7 Tips for Arguing With a Chance of Changing Someone’s Mind

KKK

Daryl Davis is an African-American man who is fascinated by American hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. In researching the Klan in America, he sought out members and met with them. And befriended them. And was the cause of some of them leaving the Klan. He can prove it with the Klan robes they gave him after they left.

He has advice for talking with people with a very different viewpoint (which I’m hoping will inform our approach to Christians), but I can’t resist first giving one anecdote. There are different approaches to dealing with hate groups, and engaging with and befriending (as in making a Klansman an invite-him-to-your-wedding kind of friend) is pretty radical.

Daryl got pushback from someone from the NAACP:

[The NAACP guy said,] “We’ve worked hard to get ten steps forward, and here you are sitting down with the enemy having dinner, and you’re putting us twenty steps back.” I pull out my robes and hoods and said, “Look, this is what I’ve done to put a dent in racism. I’ve got robes and hoods hanging in my closet by people who’ve given up that belief because of my conversations and sitting down to dinner and they gave it up. How many robes and hoods have you collected?” And then they shut up. (Source)

Philosophy

Daryl’s focus is on members of hate groups, but I think the advice also informs the atheism/Christianity debate. He begins with general advice. (I’m pulling out highlights from the “How to Argue” interview on the Love + Radio podcast.)

First, give the other person the safe space to express themselves. Ask honest questions, but don’t attack. You’re having a conversation.

Respect their right to speak, even if you don’t respect what they’re saying. By engaging, by simply being there, they open themselves up to new ideas that might grow in their minds.

He gives dogs as a parallel. If you beat a mean dog, it becomes meaner. The same is true for a hateful or closed-minded person. Push back directly, and the backfire effect comes into play. You’re attacking who they are, so they dig in their heels and cling to their beliefs even more. Instead of hate, you should rely on logic, respect, and patience.

1. Know your opponent

Learn your opponent’s position. Know it as well as they do, so well that they would accept your statement of their argument. If you begin not knowing their position well, compensate with humility and listening.

What you hear may be hateful or illogical, but don’t overreact. When in doubt, listen rather than fight back. Remember that you’re playing the long game.

2. Make it a conversation, not a debate

A debate needn’t be angry, but it’s zero-sum. It’s a fight, and you can’t have two winners. Instead of a debate, you want a conversation. A conversation is an invitation for someone to share their position, and most people are happy to oblige. Create a welcoming environment.

3. Find common ground

Use small talk and look for overlap in your lives. Do you both have dogs? Are you in similar professions? Do you have similar attitudes about health care, education, or foreign policy? You’re finding common ground.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t think that chitchat is a waste of time—you’re working on a relationship, maybe a friendship. If Christianity comes up in conversation, that’s great. But if kids or pets or career comes up, that’s great, too.

4. Talking is better than the alternative

The conversation may occasionally get heated. It may seem like you’re getting nowhere. But the more conversation, the more common ground you’ll find. (In the case of Daryl Davis’s discussions with Klansmen, talking is better than violence, which can be the alternative, though that’s probably not an issue for those of us in discussion with Christians.)

5. Be patient

It takes time to learn Christian arguments (or the particular variants that this antagonist uses), especially when tangents can be wide ranging—the religions of Mesopotamia, Greece, or Egypt; the role of fiction during the time of Jesus; the history of Israel, including the forced exiles and invasions of Palestine; the religious movements in the Ancient Near East during the intertestamental period, such as Gnosticism, Apocalypticism, and Marcionism; and so on.

Knowing the material earns respect, but don’t get overwhelmed. Listen and learn. Let your antagonists teach you—you’ll get smarter, and they’ll appreciate your humility.

Put yourself in the way of a discussion. Attend an Alpha Course. Find an interesting Sunday school class at a local church. Find a local Reasonable Faith or Reasons to Believe chapter. You’ll learn far more by hanging out with Christians than with fellow atheists. And, while you’re learning about them, they can’t help but learn about you.

Put some effort into your first impression. A Christian acquaintance won’t say, “We’ve got an interesting class at my church—you should come” if you’re a jerk.

6. Watch your tone

Make your point, correct errors in logic or facts, or get annoyed at rhetorical gamesmanship, but don’t be insulting or condescending. State your correction, but don’t delight in their failure or make them feel stupid.

7. Give them space to make their argument

Give them their turn, and don’t cut them off when they make a point. Once they’ve made a point, look for authentic clarifying questions to ask. They will appreciate your interest, and your questions may force them to confront problems that they hadn’t been aware of when it was just an idea in their head.

Don’t put words into their mouth, and let them explain their point. Pay careful attention so that you’re responding to the strongest interpretation of their point, not a caricature or strawman version.

If this approach is useful for atheists talking to Christians, is the reverse also true? Perhaps. The shrewd Christian might try to make this an emotional discussion—wouldn’t you want for there to be a benevolent god looking out for you? Doesn’t it only seem fair for there to be an afterlife where the Hitlers of the world got justice? And so on.

Still, Christians engaging in a long-term relationship with the goal of discussing Christianity’s truth claims put themselves in the way of atheist ideas. And that has to be a good thing.

Related posts:

There is a cure for ignorance. The cure is called education.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for stupidity.
— Daryl Davis

Image credit: Adrianne Mathiowetz, used with permission of Love + Radio

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob Jase

    A Smith & Wesson still beats four aces.

  • RichardSRussell

    4. Talking is better than the alternative

    “The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.”—Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis

  • Halbe

    This reads a bit like the ‘X tips for effective evangelizing’ posts that are ubiquitous over at the Evangelical channel. “Befriending” people, but with a clear agenda is also their favourite MO nowadays. Not my cup of tea.

    • Cady555

      I’m pretty sure that members of the KKK are not being tricked when a black man wants to have a conversation. It appears he is being honest that this is about.

      This is different from christians tricking people and not being honest, which I agree is nasty.

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

        I’ve heard that the “love bombing” phase is short lived. You’re loved into the church, but then you’re expected to get out there and get more converts. Collection plates don’t fill themselves, y’know.

        But Davis is focused on a much longer timeframe.

  • igotbanned999

    It must be awkward when he has company over and they see all the KKK robes in the closet…

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

      “Oops! Sorry–let’s use this other closet.”

  • masteradrian

    Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? And who actually supports actions and practices that are out to throw me from a high building, or slice my throat?
    I may be wrong, but when I see people being kicked and murdered who are homosexual and are condemned by people who claim to be speaking on behalf of their god and claim to be acting on behalf of their god, then I see no reson to sit down with those people and discuss my orientation with them!
    I accept their right to to have their opinion, their faith, their religion, and their attitude, BUT what I do not accept is that these people deny me the right to have my opinion, my faith, my religion and my attitude! When these people demand my death based on the fact that I am homosexual I feel these people have lost the right to open end about, these people in my opinion lost the right to respect, the ight even to exist!
    These people should be well aware that when living according to the book we know as the bible, obviously being the guide to and of their existence, that same book tells us to live to the principle an eye for an eye, a hand for a hand, and a life for a life…….. There will be a certain time and moment that I (and I do not speak for other people) will no longer accept being humiliated by individuals who claim to be speaking on behalf of someone divine and therefore are trying to kill me!
    When I follow that book I have the right to prevent being killed or to be harassed by individuals who claim I am doing wrong in the eye of their so-called higher power!
    In general I feel that those who consider themselves better then other people (because of skin, orientation, background, heritage or whatever) are the lowest of the lowest, and attempts should be made to prevent these people to be procreating, or even to exist in our communities!
    My opinion!

    • TheNuszAbides

      Davis may be taking substantial risk, but what do the robes he’s been given represent? Tease out all the implications and you have the “why”. he’s not preaching that everybody has to follow his lead or anything, either. but the results are relatively indisputable.

      prevent these people to be procreating

      so, turnabout is fair play? that’s a damn sight heavier than mere opinion. at least Davis is fighting fire with water.

    • Ameribear

      Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? And who actually supports actions and practices that are out to throw me from a high building, or slice my throat?

      Seriously? Do you really believe all Christians wish you dead? Is that what you’re saying?

      I may be wrong, but when I see people being kicked and murdered who are homosexual and are condemned by people who claim to be speaking on behalf of their god and claim to be acting on behalf of their god, then I see no reson to sit down with those people and discuss my orientation with them!

      Do you really believe that all Christians are out there acting this way?

      When these people demand my death based on the fact that I am homosexual I feel these people have lost the right to open end about, these people in my opinion lost the right to respect, the right even to exist!

      What leads you to believe this is actually being done by all Christians?

      In general I feel that those who consider themselves better then other people (because of skin, orientation, background, heritage or whatever) are the lowest of the lowest, and attempts should be made to prevent these people to be procreating, or even to exist in our communities!

      How would you react if someone said exactly the same thing about you?

      • Kodie

        Poor illiterate victim Ameribear. Wouldn’t those kinds of Christians be the ones whose minds some people might be most interested in trying to change? Can you read, because I didn’t see masteradrian condemn all Christians, but you, you putrid, self-centered fuck, can’t help but make it about you.

        And by the way, you are an asshole, this has been determined by your stupidity and hatefulness, that you are the kind of Christian who thinks everything would be much better if we were all close-minded bigots like you. Why would anyone want to sit and try to have a reasonable conversation with your kind?

        • Ameribear

          Poor illiterate victim Ameribear. Wouldn’t those kinds of Christians be the ones whose minds some people might be most interested in trying to change?

          Poor brainwashed victim Kodie. No cupcake, it would be your kind of atheist that so clearly demonstrates that you can’t think for yourself because you’ve so eagerly lapped up the BS atheist narrative you’ve been fed about Christians. It would also be your kind of atheist that by constantly repeating the aforementioned narrative clearly demonstrate that you really aren’t interested in actually talking to Christians because what you just said reveals that you haven’t ever done so. It would also be your kind of atheist that so robustly demonstrates that atheism is utter BS because it turns people into your kind of atheist.

          And by the way, you are an asshole, this has been determined by your stupidity and hatefulness, that you are the kind of Christian who thinks everything would be much better if we were all close-minded bigots like you.

          And by the way you are the kind of atheist who is so full of yourself you’ll never realize you’ve just shown the world what a jaw dropping hypocrite you are.

          Why would anyone want to sit and try to have a reasonable conversation with your kind?

          Learn how to have a reasonable conversation and maybe you’ll find out.

        • Susan

          Poor brainwashed Kodie.

          You’ll have to demonstrate that Kodie is brainwashed. As far as I can tell, Kodie just exists outside of the cult you take for granted. You can’t show a distinction of any merit between your cult, islam, mormonism, alliens abducted me types or Elvis lives types.

          by the way you are the kind of atheist who is so full of yourself you’ll never realize you’ve just shown the world what a jaw dropping hypocrite you are.

          Sproing!

          You can’t follow through on A/T metaphysics. You abandoned the conversation when you realized that you can’t. You can’t show any knowlege of biology or personhood. You are the brainwashed person who just reiterates talking points that you haven’t questioned.

          Learn how to have a reasonable conversation and maybe you’ll find out.

          I would ask you what you consider a reasonable conversation and you would accuse me of being brainwashed for asking. Without demonstrating that I am.

          You make claims and when those claims are reasonably scrutinized, panic and accuse people of being brainwashed if they don’t accept them.

          You’ve NEVER supported a single claim.

          Never.

          Meh.

        • Pofarmer

          Meh, indeed.

      • Greg G.

        Seriously? Do you really believe all Christians wish you dead? Is that what you’re saying?

        Do you really believe that all Christians are out there acting this way?

        What leads you to believe this is actually being done by all Christians?

        There you go, straw-manning again. He did not say all Christians. There are too many Christians who would kill him as others in his situation have been killed by people because of religion.

        How would you react if someone said exactly the same thing about you?

        He probably wouldn’t try to kill the person while quoting a Bible verse. It doesn’t have to be all Christians, just a few bad eggs, thinking they are doing God’s work.

        • Ameribear

          He wrote “Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? “ That’s inferring that any Christian he sits down with would want him dead. I invite Masteradrian to clarify that himself and until he does your putting words in his mouth.

          There are too many Christians who would kill him as others in his situation have been killed by people because of religion.

          First off anyone who desires the death of another person because of their sexual orientation is NOT a Christian. Secondly what you just stated proves you’re the one who’s a) straw-manning and b) a hypocrite.

        • Susan

          He wrote “Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? “ That’s inferring that any Christian he sits down with would want him dead.

          I think you mean “implying” and no, not necessarily. I don’t know. He’s new here (to me). But he didn’t say “someone christian”. He said “someone christian who wishes me dead”.

          That many christians across the world (and throughout history) wished homosexuals dead is basic. That they wished it based on religious belief is basic. That they carried it out is basic.

          First off anyone who desires the death of another person because of their sexual orientation is NOT a Christian.

          They are if they say they are. It’s all made up. So, you can “infer” almost anything you’d like when you claim a deity backs you up.

          what you just stated proves you’re the one who’s a) strawmanning

          No. Real humans who claim they’re christians support violence, sometimes to the point of death, of homosexuals.

          and b) a hypocrite

          Nope.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I think you mean “implying”

          ugh. ‘bear has already proven itself incredibly dim on nuance, but i didn’t think it had that deep a vocabulary problem.
          i started out merely being fussy about infer/imply, but after a few years in the wider atheosphere i’ve noticed that confusion/conflation of them can be quite a marker for far more significant obliviousnesses.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He wrote “Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? “ That’s inferring that any Christian he sits down with would want him dead.

          Oh fer fuck sake…not more of your nonsense. It’s inferring nothing of the sort. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Masteradrian actually does sit down with Christian’s, just not bigoted ones that abhor his lifestyle and sexuality to the point of open persecution. So no, not any Christian he sits down with at all.

          I invite Masteradrian to clarify that himself ..

          Yeah, we can do that. But until he does, it is a reasonable position to assume he isn’t as daft as you are and is asserting all Christians, a word only you have used in your straw man characterisation. Furthermore, the most charitable interpretation of his comments is not the one you, a Christian, is affording him.

          …and until he does your putting words in his mouth.

          Spoooing!….the only words being put into his mouth are by you, ya feckin’ idiot.

          First off anyone who desires the death of another person because of their sexual orientation is NOT a Christian.

          Ah, the NTS…how typical. And you get to say this because? In the meantime…history is replete with fuckwit Christians wanting homosexuals put to death, you Catholics were at the forefront of it too…

          In the year 342, the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans decreed the death penalty for any male who “marries [a man] as a woman… [a situation in which] gender has lost its place”. In the year 390, the Christian emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius denounced males “acting the part of a woman”, condemning those who were guilty of such acts to be publicly burned.

          ….

          “Go away! We know who you are. We don’t want you in our country. If we see you, we’ll burn you to death.” Melanie Kiwagama reads out the text messages she received last year, after Uganda’s notorious anti-homosexuality bill came into effect. Since then, she says the flow of threats towards her and her partner have been constant.

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/how-uganda-was-seduced-by-anti-gay-conservative-evangelicals-9193593.html

          Secondly what you just stated proves you’re the one who’s a) straw-manning and b) a hypocrite.

          You don’t half come off with some asinine ballix.

        • Ameribear

          Your NTS fallacy is BS and I would expect nothing less from our favorite paid propagandist hack than bringing up crap that occurred hundreds of years ago as if it still mattered today. Your tactics are so predictable and so feckless.

        • Greg G.

          He wrote “Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead? “

          The phrase “someone christian who wishes me dead” is a subset of all Christians. He made a qualified statement. If I say I hate all green apples, that does not mean I hate all apples or red apples.

          That’s inferring that any Christian he sits down with would want him dead.

          He isn’t “inferring” nor is he implying. You are making a biased inference as you typically do.

          First off anyone who desires the death of another person because of their sexual orientation is NOT a Christian.

          Some Christians read the Bible.

          Leviticus 20:13 (NAS)
          ‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

          Secondly what you just stated proves you’re the one who’s a) straw-manning and b) a hypocrite.

          You apparently don’t know the meaning of either word you use. There are radical Christians. Here are some headlines from one incident:

          Westboro Baptist Church says, ‘God sent the Orlando shooter’ in hate-filled anti-gay rant

          Tempe Pastor Hails Orlando Massacre for Leaving ’50 Less Pedophiles in This World’

          New York preacher: Gays are a bigger threat to America than ISIS

          Pastor: Orlando Was ‘God’s Wrath’ On Gays

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/christian-extremists-orlando-shooting_us_576ad4f7e4b0c0252e7805ba

        • Ameribear

          There are radical Christians.

          There are radicals who call themselves Christians. The WBC is a crackpot cult. They and anyone else who goes around spouting that kind of vitriol to their flock is in serious trouble.

          MT 7:19-21. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you shall recognize them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

        • Greg G.

          The WBC says the same things about Catholics and they can point to scripture to support their views.

          The word “Christian” is what people arbitrarily call themselves. It is not like there is some teleological meaning to it. The significance is mostly pretending.

        • Ameribear

          The WBC says the same things about Catholics and they can point to scripture to support their views.

          The WBC like every other protestant sect selectively chooses
          the passages of scripture to support their views and ignores all the others that refute them.

          The word “Christian” is what people arbitrarily call themselves. It is not like there is some teleological meaning to it. The significance is mostly pretending.

          That’s true only in atheist circles. Christ warns us numerous times that following him is going to come at a cost and those who are unwilling to accept that aren’t fit to be His disciples.

        • Greg G.

          The WBC like every other protestant sect selectively chooses
          the passages of scripture to support their views and ignores all the others that refute them.

          Will you abandon your position on when life begins or will you ignore Leviticus 17:11?

          The WBC is of the sola scriptura school of thought and they think the reliance on tradition and the words of church fathers by the Catholic Church is ignoring the Bible.

          That’s true only in atheist circles. Christ warns us numerous times that following him is going to come at a cost and those who are unwilling to accept that aren’t fit to be His disciples.

          Christians of all stripes make those same claims. They are just as certain as you are that they are Jesus’ favorite disciples. You all look silly pointing at others as being the ones who are wrong.

        • Ameribear

          Will you abandon your position on when life begins or will you ignore Leviticus 17:11?

          I will never abandon my position on when life begins and Leviticus 17:11 does nothing to disprove it. This is another colossal fail on
          your part.

          The WBC is of the sola scriptura school of thought and they think the reliance on tradition and the words of church fathers by the Catholic Church is ignoring the Bible.

          Doesn’t matter because history and scripture refutes sola scriptura and supports Sacred Tradition. The church existed and thrived for 300 some years before the bible was even compiled. Sola scriptura contradicts the bible so it’s heresy.

          Christians of all stripes make those same claims. They are just as certain as you are that they are Jesus’ favorite disciples. You all look silly pointing at others as being the ones who are wrong.

          Another completely missed point or a stupendously weak attempt
          at a diversion. It doesn’t matter who is striving to draw closer to Christ. Christ made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that those following him had better be prepared to produce what he requires because ultimately getting into heaven is contingent on it. What one believes and how one acts has everything to do with being a Christian so the NTS fallacy does not apply.

        • Kodie

          They aren’t fake believers, you dipshit. If they believe something different than you believe is the “truth”, they believe it because they were sold the same way you were, and believe it as sincerely as you do, that what they believe is the truth, the true Christianity, and that they will be saved by Jesus Christ and you won’t. I don’t care, I really don’t give a shit what Christians think the bible says about that. We’re operating from a self-reporting perspective. They call themselves Christians because they feel themselves to be so, sincerely. You are not operating from any different perspective whether they are true Christians or not, you pretend to know for god, but that’s not even the subject here. It’s about using the bible to interpret whatever one believes to be the words god means to communicate to them, and sincerely so. Whether or not it is true? None of it is fucking true. God doesn’t have any part in this whatsoever.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a Christian who mostly agrees with you except for the part about the Catholics being correct.

          http://disq.us/p/1mnv9tf

        • Ameribear

          The only problem is that anyone who subscribes to any specific interpretation of scripture makes themselves a denomination. There’s
          no such thing as non-denominational.

        • Greg G.

          If John’s Jesus wasn’t the biggest prayer failure of all-time, there would not be different interpretations.

          John 17:20-23 (NRSV)20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

          For that to not be a prayer fail, Christians would have to agree so much that it would impress the rest of the world into believing. That has never happened. Paul had disagreements over circumcision with the “circumcision faction” even before his letters were collected.

        • Ameribear

          That prayer was said right after the last supper which was when Christ instituted the Eucharist, one of others He instituted before His ascension. That prayer was one act in the founding of the only Church that can legitimately claim Christ as it’s founder and is still unified to this day.

        • Greg G.

          Then why isn’t the rest of the world so impressed that they join it? That is part of the failure. The prayer is an obvious failure.

          It cannot be the Catholic Church. It was supposed to bring unity by impressing everybody but it used wars and inquisitions instead. Martin Luther was right to call them out for their hypocrisies. Did the Catholic Church ever refund the money they collected for indulgences?

        • Ameribear

          Then why isn’t the rest of the world so impressed that they join it? That is part of the failure. The prayer is an obvious failure.

          Because the rest of the world still has free will. Christ knew there were going to be divisions (See MK 9: 38-39) and you fail to take
          into account that He could allow them for other reasons.

          It cannot be the Catholic Church. It was supposed to bring unity by impressing everybody but it used wars and inquisitions instead.

          Irrelevant. The church’s unity is still intact to this day and is not contingent on the behavior of its members.

          Martin Luther was right to call them out for their hypocrisies.

          Yes, you’re right he was. He had no right to rewrite scripture
          and declare himself to be his own authority though.

          Did the Catholic Church ever refund the money they collected for indulgences?

          Indulgences are a legitimate thing in the church and they don’t have to involve money.

        • Kodie

          Because the rest of the world still has free will. Christ knew there
          were going to be divisions (See MK 9: 38-39) and you fail to take
          into account that He could allow them for other reasons.

          This is an example of why religion snatches up the gullible – the bible is not a magic book where Jesus said original things. I mean, of course the bible is going to use tactics to gain followers like any marketing scheme. Of course one of those tactics is “some people are not going to believe this bullshit, but they are the fools!”

          Yes, you’re right he was. He had no right to rewrite scripture
          and declare himself to be his own authority though.

          I have no idea why you think anyone can’t read the bible and interpret it to serve their own purpose just like the Catholic Church has. It doesn’t make his beliefs or interpretations any less sincere than yours. Believing you have the correct interpretation doesn’t make it valid, or more valid than any other interpretation. It just speaks to how much there is going on in the bible that fools people into thinking it is the word of god for having so much stuff in it! I’m not going to say none of it resonates, but like I explained to warped Fred Knight, it was written by humans, observing many angles of human life and human interaction. It’s not going to sound like it was from Mars – people are going to pick the parts they relate to and feel in agreement with, and if they think it’s a magical book from Jesus, they’re going to build a fucking religion out of it instead of behold it as just another compilation of human thoughts and ideas, some that work, others that are outdated or specific to the region or the culture, but not magical at all. It’s like, you could take Dark Side of the Moon to be a religion because it resonates with humans of all ages, does that make Pink Floyd magical? Some people probably would argue that it is their religion, but then get into arguments with people who think Pet Sounds is way better, and some people who have never heard of either one of them, and those people need some fucking culture, right?

          Religion, including your Catholicism, is just a matter of taste. There is no call to take it dead serious at all or pretend it’s an authority and Luther was just some hack. That’s your opinion, it’s not a fact.

        • Greg G.

          Because the rest of the world still has free will.

          That cannot be the reason. For the prayer to not be a failure, the agreement between Christians has to be enough to impress the world enough to believe. That belief has to be caused by the impressive agreement of Christians, not lack of free will. The prayer is a failure. Jesus’s faith must be less than a mustard seed.

        • Ameribear

          Are you saying that the agreement has to be between a sufficient number of Christians to impress the world?

        • Greg G.

          Read the passage. All I am saying is what the prayer says. Per separate statements in verse 21 and verse 22, Christians should be as one as the Father and Jesus are one. It is stated and restated in the passage.

          We have neither agreement among Christians, that is, they are not one, nor does the world believe the Father sent Jesus. The failure of either condition means the prayer is a failure. The failure of both conditions makes the prayer a great, big failure. If God doesn’t answer Jesus’ prayers, why pray in his name? Doesn’t that tell you why you have to make so many excuses to yourself for all of your prayer failures?

        • Ameribear

          Per separate statements in verse 21 and verse 22, Christians should be as one as the Father and Jesus are one. It is stated and restated in the passage.

          You mistakenly believe that Christ is praying for all Christians at that moment and He is not. He is specifically praying for the apostles present with Him at that moment. Read verse 12. Those apostles were the original recipients of His authority and the moment He was praying for them was the beginning of a series of events that culminate on Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. You’re also ignoring the context of this prayer which took place immediately after the last supper which was a Jewish Seder meal where Christ instituted the first Eucharist. You are tearing a couple of scripture passages out of the context of a pivotal series of very important events that established the first Christian church. This was the birthday of the Catholic Church which is still present today, still unified and still stands as proof that the prayers and promises Christ made regarding her clearly did not fail.

          Doesn’t that tell you why you have to make so many excuses to yourself for all of your prayer failures?

          How do you know which prayers fail and which don’t? If you conclude that prayers you may have prayed in the past that were not granted exactly as you made them failed, then you are the one who has failed, not God.

        • Susan

          How do you know which prayers fail and which don’t?

          The claims, on their surface, don’t bear out. If you define “prayer” to be unverifiable, then you might as well be reading tarot cards.

          You mistakenly believe that Christ is praying for all christians.

          It’s a story, Ameribear. You can claim authority over the story all you’d like. You can’t show it. No reason to call an itinerant preacher “Christ” and assume that you know what he meant.

          It’s as convincing as someone claiming they understand the real significance of the Moon being in the 7th house.

          Provide something better than bluster about castles on clouds.

          And personal attacks when that bluster is questioned.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I heard a remark on the telly last night in reference to Trump fuckwittery on praying for the victims of Las Vegas and his attitude to weapons control…the claim is…

          “Guns don’t kill people, people do”

          …the reply….

          “prayers don’t help people, people do”

          That fuckwit Trump also implied that it is the mentally ill that is the problem. When they get their hands on weapons there is not much one can do about it.

          When Mr Trump was asked if the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism he replied: “He was a sick man, a demented man.”

          “Lots of problems, I guess, and we’re looking into him very, very seriously, but we’re dealing with a very, very sick individual,” he said.”

          This is the same arsehole that the NRA spent over $30 million to get elected and who revoked plans to make it harder for very, very sick individuals, to get their hands on weapons.

          “DONALD Trump revoked plans that made it harder for mentally ill people to get access to guns just seven months before the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday, it has been revealed.

          The US President quietly signed a bill which would roll back an Obama-era regulation demanding gun checks for people with mental illnesses in February this year.”

          Not that there is any evidence implying that Paddock was mentally unstable…apart from the fact that only a lunatic would do such a vile thing.

          *BTW, those that know, guns are artillery pieces.

        • Greg G.

          “DONALD Trump revoked plans that made it harder for mentally ill people to get access to guns just seven months before the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday, it has been revealed.

          The US President quietly signed a bill which would roll back an Obama-era regulation demanding gun checks for people with mental illnesses in February this year.”

          Trump also wants to roll back access to mental health care.

        • Pofarmer

          I’d just like to note that if the Catholic Church were unified, there wouldn’t be an Orthodox Church, or a protestant Church. Was “You will know them by their dishonesty” ever used in a parable?

        • Greg G.

          You mistakenly believe that
          Christ is praying for all Christians at that moment and He is not. He
          is specifically praying for the apostles present with Him at that
          moment. Read verse 12.

          I am not the one who is mistaken about who the prayer is for. Haven’t you read the passage? Verse 20 explicitly says it is not just those present but also those who come to believe on their word. I have explained to you that for the prayer to not be a failure:

          1. All Christians must be “as one”.
          2. The rest of the world must believe because of all Christians being “as one”.

          You have neither so it’s a failure. You can’t even read it correctly. Is that how you read the whole Bible? Just making up what you want it to say? Even if you had been correct, the prayer was a failure because the whole world didn’t believe at any point because of it.

          Other Christians should be as one knowing you are a failure.

        • Ameribear

          Verse 20 explicitly says it is not just those present but also those who come to believe on their word.

          All those who came to believe on THIER word would have been instructed and united to the only Christian church that existed at the time which was and still is Catholic. All those who today still come to believe on THIER word are still being instructed and united to the SAME CHURCH BY THE SAME WORDS that were used two centuries ago AND ARE STILL ONE TO THIS DAY! Christians who come to believe on the basis of all the protestant heretics out there are the ones who by their own ignorance or pride or both have NOT BEEN INSTRUCTED IN THIER WORD so are still separated. The prayer didn’t fail, you did.

          Is that how you read the whole Bible? Just making up what you want it to say?

          I can’t read it correctly? You gotta be joking! You are tearing a tiny fraction of scripture out of context of much bigger picture. You are also failing to use all the other guides Catholics have been given for over two thousand years to correctly interpret scripture. You are also failing to recognize that it was the Catholic church that gave us the bible to begin with so I’m sure as hell not going to believe what some 21st century half-assed atheist BS artist says he thinks the bible is saying. The evidence that you’re dead wrong stares you and the rest of the world in the face every day but your either to brainwashed or dimwitted (or both) to acknowledge it. No, it’s you that can’t read it correctly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All those who came to believe on THIER word would have been instructed and united to the only Christian church that existed at the time which was and still is Catholic.

          Demonstrating either your ignorance or stupidity. Either you don’t know what you are talking about, making you ignorant, or you know you are talking shite, which means you are being stupid….and lying. There was never one Christian sect that can be verified.

          What could be more diverse than this variegated phenomenon, Christianity in the modern world? In fact, there may be an answer: Christianity in the ancient world. As historians have come to realize, during the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so varied that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison.

          Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today, since they eventually came to be reformed or stamped out. As a result, the sacred texts that some ancient Christians used to support their religious perspectives came to be proscribed, destroyed, or forgotten – in one way or another lost. Many of these texts claimed to be written by Jesus’ closest followers. Opponents of these texts claimed they had been forged.

          This book is about these texts and the lost forms of Christianity they tried to authorize. Bart Ehrman,”Lost Christianities”, Introduction, pp. 2-3.

          All those who today still come to believe on THIER word are still being instructed and united to the SAME CHURCH BY THE SAME WORDS that were used two centuries ago AND ARE STILL ONE TO THIS DAY!

          Two centuries ago?

          Wise up and learn something.

          Christians who come to believe on the basis of all the protestant heretics out there are the ones who by their own ignorance or pride or both have NOT BEEN INSTRUCTED IN THIER WORD so are still separated. The prayer didn’t fail, you did.

          Just as many others would’ve said about those who held orthodox beliefs during the first, second, and third centuries…it took the power of an emperor under the influence of the African Christian teacher and apologist, one Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, in order for one group out of the plethora of competing Christianites to gain control. But even then there was never one Christianity.

          You are also failing to use all the other guides Catholics have been given for over two thousand years to correctly interpret scripture.

          Math is not your strong point, is it? Try doing some sums. Which scripture are you talking about? What other guidelines did the proto-orthodox use…no Catholics back then a have to inform you.

          You are also failing to recognize that it was the Catholic church that gave us the bible to begin with…

          Which buybull?

          Technically, it was the Reformation that gave us the Catholic buybull and that didn’t happen until the 16th century. Look up the Council of Trent.

          …so I’m sure as hell not going to believe what some 21st century half-assed atheist BS artist says he thinks the bible is saying.

          That’s the problem with the buybull. It is so ambiguous and open to interpretation that it makes everyone a bullshit artist in the end. Catholics are the biggest bullshit artist of the lot of us. The fucking stupid book wasn’t available to everyone for starters. Folk just had to soak up the bullshit that all those Catholic clerical bullshit artists pumped out. I think you are jealous that Greg knows more about your bullshit buybull than you do.

          Btw, “21st century half-assed atheist BS artist” is an ad hominem fallacy you stupid clown. And Greg wasn’t always an atheist. It was learning the contents of the buybull that was somewhat instrumental in abandoning his faith afaicr.

          The evidence that you’re dead wrong stares you and the rest of the world in the face every day but your either to brainwashed or dimwitted (or both) to acknowledge it. No, it’s you that can’t read it correctly.

          Spoiiiing!

          The irony meters are exploding on this forum like they are going out of fashion ffs.

          When are you going to dispense with the No True Scotsman fallacious arguments, that’s what I wanna know? It is mindwankery of the highest order. Catholicism was not the first Christianity.

          Catholicism grew out of Pauline Christianity. Paul himself related to the problems of divisions in the faith. First Corinthian’s 1:10-12.

          I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas (Peter)”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

          Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

          Paul’s advice failed miserably…as did the prophecy put into the mouth of Jesus by the gospel writers. You really need to brush up on current scholarship in these areas, it seems to me that you have been sold a pup.

        • Greg G.

          Ha ha ha! Even with your twisted reading, Judas Iscariot didn’t believe so the prayer was a failure. The whole world was not impressed and the whole world never believed. You have not shown the least bit of success but your brainwashing won’t let you think through your stupid apologetics. It’s like you are trying to make Jesus the second greatest failure of all time.

          If the Catholic Church was supposed to be the whole world, that ended with the first schism.

          Oh, wait! You are using all caps… I guess that convinces me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If the Catholic Church was supposed to be the whole world, that ended with the first schism.

          It never even got started.

          Judas Iscariot gets all the bad press, but he was the hero of the day in the yarn.

          Have you read Ehrman’s, “The Lost Gospel of Judas”….or even listened to it, as my copy is on audio book?

          Here’s a lecture on it…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIXwSjyxe88

        • Ameribear

          Ha ha ha! Even with your twisted reading, Judas Iscariot didn’t believe so the prayer was a failure.

          Judas Iscariot hung himself before the first apostles were even ordained you plank. Damn are you dense.

          The whole world was not impressed and the whole world never believed….It’s like you are trying to make Jesus the second greatest failure of all time.

          No that’s what your trying to do with your half-assed, failed attempt at interpreting scripture. Atheists attempting to interpreting scripture is as ridiculous as my cat attempting to drive. Oh wait, you’re not even as smart as my cat.

          If the Catholic Church was supposed to be the whole world, that ended with the first schism.

          That makes no sense (typical) and the Catholic Church is still here and still united moron. It didn’t disappear after the first schism. You suck at the bible, go find something else to monumentally fail at.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Judas Iscariot hung himself before the first apostles were even ordained you plank.

          What? Before being ordained?

          And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, ~Mark 3:14

          It was my understanding that the 12 were ordained at the Last Supper…and at least one well placed Roman Catholic agrees with me.

          https://gerardnadal.com/2012/03/19/were-the-apostles-the-first-deacons/

          Judas died by hanging?

          Did he now?

          http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/judas.html

          Or maybe Papias had the correct manner of death?

          http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2009/07/28/papias-on-judas-iscariot-as-reported-by-apollinaris-of-laodicea/

          Or maybe Judas was just a fictional character in a book as a literary device.

          How can anybody know? Paul knew fuck all about a Judas Iscariot.

          Damn are you dense.

          Yeah…you really are.

          No that’s what your trying to do with your half-assed, failed attempt at interpreting scripture.

          Says the man that thinks the 12…sorry, 11…got ordained after Judas, ahem, hung himself…ya plank.

          Atheists attempting to interpreting scripture is as ridiculous as my cat attempting to drive. Oh wait, you’re not even as smart as my cat.

          What is it with you dumb as fuck christers and dumb as fuck analogies?

        • Ameribear

          It was my understanding that the 12 were ordained at the Last Supper…and at least one well placed Roman Catholic agrees with me.

          You fail to take into account John chapter 20 and Acts chapter 2 neither one of which Judas was present for. The Apostles ordinations took place in stages (just like they do today) and culminated at Pentecost.

        • Greg G.

          They were all sanctified three verses before the prayer failure:

          John 17:17-19 (NRSV)17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

          I guess the sanctification didn’t take, which is another prayer failure, but not as great of a failure as the next four verses.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You fail to take into account John chapter 20 and Acts chapter 2 neither one of which Judas was present for.

          Nope…irrelevent.

          You are failing to take into account First Corinthians 15:5 & 7…

          And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

          After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

          Now I have no problem with Paul’s version of the “appearances” being visions, but you then you can’t eat yer cake and have too.

          The Apostles ordinations took place in stages (just like they do today) and culminated at Pentecost.

          Even if you could demonstrate that was the case, why was the Lord’s Supper not the culmination of the process? You have to ignore what the first gospel writer makes plain in order to contort your square apologetic peg into a round hole.

          You see, by your logic we can definitively say only a couple of apostles were “officially” ordained, because only a few of them are mentioned by name who seen Jesus post resurrection.

          The Bible says that Jesus made a number of appearances after His death. They were to a number of different people over a forty-day period. The Bible specifically says that on Easter Sunday Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the women that came to Jesus tomb (Mary the Mother of James, Salome, and Joanna), Peter, and two disciples on the Emmaus road. He also appeared to the remainder of the Twelve Disciples with Thomas absent. Later he appeared to them with Thomas present. There was also an appearance to seven disciples on the Sea of Galilee. On another occasion he appeared to over five hundred people at the same time. There is also an appearance to James. Finally Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus – the man who became the Apostle Paul.

          The whole yarn is so ambiguous that any amount of nonsense can be pulled out of it. When is Judas alleged to have died…vague…was it after the crucifixion…well after, according to the early Christian patriarch Papias.

        • Ameribear

          Even if you could demonstrate that was the case, why was the Lord’s Supper not the culmination of the process?

          Because there are two more instances of the imposition of the Holy Spirit that happened after the last supper took place. Duh!

          You see, by your logic we can definitively say only a couple of apostles were “officially” ordained, because only a few of them are mentioned by name who seen Jesus post resurrection.

          No, that’s by your logic. Your attempting to make a false connection between the ones Jesus ordained and the ones that are named.

          You don’t get it. You are attempting to impose own your personal interpretation of scripture which is complete BS. Your doing exactly what you criticize all the other denominations of doing and you don’t even realize it. You have no idea what a colossal ass you make of yourself by actually believing that all Christians get the bible wrong so it’s got to be up to the atheists to set them straight and then insulting our intelligence in the process.

          No, I don’t have to listen to a dumb-ass hypocrite who gets paid to copy and paste atheist BS. Your personal interpretation of scripture is worthless, the mountains of crap you post here have more errors in it than I can count and I don’t have the time and energy to refute it all. Thank you once again for demonstrating that atheism is a pathetic joke.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus is still the greatest prayer failure of all time. You haven’t addressed that. All you do is point at squirrels.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because there are two more instances of the imposition of the Holy Spirit that happened after the last supper took place.

          Well, even if ya are such a dumb cunt that you believe every bit of bullshit in the buybull, The Acts, seriously, so fucking what?

          The “imposition” for ordination is a later doctrine.

          Duh!

          Let’s see if you can be hoist by yer own petard?

          Rather than pull made up bullshit from my arse, I’ll stick with what the texts say…Mark 3…

          13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 and Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphæus, and Thaddæus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 and Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

          But let’s see what real Roman Catholics believe….not ignorant imbeciles like you…

          The answer, according to the Council of Trent, lies in Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The Council fathers declare:

          Council of Trent, session 22, ch. 1

          Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of mercies, so ordaining, that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord Jesus Christ, who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed,–that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit,–declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught.

          Why? Here’s the explanation given by Catholic Answers…

          Did Jesus Make the Apostles Priests at the Last Supper?

          https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/did-jesus-make-the-apostles-priests-at-the-last-supper

          According to your beloved Church, you are anathema…ohhhhps, a bet ya didn’t see that coming ya stupid fuckwit?

          You don’t get it. You are attempting to impose own your personal interpretation of scripture which is complete BS.

          Haaaa haaaa haaaa….am pishing myself laughing here…two armadillo’s…ya fucking Dime Bar.

          The irony is rank.

          Your doing exactly what you criticize all the other denominations of doing and you don’t even realize it.

          I’m playing devil’s advocate ya stupid Coco…as far as I’m concerned…it’s all made up bullshit in order to sell snake oil to gullible knuckle dragger’s like you.

          You have no idea what a colossal ass you make of yourself by actually believing that all Christians get the bible wrong so it’s got to be up to the atheists to set them straight and then insulting our intelligence in the process.

          Ameribear, history is cluttered to fuck with Christians interpreting their religious texts in contradictory ways, even within the denominations. So if some can be wrong, which they must be by definition, then they can all be wrong. Atheists are merely trying to point out this fuckwittery. It’s pretty hard to insult an intelligence not on display. I’ll leave it to those looking on to decide who it is that is making the colossal ass of themselves…you are in no position to make that judgement.

          No, I don’t have to listen to a dumb-ass hypocrite who gets paid to copy and paste atheist BS.

          Ah…yes…the strawman fallacious method of argumentation.

          Yet, here you are, “listening”, so whose the dumb-ass? Demonstrate hypocrisy, or shut ta fuck up. Demonstrate that someone you don’t have to “listen” to, is getting paid to copy & paste atheist BS, or shut ta fuck up. Demonstrate that what you are being provided here, is indeed atheist and/or bullshit, or shut ta fuck up.

          Your personal interpretation of scripture is worthless,…

          Not once have I expressed a personal interpretation of scripture, you’ve been doing that as far as I can determine. I take the interpretation I post from your fellow believers, or scholars in the field. If it doesn’t gen with your personal interpretation…take it up with them.

          …the mountains of crap you post here have more errors in it than I can count and I don’t have the time and energy to refute it all.

          And yet, in the few that you attempt to refute, you fail miserably. What is one to deduce from your complete and utter failure to refute anything? That you are a gullible ignorant dolt that thinks he knows more than actually does and can’t even do the basic due diligence before spewing shite? Yeah, we do.

          Thank you once again for demonstrating that atheism is a pathetic joke.

          Au contraire, thank YOU once again for demonstrating what pathetic joke that defenders of religion that come onto places like this turn out to be. Believers with a wee bit of sense steer clear, because getting a new arse tore at every hands turn gets painful after a time and they have the gumption to realise their nonsense is indefensible.

          On this occasion, you have shown that you are ignorant of the teachings of your own cult. That even on this issue there is no agreement, ergo, no unity…you have been right royally pwned. Try again.

        • Ameribear

          No kidding He intended to make them priests, show me where I denied that. Your presuming the ordination was completed at the last supper and you haven’t proven that. You missed my point again. If ordination was a one time event then why did Christ ordain them on the mountain, then at the last supper, then in the upper room and then again in Acts chapter 2? All the time and effort you spent copying and pasting this mound of manure and you still haven’t answered the question of why there are so many instances of ordinations taking place including the two that took place after the resurrection.

          On this occasion, you have shown that you are ignorant of the teachings of your own cult.

          On this occasion you’ve show that you are an aptly named lying sack of crap.

        • Kodie

          Everyone interprets the bible. You have your personal interpretation of it, but you bought the idea from the Catholic Church that their interpretation is the only correct one. That doesn’t set you or your beliefs apart from other denominations. It’s a popular book and a popular religion because the way you can read it is so malleable. You can make it mean anything and support any belief, and you all get to go to heaven, according to all Christians. Nobody thinks they’re believing the wrong way.

        • Pofarmer

          The whole yarn is so ambiguous that any amount of nonsense can be pulled out of it.

          Welcome to Catholic Theology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Something Ameribear is not grasping…either through ignorance, stupidity, or both…I’m opting for the later, given the evidence on display here.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m going with Catholic brainwashing, combined with Dunning Krueger. Let’s face it, the great thinkers aren’t in the Catholic Church any more.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That prognosis fits the evidence well also.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey, do you have that link for the late dating of the Gospels handy?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry Po…Disqus is not playing ball, so I’m getting notifications as old as a few days at the same time I’m getting one a few hours.

          Is it this one ya mean?

          http://commonpaine.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/dating-gospels.html

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. That’s it. Thanks!

        • Ignorant Amos

          That makes no sense (typical) and the Catholic Church is still here and still united moron.

          But it wasn’t there from the get go, it was never united, and it is not united today ya moron.

          https://orthodoxwiki.org/Timeline_of_Schisms

          And there is the risk of more schisming…

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/30/catholic-church-schism-pope-francis-liberal-conservative

          It didn’t disappear after the first schism.

          But it isn’t a unified Church ya fucking doughball. Do you know what schism means?

          schism:- a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.

          You suck at the bible, go find something else to monumentally fail at.

          Spoooiiiinnnng!

        • Ameribear

          But it wasn’t there from the get go, it was never united, and it is not united today ya moron.

          Yes it is ya moron. The Catholic church is still unified under one Pope with one teaching authority and is the only one that can legitimately trace it’s practices and teachings back to the time of Christ. It’s also the only one that can prove Christs promise that “the gates of hell would not prevail against it” is true.

          And there is the risk of more schisming…

          First of all that article you linked to gets so much wrong it makes my teeth hurt which is what I’ve learned to expect from our resident propaganda minister. Secondly it doesn’t matter how many schisms occurred because no schism throughout history has ever done away with the original church.

          But it isn’t a unified Church ya fucking doughball.

          Yes it is meathead. There’s still only one Catholic church.

        • Kodie

          You have still never answered any of my posts that explain to you how other Christians who are not Catholic are nevertheless “true Christians” by the fact that they sincerely believe an interpretation of the bible and the salvation of Jesus Christ. You can keep repeating your dumb self about how they are not really Christians according to your personal Catholic beliefs, but you don’t have an explanation why they are just as brainwashed as you are with a different flavor of Christianity than you are, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon either. I thought the original idea was that the world was supposed to be so impressed with the unity of the Catholic Church they couldn’t believe anything else, but you have yet to explain it, you only make excuses for how your church didn’t dissolve into nothing (yet), and pretend over and over that those other Christians aren’t really Christians, and whatever the other people all over the world who failed to be impressed to this day with Catholicism.

          None of this shit is sinking in for you yet.

        • Ameribear

          You have still never answered any of my posts that explain to you how other Christians who are not Catholic are nevertheless “true Christians” by the fact that they sincerely believe an interpretation of the bible and the salvation of Jesus Christ.

          Becoming a Christian is not a one time event. It is a lifelong process that requires believing and practicing everything Christ and His apostles taught. There are dozens of times in the bible that Christ made it very clear who the true Christians are and aren’t.

          You can keep repeating your dumb self about how they are not really Christians according to your personal Catholic beliefs…

          And you can keep displaying you acute ineptitude involving anything having to do with Christianity which is the main reason I’ve been ignoring your posts.

          I thought the original idea was that the world was supposed to be so impressed with the unity of the Catholic Church they couldn’t believe anything else,

          No Tinkerbell, you aren’t thinking. You’re repeating BS atheist talking points just like you always do. None of this is sinking in for you yet.

        • Kodie

          No, it just went over your head again. How can people believe they are true Christians but you don’t understand that? They are as Christian as you, not by the way they follow, but in the sincerity of their beliefs. I don’t care who you judge to be a true Christian, or even if there were a god, who he decides is a true Christian. Anyone who has fallen for any of the garbage in the bible, no matter which brand of cult they belong to, considers their interpretation correct, and can find dozens of times in the bible where Christ makes it very clear to them that they are the true Christians and you’re not.

          You keep avoiding this! Answer it!

          And B, you are settling for a mediocre outcome and making excuses. I know that’s what all Christians have to do in order to maintain their beliefs. The Catholic Church didn’t wow everyone, and in fact, many are disgusted by their “true” interpretation of the bible, especially making up shit like saints, stealing infants, raping children, and harboring criminal rapists. The “true” interpretation led to this. Believing that you act in righteousness leads all in any religion to perpetrate awfulness. Trying to please god, a fictional character, leads all people in any religion to justify violence and cruelty. Hiding behind god when someone accuses you, pretending well god said I’m better than you, look the bible says I’m living correctly because I believe this version of the horseshit. You’re not better than me. I’ve seen the things you write, how up your own ass you are, how hateful you are, how ugly you are on the inside, poisoned by your religion.

          You’re not responding to me because you can’t. I don’t think you’re smart or sensitive enough to be avoiding me because you realized all you had to offer was bullshit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes it is ya moron. The Catholic church is still unified under one Pope with one teaching authority and is the only one that can legitimately trace it’s practices and teachings back to the time of Christ. It’s also the only one that can prove Christs promise that “the gates of hell would not prevail against it” is true.

          I know you believe that pup you’ve been sold, but it is unfortunate that the evidence just doesn’t support your nonsense. So bang the drum as load as ya like, it is just gonna make the same noise ad nauseam. Be a god boy, go do some research and learn something.

          First of all that article you linked to gets so much wrong it makes my teeth hurt…

          That might well be true, but since you don’t demonstrate your assertion with support, I can ignore it as nonsense, so pah!

          …which is what I’ve learned to expect from our resident propaganda minister.

          Seriously? You are a funny guy. I’m not so sure you know how propaganda works, or what the word even means.

          Because Christianity has never pushed propaganda, and of all the Christian propaganda bullshit artists, the Catholic Church is not the worst offender, historically? //s

          Oh, wait a wee minute….what’s that? It means a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. Ya don’t say?

          Propaganda is a modern Latin word, the gerundive form of propagare, meaning to spread or to propagate, thus propaganda means that which is to be propagated. Originally this word derived from a new administrative body of the Catholic church (congregation) created in 1622, called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith), or informally simply Propaganda. Its activity was aimed at “propagating” the Catholic faith in non-Catholic countries.

          Wise ta fuck up Ameribear and go take your head for a shite, because it is constipated.

          Secondly it doesn’t matter how many schisms occurred because no schism throughout history has ever done away with the original church.

          Try reading for comprehension Ameribear, ffs.

          In the first place, the Roman Catholic Church was not the original Church, that is the propaganda you’ve sucked out of the tit you imbibe from. Insisting that it is in the face of the scholarship is just embarrassing yourself.

          Secondly, those that schismed claim they are the original Church of Jesus and what you believe is not. That’s why a schism happens ya ignorant fuckwit. You can’t demonstrate why they are wrong, because just like all the rest of their nonsense, you lot make it up as you go along too.

          The argument here is whether the Christian faith is united as per the prayer in John. No it’s not.

          You tried to pass it off as a prayer for the apostles alone…but your reading comprehension and apologetics are so contorted and fucked up, nobody can take you seriously anymore. Verses 1-19 do focus on the apostles. But then the prayer fucks you right up the arse and you need all the excuses.

          Jesus Prays for All Believers

          20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2017:6-26

          Now, in your mindwankery you are hinging on the premise that the word “THEIR” saves yer arse. That the only believers the “all” refers to is the believers who were preached to by the disciples. It doesn’t, because straight away the Christology of the different “apostles” diversify. But even then, we are using the modern canon. There were many texts used as scripture during the first few centuries…supposedly, with apostolic authority. The Gospel of Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter were used as scripture at least until the 6th century, even though they where proscribed as heretical by Serapion and known to be pseudepigraphal. Like many other texts used as scripture in the early century,including those that are in the NT.

          It is clear that there were conflicting Christianities from the get-go. The orthodox version cobbled together in the fourth century was not one of them. Talk about buying into the propaganda…stupid is, as stupid does.

          The Diversity of Early Christianity

          From the beginning, early Christians struggled to define for themselves the identity of Jesus and the meaning of his message.

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/diversity.html

          ETA sarcasm icon…//s…just in case.

        • Greg G.

          Judas Iscariot hung himself before the first apostles were even ordained you plank. Damn are you dense.

          You are grasping at straws. That happened after Jesus was arrested and only in Matthew. The prayer was a failure from the beginning because of Judas Iscariot. Ordainment is irrelevant.

          No that’s what your trying to do with your half-assed, failed attempt at interpreting scripture. Atheists attempting to interpreting scripture is as ridiculous as my cat attempting to drive. Oh wait, you’re not even as smart as my cat.

          I thought maybe the Bible had changed in the last two days but, no, verse 21 still says, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” and verse 23 still says, “so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” You can’t read so it is no wonder that you are having so much trouble with Bible interpretation.

          That makes no sense (typical) and the Catholic Church is still here and still united moron. It didn’t disappear after the first schism. You suck at the bible, go find something else to monumentally fail at.

          Which one is the Catholic Church? There have been many splits with each side believing they had the correct superstitions. All or them have changed over the centuries with the invention of “progressive revelation”. Adopting Augustine and Aquinas superstitions have dispelled many of the old superstitions.

        • Ameribear

          You are grasping at straws. That happened after Jesus was arrested and only in Matthew.

          It happened before John chapter 20 and Acts chapter 2 which is where Peter and the Apostles were given the final authority to begin their mission. The apostles ordinations had to take place in stages just like they still do today.

          You can’t read so it is no wonder that you are having so much trouble with Bible interpretation.

          I can read it and I also can and do take into consideration everything else you failed to.

          Which one is the Catholic Church? There have been many splits with each side believing they had the correct superstitions.

          The one that’s still here after 2000 years. The one no schism nor persecution, nor corruption has ever nor will ever be able to destroy.

          Adopting Augustine and Aquinas superstitions have dispelled many of the old superstitions.

          Adopting what Augustine and Aquinas taught has helped catholic doctrine develop through the centuries and has done nothing to compromise the unity of the church or undermine the magesterium.

        • Greg G.

          It happened before John chapter 20 and Acts chapter 2 which is where Peter and the Apostles were given the final authority to begin their mission. The apostles ordinations had to take place in stages just like they still do today.

          Jesus anticipated Judas’ betrayal in chapter 12. The prayer failure was in chapter 17. Judas Iscariot asked Jesus a question in John 14:22, then Jesus talks almost continuously, taking only a few questions from the disciples until the end of chapter 17, which ends three verses after the prayer failure. Then Jesus crossed the creek to go to the garden while Judas then goes to get the soldiers and officers. So Judas was there when Jesus spoke three and a half chapters including the prayer failure.

          So, it is a failure under your interpretation that he meant only the disciples because they all didn’t believe and under my interpretation that it means all Christians as “those who hear their word”, which seems to imply that their word does not have to be heard directly from them. I would expect a Catholic to agree with that due to apostolic succession. But no matter how that part is interpreted, the latter half fails, also, as the whole world does not believe because of their agreement.

          I can read it and I also can and do take into consideration everything else you failed to.

          Really? Why do I have to point out to you what the Bible actually says?

          The one that’s still here after 2000 years. The one no schism nor persecution, nor corruption has ever nor will ever be able to destroy.

          The original churches were house churches that were separate entities. The Catholic Church was one Christianity of many. Any branches from a schism have the same history as your branch and would be able to claim the same history and roots. It’s kind of like how Hebrews 7 justifies the Levite priests as being part of Abraham when he tithed to Melchizedek:

          Hebrews 7:9-10
          9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

        • Ameribear

          So Judas was there when Jesus spoke three and a half chapters including the prayer failure.

          Judas was not there when Christ appeared to the apostles in the upper room which happened after the resurrection. He also wasn’t there on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles.

          So, it is a failure under your interpretation that he meant only the disciples because they all didn’t believe

          No it isn’t. The apostles were in a period of preparation the entire time they followed Christ. That preparation wasn’t completed until Pentecost which was after Christ ascended and that means Judas failed to complete the preparation and missed out on two more imputations.

          and under my interpretation that it means all Christians as “those who hear their word”, which seems to imply that their word does not have to be heard directly from them. I would expect a Catholic to agree with that due to apostolic succession.

          “Their word” means starting at the original disciples and proceeding through their successors.

          But no matter how that part is interpreted, the latter half fails, also, as the whole world does not believe because of their agreement.

          This is more of your own personal interpretation which means it’s still baseless.

          Really? Why do I have to point out to you what the Bible actually says?

          You aren’t. You’re trying to tell me what you think the bible says and failing miserably at it.

          The original churches were house churches that were separate entities. The Catholic Church was one Christianity of many.

          The original church was founded by Christ himself on the authority he gave to St. Peter, the original apostles and their successors. The writings of the early church fathers show that the church in the first centuries was united in distinctly Catholic beliefs and practices that are still taught today.

          Any branches from a schism have the same history as your branch and would be able to claim the same history and roots.

          BS. Christ established His Church with Peter and his successors as it’s visible head for all time. When the others separated they broke off from apostolic succession and the Holy see. No valid priesthood, no valid sacraments, no Magesterium, no unity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          BS. Christ established His Church with Peter and his successors as it’s visible head for all time. When the others separated they broke off from apostolic succession and the Holy see. No valid priesthood, no valid sacraments, no Magesterium, no unity.

          And your fuckwittery continues.

          We know you think it is bullshit. We know you are biased on the issue. We know other flavours of Christianity believe different things and think yours is bullshit. We know those other flavours claim the right to call your flavour bullshit for various authoritative reasons including apostolic succession too. We know that apostolic succession was invented to give your flavour of the nonsense, and those others, a false authority.

          You can rattle on about this until you are blue in the face…it is the No True Scotsman fallacy epitomised. The problem you have is that you cannot demonstrate the veracity of your claim. Apostolic succession is made up Catholic bullshit and being a Catholic, you’ve invested in the snake oil.

          One aspect of Apostolic Succession that is frequently ignored by those who trumpet it is the issue of how exactly did this succession begin? One book that discusses this issue is From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church, by Francis A. Sullivan, a Catholic priest and theologian. While I have not yet finished reading this book (which I will review at a later date), it is clear to me that Sullivan rightfully believes that Apostolic Succession is something that is not readily provable in conception, and therefore must be accepted as a matter of faith. Sullivan concludes in the first chapter:

          “Neither the New Testament nor early Christian history offers support for a notion of apostolic succession as “an unbroken line of episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles down through the centuries to the bishops of today…such scholars (me: Catholics convinced that there is evidence of apostolic succession) agree that along with the evidence from the New Testament and early Christian documents, one must invoke a theological argument based on Christian faith to arrive at the conclusion that bishops are the successors of the apostles “by divine institution”.“

          https://cath2lds.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/the-problem-of-apostolic-succession/

          Here we come across yet another Roman Catholic fantasy. (Also read article on Peter). The idea of apostolic succession is built on nothing more than liberal guesswork, as a basis for persuading loyal Catholics (and others) that popes are descended spiritually from Peter. Or (forgive the jocularity), “Pull the other one – it’s got bells on it!”

          http://www.christiandoctrine.com/christian-doctrine/heresy-and-error/1291-apostolic-succession

          The Second Vatican Council therefore affirms that apostolic succession was put in place by “divine institution”. The question is, where is this “divine institution” recorded? As Father Sullivan states in his book, “Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish”.

          https://www.amazon.com/Apostles-Bishops-Development-Episcopacy-Church/dp/0809105349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266093842&sr=8-1

          For some inexplicable reason you think your bullshit is a done deal, but even Roman Catholic clerics know it is not.

          Even the Wiki page on the subject makes a nonsense of your asinine claims.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_succession

        • Ameribear

          The problem you have is that you cannot demonstrate the veracity of your claim.

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01641a.htm

          https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/as-the-father-has-sent-me-so-i-send-you

          https://www.scripturecatholic.com/apostolic-authority-succession/

          http://www.staycatholic.com/ecf_apostolic_succession.htm

          I take the interpretation I post from your fellow believers, or scholars in the field.

          You take interpretation from the first dissident hack you come across without ever bothering to find out if it’s true because you’re a lying intellectual slug.

          For some inexplicable reason you think your bullshit is a done deal.

          For a very explicable reason I think your bullshit is a done deal. Thank you once again for demonstrating that you and atheism are pathetic jokes.

        • Greg G.

          It happened before John chapter 20 and Acts chapter 2 which is where Peter and the Apostles were given the final authority to begin their mission. The apostles ordinations had to take place in stages just like they still do today.

          This is still irrelevant. The prayer is still a failure in every way.

          I can read it and I also can and do take into consideration everything else you failed to.

          You can bring in all irrelevant passages you can find, but the prayer is still a failure.

          The one that’s still here after 2000 years. The one no schism nor persecution, nor corruption has ever nor will ever be able to destroy.

          You are worshiping the church. You be you. I don’t care.

          Adopting what Augustine and Aquinas taught has helped catholic doctrine develop through the centuries and has done nothing to compromise the unity of the church or undermine the magesterium.

          If the doctrine has developed, it is not the same as it was before. The church has changed. All the different off-shoots have changed. None are the original church.

        • Ameribear

          This is still irrelevant. The prayer is still a failure in every way.

          Only in the context of your screwed up personal interpretation.

          You can bring in all irrelevant passages you can find, but the prayer is still a failure.

          Those passages were completely relevant and you failed to refute them just like you failed to refute the personhood argument. You cannot stand there and criticize all the other Christian denominations for having so many different interpretations of scripture and then turn around and try to impose your own. The moment you do, you’ve once again exposed yourself as the hypocrite you are. You interpretation carries zero authority so
          you can stick it right back where you pulled it out from.

          You are worshiping the church.

          Another one of your personal opinions I have no use for. I worship no one but Christ.

          If the doctrine has developed, it is not the same as it was before. The church has changed. All the different off-shoots have changed. None are the original church.

          Go find something else to suck at understanding.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Only in the context of your screwed up personal interpretation.

          Spooiiiing!…..and there goes another one.

          Those passages were completely relevant and you failed to refute them just like you failed to refute the personhood argument.

          Ballix.

          You cannot stand there and criticize all the other Christian denominations for having so many different interpretations of scripture and then turn around and try to impose your own. The moment you do, you’ve once again exposed yourself as the hypocrite you are.

          More asinine mindwankery.

          You don’t understand the concept of playing Devils Advocate, do ya?

          Greg’s personal view on this is that it is ALL a loada made up ballix, but for the sake of this particular interaction with you, he is taking a particular line for the sake of argument. In doing so, he is trying to do the impossible in trying to get you to look objectively, not through those biased Roman Catholic spectacles. He thinks it’s worth the effort, but at this stage I think he should stick to the “it’s all a loada ballix” line with you.

          You interpretation carries zero authority so you can stick it right back where you pulled it out from.

          Ohhhh noes, there goes another meter up in smoke.

          Around here, ya know, the place where you are trying to peddle your bullshit nonsense? Your interpretation carries less than zero authority, so you can stick it right back where you pulled it from. You are a cretin. Furthermore, in many other circles not non-believing, your bullshit nonsense also carries zero authority, so pah!

          Another one of your personal opinions I have no use for. I worship no one but Christ.

          Liar!

          Go find something else to suck at understanding.

          Spoooiiing! Fuck sake, the irony meters are going thick and fast here. How can you be so asinine with just the one head? You have come here, made a complete prat of yerself by talking out of yer arse, and because you failed miserably, this is your reply…what Dime Bar….two armadillo’s.

        • Ameribear

          In doing so, he is trying to do the impossible in trying to get you to look objectively, not through those biased Roman Catholic spectacles.

          Now it’s the meters on my side that are going up in smoke. I can think of a lot of ways to describe the lot of you but one word I would die before I used is objective. Holy crap, after the mountain of BS you posted here over the last couple of days, you’ve got to be putting me on with that one. I guess it really is true about getting the last laugh in because I’m certainly enjoying myself right now. What a gobshite!

          You have come here, made a complete prat of yerself by talking out of yer arse, and because you failed miserably, this is your reply…what a Dime Bar….two armadillo’s.

          Yeah, it sure as hell looks like you did.

        • Greg G.

          The prayer is that all the world would believe. That has never happened. Therefore the prayer is a failure. The world coming to believe would have to believe because of the agreement of Christians but you are trying to parse it down to an unimpressive number of select Christians. But the point of the prayer is still a failure. The question becomes “why would someone try to defend that?”

          The answer would be that you have been brainwashed by Catholicism:

          We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black, if the hierarchic Church defines it thus.
              –Ignatius of Loyola

          That is the kind of thinking that rational people find repugnant. It makes you defend sexual abuse of children, the covering up by the hierarchy, and allowing the spread of AIDS in Africa with a campaign against condoms. You see horrible things as good because it is the Church. You see lies as truth because the Catholic Church tells you to.

          Your crap is what repels people and ensures that Jesus is a prayer failure.

        • Ameribear

          The prayer is that all the world would believe.

          https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2012/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20120125.html

          “The third part of this priestly prayer extends to the end of time. In it Jesus turns to the Father in order to intercede for all those who will be brought to the faith through the mission inaugurated by the Apostles and continued in history: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their world”. Jesus prays for the Church of all time, he also prays for us (Jn 17:20).”

          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P9T.HTM

          “Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. the prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation.”

          The answer would be that you are an intellectual garden slug.

          You see horrible things as good because it is the Church. You see lies as truth because the Catholic Church tells you to.

          Once again I remind you that you who defend the intentional ending of innocent human lives in the womb have absolutely zero grounds for criticizing the behavior of any other institution. You are the one who see’s and defends horrible things as good and that makes you the most egregious hypocrite because you are so brainwashed you don’t even realize it when you make statements like this. There are no words to adequately describe your level of hypocrisy.

          Your crap is what repels people and ensures that Jesus is a prayer failure.

          Your crap is what ensures your worldview gets exposed as utter BS and reinforces the extreme likelihood that it is rapidly headed straight for the garbage dump of history. I personally can’t wait to see that.

        • Greg G.

          So now you repudiating all your other bullshit explanations about the prayer being directed at the (ordained) disciples. You are just punting to the future. Your claim is now, “Sure, the prayer has been a failure for two thousand years, but just you wait another ten or twenty thousand years, then you’ll see.” It’s a perfect scam. They never have to produce results and the scammed are too stupid to wise up.

          In the meantime, the Church is going to keep taking your money.

          The Bible tells us that Paul was telling everyone that the Messiah was coming any second now. He fully expected to be alive when it happened. That was two thousand years ago but still believers keep believing that Jesus is coming within their lifetime.

        • Ameribear

          Your objection has two parts. A) The ones being prayed for remain united and B) the world would come to believe God sent Jesus.

          The one’s He prayed for are indeed still united and Jesus never put a time limit on how long He expected it take for the world to come to believe. There is no repudiation of what I said earlier.

          The Bible tells us that Paul was telling everyone that the Messiah was coming any second now. He fully expected to be alive when it happened. That was two thousand years ago but still believers keep believing that Jesus is coming within their lifetime.

          We believe we should live as though His return is eminent but also reminded that no one knows when that will actually take place. This teaching is intended to prevent us from becoming lazy or complacent.

          https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2014/12/07/second-coming-still-coming/

        • Greg G.

          Your objection has two parts. A) The ones being prayed for remain united and B) the world would come to believe God sent Jesus.

          That is a rather sociopathic view of it. The ones being prayed for would be the unsaved of the world. Don’t you have some kind of Christian love for everybody or is empathy not part of your religion? The means of their salvation is that the believers should agree in order to impress them enough to join up.

          Why are you still banging on this? The prayer is a failure. It was done by the Son of God for everyone in the world and published in the best selling book of all time. If you disagree that it is the greatest prayer failure of all time, then present a greater one. If it is a prayer by anyone not worthy of unbuckling Jesus’ shoe, then it will be unlikely to make the case.

          The prayer was for the whole world to become believers. That never happened. Therefore, the prayer was a failure. Either it was because some significant number of Christians didn’t agree enough to impress the world, which would be a secondary failure, or the idea that the agreement of Christians would impress people enough to become believers was wrong, which would be a major fault in the construction of the prayer that caused it to be a failure.

          The world population has been roughly a half billion or so on average from the first century until recent centuries and, being generous to make the math simpler, let’s say the average life span was 50 years so there were roughly a billion deaths per century so close to 20 billion since the prayer was supposedly made. Most of them were not Christians and fewer were Catholic. Now there are about 7.5 billion people and let’s put the life span at 75 years meaning there will be about 10 billion deaths in the next century, mostly non-Christian and non-Catholic.

          If everybody at some imaginary time in the future finally believes because there is agreement among Christians, all those deaths before that time makes it a failure, unless you want to be so sociopathic that the prayer was not intended to save everybody from the time of the prayer forward.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t you have some kind of Christian love for everybody or is empathy not part of your religion?

          I’m going to assume that’s rhetorical.

        • Ameribear

          Why are you still banging on this? The prayer is a failure.

          You’re the one who keeps banging. The prayer is a failure only by your personal imaginary criteria.

          The prayer was for the whole world to become believers. That never happened.

          Or it could be that the game hasn’t ended yet.

          If everybody at some imaginary time in the future finally believes because there is agreement among Christians, all those deaths before that time makes it a failure, unless you want to be so sociopathic that the prayer was not intended to save everybody from the time of the prayer forward.

          You cannot presume all those deaths resulted in all those who died going to hell either.

        • Greg G.

          You cannot presume all those deaths resulted in all those who died going to hell either.

          If there was any substance to your superstition, most of them would have gone to hell. That means that if your future wet dream happened, it would still be a failure. Do you think Jesus just prayed for a rhetorical victory or was he praying for everybody?

        • Ameribear

          If there was any substance to your superstition, most of them would have gone to hell.

          On what basis?

          That means that if your future wet dream happened, it would still be a failure.

          Only by your contrived personal interpretation of the issue.

          Do you think Jesus just prayed for a rhetorical victory or was he praying for everybody?

          He was most certainly praying for everybody.

        • Greg G.
          If there was any substance to your superstition, most of them would have gone to hell.

          On what basis?

          Most people are not Christian, let alone Catholic.

          Do you think Jesus just prayed for a rhetorical victory or was he praying for everybody?

          He was most certainly praying for everybody.

          Since many people died without believing because they never got the chance to be convinced by the unity of Christians.

          This should be obvious to you. Why bother to ask such stupid questions?

        • Ameribear

          Since many people died without believing because they never got the chance to be convinced by the unity of Christians.

          You are presuming that most or all those people went to hell
          because of that. You’re saying they ended up in hell because they weren’t catholic. Sorry, that is about as separated from church teaching as it gets. The Church does not teach that only Catholics are going to heaven.

          This is what happens when people who have no business trying
          to interpret scripture attempt it anyway. The crap you come up with isn’t any different than the WBC or any other crackpot cult. There are over two centuries of material the Church has drawn on to develop the correct understanding of scripture and you haven’t availed yourself of any of it. You cannot simply rip scripture passages out the many different contexts necessary to correctly interpret them and then base some hair brained dogma on it.

        • Greg G.

          Can you prove they wouldn’t go to hell? Can you prove there is a hell? If people don’t need to be Catholic or Christian to not go to hell, then why bother with it?

          There are over two centuries of material the Church has drawn on to develop the correct understanding of scripture and you haven’t availed yourself of any of it.

          Two centuries trying come up with a self-consistent fairy tale is a waste of time. You are no better off from it than the Egyptians were 4000 years ago. See what happens with two centuries of effort is given to understanding reality with “no need of that hypothesis*”, by comparing the science of 1800 with the science of 2000.

          *Whether or not LaPlace actually said that, the quote has been quoted many times since at least the 1820s.

        • Kodie

          There’s a huge difference between a sentient 10-year-old boy and an 8-week non-sentient embryo. If you think that is hypocrisy, you’re still stalling on explaining why they are the same. You can’t keep giving emotional answers like “innocent”.

        • Ameribear

          Where does sentience come from? What causes it? At what point does an unborn human become sentient? Hint: It’s well before birth.

          What level of sentience constitutes a person? If your standard is complete sentience then anyone who’s ability to sense the environment is impaired or undeveloped (blindness, deafness) isn’t a person.

          If sentience determines personhood then anyone in a coma isn’t a person.

        • Kodie

          You need a brain first to have sentience. You don’t seem to have sentience.

        • Ameribear

          You need a brain first to think about and resolve the logical consequences of your latest failed attempt to justify murder before you post it. You don’t seem to have a brain.

        • Kodie

          What murder?

        • Ameribear

          The intentional ending of the life of another human being. Which is what you have yet to prove that abortion isn’t.

        • Kodie

          I just want to ask if you think killing an enemy in war is murder, if you think executing a violent criminal is murder, or if self-defense is murder, or is removing someone whose brain is dead from life support, is that murder? Was Saddam Hussein murdered? Was Osama bin Laden murdered? Was Timothy McVeigh murdered? Was Ted Bundy murdered? Was John Wayne Gacy murdered?

          Just asking.

        • Ameribear

          There are legitimate reasons to justify taking the life of another human being. Abortion isn’t and will never be one of them.

        • Kodie

          Oh, so we can separate some kinds of ending of human lives and call them something other than murder. Abortion definitely is one of those things.

        • Susan

          Where does sentience come from? What causes it?

          A cleaner question to Kodie would be “what is sentience?”

          What level of sentience constitutes a person?

          Good question. What is “sentience”? What constitues a “person”?

          If sentience determines personhood then anyone in a coma isn’t a person.

          Sentience. You can find other versions of the definition but we can start here: I think it’s roughly what Kodie is getting at. She can correct me if I’m wrong.

          http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sentient?s=t

          Coma. Again, it’s just a start. Comas don’t seem to preclude sentience.

          http://www.dictionary.com/browse/coma?s=t

          Single cells do seem to.

        • Ameribear

          I agree to that definition of sentience.

          That definition of coma certainly seems to preclude sentience.

          If you define personhood by sentience the first problem you are faced with is establishing some level of sentience to define the existence of a person. Such a standard must encompass all born humans because we do not all possess the same level of sentience.

          Single cells do seem to.

          I knew it wouldn’t take long for you to spit up another abortion industry talking point.

          What comes into existence after conception is in the form of a single cell but does not have the same nature as any other single cell. Also everything needed to give rise to sentience is present in it’s earliest stage of development at that time.

          The second problem you’re faced with is that science has shown that unborn humans are sentient well before birth.

        • Susan

          That definition of coma certainly seems to preclude sentience.

          I don’t see how.

          https://www.webmd.com/brain/coma-types-causes-treatments-prognosis#3

          If you define personhood by sentience

          No one has. The point is that sentience is necessary but not sufficient.

          Also everything needed to give rise to sentience is present in it’s earliest stage of development at that time.

          No. It requires a host body from which it takes everything it needs to develop. ..

          It is not sentient. It is a cell.

        • Otto

          >>>”Once again I remind you that you who defend the intentional ending of innocent human lives in the womb”

          So at what point does original sin attach itself to a person so they are no longer innocent?

          It is always interesting to hear a Catholic apologist whine and moan about the innocent and at the same time support a group that tells children they are so sinful they needed someone to be brutally tortured and killed for God to let go of his wrath for them.

        • Ameribear

          So at what point does original sin attach itself to a person so they are no longer innocent?

          Conception. But your equating original sin with the act of committing a sin and they are two different things. Original sin is being in a state of separation from God, venial and mortal sin involve willfully engaging in a sinful act.

          It is always interesting to hear a Catholic apologist whine and moan about the innocent and at the same time support a group that tells children they are so sinful they needed someone to be brutally tortured and killed for God to let go of his wrath for them.

          Is your gripe about the fact that that’s what we teach our kids or the fact that Christ had to die the way he did?

        • Otto

          My gripe is the way the RCC lies to kids and talks out of both sides of their mouth. Either a child is innocent or deserving of punishment, it can’t be both.

        • Susan

          Is your gripe about the fact that that’s what we teach our kids or the fact that Christ had to die the way he did?

          I’m guessing the former. It’s real.

          The latter is asking for special concern for the suffering of an imaginary character who created suffering in the first place, and who, in the story, didn’t suffer as much as most earthlings who ever lived.

          When I say imaginary character, I mean “Christ”, not “Jesus”. I don’t care enough about the historicity of Jesus to deny hat he existed or even discuss the subject. “Christ” is not the same subject.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You actually buy this tripe? Bwhaaahahahahahaha….

        • TheNuszAbides

          The WBC like every other protestant sect selectively chooses the passages of scripture to support their views and ignores all the others that refute them.

          if you mean they don’t waste time and ink and parchment and imprimaturs on crafting theological flim-flam around anything they might worry about anyone else ‘misunderstanding’, well, duh. they started with a lot less money and a lot fewer people, so they’re unlikely to spend much if any of it on that kind of hobby.
          also, “selectively chooses” is using at least 200% of the words necessary to get your already-pompous-enough point across, and “[selects/chooses] passages of scripture to support their views” isn’t anything special. perhaps you’re addicted to flooding the conversation with gratuitous verbiage because you’re worried that just saying “… like every other protestant sect ignores all the passages of scripture that refute their views” because some tiny corner of your brain actually remembers that appeal to supernatural authority is a sandcastle in the sky when you’re arguing with people who aren’t convinced of fantasies compatible with yours.

        • MNb

          “The WBC is a crackpot cult.”
          So is your beloved RCC. Everything that follows in your comment fully applies to her. Everytime you try to sell rotten catholic fruit as fresh and healthy you confirm it.

        • Ameribear

          Every time you try to sell rotten atheist fruit you confirm how bigoted and intellectually bankrupt you and your worldview are.

        • MNb

          Thanks. When a stupid bigot like you (how are your Aristotelean locomotives going?) writes something like that it’s a compliment.

        • Ameribear

          Fine thanks. How’s your “the universe just is” going?

        • MNb

          Good to read that you’re still a liar, incapable of curing his ill manners.
          I never wrote “the Universe just is”.
          However I can say Quantum Fields just are exactly like you maintain that your god just is.

          Also good to read that you stick to your false representation of physics. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from a liar like you.

        • Ameribear

          Are you saying that quantum fields simply exist by themselves completely non-contingent on anything else to sustain them in existence?

        • MNb

          I am saying that nothing prevents quantum fields from simply existing by themselves completely non-contingent on anything else to sustain them in existence – just like your god.
          I am also saying that if we find something else quantum fields are contingent on that something else will be natural – and will simply exist by itself etc. just like your god.
          In other words, I’ve noticed that you apologists never even try to show that that thing that simply exists by itself etc. must be of a supernatural, immaterial, transcendental nature. You guys just issue this as a decree. That’s called God of the Gaps, a well known logical fallacy, first recognized by ….. theologians.
          In some more other words, the entire Hilbert’s Hotel nonsense WLC is so in love with is not only nonsense, but fails on its own conditions.
          In yet some more other words, the undesirability of infinite regress on its own is not enough to justify the salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine world.

        • Ameribear

          I am saying that nothing prevents quantum fields from simply existing by themselves completely non-contingent on anything else to sustain them in existence – just like your god.

          Is it possible for quantum fields to exist or not exist? Can quantum fields come into and pass out of existence? Are there laws that govern them?

          I am also saying that if we find something else quantum fields are contingent on that something else will be natural – and will simply exist by itself etc. just like your god.

          So you’re saying that you are certain that quantum fields are non-contingent then you say that if they aren’t then whatever they’re contingent on will be non-contingent. If we find out that quantum fields are contingent on something else to sustain them in existence, then why wouldn’t you’d be right back to asking the same questions about whatever that may be?

          In order for anything to be able to exist free of contingency on anything else it’s defined as necessary not natural.

          In other words, I’ve noticed that you apologists never even try to show that that thing that simply exists by itself etc. must be of a supernatural, immaterial, transcendental nature. You guys just issue this as a decree.

          Not true. There are volumes of work that show why that line of reasoning is true. Proving that it’s true cannot be adequately addressed in a com box exchange.

          That’s called God of the Gaps, a well known logical fallacy, first recognized by ….. theologians. In some more other words, the entire Hilbert’s Hotel nonsense WLC is so in love with is not only nonsense, but fails on its own conditions.

          WLC uses Hilbert’s Hotel to defend the second premise of the
          KCA. That’s not what I understand god of the gaps to mean nor is it relevant to the materiality/immaterialty question.

          In yet some more other words, the undesirability of infinite regress on its own is not enough to justify the salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine world.

          It is if you bothered to grasp the reasoning behind it. Whatever
          is immaterial is not necessarily divine either. You’re problem is that your argument for materialism presupposes the very thing you’re trying to disprove.

        • MNb

          “Is it possible for quantum fields to exist or not exist?”
          Good question! Applause! A much smarter guy than us – an archeologist – once asked this question to a physicist.
          First problem is to make clear what we mean with “exist”. The physicist couldn’t answer it. Neither can I. Can you?

          “Can quantum fields come into and pass out of existence?”
          Perhaps, perhaps not.

          “Are there laws that govern them?”
          Perhaps, perhaps not.
          If they are the foundation of our natural reality though they also found the laws of physics as we know them (unless they are totally busted; your beloved Aristotelean physics won’t qualify, however within very strict limits Flat Earth Theory will).

          “So you’re saying that you are certain ….”
          No. Good to read you haven’t worked on your cognitive reaking skills yet.
          What did I write again? Oh yes, I used words like possible, nothing prevents, if.

          “There are volumes of work that show why that line of reasoning is true. Proving that it’s true cannot be adequately addressed in a com box exchange.”
          Then it’s a safe bet that those volumes are full of ambiguities and deepities that are meant to obfuscate. I always find it funny that I can explain what a difficult concept like quantum fields mean while apocgists never can do the same with that salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine one.

          “That’s not what I understand god of the gaps to mean ”
          That’s your problem, not mine.

          “Whatever is immaterial is not necessarily divine either.”
          Then it’s a good thing I never wrote that.

          “You’re problem is that your argument for materialism presupposes the very thing you’re trying to disprove.”
          Your problem is that you have poor comprehensive reading skills. None of my presuppositions assume anything supernatural or immaterial. Of course they are metaphysical, but that’s not the same. Example: the presupposition that Ockham’s razor is a reliable way to decide between two mutually exclusive statements is metaphysical, but by no means require some supernatural, immaterial reality.

        • Susan

          Fine thanks.

          You know that’s not true.

        • Kodie

          Their motivation for bigotry is the same brand of superstition, using the same instruction manual as you do. That doesn’t mean you are the true Christian, it just means having a belief in something imaginary and believing it to be real can serve any number of outcomes, some of which are violent and hate-filled motives and acts. That you can hide behind your stupid fucking book with your stupid fucking beliefs and call others NOT REALLY CHRISTIAN is your own set of erroneous beliefs borne of that erroneous book. You are in total ignorance of your brothers and sisters in Christ and it’s not up to you to deny them. If there were a real god, that would be his job, but here on planet earth, we know that the bible is a big book of bullshit and people who believe it and interpret it to fit their own cause are equally wrong, and only some are more dangerous than others.

        • Greg G.

          The Westboro Baptist Church has never held Inquisitions or witch burnings.

          When Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, Ameribear steps up to the front of the line.

        • Ameribear

          Dredging up bad behavior from several centuries ago does nothing but make you look really feckless.

          Once again, because of your open advocacy of abortion you haven’t got a leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing what anyone else is guilty of. Cast the first stone indeed.

        • Greg G.

          Leviticus 17:11 (NIV)11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

          A fertilized egg has no blood. Blood has cells, proteins, and liquids that are not in the zygote. The Bible says you are wrong. Argue with your imaginary god about it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hoist by their own petard.

        • Ameribear

          You still deliberately either missed or forgot the distinctions I made earlier. The fact that you attempting to justify abortion with this worthless BS proves you’re flailing about trying to find something
          that sticks.

        • TheNuszAbides

          devastating assertions! why are you so reluctant to present them with something resembling, hmm, logic?

        • Greg G.

          Your distinctions have been refuted. They don’t add up. You can shut up now.

        • Ameribear

          No, they haven’t. Not even close. Feel free to take another stab at it if you want or you can shut the hell up now. I repeatedly asked you and others here questions about the logical consequences of your positions that none of you ever gave me a straight answer on.

        • Greg G.

          Your go-to is that personhood begins at conception. I have shown you several times that a zygote can be any number of persons from zero to five or six, including fractions so that cannot be the beginning of a person. You cannot even do simple arithmetic. You can’t think because you are brainwashed.

          Don’t you know anyone who likes you? Go hang out there.

        • Ameribear

          Your go-to is that personhood begins at
          conception. I have shown you several times that a zygote can be any number of persons from zero to five or six, including fractions so that cannot be the beginning of a person.

          Why does that change anything? Personhood is not contingent
          on any specific quantity.

          You can’t think because you are brainwashed.

          No, that would be your problem.

          Don’t you know anyone who likes you? Go hang out there.

          What fun would that be?

        • Greg G.

          Personhood is not contingent
          on any specific quantity.

          Personhood is contingent on a process. The process is a collection of brain processes. Brain processes require a capable brain.

        • Ameribear

          I have shown you several times that a zygote can be any number of persons from zero to five or six, including fractions so that cannot be the beginning of a person.

          Your previous statement points out that a zygote can be any number of persons or fractions of persons which is still irrelevant to when personhood begins. I pointed out that the quantity of persons that emerge has nothing to do with when personhood begins and you reply by shifting back to brain function which has nothing to do with your previous point.

          Then how many brain processes does it take to constitute a
          person? What level of brain function must be present for you to declare a person has come into existence? This is another question I’ve repeatedly asked you to answer and you haven’t. Your whole argument for personhood hinges on this point and you have yet to define precisely what it is. You have refuted nothing.

        • Greg G.

          Then how many brain processes does it take to constitute a
          person? What level of brain function must be present for you to declare a person has come into existence? This is another question I’ve repeatedly asked you to answer and you haven’t. Your whole argument for personhood hinges on this point and you have yet to define precisely what it is. You have refuted nothing.

          Exactly how many whiskers does it take to make a beard? Doesn’t the location of each whisker make the number vary? If you can’t answer that simple question, why expect anyone to be able to answer that?

          I do not know how many brain processes nor which specific ones it would be. We would have to be able to identify them first. But we can tell when a brain has zero capability of any processes, such as when the brain doesn’t exist. Sufficient brain processes would require a highly functioning brain. I am skeptical that a brain is anywhere close to being capable of functioning at that level with the amount of oxygen available through a placenta.

          As far as the abortion issue goes, it is irrelevant. Even if the fetus is a person, it has no right to use another person’s organs without the consent of the other person.

        • Ameribear

          If you can’t answer that simple question, why expect anyone to be able to answer that?

          Then stop making assertion that you know cannot be answered. This is another BS tactic you employ to see to it that the question of when a new human life begins never gets definitively answered. It’s a dodge.

          I do not know how many brain processes nor which specific ones it would be. We would have to be able to identify them first.

          Then your insistence on using them as a means of establishing personhood is worthless. Even if you could identify them you’d still be stuck with the problem of determining what the minimum number and type would have to be to encompass all living humans both healthy and disabled.

          But we can tell when a brain has zero capability of any processes, such as when the brain doesn’t exist. Sufficient brain processes would require a highly functioning brain.

          I showed you proof that the brain is present in the first trimester. That same proof shows that the brain develops out of what came into existence after conception which means it’s there from the start in it’s earliest stage of development just like everything else. If establishing personhood requires a highly functioning brain than anyone living with a brain that functions below your completely arbitrary line isn’t a person.

          I am skeptical that a brain is anywhere close to being capable of functioning at that level with the amount of oxygen available through a placenta.

          The brain of an unborn human gets enough oxygen to function at the level that is required for it’s stage of development.

          As far as the abortion issue goes, it is irrelevant. Even if the fetus is a person, it has no right to use another person’s organs without the consent of the other person.

          It is totally relevant because it is a person at conception (which you’ve still failed to disprove) which means it’s right to life trumps your imaginary bodily autonomy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          is there a Catholic Big Book of What Comas, Alzheimer’s etc. Say about the Soul?

        • adam
        • TheNuszAbides

          but but but Psaul New Covenant Handwave!

        • TheNuszAbides

          That’s inferring

          you are the one inferring, and it’s a false (or at best, ignorantly lazy) inference (unless masteradrian would care to verify it for us) since it doesn’t rely on a clear implication. of course, you already knew the difference between ‘imply’ and ‘infer’, right? sure you did. it was just a slip. which you probably won’t admit even if you did already know the difference.

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

      Sorry, but why would I sit down with someone christian who wishes me dead?

      That’s pretty much what Daryl Davis’s situation was (black man approaching members of the Klan), and he sat down with them.

      I live in Seattle. Tell me about how Christians want atheists dead where you live.

      I may be wrong, but when I see people being kicked and murdered who are homosexual

      Is the antagonism because you are gay or because you are an atheist? I’m guessing the former.

      I see no reson to sit down with those people and discuss my orientation with them!

      Do what you need to do to stay safe, but a black man in America hanging out with and befriending members of the KKK sounds like it might be very analogous. I suggest you listen to the first part of the interview. It should apply to you more than to me.

      When these people demand my death based on the fact that I am homosexual I feel these people have lost the right to open end about, these people in my opinion lost the right to respect, the ight even to exist!

      Don’t respond to violence with violence if you can help it.

      BTW, I’ve written a lot about homosexuality here. If you want ammunition against Christian homophobia, those posts may be helpful. Use the Search box.

  • eric

    Some good advice there, but I’m skeptical it will work as well for the atheist/theist discussions. AIUI, there’s all sorts of studies that point to bigotry declining as the person becomes more familiar with the object of their bigotry. Humanize someone your subject considers an other, and they often stop thinking of them as ‘the other.’ Mr. Davis is (knowingly or unknowingly) leveraging this effect. This is not to belittle his effort or his success – what he does is difficult, exceptional, and I think it’s wonderful that it works. He’s IMO remarkable for what he chooses to do. But I also expect that if he had many affable dinners and conversations with Klansmen where they never even talked about race, he’d have been almost as successful. This is the reason you find more liberals in cosmopolitan areas and more conservatives in rural ones; because simply interacting with a lot of different types of people – regardless of the content of your discussions with them – tends to make you more accepting of people different from yourself.

    I think that same effect is not going to be as strong in atheism/theism discussions. It will still be there – particularly helping atheists, since it may be the case that some theists think of atheists badly not knowing they’ve ever met one (and this effect is IMO a reason to be out about ones’ atheism). But I don’t think such ‘naive religiousism’ is a strong or as prevalent as ‘naive racism’ is amongst klansmen. So the benefits of ‘humanizing yourself’ won’t be giving us quite the assist it’s probably giving Mr. Davis.

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

      Interesting food for thought. I wonder–how similar is revulsion against a black man by a KKK member (or just a generally conservative person) compared to revulsion against an atheist by a insular, conservative Christian (or just an ordinary one)?

      The KKK member is likelier to imagine violence against non-Christians than Christians would against atheists, but there’s not much actual violence in either case.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      This is the reason you find more liberals in cosmopolitan areas and more conservatives in rural ones; because simply interacting with a lot of different types of people – regardless of the content of your discussions with them – tends to make you more accepting of people different from yourself.

      That’s not necessarily true, although definitely a received view. See the Heterodox Academy article Liberals, Conservatives, and Intolerance, which gives an overview of recent psychological research which points to equal intolerance for differing viewpoints. Being open-minded makes you closed-minded toward the closed-minded. Also, it’s important for the research to punch through façades of tolerance; talking the talk is different from walking the walk.

  • skl

    “First, give the other person the
    safe space to express themselves. Ask honest questions, but don’t
    attack.
    You’re having a conversation…Instead of hate,
    you should rely on logic, respect, and patience.
    … Make your point, correct errors in
    logic or facts, or get annoyed at rhetorical gamesmanship, but don’t
    be insulting or condescending
    . State your correction, but don’t
    delight in their failure or make them feel stupid.

    I’m not even religious, let alone Christian, but I hope someday maybe many of my Cross Examined “conversation”
    partners will follow this advice with me.

    • Otto

      Maybe if you would be a bit more honest in your positions instead of sealioning.

    • epeeist

      As many here are aware I am support this position put forward by Salman Rushdie:

      At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

      However this does not work with those whose personal identity is intimately tied in with a system of ideas (and religion in particular on this forum). They see any criticism of the system of ideas as a personal attack.

      As well as ideologues it doesn’t work with those knowledge and understanding is so poor or those who so overestimate their capabilities that they they simply do not see or will not see that their position has been undermined (Yes Robert Lockett, I am looking at you).

      But as for “safe spaces”, there is another apposite Rushdie quotation:

      The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted is absurd. So too is the notion that people should have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted. A fundamental decision needs to be made: do we want to live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other’s positions. (But they don’t shoot.)

      • Greg G.

        However this does not work with those whose personal identity is intimately tied in with a system of ideas (and religion in particular on this forum). They see any criticism of the system of ideas as a personal attack.

        We are seeing something like that on a larger scale. The national anthem is traditionally played before football games. A professional football player decided to sit during the anthem to protest racial inequality but was told by a teammate that kneeling would make the point while showing honor. Other players began to do it, too.

        But conservative media framed it as a protest against America. It is like racism is so ingrained in our culture that a protest against racism is seen as a protest against America. The president has called for the NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the anthem, but his motivation is suspect since he once sued the NFL for $1.2 billion and won $3.76. The Kruger-Dunning is strong in some of those who think that way as shown by the country music artist who was famous 30 years ago tweeted that he was not watching football as he normally would be at the time because he was boycotting the NFL’s Thursday Night Football game, but it was Wednesday night.

        • skl

          “But conservative media framed it as a protest against
          America. It is like racism is so ingrained in our culture that a protest
          against racism is seen as a protest against America.”

          I think I can understand the conservative media’s point. It could be like a couple guests at a wedding reception very noticeably turning their backs to the new spouses during the toast or the grand entrance because the bride or groom does or once did something that upset them. It could be reasonably seen as an inappropriate, disrespectful and unbalanced action.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t half talk some shite skl.

          That mindwankery is straight out of the Christian Apologists Big Book of Nonsense Analogies.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the Christian Apologists Big Book of Nonsense Analogies

          we should totally get adam to design the cover for that. which reminds me of my most recent favorite:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94b7038e9e232639e685475c4efc1b45071668b862e84863e026d24e4c7dbaec.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Not reasonably when it is not about the flag. Kneeling is not a sign of disrespect, but a sign of respect, which is why Kapernick changed to kneeling from sitting when it was explained to him.

          Many of those who are complaining wear “Make America Great Again” hats with the US Flag sewn on the side.

          According to United States Flag Code (Federal law – Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq)) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Flag_Code

          The flag should not be used as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery”, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general (exception for coffins).

          The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed, or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

          So you can’t say they are reasonable.

        • Otto

          Funny how those rules are either ignored or people are ignorant about them.

          My neighbor complained about another neighbor’s use of the flag, the person complaining had a flag he flew 24 hours. I pointed out he was breaking the flag code too, he wasn’t lighting his flag at night.

          Point is we all can point fingers at each other and be outraged, I am not sure where that gets us though…it certainly does not seem to be a good place.

        • skl

          “Not reasonably when it is not about the flag. Kneeling is not a sign of disrespect, but a sign of respect, which is why Kapernick changed to kneeling from sitting when it was explained to him.”

          I thought that, in America at least, kneeling was not a sign of respect but a sign of worship of a deity.
          (Also, if Kapernick needed to have explained to him that it is not respectful to sit while everyone else is standing then he may need a lot of other commonly understood things explained to him.)

          “Many of those who are complaining wear “Make America Great Again” hats with the US Flag sewn on the side.
          According to United States Flag Code
          (Federal law – Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et
          seq)) https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
          The flag should not be used as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery””

          I thought the mini flag embroidered on the hat was like the
          mini flag lapel pin some people, including presidents, sometimes wear. Example:

          https://www.google.com/search?q=presidents+wearing+american+flag+lapel+pin&tbm=isch&imgil=UmZqzSgphG-V7M%253A%253BdKAbaMY60-F7EM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.snopes.com%25252Fpolitics%25252Fobama%25252Fflagpin.asp&source=iu&pf=m&fir=UmZqzSgphG-V7M%253A%252CdKAbaMY60-F7EM%252C_&usg=__LwicHqaTxBxnp2FUa5Ow7g40ifw%3D&biw=1093&bih=484&ved=0ahUKEwjM3_je78rWAhWhslQKHTFfBrwQyjcIbA&ei=inzOWczyNaHl0gKxvpngCw

        • Greg G.

          I thought that, in America at least, kneeling was not a sign of respect but a sign of worship of a deity.
          (Also, if Kapernick needed to have explained to him that it is not respectful to sit while everyone else is standing then he may need a lot of other commonly understood things explained to him.)

          The story I saw said that a teammate who had been in the military suggested kneeling which is what they do for fallen comrades as a sign of respect.

          I thought the mini flag embroidered on the hat was like the
          mini flag lapel pin some people, including presidents, sometimes wear.

          From the United States Flag Code with the link above:

          The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers, and members of patriotic organizations.

          Flag lapel pins may also be worn (they are considered replicas) and are worn near the heart.

          They are not the same.

        • Ignorant Amos

          More sealioning ffs….

          I thought that, in America at least, kneeling was not a sign of respect but a sign of worship of a deity.

          At first glance, research into emotion and nonverbal communication suggests that there is nothing threatening about kneeling. Instead, kneeling is almost always deployed as a sign of deference and respect. We once kneeled before kings and queens and altars; we kneel to ask someone to marry, or at least men did in the old days. We kneel to get down to a child’s level; we kneel to beg.

          While we can’t know for sure, kneeling probably derives from a core principle in mammalian nonverbal behavior: make the body smaller and look up to show respect, esteem, and deference. This is seen, for example, in dogs and chimps, who reduce their height to show submissiveness. Kneeling can also be a posture of mourning and sadness. It makes the one who kneels more vulnerable. In some situations, kneeling can be seen as a request for protection—which is completely appropriate in Kaepernick’s case, given the motive of his protest.

          (Also, if Kapernick needed to have explained to him that it is not respectful to sit while everyone else is standing then he may need a lot of other commonly understood things explained to him.)

          Because you never need anything explained to you, you’re a proper Einstein…NOT!

          Talk about exploding irony meters.

          I thought the mini flag embroidered on the hat was like the mini flag lapel pin some people, including presidents, sometimes wear.

          That’s because you are well stupid. The lapel badge is a flag in its own right ya Coco.

          §180. Design for service lapel button; persons entitled to wear button

          The Secretary of Defense is also authorized and directed to approve a design for a service lapel button, which button may be worn by members of the immediate family of a person serving in the armed forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States may be engaged.

          §181. Approval of designs by Secretary of Defense; license to manufacture and sell; penalties

          Upon the approval by the Secretary of Defense of the design for such service flag and service lapel button, he shall cause notice thereof, together with a description of the approved flag and button, to be published in the Federal Register. Thereafter any person may apply to the Secretary of Defense for a license to manufacture and sell the approved service flag, or the approved service lapel button, or both. Any person, firm, or corporation who manufactures any such service flag or service lapel button without having first obtained such a license, or otherwise violates sections 179 to 182 of this title, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000.

          http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html#176

          Example: https://www.google.com/search?q=presidents+wearing+american+flag+lapel+pin&tbm=isch&imgil=UmZqzSgphG-V7M%253A%253BdKAbaMY60-F7EM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.snopes.com%25252Fpolitics%25252Fobama%25252Fflagpin.asp&source=iu&pf=m&fir=UmZqzSgphG-V7M%253A%252CdKAbaMY60-F7EM%252C_&usg=__LwicHqaTxBxnp2FUa5Ow7g40ifw%3D&biw=1093&bih=484&ved=0ahUKEwjM3_je78rWAhWhslQKHTFfBrwQyjcIbA&ei=inzOWczyNaHl0gKxvpngCw

          That you have demonstrated that you can utilise a search engine facility when it suits you, just exemplifies what a dishonest sealioning toerag you are skl.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • epeeist

          I think I can understand the conservative media’s point. It could be like a couple guests at a wedding reception very noticeably turning their backs to the new spouses during the toast or the grand entrance because the bride or groom does or once did something that upset them.

          Like keeping their grandfathers as slaves you mean, or perhaps turning them into strange fruit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That is a brilliant and haunting tune…a favourite of my deceased wife…as was Holiday herself.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Nina Simone’s rendition has more-moving [self-]accompaniment IMO, but I won’t go near arguing the quality of either voice over the other.

        • Kodie

          The nature of protest is that people are supposed to notice you’re doing something different than everyone else is doing. It’s not about having manners and blending in with everyone else – it’s called making waves for a fucking reason. When that person explains what they are protesting, you might not like it, and you may feel like their action hurts something that you value…. such as segregation – someone may take your seat on a bus where they’re not allowed to sit, or sit at a lunch counter where they won’t be served. There are problems of racism, and not just vague racism, but cops escalating situations quickly, shooting someone who did nothing to deserve being shot, and not getting disciplined for it, and fuckers like you can’t hear “black lives matter” without pushing back. You’re meant to be annoyed, frankly! Your comfort and assumptions were disrupted, and you complain and complain because you’d rather be ignorant and think things are the way you thought they were in your comfortable little bubble.

          They know it’s considered disrespectful of the flag, and that the flag represents the United States, and that not standing with their hand over their heart during the National Anthem is thought by many to be wrong, but what do you want? The problem is institutional, i.e. the police are government agencies that are not protecting and almost actively out to harm black people for no fucking reason. You don’t like when they riot, you don’t like when they make a human chain across the street, you don’t like when they say “black lives matter”, and you certainly don’t like when they kneel during the National Anthem. It’s like you’re saying “shut up,” and making it about respecting cops and respecting soldiers – who fought for everyone’s freedom to protest, and that your feelings matter more than theirs, and your life, and your comfort. When Donald Trump makes his campaign slogan “make america great again,” isn’t he saying it isn’t great? Isn’t he saying something is wrong with this country that needs to be fixed? How is that not disrespectful of all the people who fought and died in wars? He’s saying this country is a pile of shit, basically, and from his rich, white, entitled, detached perspective, that it needs to be fixed. Colin Kaepernick was not playing games on his phone because he didn’t care about the National Anthem, and it’s not because he’s rich but doesn’t get everything he wants, but because assholes like you complain when poor people speak up for themselves.

          He knelt to give a voice to the voiceless, against fuckheads like you who plug your ears and shout about soldiers and wipe your ass with that flag! It’s the most disrespectful thing you can do to THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and to the REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS to dominate others by muzzling their voice. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, whether you agree with him or not, tyrannically made such a statement against citizens having a voice. Your voice, you can use it to say I think the flag deserves respect, but when the POTUS exerts his voice to advocate the punishment of citizens using their 1st amendment rights is FASCISM, you asshole.

          What I kind of get is, I like that other players went in solidarity against the president, but is it now a statement of protest against institutional racism that has caught on, or is it now erasing that out to highlight the 1st amendment rights to free speech and protest? Nobody would hire Colin Kaepernick, and none of these people were kneeling before to protest the institutional racism in solidarity, so I feel like the original protest has been hijacked, not that the 1st amendment isn’t a great cause, but then the protest hasn’t accomplished much against institutional racism either.

          What do you want to hear that will get through to a racist like you?

        • skl

          I didn’t read past the first few sentences of your post.

          You might consider reading an article titled
          “7 Tips for Arguing With a Chance of Changing Someone’s Mind”

          It’s above.

        • Susan

          I didn’t read past the first few sentences of your post.

          That’s a shame. It was an honest and detailed post.

          You might consider reading an article titled Tips for arguing With a Chance of Changing Someone’s Mind

          In which the first point you mentioned is “give the person the space to express themselves”.

          And the second is “Ask honest questions.”

          The rest are:

          Instead of hate,
          you should rely on logic, respect, and patience.
          … Make your point, correct errors in
          logic or facts, or get annoyed at rhetorical gamesmanship, but don’t
          be insulting or condescending. State your correction, but don;t delight in their failure or make them feel stupid.”

          How have you (who has just advised Kodie to follow that article’s advice) done a thing to follow that article’s advice when your opening statement is…?

          I didn’t read past the first sentence of your post

        • Kodie

          Well, here’s the thing – we know skl is a dishonest hypocrite tone troll. That’s all we need to know, and we’ve given this douche a forum to express themselves, but god forfend anyone else try to have an adult conversation. I know nothing was getting through that thick skl.

        • Kodie

          Oh you asshole.

        • skl

          A little more info:

          I read up to the fourth sentence, the one with “fuckers like you”.

          I skimmed the rest, and noticed other niceties – “assholes like you”, “fuckheads like you”, “you asshole”, “a racist like you”.

          Good bye.

        • Kodie

          Don’t you think everyone has been awfully fucking patient with your assholery? It’s hardly my fault you resist learning and perhaps altering your views. People have been very nice to you and patient with you, and you repay us with your fuckery. Why should I cater to you, when you are an asshole either way?

        • epeeist

          Yes, most people would rather emote than think. If I am allowed another quotation, this time from Bertrand Russell:

          Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

        • sandy

          “It is like racism is so ingrained in our culture that a protest against racism is seen as a protest against America.”

          Well said Greg!

        • Greg G.

          Thanks, but I stole it from a Facebook post that was going around.

          Now the president is tweeting from the comfort of his golf course about the lazy Puerto Ricans.

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

          Ah, wisdom idiocy from the mouths of babes.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I thought I was the only one that could see the huge Proboscidea Elephantidae in the room.

        The OP talks about the individual outsider going to the in-group and using a 7 point process in order to convince the fundamental in that group of fundamentals to change their minds. That is tantamount to a theist coming here and using the 7 point procedure to talk us out of not believing. How would that even work? An individual can be the nicest human on the planet and be a stalwart too the 7 points in the OP, but that can’t make up for a severe lack of convincing evidence.

        The counter to this is the non-believer going to a theist site with the idea of changing a theists mind, and we all have experience of that Malarkey, don’t we? Even when the environment was supposedly set up to accommodate such cordial discourse. You of all folk are better positioned to comment on this than most. Because as nice as any atheist might try to be, the moment someone with a high investment in their faith feels their belief system is on shaky ground, the box of nefarious weaponry is produced and dishonesty ensues.

        Now there is another problem in the OP’s comparison with atheist/theist internet interaction…the OP interaction was all done in meat world. I have been able to change all sorts of peoples minds on a manner of subjects interacting in meat world…including their faith position. Doing stuff in meat world is a whole different ball game from the internet. Mostly because of conviction. Atheists and theists on the internet have a stronger, unwavering conviction, that’s why they engage in debate and argument on internet discussion boards.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Atheists and theists on the internet have a stronger, unwavering conviction, that’s why they engage in debate and argument on internet discussion boards.

          it’s a glorious paradox, no?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…most Christians I know, and the few atheists too, in meat world, could give zero fucks one way or another…they are remarkably similar in that manner. They all have bigger fish to fry.

          Christians that feel the need to go onto the internet though,those eejits are on a mission. Usually because they think they have some startling epiphany we need to hear that they think we haven’t heard ad nauseam, or they have a novel approach to one of their failed arguments, or that they are just arrogant pricks that need a soapbox and captive audience of baby eating heathens to preach their particular flavour of woo-woo to. They think they are special, and they are, just not in the way they think they are special.

        • Kodie

          I don’t bring it up, and other religious people don’t really bother me where I live, they don’t try to change anyone’s mind, and mostly talk about it in traditional ways, such as, can’t come that morning, I will be at church, or so they will be absent from class that evening because it’s a Jewish high holiday. It has nothing to do with me, and I’ve been burned from telling people I’m an atheist before. If someone wants to try to convert me like a street-corner loon, one lady approached me once while I was sitting in my car on my own residential street and asked me if I wanted to join some women of faith group, and I told her I was an atheist, so she was all “so you believe in nothing… that’s cool,” like that counted as a faith and I told her to leave me alone. I don’t do well to have any kinds of discussions where I have to think on my feet, or that I will just be interrupted, because people interrupt me and talk over me all the time anyway, but even if I had their attention and could say my part, I wouldn’t be able to put it the right way and they’d just be more composed than I am.

          On the internet, I can compose myself any way I like, and work out the words I want to use, although sometimes, I rush myself to just get the post over with, other times, I think I will get to it later, I will paste my post in notepad and save it, and then rack up these weird little text files that I never go clean up (either in the texts themselves of off my computer). But anyway, on the internet, I will declare very openly, that I think Christians who care about posting to the internet don’t care about listening, only care about trying to argue their position, and are not as polite as they think they are just because they don’t curse. Lying and continuing to lie about what you’ve been corrected about is just about the most hostile thing a person can do with just words. Believing that the words they use themselves are casting some sort of Jesus spell on us and the argument doesn’t matter is as delusional as they come, and then topping that off with the threat of god’s judgment exposes just how weak they are in the mind they are about this, and wonder if they still think that’s polite behavior or “good news”. I don’t pretend to think I can argue them out of their position with patience and politeness, but I hope to embarrass a few into reflecting just how childish and ridiculous their beliefs are and then challenging themselves to think close and hard, even if they don’t dare admit it to us, and I hope what I say resonates with the doubting Christian who is secretly looking for information about atheism because they think they are alone, they realize what they feel is not the same as the church lies about atheism, and they are looking for help, but too nervous to comment.

          I think Christians hate to admit their arguments are terribly weak, but it’s always been about bullying other people into converting, and I don’t know how they’ve been conditioned to care. I mean, I’m not hurting them. If they leave me alone, I leave them alone. I don’t know why it matters so much to them to do whatever they must to force me to believe what they believe, and then threaten me because I just can’t believe what doesn’t make sense. I’m not trying to talk them out of their beliefs unless they come to argue. If they are secure in what they believe, I can’t possibly challenge it (hypothetically), so why do they think I am a threat to them that they must try to change what I believe? Oh, they hate atheists and they have to come over to an atheist board to tell us what we really believe in, what we really are like, how our emotions are unstable, how our lives are meaningless, it just bugs them that we exist so much to come to an atheist blog to start talking nonsense at us.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t pretend to think I can argue them out of their position with patience and politeness, but I hope to embarrass a few into reflecting just how childish and ridiculous their beliefs are and then challenging themselves to think close and hard, even if they don’t dare admit it to us, and I hope what I say resonates with the doubting Christian who is secretly looking for information about atheism because they think they are alone, they realize what they feel is not the same as the church lies about atheism, and they are looking for help, but too nervous to comment.

          hear, hear!

    • Ignorant Amos

      Another one with reading comprehension issues…try it a bit slower for a better effect…

      “7….Tips….for….Arguing….With….a….Chance….of….Changing….Someone’s….Mind”

  • Bjoern-Erik Hartsfvang

    What is your purpose of engaging with Christians in this way? Is it to try and change the way society views atheists? Or is it to try and convert them to atheism? If it’s the latter then you’ve lost all moral legitimacy and you’ve made atheism into a replacement for Christianity, with its very own dogmas and orthodoxies and potential for oppression, and all of Christianity’s evil taken upon atheism’s shoulders. So long as you participate in a mind-set of “I know the one-true-and-absolute-truth-and-everyone-else-is-wrong” then you have internalized the essence of monotheism and are still trapped in that paradigm–and any philosophy or cosmology that you create will be polluted by monotheism, and all you are doing is attempting to replace Christianity with your own belief system.

    • MNb

      My sole purpose is entertainment.

      “So long as you participate in a mind-set of “I know the one-true-and-absolute-truth-and-everyone-else-is-wrong”
      Accusations like this one require to be backed up by evidence. You’re invited to provide quotes.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Another visitor with reading comprehension issues I see.

      Let’s start at the beginning, eh?

      “7….Tips….for….Arguing….With….a….Chance….of….Changing….Someone’s….Mind”

      Which makes your comment completely redundant.

      Pay attention….

      Don’t put words into their mouth, and let them explain their point. Pay careful attention so that you’re responding to the strongest interpretation of their point, not a caricature or strawman version.

      ….how does that sound?

    • Greg G.

      Our position is that there is insufficient evidence for any god thingies to warrant a belief in them or modify one’s lifestyle to conform to their imagined preferences. It is easier to reject dogmas and oppression without a belief system derived from a belief that they are written in stone.

    • Kodie
    • swbarnes2

      In a venue like this, often the point is neither; it’s to reach people on the fence. To make people who are ambiguous or lukewarm about religion to observe “Gee, the religious people are making arguments that are either horribly immoral, or just nonsensical, and the atheists are are being compassionate and rational. Maybe I should stop thinking of myself as religious because it’s the “right” thing, because it probably isn’t actually right at all.”

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

      What is your purpose of engaging with Christians in this way?

      “This way” meaning with this post? Or “this way” meaning using the suggestions that Daryl Davis makes for engaging with people in person?

      Is it to try and change the way society views atheists? Or is it to try and convert them to atheism?

      In very coarse terms, yes, the latter.

      If it’s the latter then you’ve lost all moral legitimacy and you’ve made atheism into a replacement for Christianity, with its very own dogmas and orthodoxies and potential for oppression, and all of Christianity’s evil taken upon atheism’s shoulders.

      Christianity has a very long book. Atheism is nothing more than the answer to one question: Do you have a god belief? Atheism doesn’t replace Christianity. It couldn’t. Atheists might well like to remove Christianity from society, however.

      all you are doing is attempting to replace Christianity with your own belief system.

      That’s like the doctor who says, “Aha! This man is infected with malaria! I must replace that infection with an infection of yellow fever.” I see no parallel with the atheism situation.

  • Cady555

    Slightly different approach –

    I just had a conversation on christian news . net in response to an article about a lady in Australia who was fired for advocating against legalization of gay marriage (she had a job that involved working with the public.)

    I typed a long, polite response that said personally believing something is wrong is different from trying to get a law passed to prevent other people from doing it. The first is normal. But if no one is being harmed, the second is wrong.

    Whoosh. Right over their heads.

    Number of people who acknowledged it was an interesting way of looking at it, regardless of whether they agreed – 0

    Number of people who said, “but I’m a christian and I know gays are yucky and that means it’s right for me to interfere in their lives” – at least 5.

    Sigh

    • Michael Enquist

      But a comment on a blog site is not a conversation. Especially on these kinds of sites where everything just gets pushed down to the bottom and buried under the subsequent posts.
      The kind of conversations Bob S. is talking about happen face to face and take a long time.

    • eric

      Not sure I agree with your position the way you describe it. While I morally agree that criminalizing SSM is wrong, I think it is absolutely necessary for a functioning democracy to allow people to argue, represent, and vote for changes to the law in line with their beliefs. Preventing someone from holding a job for expressing a desire to change the law undermines the whole concept of people being practically free to come together to discuss and decide what the laws they live under should be.

      So, I would argue against such a person’s position. But I would oppose any broad-based blackballing of them from jobs or firing them from jobs, because I think that’s much worse for society than letting them vocally support bigotry. If companies start doing this as a regular thing, keep in mind that parallel situations like a company firing liberals for being liberal or firing people favor of gay marriage, bosses intimidating into silence any employee who doesn’t politically agree with them, isn’t far behind. Now sure, private companies may be legally allowed to do so. And for some organizations it makes perfect sense (Planned Parenthood should be under no obligation to hire someone morally opposed to their mission; neither should the Catholic Church). But in general, I think it’s a very bad idea for a democracy when their citizens are punished for voicing disagreement with current law. Even in cases where I personally think the law is good and the person’s objection to it would make society worse; I think they should still be allow to voice that objection.

      • Susan

        While I morally agree that criminalizing SSM is wrong, I think it is absolutely necessary for a functioning democracy to allow people to argue, represent, and vote for changes to the law in line with their beliefs

        Yay! I’m with you so far. ((Edit: to remove moral disagreement… 11 minutes later)

        I would oppose any broad-based blackballing of them from jobs, or firing from jobs as bad for society.

        Yes. You can swing your fist as far as you like. Until it connects with my face or someone else’s face.

        For instance, you can bake wedding cakes or sell and/or rent real estate. But the law of the land is that you must bake for and/or sell and/or rent real estate even if you have bat-shit reasons for not doing so to particular groups.

        If you have better than batshit reasons, I hope you’ll provide them.

        =====

        Edit: 2 minutes later

        • KarlUdy

          Some context to the situation.
          1) SSM is currently not legal in Australia
          2) There is an upcoming referendum (I think it is binding) on whether to legalize SSM in Australia
          3) The US has some of the more employer friendly laws in the Western world. In most modern Western democracies it is actually quite difficult to fire someone.

          In light of that …
          In response to Cady555, those campaigning for SSM are the ones campaigning for the law to change. Those who are against SSM are campaigning for the status quo. But the wider issue is that people are being persuaded to vote one way or the other. It is a similar situation to expressing support for a particular political candidate or party in a workplace.

          In response to eric, I agree. Silencing dissenting views is more likely to lead to tyranny worse than a society that allowed such dissenting views that are silenced.

          In response to Susan. As I read it, the woman was advocating to vote a certain way, not restricting her services or performance of her job to those who agreed with her.

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          The plebiscite here in Australia is non-binding, voluntary (in a country with mandatory voting normal), and a postal vote with associated accusations of vote stealing from both sides. It is disliked and derided by many on both sides, and is a lot of money for something that will at best allow a free parliamentary vote on whether to change the law.

          As for whether those campaigning for “No” are campaigning for the status quo, technically they are, though much of the campaigning is scaremongering “If you let this pass then all these other terrible things will happen”. And the law had only been changed in 2004 to make the current definition of marriage enshrined in law (no plebiscite required there).

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

      Well, yeah. You were knowingly raining on their homophobic parade.

      Perhaps an apology is in order.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I gave my brother “space to make his argument” and verified that his argument is stupid. The differences covered a broad ground of religious and political issues.

    For example, in the case of Tyrone Howard in 2015, my brother said that Howard must have been confused because he said “he wanted to kill some cops”, but the two cops he killed were not even white. How does that show Howard was confused? He said he wanted to kill some cops, and he killed some cops. Somewhere along the line, my brother had translated that into “he wanted to kill some white cops.” Which of course is not what he said. There were many such mistakes in my brother’s thought processes. My conclusion: my brother is not very bright.

  • epicurus

    As most people spouting hardline or bizarre views never get asked why or how they came to believe something, and have they always believed it, I usually, if time permits try to get them to explain all this to me. That usually opens a few doors and can get them off their high horse so I can drill down a bit into where they are really coming from, hopefully opening a door to further dialogue down the road, as people rarely modify their views after one conversation.
    This is the main reason I stopped reading a blog that a while back said that ridicule was going to be its modus operandi.

  • Jodie Jones

    These tips enhance good active listening skills. I believe this is an example of what Dr. Andre Johnson stated during the Theology Live podcast, “We are called to live in the tension and work against it at the same time.”