Human Sacrifice in the Bible (2 of 2)

Last time, we looked at Bible verses both for and against human sacrifice in the Old Testament. Now, let’s turn to the New.

Things improve in the New Testament … right?

Sacrifice remains important in the New Testament. Everyone knows that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). The most popular verse in the Bible for many Christians acknowledges that. John 3:16 begins, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” And by “gave,” of course, they mean that Jesus was a human sacrifice to God.

Christians will reject human sacrifice to the Canaanite gods Moloch and Chemosh as barbaric and pointless, but apparently the human sacrifice to their Bronze Age god actually worked.

James Dobson celebrated one Father’s Day by likening the crucifixion to, not a barbaric act of cruelty, but “God’s greatest example of true fatherhood.” He said, “Look to the cross of Jesus Christ and be reminded of what fatherhood is all about.” Yeah, that makes sense—have a pretend sacrifice of yourself to satisfy your justified rage. Human sacrifice is always a good Father’s Day message.

But does the sacrifice of Jesus work, even within a biblical context? Jewish sacrifices must be burned. How can the mojo of the dead animal or person get to heaven (in rising smoke) without the offering fire? Ephesians even says, “[Jesus] gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:2). Sure, Jesus may have eliminated the need for further sacrifices, but if his sacrifice is necessary, then it must have been carried out the old-fashioned way.

Further, Jewish sacrifices must be perfect. God demands the best, and Jesus after his beating was hardly an umblemished sacrifice. But, I suppose God makes his own rules. Or it’s a mystery. Or something.

In response to the statement, “Jesus died for you,” I’m tempted to note that the 9/11 hijackers died for me, too. Maybe we should look to something besides human sacrifices to solve our problems.

But is a sacrifice even necessary?

The Bible both demands human sacrifice and prohibits it, and God demanded the sacrifice of Jesus just like any other Bronze Age god. But the craziest part is that all this isn’t even necessary. All the flabby rationalizations apologists cobble together to show why God must have a sacrifice and can’t just forgive like you and I do are unnecessary because he can forgive like we do.

When God makes a new covenant with his people in Jeremiah 31, he says,

I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jer. 31:33–4).

In a sunny frame of mind on another day, God says something similar:

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more (Is. 43:25).

And we see the line from Jeremiah repeated in the New Testament in Hebrews 8:12. What’s all this about how God’s infinite justice would be infinitely offended if even a little sin wasn’t atoned for with blood?

God seems to be a decent guy—he just forgives. The Christian story looks a bit better now, and we can forget the idea of the sacrifice of Jesus and its house-of-cards justification.

When I hear from people that religion doesn’t hurt anything, I say, really?
Well besides wars, the Crusades, the Inquisitions,
9-11, ethnic cleansing, the suppression of women,
the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings,
suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifice,
burning witches, and systematic sex with children, I have a few little quibbles.
And I forgot blowing up girl schools in Afghanistan.
— Bill Maher

Photo credit: Wikipedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    And, of course, underlying the notion of forgiveness in the first place, regardless of how it’s accomplished, are the twin lies that (a) we’ve done anything that we need to be forgiven for and (b) the only one authorized to hand out forgiveness is the Supreme Sadist of Space.

    Not so. If I’m playing ball with the kids and accidentally whack a line drive thru my nabor’s window, I don’t give a damn what God thinks. I want to make it right with my nabor and get her forgiveness.

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

      When I do that, I pray for forgiveness, then walk over with a big smile and tell the neighbor how all is forgiven. Bingo.

    • smrnda

      I think that also encourages victims to be thrown under the bus. Whenever some big preacher say, has sex with an underage girl, his line is something like ‘the real wrong is against god.’. god. god isn’t the kid you’re molesting. god is not the people you’re ripping off. god isn’t the people you’ve betrayed. the whole idea is built on victim erasure.

      • wtfwjtd

        Imagine the following scenario: A man and woman fall in love, get married. The man turns out to be a drunken wife-beater, so she divorces him and re-marries a really nice guy, and for a short time they have a good life together helping other people. The wife beater, in a drunken rage, comes over and murders his former wife, he can’t stand to see her happy. He pleads guilty to second-degree murder, serves some time in prison, but gets out after a few years and just before he dies, he finds Jesus.
        Well, guess what? According to Christian doctrine the divorced wife who re-married will burn in hell forever, while the man who beat her gets back rubs with Jesus in heaven forever. Yep, victim erasure extreme–Christianity style. What a totally fucked-up system.

  • MNb

    Yes, since a few years I have begun to doubt the doctrine “a price must be paid.” As many will know I’m the only atheist teacher at a public school. Gradually I began to see how many colleagues are influenced – infected?- by the desire to get a price paid if a kid has done something wrong. I am no softie. If I think it necessary I am capable of taking harsh measures – sometimes measures that are not tolerated in both The Netherlands and the USA. But for me the “price to be paid” is never a goal in itself; it is a means to correct undesired behaviour. If I am convinced that the kid has learned the lesson, ie is willing to behave as I desire, I immediately lower the price and quite even totally remit it. Why would I need “to be paid a price” if the kid sees the error of his/her ways?
    This attitude of mine has brought me quite some respect. The consequence though is that my morals become more and more unchristian the older I get. The more I think about it the more loathsome I think the entire doctrine around “god needs to have his price paid” – atonement and such.
    As such I think much higher of the Norwegian penal system than the American one. It’s obvious which one is the most influenced by christianity.
    That’s my message for today. Even how I’m raised secularly in a secular country the moral values I learned as a boy were thoroughly christian. We atheists, if our atheism wants to be meaningful, must systematically wonder how we are influenced by christianity – and challenge those influences.

    • smrnda

      Something which tempers my thinking on prices to be paid is knowing that hey, rules are things we make up, and we assign consequences to them, and the goal of most societies is that people have some input into the laws that govern them and some say in what the consequences are.

      So the ‘price to be paid’ – how did we negotiate this? I view consequences as you do – it’s about the possible effects. If it takes a certain consequence to make a behavior stop, I’d say go for it, within limits, but the extremes to which it’s taken (even when they cannot be justified pragmatically) strikes me as absurd. I view punishment as having no value in and of itself and all, but like you I wonder about the religious roots of such an idea.

      I think it’s definitely a Christian one, since I note that though my partner is now an unbeliever, I think her views on suffering are kind of conditioned by her exposure to Catholicism. To her, ‘toughing it out’ or depriving one’s self seems to have value, and I don’t get it (I’m from a family of secular Jews.) Then again, if you build a religion around nailing a guy to a cross, what do you get? I’m sure my background has affected me in other ways.

      • Annerdr

        It works well with parenting, too. I rarely ever punished my child. I just didn’t fix his problems for him. I advise and support and love my son, but he is responsible for his own life and has to live by his own decisions.

        • smrnda

          This was probably what kept me out of trouble when I was young. I knew what consequences would be. That’s kind of valuable, particularly since you can end up in situations where nobody told you what to do, but you have to make a call based on thinking through what will happen.

        • Pofarmer

          One thing that I try to work on with my boys is decision making, and then accepting the consequences of those decisions. If teens having sex thought about the consequnces beforehand, you wouldn’t have all the teen pretnancy, to list an obvious example.

        • Annerdr

          If teens thought about consequences… Unfortunately, they all have moments of impulsiveness. You just hope it comes when they are buying clothes rather than when driving or deciding on birth control.

  • MNb

    “Look to the cross of Jesus Christ and be reminded of what fatherhood is all about.”
    Wait a fucking second. God is the father, right? JC the son. I’m a father. I do have a son I’m very proud of. Must I look to the cross and be reminded that I need my son to sacrifice himself to me?! Like that’s a good idea? That’s what Dobson’s quote implies!
    Hey Lew, where are you? I need you to condemn this christian shit with all the strong terms your Irish temperament is capable to produce! I don’t have enough to express my disgust.

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

      You don’t read Dobson and get all gooey inside?

      • Annerdr

        I’ve read Dobson. Now THAT is icky!

  • kraut2

    “and be reminded of what fatherhood is all about.”

    So, a selfish arsehole sacrifices his son instead of sacrificing himself for the mess he made? And I thought the parent is the one a sacrifice for his children might one day be demanded of and expected to be done?

    The moral teachings of xianity are a pile of stinking wet manure.

  • Mick

    And if blood sacrifice is a bit too messy for modern Christians, Jesus gave them the OK to throw the unbelievers into the ocean and drown them. Tie a rock around their neck, chuck ’em in the water, and let ’em sink without a trace. No fuss; no bother; easy-peasy!

    …it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung
    around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
    (Matthew 18:6)

    • wtfwjtd

      Yes, aren’t Christian ethics great?

      • Annerdr

        To be fair, the Christians stole that from the ancient Romans.

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

          And the Hebrews from Hammurabi and other regional cultures.

  • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

    That’s one of the points that more challenge my ability to be a Christian!
    First of all (as MNb rightly states below), did Jesus’ death achieve anything when it comes to furthering people’s moral nature?
    Second, I honestly cannot accept that someone had to die like that because of me.
    Third, as you Bob point out, the Bible sometimes shows God is able to forgive us freely, without a “price”.
    In my opinion, this “sacrificial” mythology emerged when Jesus’ followers tried to figure out why their leader had died so shamefully: and, like most religions of the era (and even later ones), the easiest answer was “Because God was mad at us and His anger had to be satisfied in some way!”.

  • SuperMark

    Thanks for the last two posts Bob, animal (which includes human) sacrifices has something that’s always been a problem for me even before I lost my faith. Even if human sacrifices in the OT and NT are shaky and can be explained away by other verses that condemn them one cannot deny the command to sacrifice animals in the OT. I will not ever align myself with a deity that demands animal sacrifices. As if the lives of those countless poor animals had no meaning or purpose or that their deaths gave their lives meaning. It is inexcusable and unjustifiable.

    I don’t believe in anything metaphysical but I do love that your last two posts are so relevant to two personal experiences I’ve had in the last week.

    My sister and her family live in Korea (the southern side of course they all call it Korea there and take offense to the south label because they are “the only true Korea”) as missionaries but they were in the US the whole summer (I’m the only apostate on both sides of my family, thus the whole missionary thing). I had the opportunity to spend some time alone with my four year old niece, of course she talked the whole time we were together but after a while she did bring up god/Jesus, all proud to have the knowledge of it. I remember her words exactly (and I’ll probably remember them for the rest of my life) she said “Jesus came to save us but the bad men nailed him and he died”. I was struck by this because this to me is such a violent/horrible story to tell a child but Christians hold it as the most pure/perfect part of their doctrine. I’ve read a lot of Hitchens and this is one thing that he brings up a lot, that it (in his opinion) is child abuse to tell a child such violent scary stories and to push the hell doctrine on children as it can be so damaging and give children a warped sense of humanity. Due to my fragile relationship with my brother in law (we had some interesting conversations while we were together of course) I wasn’t going to contradict her but I did tell her “they were not bad men they just didn’t understand what he was trying to do”. I am really remiss that my sister lives so far away because I think I could have a positive influence on her children, but that’s one thing that religion does best: tear families apart.

    My second experience related to this story (it’s a lot shorter): I went on a date yesterday with a girl who shares the same worldview as I do (thankfully, they are hard to find here in the south). When religion came up I asked her what made her question what she was taught (her parents are southern baptists) and she told me that since she was a child she never understood why a perfect god would want to kill his son. She’s obviously a better person than I am because this isn’t something I was able to properly examine until I was out of the faith and able to look at the story without dogmatic religion goggles on.

    On the outside it’s had for me to understand how it’s so hard for Christians to see how unnecessary the whole Jesus sacrifice actually was. I’m still working on it but hopefully one day I’ll understand it and be able to accept it.

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

      Even if human sacrifices in the OT and NT are shaky and can be explained away by other verses that condemn them

      But they can’t. That the omnibenevolent God sides with the wrong side of a moral argument once is enough. In that case, either we’re wrong, God’s wrong, or morality changes with time.

      I think I could have a positive influence on her children, but that’s one thing that religion does best: tear families apart.

      Great example. Yes, it sure does. I grew up in Richmond, VA and Durham, NC and wasn’t an atheist at that time (more an apatheist). Sounds like life in the South could be a challenge for someone who cares about the truth.

      • Greg G.

        Ha, I’m visiting your old stomping grounds. I skirted around Richmond last month on the way to Virginia Beach (pleasure) and I’m flying into Raleigh-Durham airport tonight (business).

      • SuperMark

        Yeah but you know the drill, no matter what the bible says christians will always point to the verses that they like. But with animal sacrifices it’s clear that god condones/demands this and I always felt bad for the helpless animals. God loves his whole creation so much and he want’s helpless animals to have their throats slit, that’s a pretty warped view on love.

        Yeah it’s rough, I have a great relationship with my sister but it’s hard not to hold resentment for her and her husband’s decision to leave the country to serve jebus. I guess it’s just religion I resent.

        It is hard to find free thinkers here in the south, most people I meet either don’t care and never think about it or they are religious. Both options are pretty undesirable for me for friendship/romance.

        • Al

          What is free thinking?

        • SuperMark

          Don’t pretend that you don’t know what that means. Ask me a non-leading question.

        • Al

          I want to know what you mean by it. I don’t want to misunderstand you.

        • SuperMark

          Someone who searches for truth on their own instead of just believing what they are told or what one book tells them is the truth. Apparently I should be killed too: Deuteronomy 29:19-20

        • Annerdr

          For me, it was neither the bad weekend that Jesus suffered nor the sacrifice of animals (to my shame!). It was the never-ending war of the OT authorized by God and the horror of Revelations in the NT, also authorized by God. I could never stomach the violence of Christianity.

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

          The paintings with Jesus lovingly holding a lamb or something are rather odd when you know where that lamb may well be headed.

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

          I remember being shocked when some friends of ours said that her brother was heading out on a missions trip … to Portugal. Am I wrong or is that like already Christian?

          Kidding! They weren’t Christian, they were Catholic.

        • Annerdr

          You have to keep in mind the purpose of the mission trips. It’s less about helping others and more about being exposed to extreme poverty so you have a good witness story to tell. Extreme poverty exists everywhere, so Portugal or Mississippi — you could be a missionary anywhere.

          Edit: Above, I am referring to the short-term missionary trips every high school Christian seems to take, not the long term missionary placement such as SuperMark’s sister. She and her husband may be doing the locals some good, or not, depending on how they balance selling god with helping provide the basics needed for a healthy life (safety, clean water, food, shelter, medical treatment, education).

      • Al

        If morality changes with time then anything can be morally justified. The nazis thought like this.

        • SuperMark

          So do you think it is morally right to have the death penalty for homosexuals? Leviticus 20:13

          If so then we have nothing to discuss. If not then I’ve just answered your question.

        • Al

          Yes. Why do you think they had such a penalty? A free thinker should be able to tell me why.

        • SuperMark

          Then you’re religious beliefs have corrupted your sense of morality and has made you a bigot. They had such a penalty because they were bigots.

        • Al

          What is a bigot? From what I read from you it is you who is the bigot against Christians.

        • Annerdr

          http://www.m-w.com can answer your problems with definitions.

          Certainly, atheists can be bigoted against religious groups. However, the thought process, the constant analyzing of one’s opinions, the openness to new ideas tend to discourage bigoted thinking in free thinkers. Most atheists know good people who are Christians and horrible people who are Christians. I think SuperMark’s issues with you have more to do with your refusal to actually engage in the discussion and instead use the ever annoying tactic of “just asking questions.” You should try The Google. It is not our responsibility to define terms for you.

        • SuperMark

          I don’t like Christian theology and morality. That doesn’t mean I hate someone just because they are a Christian. If you think someone deserves death because they are gay regardless of anything else then you are a bigot.

        • al

          They were not bigot. They had a right at the time to make laws and punishments for crimes they believed were detrimental to their societies.

        • MNb

          How nice! You should hang this

          “They had a right at the time to make laws and punishments for crimes they believed were detrimental to their societies.”
          on the wall.
          This quote is exactly the claim the nazi’s made regarding the jews.
          You’re such a good boy.

        • al

          You have mocked Christian beliefs in a number of your posts. I call that bigotry.

        • Ron
        • SuperMark

          then you don’t know what bigotry means, mockery is not intolerance. I live in the south and most of the people I know and have to deal with on a day to day basis are Christians. How many homosexuals do you know, would you even associate with someone who is gay? Call them a friend? Respect them?

          you think someone deserves to die because of their sexuality, I mock what you think in your head and I’m the asshole? That’s a great value system you’ve got there. I’m sure jebus would be proud.

        • Al

          I don’t disrespect the homosexuals I have known a number of them who are now dead. One is very sick.

          Homosexuality should be discouraged for this alone because it is unnatural and it leads to sickness and death.

          You certainly are a bigot against Christians. “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices;” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot

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

          How about the KKK? Are you “obstinately devoted to your own opinions” with respect to them?

          Last week in a neighboring county, they debated a resolution to put “In God We Trust” on the wall behind the county council. And yet we have Christians like you who want to pretend that they’re part of an oppressed minority. There, there.

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

          I await your evidence from the CDC that homosexuality leads to early death. I think what you’re struggling to express is that STDs can lead to poor health.

        • SuperMark

          in what world is saying homosexuals deserve death not disrespect? WTF!!! do you even read what you write?

        • smrnda

          Let’s talk about homosexuals and respect. Ever heard of Alan Turing? What debt do we all owe this homosexual?

        • purr

          Wishing people death based on their sexuality is a tad more offensive than being mocked, hypocrite

        • Pofarmer

          Some things deserve to be mocked.

        • Al

          True. Atheism certainly does.

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

          And do we fuss and whine about bigotry when you do? No, we just clearly point out any errors in your statements.

        • Pofarmer

          Have at it. So far you’ve only managed to make yourself look like an uneducated moron trying.

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

          Mocking people is a problem. Mocking beliefs is not–remember the First Amendment?

          If you don’t like having your beliefs mocked, don’t have such stupid beliefs.

        • Al

          Amen to that.

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

          So first it’s bigotry, then it’s “amen to that.” You’re changing your position like a weather vane.

        • Al

          Atheism should be mocked and everyone has the right to do so.

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

          Y’know what would be more effective? Providing actual arguments that counter the ones I provide here. Y’know, elevating the discussion to an intellectual debate instead of whining.

          You got arguments for Christianity or against atheism? Bring it.

        • Al

          There are no arguments for atheism being true. We both know that its impossible to prove in the least It leads to all kinds of absurd implications. It explains nothing and it offers nothing. Its bankrupt.

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

          (1) I don’t claim to prove anything about either Christianity or atheism, and I don’t demand that of my antagonists. Stop saying “prove.”

          (2) This blog is full of arguments for atheism. I just mined it for the 25 arguments I will be presenting at the AAA conference in Seattle on Friday. You think they’re bankrupt? Cool–find a post and clearly make that point in the comments. Big talk is what you’re good at, but big talk is useless.

          (3) I am under no obligation to provide any arguments for atheism. You have the burden of proof. Have you given us any arguments for Christianity? We’re waiting.

        • Al

          Just as I thought. There are no arguments for atheism being true. I don’t blame you for not wanting to. If I was in your shoes I wouldn’t either.

          I am looking forward to hearing your 25 arguments for atheism. Once I see what they are then I will know if there are any good arguments for atheism. So far I have found none. You could be the first to prove me wrong.

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

          You have found none because you haven’t searched. What you’re looking for is the “All Posts” button at the top of the page.

          I say, “I have 25 arguments for atheism” and you say, “Just as I thought. There are no arguments for atheism.” Wow–I’d hate to have you as the bad cop in an interrogation. That rapier-swift intellect would cut me to ribbons.

        • SuperMark

          then you are not looking, open up your mind to ideas outside of the bibble

        • SuperMark

          but if i mock your beliefs i’m a bigot. sounds like a double standard.

        • MNb

          Oh, but I like atheism being mocked. One of the best jokes I know is this one.
          Paul Dirac was known for vehemently defending atheism. So Wolfgang Pauli commented: “There is no god and Paul Dirac is his prophet.”

        • Annerdr

          That rule exists because the person who wrote it thought sex between two men was icky. That person was wrong, as much of the bible is wrong.

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

          Sex itself is icky. Imagine meeting someone at a party–straight or gay–and hearing him list his sexual turn-ons or favorite sexual experiences. It’s just that we have lust that can overcome this for our particular brand of sex.

          Straight people saying that the other way is wrong is like right-handed people saying that the other way is wrong (which also happened).

        • Annerdr

          Depending on the person and how much I’d had to drink, I might enjoy such a conversation. :)
          But I can see your point.

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

          The error is when the straight person imagines gay sex and gets grossed out (natural) but then imagines that his position is objectively correct.

        • Annerdr

          Maybe I’m weird, but I have never been grossed out at anyone else’s sexual escapades, even when lesbian or gay or trans – and I’ve been pretty “normal” in my own relationships (monogamous, heterosexual). That part is hard for me to grasp. I know intellectually that people feel that way, but I have a very hard time empathizing.

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

          OK. I should’ve qualified my comment with “many people” to show that this was a generalization.

          Another thought experiment: tell a 7yo about how sex works. Whether it’s straight sex or gay sex, the child will be grossed out. The point I’m trying to argue is that “gay sex is icky” may be correct, but it’s incomplete.

        • Annerdr

          True. I’ve had that very experience (telling a 7 year old about sex). He denied that he would ever participate in any such thing. Ever. He’s 17 now. Mistakes were made; opinions have changed.
          But yes, even if someone personally finds gay sex icky, I agree with you that using that ickiness as a basis for law or public policy is a terrible mistake.

        • smrnda

          Me neither, but after I read Naked Lunch when I was a girl at about 9, nothing I’ve heard of in real life ever shocked me, aside from predatory behaviors.

        • Al

          How can sex between two men be good when it is unnatural?
          How can something be good when it leads to diseases and early deaths for those who engage in it?

          Your opinion that the Bible is wrong is just an opinion that carries no weight. Opinions never do.

        • Annerdr

          What makes you think it unnatural? People have been doing it for eons. Even animals do it. It’s about as natural as anything could be. Just because it doesn’t lead to procreation doesn’t mean that it isn’t natural.

          What makes you think homosexual sex leads to diseases more than heterosexual sex? Lesbians, for instance, get STDs from each other relatively rarely.

          I don’t know where you are from, but where I am from, homosexuality does not lead to early death.

          Dismissing my opinion as “just an opinion that carries no weight” does not strengthen your own opinions.

        • al

          Are you saying that when it comes to sex nothing is unnatural?
          Is incest unnatural? After all its been going on for eons.
          You should read up . Look at the stats on homosexuality at the Center for Disease Control. It is shocking.

        • Annerdr

          I don’t know if incest is natural or not. However, it does cause harm so it’s immoral.

          Also. Homosexuality does not make you sick or die young. Men having sex with men have an increased chance of HIV transmission, but women having sex with women have a lower chance of HIV transmission than heterosexuals do. People in Africa have a higher chance of HIV transmission, in considerable part because the Catholic Church has told them condoms are immoral. Shall we blame them for living in Africa or for being religious?

        • Pofarmer

          Incest is, indeed all over nature. It is, however, inadvisable, as it causes genetic abnormalities.

        • Al

          Sex of any kind can cause all kinds of health problems. Are you saying that incest is natural and would be good if there was no pregnancies?

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

          “Stats on homosexuality”?? What does that mean?

          I have no idea what you’re talking about. Tell us what the stats on homosexuality are at the CDC.

        • Al

          2% of U.S. population is gay yet it accounts for 61% of HIV infection: “Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by new HIV infections. While CDC estimates that MSM represent only 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for the majority (61 percent; 29,300) of all new HIV infections in 2009. Young MSM (ages 13 to 29) were most severely affected, representing more than one quarter of all new HIV infections nationally (27 percent; 12,900 in 2009).” (Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HIVIncidencePressRelease.html)
          “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s . . . ” (Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm)

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

          So I hear you saying that these men need a lifestyle change: safer sex. Yes, I’m sure the CDC would agree.

          Now, back to the question of homosexuality: HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. You know that, right? It affects gay and straight people.

          If you’re really ranking subpopulations by HIV incidence, you’d need to put lesbians at the top. Is that your point? That lesbians have the best lifestyle because their HIV incidence is least?

        • Al

          Are you claiming that gay sex is healthy?

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

          Did you just wake up? Maybe you should wait half an hour before you post.

          I’m saying that sex can be unhealthy. Luckily, science and technology have provided ways to make it safer. (That wasn’t so complicated, was it?)

        • Al

          If science has made sex safer then how is it that there are , record numbers of people getting STD’s, HIV and abortions?
          Am I to believe things are safer given these stats?

        • SuperMark

          you’re wrong, HIV and abortion rates are both in decline. why, because of sex education. something i’m sure you oppose.

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

          What’s bizarre about the pro-life position is that they could do far more to reduce abortion by focusing on unwanted pregnancies rather than overturning Roe. Apparently, reducing abortions really isn’t the goal–I think it’s more politics. Conservative politicians don’t want Roe overturned because then they’d not be able to play Chicken Little, crying because the sky is falling.

        • SuperMark

          Exactly! I also think it has a lot to do with controlling peoples (specifically women’s) sexuality. If a women has an unwanted pregnancy well then “she shouldn’t have had sex”. Outlawing abortion will certainly lead to women dying through unsafe procedures well then “she get’s what she deserves”. It blows my mind that christians think that abstinence only will actually work, the catholic church tried to push that for 2k years and look how well that worked out for them.

          I think it has a lot to do with self affirmation, they think the only right path is monogamy, when deep down we all want sexual exploits because we’re mammals. So, if they don’t get to have multiple partners then no one else should either.

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

          I wonder how many abortions will happen in a post-Roe world. Wa-a-a-ay more than zero.

        • Al

          Way less than we have now.

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

          Useless. Give me numbers, backed up by research.

          Yeah, I know this is mega scary, where you actually have to go beyond conservative talking points and think for yourself, but give it a try. You might find that doing a bit of research and finding out something new is satisfying.

          Here’s my hypothesis: we could reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. more by better sex education than by making abortions illegal.

          Yeah, I know it’s fun to be hateful and shake your fist at the godless, baby-eating pro-choice people, but what if you were actually in league with them? If you focused on the common goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies? If you actually care about reducing abortions (again: I’m not convinced), you should investigate this route.

        • Al

          I made a quick check for the article but haven’t found it. It came out a couple of weeks ago. .

          The law is why we have so many abortions.Its legal.

          BTW- there is nothing fun about abortion. I don’t relish this discussion but it is necessary.

        • al

          Outlawing abortion would save countless babies lives. Abortion is about murdering the most defenseless of our race.

          Abstinence is 100% effective when practiced. Only animals can’t control themselves.

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

          Why would outlawing abortion eliminate abortions? You’re pretty naive. Look up the abortion statistics in countries where it’s illegal. You don’t really think that it’s zero, do you?

          Being perfect is 100% effective when it’s practiced. Problem is, it’s not always practiced. I think there’s a lesson here.

        • Al

          When something is against the law it limits that behavior. When the law approves something, it increases that activity.

        • purr

          Abortion restrictions only punish the poor. Middle and upper class women can simply travel, or pay their private physician to perform an abortion.

          Do you believe, that if abortion were illegal tomorrow, that fertile women of means should be prevented from traveling should they choose to seek an illegal abortion?

        • Al

          Abortion should be outlawed nationwide. Only in proven cases where a mother has a good chance of dying should it be considered.

        • purr

          Women of means can simply travel to Canada for an abortion.

          Should fertile women not be permitted to leave the country should they be on their way to an abortion?

        • Al

          Do you think women should be allowed to travel to Canada to commit murder?

        • purr

          That’s what I’m asking you. So answer. Please

        • Al

          No one should ever be allowed to murder their baby anywhere or anytime except to save the life of the mother.

        • purr

          So fertile women of means should be kept under house arrest from 12 to 50 lest they get pregnant and seek to travel for an abortion yes? You would like to see this enshrined in law?

        • Al

          When you kill an innocent human for not a just cause that is murder. So yes.

        • purr

          OK. Sounds reasonable.

        • lady_black

          What country do you live in where you believe falsely imprisoning women is permissible? If you tried to do that to me, I would kill you in your sleep.

        • fiona64

          So, all women should be kept locked in harems lest they terminate a pregnancy?

          How … interesting. Do you consider yourself to be a “good Christian,” Al?

        • Al

          Abortion should be outlawed worldwide. Only in proven cases where a mother has a good chance of dying should it be considered.

        • purr

          That isnt an answer.

          Should women be denied travel rights to prevent abortions yes or no?

        • smrnda

          What chance of dying is enough for you?

        • Al

          Good question. This should be discussed by the hospital, scientists and theologians.

        • purr

          Too cowardly to give a straight answer aren’t you?

        • purr

          This asshat is like a carbon copy of IraqNazarene.

          Ignorant
          Evasive
          Sexist
          Racist
          Dishonest
          Condescending
          Homophobe

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

          Have you had a teenage daughter? I wonder what you would’ve done if a pregnancy had risked all the plans–college, career, etc.–that you had for her.

          Lots of staunch anti-abortionists change their tune when it happens to them or someone close to them.

          I’ve heard of picketers who discover they’re pregnant, sneak in the back way for their abortion, and are then back on the picket lines the next week.

          “Well, see, it’s the other women who are sluts. In our case, the condom broke. We’re responsible.”

        • lady_black

          No. But abortion isn’t murder. Even when it was illegal, it was still only abortion.

        • fiona64

          Oh, Al. You are yet another one who needs a little legal education.

          Murder is the unlawful (illegal) taking of a person’s life with malice aforethought.

          Abortion is a legal medical procedure, so your silly canard fails on that level alone. However, embryos are likewise not persons … so you lose yet again.

          Poor thing.

        • MNb

          Pssst Fiona ….. Al is a christian bigot. His personal views come from a Holy Book and thus surpass something trivial like the law.

        • Lindsey Leigh Phillips

          Hahahaa!

          Fool.

        • MNb

          Nice, I detect a soulmate. Yes, if you think apologetics can’t get any worse read a couple of Al’s comments. They might be good for some LOLs.

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

          I’ll try again (that reading comprehension thing, I guess): what do you suppose will happen to abortion rates in the U.S. if Roe is overturned. Do you think the numbers will be zero?

          There are stats for other countries in which abortion is illegal. Look ’em up. You’re the guy who likes research, right?

        • Al

          Abortions would drop. Duh

          There was an article that just came out that showed where abortions are difficult to get, abortions dropped.

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

          In some parts of America, abortions are both legal and difficult to get. That’s not what I’m talking about. Find countries where abortion is illegal, then find out the abortion rate. Compare that with the U.S.

        • smrnda

          Legalization of marijuana hasn’t seemed to increase the rate of usage.

        • lady_black

          No, not really. If abortion became illegal, I would help women have them anyway. And I’m not alone.

        • purr

          68,000 women die per year from unsafe illegal abortion. But that doesn’t bother you, does it? Sluts deserve to die for trying to end their pregnancies, yes?

          . Only animals can’t control themselves.

          Animals ONLY have sex for procreation, which is what you are suggesting humans do. Humans are above that, and we can decide when and how often to have sex, for social bonding and other reasons. YOU want to make us more like animals, who practice abstinence unless they want to reproduce.

        • Al

          Whats worse: “68,000 women die per year from unsafe illegal abortion” or 1,000,000 babies dying each year?

          How can humans be above animals when I assume you believe humans are just animals to?

        • purr

          Women will die. And abortions will happen anyway.

        • Al

          So what is worse?

        • purr

          Is a microscopic clump of DNA worth more than a woman? Yes or no?

        • Al

          The zygote is a human being at the beginning. It should be equal to the mother.

          BTW- were you ever a zygote?

        • purr

          You want to give the zygote super human rights – the right to use the body of another as a mere means to an end.

          I was not a zygote. A zygote is a genetic blueprint. It had the potential to be me but was not me. Zygotes don’t have a self

        • Al

          You were a zygote at one time otherwise you would not be here.
          The mother has the moral obligation to bring the zygote-fetus-baby to birth. The reason is that is a human being growing in her. That baby bears the image of God and is sacred.

        • purr

          A zygote has potential, nothing more.

          And the right to life does not include the right to use the body of another as life support without consent

        • Al

          Without the zygote stage you and I would not be here. Its at the zygote stage that all the material is present to form an complete human being.

          Do you think human life is sacred i.e. is superior and more worthy of any other kinds of life on the planet?

        • purr

          You are incorrect. Zygotes are mere single cell genetic blueprints. If all that was needed was already there a zygote could develop into a baby if left in a petri dish.

          Does it hurt you to be this stupid?

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

          Ouch!

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

          Human life as a single insensate cell? If that’s your child to be, give it all the meaning and importance you want. But don’t impose your views on the rest of the world. Not all of us share them, and we don’t appreciate your telling us that you’ve got it all figured out, so we’re going to do things Al’s way from now on. How about letting the rest of us decide for ourselves, OK?

        • smrnda

          If my parents did not have sex, I would not exist. Therefore, abstinence is evil.

        • Pofarmer

          Abstinence certainly isn’t natural.

        • Pofarmer

          Can we have a rousing chorus of “every sperm is sacred”?

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

          And it’s not clear how that potential will be expressed. The gestation process may cause this or that gene to become active. Two pregnancies with the exact same starting DNA would produce different people. Homosexuality, for example, may be produced this way.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Doesn’t “image of God” mean having free will? And emotions? If so, then a zygote cannot be said to bear the image of God. I think you’re hung up on the word “human”. I understand that the word human has lots of connotations, especially that of a being with feelings, goals, and a will. But in referring to a zygote as being human, you are applying those connotations to something that doesn’t have them. And those properties of a human are a major part of the reason why we find killing humans immoral.

          The relevant definition of “human” here is something that contains human DNA. Something insignificant considering that everytime you scratch an itch you are killing cells with human DNA, and there seems to be no moral ramifications to that.

        • Al

          Image of God does not mean freewill. It means we share in some of the characteristics that God has. It means in part creatures.

          The zygote is a human being because it has within it all that is necessary to become a full adult human being. To destroy it is to kill a human being. Scratching cells off your body does not kill you.

        • MNb

          There is no god, hence nobody shares any characteristics with god. It’s the other way round – believers like you create an image of god and give it some of the characteristics they have themselves.

          “it has within it all that is necessary to become a full adult human being.”
          It hasn’t. The womb of the mother is outside the zygote and is highly necessary.

        • smrnda

          ” it has within it all that is necessary to become a full adult human being.”

          Great, then we can extract it from the mother and it will grow into a human all on its own. It has EVERYTHING IT NEEDS to become an adult human being inside it.

          YOUR WORDS, not mine.

        • MNb

          A zygote is no a human being. Yet. Not a baby either. The stuff about “image of god” comes straight out of your big fat thumb.

          “It should be equal to the mother.”
          Then zygotes should have voting rights.
          Good job not making sense, Al.

        • hector_jones

          So is God ‘immaterial’ or did he create us in his image? You believers can never keep this straight.

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

          A single fertilized egg cell is equal in every way to the mother? Just because they share similar invisible DNA?

          You don’t see a spectrum here?

        • smrnda

          Wait, a human being and a microscopic organism with no differentiated tissue are equally human now?

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

          First, they’re not babies.

          Second, why should you care? Are you really eager to see the number of abortions go down? I’ve told you how we could make enormous strides already, and you don’t seem much interested.

        • smrnda

          “Abstinence is 100% effective when practiced. Only animals can’t control themselves.”

          And since humans are animals…

          The empirical evidence is that the vast majority of people who pledge to use abstinence do not. We need to base public policy on the reality of what people will do, not decide that it should be based on what Ideal People do, who do not actually exist.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder how hard it is for people like Al to ignore all,the statistics and information available to cling to their religious Dogma? If you want to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions, then you should support contraception and education, the numbers are absolute on this point.

        • smrnda

          it’s control. Al has 1 strategy that al thinks everybody should have to follow. He doesn’t want there to be an alternative, since that is a threat to al’s worldview. He wants to reduce choice.

          I’d also wager that Al doesn’t care about actual consequences – if promoting abstinence causes social problems which we all have to deal with, al is going to say that we shouldn’t take it out on adults who set educational policy, but the kids.

        • lady_black

          “Only animals can’t control themselves.” THAT is not *entirely* accurate. Most animals are happily abstinent most of the time. They only become sexually interested when a female is in estrus. Humans and a few other primate species do not experience estrus. For whatever reason, we have evolved in such a way that our species is always sexually receptive, unlike most mammals, avian, reptiles, insects, etc. So it could be implied from this that it is lower animals that behave in such a way as to only have sex for reproduction, for humans this is highly abnormal. Someone has lied, and/or misrepresented the facts to you. Now, in order to compensate for the fact that we are always sexually receptive, we are also wired by evolution to not be spectacularly successful in achieving and completing gestation. Consider the enormous amount of maternal resources it takes to gestate one pregnancy. We do not have litters. Multiple births are relatively rare, and a single fetus is the rule. Fully 50%, and some say as high as 70% of conceptions never implant. Of those that do, 30% are sloughed off by the maternal organism as unsuitable for gestation. Add to that the fact that women have been aborting on purpose for as long as there have been women. And yet, with all that going against us, we have thrived as a species due to our capacity to think and reason, and improve our lot by thwarting nature. We’ve been doing it since we abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and took up agriculture. We are in no danger of ever becoming extinct other than by self-destruction. In other words, how we are has served us well so far. There is no need to engage in existential angst over lost pregnancies by whatever means. And by the way, one of the most effective self-destructive methods ever developed is for a species to multiply past the capacity of the environment to support that species.

        • purr

          Yes, that. They make mad funding from ‘if you don’t give us money 100 babies will die’ (a catholic diocese actually sent out a chain letter with that line).

          It’s a form of identity politics, and an obsession with moral purity. It doesn’t matter if people will have teh gay sex in private, or abort their pregnancies behind closed doors, what matters is, it FEELS GOOD to ban something that makes you feel all ICKY.

          Oh, and this, from Dr. Darrel Ray:

          So let’s look at what’s really going on here. There are probably 10,000 sex acts for every live birth. But religionists tell us sex should be for procreation, especially our dear friend the pope. The pope says, “Have sex only for procreation.” Well, this is my dear dog, Sugar. Many of you who have been to my house know Sugar. We have a rule, you can’t have any dogs up here unless she’s at least one of those dogs. Now, the pope says have sex only for procreation, well that’s how my dog has sex. That’s how an insect has sex. That’s how a cow has sex. More of the sexual species on this planet only have sex when the female’s fertile and ready to reproduce. We’re not like that: we can have sex any damn time we want to, and that’s wonderful, I’m sure glad about that, but the pope says, “No, that’s not right. You shouldn’t be doing it.”

          Now, when I say, “10,000 sex acts,” I’m including masturbation, guys and gals, ok? So we’ll just put that in the equation. Although some of you might be doing 10,000 without masturbation, I don’t know.

          Shame, fear, and guilt. It is always to a religion’s advantage to create shame around sexual activity. In The God Virus I talk about the Guilt Cycle. I won’t go into detail about that either today. But the fact is, if I can make you feel guilty about something that you’re going to do anyway, then the only place you can get forgiveness for that guilt is the place you learned it. So religion basically gives us a disease, then sells us a cure for that same disease. So without sexual guilt, without sexual fear, without sexual shame, all the major religions on the planet would collapse. Can you imagine the pope waking up one day and saying, “Whoa, I had a great wet dream last night! I think we’ll make masturbation legal.” No, that’s probably not going to happen.

          And then we have our friend Rush Limbaugh, who thinks he can shame women into shutting their mouths and be quiet, not just in church, but in the entire political system. Sandra Fluke –she is one of my heroes. [applause from audience] She stood up to Rush Limbaugh and told the guy to go fuck himself and I love it. I think that’s what more people oughta be doing.

          But why is Rush doing it? Because patriarchy religious systems use shame to keep women under control, and Rush is simply doing what patriarchies have been doing for three or four thousand years, using sexual shame to keep women from asserting themselves. Physically, politically, spiritually, sexually, you know, whatever you want to call it. But there’s one piece of shame I don’t hear anybody talking about, and I do want to spend a little time on that piece of shame, and that is male shame.

          It is very obvious that Rush Limbaugh is trying to shame Sandra Fluke. What is not so obvious is what is going on inside of Rush Limbaugh’s head, or indeed many, many males’ heads. Shame is an important component in any religion, but one of the key parts of shame is telling men, “You must control your wives and daughters.” Men who do not control their wives and daughters are not doing their duties as head of the religious household and the head of whatever the religious – and that’s what you see in Mitt Romney. That’s what you see in Mormons. It’s what you see in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You just name the religion and if it’s patriarchal, and most of them are, the man is supposed to make sure he controls his wife and his daughters. Now what happens if his daughter gets pregnant, quote “out of wedlock”? That brings shame down upon the man. In some cultures, the daughter will be killed. In our culture it will bring great shame upon the family and you will see fathers apologizing. I have heard atheist fathers apologizing for their daughters getting pregnant without being married. Now what is going on there? Why would an atheist father ever apologize, unless he’s infected with this notion of shame?

          Read the whole thing, for reals:

          http://skepticon.org/darreltranscript/

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

          That’s great stuff. Darrel Ray rocks.

        • MNb

          Oh, I think conservative politicians do want to overturn Roe. I agree with Kodie that it’s all about submission of people, in this specific case women.

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

          Yes, they do, but it’s not all about the babeez, the way they claim. It may well be true for the front-line lay troops, but not IMO for the higher-ups.

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

          I think many or most of those numbers are down, so I don’t know that “record numbers” is the right way to characterize it, but we can at least agree that STDs are a problem.

          Why is that, you ask? Because people are lazy, I suppose, and don’t practice safe sex. Is this relevant?

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

          Wrong again. Sex between males is indeed natural. Do a little research.

          Yes, STDs are a problem. They affect gay and straight people alike (perhaps you’ve heard?).

        • Pofarmer

          Anyone who has raised a pen of billy goats will concur.

        • al

          Sex between males is unnatural because their sex organs are not made for each other. They don’t complement each other. It’s destructive to their bodies. That’s why they get sick and it messes up their rectums.

        • Pofarmer

          Never heard of brides syndrome?

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

          Wow–someone just got a degree in physiology and medicine. Good for you.

          And yet you have the uncomfortable fact that homosexuality has been well documented in 500 animal species. It’s natural by definition, and you lose. QED

          I wonder: is there more sodomy between homosexual couples or heterosexual couples? There are way more of the latter …

        • Al

          So you get your morality and how you are to live your life from animals? Good for you.

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

          ?? You said that homosexuality was unnatural. Because it is seen in 500 animals, it is natural. You were wrong.

          See how this works? You say something stupid, and you get publicly humiliated for it. Pro tip: say fewer stupid things.

        • Al

          How does that follow??? Homosexuality is not natural in human beings We don’t get our sex habits from animals. Correction you do.
          I already gave you the health ramifications for it. Do you want me to post it again so you don’t say stupid things?

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

          Homosexuality is practiced in hundreds of animal species. It’s practiced in nature. Therefore, it’s natural, kinda by definition.

          You want to say that humans are an exception? Show me.

          You gave me no health ramifications of homosexuality. You gave me the consequences of unsafe sex.

          Yeah, I get it. That’s bad. Let’s try to reduce it. My thought: better sex education in public schools. What do you think?

        • Al

          Its not natural to the body. Its not a sexual complement among same sex people. It is a sexual complement between a man and a woman.

          You have a reading comprehension problem. Let me give you the info again and then you tell me its healthy:

          2% of U.S. population is gay yet it accounts for 61% of HIV infection: “Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by new HIV infections. While CDC estimates that MSM represent only 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for the majority (61 percent; 29,300) of all new HIV infections in 2009. Young MSM (ages 13 to 29) were most severely affected, representing more than one quarter of all new HIV infections nationally (27 percent; 12,900 in 2009).” (Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HIVIncidencePressRelease.html)

          “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s . . . ” (Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm)

          Better sex “education” does not help. We been at that for decades and we know it doesn’t work given that rates of STD’s, deaths and abortions. Its a total failure.

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

          Its not natural to the body. Its not a sexual complement among same sex people. It is a sexual complement between a man and a woman.

          I have no idea what this means. Homosexuality is common among other animals. We are animals; there are homosexuals within our species. Homosexuality is natural. It really isn’t hard.

          You have a reading comprehension problem.

          What a coincidence! I was thinking the same of you.

          Let me give you the info again and then you tell me its healthy:

          Yeah, I get it—unsafe sex is bad.

          2% of U.S. population is gay yet it accounts for 61% of HIV infection

          When you look at the lesbian population and see that it has less STDs than average, what do you conclude? That somehow it’s correct because it’s healthier?

          Better sex “education” does not help. We been at that for decades

          Conservatives have been pushing myths like “abstinence works,” if that’s what you mean. But it’s clear that something (you tell me what) is messed up within American society. Other Western cultures have far, far less unwanted pregnancy and abortion.

          Do you really care about abortions (I actually doubt it)? Then figure out what these other countries are doing right and demand that that be done here.

        • Al

          Are you that naive you don’t know the basics of sex? The rectum is not made for penetration. That’s where body waste goes out. Not made for something to go into. That’s one reason its unnatural.

          If you think you are an animal then let the dog sleep in your bedroom while you sleep out in the garage.

          How many diseases and abortions have people who practice abstinence gotten? How many diseases are associated with abstinence?

          So the murder of 1 million babies a year is a success of how well sex education is working?

        • purr

          Purpose of sex = social bonding.

          Gay sex = social bonding

          Abstinence only sex education in evangelical regions = highest levels of teen pregnancy and abortion.

        • Al

          Purpose of sex=creation of a human being.

          How is is possible for someone who practices abstinence to get pregnant? How does that work?

        • SuperMark

          because those policies don’t stop people from having sex! they only keep people ignorant so they do not know how to protect themselves!

        • Al

          People having sex know all about it. They don’t care about protection. That’s why there are so many STD’s, abortion etc.

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

          Oh … ? I wonder then why the conservatives are so frantic about honest sex education and push for abstinence instead. The stats make clear how poorly it works.

          For the umpteenth time, there are other Western countries who clean our clock on stats for unwanted pregnancies and abortion. Don’t you want to find out what their secret is? Or is this whole anxiety about dead babies just a put-on?

        • SuperMark

          you are startlingly ignorant on this issue. no, people having sex don’t know all about it. I can tell you from personal experience. I started masturbating before I even knew what sex was. I started fooling around with my first girlfriend before I even knew how reproduction really worked, before I knew what menstruation and ovulation were.

          this happened to me because my parents were very religious just like you. they wouldn’t even educate me on this topic because sex is so taboo in your subculture that even talking about it made them uncomfortable. the whole narrative was “just don’t do it” that’s all you need to know. so what happens when people in my situation start romantic relationships? they have unprotected sex in ignorance, the very thought of me buying a condom (I did know what that was during that time) was just as bad as the act of having sex. and on the other side, women 16+ in the christian subculture on birth control were like sluts if they were on birth control then they were slutty girls who just wanted to fuck. so none of them were on birth control.

          you know nothing, it’s people like you who ruin people’s lives not the unbelievers like me. and in response to your question to Bob above, yes I hope my children can experience healthy sex lives much younger than I did, and not feel guilt about being a fucking human being.

        • Al

          So you would have no problem with your daughter having an active safe sex life?

          BTW- I have not ruined anyone’s lives with my views. I want to help young people avoid a lot of the heart ache that we see everyday due to the idea that there is such a thing as “safe sex”.

          Sex is also more than biological. It binds people together in unhealthy ways.

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

          Possibly. Or in healthy ways.

          The average age of marriage is over 25 in the U.S. People got married earlier than that in centuries past. They seemed to figure it out.

        • SuperMark

          Yes I would be very happy if my future daughter had a healthy sex life? WTF do you want you children to be repressed sexually???

          No I’m sure you personally haven’t ruined anyone’s life by your views. My point is that the views you have on sexuality can prevent people from having a health sex life, like myself. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I was able to get over all of this crazy shit. I know I missed out on many opportunities at intimacy because of people like you.

          You clearly think sex is mostly dirty/wrong, sex can bind people together in very healthy ways even if it doesn’t last for a lifetime.

        • smrnda

          I knew someone who went bankrupt after trying to start a business. Because of this, I want to make sure nobody ever starts a business ever again, to avoid the heart ache.

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

          they wouldn’t even educate me on this topic because sex is so taboo in your subculture that even talking about it made them uncomfortable.

          And so teens need to figure things out on their own. (Al: you’re squeamish about butt sex, so stop reading now.)

          For everyone else who can handle reality: unrealistic prohibitions against sex mean that teens, especially in red states, get into sodomy because conventional sex is off limits.

          Here’s a clever song that explores that (go to YouTube to read the lyrics–it’s a little hard to understand otherwise): “Fuck me in the ass because I love Jesus.”

        • SuperMark

          For me it was the oral and manual persuasion, but I think you sentiment is the same. As long as it’s not PIV you’re still a virgin right?

        • smrnda

          I had a friend whose father told her all about protection around 8 or 9. He wanted to get to her before she heard any nonsense .

          Guess what.. she had lots of sex, even casual sex, no STI, no unplanned pregnancy.

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

          Yeah, and how does someone on a diet not invariably lose weight?

        • SuperMark

          Wow I’m really surprised to see someone who thinks sex should only be for making babies. People like Al here must live truly miserable lives.

          Examples of other animals that have sex for pleasure: dolphins, elephants, hyenas, and I’m sure numerous others.

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

          People like Al here must live truly miserable lives.

          When I think of Al, I’m seeing the Monty Python movie with the line of monks chanting and periodically smacking themselves on the heads with boards.

          Why should anyone else have any fun, eh Al?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6WjhzzEHmE

        • Al

          With what you are promoting about sex would you want your children to follow your advice?

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

          What advice is scary that I wouldn’t want my kids to follow?

          And BTW, I’ve written a post on premarital sex. It’ll curl your toes–I actually support it.

        • Al

          If they are going to have sex, do it safely. In other words, having sex can be done safely and you would not disprove of your kids doing it.

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

          Correct.

        • purr

          I have noticed, amongst more than a few homophobes, an obsession with dicks doing into butts. WTF is up with that?

        • SuperMark

          I total agree I see the same shit on a few extreme right wing websites I frequent. I think it’s the whole icky factor, that’s all they got going for their argument. Also, probably jealously I wonder how many homosexuals never experiment because of religious upbringing.

        • purr

          There was one guy on TFA a few months ago who would NOT stop talking, in great detail, about the mechanics of gay sex. Made you wonder…

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

          Couldn’t be (dare I say it?) Haggard’s Law in operation?

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

          If you’re convinced that gaiety is bad, doubling down on religion is a good way to go. That’ll hopefully keep you straightjacketed.

          Of course, just admitting your (natural) tendencies is another option, though that’s not available to lots of Christians.

        • purr

          I have also noticed that a lot of fetus fetishists are totally into fetal pron.It’s all they talk about. In fact, many of the (men) who love talking about fetal dismemberment also love talking about butt sex.

        • smrnda

          Good point.

          Diet and exercise plans that are unrealistic are useless to the average person. They have to be feasible, not based on the assumption that everybody will be a pro athlete who will never, ever ever eat a scrap of junk food.

          As I once heard, the best exercise plan is the one you actually stick with.

        • MNb

          That’s the core difference, isn’t it? Believers like Al want to adjust reality to their backward views. Modern people – fortunately that includes many believers – start with reality and then wonder how to improve it.

        • purr

          Humans have sex for social bonding and reproduction. If humans had sex purely for procreation, human females would go into heat once or twice a a year for a few days, and pop out a kid. They don’t. Human females don’t go into heat, their ovulation is hidden, and they are receptive to sex at all times. Also, conception is only possible during a limited time frame, and close to 70% of zygotes fail to implant or miscarry, which goes to show that sex amongst humans evolved to be purposely inefficient. Because we, like the bonobos, use sex as a social lubricant.

          http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/2013/02/15/darwin-days-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-sex-for-social-bonding-in-bonobos/

          How is is possible for someone who practices abstinence to get pregnant?

          Because people like to fuck, dumbass.

        • Al

          Huh????

        • purr

          What part didn’t you understand?

        • smrnda

          On abstinence, I’ve decided to teach this new self defense strategy of ‘don’t get into fights.’ Simple – anyone who somehow gets harmed just didn’t follow my perfect strategy.

        • Pofarmer

          You should read the book “sex and god” but I’m pretty sure you won’t. Sex serves multiple purposes in humans.

        • Pofarmer

          there is a book called “sex and God” that you should read. Sex in humans is about much more than procreation.

        • smrnda

          What % of people who intend to use abstinence really do?

          A plan which has a low compliance rate is a bad plan. Reminds me of the phrase ‘the best exercise plan is the one you stick with.’

          The purpose of sex is… sex is up to the individual. What is the purpose of cinema? Entertainment? Social commentary? Making money? Pissing people off?

        • purr

          Religion distorts sexuality
          http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0970950543

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

          I’m familiar with how sex works, thanks.

          But let’s review. You said that homosexual sex was unnatural. I showed you that it is indeed natural, since it is practiced by 500 species in nature. You made a mistake. Man up, take your medicine, and move on. (Unless you enjoy me continually repeating your error.)

          You’re a little confused about abstinence as well. There’s abstinence as a practice. (Yes, when that’s practiced, it works.)

          And there’s abstinence as an educational policy. When that’s taught, students have more unwanted pregnancies. Just look at red vs. blue states on what counts as sex education and rates of unwanted pregnancy. (Spoiler: where abstinence is taught, things don’t do so well. Oops.)

          I disagree that zygotes and fetuses are “babies,” but ignoring that, no, the current approach isn’t working. How many times must I make that very point? And y’know why? It’s because we’re using politically driven approaches to sex education rather than the most effective approaches to sex education.

          As I said (and I realize it’s hard to follow up on something that says that you’re completely wrong) other countries have far better stats on unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Why is that? Answer that question and you may see a way for America to improve its stats as well. Or is that not what you want?

        • Al

          So animals do something, that means you should do it. Got it.

          People who practice abstinence don’t get pregnant. Just because some students are stupid and reject abstinence as an educational policy doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the policy. It means there is something wrong with them.

          Sex education is not that complex or hard to understand. There is no more effective approach to it. No need to waste anymore money on this nonsense. So long as people don’t think its immoral to engage in it they will do it. After all, its natural, everybody is doing it, its all about love and I can fix it if I get pregnant via abortion or take medication for an STD. Everything is cool. Right?

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

          So animals do something, that means you should do it. Got it.

          Wrong again. I didn’t say this … but then you already knew this. You just wanted to say something stupid so you could get humiliated, right?

          People who practice abstinence don’t get pregnant.

          People who stick to their diets lose weight.

          It means there is something wrong with them.

          Yeah, when I coached the second graders in basketball, I said that they all needed to be able to dunk the ball in an NBA standard hoop. After the whole season, not a one could! Something was wrong with them—couldn’t have been me.

          Sex education is not that complex or hard to understa nd. Ther e is no more effective approach to it.

          Check the red vs. blue stats on unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Ouch—your perfect policy sure does suck.

          So long as people don’t think its immoral to engage in it they will do it.

          So that’s it, is it? You just don’t want teens screwing, right? That whole “poor innocent babies” thing was just a front. My bad—I thought you actually cared about the abortions.

        • smrnda

          “So long as people don’t think its immoral to engage in it they will do it.”

          I don’t think it is immoral to do many things, and I don’t do them. That seems like an odd point for Al to make. If I think something is not immoral, MUST I be doing it?

          Some Christians seem to have a hard time getting that. I am not opposed to pot usage, but I don’t do it, but this blows some of their minds. It’s as if I can accept people might do something I don’t really feel like doing myself, and that everybody doesn’t have to do the same things.

        • smrnda

          So, we should accept that most students won’t follow the abstinence plan, and just decide ‘those dumb kids’ and accept a lot of teenage pregnancy. Great idea, let’s let the whole country sink.

          Or, we can teach kids comprehensive sex education, for which there is empirical evidence that it works.

          I had a friend of mine whose father taught her all about contraception around 9 or so. His idea was that if his plan was ‘don’t have sex,’ she could have sex one time, and it would be a disaster. If he taught her how to do safe sex, she could likely have sex many times without disaster. His stance was a plan where one mistake will be a disaster is a pretty stupid plan.

          My friend had sex, and remained free of STIs and did not get pregnant until years later, when she wanted to.

        • SuperMark

          women have assholes and mouths same as men, or do you think that form of sex is icky too? are you living in the 18th century where anything other than PIV is sodomy?

        • Al

          You mean rectums? Are rectums made for penetration? What do you think it does to the rectum?

        • SuperMark

          it doesn’t fucking matter, people can do whatever they wish with their bodies. it’s people like you who want to control what other people do. you seem to be really fixated on this whole “rectum” thing, don’t make me go all Freud on your ass.

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

          Oh, sweet Loki. I have a new #1 reason for good sex education: so I won’t have to explain stuff to adults like you. (You are an adult, right?)

          If you don’t like butt sex, don’t have any. That was straightforward, wasn’t it?

          Homosexuality is natural. You may not have any desire for butt sex, but apparently other guys do. You may be right handed, but other people aren’t. You may not like pistachio ice cream, but other people do.

          Your tastes are similar to but not identical to other people’s.

        • Al

          Ever hear of Gay bowel syndrome?

        • hector_jones

          Ever hear of STDs?

        • MNb

          According to Al only gays get them.

        • hector_jones

          Al is unnatural

        • Al

          No. Heterosexuals who also believe in “safe sex” get em to.

        • MNb

          Psssst – the very purpose of “safe sex” is avoiding STDs. Being faithful to one partner, ie avoiding adultery is one form of “safe sex”. I learned that more than 30 years ago. Guess what? Gays can do that too. Lots of them actually are faithful indeed.
          Hector is right – you’re unnatural.

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

          I’m pretty sure that red state teens taught abstinence get ’em as well.

        • Al

          yep. Know how most people get em?

        • hector_jones

          From straight sex, the natural kind that their genitals were ‘made for’. STDs don’t just include HIV, Chester.

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

          Al should tell straight parents to stop making gay babies.

        • smrnda

          “How many diseases and abortions have people who practice abstinence gotten?”

          The problem is almost nobody does – abstinence is a strategy with a low completion rate, meaning that planing to use abstinence is a bad strategy.

          Listen, I analyze strategies for a living. If a strategy is effective but is hard to do, it is a bad strategy. It’s better to go with an easier strategy. Safe sex is, by and large, safer than the *plan to use abstinence* strategy since almost nobody does it right.

          It sort of reminds of of something I learned about martial arts “if you can’t do a technique while drunk, it’s too difficult to be effective in a real self defense situation.”

        • Al

          There is no such thing as safe sex. The health stats for STD’s, abortions, etc prove this

          For the person who lives by the abstinence principle will not:
          1- get STD’s
          2-unwanted pregnancies
          3- guilt

          Same would apply to alcohol and drugs:
          1- no DUI’s
          2- no alcoholism
          3- no making fool of yourself

        • purr

          Yes, and sex has killed close to 1billion women in history due to pregnancy. Pregnancy also kills infants and zygotes in the trillions.

          Perhaps sex should be illegal, it’s too deadly.

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

          You and Al are doing an important service by bringing up the health issue.

          Since the mortality rate from abortions is 1/10 that from deliveries, we should encourage more abortions.

        • MNb

          It would be nice if all religious bigots – like you – would live by the abstinence principle. The world would become a better place indeed.

        • Al

          Whats a “religious bigot”?

        • MNb

          Someone who wants to enforce his religious morals – in this case sexual abstinency – on the rest of the world and is not capable and/or willing to consider any other viewpoint. Someone like you.

        • hector_jones

          If there is no such thing as safe sex then you just contradicted your argument above that homosexuality is wrong and unnatural as opposed to heterosexuality because it’s harmful to the body. This is three major contradictions you have made in this thread alone. But that’s what christianity is all about, so keep up the good work.

        • Al

          Huh????? I don’t follow.

        • hector_jones

          I realize you aren’t very bright, so I will try to explain carefully and slowly.

          You have tried to argue that homosexuality is wrong because it’s ‘unnatural’. As evidence for it being unnatural you point to specific harms caused to the body by gay sex, such as ‘gay bowel syndrome’. But then you argue later that no sex is safe, including straight sex. This demolishes your argument that homosexual sex is ‘unnatural’ because it’s harmful, because straight sex is harmful too, and therefore unnatural by your own argument.

        • smrnda

          The guilt isn’t going to be an issue if you haven’t been brainwashed with the whole ‘sexual purity’ deal.

          Life comes with risks you can’t avoid. Things that are fun, or worth doing, or which represent achievements all come with risk. My take on risks is that people should get information, and then use the best risk management strategies out there.

          What’s your take on US football? It does seem pretty dangerous, and it’s risky, and not necessary. I’m not into it myself (I did not grow up in the US and barely understand the game) but I’m not for banning it, though it’s place in schools is questionable, but I’m all for players getting info on risks and better safety equipment, and if the NFL was going to change rules to make it safer, I’d be in favor. There is no activity that does not come with risk. You can get killed riding a bicycle, yet I would still say that riding a bike can be a healthy and responsible choice, though I would make sure people took decent precautions. I can’t ride one since I cannot see well enough.

          Who decides what is worth doing? It’s a risk to start a business. It’s a risk to invest. It’s a risk to try to fix something. We can probably rule out the most dangerous activities which have no potential perks or benefits at all, but who decides this? YOU? Ever heard that the regrets you may have are about what you didn’t do? Lots of people who succeeded took huge risks, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

          Your alcohol comparison is not a very good one, as most people who consume alcohol are not problem users.There are people who can drink responsibly. I am one of them.

          Strategies are only as good as their typical implementation, by the way.

        • MNb

          “its unnatural”

          http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adnature.html

          Your computer and internet also are unnatural. Still you don’t practice silicon abstinence.
          Your argument is also ad hoc. Two logical fallacies in one, not bad.

        • hector_jones

          Because something can make you sick or injure you doesn’t make it ‘unnatural’. You can get sick or injured from heterosexual sex. You can get injured from playing sports or just walking down the street. By your logic, those things are therefore unnatural.

        • SuperMark

          Asmondius is that you? Why is it that the christians that come to Bob’s blog are always filled with hate? The one’s who aren’t always disappear when challenged. The only exception I’ve seen in the past year is KarlU.

          Can’t you see “Al” that your religious beliefs give you more things to hate than love? This seems to be the case at least based upon the things you’ve said here.

          Oh yes you don’t “hate” gays but they are filthy, disgusting, and deserve to die.

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

          Yes, Karl is more thoughtful. JohnH2, as well. There was another guy who dropped by last week but seems to have left–polite and interested in discussion, it seemed.

          But, yeah, many are hateful and seem to have no concept of what an effective argument is. Just a “these arguments count for nothing!” and then they’re gone, having done the Lord’s work.

        • hector_jones

          There is an unwarranted assumption here that sex organs have a creator who gave them a purpose. This is a position that atheists reject because there is no evidence that this alleged creator exists.

          Is grabbing your own penis and tugging on it also unnatural? Your hand wasn’t ‘made for’ that, was it? So why are you such a wanker?

        • Al

          Then be consistent and live like an animal in all areas of your life. Do it when you feel like it since that is what animals do.

        • MNb

          Like many atheists I already live like an animal – specifically like the animal species called Homo Sapiens. That’s what we have humanism for. It would be nice if more christians – like you – would take over that behaviour.

        • Al

          Animals don’t have morals. They do what comes natural. So live consistently and not claim there is such a thing as morality.

        • MNb

          There are animals that do have morals, my dear ignorant christian.

          http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals

        • Al

          What kind of morals do animals have? What animal enforces this morality in the animal kingdom?

        • MNb

          Your questions imply you’re admitting that animals other than Homo Sapiens do have morals. Thanks.
          I never suggested that those animals have the same morals as Homo Sapiens, so I don’t need to answer your questions. Repeating what I wrote above is enough:

          Like many atheists I already live like an animal – specifically like the animal species called Homo Sapiens. That’s what we have humanism for. It would be nice if more christians – like you – would take over that behaviour.

          But if your questions are genuine – which I doubt – I suggest you to read the link for starters. If it’s not satisfactory you might try

          http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8240.html

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

          Some primates do things that, if done by a person, would be considered moral actions: commiserate, get angry in response to unfairness, offer sympathy, and so on.

        • hector_jones

          Good advice.

        • Al

          Glad were not neighbors.

        • hector_jones

          Me too.

        • RichardSRussell

          What is this fundagelical obsession with “unnatural”? Clothing is unnatural. Medicine is unnatural. Skyscrapers and automobiles are unnatural. Movies and TV shows are unnatural. The computer you’re typing your idiocies on is unnatural.

          Artificial (“unnatural”) things are all around us, every day, everywhere. They’re there because we put them there. They are our creations. We created them to make our lives easier and more pleasurable. Unnatural things are the very core of what we call “civilization”. Yay for unnatural things!

        • 90Lew90

          You forgot knives and forks, but I suppose it’s quite possible this one just slaps his food in his face with his hands.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh right. I am homosexual. I presume you would call that a “lifestyle choice” on my part. No, my attraction to men is a condition of my being. Your religion is a lifestyle choice. And excuse me my friend, but if you’d just open your eyes you could not help but see that it is in fact your religion that is the bigger killer. Does the fact that I find peace by lying in the arms of my fellow man frighten you a little bit? Does the reality of what you preach being practiced get to you? Maybe you should make a new lifestyle choice. Or else stop preaching. How dare you.

        • MNb

          “No, my attraction to men is a condition of my being.”
          What if it were a lifestyle choice indeed? If I decide tomorrow that I want to have sex with another man no christian bigot is going to stop me.
          Bakunin famously said “I only can be free if all people around me also are free.” Your freedom to choose your lifestyle is mine, my dear Lew.
          The point of course is that the question “lifestyle or condition” is simply irrelevant.

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

          “Homosexuality isn’t a lifestyle choice. Religion is a lifestyle choice.” Nice!

          What God made is good, except when it makes them feel icky.

        • Annerdr

          Sigh. Trope troll brings up Nazis as proof of morally suspect group-think, therefore Jesus. Trope troll bores me.

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

          Obviously morality does change. People used to be OK with slavery (Yahweh included). Today, we think it’s abhorrent.

          You say that morality is objective and changeless? Show me.

        • al

          Murder (the deliberate taking of innocent life) is always wrong.

        • Annerdr

          If someone breaks in my house, gun in hand, to murder my son, then are you saying it would be immoral for me to stop that person by shooting him?

        • Pofarmer

          How about, say, burning heretics?

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

          Nope, that’s a shared opinion, not an objective fact. You do see the difference, right? That humans have shared moral views is hardly surprising since we’re all the same species. We have the same programming.

          Objective morality needs some grounding, which is quite an assumption. I see no evidence. More importantly, I see no need for the assumption.

        • Ron

          Yet according to the “good” book Lord Genocide (aka YHWH, Jealous, Jehovah, Jesus Daddy) has zero problems with taking innocent life. Which makes it an immoral monster on par with every other ruthless dictator that has ever lived.

          BTW… if you’ve ever killed an insect or eaten animal flesh, then you too are guilty of having taken an innocent life.

        • hector_jones

          You contradicted this statement elsewhere by saying murder i.e. abortion is ok solely to save the life of the mother. So murder isn’t always wrong to you. Sometimes it’s fine.

        • Al

          To have a justified reason to take a human life is not murder. Saving the life of the mother would be justified.

        • hector_jones

          Except that you defined murder as ‘the deliberate taking of innocent life’ so you just contradicted yourself when you said it was ok to abort a fetus to save the mother.

          I would respond that aborting a fetus early enough in the term is justified and hence not murder. The Supreme Court of your country agrees with me.

        • Al

          Not when you have a moral dilemma i.e. ” a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.”http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dilemma

          True the court gives people the right to kill the fetus up before birth.

        • MNb

          A pregnant woman considering an abortion always faces a moral dilemma by definition. So you argue that abortion is per definition not murder.
          Thanks.

        • Al

          You should take a logic class somewhere near you. This is one embarrassing statement.

        • MNb

          It’s an embarrassing statement for you indeed – it shows your lack of consistency.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Murder (the deliberate taking of innocent life) is always wrong.” Emphasis mine.

          “Saving the life of the mother would be justified.” In order to do that you must kill the child (I’m not going to make a distinction between zygote and fetus here since the difference does not matter to you). To resolve the contradiction in your two statements you must declare at least one of the following statements as true:

          1) The child is not innocent and so can justifiably be killed to save the mother.
          2) There are cases where it isn’t wrong to kill an innocent.
          3) It isn’t justified to kill the innocent child to save the mother.

          One more note. You are a Christian, right? Isn’t #1 true because of original sin? I’ve never come across one (this question is not directed at you in particular), but are there apologists who claim that it is okay for God to kill babies because they are tainted by original sin? I know JohnH2 made the argument that it isn’t wrong for God to kill babies because God has everyone die anyway (although that’s a problem for the free-will defense of the problem of evil).

        • MNb

          Ah – it’s murder when you think it unjustified; it’s not murder when you give your approval, like no doubt the Canaanite Genocide. How subjective.

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

          Where are you on capital punishment? Is it OK to take those lives?

        • Al

          Atheism had nothing to do with ending slavery. It can’t even speak against it by any atheistic principle.

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

          Oh? Show me how the Bible unambiguously argues against slavery.

          Your god is a sick piece of work–you know that, right?

        • smrnda

          Christianity is okay with slavery. At least atheism isn’t in a position of having to defend it.

        • Al

          No its not. Atheism has nothing to say about slavery.

        • MNb

          Brilliant self-contradiction. “Atheism has nothing to say about slavery.” means exactly what Smrnda wrote: it isn’t in a position of having to defend it like you do with your indentured service, as if that is acceptable in the 21st Century.

        • Al

          Christianity can address slavery but atheism can’t. Its that simple.

        • MNb

          Then I repeat: why did it take christians 13 Centuries before they began to address slavery?
          It’s simple indeed. I don’t use atheism to address slavery. I use my secular ethics. Sure, its basic assumption can’t be proven. Christian morals can’t be proven either – and have changed over 2000 years. So if I have a problem you have a bigger one.

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

          Well, you can’t just leap into this. Tackling slavery is something that has to be planned.

          http://www.paleface.net/shots/990113.gif

        • smrnda

          Atheism is just one small part of an evidence based worldview. Saying ‘atheism has nothing to say about slavery’ would be like saying the DP on the film set has nothing to say about plot.

        • MNb

          Ah, that’s why the non-religous Revolutionary France was the first country to abolish slavery.

        • Al

          Can you give me the source for the non-religious in France worked to end slavery there?

        • MNb

          Of course. I don’t suck things out of my thumb like you.

          http://www.historywiz.com/slavery-frenchrev.htm
          http://newsone.com/2183397/france-slavery/
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympe_de_Gouges

          You being ignorant I must of course remind you that the French Revolution was thoroughly anti-religious, much more than the American Revolution.

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

        • Al

          Are you saying that the French Revolutionists were atheist?

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

          Pretty much. They turned churches into stables. They destroyed church manuscripts. They confiscated church property.

        • MNb

          Why do you christians always ask questions which already have been answered? It makes you look stupid. Here is what I wrote:

          “the French Revolution was thoroughly anti-religious”
          In that time anti-religious was not necessarily synonym with atheist. We can quibble if the Cult of Reason was a form of atheism or a form of religion. It doesn’t matter here though.
          You are only trying to distract from the plain fact that a large chunk of christianity kept on supporting slavery – in various countries – many decades after an anti-religious, specifically anti-christian movement abolished it. You are also neglecting the plain fact that the RCC supported Napoleon when he restored slavery. So much for your “I don’t know a way to justify slavery for christians”. Your fellow believers knew.
          You may know Scripture very well – of the rest you are damning ignorant.

        • hector_jones

          Just out of curiosity, how many slave owners were atheists?

        • Al

          Probably lots because there is nothing in atheism that forbids it.

        • hector_jones

          Got any data on that? Every southern slave owner that I have ever heard of was a Christian. Something to think about.

        • Al

          No data. Those Christians that did had no real basis from Scripture. The OT would not apply nor did Christ or His apostles teach that they should have slaves.

        • hector_jones

          “Those Christians that did” would include every single slave owner in the South. And if you look around you’ll see Bob has shown quite clearly that your Holy Book has plenty of passages that support slavery. Sorry, Chester.

        • Al

          Chester, you are like so many atheist who think they know and understand the Bible but show by their comments not to. Its embarrassing.

          Ancient Israel had slaves i.e. indentured servants where the law forbade the mistreatment of them. The NT does not endorse slavery but tells Christians who are slaves to live in their situations. It never endorses slavery.

          As an atheist you have nothing to say of any weight because atheism can’t address this issue or any issue for that matter. All you can do is give your opinion.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Have you read Bob’s posts about slavery concerning the Bible? He responds to the claim that there was no slavery and only indentured servitude allowed in the Bible.

        • Al

          If you want to really understand the issue of slavery in the Bible you don’t read Bob. Read scholarly works from scholars who are not biased like Bob.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          You could also read the Bible yourself. I’ll post some relevant verses:

          “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites [harshly].” (Lev. 25:44–46)

          “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.” (Ex. 21:20–21)

          There are more. And just in case you wanted to say, “Well the Old Testament doesn’t count anymore!” we have:

          “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18)

          Or you can ignore these verses and others that allow slavery completely. You may also claim that these verses are taken out of context, though they seem pretty straightforward. You may claim that we can’t possibly understand God and claim that acceptance of slavery is logically consistent with a perfect, all-loving, completely just being. Whatever you do, just note that these aren’t the opinions of some random guys on the internet but actual verses from the Bible.

        • Al

          Slavery was part of the ancient world. There is no getting around this fact. Israelites had slaves from those they conquered. However, they were to treat them with respect which was something unheard of in other cultures.
          It is true that both Paul and Peter mention Christians being slaves and how to live as a Christian under it. What they do not do is promote it nor justify it as something a Christian should engage in if he can. Paul writes that if a slave could gain his freedom then he should do so.

          It has been estimated that over 80% of the Roman empire was composed of slaves of various kinds. If the church had made it its mission to stamp out slavery there probably would be no Christianity today.

          BTW- slavery was not the only bad thing going on in the ancient. There were lots of problems.

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

          If God had demanded an end to slavery, something bad would’ve happened? Huh? Is that your point?

        • MNb

          “they were to treat them with respect which was something unheard of in other cultures.”
          Great. Given your standpoint that we receive objective morals from above this means that slavery in the 21st Century is OK according to christianity, as long as the owners treat them with respect. If you disagree you admit that the Bible is an unreliable source of morals.

          “If the church had made it its mission to stamp out slavery there probably would be no Christianity today.”
          The little nagging problem for you remains that the RCC didn’t make it its mission after it became state religion either. But I guess that theological problems, like the nature of Jesus, were far more important. That’s just another reason I’ll never become a christian – that belief system has huge problems getting its priorities right.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Slavery was part of the ancient world. There is no getting around this fact. Israelites had slaves from those they conquered.” But slavery is wrong in your view. Therefore, the Israelites were acting immorally as far as you are concerned. Furthermore, the Bible says that God himself allowed (and certainly did not condemn or prohibit) slavery. Whether or not God supported slavery is irrelevant. What you believe God says now about slavery doesn’t matter because at one point he certainly allowed it.

          Another unfortunate implication here is that slavery was not necessary, but God still allowed it. You can’t say, “There was nothing else they could do!” if that is the case. On the other hand, if slavery was necessary that means God arranged the world so that we would have to enslave each other to survive. In other words, he arranged the world so that we would have to commit immoral acts to survive, even though he is supposedly omnipotent and could have created a world where slavery was not necessary.

          “However, they were to treat them with respect which was something unheard of in other cultures.” If beating them with a rod but not to the point where they couldn’t get up after a few days counts as respect then I agree with you. I’m not familiar with the policy on treatment of slaves in contemporary societies though so I can’t say if it was unheard of.

          “What they do not do is promote it nor justify it as something a Christian should engage in if he can.” Well, maybe they shouldn’t but it’s still lawful. Kind of like how you shouldn’t smoke but it’s not against the law (except in certain public places). Unless you can find an unequivocal statement of Jesus saying, “Do not take slaves” or “Set all of your slaves free” instead of simply reinterpreting verses that appear to show that Jesus was okay was slavery as him not being okay with it, then there’s not much to argue.

        • hector_jones

          “If the church had made it its mission to stamp out slavery there probably would be no Christianity today.”

          Well so much for what’s moral. It’s all about what’s expedient for you guys.

        • Greg G.

          It is true that both Paul and Peter mention Christians being slaves and how to live as a Christian under it. What they do not do is promote it nor justify it as something a Christian should engage in if he can.

          Those verses advise slaves to obey and honor their masters even if they are cruel.

          Ephesians 6:5-9
          5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; 6 not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, 8 knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free. 9 And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

          Colossians 3:22
          22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.

          1 Timothy 6:1
          6 Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed.

          Titus 2:9
          9 Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back,

          1 Peter 2:18-20
          18 Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. 19 For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20 If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.

          BTW- slavery was not the only bad thing going on in the ancient. There were lots of problems.

          Yes, the Christians were more worried about circumcision than slavery.

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

          Yet more charges devoid of evidence.

          Show me the biases. Publicly tear down my argument. The posts are standing tall, and you’re just shooting blanks.

          You got nothin’ besides bluster, do you?

        • Al

          Your the one with the bluster. What scholarly sources have you studied on this issue? What was slavery like in other cultures at the time?

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

          Who cares? Even if slaves were better cared for in Israel than in any other country in the world at the time (which I doubt), so what?

          The Cynics and Stoics opposed slavery long before Jesus. How come Jesus couldn’t get a clue?

          Your argument becomes: “God made sure that morals in Israel didn’t suck as bad as they did in other countries.” Wow–what a thoughtful god.

        • MNb

          “Ancient Israel had slaves i.e. indentured servants where the law forbade the mistreatment of them.”
          So as long as you treat them well the OT approves of slavery ie indentured service – and apparently you do as well. Hence the Bible does endorse slavery. The NT never condemns it as you yourself admit:

          “tells Christians who are slaves to live in their situations”
          It doesn’t tell christian slave owners to set them free, hence approves. That nicely explains why christians were totally OK with slavery until the totally secular Enlightenment popped up.

        • Al

          What was Israel to do with the people it conquered? If a slave was set free, what was he supposed to do? Did they get unemployment benefits? Were there agencies in place to get them a job? What?????

          “The anti-slavery movements led by Wilberforce in England and abolitionists in America were dominated by Christians. These believers reasoned that since we are all created equal in the eyes of God, no one has the right to rule another without consent.” http://townhall.com/columnists/dineshdsouza/2008/01/14/how_christians_ended_slavery/page/full

          You don’t find atheist movements working to end slavery.

        • MNb

          “If a slave was set free ….”
          This implies you admitting that the Bible does justify slavery. Thanks. Also note that your arguments only make sense when assuming subjective morals – depending on the time the people who hold these morals live in. Thanks again, this time for admitting that christian morals are subjective too.
          Your arguments as given above were also quite popular among slave owners in Suriname before 1863, the Dutch abolishment. That shows more subjectivity.

          “You don’t find atheist movements working to end slavery”
          No egghead, because well into the 19th Century you won’t find any atheist movement at all. Thanks to christian “love” it was life-endangering to be an openly atheist for a long time. I already made you clear that the first western society to abolish slavery was totally non-religious Revolutionary France.

          Here a non-religious movement against slavery:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Friends_of_the_Blacks
          Early statements against slavery were made by Dutch and English Quakers. Now if, like you maintain, the Bible doesn’t my any means justify slavery the question becomes this. Given the fact that christianity had become state religion in the early 4th Century, why did it take christians, who read the same Holy Book as you, some 13 Centuries to accept your position? Are you that brilliant or were christians back then that stupid?

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

          There’s a poor economy? Golly, if we only had an omniscient, omnipotent god who could just do something. I dunno–give the technology for an Industrial Revolution, give us new science, turn desert into good farmland …

          If only.

        • hector_jones

          Christianity addresses the issue by making up a god and saying he wrote a book telling people what to do. Except that book is obviously the work of humans and contradicts itself when it tells people what to do.

          From my vantage point christianity has nothing of weight to say on any issue. All you can do is give your opinion.

        • Al

          For 2000 years billions of people have been guided in their lives by Christianity. It has done a very good job in guiding those who understand its precepts. To bad this can’t be said about atheism.

        • smrnda

          ” It has done a very good job in guiding those who understand its precepts.”

          Yet apparently, whenever someone brings up Christians who do unsavory things, they are *not true Christians.*

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, any moral failings can just be hand waved away. “They weren’t doing it right.” Well, what about the horrendous behavior that occurred because they though they WERE doing it right?

        • Al

          True. At least we have a way to determine this. How would you determine if an atheist is good or bad? If an atheist supports slavery, is he bad and if so on what grounds in atheism is this determined? What’s the objective criteria in atheism that would determine this?

        • MNb

          Christian Al maintains that the Bible does not justify slavery (except when he implies that it does, but soit).
          Christian Jacobus Capitein, relying on the very same Bible, argued that christians can have slaves.
          How again did you determine that you are right and Capitein was wrong?

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

          Look at how laws are made. People haggle back and forth, and a useful compromise is usually found. There’s no god involved, no objective anything. This is just people doing their imperfect best.

          That’s how morality works. We all have opinions, and sometimes we change them based on new thinking or evidence. Nothing objective going on.

        • MNb

          Yeah, like when killing off other-believers during countless wars. Heck, in this respect even islam did better:

          http://www.cracked.com/article_18911_5-ridiculous-things-you-probably-believe-about-islam_p2.html
          Nr.2, though the rest is also pretty interesting.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_military_jurisprudence#Ethics_of_warfare
          http://1000gooddeeds.com/2012/11/20/10-islamic-rules-of-war/
          http://myjihad.org/prophet-muhammads-rules-of-war/

          Oh wait, I already know your answer:

          “those who understand its precepts”
          Too bad hardly a christian during those 2000 years did understand its precepts as approved by you.

        • hector_jones

          Elsewhere you wrote:

          Well Chester, truth is not determined by how many people agree with it. Deal with it.

          So much for that argument. Apparently ‘truth’ is determined by the numbers if its something you agree with. Deal with it.

        • Pofarmer

          Al, you are an affront to the 5 billion or so people on this planet who are not christians. The billions are hindu, the billions who are buddhist, And the hundreds of millions to billion who are, yes, atheist. Do the swiss have no moral code, at something like 69% atheist. How about the Japanese, the most secular nation in the world? Al, quite frankly, you are a bigot, and a moron. There are entire sections of libraries devoted to evolution and morality, Sociology, psychology. Rather than coming someplace, and, quite frankly, acting like a dick, why don’t you find a few and read them.

        • Al

          Never said these other groups did not have some kind of moral code. Since our focus is on atheism we find that in atheism itself there is no such thing as a moral code that atheism speaks about or can ground. For an atheist to have a moral code he must go outside his atheism and steal from another system. Do rag on me for the deficiencies in atheism. If you are going to be an atheist then be consistent and honest with it.

        • Pofarmer

          Moral codes are products of human evolution, both physical and social. We share many of the same “moral” behavioral tendencies with every other species of social mammal and primate on the planet. In addition, we can interact with one another, write things down so posterity can interact with it too. We can make complex decisions about what benefits society. Every moral code that there is on the planet today originally stole or is stealing from some other system, it’s not a closed system, it is open, and vibrant, and changing. That’s why I asked the question about burning heretics. At one point, it was considered perfectly moral and just to kill heretics, or other unbelievers. The Catholics killed or forcibly converted, what, over a million Cathars? The last Heretic was killed by the Church in the 1850’s, I believe. We don’t believe in slavery any more. We don’t believe in stoning children or beating them senseless for being unruly. We don’t believe in killing adulterers. There are all kinds of things that are perfectly fine by your beloved Christian moral code that society said “enough!”. So, don’t rag on me about morality, you pompous twit. It’s true, Atheism is not an all encompassing philosophy. No one claims it is but people like you, who can’t imagine that they might just be able to live their lives without mindless dogmatic control.

        • MNb

          “steal from another system.”
          As long as that system is secular, ie doesn’t imply some divine entity, there is no problem with consistency and honesty. Atheism is not inconsistent with collecting stamps either.

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

          Ancient Israel had slaves for life (Lev. 25:44-46).

          Neither God nor Jesus forbid about slavery. Christianity is supposed to be a moral system, right? Not much of one, at least in a modern light.

          You’ve really got to stop repeating old arguments. Adapt a little. Grow. Modify and improve your arguments.

        • Al

          Since you are an expert on slavery in this time period tell me what a slave was to do if he was set free? Were there jobs for ex-slaves? Was there some kind of system set up for ex-slaves to get help? If so, what organization did this?

          Specifically what did Jesus say about slavery in the gospels?

          Christianity has the highest morality system in the world. Its the atheist that has none because atheism can’t address this issue.

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

          (Oh, sweet Zeus.) This is an argument? That slavery was like unemployment insurance?

          Why is it that the atheist has to remind the Christian that the Christian god is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient. You’re saying that slavery was the best thing God could think up to improve the lives of his Chosen People? Guy’s got a pretty small imagination.

          Specifically what did Jesus say about slavery in the gospels?

          Bingo! Not a damn thing. The Son of Man looks around at the problems in the world. Slavery looks A-OK to him, but a fig tree that pisses him off? Whacked.

          Jesus could’ve demanded that slavery be done away with and either snapped his fingers to make it happen, or give that charge to his followers so that they’d include that in their evangelical message. Neither happened.

          Conclusions?

          Its the atheist that has none because atheism can’t address this issue.

          Bingo again! After being corrected so many times, perhaps you’re getting it. Atheism, like chemistry, doesn’t say anything about slavery because neither is a moral system. Christianity is a moral system and says plenty about slavery, and it all sucks!

          Conclusions?

        • MNb

          “Those Christians that did had no real basis from Scripture.”
          Then Scripture rather sucks that it took christians 15 centuries or more to figure this out. This guy for instance, though he hardly had a personal interest, totally thought that slavery had a very real basis in Scripture.

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

          How do you think this black christian could be so wrong? I already suggested an answer: Scripture sucks.

        • Al

          I would think that there were many Christian people against slavery over the centuries. I know of no way to justify slavery for a Christian. I know Scripture very well and I can’t think of one verse in the NT that justifies it. It is true that both Paul and Peter mention Christians being slaves and how to live as a Christian under it. What they do not do is promote it nor justify it as something a Christian should engage in if he can. It has been estimated that over 80% of the Roman empire was composed of slaves of various kinds. If the church had made it its mission to stamp out slavery there probably would be no Christianity today.

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

          If you can’t think how someone would use the Bible to justify slavery, then you know the Bible very poorly.

          Is slavery wrong? Were people wrong to impose that on other people? Then God and Jesus would’ve made that very clear.

        • MNb

          I didn’t deny that there were many christian people against slavery over the centuries, if you mean with “over the centuries” the 18th and 19th century. Before hardly.

          “I know of no way to justify slavery for a Christian. I know Scripture very well”
          Thanks for not addressing the issue that the black theologian Jacobus Capitein apparently did know a way to justify slavery. He knew Scripture very well too, he had studied it his entire life. Now how could he be so wrong? Or perhaps you are wrong? I’d say neither. I say Scripture is a failure in this respect.

          “If the church had made it its mission to stamp out slavery there”
          From 323 CE christianity was firmly established. Still it lasted about 14 centuries before experts like you began to argue that “there is no way to justify slavery for a christian.” Either you are brilliant and all those theologians were stupid or something is wrong with the source. Pick your choice.
          Finally you yourself have given OT-slavery another fancy name: indentured service, as if that is acceptable in the 21st Century. No matter how you call it, your beloved Holy Book is outdated on the issue. Bye objective morality.

        • Al

          Tell me what atheists were against slavery in the first 1000 years after Christ?

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

          Were there any atheists in Europe? Probably not many. Christianity can’t argue that, if it only had dominant mindshare, it could’ve ended slavery. Slavery was in Europe for over 1000 years, with Christianity’s blessing.

          Conclusions?

        • MNb

          The first European atheist I am aware of is my compatriot Koerbagh. He lived in the 17th Century and was locked up in a madhouse – a nice example of christian “love”.
          Plus I repeat:

          “No matter how you call it, your beloved Holy Book is outdated on the issue. Bye objective morality.”

        • Ron

          I know Scripture very well and I can’t think of one verse in the NT that justifies it.

          “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.” ~Jesus (Luke 12:47–48, NASB)

          It appears you don’t know your scriptures quite as well as you think.

        • Al

          Jesus is telling a parable to demonstrate a point. He did this using something that the people would understand since slavery was quite common. Jesus is not using this parable to justify slavery.

        • MNb

          “using something that the people would understand”
          Apparently your big hero thought his audience too dumb to understand that slavery was wrong. Quite a compliment.

        • Ron

          Like I said: It appears you don’t know your scriptures quite as well as you think.

          The parable (vv. 35–48) has Jesus describing his eminent return and equating servitude to God as a master/slave relationship—a clear indication that Jesus unabashedly condoned the practice of slavery:

          40 “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

          41 Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?”

          42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.”

          And as I’ve explained before, there were Christians who used this very parable to defend the beating of slaves.

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

          And yet this is one more example of the perfect Son of Man failing to say anything contrary about slavery.

          It’s almost like Jesus was just an ordinary man with the beliefs and attitudes similar to those of his society.

        • Greg G.

          That would have been a good place for Jesus to speak against slavery instead of tacitly condoning slavery, the beating of slaves, and the beating of slaves for no reason.

        • Al

          Maybe He did but it was not recorded in the gospels. Jesus never addresses the issue of slavery per se but He does use slavery motifs in His teachings.

        • Greg G.

          Just as easily as you can imagine Jesus spoke against slavery, the slave-owner could imagine Jesus explicitly favored slavery but it wasn’t written down. Jesus does talk about slavery but never in opposition to it, so the slave-owner has a better case than you do.

          The Bible is pro-slavery. You argue against slavery. You are more moral than the Bible. You should reject the Bible as your moral source and listen to your brain.

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

          Hilarious! Another winner.

          So Jesus, who is also God, may have stated that one of the worst institutions humans invented was wrong. Or maybe he said nothing. Or, as Greg points out, maybe he was a big fan of it.

          This Jesus guy you’re so hot for doesn’t seem to be much of a moral authority. Even you have better morals than he does, since you would’ve outlawed slavery back then if given the chance.

          Wow–Al better than Jesus. What a world, what a world …

        • Al

          Yes. What a world. An atheist upset at slavery when his own system can’t address it. Go figure….

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

          My “system” is humanism, which supports the rejection of slavery.

          Which is in strong contrast to your ethical system, which supports slavery! (Gee–you kinda stepped in it again, didn’t you?)

        • Al

          So what is humanism grounded on? Who says a humanist opinion is any more binding than any other opinion?
          You can reject slavery but you cannot show by any objective moral principles in humanism that its wrong or evil. All you have is opinion again.

        • Greg G.

          Empathy and a sense of fairness have been demonstrated in other primates. Even dogs have been shown to have a sense of fairness. Those traits are probably common in social animals instilled by their positive attributes through natural selection.

          So the opinions based on those traits are more likely to benefit a thriving social order than the beliefs that come from a religion contrived to overcome those basic tendencies.

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

          Are you saying that objective moral truth exists and that we can reliably access it? Show me. (And don’t simply point to moral truths that are simply shared among all humans.)

          The humanist can point to objective moral truth no more than you can.

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

          Why do Christians always ask that? If I have an opinion and you have an opinion, neither is any more objectively bound than the other.

          Have you never had a discussion where you or the other party changes their mind and adopts the other position? That’s how discussion works, not by opening up some book of objective moral facts in God’s library.

          Yes, all I have is opinion. And all you have is opinion. Stop repeating this.

        • purr

          The latest round of idiots have me missing wlad.

        • Al

          Another make believe system. Where will it end?????

        • Greg G.

          You reject a system based on reason (that you actually agree with) as being make-believe while promoting a make-believe system that you disagree with. Do you see what religion is doing to your mind?

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

          Not make-believe–firmly grounded in evidence. It’s manmade, if that’s what you mean (just like Christianity).

          Unlike Christianity, however, it backs the right horse on the slavery issue. Doesn’t that tell you that the objective grounding that you imagine either doesn’t exist or at least isn’t what Christianity was built on?

        • Greg G.

          But your system does address slavery by making it an institution yet you oppose it.

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

          Al has more morality than his holy book.

          Al: I think that’s a clue to you. Move on and find something better.

        • hector_jones

          You know of no way to justify slavery for a Christian, except when you are justifying it as a form of unemployment insurance.

        • Pofarmer

          The OT would not apply? Really? Do they not do an OT reading at your church?

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

          And you call yourself a Christian? Read your own holy book, dude, so you don’t look like such an idiot.

          The OT is full of support for slavery. And remember that “not a jot or tittle thing” from Jesus? He was a Jew. The Old Testament applied, and Jesus did nothing to reject slavery. It was a big deal in his day–it’s not like he overlooked it.

        • Al

          What was Israel to do with the people they conquered? Setup some job training or give them unemployment benefits? What?

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

          Since you’re changing the subject, I’ll take that as a silent acknowledgement that I was right. The OT is indeed full of support for slavery and neither God nor Jesus rejected it.

          Thank you. That’s a small bit of concord, anyway.

          And BTW, when you use these arguments elsewhere, do they work or do you get bitch slapped like you do here? After this conversation ends, do you plan on just going back to square one with the same discredited arguments or will you adapt your arguments by cutting out the stuff that is flawed?

        • hector_jones

          Well so much for the idea that Christianity can’t be used to justify slavery, because here’s a Christian attempting to justify slavery as a form of unemployment insurance. Oh my, such morality.

        • Greg G.

          I did some research on my ancestors from Virginia and North Carolina. I saw the will of one ancestor that left a slave to his wife using language straight from the King James Version of Leviticus.

          If you are making this stuff up, then stop lying. If you heard it from someone else, that person was lying. If you heard it in church, it was still a lie.

        • hector_jones

          By the way, what parts of Christianity forbid slavery? How come it took until 1863 for you American christians to figure out that your religion forbade slavery?

        • Al

          How much have you read on the slavery in America?

        • hector_jones

          I’ve read about 30 or 40 lbs of books on the subject.

          So you going to answer my question or just ask how much I’ve read?

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

          I’m guessing you haven’t read much if you ask that question. The Bible was the best tool for the Southern pastors, not the Northern. The Bible gives fantastic support for slavery, and the Southerners knew that God was on their side.

          I guess the Northern pastors spent their time flipping through the Bible, searching for that elusive prohibition against slavery but never quite finding it.

        • MNb

          That’s my dishonest apologist again, exactly the way I appreciate him. He can’t answer Hector’s question – which is mine; I only apply it to Jacobus Capitein instead – hence he desparately tries to change subject. Thanks for showing why christianity sucks major ball, dear Al.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Atheism doesn’t forbid anything because it’s not a morality system. This statement is as dubious as saying, “There are probably lots of vegetarians who are slave owners because vegetarianism doesn’t forbid slavery.”

        • Al

          Thank you for showing how bankrupt atheism is.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Then again, theism is simply a position that there is at least one god. There can be no morality derived from that belief alone, which would make theism morally bankrupt. However, theism in conjunction with other beliefs can create moral systems (such as Christianity which is a whole lot more than “there is at least one god”).

          To an atheist, a person’s god-belief is irrelevant to their morality but to a Christian they are intertwined, which is why atheism itself is attacked by Christians as morally bankrupt. I guess it’s partly due to the fact that atheists have no holy book for Christians to criticize and atheists don’t have any unifying morality either, so Christians opt for what seems to be the biggest target: atheism itself.

        • Al

          Atheism is bankrupt because it can’t address any moral issues. In Christianity, the Christian can appeal to authority that is greater than himself and is accountable to. This takes morality from mere human opinion to something that is objective because Christian morality is grounded in the nature of God Himself. It is to this God all men will be held accountable to in the judgement.

        • MNb

          Atheism doesn’t pretend to address any moral issues. That’s what we have secular ethics for. Go visit Camels with Hammers, Daniel Fincke has written a lot about the subject.

          “because Christian morality is grounded in the nature of God Himself.”
          Christians are totally incapable of agreeing on what the nature of god himself is, so the result is even more subjective than any secular ethics. All christians derive from the nature of god himself that morality that suits them best.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “In Christianity, the Christian can appeal to authority that is greater than himself and is accountable to.” Many of the frequent visitors here dispute the claim that the authority you have in mind exists at all. Even if it did exist, that wouldn’t make Christian morality objective, that simply makes it more pertinent to one’s survival to follow this supposed authority’s rules. Compare obeying a homeless, destitute person against obeying a king. The former can’t do much to you so why bother listening to him? However, the latter can screw you up (ahem) royally if you disobey.

          But if the morality of the homeless person is merely an opinion, then so is the morality of the king. And so is the morality of any being no matter how much power and influence the person has. So the “objectivity” of any morality corresponds to the power of the source.

          Think of it this way. Why should I care what God has to say about how I should act (assuming there is one and it wants us to behave a certain way)? It’s because of the massive reward for following (eternal bliss) and the massive punishment for not following (eternal torment) according to Christianity. The difference between “mere human opinion” and “objective morals” seems to me nothing more than a difference of power (a literally infinite difference in power) between the ones making the moral edicts. Unless you have another way of explaining the difference.

        • Al

          You should care what God thinks because He alone has the power to judge you and throw you body and soul into hell. This is what Christ taught. This alone should cause you to think deeply.

        • Pofarmer

          al, for just a moment, quit preaching, and actually use your brain.

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

          Why all the special rules? Why not just be a good person and figure that God will deal with you in a fair manner?

          You’re telling us that God is a sadistic jerk with a special torture chamber, and you’d better pucker up and kiss his ass or else.

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

          Hank is indeed all-knowing. The list says so.

        • MNb

          Booooh, I’m trembling from fear now. Booooh, Al’s god will throw me into hell.
          I tell you what. I’d prefer that to spending eternitiy with the likes of you in heaven. That’s really a horrible nightmare.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “You should care what God thinks because He alone has the power to judge you and throw you body and soul into hell. This is what Christ taught. This alone should cause you to think deeply.”

          Yes, I assumed the truth of the Bible’s claims about God, heaven, and hell in order to make the same conclusion. I’m not sure why you repeated it. Emphasis, maybe?

          Consider Muhammad. If he’s right then you will go to hell for not following the commands of God according to him. You’ll probably say, “Well, Muhammad was not a true prophet of God so ignore him” and give me a bunch of reasons as to why Jesus is who the Bible claims he is and why we should believe what Jesus says. And a Muslim would give you a bunch of reasons as to why Muhammad is who he is claimed to be and why we should believe what Muhammad says. Clearly, this is an argument for two people who already believe in a God, the existence of which is still in dispute on this blog.

          This should cause you to think even more deeply.

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

          Just like oil painting or carpentry or chemistry are bankrupt because they can’t address moral issues?

          You can point to made-up gods, but you just get laughed at until you show us that they exist.

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

          Atheism isn’t a moral system. It has nothing to say about morality, including slavery.

          Can you have put all this energy into fighting atheism and you don’t even know what it is?

          I mean, sure, your one-liners are adorable, like the precious things that come out of the mouth of a 4-year-old. But you really need to wake up. Bring your A game, please.

        • Al

          If atheism can’t address morality or anything else for that matter then its absolutely bankrupt. Why would anyone embrace boggles the mind. It is you who needs to wake up. If one liners can defeat atheism then that should give you some pause about it and go find something else.

        • MNb

          Like every christian apologist you resort to lies. I already told you that there are several secular ethical systems and that Daniel Fincke over at Camels with Hammers spends a lot of articles to the subject.

          “If atheism can’t address morality or anything else for that matter then its absolutely bankrupt.”
          makes as little sense as
          “If chemistry (thanks, BobS) can’t address morality then it’s absolutely bankrupt.”
          Atheism addresses exactly one thing: there is no god.

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

          If atheism can’t address morality or anything else for that matter then its absolutely bankrupt.

          I love it! Oooo–I just want to pinch your cute little cheek!

          Yes, that’s adorable, but it’s brainless and stupid. Unless your seven, you need some adult arguments.

          Atheism isn’t a moral system. Many atheists call themselves humanists, and Humanism is a moral system. If you want to critique a moral system, take a look.

          And atheism says, “I have no god belief” (or some similar idea). That’s it. Do you now understand what you are now fighting against? (That’s kinda rule #1, isn’t it?)

        • Greg G.

          But if your religion can address morality but gets it wrong, then it is bankrupt and it is therefore immoral to not abandon it. Atheism is just a conclusion. Morality comes from humanity. Pretending morality comes from imaginary beings corrupts and distorts it.

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

          Sorry–I’ll need a bit more than “Al thinks probably a lot.”

          Nothing in chemistry forbids slavery either. What does that tell us about chemistry?

        • Al

          Nothing in atheism forbids slavery. What does that tell you about atheism?

        • MNb

          Exactly the same as about chemistry in “nothing in chemistry forbids slavery”. With all your knowledge of the Bible you ain’t very smart.

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

          Al, work with me. When I show you a flaw in your argument (You see it, right–that atheism, like chemistry, isn’t supposed to have any position on slavery?) you need to adapt your argument. Don’t just throw back your same discredited argument.

          Don’t enjoy learning new things? Don’t like to improve your arguments? Or are you just reading out of some script that is failing you now that you’re talking to actual, thoughtful people?

        • Greg G.

          Nothing in mathematics forbids slavery. What does that tell you about mathematics?

          Like mathematics, atheism has nothing to do with slavery. Atheism has never been involved with slavery or been used as a justification for slavery. More than one religion has used the Bible to justify slavery. Some denominations of Christianity were formed for support of slavery.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible condones slavery, sanctions slavery, and regulates slavery. Nothing about atheism does any of that. The same thinking that leads to humanism leads to the opposition of slavery, however. Your religion can only things specified in the Bible whether they are good or bad. You can’t change what the Bible says but you must obey which makes you a slave.

        • Pofarmer

          Al. Atheism is not a comprehensive structure for living your life. I just don’t believe in your God, or the other guys God either, just like you don’t believe in the other guys God. Simply living a life ased on altruism and empathy, would yield mich better results generally, than what your convoluted ideas of morality have produced. Priests fucking children? Check. Women put into slavery for “the possibility of being a temptress”? Check. Babies stold by the hundreds of thousands from single mothers? Check. Your morality, quite frankly, sucks.

        • Pofarmer

          THe problem you have here, is that morality unquestionably does change with time.

        • al

          With your kind of thinking you could never tell the Nazis that they were wrong about gas chambers. All you have is opinion and opinions can never be moral principles or laws that must be obeyed. You could never say that the holocaust was evil. All you can say is its not what you like. The Nazi would tell you that morality changes all the time and killing Jews in gas chambers just happens to be ok by his morality. Whose to say it’s wrong beyond opinion?

        • Pofarmer

          Sure you could. Ever hear of altruism? Empathy? Hell, it took centuries of religious indoctrination to make the final solution even seem possible.

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

          Thank you, Martin Luther and your On the Jews and Their Lies.

        • Annerdr

          So tell me a moral law that governs people’s behavior and that has no exceptions.

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

          I will, with pleasure, tell the Nazis they were wrong about the gas chambers. What I won’t do is handwave that there are some objective morals grounded outside humans and society … y’know, because there’s no evidence for such a thing.

          The lack of objective morality doesn’t cause a problem. Morality is still explainable–but without the need for the supernatural.

        • Al

          On what basis will you tell the nazi he is wrong? You only have your opinion you know and opinions are just like preferences.

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

          That’s right. It’s my opinion. And I look around and see people with similar opinions–people who don’t like murder or stealing. Idea! Let’s build a society based on our shared beliefs about right and wrong–whaddya say, gang?

          You got anything better? You’re saying it doesn’t work that way for you? Look at how laws are made–just people haggling back and forth based on nothing more objective than facts and their opinions.

        • Al

          I certainly do have something better. Murder someone and you are breaking a commandment of God who will hold that person accountable in the judgement and then be condemned to hell.

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

          That commandment from God is ambiguous, but let’s set that aside. Sure, we can say that murdering someone breaks a commandment. It also breaks one of the laws in the Code of Hammurabi. So what? Does Hammurabi trump the 10 Cs because it’s older? Because it’s actually focused on society instead of hocus pocus in the supernatural (4 commandments of 10 deal with an unevidenced god).

          I ask about better morality and you give me your superstition? Seriously? Let’s base our imaginary society on fact, please.

        • Al

          Billions of people over the centuries do not think God is a superstition. Only skeptics and atheists make such absurd claims.

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

          The majority of the people in the world think that your Christian beliefs are wrong. That’s been true ever since Christianity was invented. Welcome to the real world, Chester.

          Does it suck to be in the minority? Deal with it.

        • Al

          Well Chester, truth is not determined by how many people agree with it. Deal with it.

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

          That was a very deft switcheroo. First, you bring out the numbers, and then (when that isn’t working for you) you say that numbers mean nothing.

          Yipes! I’ll debate Wm. Lane Craig, but do not get me on a platform with you. You’re savage.

        • Pofarmer

          So this is what you’re down to?

        • smrnda

          Billions of people over the centuries have probably been wrong about a lot. It’s possible that the majority can be wrong. In the US, lots of people don’t believe in climate change, but scientists (who would know better) do, since truth isn’t a popularity contest.

          In some areas, we have to see if there are any experts with any evidence. We’ve got a lack of that with gods.

        • Greg G.

          How many of those billions were scientifically literate? They all tend to disagree on the nature of the god they believe in to the point of being mutually contradictory. Therefore most are necessarily wrong about gods and probably all of them are wrong.

          You are using the ad populum fallacy, in case you are wondering how many fallacies you can commit.

        • Al

          You can’t prove atheism scientifically.

        • Greg G.

          So what? I can prove that nothing that we can justified in calling a God can possibly exist by using logic.

        • Pofarmer

          You really are a little daft. What science has done is incrementally chip away at all the edifices where religion used to claim authority. Neil Degrasse Tyson says “religion is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.”. You and your co religionsts here are proving that statement correct.

        • Al

          Actually Neil has got it wrong. Science can only tell us how things work and not why. It can’t tell us why the universe is here nor how life began. It can’t tell you all kinds of things.

        • smrnda

          how things work and why are the same thing much of the time. If I tell you how a computer works by explaining the functioning of its parts and the science behind that, it’s really not different from explaining why it works.

          I could point to a how/why distinction where ‘how this works’ is ‘how to use it’ (as in a tool like say, the lever) and ‘why’ is the scientific explanation, but this seems to be more or less the same to me.

          Sometimes science tells us something but not how or why. We can perform experiments and verify that Substance X reliably causes Y to happen, but we might not understand the actual mechanics.

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

          Seems to me that Laws (f = ma) tell us how but not why. Theories tell us why.

        • MNb

          F = m*a doesn’t really tell us why either. Either it’s a definition or you can ask “why not F = m*a² ?”
          Why-questions, as understood by religious folks, are meaningless. Do you know who also like to ask why? Toddlers, until their parents go crazy.

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

          Right. I was saying that laws don’t tell us Why but that scientific theories do.

        • MNb

          Ah, bad reading from my side. I’ll have to think over if theories can tell us why.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Why not F = m*a^2?” brings up an important point as to why I’m an agnostic. Theists might answer that question with, “Because God said so.” But that just changes the question to, “Why did God say F = m*a instead of F = m*a^2?” There is nothing acting on God (if God creates everything) to push him to make this or that decision (and no, “God’s very nature” doesn’t answer anything because we can still ask why he has that nature instead of some other one) so how does God’s decision-making work? I came to the realization about a year ago that there is ultimately no reason for anything, whether there is one god, a thousand gods, or no god.

          If a godless universe comes about by “random chance”, then a universe created by God comes about by “random chance with a face”.

        • MNb

          Religion can’t tell that either. That’s why there are and have been so many religions and denominations.

        • Pofarmer

          It certainly appears that there is no why. Science is working on abiogenesis. I expect when that gets figured out you’ll change to something else.

        • Al

          How long should I wait before science figures out how life began?

        • Greg G.

          As long as it takes. It is always to soon to jump to a supernatural conclusion.

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

          Who cares? Science has unanswered questions. So what?

        • Greg G.

          It will come before the Second Coming of Christ.

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

          Why is life on earth the way it is?” The theory of evolution gives you the answer. “Why is little Janie dying of smallpox?” Germ theory gives the answer.

          Yes, science answers lots of Why questions.

          “Why is the universe here?” presupposes a purpose. We haven’t established that yet–could be no purpose at all, like the Andromeda galaxy.

        • MNb

          Religious abuse of the ambiguous meaning of the word “why”.
          The fun thing is that religious folks never ask “why god?” They stop at an arbitrary point.

        • Al

          Without God, life is pointless.

        • Greg G.

          You should try living life. You would see that outside the Christian bubble is a wonderful experience.

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

          Ultimately pointless, yes. But you have no good arguments for God, so you’re in the same boat as everyone else.

          But of course, everyone is able to assign his own meaning and purpose.

        • MNb

          Without an imaginary sky-daddy your life might be pointless, mine is not pointless at all. How sad for you.

        • Annerdr

          Not mine. I’m sorry that your life centers on an imaginary being. My life centers on the things that have meaning for me – my husband, my son, my parents, my sisters, my friends, my work, my garden, reading, learning, hiking, camping, helping others. I do not have to try to believe in anything supernatural to have plenty of meaning in my life.
          You have found your community through your church. My community is not centered on a church. That does not make it meaningless.

        • Al

          Evolution doesn’t tell you why life is the way it is. Evolution is only a process. It can’t tell us for example what man will be life in a million years or if life has any value.

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

          Why do we have five fingers? Why do we have body hair?

          These are some of the myriad questions that evolution answers.

          Does life have meaning? Evolution answers that, too: there’s no evidence to say that it does (so therefore, there’s you have no warrant for claiming any objective/ultimate meaning).

          See there? Much more useful than you thought. I’m glad I was able to help out.

          No, it doesn’t predict much about the future. If you have a theory that’s stood testing as much as evolution, trot it out for us. Otherwise, stop whining.

        • Greg G.

          Religion cannot answer the “Why” questions as well as science. Religion can’t give a verifiable answer to anything real.

        • Al

          If religion “can’t give a verifiable answer to anything real” then neither can atheism.

        • Greg G.

          Careful empirical observation and logic can give verifiable answers. You should try them even if your religion opposes them.

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

          I think the tool you’re groping for is science, which of course does give verifiable answers to questions about reality.

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

          Since the answers among religions on these big questions are typically contradictory, they make plain that their approach is wishful thinking at best.

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

          Who needs to?

        • Ron

          Since atheism is defined as a lack of belief in gods, it’s safe to say that millions of professing non-believers proves the existence of atheism.

        • Al

          No it wouldn’t. It only shows that there are lots of atheists. It doesn’t prove it true.

        • MNb

          He didn’t write that. He claimed that the existence of atheism is proven.

        • Al

          He did not. For atheism to be true it would have facts and provable reasons for it. That has never been done by atheists.

        • MNb

          Clean your eyes when you wake up. I quote, from right above:

          “millions of professing non-believers proves the existence of atheism.”
          Existence.
          Existence.
          Existence.
          Not truth.
          Or are you that stupid that you think you can get away with your lie?

        • Al

          Ok. Give me the proof that atheism is true.

        • Greg G.

          1. Everything Al says is wrong.
          2. Al says atheism is not true.

          Conclusion: Atheism is true. QED.

        • Pofarmer

          This isn’t even a strawman. You are arguing against a premise no one is stating.

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

          And, like a brainless broken record, you keep repeating the same failed one-liners.

          Don’t say “prove.” We’ve been over this, right? Atheists don’t demand proof that atheism is right (or Christianity wrong), just a preponderance of evidence. And you can’t even offer that.

        • Al

          Why don’t you demand proof that atheism is true and right? What evidence is there for atheism?

        • Greg G.

          Religions are based on wishful thinking and the fear of death. They are not based on verifiable evidence. There is no reason to think any of them are true.

          Therefore, atheism is the most reasonable position.

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

          Because science never proves anything.

          Wow–it’s second grade science class with you, isn’t it?

          And yet again you ask for evidence. And yet again, I point you to the pretty button above that says, “All Posts.” Click and be amazed–a cornucopia of ideas about why atheism is well supported.

          Afraid to browse through?

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

          Who wants to prove it true? Not me.

          Yet again, you have no idea what you’re arguing against.

        • MNb

          You can’t prove theism scientifically either.
          Plus you can’t prove scientifically that there are no fairies in my backyard tending my flowers, so that they blossom more beautifully.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          What did you write underneath?

          “Well Chester, truth is not determined by how many people agree with it. Deal with it.”

        • Pofarmer

          Judgement in the here and now is much more effective than fear of the bogey man.

        • Al

          The final judgement that determines your final destiny doesn’t happen until after death.

        • Greg G.

          Your final destination is death. The afterlife of a religion is designed to manipulate a person into supporting that religion.

        • MNb

          Isn’t christianity great? The christian can do as he/she wants, if he/she converts, confesses and repents a few moments before he/she dies everything is still OK.

        • Greg G.

          Unless the murderer gets saved. Christianity is a get-out-of-hell-free card. A Christian can get away with murder. There are no significant consequences so your morality has nothing over secular morality.

        • Pofarmer

          How does al explain the moralitu of all the folks noth now and throughout history who were not christians? ? How do you explain modern day Japam or Switzerlamd?

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

          Cuz Yahweh put Christian values on their heart!

          [happy face, puppy, rainbow, heart]

        • 90Lew90

          Oh fuck off with the fucking Nazis as some sort benchmark of objective evil. Have you seen what their “victims” are doing lately? Capitalising on their victim status in the most heinous way is what. Coldly and calculatingly. What’s a victim? Frightened. What do frightened people do? Fight or fly. Go and figure. I’m wondering about the recent influx onto this site given that we (I) know that Israel is paying any old Joe to back it up on discussion boards. It has been doing it for a long time. This is not conspiracy-theory bullshit and if you frown and doubt it then that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. If the limp-wristed, ‘don’t-want-to-offend’ BBC has it, then you can take it as old news already.

          See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-23695896

          And here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/14/israel-students-social-media/2651715/

          I know this because it’s a particularly emotive issue in Ireland. I also know it because the newspaper I worked for got swamped with correspondence on its website every time anyone penned something in sympathy with the Palestinians. You know them? Those other human beings?

          And I know it too because I’ve got some insight into media management, which the Israelis also have nailed, and which the internet, thank God (tssk) is finally busting up.

          See here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/the-mideast-pr-war-news-on-a-platter-a-429105.html

          The Palestinians are losing the information war out of complete ineptitude. They keep putting shouty morons up. I don’t know how they can keep dropping the ball that way. And then some Israeli comes on and blames the victims. “They never miss and opportunity to miss an opportunity.” You’re their fucking guests. They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to get you out of their fucking house? Maybe they’re too polite.

        • MNb

          “Whose to say it’s wrong beyond opinion?”
          Not your god, given the various genocides in the OT. Neither your hero Craig with his Divine Command Theory

        • MNb

          Hitler was a christian, like you. He also was a creationist. Be careful with bringing up the nazi’s, because of the Boomerang Effect.
          Your hero Craig defends the Canaanite genocide in the way nazi-criminal Paul Blobel defended killing of jews.

        • Al

          Hitler was no Christian by any definition of the word. His life proved that. He did use the church to further his cause.

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

          Did Hitler think of himself as a Christian? There’s plenty of evidence to point to that says he did.

        • Al

          “From an early age, historian Allan Bullock writes, Hitler “had no time at all for Catholic teaching, regarding it as a religion fit only for slaves and detesting its ethics.”

          “Hitler’s Table Talk, a revealing collection of the Fuhrer’s private opinions, assembled by a close aide during the war years, shows Hitler to be rabidly anti-religious. He called Christianity one of the great “scourges” of history, and said of the Germans, “Let’s be the only people who are immunized against this disease.” He promised that “through the peasantry we shall be able to destroy Christianity.” In fact, he blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. He also condemned Christianity for its opposition to evolution.”

          http://townhall.com/columnists/dineshdsouza/2007/11/05/was_hitler_a_christian/page/full

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

          And if I provide two internet opinions that he was a Christian, do I win?

        • Al

          Just make sure you do it in context.

        • MNb

          Allan Bullock wrote more than 50 years ago. Either he didn’t have access to relevant sources or he neglected it.

          “He also condemned Christianity for its opposition to evolution.”
          This is simply wrong, because Hitler in Mein Kampf explicitely supported creationism.

          “Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred. They’ve occurred within the species, but none of these variations has an importance comparable with that which separates man from the monkey — assuming that this transformation really took place.”

          “It was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.”

          http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/

          Hitler was not opposed to christianity – he was opposed to any christian organization that might challenge his power. That’s not the same.
          Those he could controle were wholeheartedly welcome.

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

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

          Darwin’s Origin of Species was banned in Hitler’s Germany.

        • carmel Ka

          From link you posted:
          His removal of crucifixes from Christian schools and replacing them with pictures of him is most definitely not a Christian action, and was part of his plan to create a religion fit for a ruling master race. He used Christian belief when it suited him, and exploited patriotism and base
          instincts to help to those ends. That was the core objective of the NAZI’s.
          The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible.
          The National Church will clear away
          from its altars all Crucifixes, Bibles and pictures of Saints.
          On the altars there must be nothing
          but Mein Kampf and to the left of the altar a sword.[34]”
          So they essentially turned Nazism into its own religion, in an attempt to replace Christianity.

        • MNb

          “So they essentially turned Nazism into its own religion, in an attempt to replace Christianity.”
          Ie the same as Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did – replacing one brand of christianity with another (a perverted version, I’ll immediately admit), ao by removing false imagery. Thanks for confirming my point.

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

          Have you researched the opposing viewpoint? Search for “Hitler was a Christian” or similar to get lots of results. One example:

          http://www.evilbible.com/hitler_was_christian.htm

          I think what you meant was that from your perspective, Hitler wasn’t a Christian. Could be. There are a bazillion denominations. That doesn’t mean that your definition is the correct one–or that any is.

        • Al

          evilbible.com???????? You quote from that?????? Get serious.

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

          The evidence is a little too hot to handle? I thought so.

        • Al

          No. I don’t go to trash sites for truth.

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

          Dear Lord, what I wouldn’t give to be clairvoyant! Like you.

          But I do sympathize. I’ve been known to get into a hissy fit as well when the URL displeases me.

        • adam

          Well it is not a trash site but a truth site.
          So you should have no problem.

        • Pofarmer

          He did use rhe church to further his cause.

          You need to ask yourself how the fuck that was possinle.

        • Al

          Threats to the pastors. They were intimidated by the Nazis.

        • purr

          In yugoslavia, the Catholic Church really got into killing the jews. They especially loved killling jewish people and taking their stuff:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usta%C5%A1e

          http://www.fantompowa.net/Flame/yugoslavia_catholic_church.htm

          The Nazi collaborator Archbishop Stepinac (right) and the
          Vatican representative to fascist Croatia, Abbot Marcone (left). Croatia has recently renamed a village in Krajina after Stepinac. Marcone was Pavelic’s confessor and Stepinac was convicted of war crimes after the war. Several members of his clergy were involved in the genocide at Jasenovac – notably the Franciscan priest, Pater Miroslav Filipovic, who was one of the commandants of the camp.

          ——–

          OH, and in Ireland, your lovely catholics gave asylum to fleeing nazis, yet turned down refugee Jewish children.

          In short, fuck you.

        • Pofarmer

          I warned em.

        • Ron

          Munich – Speech of April 12, 1922

          I SAY: MY FEELING AS A CHRISTIAN POINTS ME TO MY LORD AND SAVIOUR AS A FIGHTER. IT POINTS ME TO THE MAN WHO ONCE IN LONELINESS, SURROUNDED ONLY BY A FEW FOLLOWERS, RECOGNIZED THESE JEWS FOR WHAT THEY WERE AND SUMMONED MEN TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THEM AND WHO, GOD’S TRUTH! WAS GREATEST NOT AS SUFFERER BUT AS FIGHTER.

          In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before – the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.

          As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.

          Then indeed when Rome collapsed there were endless streams of new German bands flowing into the Empire from the North; but, if Germany collapses today, who is there to come after us? German blood upon this earth is on the way to gradual exhaustion unless we pull ourselves together and make ourselves free!

          And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress which daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see it work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week it has only for its wage wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people is plundered and exploited.

          Adolf Hitler

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

          Craig explains the Canaanite genocide thusly: the adults deserved to die, the children got a free ticket to heaven, and the only ones who were actually hurt were the Israelite soldiers themselves. Imagine how horrible a task that butchery must’ve been!

          It would be a pretty cold-hearted Nazi who would characterize the equivalent Jewish situation like that.

          Who would wonder why Dawkins would refuse to debate that?

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

          (different topic)

          Al: since you’re allergic to doing research on the issue of sex education, let me do a little for you.

          In 2008, researchers at the University of Washington compared teens who had received comprehensive sex ed with those who received abstinence-only education or none at all prior to their first sexual intercourse. They found that the kids who received comprehensive sex ed were 50 percent less likely to report a teen pregnancy than those who received abstinence-only education and 60 percent less likely than those who got no sex ed at all. Some parents fear that teaching young people how to prevent pregnancy will make them promiscuous, but data trend in the opposite direction: kids who are taught about pregnancy prevention tend toward later sexual initiation and fewer partners. Sex ed works.

          More here.

        • Pofarmer

          If you do a little search, there was, I think a 2012 study in St. louis showing the results of sex education and contraceptive use on abortion rates. The results were that, in the members of the Study, St. Louis went from one of the highest abortion rates in the U.S. to the very lowest. The answers are pretty obvious.

        • MNb

          Good. This is better (in terms of reliability) than comparing the USA with other developed countries.
          Same for Pofarmer underneath.

        • Al
        • MNb

          Doesn’t explain the article BobS linked to. Let’s make an interesting comparison.

          http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/3601167/aantal-nieuwe-tienermoeders-vorig-jaar-lager-dan-ooit.html

          2200 mothers younger than 20

          http://jeugdmonitor.cbs.nl/nl-nl/indicatoren/jongeren-en-gezin/jongeren/

          About 1 600 000 teens, so let’s say 800 000 teen girls. That’s a rate of 0,25 %.

          Louisiana, a good christian state:

          http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/05/report_teen_pregnancy_down_in.html

          a pregnancy rate of 69/1 000, which is 6,9 %. Obviously the christian Louisiana is doing something wrong, while the thoroughly secular Netherlands are doing it right.
          Conclusion: less christian influence means less teen pregnancies.

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

          Oh? Tell us what you found.

          Tell us also what you’ve found on the other side of the issue. Did you research how American results compare with those in other countries and what we can learn from them?

        • Al

          Help me out. If someone practices abstinence how do they get STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, HIV, AIDS and abortions? How hard is it to say to people DON’T DO IT?

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

          In the same way that dieters don’t lose weight.

          How hard is it to say to people DON’T DO IT?

          It’s easy. To get them to overcome their natural urges (for the 10 years or so between sexual maturity and marriage) is a wee bit more difficult.

        • Pofarmer

          Here’s the tskehome.

          “The take-home message is that we need a variety of interventions to address an epidemic like HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy,” said Jemmott, adding that he thinks the program would be equally effective among other age and racial or ethnic groups.

          “There are populations that really want an abstinence intervention. They are against telling children about condoms,” he said. “This study suggests abstinence programs can be part of the mix of programs that we offer.”

          Shocking. And this was a small study, focusing only on sexual activity.

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

          Another data point:

          For decades, health and education advocates have been frustrated by US teen pregnancy rates that are the highest in the developed world.

          Hey–who said that America was no longer #1?!

          U S A!

          U S A!

          More here

    • MNb

      It’s not child abuse to tell violent scary stories. Kids love them. Compare Little Red Riding Hood. To tell them the theological meaning is the abuse.

      “I am really remiss that my sister lives so far away because I think I could have a positive influence on her children.”
      Forget it, even if she were your neighbour. Up to 10, 11 children are uncritically loyal to their parents.

      “how it’s so hard for Christians to see how unnecessary the whole Jesus sacrifice actually was.”
      As soon as they see this they lose their faith – it’s the core doctrine.

      • SuperMark

        I see your first point, I guess the crucifixion story isn’t so bad and it never bothered me in my youth, but the hell doctrine can be very damaging for children and definitely scared the shit out of me. I just haven’t experienced this situation yet in my whole adult life so it was pretty powerful.

        Agreed on your send point, I doubt I could make a difference when it came to doctrine. I just wish I could show them only one thing: that unbelievers can be good people too and that we’re not “the enemy”. I was taught this growing up and it wasn’t until I was out on my own and forced out of my christian bubble that it became clear that this was a lie.

        Good point, I guess that’s why they can’t even examine other viewpoints on this issue. Then the whole house of cards would come tumbling down.

        • MNb

          “the hell doctrine can be very damaging for children”
          That’s what I meant with theological meaning, amongst others.

    • Pofarmer

      The sad thing is, the whole doctrine is that Jesus HAD to die. It was supposedly unnavoidable. God demanded his sacrifice.

  • purr

    Mitchell and Webb Abraham: http://youtu.be/UtrE6m-Rz20

    • lady_black

      I love this. I have a rather demented sense of humor.

      • purr

        I just adore Mitchell and Webb. Al is pretty funny too!