves you wrong, Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          Oh really? This means that God gave his Son despite knowing what would be done to him and that he would, as a human, die the most excruciatingly painful and humiliating death that any humans can suffer. Now there’s love!

        • Kodie

          Being god, don’t you think it’s rather unnecessary and cruel? You are so warped.

        • hector_jones

          I’m sorry to have to be the one to break the news to you, but that’s exactly what it means, Jenna. You yourself just acknowledged that “God knew that the Roman and the Hebrew authorities would crucify Jesus”, yet he gave his son anyway. The act of love in all this is supposed to be the love God has for mankind, not for his son. It’s right there in John. One day you should get around to reading it.

        • hector_jones

          Oh wait, this isn’t sarcasm? Oh my.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Oh really? This means that God gave his Son despite knowing what would be done to him and that he would, as a human, die the most excruciatingly painful and humiliating death that any humans can suffer. Now there’s love!”

          If this isn’t sarcasm, then I think I’m done with the internet.

        • MNb

          Those who make the claim have to provide the proof. You don’t have any. You are the one who ain’t got nothing. The Resurrection is a fine example what wtfwjtd meant: it’s as factual as alien abductions.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is not I who makes the claim that Jesus was resurrected. The claim and testimony of the Resurrection comes to us from the four canonical gospels. Look to them for the evidence to support the claim. I bear no responsibility in proving or defending the claim.To make an analogy, I am your peer on the jury in the “Resurrection, yes or no?” trial. I am only able to explain the reasons why I believe it and respond to your reasons for not believing it. That’s it.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t do that yet, and for that matter, you just explained why you don’t have to do it. You’re trying to get out of it by dancing around it. Now you have asserted it’s true, so it is your obligation here to defend that assertion in an argument with a non-believer. What you think that means, we’re all looking at it like you are and denying it. You assert it’s true, and it’s actually a myth. It’s ridiculous for a grown-up to suppress their logic and skepticism so much, but we’ve spent weeks explaining to you how poor your logic is, how poorly you sense bad logic and mistake it for excellent logic. If your beliefs brought you to this state of idiocy and ignorance, I have every assurance it’s not true.

        • MNb

          Good old christian ducking from responsibility. You wrote this:

          “the Resurrection is true because it hasn’t been refuted. It hasn’t been and can’t be refuted because it is true.”
          So this

          “I bear no responsibility in proving or defending the claim.”
          is cowardice.
          “CodyGirl being evil is true because it hasn’t been refuted. It hasn’t been and can’t be refuted because it’s trued. I bear no responsibility in proving or defending the claim.”

        • CodyGirl824

          But it is one of you yourself who pointed out that the one (or ones) who make the claim are responsible for proving it. I didn’t make the claim of the Resurrection. I don’t have to prove it.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know who gave you that idea, but they’re wrong. You assert constantly that it is true – that makes it YOUR CLAIM TO UPHOLD WITH EVIDENCE.

        • Kodie

          You did claim that miracles happen all the time. If that’s your only miracle, that isn’t much, because although you cling to it, it didn’t happen.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not much? Please review the history of Christianity. A good book for you to read on the subject is David Bentley Hart (2009), “Atheist delusions: The Christian revolution
          and its fashionable enemies.” You might even find that it was written just for you, enemy of Christianity that you are.

        • Kodie

          You keep shilling bad apologetics. I have a very low opinion of your intellectual capacity to know a good book from a bad one, an informative one from a marketing spiel.

          That’s still only one “miracle”. Say for instance, for the sake of argument, that it didn’t happen. What about the other ones that happen all the time, as you claimed?

        • CodyGirl824

          How about if you tell me what would have happened had there been no Resurrection? No Resurrection, no Christianity. It’s really quite simple and straight-forward.

          I’m heartbroken to learn that you have a low opinion of my book recommendations.

        • Kodie

          I’m sorry you’re too stupid for words to mean anything to you, but people can still believe something that didn’t happen. Remember the post where I said I would give you a million dollars that you had no response to?

          It’s really quite fucking simple and absolutely straight-goddamned-motherfucking-forward.

        • hector_jones

          No Xenu, no Scientology, right Jenna?

        • Pofarmer

          “There isn’t even any attempted refutation of the truth of the Resurrection that passes the common sense test.”

          There is nothing “common sense” about believing someone raised from the dead. Is it also common sense to believed the claims of Joseph Smith about the angel Moroni?

        • MNb

          What I like about all apologists is that sooner or later they forget Matth. 7:1, my favourite Bible quote. Cody gets judgmental too – she judges what makes me uncomfortable.
          We don’t need to “kill” the messenger. Casting doubt – and it’s serious doubt – is enough. That’s what happens in court rooms too – your analogy, remember?

        • Kodie

          Now that is wishful thinking!

          Nobody is killing any messengers here. You’re just unable to read for comprehension, you lie, you evade, and you’re illogical and irrational, repeatedly. We’re not afraid of the message, the message just isn’t credible.

          And you are an idiot if you believe that it is credible. You’re definitely an idiot after thousands of messages to think we’re upset with you because you are teaching us about Jesus and we simply don’t want to learn. You’re beaten, you don’t have an argument except to lie.

        • CodyGirl824

          Wrong. The testimony of the gospels and the NT comes to use in the form of sacred documents, whose trail of custody and authenticity as the documented testimony of living witnesses at the time can be established in a court of law. See this quotation from F.F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism from the University of Manchester is quoted in Michael Poole’s book, “The ‘New’ Atheists: 10 arguments that don’t hold water” (2009) on p. 46: “…if the NT were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt….Somehow or other, there are people who regard a ‘sacred book’ as ipso facto under suspicious, and demand much more corroborative evidence for such a work than they would for an ordinary secular or pagan writing. From the viewpoint of the historian, the same standards must be applied to both.”

          Your brief analysis does not stand a chance in light of the body of scholarship that precedes you on the credibility of the four evangelists as witnesses. See Professor Greenleaf’s book.

        • Kodie

          Calling them sacred and treating them like they are sacred and somehow differentiated from secular or pagan writings does not establish that they are true. I treat an ashtray that came from my grandmother’s house like a precious artifact but you wouldn’t pay $5 for it at a yard sale.

        • CodyGirl824

          You’re not following the argument again, Kodie. The issue is whether or not the NT would be accepted as an authentic document in a court of law and its testimony be admissible for the jury to consider to arrive at our verdict.

        • Kodie

          You are unbelievably delusional to accuse me of not following an argument.

        • Kodie

          The issue has been for a long time is how you use the same methods or different methods for analyzing other testimonies, and your consistent refusal to answer.

        • hector_jones

          This has been discussed repeatedly. The answer is a resounding NO, the NT’s ‘testimony’ would not be admissible in a court of law. And I do find it amusing as hell that you think you are the one here who decides what ‘the issue’ is. Such presumption.

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s see. Third person omniscient point of view. No known authorship. No known chain of custody before the 4th century. What’s the problem here?

        • hector_jones

          A while back someone tried to argue with me that the NT would be admissible under the ‘ancient document’ exception to the hearsay rule. I thoroughly destroyed that argument, but I have to give that person credit for trying to make an argument based on some reading of the law. Jenna hasn’t even gone that far. She just asserts, with no argument or understanding of evidence whatsover.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah the omniscient point of view thing alone is enough to destroy the idea of the Gospels as Eye-Witness Testimony. We are to believe that each author was present at the birth of Jesus, all through his ministry, and at his death, burial and resurrection?

          And even if you try to salvage their ‘testimony’ on the basis that they are gathering together the eyewitness accounts of other (unnamed) people, there are plenty of places in the gospels where no eye-witness could possibly have been present, e.g. Matt 26:39ff. But according to Jenna Black, QC, this would all be admissible in court.

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh, would we like to point out other problems? Well, let’s see, there’s bias, all were written decades after the fact, they copied from each other, they’ve been altered and modified numerous times, no originals… yeah, that’s a pretty good list now, and we’re just getting started, really.

        • CodyGirl824

          These arguments go nowhere, wtfwjtd since they don’t address the core issue: Do the gospels tell the truth?

        • hector_jones

          Why is it that these arguments of wtfwjtd ‘go nowhere’ but your arguments about admissibility of the Gospels in a ‘hypothetical’ courtroom go somewhere on the core issue? You do realize that even if a document is admissible as evidence in court that doesn’t mean it’s true? You do realize that right? No of course you do not.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, as I explained earlier, you are the one making arguments about admissibility of evidence in MY hypothetical, not I. I have merely responded to your arguments. The entire New Testament is “admissible” in terms of establishing the truth of its contents.

        • hector_jones

          I’m the one making arguments about admissibility not you? You are the one asserting that the NT is admissible in your stupid hypothetical. I am giving you arguments for why you are wrong. Jenna, please. Do you really think you serve your god and your faith by being so blatantly stupid and breathtakingly dishonest in your statements? Do you feel called by god to be an internet troll?

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, what is the bill of indictment or the charge on the issue on trial in my hypothetical trial on the question, “The Resurrection, yes/no?”

        • MNb

          These arguments show that your courtroom analogy actually works against you. Any of them is enough reason for any neutral judge not to allow them. Hence your courtroom analogy only shows you don’t have a case when postulating “the Resurrection is a historical event.”
          Like I said science is not as harsh. But if you choose that angle we have David Hume’s On Miracles again, which you prefer to systematically neglect, which means that you reject the scientific method.

        • CodyGirl824

          An analogy work against me? No way. Analogies are a didactic and argumentative device for making comparisons and drawing parallels. Remember that in judging the Resurrection as an historical event brings in a different perspective and forces atheists to address the historicity the accounts of Jesus’s life, execution and resurrection, not their theology. That’s a different “can of worms” for atheists altogether.

          As for the “scientific method”, which I know atheists believe to be the only legitimate epistemology available to humankind, you are the one who needs to make your case that it should be applied to the NT. Hume’s own maxim that I quoted earlier shows that he hasn’t made the case.

        • hector_jones

          Good Lord.

        • Kodie

          Analogies you have ignored in the past 24 hours:

          my grandmother’s ashtray
          urban legends
          monsters

        • MNb

          “Analogies are a didactic and argumentative device for making comparisons and drawing parallels.”
          Yup. And the only possible conclusion of your analogy is that you don’t have a case. Still you claim that you have one (or one of your beloved scholars, I don’t care), so your analogy works against you.

          “Remember that in judging the Resurrection as an historical event”
          Begging the question. First question is if it’s a historical event at all.

          “brings in a different perspective and forces atheists to address the historicity the accounts of Jesus’s life, execution and resurrection, not their theology. That’s a different “can of worms” for atheists altogether.”
          Sorry, I don’t get this. I don’t have any problem with Jesus being born, having lived and being executed. You’re addressing the wrong one. Try Hector or Greg.

          “As for the “scientific method”, which I know atheists believe to be the only legitimate epistemology available to humankind, you are the one who needs to make your case that it should be applied to the NT.”
          That’s easy. The NT is a historical event. It has been written. Stripped off from all supernatural nonsense it’s still there. So like every single event in our Universe it can be subjected to the scientific method. You may begin here:

          http://www.livius.org/theory/textual-criticism/

          More here:

          http://www.livius.org/category/method/

          Exactly theses method, when applied to the Resurrection Stories as told in the Gospels, show a gradual build up. The oldest one (Mark without the later added ending) is the most rudimentary; the youngest one provides the most details. This is exactly what we expect when we assume a fictional story; not from a direct eyewitness.

          “Hume’s own maxim that I quoted earlier shows that he hasn’t made the case.”
          Well, Disqus sucks and I missed that one, so perhaps you can repeat it?

        • wtfwjtd

          At least you are finally admitting that even if the gospel stories were shown to be fiction, you would still believe the story; no evidence, no logic, no reason would ever convince you they are false , no matter what.

        • CodyGirl824

          How do you get this from anything I have said? I do not accept the premise that the gospels are fiction and find no scholarship that makes a credible case that they are.

        • wtfwjtd

          Then humor me: what evidence would cause you to reconsider, and change your mind about the veracity of the gospels? Is there any evidence that could cause you to come to the conclusion that they are false?

        • CodyGirl824

          No, there is none, simply because there is no evidence that can refute the truth.

        • wtfwjtd

          And you accept that they are truth based on faith, correct?

        • CodyGirl824

          …a faith based on the thorough understanding and appraisal of the evidence.

        • wtfwjtd

          Evidence? Which specific evidence?

        • CodyGirl824

          Where have you been for the last 100 messages?

        • Kodie

          You were talking about your courtroom analogy, and presented no evidence in all those messages.

        • CodyGirl824

          My courtroom analogy is about the evidence from the gospels and the NT. That’s where to find the evidence. I have also given you a summary of a few of my reasons for believing the evidence, which is the same evidence that you have full and complete access to by reading the NT and that wtfwjtd has access to by reading the NT. We are all on equal footing in regard to access to the evidence of the Resurrection.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, and the evidence is that the Gospels are third or fourth and accounts, at best, written long after the events described, in third person omniscient narrative common to ancient Greco roman literature. We could talk about how the authors are anonymous. We could go into how the Gospel of Mark appears to use Homer, or how randal Helms details how the Gospels reuse old testament stock miracles. We could talk about dozens of things, but you will return to the same brain dead fallacies. The Gosples are not testimonies, and that is easily demonstrated.

        • MNb

          The NT isn’t evidence for the Resurrection unless you reject the scientific method and replace it by your underbelly. Nice to read that you have forgotten the Biblical saying about the log and the splinter. The confirmation bias drips from your comment and you just accused me of it.

        • CodyGirl824

          As I have pointed out many times, the scientific method is limited in its application. Give me “underbelly” or whatever you want to call it any time for addressing spiritual, metaphysical, transcendent existential issues.

        • MNb

          As I have explained exactly as many times the moment you claim something is “real, part of reality, a historical event” or something like that you make a claim that belongs to the domain of science – specifically History of Antiquity, a well respected branch of science that has brought us some amazing results. Hence your comment is and remains irrelevant no matter how often you repeat it. Frankly this time I haven’t even bothered to read further than the first couple of words.
          As you have been told almost as often your only cop out is to claim that miracles belong to a transcendental reality – which should be the case, because miracles are supernatural by definition. That is outside of the scientific domain indeed. Problem is that you systematically fail to provide a reliable methodology to investigate this transcendental reality. Hence we can just shrug it off. Come back as soon as you know how to tell an actual miracle apart from a fictional one.
          Disingeneous as you are you want to have it two ways. You want the Resurrection to be part of our material reality and you want to keep science out of it. You can fool yourself and your kins with this trick, but nobody else.

        • CodyGirl824

          First of all, how do you apply the scientific method to history? This is really a novel idea. Second, my epistemology and experiential and spiritual base for distinguishing real miracles from “fictional ones” works just fine for me and, for those who also have one of their own (the vast majority of human beings) for them and for us collectively. So I see you need to convince you that we have some sort of esoteric “reliable methodology” for understanding and relating to our reality. Atheists are simply the odd balls in this regard, limiting yourselves as you do to an inapplicable methodology for understanding and relating to the Transcendent. What I am still puzzled about is that if you “just shrug me off” as you claim, why do you continue to dialogue with me?

        • Kodie

          That just means you don’t know, you feel. You attribute your feelings to a source in “spirit dimension” based on no facts whatsoever. You fail to address my analogies about the monster under the bed, so I wouldn’t say your methods work “just fine” for anybody. You are just plain ignorant, and you state in so many words that you’re happily so. What does that have to do with any of us? What purpose do you think you serve for us? You’re not hear to learn anything, so what is it you think you are here for?

        • CodyGirl824

          For awhile.

        • Kodie

          I’m sorry, did you say “to troll”?

        • CodyGirl824

          Define for me please what you mean by “to troll.”

        • Kodie

          You’re an asshole on purpose.

        • CodyGirl824

          So that is your definition of a troll?

        • Kodie

          I asked you a question. Please stop being evasive.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, I believe that interaction and dialogue between atheists and Christians is important for several reasons. If we don’t talk to each other, we can’t learn from each other and (hopefully) dispel stereotypes and misunderstandings. Very few atheists seem to be willing to dialogue on “Christian” websites and likewise, as I have observed, only a few Christians are either daring enough or foolish enough to sustain conversations on atheists’ sites such as this one. For me, it’s a form of entertainment but at a more global level, my purpose is to make atheists aware of what they are up against in their efforts to discredit and (for some) eradicate religion from our culture, society and political process. IMO, atheists should be aware of the ineffectiveness of their arguments in changing the minds of committed Christians and how counterproductive to their stated goals it is to drive a wedge between well-meaning people of faith who are potential allies in many of their causes, such as separation of church and state and civil rights.

          I believe that the level of nastiness that I experience on this site is pretty typical and sadly, it really reinforces negative stereotypes of atheists among people of faith and their/your fellow atheists alike. This is very different from my face-to-face interactions with the atheists I know and love in my personal life. I found this discussion of the “disinhibition effect” on the internet informative:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect

        • Kodie

          You’re not trying to learn anything from us, so shove the rest of your phony little speech up your motherfucking ass. I’m justifiably exasperated by your obtuseness. I guess you represent the depressing stupidity and ignorance that atheists are up against. This is what we’ve learned from you. Have you learned anything from us? It doesn’t show.

          So leave? You failed.

        • Ron

          Hearsay is not evidence. Neither is an appeal to authority.

          The gospels constitute evidence for only one thing: the existence of documents claiming a man named Jesus died and came back to life. And that’s an empirically testable claim—i.e. the evidence for a resurrected Messiah would be the resurrected man himself.

          So introduce me to this resurrected man named Jesus. Like Thomas, I too must examine the nail marks in his hands, put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side before I can believe.

          Can you arrange such a meeting?

        • CodyGirl824

          Ron,

          You are wrong on two counts: First, hearsay testimony is evidence. It is simply not admissible in a criminal trial to protect the civil rights of the accused to confront his/her witnesses, which is not possible when the testimony is about what someone said who is not available to testify him or herself in court. Second, the gospels are not hearsay. The gospels are the testimony of people who experienced first-hand the events that they recount. Yes, the gospels make a claim and provide ample credible testimony to convince billions of people throughout 2,000 years of the truth of this claim.

        • Ron

          Should I take that as a resounding “no” then?

          hearsay

          – unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one’s direct knowledge (dictionary.com)

          – something heard from another person
          – something that you have been told (Merriam-Webster)

          – information received from other people which cannot be substantiated; rumour (Oxford)

          Were you a direct witness to the resurrection? If not, then you are relying purely on the hearsay of others. The same principle applies to revelations: they’re only revelations to those having direct experience; to everyone else they’re second- or third-hand information.

          And how do you know that the testimony comes from reliable witnesses? Have you met the authors of the gospels to make such a determination?

          Moreover, Matthew, Mark and Luke never claim to be direct witnesses. In Luke 1:1-4 the author informs his recipient (Theophilus) that his information was compiled from accounts “handed down” to him by (unnamed) eyewitnesses, yet provides no further information about those sources to permit an investigation of their reliability as witnesses. Nor is it likely that the gospel attributed to John (penned in elegant Greek) was authored by the disciple bearing that name, because Acts 4:13 informs us that Peter and John were “unlearned and ignorant” men. More importantly, the gospel accounts report the tomb was already empty when the women arrived, which means that no one personally witnessed Jesus rising from the dead.

          In summary, the entire account is built upon layers of hearsay. The fact that billions of people have adopted these claims as the “gospel truth” without further consideration doesn’t make them any more valid. So until Christians can successfully demonstrate their “close and personal friend” exists as anything more than a voice within their heads, I see no reason to regard them as anything else.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are simply misusing the term “hearsay” in a lame attempt to discredit the gospels as testimony from real living human beings to real events in which they participated and about which they had first-hand knowledge. Christians don’t have to demonstrate anything to you. The New Testament speaks for itself. You have obviously missed out on our extensive discussion of the testimony of/from the gospels here over the past few days. Check it out!

        • Ron

          Please explain how I’ve misused the word hearsay?

          And you’re correct in saying that the NT speaks for itself—a jumbled mess of conflicting accounts and doctrines.

        • wtfwjtd

          Uh, well, there are hundreds of comments on this thread…I didn’t see any where you listed specific evidence that you claim informs your faith. So is that all you’ve got?

        • Kodie

          Your faith is based on emotions. Your appraisal of the evidence is racked with overlooking logical errors in favor of how it makes you feel.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, when an atheist tells me what my faith is and critiques my appraisal of the evidence, I can do nothing but laugh, given the fact that atheists are willfully blind to that same evidence.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you keep saying that. I have evidence in all your posts that faith makes you look at things wrong and read wrong and not understand what you’re reading and interpret it wrong. You are biased by feelings. Don’t stand there and try to tell anyone here that you have a thorough understanding and objectivity about the evidence, when what you say betrays you very obviously to anyone who actually can read.

        • Pofarmer

          We aren’t willfully blind, we understand what it is you call evidence.

        • MNb

          “given the fact that atheists are willfully blind to that same evidence.”
          We willfully accept only the scientific method, yes. We have told you so and you have recognized it yourself yesterday. So either you claim that the scientific method is blind or you are lying. As most apologists sooner or later begin to lie my guess is the latter. That’s good news for Hector and me, because it means we can expect more fun with you.

        • Pofarmer

          Helms, macdonald, Price, Ehrman. You just dismiss them?

        • CodyGirl824

          Dismiss? These scholars have some interesting theories and approaches to interpreting the NT, but are tangential to my study and research interests. As for Ehrman, however, I think that he is… well, to put it succinctly, a kook!

        • Pofarmer

          That “kook” writes the textbooks used for NT studies in many seminary schools.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t question his scholarship overall. I merely find some of his theories about the NT to be really far-out and having no base in Erhman’s own scholarship or his colleagues’ scholarship. The latest example: His theory that Jesus’s followers found his tomb empty because he was never buried. This is really kooky IMO.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, you have to admit, in our/your own experience, that that’s more likely than someone rising from the dead. But, that aside, his scholarship on the Gospels and what they are is solidly mainstream.

        • CodyGirl824

          I would not characterize Bart Ehrman’s scholarship as “mainstream.” Popular, yes. Mainstream, no.

          Keep in mind that according to the gospel accounts, the tomb was not empty. The grave clothes were there and were of great significance to the followers of Jesus.So, Bart Ehrman is calling them liars, which is not “mainstream” NT scholarship.

        • Pofarmer

          Ehrman is mainstream NT scholarship. He is not mainstream NT apology/theology..

          But let’s look at your assertion. The tomb was empty, the grave clothes were there, and this was of great signifigance to the followers of Jesus.” There are two problems here, Mark, the earliest Gospel is universally believed to have ended with the women running away from the tomb and telling no one. Period. The second problem is that there is no history of tomb veneration, at all, none, nada, untill Constantine declared one in the fourth century. Paul never mentions the tomb or anything about it, even though he had opportunities to go there.

        • CodyGirl824

          I think it perhaps wise to know what Ehrman’s theory of the empty tomb is before discussing it. Here are two URLs where you can get an idea:

          Bart Ehrman on NPR Fresh Air April 7, 2014

          http://www.npr.org/2014/04/07/300246095/if-jesus-never-called-himself-god-how-did-he-become-one

          Rebuttal to Ehrman
          Religion and Ethics website Michael Bird

          http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/04/16/3986412.htm

          Also, here is the URL to a debate about the Resurrection between Bart Ehrman and William Lane Craig:
          http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/p96.htm

          Note Craig’s analysis of what he calls “Bart’s Blunder.”

        • Pofarmer

          Prof Ehrman had a great line in the Craig debate. “What you are saying is theologically true, but it is not historically true.

        • CodyGirl824

          Here is a fuller quotation of WLC’s argument in this debate pertinent to this one-liner you provide:

          http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/p96.htm

          WLC: “But that’s not all. Dr. Ehrman just assumes that the probability of the resurrection on our background knowledge [Pr(R/B)] is very low. But here, I think, he’s confused. What, after all, is the resurrection hypothesis? It’s the hypothesis that Jesus rose supernaturally from the dead. It is not the hypothesis that Jesus rose naturally from the dead. That Jesus rose naturally from the dead is fantastically improbable. But I see no reason whatsoever to think that it is improbable that God raised Jesus from the dead.

          WLC: “In order to show that that hypothesis is improbable, you’d have to show that God’s existence is improbable. But Dr. Ehrman says that the historian cannot say anything about God. Therefore, he cannot say that God’s existence is improbable. But if he can’t say that, neither can he say that the resurrection of Jesus is improbable. So Dr. Ehrman’s position is literally self-refuting. But it gets even worse. There’s another version of Dr. Ehrman’s objection which is even more obviously fallacious than Ehrman’s Egregious Error. I call it “Bart’s Blunder.”

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, that’s just Craig being the obnoxious dick that he is. The debate wasn’t about the existence of God. The debate was about the resurrection, and Ehrman is still correct that their isn’t any good evidence for it. There is no methodology to describe how cellular necrosis could have been reversed. How brain damage reversed. How the heart and respiratory systems could have been restarted. Just saying, “It’s supernatural!” isn’t an answer, it’s a cop out. People don’t raise from the dead. Sorry.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, remember that we are discussing MY analogy or metaphor of a trial by jury, which was to establish that we, all of us, are peers (equals, in the same position, having the same status) on the jury of the “God, yes/no?” question. You then applied my analogy to a metaphorical trial of the “Resurrection, yes/no?” question in regard to the “admissibility” of the testimony of the Resurrection in a modern day trial. This is an over-extension and irrelevant application of my analogy for several reasons:

          1) Regardless of whether the question “on trial” is God or the Resurrection, you and I are still peers on the jury. We must both weigh and consider the evidence to reach a verdict.

          2) The NT itself is not on trial as a document in this hypothetical trial. The competence and the credibility of the witnesses and the credibility of their testimony is “on trial.”

          3) If you conclude that their testimony is inadmissible for whatever reason, then we must declare a “mistrial” and declare “court dismissed!” IOW, you are saying that the analogy does not apply because there is no evidence on which to go to trial in the first place, or IOW, you reject the analogy, even though the original point that we are peers in the hypothetical jury box still stands.

          The reality is that you and I are peers who have each reached his/her verdict on the Resurrection, given the exact same evidence and testimony. You say no, it never happened. I say that I believe that it did. We are now in the post-trial debriefing stage, where each of us is free to explain how/why we arrived at our verdict.

        • hector_jones

          You’re a complete idiot with absolutely no clue as to what constitutes evidence, whether it be scientific or forensic.

        • CodyGirl824

          Testimony of competent witnesses is evidence in any court of law. And keep in mind, we are not actually talking about a court of law here. The court of law and trial analogy or metaphor or hypothetical is merely hypothetical. So give up trying to discredit the NT accounts of the Resurrection based on an analogy. As my peer, you are free to accept or reject the points I attempted to make.

        • hector_jones

          Explain to me how a dead person is a ‘competent’ witness in a court of law Jenna. I’m all ears.

          Oh wait we aren’t talking about an actual court of law here? It’s just hypothetical? Thanks for reminding me of this. For a second there I thought this was a court of law.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, you know and I know that a dead person cannot give oral testimony in court, for obvious reasons. However, relevant documents can be entered into evidence when they have been authenticated and deemed relevant to the indictment in the case.

          Again, , I recommend that you read the book by law professor and eminent legal scholar Simon Greenleaf (1879), “The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence.” It is a classic on the credibility and veracity of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ miracles and resurrection. Atheists are what Professor Greenleaf calls “objectors” and as such, the burden of proof in opposition to “ordinary presumptions of law” falls on them to impeach the evangelists’ testimony.

        • hector_jones

          Are we talking about documents or a competent witness, Jenna? Do you even understand the difference? Why are you even talking about a competent witness when the witnesses in the case we are talking about are all dead? I’ll tell you why: because you don’t know what you are talking about, but when you get caught out, you immediately shift the goal posts and pretend that you have just been misunderstood. You are a dishonest, lying hack. Greenleaf is no better.

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you think that Professor Greenleaf lied about? Please be specific. He makes the case, based on the rules of evidence that are applied in the law to establish the competence of witnesses that the four evangelists are competent to testify as to what happened with and to Jesus. Their competence is not affected in the least by the fact that they are now dead. They were alive at the time of the events they testify about and were participants in those events, as was the Apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul of Tarsus).

        • hector_jones

          Yes their competence is entirely affected by the fact that they are now dead. ‘Competent witness’ is a technical term of law that has an actual meaning, Jenna. The first rule of being a ‘competent witness’ is that the witness must be alive. As I suspected you haven’t a clue what the term ‘competent witness’ even means. “They were alive at the time of the events they testify about and were participants in those events” is not the definition of a competent witness. Furthermore, you haven’t proved that they were participants in those events at all, or even alive at the time they took place.

        • CodyGirl824

          OMG, hector. This has got to be one of the silliest arguments I have ever heard. Of course, no one who lived 2,000 ago is a competent witness in a trial held today or after their deaths. We have their testimony through documents, namely the New Testament. Their competence must be judged, as Prof. Greenleaf does, based on their competence as witnesses to the events at the time of the events. Don’t you think your time would be better spent working on your Atheists’ Agenda grand plan for American society and culture and world civilization?

        • hector_jones

          Oh now let’s stick to the core issue here, Jenna. “The issue is whether or not the NT would be accepted as an authentic document in a court of law and its testimony be admissible for the jury to consider to arrive at our verdict.”

          See how you do things? First the issue was about the admissibility of the NT itself as a document, to arrive at ‘our’ verdict, i.e. in a court room of the present day. Now suddenly you are arguing that the authors of these documents would be ‘competent witnesses’ in a hypothetical courtroom of 2000 years ago.

          Admissibility of documents and ‘competent witnesses’ are two entirely different things in the law. But this is how you do it. You shift the goal posts, you dodge and weave, you argue one thing, then when you are proven wrong, you insist ‘omg this is silly, I was really arguing something different, you silly atheist’. Isn’t this kind of dishonesty a sin to you christians? Oh I guess it’s not if it’s for a good cause, right?

        • CodyGirl824

          I am merely responding to issues that you raised in your comments, while attempting to refocus your attention on the purpose of my analogy, which has remained the same from the first time I proposed it: that we are peers (equals, compadres) on the jury who must each weigh and judge the evidence for ourselves.

        • hector_jones

          So it has nothing at all to do with what would go on in a modern courtroom and only with what each individual thinks about the NT? Your analogy has now collapsed.

        • Kodie

          I love how you need to use your courtroom analogy to demonstrate something that you want it for, but it’s just hypothetical so don’t misuse the courtroom to disprove your assertions. I thought we were looking at both sides. That’s what you do in a courtroom. You don’t have a murder weapon, you have a knife you just bought to show what the knife used to stab so-and-so might have looked like. You don’t even have that much.

        • MNb

          Then your usage of “sacred” is meaningless.

        • CodyGirl824

          The term “sacred” is a technical term in reference to texts and documents that a religion or community of faith hold to be sacred or holy in their religion. The Bible is the sacred text of Christianity. The Torah is the sacred text of Judaism. The Koran is the sacred text of Islam. It’s not that difficult a term and concept to understand.

        • MNb

          It’s still meaningless, ie has exactly zero impact on your courtroom analogy. That’s what Kodie tried to make clear. It’s not that difficult to understand – except perhaps for you.
          Btw your definition sucks. You can’t use a term to define that same term: “sacred means hold to be sacred”. Of course “holy” is just a synonym and thus doesn’t contribute to the definition either. Not that I’m interested in a workable definition of “sacred”; I just wanted to point out the gazillionth flaw in your thinking.

        • CodyGirl824

          Flaws in my thinking? Have you never heard the Bible referred to as the sacred text of Christianity? Perhaps you should read Professor Greenleaf’s statement in his book, p. 16-18, where he states the Rules of Evidence regarding ancient documents: “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party (you) the burden of proving it to be otherwise.” …”it is quite erroneous to suppose that the Christian is bound to offer any further proof of their (the sacred texts’) genuineness or authenticity… “…no lawyer would venture to deny either its admissibility in evidence, or the satisfactory character of the proof.”

        • MNb

          Nothing in your comment repairs the flaw in your definition of “sacred”. It’s irrelevant blabla. Neither does anything in your quotes show why any judge will admit these testimonies in court.
          Repeating your errors don’t make them correct.

        • CodyGirl824

          MNb. please, please, please, I ask again. Do not over-extend the trial by jury analogy. I can imagine no real, actual, 21st century trial in which the NT would be submitted as evidence, so its admissibility is a moot question. Whether or not the Bible, including the NT, are sacred to Christians is also a moot question since, by definition, it is. Professor Greenleaf’s analysis of the NT as testimony is “…a time-honored work in substantiating the relevance and reliability of the Gospel records” and is considered to be a classic in and for Christian apologetics. The problem here is that you are taking an analogy/metaphor literally.

        • hector_jones

          What a fucking hilarious comment. I was going to ask Jenna for some follow up but decided my questions were mute.

        • MNb

          When I wrote that I don’t intend to deconvert people like Cody I was only partly honest. My intention is to make them look like fools.

        • CodyGirl824

          All 2.3 billion of us? One at a time? Good luck with that project! You and hector need to get together to come up with a grand plan to further his stated Atheists’ Agenda.

        • MNb

          No, I’m not as immodest as you. Only the ones I happen to meet on internet. Like you.

        • CodyGirl824

          That will surely make a dent in the Atheists Agenda! Especially since I don’t agree that you have made me look foolish at all. You folks have simply exhibited your confirmation bias if you think so.

        • MNb

          I’m still not as immodest like you. I don’t have an Agenda, especially not with a capital A.

          “I don’t agree that you have made me look foolish at all.”
          Oh, I fully recognize that you mostly have made yourself look foolish. You deserve the credit, don’t worry.

          “your confirmation bias”
          Something you think you’re above, I suppose.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t suppose you encounter many Christians then since as far as I can tell, there are no more than handful who post here, out of the 2.3 billion of us worldwide. I guess that works to limit your scope of work, which is probably a good thing for all concerned.

        • hector_jones

          Frankly, that’s my intention too. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here bothering with someone like Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, score one for you. I should have written “moot.”

        • MNb

          Thanks for admitting that you formulate the rules – in this case of your court analogy – in such a way at beforehand that you can’t be disproven. Ie thanks for admitting your intellectual dishonesty. Also thanks for admitting that your methodology relies on your underbelly indeed: you accept the rules when they make your underbelly feel warm and cozy and reject them when they don’t.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is nonsense to speak about disproving an analogy. Either an analogy applies or it doesn’t. If you don’t like or don’t accept my courtroom and trial and jury of peers analogy, then so be it. Ignore it. It makes no difference to me.

        • MNb

          Oh, but I like your courtroom analogy. And you’re not the one who decides for me if I will comment on it or neglect it. Arrogance like this doesn’t suit a christian, Cody.
          I am happy I don’t make a difference for you – that would make me, as a completely stranger to you, quite uncomfortable.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah you can’t disprove an analogy. Analogies are great because they allow you to argue anything without the risk of being wrong, just like flying a submarine to the moon.

        • Kodie

          You love your courtroom analogy because it makes you feel official and intellectual. However, you have ignored the testimony of followers of other faiths as well as atheists, including atheists who deconverted from Christianity or another religion. It’s SO important to you that we all examine your beliefs and you harass us when we dispense with and dismiss your bullshit with ease, you harass us when we change the subject, and you harass us with your idiocy in general. But are you consistent? No. You fail to examine the testimony of every belief and every non-belief in your courtroom analogy. Why do we have to give yours or you the time of day? Why is it so important to you to present this and then threaten us for not believing it? Why is it so important for you to believe the “facts” of historical resurrection are merely inconvenient or uncomfortable for atheists? You have ignored every post asking you, and I’m asking you again –

          What is your method for generally ignoring every inconvenient argument that surfaces against you?

        • Kodie

          No, the problem is your courtroom analogy is just a way for you to elevate your ideas to some value of intellect shared in society, whereas it turns out to be bullshit through and through, it does not actually hold up. Nobody disputes the texts are considered sacred to Christians. It just does nothing to legitimize them under objective scrutiny.

          Do you see what I’m saying? They’re important if you’re a Christian, and to everyone else, it’s a myth. It is legitimately ancient materially, but that does not give the words on the page substance either.

          Of course you don’t know what I’m saying. You will weasel out of it and tell me I’m not following the discussion again. We have established your reading comprehension sucks, and that’s pretty damning as to the bullshit you regurgitate (I notice you don’t put your scholar in your own words, but find it easier to quote) the passages of the books you’ve read. You were convinced by it because you are a dolt. Don’t imagine that you are smarter for having investigated the “testimony” for yourself and come up that Jesus rose from the dead, or that this is some uncomfortable truth for atheists. The analogy fell apart exactly because the texts aren’t even worth looking at.

        • hector_jones

          “…no lawyer would venture to deny either its admissibility in evidence, or the satisfactory character of the proof.”

          You asked me for an example of Greenleaf’s dishonesty and there it is.

        • CodyGirl824

          Dishonesty? He’s making an argument for the admissibility of ancient documents and specifically, the NT as an ancient document that is sacred to a specific religious community as evidence within the context of an entire book on the topic. How is this dishonest? Now you make ad hominem attacks against the character of a long-deceased highly respected law professor and scholar writing to his fellow members of the legal profession as your counter-argument. Predictable, but very sad, hector.

        • hector_jones

          He’s not making an argument. He’s asserting as a fact not only that no lawyer would ever deny the admissibility of the NT in evidence, but also that no lawyer would deny that the NT proves the divinity and resurrection of Jesus. This is quite simply a preposterous claim about what ‘no lawyer’ would deny.

          Long-deceased? Irrelevant. Highly respected? Absolutely not. Greenleaf is only highly respected among dishonest apologists like yourself. His book would be a disgrace to the legal profession if it weren’t so old and almost completely forgotten.

        • CodyGirl824

          Apparently you have not read Professor Greenleaf’s book and/or missed his statement of his objectives in writing the book and to whom it was addressed. He is indeed making an argument, a very cogent and persuasive argument. If you disagree, well, I have an analogy for you. We are peer on the jury who judges Professor Greenleaf’s arguments for the unimpeachability and the credibility of the NT as testimony under the Rules of Evidence in common law.

        • hector_jones

          And I have reached a verdict. Greenleaf’s arguments fail to persuade me.

          But just so you know, juries don’t decide the admissibility of evidence, judges do. Oh I’m sorry am I taking the analogy too far?

        • Kodie

          Verdicts also rest on a consensus and we don’t have that. This analogy is pretty stupid.

        • CodyGirl824

          I have already pointed out that the jury of peers in the “God, yes/no?” and “Resurrection yes/no?” trials will forever be a hung jury. This need not trouble us in the least.

        • hector_jones

          If it will forever be a hung jury then this is, to put it bluntly, an idiotic analogy.

        • CodyGirl824

          The analogy, as I have stated several times before, is to point out that we are peers on the jury. The fact that we arrive at different verdicts is obvious, and does not affect the fact that we are peers nonetheless. You are a/my peer in judging the analogy itself as well, and I expect there too, we have a hung jury.

        • hector_jones

          Pointing out that we are peers in a jury? So what? What does this add to this discussion? Comment after comment, and all we are getting out of you is that it’s up to every person to decide for him or herself whether they believe in God, Jesus, the resurrection, etc. We already know this. No one here disagrees with this. So piss or get off the pot already.

          Oh but of course this is all a lie coming from you. You most definitely were at great pains earlier today to try to persuade us that the NT can be taken as fact because it would be admitted into evidence and be found persuasive under the rules of evidence that apply to modern day court rooms. But having been made to look like a fool in that discussion, you now resort to saying you were merely saying that it’s up to each person to decide on their own what they believe about this stuff. This is what you always do Jenna, argue one thing, look stupid, then try to salvage something by insisting you were really arguing something else. You are a clown, Jenna.

        • Kodie

          This is a dead end discussion. We’re not even talking about the evidence, we’re spending a million posts talking about your useless analogy. Meanwhile, you’ve ignored several posts I made today and yesterday that you can’t seem to get it up to answer. You’d really rather talk about this analogy and have a meta-discussion?

        • CodyGirl824

          You are correct. Jurors judge the credibility of the witnesses and the relevance of the evidence presented. I’m glad we have all of that straight.

        • hector_jones

          We? I had it straight all along. You’re the one who is perpetually confused and needs to be corrected on how the court room works. But I guess that point is now mute.

        • Kodie

          This is a distraction. Where is your evidence?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          “an argument for the admissibility of ancient documents”
          When we atheists discuss the admissibility of those documents we are extending the courtroom analogy, we are taking them too literally. When your beloved Prof. Greenleaf does it’s a strong point! I give you a well meant advise, Cody, based on 14 years of internet experience. Quit. Take a walk with your dog. Repair the fence. Something. But quit. Because you’re getting more and more incoherent with every single comment. You would be the first to take this advise though.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah that is pretty damn funny. The Great Greenleaf writes an entire book on the subject, and then concludes that no lawyer would deny the admissibliity of the NT or that it proves its case, but WE are the ones who take the court room analogy too far.

        • Kodie

          If it could be settled in court, why hasn’t it? The problem with the peer jury is they haven’t been sequestered. It’s persuasive if you want to be persuaded. Those who are don’t understand anyone who is not. But for Jenna, this is her only court case, she doesn’t sit on a jury for anything else.

          Another problem with it is she throws this courtroom analogy up in place of supporting her beliefs with evidence and continues to deny that it is her claim to support with evidence. We don’t actually need to talk it over with her, she’s not presenting any evidence, she is saying she’s just on the jury but she never gets around to saying what’s convincing her that ought to convince us. She is at a point where she is quoting scholars rather than demonstrate what she’s talking about, thus her confusion and changing direction, in addition to her complete lack of substance regarding evidence. We’re in the fucking courtroom, but I don’t have any evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          Jurors in a trial never present evidence. If they had any evidence themselves, they would be witnesses and would be disqualified to serve on the jury. That’s why you and I are peers on the jury in the “Resurrection, yes/no?” trial Neither one of us has any evidence of our own to place before this metaphorical, hypothetical court. You have just made the case for my jury of peers analogy.

        • hector_jones

          Now, now Jenna, you are taking the analogy too far! We all know you’ve already made up your mind in this case and have no business sitting on any jury trying the case. You aren’t an impartial juror, you are a partisan.

        • CodyGirl824

          My analogy is based on the metaphor of all humankind, individually, sitting on the jury. As I have stated wrt my analogy, both you and I have already reached our verdict based on the evidence before us.

        • hector_jones

          All of humankind sitting individually on the jury? Gosh don’t you think that’s taking this jury analogy too far, Jenna?

        • CodyGirl824

          Everyone, every human being, makes a judgment on the question of “God, yes/no?” Most of the Western world, but most certainly anyone who knows anything at all about Christianity makes a judgment on the “Resurrection yes/no?” question. If we were in agreement in our verdicts on these questions, this would be a very different conversation. But keep in mind that to fulfill your Atheists Agenda, you will have to convince everyone who has arrived at a “yes” verdict to both these questions to change their verdict. You most certainly haven’t made any headway with me.

        • Kodie

          Could be because your head is full of rocks. You can’t even read for comprehension, it’s too early to introduce logical fallacies that you keep getting wrong. You’re just very wrong about a lot of things, so sue me because I’m skeptical about a dead body raising from the dead like some people believe. Are we done with the analogy yet?

        • Kodie

          By the by, asshole. I have inquired you about the testimony of atheists who are former Christians. You haven’t analyzed that evidence in your courtroom analogy. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to fucking address your method of ignoring everything that doesn’t support your beliefs! Because that’s all you’re doing. Keep in mind to maintain your beliefs, you have to ignore everything that challenges them, which you don’t do very well. Sweeping away comments and avoiding them is hardly effective, it just lets us all know what a dishonest idiot we’re dealing with.

        • hector_jones

          I’m not trying to make headway with you. I made this clear to you weeks ago, but I will say it again because you have no memory for anything you are told: I’m helping to expose the bankruptcy of your arguments for god, so that any doubters or fence-sitters reading this will see just how bankrupt such arguments are when they come to render their own judgments about these things. Converting you to atheism is absolutely the last thing in this world that concerns me. You and Christianity are perfectly suited for one another.

        • Kodie

          Your analogy is an evasion tactic, since zero evidence has ever been discussed and won’t ever be discussed because you prefer to think of it like we’re all on some jury, and it isn’t your place in a discussion of the resurrection to present any evidence to support your claims – they’re your claims whether you like it or not. That analogy doesn’t suit the discussion and is merely a diversion tactic, so I am calling your meandering witlessness in contempt of court. Answer some other posts I or anyone else wrote today.

        • Kodie

          We’re not in a courtroom, remember? That was just an analogy, remember? Your meta-discussion is boring. You have an assertion, you have failed to even slightly present why you think it’s true. Your stated purpose was that we were jurors and now we can discuss why we think the evidence is true or false – but you never get around to that.

          Resurrection = no. People who believe that it happened = silly.

        • MNb

          I guess this is the right time to tell you that I enjoy being the victim as well. I sincerely enjoyed your stamp.it.out comment. So I hope you will put aside eventual scruples next time you get the chance to jump on me.

        • CodyGirl824

          Professor Greenleaf draws the conclusion that the NT as an ancient document meets the standard specified in the Rules of Evidence in the common law (USA and England), not by any other standard. That’s what the Rules of Evidence are: the rules that make documents and testimony either admissible or inadmissible. You can only judge Professor Greenleaf’s argument and conclusion based on what the law says, not on what you believe or don’t believe.

        • Kodie

          Whose bullshit rules are these? You’re a moron.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Rules of Evidence are from the Common Law of the English-speaking world. Wikipedia has a descent summary at this URL:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_evidence

        • Kodie

          I think this is irrelevant, since we’re not in a court of law. You’re not a juror. I’m not a juror. This is not actually a discussion of anything, do you realize that?

        • hector_jones

          And I do judge his argument and conclusion based on what the law says.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really understand why we’re spending so much time on this. Jenna promised now we’d discuss why we believe or don’t believe the evidence, granted as it’s admissible in a court of law. We have not discussed it. This is just her way of getting out of difficult discussions to run away with some piss-poor analogy she is in love with. She won’t answer difficult questions, she just wants to control the discussion to talk about what she wants to talk about.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t remember making any such “promise” but you go first. Tell me why you don’t believe the testimony of the gospels and the NT regarding the Resurrection. Give me the short version, please, since I think that this has been stated many times before. You don’t believe that any miracle is possible, so based on your lack of belief in miracles, you conclude, not based on the testimony or evidence, but on your disbelief in miracles, that this one, the Resurrection of Jesus, never happened. I don’t think we really need to cover this ground again for the umpteenth time, but let’s see if you have anything new or different than what I think your reasons are for arriving at your verdict.

        • hector_jones

          Now now, Jenna, don’t try to change the subject. The issue here is the admissibility of the NT in a modern court room, not what Kodie believes about miracles.

        • Kodie

          How about you answer some questions I ASKED YOU ALREADY. I don’t know why you think we follow your leads or why you don’t understand it’s your claim to uphold with evidence. For starters.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Kodie. No, no, no! Again, and hopefully for the last time. The Resurrection of Jesus is not my claim and I do not have to “uphold the evidence.” That’s how it works, like it or not. I can explain why I believe the evidence, as your peer who has access to the same body of evidence as you do: the NT

        • Kodie

          Then you are a fucking moron. Yes it is, yes it is, stamp your feet again and again, but yes it very much fucking is.

        • Kodie

          I can explain why I believe the evidence

          THERE! Do that!

        • CodyGirl824

          Well, I think that I already have, but here is a summary. I believe in miracles because of the small “miracles” that I have witnessed and experienced in my life. So I am open to the idea of miracles. I believe the testimony that comes to us from the four canonical gospels because they are the testimony of either Jesus’s disciples (St. Matthew and St. John) or were people who knew Jesus’s disciples and did their research (St. Mark & St. Luke) The NT also provides testimony especially St. Paul’s letters that I find credible because Paul was a contemporary of Jesus’s and he was a participant in the events and witnessing to the risen Christ. These people had no reason to fabricate or invent accounts of the events. In fact, they themselves faced execution and martyrdom for telling their stories, so why invent stories that could get you hung on a cross?

          But one piece of evidence for me that is not frequently talked about is the shroud (aka the grave clothes) found in Jesus’ tomb. Why, if the body of Jesus was stolen or removed from the grave, would the robbers have unwrapped his body before carrying it away? In addition, the testimony from the Gospel according to John 20:3-9 suggests that the way the shroud and the face cloth lay apart from each other in the tomb indicated that the linens were removed through a metaphysical process or by the risen Jesus himself.

          I have read many scholarly books about the NT, specifically the Resurrection, including Josh McDowell, Simon Greenleaf, Lee Strobel, J. Warner Wallace, John Stott, Dallas Willard and Gregory Boyd, to name a few, and have followed NT polemics for several years. As I have stated, in all of the academic and scholarly (and not so scholarly) debate, there is no credible refutation of the Resurrection miracle or the credibility and competence of the evangelists and apostles. There is simply too much evidence to be explained away. If you want to try (yet again), go right ahead.

        • Kodie

          “Small miracles,” you mean coincidences and emotions?

          You believe they are the testimony… these people existed? They had no reason, nobody had a reason to fabricate evants?

          The shroud was fake! The artist didn’t even do a good job. You are coming at this evidence like, scratching your head, why would they do that, what could explain this? And concluding it is a miracle. Because of coincidences and emotions that you have, you are “open” to an actual event that would otherwise be physically impossible because of events that are physically possible and and statistically probable.

          I do not look at this the same way you do because I’m not a fucking idiot. When presented with this type of “evidence”, I treat it like the urban legends that I gave you earlier that you never responded to. It’s the cousin’s neighbor’s niece’s co-worker’s mother. Why would she make it up, she’s a mother! You don’t have the mother’s testimony, you have the niece’s, and you are my cousin’s dog’s dog dish for brains. Who would make up something that was impossible, magical, and fictional? Why would someone fake a robe, to fool gullible idiots like you. Do you actually know how your brain works, or do you go by pseudo-scientific interpolations? You didn’t answer my question on fears and monsters. You allege that god has to be real because nobody on this whole earth could make up something that doesn’t exist, and I give you “children” and “monsters under the motherfucking bed”. “Fear” is the analogous emotional experience created INSIDE THE MOTHERFUCKING BRAIN, responding to something that isn’t there and doesn’t exist.

          Do you get analogies yet?

          Because I don’t think you do.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, you see the evidence through the dark lens of your atheism. You are prejudiced.

        • Kodie

          Now you’re just handwaving. You admit you don’t have evidence, you have feelings.

        • CodyGirl824

          In the quote I gave you directly and verbatim from Greenleaf’s book, did you make the distinction between his quotation of the Rules of Evidence regarding any ancient documents and his conclusion regarding the admissibility of the NT as the sacred text of the Christian community of faith? I get the impression that you are confused about this.

          Statement of the Rules of Evidence and the presumption of the law re: ancient and sacred documents: p. 16 “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party, the burden of proving it to be otherwise.”

          The rest of the quotation is Greenleaf’s conclusion regarding the New Testament under the presumption of the law as stated in the Rules of Evidence.

        • hector_jones

          I had this discussion with some one here weeks ago. What I find bizarre is you seem to think there is one set of Rules of Evidence for the entire common law world, and that they haven’t changed since 1879. I am absolutely confident that the modern rules regarding ancient documents don’t allow for the admissibility of the NT, just as I argued with that other person. Go look it up.

          Secondly, what is the purpose to this conversation? One minute you are telling me that it’s up to each of us on our own to decide what we believe about the NT. The next you seem to be arguing that the truth of the NT can be proved because it would be admissible in an 1879 courtroom because some long-dead Christian with a law degree once said so.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, hector. Admitting a document into evidence for the jury’s consideration does not establish its truth or lack thereof in a court of law. As you pointed out, the judge rules on admissibility. The jurors are the triers of fact. If the NT were to be ruled inadmissible in the hypothetical trial of the “Resurrection yes/no?” question, there could be no trial, nor would there ever even be an indictment to go to trial in the first place. That is why I have never addressed the question of admissibility of the NT in my analogy. Remember, you’re the one who brought it into the conversation. Not I. I’ve merely responded to your hypothetical scenarios, and rather thoroughly and thoughtfully IMO.

        • hector_jones

          Christ on a cracker. So other than for the fact that it exposes you, once again, as a deeply dishonest and confused, perhaps even deluded, thinker, this conversation was even more pointless than I ever imagined. Have a nice evening Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          There it is, your parting insult. I wish you a pleasant evening as well, hector. You need your rest, considering the magnitude of the Atheists Agenda task that you face.

        • Kodie

          It’s not ad hominem. You asked for an example of Greenleaf’s dishonesty, and you got an example of Greenleaf’s dishonesty. How is it dishonest, you ask?

          It is not ad hominem to say someone is dishonest and then post an example of the dishonesty. LOOK UP SOMETHING YOU MIGHT LEARN. It’s your own fault if you can’t read, and you are so gullible and Christ-blind you can’t see the lie right in front of your face.

        • hector_jones

          “Sacred” is not a legal technical term. It has no bearing on the admissibility of a document into a modern day court of law. It’s superfluous and irrelevant, that’s the point Kodie and MNb are making. Yet you threw it into your paragraph as if it added something to your argument.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie and MNb are making a point that is superfluous and irrelevant to the argument at hand, and to my courtroom and trial by jury analogy.

        • Kodie

          How so?

        • hector_jones

          So you concede that your use of the term ‘sacred’ was superfluous and irrelevant to your court room analogy. Well that’s progress I guess.

        • MNb

          That’s correct. You introduced the word “sacred” and I had the impression that it was important for your courtroom analogy. It’s nice you admit it’s not.

        • MNb

          I doubt if any lawyer and judge would be convinced by an argument from two biased professors of biblical criticism.

          “whose trail of custody and authenticity as the documented testimony of living witnesses at the time”
          Ie hearsay.
          You might compare with the documented testimony of living witnesses at the time used at the Trials of Nürnberg. The conditions were much more stricter than the “testimonies” of the Gospels. The Nürnberg documents had to be signed; date and place had to be known plus of course the identities of the witnesses and interrogators. Still years later it became clear that some of these testimonies were false, especially when coming from the Soviets. Your testimonies for the Resurrection don’t fulfull any of those conditions.

        • CodyGirl824

          Please point me in the direction by sending me the citation of any analysis by a lawyer or judge or law professor with similar or equal qualifications as those of Professor Greenleaf, who is an “objector” to the credibility of the NT witnesses as testimony and that you believe has successfully impeached their competence and credibility as witnesses and/or the truth of their testimony. Also please consult Jim Warner Wallace’s book, (2013) “Cold-case Christianity:A homicide detective investigates the claims of the Gospels which covers some of the same ground.

        • MNb

          Are they lawyers/judges or biased professors? That’s my only point. But if you really are interested in what a lawyer has to say about the admissibility of the Gospels etc. as testimony in court, why don’t you consult a few yourself? It’s your analogy, not mine.

        • CodyGirl824

          I repeat, the admissibility of the Gospels is not the issue I raise in my analogy. As for consulting lawyers, I come from a family full of lawyers and law professors. Consulting one does not pose a problem for me. However, the question that I will ask one of my relatives is whether or not they find fault with Professor Greenleaf’s analysis of the four evangelists’ testimony according to the Rules of Evidence.

        • hector_jones

          Oh do hurry. We can’t wait to hear what one of your relatives has to say on this pressing subject, as filtered through you. I’m sure we’ll get the unvarnished truth that way.

        • CodyGirl824

          Since you will never know what my attorney/law professor relatives have to say, why don’t we such stick to what Professor Greenleaf has to say, since his book is available equally to both/all of us, as peers.

        • hector_jones

          Since I will never know what they say, it was rather pointless of you to even mention them, wasn’t it? In fact it was downright childish, almost as bad as if you had said your dad can beat up MNb’s dad.

        • MNb

          Of course you do not raise the admissibility in your analogy, because it makes clear that your analogy actually works against you. Still the question of admissibility is part of any legal system, so it’s part of your analogy as well. That’s how analogies work: you have to go the whole 9 yards – not only investigate how they work for you, but also how they work against you. That’s a matter of intellectual honesty.
          I have encountered several “Rules of Evidence” as formulated by apologists. None of them are scientific. All of them are ad hoc – meant to exclude the option of disproving the Resurrection at beforehand.

        • CodyGirl824

          I doubt that you question the divinity of Lazarus. You may, however, question the existence of Lazarus.

        • Pofarmer

          “The Resurrection “story” is the testimony of living human beings who were witnesses to the events and their impact on them”

          Yeah, that’s actually not the case at all,but you can’t be bothered with that.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you have proof that Jesus himself and none of his followers ever lived?

        • Kodie

          It’s not a question of if he lived or not. There are arguments about this as well, and I don’t care. Living people live and then they die. Sometimes they get tortured to death, even. Sometimes they have fantastical ideas about where they’re going and who can come along after they die, even. Living and dying is not unusual. The man may have lived and the legend is another story that wasn’t true. He may not have lived and been entirely a myth. I don’t really care.

        • CodyGirl824

          Then if you don’t care, why debate it?

        • Kodie

          You’re way too stupid.

          We are talking about the Resurrection. Whether or not Jesus was “just a
          man” or not is beside the point in a discussion of whether or not he was
          raised from the dead.

          You’re the stupid one who asked if Jesus was a real person or not.

          Do you have proof that Jesus himself and none of his followers ever lived?

          It doesn’t matter, because we’re talking about a resurrection, not whether someone lived or not. He could have lived and he could have had followers, this does not give anyone a reason to conclude that resurrection happened. You are concluding that these people both lived and their testimony is conclusive regarding a resurrection. Two different goddamned fucking things. Can you stop being so stupid?

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, you’re not following the discussion. hector attempted to divert the discussion of the Resurrection to a discussion of Jesus’s divinity or to quote him, “just a man.” I responded by pointing out, correctly that it does not matter in the discussion of the Resurrection whether or not the man who was raised from the dead was divine or not. No one questions whether or not Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead was divine. So therefore, resurrection of the dead does not depend on the divinity or lack thereof of the person who is resurrected.

        • Kodie

          You responded by asking for proof that Jesus and his followers did not live. You’re the one not following the discussion, as ever. I question the divinity of Lazarus, he’s another character in a story you think really happened.

        • hector_jones

          More lies and dishonesty from you, Jenna.

        • hector_jones

          I don’t see Pofarmer claiming this. In any event, he doesn’t need to prove this. Prove to me that Jesus wasn’t just a man.

        • CodyGirl824

          We are talking about the Resurrection. Whether Jesus was “just a man” or not is beside the point in a discussion of whether or not he was raised from the dead.

        • Kodie

          David Koresh had followers.

        • hector_jones

          If whether he was just a man is beside the point, then why am I supposed to care whether he was raised from the dead? Why do we always end up discussing your pet miracle and you refuse to discuss all the other alleged miracles that we mention? The answer is because you think Jesus was divine and that the resurrection proves this. So just fuck off with this ‘it’s beside the point’ bullshit.

          But the reason I ask is because we’ve already been over the question of whether he was raised from the dead and you have insisted that you have no burden to prove that he was. So as far as I am concerned, there is no ‘discussion’ of this at all, just you asserting that he was raised from the dead because the bible tells you so.

          If anything, the weeks I’ve spent watching you wailing and gnashing your teeth in defence of your beliefs has only served to convince me that Christian apologetics are so utterly and thoroughly bankrupt that it’s just time to move on. Nietzsche was right – God is dead.

          It really is past the time for atheists to move on from these pointless arguments with faith-head imbeciles like you and to get on with the next step, which is putting an end to the dominance of politics and culture by religious idiocy and to stop showing any deference whatsoever to faith. Your religious beliefs aren’t holy or sacred. They are a form of cognitive impairment that now serves only to hold the human race back from further improvement.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, you have given us a very succinct statement of the Atheists Agenda, “…which is putting an end to the dominance of politics and culture by religious idiocy and to stop showing any deference whatsoever to faith.” If this is your plan for society and civilization, you have a huge task ahead of you, so yes, it would probably be a very good idea to stop spending time trying to talk any person of faith out of his/her beliefs.

        • hector_jones

          My girlfriend agrees with you. I’ve shown her several of your comments and she’s looked at me with amazement and asked, “Why do you keep arguing with this stupid woman?”

        • Pofarmer

          Your reading comprehension still sucks.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Ok, so according to the Bible the knowledge of Jesus’ crucifixion comes from firsthand witnesses. And according to the Qur’an the knowledge of Jesus not being crucified comes directly from God’s own right hand angel Gabriel to Muhammad. Who should I trust? The testimony of fallible humans? Or Muhammad who had this information divinely revealed to him?

          If you reject the validity of Muhammad’s claims to be receiving messages from the angel then that calls into question whether Abraham ever actually received divine messages too or anyone else for that matter.

        • Jeff

          None of the thousands have taken me up on my offer yet.

        • CodyGirl824

          Oh, so you are a poly-atheist!

        • Jeff

          I prefer agnostic atheist. I don’t believe in any gods, but the possibility of their existence has not yet been ruled out. I’m just waiting for a reason to believe.

        • MNb

          How many versions of “you first have to believe for you can recognize the evidence” do you have hidden in your sleeve?

          “You expect Him to do all the work.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! Read Daniel Fincke, Chris Hallquist and Ryan Bell. They will tell you how hard they have worked. Your god is the lazy one.

        • wtfwjtd

          Don’t be too rough on god MNb. All god has is the likes of Jenna to make excuses for him, he can’t be bothered with the likes of us, he’s too busy doing big important god stuff!

        • CodyGirl824

          It is you who cannot be bothered with the “likes of” God, one of which is a love for His human creatures, your fellows and neighbors, including those with whom you disagree about who/what God is.

        • MNb

          Spot on for once! Our own love for humanity suffices. Also it’s rather pathetic that you need an imaginary friend to sustain your love for humanity.

        • hector_jones

          She doesn’t even understand what the phrase ‘the likes of’ means. Equivocation is one of her favorite hobbies.

        • CodyGirl824

          But hector, there are no “likes of” when it comes to God. Only God is God. Why are atheists so humorless?

        • hector_jones

          Oh you were trying to be funny were you? Here’s an observation: You are only funny when you don’t mean to be funny.

        • Kodie

          He’s a supreme being who wants to be my fucking friend, according to you.

        • Pofarmer

          Lord of the Universe, Master of all, creator of billions upon billions of Galaxies, stars, and planets. Friend to Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          Now you’re catching on!

        • Kodie

          He was making fun of you, you dope.

        • Kodie

          Another of which is his thirst for blood sacrifices.

        • Kodie

          Like getting Pofarmer out of having to pay a traffic ticket.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, I am not saying that a person has to believe before recognizing the evidence. That’s why I told you about my late husband, who spent a lifetime as an atheist before God led him to belief and redemption as a Christian. God invited; HB finally responded. HB’s conversion was not the work of a lazy God.

        • MNb

          Yeah yeah, you are not saying what you’re saying. You don’t even realize how unoriginal you are, do you? Well, formulating no conditions for communicating with me exactly means that I first have to believe before recognizing the evidence.

          “God invited”
          How? Telephone call? Email? Facebook? A private letter? Oh wait – this is just one other christian metaphor again that doesn’t relate by any means to reality and hence is meaningless. Or a voice in his head perhaps? Many serial killers hear those too, you know.

        • adam

          Why does a ‘loving God’ create EVIL?

          Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)

          7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create EVIL: I the Lord do all these things.

          And what is ‘loving’ about EVIL.

        • Kodie

          Jenna, I went through a period long ago trying to conceive of what a god would be like if he existed, and I thought this too. I thought a god might speak to everyone in a language they understood. That’s just naive bullshit. There’s no harmony because of it, so it’s a mistake to think like that. Besides which, “god” didn’t tell me this, it was a thought that I had. All religion is is a thought that pops into your head or someone else’s and try to figure out some puzzle of what god could be like. Once it seems right to you, that’s faith that that is what it is.

          All gods are made up, and they’re made up this way. All theological implications are also made up this way. You take what you do know and then bring in an anthropomorphized character to intend things. Well, your god made a huge mistake, then. If he can’t come in loud and clear to all who ask to hear him, if he exists in the electrical impulses in your neural workings and nothing else, then there isn’t a god. He’s imaginary. What I have described to you is what you’ve been describing to us. The rest of us comprehend this to be describing how imagination works. Your friend is imaginary. The reason people can talk and understand each other about this imaginary being is because they already talked to each other, not because god told them. Perhaps you’ve heard of something like churches and faith meetings, where people communicate with words and describe their imaginary friend, and other people who don’t know find out this way.

          I will ask you again, why Jesus said, go out and teach the nations, or whatever. Why do people need to interfere? Because otherwise people will just make up their own religion. That’s what most cultures seem to do, and it’s tradition or superstition that keeps those beliefs within that culture. Christians bring bibles to reform them, because the bible tells them they must. They need to convert these people who otherwise would never hear of Jesus Christ, when they were perfectly happy with whatever goofy superstition they had. Does this sound like your god will accept everyone? Not if they’ve heard of Jesus Christ and denied him, that’s what that means – go ruin someone’s afterlife by teaching them about Jesus and offer them the opportunity to tell you you sound crazy as fuck. Meanwhile they do this superstitious dance, a sacrifice, a feast to glorify their deity or deities, and don’t give a fuck about Jesus.

          Why does god need people to work for him? You’re a pawn, Jenna. You’re a pawn of an organization created by humans.

        • Pofarmer

          And yet, Roman Catholics continue to claim to be “the one true church.”. The Catholic blogs right here on Patheos claim it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, there are many members of the RCC that make this claim. Your claim is that theological disputes cause violent conflicts. But you have not identified with whom and between what groups of people you claim there are wars or violent conflicts over to assert or enforce the belief that the RCC is the “one true Church”? And what’s more to the point, conflicts over which is the “one true Church” are not theological conflicts. They are conflicts over power and social/political dominance. That’s the point here.

          Keep in mind that I am an Episcopalian, which is the American branch of the Church of England. The Church of England was founded when Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boulin but the Pope would not grant him the divorce. There was no theological issue in dispute in the separation of the Church of England from the RCC. It was all about power and politics.

    • Kodie

      There is only one thing they all definitely have in common and all the rest amount to substantive differences in interpretations, a lot of fighting over it, a lot of judgment between denominations because of it. And yet, when it pleases you, you’re alllllll the same, so many Christians can’t be wrong!

    • http://bit.ly/glUAR7 Calladus

      I prefer in believing in those denominations that assert that atheists are not going to Hell. Or maybe I should believe in those Christian denominations who do not believe in the immortality of the soul? Non-Christian souls are just *poofed* out of existence upon death.

      Either one works for me, as an atheist. The difference is “substantive” in that if they are right, I don’t have to worry about an eternity of torture.

      • wtfwjtd

        And for me, I guess the “once saved, always saved” variety of Christianity would suffice, since I was once a hard-core believer. I dunno though, that god fellow seems like such a bastard in the OT, maybe I’ll subscribe to one of your varieties. Spending an eternity in heaven with such an angry and capricious god doesn’t sound much like paradise to me.

  • soused rat

    Here’s a thought: how would the world be different if there were NO god? Not much, still random good and evil, rich and poor, children born with horrible birth defects, bad weather, war. Now would the world be different if there WERE a god? You bet it would. Things would not be random, good would win over evil and things would make sense. But Christians jump through all sorts of crazy hoops to believe the unbelievable, because they are too scared not too. The abyss has been terrifying humans for thousands of years. We just live in an era when religion should take a back seat to reality but religious people just won’t let it.

  • Asmondius

    er, ‘quack medicine’ is also simply the science of yesteryear.
    Remember when homosexuality was a treatable mental condition?

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

      What’s your point? That science doesn’t make testable claims? That the record of science proves it to be unreliable?

      • Asmondius

        My statement stands for itself.

        Science is not, and never will be, complete and without error.

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

          Correct, but so what? The track record of science is remarkable; that of religion is pathetic.

        • Asmondius

          The ‘track record’ of science only looks good when viewing the past.

          The ‘track record’ of religion always points to the future.

        • MNb

          Yeah, what else can it do? When viewing the past of religion it becomes clear it is a total failure.

        • Asmondius

          A failure – in what way?

        • MNb

          In what way not? Increasing knowledge and understanding, improving living conditions, improving health, you name it.

        • Asmondius

          Those are failures???

        • MNb

          Yes. Religion totally failed to accomplish all those things.

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

          I’m not sure what you’re saying. Yes, when we evaluate science’s track record, and we find that it is testable and quite accurate. When we evaluate religion’s track record (of what? of prophecy or something?) we get nothing. We learn about reality from science, not religion. Religion has lots of bold claims … that aren’t backed up.

        • Asmondius

          Bob, you are merely engaging in sleight of hand by holding up a contemporary result but ignoring the process that preceded it. The amount of ‘bold claims’, miscues, mistakes, and miscalculations engaged in the pursuit of science throughout the course of human history dwarfs the amount of knowledge we feel comfortable in believing today. And considering the scope of ‘reality’, we still know very little.
          I find it quite humorous that you think ‘we learn about reality from science’ when science is in fact the child of philosophy. We didn’t begin to contemplate our existence with a test, but with a thought. Science only exists because humans are able to think conceptually, creatively, and imaginatively, which are not abilities stemming from their physical environment.

          Religion inhabits that same neighborhood.

        • Pofarmer

          “which are not abilities stemming from their physical environment.”

          Oh, hell no. You are kidding right? The ability to think doesn’t come from the physicality of our own persons?

        • MNb

          “We didn’t begin to contemplate our existence with a test, but with a thought. Science only exists because humans are able to think”
          Yeah, that’s why the first person to think that it would be handy to test the results of thought is a genius. Possible it was the one who was the first to test a method to make fire. Religion obviously did neither inspire the thought nor the test. Thanks for confirming that religion is a failure.

        • 90Lew90

          “Science only exists because humans are able to think conceptually, creatively, and imaginatively, which are not abilities stemming from their physical environment.”

          We evolved. *Everything* we are stems from our physical environment, including those evolved traits, and those are traits which aren’t even peculiar to our species.

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

          The amount of ‘bold claims’, miscues, mistakes, and miscalculations engaged in the pursuit of science throughout the course of human history dwarfs the amount of knowledge we feel comfortable in believing today.

          I agree. Before modern science, we didn’t do so well. I’m not talking about that part.

          I find it quite humorous that you think ‘we learn about reality from science’ when science is in fact the child of philosophy.

          Oh? Do we learn about reality from philosophy?

          I’m forgetting—remind me again the most recent bit of reality we learned about from philosophy.

          Religion inhabits that same neighborhood.

          What’s your game? To say that philosophy has cachet, so let’s lump religion in with philosophy?

          In the library, religion is actually cataloged with Mythology. But even if you were to have your wish and see religion as the sister of philosophy, I’m not sure you’ve achieved much.

        • Asmondius

          ‘I agree. Before modern science, we didn’t do so well. I’m not talking about that part.’

          Since every generation considers its level of science ‘modern’, that is a purely relative term and therefore meaningless.

          ‘Oh? Do we learn about reality from philosophy?’
          We developed science from it – is that good enough? Can you point me to where I can witness a negative integer in ‘reality’?

          ‘What’s your game? To say that philosophy has cachet, so let’s lump religion in with philosophy?’
          Should we lump morality, creativity, etc. in with science just because you think science is vunderful? Science does not incorporate the sum total of human experience.

          ‘In the library, religion is actually cataloged with Mythology. But even if you were to have your wish and see religion as the sister of philosophy, I’m not sure you’ve achieved much.’
          You’ve missed the point. Science and philosophy are both tools to arrive at truth. You don’t use a screw driver to remove a pipe fitting.

        • MNb

          While the word “modern” in itself is quite meaningless indeed – see the bastardization post-modern – the term modern science itself is not, though I’d prefer another term too. It refers to the systematical approach almost all scientists from all branches have adopted since about 200 years ago under the influence of David Hume’s work and his critics. I have to grant BobS that that was the last time so far that philosophy had a decisive influence on science.

          “We developed”
          Do you always refer to the past when asked about the presence? BobS wrote “Do we learn” – ie here and now.

          “Science does not incorporate the sum total of human experience.”
          No, but the contribution of religion to this sum anno 2014 CE is zero at best and negative in your specific case.

          “Science and philosophy are both tools to arrive at truth.”
          Define truth. If you define it the way I suspect you do this statement is meaningless. So for starters: science isn’t interested in truth, unless you define it the way Jerry Coyne does in Why Evolution is True. But for the sake of our discussion I’ll accept your definition, whether it’s Coyne’s, mine or possibly another.

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

          Since every generation considers its level of science ‘modern’, that is a purely relative term and therefore meaningless.

          Wrong again. MNb is a science teacher, and I’m glad he’s taken you behind the woodshed on this one.

          “Modern science” refers to an approach that has not been universally used. Where is isn’t/wasn’t, yeah, the results weren’t so good.

          We developed science from it – is that good enough?

          Philosophers give us no new insights into reality today. Scientists do. See the difference?

          Can you point me to where I can witne ss a negative integer in ‘reality’?

          Math = philosophy? I’m pretty sure there are differences.

          Science and philosophy are both tools to arrive at truth.

          And yet you admit that philosophers don’t give us any new information about reality.

    • MNb

      Yup. Science improves. Religion not, it prefers to remain backward.
      Like you show in every comment of yours.

      • Asmondius

        Then it follows that science can never determine the validity of religion or claim it is ‘backward’.

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

          Science never shows anything conclusively. It is always provisional. And yet, it stumbles along pretty well (witness the science behind how we’re communicating now).

          Science (the discipline, you’ll remember, with the amazing track record) can evaluate religion. It would never prove that there is no supernatural–maybe God is just really good at playing hide and seek–but it can certainly tell us whether there is evidence to support the remarkable claims.

          So far, not so much.

        • Asmondius

          ‘Science never shows anything conclusively. It is always provisional. ‘

          ‘….it can certainly tell us whether there is evidence to support the remarkable claims.’

          Self contradictory statements. One of the two must be an assumption rather than a fact.

        • Pofarmer

          Wow, just wow.

        • MNb

          Nope. No evidence is conclusive enough to make a scientific theory more than provisional.
          The assumption is that cross checking the results from deduction (ie theory, hypothesis) and from induction (ie experiment, observation) provides reliable knowledge. This assumption is self-validating, exactly because science doesn’t promise more than it can provide. One example is the two of us communicating via internet, while living 100s of km apart.

        • Asemodeus

          My evil twin’s argument can be refuted easily with a webcomic:

          http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20100908.gif

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

          I’m slow. You need to spell this out for me precisely.

          Where is the contradiction? (I fear that, again, you’re just passing the time by splitting hairs.)

        • Asmondius

          If science never ‘shows anything conclusively’, then your demand that God be proven ‘scientifically’ contradicts your own statement.

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

          I don’t demand that God be proven, scientifically or otherwise.

          Pro tip: think before you click the Post button.

        • MNb

          Science only determines the validity of religion insofar it makes scientific claims. There are a few thousands of christians who maintain that the Earth is flat. There are way too many christians who maintain that Evolution Theory has been proven wrong. Those religious views are invalid.
          But no, science won’t tell you if you have to be a catholic, a protestant, a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist, a pastafarian or whatever you prefer. It won’t tell you either which religions are ‘backward’ and which ones aren’t.
          Congratulations. You have actually learned something.

        • Asmondius

          ‘There are a few thousands of christians who maintain that the Earth is flat.’

          ‘There are way too many christians who maintain that Evolution Theory has been proven wrong. ‘

          Even if true, those are individuals – not a religion. You engage in bigotry.

        • MNb

          You’re silly, now you actually try to use your brains. There is no bigotry here. They are organized individuals, based on shared religious views. Flat Earth Society, Answers in Genesis, Discovery Institute etc. all are religious. So they are part of religion. That’s why they call themselves religious. It’s their specific brand of religion that makes them maintain the Flat Earth or reject Evolution Theory. Hence Flat Earth and creationism are religious views on the domain of science. In so far science invalidates religious views indeed.

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

          Huh? And how does that address the pastors preaching from the pulpit that evolution is nonsense? I think this goes beyond your “bad apple” theory.

        • Asmondius

          Once again, I see absolutely no difference between your treating disbelief in evolution as some sort of blasphemy and the same feelings exhibited by any religious group when their beliefs are challenged. Two sides of the same coin.

          Some people mistakenly believe evolution denies God – that includes both you and the pastors you speak of. Ironic, no?

          It’s absurd to state that most American Christians deny evolution when the largest Christian denomination in the USA acknowledges it.

        • MNb

          “the same feelings exhibited”
          This I will grant you. But it is irrelevant to the question what contributes more to our understanding of our reality – science or religion. Religion contributes close to zero; moreover we know why. Science isn’t perfect, but it’s the only thing we got.

          “that includes both you”
          As usual you won’t provide evidence in form of a quote. The default position on this blog, including BobS’, is that science can’t deny god. And that includes Evolution Theory.

          “It’s absurd to state that most American Christians deny evolution”
          I’m not sure what you exactly mean with “most”, but all polls give about 45% evolution deniers. The vast majority of them are christians.
          Your last sentence is a fine example of the non-sequitur. That the largest christian denomination in the USA accepts evolution doesn’t mean all its members do.
          Anyhow, the vast majority of Dutch christians do accept Evolution Theory. BobS knows this, because I have written this many times on his blog. So as usual your hammer hits your fingers instead of the nail.

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

          No, not two sides of the same coin. Not even close. Science has a track record of accurate predictions, and religion doesn’t. See the (enormous) difference?

          Some people mistakenly believe evolution denies God – that includes both you and the pastors you speak of. Ironic, no?

          Not ironic, just wrong. I don’t make that claim.

          It’s absurd to state that most American Christians deny evolution when the largest Christian denomination in the USA acknowledges it.

          That would indeed be idiotic. What moron says that? The Roman Catholic church accepts evolution; it alone has almost 3x the number of adherents as all Protestant denominations; ergo, most Christians (assuming they follow the dogma of their church) accept evolution.


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