“God’s Not Dead” Fans: Be the Christian Hero Yourself

God’s Not Dead Atheism PhilosophyChristians, if you thought the atheist philosophy professor played by Kevin Sorbo in the movie “God’s Not Dead” (my review here) was scary, have you wondered what the real thing would be like? Why not find out? I dare you.

More precisely, a real atheist philosophy professor dares you. Fellow Patheos blogger Dr. Daniel Fincke (“Camels With Hammers”) is an ex-Christian with 11 years of experience as a college philosophy professor, and he is planning two online summer classes, “God’s Not Dead? How an Unscripted Philosopher can Disprove God” and “Debating the Existence of God.” My guess is that Daniel is way less obnoxious than the guy in the movie, but this won’t be Hollywood. He will be doing this for real.

If you are intrigued by apologetics and philosophy and want to be Christian hero Josh Wheaton with the training wheels off, give it a try. I dare you.

My challenge

While we’re chatting, let me remind you of my own challenge. Christian conferences often try to train attendees how to deal with atheist arguments. Problem is, the “arguments” are presented by Christians. I can’t count the number of podcasts I’ve heard and blog posts I’ve read that attempt to present an atheist argument, and the argument is tragically weak. When you meet me on the street, that’s not what you’re going to have to contend with.

You want to hear real atheist arguments? Invite an atheist to your conference; they’ll be happy to share them. Invite me, and I’ll do it for free.

Send your conference organizer this link: “Christians: Why You Need an Atheist Speaker at Your Next Conference.”

 

About Bob Seidensticker
  • CodyGirl824

    “Tragically weak atheist arguments? Are there any other kind?

    • pianoman

      So you’ll be signing up then?

    • hector_jones

      Well since you put it that way, I’m converting to Scientology. Thanks!

    • GubbaBumpkin

      There’s the argument from “All the theists I meet on Teh Interwebz are morons.” It is weak, since it is basically an ad hominem. (It could be possible that Christianity is true, but all the people who promote it on Teh Interwebz just happen to be morons.) But it is not tragically weak.

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

      Get me invited to your next Christian apologetics conference and find out.

      • CodyGirl824

        Why are you waiting for a conference to put forward your other-than-tragically-weak atheist arguments? Why can’t we see them here on your blog?

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

          You’ve got my best stuff here at the blog.

        • CodyGirl824

          Sorry to hear that.

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

          Don’t we have big balls? I guess you’re unimpressed. Show me the errors.

          Or keep the insults to yourself.

        • CodyGirl824

          In the case you mention, the pronoun “we” most certainly does not apply.

        • Norm Donnan

          She got you there Bob,having said that l think you often have interesting posts here.

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

          Yeah. Wow. Nice taunt. I’m going back to the classroom after this recess feeling totally beaten.

        • pianoman

          so then, why not take Bob’s offer and be the “hero” for christianity? instead of you and Cody typing insults and then running away, show us how powerful your beliefs are.

        • MNb

          Oh, I always enjoy it when apologists like Cody fall back on insults and empty comments. There is no better way to show the emptiness of their thinking.

        • Kodie

          Sorry you’re too illiterate to understand any of it though.

        • Ozark

          I’m happy to engage in fruitful discussion with you CodyGirl!

          Let’s debate The Bible from cover to cover!

          I’ll start!

          What is a “firmament” and what is your take on the translation of the Hebrew “Yom”?

          I really can’t wait to get to heavily implied child sacrifice, genocide excepting virgin slave girls, early Coptic manuscripts that exlude the Johannine epilogue, and anti-Gnostic interpolations into Pauline cum Marcionite epistles! Ooh, let’s not forget the little apocalypse of Mark and the moving goalposts of the Paraousia!! Please do engage!

        • CodyGirl824

          Debate the Bible? What for? To accomplish what? The ancient Hebrews who wrote it aren’t around to defend what they wrote. I know of cases where atheists have much knowledge of the Bible but no wisdom about the Bible and even less about God.

        • Kodie

          I know of cases where atheists have much knowledge of the Bible but no wisdom distorted Christian interpretations about the Bible

          Fixed that for you.

          and even less about God.

          Probably because God is imaginary and we’re not deluded.

        • Norm Donnan

          Well said Cody,they could always go over to a Jewish blog (or a Muslim one for that matter) if they really wanted to do that,some how l dont think they Ozark would get much attention,they would have him worked out fairly quickly.

        • Pofarmer

          Why, the Jews and Muslims are free to come here, if they see the need. Heck, you could even go over and invite some.

        • wtfwjtd

          Most of the Christian blogs that I’ve looked at are heavily moderated, with any posts of disagreement edited, modified, or deleted, if they even get posted at all. So, what’s the point? Seems like a waste of time to sit down and compose a post, and have it potentially edited/deleted, if it even gets posted. And if Norm and Cody are the level of response you would get, once again, why bother?

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

          I’ve engaged with Cody’s peeps at Thinking Christian. She likes to whine about how people are sometimes mean here, but my reception there was pretty savage. It wasn’t like they were taking apart any of my arguments, just that they were not pleased that I was there saying the things I was saying.

          Add that to the issues with Christian blogs.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m not very impressed with the shallowness of engagement that seems to be the norm there either. For example, in response to your assertion that the gospels tell us that Jesus didn’t really die but merely had a rough weekend before heading off to paradise, Tom’s response was something about how Luke tells us of “sweat drops of blood” that Jesus had while praying, and this was proof that Jesus suffered the most super-duper pain and agony that anyone in the world has ever suffered before or since. Then it’s like “ha, take that Bob, I refuted your point convincingly”! And he didn’t even address your point.
          As for Jenna, I suspect that maybe an eight- or ten-year-old child has set up an account just to troll here. If you think about it, she never has any responses to any of you or Kodie’s thorough and cogent posts, other than quotes or insults–or quotes of insults– and as Kodie has pointed out, her reading comprehension is terrible compared to most adults. It really is like dealing with a third- or fourth- grader with ADD, as I’ve had some experience with this.

        • CodyGirl824

          You’re still just angry that on Thinking Christian you didn’t get to talk about the Flying Spaghetti Monster so that we could understand that you think belief in God is ridiculous.

        • ZenDruid

          I also think belief in a god is ridiculous. I can’t be bothered to feel angry about it though, and I suspect Bob feels similarly.

        • CodyGirl824

          You lack context here, ZenDruid. We are talking about Bob’s assessment of his participation on Tom Gilson’s Thinking Christian blog, not about his opinion that belief in God is ridiculous. He has this forum for discussing his opinion about belief in God to his heart’s content.

        • ZenDruid

          Thanks for pointing out that I lack context.

          Anything else?

        • RichardSRussell

          I believe the archives are available. Just keep on reading.

          The reason Bob’s hoping for a conference full of TBs is that, unlike you, they don’t come here to read anything at all.

        • CodyGirl824

          …Wise people that they are! What makes you think they would be interested in hearing what Bob has to say in person? What makes him think so?

        • Cafeeine

          Oh I don’t think they do. They much rather hear safe, faith-affirming words from their preacher.
          That’s not a compliment.

        • Pofarmer

          I wish I could upvote that more than once.

        • RichardSRussell

          (A1) Intellectual integrity? Ha ha ha ha, just kidding. No, they’d want to see him utterly humiliated, like gawkers at a traffic accident.

          (A2) All the practice he’s had here on this blog.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you really think that Christians convene conventions on Christian apologetics to humiliate atheists? Really? If so, why would Bob want to be invited to one? Perhaps he himself will elaborate.

        • RichardSRussell

          No, I think they mainly convene such meetings to reinforce each other’s delusions. However, that wasn’t what you originally asked. You had asked why, once they had all gathered together, they might want to depart from their mutual stroking to listen to somebody like Bob. And that was the question I answered.

        • CodyGirl824

          Keep in mind that Bob suggested that I “get him invited” to speak at an “apologetics convention.” Of course, I have no way to do this, nor would I have any reason to even if I could. Bob seemed to be suggesting that Christians need to hear atheists’ arguments from “real” atheists and he volunteered. In addition, I’m sure that there are many former atheists who have converted to Christianity at such conferences. They can learn about atheism from them.

    • Korou

      See the second sentence:

      “I can’t count the number of podcasts I’ve heard and blog posts I’ve read that attempt to present an atheist argument, and the argument is tragically weak. When you meet me on the street, that’s not what you’re going to have to contend with.”

    • MNb

      Not for you – your brain is programmed to stop thinking whenever you meet something difficult and to dismiss it immediately. That’s why you won’t read Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science either.

    • Kodie

      Theists make terrible arguments, that even their atheist arguments suck.

      • CodyGirl824

        Atheist arguments suck regardless of whether they come from theists or atheists.

        • Kodie

          Only when you have the reading comprehension skills of a potato like you do, Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          But Kodie, I think that atheists’ arguments suck because I comprehend them, not because I don’t.

        • Kodie

          If you can comprehend them, then you are in firm denial. But we know you have trouble reading or comprehending when it is diagrammed for you the difference between two different sentences you thought were the same. We have instances of you not understanding statistics, and scientific studies, etc. You can’t recognize logical fallacies, which is why you shill bad apologetics books. We have a lot of examples of you not knowing how to read for comprehension, i.e., not comprehending atheist arguments. Your assertion is false.

        • CodyGirl824

          Merely your opinion, which suffers from confirmation bias.

        • Kodie

          It’s not my opinion, anyone who can read would agree. You disagree because you can’t read.

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

          Yes, this is well established. Bias doesn’t explain it.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is the classic ad populum fallacy. Just because everyone shares your opinion (according to you) doesn’t mean that your opinion is right.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not ad populum when it’s well demonstrated, as Kodie has done above, and has been well illustrated on numerous threads that you’ve kludged up with nonsense.

        • CodyGirl824

          The ad populum fallacy goes like this: If lots of people believe it, it must be true. It may in fact be true that everyone on this blog agrees with Kodie’s opinion, but that does not mean that her opinion is right (accurate, universally accepted). But it really doesn’t matter since she is entitled to her opinion, whether it is right or not.

        • Kodie

          Nobody’s entitled to an opinion if they’re wrong, not even me. Your assertion was

          But Kodie, I think that atheists’ arguments suck because I comprehend them, not because I don’t.

          That is an example of an opinion and you’re not entitled to it, since I have demonstrated with facts and examples that you do not comprehend them.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you think that we are not entitled to an opinion if “they’re wrong”? Who is to be the judge of “wrong” or “right” opinions? Is it simply that other people’s opinions that you agree with are “right” and if you don’t agree with them they are “wrong.” Your opinion is that God is only imaginary and that believers in God are delusional. I think that this opinion is wrong, but I staunchly uphold your right to hold and express it.

        • Kodie

          Facts are the judge, honey pie. Facts and people who can read.

        • CodyGirl824

          But facts don’t judge. Facts are facts. What do you mean by this? Yes, people who can read make judgments. I personally don’t know anyone over the age of six who can’t read.

        • Kodie

          But facts don’t judge. Facts are facts. What do you mean by this? Yes,
          people who can read make judgments. I personally don’t know anyone over
          the age of six who can’t read.

          Yet another example of you demonstrating your failure to be able to follow the bouncing red ball. This is not just a response, it’s an example of exactly what I’m saying. You claim to comprehend, I say the facts contradict that claim, and I show these to people who can read for themselves. If you would like to continue this argument, the right way to do it would be for you to show counter-examples of you comprehending something you’ve read, preferably attempt to demonstrate your comprehension of an atheist argument given on this blog or elsewhere. The wrong way is to keep up these remarks that demonstrate you’re puzzled to read what I’ve just written but which you think are substantial (?) arguments. They are just random comebacks.

          Let the reader decide if you comprehend.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, I honestly believe that “comprehension” is not the issue here at all. I think that there is a tendency to conclude that if someone disagrees with our argument, it is because s/he hasn’t comprehended it. I find that this is rarely the case. IMO, we comprehend each other rather well. We simply don’t agree. That’s what discussion and debate is all about. Better that you give an example of where you think I have not comprehended your argument so that, if that is the case, we can clarify my alleged lack of comprehension or misunderstanding of the argument. If I say that I do comprehend the argument but that I simply disagree with you, you’ll just have just take my word for it.

        • Kodie

          You have repeatedly demonstrated a lack of reading comprehension. It may be because you already disagree with what I might say before I said it, and respond to whatever you read into what I and others have written but wasn’t there. You have actually demonstrated a failure to understand the words as they were written. You have repeatedly demonstrated a failure to follow along with a short sequence of posts and easily get lost along the way. You need things explained to you, and we have, and then you still make a mistake responding to things that were not there instead. You have a serious issue with this! If you could comprehend what was written, I have some idea your responses would be coherent and relevant, and I would then understand you as comprehending but disagreeing. But now, I do not see any sign of that.

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

          Is it inadvertent misunderstanding? Or deliberate ignoring? She seems quite good at pushing aside unpleasant questions with no cognitive dissonance.

        • Kodie

          She is not quite good at it, she excels at that. But if you draw her a diagram, she looks at it like you are teaching a dog to read and then changes the subject to walkies.

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

          😀

        • ZenDruid

          Nobody is 100% right or 100% wrong about anything.

          Some people insist they’re ‘right’.
          To assume that stance is to solicit accusations of one-dimensional thinking.

        • Deanjay1961

          This seems to be an example of what is being asserted about you. Saying something is ‘well established’ does not translate to ‘ If lots of people believe it, it must be true.’

        • Kodie

          Everyone literate understands what words mean. Yes, 2.3 billion Christians, remember that fuck-up ad populum we tried to explain to you in another thread but you still kept using it? We’ve all gone to some effort to actually explain why you are wrong, but you get puzzled and confused and evasive and simply change the subject when it gets you in trouble. There’s a record here for all to read, all to notice, all to recognize, that you can’t read for comprehension.

        • JohnH2

          CodyGirl, I am a Mormon not an atheist and something other than a normal Christian. Whatever my confirmation bias lies it isn’t in line with the Atheists; I regularly criticize posts of Bob that I find unique and interesting enough to me to do so. MNb often jumps straight to trolling me over what the mass of God is, and Kodie and me nearly always disagree about almost everything.

          Having said that:

          Your arguments are distinctly uninteresting, for once Kodie and me agree more than tangentially on a subject. You don’t appear to seriously be engaging the arguments. Bob often makes fairly terrible arguments but at least they attempt to be arguments and engage the issue rather than going into a corner crying at the tortured logic and committing Seppuku in shame at being more forceful points in favor of the atheists than they are at supporting your own position.

          To be charitable to you, I am of the opinion that you are primarily attempting to testify, may have thought some about your own position from within your own position, and have never attempted to see your position from any other point of view. I find that by looking at other positions as those positions, trying to understand them, and then seeing how they relate to my own point of view teaches me a lot more about my own faith than studying from within my own faith outside of the scriptures.

          Automatically rejecting others and their faith or lack of it and all arguments they make because of their faith or lack of it is no way to even understand your own arguments, and in my opinion demonstrates a lack of faith in God: being the Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator of All (for any values of those terms) and also Benevolent, then we are inescapably left with the conclusion that God knew that there would be different faiths. For the story of the Good Samaritan to make any sense there must be the Samaritan. So even if seeing through the glass darkly we don’t understand how all the pieces fit together we must still confess the hand of God in all things and try to love our neighbors as ourselves even when they are seen as the enemy because then we can actually understand where we ourselves stand and who we are.

        • Norm Donnan

          Truth is though,Cody is right,that you find that as uninteresting is irrelivent.You are also right Mark and Kodie are trolls.

        • JohnH2

          When Cody is trying to say that God is not a moral monster and there is objective morality and manages to present God as more of a moral monster than the people arguing that God is a moral monster and in doing so demonstrates a belief in “objective” morality that is might makes right; that is relevant and what the last sentence in that paragraph was attempting to describe.

        • Pofarmer

          JohnH2. For the record, I think your participation here is heartfelt, earnest, and honest. I also find most of your Mormon based beliefs crazier than shit. I don’t feel the same vibe from Cody. Cody seems to be trying to be a rank apologist, making whatever argument that she thinks will “win.”

        • wtfwjtd

          I haven’t engaged with John too much, but when I have he at least seems well-informed most of the time and seems to recognize that none of us, theist or atheist, have all the answers to many of the issues we discuss here. Like you, I think Mormonism is crazy (I’m sure my atheism seems just as crazy to him) but he seems to clearly state who and what he is up front, and sticks with it, and I can respect that. Jenna/Cody OTOH, espouses nonsense that most Christians don’t accept, she claims to be a Christian but she doesn’t seem to know what the hell she really is, and would be thrown out of most Christian blogs if she spouted the nonsense there that she does here. Unlike John, she never actually addresses anything that Bob or Kodie or anyone posts, she just spouts platitudes and insults and expects that to carry the day all the time.

        • JohnH2

          ” I also find most of your Mormon based beliefs crazier than shit.”

          A certain musical seems to suggest that this is a very; common reaction: that people generally seem to find Mormons to be, for the most part, pretty good honest people that believe in something that appears quite crazy. It is not actually significantly more crazy than any other religion that claims revelation, just much less well known and less accepted.

          I think the appearance of being crazy and hard to accept is part of God’s point. In scripture nearly always the people don’t accept the prophets of God, and Christians and others that believe in the prophets judge those people for that. However, consider the prophets, there really aren’t any doesn’t appear flawed and could be considered ‘easy’ to accept, they tend to be social outcasts, from areas and occupations and histories that make it very hard to even hang around them, let alone accept that they could ever have received revelation from God.

          And I think God has continued that even now, this is my speculation now and not standard Mormon anything but; Martin Luther King Jr. used phrases and said things in his speeches that rather blatantly and strongly suggest that he was a prophet in a very real sense, if not in the sense of having the keys of the priesthood, and he condemned the LDS’s church position explicitly and repeatedly in terms of beliefs about Blacks. But being a black man outside the church with some varying political views to the LDS mainstream made him pretty much the last person on earth at that time that Mormons generally or the church would have ever listened to. I could be wrong about that, but it completely fits the pattern.

        • Pofarmer

          It is doubtful whether a movement which does not profess some preposterous and patently irrational dogma can be possessed of that zealous drive which “must either win men or destroy the world.” It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice—that is to say with a strong feeling of guilt—are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others.

          Hoffer, Eric (2011-05-10). The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) (pp. 110-111). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

          In other words, the hard to accept parts are a feature, not a bug, those beliefs seperate the “True believers” from the rest.

        • wtfwjtd

          Jesus: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple”.–Luke 14:26

          In other words, double-down on the crazy shit or hit the road.

        • Pofarmer

          What about John 6:52 or so on?

        • wtfwjtd

          Yep, that one too, the “eating Jesus’s flesh and drinking his blood” is taken literally by the Catholic church.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Holy Communion is a reenactment of the Passover Seder. Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.” You may be referring to the doctrine in the Catholic Church of transubstantiation. I don’t know where this doctrine stands currently in the modern RCC, but I don’t think that your comment here is accurate.

        • JohnH2

          At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread. . . .” “He took the cup filled with wine. . . .” The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation.

          1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament.

          Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.

          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm

          I guess I could have just quoted from the council of Trent but the CCC might be better as it shows that this doctrine still stands and is taught currently.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. Thanks. We Episcopalians don’t see the Holy Communion this way. I guess that’s just another reason we aren’t Catholics.

        • JohnH2

          The Church of England accepts the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Communion and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops has accepted and agreed sufficiently with the statement of the Council of Trent, being the last block quote, to be in communion with the Roman Catholic Church on this subject, while still rejecting what they call transubstantiation.

          In case you weren’t aware Episcopalians are Anglicans are part of the Communion of the Church of England. So you have leeway due to lack of formal statements to not see the Holy Communion that way, but it is actually wrong to say that Episcopalians generally don’t.

        • CodyGirl824

          That’s what I love about the Episcopal Church!

        • JohnH2

          The lack of a formal statement of what ‘real presence’ means or that it is virtually impossible to say what Episcopalians generally ‘do’ or ‘don’t’ believe or accept on any subject?

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

          The Mormon guy has to school her about her own religion? A while back, the Irish guy had to school her about American history.

          Ouch. But I’m certain she’s going to grow from this experience and be more thoughtful in future engagements.

          Or not.

        • wtfwjtd

          She’s got no idea what Episcopalians actually believe, but she’s certain that whatever it is that atheists actually think about those beliefs is wrong. So there!

        • CodyGirl824

          You didn’t read very carefully, wtfwjtd. JohnH2 explained the doctrine of transubstantiation, stating that the Anglican Church aka Church of England, of which the Episcopal Church in the USA, is “in communion” with the RCC on the doctrine. This means that we accept their interpretation (doctrine) without either endorsing or rejecting it, although individual Episcopalians can reject it. I don’t care what atheists’ opinions of/about our Holy Communion are. I know that they don’t understand it, much less engage in deep thought about the different understandings of the ritual among different denominations of Christians. So there!

        • wtfwjtd

          “I don’t care what atheists’ opinions…are”

          The fact that you keep cluttering up the comments section here with asinine jibberish says you do.

        • Kodie

          Are Catholics Christian?

        • CodyGirl824

          Of course, why do you ask?

        • Kodie

          Well, I wanted to know if they count all the time or just when you are using the sheer quantity of Catholics (who outnumber Episcopalians by a LOT) to pad your numbers, not that the numbers matter. Another good question to ask you might be, why do you think Catholics’ understanding of god contains a different perspective of god than you have? Are you at all concerned that the differences matter to god?

        • Pofarmer

          Read John 6:53 to 57 or so before you make yourself look like a dumbass-again.

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

          Your facts are no match for boundless confidence, puny atheist!

        • Kodie

          Well, I think it’s weird they went with transubstantiation. When I read the bible, it’s obvious Jesus made a symbolic gesture. But the Catholics went with “in a way surpassing understanding”. I can’t believe I read something this stupid.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh hell, it gets dumber than that. The catechsim still desceibes how transubstantiation occurs using the physics of Accidents and Substance, which hasn’t been a thing for at least several hundred years.

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

          I’ll remember that one when I think one of my posts is lightweight.

        • MNb

          Are you sure this isn’t an offshoot from the Onion?

        • RichardSRussell

          Mormons [are] for the most part, pretty good honest people that believe in something that appears quite crazy.

          In my experience, the part about “good, honest, people” is true of virtually everybody I’ve ever met, regardless of their religious beliefs or absence thereof.

          [Mormonism] is not actually significantly more crazy than any other religion

          Indeed, as I’ve often remarked, advocating crazy things is pretty much the defining characteristic of a religion.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, I think there’s kind of a sliding scale. I’d put the presbymethyterians on the one end, and the Catholics and the Mormons on the other end. I’m not sure exactly which one would be on the far end of the scale.

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

          I also value JohnH2’s contribution. Karl sometimes makes good points as well. Cody only cares about scoring points for Jesus. Wm. Lane Craig would be proud.

        • Kodie

          Karl is a good example of comprehending but disagreeing.

        • Pofarmer

          Kodie has some of the most insightful and heartfelt posts on these threads. If there is a troll Norm, it is you.

        • wtfwjtd

          “If”?

        • Kodie

          I appreciate this. Norm is basically a bottom-feeder as far as Christians go. I concede Jenna to be a great intellect compared to him, mostly because of her grammar and spelling, and she has read more than one book, even if it is apologetics. Norm is here to find other Christians and like their posts, refer us to Ray Comfort videos, and resort to making comparisons of posters to his impressions of characters on a tv show.

        • MNb

          “MNb often jumps straight to trolling me over what the mass of God is”
          Now you already have mentioned it yourself I promise not to do so in this thread, despite my curiosity (I’d still like to learn about it).
          Another point: for some reason (Disqus s**ks again, I guess) I couldn’t answer your explanation regarding the hypothetical conversion of Kim Yong Un. So here you are: +1 for mormonism.

        • MNb

          The opinion of everybody who has had a discussion with you.

    • Nemo

      Well, to be fair, atheism is simply the negation of the claim “Gods exist”, or more often “this particular god exists”. When all we can do is respond to theist claims, yeah, we’re going to be at a disadvantage. Fortunately, every supernatural claim we are shown is either some anecdote which cannot be examined and must instead be taken on faith, or it can be examined and be easily debunked.

      • Deanjay1961

        Yeah, is there really an ‘atheist argument’ that doesn’t amount to ‘you have failed to overcome the null hypothesis’?

    • Highlander

      Then by all means, take the class and show us how awesome Christian arguments are. As the saying goes, “Put up or shut up.”

      • CodyGirl824

        Dr. Fincke promises in the class to “disprove God.” How does he intend to do this? His very first challenge is to clearly define what HE means by the word/concept “God” since of course, he has no way to disprove what the ancient Hebrews meant by the word/concept “God.” So, he must of necessity construct a straw man god (SMG) to go about “disproving” it. So who cares? It is rather easy to construct an SMG that couldn’t possible exist and doesn’t exist that nobody believe in anyway. Atheists do this all the time with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Chris Hedges calls this activity such as Dr. Fincke proposes “burning a straw man at the stake.” One thing we can say for sure: it generates more heat than light.

        You might be interested in Karl Giberson’s 6 part series on atheists’ straw man arguments at this URL. You need to scroll down and click on each separate section for access.

        http://biologos.org/blog/series/exposing-the-straw-men-of-new-atheism

        • Highlander

          So take the class and show how the arguments are really straw men. Put up or shut up.

          This is how I’m going to respond to all of your responses, so you might as well just quit now, or take the class and put up or shut up.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why should I pay money to Dr. Fincke to hear arguments that I have heard hundreds of times before? What is his selling point to Christians?

        • Kodie

          He is offering a challenge. The “atheist professor” of movies is a fiction created by Christians, and easily defeated by the most moronic argument. The challenge is that Christians can’t hack debating an actual atheist professor unless he is scripted by a Christian author. I am sensing that you can’t recognize a difference, again the reading comprehension.

        • CodyGirl824

          I view the atheist professor, Dr. Radisson, from the movie God’s Not Dead from another perspective and am rather puzzled by what Dr. Fincke is trying to accomplish. Philosophy professor Radisson required his students, on the first day of class, to basically acquiesce to the professor’s belief that philosophical discussions of/about God’s existence had been settled conclusively in favor of the “God is dead” position. He was challenged on that position and gave a Christian student the opportunity to rebut. It appears that Dr. Fincke now wants students, including Christians to sign up for a course to hear/read his arguments as to why the fictional Dr. Radisson was right. I merely observe that I think it is a waste of time and money to hear atheists’ arguments against whatever they mean by “God” not doing what ever they mean by “exist” with Dr. Fincke when they can find these arguments for free on many internet sites.

        • Kodie

          Just like when Bob asked Gilson to debate him but he didn’t have time and you volunteered. That turned out great.

        • hector_jones

          The Ancient Hebrews!

          You’ve brought the Ancient Hebrews(TM) up so many times and yet I still have no idea what you think this proves about anything. Moreover, it’s just chronological snobbery on your part that you completely ignore the views of the Ancient Celts.

        • CodyGirl824

          When we are discussing the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) I don’t think that the ancient Celts’ understanding of God is relevant.

        • hector_jones

          But why not? Are we trying to get at the truth about God, or merely an understanding of what the Ancient Hebrews thought about God? Why should I care what the Ancient Hebrews thought about God when you don’t care what the Ancient Celts thought about God?

        • Cafeeine

          Didn’t you read Cody’s reply to me? Since the ancient Hebrews believed their god to exist, any argument about a non-existent god is automatically a straw man. LOL!
          (and I don’t LOL easy.)

        • CodyGirl824

          Cafeeine, you may find this humorous but this is at the very heart of the matter. There is nothing to say about non-existence. There is plenty to say about what monotheism deifies. That’s what atheists need to be prepared to talk about, but are not. They are too busy grasping at straws to cobble together their straw men gods to argue about.

        • JohnH2

          I am pretty sure that Dr. Fincke is going to be going through things like Anselm’s Ontological argument, Aquinas’s five ways, Pascal’s wager, the Cosmological argument, and other things like that as well as quite possibly any popular arguments for the existence of God. He is a professor of Philosophy so he isn’t going to be constructing straw men arguments, and it should be expected that when he presents an argument for the existence of God it will appear to be very convincing. If you affirm the creeds than what Dr. Fincke will be discussing is precisely what monotheism deifies.

        • CodyGirl824

          JohnH2,

          I foresee problems in the way Dr. Fincke is framing and advertising the course by saying that he will “disprove God.” It is not possible to disprove God unless he and his students have a clear definition and description of the god that they stipulate to at the beginning of the course. Merely addressing Dr. F’s rebuttal arguments to arguments for “God'” does not disprove God. This is a truth-in-advertising issue.

        • Kodie

          So your delusion is the only valid issue of debate. Is that what you’re saying? Let’s just start there – what’s so hot about your delusion that no one can disprove it?

        • Deanjay1961

          How can ANY delusion be disproved?

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

          But proof/disproof isn’t the way to approach it. We don’t have proof that there is no Bigfoot or fairies, but the burden of proof hasn’t been met, so that’s the way the evidence points.

          There simply isn’t sufficient evidence to support the God hypothesis.

        • Kodie

          It defies being defined and described, for starters.

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

          Further, if Fincke has weak arguments, slams Christianity like the guy in the movie does, or otherwise doesn’t live up to his billing, that would hardly be a waste of Cody’s time. She’d have plenty of material by which to blow the whistle on atheists’ weak position.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t need Dr. Fincke’s class for material on atheists’ weak position. I’ve got plenty already. Here’s a primer: Michael Poole’s book (2009), “The ‘New’ Atheists: 10 arguments that don’t hold water.”

        • MNb

          Ah yes – nothing better than a biased apologist to learn what the the (New) Atheists arguments are. Then you don’t need the original stuff anymore. When I want to learn what Evolution Theory is about I therefor always consult the IDiots from Seattle; when I want to know what christians actually belief I prefer to consult islamic sources.
          Do you know what I love the most about you? How you provide us with a what-to-read list that nobody can finish within at least ten years and at the other hand dismiss any suggestion given to you right out of hand.
          I smell the fear of a christian being insecure but not willing to admit it.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, with all the physical evidence that supports the veracity of Christianity, coupled with her clear and articulate manner, I’m sure her views would carry the day.

        • Kodie

          We can simply dismiss monotheism then without investigation. Is that right? There is no reason to believe it. No reason you have explained why it is true and we need to listen to you blather on about your terms of faith, while you ignore and reject other claims of faith. You don’t need a method, I don’t need a method. No gods are real. (I am using your methods of deciding).

        • CodyGirl824

          The only alternatives to discussing monotheism are to discuss polytheism or atheism. And atheism is really nothing more than an opinion on monotheism. Atheists take the position that no gods are real. Monotheism takes the position that there is one and only one God. Every rebuttal by a Christian or Jew or Muslim to any atheist’s arguments are explanations of why s/he or they believe that monotheism is true and atheism is false, since they cannot possibly both be true. But why am I having to go over this? It’s Religion 101.

        • hector_jones

          Monotheism is really nothing more than an opinion on polytheism.

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

          And what the heck is the Trinity? A bizarre attempt to shoehorn three gods into monotheism.

        • hector_jones

          Beats me. And what’s that ‘holy ghost’ stuff all about?

        • wtfwjtd

          John 20:22:”And with that he(Jesus) breathed on them and said: “receive the Holy Spirit”.

          The Holy Ghost stuff was part of the Gnostic branch of Christianity, a holdover from a time that people in general and Christians in particular believed that there were disembodied spirits that could “inhabit” human bodies at will, like demons, or in this case, a spirit of God. It’s central to the maintain the whole fiction that the human “soul” somehow has an existence apart from the physical body; without this, the whole basis of Christianity falls apart.
          But, once this is deified, how does it square up with an actual god in heaven? Hence, the tortured doctrine of the trinity to try and have things all ways at once.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh right. So what you’re trying to say is that without belief in gods there wouldn’t even be DISbelief in gods? So we need you guys? Is that it? (Chuckle!)

        • Kodie

          You chose your beliefs with a blindfold and a dart and you don’t even care about the claims of other faiths. We don’t have to take yours seriously or argue with you seriously anymore. You have no evidence that is relevant.

          Why am I having to go over this?

        • MNb

          The plain and simple fact that there are so many varieties of monotheism is an argument against it. Suppose you convince me that atheism and polytheism are incorrect, so monotheism is correct. Why according to you shouldn’t I become a pastafarian?
          Just compare: there is only one variety of Classical Mechanics.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you think there should be uniformity of belief among believers in monotheism? Why/how does religious diversity argue against religion? Does linguistic diversity argue against the human capacity to learn language? Does cultural diversity argue against the existence of culture? I don’t understand your reasoning.

        • Cafeeine

          “Why do you think there should be uniformity of belief among believers in monotheism?”
          I don’t, but believers in monotheism ought to.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why? There is one and only one God but many ways of understanding God. Uniformity of understanding of the One God is neither possible nor desirable. Religious diversity is an artifact of historical, geographical, linguistic and cultural diversity, which is a good thing.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Uniformity of understanding of the One God is neither possible nor desirable. Religious diversity is an artifact of historical, geographical, linguistic and cultural diversity, which is a good thing.”

          So you are saying that your god is incapable of clearly speaking to people? Yeah, you got that right.

        • Cafeeine

          That doesn’t jive with the exclusionary rhetoric found in many religions. While there may be one, I can’t think of a religion that claims “I am God, but every other monotheism is me”. its a nice idea, a good attempt to salvage theism in a religiously pluralistic society, but it doesn’t follow.
          The God of the AH was a jealous God. What was he jealous of, of all Gods are him?

        • Kodie

          You are repeating a rationalization but you aren’t really getting to any point. “Understanding” of “god” amounts to random guesses and wants and likes that are often culturally shared. What you don’t have is evidence that it’s anything other than a human affinity for superstition and arrogance and ordinary political motives.

        • CodyGirl824

          There is nothing random about our understanding of God. We arrive at our understanding of God through reason and experience. Every human has an understanding of God, even atheists. We have ample evidence and methodologically sound research that the spiritual dimension of human existence is as real as our physical existence.

        • Kodie

          You are anthropomorphizing again. You are making generalizations of people based on your assertion that god is real. Nothing you have ever said has ever given me the idea you even know what the fuck you’re talking about, much less provided evidence (other than Genesis 1:1). This is supposed to floor anyone?

        • Kodie

          If god is god, and there’s only one fucking one of him…..

          You rather find it sensible to compare religious beliefs to cultural diversity?

        • Cafeeine

          More to the point: Linguistic diversity points to our ability to create languages. Cultural diversity points to our ability to create culture. Theistic diversity points to our ability to create gods.
          We’re not the ones not following the analogies here.

        • Kodie

          I was at work and there are a lot of posts stacking up tonight. Maybe you missed it but we went over this about a week ago in another thread. Jenna (that’s her name, she made a sockpuppet) waved away religious diversity last time after using 2.3 billion Christians in the world to defend her beliefs. The other 4.7 billion are also easily explained as religious diversity is not a problem to her beliefs either.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am making the point that different religious beliefs and practices are an artifact of cultural diversity.

        • hector_jones

          Too bad you aren’t making any points about the truth of christianity or god.

        • Kodie

          Let’s carve that in stone then. Jenna Black is making the point that different religious beliefs and practices are an artifact of cultural diversity.

          Your failure at reading comprehension will not help you here, either, but I am saving this like I saved what you find helpful to do in discussions with atheists.

        • Deanjay1961

          There shouldn’t be such uniformity, unless they believe in the same God. It doesn’t argue against religion, it argues against the religions being for the same God. If I said there was only one language, wouldn’t you see the existence of more thn one language as being problematic for my claim?

        • MNb

          Monotheism means “one god” by definition. So many varieties means “more than one god, I only believe in one and reject all the others, especially as they contradict mine.”

          “Does linguistic diversity ….”
          False analogy. There are no monolinguists, ie peope who think there is only one language.

          “Does cultural diversity argue against the existence of culture?”
          Same false analogy. There are no monoculturalists, ie people who think there is only one culture.
          “I don’t understand your reasoning.”
          Nobody expected you to do so. But helpful as I always am I still will try to make it clear to you.
          Monotheism makes a claim about our reality, whether it’s natural or supernatural. If religious diversity means making claims that contradict each other – and this is totally the case – then all but one version of monotheism are incorrect. As there is no method to find out which version is the correct one (after asking you a zillion times you still can’t provide one) it’s valid to assume they are all incorrect.
          The funny thing is that Modern Physics faces a similar problem: the various interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. The difference is that unlike you physicists like Sean Carroll recognize that it’s a problem indeed – and that all interpretations are grounded on solid empirical data.

        • Cafeeine

          “And atheism is really nothing more than an opinion on monotheism.”
          It is also an opinion on polytheism. We don’t think there are many gods neither.

        • CodyGirl824

          We monotheists also reject polytheism. Yes, we are in agreement on this.

        • Cafeeine

          You better keep an eye on those trinitarians, those polytheists in disguise…

        • CodyGirl824

          Nonsense!

        • Cafeeine

          Yes, it is nonsense, glad you turned around on this.

        • hector_jones

          Poppycock!

        • hector_jones

          You reject the label. No, we aren’t in agreement on this.

        • CodyGirl824

          While monotheists and atheists may reject polytheism for different reasons, we do both reject polytheism. A belief in no gods forces a rejection of belief in many gods. A belief in one and only one God forces a rejection of many gods. We agree.

        • hector_jones

          We don’t agree that your beliefs are monotheistic. But reading comprehension was never your ‘thing’.

        • Kodie

          Your reason is not valid. Your method for rejecting polytheism is “I already believe something else for no reason.” We’ve asked you about this and you slither away and pop up in somewhere else.

        • Kodie

          You don’t have any valid reason to reject polytheism.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, we do. Polytheism is the belief in many gods. Monotheism is the belief in one and only one God. These beliefs are mutually exclusive.

        • Cafeeine

          When you claim above that there are many understandings of God, why can’t some of those understandings include a plurality of persons? isn’t this just an arbitrary rule?

        • Kodie

          That’s not a reason to find your god real and their gods not real.

        • Deanjay1961

          How is not thinking any gods are real not also a take on polytheism?

        • MNb

          Yup – I have noticed that a while ago. Knowledge a la Cody:
          Science: empirical data and consistent, coherent theories.
          The rest: if her underbelly likes it it is correct. If her underbelly doesn’t like it (like Flying Spaghetti Monsters and undetectable fairies) it is incorrect or irrelevant.

        • wtfwjtd

          Didn’t Jenna tell you that she has a “god detector?” Yeah, that oughta convince those doubters.

        • MNb

          Oh? Is it a strawman to discuss that your god, who according to you is the same god of the NT, demands genocide, rape and rewards his warriors with virgin sex slaves? That’s what the monotheism of the AH deifies. Plenty of Bible quotes.
          Hint: it’s not enough to scrub the glass on the inside – you should scrub it on the outside too.

        • CodyGirl824

          It’s not that I don’t care. Their understanding of God is simply not relevant to the conversation when we are talking about the OT. This seems rather obvious to me. I have never read about or studied the religious beliefs of the Ancient Celts. I don’t expect that they feel slighted in the least by this.

        • hector_jones

          That you focus entirely on the OT is just chronological snobbery.

        • CodyGirl824

          I’m not the one who chose the topic of the God of the OT. I’m equally prepared to discuss the God of the NT, seeing as how they are/He is one and the same.

        • hector_jones

          Are you prepared to discuss the Ancient Celts though? Otherwise this is just chronological snobbery.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, just staying on topic when the topic is the OT.

        • hector_jones

          Oh, NOW you want to stay on topic. Well there’s always a first time for everything. The OT isn’t actually the topic of Bob’s post, but sure whatever, wouldn’t want to stray off topic. We all know how much you hate that.

        • wtfwjtd

          She’s just kidding hector.

        • Kodie

          Since when do you stay on topic, and I didn’t know the topic was the OT in this thread. You ignored it completely just a day or two ago when we were questioning you about it in another thread.

        • MNb

          And is and remains a monster according to our 21st Century moral standards.

        • CodyGirl824

          Who do you mean by “our”? Certainly, not modern Jews’ and Christians’ standards.

        • Kodie

          And you don’t think they’re biased? Making excuses for one’s deity, of which they fear, because they believe, is not going to get you far. It’s a superstition. The NT god demanded a blood sacrifice, didn’t matter who was really guilty. A moral god would have just forgiven everyone and not provided the bargain “eternal comfort or eternal torture”. A moral god would not demand to be worshiped and label that “free will” if the other option was the aforementioned eternal torture.

          And hey, I don’t have a sense of this god at all. The affliction of god seems to hit the gullible. You called our morals “elevated” to a higher standard and expecting too much. How is this possible? How is it possible if god is good, for mere humans to elevate their moral standards higher?

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you share your method of determining whether to consider any culture’s understanding of god as relevant or not. I have asked you this question dozens of times, will you answer it this time? Or will you avoid it again? Or will you misunderstand it and have an irrelevant answer?

        • CodyGirl824

          Relevance is determined by purpose. Any and all cultures’ understanding(s) of God are relevant, if what you are investigating is how people in different times, places, social contexts and cultural traditions understand God.

        • Kodie

          #3 it is.

        • MNb

          Hence not for the question if there is actually a god.
          The OT being your Holy Book that understanding is also relevant for your belief system (not for hindus obviously) and the god pictured in the OT is and remains a monster.

        • MNb

          For the question if there is a god the AH’s understanding of their OT god is equally irrelevant. For a verdict of how likeable that god is their understanding is – and to our 21st Century moral standards he is a monster.

        • Cafeeine

          “Since of course, he has no way to disprove what the ancient Hebrews meant by the word/concept “God.””
          What a weird phrase.
          It either implies that no one alive today knows what the ancient Hebrews meant by “God” which is a pretty devastating blow to Christians, or there are some people today who know and its Dan specifically who is unable to do so, and so forced to construct his SMG, which is quite a strong claim.

        • CodyGirl824

          There’s nothing “weird” about this statement. It is only possible for any of us, individually, to gain an understanding of the ancient Hebrews’ understanding of God from this OT. This is called interpretation. If Dan is going to “disprove God” using his own interpretation of the God of the Old Testament, he is using his own understanding of God as a straw man since the ancient Hebrews did not believe in a God that does not exist. In fact, there is no possible way to disprove the “existence” of the OT God. Dan Fincke can’t and neither can anyone else. So what or whose “God” is Dr. Fincke going to disprove?

          I highly recommend that you read Karl Giberson’s discussion of atheists’ straw men on the BioLogos website that I provide the URL to a second time here:

          http://biologos.org/blog/series/exposing-the-straw-men-of-new-atheism

        • Cafeeine

          Ha! Are you really going to go with the argument that “The ancient Hebrews believed their god existed, and therefore any non-existent god is a straw man by default?! Really?

          Thank you, I really needed that laugh right now.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not by default, Cafeeine. The ancient Hebrews (AH) had very sound reasons and evidence for their belief in God, which they articulate very well in the OT. I simply point out again that if Dan Fincke is going to argue that the God that the AH experienced and had a relationship with does not exist, he jolly well be prepared to know who/what that God was/is. I recommend that Dan read this excellent book:

          Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1959, 2004) in his book “God, Man and History” calls the Hebrews’ experiences “encounters” with God and says this about “proof.” “If the encounter is experienced in reality, what need of proofs? If, however, the encounter is not part of possible human experience, what use all proof?”

        • hector_jones

          The ancient Hebrews (AH) had very sound reasons and evidence for their belief in God, which they articulate very well in the OT.

          Please tell us what these very sound reasons and evidence are. And I want the evidence, not just the reasons, since you specifically mentioned evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          For this you must read the Bible, starting with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” This sentence tells us of whom the AH speak when they use the name “God” as the Creator and the evidence for their belief in God, the God of monotheism. Further evidence for their belief in God, who they knew by different names, was their ongoing relationship with and experiences of/with God.

          In modern terms, I believe that God is the name that they/we give whatever caused the Big Bang.

        • hector_jones

          In other words, you’ve got nothing. Thanks.

        • CodyGirl824

          So you claim that there is no evidence of the Big Bang?

        • hector_jones

          Non sequitur, as usual.

        • MNb

          How does the evidence for the Big Bang (notably receding galaxies and background radiation) compare with the evidence of the AH you were talking about? I totally can check the first; the latter not at all.

        • CodyGirl824

          Hey, in case you missed it, we live in the same universe (the heavens and the earth) that the ancient Hebrews lived in. The evidence hasn’t changed although our knowledge of the evidence has grown across generations. The AH named the forces, events, etc. that produced this universe “God.” So do I.

        • wtfwjtd

          You’ve decided to dump Christianity and jump on the Pantheist bandwagon for awhile, eh Cody?

        • CodyGirl824

          This is a silly question. Do you think that the ancient Hebrews’ beliefs about the Creator of the universe are pantheism? In no way are these beliefs incompatible with or contradictory to Christianity.

        • wtfwjtd

          The AH believed their god created their little play-doh world, not that natural forces were god, as you suddenly do. There’s a big difference.

        • Kodie

          I don’t fault the ancient Hebrews for creating a sense of a deity out of their mysterious world. I do fault you for attributing things we know were not created by a deity to a deity.

        • CodyGirl824

          You don’t understand deification.

        • Kodie

          Deification is something like thinking your stuffed animals can talk but they don’t do it when you’re around.

        • wtfwjtd

          Or maybe, those stuffed animals do talk to Jenna when she is around, but grow strangely silent when others are around.

        • CodyGirl824

          You’re joking of course, since I do not believe that this is your understanding of deification. And if it really is, I can dismiss it without any further discussion.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t done a good (fair, adequate, sufficient) job of making deification sound like anything else. You do not believe this is MY understanding of deification? What do you think MY understanding of deification is?

        • CodyGirl824

          Only you can explain to me what your understanding of deification is, but you gave me snark instead of a description of what you think it is.

        • Kodie

          Jenna, that’s what you make it sound like. It’s not really snark. You give people names and people personalities to objects and you think they communicate with you.

        • hector_jones

          Maybe not, but we know defecation when we smell it.

        • Kodie

          There you go anthropomorphizing natural effects again.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is deifying natural causes based on our observation and experience of the effects of these causes, yes. That’s what the concept of God the Creator is. Putting a name using human language to the causal forces of creation. Maybe we are making progress.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Putting a name using human language to the causal forces of creation.”

          …and that name is Pantheism. Way to go Jenna! Being a moving target *again*!

        • CodyGirl824

          No, the many names are names of God, the Creator.

        • hector_jones

          Why does he have so many names? What criminal past is he trying to keep from us, Jenna?

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, everywhere I look, I see the influence of his noodliness–the Flying Spagetti Monster. All hail!

        • Kodie

          Based on our observation, nothing of the sort. Based on “theological implications”, anything you like to believe.

        • hector_jones

          Apparently the big bang is proof of god and the AHs knew all about it. We really should thank Cody for *cough* proving this to us.

        • CodyGirl824

          The Big Bang is a theory proposed and studied by cosmologists about how/why the universe began. It is not “proof” of anything. What we don’t need proof of is that the physical universe exists. Do you claim that the universe came about with a cause? Do you believe (because you cannot know or prove) that the Big Bang had no cause?

        • hector_jones

          Cody, what would I do without you to lecture me on the Big Bang? You are so wise and fascinating. Now tell us all about what the Ancient Hebrews thought about the Big Bang. I’m all ears.

        • CodyGirl824

          You can read the Book of Genesis Chpt. 1 & 2 to understand what the AH knew and believed about how the universe was created. It is written in mytho-poetic language for religious didactic reasons, a “theological conversation.”

          Here is a wonderful analysis of the first three chapters of the Genesis by Rabbi Michael Samuel (2010). “Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis: A Timeless Theological Conversation Genesis 1-3”

        • hector_jones

          So the Ancient Hebrews really did know about the Big Bang? Faaaaascinating! Now do tell us how they acquired this information? Did they use their spidey sense to detect the cosmic background radiation? Or did they have some other ancient trick? Enquring minds want to know.

        • CodyGirl824

          “Know about the Big Bang”? No, the Big Bang is a 20th century theory about the origins of the universe. Their theoretical and theological understanding of the origin of the cosmos can be understood through reading the Book of Genesis.

        • Kodie

          And once again, you have no answer for “All cultures have origin myths”.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree with you. All cultures have origin myths. So what?

        • Kodie

          Making up a story isn’t knowledge.

        • CodyGirl824

          Making up a story is a way of conveying and communicating knowledge. Stories are linguistic, literary and didactic (teaching) devices. Creation stories are devised within a culture to teach what people in that particular culture know and believe about how the universe/world came to be and how they came to be in the world.

        • Kodie

          Attributing human characteristics to natural phenomena isn’t knowledge. Using the human characteristics of the natural phenomena to threaten and subdue the population is absurd and not a teaching device.

        • hector_jones

          So why did you bring the Big Bang into this, Jody? I know it couldn’t have been a mistake on your part, since you never make mistakes. I guess I’m just not smart enough to follow your train of thought. *Sigh*

        • CodyGirl824

          I told you that I give the name “God” to whatever caused the Big Bang. This statement addresses atheists’ declaration that there is no evidence that God exists. To support your claim of “no evidence” in my case, you would have to show me that there is no evidence that the Big Bang occurred and that nothing caused it to occur. Have at it!

        • hector_jones

          You give the name “God” to whatever caused the Big Bang. And I’m supposed to be impressed by this? I was thinking of giving him the name “Harold”. Or maybe “Xenu”.

        • wtfwjtd

          How about the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I see the work of his noodliness all around us, and his noodley appendage in the Big Bang!

        • hector_jones

          But Flying Spaghetti Monster isn’t his name, it’s his title. His name is actually Rick.

          My understanding is that Rick didn’t create the Big Bang, he created the multiverse that came before that. But I humbly admit that I could be wrong about this, since I’m not an Ancient Hebrew.

        • wtfwjtd

          Now, your chronological snobbery is showing there, you know an Ancient Hebrew wouldn’t name the Big Bang “Rick”. It would be more like George, or Fred, or Henry.

          As for the FSM? Sauce be upon Him, He is a Being of Many Titles!

        • hector_jones

          Yes FSM has many titles, but his name is Rick. The Ancient Hebrews named the Big Bang “Shmuley”. As for what caused the big bang, a name hasn’t been worked out for that yet. Cody calls it “God” but I’d heard that name was already taken by someone else. It’s very confusing to me, but that’s why I’m not a theologician.

        • CodyGirl824

          The ancient Hebrews refer to the cosmic event that we today apply the term “Big Bang” to in Genesis 1:1 as “In the beginning…” Modern cosmology has affirmed that the universe had a beginning.

        • Kodie

          Wow, that’s a stretch. Only 2 ways to go and they picked one for their origin myth.

        • hector_jones

          Oh so the Ancient Hebrews DID know about the big bang? Earlier you said they didn’t. My mistake was reading what you actually typed instead of what you meant to type. I’ll try not to do that again.

        • CodyGirl824

          The AH did not and could not know the 20th century cosmological theory of the origin of the universe called the “Big Bang.” But they based their understanding of the Creator on the idea that the universe (the heavens and the earth and the process of creation) had a beginning. Whatever “…In the beginning” meant to the AH is what today cosmologists refer to as the Big Bang. You are just pretending to be obtuse. In any case, the AH believed, as they state in their Holy Scriptures, that their relationship with God began at the beginning of creation, whenever that was.

        • hector_jones

          So how did the AHs know there was an “In the beginning” in the first place? How do you know that the Big Bang was the same beginning as the one the AHs were talking about? Have you even heard of the multiverse? Perhaps I was just imagining that I heard about this thing called the ‘multiverse’ and you really know better? No wait, people don’t imagine stuff, they ‘experience’ stuff so it’s all true, right?

          Why would I be pretending to be obtuse? I’m an atheist and we don’t have anything but weak arguments to go along with our weak intellects.

        • CodyGirl824

          I would never say that atheists have weak intellects. Weak arguments, yes. Weak intellects, no.

          I recommend that you think carefully about whether or not scientific theories about multiverses are supportive of atheism. IMO, multiverse theories support theism because they postulate the existence of other dimensions of reality.

        • hector_jones

          IMO? So that’s just your opinion? As a wise woman once wrote:

          I don’t think we need to argue about that since it is merely your opinion and I have no need to convince you otherwise.

          So I think I’ll ignore your opinion then. But thanks.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, we most certainly can decide mutually to ignore each other’s opinions.

        • hector_jones

          That’s just your opinion.

        • Kodie

          Now that’s a weak intellect.

          “Dimensions of reality” – physical reality. Spiritual dimension? Not a physical reality. If it’s real, it’s not spiritual, you get it?

          How does one hear from an alternate dimension here in this one, now? 6000 years ago? How do you go there when you die? You haven’t really thought this through.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are simply repeating your belief that there is no spiritual dimension to reality, that spirituality is not “real.” You haven’t really thought this through.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah but that’s just your opinion.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, take it or leave it. It’s you choice.

        • hector_jones

          Why do you keep replying to me? It’s just your opinion!

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. I’ll stop if you will.

        • hector_jones

          Then stop. In my opinion, you won’t.

        • JohnH2

          Oddly this excellent argument so full of content reminds me heavily of a pair of five year olds.

        • hector_jones

          We’re not arguing. We are just exchanging opinions. I’d like to see a pair of 5 year olds do that!

        • Kodie

          Have you understood yet?

          You are talking about alternate dimensions that science would research and confirm. No ethical scientist would add garbage to their findings and label anything a spiritual realm.

          YOU SAID THIS. You seem to think alternate dimensions means that one of them will turn out to be the spiritual one you don’t have evidence for. You are a clown. A real fucking stupid joke of a clown. No wonder you need to personify the universe, you are intellectually an absolute gullible moron.

        • CodyGirl824

          Give God any name you like. This will not facilitate communication with people of faith and probably even your fellow atheists, however.

        • hector_jones

          But I’m not trying to facilitate communication, I’m trying to obfuscate, like you.

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, perhaps if you recognized how giving a name to a complex and abstract concept such as “God” can aid communication, if that is your purpose. Since atheists claim that there is no evidence that God/god/gods exist, and this is primary claim that defines atheism, they should be very clear as to what they are naming when they use the name God. If they/you choose to call God “Harold” my first thought is that you are talking about my late husband.

        • hector_jones

          I’m beginning to see why you are having so much trouble with all of this. You think I knew your late husband.

        • Kodie

          Making the universe up to be a person with wants and wills doesn’t facilitate communication. Atheists just don’t believe the universe is a person like you do. Let’s learn about science, but stop before you have to make up a story of “theological implications” in order to “facilitate communication.” The concepts aren’t complex and abstract enough to require calling the universe a person. You know, kids like that kind of stuff, cartoons where vegetables talk about bullying at school and dealing with the death of a grandpa.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t call the universe a person. Where did you get this idea?

        • Kodie

          FOLLOW THE SHINY RED BOUNCING BALL YOU ILLITERATE FUCKTARD.

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

          Or Brahma.

        • Kodie

          But your faulty reasoning! The Big Bang is not a person! The universe is not a person! It already has a name, it’s called “the universe”! It doesn’t need a person’s name unless you think it’s a person!

        • CodyGirl824

          Now you are talking about anthropomorphism, a common conceptual and linguistic process that we humans use to frame complex ideas about our reality and express these in language using metaphors and symbolic representations that are familiar to us for the purpose of communication.

        • Kodie

          You’re under the impression that this is something “we” do and need to do. Maybe if you have the mind of a potato, you need puppet shows to make sense of complex ideas, but the rest of us… the rest of us can actually read for comprehension. We don’t need it personified to make sense.

          You are actually explaining how the religious mind works though – you’re really condescending. You make religious people sound pretty stupid and in need of a cartoon version of reality in order to understand it. But no wonder you are like you are. Trying so hard to feel smart.

        • CodyGirl824

          How do you go about reading and comprehending an allegory, Kodie? It is you who is being condescending, with your expressed disapproval of the way billions of people communicate with each other across time and space about their understanding of God and religion.

          And BTW, do you have a pet or know someone who has a pet who gave it a human name? Do you disapprove of that, too?

        • Kodie

          There is a big difference you can’t see. An allegory is an allegory. Let’s take it as an allegory. Let’s not attribute human characteristics to the universe, attributing wants and wills to it and using it as a tool to threaten and subdue populations.

          I think you’re being evasive or trying to be confrontational with your pet question. Animals are alive and many people consider them a part of the family. That’s not hardly the same thing as naming the universe, but let’s say you name the universe “god”. Then you start attributing wants and wills, not as an allegory, but because you really struggle to understand how it works. You can’t understand science. You need to have it filtered through theology to give it any meaning or way for you to understand it. Theology is a children’s fairy tale about the universe as if it were a person and wants you to adhere to a list of rules or else. The ancient Hebrews had theology, they didn’t have science. They felt created and didn’t have another answer. Well who made us. That’s an origin myth. “WHO” made us? Why? What does it want? How can I please it and turn off the violent erupting volcanoes? How can I please it and get enough food?

          That’s superstition. That’s making up a relation between cause and effect between which there is no observable relation. That pleasing the universe somehow gets your crops to grow. That’s what happens when you think the universe is a person.

        • CodyGirl824

          You say this: “…but let’s say you name the universe “god”…” No, we don’t name the universe God. We name the creator of the universe God. It’s called deification, not superstition.

        • Kodie

          It’s as superstitious as thinking you can sacrifice a virgin at the mouth of a volcano to get god to make it stop erupting. You use terms you don’t even recognize what they look like to a rational person, do you? Your allegory has the Jews trying to guess what to do to please god. That’s exactly a superstition, because there is no god, and there is nothing you can ever do to please it. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

          Perhaps the problem is this:

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies, God the Creator. This is essential to any understanding of Christianity.

          You aren’t hearing what atheism is. You are too consumed in your quest to not listen to anyone. You think because the universe exists, we all accept that’s because of a deity. We don’t. The universe was not created by a personlike thing with wants and wills. You are adding that, that is how theological implications take reality and spin it through a blender to concoct added nonsense, which you have further justified to mean “facilitating communication” because the concepts are too great for you to comprehend.

          I’m really kind of tired of you repeating yourself and then running away when we get to the part where you have to answer questions you don’t know the answer to, only to bounce back and say only what you do think you know.

        • JohnH2

          You appear to be espousing Pantheism, you are probably trying to espouse Panentheism. Where does Jesus fit into that?

          You have to realize that nearly everyone isn’t taking you seriously any more and is primarily responding to you because they think your responses are funny and think of funny things to say to your response. If you have retreated to Panentheism and the existence of spirituality as the basis for the existence of God and Jesus then what you are really saying is that Atheists can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, which is entirely accurate and also why they are bringing up the FSM, because based on that same basis you can’t prove that the FSM doesn’t exist.

          Some means of getting details about God (or the FSM) has to be available to say anything about God. Privileging the Hebrews account is decidedly not they way to provide any convincing details about God (as others have pointed out in a variety of manners).

          It really isn’t that some of your arguments couldn’t be made to be better or that there are no possibly valid points in what you say. The problem is, as I stated previously, that you aren’t familiar enough with your position from anywhere else but within your position. The type of people that you read take for granted some basic aspects of your own position in making their arguments that you then try and make here. Meaning you are already getting bastardized versions of augments and bastardizing them further and not realizing that the prior bastardization was to make the argument convincing to you based on your own shared assumptions, not to make them universal in application.

          Maybe you just enjoy trolling, I don’t know.

          Final, thing: You have already correctly conceded that you weren’t argued into Christianity but that it is at least partially something that you experienced. So why are you arguing? What point do you hope to be able to make?

        • hector_jones

          Shhhhhhhhhhh!

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

          If scientists would just pick up the Good Book, it would be way cheaper and faster. Closed-minded atheists!

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, you are just being snarky again. As are most believers, I am perfectly content to let scientists be scientists and theologians to be theologians. But yes, atheists are close-minded when it comes to understanding the theological implications of science.

        • Kodie

          Theists are liberal when speculating what theological implications are. It means making shit up, there is no reason for an atheist to use it, nor does it aid in understanding anything that one can’t understand just using science. Theology only matters to theology. No other field consults theology to use these implications in their subject.

          If you would only understand it’s plain bullshit!

        • CodyGirl824

          It is possible to understand quite a lot of theology by “just using science” but I beg to differ with you that “no other field consults theology.” Consider anthropology, sociology, psychology and education as a few.

          I do understand that in your opinion, it is all….

        • Kodie

          I didn’t say it wasn’t possible. I said it was unnecessary.

          Do you even know words?

        • JohnH2

          Not sure why theologians shouldn’t be scientists as well; doesn’t the Good Book of the Cosmos as much show the mind and will of God as any other volume of sacred text? And this with the added benefit of not having to parse through past understandings of the cosmos and culture.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree with you in part. Science is merely the systematic method of inquiry into how God’s creation works. The more we know through science, the more we understand and appreciate God. Keep in mind that science has only been its own discipline since the 18th century. Before that in the Western world it was “natural philosophy” which was a branch of theology.

        • JohnH2

          Elohim is plural, you know that right? And as used in many places in the OT, there is no way to argue that Elohim is not meant to be a plurality, a divine council of the gods or the leader of that divine council. Monotheism it isn’t.

        • CodyGirl824

          JohnH2, I have discussed the usage of “Elohim” with a learned rabbi friend of mine. He explains that the morpheme (ending) “im” in Hebrew is also an honorific, such as in “your majesties” so the use of the term does not contradict monotheism. And remember, Elohim is sort of a “generic” term for God used along with several other names for God.

        • JohnH2

          Given Deuteronomy 32:8 and Psalm 82:1 that explanation really doesn’t work and is forcing the much later Monotheism into the earlier Henotheism and Monolatry.

          As a singular honorific it would be rendered God of the gods, or head of the council of the gods, leading Genesis 1:1 to be rendered as “At the start of his reign, the God of the gods organized the heavens and the earth.”

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay, but this is not an argument against monotheism.

        • JohnH2

          If there are multiple gods or a supreme God over multiple gods then we are talking either Henotheism or Monolatry and not Monotheism; demonstrating that the Ancient Hebrews understood God very differently than you do.

          Then if you want to get in to Genesis 1:6 and this understanding of cosmology as evidence for God and the AH understanding of Him that should be really interesting. Or if you want a more ‘modern’ view of the cosmology of the Bible we can get into this, which is where we get the term “seven heavens” for instance, with the throne of God being above them all (ie, the sphere of the fixed stars). Also probably why Peter talks about a day for God, due to the progression of the equinoxes then he (and the Revelation of John) were quite probably referring to astrological ages as being ‘days’.

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

          That’s a beautiful piece of artwork. Kind of a shame since the idea is crap.

        • wtfwjtd

          Jesus Bob! Next, you’ll be telling me that “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was fiction….

        • JohnH2

          It helps in understanding the Bible, just as the other linked cosmology also helps in understanding the Bible and other religious texts as well. I have yet to figure out what the orbit of Venus has to do with enlightenment or why it is the consort of Sirius but even knowing those two things are really interesting, if one is interested in the myths, legends, religions, and mystery cults of the past.(like as an example, why the Virgin Mary is depicted in blue).

        • hector_jones
        • wtfwjtd

          Ramen!

        • hector_jones

          Sauce be upon him!

        • Pofarmer

          Also, there is archelogical evidence of polytheism among the Ancient Hebrews.

        • hector_jones

          Aww come on. Next thing you’ll be telling me the Ancient Hebrews™ predicted the internet. Is there anything those Ancient Hebrews™ couldn’t do?

        • Ron

          ‘Thus says the Lord God:

          “I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people, and they will draw you up in My net.”‘ Ezekiel 32:3

          …so I twitter.Isaiah 38:14

          Checkmate, Atheists! :)

        • Pofarmer

          It’s probably somewhere in Daniel or Revelations.

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

          And biblical evidence. I wrote about that here and here.

        • MNb

          “The ancient Hebrews (AH) had very sound reasons and evidence for their belief in God”
          “the evidence for their belief in God””
          Nice semantic trick, Cody. In the first quote you mean “the AH had evidence that there actually is a god” and in the second quote you mean “Genesis provides evidence the AH believed in their god”.
          Of course you’re also totally intellectually dishonest.

          “Further evidence for their belief in God, who they knew by different names, was their ongoing relationship with and experiences of/with God.”
          And that’s circular logic. They believed in their god, hence had a relationship with him, hence had experiences with their god, hence they wrote those experiences down in the Bible, hence there is a god.
          Never mind that those experiences are just anecdotal, nothing better than an urban legend or as we Dutch call it a monkey filled roll.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your argument doesn’t follow. The AH had experiences with God. Hence they formed a relationship with God (which they called the Covenant), which provided more and different experiences of/with God, which they recorded and transmitted for religious/spiritual purposes through their Holy Scriptures, which gave them a way of understanding each others’ experiences with and relationship with God, creating a religion-centered culture and religious traditions based on their experiences of/with God. Experiences are not “just anecdotal.” They are real. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe people’s testimony as to those experiences.

        • Cafeeine

          “The AH had experiences with God.”
          You don’t know that. At best you can say that some AH had experiences. What those experiences were, and whether they were anything more than delusions, hallucinations or miscommunications, you cannot say.
          “Experiences are not “just anecdotal.” They are real”
          Even real experiences are anecdotal.
          “It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe people’s testimony as to those experiences.”
          And it doesn’t matter if you do believe them, if they lack corroboration.

        • CodyGirl824

          C. I think that I am safe to assume that you have read the OT, AKA, the Hebrew Bible. Surely you realize the the entire collection of books that comprise the OT, but first and foremost the 5 books of the Torah, are all about the AHs’ experiences of and relationship with God. The entire text is about this and nothing but this. It is their testimony, as a people, as a cultural group and as a religion, with a definite and distinct identity. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

          We are not talking about delusions, hallucinations or anything of the sort. We are talking about ordinary people who had spiritual/religious experiences and a relationship with God over time and across generations and who give us their testimony. If you don’t believe their testimony, that’s entirely your choice.

        • Cafeeine

          “If you don’t
          believe their testimony, that’s entirely your choice.”

          I believe them as much as I believe the denizens of Olympus involved themselves in a 10 year siege situation in Asia Minor, as chronicled in the annals of Homer.

          “We are not talking about delusions, hallucinations or anything of the sort.”

          Yes we are. They weren’t, because they were not aware of the extent that the mind can fool itself. As you said yourself, we know more nowadays.

        • CodyGirl824

          You have no way of saying that spiritual experiences and/or relationships are anything like “the mind…fooling itself.” Again, if you don’t believe their testimony, it’s your choice. No one else has any reason whatsoever to pay a lick of attention to your opinion of our experiences and relationships.

        • Cafeeine

          “You have no way of saying that spiritual experiences and/or relationships are anything like “the mind…fooling itself”

          You mean other than the fact that they manifest in pretty much the same way? And that there is no verifiable detectable manifestation of a “spiritual experience of any kind?

          “Again, if you don’t believe their testimony, it’s your choice. ”

          No. My choice in the matter was that I prefer truth over comfort. I do not have a choice in knowing that personal testimony is inherently unreliable.

          “No one else has any reason whatsoever to pay a lick of attention to your opinion of our experiences and relationships.”

          But we weren’t talking about your experiences and relationships, we’re talking about the AH. Even if I were to accept that whatever experiences you claim are genuine (i.e not intentionally deceptive) I have no reason at all to accept your explanation for that experience. Much less so for the hearsay in the OT.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you find “no reason at all to accept” someone’s “explanation” of his/her experience, that is exactly same thing as not accepting his/her testimony, only phrased using different words. Again, your choice. However, your disbelief or non-acceptance says nothing whatsoever about the reality of the other person’s experience.

          I recommend that you read Abraham Maslow (1971). “Religions, values and peak-experiences.” I have several other recommendations for studies of spiritual experiences and mysticism if you’re interested.

        • wtfwjtd

          If we were interested in spiritualism or mysticism, we wouldn’t be hanging out at a blog dedicated to clear thinking about Christianity. What we are interested in is evidence, not wishful thinking.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you aren’t interested in the spiritual dimension of existence, then this explains why you are an atheist. This attitude and prejudice completely cuts you off from any understanding of religion, or human nature and human experience for that matter. Atheism is simply willful blindness to the reality of the totality of the human experience.

        • hector_jones

          That’s why I’m joining Scientology. I want to be a complete and well-rounded human being, like you and Norm.

        • wtfwjtd

          Um, no, I’m interested in following the evidence where it leads, and “spiritualism” is a dead end. Atheism is the null hypothesis, the default position, due to lack of verifiable evidence for your imagined god(s). Unless you now have some to present for the rest of us to examine?

        • CodyGirl824

          Atheism is a dead end that ignores the evidence. It is merely an opinion about what other people believe. Atheism basically says “We don’t have a clue as to what you mean when you say you believe in God, but we strongly disapprove of the fact that you do.”

        • wtfwjtd

          Ah yes, all that evidence–that exists in your mind. Tell me Jenna, do different types of alcohol give different types of your evidence? Or do you need to switch to psychotropic drugs for that?

        • hector_jones

          They tell me absinthe makes the heart grow fonder of God.

        • CodyGirl824

          This comment is all snark and no substance. Tell me, please: If there is no spirit, what is the purpose of spirituality?

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh, there’s spirits all right, and you’ve usually been drinking plenty of them before posting here.

        • Kodie

          If there is no spirit, what is the purpose of spirituality?

          If there are no unicorns, why is there so much art about it? You seem to think this is a serious question pointed at us, a real theist stumper. What is the purpose of spirituality? How can there be experiences if there is no god? Why do people want there so badly to be a god if he’s not even there?

          You are not as intellectual as you wish you could be.

        • CodyGirl824

          You have explained to we why YOU do not practice spirituality but you have not addressed why most of the rest of humanity practices and pursues spirituality.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Spirituality” is just your term for mental masturbation Jenna, so what?

        • hector_jones

          She’s back to ad populum again. Round and round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows.

        • hector_jones

          Christianity explains why YOU do not practice masturbation but you have not addressed why most of the rest of humanity practices and pursues masturbation.

        • CodyGirl824

          Stay on topic, hector.

        • hector_jones

          Yes ma’am. I’m so sorry for violating your rule against anyone but yourself going off topic. So sorry. Soooooo sorry. (God’s gonna be mad at me now isn’t he? Awww shit! Oh shit, is he madder now that I just said ‘shit’? SHIT!)

        • wtfwjtd

          Now God Dammit hector, you know we don’t go for that potty-mouth shit around here. And quit Jerking the conversation Off topic!

        • Kodie

          “God’s Not Dead” Fans: Be the Christian Hero Yourself

        • Kodie

          That’s another example of you not being able to read. You are trying to draw a conclusion from spirituality there are spirits.

          No logic there. No evidence, no logic, no comprehending the words I’m using now.

        • CodyGirl824

          Take the spirit out of spirituality and all you have is “uality.” Atheists’ spelling hasn’t caught up with their ideology.

        • Kodie

          That’s your response? Is that really the best argument you can come up with?

        • CodyGirl824

          What are we arguing about? The fact that you think that there is no spiritual dimension to our reality? I don’t think we need to argue about that since it is merely your opinion and I have no need to convince you otherwise.

        • Kodie

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God
          does not exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies, God
          the Creator. This is essential to any understanding of Christianity.

        • CodyGirl824

          I couldn’t have said it better.

        • Kodie

          35 minutes ago, you said

          I have no need to convince you otherwise.

          “Truer words,” Jenna, you’re a liar.

        • hector_jones

          Truer words have rarely been spoken …. by you. Now, see if you can figure out how that’s not actually a compliment …

        • hector_jones

          Oh see there’s my mistake. All this time I thought we were looking for an understanding of REALITY not an understanding of Christianity. If you just want to understand Christianity then it makes perfect sense to ignore reality for the time being and assume God.

        • CodyGirl824

          Christianity is a reality. You cannot understand Christianity unless you understand reality. Neither can you understand Christianity unless you understand what we Christians mean when we tell you that we believe in God. Otherwise, you’re only creating your own subjective version of Christianity, which you then reject. This explains atheism, which is out of touch with reality.

        • hector_jones

          I think you are confused. Christianity exists, so in that sense it is ‘a’ reality. But as a description of reality, Christianity hasn’t got me convinced. At least not yet. But keep working at it, you’re doing great!

          I find it strange that you write ‘you’re only creating your own subjective version of Christianity’ as if that’s a bad thing, when elsewhere you said that the numerous denominations and opinions about Christianity are the expected product of cultural diversity, which is a good thing. So I should be free to make up my very own version of Christianity, in the name of cultural diversity. It’s all just opinion anyway!

        • CodyGirl824

          I thought you were through dialoguing with me, but apparently not. Yes, of course you will have your own understanding of Christianity, but, as I said, you reject Christianity based on your version (interpretation). You are certainly free to do so, but in dialoguing with other Christians, to assume or to argue that your version of Christianity IS Christianity or the reality of Christianity and experience and understanding of Christians is mistaken. IOW, your opinion of Christianity is not Christianity.

        • Kodie

          Jenna Black, self-appointed Christianity police.

        • CodyGirl824

          Snark. Not reality.

        • Kodie

          You are certainly free to do so, but in dialoguing with other
          Christians, to assume or to argue that your version of Christianity IS
          Christianity or the reality of Christianity and experience and
          understanding of Christians is mistaken. IOW, your opinion of
          Christianity is not Christianity.

          I don’t think you are not a liar but you are definitely not a partial idiot.

        • hector_jones

          See you are wrong there. I don’t ‘reject’ Christianity at all. I just have a totally different opinion about it than you. And no one opinion about Christianity IS Christianity. You yourself have conceded this point repeatedly. So we’re good.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. Great. Have a wonderful day.

        • hector_jones

          OMG Miss Cody, you are the funniest person ever. Show us again how dumb atheists is, please? I like yer stories.

        • Kodie

          Can you be any more willfully ignorant? We’ve been answering your posts for a few weeks and you haven’t learned a thing that you didn’t come in here already believing. Theism basically says “I don’t want to use my brain anymore”.

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

          When Jenna gets to the Pearly Gates, God will be pissed that she didn’t use his gift of a big brain. I wonder where it says in the Bible to put your brain on Park?

        • Kodie

          The spiritual dimension sounds like a real wacky place, like an empty space filled with anything your imagination can conjure. Something can be interesting without being real. Theism is a willful insistence that this place in their imagination is real because they have “experiences” that can be explained by neurobiology.

        • Cafeeine

          No, its not the same Cody. An experience is objective. The explanations you give to it is limited by your previous knowledge, your previous experiences, your desires and your tendency to believe what you want to believe.Two people both hear a cracking noise in an empty house, one of the two is paranoid and thinks its a burglar. The other believes in the paranormal and thinks its a ghost. Both explanations aren’t right and maybe neither are.

        • Kodie

          Holy shit, woman, we’ve been over this. Religious experiences begin and end in the brain. You brought the articles, you inserted the “theological implications” that are of no use to explaining reality. Why are you rehashing this garbage?

        • Pofarmer

          And you need to read Thomas Paine- badly.

        • hector_jones

          Reading Thomas Paine badly is the only way she’s capable of reading him.

        • Kodie

          I take the testimony of the formerly deeply religious. They know they were fooled. They have experience with knowing god and then knowing that knowing god is false. If we are taking testimony, what do you take of theirs?

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, we do, we’ve been down this road too.

        • Kodie

          You slunk away from our previous conversation on the arbitrary morals of the ancient Hebrews based on their “understanding” of “god”. So what happened there? You are talking about ordinary people a long time ago having emotions and other knowledge confusion and attributing it to a deity that they made up horrible laws enslaving others and seizing virgins out of a mass slaughter of their people and take them for your own. I believe their testimony of what happened, but I do not believe there’s a real god anywhere in there. YOU AVOIDED IT A FEW DAYS AGO, and now you want to sneak this past the radar.

          We don’t know why you think their “testimony” is about a real god any more than any other fucking culture’s origin myth and god testimony. Like the Ancient Celts we were talking about a minute ago. You drop out of threads and then go back a few steps, no evidence, only assertions.

          If you think I am being mean to you, I am fucking trying to teach you why your bullshit won’t fly here. NO EVIDENCE. Typical Christian evasion tactics and failure to respond to points as they are brought up. Failure to notice your own lack of evidence. You believe the ancient Hebrews (AND NO OTHER ANCIENT TESTIMONY) were referring to an actual god, you say they understood him, but you also say that atheists don’t understand and keep making up straw man gods that are nothing like this real god that the ancient Hebrews understood, i.e, had knowledge of.

          What you’re trying to say is that you believe the ancient Hebrews when they say things, even though they sound ridiculous and unlike any god you ever knew, because you don’t have chronological snobbery. That is, it’s reasonable to assume people of yore would be kind of goofy about what god wants, and awful to other people because they felt the presence of an actual deity.

          Your deity is air. Your deity is fucking air. It’s like some thought pops into your head and you assume god put it there, so that’s a testimony. It blinks through your imagination, you feel righteous, you say something stupid, that’s your testimony. We don’t understand your god? That’s because when you talk about him, he is obviously a goblin of your own creation. We could not understand the god who talks to you if we tried because he’s you, and you don’t make much fucking sense.

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

          Nice critique. I’ll add: avoiding tough issues.

          We could not understand the god who talks to you if we tried because he’s you, and you don’t make much fucking sense.

          Bazinga.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Kodie, God is not me. Since you don’t know God, I guess I can’t expect you to understand this. This is why atheists tend to say such foolish things about other people’s experiences of/with God and their relationship with God.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t communicated well, but maybe you don’t know what you sound like to a rational person, so I described it for you.

        • Pofarmer

          So did the Mayans, Incans, Aztecs, Druids, Navajoes, Norsemen, Aboriginees, zoroastrians, Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Sumerians, Persians, Apaches, Inuits……………..

        • Kodie

          You believe that? Why?

        • Cafeeine

          Ah, well this actually makes this quite easy.
          I don’t care a whit what god the ancient Hebrews thought existed, outside of intellectual curiosity.
          What I care about is what people believe in today, and I don’t have to decipher the exact experience of ancient Hebrews for that. It isn’t a straw man to address what people today believe, if that is what interests me.

          If you want to argue that a god exists, and the same one that is whispering in the ear of Christians today is the one that was whispering in the ears of the ancient Hebrews, then I have a much closer source to inspect than the AH.

          If you want to claim that the god of the AH is not the same as that believed today, then that God is now dead, like all the other gods and needs to be classified in mythology with the rest of them.

          Why do I suspect that this attempt to hitch your wagon on the AH is yet another attempt by a believer to place the discussion as far away from the possibility of empirical inquiry as possible?

        • CodyGirl824

          Empirical inquiry? What do you mean by that?

          I came to believe in God when all I knew about the Bible were the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. My commitment to Christianity came through knowledge of the Bible, most especially the Gospel. But mostly my belief in God and Christianity comes from my experiences of/with God and my relationship with God, as well as what I have learned of/from and through the testimony of other believers.

        • Cafeeine

          So completely devoid of any empirical justification. Tt’s good that you can say that. Some believers avoid the subject.

        • CodyGirl824

          What is “empirical justification”? For what purpose?

        • wtfwjtd

          Empirical justification means you present evidence for your beliefs, not pulling things out of your ass. And no,”because Cody says so” isn’t evidence.

        • hector_jones

          Pulling an Ancient Hebrew out of a hat is all the evidence Cody needs.

        • Cafeeine

          Hey, its tough pulling an ancient Jew out of a hat. They only come out of yarmulkes.

        • Kodie

          That’s easier compare to pulling a Jew out of his shtreimel.

        • Cafeeine

          Oy vey..
          .

        • hector_jones

          Wait, those things are hats? I always thought I was looking at a primitive coiffure first started by the Ancient Hebrews who (at the risk of sounding chronologically snobbish) didn’t know as much about hairstyling as we do today.

        • Kodie

          You had an emotional experience.

        • hector_jones

          Or perhaps a ‘tired and emotional’ experience?

        • wtfwjtd

          Or maybe even a drug-induced or alcohol-hazed experience?

        • hector_jones
        • wtfwjtd

          Ah, I get it!

        • Pofarmer

          Your knowledge of the Gospels suck as much as your knowledge of ancient cultures.

        • MNb

          Follow Cody for a while and this will hardly be your last laugh. It’s typical for her “rational” approach of the god question and everyone who doesn’t follow her approach is irrational by definition.

        • Pofarmer

          The Ancient Hebrews God existed just as much as all the other Ancient cultures Gods.

    • RichardSRussell

      Thanks for asking. The answer is a resounding “yah, you betcha!”

    • The Man With The Name Too Long

      I have a question for you. You believe that God exists because you say you’ve had a direct experience of him/her/it. Do you mean it in the way, “I prayed to God and I experienced [some sudden change in the environment which I will take as God’s response]”. That’s not much of an experience. You may be causing yourself to feel something because you believe you are SUPPOSED to feel something when you pray. Like people feeling better after taking Tylenol even though it doesn’t really do much.

      If that’s not what you mean, could you describe your last “experience with God” in as much detail as understandable?

      • Norm Donnan

        Simple,google Sid Roth,its supernatural and watch thousands of other peoples experiences

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

          Heck, if it’s on TV, it’s gotta be real–right, Norm?

        • wtfwjtd

          Now Bob, you know that Jurassic Park is a real place, ’cause you saw it on TV. Quit trying to deny it!

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

          If Norm believes the Christian miracle stories, I wonder how he rejects the miracle stories from Islam, Hinduism, and all the rest? I’m sure he has a hilarious and well-grounded answer.

        • MNb

          My experience with theists is that they duck this valid question. It’s because faith doesn’t provide a reliable methodology.

        • CodyGirl824

          What makes you think that this is a “valid question”?

        • MNb

          Do you accept all miracle stories you have ever met? Including the ones that contradict your belief system? For instance, do you believe that King Arthur actually pulled Excalibur from that stone? That Pygmalion actually kissed Galatea alive? That the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Universe in a Big Boil?
          If not the question arises why not.
          Fortunately I already know your answer:
          Your underbelly.

        • CodyGirl824

          What are you calling “miracle stories” here? You seem to be suffering from genre confusion.

        • MNb

          Ah, I get it. Miracle stories are only miracle stories when your underbelly likes them. Hence they are true. If your underbelly disapproves they are not miracle stories by definition.
          Thanks for clarification.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, miracle stories are accounts which are the oral and/or written testimony of/from real people (not fictional characters) about real events and real experiences. The way to judge their authenticity and truth is, for example, the same way we judge the credibility of witnesses and the relevance of testimony in as jurors in a criminal trial.

        • Pofarmer

          in a criminal trial there is generally physical evidence. Without evidence, personal teatimony is just heresay.

        • CodyGirl824

          I used the example of how a juror evaluates eye-witness testimony to illustrate how testimony of a miracle can be evaluated. In the case of a miracle, there is physical evidence if there is a physical healing. There is spiritual evidence if the miracle is spiritual healing. Did you mean hearsay rather than “heresay”? Eye-witness testimony is not hearsay. Hearsay is not direct testimony because it is what a person heard another witness say but that s/he was not him/herself a witness to. Hearsay testimony is inadmissible in a court of law in a criminal case because of the legal rights of the accused to confront the witnesses against him/her.

        • Pofarmer

          A miracle is simply evidence that we generally aren’t good at statistics or dealing with large numbers

        • JohnH2

          Saying you aren’t good at statistics ignores the why of the distribution in the first place, meaning claiming statistics or large numbers doesn’t help you.

        • wtfwjtd

          Assuming that there is a why is the heart of the matter; understanding statistics helps one to understand that there isn’t.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly.

        • MNb

          Thanks, that was the answer I was looking for. Shitty human prejudices; I know the “why” question more often than not is a bad one and still I fall for the trap.

        • JohnH2

          Yeah, that shows precisely that you don’t understand statistics. If you are saying there are pure random processes, be my guest, I think so too; that completely destroys a lot of atheists arguments but I don’t have a problem with that. If not then every distribution has a reason it appears, variables that are too numerous and varied and hard to measure or measure accurately enough to get rid of the variability but that if one could then the variability would disappear; meaning for every distribution there is a why of the distribution.

        • Pofarmer

          THt definition in itself would be a miracle. Look, if miracles, aka the breaking of normal physical laws for the benefit if the believer, were actually a thing, they would be detectable, but they aren’t.

        • JohnH2

          God can’t break the physical laws and acts within what is physical.

          Someone spontaneously healing is not less miraculous because we can measure how often it occurs.

        • wtfwjtd

          How so? Even those of us who live relatively quiet, mundane lives can have up to several statistically improbable events happen to most of us on a daily basis, but I usually don’t hear even the most hardcore supernaturalist calling these miracles. As another example,take winning the lottery. Odds of winning “the Big One” are sometimes millions to one, but somebody wins. A miracle, right? Hardly. People win the lottery all the time, there will be winners, we know that before the game is even played. Calling it a miracle simply because of the long odds is misinformed.
          As the bar for what constitutes a miracle keeps getting lowered, I see more and more random, every-day occurrences being equated with a “miracle”. In fact, that’s become the new definition of “miracle”–statistically improbable. The two are in no way the same.

        • CodyGirl824

          What you are pointing out here is that there is a vernacular, common usage of the term “miracle” and a religious, spiritual and theological use of the term “miracle.” True. It is not that the “bar keeps getting lowered” but that the fallacy of equivocation occurs in conversations such as this one.

        • wtfwjtd

          Thanks for helping make my point for me. You keep assuring us that there are tons of miracles happening every day, and yet you are incapable of naming a single one. Classic.

        • CodyGirl824

          God’s grace comes to humankind in many forms. Miracles are only one of them. There is no need to name them.

        • wtfwjtd

          There’s no need to try and name any of your “miracles” because you *can’t*. Your god is dead, and inert, and you just won’t take off your blinders to see it.

        • Kodie

          No, she’s afraid to name them because they’re not impressive and we’ll point by point tell her why she’s stupid again.

        • wtfwjtd

          You do have a wonderful way with words Kodie!

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, if you are unwilling to talk about and understand the most impressive miracle in human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then I know that the rather unimpressive (except to me and the people who experienced them) miracles that I “name” would get exactly the disrespectful and prejudiced treatment you plan here. No one should be asked to or expected to submit their experiences of God’s grace to having it and them called “stupid.” This is why Jesus gives us these words and this advice, in all its vivid language and symbolism:

          Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

        • Kodie

          Retreat to vague language, no evidence.

        • Kodie

          The premise that there is a god and that he intervenes in our lives is the fallacy.

        • CodyGirl824

          Merely your opinion.

        • Kodie

          Since you don’t know how probability works and I do, it’s not an opinion. Concluding there is a god that intervenes in our lives is as a stone-age myth that thought the world was ending if there was an eclipse in the middle of the day. I don’t live with the same fear you do, I don’t require the same comforting lies that you do, and that’s all they are.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you have never had a relationship with God and never had the blessing of God’s intervention in your life, then I understand why you think that this is an impossibility. Those of us who have had this blessing (which we call God’s grace) and know others who have received God’s grace, know that this grace is not lies. You are simply making what I call “the brave and stoic atheist” argument, which is a product of a lack of experience and relationship with God.

        • Kodie

          The lies one has to wade through are a huge turn-off. I pointedly asked you a day or two ago what you make of the testimony of people who had knowledge of god and later had knowledge that knowledge of god was false. You retreated, but I know your pat answer is they were never really in touch with god and had some other funny feelings no Christian ever bothers to explain. The relationship with a deity is your delusion, and I take your testimony for a delusion. How I know you’re deluded is how you distort facts and invent theological implications where there are none, your lack of perspective, your highly unskilled capacity for recognizing logical fallacies and your highly inadvertent skill at creating them to build up your argument. Believing you have a relationship in god makes you an observably wrong person, a person who has a terrible moral compass, and the need to personify natural effects that are too complex for you to understand. You project that none of us understand it, you project that I’m close-minded, you’re evasive, unknowledgable on a variety of subjects, and have I mentioned you can’t read for comprehension to save your life?

          But you’re happy like this? You can’t seem to stand that people can say there’s no god, you can’t wrap your mind around it so much you simply dispense with and dismiss it so you can yammer on about your fantastical bullshit and what it deifies. I accept the world without god. I don’t need an imaginary friend. I understand how things work, and if I don’t, I don’t attribute them to a deity’s caprice.

        • wtfwjtd

          Damn, I wish I could like this post more than once, you hit this one out of the park–again. Fucking brilliant.

        • hector_jones

          LOL Cody you are still going with this ‘that’s just your opinion’ approach after being resoundingly mocked for it the day before? They should give you your own sitcom.

        • JohnH2

          You will have to clarify what you mean by ‘supernatural’ as God works within nature per my belief.

          The variables in winning the lottery are known. In this case the law of large numbers does apply: there are only so many possible combinations of numbers in the lottery meaning given a certain number of tickets sold that one of them will win.

          The point I am making is that the number in the lottery themselves are not really ‘random’ they operate according to known laws but with unknown and untracked variables. Given precise enough knowledge of the initial state (and a mechanical lottery) and access to a supercomputer one could calculate which numbers will win the lottery prior to it happening.

        • Kodie

          You are personifying natural events and say god plays in his dollhouse, like Jenna.

        • wtfwjtd

          My initial point still stands–our lives are a collection of statistically improbable events, and there’s no reason, justification, or evidence whatsoever to assume a deity in any way orders, alters, or has any effect on these events in any demonstrable way.

        • CodyGirl824

          wtfwjtd, you say this: “…no reason, justification, or evidence whatsoever…” This is a claim to omniscience.

        • wtfwjtd

          Then let’s see your evidence Jenna.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you see ..no reason, justification, or evidence whatsoever…” given the universe of evidence that we all share, then I know that my evidence (my own relationship and experiences of/with God) won’t make one bit of difference since you will reject any and all evidence. This is understandable since to support your belief that God does not exist, you must reject any and all evidence because there is no evidence and cannot be any evidence of something/anything that does not exist. Non-existence produces not a trace of evidence.

        • wtfwjtd

          More bullshit, runaround, and obfuscation. What’s your point in all this Jenna? Does it make you feel good for Jesus? Or do you just enjoy trolling?

        • CodyGirl824

          I am merely pointing out your insincerity in asking me for evidence.

        • wtfwjtd

          You didn’t offer an honest answer to any of my questions again. And, we both know that you don’t present evidence because you don’t have any evidence. So, again, why are you here?

        • hector_jones

          Then why are you here?

        • Kodie

          “Theological implications” are not evidence. You have experiences and don’t know what they are, then you ask a fiction-writer what they could mean. Then you believe them, then you say your experiences are evidence for what you want them to mean.

        • CodyGirl824

          I never said that “theological implications” are evidence. They are interpretations of evidence. I am fascinated by your creation of this idea of a “theological implications machine”, which I call the rational mind.

        • Kodie

          Oh dear Jenna, tears from laughing so hard. Interpretations that invent fantastical theology from nothing are not rational. They are fictional.

          You have a made up story, and every time you learn something new, you run it by this fiction to add some deification to it. That isn’t any more rational than referring to The Cat in the Hat to find out the seussical implications of things.

        • wtfwjtd

          (Guffaw) (snort) Cat in the Hat! LOL!

        • JohnH2

          Again my point is that that one knowing the probability of events, the distribution, does not in any tell us why that occurs or what causes the occurrence. This isn’t the lottery where the rules governing the movement of the balls are known; that there are those that spontaneously heal and a distribution can be drawn and a mechanism of how it might be happening be known does not mean that it is not a miracle. Statistics is designed to track miracles, choice, and randomness but is more an expression of what we don’t know, or don’t know enough about, and is not in itself an explanation.

          Saying that x% of people spontaneously heal itself is neither proof or disproof of God. To those that believe that God does and can heal people then it is evidence that their belief is correct, to those that don’t believe that then some other explanation of why is needed as the percentage alone tells us nothing outside of fevered minds that have faith that assigning a number to everything is itself a disproof.

          I again suggest that you read and follow what is in Moroni 10:3-5 as that is the best way I know of to get convincing evidence for the person following that promise.

        • wtfwjtd

          I see our lives as containing many random elements, some highly improbable, whereas you (and others) see the Invisible Hand of God mostly running the show. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this point I guess.

        • Kodie
        • JohnH2

          Which demonstrates my point. Due to interactions of previous balls and other slight variations the balls sort out into a probability distribution, but were each ball to fall with precisely the same momentum at the pins which were set to rest exactly the same each time than instead of a distribution one would have all the balls fall in exactly the same slot. Just like a coin toss:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1697475

        • Kodie

          You have invented a god who places all the balls in the middle except a few and then he personally hands them their special fate. Ludicrous fantasy.

        • JohnH2

          Emoting isn’t an argument.

        • Kodie

          Why, you have an answer for everything, to create a god that explains natural events. You have no evidence. Life is full of variables, you have god’s hand in those variables, distributing special and rare fates to folks on the end of the bell curve. You didn’t provide evidence of this, you just asserted it, and no amount of education contrary to that fact matters because you build another feature of god. No explanation needs god.

        • Kodie

          That’s far-fetched. You came up with a rationalization to wave away statistical probability so you can claim that god chooses very few people to help, only to demonstrate his existence and not actually to help them, but to convince others that rare chances means god can actually do more, he just chooses not to, but that’s not what’s really important.

          Your ignorance and the stories you make up are pathetic.

        • Kodie

          You’re a gullible juror. No chance of that, right?

        • MNb

          Since many decades miracle claims are not accepted anymore in any trial, so that’s a false analogy.
          Here we have written testimony of/from real people about real events and real experiences:

          http://www.culturu.com/index.php?board=19.0

          According to your method you have to accept that bakru’s exist.

          http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakroe

          Their bodies are half flesh, half wood; if you try to hit them they turn their wooden half towards you, so that they don’t get hurt. They perform black magic.

        • Kodie

          We know what you are calling “miracle stories” – testimony that someone felt comfort or had a coincidence, and you taking the theological implications machine and attributing those experiences to a supernatural entity reaching out and intervening.

        • CodyGirl824

          Try the testimony of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s in the public domain. What is your explanation of the resurrection, other than the intervention of a supernatural entity? Go for it!

        • Kodie

          I don’t explain things that never happened. Testimony schmestimony.

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

          Oh and there’s Cody, aka Jenna Black, actually posting comments in that thread.

          So we’ve been over all this ground with her. But she acts like it never happened, like we never made the arguments at all. She’s right back to square one asking what atheists think about the resurrection. It’s all gone in one ear and out the other.

          She’s been acting in bad faith all along, not that that should come as a surprise to anyone.

        • wtfwjtd

          “She’s been acting in bad faith all along, not that that should come as a surprise to anyone.”

          Yesterday, Jenna called Kodie a pig, and accused me of being insincere. LOL! I guess she’s trying to win us over with her Christian arrogance and condescension, er, I mean, Christian humility. I’m sure she’s very proud of her humility, er, I mean herself, she’s really showed us god-damned heathens the depth and quality of her Christian character, as she “witnesses” to us for Jesus. I’m sure her buddies from the “Thinking” Christian would be proud.

        • hector_jones

          She couldn’t even keep her own son in the fold. But she’s going to win us over by calling us pigs. Sure, why not?

        • CodyGirl824

          Hector, your reference to my son who is an ordained Buddhist priest not being “kept in the fold” is totally ridiculous. My son is a holy man and a teacher of religion. I know no one personally who is more religious and spiritual than he. He says that he pursued his religious path because I taught him the importance and value of spiritual and religious discipline. I don’t know what you mean by “the fold” in making this comment. See John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms.”

        • wtfwjtd

          See John 10:7–“7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.”

          and John 10:1–“anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”

        • CodyGirl824

          I consider it to be very disrespectful to pretend to be quoting the Bible while changing the wording for purposes of argumentation. Couldn’t we please agree to quote verbatim and then give our analysis of the passage? This seems like a small courtesy to offer people of faith.

        • MNb

          Don’t worry – most of us here totally disrespect your views on religion and spirituality. You should be the last one to complain as you entered this site by showing contempt for atheism and has displayed it since many times. Of course I don’t exclude the possibility that you are one of those christians who only applies the Golden Rule to other people.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, I fully understand that atheists disrespect religion and spirituality and my views of same. Unfortunately, they seem to be unable or unwilling to make the distinction between religion and spirituality and the people who practice it. Perhaps I do display contempt for atheism since I believe that it is false. But isn’t this the purpose of this blog? To exchange views about religion vs. atheism? Or maybe I have misunderstood and the real purpose of this blog is simply to insult and mock any of the few people of faith who happen to wander in. There is plenty of evidence here to suggest that this is the case.

        • Kodie

          Why do you display contempt for atheism? You have been an asshole since day 1, an oblivious fucking douchebag of a chore to talk to. You’re not here to exchange views. This little note of yours, you’re trying to gain sympathy and act like an innocent victim who only wanted to come in here and open the window of opportunity to discuss what monotheism deifies and now you have to listen to things you don’t believe! You have to consider them, in order to have a conversation like a decent human being.

          You’re not being one, so shut the tears off about not being treated like one. We know a few Christians who know how to have a conversation, they’re not all hissy-fitting liars like you.

        • wtfwjtd

          “But isn’t this the purpose of this blog? To exchange views about religion vs. atheism?”

          Haw haw, you are a fucking comedian Jenna. You’re not here to “exchange views”, you are here to make pronouncements:

          “I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist.”
          –Jenna Black, aka Cody

          In case you hadn’t noticed, we really don’t give a fuck about your arrogant, condescending, “because Jenna says so” pronouncements.

        • MNb

          “But isn’t this …..”
          This isn’t butworthy because it doesn’t contradict anything I wrote. You are as always your evasive self.
          AfaIc I don’t care if you display contempt. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, we’ll probably never meet so I don’t care what you think of me. I sincerely hope it’s the other way around too.
          My point is that you have given up the right to complain about our disrespect for you the moment you entered this blog, simply by displaying equal disrespect for atheists. So even if I never have called you names like Kodie has you get my virtual middle finger for

          “This seems like a small courtesy to offer people of faith.”
          simply because you totally have failed to display similar courtesy to us. That’s what the Golden Rule is about; you refusing to even address it makes me conclude you only apply it to other people indeed.

          “Or maybe I have misunderstood and the real purpose of this blog is simply to insult and mock any of the few people of faith who happen to wander in. There is plenty of evidence here to suggest that this is the case.”
          Improve this blog and begin with yourself.

        • wtfwjtd

          The only pretense here is in your mind Jenna. Nothing was “misquoted” above, the passage speaks for itself. Deal with it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. My mistake. I apologize. You did quote the verses accurately, although you didn’t quote it fully.

          John 10: 6-8
          “6This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8″All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.…”

          Note that the passage makes clear that Jesus is using a “figure of speech” to clarify his teaching. There are many passages in the OT and the gospels that use this “figure of speech” regarding what we Christians refer to as “The Good Shepherd” such as Psalm 23.

          Rabbi Michael Samuel has written 2 wonderful books about the shepherd/sheep metaphor. This is his most recent edition: “A shepherd’s song: Psalm 23 and the shepherd metaphor in Jewish thought” (2014).

        • wtfwjtd

          Of course it’s a figure of speech. If you don’t like that one, here’s one that’s a little more direct–John 14:6–“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

        • hector_jones

          Everyone knows that’s Jesus’ way of saying ‘Become a Buddhist’. D’uh.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are really hung up on labels, hector. My son the Buddhist priest is much closer to “our Father” through the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) than many Christians I know.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah I’m the one who’s really hung up on labels, says the woman who insists that Christianity must be labeled monotheism in spite of angels, the trinity, the devil, etc, and who just argued that ‘non-theism’ and ‘atheism’ are totally different.

        • CodyGirl824

          I “insist” that Christianity is monotheism because it is. Frankly, I don’t understand why atheists make the argument that it isn’t. What rhetorical or logical advantage do you think you gain from this?

        • hector_jones

          You ‘insist’ on it because the label is so important to you. This is obvious because you have never made any coherent argument demonstrating that Christianity is, in fact, monotheism. I make the argument specifically to show how hung up on labels instead of facts you Christians are.

        • Kodie

          Basically, all you want to do is believe what you want and never get criticized for it. Criticism just means to you that atheists don’t get it. That’s part of your belief system of denial and deflection.

        • Kodie

          So a Buddhist is more Christian than Christians you know. Is he closer than you are? How do you know how close these other Christians you know are? If they all got the relationship with the lord that you claim is so transformative, it’s impossible to miss, I just wonder how you know they are not as close as your son is, especially since he’s not actually a Christian.

          Part of me thinks you have to believe some serious bullshit to hold it together because you’re in denial that your son is going to hell. You just don’t want to believe that, so anything that makes it not true (other than atheism*) is satisfactory to you, and we already know whatever is satisfactory to you makes it true.

          *A recognition that your beliefs are a fantasy-atheism, not the mad-at-god iteration of Christianity you’re practicing now.

        • CodyGirl824

          I love this passage! Here is my analysis of it:

          There is no one interpreta­tion of what the Gospel tells us about “one true faith”. My belief about this are based on John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I pay close attention to the pronouns in this verse. Jesus says, “I am” and then says “the way, the truth and
          the life”. He is speaking as the Son of God, not as a simple carpenter from Nazareth. He then says that that we must go through him (“the way, the truth and the life”), using the pronoun “me” to get to the Father, meaning God. For me, this means that in order to get to God we must seek the way (a definite path, not wandering around all over the place), seek the truth (no falsehoods that lead us into sin) and live our life (The Life) seeking the Father God. I believe that there are many ways to the truth and many paths through truth to find God. Of course, this requires love of/for God and love for our neighbors as our selves. This interpretation leads me to affirm the universality of Christ’s teachings.

        • wtfwjtd

          Let’s just apply Occam’s razor: Believe in Jesus, or perish. Or, as you Christians love to say: “Turn or Burn.”

        • CodyGirl824

          This is not consistent with Jesus’ teachings, or, in fact, with the teachings of Judaism, keeping in mind that Jesus was a Jew.

        • wtfwjtd

          Another dictate “according to Jenna? ” Real convincing. Show me.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, my interpretations of Jesus’ teachings and of the teachings of Judaism about “the way, the truth and the life” are entirely my own. They can even be properly called “opinions.” What I wonder about is why it is so important to you to argue that Christianity condemns other religions. I speculate (but cannot know) that this may be because there are some, perhaps even many, who are very judgmental and condemnatory toward any and all religions other than Christianity. Note the similarity between those folks and atheists, who are condemnatory of any and all religions.

        • wtfwjtd

          “What I wonder about is why it is so important to you to argue that Christianity condemns other religions. ”

          I don’t argue this, the history of Christianity proves it. Or are you so stupid as to pretend you’ve never heard of the inquisition, or the Crusades, or dozens of other violent attempts by Christianity to stamp out other religions? Do atheists have to school you on everything?

        • CodyGirl824

          You are not “schooling” me about Christianity. Are you sure you want to go there with incidences of persecution by Christian institutions of non-Christians in arguing about Christianity’s history, since this opens the door to talking about the horrific atrocities attributable to atheist regimes who systematically murdered the followers of any and all religions?

          Please note that I made reference to Jesus Christ’s teachings, who commissioned his followers to teach all “nations”, the Jewish term that refers to those who are not Jews, i.e. the Gentiles.

          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.”

        • wtfwjtd

          Bring it on Jenna, let’s talk about horrific atheist atrocities, committed by atheist regimes in the name of atheism. Where do you want to start?

        • CodyGirl824

          There is no such thing as “in the name of atheism” but there are identifiable atheist regimes that declare state atheism and persecute followers of religion. The best source for a thorough treatment of this topic that I have read is in Rabbi
          David Wolpe (2008). “Why faith matters.” There is no need to rehash his excellent analysis based on credible and well-researched statistics.

          In any case, the fallacy I wish to point out and avoid is that of attributing evil behavior of human beings to the religion or non-religion that they happen to follow to the religion or “ism” itself.

        • wtfwjtd

          So you want to tell me that the atrocities of the Inquisition were not committed in the name of Christianity? Wow, you are in major denial.

        • Kodie

          In any case, the fallacy I wish to point out and avoid is that of
          attributing evil behavior of human beings to the religion or
          non-religion that they happen to follow to the religion or “ism” itself.

          What fallacy is that? They believe god wants them to do something or justifies their actions. They have the same fever of belief that you do. These are people who get religious experiences. Let’s take this another way – you seem to think you can tell it’s not their beliefs overcoming their sensibilities, because? Because they’re just humans? Because a true Christian wouldn’t do that, but it’s very very very easy to get swept up in a cause – for god – that you can’t even think straight, and do very bad things? Isn’t that really what the Jews did actually?

        • CodyGirl824

          When people commit evil acts and attempt to justify them based on religion, the root cause of the evil should be examined. Usually their evil acts are a power grab of some sort, based on their will to dominate and subjugate people they consider to be inferior (less intelligent, less worthy, etc.) They hope to legitimize their evil through religious ideals and rhetoric. Evil committed in the name of a religion or an “ism” is still evil. I have seen earlier comments from you that indicate that you understand this.

        • Kodie

          I understand it. You don’t understand it.

        • Kodie

          This doesn’t agree with your thoughts on “my father’s mansion has many rooms”.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why not?

        • Kodie

          Aka, Christianity cramps your style so much you have to distort it to reconcile it so it can agree with you. And we’re the ones with the problem with Christians? We’re the ones with a problem with god?

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, I don’t know how you think I have distorted Christianity. And yes, clearly atheists have “a problem with God.” The difference of perspective between atheists and Christians is around the notion of God’s (whatever is understood by the term) “existence” (whatever is meant by the term). Certainly we agree on this difference. I really don’t understand what point you are trying to make here.

        • Kodie

          Reading comprehension fail, evasion? I’m talking about the CHARACTER GOD, not the existence of god, you dope.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree that atheists have a problem with the character God or the character of God because atheists have a very distorted understanding of God, which causes them not to believe in God. Now please tell me how you think I have distorted Christianity.

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh, I dunno, maybe with the pantheist crap you spout when it’s convenient? Or, maybe saying that believing in Jesus is optional?

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean by “believing in Jesus”?

        • wtfwjtd

          Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not what *you* mean.

        • CodyGirl824

          Could be.

        • Kodie

          That he died for any reason to do with you or me, or resurrected or was the direct relative of a personified universe.

        • Kodie

          You feel rather comfortable that any interpretation that blows your skirt up is cool with the god described in the bible. You take verses that mean one thing, and twist them to mean anything you like, contradict yourself five minutes later, don’t even notice or care. It’s all Jenna-style. God agrees with you, not the other way around. You have a problem with his character, so you changed it.

        • wtfwjtd

          Jenna and her god always agree on everything! What a coincidence!

        • CodyGirl824

          Absolutely not! If I disagree with God, I am wrong. Whatever makes you think this?

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh, I dunno, maybe all the posts that you make that says this?

        • CodyGirl824

          Again, I repeat, I don’t have a problem with God’s character. None at all. It is impossible for me to change God’s character, although my understanding of God constantly grows and deepens.

        • wtfwjtd

          Of course you don’t have a problem with your god’s character, because it’s YOUR character!

        • CodyGirl824

          My understanding is that you have a problem with the God of the Old Testament. Is He your character? If not, then whose character is He? This is an important question.

        • Kodie

          I don’t refer to the bible, I don’t try to make it say what I want it to say.

        • wtfwjtd

          The god of the Bible is your sock puppet Jenna, he says to you whatever you want him to say.

        • CodyGirl824

          I really get the impression that you don’t understand what it means to believe in God, but nonetheless, you strongly disapprove of it.

        • Kodie
        • wtfwjtd

          I know exactly what it means Jenna. And when I meet people like you, it illustrates how such belief poisons people’s minds, and seriously distorts their sense of right and wrong.

        • CodyGirl824

          Poison’s people’s minds? How so?

        • Kodie

          Do you have short term memory loss?

        • Kodie

          There is no one interpreta­tion of what the Gospel tells us about “one true faith” when you’re a cherry-picker like I am!

          Fixed that for you.

          I notice now we are exchanging bible passages and you are all, “Aaaah! Now I get to blather on and on about how meaningful my faith is to me!” Nobody gives a fucking shit, you know that, right?

        • Pofarmer

          That was. So vague. As to be. Absolutely meaningless.

        • Kodie

          Nobody here is confused about the metaphor regarding shepherds and sheep.

        • wtfwjtd

          …except Jenna, of course.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, try reading John 10:1. Nobody changed the words, they just typed in the verse number wrong.

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2010&version=NRSV

        • Kodie

          I consider it to be very disrespectful to lie as much as you do and accuse someone of misquoting the bible just to shut you up. We know you’re never going to shut up.

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies, God the Creator.

          You are expecting courtesy?

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

          You know the rules! If a Bible quote doesn’t fit Cody’s presuppositions, you’re quoting it out of context.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, this comment does not reflect what happened in this exchange. I actually mistakenly thought that wtfwjtd and not quoted the passage verbatim and had altered the words. I looked it up and discovered I was wrong and then apologized. This has nothing to do with quoting out of context. In fact, short quotations are always “out of context” and often the context needs to be provided to show how the quotation is relevant to the discussion and/or argument. I felt that it was important to the “flock” and “sheep” discussion to point out the verse that stated clearly that Jesus was using this analogy as a “figure of speech.” I guess that snark is all I can expect from you now.

        • Kodie

          The context is contained in that quote. You seem to think the context of a “figure of speech” is necessary to understand what it meant, but you slink away from the verse that was pointed out to you. Nobody is confused by what Jesus meant by sheep. Why do you think that’s the important part of the context we’re missing?

          John 10:1–“anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”

          Pay close attention now. Follow the shiny red bouncing ball for once in your life. You didn’t really apologize, you immediately accused someone of writing fake biblical passages. You’re unfamiliar with the passage. I looked it up too, and then expanded the chapter to find a slight error in labeling the verse. When you realized you made a mistake, you thought you’d help us all by explaining what Jesus was using a “figure of speech” about sheep. Maybe you don’t get it because you think that a figure of speech about sheep doesn’t make the passage mean what it clearly means?

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

          I guess that snark is all I can expect from you now.

          Yep. Earn a different relationship, and we can upgrade to that. As of now, however, your rare gift of decent writing skills and admirable enthusiasm for apologetics has been rendered useless because you have no interest in actually engaging in the facts. You’d think that if I can put my worldview on the line (show me that Christianity is true, and I’ll convert on a dime) that you could, too. You can’t. When the conversation gets interesting, you change the subject.

          Show me that you have had a change of heart. Until then, you’re a waste of time. Other commenters here play “Spot the fallacy!” with your comments. I admire their patience.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, I really have no intention of trying to convert anyone here. I have found that blogging folks are usually “hard core” believers in what we believe or don’t believe. My hope is that, if nothing else, you may have gained a sense of how Christians can and do respond to atheists’ arguments. Christian apologetics is not really about “putting a worldview on the line” so much as it is about sharing knowledge and more importantly, experiences of/with God in our faith journey. I sincerely believe that there are no strong and valid arguments to be made against Jesus Christ’s teachings, which are all about love. The way to know that Christianity is true is by living it. And what does atheism really have to offer as a worldview? A lack of belief in God does not a worldview make.

        • Kodie

          God demanded a blood sacrifice, that’s just for starters.

          The way to know that Christianity is true is by living it.

          When you lock yourself inside your impervious fantasy bubble, it makes all the sense you create it to have and none of the flaws the rest of us can see plainly.

          And what does
          atheism really have to offer as a worldview? A lack of belief in God
          does not a worldview make.

          Are you really that simple? Reality can’t conform to whatever worldview makes it more pleasant or easy-to-digest for you. Morality doesn’t come from your worldview, at least not in a consistently moral way. There is nothing really going for your “worldview” that makes it attractive, and attraction isn’t how a person should decide what to believe.

        • Pofarmer

          A lack of belief in God does not a worldview make.

          In the immortal words of Maclkemore “It’s a damned good place to start. “

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

          Bob, I really have no intention of trying to convert anyone here.

          Are you then just passing the time of day here?

          I’m actually giving you feedback on how you come across. Some people might find that useful, at least somewhat.

          I have found that blogging folks are usually “hard core” believers in what we believe or don’t believe.

          This blogging folk is hard core about the truth and reasonable engagement. When I have dozens of back-and-forth engagements with you and you show no interest in actually engaging with the arguments, I get irked.

          My hope is that, if nothing else, you may have gained a sense of how Christians can and do respond to atheists’ arguments.

          Nope. Not a bit. And that’s the tragedy. I’ve put in a fair amount of time, giving you a chance, letting you have your opportunity to show us what you’ve got. And you’ve got nothing. This has been a waste of time. You have given us regurgitated arguments, and I’ve learned nothing new (I continue to learn things from Christian authors, but I don’t think I’ve learned anything from you).

          But that’s not even the point! We all are at different stages in our development (let’s assume that you actually are developing rather than being stagnant), and if you simply aren’t a teacher for me right now, not a big deal and not surprising. What is a big deal is that you show zero interest in adapting or changing. You’ve never realized a flawed argument and told us that you won’t be using that one again. I believe I’ve seen you correct yourself once, and maybe there’ve been more instances. That’s a good thing, but I suspect that there were many missed opportunities.

          You’re a robot who refuses to change. You’re a waste of time.

          Christian apologetics is not really about “putting a worldview on the line”

          Do you see why that’s a problem?

          (No? Well then that in itself is a problem.)

          experiences of/with God in our faith journey

          That’s more step 2. I’m back at step 1: why would anyone believe or want to believe this story?

          I sincerely believe that there are no strong and valid arguments to be made against Jesus Christ’s teachings

          Jesus said, “Be excellent to each other?” OK, that’s swell. Shakespeare had some good advice, too. I’m still stuck on the “Does God exist?” and related questions.

          And what does atheism really have to offer as a worldview?

          Truth. That’s pretty compelling.

        • CodyGirl824

          I find it interesting that you refer to different stages in our development. I highly recommend this book about this topic: James W. Fowler (1981). “Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning.” New York: HarperCollins. Professor Fowler studies how faith evolves through fairly predictable stages (he discusses 6 stages) that involve questioning and reevaluating our beliefs and commitments over a lifetime. Dr. Fowler finds that in this process many people to reaffirm and remain with the teachings of their childhood or “conventional faith”, while others grow into what he calls a “faith of full maturity” that is “more independent and that Fowler calls “a universalizing, self-transcending faith.”

          Perhaps it will help you realize the inherent difficulties of dialogue between people who are at very different stages in their/our spiritual development. If/since you are at the stage where “Does God exist” is your burning question, the one you are “stuck on”, it is difficult for you to have much to contribute to someone who is at a stage 5, approaching stage 6 in his/her journey toward that “universalizing, self-transcending faith,” which I find to be very much parallel with what Abraham Maslow describes as the “self-actualized person.”

          As I have attempted to explain before, God’s “existence” is a non-issue for people of faith because of our understanding of the reality that we name, label and conceptualize as God. As St. Thomas Aquinas phrases it, “This all men speak of as God.” What atheists speak of as the God they don’t believe exists is not what believers speak of as God and the reality of God and the truth that is God in the world and in our lives. We are speaking past each other.

          It is worthwhile to ponder how people of faith and atheists can converse with each other without a need or desire to change each other. Christians are not commanded to change people. We are commanded to teach and if change happens (in the direction of a universalizing and self-transcending faith) as a result of our teaching, the glory goes to God. That’s what apologetics is about.

        • MNb

          BobS is not talking about spiritual development. He took another direction, like every single atheist here. You once again show your prejudice and your unwillingness to consider seriously views that deviate from yours.

          “It is worthwhile to ponder how people of faith and atheists can converse with each other without a need or desire to change each other.”
          Even if you’re not evangelizing (though to me you come across that way) this start is not bad at all:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2014/04/top-10-tips-for-christian-evangelizing-from-an-atheist/

        • CodyGirl824

          Well, if Bob S. is not talking about spiritual development, what kind of development is he talking about? For me and I believe that for most people of faith, religion is not just about “views” that may or may not deviate from other people’s. Our religion is the vehicle, the tool, for developing and expressing faith. I think you are pointing out a deep and important difference in motivation and purpose between atheists and believers. Apparently, you see exchanges with believers to be about their attempts to “evangelize” you (note the passive-aggressive connotation of the verb used this way) and your determination to resist being “evangelized”, while also expecting the evangelist to show some change in their “views” as a result.

          People of faith and atheists are at cross-purposes then. For the Christian who considers him or herself to be an evangelist, the purpose of interactions with atheists around the subject of religion is generally to share The Good News of the Gospel with the faith that some seeds of love and wisdom will fall on fertile soil while most will not.

          I like much of what Dan Fincke says in this article, but I also think that he misses this important point: No one should be “evangelized” against his/her will and no one should expect the evangelist to change his/her views in the process.

        • Kodie

          Apparently, you see exchanges with believers to be about their attempts
          to “evangelize” you (note the passive-aggressive connotation of the verb
          used this way) and your determination to resist being “evangelized”,
          while also expecting the evangelist to show some change in their “views”
          as a result.

          This is what you perceive? We’ve spent weeks reasoning at you why your beliefs are untenable and irrational. You take this effort to be in the cause of resisting evangelization? Yes, we do expect you to learn something you didn’t know before. You show no signs of having a purpose to learn anything you didn’t know before, and only to say more and more what ridiculous fantastical things you believe, with no evidence. Your perspective of us is one of conspicuous disdain and confusion, but I don’t see you seeking clarification. I see you continue to plug away at bullshit illogical arguments, ignore what anyone says are the flaws in these arguments, and pounce on anyone you don’t recognize yet just to see if you can use the same arguments to convince another person. You’re an insult to the concept of intelligence. You are only a pawn, a puppet with scripts. You don’t know how to handle it when someone goes off your script, that’s why atheists are justifiably exasperated with you.

        • wtfwjtd

          I can’t resist quoting from Richard Carrier’s “Why I am Not a Christian”, as it describes Jenna perfectly:
          “I cannot be an honest, well-informed pursuer of the truth who came to a fair and reasonable decision after a thorough examination of the evidence, because no such person can exist in the Christian worldview, who does not come to Christ. …I must be so deluded by sin that I am all but clinically insane…

          There is nothing I can do for such people. Nothing I ever show or say to them will ever convince them otherwise–it *can’t*, because they start with the assumption that their belief on Christ *has* to be true, therefore *right from the start* everything I say or do is always going to be a lie or the product of some delusion. They don’t need any evidence of this, because to their thinking it *must* be the case. Such people are trapped in their own hall of mirrors, and for them there is no escape. They can never know when they are wrong, even when they are. No evidence, no logic, no reason will ever get through to them.”

          Someone like Jenna comes here, and pretends that she has overwhelming evidence for the veracity of Christianity, and yet when pressed she can’t show any. She can’t even name a single miracle. We’ve been over and over how the “evidence” for the resurrection is so weak that outside of religion no one would take it seriously for some ordinary claim, much less the extraordinary one that it makes.We carefully show her the flaws of the gospels, the anonymous, 3rd person stories written decades after the fact, all borrowing heavily from the literature of the time, and she blithely ignores it all. And yet we are somehow deluded because we won’t accept her fantastical claims of god, based solely on her word, and her pronouncements. The emotional experiences that she has are supposed to be solid evidence, that we accept on faith, that proves it all.
          And on top of all that, she really thinks that we all secretly believe in her god, and we are just in rebellion. To her, it’s not about evidence or lack thereof, it’s about self-preening, condescending to us, and “practicing” her apologetics. All just to make Jenna feel good about herself.

        • Kodie

          Well, if Bob S. is not talking about spiritual development, what kind of
          development is he talking about?

          Personal growth, have you heard of it?

          For me and I believe that for most
          people of faith, [blather blather blather], while also expecting the evangelist to show some
          change in their “views” as a result.

          Let’s look at you, for example:

          “I’m beginning to think that Christians should be awarded some kind of
          badge of courage and devotion to The Cause for making atheists angry.” — Jenna Black/Codygirl824

          “I consider it to be very disrespectful to pretend to be quoting the
          Bible while changing the wording for purposes of argumentation. Couldn’t
          we please agree to quote verbatim and then give our analysis of the
          passage? This seems like a small courtesy to offer people of faith.” — Jenna Black/Codygirl824

          “None of you has to give anyone “any more reason that ‘it’s a story’
          about Jesus’s resurrection, unless you want any Christian to think that
          atheists are intelligent, open-minded people who apply reason and logic
          to find the truth in a “story”, which is actually the testimony of
          living breathing human beings who experienced the events told about in
          the “story.””–Jenna Black/Codygirl824

          “Christianity is a reality. You cannot understand Christianity unless you
          understand reality. Neither can you understand Christianity unless you
          understand what we Christians mean when we tell you that we believe in
          God. Otherwise, you’re only creating your own subjective version of
          Christianity, which you then reject. This explains atheism, which is out
          of touch with reality.”–Jenna Black/Codygirl824

          The Classic Jenna Black/Codygirl824:

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies, God the Creator. This is essential to any understanding of Christianity.

        • CodyGirl824

          I get my point, but I don’t get yours in reposting them. Perhaps that atheists’ idea/belief that God does not exist is impossible for them to dismiss/change. If/since this is the case, they will never understand Christianity. As we say in Spanish, ¡Qué será, será!

        • Kodie

          You take an exchange of ideas to mean you have the floor to talk about what monotheism deifies. That’s what you said and that’s what you meant. That’s evangelizing language. That’s not an exchange of ideas language, for you would have to accept some of our ideas, at least for the sake of argument, to be a part of that equation. You are here to talk and not listen. You are here to, without any reason, not give our ideas a chance to reach you. I’m not saying that’s possible, but you are projecting. It is you who are resisting. We’ve heard all your apologetics arguments before. We respond by pointing out where they don’t make any sense, in an attempt to exchange ideas with you. You serve the ball, we volley it back, that’s how it’s supposed to work. If your ideas/beliefs that there is a god had any merit, you wouldn’t be so afraid to learn something new.

          As we say in Spanish, ¡Qué será, será!

          As we say in Latin, non sequitur.

        • MNb

          “what kind of development is he talking about”
          Intellectual development (I couldn’t find the expression a few hours ago). You won’t get this when you uncritically cling to a book written 2000 years ago.

          “Apparently …..”
          More prejudice based assumptions. Frankly I don’t care whether theists try to evangelize or convert me. I am so confident about my lack of faith that I don’t need any determination. Neither do I care if the theists which are my debating partners change their views or not. I am utterly pessimistic about my capacity to change other people’s views. What’s more it doesn’t make me particularly feel good when it happens, because I don’t think (de)converting makes someone a better person.

          “the purpose of interactions with atheists around the subject of religion is generally to share The Good News of the Gospel”
          Yeah, like I haven’t heard the not so Good News a gazillion times before say last 45 years since I entered Sunday Class and read some Children Bible.

          “some seeds of love and wisdom will fall on fertile soil”
          So it’s about converting unbelievers after all. But like I wrote I don’t care. You have my explicit permission to try to convert me as long, as hard and as often as you want. It is fun for me.

        • Kodie

          You think we’re “stuck” on a stage of spiritual development? You are in serious denial, mostly because you dispense with and dismiss the atheist idea/belief that god does not exist instead of participating in an exchange of ideas with us. You let it all wash over you and forget everything we tell you. You’re a bad listener is what you are. It’s not that your reading comprehension is fail, after all, it’s that you are just waiting for your turn to talk, and instead of actually reading words, and following the strands of a conversation, you skim for keywords and then bulldoze your way into another self-absorbed post about what you think we need to know.

          This is how I know religion is just marketing. You are here to sell us some of your manure, and you don’t care that we don’t need any.

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

          If/since you are at the stage where “Does God exist” is your burning question, the one you are “stuck on”, it is difficult for you to have much to contribute to someone who is at a stage 5, approaching stage 6 in his/her journey toward that “universalizing, self-transcending faith,”

          Since I’m back at the starting line saying, “Uh, are you really sure that there’s anything here?” I would think I have a great deal to offer. But if the only contribution you want to here is something that gets you to step 6, then no, I have nothing to offer you.

          Likewise, if your message is only interesting for the 4s, 5s, and 6s, I wonder why you waste your time with all us 0s.

          We are speaking past each other.

          That must be true for your other atheist antagonists here as well. Why waste your time here?

          It is worthwhile to ponder how people of faith and atheists can converse with each other without a need or desire to change each other.

          Since you’ve made clear that we’re speaking a different language, I think you’ve answered your own question—and demonstrated the validity of that answer, at least in your own situation.

          We are commanded to teach

          Jesus didn’t give the Great Commission®™ to you. He gave it to the apostles.

        • CodyGirl824

          Bob, I don’t think that atheists are at a zero in spiritual development. Not at all. My theory is that most atheists are folks who are at Fowler’s Stage 3: Synthetic-Conventional stage, moving into Stage 4: Individuative-Reflective stage, which is where Dr. Fowler says most people experience a “crisis of faith.” I won’t elaborate on my reasons for thinking this since you probably aren’t interested, but if you are, reading his book would be very enlightening for you.

          In any case, what I have learned from this exchange is that some folks here make a distinction between spiritual development or stages of faith (a concept they may reject) with “personal growth”, making a clear bad/good dichotomy. Some atheists may even take the position that faith in God impedes “personal growth” and therefore, deconversion is a sort of service atheists can provide to people of faith. Is this accurate? If so, it shows once again how we are talking past each other.

          And BTW, we Christians believe that the Great Commission is given to all Christians.

        • Kodie

          If you wouldn’t let “theological implications” cloud your interpretations of everything we say, we would not be talking past each other. Your idea here that everyone is on a path of spiritual development (such that you could not even comprehend another kind of development) is false. The idea that you see everyone somewhere on this grade means that you are only talking and not listening. We understand what you’re talking about, we just do not agree with the structure you’ve built to hang literally everything off of; how you comprehend the world is utterly wrong, and how you comprehend atheism is utterly wrong because of it.

          Now would you comprehend something I say, and not allow it to get past you? No, it doesn’t fit with what you already believe. I literally see, in you as a convenient example, that “spiritual development” is the journey towards utter wrongness, a swamp of goopy wrongness with a palpable fog of wrongness hanging over it. You can’t hear sounds, you can’t see objects, you can’t read words. I’m not that interested in deconverting anyone (I mostly agree with MnB about it and my ability to do so, anyway).

          Personal growth is personal growth. Why you see that, why you comprehend that from an atheist view to have anything to do with spiritual development says to me you willfully choose not to understand words at face value, and keep trying to expose “theological implications” no matter what. Spiritual development is obviously an affliction and nothing more.

        • wtfwjtd

          To Jenna, “faith” is defined as the blind acceptance of religious dogma with zero evidence. To her, the more blindly,more quickly, and more thoroughly you accept this dogma with zero evidence, the farther along you are in your “personal growth”, and the higher you are on the “faith” scale.
          That’s why she thinks she is so far-advanced in her “personal growth” and that atheists aren’t even out of the starting block. She bases her belief system on warm, fuzzy feelings, which she has all the time. Meanwhile, atheists use reason, logic, and evidence to inform the building blocks of their belief system. That’s why she is here, to tell us how wrong it is to base our belief system on reason, logic, and evidence, and to somehow convince us that her way is far, far better–basing beliefs on the warm fuzzies, while adding a dash of stuff that you fantasize to be true.

          No wonder we are talking past each other.

        • Kodie

          I’m mostly offended by her premise that if we only understood her, we’d be inclined to agree with her, and that we’re both talking past each other in languages neither can comprehend, when it’s really just mostly her. I don’t take her disagreement as a sign that she doesn’t understand, because Karl can understand and disagree. It’s when she regurgitates what she thinks we really meant back to us, and tries to fit what we’re saying into her own framework, or really anything she reads has to have theological implications, which is obviously a mangling type of fiction that reshapes complexity into “I’ve got it all wrong, but it’s the only way it makes sense to me, so it’s therefore correct.” She also implies that the rest of us are equally perplexed. She sweeps a wide range back and forth through her literal comprehension of miracles from a concerned deity, to this is merely language we use to comprehend complexity and put a name to it. So she is all over the map.

          The fact is that there are people who think like she does. Theists often use this as an indication that they’re correct and not talking nonsense.

          1. I am convinced.
          2. I have convinced others.
          3. It is convincing, therefore it is sound/intelligent/rational.

          When you say back to her what it sounds like to a rational person, this is not “understanding” it as she understands it. Well, no duh. She understands it is real. She finds it “helpful” in discussions with atheists to dispense with and dismiss our idea/belief that god does not exist, because that does not even compute to her. It computes to me perfectly well why some people believe there’s a god. I do not have to dispense with and dismiss their ideas/beliefs at all. I do not fear becoming convinced by something that might just make too much sense. I am not resisting being converted. When she puts it into such a language, she is saying it’s too complex for her to understand, so she must understand it “Jenna-style”. We are merely farther behind on our spiritual development, and she understands it as a need to catch up to her, to be taught and led by her, or that we are insulting her because we do not want to go where she thinks we need to go. She thinks she is here to help us – evangelizing. That’s what is wrong with her perspective.

          Every theist thinks we’re incorrect. Bob’s blog topics generally take something Christians believe and then take it down point by point, as per logic. Jenna is here to correct our impressions by making excuses. If we only knew god like she knows god, the holes in the logic are magically filled in. She doesn’t have to defend anything, she just says if we knew god we couldn’t see the flaws in the logic. Her confirmation is through experience. Without those experiences, she says she would have a much more logical, and as she conceives, flawed impression of god like we do; she wouldn’t believe in that god we describe either. She assumes we don’t have similar experiences, according to Maslow of all people, giving theological implications to the existence of certain emotional experiences. We either must attribute them to the existence of a spiritual dimension, or we don’t have those experiences, which is the only reason we’re atheists.and deny god as far as she can tell.

        • wtfwjtd

          This is another spot-on post Kodie, there is so much here that I like–here are a couple of my favorite parts:

          “I do not fear becoming convinced by something that might just make too much sense. I am not resisting being converted. When she puts it into such a language, she is saying it’s too complex for her to understand, so she must understand it “Jenna-style”.”

          Yes, she has this crazy idea that we are somehow resistant to, and don’t understand, the idea of god. I’m with you, and MNb here, I’d gladly express belief in god if there was compelling evidence to do so. But compelling evidence is obviously something that is way over Jenna’s head. For her, the warm fuzzies trumps the lack of evidence; us stupid atheists just don’t get it.

          ” Jenna is here to correct our impressions by making excuses. If we only knew god like she knows god, the holes in the logic are magically filled in. She doesn’t have to defend anything, she just says if we knew god we couldn’t see the flaws in the logic.”

          That explains probably 98 per cent of her posts here.

          ” Her confirmation is through experience. Without those experiences, she says she would have a much more logical, and as she conceives, flawed impression of god like we do; she wouldn’t believe in that god we describe either.”

          Hence her condescension to us; she is much farther advanced in understanding god, because her mind isn’t clouded by needing to have evidence and use reason to understand her concept of god.
          And to Jenna, only those who adhere to the rigors and routines of organized religion can have spiritual experiences. The rest of us are just clueless, in her view. To her, one knows god by: 1)”faith”–the blind, unquestioning acceptance of religious dogma without a shred of credible evidence; 2) Experiencing the warm fuzzies when thinking about god; and 3) running everything that’s puzzling through a theological implications machine. All these are essential to knowing god, according to her.

        • Pofarmer

          “We understand what you’re talking about, we just do not agree with the
          structure you’ve built to hang literally everything off of; how you
          comprehend the world is utterly wrong,”

          This can’t be said enough. Andrew Dickson White thought we were winning this fight in the 1890’s. I think he would be appalled.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you and Kodie realize what hubris it takes to tell another person, anyone, that how s/he comprehends the world is “utterly wrong”?

        • Kodie

          It would be hubris if we just met you, but you have about 800 posts of you being unabashedly wrong to hold up the claim.

          And aren’t you hypocritical, little miss “I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies, God the Creator. This is essential to any understanding of Christianity.”

          You seem to think you have something to teach us that nobody can understand without your 800 explanatory posts, that without the magical kiss of Jesus, we’ll just never get close. Hubris, ma’am?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m good with it. Do you really want to lecture anyone on hubris? I’ve been kinda sorta close to where you are. I know people where you are. It’s like looking at the world though greased glasses. You have to keep making up excuses why what you expect don’t exactly match up to reality, which is exactly what you’re doing, over, and over and over.

        • wtfwjtd

          Not only that but ducking the tougher questions, re-defining words, and just being generally evasive and dishonest. Jenna admitted as much to Kodie yesterday. Yeah, based on this evidence and lots of other evidence, there is only one logical conclusion: her way of looking at the world is willfully misinformed and patently dishonest.

        • CodyGirl824

          My way of looking at the world? Misinformed? Dishonest? I take it that this is based on your conviction that yours is the perfect way of looking at the world.

        • wtfwjtd

          My firm conviction is that I try to be honest. I wish I could say the same about you.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie,

          If it would help you to understand what Professor Fowler and other psychologists are talking about with what are “personal development” models or frameworks to replace the word “spiritual” with the word “worldview” development, this might help you understand what they mean. They investigate the way all humans develop a way of seeing and relating to the world around us, in all its dimensions. Abraham Maslow talks in terms of the self-actualizing person. Many psychologists such as Eric Erikson talk about stages of psychological development. Jean Piaget talks about stages of cognitive development. Lawrence Kohlberg studies stages of moral development. These models are ways of describing what you refer to as “personal growth” based on understandings of healthy high-functioning people with healthy personalities. Dr. Fowler focuses on stages of faith development based on his definition of the term, which may be but is not necessarily associated with belief in God.

          Fowler’s definition of faith, p. 92-3: “People’s evolved and
          evolving ways of experiencing self, others and world (as they construct them) as related to and affected by the ultimate conditions of existence (as they construct them) and of shaping their lives’ purpose and meanings, trusts and loyalties, in light of the character of being, value and power determining the ultimate conditions of existence (as grasped in their operative images–conscious and unconscious–of them).”

        • CodyGirl824

          You say this, Kodie: “Spiritual development is obviously an affliction and nothing more.” This is not what psychologists say based on their expertise and research, which you disagree with. Do you have expertise in “personal growth”? If so, could you send some citations of your writings and research?

        • Kodie

          This may be surprising news for you, but you have a habit of misconstruing research in that area.

        • MNb

          Your theory is wrong. I am rather at some subzero level of spirituality. As I never have had faith I never experienced a “crisis of faith” either. I guess you could say that I went through stage 1 as a baby and developed distrust with the Universe and the divine. Distrust in the latter – to use Fowler’s terminology, which is not very accurate when applied to me – only grew with the years, while I have developed distrust in the Universe to healthy scientific skepticism, something seriously lacking in many christians and specifically you.

          After reading

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fowler's_stages_of_faith_development

          (there is really no need to read the book as will become clear within a few seconds of reading the Wikipedia article)

          I am more than happy that I have avoided

          1. the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious (the Unconscious is a pseudoscientific concept btw, so that discredits Fowler at beforehand);
          2. anthropomorphic deities (sure, the god image I met was anthropomorphic, but I didn’t believe anyway – I thought it cool to learn to pray as a kid, but was overall indifferent);
          3. conformity to religious authority – as a young teenager I developed a strong sympathy for anarchism instead;
          4. angst and struggle – not necessary for anyone who understands the power of the scientific method and how it makes the divine superfluous;
          5. midlife crisis – according to all serious research a myth, except for the losers who never have been able to look reality straight into its face (google Ronald Kessler midlife crisis). It’s funny that Fowler implies that christians belong to that category of losers – he being a pseudoscientist (see the Unconscious) I won’t take this implication serously, but you as a fan should;
          6. your version of “enlightenment”, that mainly consists of tightening your blinkers and avoiding difficult questions.

          Thanks for providing some more reasons to be an atheist.

        • CodyGirl824

          So because of your atheism, you opt out of the human race? It seems to me that you are expressing great faith in scientific atheism, a worldview.

        • Kodie

          So because of your atheism, you opt out of the human race?

          What the ever-loving goddamned fuck is wrong with you?

        • MNb

          Are you pulling off the “No True Human Person” fallacy? Ie any member of the Homo Sapiens species who doesn’t fit into Fowler’s scheme is No True Human Person? If yes, what will be your next step? Justifying genocide on No True Human Persons like me?
          Indeed I proudly embrace scientism. I don’t need faith for it. Deduction and induction suffice. Because science works, as for instance the fact shows that we can communicate while living hundreds of kilometers away from each other. Faith – also called your underbelly – never has pulled off something even remotely comparable.

        • wtfwjtd

          From what I can tell, that Fowler dude isn’t talking about “faith” as Jenna defines it–her definition of “faith” is blind, unquestioning adherence to religious dogma with zero evidence. He seems to be talking more about what psychologists speak of as being “self realization” or “self-actualization”, or gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and how you fit into the world around you. But no god is necessary for this, as most of us know and understand.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree with you that belief in God is not necessary for a person to attain “self-actualization” but you might want to read what the psychologist Abraham Maslow who coined this term has to say about the role of “core-religious”, “spiritual” or “transcendent” experiences in the development and expression of the self-actualized person’s personality and life has to say: Abraham Maslow (1971). “Religions, values and peak-experiences.”

        • wtfwjtd

          My point stands: NO deity belief is necessary for a person to gain a deeper and more thorough understanding of themselves. In fact , there’s plenty of reason to suspect that such belief often hinders one from truly understanding themselves and their world around them.

        • Kodie

          Have we or have we not told you before that theological implications do not add to our understanding of psychology research, but alter it? You seem to believe these experiences mean more than they do, i.e. “self-actualizing” does not mean “knowing god”, as per your personal definition of spiritual development. You want to “spin” scientific findings to demonstrate spirit dimensions at the same time you claim no ethical scientist would “go there”. That means you came by that conclusion by adding fiction. How many times should we tell you these experiences are not out of the ordinary, and they don’t indicate a connection with a deity.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, your telling me however many times that you do not accept that there exists such a thing as spirit and therefore, do not accept any notions about spirituality, is merely restating over and over again your atheist worldview. I get this. However, merely repeating and reasserting your position many times does not make it more true than the first time you said it. I am attempting to steer the conversation in the direction of an examination of psychological research regarding the role of spirituality in the healthy personality of the self-actualized person. It seems to me that it is a universal human desire to be fully self-actualized. Atheists are no exception. We simply see different pathways for getting there. And I fully agree, “these experiences are not out of the ordinary.” What is different among us is our way of understanding them and talking about them.

        • Kodie

          Your way of understanding them is to add fiction and then try to use the research to prove how much we all need god, and also pretend to be literate and intellectual.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, the study of the psychology of spiritual and religious experiences and beliefs is a legitimate and important pursuit in terms of understanding human development. I don’t know why you disapprove of my referencing this body of academic and scientific research. Your objections seem to be rather anti-intellectual to me.

        • Kodie

          I don’t disapprove of your referencing it. What I oppose is your theologically implicating it, otherwise known as leaping to conclusions.

        • wtfwjtd

          “there exists such a thing as spirit”

          What kind of spirit are you talking about here? The Holy Spirit? Or are you referring to the belief that a human being has existence apart from their physical body?

        • CodyGirl824

          Ask Kodie. She’s the one who rejects the concept of the spiritual.

        • wtfwjtd

          More dishonesty and evasion. Atta girl Jenna, way to demonstrate the validity of my assessment of you.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am not being evasive. You gave me two choices: either the Holy Spirit or something “apart from ….” The idea and understanding of “spirit” is at the very core of all theology. The concepts of spirit and spirituality are articulated in so many different ways that I simply think it is much more efficient to have Kodie define what it is that she doesn’t believe in than try to define what these psychologists such as Maslow and Fowler mean in their work by spirituality. The Holy Spirit is a religious, doctrinal concept that is quite complex and expansive. The concept of a human being’s spirit or spiritual existence “apart from the physical body” is not exactly what these psychologists are talking about either, since they see spirituality as a dimension or component of every human personality. If this answer doesn’t satisfy you, I really don’t think that there is anything I can do about it.

        • wtfwjtd

          It wasn’t a trick question Jenna, just a straightforward inquiry about your beliefs. I’m aware of Kodie’s views on spirituality, and you would be too if you’d pay a little closer attention. If I wanted to know what a psychologist from the 70’s said about spirituality, I’d read their work. So, I guess you are unwilling to discuss the original question then:
          ” are you referring to the belief that a human being has existence apart from their physical body?”

          If not, what are you referring to?

        • MNb

          You are evasive. You postulate a spirit, so you are the one who has to define it, back it up with empirical evidence and explain why it is a useful concept in terms of knowledge and understanding. Also you have to explain your methodology, something you systematically refuse.
          It’s the same for phlogiston. Kodie doesn’t have to define it to recognize it is meaningless.

        • MNb

          “you may have gained a sense of ….”
          Your hope is unfulfilled, simply because we have read them all and you have brought up precisely nothing fresh.
          Christian apologetics is exactly what the word indicates: finding excuses for the problems that go with christianity iso honestly admitting them. For the zillionth time: my female counterpart is a muslima. She cares zilch about what we (specifically including me) are doing here. She summarizes it all as “so it’s just about having an answer ready”. She is right.

          “The way to know that Christianity is true is by living it.”
          Yeah yeah – the old tiresome “you first have to believe before you know it’s true”. Well, that explains why an antiscientific attititude pops up regulary in your comments. Science demands the opposite attitude:

          http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richardpf160383.html

          One should replace “experiment” by “observation”.

          Finally Pofarmer is right underneath indeed. Atheism is not a worldview. If you think there is any atheist who makes that claim you have a lot to learn.
          I am much more. I am a materialist (there are atheist dualists); I’m a utalitarian (for instance Daniel Fincke is not); I am a socialist (there are atheist conservatives, though not so much in the USA); I am an environmentalist; I have anarchistic tendencies; I pendle between idealism (meaning I think it’s worth formulating ambitious goals to improve the world and try to realize them) and pragmatism; I believe in equal rights (it’s not hard to find atheist racists and misogynists).
          How do you think I can maintain myself on a (secular) school where I am the only atheist? Because I have the same goals as the best of my colleagues.
          The reason I’m here is that it’s nice now and then to talk to people who share my atheism plus that it’s fun to tease people like you. BobS allows me to and I finish with thanking him for this.

        • MNb

          Thanks for your admiration, but I don’t think I deserve it. Spot the fallacy is part of my favourite game: to piss off other commenters.

        • wtfwjtd

          You want to see something really hilarious? Take a look and see how she mangles John 14:6 to make Christianity inclusive of every religion on the planet! Her son is the Buddhist Christian ninja, LOL!

        • Kodie

          That’s John 14:2, “my father’s house has many rooms”. I am reading this now, it sounds like he is just saying there’s plenty of room. It never says all are welcome. It’s not a metaphor about different religions leading to a place in heaven. 14:6 explicitly says the opposite.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, she used that one at first, but then in another reply below, she said mashed up 14:6 and said it had the same inclusive meaning as 14:2. You can’t make this stuff up!

          Edit: I meant to say Jenna ran it through her Theological Implications Machine to alter the meaning of 14:6 to equal that of 14:2. Thank goodness for this convenient and handy tool!

        • CodyGirl824

          Rather than imply that I’m making some kind of far-out-there interpretations, please tell me what you think Jesus meant by John 14:2″My Father’s house has many rooms.” What do you think he was teaching his disciples with these words? And more importantly, why do you object to an inclusive message from Jesus?

        • wtfwjtd

          Occam’s razor Jenna–Where Jesus is going his disciples can go, too.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not all of them. Judas didn’t make it.

        • Kodie

          Non sequitur.

        • wtfwjtd

          I said *can* go, not *did* go. Sheeesh.

        • CodyGirl824

          Judas couldn’t because of his own failings (sins), so what point are you trying to make? But maybe you have a point. If Jesus was talking about our Father’s house having many rooms, he certainly would have caused some concern among the disciples had he told them that our Father’s house has 11 rooms and he was going to prepare a place for 11 of them. And what does Jesus mean by “preparing a place”, which meant going before them to this “house” if he wasn’t referring to his own afterlife in heaven? See how exciting and illuminating exegesis can be!?

        • Kodie

          What the fuck are you rambling on about.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUlOjXwLBYk

        • CodyGirl824

          How is it that you think this phrase says the opposite of “different religions leading to a place in heaven.”? I have pointed out a number of times with a number of passages and have discussed the beliefs of the ancient Hebrews and Judaism regarding the salvation of the Gentiles. Why do you reject this notion?

        • Kodie

          You cannot reconcile an all paths lead to Jesus ideal with an explicit notion that one must teach and convert these people first.

        • CodyGirl824

          wtfwjtd, It is the Father who is inclusive of people of every religion, not Christianity. Keep in mind that when Jesus spoke these words, there was no such thing as Christianity. Jesus was a Jew, and he spoke of the beliefs about salvation expressed in the Laws of Noah for Gentiles and in the Law of Moses for the Hebrews. My son does not consider himself to be a Buddhist Christian. He is simply a Buddhist. If you can’t show respect for Christianity, at least show some respect for Buddhism.

        • Kodie

          Where does it say that?

        • wtfwjtd

          Holy fucking Christ child Jenna, what are you babbling about now? John 14:6–“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

          How is this not clear to you? Believe in Jesus, or burn in hell. Simple, no?

        • Pofarmer

          “If you can’t show respect for Christianity, at least show some respect for Buddhism.”

          Why?

        • MNb

          For this, you mean?

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

          It’s impossible for me to show even the slightest respect for any worldview that is capable of justifying terror like buddhists display in Myanmar.

          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23846632

          Now I don’t hold your son responsible for this, just like I don’t hold you responsible for christian antisemitism and you should not hold me responsible for Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. But I have detested physical violence my entire life, even if I won my fights as a kid (and I won many). So I never will accept any worldview, religious or not, that doesn’t specifically condemn it. Michael Bakunin was right: you can’t establish a society without violence (like Marx claimed) with violent means.
          Of course I understand it’s impossible to stamp out all violence. But it’s my strong desire to decrease it, wherever and whenever it’s possible. No abrahamist religion does; neither does buddhism. Yeah, I know there are christian and buddhist pacifists. They deserve my admiration. The problem remains that their belief systems can be interpretated to justify violence and afaIc that’s an unsurmountable flaw.

        • Pofarmer

          “The problem remains that their belief systems can be interpretated to justify violence”

          It’s not that they can be interpreted to justify violence, it’s that you must ingnor their calls to violence and their justification of it.

        • wtfwjtd

          And for Christianity, the huge problem there is it’s a religion literally based on violence. Witness how Christians regularly come here to wallow in the crucifixion narrative, and relish talking about it. Insurmountable flaw indeed.

        • CodyGirl824

          Is what is happening here, really, that a “belief system [is] being interpreted to justify violence”? My son talks about the “three poisons” in Buddhism: greed, anger/hatred, and ignorance. If we examine actions closely, isn’t all violence caused by one or all of these three “poisons”? This is like saying that the teachings of Buddhism (or Christianity) that are designed to teach against sin, violence, suffering, etc. are the cause rather than the cure.

        • hector_jones

          Yes it’s ‘totally ridiculous’ of me to think that an ordained Buddhist and an Episcoplian aren’t in the same fold. What was I thinking? I’ve met Catholics who think Episcopalians like you are going to hell. That’s some fold you’ve got there.

        • Pofarmer

          Episcopalians, Baptists, Unitarians, Atheists. We all look the same to them.

        • MNb

          Yeah, it’s almost like the religious wars of the 16th and 17th Century never happened. I wonder if there are still some cathars around who will rejoice that Cody puts them in the same fold as catholics?

        • hector_jones

          Yep. Believers are all one big happy family.

        • CodyGirl824

          Which means that you have not fully understood the metaphor of the “fold” nor have those Catholics who think Episcopalians are “going to hell.” And then there are atheists, who think that everyone else is “delusional”, “irrational” and “stupid”, although not in danger of hell, for not being atheists.

        • hector_jones

          Well then you’d better take it up with the Catholics and the Muslims and the Scientologists and all the other ‘believers’ who don’t seem to share your profound understanding of the metaphor of the fold.

        • CodyGirl824

          There are many, many people of faith in every religion who share this understanding of the metaphor of the “fold.” I am optimistic because of this reality.

        • hector_jones

          How many people?

        • MNb

          And then there are christians, who think that every atheist is “delusional”, “irrationald” though perhaps not “stupid” – christians like CodyGirl, who has written this explicitely herself, in fact in her first comment I ever read. Thanks for displaying your double christian standard once again.

        • CodyGirl824

          “Bad faith” you say? Do atheists believe that there is any other kind?

        • Kodie

          I’m trying to figure out if you were trying to make a joke or if you simply have never heard the expression. Since you can’t read for comprehension, and you can’t ever be said to be acting in good faith, often reading your own interpretations into what’s been said, you’re a fucking idiot. Get a dictionary.

          Bad faith
          noun
          “lack of honesty and trust”
          “1. intention to deceive; treachery or dishonesty (esp in the phrase in bad faith )”

          Good faith
          “accordance with standards of honesty, trust, sincerity, etc. (usually preceded by in )”

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, Bob, that is the first web page on your site that I visited and commented on. Remember that I told you that you had not delivered on your promise to give us a naturalistic explanation of the Resurrection. You simply argue that it never happened, which is the only “explanation” that atheists can come up with. Do you really think you are prepared to explain atheism at an “apologetics conference”?

        • 90Lew90

          Don’t be ridiculous.

        • MNb

          You told so hence it is so.
          Is it beyond your rational faculties to grasp that “it never happened, it is just a story” is all the explanation atheists ever need?
          If that’s the case Lew is right underneath.

        • CodyGirl824

          I simply suggest to Bob that if that is the “atheist argument” that he takes to an apologetics conference to explain atheism to a gathering of Christians, he might want to be prepared to be found to be, well… we’ve both used the term… ridiculous.

        • hector_jones

          Maybe you could give him some advice on how to cope with being found ridiculous?

        • Kodie

          You think it’s your place to speak for all Christians? Isn’t it better to hear what an atheist would say than to make up the atheist position? Christians get a lot wrong and one of them is what atheists would think or say. You are saying, Bob don’t waste your time, they have already been poisoned against listening to you! We already made you sound like a buffoon, and we like it that way!

          But where are all these atheists coming from? A lot of them used to be more Christian than you are. Atheism makes sense to Christians more than you realize, if you just let atheists speak for themselves.

        • Pofarmer

          What’s ridiculous is hearing a story about someone rising from the dead 2000 years ago and not going-“Really?”.

        • MNb

          Well, I don’t know about BobS, but I couldn’t care less if a bunch of christians, apparentely as prejudiced and close minded as you, can’t think of anything better than laughing a scientific hypothesis off. And scientific it is, given David Hume’s On Miracles.

          http://www.bartleby.com/37/3/14.html

          The common christian rebuttal here is that history is not a science. That seems to be a common view in the UK and in the US, but it’s not on the continent:

          http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2504124?uid=3739064&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103777812601
          http://www.metanexus.net/essay/history-science
          Of course I’m prejudiced, but I think the continentals are right. In the best Popperian tradition history can formulate hypotheses which can be confirmed or falsified by empirical data, whether they are provided by freshly discovered texts or by archeological findings. For instance the question if King David and/or King Salomon actually ruled a kingdom or not depends on one single piece of grain; unfortunately radiometry seems to be not precise enough.
          Anyhow even if history is not a science it applies some very rigid methods. One is, I already mentioned it, Testis Unus Testis Nullus. There is exactly one independent testimony of the Resurrection; it’s a miracle; the scientific approach requires to reject it as a historical event.
          Those who don’t reject the scientific method.
          (Not so) sorry for you and your cobelievers. I won’t be unhappy to lump you together with the likes of Ken Ham and David Rives: same (lack of) method, same motivation, same attitude.
          Btw this is why I haunted you with the question what your methodology is. Your consistent refusal to answer and explain it justifies my conclusion that you are in the same league as abovementioned creacrappers indeed. Fortunately for you I’m not only as nasty guy, but also a honest one, so if you change your mind and do care to present your methodology I promise to consider it seriously.
          So how are your Surinames bakru’s going?

        • Kodie

          Your misunderstanding of the topic and continued whining even now that Bob never answered the question. He answered it, you can’t read and you think it was about something else. If you feel tricked and manipulated because you still can’t tell the difference between what Bob’s topic was and what you imagined it was, maybe that ought to tell you something. It tells me a lot. It tells me faith is bunk, you can’t see clearly. You are easily tricked by ordinary things. And you are in a lot of denial about your shortcomings in that area particularly.

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

          I’m certain that I have plenty to offer and that I can hold my own at an apologetics conference. I’ve attended a few. But thanks for your thoughtful concern.

          I’m also certain that I can’t convince you of anything. Thanks for playing.

        • hector_jones

          You mean the conflicting, anonymous testimony of Jesus’ resurrection?

        • MNb

          That it didn’t happen, just like the Great Flood didn’t, no one in Suriname was ever haunted by bakru’s and Santa Claus never rode the sky with his sleigh. There is only one independent testimony of the event, so to use your court analogy, only one witness would be allowed. And as we all should know: Testis Unus Testis Nullus.
          At the other hand – if you think your “evidence” should be enough for an intervention of a supernatural entity you shouls also except Surinamese bakru’s and of course alien abduction. That is, if you want to be consistent, which I highly doubt.

        • wtfwjtd

          Theological Implications Machine? Ha, I love that! I guess that’s kinda like an 8-ball?

        • Kodie

          We don’t understand just choosing one religious path and then being sure it’s correct and, without going to the thorough work you think we ought to do to reject yours, you simply reject their claims. Yours is real, theirs is false, we don’t really understand how any of you got there.

          Why is that not a valid question? It’s actually an honest question, but you’re not an honest person, so I don’t think you’ll ever answer it honestly.

        • JohnH2

          Why would he reject the miracle stories from Islam, Hinduism, and all the rest?

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

          Well, that’s an interesting point. We should let him speak for himself.

          But you really think that Norm is OK with miracle stories from other religions?

        • JohnH2

          I would lean towards possibly not for Norm; CodyGirl should be if she is at all consistent in her position.

        • CodyGirl824

          JohnH2, I believe that God performs miracles in every culture. That’s my position.

        • JohnH2

          Right, if you said anything other than that then you would be inconsistent with other statements you have made in regards to religion, God, and culture. Some people take the universality of religion as evidence for God when it suits them but reject the implications when it comes to questions of whether God provides religious experiences and miracles in faiths that substantially differ from ones own; which is an inconsistent thing to do.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree with you, JohnH2.

        • MNb

          I agree too – it’s an inconstent thing to do for your god.
          Hey – why don’t you discuss the question with Cody whether the one and only god is material or immaterial? I promise not to intervene.

        • MNb

          Oh, you’re right here. He performs many in the country where I live. What’s more, we enjoy an abundance of non-divine miracles as well. The funny thing is though that they never happen in my presence. As soon as I arrive at the miracle seen all supernatural entities, including your god, immediately flee. I have always wondered how come.

        • JohnH2

          For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them

        • MNb

          Yeah – a nice example of begging the question. To experience something you first must believe in it.
          This applies as well to you, my child of god, as to superstitions like

          http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakroe

          Just like Cody always likes to argue there is no shortage of testimonies:

          http://www.culturu.com/index.php?board=19.0
          The weird thing is not only that they disappear as soon as I arrive, but also that they only occur in Suriname.

        • CodyGirl824

          You might be interested in what humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow in his book “Religions, Values, and
          Peak-Exper­iences (1971) has to say on this topic. See his findings that self-actua­lizing individual­s all have experience­s with the transcende­nt that he calls peak experience­s. Maslow suggests that the real division in humankind is not between the major world religions but between “peakers” and “non-peake­rs.” “Non-peake­rs” are those who because of their character structure (Maslow’s descriptor­s: “extremely rational, materialis­tic, mechanisti­c, ultra-scie­ntific”) regard “transcend­ent experience­s as a kind of insanity” even though all humans are capable of having peak experience­s, which bring joy, a sense of unity, beauty, peace, wholeness and aliveness. Maslow’s research is well worth reading since in my opinion he has described the difference­s between religious/­spiritual individual­s and atheists to a tee.

        • Kodie

          You are funny. Again you take a scientific experiment and wash it through your theological implications machine. When you say that ethical scientists do not make conclusions reach any spiritual nonsense, I suppose you think theology there is “ethical” and not, as science calls it “fictional”.

          Also your opinion that Maslow has described the difference between theists and atheists to a tee means you haven’t actually been listening to atheists as much as you’ve been telling them your preconceived notions of atheism. Because you’re an asshole, Jenna. You are rude and bossy and a bad listener.

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to
          quickly dispense with and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not
          exist. Then we open the window of opportunity to talk about what it is
          that monotheism deifies, God the Creator. This is essential to any
          understanding of Christianity.

          – Codygirl824, sockpuppet of Jenna Black.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, you notice those healing “miracles” only occur in remote places and third world countries, never in places where they can be examined and/or verified? What a coincidence! Industrialized nations make Jesus impotent, I guess. Maybe the answer is to industrialize the whole world, and then we won’t need to bother with those pesky, intermittent “miracles”.

        • JohnH2

          It is more acceptable to talk about miracles in third world countries and they are more likely to be believed in; That doesn’t say anything about them happening in other places.

        • wtfwjtd

          I won’t quibble with that, since religiosity tends to be a lot higher in the third world and education levels tend to be considerably lower, we see a far higher concentration of claimed “miracles” in the third world. And there are plenty of claimed miracles in industrialized nations too, but generally 1) of the unverifiable “healing” type, and 2) rarely if ever anything that can be examined or replicated. Once again, with verifiable evidence sorely lacking, I don’t find any of this to be persuasive.

        • CodyGirl824

          By definition, a miracle cannot be replicated. Generally, all we have regarding a miracle is the testimony of the person or persons who experienced it and the observable after-effects, such as a healing or a spiritual transformation. Of course, miracles cannot be “examined” in the moment that they occur or as they occur as a process over time, but they don’t need to be for 3 reasons: 1) the person(s) who experienced the miracle has/have an indelible memory of the experience and its impact on him/her/them and 2) many miracles are intimate and private and don’t need to be “examined” by outsiders for the person who experiences them to know their truth and 3) we have people’s testimony of/about the miracle, which we can, through reason and based on our own similar experiences, judge to be authentic and credible.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s real helpful Jenna, construct your belief system so that it is immune to logic, reason, doubt, or inquiry. What makes you think this approach is convincing to others?

        • CodyGirl824

          What? What “approach” are you talking about? Immune to logic, reason, doubt or inquiry? Do you have a methodology for examining miracles that you wish to propose?

        • wtfwjtd

          You’re the one making the fantastic claims without evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          Without evidence of what? Miracles are evidence of miracles.

        • CodyGirl824

          Exactly what claims do you claim that I am making? That miracles occur? There is lots of evidence of miracles, but to examine a miracle, you have to address a specific miracle and the testimony of the witnesses to the miracle. Bob Seidensticker doesn’t seem to be at all deterred by a lack of a method of inquiry from examining Jesus’ resurrection on this website , nor is the resurrection a miracle that is immune to logic, reason, doubt and inquiry.

        • wtfwjtd

          “There is lots of evidence of miracles…”

          Such as?

        • CodyGirl824

          Of what specific miracle do you ask for evidence of?

        • wtfwjtd

          I’ll make it easy for you: You made the claim, so you name the miracle and then provide your evidence.

        • Kodie

          All baseless assertions! Way to go, Jenna, you were asked about evidence and you just puffed up your claims without giving any evidence.

        • Kodie

          4) be really gullible. 5) Dunning-Kruger effect.

        • JohnH2

          Miracles aren’t supposed to be persuasive to those that don’t already have faith.

        • wtfwjtd

          So you view miracles as a fringe benefit for believers only? That’s an interesting view, that seems to run directly counter to John 2:11–“This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”

        • JohnH2

          Miracles are a “fringe” benefit of faith; which is distinctly different from belief, as I said, one that acts correctly but does not have belief has faith while the devils also believe and perish, to tie it more obviously to James,

          The disciples were already following Jesus, they already demonstrated faith. The miracle confirms their faith and allows them to have greater faith (which is closely related to trust), Jesus Himself couldn’t do great miracles in certain places because of the lack of faith (Mark 6 for instance).

        • wtfwjtd

          “The miracle confirms their faith and allows them to have greater faith (which is closely related to trust)”

          Interesting that you should put it that way; in John 6:19 the disciples, who had seen several miracles, were “terrified” as they saw Jesus walking on the water. How could they possibly be terrified if they really believed? This don’t sound much like a confidence-building experience to me.
          On another point, Jesus plainly states that personal sin is directly responsible for a man’s illness. Do you feel that sin is a cause of people’s illness today?

        • JohnH2

          Obviously, sin can be a cause of illness. I would think that illnesses due to alcoholism would be sufficient to demonstrate that to be the case, leaving alone other very obvious examples. John 9 and Job, among other places, also explain that not all illness has sin as one of the causes.

          For one thing they didn’t think that it was Jesus at first and for the second thing He was walking on water. At the time they were scared but Jesus demonstrating control over the wind and waves would build confidence in Him as Lord.

        • Kodie

          How do you folks tell the difference between god doing magic for you and the devil doing magic trying to trick you?

        • JohnH2

          good and bad really aren’t that hard to tell apart.

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

          Are you kidding? Your getting a promotion or a healing or whatever is exactly what the Father of Lies would do to cause you to drop your guard.

          In fact, they’re very hard to tell apart.

        • JohnH2

          And you would know this how Bob? From experience I take it?

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

          No, from trying to represent the views of some Christians.

          You’ve not heard Christians say stuff like this?

        • JohnH2

          I have heard Christians say a lot of things and the Devil is real and does seek to deceive but right and wrong still isn’t that hard to tell apart.

        • wtfwjtd

          The apostle Paul would disagree; in II Cor 11:14 he informs us that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”, and had apparently managed to”fool” a lot of Corinthians, to Paul’s chagrin.

        • JohnH2

          Actually he wouldn’t: He states that they are deceived because of the subtly of the Devil, but that the gospel is simple and that the minsters of the devil are to be judged, as he should be, according to their works.

        • Kodie

          That seems like a surefire system! /sarcasm

        • wtfwjtd

          Come now John, the implication of Paul’s words are clear here; in v 13 he tells us that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ”. He said previously that “he was not the least inferior to those “super-apostles”. Obviously, he has to go to great lengths here in trying to distinguish himself from the “super-apostles”, and he seems to flail around while doing it. The Corinthians were struggling trying tell Paul’s “real” message from the “fake” one, and he wasn’t very articulate in helping them do it. The “fake” message was mostly like Paul’s, with only a few small detail changes. And with so many different flavors of Christianity around, how is one supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff? Clearly, a muddled,difficult, and unclear picture, just like today.

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

          That doesn’t work. Jesus predicted the end in the lifetime of his hearers, and he’s still believed.

          Harsh judgment for false prophets is a nice ideal, but it don’t seem to work out that way in practice.

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

          I’m surprised at your confidence. Satan is way smarter than you, even though he’s backed the right horse, I’m guessing? I’m surprised that you’re confident that he couldn’t deceive you.

        • JohnH2

          Given that I am probably wrong about a lot of things, the Devil can and likely does deceive me. Right and wrong though are still easy to tell apart and choosing what is good and right is what is important.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you understood my question. Is walking on water good or bad?

        • JohnH2

          Is eating an orange good or bad?

        • Kodie

          Do you understand the question?
          I’m god and to prove it to you, I’m going to walk on this lake and not sink in. No strings, look.

          I’m the devil but I want to appeal to you as a god, and I’m going to amaze you by performing a miraculous feat, how does walking on water strike you? Here I go!

          But from your confusion that I mean good and bad, it’s fairly convenient you think god lines you up and guides you with “signs” to get you to your good fortune in life and the devil can only do bad things like make you sick or lure you into addiction.

          To further confuse things, religious people tend to ward off evil by abstaining from neutral things, or not considering moderation. For promises of a fantasy afterlife in the best place, god performs parlor tricks to prove he’s the real deal and adhere to rules that can be pretty ridiculous.

          Now, if I were the devil, the best way to ruin your one and only life would be to trick you out of enjoying it, and having fooled a majority of the people into judging you for daring to leave the safety of these mandates, you die and go nowhere.

          ————————
          As an atheist, the world is just the way it is and we’re animals that have to cope with certain conditions. As a natural biological function, we tend not to want to obliterate our own species, but in the nature of competition and ego, humans tend to favor a smaller group of themselves over another group. God seems to favor each group, if you ask each group separately, and they go to war. Is war good? Are those other people so bad we can’t work it out?

          We know when we’re not happy and we know when we’re happy. I can only take indications from you whether you are happy or unhappy or whether I have made you happy or unhappy. Perhaps I have stolen something that belongs to you and now consider it mine. Perhaps you stole something from me, and I have found out about it and demand you give it back. Both scenarios would make you unhappy, but I am not justified in the first scenario to make you unhappy, and I am perfectly justified in the second scenario to make you unhappy.

          There’s no god at the bottom of things or at the top of things for that matter. No magical tricks, no devil trying to trick me off a certain path to heaven. All of that makes up a dumb story where life seems more exciting than it is, that appeals to ego, where everything you do is marked on a report, G for good and B for bad. Where you see easy to distinguish good from bad, I don’t.

        • JohnH2

          Wickedness never was happiness, and ephemeral pleasures are also not happiness.

        • wtfwjtd

          What’s your definition of happiness?

        • JohnH2

          Eudaimonia

        • MNb

          Replacing one fancy word by another is not the same as providing a definition.

        • MNb

          I’m pretty sure Hitler and Stalin had quite their moments of happiness.

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

          Obviously, sin can be a cause of illness.

          As you surely know, this wasn’t what you were being asked. In the NT, the belief is that physical illness–mental illness or cancer, perhaps–can be caused by sin or by demons. Do you believe this is still a cause of illness today? And by sin, we’re talking about you getting a disease, not for any organic reason, but because God zapped you with it because of sinful actions.

        • JohnH2

          I believe I already answered this.

        • wtfwjtd

          Alcoholism itself is the explanation enough of illnesses directly attributable to it, we don’t need a supernatural explanation for those. So you are saying that personal sin causes people to become alcoholics?

        • JohnH2

          I think you might be working off a different understanding of sin than me; Alcoholism is a sin, in that even someone that has a predisposition to Alcoholism generally knows for themselves that Alcoholism is wrong. This also demonstrates the doctrine in Mormonism that punishment for sin is a natural consequence of it, not something God imposes on us.

        • Kodie

          You are saying it is a sin in itself, and that being a sin, it has been given a natural negative consequence. How about things that have natural negative consequences… you probably should limit your consumption. Your way has attached some kind of convoluted magical thinking that something was already labeled a sin because it just is, and sins will be punished conveniently by biochemistry.

          You don’t live and interact in the real world.

        • JohnH2

          So that is wrong is sin: something that has natural negative consequences is wrong, therefore it is sin. Again, you are the one that is attaching extra baggage to the word ‘sin’.

        • Pofarmer

          That is a definition so vague it is meaningless. Literally everything could be a sin.

        • JohnH2

          How is “that which one knows to be wrong is sin” vague?

        • wtfwjtd

          I think you may have missed part of what Kodie was implying here. At what point does alcohol consumption become a sin? 3 beers? 2 shots of whiskey? One sip of any alcohol? And on what basis? Having a few beers actually helps some people to achieve your eudaemonism, so that surely can’t be sinful, can it?

        • JohnH2

          That would depend on the person, what they know, what their disposition is, and what covenants with God they have made. Any intentional drinking of alcohol on my part would be sinning for me. Any intentional drinking of a recovering alcoholic may also be sinning for them. For others it would not be, could be a very good and necessary thing, and would only be wrong if they took too much alcohol.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ah, so sin has a flexible standard then. Not much in the way of absolute morality there, I see.

        • JohnH2

          Anyone that has made the same covenants that I have made, or that wishes to, would also have that same standard. Anyone placed in the position of an alcoholic would have that same standard. Given the same accountability, position, and knowledge what is right and wrong will be the same.

        • MNb

          Then masturbation isn’t sin. It doesn’t have any natural negative consequences; they are rather positive.
          Still as far as I know mormons do not exactly approve of it.

          Even if something has natural negative consequences the question rises to whom? Killing off animals or plants for human consequences obviously has natural negatvie consequences for them – for instance we rob them from the opportunity to reproduce.

        • JohnH2

          It is contrary to how we currently understand the law of Chastity, which we covenant with God to obey.

        • Pofarmer

          in other words, something is a sin if you, or the leaders of your religious sect say it is, which is very-typical.

        • JohnH2

          For me it is, for you, that is up to what you know to be right and wrong.

        • Kodie

          So, arbitrary.

        • JohnH2

          Possibly.

        • MNb

          Good for you, irrelevant for me and as breaking it still doesn’t have any natural negative consequences it makes your argument “sin: something that has natural negative consequences is wrong, therefore it is sin” still an ad hoc argument.

        • JohnH2

          Makes it a partially incomplete definition but one that is sufficient for pretty much any atheist.

        • MNb

          “a partially incomplete definition”
          Quite an understatement. No, the definition is clear enough and separates nicely what is sin and what isn’t. You only apply this definition in your belief system when it suits you.

          “sufficient for pretty much any atheist.”
          I doubt it, even if you replace “sin” with “evil” and/or “wrongdoing”. As I’m not representative for all atheists I might be wrong, but I suspect that most of them won’t like the natural fallacy that is implied by “natural negative consequences”. Remove “natural” and you end with Peter Singer. But far from all atheists embrace his ethics; Daniel Fincke over at Camels with Hammers for instance doesn’t, while my ethical system (another version of utilitarianism) significantly deviates from consequentialism, even with all the similarities.
          Anyhow any belief system that is as sexually repressive as yours is going to be dismissed without any further thought.
          So thanks for trying to help out atheists, but no thanks, we can figure out such things ourselves – and don’t need religiously inspired terms like sin for it.

        • Kodie

          No, you are calling something a sin because it has natural negative consequences. Having a drink doesn’t make someone an alcoholic. You are attaching baggage of sin to normal behavior because god decided to give it natural negative consequences. This is a convoluted layer upon natural consequences to behavior. Not everything is bound to be good for us, after all. They are simply bad for us, but most people can be moderate. Not everything labeled a sin is bad for anyone and no negative consequences follow doing them, only social consequences, created to enact some form of punishment on people labeled by those judging them to have a sin/behave sinfully. And not every bad behavior has a natural consequence. I consider it bad to be self-absorbed and oblivious to others in the environment, such as a careless pedestrian might walk into traffic, leaving it upon the driver to brake suddenly, and then wave it off or give the driver a gesture. These people never meet consequences for their behavior, and don’t take responsibility for endangering others. The insurance companies and laws tell me these people don’t deserve any consequences, and those consequences should be passed on to the motorist. This is probably to prevent willful vigilantism. But you can see what I’m saying. You’re saying instead that getting hit by a car is a natural negative consequence of carelessly wandering into traffic while absorbed in your own bubble. The truth is it doesn’t happen as often as it should, owing to people actually watching what they’re doing so others don’t have to.

          Alcoholism is only one outcome of enjoying a drink. If drinking were a sin, it would always be punished. One has to get addicted, and other life circumstances often contribute. Is having a shitty job a sin? Is having an ungrateful family a sin? Is not getting to ever be a major league baseball player and this is all going downhill a sin? Alcohol is considered self-medicating in some situations. It’s not the best way, and if you do go that way, it could turn out to only exacerbate your previous set of problems. Is our society’s lack of sympathy a sin? Is our society’s stigma of mental illness and mental health solutions a sin? You are simplifying a serious problem and say abstention is not a sin, and having a drink is a sin. It doesn’t always – or often – lead to negative natural consequences.

          But when people have a serious problem, you are blaming them for drinking and then cursing them with your god’s punishment of becoming an alcoholic. You are the one ignoring life’s actual complexity and sorting things you like and don’t like into “not sin” and “sin” and leaving them to their natural negative consequences – so “god” is the only solution. It’s not a wonder your belief system is extremely intolerant of drink, but it’s also intolerant of healthy or neutral behaviors. You take natural negative consequences as a signal that behaving a certain way is a sin FOR GOD. Leaping off a cliff is a “sin” because falling on the ground should teach you not to do it, like god put together all these natural equations to teach us how to navigate our lives. You sound like Jenna with all this extra theological implications. Gravity should be a factor in someone’s decision to do something on purpose, but is falling a sin?

        • JohnH2

          I covered that for most people having a drink is not necessarily a sin.

          Also covered that in this life not every consequence is from our own actions and not all consequences are readily apparent.

          Lack of sympathy is a sin, as is the stigmas for treating mental illness.

          It is intolerant of drinking because that is how we understand a revelation from God.

          For God doesn’t always play a part in what one knows themselves to be wrong or right.

          Jumping off a cliff with the purpose of getting hurt is a sin, yes.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s all fine and dandy, but it dodged the original question: Are people sinners because they are alcoholics, or are they alcoholics because they are sinners?

          As for that punishment thing,there’s a lot of collateral damage from having to deal with an alcoholic in the family. Are the spouses and relatives that have to deal with the alcoholic also being punished for their own sins as well?

        • JohnH2

          Assume we have person J, a completely perfect person. If person J becomes an alcoholic than they are no longer perfect because they are an alcoholic.

          Everyone is punished for their own sins and not for the sins of another; but in this life the rain falls upon the good and the evil and we suffer often times because of what others have done.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Everyone is punished for their own sins and not for the sins of another;”

          I think if you’d ever tried to live with an alcoholic you might see things differently. I see plenty of people being punished for the sins of others, of this I have no doubt.

        • Kodie

          Sorting people into good and evil and theologizing the way humans interact and have effects on others is extraneous bullshit.

        • JohnH2

          Not supposed to sort people into good and evil, I was giving an example, as everyone is imperfect so I needed a hypothetical perfect example to illustrate the point.

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

          I wish you’d convince the Christians who think otherwise.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t agree with this statement, JohnH2. Although God does use miracles to strengthen and affirm the faith of believers, I know that God uses signs and miracles to convert non-believers. Miracles are revelation.

        • JohnH2

          Miracles are revelation, never said otherwise. The Holy Spirit is what converts people, and signs or miracles can be part of that, as per Romans 10.

        • Kodie

          You disagree with JohnH2’s knowledge about god? Who are you to judge?

          You “know” that “god” “uses” “miracles”? Your sense of miracles is also some really tame, common stuff. Attributing it to a connection with a spirit trying to communicate with you, attest to this spirit existing and creating these instances – you read all that stuff about brain wave research, and this is what you get out of it? Only with the addition of some theological bullshit.

          This is where your 2.3 billion comes from. Feeling fuzzy wuzzy feelings and creating a deity to explain things you can’t understand. You call it “deifying” as if that makes it any better if you want to, you can say it’s something “we” do to facilitate communication, but you are full-on describing natural experiences while bypassing natural explanations to go straight on to your horseshit.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Kodie, I/we are only calling miracles those events and experiences that have no “natural explanation.” I offer Jesus’ resurrection as an example that is in the public domain.

        • Kodie

          You previously listed off as evidence “minor miracles” and you could not list any actual miracles when asked. Jesus’ resurrection is a fairytale. You were asked about King Arthur and Excalibur and all that stuff, and you shrugged it off. If it’s not important to you, you don’t feel you have to offer an explanation.

          Why do any of us have to give any more reason than “it’s a story” about Jesus’s resurrection?

        • CodyGirl824

          None of you has to give anyone “any more reason that ‘it’s a story’ about Jesus’s resurrection, unless you want any Christian to think that atheists are intelligent, open-minded people who apply reason and logic to find the truth in a “story”, which is actually the testimony of living breathing human beings who experienced the events told about in the “story.”

        • Kodie

          I would like to see you apply intelligence, open-mindedness, reason, or logic to find the truth in any other story from any other religion. Then you would have a point.

          Your insistence that this actually happened to people who actually lived doesn’t make it a true historical event. It just means you believe it happened.

        • CodyGirl824

          Just as your disbelief that the resurrection of Jesus happened does not make it so that it is not a true historical event.

        • Kodie

          See how I asked you again what your method is for determining whether other religious claims were real or not, and you avoided answering it?

        • CodyGirl824

          I’ve already answered this question. I’m assuming that you mean claims of miracles when you speak of “other religious claims.” I explained how I/we apply the same sort of reasoning and evaluation process as if we are a juror in a criminal trial. We weigh the authenticity of the testimony and the credibility of the witnesses. It’s not really that difficult or esoteric, Kodie.

          I highly recommend Chapter 6: John Loftus and the Insider-Outsider Test of Faith by David Marshall in the book “True Reason” (2013) edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Wietnauer for a thorough analysis of how Christians view other religions.

          It’s rather tiresome for you to keep accusing me of not answering questions simply because you don’t like my answers.

        • Kodie

          How do you weigh the authenticity of the testimony and the credibility of the witnesses? You’re nothing if not narrow-minded. You also have a habit of adding “information” to the facts via “theological implications”. How can you say I’m close-minded, when it’s clearly that you’re biased? The story of Jesus’s resurrection only sounds true if you really want it to be true. You have no such agenda with another religious belief, and you dispense with and dismiss them as you find them to be false – they do not match up with the fantasy you already believe. You have no room for the bullshit other religions try to peddle because you already have one. That’s all.

          I do not find Jesus’s resurrection credible for the same reasons you think you do find it credible. Trying to make yourself seem like a serious scholar and framing it like a forensics case – we already talked about how you a) can’t read, and b) are too stupid and gullible to notice when some information that is bullshit is wrapped up in a scholarly subject.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, you resort to insults and profanity when you don’t have a counter-argument, which is most of the time.

        • Kodie

          Your illiteracy is not my problem and neither did you support your claim with evidence.

          I explained how I/we apply the same sort of reasoning and evaluation
          process as if we are a juror in a criminal trial. We weigh the
          authenticity of the testimony and the credibility of the witnesses.

          Is just another claim with no evidence. You assault us with your ignorance daily, so why would I trust you to know your ass from a hole in the wall? Your fairy tales have no evidence. Your course of determination is to compare claims to an unevidenced fairy tale. To find out whether that was true in the first place was you fancy yourself literate but you were persuaded because you are gullible. See above. Brain effects are not that special and indicate no contact from spirits. Other religious people experience them too, and attribute them to another, conflicting “knowledge” of a deity they are as certain as you are about yours. You can’t reconcile that. I’ve had “transcendental” experiences, most people have.

          But I told you this before – humans didn’t used to know what happened during a sneeze, whether a demon got in or caused sneezing or whatever. Your ignorance about emotional responses and chemicals in your brain forming experiences – repeatable and researchable, which, why am I bothering to tell you my counter-argument. The more anyone writes to you, the more willfully you ignore what they say and insist they’ve said nothing.

          Go hide, say something illiterate or non sequitur, pop up again in another part of the thread and retreat to your pocket of tropes. You’re so fucking boring, I won’t even try anymore.

        • wtfwjtd

          Easy, obvious, logical explanation: it’s a made-up story. Any more?

        • CodyGirl824

          Easy, yes. Obvious and logical, no.

        • CodyGirl824

          wftwjtd, how do you claim to know where healing miracles occur and where they don’t?

        • hector_jones

          “To experience something you first must believe in it.”

          They used to tell me this about Santa Claus. Now I find that I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and neither do the people who used to tell me this. That anyone past the age of 5 can take this kind of platitude seriously is risible.

          But if only it were true. I’d immediately stop believing in pain, thirst, hunger, fatigue and poverty. And my problems would be solved.

        • Pofarmer

          There was a poster that hung on the wall in my middle school. It had a hippo in a pink tutu walking on a tight rope, and said “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”. Never did quite get it then.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yeah, as if one is free to “choose” their beliefs, or what is true or not. How asinine.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yeah, we’ve been over this one before:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/01/christian-magic-power-doesnt-work-if-you-dont-believe-it/

          All it takes is a non-believer and your god is rendered powerless and impotent. Real impressive.

        • JohnH2

          Faith comes via obedience to that which is right; a just non-believer may in some cases be said to have faith. Miracles happen according to our faith, but regardless of our faith God still works His plan. Israel is an independent nation and Jerusalem is held by the Jews and only your recognition or not of that being a fulfillment of prophecy and an act of God is affected by your unbelief, not what God has done.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Jerusalem is held by the Jews…”

          Technically, yes, but it’s claimed by the Palestinians, and contains a large Arab population. Israeli authorities have to walk a very fine line, they aren’t exactly free to do as they please with the city.

          As for prophecy? That’s in the eye of the beholder, you can find that or not depending on how you define it.

        • Kodie

          I like how people decide what god’s plan is and then see to it that it gets fulfilled. What intervention by god? Only people who already knew the plan. The world would have been fine without Israel. Only religious people think it’s important and so organized to accomplish it, seeing as god couldn’t come down to draw up the documents himself. You see how well the Palestinians needed this shit also, and how god is dealing with them in his sacred land – again, people and their hate and use of weapons.

        • wtfwjtd

          I saw a study a few years ago that said extensive DNA testing has shown that Jews and Palestinians have common ancestry, which makes the situation even more rich with irony. It’s like a gigantic, multi-generational brawl among siblings.

        • CodyGirl824

          wtfwjtd, with non-believers, it’s more like God calling and you just won’t pick up the phone.

        • hector_jones

          Except that there’s no phone, and it’s not ringing, but otherwise it’s exactly like that!

        • Kodie

          Your description of god calling sounds like a delusion to a rational person. Mostly because it is all metaphorical and not literal and yet there’s a thing that cares at the other end, literally and not metaphorically.

        • wtfwjtd

          Just how, exactly, I’d like to know, does one “talk” to god? Is it a physical voice, or, as you say, metaphorical? I keep asking Jenna, but, like god, she is incapable of giving a direct answer. Surprise.

        • hector_jones

          They’ll never tell you because they know it sounds either a) crazy or b) lame.

        • Kodie

          Isn’t this usually manifested as “that’s ok, god doesn’t believe in you either”?

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, it’s a merry-go-round, or a circular firing squad, depending on your point of view.

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

          I’d be surprised if Norm accepts miracle stories through other religions. Perhaps Cody would go with any other religions’ miracles simply being the work of her god or demons/dark forces within her religion.

          I eagerly await confirmation or correction.

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

          I kinda called that one.

          Let’s see how I did with Norm.

        • wtfwjtd

          When Elijah had those prophets of Baal killed, I guess it was like killing Yahweh’s prophets, ’cause Baal was just another culture’s rendition of Yahweh, according to Jenna.

        • JohnH2

          Baal used to be identified with Yahweh for portions of Israelite history.

        • Norm Donnan

          Its really quite basic Bob,lve heard plenty of testemonies of atheists,Muslims,Hindus and even satanists having amazing ,confounting experiences and miracles that led them to Christ.
          The spirit realm walks side by side,only the spiritually blind and deaf and all those who just dont care fail to know it.

        • Kodie

          Jenna is a sucker for testimony, and if she can use it to support Christianity, she doesn’t care where the stories come from. She thinks that coincidences and comfort are miracles, and her faith really has no boundary lines of official religion. No matter what anyone believes, she attributes a miracle to her own deity. She has no example of an actual miracle but promises I’ll know it when I see it. All her examples she calls “minor miracles,” ie stuff that can actually happen and needs no supernatural explanation. All of it, she will explain, is evidence of supernatural intervention by her own concept of god, that very special one and only but absolutely Christian god of the Hebrews in Genesis 1:1.

        • CodyGirl824

          What does it mean “to be OK” with miracles stories? And what do you mean by “miracle stories”?

        • Norm Donnan

          What he means is if they said it l must therefore believe it to be true.

        • Norm Donnan

          Absolutly Bob,sorry to spoil your fun.Having said that,it doesnt mean that l believe them all or that they affect my life in anyway,l simply acknowledge that others are different to me and l dont know all there is to know about the spirit realm.

        • MNb

          “it doesnt mean that l believe them all”
          How do you decide which ones to believe and which ones not? Do these little creatures qualify?

          http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakroe

          Testimonies in abundance:

          http://www.culturu.com/index.php?board=19.0

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

          l dont know all there is to know about the spirit realm.

          Why stop there? How do you know you know anything about the spirit realm? How do you know some of your information hasn’t come from bad forces masquerading as good ones?

          Heck, maybe all of what you’ve been told about the supernatural is false.

          Your humility is good; I just think you need to extend it a little further.

        • CodyGirl824

          How do you know that Norm even knows the “miracle stories” from these religions?

        • Norm Donnan

          People of all cultures have spiritual experiences which l for one dont dismiss.What l do have is an understanding of the spiritual realm that you dismiss altogether so l understand that there are two sides in that realm.
          When you do get to meet them first hand you wont find hilarious.

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

          More threats? I gotta get me some of that religion!

        • Norm Donnan

          Absolutly,its right up there with “my science teacher told me we all come from stardust”so it must be true,lol

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

          Oh, yeah. Don’t get me started on the weak evidence for science.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo4YTgm3vEs

          This is certainly…interesting. Surely enough, there are many Christians who disagree with the things presented in this video in the comment section. I would say that the things this guy is experiencing are reflections of pop culture.

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

          I would say that this guy has found a lucrative approach to giving people what they want to hear.

  • Norm Donnan

    One thing atheism hates and that is whenChristianity holds the microphone.
    Ray Comfort is a great example of this,when he holds the microphone atheists get a total whooping,your beliefs are seen for what they are.
    The fact that you have most of the media,Hollywood and most western governments on your side,and now you want to spread your “reason” in church’s,l dont think so.

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

      Do you understand how free speech works in the U.S.? Show me that you do. And tell me what you think my goal for Christianity is.

      • CodyGirl824

        Why should you have a goal for Christianity, Bob? Don’t you see how arrogant this statement is?

        • Kodie

          Don’t you understand how fail of reading comprehension your response is? YOU DO NOT.

      • Norm Donnan

        To me most atheists have a goal to convince themselves there is no accountability after death and if there is that they are as fit as anyone else to enter in.Limiting Christians witnessing or influence is a good starting point to make your job easier.

        • wtfwjtd

          Where’s your evidence for your “accountability after death”? Or is this just an example of more wishful Christian thinking–“faith”, I believe you call it?

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

          I have no such goals, either to convince myself of something against the evidence or to limit Christians’ free speech rights.

        • Pofarmer

          Norm, you’ve said lot of dumb things, and that is no exception. Atheists don’t believe in life after death, or God. Christians can witness all they want, but it doesn’t mean I have to fawn over the same perpetually bad arguments.

        • Norm Donnan

          No one is asking you to believe anything and if you really did feel confident in no accountability after death then you wouldnt be here trying to prove what you dont believe,ha,talk about perpetually bad arguments.

        • MNb

          Now that’s a non-sequitur, one of the dumbest I ever met.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s more like sharing the the joy of seeing through your nonsense.

        • Norm Donnan

          Ide imagine this would be a major issue in your life with the rest of your family so heavily involved in the church.Normal relationships where we agree on all major issues are still often dificult,how do you do it when you believe they are wasting there life on nonsense?

        • Kodie

          Accountability after death is a pretty vivid fantasy of yours. There is also a difference in limiting Christian influence in government and simply limiting it. The government is no place for such nonsense, but the rest of the time, go for it. Do you actually feel censored? Do you think it’s because anyone is trying to avoid learning about accountability after death, or do you think it might be because you’re a moron and nobody really listens to you anyway?

        • Norm Donnan

          Sorry,did you say somthing Penny???

        • SparklingMoon

          Accountability after death is a pretty vivid fantasy of yours.
          —————————————————-
          The condition of a person after death is nothing new. It is a clear representation of his life in this world. The condition of a person’s beliefs and actions,righteous or unrighteous,is hidden inside him in this world and its poison or antidote influences him in a secret way. In the life after death all these will become manifest. One experiences a sample of it in dreams.

          In a dream, one observes the conditions which prevail at the time in one’s body. When one is heading towards high fever, one beholds fire and flames of fire in one’s dream and when one is about to suffer from influenza, one finds oneself in water in a dream. Whatever disorder one’s body is ready for is personified in one’s dreams. The same is the case in the life after death. As a dream produces a change inside us and demonstrates our spiritual condition in a physical form, the same will happen in the life after death and our deeds and their
          consequences will be physically demonstrated and whatever we carry with us from this world in a hidden manner will all appear openly on our countenances on that day. As a person views diverse forms of images in a dream and never considers that they are images, but believes them to be real, the same will happen in the life after death.Through these images,God Almighty will demonstrate a new power. As His power is absolute, then, even if we do not talk of images, it will be true and absolutely correct to say that, by the grace of God, it is a new creation.

          God Almighty says: No one, who performs good deeds, knows what a variety of favours lie in store for him. Thus God describes those bounties as hidden, no specimen of which is to be found in the world. It is obvious that the bounties of the world are not hidden from us and that we are well acquainted with milk and pomegranates and grapes and we always eat them. This shows that those bounties will be of a different type and will have nothing in common with these except the name.( Ruhani Khazain)

        • Cafeeine

          “To me most atheists have a goal to convince themselves there is no accountability after death”

          If that was our goal, we’d do what most believers do: Imagine ourselves a god that rewards what we love and punishes what we hate.

        • Norm Donnan

          Aaah no,”its better to give than recieve”,serving others,loving your enemies ect.These are not what l love to do.

        • MNb

          But you do it anyway.

        • hector_jones

          Norm, you are the Moe Szyslak of Christianity.

        • Norm Donnan

          :-)

        • adam

          Norm,

          It is actually theist who are seeking to avoid responsibility both before death AND after.

          They WANT to believe that they can perform an incantation to their ‘god’ and and their ‘god’ will accept responsibility for THEIR actions.

    • MNb

      Ah, Ray Comfort the Banana Man ….. actually I’d welcome it if he would be seen on television worldwide more often. I cannot think of any better christian antipropaganda.
      Though you do a fine job too.

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

        Reminds me of the response to a demand that we display the Ten Commandments: sure, let’s display them, but display them all. Display all three versions, including the nutty ones from Exodus 34 and let the Christians wallow in the confusion.

    • Nemo

      Ray Comfort ambushes random laypeople on the street, Gish Gallops his questions all over the place, and when someone is able to keep up with him, he either doesn’t use the footage, or he quote mines them. I’ve seen his movies, and left unimpressed. Most people, whether Christian or Muslim, aren’t really informed on most issues, and Comfort takes advantage of this to sound like he’s making a point. When he’s up against someone who actually understands the issues, such as AronRa, Matt Dillahunty, King Crocoduck, or the Rational Response Squad, he gets slaughtered. By all means, though, push him as your expert.

    • Cafeeine

      The only way Ray gives atheists a total whooping is through the “miracle” of video editing.

      • Norm Donnan

        You wish!

        • Cafeeine

          Such a substantive rejoinder …

    • Pofarmer

      I take it you’ve never seen an episode of “Jay walking.”?

    • wtfwjtd

      I’ve got to admit, Christianity holding the mic at *government meetings* is pretty offensive to me, as it is to anyone who cares about preventing sectarian religion from using the government to proselytize its particular narrow views. As Bob says above, Christians better be careful for what the wish for–they just might get it.

    • Highlander

      Sounds like you should take Dr. Fincke’s class so you too can be the Christian hero who proves that atheists are all just angry at God or want to sin all the time. Take the class and show us your apologist chops.

      • CodyGirl824

        Highlander, I gather from this comment that you don’t understand what Christian apologetics is. It’s not at all about being a “Christian hero” by “proving” anything about or against atheists. It’s about sharing our faith journey with Christ and witnessing to our relationship and experiences of/with God. This is why I am not optimistic that Dr. Fincke will have much of a draw with his classes among Christians.

        • Highlander

          From Mirriam-Websters dictionary: Apologetics: The discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.

          “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t disagree with the dictionary definition, but we are talking specifically about Christian apologetics here, in regard to what Dr. Fincke’s class has to offer Christians. I recommend that you read Alister McGrath’s (2012) book: “Mere Apologetics: How to help seekers and skeptics find faith.” McGrath analyzes three themes in Christian apologetics: defending, commending and translating. Dr. Fincke’s class may address only one of these three themes.

        • The Thinking Commenter

          Religious apologists are the only ones who “forget” to address things. (Probably because the dog ate their homework.)

    • RichardSRussell

      “Atheism” doesn’t hate anything. “Atheism” is a condition, a state of mind. Any mind in which it resides may or may not harbor hatred for other things, but atheism per se neither hates nor loves anything at all.

      • Norm Donnan

        Not at all,atheism is not believing in something because you cannot see it and desmissing everyone elses experience of it and creation for the over whelming evidence that it in itself prooves.
        To call atheism a condition is also false,denial might fit in with being a type of condtion,its certainaly a state of mind.
        Atheists are definatly an angry bunch in general which is understandable if you have been told by sgnificant people in your life something is absolute and now feel missinformed or you want to live your life for yourself or how you choose to live and random others inform you that there is accountability to a higher being after death and you at this point will not meet the criteria to enter heaven.
        These sort of things do generate resentment in atheists who when threatned in themselves often do hate it when they see a picture of Jesus in a school or a plaque with the ten commandments in a public place some do whatever they can to stop being reminded of their comming alledged fate.

        • RichardSRussell

          What do you mean “not at all”? What do you mean that it’s false to call atheism a condition? You are treating the noun “atheism” as if it’s a thinking being, capable of holding opinions. It is no such thing. When you say “atheism is not believing in something”, you are as much as admitting that it’s a state of mind. I have no idea what you’re trying to say here.

          Then you get to the part about “Atheists are definatly an angry bunch in general.” Man, talking about your sweeping, unsubstantiated generalizations. This is where I usually trot out the factoid that the world’s largest collection of atheists, about a billion Chinese, run the full gamut of human emotion and experience. You’d have us believe that every single one of them is angry in general. You are full of shit.

        • CodyGirl824

          What evidence do you have that a billion Chinese are atheists? Keep in mind that even if a billion Chinese are secular and not affiliated with any identifiable religion (by government decree), this does not necessarily mean that they are atheists. Secularism and atheism are not synonyms.

        • RichardSRussell

          It is good that you are skeptical. Too bad you aren’t consistent about it.

          It’s true that atheism and secularism are not synonymous. Many religious people are secularists because they know the damage that can come from mixing church and state.

          However, that was not my point. My point is that shitloads of Chinese people are actually atheists, not merely secularists. You want to know what evidence I have for that. Here ya go:

          Here’s a link to the CIA’s Fact Book on China:
          https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html

          Here’s nationally predominant religions in various nations, from adherents.com:
          http://www.adherents.com/adh_predom.html

          Here’s Wikipedia on “Religion in China”:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China

          Bear in mind that there are ~1,400,000,000 people in China, so even saying that a billion of them are atheists leaves substantially more than the population of the entire US who are not.

        • CodyGirl824

          According to the Wikipedia link you provided here, I question your conclusions.

          “According to the surveys of Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com in 1993; there was 59% of the Chinese population was irreligious and 8% – 14% was atheist (from over 100 to 180 million) as of 2005. There are intrinsic logistical difficulties in trying to count the number of religious people anywhere, as well as difficulties peculiar to China. According to Phil Zuckerman, “low response rates”, “non-random samples”, and “adverse political/cultural climates” are all persistent problems in establishing accurate numbers of religious believers in a given locality.”

          and this:

          “Communist governments often suppress religious freedom and officially endorse atheism. Due to this the relation between the Government and religions was not smooth in the past. In recent years, the Chinese government has opened up to religion, especially traditional religions such as Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and folk religion emphasizing the role of religion in building a “Harmonious Society”.

          How do you claim that between 2005 when Zuckerman (whose research I respect) until 2012, China went from being 8-14% atheists to a a billion atheists, which would be a majority of the population, especially under a more open policy toward religion? Keep in mind, as I mentioned previously, that “irreligious” or secular is not equivalent to “atheist”, which Zuckerman identifies as a discrete category in his research.

        • RichardSRussell

          You should keep in mind that the authority whom you respect thinks that “ancestor veneration” is a religion and so classifies substantial numbers of Chinese as religious. But they don’t believe in any gods, which is what makes them atheists, even tho he doesn’t slap that explicit label on them.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you have inflated the numbers of atheists in China to make an argument about how atheists “… run the full gamut of human emotion and experience.” Isn’t this an ad populum argument? Why do you feel that you need to “massage” the numbers to make your point?

        • RichardSRussell

          If anything, I under-massaged them, since I didn’t bother to point out that most Buddhists, Confucianists, and Taoists also do not believe in gods, which is the only condition one needs to meet to be an atheist. No inflation required.

          If you want to criticize someone for “massaging numbers”, why pick on me instead of Norm Donnen, who made the original observation that “Atheists are definatly an angry bunch in general”? He was perfectly willing to rope in 100% of atheists under his “angry people” label without a hint of a whisper of a glimmer of an objection from you.

        • CodyGirl824

          Non-theistic religions are not atheism. Religions are not atheism, in fact, since atheism is not a religion.

          Did Norm cite statistics? If not, he was probably just expressing this own observation and assessment. I find your response using statistics to be interesting since I read it sort of like, a “…but atheists are people, too” response.

          Are you familiar with the research on atheists who are angry with/at God? See the work of Julie Exline at Case Western Reserve University.

        • RichardSRussell

          Indeed, atheism is not a religion. Thank you for recognizing that. However, some religions are atheistic in the sense that they do not expect their followers to believe in deities, thus demonstrating the lying nature of the frequent fundamentalist Christian claim that people can’t be moral without a divine arbiter of absolute right and wrong.

          Get the difference? It’s a matter of categories, which can be expressed with Venn diagrams — kind of like chocolate. A lot of chocolate is candy, but a fair amount of it is just an ingredient in baking. You can draw a circle representing chocolate, and some of it will overlap with the candy circle and some with the ingredients circle. Atheism overlaps with the Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and ancestor-veneration circles. (Indeed, as I understand it, it almost completely encloses the latter 3.)

          No, Norm did not cite statistics. I notice that you are willing to cut him lots of slack in this regard, whereas I view it as just one more example of how he is, as mentioned above, full of shit.

        • CodyGirl824

          I differ with your description of Buddhism as “overlapping” with atheism. Buddhism is a religion that has a very long history and a coherent body of teachings, traditions and practices. Again, non-theism is not atheism.

          As for Norm’s comment, I also observe a lot of anger among atheists. Not all atheists are angry, of course, but the “New Atheism” is characterized by a rather angry tone, which is often because of its “anti-theism” and anti-religion content.

        • RichardSRussell

          Buddhism is a religion that has a very long history and a coherent body of teachings, traditions and practices.

          Yes, that’s all true. And also perfectly consistent with not believing in gods, just as, say, agriculture is a long-standing human practice with a coherent body of teachings, traditions, and practices which don’t necessarily have squat to do with belief in gods.

          OTOH, Hinduism, like Buddhism, also has a very long history and a coherent body of teachings, traditions and practices, but it does include belief in gods — about 300,000,000 of them, I’m told — so HIndus are not atheists, nor would I try to claim otherwise.

          Thus, while both Buddhism and Hinduism qualify as religions, neither of them is a monotheistic religion, since neither of them claims that there’s only one god, not even the oddly constructed 3-in-1 “single” deity of Christianity.

          I’m puzzled that you continue to aver that these groups must all be disjoint sets, in spite of their patently obvious overlaps.

        • CodyGirl824

          I “aver” because it muddies the waters of the discussion, as I think you were pointing out, to lump groups and individuals within those groups together in ways that obscure rather than illuminate their differences. For instance, when you pointed out the number of atheists in China in response to Norm, I am almost certain that Norm doesn’t know many Chinese atheists and most certainly can’t speculate about whether or not they are angry. I don’t think that his argument is that atheism causes anger. Most certainly it does not, either in the USA or China, so atheists in the USA and Europe who are angry must have some other reason. That’s why I speculated about anti-theism and anti-religion among atheists, such as what the late Christopher Hitchens defined and discussed.

        • RichardSRussell

          I’m not sure why you think that the differences are more important to highlight than the similarities. Most Chinese are atheists, and they have that in common with the atheists whom Norm does know. He contends that they must all be angry people, because, in his perverse worldview, that’s an innate characteristic of atheists — “definatly” so and “in general”, he contends, without respect to national boundaries or whether he’s ever met them.

          Again, I point out that you’re willing to grant Norm all sorts of latitude in his hare-brained assertions but seem to hold me to a higher standard and continue to challenge my data and interpretations thereof. Why is that?

          I personally want to be accurate rather than to muddy the discussion, and one way of being accurate is to be specific about what groups of people one is referring to and what characteristics of that group qualify them to belong to it. I have tried to do so. Norm evidently doesn’t even give a shit, and you keep trying to conflate immiscible categories. Perhaps you and Norm are both mistaking perfectly justified exasperation for anger.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do atheists (only those who do) feel exasperation?

        • Kodie

          Oh, poor stupid Jenna. You can’t follow the shiny red bouncing ball. We told you what’s wrong with you and your arguments many times. And here you go again pretending to rise above it all.

        • RichardSRussell

          I can’t improve on Kodie’s reply.

        • CodyGirl824

          I thought that we were having a pleasant and respectful exchange of ideas. So, I’m a bit disappointed to learn that you say ditto to Kodie’s profanity and insults.

        • Kodie

          I’m glad.

        • RichardSRussell

          I was agreeing to the part about having to keep repeating the same points over and over and over and apparently never having any of them sink in. That’s the source of the exasperation you inquired about.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am simply pointing out my disagreement or different interpretation of the ideas and statistics in/from your comments.

          BTW, Phil Zuckerman from the Wikipedia page you provided the link and whose categorizing of ancestral worship as a religion in China that you seemed to question to is an atheist. He is a professor and researcher in religion from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He writes about atheism and secularism in societies around the world. I respect his research because he is even-handed and includes in his research reports a review of the literature that raises legitimate questions in regard to his research methodologies and interpretations of his findings. IOW, he is ethical and thorough in his research.

        • RichardSRussell

          Phil Zuckerman from the Wikipedia page you provided the link and whose categorizing of ancestral worship as a religion in China that you seemed to question

          See, now, here’s a perfect example of the type of exasperating comments I was citing earlier. I never questioned that ancestor veneration qualifies as a religion. Indeed, I think I was the 1st person in this discussion to point to it as a type of religion and grant that it qualified as a religion, even tho its practitioners do not subscribe to any beliefs in gods, which also qualifies them as atheists. I don’t know why I have to keep beating this same dead horse over and over, but you wanted to know why we get exasperated, and this happened to be the first good example to come along. Took about 20 minutes, I notice.

        • CodyGirl824

          Again, I have to object to your statements about what practitioners of an identified religion “also qualify as atheists.” Richard, as far as I can tell, you are exasperated because I don’t agree with you. Apparently we will have to agree to disagree, if this be the case, that non-theistic religions are not atheism. This is my position. I’m also opposed to beating horses, dead or alive!

        • RichardSRussell

          I am exasperated because you refuse to recognize what an atheist is yet feel perfectly free to hold forth on your opinions of us based on your erroneous assumptions. You obviously believe that it’s impossible for a religious person to be an atheist and vice versa, when the world is riddled with examples of how you are wrong.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are wrong about this. I do not make this assumption. I am very close to an atheist Jew who is religious. We have very deep and fascinating discussions about religion and atheism.

        • RichardSRussell

          You are wrong about this. I do not make this assumption.

          Then who co-opted your screen name to make this statement: “Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and non-theistic religions are not atheism.”?

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean? That is my statement. This is your statement: “You obviously believe that it’s impossible for a religious person to be an atheist and vice versa,” I gave you an example of a real person in my life who fits the description that you claim I believe to be “impossible.” Please notice the difference between talking about a religion or an “ism” as in atheism versus practitioners of a religion or atheists as people.

        • Kodie

          Buddhism clearly overlaps with Christianity any time you want to, though, right? If it gets your son the Buddhist priest into heaven with you, you have convinced yourself that it’s going to work out that way for you both.

          Meanwhile, Richard is right – atheism is just a lack of a belief in god. Buddhism does not have a god, but it does have doctrines. It works in the religion category, I would call it a religion, but if it doesn’t have a god, it can also be atheism. This actually works in your favor, especially as you’re such a cherry-picking panentheist pantheist mono-multi-trinitarian cafeteria Christian.

          Richard pulled statistics saying they are actually atheists. I think like the US is mostly Christian, atheists tend to adhere to certain traditions and customs (like celebrating Christmas), so in China, it makes sense that that tradition is Buddhist, but that many would not consider themselves Buddhists, or many Buddhists would not choose atheism on the religion category of a survey, but they still don’t believe in a god. Does it kind of blow your mind that your son is serious of a religion that doesn’t have a god, or doesn’t that actually free him up to add Jesus a la carte?

        • CodyGirl824

          Out of respect to the many ways people self-identify with religious traditions, I consider only those Buddhists who self-identify as atheists to be atheists. I don’t know how many of such Buddhists there may be and I’m sure that it would be very difficult to survey this, but my son does not consider himself to be an atheist and does not view Buddhism as atheism.

        • Kodie

          Is Buddhism monotheism?

        • CodyGirl824

          No. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and non-theistic religions are not atheism, although some followers of a non-theistic religion may self-identify as atheists.

        • Kodie

          How will your son get into Christian heaven if he’s not just a Buddhist practitioner but some kind of high priest? You seem awfully certain there is more than one road (even though that conflicts with Jesus saying in the bible). Who is the one clutching at straws here? It’s very high priority for you to make sure nobody confuses pure self-identified atheism with anything else. What do you think you’re talking about?

          There are a lot of people in the world that don’t believe in a god or gods. But you don’t call them atheists, and you don’t want anyone calling them atheists “out of respect”.

        • 90Lew90

          Considering that any properly practising Buddhist can achieve Buddhahood, which basically means that it is within the grasp of anyone to become a god, how do you square that with your Christianity and doesn’t it somewhat either demote Jesus or else promote the rest of us?

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

          There are several schools or sects of Buddhism, but Tibetan Buddhism does have many gods.

        • Kodie

          To bring this up again, Jenna can’t do statistics. In the report by the Pew Institute that nones are on the rise, the most important conclusion for her to remind us is that doesn’t mean they are all atheists now, and in that same report, she glossed over a 50% rise of atheism in 7 years as to be “level for decades”, for the difference between 1.6 and 2.4 is less than 1%. That’s 2.5 million people, Jenna.

          Then again, statistics do not tell us who is correct anyway, Let’s not forget that Norm generalized all atheists, and Richard merely pointed to a huge population that cannot be said to be generally angry. Norm is pulling opinions out of his butt. There are no statistics here.

        • Kodie

          Atheism is a lack of belief in a god. So yeah, someone can be both.

          Norm did not cite statistics in that case. His assessment is likely his own experience. He is far more illiterate than you are, take that, dumb as a rock, and can’t hold up even his own side of a conversation. It’s easy for any atheist to become angry with him. So his idiotic assessment is that atheists are an angry bunch in general, he just doesn’t take responsibility (or he is a troll).

          No atheists are angry at god. Whatever research you have is pointless. A person who believes in god to be angry with what god does or doesn’t do is not an atheist. Not to be confused (but probably you are and will continue to be deliberately so even after I explain it) with the arguments atheists often use about the character god against Christians who characterize god another way, i.e. the problem of evil.

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean by Norm “taking responsibility”? For what? Making atheists angry? I’m beginning to think that Christians should be awarded some kind of badge of courage and devotion to The Cause for making atheists angry.

        • Kodie

          What an asshole thing to say.

          Norm, if you don’t know him, is below par even for a Christian. He likes to think atheists are just like his friends at the church say they are and then he comes here, trolls, and proves it to himself, allowing him to make idiotic generalizations. Seeing as how you actually admire Norm in so many ways makes sense, being that you are such a dipshit.

        • CodyGirl824

          Admire Norm? I hardly know him. I entered the conversation in respond to Richard. Kodie, you are a master of hyperbole!

        • Kodie

          You entered a conversation between Richard and Norm, and Richard several times asked you why Norm gets to make generalizations against atheists, you changed the subject really. So what Norm said is actually important to the rest of the thread, but you blithely evade answering about what’s pertinent here – it’s not whether Buddhists are really atheists. You are picking Richard’s nits but willfully ignoring Norm’s since you’ve been asked about it repeatedly.

        • hector_jones

          I’m beginning to think that Christians should be awarded some kind of badge of courage and devotion to The Cause for making atheists angry.

          Something tells me that you are long past beginning to think this and that it’s always been your primary motivation for being here.

        • wtfwjtd

          Jenna finally just admitted her real reason for being here. That, and maybe getting her “persecution” badge, and I also think she fancies herself some kind of apologetics expert. She’s been reading some book, and wants to practice on us, as her other Christian websites only have a “like” button. What a laugh!

        • RichardSRussell

          Also, speaking of inflated numbers, look what just turned up on time.com: Americans Frequently Lie About Church Attendance, Study Says. So how confident are you about the numbers you’re relying on?

        • CodyGirl824

          Richard,

          I know that polling about religious affiliation in any country is fraught with difficulty and inaccuracy since it is nigh onto impossible to create discrete categories of this or that. What about Jewish atheists in the USA for example? Are they counted as Jewish or “unaffiliated”? It all depends on what questions are asked in the polling process. I appreciate how the Wikipedia link you gave me described Phil Zuckerman’s difficulties in polling in China and most especially, how they point out the linkages between culture and religion.

          I also want to point out that most of the academics who study religion describe atheism in the USA and Europe in the past few decades as sort of a “different breed” (my term).

          Also, I’m not so sure what you mean by the numbers I’m “relying on” since I cite the numbers in broad brush terms to show that Christianity has a very large following in comparison to other world religions and that self-identified atheists worldwide are a minority in terms of the total global population.

        • RichardSRussell

          I have no doubt that self-described atheists are quite a minor component of most populations. That’s probably especially true in China, where it’s more or less the norm not to believe in gods, thus seldom remarked upon.

          Nonetheless, since the sole criterion for being an atheist is not believing in gods, many people who’ve never even heard the term are, in fact, atheists, just as many people who’ve never heard the term “vegetarian” nonetheless eat an exclusively vegetarian diet — often out of necessity if not personal preference — and so qualify as vegetarians, even tho you’d just get a blank look back from them if you asked them whether they were vegetarians or carnivores.

        • CodyGirl824

          Aren’t the folks who you claim are “atheist” but unaware of it or don’t label themselves as such just as likely to be agnostics?

        • RichardSRussell

          Again, you fall into the trap of assuming that these must, of necessity, be disjoint sets. “Agnosticism” doesn’t say anything about what a person believes in, just how strongly or dubiously one holds the opinion. Thus there are agnostic atheists and agnostic theists. If you ask either of them what they think about gods, the former would say “I don’t think they exist” and the latter would say “I believe at least one does exist”, but neither of them would claim to be absolutely positive about it.

          But you can be pretty sure that anybody who’s never even been exposed to the concept of a god is an atheist, because it’s a learned behavior.

        • JohnH2

          Confucianism believes in Heaven but says nothing about it. It also includes ancestor worship.

          Ancestor worship often treats ones ancestors as more like gods than the minor kami of Shintoism or minor gods of Hinduism are. I really think that to be consistent only some few forms of Buddhism can really be considered as Atheist. Otherwise you need to give a clear definition of what a god is and then apply that definition consistently, regardless of what the practitioner of a religion calls what they are doing.

        • Kodie

          So, you have inflated the numbers of atheists in China to make an
          argument about how atheists “… run the full gamut of human emotion and
          experience.” Isn’t this an ad populum argument? Why do you feel that
          you need to “massage” the numbers to make your point?

          Nobody was making argumentum ad populum. This is why atheists are justifiably exasperated.

        • Kodie

          What evidence do you have that a billion Chinese are atheists? Keep in
          mind that even if a billion Chinese are secular and not affiliated with
          any identifiable religion (by government decree), this does not
          necessarily mean that they are atheists. Secularism and atheism are not
          synonyms.

          This is non sequitur. This is why atheists are justifiably exasperated.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why is it a non sequitur to ask about Richard’s statistics? I followed the links he so graciously provided in response and discovered different reports on the number of atheists in China. In fact, Richard’s offer of the demographics of religious affiliation in China to Norm’s comments about atheists who resent religious symbols in the public schools in the USA seemed like much more of a non sequitar to me. I remember the old adage: “What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?” only change that to the number of atheists in China.

        • Kodie

          Because Norm made an even more outrageous claim and you don’t give a shit! Norm can make up any bullshit you like and to you, it’s testimony. You’re intellectually dishonest, Jenna. This is why atheists are justifiably exasperated.

          ETA: That’s just the 3rd example of your exasperating in the same sub-thread that you thought was actually going respectfully. Richard is respectful, you’re not so much. You literally changed the subject because you don’t want to believe claims that so many people are atheists. Meanwhile, whizzing past you undetected, a claim that atheists are an angry bunch in general. Richard brought it right up under your nose several times to take a good long whiff of Norm’s typical bullshit, and you ignored it every time.

        • CodyGirl824

          But Kodie, I responded to Richard with my reaction to what Norm had said about “angry atheists” to inquire as to why he gave the statistics about China in the first place. Yes, I know that “so many” people are atheists. I don’t find this fact to be particularly alarming. However, I think it is important not to conflate statistics on secularism and non-affiliation with traditional religion, which is definitely on the rise in many countries, with atheism which is quite different and specific. I think that it is not appropriate to classify non-theistic religions that are clearly religions with atheism, which is clearly not a religion. I have been under the impression that atheists get quite exasperated when anyone argues that atheism is a religion, which I do not do.

        • Kodie

          How is atheism different and specific?

        • CodyGirl824

          Look at how (most) atheists themselves define atheism: “A lack of belief in God/god/gods.” Secularism is the non-affiliation with an organized or traditional religion. If a person is identified as “secular”, as I understand the common usage of the term, this does not say anything about whether or not that person believes in God or lacks a belief in God. A person who is secular may or may not believe in God. Therefore, atheism and secular or secularist are not discrete categories and are not synonymous.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you even tried to answer the question.

          I’m not sure a person can be secular. That just seems like a really weird word to me to describe a person. I agree with secularism – I want our common and public institutions to remain neutral. What offends many Christians is they think reality opposes their beliefs, i.e. (like Norm) evolution is a conspiracy, so they don’t like evolution being taught in schools. They don’t like hospitals or businesses having to offer a full range of services to a full range of people. They want hospitals and businesses to be allowed to discriminate, because “neutrality” offends them. But I don’t feel secular. I wouldn’t choose that word to describe myself. I might need someone who does identify themselves AS “secular” to explain to me. I understand being pro-secularism, but I don’t understand a person defining themselves as secular, and I agree that a religious person can be pro-secularism, it is not atheism’s turf. It often feels that way because a) religious people mix up the terms or b) religious people don’t want to get involved or c) are not actually in favor of secularism even if they do know what it is, separate from atheism.

          But to answer my question, how is atheism different and specific.

        • CodyGirl824

          I think I answered this question, which I assume was in regard to the categories in polls and surveys of the demographics of religion and religious affiliation, or the lack thereof. As I recall, more and more polls are using the term “nones” for those folks who express no affiliation with a religion rather than “secular”, a term that, as you point out, can have different meanings and connotations for different people. And you are right. There are people of faith who strongly support and advocate for the separation of church and state. I am one of them.

        • Kodie

          Looking back over your post, I picked up on the wrong thing. What really happened was that you threw up another non sequitur in response to my post:

          Because Norm made an even more outrageous claim and you don’t give a shit! Norm can make up any bullshit you like and to you, it’s testimony. You’re intellectually dishonest, Jenna. This is why atheists are
          justifiably exasperated.

          ETA: That’s just the 3rd example of your exasperating in the same sub-thread that you thought was actually going respectfully. Richard is respectful, you’re not so much. You literally changed the subject because you don’t want to believe claims that so many people are atheists. Meanwhile, whizzing past you undetected, a claim that atheists are an angry bunch in general. Richard brought it right up under your nose several times to take a good long whiff of
          Norm’s typical bullshit, and you ignored it every time.

          You wonder why atheists are justifiable in exasperation. Because you get sidetracked and never actually admit to doing anything evasive and dishonest.

        • CodyGirl824

          I never claimed that your exasperation is not justified.

        • Kodie

          I never claimed that your exasperation is not justified.

          So here you are admitting to being evasive and dishonest?

        • CodyGirl824

          No, I’m merely recognizing that you have your reasons for being exasperated, which I believe have much to do with your level of (over)-confidence in the persuasiveness of your arguments.

        • Kodie

          which I believe have much to do with your level of (over)-confidence in the persuasiveness of your arguments.

          I see. You choose to believe something you made up to comfort your ego even though I showed you examples where you were evasive and dishonest.

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

          So all atheists are really believers. I get it.

        • wtfwjtd

          Not just believers, *angry*, misinformed believers.

        • Thin-ice

          Here are some correct spellings for you:
          dismissing, proves, certainly, condition, significant, definitely, misinformed, threatened, coming, alleged.
          Sorry, it’s petty, but I couldn’t resist.

        • wtfwjtd

          Norm loves petty; it’s his specialty.

  • ichuck7

    Bob, I love your challenge. I remember when I was a young Christian. This would have totally flipped everything on its head.

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

      Thanks. I’ve gotten no response so far. That could simply be because an open-minded organizer hasn’t seen it, but I do think that Christians are afraid to put their worldview to the test.

      • hector_jones

        Putting their worldview to the test is, to them, flirting with the Devil.

        • wtfwjtd

          Flirting with the Devil and disaster. The older folks aren’t going to change, maybe a few of them; it’s the younger crowd the church is terrified of allowing to compare worldviews. Many of the younger generation haven’t had the brainwashing of the older people, and so are more apt to use reason and evidence to inform their worldview. When this happens, Christianity more often than not loses.

        • evodevo

          Yes. This is why homophobia and racism are dying out among the younger generations. It began with constant exposure to MTV in the 80’s, the rise of rap, the AIDS epidemic and the dramas written about it, the inclusion of gays in more and more TV shows, and more young people having daily interaction with other races and LBGT individuals among their co-workers, friends and relatives. Even young evangelicals are less inclined to hate/fear minorities these days. As the older racist homophobes die out, the worldview is changing, and it can’t happen fast enough for me.

        • wtfwjtd

          Those are good points. Changing demographics is also a major factor, caucasions of European decent will only be a plurality of the US population by 2050 I believe. We are witnessing changes even in our lifetime that I thought I’d never see, which like you said is wonderful to see.

  • Thin-ice

    Good News! As an ex-evangelical-missionary-now atheist, I HAVE been invited to a local church who is having a “What is an atheist” themed-Sunday, in August. They have invited me to speak and answer questions. I’m so glad to have the chance to dispel common, almost ubiquitous misconceptions that christians have regarding atheists.

    • wtfwjtd

      That is good news Thin-ice, I wish you well in your endeavor!

    • Pofarmer

      Have fun, and if you see people gathering kindling, don’t stick around.

      • Greg G.

        At least that would be better than a beheading. “A hot stake beats a cold chop. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.” –Curly Howard

        • wtfwjtd

          Kinda like when Bugs Bunny is “asked” by the king to retrieve the Singing Sword from the Black Knight–“If you don’t bring back the Singing Sword, you will be…put to the rack, burned at the stake, and…beheaded”.

        • Thin-ice

          “But it’s just a flesh wound . . . ” as another Black Knight once said!

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

      Best of luck. Be nice! And let us know how it goes.

      Being out atheists can be a good way to show Christians that this is yet one more minority that, if you just get to know a few of them, aren’t really so bad.

    • http://kingscriercommissions.blogspot.com/ thekingscrier

      Best of luck, Thin-ice


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