Bad Atheist Arguments: Book Review of “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist”

Andy Bannister The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist bookThe Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (2015) by Andy Bannister promises to critique a number of atheist arguments. The subtitle is, “The dreadful consequences of bad arguments.” I’m on board with bad arguments having bad consequences, so I’m curious to hear about these bad atheist arguments.

Scope of the book

In the introduction, Ravi Zacharias says, “Time and again the atheist is unable to answer the fundamental questions of life, such as ‘is there a moral framework to life?’” In the first place, I disagree, but more importantly: the Christian thinks he can answer these questions?? Unfortunately, though the author seems to understand his need to show that Christianity is more than just groundless claims, all he provides are a couple of references and apologies that pro-Christian arguments aren’t within the scope of the book. It’s like a Creationist approach in this regard—all attack and no defense.

The tone is deliberately lighthearted, often to an extreme of silliness, though it was too full of insults for me to find it amusing. I can’t in one paragraph frisk in field of lavender clover with a miniature pink rhinoceros who plays show tunes through a calliope in its horn and farts cotton-candy-scented soap bubbles but then two paragraphs later be lectured that my arguments are embarrassing, “extremely bad,” or “disastrous.” The flippant tone got old fast.

Bannister is writing from a UK context, and some of his “What’s the big deal?” comments in response to Christian excesses didn’t translate well to the religious environment in the U.S. Christian privilege is indeed a big deal in the U.S., especially for atheists living in the Bible Belt.

Chapter 1. The Loch Ness Monster’s Moustache

He begins with the 2009 atheist bus campaign sponsored by the British Humanist Association that put the following slogan on hundreds of buses in the UK: “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” I remember being impressed when I first heard about this campaign. It seemed edgy—public proclamations were more appropriate for Christian messages—but the message is pretty tame.

If you’re going to give a reason to reconsider religion, there are plenty of harsher ones. Maybe: “The Thirty Years’ War killed 8 million people in the name of God. I hope you’re happy, God.” Or: “Christianity makes you do strange things” with a photo of a child killed by parents who insisted on prayer instead of medicine or a teen driven to suicide by Christian bullies.

But the mild “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” still exasperates Bannister. He says,

The slogan, despite its friendly pink letters, is a perfect example of a really bad argument. An argument so bad, so disastrous, in fact, that one has to wonder what its sponsors were thinking. …

Much of contemporary atheism thrives on poor arguments and cheap sound bites, advancing claims that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Only after several pages of throat clearing do we get a glimmer of an actual complaint.

One might begin by noting the preachy, condescending, and hectoring tone.

With that gentle slogan? Oh, please. Drop some of your Christian privilege and grow a thicker skin.

How big a deal is this?

Bannister next asks, “What’s the connection between the non-existence of something and any effect, emotional or otherwise?” Do you complain about unicorns or the Flying Spaghetti Monster not existing?

In a dozen places, Banister writes something like this that makes me wonder if he’s just not paying attention. No, we don’t complain about unicorns—they don’t exist, and they don’t cause problems. Christianity, on the other hand, does exist, and Christianity and Christians cause problems.

He next gives Christian author Francis Spufford’s critique:

I’m sorry—enjoy your life? Enjoy your life? I’m not making some kind of neo-puritan objection to enjoyment.

If you’re not causing problems, that’s great, but if you’re not aware of the problems, you’re also not paying attention. Christian adults live burdened with guilt. Christian children startle awake at a noise and wonder if this is the beginning of the imminent Armageddon. Christian homosexuals deny themselves romantic relationships to satisfy an absent god. This isn’t true for all Christians, of course, but imposing a worldview burdened with Bronze Age nonsense and informed by faith rather than evidence has consequences.

Bannister wants to highlight the problem with the slogan by proposing this variant: “There’s probably no Loch Ness Monster, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Imagine telling this to someone down on his luck, someone who’s been kicked around by fate. Would he be cheered by this new knowledge?

No, because the Loch Ness Monster has zero impact in anyone’s life. Remove Nessie’s non-existent impact from someone’s life and nothing has changed. But do I really have to explain that god belief has a big impact on many people? For example, the United States has a famously secular constitution, and Christians nibble at the edges like rats looking for ways to dismantle the its separation of church and state for their benefit. See the difference?

Do you understand the consequences of atheism?

He wants to force atheists to take their own medicine.

If the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.

First, I hope we can agree that it’s vital for us to see reality correctly. If there isn’t a god out there, best we figure that out, come to terms with it, and shape society in accord with that knowledge.

And you’re seriously wagging your finger at us to warn that our worldview has no beneficent Sky Daddy? Yes, we know—we’re atheists! It’s not like the heavens shower us with benefits that disbelief will shut off. God already does nothing for us nowthat’s the point.

You know what improves society? We do. We’re not perfect, and some of the problems are of our own making, but let’s acknowledge where we have improved things. Slavery is illegal. Smallpox is gone. Clean water, vaccines, and antibiotics improve health. Artificial fertilizer and improved strains of wheat feed billions and make famine unlikely. We can anticipate natural disasters. (More here and here.) God has done nothing to improve society.

As for the universe not caring about us, well, yeah. Is there any evidence otherwise? If so, make a case.

Atheists like Stalin are evil

A popular Christian argument shifts attention from Christianity’s excesses (wars, Crusades, and so on) to bad atheist leaders like Stalin.

What about atheism’s own chequered history? Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million people, while the death toll for Mao’s regime is at least double that.

Richard Dawkins lampooned this argument with this tweet: “Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein were evil, murdering dictators. All had moustaches. Therefore moustaches are evil.”

Yes, Stalin was a bad man, but why? Was it the mustache? Was it his atheism? No, Stalin was a dictator, and dictators don’t like alternate power structures like the church. Religion was competition, so Stalin made it illegal. They didn’t do anything in the name of atheism. Lack of a god belief is no reason to order that people be killed. (I expose the Stalin argument here and here.)

Bannister concludes that the bus slogan and the moustache argument “are both examples of not just weak arguments, but extremely bad arguments.” Uh huh. You’ll have to tell us why some day. He continues, “I have been struck by how many of my atheist friends are deeply embarrassed by these terrible skeptical arguments.”

Oh, dear. He’s disappointed in me, and I would be embarrassed at these arguments, too, if I had any sense.

Sorry, I’m not riding that train. Give me less outrage and more argument.

Argument by sound bite

Bannister laments, “The atheist bus advertisement illustrates the danger not just of poor arguments, but especially of argument by sound bite.

This is coming from a Christian? Where some think that evolution is overturned by mocking it as “from goo to you via the zoo”? Where church signs have slogans like “How will you spend eternity—Smoking or Nonsmoking?”? Where emotion is the argument, not intellect? Get your own house in order first, pal.

Continue with part 2.

Wandering in a vast forest at night,

I have only a faint light to guide me.
A stranger appears and says to me:
“My friend, you should blow out your candle
in order to find your way more clearly.”
This stranger is a theologian.
— Denis Diderot

Image credit: Wikipedia

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Terry Firma

    I would have liked this better if you hadn’t compared Christians to rats.

    • busterggi

      Rats are more trustworthy in my experience.

    • Pofarmer

      I actually really enjoyed both the analogy and the mental image.

    • MarquisDeMoo

      That reminds me; my father was a member of a National Park committee at which the Park Ranger for Preseli announced he had removed the notices in English by the road through the common requesting motorists not to feed the sheep. He did this in response to threats by the Welsh Nationalists that the signs be in Welsh or be destroyed. This incensed the Welsh speaking members of the committee because they were well aware that the notices were principally aimed at English tourists, who by feeding the sheep were attracting them to the road where they were being killed by traffic.

      The Welsh speaking members demanded the signs be reinstated immediately. At this point my father interjected that if a farmer had a sign that was being eaten by rats he would not replace it with another that was edible to rats, and his neighbour said “Quite, why not a picture of a sheep being fed with a red cross on it?” My father then turned to his neighbour and said “I wish I had not made that analogy with rats”.

      That evening we watched the local English news on TV but there was no mention. However on the Welsh version it was stated “retired English Colonel calls Welsh Nationalists rats”. That evening I took a call from a Rev from Merthyr Tydfil and passed it to my father. “How dare you call Welsh Nationalists rats” he said, “Some of my best friends are Welsh Nationalists, and they are fine people. Englishman why don’t you go home to England?” My father replied that he had been misreported and had not called Welsh Nationalists rats. He also pointed out that there were more Welshmen living in England than Englishmen in Wales and he would be happy to return to England if they all returned to Wales taking the Prime Minister with them.

      • Joe

        In a story featuring Welshmen and sheep, I think being compared to rats would have been a more favourable outcome.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          I of course could not possibly say that.

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

      Hmm. I can see how it might be taken as insulting, but when that’s what they’re doing, I’m happy to insult. It’s certainly the case that many Christians regard the separation as highly as I do.

      • Kodie

        I think it’s not so much that Christians are like rats. Christians (or practically anyone) thinks what they should do to protect their beliefs or protect their rights to believe that they think are being threatened. I mean, if no one fed them ideas and motivated them to act on agendas or fear, would they do anything? It’s like the oxygen is being removed from their atmosphere, it’s not just god loves you and Jesus saves you or that kind of shit they like, it’s the urgent threat to their beliefs or rights to believe via propaganda and they can’t think. They’re not gnawing at the constitution like they want to be rats, but that they don’t understand how they are pawns.

        • MR

          …but that they don’t understand how they are pawns.

          This is my great sadness. My peeps didn’t used to be politically inclined. If anything, all government was evil. But at some point, that changed and the politicians took advantage.

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

          The Christians who are like rats (in my mind) are that very small fraction who are actively attacking the Constitution’s separation of church and state.

        • Kodie

          It’s a campaign and the people who buy it. I don’t think it’s a very small fraction. Rats seems fitting to describe them until you realize what fear-driven gullible assholes people can be. I’m just being honest about our species.

    • Joe

      I agree. It’s unfair to rats.

  • MNb

    “The slogan, despite its friendly pink letters, is a perfect example of a really bad argument.”
    Eh? It’s not an argument at all. It’s just a slogan.

    “There’s probably no Loch Ness Monster, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
    That is excellent advise for all the LNM hunters.

    “You’re alone in a universe”
    Poor Andy. I have a loved one, friends and family – ie a social network. Come over here, Andy, you need a hug.

    • epeeist

      Eh? It’s not an argument at all. It’s just a slogan.

      A slogan that was produced in response to an organisation called “Jesus Said” producing an advertisement that linked to their web site where it was claimed that all non-Christians would burn in hell for eternity.

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

      Which reminds me of W L Craig’s magnum opus, which pretty much admits that the driving force behind his career is to assuage the shock of little 7yo WLC who was horrified at the idea of death.

    • Kodie

      I bring this thing out I say once in a while (and I might not have it memorized anymore) – if you are alive, part of the universe can’t help but acknowledge you, and some of it probably even loves you.

      It’s so sad that Christians think the universe is way out there, and they are down here, and none of their close loved ones love for them counts enough to satisfy them. You are right about the LNM hunters. Those people and the Bigfoot people, etc., are hooked on something that is just ridiculous… I mean, there are people called birdwatchers who catalog all the different birds they have seen and check them off lists of birds they are hoping to see. It counts for nothing, but I feel like the mythical beast hunters just want to be the one to prove this thing exists and cash in. They are hoping to be first, and no one else on the hunt finds the crucial evidence first. I don’t know what to call this fixation but kind of a gambling habit.

      • TheNuszAbides

        I don’t know what to call this fixation but kind of a gambling habit.

        one of the first things that pops into my mind when encountering any form of clinging to unfalsifiable-fueled wishful thinking is “double down”. also, more recently, “sunk costs fallacy”.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    The slogan, despite its friendly pink letters, is a perfect example of a really bad argument.

    What? What “argument” is he talking about? The statement that there probably is no God is not an argument, it’s an assertion.

    The argument, then, would be that because there is probably no God, you shouldn’t worry about and should enjoy your life. From what you’ve written, I don’t see that addressed much at all (except for the part of how we shouldn’t enjoy life?)

    I think this is all one big straw man. What argument is he addressing?

    (ETA: I didn’t see MNb’s comment before I posted, but the “It’s not an argument at all. It’s just a slogan” was something I had actually written first before editing it!)

  • epicurus

    “I have been struck by how many of my atheist friends are deeply embarrassed by these terrible skeptical arguments.”
    With the kind of anti atheist insults and pompous pronouncements Andy slings around, I doubt he actually, really, has any atheist friends. Probably just people he has talked with here and there that he calls friends just to prop up his strawman arguments.

    • TheNuszAbides

      let alone that he has such a quantity of ‘atheist friends’ that it’s worth broad-stroking “many of” (but not all!) …

  • epicurus

    “If there isn’t a god out there, best we figure that out, come to terms with it, and shape society in accord with that knowledge.”
    That’s what always pops into my head when I hear the usual theist argument. It seems like they are saying “I don’t want to know reality because it would be unpleasant and scary.” That’s fine if they kept to themselves, but they want to attack people who do want to discover reality, even if it is scary. I’ve struggled with meaning and purpose for years, but I can’t just think, well back to Christianity I go, even if I don’t think the evidence for it is any good, just to feel better.

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

      And that’s why my hypothesis is that any well-informed atheist who does return to Christianity does so for emotional reasons. I can’t imagine that, but some do. But it’s not because Christianity makes the stronger intellectual case.

    • Kodie

      If there is no god, people who are believers in a god or gods also live in that reality. I like to point this out from time to time, over several topics. Religion is a construction of cosmology and morality, among other things, because people feel better with some answers and some framework than the suggestion that we have only ourselves to figure it out. It’s not real, it’s not objective, it’s still socially constructed from us figuring shit out ourselves. Their complaints about science “changing” because new discoveries occasionally upset old standing knowledge, and more often refine them, tend to be exaggerated, while theological whims seem to change every generation or shorter or a little longer, and modify to adjust to science or become more radically distant from reality via resistance to adjustments.

      It’s actually when they do make adjustments that makes me even more skeptical. I don’t want to accuse Christianity of total conspiracy, but there is a Christianity for almost everyone – those staunch literalists and those willing to rationalize their church’s accommodation to reality because the literal bible is just too stupid to believe, so just about no reason to leave the womb because it serves almost every personality than the one who is like me. I wasn’t raised in Christianity, and I kind of liked it as a ritualistic kind of cultural thing, but as soon as it occurred to me adults took it seriously, I was stunned and this confirmed my atheism at the start. There is no part convincing to me, and I just can’t relate to the kind of person who would be outside of it and become attracted to it, except for how popular and marketed it is. The idea of other religions being not at all convincing to them, or other denominations of Christianity being “misunderstood” because they’re not filtered through the same clergy, that sort of stuff they wouldn’t believe because “who would believe that crap” while defending the crap they do believe is absurd to me.

  • MR

    Unfortunately, though the author seems to understand his need to show that Christianity is more than just groundless claims, all he provides are a couple of references and apologies that pro-Christian arguments aren’t within the scope of the book. It’s like a Creationist approach in this regard—all attack and no defense.

    Sounds like their approach to your blog!

    One might begin by noting the preachy, condescending, and hectoring tone.

    Sounds like their approach to your blog!

  • MR

    If the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.

    Gasp! Whatever will we do?! Oh, exactly what we’ve been doing.

    Bannister concludes that the bus slogan and the moustache argument “are both examples of not just weak arguments, but extremely bad arguments.”

    Arguments for what? That there is no God? The first isn’t meant to be an argument, and the second is just to show the weakness in their argument! Two strikes already and he hasn’t even addressed real atheist arguments.

  • ZenDruid

    In the introduction, Ravi Zacharias says, “Time and again the atheist is
    unable to answer the fundamental questions of life, such as ‘is there a
    moral framework to life?’”

    There is an ethical, not moral, framework that every more-or-less neurotypical human being has inherited, through the long and enduring process of evolution. I’m comfortable with calling it an instinct.

    • Pofarmer

      You could go further down the chain and say mammals.

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

      I’ve been corrected on this. I like “instinct,” but technically, that’s a behavior.

      Because we’re talking about beliefs, I call those “programming” (in this case, moral programming).

      • Greg G.

        Isn’t morality a behavior pattern that is justified by rationalization?

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

          That sounds right, but how does that inform the question on instinct?

        • Greg G.

          A behavior pattern that is shaped by heritable traits would be an instinct. Ask a mother why she protects her infant and she would give reasons that would likely not include the effect of progesterone on her brain which produced the bonding. It has been shown that altruistic acts produce a pleasant sensation for a person. It also promotes social cohesion. The pleasant sensation is likely a heritable trait and may not be in all humans, and some people may never have experienced the feeling. If the genetics and evolution are not taken into account, the concept of morality would be invented for why you get the feelings of pleasure and the resentment when acts are not mutual.

      • ZenDruid

        I follow AC Grayling in making a distinction between morals ( from Latin mores, externally imposed behavior) and ethos, which can be construed as native behavioral tendencies. I believe we can agree that well-adjusted people don’t necessarily need the externally imposed strictures of behavior. What’s left, then?

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

          Yes, a moral person could recreate the moral rules of his culture (though you’d recreate something a little different than that which society came up with).

          Are you saying that that’s morality? It’s just your internal programming/conscience, with no need for adding “and all the stuff that society gives you”?

        • ZenDruid

          I insist on calling it ethics, in the sense of what is understood of the classical Cynics and Stoics. I strongly feel that my own ethical stance on its own, is superior to whatever ‘morality’ the Abrahamic religions have handed down.

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

          I’m sure I’d agree.

        • TheNuszAbides

          native behavioral tendencies

          not that i’ve done extensive reading on the specific subject (as i’m sure this will make obvious), but i’m unclear as to how the distinction is verified — e.g. raising children in a mores-vacuum and seeing what they do with, er, no ‘externally imposed’ behavior [somehow…]?

      • Kodie

        I am not a behavioral scientist, but I think the instinct would cover “socialization” i.e. assimilation to one’s local customs of ethical behaviors, which would cover the programming. We’re programmed according to our culture but we’re instinctual about attuning to it.

  • epeeist

    If the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.

    This isn’t just a bad argument but a fallacious one. Firstly there is the obvious false dichotomy (either his god or a complete lack of meaning and nothing else) and a fallacy of division (just because the universe that does not care it does not follow that things with the universe do not care).

    Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million people, while the death toll for Mao’s regime is at least double that.

    Let’s cast this into canonical form

    P1: Stalin was an atheist
    P2: Stalin killed a large number of people
    C: Stalin killed a large number of people in the cause of atheism

    This is obviously invalid, would he accept:

    P1: Harry Truman was a Christian
    P2: Harry Truman was ultimately responsible for the deaths of many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    C: Harry Truman caused these deaths in the cause of Christianity

    The form is obviously exactly the same.

    The other obvious fault is that Stalin had large numbers of people from the NKVD, the army and the Politburo killed. Were they too killed in the cause of atheism?

    • Michael Neville

      Stalin had large numbers of people from the NKVD, the army and the Politburo killed

      Bit of historical trivia: Stalin killed more Soviet Army officers from 1936 to 1938 than Hitler killed from 1941 to 1945. Stalin being a paranoid megalomaniac was a more obvious cause of the purges than him being an atheist.

      • MNb

        Not to mention that the first ones to get arrested after the Bolshevist Revolution by the NKVD were anarchists – ie co-atheists.

    • MarquisDeMoo

      I must admit I do have some sympathy with the Christians who make this argument, mainly because it is a vain effort to respond to the wholly justifiable claims by atheists that many have died in the name of Christianity. It is an uneven playing field, because an atheist has no philosophy, dogma or rules and thus nothing to kill for. The issue here is if you are not a Christian you are free to adopt some other philosophy and Stalinism is as shitty as they come. It is Stalinism he has a beef with, as do I as an atheist.

      • Michael Neville

        There are very few atheists who say: “Stalin, what a great guy he was, certainly someone to emulate.”

        • Joe

          WWSD?

          What Would Stalin Do?

        • TheNuszAbides

          just stick with Joseph, no need to alter already-existing forms!

        • MarquisDeMoo

          Indeed, but not from the Christian perspective, because they do not understand atheism, mainly because those atheists they have dealings with are principally anti-theists.

        • Kodie

          It’s really funny how when Bob attacks any Christian argument, a bunch of Christians will try to defend their personal interpretation and accuse Bob of attacking beliefs no real Christian even believes, and says “we’re not all like that”, and other ways Christians demonstrate they’re fully aware how many other kinds of wrong Christians there are out there that don’t represent their beliefs at all, but if you’re a Muslim, you’re a terrorist, and if you’re an atheist, you want to rise to power and exterminate the Christians and force them to denounce god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a bunch of Christians will try to defend their personal interpretation
          and accuse Bob of attacking beliefs no real Christian even believes

          it does seem that for even the most fear-based sort, being obsessed with storytelling is kind of a prerequisite (especially the “just-so” style). i was just lucky enough to find more creative/open-ended ways of storytelling before finding my way out of theism.

      • epeeist

        I must admit I do have some sympathy with the Christians who make this argument

        As do I, after all Marxism does take a negative attitude to religion and there were specifically anti-religious groups in the USSR (try the “League of Militant Atheists” for example, which amusingly enough Stalin disbanded).

        But this is obviously not enough to show that Stalin killed in the cause of atheism.

      • Kodie

        I’ll hearken back to my high school years and say, I did not learn a whole lot about the Russian Revolution or Stalin at all. They plug in famous-atheist and horrific-genocides-in-history and assume when atheists get to power, they want to genocide all the Christians. They don’t have a lot of nuance.

    • epeeist

      Oh and I know it is bad form to respond to one’s own post but here is the silly syllogism I tend to use when people claim that one’s life must be meaningless since the universe has no meaning:

      P1: The universe has a density of approximately 6 atoms per cubic metre
      P2: People are part of the universe
      C: Therefore people have a density of 6 atoms per cubic metre.

      This is meant to illustrate the fallacy of division for those who make the nihilism argument in the first place.

  • Michael Neville

    field of lavender clover with a miniature pink rhinoceros who plays show tunes through a calliope in its horn and farts cotton-candy-scented soap bubbles

    That sounds cool! I’d pay good money to see that. But the uncaring universe isn’t providing this scenario and neither are gods.

    • TheNuszAbides

      cue the Virtual Reality wave of the future …

  • Joe

    You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.

    “If you don’t like the truth, boy do I have some wishful thinking for you! Step into my Church……”

  • KarlUdy

    Bannister laments, “The atheist bus advertisement illustrates the danger not just of poor arguments, but especially of argument by sound bite.”
    This is coming from a Christian?

    Where emotion is the argument, not intellect? Get your own house in order first, pal.

    If poor arguments, and arguments by sound bite are not good, then surely it applies no matter who is arguing?

    Or is atheism somehow exempt from criticism?

    • Joe

      Or is atheism somehow exempt from criticism?

      Valid criticism is fine. Tu quoque arguments are not.

      • KarlUdy

        Exactly. Bob’s objection was classic tu quoque.

        • Joe

          It was pointing out a tu quoque, or a variation of this fallacy in the form of projection. Not the same.

        • KarlUdy

          What was the tu quoque that Bob was pointing out?

          All I’m seeing is Bob arguing that Bannister’s criticism of argument by sound bite by atheists should not be taken seriously because there are Christians who argue by sound bite. (Which is classic tu quoque – using allegations of hypocrisy to avoid engaging with criticism.)

        • Joe

          What was the tu quoque that Bob was pointing out?

          .
          He gives examples in the very next sentence.

          All I’m seeing is Bob arguing that Bannister’s criticism of argument by sound bite by atheists should not be taken seriously because there are Christians who argue by sound bite.

          Which is logically correct.

          Criticize the argument (again, it’s not even an argument, therefore there’s a whiff of straw in the air) in any other way, not the fact that it’s a soundbite.

        • KarlUdy

          I think you’re mistaken. Whether Bob’s allegations of hypocrisy are correct or not, does not exempt him from defending his position from criticism.

          What would be a fair response from an atheist’s point of view would be something like:
          “I find it frustrating and deceptive when critics of atheism resort to poor arguments or argument by sound bite. We should do what we can to avoid using the same tactics ourselves.”

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a blurb. On a bus. It isn’t an argument.

        • KarlUdy

          That wasn’t Bob’s objection. His objection was classic tu quoque (which Joe seems to be quite confused about.)

          As to whether the atheist bus slogan was an argument or not – it seemed to be trying to persuade people to not give serious consideration to the possibility of God’s existence because it asserts the probability is low. That would make it an argument. On a bus. (Well, the side of one anyway.)

        • Pofarmer

          Roses, are red, so drink coffee.

          Is that an argument?

        • Joe
        • KarlUdy

          Yes. An argument to drink coffee. But I wouldn’t consider it very convincing.

        • Joe

          Jesus is real, so drink coffee.

          You like that one better?

        • KarlUdy

          Still not convincing. But you really seem to want me to drink coffee.

        • Joe

          Not me, Jesus.

        • KarlUdy

          But you’re the one arguing I should drink coffee, by using reasons related to Jesus and roses.

        • Joe

          The lord works in mysterious ways.

        • Greg G.

          Good enough for me. I got too much blood in my caffeine stream.

        • Susan

          I got too much blood in my caffeine stream.

          Stupid blood.

        • Joe

          Only one person is confused here.

          “Leaves are green” is not an argument. The argument would be for why the probability of god existing is low. Saying “God probably doesn’t exist” is a logically correct statement.

        • KarlUdy

          The argument wasn’t an argument about the probability of God’s existence. It was arguing that people should not seriously consider God’s existence based on an assertion that the probability is low. I would think that an argument for people to not investigate something based simply on an assertion might be considered suspect.

        • Joe

          It was arguing that people should not seriously consider God’s existence based

          No it wasn’t.

          I would think that an argument for people to not investigate something based simply on an assertion might be considered suspect.

          Where is it saying not to investigate the existence of god? (Never mind that how one could possibly do such a thing is a matter that has never been resolved. Not even by theologians).

        • KarlUdy

          Where is it saying not to investigate the existence of god?

          “Now stop worrying, and enjoy your life.”
          In the context of saying that “There’s probably no God” this is clearly saying that people should not be concerned about the possibility of God’s existence, and should not bother themselves with investigating.

        • Joe

          In the context of saying that “There’s probably no God” this is clearly saying that people should not be concerned about the possibility of God’s existence, and should not bother themselves with investigating.

          You must have a different definition of ‘clearly’ than I do, because it clearly never says anything of the sort.

          Though, given that investigation is impossible, perhaps it should.

        • KarlUdy

          “Climate change is probably not happening in our lifetime, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
          Is this an argument for inaction about climate change? Is it a good one?

        • Joe

          Is this an argument for inaction about climate change?

          No.

          Is it a good one?

          Am I allowed to say? Or will I be committing a logical fallacy?

        • KarlUdy

          At least you’re consistent. Although I am worried that you’re not recognizing arguments for inaction regarding climate change for what they are. Be careful or you might find yourself living in a Mad Max desert wasteland.

        • MNb

          No. It’s bad advise based on a slogan.
          If you think the atheist slogan bad advise as well you’re invited to argue why.

        • TheNuszAbides

          You must have a different definition of ‘clearly’

          and we breezed right past his obviously pedantic definition of ‘worrying’. why should investigation necessarily involve worry?

        • Michael Neville

          Actually the bus company required the British Humanists to insert “probably” in their message. Saying “there’s no god” was considered too controversial.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Saying “there’s no god” is an unwarranted statement of fact…saying “there’s no God” depending on the definition of God, is not. But the caveat “probably” was preferred after consulting Carlsberg advertising site and the advertising agency that runs the service for the bus company.

          Dawkins would say “almost certainly” no God, but there ya go. Theists are not saying non-believers will “probably” or even “almost certainly”, they are saying “failing to believe in Jesus will condemn you to hell”.

          The bus campaign was all about the idea of a reassuring God-free advert being used to counter religious advertising…it was no more and argument than that religious pish in adverts plastered all over the place that we are all subject to, day in, day out, is an argument. KarlUdy is talking out his arsehole just like the author of the book being critiqued by Bob, that cockwomble Bannister.

        • bamboodread

          How about: “don’t walk around fretting that you will be shot by a sniper. People have been shot by snipers before but it is so rare that there is a probability factor of almost zero that it will happen to you.” Now, wouldn’t that be sound advice to someone whose capacity for enjoying life is impaired by an irrational fear of being shot by a sniper? If we apply logical consistency here, would the bus slogan, therefore, not be very good advice for those whose lives are blighted by irrational beliefs in the supernatural? At least, for some people, it could affect their lives in a positive way

        • bamboodread

          Leaves are not Green

        • Herald Newman

          I think almost everyone has given some serious consideration to the God question at some point in the past. It’s very difficult to have never taken the time to consider it.

          The target audience of the ad was most likely people who only believe in Christianity because they are scared burning forever.

        • Susan

          I think almost everyone has given some serious consideration to the God question at some point in the past.

          I highly doubt that. I think claims of “God” survive because most people assume it is meaningful without questioning it. .

          ‘Cause soundbytes.

          The target audience of the ad was most likely people who only believe in Christianity because they are scared burning forever

          That would be one reason. I think a very good reason is to counter all the “Jesus loves you” crap. To change the conversation.

          To counter a gazillion soundbytes with a soundbyte.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I think claims of “God” survive because most people assume it is meaningful without questioning it.

          the more i hear/read ordinary everyday human ramblings [i.e. not in essay/blog-post/formal-speech format — more like call-ins to talk shows and drive-by comments] that ever touch on a concept like “higher power”, the more obvious this seems to me. it’s a whole lot of “where to even start with this obliviousness?” and definitely disabuses the notion that i’m in the majority as far as various lines of thought go, even narrowed down to the W.E.I.R.D. demographic.

          i suspect i’m more vicious to the smugger Catholics partly because i struggle to deligitimize elitism not just in my head but in the greater humanosphere. and their infrastructure is so painfully self-justifying!

        • Susan

          That wasn’t Bob’s objection.

          Bob’s objection is that christians smother the landscape in soundbytes and then object if a soundbyte by someone who has no reason to believe their claims puts up a rare soundbyte.

          it seemed to be trying to persuade people to not give serious consideration to the possibility of God’s existence

          It simply says it’s OK to say it. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

          because it asserts the probability is low.

          Well, it is low. It is an ill-defined claim spoken by people who generally can’t clearly define their terms, nor support their claim with reason and evidence. When they are asked to, they generally change the subject and/or run away.

          The entire thing is constructed on soundbytes, special pleading and diversion. I could be wrong but you’d have to give me an example of where it does anything else.

          It’s a bus slogan. And it’s saying the same thing as “Being a Gemini probably won’t affect your day.”

          One bus ad vs. a million gazillion christian soundbytes across the world.

          tu quoque

          You know. Motes. Beams.

        • KarlUdy

          Bannister said

          Much of contemporary atheism thrives on poor arguments and cheap sound bites, advancing claims that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

          Yet you say that it is rare for atheists to argue by sound bite. How do you come to such an assessment?

        • Susan

          Bannister said:

          Much of contemporary atheism thrives on poor arguments and cheap sound bites, advancing claims that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

          How does he come to such an assessment?

          PLEASE, for once, answer the question.

          This itself is a soundyte, not an argument.

          you say that it is rare for atheists to argue by sound bite

          I said that for every atheist soundbyte, there are a gazillion christian soundbytes.

          How do you come to such an assessment?

          I can’t drive two blocks without seeing christian slogans on billboards and church signs.. I live just outside of Toronto. The further south I drive, the fuller the landscape gets with christian soundbytes.

          I had to hear about an atheist bus slogan on the internet.

          How about you?

        • KarlUdy
        • Susan

          So you’ve never seen any of these … ?

          Only on the internet. How about you?

          Now, when christians teach their children that Jesus loves them so much that he invented his own version of hell, (as contrasted with other versions of hell based on other deities) do you chastise them?

          Or is this just another way for you to once again, ignore the substance of the article?

        • KarlUdy

          Now, when christians teach their children that Jesus loves them so much that he invented his own version of hell, (as contrasted with other versions of hell based on other deities) do you chastise them?

          I can’t recall ever hearing Christians teach their children anything like that. But I have had several disagreements with Christians who believe that hellfire and torment should be a major focus of the Christian message. I disagree with such people about as strongly as I do with the atheists on this blog.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I disagree with such people about as strongly as I do with the atheists on this blog.

          got a citation for that? you know, showing that you actually argue with them just as well/badly?

        • bamboodread

          “I can’t recall ever hearing Christians teach their children anything like thatthat.” Are you kidding here? Or just lying?

        • Ignorant Amos

          KarlUdyhas embarked on this crusade from a complete position of ignorance and is relying on the poor due diligence of this Bannister character which has left him hoist by his own petard.

          The original article should be his starting point….

          Atheists – gimme five
          Ariane Sherine

          Yesterday I walked to work and saw not one, but two London buses with the question: “When the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). It seems you wait ages for a bus with an unsettling Bible quote, then two come along at once.

          The errant capital letters weren’t the only disturbing thing about this (Faith Hill or Faith Evans?). There was also a web address on the ad, and when I visited the site, hoping for a straight answer to their rather pressing question, I received the following warning for anyone who doesn’t “accept the word of Jesus on the cross”: “You will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell. Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and all his angels (demonic spirits)” (Matthew 25:41). Lots to look forward to, then.

          Which means that if there are 4,680 atheists reading this and we all contribute £5, it’s possible that we can fund a much-needed atheist London bus ad with the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jun/20/transport.religion

          KarlUdy is arguing against a non-argument from a position of ignorance…way ta go Christians…but I doubt it surprises anyone else here.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s doubly funny that this ad was actually a response, which means that Udy, is, once again, talking out of his hat.

        • adam

          “talking out of his hat.”

          Hey, worked for Joseph Smith….

        • Pofarmer

          That was a magic hat, and he also had a magic stone.

        • adam

          Karl obviously has stones just like Smith, with the claims he’s making.

          If he is going to pull it out of his hat, he might as claim it is magical too.

        • adam

          “KarlUdy is arguing against a non-argument from a position of
          ignorance…way ta go Christians…but I doubt it surprises anyone else
          here.”

          Where would christians be without gross ignorance?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57d8812041d27bff15f48eb5ac5edd1f3cb26a8df7bfd55a8bae3b5a093d53c8.jpg

        • TheNuszAbides

          if the fundagellies were as educated as catlicks we’d probably be in a lot more trouble over here in Yankia.

        • Kodie

          Because most of y’all don’t have an attention span and can’t read for comprehension.

        • bamboodread

          You are being entirely disingenuous and totally intellectually dishonest by dragging up a few atheist memes to try and prove your point. You are well aware of the difference in scale between the two

        • Kodie

          Because Bannister is full of shit.

        • bamboodread

          Because atheist have to explain their views from the standpoint of rationalism. It often means that atheists are usually better at deconstructing religious literature and ideas than those who argue from the standpoint of faith. Belief is the dead end of rationality

        • Joe

          I’m not mistaken. Who first made the argument that sloganism is bad?

        • KarlUdy

          In the context of this post, Bob is avoiding dealing with the criticism of atheism’s sloganism by accusing Christians of using sloganism. That constitutes a tu quoque logical fallacy on Bob’s part.

          Where is Bannister’s tu quoque?

        • Joe

          Maybe pointing out a tu quoque should be called a three quoque?

          Bannister claims, in his book:

          The atheist bus advertisement illustrates the danger not just of poor arguments, but especially of argument by sound bite.”

          Bob points out the fallacy in this statement.

        • KarlUdy

          No he doesn’t. He just uses tu quoque to avoid the criticism.

        • Joe

          Bob pointed out the criticism is invalid. With reasons.

          Are you willfully avoiding this fact, or do you not grasp the argument?

        • KarlUdy

          How did Bob point out that the criticism is invalid?

        • Joe

          By giving examples.

        • KarlUdy

          Examples of what?

        • Joe

          Here. In the actual article:

          Where some think that evolution is overturned by mocking it as “from goo to you via the zoo”? Where church signs have slogans like “How will you spend eternity—Smoking or Nonsmoking?

          Now we’re back full circle. You think it’s invalid somehow to point out the hypocrisy here.

        • KarlUdy

          Now we’re back full circle. You think it’s invalid somehow to point out the hypocrisy here.

          Pointing out (or alleging) hypocrisy in another does not make their criticism invalid.

          To point out or allege hypocrisy to avoid engaging with criticism is classic tu quoque.

        • Pofarmer

          We get that. It’s just that Bob goes further than that. He spends the next half of the article engaging with the criticism. Several paragraphs, in fact.

        • KarlUdy

          We get that.

          It appears that Joe didn’t.

          It’s just that Bob goes further than that. He spends the next half of the article engaging with the criticism. Several paragraphs, in fact.

          “Argument by sound bite” is only picked up by Bob at the end of the article, where he uses tu quoque. (The phrase is included in a quote of Bannister’s work earlier, but not picked up on.)

        • Pofarmer

          O.K. I get it, but then you just ignore the rest of the article to latch onto that? That’s kind of the point, that isn’t the main argument that he makes, so, even if it is fallacious, which I’m not even sure that it is, he still deals with the argument much more in depth in other places. I think you’re attempting to pick at very fine nits here.

        • KarlUdy

          He does not deal with “argument by sound bite” anywhere else.

          I’m not trying to nit-pick. I’m trying to deal with one point at a time.

        • Kodie

          Makes you seem like a crybaby though.

        • Susan

          He spends the next half of his article engaging with the critiicism. Several paragraphs, in fact.

          Karl always ignores that part.

        • bamboodread

          KarlUdy just needs to win this argument at any cost

        • Pofarmer

          I’m trying to figure out, by Karl’s standards, how you would point out hypocrisy without it being a fallacy.

        • KarlUdy

          Simple.
          Don’t try to use hypocrisy in others to avoid criticism of your own behaviour.

          The best way to do this is to start off by accepting the criticism.

        • Pofarmer

          But, that’s, not, really, what, was, happening.

        • adam

          “Are you willfully avoiding this fact, or do you not grasp the argument?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec831d9facb36edd9b3ffe2e278ad5365e6a7e6a8e7c7ef5a0c29f4a0708f64b.jpg

        • bamboodread

          I think the author was simply pointing out how utterly ridiculous it is for a christian to accuse atheists of using soundbites and sloganisms when this is the entire modus operandi of the religious. Basically, he is quite rightly pointing out that Bannister was being a complete hypocrite

        • Michael Neville

          Maybe pointing out a tu quoque should be called a three quoque?

          <snortle>

        • bamboodread
        • MNb

          Criticism of sloganism?! How is that supposed to work? How do you criticize things like “Make America great again”? “A diamond is forever”? “The Coke side of life”?

        • Michael Neville

          How do you criticize things like “Make America great again”?

          By asking “when did America stop being great?”

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

          When those danged [minority group goes here] stopped knowing their place/came out of the closet!

          You’d understand if you were a white man.

        • Michael Neville

          A straight, fundamentalist Christian, white man.

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

          That’s what I meant. Thanks.

        • Joe

          Whereas others may similarly ask “when was it ever great”?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m torn between that (clear invitation for the subject to vent about their imaginary/overblown/misdirected negative attributions) and “when did it start” or “what made it great in the first place”, which seems to stand a slight chance of being slightly less predictable as far as what answers they might give (i.e. possibly determine whether they put any thought of any kind at any point into casting their ballot). there’s presumably be plenty to pick apart either way, hence my torn-ness.

        • bamboodread

          Or: “When did America start being great”

    • adam

      “Or is atheism somehow exempt from criticism?”

      But isnt that what you’ve been doing since you got here?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe52be476bd3c6a42dde1a034db7258dcc22717334a91360fe8d6a175aa07473.jpg

      • Pofarmer

        I lol’d.

    • Greg G.

      Right below your quotation is “To be continued.“. Perhaps you jumped the gun or are you complaining about that he divided the parts of the article clumsily?

      • KarlUdy

        I don’t think I can be fairly accused of jumping the gun.

        Bob’s response, including “Get your own house in order first, pal.” seems to be saying that defenders of atheism should not have to answer this criticism from Christians, until Christians have got their own house in order.

        My comment I think stands fairly.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what if you and Bob have different understandings of what a ‘house’ is in this context — and more importantly, if either of you treats atheism or atheists as a ‘house’ with more or less rational justification? perhaps pointing to any comments you might have made regarding developments such as Atheism+? (just to see if your not-trying-to-nitpick insistences hold up when you have the opportunity to revel in the factionalism of ‘the other side’, for example.)

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

      I’m happy to consider arguments than an atheist claim is poor. But at least acknowledge the hypocrisy if your argument is more applicable against your own position.

      • KarlUdy

        Does Bannister affirm the use of the slogans you cite? – “from goo to you via the zoo” or “How will you spend eternity – smoking or nonsmoking?”

        I don’t affirm them.

        I also share his concern about “argument by sound bite”. I think they tend to obscure the truth because people don’t look beyond the sound bite to test the validity or reasonableness of what is being argued for. In some cases, people might not even realize that something is being argued for.

        What do you think about argument by sound bite and its place in atheist arguments?

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

          If Twitter is your canvas, what other option do you have?

          I’ve got a blog, and I like to throw in quotes at the bottom that may or might not illuminate the topic, so if you don’t like brief, hopefully self-contained comments, then you probably won’t like them, either.

          The point I was making was the unacknowledged hypocrisy.

        • KarlUdy

          If Twitter is your canvas, what other option do you have?

          Use more than just Twitter if you want to engage seriously in meaningful topics.

          Also think seriously about whether any sound bites are short circuiting logical processing.

          The point I was making was the unacknowledged hypocrisy.

          Was it Bannister’s hypocrisy? If he is making an case against argument by sound bite, does he judge Christian and atheist instances differently?

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

          The not-hypocritical approach would be something like, “Now, let me acknowledge at the outset that Christians are the masters of the empty one-liner. Don’t get me started on the importance of having a substantial, intellectual argument to support religious claims. That said, atheists have been known to use the occasional one-liner as well.”

          He didn’t take that approach. That’s the problem.

        • KarlUdy

          So are you saying that Ravi Zacharias, Tom Wright, Alistair McGrath, and Tim Keller are masters of the empty one-liner?

          Or are you saying that that they have no substantial intellectual arguments to support their religious claims?

        • Susan

          So are you saying that Ravi Zacharias, Tom Wright, Alistair McGrath, and Tim Keller are masters of the empty one-liner?

          I would say they are all masters of the empty many-liners. They are the barbed wire at the edge of the compound.

          But the compound is mostly built on empty one-liners.

          Or are you saying that they have no substantial intellectual arguments to support their religious claims?

          I would say that they don’t. I know you weren’t asking me. You were asking Bob.

          But if you think one of them makes a good argument, please provide it. Stick around this time and respond to the “substance”.

        • KarlUdy

          I would say they are all masters of the empty many-liners. They are the barbed wire at the edge of the compound.

          Please give some examples.

          But if you think one of them makes a good argument, please provide it.

          Here’s one for starters …
          Tom Wright’s arguments for the physical resurrection of Jesus in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God.

        • Susan

          Here’s one for starters.

          Please make the argument.

          And follow up.

        • KarlUdy

          Tom Wright argues that the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

        • Susan

          Tom Wright argues…

          Please make the argument.

          And follow up.

        • KarlUdy

          Please make the argument.

          And follow up.

          It’s an 800 page book. I have given you the major conclusion that the book gives. It has a back cover endorsement from the Journal of Contemporary Religion which is a peer-reviewed academic journal. You said that he and the others I named

          have no substantial intellectual arguments to support their religious claims

          I believe it is up to you to demonstrate that such a work has “no substantial intellectual arguments to support its religious claims.”

          Or if you wish, you can choose to admit that what was said was a mischaracterization of Tom Wright et al.

        • Susan

          It’s an 800 page book

          Which you claim “makes an argument”.

          I have given you the major conclusion that the book gives.

          Which is not the same as making an argument.

          I believe that it is up to you to demonstrate that such a work has “no substantial intellectual arguments”

          I believe you are wrong.

          Especially as I did not claim that an 800 page book had “no substantial intellectual arguments”.

          I simply asked you to make an argument.

          Saying “There’s a great, big book writtin by someone who makes an argument” is not an argument.

          It’s no more an argument than a sound bite is.

          Do you have anything, Karl?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • KarlUdy

          Especially as I did not claim that an 800 page book had “no substantial intellectual arguments”.

          No. You just claimed the author made no substantial intellectual arguments.

          I gave you a summary of the argument:
          the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

          That is the main argument of the book.

          You claimed that Ravi Zacharias, Tom Wright, Alistair McGrath, and Tim Keller are masters of the empty one-liner and that they have no substantial intellectual arguments to support their religious claims.

          I have given you an 800-page book that argues for the physical resurrection of Jesus, commended by an academic journal as evidence against your claim.

          It’s looking a lot like you’re trying to avoid dealing with the evidence I’m providing.

        • Susan

          You just claimed that the author made no substantial arguments.

          You are welcome to show where I did that. Because I didn’t.

          I asked you what the argument was.

          You still haven’t told us.

          I gave you a summary of the argument:
          the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

          But you haven’t given us the argument.

          Just the assertion without an argument.

          I have given you an 800 page book

          I can give you 800 page books. That is not the same as an argument. If you’ve read the 800 page book, you should have some idea of the argument and why it’s worth taking seriously.

          It’s looking a lot like you’re trying to avoid dealing with the evidence I’m providing

          A book exists. Gazillions of books exist. I could mention an 800 page book on scientology and claim it “makes the argument”..

          I asked you a simple question. What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • KarlUdy

          You are welcome to show where I did that. Because I didn’t.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5dde6b2e7d3ecc7da06d602634df614fb5bd37e57077ff18939dce9877c64e0.png

          But you haven’t given us the argument.

          I have, and I’ll repeat it …

          the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

          A book exists. Gazillions of books exist. I could mention an 800 page book on scientology and claim it “makes the argument”..

          A book making religious claims which is commended by a peer-reviewed academic journal is pretty good evidence that the author has substantial intellectual arguments for those claims. Or do you disagree?

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

          the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

          You can’t think of any natural ways for the various elements of the NT story to have happened? You really have to fall back on the nuclear option, the supernatural answer?

        • KarlUdy

          It is a matter of what is the best explanation. If a supernatural explanation is better than all the other non-supernatural options then the supernatural explanation is the best explanation.

        • MNb

          And how do you decide that a natural explanation is better than all non-supernatural options? Which standards do you use? How have you tested them?

        • epeeist

          If a supernatural explanation is better than all the other non-supernatural options

          Which non-supernatural explanations have you or Wright looked at and on what basis do you claim the supernatural explanation is better?

        • KarlUdy

          I can’t speak for Wright, but some of the non-supernatural explanations that are commonly proposed are the swoon theory, the wrong tomb, hallucination, an invented story, a belief in a spiritual (as opposed to physical) resurrection. (The last one I know Wright spends some time discussing.)

          In short, the physical resurrection fits all the evidence better than any of the others. For a long answer – read the book.

        • MNb

          As long as you haven’t answered my questions just underneath there is no single reason to. No reliable method, no valid conclusion.

        • epeeist

          but some of the non-supernatural explanations

          Hardly a comprehensive list is it?

          In short, the physical resurrection fits all the evidence better than any of the others.

          Because of course explanations that invoke unknown mechanisms, realms for which there is no substantive evidence and a super-powerful entity are so much more likely than a purely natural one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s less and less curious that KU, while consistently particular in his attempts to deflate Bob’s posts, will use abysmal rhetoric like “better explanation” as though it deftly smuggles in “more elegant”, or indicates any consideration beyond “preferred”.

        • adam

          “In short, the physical resurrection fits all the evidence better than any of the others.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb49f25b842aef4e0a6e36dccd4c0d86c43e6e95e934f6a511dc718c5fd1fac3.jpg

        • Pofarmer

          This is so sad, and so predictable.

        • TheNuszAbides

          aye, there were moments a few years back when KU seemed to show more reflective tendencies. (which could be unwarranted nostalgia on my part; it’s not like my discernment has been of the same strength or consistency over all this time.) i find myself missing JohnH2.

        • MNb

          Ah, you noticed as well? So did I.

        • Philmonomer

          A physical resurrection would be an extraordinary event. It would require extraordinary evidence to compel belief.

          Instead, we have meager evidence, consistent not with some supernatural event, but with stories that spring up (organically, no supernatural event needed) during such times of “spiritual” crises. (That is, when the movement is crushed by the Charismatic leader’s death.)

          I suspect the most likely explanation is simple: Jesus was crucified, and placed in a mass grave (which would be the most likely thing done to his body.). His followers came to believe that he had been resurrected (he hadn’t) and spread urban-myth style stories regarding sightings that they believed to be true.

          End of story.

        • KarlUdy

          His followers came to believe that he had been resurrected

          You give no explanation about how this might have happened. Nor how several thousand people in the city it happened would come to also believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months.

        • Laniakea

          Now, how would you explain that thousands of people in the city would come to believe that Archangel Gabriel dictated the Quran to Muhammad and that Muhammad really ascended into heaven on a winged horse?

          Or that thousands of people would come to believe that Joseph Smith really received golden plates from the angel Moroni which he then translated with the help of the stones Urim and Thummim?

          And how can it be that thousands of people are convinced that they have really been abducted by some malicious extraterrestrials?

          Would your best explanation also be that these stories really happened and that therefore Islam and Mormonism and the abduction stories would have something substantial to offer, or would you set your bar for what counts as evidence for the truth of these “experiences” at least a little higher and could imagine of other explanations, such as make-believe, charlatanry, mere propaganda, sleep-paralysis, hallucinations, a vivid imagination, wishful thinking, etcetera?

          BTW, some early Christian sects like the Docetists (who were later declared heretics by the Church) did not even believe in a bodily Jesus but in a Jesus being a mere apparition, a spirit, a celestial being. So how could there have been competing Christian beliefs in these early days if the resurrection story really had happened (and this is just a tiny example of the multitude of problems with the Jesus narrative in general and the resurrection narrative in special)?

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, surprise. a substantive response and … *crickets* from KU. yet again.

        • Philmonomer

          You give no explanation about how this might have happened.

          Urban myth stories that spread among the people. This isn’t particularly hard. Through stories passed from person to person of how someone else had seen Jesus. Some people had visions, people told the stories of the visions. Sometimes they probably (inadvertently, unconsciously) made the stories up. Because, when you know the truth, you know these things that “had to have happened.”

          Moreover, it’s telling what we don’t see. We don’t see stories of how Jesus showed up at the Temple, and converted a thousand people on the spot. We don’t see stories of the resurrected Jesus going to the very Jewish leaders who condemned him, and converting them. We don’t see 10 of the Jewish leaders, amazed at seeing the resurrected Jesus, becoming followers at the same time. We don’t see awesome, amazing stories of the resurrected Jesus that the people would have spoken about for generations (“Were you there when, x happened? It was amazing! Jesus came in his glory, and the whole town saw it! The whole town converted!”) Rather, we get stories of Jesus appearing in private, in small groups, or individuals only, to his followers (people already predisposed to believe in him). They read like stories you would expect Snopes to debunk.

        • adam

          “They read like stories you would expect Snopes to debunk.”

          They read like stories you would expect from people who are drunk.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sometimes they probably (inadvertently, unconsciously) made the stories up, or made the stories “better.” (Heck, I know I’ve done that.)

          well, yeah, but that’s just part of The Great Deceiver’s anti-plan.

        • Pofarmer

          Nor how several thousand people in the city it happened would come to
          also believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months.

          Uhm, there’s actually no evidence that that happened. And, all the evidence that we do have, suggests that Christianity grew much faster in Gentile area’s than Jewish. The number of Jews converting to Christianity was very small. And if there had been a significant number, someone would have written about it, because the Jewish leadership was literate and major religious movements would have shown up in the Jewish record. But we got nuthin.

        • Donalbain

          What is the evidence for these posited “several thousand people” believing any such thing?

        • Joe

          If only a single other person amongst 5000 had been literate, and had thought to write it down, the case for the resurrection would be far stronger than it is currently.

        • TheNuszAbides

          meh. the clingers will just throw up “someone probably did but then it got burned in some persecution or other, or we just haven’t found it yet”. but i can appreciate aiming for the fence/lurkers.

        • adam

          “You give no explanation about how this might have happened”

          The same way the MAGIC stones worked for Joseph Smith.

          “Nor how several thousand people in the city it happened would come to
          also believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months.”

          Except you are just dishonestly making this up.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b8e21f4f245797969c0947a765da8794c812826b9b5e6d1a040a884b1ee550af.jpg

        • bamboodread

          Because that is all they have to offer

        • MNb

          If it worked for Hitler and Göbbels

          “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”

          there is no reason it wouldn’t have worked 2000 years ago. If you want to understand “how this has happened” you have to study the psychology of propaganda. Alas I’m far from an expert on the topic.

          http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2010-01-22-psychology-political-propoganda_N.htm
          Of course “X can’t explain how it happened, so it did not happen at all” is creationist logic; that you try to apply it to an entirely different topic doesn’t make it any better.

        • adam

          Lourdes

          “Over the past 150 years, some 200 million people have
          made the pilgrimage.* ”

          “led Vermeersch to coin the expression “Lourdes
          effect” to describe this curious lack of a single unambiguous miracle by all the alleged miracle workers who have dazzled crowds for millennia.”

          But like The Church, Lourdes is EXTREMELY profitable:

          “Lourdes has a population of around 15,000. To accommodate the 5 million pilgrims who descend on the town each year, there are some 270 hotels. Only Paris has more hotels in France. Needless to say, business is good. The water’s free if you go there. For those who can’t make the trip, many enterprising folks will bring Lourdes to you: they sell water from the spring (100€ will get you 1 liter).”

          http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

        • Michael Neville

          Plus while there’s cast-away crutches and canes on display at Lourdes you won’t see a single cast-away artificial limb.

        • adam

          And yet MILLIONS believe that there is MAGIC at Lourdes, in SPITE of the truth.

        • Pofarmer

          FUnny thing is, if you look at the number of “miraculous” cures at Lourdes, it’s actually underperfoming what you would expect just by things like spontaneous remissions, for example. You also don’t find out that that person who case away his cane is now permanently disabled.

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

          “At Lourdes, you see plenty of crutches but no wooden legs.” – John Dominic Crossan (former priest)

        • adam

          “Belgian philosopher Etienne Vermeersch likened this fact to the lack of clear, unambiguous data in support of the existence of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. He also claimed that there have probably been significantly more fatal accidents suffered by pilgrims on their way to or from Lourdes than there have been cures. “http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aad5a6bd3741e368997a7619a093b22790707c37868d686673d6d84fce90cceb.jpg

        • Kodie

          Incredulity for you. Read a book, that’s your answer. Read a book that is not 400 pages, not 200 pages, not 1500 volumes, but the right amount of bullshit for you to think the dude has done his thorough research and left no stone unturned (as it were). You only make yourself sound like a gullible moron. You don’t give any indication that you’ve read and understood the book. Give me a break, sir. You have a narrow capacity for observation – people believe bullshit all the time and don’t let it go for nothing. 800 pages of steaming manure that convinced you but that you can’t work out an argument really just shows me you are attached to the conclusion and don’t have the intellectual capacity to process the arguments rationally.

          I mean the book was meant for you, unlikely to convince people who are not already believers. That’s 800 pages, that’s way too many pages to skip over some parts, and not way too many to turn you away. I will tell you that the story in the bible isn’t 800 pages, and if that were meant to convince people on its own, it didn’t do a very good job if dummies like you will buy books and shill for them when it’s time to make an argument, instead of make the argument. I know you from way back, you’re always recommending long fucking books instead of saying what you’re saying. You like to think reading a lot of long books that reinforce your beliefs makes you intellectual as far as Christians go, but you also think demons cause disease.

          I don’t have any confidence in you to recommend books that will make good arguments. I have a lot of confidence in your bias and your incredulity and your tendency to belabor very small issues with vague remarks to avoid being pinned down, and that’s not enough to make me want to read 800 pages of a book you say instead of any given classic novel I’ve never read.

        • Philmonomer

          Nor how several thousand people in the city it happened would come to
          also believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months.

          What is your source for the claim that “several thousand people in the city” came to “believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months”?

          So:

          1) I don’t believe it’s true.
          2) Even if it is true, it doesn’t matter. The story of Jesus’ resurrection could have spread quickly among his followers. Indeed, if his resurrection meant the end of the world as we know it was beginning (as his resurrection was the first sign of the coming Kingdom), then such a story (again, a story that someone else–or someones else–had seen him) could spread like wildfire.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Karl, the exact story, with different protagonists, was told, repeatedly, ALL OVER the Eastern Med region about this time (plus/minus a few centuries).

          Either they’re all true, too, or yours is most likely just another one of the fabrications.

        • TheNuszAbides

          meh. if he’s even paying attention he’ll just jump to the fact that some brand of his faith lucked out and got the most influence for long enough that he can even now comfortably assume it’s all (or mostly, or enough …) true … and “oooh, what are the odds of that happening if it’s not true?!?!!” not realizing that the answer has been 1:1 for centuries.

          or something like that. KU isn’t known for pushing fresh ideas.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how several thousand people in the city it happened would come to also
          believe Jesus was resurrected in the following few months.

          as “recorded” years later by unknown author(s)? surely you don’t imagine that this is compelling on its face? it’s just easier to swallow when (a) your particular faith depends on doing so or (b) you don’t really care about the accuracy [which of course goes for plenty of theists and nontheists alike].

        • Ficino

          What Philmonomer and others said. As far as we know, the resurrection of someone crucified and dead for a day and a half, who then moves the stone and walks out under his own power, has a probability of what, close to zero? And your “best explanation” doesn’t even stop there but also requires positing supernatural actions of other entities like angels. What’s the probability that Jesus did not rise from the dead but stories of different kinds got around claiming that he did? Not a low probability.

          “But they wouldn’t have been martyred for what they knew was a lie.”

          The above rejoinder itself rests on unsupported, auxiliary assumptions. The documentation of the various apostles’ martyrdoms is even less well attested than that of the gospels.

          I am not going to read another 800 page book on a topic I’ve already read in other apologists. As far as I know, apologists haven’t advanced the ball much beyond where Frank Morison got it with his Who Moved the Stone?

          If you have a demonstration to set forth, I will be interested to hear it.

        • Herald Newman

          For any set of facts I can always propose some magic explanation that fits all the evidence. That’s the wonderful thing about magic, you can make it do anything.

          The problem is that we have no good reason to accept magic as a justified explanation for a set of facts. The philosophy behind the explanation is weak, and without justification.

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          In short, the physical resurrection fits all the evidence better than any of the others. For a long answer – read the book.

          Nope. It really doesn’t. Only woo-woo merchants think it does….and not even all of them at that.

        • Kodie

          Like I already said, your simple synopsis of the book only tells me you’re a moron for believing it, not that it is worth reading. You have to do better than that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have to do better than that.

          Especially when loads of his fellow Christians are not convinced by the books arguments.

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

          Obviously. I’m just amazed that the natural explanations—and surely you must know of many since you seem knowledgeable in this area—come up short and you are forced to go to a tenuous supernatural explanations.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope.

          Waiting on a better non-supernatural explanation is to be preferred to any supernatural explanation.

          I don’t know is always preferable to god-did-it explanations. But that isn’t what we have in the case of the Resurrection saga.

        • adam

          “I don’t know is always preferable to god-did-it explanations.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3deec9b7b72b4a05b256ebe299a1f9c2ccf2accb5338de9ba29407ab021f

        • Ignorant Amos

          “404 Not Found” message at yer link mate.

        • adam

          Thanks, Disqus error.

        • Kodie

          It’s “better” because it supports your preconceived conclusion? There’s no reason to believe anyone ever resurrected from the dead. You are going all forensic, why would the body be missing if it had not disappeared magically? LOTS OF REASONS. 800 pages around that mulberry bush of stupidity is not an argument, especially if you can’t give a summary other than “read 800 pages and you’ll be convinced like I was”. That’s fucking bullshit. That only tells me you’re a moron.

        • Michael Neville

          A book making religious claims which is commended by a peer-reviewed academic journal

          A peer-reviewed religious journal. A Christian journal says nice things about a book written by a Christian which “proves” Christianity.

        • MR

          I would imagine if the book truly had a compelling argument the world would be sitting up and taking notice.

        • TheNuszAbides

          commended by a peer-reviewed academic journal

          so you toss this out, presumably because you recognize at least that you are contending with people who actually care about peer review. but no actual citation? name of journal? nothing? ‘peer’ could include (or exclude) quite a few parameters in the context of “The Greatest Story Ever Told”.

        • bamboodread

          “New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.” This is not an intellectual argument: it is just the usual column of hot air that is blown out of the arseholes of the apologist brigade. I have seen the debates; the lectures – not once have I ever heard a single proposition from one of these charlatans that would satisfy the demands of the simplest logical test.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder how Karl would respond if you just cited Richard Carriers peer reviewed book that Jesus never existed?

        • adam

          My guess is by lying….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bugger….I only went and did just that before getting this far.

        • TheNuszAbides

          actually citing something would be way more effort than Karl put up this round.

        • MNb

          “the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried”

          And I say:

          The NT writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by Jupiter and Mars making the correct angle with Earth.

          That’s as much evidence as you claim to give.

        • KarlUdy

          MNb, to investigate the basis for the argument I gave, you can read a book that is commended by a peer-reviewed academic journal called The Resurrection of the Son of God by NT Wright. It’s 800 pages, so not quite suitable for posting in the comments section of a blog.

          On what do you base your argument?

        • MNb

          On what does NTW base his argument?
          That’s the point, silly.

          I’d need 1000 pages to present my argument.

        • KarlUdy

          The content of the New Testament writings, the surrounding cultural context, the supporting archaeological evidence and extra-biblical writings. It’s not exactly argument by sound bite.

        • MNb

          I base mine on the content of ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Chaldean and Hebrew texts on astrology, the surrounding cultural context, the supporting archaeological evidence. It’s not exactly argument by sound bite.

        • KarlUdy

          Great. Submit your argument to the Journal of Contemporary Religion. If it as well-supported as you seem to think, I’m sure it will be published.

        • MNb

          Thanks for admitting that you present nothing but a

          https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/21/Appeal-to-Authority

          That was exactly the point I wanted to make.

        • KarlUdy

          Definition: Using an authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument. As the audience, allowing an irrelevant authority to add credibility to the claim being made.

          Appeal to authority is only a fallacy if it is an appeal to an irrelevant authority. Don’t you agree that a peer-reviewed academic journal on religion would be a relevant authority for the case we are discussing? If not, what would you suggest as a relevant authority?

        • MNb

          No, not yet, because you haven’t made clear that it uses the scientific method. What you wrote underneath suggests it allows for supernatural explanations, which by definition are unscientific.
          My suggestion: A Marginal Jew by JP Meier – also a christian, but one who understands the difference between religious propaganda and science. Everything you have written on this page makes me doubt your sources.
          Plus “appeal to authority” didn’t refer to that journal but to your book and no, I don’t see why that would be a relevant authority. So my conclusion remains valid.

        • KarlUdy

          What would qualify NT Wright to be a relevant authority on the resurrection?

        • MNb
        • KarlUdy

          I believe you will find that your questions regarding methodology can be answered by Wright. I am not sure if he has addressed Hume in any formal sense, although Hume’s views are by no means considered a benchmark in modern philosophical, historical or religious studies, so I don’t see the relevance of that.

        • epeeist

          although Hume’s views are by no means considered a benchmark in modern philosophical, historical or religious studies

          Considered by who?

          As it is his arguments on miracles can easily be reproduced in a modern setting using Bayesian reasoning.

        • adam

          “Appeal to authority is only a fallacy if it is an appeal to an irrelevant authority.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62da10177de8c12d9feedf1a0ff3d448ed929feef887a1192640edb3a8a15953.jpg

        • Jim Jones

          > Don’t you agree that a peer-reviewed academic journal on religion would be a relevant authority for the case we are discussing?

          That depends on your definition of religion’, and hence ‘god’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now you are making a circular argument. They are not facts unless you believe that the NT is factual.

          There is no authority to the Resurrection as a fact. Historians don’t operate that way. Biblical scholars can claim whatever theology they like as being fact, but that doesn’t mean the claim is factual, especially when there is no corroboration outside the source one is using to prove the fact.

          In his book The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity, Thomas Sheehan argues that even Paul’s account of the resurrection is not meant to be taken as referring to a literal, physical rising from the grave, and that stories of a bodily resurrection did not appear until as much as half a century following the crucifixion.[19] Instead, Sheehan believes that Paul’s understanding of the resurrection, and perhaps Peter’s as well, is a metaphysical one, with the stories of Jesus’s (figurative) resurrection reflecting his triumphant “entry into God’s eschatological presence,” and that Paul’s reference to Jesus having risen “on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:4) “is not a chronological designation but an apocalyptic symbol for God’s eschatological saving act, which strictly speaking has no date in history. Thus the ‘third day’ does not refer to Sunday, April 9, 30 C.E., or to any other moment in time. And as regards the ‘place’ where the resurrection occurred, the formula in First Corinthians does not assert that Jesus was raised from the tomb, as if the raising were a physical and therefore temporal resuscitation. Without being committed to any preternatural physics of resurrection, the phrase ‘he was raised on the third day’ simply expresses the belief that Jesus was rescued from the fate of utter absence from God (death) and was admitted to the saving presence of God (the eschatological future).”

          Thomas Sheehan (born 25 June 1941) is a Professor at the Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago. He is a fellow of the Westar Institute.

          http://www.westarinstitute.org/membership/westar-fellows/fellows-directory/thomas-sheehan/

          Sheehan produced an interesting set of lectures available for free at… https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/historical-jesus/id384233911?mt=10

          Its been a number of years since I listened to him, but he doesn’t hold to a physical Resurrection. Many scholars agree…even many Christian clerics do too.

          Many bible scholars and ministers–including one third of the clergy in the Church of England–reject the idea that Jesus bodily came back to life. So do 30% of born-again American Christians!

          https://ffrf.org/legacy/about/bybarker/rise.php

          It’s just not necessary to believe in the bodily Resurrection of Jesus nonsense to be a good Christian.

        • Kodie

          Theology isn’t science, it’s bullshit. Appealing to an academic pile of bullshit isn’t relevant.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Religion is based on beliefs that can’t be demonstrated. Thus there can be no authority, just one’s personal taste, COMPLETELY subjective.

        • bamboodread

          “The Journal of Contemporary Religion.” KarlUdy you are a clown

        • bamboodread
        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, there is no supporting archaeological evidence. That’s kind of the major problem with proving whether Jesus even existed.

        • adam
        • Kodie

          People like Karl like to overlook what a typical ghost story this sounds like. Why were early Christians convinced? The same way he was. You know, people never believe stuff that didn’t actually happen, people are never subject to propaganda, peer pressure, fads, fears, and hype. Not ever, not in an election year when the obvious lies from the lips of a man you can watch live on television are the words that get him elected. It didn’t need more than one generation to believe. His and all Christians’ beliefs seem to rely on the idea that some people really were closer to the events that happened and verified it somehow, not that they were told stories that weren’t true but believed them. They were nearby, they were as close to there as anyone could be and who would die for a lie and why didn’t the naysayers tell them to stuff it, all which are not arguments for Jesus, but arguments of protest to a special case in which they’re specially exempt from having normal sense.

        • Jim Jones

          Also no supporting written evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          So, may we conclude it’s 800 pages of pulpit Glurge?

        • Jim Jones

          Fictional glurge.

        • adam

          “It’s not exactly argument by sound bite.”

          Neither is Gish Gallop, but it is still unsubstantiated.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Reputable historians dismiss your assertions as fabulist nonsense. So why should WE believe it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not just reputable scholars, his hero N.T. Wright himself says some startling things that has the more hardcore fuckwits up-in-arms and dismissing assertions…but for different reasons.

          Here’s a No True Scotsman criticism.

          Now we read that Bishop Wright’s opposed to the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ being a defining doctrine of Christian faith. Wright says…

          I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection… But the view I take of them–and they know this–is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.

          Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection.

          I actually think that’s a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don’t want to say he isn’t a Christian.

          I do think, however, that churches that lose their grip on the bodily resurrection are in deep trouble and that for healthy Christian life individually and corporately, belief in the bodily resurrection is foundational.

          Really, I don’t get it: why listen to a Bishop who thinks it’s possible to be a good Christian without believing in the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

          http://baylyblog.com/blog/2006/04/bishop-n-t-wright-good-christians-can-deny-christs-resurrection

          Another scathing critique of conservative Wright by a fellow fuckwit labels Wright a heretic….

          It is true that Wright’s landmark book “The Resurrection of the Son of God” is widely recognized as an outstanding defense of Christ’s bodily resurrection. Getting the resurrection right seems to have opened a lot of people’s receptivity to Wright’s subsequent books where he discusses the cross, justification, and penal substitutionary atonement (Wright even endorsed Steve Chalkes book in which Chalke described the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement as “cosmic child abuse”). Many reformed theologians have been greatly disturbed by the theology that NT Wright’s subsequent works have revealed. It may well be that Wright’s scholarly defense of the resurrection turns out to be a scholarly trojan horse concealing destructive heresies.

          http://onceuponacross.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/why-nt-wright-is-wrong.html

        • MNb

          “I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher”
          Wow – we have a christian who struggles to combine his belief with “the philosophical and cultural world he lives in”, openly admits it and writes about it and that guy has flaws as a teacher? Congratulations, Wright, you just managed to raise my respect for Marcus Borg – and I have little for you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          These two men are friends despite their theological differences and wrote a book presenting their opinions called The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. The book is divided into eight parts starting with methodology followed by Jesus’ teachings and actions, death, resurrection, divinity, birth, second coming, and relationship to Christians.

          https://projectilepluralism.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/marcus-borg-and-n-t-wright-on-the-historical-jesus/

        • MNb

          Well, yes, Dawkins and McGrath get along very well too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t think so.

          Dawkins can talk to McGrath in an amiable manner, but “get along very well” is a bit of a stretch. They certainly know one another well, both being Oxford professors at the same 20 year period, but…

          Dawkins and I both love the sciences; we both believe in evidence-based reasoning. So how do we make sense of our different ways of looking at the world? That is one of the issues about which I have often wished we might have a proper discussion. Our paths do cross on the television networks and we even managed to spar briefly across a BBC sofa a few months back. We were also filmed having a debate for Dawkins’s recent Channel 4 programme, The Root Of All Evil? Dawkins outlined his main criticisms of God, and I offered answers to what were clearly exaggerations and misunderstandings. It was hardly rocket science.

          The whole McGrath article does nothing to support a position of any mutual understanding or friendship.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-433628/Do-stop-behaving-God-Professor-Dawkins.html

          My time at RDFRS would lead me to the understanding the situation is reciprocated by Dawkins.

          I doubt the two are going to co-author a book together anytime soon.

          But anyway, it’s of no matter. My point was that we have two highly regarded Christian apologists in Wright and Borg who are readily acknowledged as being pals, yet disagree on probably the most fundamental doctrine and the most central tenet of Christianity. What chance has a lay person got when the “experts” can’t agree?

          KarlUdy calls us out on the fallacious argument of authority, which he seems to be somewhat ignorant about, while punting towards an 800 page book as an authority, when two top level Christian “authority” scholars are at opposition on the subject.

          Wright, being friends with Borg, no doubt means they have most likely spent countless hours privately mulling over this issue. If Wright fails to convince his scholarly Christian chum, wtf chance has his 800 page book got in convincing real skeptics? Only the gullible the already are going to folly.

        • MNb

          “What chance has a lay person got when the “experts” can’t agree?”
          Sometimes my skull is very thick. That obvious point hadn’t penetrated it yet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sometimes my skull is very thick.

          Nope….but aren’t we all prone to the odd unthinking moments?

        • TheNuszAbides

          you remind me i’ll probably be drinking tonight, for the first time in a while. hopefully i’ll pop by before it wears off; maybe even catch up to within a mere month of the most recent post!

        • Kodie

          That’s NEVER annoying.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was on the lash last night and into the wee hours this morning, so I’ll be just topping up when I go out for the match at 15:00. By the time it gets to 20:00 I should be wobbling along rightly. That time is significant because that’s the time Billy Connolly is due on stage…and I’ve got tickets for the gig.

        • TheNuszAbides

          lucky bastard. an Aussie cousin introduced me to him on video in the mid-’80s, which was the perfect time for me to be hearing foul-mouthed Scottish stand-up. missed out on a lot of his stuff since, but have been catching up on pandora radio lately.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Great show…although the Parkinsons is starting to take its toll.

          He did a routine on the application of the word “cunt”…tears were tripping me.

          Here’s a clip of part of it from the tour…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz69-RkE4PA

        • TheNuszAbides

          What chance has a lay person got when the “experts” can’t agree?

          gee, it’s almost as if religion is the perfect racket for cynical demagogues!
          wonder how much more splintered/stomped Yahwehjesusanity would have become if the “personal relationship” lure was half-baked in from the get-go, rather than half-baked as post-hoc catch-up with cultural upsurges of individualism?

        • adam
        • adam

          “No. You just claimed the author made no substantial intellectual arguments.”

          Yes, because then it would be science and not require ‘faith’

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

        • Cluebyfour

          No. You just claimed the author made no substantial intellectual arguments.

          I gave you a summary of the argument: the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.

          You may as well be claiming, “The History of New York and other evidence for seminal beliefs in Santa Claus are best explained by a physical delivery of toys by a jolly fat guy after he had ridden a sleigh driven by reindeer through the sky.”

          That is not a “substantial intellectual argument” in any meaningful sense of the phrase.

        • adam

          If only they were similar enough, it would be evidence for both </sarcasm https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a29efcba0ee94d4f84d4a43b6bc78a04d7180523d05f7132222fdad4c7046acd.jpg

        • Max Doubt

          “I gave you a summary of the argument:”

          I’ll bite.

          “the New Testament writings and other evidence for the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.”

          That’s a claim. It’s not an argument.

          “That is the main argument of the book.”

          So the main argument of the book is the claim that the premise of the book is true. Hooboy.

        • Kodie

          Karl mistakes reading a lot of long books for having an intellect.

        • epeeist

          There is evidence that he as actually read the book?

        • Kodie

          It’s not beyond credibility that a literate person read a book. No, that doesn’t mean he read it, but on the premise that a literate person can read and name a book, it’s not beyond credibility that a credulous Christian read a book and feels smart enough to speak on a topic by recommending the book. That is, it doesn’t stand in for critical thinking. Anyone can write any book that necessarily leads to the predetermined conclusion by avoiding the obstacles, or spending deepity chapters pretending to confront these obstacles in order to dismiss them, and a person like Karl is the kind of person who would read a book to prove he’s not one of those dullard gullible Christians who believes and repeats slogans, but a well-read theology amateur who has arrived at his conclusion by what he assumes is reason, but can’t articulate the arguments, and can only recommend we go away and read a long book that says what he can’t quite say.

          Now, Karl is just a silly guy. Karl gives no reason to read any book, and this is not the first long book he’s used to pretend he is saying something the book said to him, but he can’t say to us. That is evasion – we can’t talk until you read the book too, 800 pages, so that we can be all goll-durnit, I guess there is no other explanation for the story of Jesus’ resurrection than it actually happened! I mean, Karl claims 800 pages of some theological bullshit scholar proves it. He’s not pushing some snappy pamphlet, no sir, this guy spent 800 pages elaborating tons of research on the bullshit he can’t say. I am not really sure if he did read it, but I don’t see any reason to disbelieve it. It’s the same either way.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s merely an assertion. Show us the *evidence*…because all the reputable historians disagree with your assertion.

          “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

        • MNb

          Worse, extraordinary or not, the salto mortale from that evidence to an intervening supernatural entity needs to be justified.
          Without any justification disappeared body –> goddiddid isn’t any better than huge variation of species –> creationism.

        • Greg G.

          Wright’s book was dismantled nearly a decade and a half ago by Robert M. Price with N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God

          Selected quotes from the article:

          The arguments have not gotten any better. They are the same old stale fundamentalist apologetics we got in Ladd, essentially the same old stuff we used to read in Josh McDowell and John Warwick Montgomery. The same hash reslung.

          Part of Wright’s agenda of harmonizing and de-fusing the evidence is to smother individual New Testament texts beneath a mass of theological synthesis derived from the Old Testament and from the outlines of Pauline theology in general. He is a victim of what James Barr long ago called the “Kittel mentality,” referring to the approach of Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, in which articles on individual New Testament terms and words synthesized from all uses of the term an artificial and systematic semantic structure, leading the reader to suppose that every individual usage of the word was an iceberg tip carrying with it implied reference to all other references.

          Wright comes near to resting the whole weight of his case on the mistaken contention that the notion of a single individual rising from the dead in advance of the general resurrection at the end of the age was unheard of, and that therefore it must have arisen as the result of the stubborn fact of it having occurred one day, Easter Day.
          Worse, though, is his utter failure to take seriously the astonishing comment of Herod in Mark 6:14-16 to the effect that Jesus was thought to be John the Baptist already raised from the dead! Can Wright really be oblivious of how this one text torpedoes the hull of his argument?

          Likewise, when he gets to Luke, Wright laughs off the screaming contradiction between Luke 24:40 (“Touch me and see: no spirit has flesh as you can see I have.”) and 1 Corinthians 15:50 and 45 (“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”). The contexts of both passages make it quite clear that the terms are being used in the same senses, only that one makes the risen Jesus fleshly, while the other says the opposite. Wright’s laughable hair-splitting is a prime example of the lengths he will go to get out of a tight spot. Similarly, when he gets to 1 Peter 3:18 (Jesus was “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison, etc.”), Wright rewrites the text to make it say what he wants: “he was put to death by the flesh, and brought to life by the Spirit.” This is just ridiculous. It is the exegesis of that faith that calls things that are not as though they were.

          Wright’s second mortal sin is his desire to have his Eucharistic wafer and eat it too. He takes refuge in either side of an ambiguity when it suits him, hopping back and forth from one foot to the other, and hoping the reader will not notice.

          Can you point to any arguments in the book that are not “old stale fundamentalist apologetics?”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Funny thing is, I vaguely remember reading that review a long time ago and what is interesting is the number of arguments that some here have made to KarlUdy independent of Price without even reading Wrights screed. Even I made the same observation as Price without recollection of Prices article.

          Thanks for reminding ma of this article, it was an even better read second time round under present context.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who does this sound like?

          One could easily go on and on and on, even as Wright does, and because Wright does. What we have in this book is not a contribution to New Testament scholarship, any more than Creationist “Intelligent Design” screeds are contributions to biological science. Both alike are pseudo-scholarly attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of readers, most of whom will be happy enough for the sedation.

        • Greg G.

          I can think of a few who I am reluctant to name for fear of beckoning them but Agabu comes to mind.

        • TheNuszAbides

          You claimed that Ravi Zacharias, Tom Wright, Alistair McGrath, and Tim Keller are masters of the empty one-liner

          many-liner. don’t be detail-oriented only when it suits your derailing tactics. consistency, please.

          like you’re trying to avoid dealing with the evidence I’m providing.

          providing an unwieldy reading list, and only summarizing a yawningly unoriginal conclusion rather than even one particularly compelling piece of ‘the’ argument, is providing evidence? maybe you should take some lessons from Ameribear the metaphysicsmeister.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, it’s a fallacious argument.

        • Pofarmer

          So now it’s argument from Authority? And you’re bitching about something that might be a Tu queque?

          This is rich.

        • KarlUdy

          Thanks for another classic example of tu quoque. Even if I commit a logical fallacy in one place, it does not mean my claim of a fallacy elsewhere can be ignored.

          However you too don’t understand the argument from authority fallacy. It is only a fallacy if the authority cited is irrelevant – an author of a relevant book with appropriate qualifications would not be a case of that fallacy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Except in this case, it is a fallacy.

          A scholar of Jesus legend has no more authority to attest to the veracity of a supernatural claim than a scholar of Arthurian legend is an authority to the veracity of the supernatural claim that the Lady of the Lake is the keeper of Excalibur.

        • Kodie

          I like this guy. He is a writer for Cracked, and I think that’s how I found his tumblr, plus he’s a scientist, so LOST is real: http://lostanswers.tumblr.com/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Never watched “LOST” Kodie, so he could well be a scholar, ergo an authority, ergo “LOST” must be real and not fiction, going by KarlUdy thinking anyway.

        • Kodie

          The creators claimed to have the whole story since the beginning, but along the way, seemed to be sticking it together, and it’s confusing for a lot of people in a similar way that Christianity has incoherent elements that can, in pieces, make sense until you remember this other piece that doesn’t go together. Anyway, that guy answers people’s questions and makes LOST make sense.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah ha…I see. A kind of hermeneutist for “LOST”, gotcha.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’d argue definitively less authority, but only because i’m unaware of any of the latter genuinely believing Arthurian legendry (even myself at the most pansupernaturalist phase of my journey + the fact that Arthuriana was one of my all-time faves).

        • adam

          ” It is only a fallacy if the authority cited is irrelevant ”

          Yet, IF the authority cites MAGIC, then the authority IS irrelevant.

          Well, unless of course the authority is a Magician and can demonstrate their claims.

        • Jim Jones

          > The Journal of Contemporary Religion which is a peer-reviewed academic journal.

          ROFLMAO. Where can I find The Journal of Contemporary Phrenology?

        • Joe

          Where can I find The Journal of Contemporary Phrenology?

          That’s a head-scratcher right there!

        • adam

          see above

        • adam

          ” It has a back cover endorsement from the Journal of Contemporary Religion which is a peer-reviewed academic journal. ”

          So why does it not show up as something they reviewed?
          http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjcr20/current

        • Joe

          It’s an 800 page book.

          Couldn’t you condense it into a slogan for us?

        • KarlUdy

          Nice one, Joe

        • adam

          ” It has a back cover endorsement from the Journal of Contemporary Religion which is a peer-reviewed academic journal. ”

          So why does it not show up as something they reviewed?
          http://www.tandfonline.com/toc

        • Michael Neville

          A Christian apologist wrote a book “proving” the resurrection. This book is endorsed by other Christians. That’s hardly an argument that atheists will moved by. If you give examples of Wright’s “proofs” then we might be able to have a discussion, but the bare mention of a book none of us have read “proving” something we doubt is not a convincing argument.

        • KarlUdy

          I’ve tried that here before with Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

          The problem I run into is that on this blog where there are a number of commenters who are so contentious they will argue until they are blue in the face that a slogan on a bus can’t be an argument, even disagreeing with definitions from university logic courses about the definition of an argument, talking about the contents of a book that they haven’t read, would probably more words than are in said book.

          So excuse me if I say, “Read the book, then let’s talk.”

        • Michael Neville

          Sorry but I’ve got more interesting things to do with my time than reading an 800 page Christian apologetics book. Grooming my nose hair comes to mind. You have to remember that I don’t believe the Biblical Jesus ever existed, let alone was killed and the killing didn’t take.

          I’m willing to accept that an itinerant Jewish preacher named Yesua ben Yosef was wandering around Israel during the first third of the 1st Century. I really do not believe that miracle-doing Jesus was the same as this guy. If you want me to believe different, then waving at a door-stop book on a boring subject is not the way to do it.

        • Susan

          So excuse me if I say, “Read the book, then let’s talk.”

          Forgive me if I say no. I have taken this bait far too many times and wasted far too much of my life reading christian material that doesn’t pan out.

          In SO many cases, I was left with the distinct impression that the christian who insisted I read another tome hadn’t bothered to read it himself.

          The problem you really have is that you don’t seem to be able to make an argument or provide evidence to support your claims.

        • epeeist

          In SO many cases, I was left with the distinct impression that the christian who insisted I read another tome hadn’t bothered to read it himself.

          Besides not being able to produce the arguments that the author makes another good clue that they haven’t read the volume in question is when their only quotations are from the publisher’s blurb.

        • epeeist

          even disagreeing with definitions from university logic courses about the definition of an argument,

          No, what is being argued is that you don’t have a clue what an argument is.

          Let’s take one of the first sentences from your link:

          An argument is a group of statements including one or more premises and one and only one conclusion.

          So, not a one liner and definitely not a one-liner that is not propositional in nature, e.g. “Close the door, please”, an example that is drawn from the link you gave.

          EDIT: Pressed the submit button too early.

        • MNb

          If you think it so important, pay for it and send it to us.

          “even disagreeing with definitions from university logic courses about the definition of an argument,”
          The horror. They should burn at stakes. That would serve them well.
          “talking about the contents of a book that they haven’t read”
          And now you’re lying. Susan ao has specifically asked you to tell something about those contents. I have asked you questions about the method the author uses. Your reaction: evasion or silence.

        • Cluebyfour

          I’ve tried failed that here before with Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

          Fixed that for ya.

          The problem I run into is that on this blog where there are a number of commenters who are so contentious they will argue until they are blue in the face that a slogan on a bus can’t be an argument, even disagreeing with definitions from university logic courses about the definition of an argument, talking about the contents of a book that they haven’t read, would probably more words than are in said book. So excuse me if I say, “Read the book, then let’s talk.”

          As puerile as it is to insist that the bus slogan is not/cannot be an argument, that has absolutely nothing to do with your failure to provide convincing arguments/evidence for the existence of your imaginary friend.

          So excuse me if I say, “Shit or get off the pot, you prat.”

        • adam

          “So excuse me if I say, “Read the book, then let’s talk.””

          But all you make is excuses:

          It THIS what you are claiming as evidence?

          “By Gary M. Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

          This review is from: The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) (Paperback)

          Very well written but Wright’s primary argument for the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is that no first

          century Jew (or pagan) would have believed in the resurrection of one individual without seeing the resurrected body with their own two eyes.
          I see a couple of problems with this argument.

          First, if the Gospels are to be believed, Jesus had been preaching the resurrection of one individual (himself) for at least three years! So the concept of an individual resurrection would therefore not have been
          considered “unheard of” in first century Palestine as Wright would like us to believe. Secondly, if Paul is to be believed, Jews living in Asia Minor were convinced of the resurrection of one individual (Jesus)NOT by seeing a dead body with their own two eyes, but because they believed Paul’s story, and, they “searched the Scriptures”.

          I think that these two facts demonstrate what most people already know:
          Human beings are gullible creatures and can frequently be convinced of the darndest of tall tales.”https://www.amazon.com/gp/cust…

          Then I agree:
          Human beings are gullible creatures and can frequently be convinced of the darndest of tall tales.

          No wonder you didnt want to post his argument.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52cb8e254d7cf6cce5bbf961ce2199f84c5743dab945b122fe4cde0533bcfe0a.jpg

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Again. Change the premise to mohammed being right and islam being the true religion.

          Given that, do you accept the *arguments* used?

        • MNb

          No, because of “Read the book, then let’s talk.”

        • Kodie

          You don’t know what it says, do you? You can’t offer some better reason to read it than it says things you can’t say yourself, and that you were convinced, well that’s not a good reason to read anything. You do that, we see through it, we go ’round and ’round, so excuse me if I say, “Your pants are down.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s an 800 page book. I have given you the major conclusion that the book gives. It has a back cover endorsement from the Journal of Contemporary Religion which is a peer-reviewed academic journal.

          Two can play that game….

          There is the peer reviewed BOOK “On the Historicity of Jesus “Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt” by Richard Carrier

          i>The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus.

          Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm.

          Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century.

          Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time.

          For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.

          http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=264

          Reviews

          [T]his work far outdoes anything the typically amateurish mythicists have produced to date, but is also methodologically superior to the work of more respected and mainstream historicist scholars. … On the Historicity of Jesus is clearly and convincingly argued, extensively researched, solidly referenced, and is essential reading for those open to questioning the historical Jesus, and to those who want to learn how historical theorising ought to be done. Raphael Lataster, Journal of Religious History.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or if you wish, you can choose to admit that what was said was a mischaracterization of Tom Wright et al.

          Miracle claims, i.e. the Resurrection, have no basis in history. There is nothing in an 800 page book that will help that fact.

          You could save yourself 650 pages and read James McGrath’s, “The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?”

          https://www.amazon.com/Burial-Jesus-What-History-Faith-ebook/dp/B0077SP5SU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

        • Kodie

          So your argument is a bumper sticker “read the 800-page book”.

        • adam

          “Tom Wright argues that the New Testament writings and other evidence for
          the early church are best explained by a physical resurrection of of a
          crucified Jesus after he had been dead and buried.”

          Too bad it missed making the news, that really sounds newsworthy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0ded0c20f62b9d1996f93afe9c98e20dc6bf1035eaa16eb5acf23323c3cb09f.jpg

        • Jim Jones

          In the same way that the endless supply of Superman comic books are best explained by an actual alien being that can fly and check out your girl friend’s underwear all at the same time.

        • adam

          It THIS what you are claiming as evidence?

          “By Gary M. Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

          This review is from: The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) (Paperback)

          Very well written but Wright’s primary argument for the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is that no first
          century Jew (or pagan) would have believed in the resurrection of one individual without seeing the resurrected body with their own two eyes.
          I see a couple of problems with this argument.

          First, if the Gospels are to be believed, Jesus had been preaching the resurrection of one individual (himself) for at least three years! So the concept of an individual resurrection would therefore not have been considered
          “unheard of” in first century Palestine as Wright would like us to believe. Secondly, if Paul is to be believed, Jews living in Asia Minor were convinced of the resurrection of one individual (Jesus) NOT by seeing a dead body with their own two eyes, but because they believed Paul’s story, and, they “searched the Scriptures”.

          I think that these two facts demonstrate what most people already know: Human beings are gullible creatures and can frequently be convinced of the darndest of tall tales.”https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2EPH3NB9YAWYU/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_viewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0800626796#R2EPH3NB9YAWYU

          Then I agree:
          Human beings are gullible creatures and can frequently be convinced of the darndest of tall tales.

          No wonder you didnt want to post his argument.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Now….the EVIDENCE!!

        • MNb

          On behalf of KU: waste your money, buy the book and work your way through 800 pages.

        • Susan

          Please give some examples.

          Alistair McGrath

          Listing a bunch of names is not an argument.

          If you want to stick around and defend an argument by one of the names on your list, then do so.

          Until then, it’s reasonable to dismiss your claims the same way you and I would dismiss Gemini claims.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of McGrath…

          “He’s signed up to the Nicene Creed. The universe was created by a very particular supernatural intelligence who is actually three in one. Not four, not two, but three. Christian doctrine is remarkably specific: not only with cut-and-dried answers to the deep problems of the universe and life, but about the divinity of Jesus, about sin and redemption, heaven and hell, prayer and absolute morality. And yet McGrath has the almighty gall to accuse me of a ‘glossy’, ‘quick fix’, naive faith that science has all the answers. […] Other theologies contradict his Christian creed while matching it for brash over-confidence, based on zero evidence. McGrath presumably rejects the polytheism of the Hindus, Olympians and Vikings. He does not subscribe to voodoo, or to any of thousands of mutually contradictory tribal beliefs. Is McGrath an “ideological fanatic” because he doesn’t believe in Thor’s hammer? Of course not. Why, then, does he suggest I am exactly that because I see no reason to believe in the particular God whose existence he, lacking both evidence and humility, positively asserts?” ~ Dawkins

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

          I’ve read The case for the resurrection of Jesus by Habermas and Licona, but I haven’t read this one.

          I encourage you to give us a couple of the compelling arguments.

        • Herald Newman

          > > But if you think one of them makes a good argument,
          > > please provide it.

          > Tom Wright’s arguments for the physical resurrection of
          > Jesus in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God.

          Unless somebody has some new, incredible, evidence, all they have is what everyone else has: The subjective testimonial evidence of people who have been dead for over 19 centuries. Simply put, testimonial evidence alone will never convince me that Jesus rose from the dead. Further, even if Jesus rose from the dead, they assume that God must be the reason, and ignore thousands of other possibilities, all at least as likely as “God did it.”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Change the title and premise of that book to the claim that mohammed was right and islam is true…do you still accept that the arguments are good? Or are the arguments only allowed for xtians?

        • MR

          Not familiar with the others, but Ravi was one of the ones who helped push me out of the Christian nest. I first encountered him at The Truth Project. It was clear that he was selling anything but the truth. What a con man. He still gives me the creeps.

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

          I have no idea where you’re going with this.

          What would be more useful would be for you to explain where the problem lies. Are sound-bite arguments a problem? Tell us why and suggest how one-liners, tweets, or other abbreviated points should properly be used.

        • Susan

          Are sound bite arguments a problem?

          Only for non-christians.

        • KarlUdy

          I think Disqus might be the issue here. My comment was a reply to Susan’s reply to my reply to you. I think it looks confusing the way Disqus has the comments ordered.

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

          I encourage you to follow up on my comment. That would clarify for us what your point is

          I’m assuming that your point is constructive in some way, with the goal of showing us how we can all communicate better.

        • KarlUdy

          Which comment? The link isn’t taking me to a particular comment, and the whole chain is looking a mess.

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

          The link works fine. But no problem, I’ll just repeat it: What would be more useful would be for you to explain where the problem lies. Are sound-bite arguments a problem? Tell us why and suggest how one-liners, tweets, or other abbreviated points should properly be used.

        • KarlUdy

          As I said earlier:

          I think they tend to obscure the truth because people don’t look beyond the sound bite to test the validity or reasonableness of what is being argued for. In some cases, people might not even realize that something is being argued for.

          What do you think about argument by sound bite and its place in atheist arguments?

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

          Let a thousand flowers bloom.

        • MNb

          Since when is a slogan an argument?
          As you seem to think it is: what exactly does this atheist slogan argue for? Be specific: what are the premises and what is the conclusion?

          “I think they tend to obscure the truth”
          Well, yes, assuming that truth is a meaningful concept in arguments (actually it isn’t exactly because you can’t prove premises by definition). But as long as “Make America great again” and “Jesus lives!” are permitted I don’t see why this particular slogan should be a problem.

        • KarlUdy

          Ana rgument is: a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory.

          If a slogan meets that definition it is also an argument.

        • epeeist

          If a slogan meets that definition it is also an argument.

          A slogan is a claim. To turn into into an argument needs reasoning, evidence and warrants.

        • KarlUdy

          A slogan is a claim. To turn into into an argument needs reasoning, evidence and warrants.

          Not necessarily. “Just do it” is a slogan but not a claim.

          “There probably is no God. So stop worrying and enjoy your life.” is a slogan that is also an argument – with a premise (there probably is no God) and a conclusion (stop worrying and enjoy your life).

          Honestly, atheism loses nothing by admitting that a slogan can be an argument.

        • MNb

          An argument contains at least two premises. So you’re wrong.

        • KarlUdy
        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          The very example your very link gives contains two premises.
          Since when are you that dumb?

        • KarlUdy
        • MNb

          Yes, I did. Still they don’t give an example of an argument with one premise and hence don’t show how it’s possible. It’s just a decree.

        • KarlUdy

          Yes, I did. Still they don’t give an example of an argument with one premise and hence don’t show how it’s possible. It’s just a decree.

          How about one of the most famous arguments of all: cogito ergo sum

        • epeeist

          Still they don’t give an example of an argument with one premise

          These are usually enthymemes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But because you are ignorant of the background of the bus campaign, or at least were, then your “argument” assertion is erroneous.

          Honestly, theism loses nothing by admitting that a slogan directed at fellow non-believers is not an argument. The fact that they couldn’t/can’t, says more about your insecure god driven belief system.

        • KarlUdy

          Honestly, theism loses nothing by admitting that a slogan directed at fellow non-believers is not an argument.

          Truth would be the loser in such an admission.

          If you don’t believe me, substitute it with something like “The Cubs are probably going to lose, so don’t bother going to the game” and shop that around philosophy and logic professors, tutors, etc and see if they think it is an argument or not.

          When you’ve done that come back to me. Until then, this discussion can’t progress.

        • epeeist

          substitute it with something like “The Cubs are probably going to lose, so don’t bother going to the game”

          Classic is-ought problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Truth would be the loser in such an admission.

          Truth has already lost through your obstinacy.

          If you don’t believe me, substitute it with something like “The Cubs are probably going to lose, so don’t bother going to the game” and shop that around philosophy and logic professors, tutors, etc and see if they think it is an argument or not.

          Your erroneous shit analogy doesn’t work.

          No, even if you substitute it with something like, “There probably is no Cubs playing. So stop worrying about them losing and enjoy your life.”, given a world where there is no team called the Cubs in evidence.

          But your analogy is even more shit than that.

          Let’s try this fuckwittery in a proper context. Suppose I, as a Cubs fanatic in talking to other Cubs fanatics, said, “The Cubs are probably going to lose, so don’t bother going to the game” . Can you still be so simple as to not understand why it is I am not making an argument?

          When you’ve done that come back to me. Until then, this discussion can’t progress.

          This discussion already can’t progress because even after I’ve explained the reason behind the atheist bus campaign and provided evidence in the form of links to the campaigns originators and organisers along with their purpose, you are still insisting that an argument was being made.

          How can you be so asinine with just the one head?

        • KarlUdy

          you are still insisting that an argument was being made.

          If you’re so sure it is not an argument, go down to your local university, find the philosophy department and ask any of the professors or tutors there if it is an argument. I’m sure you would enjoy proving me wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re a feckin’ mental case.

          In Logic types of fallacy are firmly described thus: First the premises and the conclusion must be statements, capable of being true or false. Secondly it must be asserted that the conclusion follows from the premises. In English the words therefore, so, because and hence typically separate the premises from the conclusion of an argument, but this is not necessarily so. Thus: Socrates is a man, all men are mortal therefore Socrates is mortal is clearly an argument (a valid one at that), because it is clear it is asserted that Socrates is mortal follows from the preceding statements. However I was thirsty and therefore I drank is NOT an argument, despite its appearance. It is not being claimed that I drank is logically entailed by I was thirsty. The therefore in this sentence indicates for that reason not it follows that.

          Let’s apply this to the advertisement.

          “There probably is no God. So stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

          The conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. The conclusion, whether you stop worrying and/or enjoy your life, does not follow from the premise that there is probably no god.

          “I was thirsty and therefore I drank” is NOT an argument, despite its appearance. It is not being claimed that I drank is logically entailed by I was thirsty. The “therefore” in this sentence indicates “for that reason”, not “it follows that”.

          “There probably is no God. So [“for that reason”, not “it follows that”] stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

          Now…onto Logic part 3. Arguments and non-arguments.

          Often what we do is something like telling others what they ought to do (or what they ought not to do!) or how they ought to do it. On the positive side, this would be advice; viewed a little more negatively, you might call it a “warning.”

          What sort of non-argument do ya think the atheist bus campaign is?

          For further assistance…

          Here is a list of the seven kinds of non-arguments we’re identifying for the purposes of this class:

          Advice/ warning,

          Report,

          Opinion/belief,

          Conditional,

          Illustration,

          Explication,

          Explanation.

          http://logic.umwblogs.org/arguments-and-non-arguments/

          I guess it’s all just too hard for you. I will understand if you wish to retreat to Croydon.

        • KarlUdy

          It appears that you quoted from the wikipedia entry on “argument”. If you look at the section two before nonarguments, you will find a section on informal logic. The bus slogan is this type of argument.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope…That doesn’t help you. Read it again and tell me why?

          Here’s one clue…”because”.

          Also, read the Wikipedia article on “informal logic” for even bigger problems.

        • KarlUdy

          So what you’re saying is that (to use their example):
          “You should not smoke, because smoking is harmful” is an argument;
          but “You should not smoke, in light of the fact that smoking is harmful” is not an argument”
          and “Smoking is harmful, therefore you should not smoke” is also not an argument.

          Please explain how this is the case. I don’t understand how one can be an argument but the others not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Use the atheist bus campaign slogan.

          “There probably is no God. So stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

          As it is written it is a non-argument in formal logic, it is a statement of advice to like minded readers.

          To make it an argument in informal logic you need to bastardise it somewhat, otherwise it makes no sense…let’s do that.

          A because B, where A is individual action, individual decision and B is generally accepted wisdom.

          “Stop worrying and enjoy your life (individual action) because there probably is no God (generally accepted wisdom to the target audience)”

          Now let’s say that through your nefarious contrivance we allow what is originally a non-argument in logic, to take the form of an argument in informal logic, and ignore all the other issues and criticisms that come with the baggage of informal logic. You do realise you are promoting a sound argument in informal logic for atheism…don’t ya?

          I think the atheist bus campaign folk would be delighted with that. [Doff’s cap]

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The Cubs exist. I can, with a little effort, meet and talk with them. I can *watch* them whenever a game is on.

          Show me your ‘god’ before continuing to demand I believe in the truth claims you make for it.

          Until then, the athiest slogan is a tautology…which is, I’m pretty sure, what’s bothering you so badly. It’s short, snappy, true, and damaging to your campaign to brainwash the young and emotionally wrought.

        • MNb

          Thanks for not answering the questions. So I repeat: what exactly does this atheist slogan argue for? What are the premises, what is the conclusion?

          If you again don’t answer them I’ll conclude that you make a category error.

        • KarlUdy

          Answered below in reply to epeeist

        • MNb

          ..

        • KarlUdy

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d865e28feaa18a70904170c7bff395e83cc431247688e790df33d7020ecba894.png

          For further clarification in case it is not obvious enough:

          Premise: There probably is no God
          Conclusion: Stop worrying and enjoy your life

        • MNb

          See underneath. Your very own link gives an example of an argument containing two premises. Again – since when are you that dumb?

        • KarlUdy

          Again, read where it says “There can be one or many premises in a single argument.

        • MNb

          Again, without any explanation or example it’s nothing but a decree.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Show me that the probability is that there IS some ‘god’, then. Based on evidence, this is a frikkin’ *tautology*.

        • Kodie

          Why does the slogan bother Christians so much?

        • adam

          DOUBT is actually the worst ‘sin’, and it invokes doubt.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • TheNuszAbides

          well, penultimate really — i mean, hasn’t there got to be a payoff?

        • adam

          “I think they tend to obscure the truth because people don’t look beyond the sound bite to test the validity or reasonableness of what is being argued for. ”

          But this is what christianity DEPENDS on for survival.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/637bfeb32fe76da958e611fbfd841246baeabb7b96c48f9a41144e316ea0e22d.jpg

        • adam

          “I think they tend to obscure the truth because people don’t look beyond
          the sound bite to test the validity or reasonableness of what is being
          argued for.”

          Which is why christianity DEPENDS on sound bites.

          “In some cases, people might not even realize that something is being argued for.”

          Which is why christianity DEPENDS on sound bites.

          “What do you think about argument by sound bite and its place in atheist arguments?”

          When that is pretty much what most of your audience (christian) was raised on and depends on, you need to be able to speak in a way that they can understand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You must realise that what you are describing has been the way Christianity has operated for just about all its history, right?

        • Herald Newman

          > Or are you saying that that they have no substantial intellectual
          > arguments to support their religious claims?

          Having listened to Ravi Zacharias, I’m quite happy to say that he has no intellectual arguments. RZ is a pompous ass who makes big sounding claims with absolutely no substance behind them! I can’t say much for the others since I can’t remember what I’ve heard from them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Alistair McGrath is the same.

        • Cluebyfour

          Or are you saying that that they have no substantial intellectual arguments to support their religious claims?

          No one has “substantial intellectual arguments” to support religious claims, any more than anyone has “substantial intellectual arguments” to support astrology.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yep. They buttress their one-liners with mountains of fatuous drivel, but the ‘hooks’ they use are one-liners.

        • bamboodread

          All of the above. Christian apologists are full of shit

        • Ignorant Amos

          But the bus campaign was a counter argument. Don’t you know this?

          She [Ariane] expressed her frustration that the Christian organisation JesusSaid.org was allowed to use bus advertising to promote the web address of a website that said that all non-Christians would burn in hell for all eternity.

        • KarlUdy

          I was not aware that the bus campaign was in response to Christian bus ads.

          However, that doesn’t change my original question – should people “argue by sound bite”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          However, that doesn’t change my original question – should people “argue by sound bite”?

          Maybe, maybe not…but the bus campaign wasn’t making an argument, but even so, your assertion is moot. The bus campaign was made part of Richard Dawkins “Out” campaign and was a way of showing those that had similar thoughts that they were not alone. It was never intended as an argument to turn a believer. It was to give solace to non-believers as a counter to the insidious message of a certain type of nasty Christian.

          The Christian ads to which the Atheist Bus Campaign was a response linked to a website that promised non-Christians an eternity of torment in a lake of fire. Pretty worrying. The Atheist Bus slogan offer a dissenting view from this and are positive messages, urging that we enjoy our lives.

          https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/successful-campaigns/atheist-bus-campaign/

          Of course then there was the counter-counter campaign by at least 3 Christian groups with assertions without evidence such as…

          “There definitely is a God; so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.”

          “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”, a quote from Psalm 14

          “There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don’t worry and enjoy your life.”

          Sound bites much directed at non-believers?

          Interestingly…

          The Christian Party’s adverts were the most-complained about of 2009, with the ASA receiving 1,204 complaints regarding them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          think seriously about whether any sound bites are short circuiting logical processing.

          just how often does any theist get that advice from you? or is it different because you have other expectations for consistency from theists?

        • bamboodread

          Your point was very clear and I got it immediately

        • Rt1583

          You seem to be doing nothing more than making your argument based on the “not all Christians” format which is simply an extension of the no true Scotsman fallacy.

          Good for you that you don’t affirm Christian sound bites but are you truly representative of Christianity in the United States?

          The only time I hear or see the “not all Christians” argument is against Christian arguments/statements that are, charitably, unpalatable.

          The reason the “not all Christians” argument fails is because those who make it do so quietly. They may make the statement but they don’t do it in a manner which would bring “true” Christianity to the forefront.

          Unfortunately (or unfortunately as it personally applies) the loudest voice of a group (this is applicable to all varieties of groups) becomes the face of that group. Whether you or Mr. Bannister affirms the sound bites is irrelevant as those sound bites are part of the voice and, by extension, the face of the group.

          As it pertains to this post and your argument, whether or not Mr. Bannister affirms the Christian sound bites is also irrelevant simply because he is arguing, specifically, against atheists using them. If he were arguing that sound bites are invalid forms or argument he should do so in a general manner and acknowledge the use of them by Christians.

        • KarlUdy

          are you truly representative of Christianity in the United States?

          As I’m not living in the United States, I make no such assumption.

          As it pertains to this post and your argument whether or not Mr. Bannister affirms the Christian sound bites is also irrelevant simply because he is arguing, specifically, against atheists using them. If he were arguing that sound bites are invalid forms or argument he should do so in a general manner and acknowledge the use of them by Christians.

          As regards a charge of hypocrisy against him, I think it is relevant. He is not being hypocritical if he is not using the tactics that he argues against.

        • Pofarmer
        • adam
        • Jim Jones

          Church Sign Generator?

        • adam
        • KarlUdy

          I am somewhat aware of church signs and billboards in the US. I’m also aware of lawyer signs and billboards in the US. Frankly, my conclusion about the matter wouldn’t be that Christians in particular have a problem with “argument by sound bite” but that America does.

          Now remember where the atheist bus campaign was run.

        • Pofarmer

          Where is the author of the book from?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now remember where the atheist bus campaign was run.

          Yeah…the UK….to begin with…then it went all over the world. In the town where I live there are plenty of hyperbolic religious messages, so what? Those messages are not for me and the bus campaign was not for believers, so pah!

          There was much debate at the time on the wording to be used. I was a member and contributor of RDFRS at the time and also donated to the campaign.

          The wording of the proposed advert caused considerable debate among atheists and Christians alike and Sherine discussed it in a post-launch article, “Probably the best atheist bus campaign ever”, on the Guardian’s “Comment Is Free” section. Dawkins stated that he preferred the wording “There is almost certainly no God”. Ariane Sherine claims it is necessary to be factually accurate, and that as it is impossible to disprove the existence of God it is only possible to say one ‘probably’ does not exist. Critic D. J. Taylor felt that this qualification let the campaign down, but admired it for introducing some tentativeness into an often polarised debate, while atheists including A. C. Grayling think that they can be certain there is no God and therefore the word ‘probably’ should not be used. It was also suggested that inserting the word would avoid a breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s rules.

          More thought than what is imagined went into the decision than might be appreciated. Advertising codes had to be conformed too as well, for starters.

          Ariane goes into some detail in the following article….

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/oct/23/atheist-bus-campaign-ariane-sherine

        • Kodie

          Most people are going to overreact and flip out from it than deconvert.

          That’s the fucking point, Karl. Not that it’s a valid argument, that Bannister made a criticism that sound bytes are off-limits to atheists so we can’t advertise any slogans at all on buses or billboards. To keep Christians from having to be exposed to one tame atheist slogan, while pretending Christians don’t plaster their idiotic messages all over the landscape, while arguing that slogans are not full arguments and shouldn’t even be used at all. His subtle/not subtle defense of the Christian automatic right to reach out to nonbeliever and advertise and sloganize their arguments, it is hypocrisy. It’s not at all that Christian arguments are terrible so atheist arguments are terrible. It’s ONE BUS AD, and Bannister makes a claim that ALL atheist arguments are sound bytes and amount to nothing. You are so thick in the head that this doesn’t register for you. He’s butthurt that atheists have a voice at all, while ignoring all attempts Christians make to get butts in the pews.

          Yes, we’re bombarded from birth with the idea that god exists. Everyone else talks about god like he’s real, you maybe have no idea how much and how often! There’s no questioning voice anywhere. There’s no indication if you do question that anyone else questions, so you feel weird, you’re meant to just go along with everyone else or say out loud that you don’t think there’s really a god and it’s just a story, and have it received POORLY. You may be kicked out of the house, you may get run out of town, you may get exorcized, you are called the devil, you are called a satanist, people might kill you. You have no idea, but you have a pretty good idea how people feel about atheism from SITTING IN CHURCH LISTENING TO EXACTLY HOW NOT BELIEVING IN GOD WILL AFFECT YOU – you’re likely to murder, rape, steal, do drugs, and go to hell. The propaganda against atheism just from going to church is slander. We can’t have one fucking billboard without you crybabies shitting your diaper?

        • bamboodread

          I think folk who are intelligent enough will have a nuanced view of sloganising from any quarter

    • Dys

      It would help if Bannister was capable of distinguishing between an argument and a statement. As it stands, Bannister’s confused the two, and seems to proceed quickly to the stereotypical appeal to consequences.

      It reads more like exasperation that atheists exist and are advertising now rather than any serious critique of a bus ad.

    • Cluebyfour

      Or is atheism somehow exempt from criticism?

      “No evidence, no belief.”

      What about atheism is there to criticize?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      If a sound bite is true, or at least likely, it’s given a lot more latitude.

      Nonsense homilies like “Know christ, know peace/no christ, no peace” are demonstratably false and appeals to emotion as well.

      It’s a question of whether truth is being used to deliver emotional comfort, or lies.

  • Msironen

    “If the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.”

    Argument from consequences is so tired. Not only is it fallacious in the usual sense, but sort of on a deeper level as well.

    Consider quantum mechanics. When QM was discovered in the early 20th century, the world didn’t suddenly turn unimaginably strange. It did not actually change in the SLIGHTEST. The world had ALWAYS been quantum mechanical. Only thing that changed was that our ignorance of it had been lifted or at least lessened.

    Same thing with atheism. If atheism is true, nothing changes. If the universe is atheistic, it has always been so (barring some god that died scenario). The “consequences of atheism” have always been true; there’s no sudden need to start accepting them.

    • Sandrilene

      Good point.
      I was thinking about this when a minister said; “God hasn’t stopped listening to us.”
      I thought surely God either always existed or never existed. Could there really be a Tinker Bell God who stopped existing when people stopped believing in Him?

  • Kuno

    The slogan, despite its friendly pink letters, is a perfect example of a
    really bad argument. An argument so bad, so disastrous, in fact, that
    one has to wonder what its sponsors were thinking. …

    Does he at any time follow this up with why he thinks it is a bad argument? (And I wouldn’t even call it an argument, it just a statement.)

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

      I do my best to give all aspects of his argument. So, no, I don’t think he gives much of an argument.

  • Kuno

    If the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there
    who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a
    universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does
    about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark.

    He does realize that there are something in the area of seven billion other humans on this planet, doesn’t he?

    And why should it matter if “the universe” cares about me (and/or my enjoyment)?

    • epeeist

      He does realize that there are something in the area of seven billion other humans on this planet, doesn’t he?

      Irrelevant, as every fule kno it is only the relationship with god that counts, if you don’t have that then you have nothing. Relationships with friends, relations, appreciation of art and music simply don’t count.

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

      Yes, good point. He would say that there’s no one out there to help us, but who cares? When has anyone out there gotten up off the couch to do anything for us? All the good that happens comes from other humans.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Totalitarian communists like Stalin and Mao viewed religion as not just a source of competition but something which needed to be eliminated for society to advance. However, it is true there is nothing in atheism which dictates this view. It is really to blame on a certain interpretation of Marxism. The same way that theism by itself doesn’t say “kill everyone who disagrees” though particular religions may.

    If the theist (rightly) would object to such a guilty by association argument against theism, which has been advanced, then a similar argument against atheism is also wrong. Regardless both of these are fallacious. Just as the atrocities of the 20th century communist states were more than simply anti-religious (a minority among victims, from what I understand, were targeted on this basis) so too with the Thirty Years War. France, a Catholic country, sided with the Protestants in Germany due to rivalry with the Catholic Habsburg dynasty for instance. While it simply grew out of religious tensions, the war spiraled into non-religious rivalries later.

    I think such arguments in general should be avoided, as they lack nuance, get historical facts wrong overall, and risk falling into association fallacies. As for the rest, I agree they aren’t substantial or in need of addressing further.

    • adam

      ” The same way that theism by itself doesn’t say “kill everyone who disagrees” though particular religions may.”

      But this is true for the majority.
      The majority are Abrahamic, which certainly says to kill its enemies.
      NO SUCH THING exists in NON-BELIEF.

      “If the theist (rightly) would object to such a guilty by association
      argument against theism, which has been advanced, then a similar
      argument against atheism is also wrong”

      ONLY for those who dont say “kill everyone who disagrees’, or kill homosexuals, or kill witches or kill blasphemers.

      ” Regardless both of these are fallacious.”

      Not, when you are talking about ‘jealous’ religions, who command violence and murder.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

      Thankfully, most people are more moral than the god they worship.
      However, it is still in their ‘holy books’ to kill and cause harm.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        By theism, I mean belief in God, period. Obviously individual theists, religions and religious sects are another story.

        In any case a lot of Christians don’t take this to be binding, or even literally true anymore at all. So it won’t apply to them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The difference is though, atheists don’t have a big book of instructions they are need to be ignoring in order to square a morality circle.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          No atheist scriptures exist, it’s true. However if not all of the Bible is considered “instructions” it’s not a problem. There is still the question what part the sections which are not their instructions serve, but no matter.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is also true. But the stuff that was once considered instructions in the past is now getting disregarded and/or cherry picked by both the wishy-washy and right wing religious alike. But like ya say, no matter…we can all see it for what it is, that’s the main thing.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, that’s true, and of course there’s always been serious disagreement about the interpretation, what’s binding on people, etc.

        • Kodie

          Religion is a kind of thought control – if you believe this, then you can also be convinced of that, per se.

        • adam
        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Convinced of what?

        • Kodie

          If you’re at all persuaded that there is a force out there acting in your life specifcally, that there are “reasons” for things that happen, that you are prone to looking for “signs” from god acting in your life and showing you the way to go, you’re already a couple shades off reality, as far as I’m concerned. From there, what could you be persuaded to do? I don’t know specifically, it may depend on where you get your influences or something else. To me, it’s a wrong place to start, a notion that humanity is an epic tale of mysterious meaning and you wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t play an essential role in it, a distorted idea that your mission is ___________. If you can be convinced of this distortion of reality, you may be convinced that morals are absolute, that nonbelievers are hypocrites if they don’t play out the necessary conclusion of their worldview…..

          I mean, if you can believe there’s a god looking over you, what else can you be manipulated to feel or do? Maybe nothing too terrible, maybe something very terrible.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, in some cases that can happen. On the other hand, believing anything devoutly which is unevidenced to that degree has damaging effects. See totalitarian Marxism.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, I think the lines blur over a lot of ideologies. Conspiracy theorism isn’t technically a religion, given that spellchecker doesn’t like the word I apparently invented, “theorism”, but it’s still coming from latching onto a wrongness. Religion is, I guess a specific form, in which the wrong thing involves a deity being, rather than, like, the paranoia that traditional journalism is involved in a massive conspiracy to keep the public from finding out “what really happened” or “who caused it to happen”, or in fact created those stories by hiring actors and filming a movie that looked real. I don’t know why they believe that, but it’s getting harder and harder to navigate the media, clearly.

          To me, the umbrella of wrongness covers categories that aren’t technically religions because they don’t involve a deity, but they usually involve some paranoia, some of which is rooted in a little reality. I mean, new age alternate treatments like herbal remedies, pyramid therapy, chakras aligning, etc. Medicine that comes from science-based research and drug trials and the FDA from a doctor who studied many many years, vs. drug sales reps pushing doctors to prescribe their samples, and drug treatments that cost thousands of dollars, can have a lot of negative side effects, and may never really fix what’s wrong with you. There’s a kind of good reason people say things like “Big Pharma”, but going to extremes, believe things can heal them that aren’t going to heal them, whether that is going to Lourdes or a faith healing, or homeopathy, or cleansing, or cupping. Life expectancy and life quality improvements over the years of medical progress do not offer the confidence it should to some people, so they stick to their ancient crock remedies. I tend not to separate stuff like that from religion, even if adherents don’t necessary believe there is a magical or theistic component to how it works.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, there is a similarity in these things for sure.

          Perhaps conspiracy “theorizing”? I don’t know about the psychology for sure, but there seem to be a couple trends. One, it’s easier to claim that bad there is an evil group or groups responsible for events than that things are far more complicated than that. Alan Moore said the really terrifying idea is that no one controls. Two, the normal explanations don’t make people feel better. If you take JFK for instance, the idea that a loser killed him for no clear reason left people feeling hollow. The idea of it being far more elaborate and meaningful fills that. Probably most importantly, feeling you are “in the know” about these things gives people a sense of great importance and purpose, especially over others who are misled.

          While they aren’t a religion by themselves, it’s true they can be very similar. Some are part of religions as well though, for instance the Lourdes miracles you mentioned.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Conspiracy theorism isn’t technically a religion

          it also technically relies on actual facts, which religion generally never needs to. the common ground is fogging up the gaps with supposedly compelling but invariably unfalsifiable stories (the explanation part rather than the material details part).

    • MNb

      “It is really to blame on a certain interpretation of Marxism.”
      I’m fine with the ‘it’s to blame on a certain interpretation of Christianity” answer as well. It’s when christians claim moral superiority that I get up on my hind legs. I never claimed that atheists are morally superior, because psychological evidence seems to say otherwise. It’s remarkable however that non-believers are underrepresented in prisons.
      Like Adam writes underneath this doesn’t prohibit us from criticizing Biblical morals. I’m also OK with criticizing stalinist morals, especially as they are not mine.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        I’m fine with it too, and of course you’re right as to superiority. What strikes me most is how fallacious the whole matter becomes. Let’s say what they claim of atheism is true. Well, so what? That doesn’t make it false (vice versa for theism, naturally). It works as a way to poison the well, or claim terrible consequences, etc. All just red herrings.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ‘red herring’ is one of the first terms i was introduced to as far as distraction, derailing, rhetoric etc. but only recently (and since reading about, discussing and [thought-]experimenting re: latter-20th-century science of mind/brain/psyche) is it sinking in, how red herrings are actually valuable tools for anyone wanting to tamp down their cognitive dissonance or perpetuate that of others.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          How are valuable for this?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i didn’t just say? not to atheists but to pastors, writers of apologetics and other fog machines.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I see.

        • TheNuszAbides

          thanks, i genuinely appreciate feedback on whether or not i am being [over]clear :)

  • Rick

    Richard Dawkins lampooned this argument with this tweet: “Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein were evil, murdering dictators. All had moustaches. Therefore moustaches are evil.”

    Yes, Stalin and Mao were bad men, but why? Was it the moustaches? Was it their atheism?

    Mao didn’t have a moustache. Sloppy! They were dictators, but they were also atheists with no moral reason to act otherwise. There have been many dictators and monarchs who were not mass murders. The correlation is the common world view of mass murderers. Since these cited examples are in recent, documented history, can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?

    • MarquisDeMoo

      General Franco.

    • Herald Newman

      Charles Taylor is the first one that comes to mind.

      • MarquisDeMoo

        Just wait for the obfuscation.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          Bingo!

        • epeeist

          Just wait for the obfuscation.

          I believe if you go to your local bike shop and tell them you are a Christian then they will automatically fit any bike you buy with a back pedal.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          Only for those who are true Scotsmen…

        • Greg G.

          Also, a goalpost tow hook.

        • epeeist

          Also, a goalpost tow hook

          No, that’s not Christians, that’s badgers.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not honey badgers.

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

      They were dictators, but they were also atheists with no moral reason to act otherwise.

      So true, I mean you can walk out the door without being mugged by an atheist. Gay friends of mine are fed up by the number of atheists who try to convert them to being straight.

      can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?

      How about Hitler, Pinochet, Franco for starters.

      Of course if one were to remove your restriction to the 20th century there might be one or two more.

      • MarquisDeMoo

        Curiously atheists are underrepresented in the prison population too.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i get the significant precedent of this at least being statistically studied, but as far as i’ve read it’s still necessarily based on self-reportage and can’t fully account for conflict of interest, so it feels more like a “but they do it too” point rather than especially revealing data.

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

        How about Hitler, Pinochet, Franco for starters.

        Good list. I’d forgotten Pinochet and Franco. I wonder if Robert Mugabe would count. I believe he was a Christian.

        • epeeist

          I believe he was a Christian

          Catholic

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          that’s one flavor, for sure.

      • Max Doubt

        “Of course if one were to remove your restriction to the 20th century there might be one or two more.”

        It would also require removing Rick’s most flexible restriction, the one that goes like this: “There are reasons why anyone you can mention doesn’t count”.

    • Jim Jones

      > Mao didn’t have a moustache.

      But he ate rice and so did Pol Pot.

      > There have been many dictators and monarchs who were not mass murders.

      Only because they lacked the opportunity or the perceived need.

      Kill them all. God will know his own.

      • Argus
        • TheNuszAbides

          trivial, but he was quoting the article, which has since been edited to make sense. the only slip was responding to the moustache thing and “Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million people, while the death toll for Mao’s regime…” simultaneously.
          Rick’s comment has problems enough–that just wasn’t one of them.

    • Cluebyfour

      They were dictators, but they were also atheists with no moral reason to act otherwise.

      That’s like saying, “They were dictators, but they were also aLochNessMonsterists with no moral reason to act otherwise”, as if their lack of belief in the actual existence of fictional characters has anything to with their actions.

      • Rick

        It would be like saying that if that is what I said, but it isn’t the claim I made and your analogy fails on that point. You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          “You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people” at one time almost everybody believed the world was flat too.

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

          Fiction? Which of {Nessie, Yahweh, unicorns} are fiction?

          “Loads of people believe,” if reasonable grounds for existence, would bring in lots of other gods besides just Christianity’s.

        • Rick

          This is the argument I have made against your “scientific consensus” position. Of course, science never changes positions on anything.

        • epeeist

          Of course, science never changes positions on anything.

          Of course it does, as more information becomes available and our capabilities improve then science changes to improve its explanations.

          Science makes no claims to absolute truth, only religions do that.

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

          You’re drawing a parallel, but I’m missing it. Yes, I remember your disagreeing on my position on the scientific consensus.

        • MNb

          Science does and that’s a positive thing. Christians claim to be modest and humble but are arrogant enough to think they hold the truth.
          I don’t.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “The Relativity of Wrong” by Isaac Asimov. Read it.

          http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

        • Pofarmer

          Religion tries to redefine reality as what empowers religion.

          This is something I’ve been actively fighting in the “Pro life” argument. Defining fertilized gametes, and embryo’s and fetus’s as “Children” when they are no such thing. Words mean things. You can’t have a genocide of people that never were, fer fucks sake.

        • adam

          In the beginning was the WORD.

          And words are all they have ever had.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, they haz feels too!

        • Ignorant Amos

          That essay is in my favourites folder…Rick won’t read it though.

        • Rudy R

          So it’s a virtue not to change positions if you’re wrong? Would it be virtuous to still believe the god-inspired notion that the Sun rotates around the Earth, contrary to scientific evidence? Or am I to assume you agree with the geocentric model and your virtue maintained?

        • Argus

          and the goal posts just keep moving…cue false equivocation about evolution in 3 2 1

        • Cluebyfour

          It would be like saying that if that is what I said, but it isn’t the claim I made and your analogy fails on that point.

          Do you know what the word “analogy” means?

          You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.

          There are no “reasonable grounds for belief” in deities, any more than there are reasonable grounds for belief in Santa Claus.

        • adam
        • adam

          ” You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.”

          Of course, when that belief is a belief in MAGIC

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3cea7d4fdc384f592beeb53fb1583a03a02faf09f6cbfdd8595339ebdd3d4a5d.jpg

        • Cluebyfour

          ‘Stand on a street corner talking to Elvis and they’ll call you crazy. Stand on a street corner talking to Jesus and they’ll call you holy.’

        • Michael Neville

          You forget you’re talking to a bunch of atheists. Your god is fictional and, if you want us to believe otherwise, then it’s up to you to show evidence that your god (or any other gods) aren’t imaginary.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          What you are confirming is that “reasonable grounds” vary from people to people and that “reasonable grounds” is often selectively applied.

        • Greg G.

          You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.

          But they are willing to accept a warm, fuzzy feeling as reasonable grounds for belief. John Calvin came up with “sensus divinitatis” for that type of feeling. Alvin Plantinga and W. L. Craig have embraced it because they couldn’t come up with anything more reasonable. They refuse to conceive that they could be wrong. The more desperate one is to believe, the lower the standards for reasonability.

        • Max Doubt

          “You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.”

          No, there is not. There is no quantity of unevidenced that somehow becomes evidence. There is no number of people who hold the opinion “it sure seems like it to me” that makes it reasonable to assume something is true.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Yes we’ll lose money on each unit, but we’ll make it up on *volume*!!!” seems to be the thought process here.

        • MNb

          You presume reasonable grounds where there is only fiction that grounds the belief of those billions of people.

        • Pofarmer

          You presume fiction where there is reasonable grounds for belief in the estimation of billions of people.

          That leaves the door, wide, wide open.

        • Rudy R

          And are you also claiming to know how these billions of people came to know that a god exists?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “If a billion people believe a foolish thought, it is still a foolish thought”

          Reality doesn’t care about majority opinion or desire.

        • Argus

          SO by that logic, it is reasonable to accept Islam and Hinduism as well.

      • Argus

        To be honest, I do not care WHY the dictator commits atrocities, I only care HOW to stop him/her.

    • MNb

      “can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?”

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

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miroslav_Filipovi%C4%87

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Resistance_Army

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship_of_Chile_(1973%E2%80%9390)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco
      https://www.britannica.com/biography/Francisco-Franco

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

      I am not entirely sure if Lothar von Trotha and Ion Antonescu claimed to be christians; probably they did.

      There are at least two christian terrorist groups in India. I’m not sure if they have made enough victims to qualify for mass murder.

      Anders Breivik calls himself a cultural christian.

      • Rick

        MNb, Good citations. I agree the Nazi’s attempted to coopt religion. Real followers of Jesus such as Bonhoeffer saw through the ruse and refused to play along. Sad that so many establishment leaders lacked the same backbone.

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

          You can’t really adjudicate an argument like this by declaring the one you agree with the winner. “Because Rick said so,” while important for you, of course, won’t carry the day for the rest of us.

          As an outsider, I see Christianity used for good things here and bad things there. It’s so broad and contradictory that the Bible can be made into a sock puppet to support lots of positions, good and bad.

        • Joe

          “Because Rick said so,” while important for you, of course, won’t carry the day for the rest of us.

          I believe this is called the “Stone Cold Steve Austin” defense.

        • Cluebyfour

          I agree the Nazi’s attempted to coopt religion.

          That’s like saying, “I agree the KKK attempted to coopt white supremacy.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          zing!

        • adam
        • MNb

          And no-real followers of Jesus of course totally coincidentally happen to be the ones that give your favourite religion a bad name. What I’d like to know – why ask the question then? This one I mean:

          “can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?”
          It’s like you naming a few atheist mass murderers and me saying – ah no, they claim to be atheists, but are no real atheists, because they don’t follow the teachings of PZ Myers and specifically atheism+.
          So you’re guilty of a double standard as well.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          quit with the No True Scotsman.

          Your religion also produced pogroms, the Crusades & the Inquisition, not to mention purges of heretics.

          They’re bad people, they’re yours, and you can’t just hand-wave them away.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Also, it just struck me: The Oklahoma City bomber was an xtofascistfundy, too.

        • Pofarmer

          The Nazi’s didn’t have to coopt anything, ya moron. They had the writings of Martin Luther to go on. The Catholic bloc vote gave Hitler power.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip…the German Catholic Center Party were instrumental in Hitler achieving complete power and the parties stand-down was orchestrated from the Holy See.

          Msgr. Ludwig Kaas, leader of the Catholic Centre Party in the Reichstag. “Clinging to a belief in Hitler’s promises”, on 23 March 1933, Kaas announced the Centre Party would vote for Hitler’s Enabling Law.

          A good read on this is found in John Cornwell’s, “Hitler’s Pope”. Beware, it has received both praise and criticism.

          Cornwell researched the conduct of Pacelli, both while he served as nuncio to Germany and after he was made Pope; some of Cornwell’s principal resources were the Vatican archives. Cornwell stated that he intended his book as a defense of Pius XII but that “nearing the end of my research … [t]he material I had gathered, taking the more extensive view of Pacelli’s life, amounted not to an exoneration but to a wider indictment”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%27s_Pope

          Hitler oppressed and persecuted the outspoken aspects of the Catholic Church in Germany once he got autonomy with the help of the Reichskonkordat.

          Between 1930-33, the church initiated negotiations with successive German governments with limited success while a federal treaty proved elusive. Catholic politicians of the Centre Party repeatedly pushed for a concordat with the German Republic. In February 1930, Pacelli became the Vatican’s Secretary of State responsible for the Church’s global foreign policy. In this position, he continued to work towards the ‘great goal’ of securing a treaty with Germany.

          Eugenio Pacelli would become Pope Pius XII in March 1939.

          Hitler also manipulated the powers that be in the Vatican by making promises he had no intentions of keeping. All the Holy See were interested in was maintaining a hold of the education of children in the Third Reich at all costs.

        • Kodie

          Hitler appealed to the religious, so scratch those “non-true Christians” who feel the holy spirit as well as you do off the list of billions of people. Who’s next?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…he even had a name for it…Positive Christianity…

          Positive Christianity is a religious movement that aimed to combine Christianity with Nazi ideology. Although Nazi Germany was politically secular, the Nazis sought to appeal to the largely religious populace by means of constructing churches, establishing concordats, and having Hitler’s birthday celebrated in every church. Steigmann-Gall argues that Hitler and many leading Nazis embraced Positive Christianity as a way to bridge the confessional divide in Germany (Germany was religiously divided between Catholics and Protestants).

          As early as 1934…Positive Christianity was primarily the brainchild of Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.

      • TheMarsCydonia

        You forgot Ivan IV Vasilyevich, also known as Ivan the Terrible.

    • adam

      ” Since these cited examples are in recent, documented history, can you
      name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been
      Christians?”

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/73fbc1fe260fa3e118f8177c6d69dcf83a185eb2cb03c5a45681e35bf180f168.jpg

    • Rick

      I don’t think any of the examples cited below would be considered to have been following the teachings of Jesus. Loose affiliation with a cult that calls itself Christian is not the same as being a follower of Jesus. Just sayin’…

      • epeeist

        I don’t think any of the examples cited below would be considered to have been following the teachings of Jesus.

        I don’t think that any of the people mentioned would have put salt on their porridge either. Just sayin’…

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

        Some Christians shake their head at the shenanigans at Westboro Baptist Church, while others use the same Bible verses to reach the same conclusion.

        Christianity is a big tent.

        • Kodie

          Rick likes the billions and billions of Christians so nominally, but most of them don’t actually count as “followers of Christ” in the narrow definition in Rick’s opinion, for Rick’s reasons. Never mind that every single person who believes in any god, not just a Christian god or Jesus, came to belief through emotional persuasion and almost always some group identity. That means Rick thinks his feelings are more correct than another interpretation of another Christian who is just doing what he does, thinking Rick isn’t a real follower of Christ for their reasons and opinions.

          Hey Rick, tell us why we ought to give any fucks what you say?

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

          I suspect Rick might say that he has already changed his mind on, say, evolution (thought it made sense and now sees that it’s crap), so he’s proven that he’s open minded.

          That’s a good point about Christianity. It’s ginormous when talking to outsiders, but when talking with insiders, the focus is on the nuance that means that this denomination is doing it wrong compared to that one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s ginormous when talking to outsiders, but when talking with insiders, the focus is on the nuance that means that this denomination is doing it wrong compared to that one.

          Is that still the case when talking about extremes such as the likes of Hitlers Christianity, the KKK’s Christianity, those Baptist Fuckwit Christians, or even those Christian Atheist Christians?

        • TheNuszAbides

          now that i know how politically kooky RMPrice is, i almost want time to be wasted by him debating a more liberal CAC. … i just can’t think of any off the top of me head. maybe someone who’s stopped by NCG’s The Place?

        • MNb

          Don’t you get it? Billions and billions of believers prove that there is a god and billions of billions of christians prove that it’s the christian one. However the nasty ones (ie every single one of them, because every single christian is supposed to be full of sin) don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, so don’t count as christians.

      • adam

        “I don’t think any of the examples cited below would be considered to have been following the teachings of Jesus.”

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78d2605305eadcda78155977377e79721c970efc02c864dedd893cd1d7e34a5d.jpg

        And of course Kristallnaucht was held on Martin Luther’s birthday.

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

          Martin Luther was a “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” kind of guy.

        • epeeist

          Indeed:

          Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.

          The fact that he despises reason might just be one of things that he doesn’t think much of Copernicus:

          People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
          Martin Luther

      • Cluebyfour

        Loose affiliation with a cult that calls itself Christian is not the same as being a follower of Jesus.

        cult: A system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object:

        Why do you hate dictionaries so?

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          There it is. That is the quote I was trying to recall.

          Another is something like, “Believing your own delusions is delusion, believing someone else’s delusions is religion.”

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          Uh-huh, that’s it.

        • Rick

          cult: a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

          “the cult of St. Olaf”a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

          “a network of Satan-worshiping cults”

          synonyms: sect, denomination, group, movement, church, persuasion, body, faction

          “a religious cult”

          a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

          “a cult of personality surrounding the leaders”

          synonyms: obsession with, fixation on, mania for, passion for, idolization of, devotion to, worship of, veneration of

          “the cult of eternal youth in Hollywood”

          Why do you hate full definitions so?

        • Cluebyfour

          Why do you hate full definitions so?

          I don’t.

          Ironically, christianity falls under each of the definitions you cited.

          Why do you hate full definitions so?

      • Herald Newman

        Isn’t this just an invocation of the no true Scotsman?

        • Max Doubt

          “Isn’t this just an invocation of the no true Scotsman?”

          Yes, and moving the goalposts.

        • Pofarmer

          And being generally an ignoramous?

      • MNb

        “I don’t think any of the examples cited below would be considered to have been following the teachings of Jesus.”
        Lovely apologist dishonesty. What was your question again? Ah yes,

        “can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?”
        Instead of admitting that this was just scoring for open goal you raise the bar – and make your own question meaningless, but of course you hope that that escapes us.
        Sorry for you, it doesn’t escape me.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        ^^^Rick’s playing “No True Scotsman” here on ill-tuned bagpipes.

        It’s ugly and it rankles.

      • Kodie

        Why don’t you just say “Atheist dictators represent atheism but Christian mass-murderers sure don’t count at all, no sir.”

        You are a wad.

      • Argus

        Who asked what you thought? They all claimed Christianity as their religion.

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

          Right. There is no Objective Test of Christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder, when the Catholic Church was torturing and killing heretics were they following Jesus? They certainly thought they were.

        • Argus

          hence 30,000 sects….(admittedly many have almost the same doctrine)

          Where I grew up, we had the Campbellite Church of Christ…they believed their church would be the only one saved and no instrumental music was allowed because….reasons.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or 45,000+ if you believe one particular Christian source. Growing at a rate of 2.6 flavours every 24 hours..apparently.

        • adam

          Christians STILL making up shit…

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, ~not of this Earth~ there ain’t! *ominous music swells*

    • Kevin K

      That guy Adolph something-or-other…Kitler, Mitler…it’ll come to me.

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

      Thanks for the tip. I’ve fixed that.

      They were dictators, but they were also atheists with no moral reason to act otherwise.

      Because atheists have no moral reason to act otherwise? You’ll have to expand on that to explain why the fraction of atheists in prison is no higher than in society in general.

      I’m guessing you mean that atheists don’t have the fear retribution in the afterlife? That’s true, but it’s not like that prevents evildoing in believers. Atheists can find morality without Christianity’s help (just like people in non-Christian societies can).

      The correlation is the common world view of mass murderers.

      And what common worldview is that?

      can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?

      Besides Hitler? Stalin was trained as a Catholic, so Christianity played a role in his life. Saddam Hussein was a practicing Muslim.

      How big is this sample? Broaden it so we can find something statistically meaningful.

      • Rick

        Thanks for the tip. I’ve fixed that.

        Glad to be of service.

      • Michael Neville

        Stalin was trained as a Catholic

        Actually Greek Orthodox.

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

          Ah, of course. He was from Georgia.

    • Michael Neville

      Robert Mugabe, Augusto Pinochet and Adolph Hitler.

      • Kevin K

        Papa Doc Duvalier.

    • MarquisDeMoo

      The problem is you are suggesting that it is not because of their atheism that these men were prompted to do evil things but rather it was the lack of a good moral philosophy to hold them in check. To some extent I might agree, albeit most of us know by instinct how to behave to our fellow men, as do Chimpanzees in a group. So if you are not Christian then you might choose another philosophy, which can be as simple as the golden rule or as defined by Humanism or Buddhism even. The problem with Stalin is that he followed Communism. However on the basis of your argument, you now open the door to explaining why so many who are supposedly equipped with a Christian moral compass do evil things. Curiously for instance it would seem there are representationally more Christians than atheists in the prison population and why did their Christian faith not stop all the paedophile priests or nuns abusing children in orphanages etc? Bad people do bad things, it takes a philosophy like Communism or Christianity to make good people do bad things.

    • Laniakea

      “They were dictators, but they were also atheists with no moral reason to act otherwise.”

      1. Some dictators may have happened to be atheists, so what?
      By the way, this is exactly what the mustache-analogy is referring to: some dictators also happened to wear mustaches – does that automatically and inevitably make wearing a mustache a bad thing? Certainly not.

      2. As far as I know there is no proven correlation between atheism and dictatorship and/or atheism and violence whatsoever (and even if: remember that correlation does not equal causation). So if you can cite a reputable source to prove otherwise, please link this source.

      3. Has it ever appeared to you that there might rather be a correlation between the followers of IDEOLOGIES like Communism (Stalin, Pol Pot) or National Socialism (Hitler) which appear to be a lot like religions and not Atheism per se?
      And if so, may it not be, that these dictators did in fact have their “moral reasons” from this very ideology?

      And no, Atheism is NO Ideology and NO religion, it’s the mere lack of belief in a god or gods and usually acompanied by a general rejection of any claims of the supernatural due to a lack of evidence.

      “can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?”

      Aside from what other commenters have already provided, here’s another but not exhaustive list: http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html#modern

    • Joe

      can you name any 20th century mass murderers who claimed to have been Christians?

      Is mass murder somehow less important if it happened before then?

      #historicalmurdersmatter

      • Rick

        Better documentation. All the examples Bob gave were 20th century. You can provide whatever you like. It just may not be as helpful.

        • adam
        • Max Doubt

          “So do the Crusades, Inquisitions and Witch Burnings count?”

          There’s probably a statute of limitations on crusadin’ and inquisiting.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, they’re back to burning witches in Africa, thanks to the Evangelical nit wits.

        • Joe

          Well, people have provided multiple examples. You’re welcome.

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

          Just to be precise, Bannister, the author of the book, brought up Stalin and Mao. But the other commenters’ point is valid: why limit mass murderers to the 20th century except to minimize the number of Christian mass murders or to highlight the atheists? Going back in time, I can’t think of any atheist mass murderers before the 20th century. Without Communism (Stalin, Mao), where are we going to find them?

        • Kevin K

          Attila the Hun? I’m not sure what religion the Huns had, but it wasn’t Christianity. Maybe animism, though? Genghis Khan? Though I’m sure they probably honored spirits and such.

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

          Right–I’m guessing they weren’t atheists. But European history has lots Christian generals or kings responsible for great killing. Napoleon comes to mind.

        • MNb

          I don’t think we could call Attila an non-believer.

          http://ancienthunscivilization.weebly.com/religion.html

          xhttp://www.livescience.com/44417-attila-the-hun.html

          Dzjenghis Khan is said to have been a tengrist.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengrism

    • TGHays

      King Leopold II of Belgium

    • Pofarmer

      Hitler?

    • Pofarmer

      How about the Genocides in Darfur? There was, after all, a Catholic Bishop tried of war crimes.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Rawanda?

        • Pofarmer

          Yes.

    • Pofarmer

      Bosnian Serbs?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Atheism is a position on a single topic: the lack of evidence for the existence of any deities. I personally extend it to lack of belief in anything ‘supernatural’.

      There can be terrible people who are atheists, but it’s not their atheism that made them terrible, it’s the rest of their worldview.

      Many, if not most, of the atheists I know are secular humanists as well, which DOES provide a non-religious framework for morality, based on *harm* and avoiding harm whenever possible and *intentional* harm almost always.

      No fucked up, impotent so-called ‘god’ necessary, and demonstratable.

      Your turn.

    • Michael Ross

      Adolph Hitler.

      • Michael Ross

        And the overwhelmingly Lutheran population of Germany during the Second World War.

    • Argus
      • Ignorant Amos

        Hitler was a vegetarian too….never trust a fecker that don’t eat meat…or doesn’t drink alcohol….or doesn’t swear…or doesn’t fornicate…or…or…or…did I tell ya I sport a moustache?

        • Greg G.

          Hitler liked dogs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wagner too by all accounts.

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

          I remember seeing a list of the peccadilloes of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin compared to Hitler, a decorated Army veteran. On the tally sheet of personal morality, Hitler came out on top.

          Admittedly, I’m ignoring that whole taking-over-the-world thing, but personal morality is what many fundamentalists stop with in comparing people.

    • Argus

      Timothy McVeigh (Not sure what your standard is for mass murder)
      Marcos? Noriega?

      • Ignorant Amos

        Rick is a prick…the list of 20th century murdering Christian bastards is a lot longer than his ignorance allows for…he is a simple knuckle dragging soul after all.

        Here’s a few of his fellow 20th century murdering Christian fuckers just off the top of ma head…

        Augusto Pinochet, Francisco Franco, Robert Mugabe, Kaiser Wilhelm II, General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon, Tsar Nicholas II and Leopold II of Belgium, to name but a few….a lesser wanker I include for personal reasons, Leopolda Galtieri, who was responsible for the deaths of a number of my comrades.

        The whinging Christian apologist fuckers tend to forget boat loads of religious tyrants very conveniently.

        • Argus

          The thing people like Rick do not realize is that — most likely – most mass murderers do not truly kill in the name or for the sake of an idea – be it Islam, Christianity or Marxism et. al. Usually, the motive is quite base — money, power or on the other end..mental illness.

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

          I don’t think Rick was eager to turn our minds to thinking of Christian murderers (and succeeding in coming up with many).

          Can I ask you to reconsider?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can only think of one example of an atheist who murdered specifically because of his atheism, but that was way before the 20th century.

          Most of the worlds nasty pieces of work were religious of some stripe…those that were not, did their dirty work for some other twisted ideology…not for the “no belief in god” reason. Unlike many in history who were a shitebag because of their religion.

          Rick is just a silly pants.

        • TheNuszAbides

          General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon

          whoa … been a while since i’ve seen one i’d never heard of. (Chuck Taylor before that, which tale i stumbled into about 8 yrs ago, because where do schools teach anything historical about Africa outside of Egypt?)

          Leopolda Galtieri

          well at least you admit that one’s ‘lesser’. 😉

    • TheNuszAbides

      you really might want to take an indefinite fuck-off before yet another of your all-noise-no-signal comments (that you don’t follow up with any even vaguely useful rebuttals after it’s picked apart by people who are actually paying attention). sooner or later a Christian Keyboard Warrior is likely to notice one of your turds and the cloud of debunking that surrounds it, and accuse us of fabricating you for kicks.

      but maybe come back some day, if your ability to communicate coherently and honestly [with/about atheists] improves.

      • Kodie

        See that’s the problem with your perspective. Telling someone to take an indefinite fuck-off so long after they actually have is doomed to bring them back, and then you’ll scurry away for a few weeks or months and not have to deal with them. I still haven’t forgiven you for summoning Greg the asshole (not Greg G.), so you can stop upvoting my posts from months and months ago. I don’t need your validation for anything.

        • TheNuszAbides

          okay, so like Luke (though in a different way) you’re mistaken about why i upvote. when the comment is made is entirely irrelevant. and it’s nothing like atonement regardless of who it’s for, but thanks for the feedback, i guess.

          doomed to bring them back

          sure, the one time that happened it was regrettable.

          you’ll scurry away

          fuck your ‘scurry’. the extent of my apologizing for not having time to be here frequently/regularly consists of me not responding to absolutely everything i have a response to. not coincidentally, it also increases the odds of me catching up more often. also, there are still threads years old that i haven’t read and expect i will appreciate when i finally get to them. if this is such a hardship for you, have you requested that Bob close comments after a thread loses its freshness?

          and not have to deal with them.

          and who exactly has to deal with them? oh wait, i’m supposed to refrain from validating you or something.
          if any moderator wants to take issue with trouble i supposedly force others to endure, i’ll definitely take such concerns seriously. and i won’t imagine for a minute that i contribute as much to the conversations as you usually do. (and if i did i’d be even farther behind.) i get that i don’t hold my tongue enough for your comfort, but i do hold it more often than not. so as you once said to me regarding your perspective: “deal with it?”

        • Kodie

          Sometimes, I go away for a while, and I skip trying to catch up on every comment in every thread except the most recent 3 or so. If the least recent of the 3 is in a series, I try to get to the beginning of the series, but I don’t think it matters that much, and I probably won’t go back even 2 weeks regardless. What triggered me is you responding to someone to fuck off who is already long gone. I don’t know if he was banned, but landing a new notice in his email might bring him back, which was the opposite of what you want. I am so sorry I don’t appreciate your occasional contributions as much as others do. They pile up my email and make it impossible for me to catch up. I don’t understand half of what you say, and I don’t understand your compulsion to go back months to make sure you haven’t missed anything and answer prolifically, when most of those will actually go unanswered, or upvote 90% of my posts from so long ago that litters up my notifications of relevant current responses. Then I really don’t know why you’re gone for months at a time, but if you happen to bump a thread that brings back some idiot that we’ve already been worn out from, and then you’re not here to keep up with the splashback, I don’t think that’s a habit of kindness toward us. Maybe just me, but then I am speaking only for myself to you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i will make sure to not reply to any of your comments if they are 2-weeks-plus old, but i’m still going to upvote anything and everything i have a reason to upvote — though i’ll make an exception if you can provide specifics as to your ‘notification litter’ being anything more than a First World Problem. i’ll also [in general] take notes on notepad or whatever if i still have the urge to respond, and save them for when they can be appropriately smuggled into a more current thread. i wish you, or anyone ever, would ask for clarification whenever you don’t understand what i’m saying, but if you already don’t expect it to be worth understanding (whether because of how tardy it is or otherwise), then, *shrug*.

          when most of those will actually go unanswered

          yeah, this is how a lot of my casual speech is as well — i’m not necessarily concerned with being answered. my activity here isn’t all about me, and my direct responses to you aren’t all about you and/or me either. i’ve been commenting online since years before the Web, and i’ve been a lurker and discussed and contemplated lurkers for long enough that i’m used to posting with the idea that ‘anyone could be reading this’. i choose most of my words very carefully but i don’t expect any particular segment of the population to understand me immediately. i’m just one of millions and millions who aren’t normal, who don’t seem to _____ the way most people seem to.

          compulsion to go back months

          it’s not going back, it’s picking up at the same post that was open the last time i ‘left’ (i.e. went to do other things). i have dozens of other tabs going to other blogs and older unread posts. (though for example, i’ve entirely given up on The Friendly Atheist because keeping up [to my standards] with that alone would be a full-time job). i’m almost annoyed that Bob stepped up his frequency!

          really don’t know why you’re gone for months at a time

          neither do most of the other people i’ve interacted with over the last two or three decades. and i seriously doubt any attempt i make to explain will be helpful (especially if i already don’t communicate clearly enough for you). more appropriate for a therapist, if i ever find another one.

          and then you’re not here to keep up with the splashback

          since ceasing to have my profile blocked months ago, i’m pretty sure any actual responses to my thread-necro don’t slip by me anymore.

  • Kevin K

    Who is the target for such a book? Gotta be the creationists. Well, it’s good to see that the UK has its low-information, non-critical-thinking populace as well as the US.

  • Sophia Sadek

    I find it amusing when right-to-lifers are confronted with the information that the German National Socialists shut down family planning clinics in Germany soon after assuming power. It is the kind of thing that gets them hot under the collar. If Hitler was such a Pagan or an atheist, why did he consider the Jews to be an embarrassment to his “Lord?”

    • adam

      Protestantism.

      And not really such an embarrassment as Christ killers, as if humans could really kill a REAL God.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78d2605305eadcda78155977377e79721c970efc02c864dedd893cd1d7e34a5d.jpg

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

      Perhaps worse, why is it that Martin Luther preceded Hitler and sounds just as bad?

      • MNb

        That’s the correct to formulate it. And because we don’t want to pass over our catholic friends please add Pope Innocent III.

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/vat_hol11.htm

        “1205: Pope Innocent III wrote to the archbishops of Sens and Paris that “the Jews, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord…As slaves rejected by God, in whose death they wickedly conspire, they shall by the effect of this very action, recognize themselves as the slaves of those whom Christ’s death set free…” i.e. they would be slaves of Christians.”

        Unfortunately I couldn’t find an Eastern Orthodox counterpart, though there undoubtedly must have been a few:

        https://www.algemeiner.com/2013/09/23/russian-orthodox-church-still-thinks-there-is-a-jewish-question/

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

          Christianity: bringing people together for 2000 years.

        • Argus

          Isn’t there some kind of engraving on one of Luther’s anti-jew books that shows a goat pooping on a smiling jew? Did I dream that and if so…WHY?

        • Argus
        • TheNuszAbides

          Did I dream that and if so…WHY?

          it’s not hard to imagine the worst of our enemies. especially Shit-Eating Marty.

      • Sophia Sadek

        Let us not forget how Jews were horrifically persecuted at the time of the Crusades centuries before Martin Luther.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and more or less kept as pets of monarchy punctuated by purges in the intervening years. (don’t know whether dhimmi tax bought them better treatment in the South …)

  • Ignorant Amos

    This thread has reminded me of just how much of a straw man Kir has created on the other thread with what he insists we all believe…

    Ariane Sherine [of the atheist bus campaign] said:

    There’s another reason I’m keen on the ‘probably’: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t). As Richard Dawkins states in The God Delusion, saying ‘there’s no God’ is taking a ‘faith’ position. He writes: ‘Atheists do not have faith; and reason alone could not propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does not exist’. His choice of words in the book is ‘almost certainly’; but while this is closer to what most atheists believe, ‘probably’ is shorter and catchier, which is helpful for advertising. I also think the word is more lighthearted, and somehow makes the message more positive.

    Though some might say, including Kir, that certain conceptions of the big “G” god of the Abrahamic faiths doesn’t exist due to reason, logic, and evidence.

    • MarquisDeMoo

      That is why I have no argument with deists, a non-interventionist god is moot. It is the theists that claim to know the mind of an extremely improbable god and have the arrogance to speak and act for this god that draw my ire. This not only for their own actions, which may be relatively tempered, but also for giving acceptance to the vile idea that there is something good in faith, which others then use to justify their less temperate interpretations of god’s will.

      • TheNuszAbides

        I have no argument with deists, a non-interventionist god is moot.

        indeed, i’ve loitered at The Friendly Atheist long enough to run into several of these, and even with the brusqueness/cantankerousness of various ‘strong’ atheists there they aren’t provoked to ‘defend’ their concept of deity anywhere near as much as the Xians are.

  • Herald Newman

    > Lack of a god belief is no reason to order that people be killed.

    This only addresses atheism in the most general form. I would go further and say that even a strong atheist, one who believes that there are no deities, does not have a sound logical pathway to get to “therefore I can act however I want to.”

    Atheism itself only addresses a single topic, and without other beliefs you cannot make any other conclusions. The premise “Jane is a strong atheist” only has one logical conclusion that follows, and everything else is a non sequitur.

    • Kevin K

      Well, that kind of “dictionary atheism” is fine in the abstract, but in practice you’ll find very few atheists who are able to cordon off their feelings about deities from things like ethics.

      The argument of “therefore I can act however I want to” is a bad one because it doesn’t acknowledge that humans are evolutionarily adapted to live in cooperative social groups, and that ethics and “morals” (a slippery word) have evolved as those social groups have evolved. Declaring atheism to be a philosophy of nihilistic self-absorbed individualism is pretty much a rejection of every single thing we know about how humans have developed over the millennia, including the development of culture, legal codes, extra-legal behavioral codes, and all the rest.

      • Michael Neville

        Many if not most Protestants think their sins are automatically forgiven if they flop on their knees and say “I love you, Jesus, I believe in you, please forgive my sins.” Then they’re good to go until the next time they need to flop on their knees.

        If I transgress against another person then, for my own peace of mind, I try to get forgiveness from the person I’ve acted against. My conscience is not magically cleared by asking my imaginary friend to forgive me. It strikes me that my attitude towards immoral behavior is more ethical than some knee-flopper’s is.

        • adam

          “It strikes me that my attitude towards immoral behavior is more ethical than some knee-flopper’s is.”

          Of course it is more ethical:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5bd9e1b970416b43f0dcdebb0f07063c20e5d84ef8599c0c9c2974e19ae8954.png

        • Kodie

          In theory, I am a lot more forgiving of that type of behavior. A lot of times, you fuck up, and there’s really nothing you can do about it but dwell on it and beat yourself up, which isn’t healthy or productive. Just like the act of prayer can be more of a meditation-type of activity, so can asking forgiveness, at least psychologically give you permission to stop feeling self-destructive about an act or outcome you can’t undo, and for which nothing can really be done or which, say, you try to apologize to someone and they won’t let it go. There’s also repentance of a sort where you try to buy the guilt-be-gone with a cash donation to a charity or try to do a million good deeds (not because it’s a good thing to do but you think it will balance out something like karma).

          That said, I realize, in practice, people probably don’t even feel as guilty as (I think) they should, for things they do all the time, careless and thoughtless and greedy, self-justifying, and never realize or care that they’ve wronged anyone, and then once a week or so, check in with their chosen deity with a vague acknowledgement they’re probably not as nice as they could be, yadda yadda yadda, amen, to clear the docket.

          I think most people are likely to try to right their wrongs, when they recognize them, with the person or people involved, if possible, even if they also ask god, and actually feel sorry for what they’ve done and try to stop doing it. On the other hand, people get defensive as shit about stuff too.

          I can’t remember what book we studied in a college class (I can tell you I didn’t actually read it!) but I remember the prof talking about confessions and popes and stuff, and the “right way” and “wrong way” of confessing. If you plan to do bad things because you can confess them away, then you are doing it wrong. Another thing I’ve heard said is “Sorry is the first step,” where many people say they’re sorry to someone and leave it there, and expect their apology to be accepted, and that ends the ordeal. I used to be friends with someone who would constantly abuse the apology. Sorry isn’t the entirety, it’s 1. I’m very sorry, 2. I sincerely feel bad that I did wrong by you, and 3. I value our friendship too much to do it again (and again and again). It means you’re not going to do things you know someone dislikes, over and over again, apologize every time and expect to be friends very long. Even apologizing face to face with the person you wronged is as much bullshit as praying to god if you’re just saying what will get you off the hook for a minute. This is also for people who believe it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Yeah, and so? That doesn’t make it ok.

        • Michael Neville

          An apology should consist of acknowledging one has harmed another, a concise description of the harm done, a stated intent not to commit the offense again, and an offer of recompense. It is the wronged person’s decision whether or not to accept the apology.

          One thing that really annoys me is the apology “I’m sorry if I upset you.” That puts the onus of the offense on the one offended: “I suppose that if you’re upset than I’m sorry, but if you’re not really upset then I won’t bother to apologize.” A real apology begins: “I’m sorry that I upset you.”

        • Greg G.

          The term notpology has entered the vernacular for “I’m sorry if I upset you.”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ^^^^This…

        • MNb

          Given 1) the popularity of notpologies and 2) the tendency of breaking the promise of not committing the offense asap I have decided several years ago to offer an apology only as a last resort and then unconditionally, ie also without any expectation that it gets accepted – acceptance won’t even make any difference to me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it is totally worthwhile as a matter of record. attached feelings on anyone’s part will only cloud its significance. i like your policy; i have taken a very ponderous/haphazard journey away from my childhood guilt complex (nearly all of which was based around a vaguely-Lutheran approach).

        • Argus

          Yep….that always brings up the possibility that Hitler accepted Jesus moments before he died and is in heaven while the millions of Jews whose deaths he ordered are in hell.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah….but Hitler wasn’t a proper Christian….so guess what?

        • Argus

          Ah but under the evangelical model…a heathen can transform into a Christian instantly upon confession of Jesus as Lord.

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

      “therefore I can act however I want to.”

      But, Mr. Newly Atheist, how do you want to act? Was it just your God belief that kept you in check when you were a Christian? Or do you really not want to go rampaging and killing?

      • Herald Newman

        I have always wanted to act in ways that are consistent with people being well. Even when I was a Christian, many years ago, it wasn’t my belief in God that made me moral, but rather my morality was completely influenced by those around me. When I realized that morality is not predicated on God it was one of the first steps towards deconversion.

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

          Sounds like you were a very thoughtful and inquisitive Christian. I wish more were like that.

        • Susan

          I wish more were like that.

          The trouble is, so many of the ones who are end up like Herald.

          The trouble for christianity, that is. Not for us.

  • WayneMan

    There are degrees of confidence in atheism as well as theism or deism. Like “I believe there is no God”, therefore I am an atheist (what I am), versus “I am pretty sure, but cannot know absolutely”, therefore agnostic (what I know).

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/958de7651a20faa6ed5b074bf52634b8ee3cb6a57528a19b5f97999e9b8e68b9.jpg

    • Ignorant Amos

      Claims to know no gods exist is a faith claim. I’m not sure I know any of those though I can’t say they don’t exist. I know atheists that claim to know certain types of gods don’t exist, but that’s not th same.

      Our friend Kir asserted that we were all “claims to know no gods exist” atheists and then declared we were all faith based atheists on that pile of straw. Then proceeded to demand that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

      • Kevin K

        There is also the ignostic claim. You can’t have a “belief” about the existence of something like a god, because the concept is incoherent in and of itself. Especially the type of god most Christians claim to believe in.

        It’s like having a belief or lack of belief about the existence of a smlorlsdx!!lvmi. What is that? I dunno, I just made it up. I can give it a ton of attributes, though. I know that it’s kind, and loyal, and likes cherry pie, that’s for sure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well Kevin, that’s a good point which I and a few others have already raised here.

          You’ll find at least three folk here championing igtheism…or theological nonconitivism if you prefer.

        • Greg G.

          If I am not counted, then increment count.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll be a plus one then.

          I was thinking of Susan, epeeist and myself, who I know from many years ago at RDFRS…Where I first learned the term from a regular called Steve Zara when he wrote an article on the subject.

        • Greg G.

          I always liked “igtheism” but “theological nonconitivism” has more gravitas, so thank you for the introduction.

        • MNb

          Brrrrr ….. discussions of such labels remind me of

          https://www.reddit.com/r/Metal/wiki/metalsubgenres

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_metal_genres

          Within a while we have more unbelief denominations than christian ones.

        • Greg G.

          I was unaware that there were that many metal bands, let alone that many genres.

          Fundamentalist Christians call non-fundamentalists “salad bar Christians” because they are like a person at a salad bar picking out this or that part of the Bible to believe instead of swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. We could become “salad bar atheists.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          We could become “salad bar atheists.”

          A salad bar with only one item on offer available not to choose from sorta defeats the purpose of the word “salad” in “salad bar”, no?

          Perhaps a-salad bar atheists.

          As I was writing the nonsense above, there is a popular quiz show here on afternoon telly. The host asked the a middle aged contestant the question, “who is the famous person in the bible that was said to have been crucified?”….her answer, “Joan of Arc”….seriously.

        • epeeist

          The host asked the a middle aged contestant the question, “who is the famous person in the bible that was said to have been crucified?”….her answer, “Joan of Arc”….seriously.

          You don’t see this as a good thing? That religion has so little hold on her life that she has no clue as to the contents of the bible.

          I have been to a few hatch/match/dispatch ceremonies in churches over the last few years. The thing that encourages me is that it is only people of my age who seem to know what to do. Those the age of my daughters and younger don’t know the order of service, the hymns, the responses or when to stand up, sit down or kneel. I find this terribly encouraging.

          On another front, I have put some of my pictures from New Zealand on my Flickr feed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t see this as a good thing? That religion has so little hold on her life that she has no clue as to the contents of the bible.

          Oh I do indeed. And it isn’t an isolated incident either. People in the UK just don’t seem ta be fecked about religious stuff.

          I have been to a few hatch/match/dispatch ceremonies in churches over the last few years. The thing that encourages me is that it is only people of my age who seem to know what to do. Those the age of my daughters and younger don’t know the order of service, the hymns, the responses or when to stand up, sit down or kneel. I find this terribly encouraging.

          That’ll be the problem with not learning the dances for the rituals in the RCC and Anglican flavours. It’s not a big problem in the other Protestant performances. I’ve been to more than a few of the Presbyterian, Methodist, etc., shows recently myself and what I have noticed in a few is that the atheist scourge is not just being inferred, but we as a group are actually being named. I could swear the clerics are looking straight at me when doing it too.

          On another front, I have put some of my pictures from New Zealand on my Flickr feed.

          Nice. I must have a wee perusal. Cheers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Stunning photaes…being there must’ve been something else. Thanks for sharing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          either generally oblivious as epeeist suggests, or doesn’t categorize Jebus as a “person”.

        • Kodie

          I’m going to open up an atheist salad bar.

        • Argus

          so all bacon then?

        • Kodie

          No, I was kind of working on a menu of sorts. Lettuce not pray, tomahtoes, babies, that’s as far as I got.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well done crispy baby, well done crispy bacon…Comme ci, comme ça.

        • TheNuszAbides

          naming contest!

        • TheNuszAbides

          I was unaware that there were that many metal bands, let alone that many genres.

          not to cast any aspersions, you understand, but it’s nice having a vaguely social setting in which i’m not the fuddiest duddy (as opposed to my current place of employment, where i’m something like 3rd oldest among several dozen, and near-double the age of about 1/3 of the crew).

        • Argus
        • TheNuszAbides

          plus me-one!

        • MNb

          Formulated as Kevin did you can count me in as well – my only beef is that I think the label igtheism superfluous (technically: if a concept is incoherent I think it’s justified to say it doesn’t refer to something in reality, whether natural or supernatural – hence there is no god, which I put the label atheism on). But what more am I than a guy who prefers to keep things simple? I think WayneMan’s diagram above already unnecessarily complicated.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fair enough.

          One of the reasons for my atheism is theological noncognitivism. It is not something a lot of folk think about. So when the subject comes up, usually among atheists, it is a label I can punt to in the debate as the conversation starter and perhaps encourage some to look into the position and think to themselves, “hey, that’s me too”, given that most of us are a bunch of curious nosey buggers. I was an atheist before I understood the term. Finding out I was one opened the door to finding out a lot more reasons why I was.

          I’ve yet to have a believer take on the igtheist argument, for the obvious reasons you can no doubt imagine, they don’t wanna go down that route.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I was an atheist before I understood the term.

          aye, even when i was still a frying pantheist (derived from Red Dwarf with a bonus layer of psychedelia) i had long disabused myself of the notion of Access To Supreme Being and was just about done with even the uber-vague deist conceptions.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm6YnAqPv4w

        • Kodie

          I’ve been thinking the same thing. I find the concept of god incoherent, that’s why I am an atheist. Maybe igtheist is more precise, but like in the thread where I also get a little impatient with the term “nonreligious” for people who won’t get off the fence out of some social aversion to being classified as an atheist, either because it has stigma attached, or they believed the propaganda that atheism is a faith position or a religion, having to explain what words mean is not where I want to start a conversation. Why is there still a lot of stigma or confusion about atheism? Igtheism seems like a way to dodge the stigma and confusion by being upfront about the incoherence of the concept of god, rather than having to go through the blame and accusations of having a faith position on god and denying god because of the attraction of sin and the devil. At least where I live, nobody asks for your religious identity, so I avoid these conversations on account of most people being too polite to ask.

        • Argus

          Would you guys quit adding all these -isms? Now I have no idea WHAT I am :)

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s all part of the re-de-re-programming scheme … sit back and relax …

        • TheNuszAbides

          i recognize Cristina Rad for something of a badass, but digressions/categorizations like this don’t interest her either. last i checked her final word was “don’t tell me what kind of atheist i am”.

  • Jim Jones