Downsides to the Hope Offered by Christianity: Believing Because It’s Consoling

Here’s an interesting thought experiment from Tracie Harris of The Atheist Experience podcast. Suppose I put an ad in the local paper and say that I help people find jobs. I’m retired from business and have experience and contacts that I’d like to share. I only ask that job candidates come to my house, give me their resume, and tell me about their background. That usually takes an hour or two, but my help is free.

But there’s more to the story. When the applicants leave, I throw their resumes in the trash. I give them hope that I can help them, but I don’t actually help them. The fact is, I have no real business experience at all.

What do you make of this story? I am a caring and helpful person who offers hope to people? Or a jerk who wastes their time, plays with their emotions, and deludes them?

Christians make much of their religion’s precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

What’s the harm with Christian hope?

Christians will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives. What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s Christian beliefs at her age.

Another example is someone living in abysmal circumstances—a child soldier in Somalia or a child prostitute in Thailand, say. Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are hopeless.

I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.

I’d like to consider six problems caused by Christian hope.

1. “It’s consoling” isn’t good enough

Sam Harris in The End of Faith says,

[Belief in the afterlife] is deeply consoling if believed, but you really shouldn’t believe it simply because it’s consoling. For example, say I believe that a diamond the size of a refrigerator is buried in my backyard. If you ask me why I believe that, I would reply, well, it makes me feel good, it gives my life meaning. That’s clearly a crazy answer. For a belief to [tell us something useful about the world], it can’t be held just because it feels good to hold it.

Christians may respond that the difference is one person who believes in the giant diamond vs. a couple of billion who believe in Christianity, but of course this is just the argumentum ad populum (the formal name for the bandwagon fallacy). Robert Pirsig’s response to this situation was, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

Lots of people believe astrology and homeopathy, but that doesn’t make them true. Evidence should be the guide, and you shouldn’t believe Christianity’s claims without good evidence.

Steven Pinker pokes holes in the idea that false beliefs should be comforting:

Saying that something is so doesn’t make it so, and there’s no reason why it should be comforting to think it so, when we have reason to believe it is not so. Compare: if you’re freezing, being told that you’re warm is not terribly soothing. If you’re being threatened by a menacing predator, being told that it’s just a rabbit is not particularly comforting. In general, we are not that easily deluded. Why should we be in the case of religion? It simply begs the question.

Some answers come to mind. Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. Or maybe it’s a cultural custom. Shermer’s Law notes that as an adult, you use your intellect to defend indefensible beliefs you hold only because they were part of your upbringing. Whatever the reason, believing just because it’s consoling is indefensible for most adults in the West.

Continue with reason 2, Not Seeing Reality Clearly.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file
has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake,
since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
— Albert Einstein

.

Image via Bubba, CC license

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  • RichardSRussell

    An excellent book on the appeal of mass movements is Eric Hoffer’s 1951 work of social psychology The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. In it, Hoffer advances the notion that many people view themselves as life’s losers and are just desperately hoping for something greater than themselves that’s been demonstrated to be successful (or at least noisily attractive) that they can attach themselves to in order to bask in reflected glory.

    Hoffer, writing less than a decade after the conclusion of WW2, uses Nazis and Communists for most of his examples, but they’re readily transferable onto religion and certain economic theories (looking at you, Ayn Rand), not to mention the Tea Party and the Trumpites.

    • OutsideLookingIn

      Great book.

  • Brian Curtis

    To a degree, it may depend on the severity of the emotional need that’s being filled. Wanting to believe that you’re comfortable when you’re not is a minor craving. Wanting to believe that you, personally, are of supreme importance to the entire universe and (more importantly) that you will NEVER DIE is a much bigger boost to the old ego, and most people have to be dragged away from such an important fantasy kicking and screaming.

  • > That’s clearly a crazy answer.

    In my opinion that’s not a compelling refutation. More interesting is “For a belief to [tell us something useful about the world], it can’t be held just because it feels good to hold it.” But I’m not sure that tells the whole story of the utility of a belief.

    David Sloan Wilson’s “Darwin’s Cathedral” makes the argument that a non-true belief can be useful, perhaps not at an individual level, but certainly at a group level. Historical accounts tell of Christians, who believed that God would reward them in heaven, removing the corpses of plague victims from the streets. They did it because they believed a lie. But the benefit to their Christian community (having the plague corpses gone) was real. Wilson suggests all religions are just bundles of “adaptive truths”: Memes that may or may not be true but that provide an evolutionary advantage. It’s a fascinating argument, and one the non-religious community would do well to consider how we can use.

    • sandy

      Paul came along and said all you have to believe is in Jesus and you get to live forever and…..we won’t cut the end of your dicks off…who’s in?

    • Otto

      Is it better to believe things that comport with reality or is any old belief good as long as it is useful? The argument here is not that false beliefs can’t have utility, just that true beliefs serve us better in the long run.

      • I agree that true beliefs generally serve us better in the long run. But when true beliefs have been maximized there is always room for a compelling may-or-may-not be true belief.

        • Otto

          Sure there is always room for any belief…good or bad.
          I am not sure what your point is though.

        • I guess my point is that religion was doing something. It was helping people accomplish together what they couldn’t accomplish alone. And how was it doing it? By providing a coherent package of beliefs that were excellent at suppressing free riders. We now know that many of those beliefs were false. But I think the secular community is foolish to ignore the utility of a belief that may-or-may not be true. The idea of heaven motivates people in a way that the idea of ceasing to exist does not, and we should study what that difference is and how the secular community can use it.

          Anyway, if you’re interested at all, a good start is Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and Wilson’s Darwin’s Cathedral.

        • Do you think that was overall good? It could also be used in destructive ways after all. As to using it ourselves, what are you thinking?

        • We shouldn’t confuse “ethical” with “good for the group”. So when you say ” was it an overall good?” I have two answers: Has religion, overall, been ethical? Well, it’s probably been better than nothing, but it has a long way to go and no means of correcting itself. Has it been “good” for the groups of religious people? Absolutely. It’s been amazing for them. So amazing, in fact, that “religious” appears to be the default state of humans.

          As to what I am thinking, here’s a suggestion for an adaptive truth: “In a cold and uncaring universe, all life has a special value that should be protected. We have an ethical responsibility (because we are reasoning, technology-using lifeforms) to go out in to the universe and find this life and protect it.” This belief could be useful in helping humans suppress their selfish desires to help humanity reach the stars. This statement doesn’t need to turn anyone in to the Christians who pulled the corpses out of the street, it just needs to help suppress our innate selfishness better than competing ideologies. There are probably ten of thousands of other, better, ideas that the creativity of human beings can create.

        • It depends on your ethics. For some, that would be “good for the group”. I mean more is it good for humanity overall though.

          An idea something like that seems common, whether religious or not, and I’d get behind it.

        • > It depends on your ethics.

          Definitely. I’ve never considered it in that way before, but I suspect that religions push “good for the group” ethics harder than they push “good for the individual”, and that much of the criticism that secular people have of religion involves the gap between these two.

        • Religions but also most ethical systems hold the group over the individual I’d say, at least when it comes to a choice between them. Individualism in general is a fairly recent belief system.

        • epeeist

          Individualism in general is a fairly recent belief system.

          You don’s see virtue ethics being concerned with the individual rather than the group?

        • Aristotle put the group first too. Improving the individual is good for them.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          As to what I am thinking, here’s a suggestion for an adaptive truth: “In a cold and uncaring universe, all life has a special value that should be protected. We have an ethical responsibility (because we are reasoning, technology-using lifeforms) to go out in to the universe and find this life and protect it.” This belief could be useful in helping humans suppress their selfish desires to help humanity reach the stars.

          The prior “may or may not be” statements are empirical in nature, whereas the above quote is a value proposition. The two don’t have anything to do with one another – it certainly doesn’t fit your description of adapting secular approaches for religious techniques.

          IMO, even if your earlier argument was fully granted, it only suggests that ignorant people can be motivated by incorrect beliefs. You have miles to go before it makes sense to suggest that more informed people would still be served by potentially faulty beliefs in ways that more accurate beliefs cannot.

          To use your earlier example, more informed beliefs would prompt the same action along with improved sanitation, which would diminish potential future outbreaks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Has it been “good” for the groups of religious people? Absolutely.

          Well that’s patently ridiculous. Being religious has absolutely not been good for certain groups of religious people. Does the word genocide not ring a bell? Then there are all those religious cults that are detrimental to their followers, sometimes to the point of death…I’m thinking Jonestown and Heavens Gate as examples of detrimental religions.

          It’s been amazing for them. So amazing, in fact, that “religious” appears to be the default state of humans.

          Ah, but what do you mean by “religious” here?

          Not always…and not everyone…and are people born religious?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion#Kinds_of_irreligion

          Then there are the Pirahã people of South America. They have no concept of a supreme being or god.

          How soon do you think religion might last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately? Would the consequences be better or worse for everyone?

        • > Well that’s patently ridiculous.

          We need to be careful to view religion for what it is, a social technology driven by evolutionary processes, rather than what it claims to be: A divine and perfect way to live. When we look at a bird’s wing, we don’t laugh and say, “Birds are so stupid. They can’t even fly faster than the speed of sound.” But a bird’s wing does not need to fly faster than the speed of sound _to be useful_. Instead we say it is a marvel of evolutionary engineering. So why do we look at religion and say, “Religion is useless because it has not brought about world peace and has spawned genocide”? Of course it’s done evil. But it does not need to bring about perfect world peace _to be useful_.

          I think your exception (the Pirahã people) proves my point. A complete lack of religion allows 800 people to live on the margins of society. While Christendom allows tens of millions to take over the world.

          And before anyone else objects 🙂 I am not claiming the claims of Christianity are correct or good. Only that the beliefs it contains are valuable for suppressing free riders and out-competing non-religious (and non-monotheists).

        • Ignorant Amos

          My point was that it is patently ridiculous to claim that religion is/has been absolutely “good” for those that are religious. In many examples it has been absolutely the opposite. You have not refuted that.

          The birds wing analogy is a pretty poor one for lots of reasons.

          Religious people themselves point to other religions and claim they are stupid. In lots of cases they go much further than that.

          So why do we look at religion and say, “Religion is useless because it has not brought about world peace and has spawned genocide”? Of course it’s done evil. But it does not need to bring about perfect world peace _to be useful_.

          If a religion makes claims that it can’t or doesn’t live up to, then on that count, it is useless.

          If religions cause detrimental effects of societies, which lots do, then they are worse than useless.

          Some birds have wings that have evolved to be useless for the purpose of flying.

          Religions make claims that can’t be supported. People use religion for nefarious reasons. On balance, I think religions harm, out weighs it’s good. We are evolving away from religion. Hopefully it will become as useful as the wings of those birds for which their wings have become vestigial.

          I think your exception (the Pirahã people) proves my point. A complete lack of religion allows 800 people to live on the margins of society.

          Well, my example of a whole people who exist without religion was an extreme one. Some would say that their contentment is to be envied.

          But tens of millions of people living well within the margins of society without religion points to it’s uselessness. It doesn’t seem to be necessary, like the flightless birds wing. It has been a cause to stifle human evolution. It needs to become a vestigial part of human history.

          While Christendom allows tens of millions to take over the world.

          And when Islam surpasses Christendom, like it is destined to do circa 2050, how do you think religion will advance humanity on it’s world takeover? I see nothing good ahead.

        • I’m not impressed in your ability to find reasons my theory is wrong. Finding reasons to support any proposition is easy. Even the flat-earthers do it. What I am impressed by is a willingness to change one’s mind, to consider that someone you disagree with may be right. Your persistent misrepresentation of my arguments indicates either I am the world’s worst communicator (which is possible) or you haven’t considered even once that I may be right, and I find that as frustrating when I talk to atheists as I do when I talk to Christians. We should do better than this. We claim to do better than this. But we don’t (me included).

          I’m out. Reply with a witty zing about my intellect and we can call this discussion closed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What I am impressed by is a willingness to change one’s mind, to consider that someone you disagree with may be right.

          When you present something that convinces me that your proposition has any merit, then perhaps I, and others, will change our minds accordingly. That hasn’t happened yet. And by the sounds of things, isn’t likely.

          In the mean time, isn’t there a certain irony that you’d be impressed by my changing my mind, yet see no benefit in you seeing things as the other does?

          Your persistent misrepresentation of my arguments indicates either I am the world’s worst communicator (which is possible) or you haven’t considered even once that I may be right,…

          Rather than whinge about it, if you think I have misrepresented your arguments, through your bad comm’s, or my inability to understand what you mean (which is possible), isn’t it incumbent upon you to clarify where I’m not getting your point? Is that not a better way forward, as opposed to picking up yer ball and cry off sulking.

          …and I find that as frustrating when I talk to atheists as I do when I talk to Christians. We should do better than this. We claim to do better than this. But we don’t (me included).

          You do know how argument works right? You make an assertion, your interlocutor either agrees…yippee! Or disagrees and gives reasons x,y, and z in refutation. You then counter rebut. Then, perhaps one side does enough to convince the other side to re-evaluate. It’s not my fault, or maybe it is, that I don’t find what you’ve said so far, convincing…or dare I say, have completely misunderstood your point entirely. Perhaps a third party could interject in arbitration.

          But since you prefer to draw a line, I guess we’ll never know.

          Reply with a witty zing about my intellect and we can call this discussion closed.

          Why did you even say that?

          Was it even necessary after…

          I’m out.

          …already?

        • >How soon do you think religion might last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately? Would the consequences be better or worse for everyone?

          That’s an interesting question.

          I don’t think the religions we know would last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately. However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief) and that if religion goes away an important part of the human condition will go away as well.The danger (to me, at least) is that with religion gone (a social construct), the human desire for the spiritual (a genetic construct) will remain, and this void _will_ be filled. This is why I want to suggest alternatives that are soundly based in science, that bring out the best aspects of humanity, that have correction mechanisms, but that _also_ trigger or slot in to this religion hole. I believe that human creativity can rise to this challenge, even as traditional religions go in to the dustbin of history.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, some believe we have a “god” gene. But it doesn’t need to be god in the theistic sense of the personal god of the Abrahamic faiths.

          We already know that is not the case anyway, because people can function as well, if not better, without such belief.

          Have you read Richard Dawkins book, “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder”

          Dawkins addresses the misperception that science and art are at odds. Driven by the responses to his books The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker wherein readers resented his naturalistic world view, seeing it as depriving life of meaning, Dawkins felt the need to explain that, as a scientist, he saw the world as full of wonders and a source of pleasure. This pleasure was not in spite of, but rather because he does not assume as cause the inexplicable actions of a deity but rather the understandable laws of nature.

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

          There is plenty around us to inspire a feeling of spirituality without invoking the interference of…

          “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

          …and other such ridiculous entities.

          By all means, take what is deemed useful about religion and use it to human advantage. We already do in other institutions. But we really need to jump off the coattails of the stupid supernatural mumbo-jumbo that has plagued us all for so long. It is counter-productive to hang onto. We know this by just looking around ourselves.

        • Greg G.

          However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief) and that if religion goes away an important part of the human condition will go away as well.

          Maybe, by killing non-believers for not believing but the culling has been so inconsistent to select for or against a trait for a long term.

          The danger (to me, at least) is that with religion gone (a social construct), the human desire for the spiritual (a genetic construct) will remain, and this void _will_ be filled.

          There are many traits that are beneficial for survival in a primitive environment that may be less useful or desirable, perhaps detrimental, in a civilization. Religions that can exploit these traits best will survive. But as a species, it would be better to identify these instincts and tendencies and deal with them more intelligently so we can realize when a televangelist is pushing our buttons to give him $20 so he can buy a $65 million dollar jet or to a faith-healing braggart who needs to build a hospital.

        • Sample1

          However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief).

          I’ll challenge that. More accurate to say that brain evolution, with its obvious triumphs, naturally leaves cognitive susceptibilities. Bipedalism evolved with known advantages but left us susceptible to high incidents of eventual lower back pain (quadrupeds* largely don’t suffer that).

          I think rather than evolution selecting for belief it selected for bigger brains, religion has usurped the natural cognitive vulnerabilities of that evolution.

          Mike
          Edit *dachshunds are predisposed to spinal problems but that is a case of artificial selection, not natural selection.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Actually, ‘ethical’ and ‘good for the group’ ARE similar, if not identical concepts to me.

          I call ethics and morals the survival instincts of a society, the same way individual animals have survival instincts.

        • I very much agree regarding ethics being the “survival instincts of a society”. I think “society” is a superset of “group”, which is why “ethics are what is good for society” works better than “ethics are what is good for the group”. There’s a crap ton of stuff that’s horrible and good for the group.

        • Otto

          For myself, I have never argued religion is always bad or that believing false things always leads to something negative, typically my point is that it is unreliable and adds baggage. I don’t think the secular community here is ignoring the ‘utility of a belief that may-or-may not be true’, just that the utility in and of itself is not enough.

        • Lark62

          If the community believes nonsense, there is no way to self correct. Sure, some people may have picked up bodies of plague victims to please an imaginary deity.* But plenty of others murdered Jews to stop the plague, claiming allegiance the same deity. Plenty of actions ascribed to the deity are harmful to the community, but there is no way to defend against “god said so.”

          (*My bet is that they actually mostly did it for money. Several months after Gettysburg, the government hired a contractor to locate and dig up bodies of union soldiers and bury them in a new military cemetary. They were paid by the body, Union soldiers only. Given demographics, the contractor was probably christian but he did it for money.)

        • You have confused “what is ethical” with “what is good for the group”. Evolution is not ethical. But (and this is important) it doesn’t have to be unethical. If there are things that can ethically be believed by secular people that may-or-may-not be true that give us a competitive advantage, it would be foolish to ignore them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did people accomplish things together that they couldn’t accomplish alone, only come after they invent religion? In other words, was religion responsible for our evolution? If yes, then how would we know otherwise?

          ETA: iirc Neanderthals had “religious” type rituals.

        • Religion is an evolutionary process, and evolutionary processes are gradual changes over time. So I suspect primitive religious beliefs help suppress free-riding a little bit. As those beliefs became wide-spread, their advantage was lost, and new stronger/better religious beliefs would develop. I absolutely believe religion has affected human evolution and genetics, as those who were able to believe in the supernatural the best did the best.

        • Sample1

          Alaskans enjoy the highest per capita consumption of ice cream in the US. This wasn’t always so and may not be in the future. Is that indulgence an example of evolutionary selectivity? If we transplanted infants of ice cream gluttons from Alaska to Arizona would we expect even more Cold Stone Creamerys in that state to supply the predicted evolutionary needs of those transplants? Your understanding of evolution and religion seems to suggest we should build more parlors. Or is there something more fundamental going on, something heritable, other than ice cream preferences? I think there is.

          What I’m getting at is there is much debate about whether religion is a Darwinian evolutionary process described by phenotypes and adaptations or whether religion is a spandrel, a byproduct of evolving brains, not necessarily required for survival; a free-rider to use your word. Religion is without question a nebulous term which also adds to the challenge. Some stop with that alone being a disqualification for now. I’m hyper vigilant about ascribing anything as an evolutionary adaptation without evidence. Because evolution like this is not observable directly we can only make guesses as to why a trait exists and we are spectacularly sloppy at doing that. It’s not that we should stop trying but where evidence is absent it only makes sense to be hesitant.

          as those who believe in the supernatural the best did the best

          Again, one level of observation closer to being in evidence would be agency detection rather than religion. Perhaps those with better agency detection survived more and reproduced. Religion could be argued as a being a byproduct of hyper agency detection. What I don’t see compelling is religion evolving first and then agency detection being the spandrel or byproduct.

          But evolutionary psychology is not my area and it’s a tricky field to just armchair this stuff. I’m only addressing a few things that seemed possibly problematic to me from your post.

          It seems to me you can make your desires known without even delving into evolution though. Do we really need to know the evolutionary underpinnings of ethics to support ethical standards today? I don’t think so. So I think your case for the individual, the group and for ethics is strong enough and risks being weakened through evolutionary speculation. In other words, if you’re right about evolution or mistaken will you change what you think is ethical today? I kind of doubt it.

          What does happen though are that there are religious apologists who try to link science and religion in all kinds of spurious ways to an end that favors religion. I’m not saying you are doing that. I don’t know you and this is only the second post I’ve read from you. I say this more for lurkers considering this site. I would love for you to be right. I’d like a contrary position to yours to be right. I don’t care who is right I’m only interested in something being right.

          The relationship between evolution and religion as a technology surely has a natural explanation, I’ll admit that is my bias. I’m a naturalist. I just don’t believe anyone really knows how it all came together for our species yet.

          Mike
          Edit done

        • Greg G.

          I think agency detection is far more basic that just a human trait.

          http://spiders-n-stuff.blogspot.com/2013/09/apple-maggot-fly-rhagoletis-pomonella.html

          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Mu-YsNU0WeM/UoGBQaxPoII/AAAAAAAACLk/EWxRW-IURhI/s400/13-8-2-IMG_0161.jpg

          It seems to work in spiders, too. The trait of not attacking spiders bigger than you could be a genetic trait passed down to descendants but could be exploited by insects with a genetic hobby of imitating spiders.

        • I appreciate your thoughtful response. I tend to talk in a dogmatic style, so I want to be clear that I agree with all your caveats. From my point of view “religion as social technology possibly with evolutionary consequences” is compelling enough and fits with my own experiences running the Calgary Secular Church enough that I think it’s worth testing. My next project will assume that it’s true and design accordingly. If it flops, I’ll report back here. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          I tend to talk in a dogmatic style

          That is how you can exploit SIWOTI Syndrome. If you ask a question on the internet, you may or may not get an answer. But if you say something wrong, the internet is filled with people who are willing to correct you.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e46c0922a867c18e3604db00715ac014cb5d7d350297a983055df90f1e50b98.png

          It works the same when you say something in a provocative fashion.

        • Sample1

          Good luck!

          Mike

        • Lark62

          Many parts of our planet are becoming uninhabitable due to global warming. Christians in America deny science and reality and block efforts to reduce global warming.

          This “may or may not be true belief” is harmful.

    • Michael Neville

      Believing in something because it makes you feel good can have deleterious effects. In your example the Christians removing plague victims meant that many of those Christians would die of the plague. “There’ll be pie in the sky when you die” doesn’t keep you from dying and, as Utah Phillips noted about the pie, “It’s a lie.”

      • I agree the belief was not useful for the individual who removed the body, but it was absolutely useful to the other individuals in their group. A group of committed believers ready to die for their cause _will_ cause their group to benefit, and religion excels at this. It’s almost like religion is a social technology designed to make individuals put the group first. Oh wait! That’s _exactly_ what religion is!

        • Lark62

          But does the belief cause the good behavior?

          Some humans are selfless and put the community first. The fact that these humans might ascribe their behavior to the dominant religion of their culture doesn’t make it true that the religion caused the good behavior.

          Look at the evidence. Christianity produces a lot more selfish jerks than selfless heroes. Before christian belief can be credited with causing generous and selfless behavior, it must produce that result consistently.

        • Evolutionary processes (and the processes I’m describing absolutely are evolutionary) do not work that way. All that is required is that they give a community an advantage. Religion doesn’t turn everyone in to a self-less saint. But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to tun more in to selfless saints than the alternative. And that is what it has done in the past.

        • Grimlock

          […] But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to tun more in to selfless saints than the alternative. […]

          It seems to me that this is given that selflessness is an advantageous strategy, which would be context-specific, yeah?

        • Grimlock

          […] Before christian belief can be credited with causing generous and selfless behavior, it must produce that result consistently.

          A more moderate proposition might be worth considering. For instance that Christian belief can, given certain biological and cultural factors, consistently produce selfless behaviour.

          In that case, it won’t necessarily be consistent through a society, yet it might still be the case that Christian belief can be credited with causing the behaviour. (Of course, a reverse hypothesis – that Christian belief given other biological and cultural factors consistently produces selfish and obnoxious behaviour – seems equally plausible.)

      • I think that was in the original lyrics to the song “The Preacher and the Slave”, since it is all about that. Or at least it was commonly sung that way from what I recall. The IWW, like a lot of radical leftists, were not fond of religion as this was frequently used to keep people down in their view.

        • Michael Neville

          Some covers of “The Preacher and the Slave” have “That’s a lie” and some don’t. Here’s a cover from the movie Joe Hill that doesn’t have it. The song starts at 2:10.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hruSHRsZ1JU

        • I guess it wasn’t in the lyrics, from what I’m seen. Rather it was part of a call and response refrain. Also it was originally “Long-Haired Preachers”.

    • Lark62

      Without belief in imaginary deities, people still manage to do good things.

      Yet for every case of christians doing good because of their fake beliefs, there are dozens of them causing harm.

      Christians also believed that Jews caused the plague and should be slaughtered. They believed the wrong kind of christian should be tied to a pole and burned alive. Today, they lie about global warming because “god gave us dominion” and that means we can turn the planet into a garbage dump.

      • Greg G.

        that means we can turn the planet into a garbage dump.

        Yes, Jesus will be back like a thief in the night any day now to clean things up. I remember that they thought it would be about 1988 because Israel re-formed in 1948 and a generation was 40 years. Now it’s this year because a generation is 70 years.

        • Ctharrot

          I have a great-uncle who is an amazing guy in many respects, but has always been deep into End Times flapdoodle, especially stuff from Hagee and Van Impe. He used to tell me to prepare my soul for the Second Coming, because this was the year. 1978. Then 1979. And 1980. You get the idea.

          I noticed the pattern of results pretty early on, but it never seemed to bother him. He hasn’t rejected Revelation or the teachings of fear-mongering con-men like Hagee or the prophecy silliness. He just keeps adjusting, rebooting, and declaring that the end is just around the corner.

        • Lark62

          Yes. At the end of the millennial and the dawn of the new millennial, christians were convinced Jesus’ return was imminent. And I’m speaking of the first millennial, circa 999-1000. Jesus’ return has been expected every year for 2000 years. You’d think they’d catch on eventually.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe as far back as the Hasmonean times when the Book of Daniel was written, circa 165 BC.

  • John MacDonald

    Bob wrote: “Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. ”

    We know how important that belief in an afterlife can be because we know how much a depressive view of the afterlife can weigh on people. Classicist Jacob Burckhardt said the Greeks were more unhappy than most people realize. A young Nietzsche attained an auditor’s transcript off this lecture and treasured it as his most prized possession.

    Regarding the ancient Greek view of the afterlife, Homer writes, “Life-giving earth has buried them” and details how Achilles, a great hero of the Iliad, would rather “live working as a wage-labourer for hire by some other man, one who had no land and not much in the way of livelihood, than lord it over all the wasted dead” (Homer, 11.380, 624-28).

    • sandy

      “Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. ” Of course that is the golden carrot for christianity along with the threat of hell as the alternative. The promise of an afterlife was a driving force for Roman soldiers in the latter years of their reign. My christian friends live for the afterlife.

      • Lark62

        Slaveowners in the South used the promise of an afterlife to keep slaves under control. “Life may be hard now, but heaven will be great.”

        False promises of heaven are just another tool for manipulators and manipulation.

        OTOH, slaves used heaven as code for escaping to Canada. “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to take me on home” was as much about the underground railroad and traveling in this life.

      • Kevin K

        That is such a sad statement. It’s entirely true, of course. But what that means is that there are literally millions upon millions of people denying themselves simple human pleasures (or worse, engaging in guilt trips) in a lifelong exercise in futility.

        When I dismissed the notion of an after-death experience, I truly became free.

    • Kevin K

      Which Greeks? You know there were dramatically different Greek cultures back in the day…right?

      Compare and contrast the Pythagorean worldview versus the Epicureans versus the Spartans versus the Platonists. There’s almost zero overlap in that particular Venn diagram.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Valid point. I read it as the Greeks that believed particular things about the afterlife, but clarification would be nice, just to know who these Greeks were. I could research, but ave too much on at the moment.

        • Kevin K

          I was just reading a book about Plato, which is why this is front-and-center in my mind. “Homer” (aka, crowdsourcing) was several hundred years before the Socratic/Platonic era. To declare the Homeric conception of after-death represents Greek thought would be like us declaring that the Puritans represent the sum total of theological thought in the Americas.

        • Nocturnal

          Without a doubt, except I’d qualify it slightly by saying that while Homer was indeed outdated, his works (or the works attributed to him, at any rate) were believed to be very important in a child (at least male children), to the point boys learnt long passages by heart and were expected to be acquainted with the contents of at least The Iliad and The Odyssey.

          While the Puritans, in our days, carry very unsavory associations that go beyond merely being outdated and straight into being outrageous.

          In other words, your analogy holds but I would just like to add that the cultural importance given to Homer throughout the Platonic era, and way after that as the Romans became quite fond of both epic poems, was much deeper and had positive associations that the Puritans simply do not have in today’s world (apart from the handful of nutters who would gladly burn witches at the stake).

        • Greg G.

          I think Dennis MacDonald mentioned that an inventory of books owned by an ancient library listed something like 800 copies of Odyssey and 700 copies of Iliad. The next highest number was about 90 copies of Euripides’ Bacchae.

          I think the author of Mark intended that educated readers would recognize the passages with borrowings from Homer.

  • Kevin K

    Yeah, the “hope” when used in this context by Christians (maybe Muslims, too? dunno, maybe) always has the implied and unstated codicil.

    Hope that I get the nice kitchen upgrade in my after-death apartment, and not the over-heated basement unit with the bad super.”

    Around these parts of the Bible Belt, a lot of the church reader boards also talk about being “saved”. Saved from what, exactly? Oh yeah, saved from the over-heated basement unit in the bad building.

    • Ignorant Amos

      According to Ricky Gervais in “The Invention of Lying” the Man in the Sky has a mansion for everyone to look forward to…stick that after-death apartment, even with kitchen up-grade, and cram it. I’m with Gervais…a mansion it is for me…soz, my imagination got the better of me for a we mo….an apartment will do rightly //s.

      • Kevin K

        There is a gospel song called Your First Day in Heaven, and it speaks of “mansions left and right” and “streets paved with gold”. It’s a fun song to sing, but the theology is dopey as all get-out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Appealing to the gullible of course…all part of the brainwashing process and infection of the mind virus.

        • Greg G.

          But it makes a good joke. A rich man was dying and wanted to take it with him so he made a deal with God. He was given a large trunk and was permitted to take whatever he put in it so he filled it with gold bullion. When he arrived at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter asked see what he brought. Peter was stunned and asked, “Why did you bring pavement?”

  • Clement Agonistes

    [Belief in the afterlife] is deeply consoling if believed, but you really shouldn’t believe it simply because it’s consoling. For example, say I believe that a diamond the size of a refrigerator is buried in my backyard. If you ask me why I believe that, I would reply, well, it makes me feel good, it gives my life meaning. That’s clearly a crazy answer.

    Those are several good points Harris makes there. IF the only reason a person believes is for the comfort, that isn’t really a solid reason to believe in something. Does that really happen? I doubt if there are many people who only believe for the comfort.

    Of course, if one suspected there were a refrigerator-sized diamond in the backyard, there is a way to find out. Analogizing something tangible with something intangible isn’t a very good analogy. The presumption is that there is no diamond, so the rational person won’t bother investigating. One could theoretically have something of enormous value sitting mere feet away, but the assumption that it does not exist left one ignorant of the treasure. We could know if there was a diamond out there, but we’ll never know with absolute certainty that there is no God. Here, it is just assumed there is no God. It is as much an assumption as what theists are doing.

    If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

    As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.

    • Thanks4AllTheFish

      “If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?”

      So in your either-or world, a person who is absent supernatural beliefs can’t feel good and has no meaning to their life? I think the article is clear in saying that there exists the capability to feel good and have meaning in one’s life without inventing a supernatural entity. I know it’s only anecdotal, but literally millions of adults worldwide somehow struggle through their meager existence without ever requiring the comfort of an imaginary friend.

      “As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.”

      Many of us bring meaning to our own lives simply by living life meaningfully. Living every day knowing that it may be your last should be incentive enough for most mature adults to make what little time they have on this spinning rock, as meaningful and fulfilling as humanly possible. To me I find it extremely sad that believing in some undefined, indistinguishable, invisible higher power is the only way in which a person can find meaning and purpose in their life. So much needs to be done and so many could be helped if people quit living in dependence on the hope that some higher power will eventually step in and make everything perfect again. You want a better world, start making it that way.

      • Clement Agonistes

        “If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning
        to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is
        the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?”

        So
        in your either-or world, a person who is absent supernatural beliefs
        can’t feel good and has no meaning to their life? I think the article is
        clear in saying that there exists the capability to feel good and have
        meaning in one’s life without inventing a supernatural entity. I know
        it’s only anecdotal, but literally millions of adults worldwide somehow
        struggle through their meager existence without ever requiring the
        comfort of an imaginary friend.

        Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people. So, given people who are not strong – like atheists – what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural. Do we simply declare them to now be non-frail people (because we wish it to be so)?

        “As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware
        of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all
        cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can
        find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.”

        Many of us bring meaning to our own lives simply by living life meaningfully.

        Well, isn’t that a wonderful little bon mott for the kitchen wall? How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do. My point above relates to why ANY human being, theist or atheist would feel the NEED for meaning. Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.”

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          “…what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural.”

          Pretty much everything else since there is no empirical evidence the supernatural exists. If you can’t find meaning to your life without making things up, maybe you should just roll over and accept that life is meaningless OR you could find some some actual activity that puts meaning into your life or someone else’s.

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do.”

          Fair enough,..how does believing in something that is incorporeal, something that does not actively interface with anything in the natural world and only exists in the imagination somehow create meaning in any empirical way? If someone works to alleviate suffering in a children’s hospital, or provides food, clothing, or shelter to those who are hungry, cold or exposed to the elements and those things provide the giver and recipient a reason for living, is that not meaningful in some way? Who are we and who is your chosen god to tell us what is meaningful in our lives. Each individual will determine for themselves whether or not they are leading life in a meaningful fashion. No magic or imaginary spirits required.

          “Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.”

          I don’t know whether apes need meaning or not. I don’t expect you do either. But studies have shown that animals locked in small cages with no external stimuli tend to wither and die much quicker than those who live in the wild. Just because we evolved in a different manner than many others in the animal kingdom doesn’t make us special and certainly doesn’t invalidate their purpose for being here. Life is its own purpose and maybe it doesn’t require meaningfulness, only survival skills. Humans lack many of the physical attributes to compete against lions or bears or sharks but our evolutionary advantage manifested itself with the ability to create complex social structures. Maintaining those social structures is a joint effort that benefits us all when applied properly. I expect people most thrive when presented with new challenges and they stagnate when only facing rote repetition. Frankly, if you want to call that religion, I couldn’t care less. I call it progress.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          Clement has no issue with lying for Jesus…he has a history of it.

          As for a meaningful life…the cheeky bastard has some nerve. We’re not the ones treading water, while arse licking an imaginary invisible man in the sky in anticipation of an eternal reward that was made up and sold by ancient snake oil salesmen who knew next to nothing about anything while on the take to survive.

          Clement has this idea that atheists have no meaning in their lives because they don’t believe in his flavour of god. Other believers will assert the same and include Clement in that group of having no meaning. He doesn’t get it. He is delusional.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I don’t know why folks like Clement tend to push my buttons. I guess it is their way of stating things in declarative sentences as if they hold the final word on everything. No one knows everything least of all those who have only read the bible and all those apologist books that hope to confirm its veracity. I suppose everyone must do what they have to do, but to me, chasing a delusion seems like a pretty non-meaningful way to fully experience the wonder of life that abounds all around us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And the one’s who have not read the Bible, but take others word for it, are even worse,

        • Otto

          Pastors and Priests use to use declarative sentences when I would ask them about God, and then I would say something like ‘how do you know that’, and invariably they would say ‘that is what I think’ or ‘that is what I believe’….ok, so what is with the declaratory sentence as if they know that as a fact. That would always drive me nuts.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I hear ya.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t know why folks like Clement tend to push my buttons. I guess it is their way of stating things in declarative sentences as if they hold the final word on everything.

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times. God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality. It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article. Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.

        • Otto

          Look Clement, I already told you that we don’t believe the claims due to a lack of foundation. Bring some reasonable foundation and you could change our minds. There may be a Deistic god, but you are claiming there is a very specific god with specific attributes. You need to substantiate THAT claim. We reject ALL theism, whether it is Judaism, Christianity, Islam or Hinduism or any other theism. That IS being consistent. What you are claiming is that ONE is right and the others are wrong, and yet the ONE that you claim is right does not have any more reasonable evidence than the others…that is not applying the same standard across the board.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look Clement, I already told you that we don’t believe the claims due to a lack of foundation.

          Where did I say that?

        • Otto

          >>>”Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist”

          That is not Bob’s thesis imo.

        • Susan

          That is not Bob’s thesis imo.

          Of course that’s not Bob’s thesis. As Clement is unable to do a single thing to support his position (and goodness knows, we’ve begged him to countless times), his only strategy is to shift the burden.

          He tried this a while back, failed miserably, and now he’s back, having hit the reset button.

          I fucking hate the reset button.

        • You are correct.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I agree. It was the premise of the thesis contained in the remainder of that sentence that you chose to edit out.

          Was your intent to deceive, or is your reading comprehension that bad?

        • Otto

          If you agree that even that part is NOT part of Bob’t thesis than it does not matter if I left off the rest of the sentence because THAT incorrect part invalidates everything else.

          Are you so dishonest as to knowingly start a sentence with a false statement and then think that anything that follows has any validity?

        • Susan

          Are you so dishonest as to knowingly start a sentence with a false statement and then think that anything that follows has any validity?

          Yes.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So bizarre. OK, is the point you are struggling with whether Bob was asserting that God is real? His theory was that people should not put hope in God because . . . . . God is not real – they are putting their hope in something that does not exist. Now, if there was a chance that God did exist, well, then there might be some point in having hope. God’s existence and hope in God are directly related. Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

          What about all the other god’s?

          Without Shiva, hope in Shiva is pointless. Do you think Shiva exists? Do you think people who put their hope in Shiva are being rational?

          Why YahwehJesus and not Shiva?

          Do you think Shiva worshipers think it is rational for YahwehJesus worshipers to put their hope into YahwehJesus?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

          What about all the other god’s?

          Without
          Shiva, hope in Shiva is pointless. Do you think Shiva exists? Do you
          think people who put their hope in Shiva are being rational?

          Doesn’t matter to the topic. Ditto. Don’t care – that’s their business.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh it matters to the topic alright.

          I see you still can’t read for shite. I asked YOU what YOU thought.

          That you can’t answer without making an arse of your position, tell’s us all exactly what we need to know.

          When you work out in your head why all those eejits finding hope in a belief in Shiva are being irrational, perhaps the penny will drop as to why we atheists believe all those eejits finding hope in a belief in YahwehJesus are being irrational.

          Do yourself a huge favour and take “The Outsider Test for Faith”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And here’s a link to the test, to save CA a google search: http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2009/03/outsider-test-for-faith_20.html

        • Otto

          Bob is talking about a specific version of God with very specific attributes and you do not seem to want to deal with the substance of what he is saying imo. Bob is saying we see no evidence for a version of God with those attributes and pretending like there is, when there is no reason to think there is…is futile and a waste.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “From a false antecedent, anything follows”

          From a mathematical logic class too long ago now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How does the omission of rest of your comment change your assertion that Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist…? When it isn’t.

          The thesis is that believing because it is consoling, just isn’t good enough.

          Steve Jobs believed that homeopathy would better cure his cancer…he was consoled with the belief that homeopathy was a better way to go, rather than conventional medicine, which had he sought from the outset, would likely have saved his life. By the time he decided to go down the conventional route it was too late. Guess what, Jobs died.

          Something consoling, but detrimental, is dangerous.

          Why can’t you get that?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Derail. And your ‘reply’ is a non sequitur and obtuse in the extreme.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times. God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality. It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article.”

          Well, dude, I just reread Bob’s post and oddly enough I couldn’t find where he said “we KNOW God does not exist”. However, if you can provide empirical evidence of his existence in reality, we’re all ears. That would really, really solidify your argument.

          “Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          You are in an atheist blog, you know. The difference between many of the declarative sentences you hear here and those of a religious bent is that ours are anchored in the naturalistic world, backed-up by empirical evidence and scientific peer review. Yours are from allegorical texts written by clerics from second and third-hand sources and all of whom thought demons caused disease, the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. Does that seem like an even exchange deserving of the same standard to you?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I just reread Bob’s post and oddly enough I couldn’t find where he said “we KNOW God does not exist”.

          Analogy #1: You submit your resume for a job that DOES NOT EXIST.
          Analogy #2: Refrigerator-sized diamond that DOES NOT EXIST.
          Analogy #3: You are told you are warm, but that IS NOT TRUE.
          Analogy #4: You are warned of a predator that DOES NOT EXIST.

          Hope is false because . . . . . there is no God.
          God is a crutch (false hope) – throw it away.
          “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

          It’s his theme throughout. I’m on the verge of recapitulating the entire blog. If we DON’T know that God does not exist, then it is possible that we would be cheating these people out of hope.

          Hope, BTW, cannot be measured by the pound or the inch. It is a concept, and is a man-made construct. Like God, we cannot demonstrate it by natural means. We just accept that it exists.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Wow. You really don’t see the difference between anecdotal reference and declarative statements. Quelle surprise!

          Just because something may be possible is no reason to create an entire infrastructure around it unless there is something to be gained for those creating that infrastructure. Regardless, the whole infrastructure could turn out to be a house of cards should the truth ever come to light. How fair do you think that would be to crutch holders?

          I fail to see what point you have been trying to make here. What is your ultimate informational goal that you are trying to impart to us because as yet, I have been unable to discern that? Is this some effort to show us that atheism is a religion? Do you believe atheism is somehow invalid? Is this about some obscure definition of meaningful? Is this some effort to bring us to a realization that humans are some special mysterious compilation of ancient godly architecture? Is this your way of trying to legitimize belief as if it were truth? Quit beating around the bush and justify your case, whatever that case is.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Wow. You really don’t see the difference between anecdotal reference and declarative statements. Quelle surprise!

          OK, an anecdote means it really happened to Bob, right? I didn’t get that from my reading. I think he may even have been quoting from other people’s comparisons.

          The point of an analogy is to help clarify a point the author is making. Bob’s point was that people should not be investing hope in God because – as the analogies clarified – God does not exist.

          I tried to make several points:
          1) No one is arguing that the sole reason a person should be a Christian is for comfort in difficult times. Bob is arguing a point no one is making.
          2) Proving the existence of something tangible is different than proving something intangible. Their natures are different and one should not automatically expect the proofs to be identical. I pointed to the analogy of the (non-existent) refrigerator-sized diamond.
          3) If someone is searching for meaning and something that makes them feel better (in difficult times), that implies that they don’t have meaning now, and don’t feel good. 4) Simply “taking away that crutch” (Telling them there is no hope) isn’t going to make them stronger. It goes against human nature. You might be causing more harm than good.

          IMO, even from a secular POV, each of these points should be super-easy for all of us to agree on.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope. Hope is real.

          No ‘god’s required.

        • Clement Agonistes

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E…show it.

        • Otto

          Hope for what exactly?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just Hope. Show me a couple of pounds of it. I need to be able to hold it in my hands in order to believe it really exists.

        • Otto

          So what is your point?

        • Susan

          Just Hope.

          What do you mean?

          Show me a couple of pounds of despair. Or politics. Or boredom. Or blue.

          I need to be able to hold it in my hands in order to believe it really exists.

          Then you’ll have to dismiss democracy, contempt, ambition, indifference and all kinds of abstract nouns.

          The argument from abstract nouns.

          Very impressive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve seen it all now.

          How to be so asinine with just the one head…impressive indeed.

        • epeeist

          Just Hope. Show me a couple of pounds of it.

          So you don’t accept the existence of the thing (I use the word advisedly) that Christians are always blathering on about, namely “love”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not until you can put a couple of pounds of it in his hands he won’t.

          The woo-woo doesn’t seem to get abstract concepts.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You don’t understand evidence, it seems.

          You can’t carry wind, you can’t smell sunlight, you can’t wear manure scent as clothing, you can’t use a musical performance as a tent, yet all exist, and can be measured and quantified.

          So, in the same fashion, show the quantifiable attributes of your ‘god’. NOT of your / others *belief* in ‘god’s, as that’s evident…attributes of the actual ‘god’ that a neutral party would admit A. actually exist, and B. can be demonstrated to apply to the ‘god’ you’re postulating.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You don’t understand evidence, it seems.

          I understand the nature of evidence – when tangible evidence should be expected and when it shouldn’t. This is the entire problem with that whole “evidence” evasion atheists love so much – what would be the nature of evidence for God? Well, it might be similar to the evidence for Hope (or any other concept).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t you know what an abstract noun is then?

          http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-abstract-nouns.html

        • Clement Agonistes

          Crap, Amos, all you did was define one concept with another. You might as well say it is “unreal”. Saying that hope is abstract is not evidence of its existence. It is something subjective that can only exist in the mind.

          If I said the evidence for God was abstract, would you say, “Oh, yeah, I see what you mean – God is real.”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Excellent…welcome to my web said the spider to the fly.

          First, that’s not what theist believers mean when they make personal god claims. But, whatever.

          Define what you mean when you say God?

          You might as well say it is “unreal”.

          What do you mean by “unreal”?

          Saying that hope is abstract is not evidence of its existence. It is something subjective that can only exist in the mind.

          Agreed. Evidence for abstractions is tentative and subjective at best. And irrelevant. If you say you “hope” to win the lottery, why would that have any relevance? It will have no effect on the outcome of the lottery.

          The term abstraction also applies to uses of language. Abstract language is said to include terms that refer to entities other than physical objects and events, for example, “justice” and “freedom” as opposed to terms that refer to actual physical things, like “chair” and “car”.

          We know what people mean when they say hope. Or any of the list of abstract nouns. Words have meanings in common parlance.

          Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

          I “hope” my family will be healthy. That has no relevance to their actual health.

          No one with a brain cell thinks hope interacts in the world physically by answering prayers, influencing outcomes, causing miracles.

          This is just more of your deflection and obfuscating mindwankery.

          If I said the evidence for God was abstract, would you say, “Oh, yeah, I see what you mean – God is real.”?

          Whaaa? The word hope is the abstract, not the evidence for it.

          If you want to claim God is an abstraction, say like “God is love”, go for it. The word is real, but that is irrelevant.

          I’m happy enough with God be nothing more than an abstraction. It make God a deistic entity at best.

          So God seems to have been squeezed to the last, most untouchable place. God appears to be nothing more than an abstraction, invisible to science. Invisible to humanity.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/07/28/god-as-an-abstraction/

          But I don’t think that’s what most people believe about the anthropomorphic gods of most religions.

          I’m an igtheist, or Theological non-cognitivist, if ya prefer..the very word God is so ill defined that it is meaningless…something you appear to have supported with this latest nonsense.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ignosticism

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          As you ask, so it is given: Google Scholar search on ‘hope’, not one item of which primarily cites religious faith: https://www.google.com/search?q=google+scholar+research+on+hope&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS798US799&oq=google+scholar+research+on+hope&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.8959j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        • Clement Agonistes

          A Google Search results? THAT is your evidence? Hey, this is a great day for every Christian apologist you guys have made fun of for the last 10 years – Google Search results are evidence of existence. So, google “god” and let’s see if any results pop up. If they do, then God exists.

          Honestly, . . . . . .

        • epeeist

          A Google Search results?

          Read it again, this time for comprehension. It isn’t a “Google search” but a “Google Scholar search”, this references published material including peer reviewed papers on the search terms.

          Compare say, a Google search for gravitational microlensing with a Google Scholar search for the same terms.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s like presenting a list of books in a library and implying the answer is in there somewhere. It’s not a coherent argument. It looks like the Gish Gallop you guys complain about so much

          . . . . . . when you are not the one using the tactic.

        • epeeist

          It’s like presenting a list of books in a library and implying the answer is in there somewhere.

          No, it’s like presenting a list of books whose title contains specific terms. Now as it is I wouldn’t have presented such a simple search as the OP, I would have qualified it, limiting to such areas as psychology and sociology. This would have been more than adequate to show the existence of “hope” both with and without religious connotations.

          Now if you want to get into whether one or to take a realist or nominalist attitude to the existence of “hope” then that is another matter.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Apply your same standard of declarative statements to
          90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only
          when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you
          object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          You
          are in an atheist blog, you know. The difference between many of the
          declarative sentences you hear here and those of a religious bent is
          that ours are anchored in the naturalistic world

          “Many”, yes – about 10% by my calculation. I think i am being generous. It could be 99% that are speculative at best and poorly-thought-out opinion at worst.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          That’s at least 10% more than those of theists. You are certainly entitled to your opinion of us but a little introspection on your part might disclose the bias that causes your lack of understanding.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Did I claim that theists aren’t the same? (No.)

          Your assertion was that it bugs you when people use declarative sentences. Well, only when it is people who don’t share your opinions.

        • epeeist

          “Many”, yes – about 10% by my calculation.

          You did a calculation? Show your working.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          CA is showing the typical fundagelical statistical method of pulling numbers out of his nether region here…and it shows.

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E…show it.

          I don’t believe you, because you’ve shown yourself to be untrusworthy and given to lying for advantage.

        • Max Doubt

          “God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality.”

          If you believe a god exists, but are unable to objectively differentiate between that god and any other figment of your imagination, then that is the only reasonable tentative conclusion. Gods meet all the criteria we use to describe something as a figment of the imagination, and don’t have any unique characteristics that would otherwise distinguish them from figments of the imagination. There’s no reason to consider gods something else.

          “All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          Then you will agree that gods are best explained as figments of the imagination, eh?

        • Clement Agonistes

          LOL. It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety. We can have fun with this topic without anyone having to agree on the existence of God or not. Just enjoy the conversation.

        • Susan

          It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety.

          It’s hilarious that you would have the audacity to refer to people as lightweights when you have provided nothing of substance in all your visits here.

          Also hilarious that you think anyone would “run for safety” from you.

          You’re dishonest, evasive and firing blanks.

        • “Fun”? Suddenly the alarm bells are ringing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are participating here because you DON’T enjoy this? Yes, by all means – “Someone is enjoying themselves. Set off the alarms!!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          More bad reading comprehension…it never ceases.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          More like we’re pulling weeds of poisonous thought.

          If they grow, they choke out progress and peace.

        • epeeist

          It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety.

          Says the lightweight who ran for safety after abandoning a slew of topics.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have run every topic to the ground, taking months to do so. What I am referring to is you (et.al.) always running for your “out” at the first hint of a thought-provoking topic. You want to change a difficult topic to your “safe” topic. Aside from being fallacious reasoning, it is boring.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I see a bunch of assertions with zero evidence to back them up.

          If you’ve got it, show it.

          Otherwise, keep being a chew toy 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          He was busy in Croydon…lot’s of reset buttons there needing pushed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m seeing a particularly distasteful and mealy-mouthed case of projection there, CA.

          Why not try to engage the point, rather than just throwing out insults to try to derail the conversation?

        • Susan

          since we KNOW that God does not exist

          Define “God” and “know”.

          an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality

          It’s the reasonable position to take. I mean “magic” might exist in reality and the magic beans I’m selling you might be magic. You can’t absolutely KNOW they’re not. But I would be a dishonest asshole to make it your burden to prove that they’re not if I can’t support my claim that magic exists and that my beans are magic.

          I wouldn’t do that because I’m not a dishonest asshole.

          This concept has been explained to you countless times (and Max just explained it quite clearly above) but you continue to be dishonest don’t seem to grasp something so basic, no matter how clearly it’s explained.

          It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          No. It’s when people claim that entities exist that are in every way indistinguishable from imaginary entities that I (and others here) object.

          All I ask of you is to apply the same standard

          No. On the contrary. What you ask is that we accept your special pleading.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times.

          Which God? Where does Bob say he knows?

          I’m sure the following had wished the crutch was taken away…

          https://www.masskids.org/index.php/religious-medical-neglect/cases-of-child-deaths

          God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality.

          Until you can show otherwise and explain your method of verification, we have no reason to believe it is otherwise.

          It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article.

          What do you think is the premise of the article?

          Just because believing in a particular woo-woo is consoling, doesn’t make that belief true or give it any veracity.

          Steven Pinker said if you are being chased by a tiger, it may comfort you to believe it’s a rabbit, but it is a tiger and it’s going to eat you.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjeD-9LcfWM

          Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons.

          Are other beliefs and gods true because they are consoling to the believers of every other religion that is, or has ever been? Of course not.

          It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Whaaa? This is an atheist forum with a particular penchant for criticizing Christianity in it’s many guises. Of course when a Christian pitches up with a POV we disagree with, which Christian POV’s invariably do, we are going to object to it. Otherwise we’d still be Christians.

          That’s not to say that those of other faiths who pitch up on the rare occasion, don’t get the same kick-back. They do.

          So, a Hindu comes along and declares his religion is genuine because he get’s great comfort and solace from his beliefs in difficult times. Will you agree with him? I think not.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.

          Feckin’ irony meters are exploding around here like Billy-oh today.

          Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86N5htL_SOE

        • Clement Agonistes

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times.

          Which God? Where does Bob say he knows?

          Wait, so there is SOME God that Bob does believe exists? I was under the impression that he didn’t believe in any of them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope.

          Bob doesn’t KNOW a god doesn’t exist. In the same way you don’t KNOW that other gods don’t exist.

          The preponderance of evidence is of such a weakness, that it lends itself to the absence of belief in gods. And living life that there isn’t one is the rational way forward. Bob can’t KNOW, but he thinks it more rational not to believe. That’s where his arguments stem from.

          If I’m wrong, am sure Bob will jump in a correct any error.

          Now, when we consider the specific attributed characteristics of certain gods, we can say that they can’t exist logically.

          An omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent god is a logical impossibility. Lot’s of Christian’s believe in just such a god.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Bob doesn’t KNOW a god doesn’t exist. In the same way you don’t KNOW that other gods don’t exist.

          Yeah, but I’m not writing a blog.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So what?

          If you’re going to waste our time here, be a worthy challenger or be a catnip toy.

          Your choice.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What ta fuck has that got to do with anything?

        • Which does what to support your original claim that I say we know God doesn’t exist?

          You really need to reread your comments first before posting.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Absolutely nothing – Amos changed the subject. I have to work with what you guys give me.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The fuck you did.

          There’s such a thing as ‘correction’…but you seem to be Gish Galloping, shooting from the hip.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amos did fuck all of the sort…you just can’t fucking read properly ya idiot.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist”

          I missed the part where you provided evidence of your PhD in telepathy.

          Until then, I dare you try to find, ANYwhere in Bob’s oeuvre where he claims that we ‘KNOW’ that ‘god’ doesn’t exist.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Clement has this idea that atheists have no meaning in their lives because they don’t believe in his flavour of god. Other believers will assert the same and include Clement in that group of having no meaning. He doesn’t get it. He is delusional.

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t. In fact, I addressed the craving without commenting at all whether people satisfy that craving or not. You are 2 factors removed from comprehending what was written.

          I have asserted several times in this conversation that meaning is man-made, which very much falls in line with what you guys say. I was even told in response that people could just make something up. If theists are just making it up, and atheists are just making it up, I ask, what’s the difference – it’s ALL a delusion. The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS. As soon as the philosophy gets in the way, you guys just cast it aside and adopt theist values. Atheism just becomes another flavor of God.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t. In fact, I addressed the craving without commenting at all whether people satisfy that craving or not. You are 2 factors removed from comprehending what was written.

          Well, I understood your “two apes” comment to infer that of the majority of Christians we get around here. That without having God in ones heart, life is meaningless. The fact is, on a cosmological scale, life is meaningless. As individuals we make our lives meaningful…for the most of us, it is parochially so. Religion and gods are not necessary and this is in evidence.

          Taken along with this comment…

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

          Which says to me that not believing implies an absence of both feeling good and a meaning to life.

          Christians equate atheism with nihilism. Two I’ve engaged with recently insisted on it. If that is not what you meant, or believe, and if I’ve got it wrong and that’s not your position, then I apologize for the misrepresentation. Mea culpa.

          I have asserted several times in this conversation that meaning is man-made, which very much falls in line with what you guys say.

          But then I don’t understand your argument. If an atheist can feel good and have meaningful lives, what need is there for the crutch of religion? It seems to me that it is superfluous and unnecessary…and can be very detrimental to lots of people in lots of ways that are not good or meaningful to those who buy into it.

          I was even told in response that people could just make something up.

          Without citation of context, I can’t comment on that assertion. Make what up?

          If theists are just making it up, and atheists are just making it up, I ask, what’s the difference – it’s ALL a delusion.

          What is it that atheists are making up in order to give themselves meaningful lives and a feel good factor?

          The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS.

          What is the atheist philosophy when one is writing back home?

          Ah…so I was right. You too conflate atheism with nihilism. Which nihilism?

          The universe gives zero fucks for life’s meaning. We will probably be gone just as quick as we appeared. Life’s meaning is what we make it. No god’s required.

          “In the long run, entropy will spell the end of everything in the universe and the universe itself, but we don’t live in the long run. We live now. We live in Brooklyn, so doing our homework matters. And so, too, does doing our duty to ourselves, our loved ones, our community, our species and our planet.” ~Michael Shermer

          As soon as the philosophy gets in the way, you guys just cast it aside and adopt theist values. Atheism just becomes another flavor of God.

          Which philosophy? Which theist values?

          You’ve come out with some nonsense in the past, but I think you’ve peaked with that one.

          Sean Carroll nails it in this 7 minute 20 second video.

          https://www.thepowerofscience.org/meaning-life-sean-carroll/

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Excellent!

          CA continuously asserts that anytime an atheist says they have meaning or purpose in their life, they are philosophically disingenuous and merely co-opting on theism. When exactly did theism get a patent on meaning and purpose?

        • Otto

          About the same time they got the copyright on winter solstice celebrations.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Hubris,… breakfast of Christians!

        • Greg G.

          Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!

        • Ignorant Amos

          CA continuously asserts that anytime an atheist says they have meaning or purpose in their life, they are philosophically disingenuous and merely co-opting on theism.

          He is the one being disingenuous. Life is just a stop gap on the way to eternity according to believers. It’s nonsense. I can imagine suicide had to be made a sin to stop self martyrdom and a fast track to the great beyond. There is no money to be made in that scenario. Some believers didn’t get the memo though.

          When exactly did theism get a patent on meaning and purpose?

          Not just any old theism, his particular flavour.

          I’m perplexed that he can’t see that all the other religions that are contradictory to his own, can make the same claim of giving meaning and purpose in life

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          ramen, brother.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, I understood your “two apes” comment to infer that of the majority of Christians we get around here. That without having God in ones heart, life is meaningless.

          Your understanding is kind of the issue, isn’t it? The 2 apes comment related to the context of my comment about how natural selection would choose desirable characteristics. It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative. As an aside, grammatically, “infer” is what the reader does and “imply” is what the author does. You inferred something that I did not imply.

          I never said that one cannot have meaning without having God in your heart. I agreed with T4ATF that atheist can make their own meaning . . . . . . which makes that flavor of atheism no different that theism in that respect.

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

          Which says to me that not believing implies an absence of both feeling good and a meaning to life.

          Seen through the prism of your past conversation with other Christians, I can see how that might bias you toward a different interpretation. But, no, that wasn’t what I was saying, and I think the totality of my context would have made that clear. Mine was a generic comment about the fact that humans need meaning at all. People NEED these things because it is their nature to need them. You can’t just say to them, “Don’t need this” any more than you can tell a depressed person to not have depression.

        • Susan

          It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative.

          Define “meaning” and explain why it’s a negative.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your understanding is kind of the issue, isn’t it?

          Indeed…stating the obvious really.

          The 2 apes comment related to the context of my comment about how natural selection would choose desirable characteristics. It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative.

          Yeah, that’s what I thought. Who says anything about “meaning” being a negative?

          As an aside, grammatically, “infer” is what the reader does and “imply” is what the author does. You inferred something that I did not imply.

          Indeed, me being the reader of your comment inferred that you implied that atheists lives are meaningless without gods. I still see nothing that convinces me that my initial inference was wrong.

          But I apologized for my error if that was the case. What do you want, blood?

          I never said that one cannot have meaning without having God in your heart. I agreed with T4ATF that atheist can make their own meaning . . . . . . which makes that flavor of atheism no different that theism in that respect.

          You are doing it again. That flavour of atheism that make their own meaning are no different from theism. And those other flavours of atheism that I take you don’t think make their own meaning? Are you implying that their lives are meaningless, sure looks like it to me.

          Seen through the prism of your past conversation with other Christians, I can see how that might bias you toward a different interpretation.

          The meaning you theists are talking about, and the meaning atheists talk about, I don’t think they are the same.

          According to Christian philosopher WLC, life has no meaning or purpose without God.

          http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=12992

          So my bias, such that it is, is well founded. Unless you disagree and life can be full of “meaning” without gods…then the argument is moot.

          But, no, that wasn’t what I was saying, and I think the totality of my context would have made that clear.

          Nah…not that clear at all.

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?

          The dichotomy still seems apparent.

          Mine was a generic comment about the fact that humans need meaning at all. People NEED these things because it is their nature to need them. You can’t just say to them, “Don’t need this” any more than you can tell a depressed person to not have depression.

          This is a straw man of your own making. Who is making this argument here. Who is saying people don’t need meaning?

        • Greg G.

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t.

          Irony? You whinge that you were misrepresented for saying something you didn’t say…

          The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS.

          Then you flat out say it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hoist by his own petard…yet AGAIN!

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . . which still isn’t saying that atheists don’t have meaning in their lives. To be sure, there probably are people who don’t seek meaning in their lives (psychopaths?). They would be a tiny percentage. Humans crave meaning, and atheists are human. However, as a philosophy, atheism has to argue that meaning be a man-made construct, like hope. No, we don’t need to be a theist to fabricate meaning. But, it has to come from somewhere (culture) and it is inconsistent with the philosophy. It might be more of a comment on advocating for a philosophy that one doesn’t fully embrace oneself.

        • Greg G.

          Humans crave meaning, and atheists are human. However, as a philosophy, atheism has to argue that meaning be a man-made construct, like hope.

          It’s like searching for true happiness. When you aren’t searching for it, you look back on your life and realize you were truly happy. Likewise, a person can not see a meaning of life, just live their life in the moment. Then they can look back and recognize the meaning their life had… or not. It doesn’t matter whether they do or not.

          The “meaning of life” may be an invented mirage, a philosophical construct. We have an inborn will to live, just like other animals. It is powerful for survival and, thus, reproduction. We don’t really need to justify it. But if you are told that there is a meaning to life, you may want one. It’s like your will to live is being exploited when they tell you that you have a soul that might have an afterlife. So what most people call “the meaning of life” is what they value. A person might value their family and friends. They actually exist. A religious person might value the church, which is where their family and friends are. They actually exist. A religious person might value their deity. That’s just sad.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.”

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          What is the assumption we make about people who use crutches? They need them, right? They can’t walk without the help of crutches. They are weak; frail, too. We must crush their delusion when they need comfort; when they are at their weakest. We know with absolute certainty that there is no God, and the fact that these people disagree with us must be rectified. Even though they perceive comfort from their belief, this cannot be allowed. We must jerk their crutches from them . . . . . . because we know what is best for them.

          “…what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural.”

          Pretty much everything else since there is no empirical evidence the supernatural exists. If you can’t find meaning to your life without making things up, maybe you should just roll over and accept that life is meaningless OR you could find some actual activity that puts meaning into your life or someone else’s.

          OPTION A: The Bitter Truth: Life has no meaning. “Suck it up and stop your whining.” For the atheist, this option at least has the virtue of being consistent with the philosophy. Explain this one to the grieving person and see if you don’t get something back like, “Tell me more about this Jesus fellow“.

          OPTION B: Do what the theists do and just pretend. Given a choice of theism or theism, I’m choosing theism every time. The only alternative to man-made meaning is no meaning at all. For the person who needs meaning, atheism is not an option.

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do.”

          Fair enough,..how does believing in something that is incorporeal, something that does not actively interface with anything in the natural world and only exists in the imagination somehow create meaning in any empirical way? If someone works to alleviate suffering in a children’s hospital, or provides food, clothing, or shelter to those who are hungry, cold or exposed to the elements and those things provide the giver and recipient a reason for living, is that not meaningful in some way? Who are we and who is your chosen god to tell us what is meaningful in our lives.

          You ask, “Who is God to tell us what has meaning?”, right after rattling off meaningful things borrowed from theism. Again, I ask how that is any different? It looks identical to me.

          The common ground here is that both atheist and theist say meaning is in our DNA, which leads to the next point:

          “Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.”

          I don’t know whether apes need meaning or not. I don’t expect you do either. But studies have shown that animals locked in small cages with no external stimuli tend to wither and die much quicker than those who live in the wild. Just because we evolved in a different manner than many others in the animal kingdom doesn’t make us special and certainly doesn’t invalidate their purpose for being here. Life is its own purpose and maybe it doesn’t require meaningfulness, only survival skills.

          So, for either view, it has to be in the DNA. Either God put it there, or evolution did. MAYBE meaning is not necessary. That sure doesn’t seem to be the case. And, if meaning were a survival advantage, it should be present in multiple species. It has nothing to do with the purpose of other animals being here, but with their ability to perceive their meaning and purpose. There is certainly no evidence of anything anywhere close to the human level of craving meaning.

          I mentioned “apes” because we evolved from an ape ancestor. If survival of the fittest is the rule, then there must be a survival advantage to craving meaning in one’s life. The ape who craved meaning passed that characteristic on to its offspring. By all outward appearances, it is a survival negative. We are left with a very scientifically unsatisfying, “Well, it must just be a side effect of intelligence.”

          If this has an evolutionary origin, we ought to see it all over the place. Animals should be inventing religions, working in hospitals and providing clothing to naked animals.

        • Susan

          Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.

          No. He said this:

          I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day.

          I see you are still having the same old problems with reading comprehension.

          the other man-made meanings?

          Caring about other humans, other earthllngs, your friends, your family, your work, your art? Humans have done this throughout history and across the globe.

          Most of them have done it without your pet superstition. There is nothing inherently meaningful about believing in Yahwehjesus’s magic beans. It’s just another superstition. Without indoctrination in childhood, most people don’t seem to feel their lives lack meaning without Yahwehjesus.

          This is very important, though. What do you mean by meaning?

          How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend?

          Well… it’s about finding meaning in relationships with a world that actually exists. That seems to be a key difference. Rescuing a homeless cat is… I don’t know… more meaningful to me than worshipping an imaginary being.

          Even more, it’s meaningful to the cat. It finds love and food and shelter. If you don’t think those are meaningful, try living without one or more of them.

          Your two apes rant is meaningless. Until you define what you mean by meaning.

        • epeeist

          I see you are still having the same old problems with reading comprehension.

          Deliberately so?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dishonestly mining for purpose seems to be the apologists go-to for straw manning in the hope that no one notices.

        • Greg G.

          Dishonestly mining for purpose seems to be the apologists go-to for straw manning in the hope that no one notices.

          Can we call it “straw-mining”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a penchant for hybrids, so why not indeed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hybrids have vigor! 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          We shouldn’t create a crutch for people who don’t need it, then pretend that without it they will fall down.

          It’s like a drug pusher giving heroin to a child at the school gates and then reaping the benefits of the sales once the kid becomes dependent.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just how does one determine who needs this crutch and who doesn’t? Bob’s only criteria seem to be women, children, and the elderly (but, just the women). I mean, that’s some pretty funny stereotyping there.

          People who need comfort are in a bad way. They aren’t turning to God because science has the answers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just how does one determine who needs this crutch and who doesn’t?

          You don’t get it yet, do ya?

          No one “needs” the crutch. No more than they “need” heroin before getting hooked. But once hooked, it is very hard to get off. And dependency can be very detrimental to parts of living.

          Bob’s only criteria seem to be women, children, and the elderly (but, just the women). I mean, that’s some pretty funny stereotyping there.

          You really can’t read for comprehension. Why don’t you go and read the OP again…S-L-O-W-L-Y…and just maybe you’ll grasp what Bob actually said and in context. Then maybe, just maybe, you’l be able to stop writing the shite you think a comment says, focus more than it actually says.

          People who need comfort are in a bad way.

          Why are they in a bad way? What is this “bad way” you talk of?

          They aren’t turning to God because science has the answers.

          They are turning to God because they have been brainwashed that it is the crutch they need…like heroin, they think it helps, because they’ve become dependent.

          It’s Catch-22.

          We non-believers know there is no need for it, because most of us once had the crutch, realized we could stand up better without, so threw it away. At a time of need, we don’t need to turn back to that fix, we realized it was nonsense…a placebo at best. We seek comfort in reality.

          Now, no one here is declaring that for those that find comfort in whatever woo-woo takes their fancy, have to give it up. Just stop foisting it on those folk around you that have no interest in the nonsense.

          But here’s the thing. Religion isn’t meant to be a comfort blanket. It has just turned out that way. You are undermining your own position by admitting it as such. There are religious comfort blankets of all sorts of stripes, and they work every bit as well as your particular stripe when adherents seek comfort. And that means there is nothing particularly special about yours to all those outside looking in.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nobody needs the crutch.

          Some people are fooled into believing they need it.

          We need to stop the hucksters from lying to people about needing the crutch.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend?”

          Evidence.

          Next question?

        • Clement Agonistes

          You know, this “evidence” thing has gotten to be such a cliche with you that I doubt you even recognize the incongruity of using it in the context of this discussion.

          If the atheist is just making it (meaning) up, what “evidence” is there to point to? None, of course. But the fact that y0u would go running to this go-to escape so early in the conversation is like some sort of self-parody.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s only a cliche because it’s so true.

          IF you could provide evidence, you’d nullify that position.

          Sooooo, when are you gonna do it?

        • Greg G.

          At points in time, there have been legends of the cockatrice, the gorilla, the yeti, extra-terrestrial beings in space-craft, and the bigfoot. In the case of one, it all changed because of evidence for gorillas.

          There are two types of theistic religions: those that have no evidence for the existence of their gods and those that have evidence of the existence of their gods but no evidence that those “gods” are actually gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The evidence for the Loch Ness Monster is so overwhelming that it just must exist.

          Compared to that of Jesus, Nessies evidence of existence is mountainous.

    • Otto

      >>>”It is as much an assumption as what theists are doing.”

      No it is demonstrably not the same. You have created a false equivalence. A theist is not just ‘assuming there is is some generic God’ a theist assumes there is a specific God with specific attributes and interacts with the known universe in specific (and not so specific) ways. Most atheists around here are not just ‘assuming’ there is not a God, we are rejecting the premise, and specifically the theistic premise, of God. I have no idea if there is a Deistic god, but by definition why would I?

    • Greg G.

      If you need a god thingy to give meaning to life, you are doing life wrong.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Uh, ALL species have a unique perspective.

      It’s only humans whose language we can understand so far, that’s all.

      • Clement Agonistes

        So, you are thinking that a sparrow has a totally unique perspective that, say, a chickadee or a titmouse? And, a bass has a totally different perspective than, say, a perch or a sunfish? Or, a clam has a wildly different perspective than an oyster or mussel?

        Every survival characteristic has multiple animals with that same characteristic. . . .. . . . . . . Then, we have Man.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Then, we have Man”,…and the duck-billed platypus.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Duck” bill. (Otter-footed, egg-laying, beaver-tailed, . . . . . )

        • Greg G.

          The platypus is an aquatic, egg-laying, milk-producing animal. It is more unique than humans are.

        • Susan

          Don’t forget the males have a venomous spur.

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

        • MR

          Wow, you learn something new every day. I did not know that platypodes were apologists, too!

        • Greg G.

          When I visited a Buddhist temple outside Sydney last January, we saw a sign warning about snakes. Right under it was a lizard which my sister-in-law took a wide berth around. I thought it was neat. I was going to try to grab, thinking about the only venomous lizards were in the western hemisphere. Then I figured that if there was an unidentified venomous lizard anywhere in the world, it would be in Australia. I decided I didn’t really want to catch that lizard. This is the one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d15d5bbe26f42b79e58429ffc02210bbda43c45d743287bba780cca746cc78a0.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          Australia has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent. However the two types of poisonous lizards, the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and the Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) are native to North America.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, NO other animals have venom?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Unique COMBINATION…like the combination of features of humanity that seem to give you airs…at the same time you seem to be interested in rejecting any fruit of science that disturbs your childish, superstitious worldview.

        • Greg G.

          They have venomous spurs on their feet. Does any other animal have that?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Zhangheotherium quinquecuspidens is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, but you used the present tense (“have”), so, no.

        • Susan

          What’s your point?

          (I don’t know why I’m bothering to ask. You’ve been asked before. When we can actually get an answer out of you, it usually only serves to make your point less and less clear, but I’m asking anyway… and while I’m at it, I’ll ask you for the third time… )

          What do you mean by “meaning”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I note that you are asking the same question that others have asked. Are you able to see my answer to them?

          As to “meaning”, as always, when you play the Definition Game, I invite you to shop dictionaries for the definition most favorable to your slant, and I will go with that.

        • Susan

          I note that you are asking the same question that others have asked.

          Yes.

          Are you able to see my answer to them?

          I am able to see that you haven’t answered with an actual point.

          As to “meaning”, as always, when you play the Definition Game

          It’s not a game. You are pretending to have a massive point (one that you won’t clarify) that hinges on “meaning” and you haven’t defined the term.

          I will provide a link but based on your history, I doubt you’ll engage it.

          https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/

          I invite you to shop dictionaries for the definition most favorable to your slant, and I will go with that.

          What do you mean by “meaning”?

          You are the one appealing to it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve fallen for this before, but i am a sucker. Smart Money says this is but the beginning of the Fallacy of Endless Questions, and you will never get around to going anywhere with it, but:

          To me, Meaning is the way things ought to be; the significance/purpose of our lives beyond mere existence.

          Tying that back to my early comment, I think humans are unique in our awareness that life should have meaning, and if Meaning were a beneficial trait, we should not be the only ones. Similarly, Hope and belief in the supernatural are also integral to our nature, and should not be eliminated.

        • Susan

          I’ve fallen for this before.

          You haven’t fallen for anything. You bandy grand terms about that you neither define nor support and you get called out on it and without defining nor supporting those terms, you call up an imaginary fallacy (for which you provide no link) rather than define and support your terms.

          To me, Meaning (note mine the irrelevant capitalization) is the way things ought to be

          How ought things be?

          This adds nothing. As I predicted, you didn’t bother to acknowledge or address the very difficult subjects of meaning.

          I think humans are unique in our awareness that life should have meaning,

          I don’t care if you think it. You haven’t shown it. You haven’t even addressed the subject.

          As usual, you are making shit up.

          Anything but face the very obvious request that you define what you are claiming and support it on the subject of your particular god.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve fallen for this before.

          You haven’t fallen for anything. You bandy grand terms about that you neither define nor support and you get called out on it and without defining nor supporting those terms, you call up an imaginary fallacy (for which you provide no link) rather than define and support your terms.

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about. You only feign ignorance as a means of diverting the conversation from a direction you do not like. There is no satisfying the demands you make – you will see to that. These are not sincere requests you make. I treated you as if you were serious, knowing there was little or no chance that you were serious.

          I invited you to provide your own definition in order to mover the conversation forward. As always, you decline the offer because it is not your intention to move things forward, but to bring the conversation to an end. That invitation is open-ended. If you change your mind or I have read you wrong, bring something to the table; define the terms.

          To me, Meaning (note mine the irrelevant capitalization) is the way things ought to be

          How ought things be?
          This adds nothing. As I predicted, you didn’t bother to acknowledge or address the very difficult subjects of meaning.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in their life, ask them if they think life is the way it ought to be.

        • Susan

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about.

          No. So far, we can only guess. How many times have you been asked what your point is?

          There is no satisfying the demands that you make.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions, make a coherent point and support it are pretty standard stuff in discussions.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in life, ask them if they think life is the way they ought to be.

          That would be a strange question in response. The obvious question would be “What do you mean?”

          A question that they might answer but you so far haven’t.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about.

          No. So far, we can only guess.

          You’ll have to forgive me, Susan, I’m still new to how things work around here. I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          There is no satisfying the demands that you make.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions

          The tip of the iceberg. . . . . .. a VERY large iceberg.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in life, ask them if they think life is the way it ought to be.

          That would be a strange question in response. The obvious question would be “What do you mean?”

          Really? THAT’S how you would respond? Because it’s not a common subject people bring up in conversation. It would have to be someone who felt comfortable telling me something that private. It would probably be said with an edge of desperation. This would be someone I care about, and playing your Endless Questions game would be the last thing that would occur to me. that would be on par with Ignorant Amos’ “What the fuck is wrong with you” sensitivity.

          You are a terrible conversation partner.

          Look, we are well past the Silly Time (after the real conversation has been run to the ground). I’m moving on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          Well at least 5 of us thinks she has a point. I suspect there are a number of others reading who also agree. So to that end, Susan’s inclusive editorial “we” is spot on.

        • Greg G.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions

          The tip of the iceberg. . . . . .. a VERY large iceberg.

          You are talking about imaginary stuff. It is important that you clarify what you are imagining.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I have pointed out, all concepts are imaginary – they exist only in the mind. So, I’ll grant you that. I had hoped we could discuss this whole matter in the realm of common sense reality – what everyone understands hope, meaning, etc. to be. Everyone knows these things. That said, I invited both Susan and Amos to define the terms on their own grounds. Amos’ Children have meaning in their lives, but Amos needs me to define what the term means? And, rather that take that opportunity, both came at me with name-calling — there never was any interest in my answer or in having a discussion.

          I find you to be a reasonable person, capable of conversation. Look, I’ll throw it open to you, as well: Go shopping for definitions in any dictionary you want. Pick the definition that is most friendly to your slant, and I’ll discuss whatever impact that provides. Let’s just GO somewhere with this (and tie it back to Bob’s comments).

        • Otto

          I tried to go there, I pointed out Bob was talking about existential meaning. Maybe you didn’t see it but I said…

          Obviously Bob is referring to existential meaning in these blog posts. It is not clear that is what you are referring to specifically. I agree people have a want, and maybe even a need, for meaning. I don’t think that is necessarily the case with existential meaning.

          I was trying to get you to acknowledge and/or help differentiate between a basic meaning people need and a more complex existential meaning. It seems like all the definitions of meaning are getting conflated and we are talking past each other. I think if you want this to GO somewhere at some point this needs to be addressed.

        • Susan

          Maybe you didn’t see it but I said…

          He saw it. I keep hoping to have an honest discussion with Clement. I’m sure not going to have one with Laurence.

          But if you glance through his history and read all the responses to his whataboutery, it’s impossible to not see that he’s seen it.

          I think if you want this to GO somewhere at some point this needs to be addressed.

          This is the point where he will accuse you of a made up “Fallacy of Endless Questions”.

          Maybe not. Let’s see how he responds.

          You have a couple of things going for you. You’re not a girl. Also, you conceded “meaning” without asking him to define it.

        • Otto

          Agree on all points. Lawrence I put about a half a notch above Frank, really all he does is repeat “Jesus” over and over again with no substance. He assumes Jesus and all that the Bible says (as he interprets it) and expects that we should do the same. He is a troll. Clement I find to be at least to be trying to make an effort though it is hard to tell how much.

          I do think most people want some meaning, I don’t think most people go through their days wrestling with some existential angst, sure some do, but I think most people are just trying to figure out how to deal with all the myriad of real problems in daily life. Existential meaning is a luxury to think about when and if there is time.

        • MR

          Clement I find to be at least to be trying to make an effort though it is hard to tell how much.

          I just see a dishonest troll stringing everyone along, just like he was doing months ago.

        • Otto

          I will wait to see how he responds to this question.

        • Susan

          I will wait to see how he responds to this question.

          Still waiting?

          I know it’s the internet and two days is the blink of an eye on the internet but Clement has a thousand questions he hasn’t answered in his history here.

          His main goal seems to be burden shifting and pointing at squirrels.

        • Otto

          Yep still waiting. To be fair I think he has made only one post on Bob’s blog since I asked that question, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt until he shows back up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I do think most people want some meaning,…

          Clement is switching between need, hope, purpose, belief, meaning, etc., but not defining what it is that he thinks it is that thing is that humans need, and demonstrating the need for a god in order to find it. Let lone his particular flavour of god or woo-woo. And no matter what he says, the veracity of a god or religion isn’t fortified by by a need, hope, purpose, belief, meaning, etc., so his position is a bunch of wank.

          …I don’t think most people go through their days wrestling with some existential angst, sure some do, but I think most people are just trying to figure out how to deal with all the myriad of real problems in daily life.

          Correct. The existential angst only kicks in when the bullshit is pointed out and the individual needs to do something radical in order to get right, or else.

          Existential meaning is a luxury to think about when and if there is time.

          Indeed. And at the end of the day it is still nothing more than an omphaloskepsis [naval gazing] exercise. Like you say, a luxury that the majority of the humans on the planet can ill afford in their everyday lives and engaging in while trying to eek out an existence.

          Meaning and purpose is dealt with at a more physical and local level. No gods or woo-woo necessary.

        • Greg G.

          As I have pointed out, all concepts are imaginary – they exist only in the mind. So, I’ll grant you that.

          There is a qualitative difference between concepts of things based on perception and concepts of things based on imagination. Trees that bear fruit can be in the first category while trees that bear fruits that transmit major philosophical insights to the person who eats said fruit is in the second category. Balrogs and gods are in the second category.

          The Meaning of Life and how it relates to the Grand Scheme of Things seems to belong to the second category. There is no Grand Scheme, it’s just life. When you need a god that you have only imagined as a basis for a Meaning of Life, you undercut the whole shebang.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Trees are tangible. Fruit is tangible. Hope is not tangible. We do not need to define “tree” in order to have a common sense conversation about trees. Likewise, we do not need to agonize over the definition of “hope” (meaning, etc.) in order to discuss it on a common sense level. Susan was not asking for definitions in order to have a common sense discussion. All of us understand what hope is.

          Your conclusion about a Grand Scheme, of course, gets back to the issue of God’s existence. We will never agree on that topic. My hope (that word, again) is that we can discuss other issues like Bob’s article.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That said, I invited both Susan and Amos to define the terms on their own grounds. Amos’ Children have meaning in their lives, but Amos needs me to define what the term means? And, rather that take that opportunity, both came at me with name-calling — there never was any interest in my answer or in having a discussion.

          You are an unadulterated liar.

        • Susan

          I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          I have observed your interactions with others. Most people are asking you what your point is. Because you don’t make one, some flounder around trying to have an honest discussion with you (maybe they’re new at you) and you tell them that’s not what you’re saying.

          You showed up strawmanning Bob, blatantly saying the opposite of what he said, claiming that he wants to take crutches away from those who need them, despite him stating in plain words that he does not want to do that.

          This was pointed out and you have persisted in your lie. This is not the first time you’ve done this.

          You tried to conjure up some vague attack on an atheist position based on “humans” and “meaning”. Again, you did nothing to support the existence of the gods that atheists don’t believe.

          Rather than strawman you, I asked you to clarify.

          Rather than see that as an honest effort to communicate, you accused me (once again) of an imaginary fallacy of “a thousand questions” for asking an ordinary question, entirely relevant to your language.

          You brought up “oughts” without showing how that was connected to meaning at all.

          Of course, that sets off red flags as it’s standard apologetics to equivocate broad terms like “meaning”. The term “mere chemicals” is also a red flag. Why not just say that thoughts are based in chemical reactions? Because you have no idea how brains work, can show nothing but chemical reactions and somehow think you can imply that our lives are meaningless because chemicals.

          You didn’t explain what an “ought” is or how it is connected to whatever definition of “meaning” you are trying to use.

          You claimed humans are unique ’cause “meaning” without showing that meaning is unique to humans and ignored the fact that all species are unique. That’s what makes them species.

          You suggested that because humans need “meaning” that we need superstitious belief. Without showing that superstitious belief is particularly meaningful.

          You referred to a “gene” for “meaning” which just shows your ignorance in two major categories, biology and philosophy.

          You strawmanned “Dawkins” again because he’s a “popular atheist” who teaches his children that there is no meaning in life. Which is bullshit.

          You have ignored all of the substantial points that countless commenters have made in response to your inadequacy on countless subjects.

          And just hit repeat.

          it’s not a common subject that people would bring up in conversation

          No kidding. It’s a forced thought experiment that has no connection to any point.

          It would have to be someone who felt comfortable telling me something that private. It would probably be said with an edge of desperation.

          Maybe. Maybe not. If I cared about them, I would ask them what they mean. I certainly wouldn’t ask them “if life is the way it ought to be”. It doesn’t make any sense. It would mean I wasn’t listening.

          In your thought experiment, I would ask a single, simple question aimed at understanding what they were trying to say and you see that as Endless Questions. Because you’re not interested in real questions or real answers. I know this because you ignore both and/or respond with hostility to both.

          We are well past the Silly Time (after the real conversation has been run to the ground)

          It’s not just with me, Clement. You don’t seem to want to have a real conversation with anyone. Not with Bob, not with epeeist, not with Ignorant Amos, nor with countless others. You just seem to want to make shit up and not support it.

          I’m moving on.

          No, you’re not. You never move on. You just hit the reset button.

        • Pofarmer

          Basically you seem to be saying, David Hume, he is not.

        • Susan

          David Hume, he is not.

          He is not even Aristotle. Or Thomas Aquinas.

          But, yes.

          That would make for a much shorter comment.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You showed up strawmanning Bob, blatantly saying the opposite of what he
          said, claiming that he wants to take crutches away from those who need them, despite him stating in plain words that he does not want to do that.

          This was pointed out and you have persisted in your lie.

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and children with cancer – no demand from you that he define ANY of his terms. “The rest” of theist humanity, well, they just perceive the need for hope, using it as a crutch.. Again, we have no demand for definition from you.

          And, it is a “false” hope since . . . . . . . the (undefined) desired result NEVER happens. Well, that most assuredly is not true. Yet, you call me a liar, not Bob. The hope of theists is that things will be set right, if not in this world, then in the next. Do you demand that Bob prove there is not “next world”? No, because when you agree with the premise, you don’t ask any tough questions. There is no passionless analysis. There is name-calling and logically fallacious arguments.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments. I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists. I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent. I posited that the need for hope and meaning are also innate. I have asked you to examine your own arguments with the same standard you do those you disagree with. You have fought that tooth-and-nail. You’d rather attack the messenger than think.

          You are a transparent manipulator, Susan. It is amusing up to a point. It has a shelf life. Once the amusement is gone, there is nothing of value there. We’ve reached the limit of your amusement value. Bring something to the table, and we’ll talk.

        • Susan

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and children with cancer

          No. He was very specific. He gave several case in which taking away false hope might do more harm to the individual than good. He said:

          Christians make much of their religion’s precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

          What’s the harm with Christian hope?
          Christians will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives. What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s Christian beliefs at her age.

          Another example is someone living in abysmal circumstances—a child soldier in Somalia or a child prostitute in Thailand, say. Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are hopeless.

          I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.

          Nothing vague. He covered many points where the problems with false hope aren’t necessarily outweighed by the value of false hope.

          Then, he went on to talk about the problems that outweigh false hope. You, (as is your habit), utterly failed to engage with the substance of the article and acted like he wanted to take crutches away from people who can’t walk without them.

          no demand from you that he define ANY of his terms.

          See above. This is where Bob’s work is so much better than yours. He doesn’t strawman and ignore substance. You do. You ignored the entire article and pretended he said something he didn’t say.

          the hope of theists is that things will be set right

          Give me an example. I’m sure you’ll give me shit about that. For pointing out that “theists” is too broad a term and “be set right” is too broad a term and for asking for clarification. In normal, respectful discourse, someone who can provide an example just does so.

          In Clementland, it’s an egregious act to ask for an example.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments.

          You could have if you could have defined it and supported it. Instead, you tried a really bad version of the Cosmological Argument, failed badly, and ran away, now returning to make more bad arguments.

          . I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists.

          No. You pretended that humans were special, that some generic concept of human “meaning” was special and flailed badly when asked for clarification. Then, you alluded to “atheist parents” who had taught their children that “life is meaningless”. After much pressing, you had nothing but a strawmanning of an argument by Richard Dawkins which argued the opposite.

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.

          You’d rather attack the messenger than think.

          Hmmm…… and all you do is attack me when I ask you to clarify and support what you are thinking.

          For instance…

          You are a transparent manipulator, Susan…. Bring something to the table and we’ll talk.

          I have and you want to talk about anything but.

          Bob has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Epeeist has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Otto has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Ignorant Amos has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Greg G. has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Just for starters.

          In a less dysfunctional comment system, for instance one that just provided the back and forth history of dialogue, it would be obvious that you have brought nothing to the table and aren’t interested in talking.

          It’s Disqus. Although it takes more work, I encourage people to peruse through your comment history to notice that you have provided nothing of substance so far.

          It’s strawmanning and then handwaving and then hostility toward people who respond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a
          vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and
          children with cancer

          No.
          He was very specific. He gave several case in which taking away false
          hope might do more harm to the individual than good. He said:

          Christians make much of their religion’s
          precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

          What’s the harm with Christian hope?
          Christians
          will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives.
          What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven,
          reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s
          Christian beliefs at her age.

          OK, “Grandma” – Check Box #1.

          Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease
          that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are
          hopeless.

          [Checking Box #2: “Dying Children”.]

          Nothing vague. He covered many points where the problems with
          false hope aren’t necessarily outweighed by the value of false hope.

          Then, he went on to talk about the problems that outweigh false hope. You,
          (as is your habit), utterly failed to engage with the substance of the
          article and acted like he wanted to take crutches away from people who
          can’t walk without them.

          The vagueness is that we have to draw a line between the frail, theists (who don’t need hope), and (strong) atheists. Someone, somewhere has to be the arbiter of where this line is drawn. This is your specialty. This is where you are at your susan-est. There is a near-infinite question chain awaiting Bob on this.

          Yyyyeeeaahhhh . . . . . . not so much.

          And, here we have that glaring logical fallacies – Circular Reasoning.

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is false hope? Because . . . .

          B. There is no God.
          How do we know there is no God? Because . . . .

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.

          Rinse. Repeat.

          the hope of theists is that things will be set right

          Give me an example. I’m sure you’ll give me shit about that. For pointing
          out that “theists” is too broad a term and “be set right” is too broad a
          term and for asking for clarification. In normal, respectful
          discourse, someone who can provide an example just does so.

          In Clementland, it’s an egregious act to ask for an example.

          This is why I am convinced you are not sincere. Is there anything more basic to the concept of hope than wanting things The Way They Are Supposed To Be? One of the foundational cornerstones of Bob’s Theology is that God MUST make things TWTASTB. If God does not, then that proves there is no God.

          However, you did not ask me for a summary of a core issue. You asked for an example where people might want things set right. I’m going to lift one out of Bob’s article:

          What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones

          So, loved ones are dead. Surely, we can sympathize – if not empathize – with the loss of people one loves (co further clarification is necessary?). I’d throw in the bonus example of the health problems of a small child – It’s not right that the child should be ill and not have a full lifespan. Heaven holds the potential of joy and health.

          So, there is your “shit”. It’s such common sense that I can’t help but think you are pranking me.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments. You could have if you could have defined it and supported it.

          We knew that I would have to support the notion that hope is innate in humans? I tried to support it by pointing to it as a side effect of Man’s intelligence – a page right out of Atheist 101. Then, I had to support that as well. Then, . . . . . I finally got to “So what?” . . . . but not from everyone.

          . I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists.

          No. You pretended that humans were special, that some generic concept of
          human “meaning” was special and flailed badly when asked for
          clarification. Then, you alluded to “atheist parents” who had taught
          their children that “life is meaningless”

          The “meaning” thread was to point out that the need for meaning is similar to the need for hope – everyone recognizes both, and they would be off-shoots of Man’s intelligence (another needless thread). If it is genetic, then it springs from DNA. If we have a chemical reaction that explains it, then there is a natural explanation – it is not a plea to a supernatural explanation. Therefore, it SHOULD be an easy point for atheists to grasp – I was not asking atheists to accept the existence of God as a premise.

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique
          intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince
          you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.

          A definition game for terms we all understand. Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species. This HAS to be a prank.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No improvement in your ability to read for comprehension ya lying, disingenuous, oxygen thieving piece of crap.

          I’ll not waste time on all of your fuckwittery that has been refuted ad nauseam at this point.

          Just the last sentence should suffice.

          Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species.

          Susan said…

          “It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.”

          In response to…

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          The problem is that you bandy about terms with no understanding for their meanings. If you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that “Man”, capitalized or not, is not a species. Homo sapiens is the species. And Homo sapiens sapiens is the sub-species with the intelligence you believe so unique. The genus homo…human being, is where the term “Man” derives, and it is the inclusive name of a number of human species…dolt.

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

          Homo sapiens sapiens are not “uniquely” intelligent no matter how long you bang your fuckwittery mantra. The human level of intelligence might be the highest in the animal kingdom, but intelligence is not unique to humans, nor even homo sapiens sapiens, though the other groups of intelligent “Man” have now gone extinct.

          You are a Dime Bar pulling shite outta yer arse without any support, and getting a new one tore every time.

          This HAS to be a prank.

          Only in your feeble mind…and we all know the reason why.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No improvement in your ability to read for comprehension ya lying, disingenuous, oxygen thieving piece of crap.
          I’ll not waste time on all of your fuckwittery that has been refuted ad nauseam at this point.
          Just the last sentence should suffice.

          Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species.

          Susan said…
          “It failed because “man” is not a species

          Once again, Amos, you put me in my place.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not hard…you make it as simple as shooting fish in a barrel ya idiot.

        • Susan

          And, here we have that glaring logical fallacies – Circular Reasoning.

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is false hope? Because . . . .

          B. There is no God.
          How do we know there is no God? Because . . . .

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.

          Rinse. Repeat.

          And we are back where you began. You are shifting the burden.

          How many times have you been asked to define “God” and support its existence?

          You can’t. You have dodged every request that you do so.

          You’ve spent all your time on this thread insinuating (without supporting it) that superstitious belief is beneficial to humans and pretended that Bob wants to remove that superstitious belief even when it’s beneficial.

          IF there is no coherent definition for “God” and IF there is no support for it, then it looks in every way like false hope.

          Like snake oil. Like a pyramid scheme. Like homeopathy. Like psychics communicating on behalf of your dead loved ones. Like someone claiming to lift a curse that someone else put on you.

          IF you can’t support your claims about whatever you mean by “God”, then it is as good as false hope.

          It is as good as my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

          As I said, you don’t move on. You hit the reset button.

          We don’t need to “know” there is no “God” in order to assess false hope.

          We only need to note that people who claim it exists can’t define it nor support it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And we are back where you began. You are shifting the burden.
          How many times have you been asked to define “God” and support its existence?

          I’ve lost count. But, the relevant part of your question is that it is yet another attempt to change the subject when the discussion of the actual topic isn’t going the way you would like it to go. We were discussing Bob’ article, and specifically his assertion about hope. I point out that his assertion is not logical. You reply with a demand that I prove God’s existence . . . . . . to your satisfaction (that ship sailed a long time ago).

          The only “burden” on you is the voluntary one that you apply the same standards to your own side’s arguments that you apply to those you disagree with. You have declined that “burden”. End . . . . of. . . . discussion.

          The burden on me was to show that Bob’s assertion was not logical. I did that, and you opted to end that discussion. This looks like one of the easiest calls ever – this discussion is over.

        • Otto

          If I said ‘I have hope that the invisible pixies in my garden will provide me with food’, and you replied ‘It seems like you are hanging your hat on something that does have any evidence of existing, and therefore the hope you are counting on is false’…sure I could say ‘you don’t know that for certain’…but at what point can you reasonably judge such a hope to be invalid? Is absolute certainty necessary to make a judgement, or can we reasonably come to a conclusion about such a claim without it?

          I will agree Bob does not have absolute certainty regarding such claims, does that mean he has no grounds at all to come to a conclusion?

          I also will agree that in making such a statement Bob does carry a burden of proof, I think he does address much of that burden in the general overall topic he covers with the blog. But if making absolute statements about things that are not completely 100% certain is a problem, why are people in religion allowed to make those types of statements without any push back from you? What certainty do they have that there is the ‘hope’ that they claim?

        • Clement Agonistes

          at what point can you reasonably judge such a hope to be invalid? Is absolute certainty necessary to make a judgement, or can we reasonably come to a conclusion about such a claim without it?

          I think what you are pointing to is the millions of judgements we make on a daily basis which are doing the best we can with the information available. We are not immobilized by the need for absolute certainty. We can make decisions. It might be more the difference between “fact” and “opinion”.

          I also will agree that in making such a statement Bob does carry a burden of proof, I think he does address much of that burden in the general overall topic he covers with the blog.

          I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.

          . . . . . like consolation. Forgive my ill manners, but what I see happening here is lots spin. Bob takes aspects of Christianity one at a time, and stretches the truth right to the breaking point for each. The last time I dropped by, it was the timing of the writing of the NT. Bob took a quote from a source that was well outside the mainstream of scholarship, speaking as if that source was the Last Word on the subject. It wasn’t untrue – the source did say that. But, it wasn’t being completely honest, either. So, we have a body of evidence that supports his POV, yet as a body stretches the truth until the narrative isn’t true. The goal isn’t to discover the truth.

          why are people in religion allowed to make those types of statements without any push back from you? What certainty do they have that there is the ‘hope’ that they claim?

          None. Like Bob, all of us – atheist and theist alike – do not know with certainty. Like Bob, both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions. I have stated that I think there is a natural explanation for the existence of hope in the supernatural. Am I certain of that – no. But it seems to be ubiquitous among humans throughout time, culture, and geography. From a practical POV, what else can we offer people for whom science offers nothing? The best argument I have ever seen for atheism is the Ricky Gervais movie, “The Invention of Lying”, where he invents heaven for his dying mother. . . . . . but then everyone else believes him.

          And, doggone it, sometimes hope does succeed. Sometimes things do get better. But, in the end, we all die.

          As to push back, thanks to you guys, I do apply the same standard to my own side’s arguments (OK, well in a gentle sort of way). I don’t argue with Xians on his website because I’ve got my hands full with you guys. In Xian groups I participate in, I use your points to ask tough questions. IMO, any Xian group I am in, they will benefit from the input of atheists. So, yeah, bad arguments get pushback.

        • Otto

          >>>”I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.”

          I am not convinced that is being done.

          >>>”But, it wasn’t being completely honest, either. So, we have a body of evidence that supports his POV, yet as a body stretches the truth until the narrative isn’t true. The goal isn’t to discover the truth.”

          Having spent more than my fair share of time listening to Christian Preists and Pastors I can say that the goal was not to discover the truth, it was to assert all the claims as if they were true. Never once was Christian history addressed, never once were the building blocks ever put in place, all they did was show you the narrative and preach that is was true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing out the stuff that is conveniently ignored within the worldview.

          >>>”both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions.”

          If I actually thought that was true I would still be a Christian.

          >>>”But it seems to be ubiquitous among humans throughout time, culture, and geography.”

          What humans really crave is answers to questions, we will make the answers up if necessary. Just because made up answers have been disseminated throughout history does not mean people necessarily crave for hope in the supernatural. And if people do want ‘hope in the supernatural’ I contend that has more to do with a want to feel like we are not powerless in the many situations that we are powerless. I think your Ricky Gervais example would apply to that.

          >>>”As to push back, thanks to you guys, I do apply the same standard to my own side’s arguments (OK, well in a gentle sort of way).

          To give you some credit I agree with you, you are willing to engage in discussion with us and I certainly appreciate that. I know we talk past each other all too often, but I do see effort on you part.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.”

          I am not convinced that is being done.

          It’s a blog. He has to produce multiple entries every week. I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.

          Having spent more than my fair share of time listening to Christian
          Preists and Pastors I can say that the goal was not to discover the
          truth, it was to assert all the claims as if they were true. Never once
          was Christian history addressed, never once were the building blocks
          ever put in place, all they did was show you the narrative and preach
          that is was true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing
          out the stuff that is conveniently ignored within the worldview.

          I’m going to have to agree with you on that one, too. I would have pointed out how frequently they will quote some source without ever questioning its accuracy. Alas, that is a part of the human condition – most people are terrible at this kind of thing (and arrogantly think others are terrible at it).

          You guys talk atheism all the time, and at a high level. You are capable of crafting a solid argument. The vast majority of atheist have no intellectual basis whatsoever for their belief. I don’t engage them on the topic for that for that very reason. Likewise, theists present some absolutely awful rationales. I do engage them on it, and never cease to be surprised by the blank stares I get back.

          A person who knows what they believe and why is a thing of beauty. . . . . . a rare thing of beauty.

          “both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions.”

          If I actually thought that was true I would still be a Christian.

          And if quiche were really delicious, I would not have spit it out in my napkin. Different strokes for different folks. You are going to find things persuasive that I do not, and visa versa. We try to set up a repeatable procedure that is reliable for determining what is true and what is not, but we are hopelessly human. Ultimately we always run into a wall and are on our own. Surely, you have heard of theist who used to be atheists? They say the same thing you do.

          What humans really crave is answers to questions, we will make the
          answers up if necessary. Just because made up answers have been
          disseminated throughout history does not mean people necessarily crave
          for hope in the supernatural. And if people do want ‘hope in the
          supernatural’ I contend that has more to do with a want to feel like we
          are not powerless in the many situations that we are powerless. I think
          your Ricky Gervais example would apply to that.

          Again, I am going to agree (especially with the part where you agree about Gervais). I have stated that I think there are many aspects of being human which are innate – craving hope, meaning, love – and I did not mean to short-change truth. The craving for truth incorporates so many of those.

          In the movie, people were 100% honest, and it was hilarious to imagine how much we would hate people for being like that. The very nature of hope is that it only exists when it shouldn’t. If I have a cure for the disease, I do not need hope. If my relationship is solid already, I do not need hope. If my job is secure, . . .

          There is a theory among Christians that people turn to God in times of hardship. When things are going great, they feel in control, and pride kicks in. When we are powerless – out of control – we want to think there is some other control out there operating. Again, I think this is human nature. Human nature can certainly have a natural explanation, the way we attribute animal behavior to instinct. It could also be that God has planted an awareness in each of us.

          To give you some credit I agree with you, you are willing to engage in
          discussion with us and I certainly appreciate that. I know we talk past
          each other all too often, but I do see effort on your part.

          I don’t want to only talk to bobbleheads. I know that they think already. IF I crave truth, complacency is the enemy. As I have said before, I am grateful to you guys for what you have done for me.

        • Otto

          >>>” I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.”

          Well you are right, everyone does this. I just don’t think Bob is declaring it is settled. He is offering his opinion and then it is up for discussion.

          I would also agree that there are many atheists that just don’t believe and have never really investigated one way or the other…and of course vice versa as you have pointed out.

          >>>”Surely, you have heard of theist who used to be atheists? They say the same thing you do.”

          I have, though I can’t say that I have heard one who has given a reasonable (to me) argument as to the change. I still like to hear their reasons for doing so just like I enjoy hearing about a person changing from theism to atheism. For myself I ended up an atheist not because the atheist argument won, what happened was the Christian narrative failed. I then took a more skeptical position on religious claims and my atheism was a natural outcome of that.

          >>>”There is a theory among Christians that people turn to God in times of hardship. When things are going great, they feel in control, and pride kicks in. When we are powerless – out of control – we want to think there is some other control out there operating. Again, I think this is human nature. Human nature can certainly have a natural explanation, the way we attribute animal behavior to instinct. It could also be that God has planted an awareness in each of us.”

          I agree with all that. And your last line is very interesting to me personally, it was what I ‘hung my hat on’ when I still was a believer. Why couldn’t that be the case? It certainly could be I admit, I just have no reason to think it is, but that certainly propped up any faith I had for a long time.

          Also I need to see the Gervais movie, I know the premise but have not seen it.

          >>>”I don’t want to only talk to bobbleheads. I know that they think already. IF I crave truth, complacency is the enemy.”

          I completely agree. I know it gets contentious here and I appreciate theists like yourself that are willing to engage in good discussions and not just trade insults. I rarely post on Christian sites because I really only want to engage with people who want to have a decent discussion and I am not looking to ‘troll’ people I don’t happen to agree with. When people like yourself come here open to the discussion it helps me. Most of the people in my life are Christians and they are people I care about, this helps me understand the weaknesses and strengths of my position.

        • Clement Agonistes

          ” I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.”
          Well you are right, everyone does this. I just don’t think Bob is declaring it is settled. He is offering his opinion and then it is up for discussion.

          I think you are exactly right. He just presents it as an assumed fact that does not require proof.

          Also I need to see the Gervais movie, I know the premise but have not seen it.

          You will thank me. Big laughs. Great stuff.

        • Otto

          Well the proof he offers is that the claims of Christianity do not comport to reality when the two can be compared, of which he has written extensively. Does that mean he has absolute certainly? Well you would have to ask him, but I am guessing it is more like the analogy I made about the pixies in the garden in that there is no evidence or logic that could lead one to such a conclusion other than saying “well you can’t prove otherwise”. I find that line of thinking incredibly weak and pandering, though it is true that the claim cannot be refuted with demonstrable cenrtainty.

          >>>”You will thank me.”

          I have put it on top and will try and find it tonight.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well the proof he offers is that the claims of Christianity do not
          comport to reality when the two can be compared, of which he has written
          extensively. Does that mean he has absolute certainly? Well you would
          have to ask him

          Seriously? “Ask him”? As if that opportunity hasn’t been under his nose multiple times. Even I can give you his answer – “You don’t understand what I was saying” . . . . . with no clarification. Clear communication would quickly destroy that assertion. He can’t afford to clarify without admitting I did understand. I’ve been through this with surrogates. Evasion is the order of the day.

          Someone – Greg, I think – explained to me a while back that the nature of this group is agnostic – you guys don’t say with certainty, but await disproof of your default (my paraphrase). Surely, we all know better. You have all been exposed to the best arguments theism has to offer, and find none of them persuasive. Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.

          Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments. And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them. THAT is my gripe. If one occupies the high ground of Truth, there is no need to modify the other sides’ claims. Sometimes his defining of Christian claims sound like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by the time you finally get back to something solid (Well, bacon is a breakfast meat, some people eat cereal for breakfast, rye is a cereal grain, whiskey is made from rye, therefore Kevin Bacon is made of whiskey.).

          Each of us is responsible for our own decision-making. Gazillions of decisions are made without absolute certainty. The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge. We would be immobilized if we had to wait for complete knowledge. Two people can look at the exact same set of data and come to opposite conclusions. Saying the data is insufficient is meaningless to our ability to make decisions. Surely, this is a given that we all take for granted?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? “Ask him”? As if that opportunity hasn’t been under his nose multiple times. Even I can give you his answer – “You don’t understand what I was saying” . . . . . with no clarification.

          More lies.

          Clear communication would quickly destroy that assertion.

          Spoooiiiinnng! There goes another one.

          He can’t afford to clarify without admitting I did understanding.

          What? Ya mean like your understanding of the Great Commission and the divine power promised to the disciples in order that they be sucessful in the promotion of it ya mean?

          I’ve been through this with surrogates. Evasion is the order of the day.

          That’s why you are so expert I suspect.

          Someone – Greg, I think – explained to me a while back that the nature of this group is agnostic – you guys don’t say with certainty, but await disproof of your default (my paraphrase).

          Ah…Greg’s a liar too then?

          Surely, we all know better.

          No…you think you know better…until your own hypocrisy jumps up and bites ya in the arse.

          You have all been exposed to the best arguments theism has to offer, and find none of them persuasive. Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.

          Which theism? How does your complaint fit yerself when you are placed in the same position regarding other theism’s?

          And it’s not just theism…supernatural woo-woo and a lot of other extraordinary claims also.

          Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments.

          You think we have restricted our investigations to Bob’s blog…how very quaint.

          And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them.

          And until you can demonstrate that Bob is doing just that, then you are lying again.

          THAT is my gripe. If one occupies the high ground of Truth, there is no need to modify the other sides’ claims.

          When you demonstrate where Bob has misrepresented or modified a theist argument, then your gripe can be addressed.

          Sometimes his defining of Christian claims sound like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by the time you finally get back to something solid (Well, bacon is a breakfast meat, some people eat cereal for breakfast, rye is a cereal grain, whiskey is made from rye, therefore Kevin Bacon is made of whiskey.).

          Show us? Stop using bullshit analogies that make you look like the tit ya are. You have leveled a lot of charges, but your charges so far, are just a lot of hot air and bluster without supporting evidence.

          Each of us is responsible for our own decision-making.

          Correct…and that decision making has consequences when wrong.

          Gazillions of decisions are made without absolute certainty.

          Absolute certainty is not required. A reasonable expectation based on prior probability can be sufficient. We use a concept called Bayes Thereom in our decision making…most of the time, automatically. But BT is GIGO dependent. Which is the reason we get decisions wrong.

          The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge. We would be immobilized if we had to wait for complete knowledge.

          But who makes a decision based on zero knowledge, or rubbish knowledge. That’s what you expect. But you don’t accept that rubbish evidence when it comes from a different flavour of woo-woo to your own. You are a two-faced hypocrite.

          Two people can look at the exact same set of data and come to opposite conclusions.

          Indeed. Data is not always evidence, but when you look at the data that convinces all those other woo-woo believers, you aren’t convinced of the conclusions they draw. Their data is unconvincing because you think it is weak…remove the beam…and see why to use, your data is equally crap.

          Saying the data is insufficient is meaningless to our ability to make decisions.

          But saying the data is insufficient, or of a poor quality, is not meaningless to our ability to make important decisions. Again, you do it when it comes to other belief systems.

          Surely, this is a given that we all take for granted?

          You just don’t get it yet, do you. When your evidence is shite, or non-existent, we are not obliged to give any consideration to the existence of your particular god thingy, anymore than you give to other religions god thingy…when you get that important detail to sink into that space between yer ears, the penny will drop.

        • Otto

          >>>”Evasion is the order of the day.”

          That accusation is a two way street. I have pointed out to you twice in your discussion about ‘meaning’ that that the ‘meaning’ people want can be more basic than the existential variety, and that assuming all people need/want ‘existential meaning’ is imo conflating the issue. You haven’t responded to either post on the subject. I do think Bob is being clear on what he is saying, I do not think you are being clear in your response as to what you are saying.

          >>>”Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.”

          That is because the best arguments theism has to offer are terrible, I don’t think you understand how much the former Christians here really have wrestled with the issue. I personally went to great effort to try and find something in Christianity I could believe in, I did not want to leave, but at some point I had to admit I did not believe what I was being told. I was honest with myself and I finally let go. I gave Christianity every chance and it failed every time. I honestly thought I should raise my children in a faith so I made an effort, but then I looked and saw how the sausage is made and I can’t un-see it.

          >>>”Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments. And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them. THAT is my gripe.”

          Give me an argument and tell me why it is a GOOD argument. I am a big boy, I can tell you what I think without being reassured by Bob. I see the modification being done by theists, the argument is presented and when a salient issue is raised about it the weaseling begins, meanings of words are conflated to try and make everything fit, etc. I am over 50 years old Clement and most of those years were spent as a self-identifying Christian. Sure I had doubts, and I addressed those doubts by talking to Priests, etc. The answers given to my doubts were always awful. The best they did was to try and placate me, the issues were never met head on. Sure you can say Bob misrepresents Christian claims, and that accusation does hold a bit of water, but not for the reasons you seem to think they do. Christian claims are all over the place, it is impossible not to misrepresent the claims because there is no consistency WITHIN Christianity. That is not a problem for the atheists to address, that is a problem for the Christian world view. Every time an atheist addresses an issue some Christian can of course say “that is not what I believe”, and while that may be true, there is some Christian that DOES believe that. As the old joke goes, ask 10 Christian theologians a questions and you will likely get 10 different answers. I don’t see that as an atheist problem to have to overcome. So yes many of us agnostic atheists have taken the position of the ‘null-hypothesis’, I am not going to believe a God claim until such time that the God claim being made can be shown to actually comport with reality, if it can’t… I have no reason to believe it, and arguing that a God claim can’t be dis-proven is not enough to actually think it is true.

          “The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge.”

          Of course I agree with this. But I then go back to a basic question…what reason do I have to think any Christian claim is in fact true? What reason do I have to think any God-Allah…etc. claim is true? It is not just that some knowledge is incomplete, it is that some claims lack ANY reasonable foundation. There is no there there…but if you think you can show otherwise I will listen.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Evasion is the order of the day.”

          That accusation is a two way street. I have pointed out to you twice in your discussion about ‘meaning’ that that the ‘meaning’ people want can be more basic than the existential variety, and that assuming all people need/want ‘existential meaning’ is imo conflating the issue. You haven’t responded to either post on the subject. I do think Bob is being clear on what he is saying, I do not think you are being clear in your response as to what you are saying.

          IMO, I explained that (meaning) in posts to other participants. I went to the dictionary and stole their definition. The entire point of the discussion of the need for meaning was to point out that it is as basic as the need for hope in God. It is wishful thinking to believe one can just reason it away. It is innate. The need for meaning was an analogy that ran away with the topic. I mentioned Avicii committing suicide because his life lacked meaning. It isn’t trivial.

          IMO, Bob could not have been more clear about what he was talking about. It’s certainly possible that he had something else in mind, but his words were crystal-clear – hope in God is a false hope, just as hope in that job opening that does not exist is a false hope.

          He starts with the analogy of the false hope of an offering a job that doesn’t exist. Next up is Grandma, who hopes to be reunited with her loved ones in heaven. Of course, there is no reunion; no heaven, because there is no God. Then, there is the young mother with a terminal illness – yeah, let frail people like that have false hope that things will be made right in the next world. I mean, this one really, really sucks for them. Bob quotes Sam Harris about the refrigerator-sized diamond in the backyard – there is no diamond, of course, just as there is no God. In general, we’re not easily delude. But in the case of religion . . . . .

          The man has a way with words. Others here have suggested the nuance that he is ONLY addressing generic false hope. If so, he’d have left out God (I didn’t even attempt to count how many references there were to God). 90% of the article would have been an aside to that main thrust.

        • Otto

          >>>”It isn’t trivial.”

          I don’t think it is either, I think it is being over generalized in this discussion. I wasn’t looking for a definition, I was trying to get the types of meaning people want/need to be part of the discussion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The example I used with Susan was the friend who comes to you, distraught because they are seeking meaning in their life – what do you say to that person? Well, you don’t start with “Define your terms.” I analogized to Amos that you don’t tell a person with Depression to “Cheer up” (although Amos asserted it works sometimes). People don’t know what it is, only that they don’t have it. T4ATF said we can just make up meaning. To some degree, he is right. In the Dawkins interview with Gervais, Ricky said he found meaning in his work. Great, that worked for him – where does that fit in on your definition? There is the cliché of the man climbing a mountain in the Himalayas to ask the guru, “What’s the meaning of life?”

          “Du-uh – work.”

          I don’t care what level one wants to discuss. The “seeking” is the point. Other animals are driven by survival instincts. Humans have this massive burden of all these concepts that can drive them to suicide. We need hope, meaning, love, and a host of others. The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s). It’s not just for the frail; it’s for us all. To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.

        • Otto

          Meaning is very subjective. I am going to explain to my friend that they need to look inward and find what matters to them. I would then give them examples of what other people find meaningful in their lives and discuss why. I would go over what the person has found meaningful in the past and what has changed. Basically I would be a friend. Am I missing something? There does not seem to be a one size fits all “meaning” for humans.

          I do think there are animals that want meaning, albeit it is more basic type.

          >>>”The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s).”

          My guess is that it is an emergent property of being able to be more self-aware. Since we are self-aware we ask questions…those questions inevitably leads to more questions. Some questions can me answered and some can’t. Some people are comfortable with “I don’t know”…some aren’t.

          I will certainly agree that people want meaning in their lives…that wasn’t the question that Bob raised. Bob raised the issue of false hope and whether it is positive in the long run.

          One thing I have noticed is that regarding the hope issue Bob raised is that you keep asking everyone to prove the hope is actually false, but you don’t seem interested in trying to show it is true. Nor do you address whether the ‘hope’ religion offers is a good thing, or specifically the ‘hope’ Christianity offers.

          >>>”To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.”

          Isn’t the answers religion offers an attempt to “talk themselves out of it”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will certainly agree that people want meaning in their lives…that wasn’t the question that Bob raised. Bob raised the issue of false hope and whether it is positive in the long run.

          Not as much fun as building an army of straw to thrash at though, is it?

        • Otto

          If he didn’t he would have to agree with the point…and that just will not do!

        • Ignorant Amos

          The example I used with Susan was the friend who comes to you, distraught because they are seeking meaning in their life – what do you say to that person?

          You don’t tell them to go home a pray, everything will be okay, when you know it won’t be.

          You don’t tell them that they should give all their money to a snake oil salesman for a cure that cannot be demonstrated as effective, at the expence of a cure with a proven track record.

          Well, you don’t start with “Define your terms.”

          And Susan didn’t suggest you should, so that’s another disingenuous implication.

          I analogized to Amos that you don’t tell a person with Depression to “Cheer up” (although Amos asserted it works sometimes).

          But I can demonstrate that telling a person with depression to cheer up can be effective. The case of Paige Hunter who places notes that essentially are saying, “cheer up” have been instrumental in “cheering up” suicidal individuals to the point of thinking twice. Why couldn’t any god’s do that.

          Northumbria Police Ch Supt Sarah Pitt told The Newcastle Chronicle that it was an “innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place”.

          She added: “We thought it was important to applaud the work Paige has been doing and the help she has given those in Sunderland who are going through a mental health crisis.”

          https://www.babble.com/parenting/paige-hunter-teen-bridge-notes-suicide-support/

          My partner has fibromyalgia among other ailments, a side effect is depression, a “cheer up love” can be enough to lift her, even a wee bit. I’ve suffered depression in the past myself…something is better than nothing.

          People don’t know what it is, only that they don’t have it.

          How do they know they don’t have it if they don’t know what it is? You are being silly again.

          T4ATF said we can just make up meaning. To some degree, he is right. In the Dawkins interview with Gervais, Ricky said he found meaning in his work. Great, that worked for him – where does that fit in on your definition?

          Yeah…Gervais said a lot more than that though, didn’t he…but all the other stuff he said is inconvenient for you.

          There is the cliché of the man climbing a mountain in the Himalayas to ask the guru, “What’s the meaning of life?”

          “Du-uh – work.”

          There’s the disingenuous cunt in ya at work.

          “Du-uh – what else?”

          I don’t care what level one wants to discuss. The “seeking” is the point. Other animals are driven by survival instincts. Humans have this massive burden of all these concepts that can drive them to suicide. We need hope, meaning, love, and a host of others. The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s). It’s not just for the frail; it’s for us all. To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.

          The straw man appears again.

          But beliefs in God is not necessary in order to have the need for hope, meaning, love, and a host of others…even the beliefs in the right god according to you…so pah!

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.”
          That is because the best arguments theism has to offer are terrible, I don’t think you understand how much the former Christians here really have wrestled with the issue.

          When I talk with people like that , I really don’t know what to say. Atheist who converted to Christianity – mostly – speak about that supernatural moment. Amos brought up the role of the Holy Spirit, and I can’t explain why some hear it and others don’t. Calvinists say that’s just the way it is – there is a list, and they weren’t on the list. That is a very unsatisfying explanation. Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism. He just couldn’t not-believe. Like you guys, he described it as a liberating moment. The stories are the same, only the plots are reversed.

          I agree that Christianity is all over the place. However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth. One of the most thought-provoking columns by an atheist was the one which called Jesus’ prayer for a united church the greatest unanswered prayer in history. The fact that Jesus would even have to pray for such a thing is troubling. OTOH, He did have to pray for it. I don’t think we should limit this topic to just Christianity – why are there so many religions? Now, THERE’S the big payoff. No more nibbling about some preacher in KC whose meds ran out last week. No more arguing against claims that can only be found after an hour-long search of the internet.

          For me, it comes down to one fundamental question: “What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?” If this were a scientific hypothesis, how would we approach it? The Hypothesis is easy “God exists”. Next, research the topic – there’s certainly no dearth of material. Then we hit the wall – the Experiment. You can’t conduct a proper experiment unless you would be able to distinguish success from failure. Both atheists and theists starting writing comedy material at this point.

          For me, it isn’t any one thing. It is the totality of data points. Suppose I picked one reason that was a metaphorical pebble. It can easily be dismissed; it’s laughable. That’s what Bob does so well. So, all I’ve got is one tiny pebble, and the movement of the scale is imperceptible. Then I start adding more pebbles, some of them larger than others.

          You mentioned that you are 50, and most of that as a Christian. I’ve got 10 years on you, and it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that it began to click for me. Yeah, I was raised as a Christian, but it wasn’t real to me. Heck, in my college years, I might as well have been an atheist. Like you, I thought my kids should be raised with those values. But, you know, Little League Baseball teaches some nice values, too. I’ve got a big old pile of rocks on that scale now, but it’s my scale, not yours. What clicked with me is just hot air for you. I get what you are saying – I could easily be the one saying it at a different time in my life. It makes sense to me. It fits reality like a glove.

        • Otto

          >>>”Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism.”

          I get that he didn’t find their answers satisfying, but the question I would have would be what are the reasons for believing the claims of whatever religion he went with. Those are separate issues in my mind.

          >>>”However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth.”

          What claim exactly?

          >>>””What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?”

          That very much depends on the attributes of the God being discussed.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I forget where it is, but there is a video Klavan did with an atheist in which he goes through all of this. His reason for choosing Christianity was that it fit reality and what God should be the best. If you can find the video, it would clarify much of this for you. The (objective) morality angle seemed to be his primary focus.

          “What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?”
          That very much depends on the attributes of the God being discussed.

          This ties in nicely with Klavan’s interview. We have to know what to expect in order to construct an experiment. We don’t. Each of us has our own theology. Many of Bob’s arguments start with “If God is X . . . (then why do we see Y)”. Klavan expected a personal mind determining perfect morality.

          “However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth.”
          What claim exactly?

          The example that quickly comes to mind is the expectation of God restoring amputated limbs. Amos researched the internet to find a Christian who arguably made the claim Bob cited.

        • Otto

          I will find try and find it, but I have no idea how Christianity and reality can mesh without some large mental leaps.

          As to perfect morality: What metric is used to determine that the supposed morality is in fact perfect?

          I can’t speak to the amputated limbs issue without more information but I will say that something seems off.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “something off”. – Worst Pun Ever?

          I thought Klavan made his case (about morality) well. However, my atheist friend got a totally different understanding from it. Your mileage may vary. His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally. There is an ideal that we have an awareness of, but don’t know the details. Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two. The ability to make a choice requires a mind. That mind would be God, and the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal means He takes a personal interest in each individual. I may not have done him justice, and you will not agree with his thesis, but that is how Klavan arrived at his conclusion. Each assumption follows from the previous and leads to the next.

          IMO, there are mental leaps to be made no matter what explanation we choose. Name-calling and obscenities fill in the “gaps”.

        • Otto

          >>>”His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally.”

          No he claimed there has to be a ‘perfect morality’ somewhere…and my question is by what metric is perfect morality measured? It is like saying that because golfers know that they could be better golfers, somewhere someone must be the perfect golfer. It is complete nonsense.

        • MR

          Right. Besides, the concept of “perfection” can be gleaned with simple math, no “awareness of an ideal” is required. If a state can be “better” with one change, and making a second change can make it even “better,” and so on, step by step, it’s easy enough to imagine an ideal state where no more changes are needed. I can arrive at the concept of a “best” state or a state of “perfection” without having prior knowledge of it simply by imagining increments of “better” until no more change is needed [without gaps].

        • Otto

          Add to that that ‘better’ requires some particular perspective. It is a value statement and value statements are not really objective. You have to start from a foundation of what the goal is…and we know that in general humans want safety, security, and peace for themselves and the people that we care about. It is not hard to figure out that morality helps achieve that goal. I don’t like it when my stuff gets stolen, and so therefore me and the other people that don’t want their stuff stolen form a society that rewards and punishes people that don’t steal and steal respectively. The idea that such a situation requires a ‘perfect non-thief’ is mindbogglingly stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least now I know I’m more perfect than God.

          There are lots of things I’m perfect at not knowing…but poor God can’t not know something if he’s omniscient…and if he can’t not know something, then there is something he can’t do, which means he ain’t omnipotent.

          So God is neither omniscient or perfect…poooof goes the Christian God.

        • At least now I know I’m more perfect than God.

          And won’t that put a little spring in your step today? You should thank Clement.

        • Greg G.

          But like climbing a mountain, you can keep going up but you must be careful because you may reach a point where you are on a mound and cannot go up further without going down. Once you reach the summit, you might say, “Oh, shit! There’s a taller mountain over there! Damn local maxima.”

        • MR

          It’s still just another step in the process. The mountain doesn’t have to exist for you to imagine one more foot. My point is that perfection doesn’t have to exist for you to arrive at the concept. I can [arrive at] the concept of a perfect being without the necessity of one existing.

        • Otto

          But a perfect being would be more perfect if it existed!

          Checkmate atheists.

        • MR

          Just another step.

        • Susan

          I can [arrive at] the concept of a perfect being without the necessity of one existing.

          Of course, you can.

          Add to that, that you can only assert it. You can just say “I imagine a perfect being” without filling in the details. Ask you for a metric by which you measure that being’s perfection and you say the being itself is the metric. So you have empty language and an imaginary concept.

          If they could provide a metric by which to measure a “perfect being”, there would be no need for a perfect being, the very thing they claim is necessary. You would have the metric. No need for a being.

          THIS is why we always have to ask theists to define their terms. Because all they tend to have when they choose subjects like this is meaningless goo. And they don’t like honest questions about it. Because there’s nothing there when questions are asked.

          The being is neither necessary nor sufficient.

          Also, it is indistinguishable from other imaginary beings.

        • MR

          You can just say “I imagine a perfect being” without filling in the details.

          Yes, but Clement is claiming that you can only have “awareness of an ideal” because God gives you that awareness, so simply saying “I imagine a perfect being” is only possible because “He [God] gives us an awareness” of a perfect being [himself]. My understanding of the argument is that we can’t be aware of a perfect being if we’ve never experienced one[, therefore one must exist].

          My point is that one can arrive at the concept of a perfect being, or any “ideal,” logically with simple steps. A “perfect” life doesn’t have to exist in order for me to do a simple mental exercise. My life is bad, but it can be better if a, now my life is good, but it would be better if b, now it’s better, but it would be even better without z, From that simple exercise, I can imagine a state (or being) where I no longer need to make changes. I can logically deduce a “perfect” state; I don’t need to have prior awareness (Plato) or be given awareness from some external source (God).

          [edits]

        • Susan

          My point is that one can arrive at the concept of a perfect being, or any “ideal,” logically with simple steps

          I agree. It’s like one of the concepts of infinity. No matter what the number, add one.

          I can logically deduce a “perfect” state; I don’t need to have prior awareness (Plato) or be given awareness from some external source (God).

          Agreed again.

          I was just pointing out that “God” is neither necessary nor sufficient for that concept.

        • MR

          I was just pointing out that “God” is neither necessary nor sufficient for that concept.

          Well, I was hoping that was my point. 😉

        • Susan

          I was hoping that was my point. 😉

          Of course it was. Sorry to blather on. I was just elaborating.

          Nothing new.

          Euthyphro’s Dilemma covered this a very long time ago.

          No one has solved it. They just pretend they have by avoiding it.

        • epeeist

          From that simple exercise

          Is subject to a Zeno type attack.

        • Greg G.

          That’s what I was thinking. One could approach perfection asymptotically.

        • MR

          An infinite number of steps? A finite number is sufficient for me to conceive of the idea without invoking infinity.

        • epeeist

          How would one know whether one had reached a perfect state? You might be at a local rather than global maximum.

        • MR

          Sigh…, I’m not trying to reach a perfect state, only the concept of one.

        • Greg G.

          Is a perfect being perfect in mercy or perfect in justice?

        • MR

          It doesn’t matter for me to be able to imagine the concept.

        • Greg G.

          I can imagine the perfect being in a vague sort of way but when I try to model it with consistent details, it doesn’t actually work. A step toward perfect mercy is a step away from perfect justice, for example. As more attributes of perfection are added, the harder it is to keep them consistent with one another, like trying to approach the speed of light. The closer you get, the more energy that is required to make a small increase that doesn’t quite get to light speed.

        • MR

          I never said it was real or that a perfect being is logically consistent. We aren’t even talking about the same thing. Maybe an ideal only needs three attributes. I can imagine that. I can arrive at the idea.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          a problem with the supposedly more prefect world of mathematics is that one can cook up examples where a minimum/maximum doesn’t exist (it’s a reason why one introduces the notion of infima and suprema in the first place), so the existence of minima or maxima needs to be proven. the identity function over the reals is a simple counterexample (just not something one would model mountain ranges with).

          a nice simple example of how simply assuming the existence of a maximum or minimum can go wrong is perron’s paradox: “Let N be the largest integer. If N > 1, then N^2 > N, contradicting the definition of N. Hence N = 1” (wikipedia).

          he mentioned this parapdox in a paper with the telling title “Zur Existenzfrage eines Maximums oder Minimums.”, where he also mentions dido’s problem, steiner’s incomplete proof of it, and dirichlet’s principle (it’s funny that dirichlet apparently criticized steiner’s proof but was less troubled about existence in the case of his own principle).

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here’s part of what he said (the part, I think, you are referencing):

          Where does this morality come from? How do I know Why do I know it’s right not to cheat on my wife? Because I gave my word. Why do I know my word should reflect my action. They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          “Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good. If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.

          So, we make a moral statement like, “It’s immoral to cheat on my wife.” We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating). Loyalty is closer to an absolute moral good, and cheating is farther away. HOW do we know those are the case? We need to know why we have these ideas about what good or bad are. It’s possible that it is purely subjective – we can make them be whatever we want them to be. That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.

          In case this goes on for a while, I transcribed some more of what Klavan said as a reference:

          Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good. Ultimate moral good is going to have certain qualities. It’s going to have to be conscious. Goodness is always a conscious choice. A hurricane isn’t bad because it kills people. It has no choice. It’s going to have to be rational. And then you start getting to the point of God. There’s going to have to be some connection, because you know what He knows. So that thing that you said – you do have an innate construct; a moral law within. It implies a God.

          Klavan gets to Christianity because, “Everything that I believed was explained by the Gospel.”

        • Otto

          >>>”They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          Really? He thinks all atheists just assume that conclusion and have not really thought about it? That is rather dismissive and condescending, to say the least. Yes religion codified that morality in its own way, but has he thought of the implications of just ‘assuming that God wants us to act that way’? Basically that is just telling people to act a certain way, “God wants us to act that way”…that is not acting with morality, that is being obedient.

          >>>””Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good.”

          Bullshit, I can argue something is better without there being an absolute best. That is a weak argument and I already addressed that point in my golfer analogy.

          >>>”” If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.”

          Who is arguing that there is no such thing as good or bad, those are value statements and each person can say what they think is good or bad based on their perspective. Additionally religion does not overcome that problem, it just attempts to mask it.

          >>>”We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating).”

          I don’t want to be married to someone that cheats, do you? Do you think my wife does? If I cheat don’t you think my wife is likely to cheat as well? This is basic stuff, within morality there is a selfishness, it is a necessary and good type of selfishness. I don’t want to be murdered so I choose to associate with people that feel the same way. Again I addressed this issue already and you did not even address what I said. That is an example of why Susan and Amos get angry with you…you pretend like what was said did not even happen.

          >>>”That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.”

          Well then if God instills morality how come he (de Sade) didn’t get any? How come there are serial killers and other miscreants all over the place? Again the religious answer does not actually answer the question.

          And of course people and society have to protect ourselves from these people…God never does it. “God helps those that help themselves” is really a statement about how God does NOT participate in our protection, etc.

          >>>”Ultimate moral good is going to have certain qualities. It’s going to have to be conscious. Goodness is always a conscious choice.”

          All he is doing there is conflating people being able to make value judgments as a group with some non-defined and non-demonstrable “Ultimate moral good”. It is begging the question and can be dismissed out of hand.

          >>>”Klavan gets to Christianity because, “Everything that I believed was explained by the Gospel.”

          The Bible and the Gospels is a Rorschach test…one sees in it what one wants to see. See Fred Phelps, etc.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”
          Really? He thinks all atheists just assume that conclusion and have not really thought about it? That is rather dismissive and condescending, to say the least. Yes religion codified that morality in its own way, but has he thought of the implications of just ‘assuming that God wants us to act that way’? Basically that is just telling people to act a certain way, “God wants us to act that way”…that is not acting with morality, that is being obedient.

          I want to back up just a bit to recap how we got here. You had pointed out why you had left Christianity – the arguments were just terrible. OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending? More to the point, how can people look at exactly the same evidence and come to such polar-opposite conclusions?

          In your golfer analogy, of course, we have “par” – a clearly-defined standard. One’s score is compared to the objective standard of par.

          “” If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.”
          Who is arguing that there is no such thing as good or bad,

          That wasn’t the point of that sentence. The point was the line. It goes both ways, indefinite lengths. Good or bad would merely be points on the line. We all understand those points. He is building on what is already known as the foundation for his next statement – the line. If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.

          “We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating).”
          I don’t want to be married to someone that cheats, do you? Do you think my wife does? If I cheat don’t you think my wife is likely to cheat as well?

          If we both cheat, and know that the other person is cheating, then it isn’t really cheating. The point would be betrayal of a trust (a promise) in a core relationship. If morality is subjective, then I can betray anyone and declare my behavior to be good.

          “That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.”
          Well then if God instills morality how come he (de Sade) didn’t get any? How come there are serial killers and other miscreants all over the place? Again the religious answer does not actually answer the question.

          1) That gets to the Problem of Evil – why would a good God permit evil? I agree with you guys that this is the single best argument for atheism. However, there are at least some plausible answers.
          2) And, if there is no God, aren’t we still faced with the problem of “evil” (it’s subjective) people? The point the MdS brought up was that if morality is subjective, then pleasing himself at the expense of other people is not only No Big Deal, but moral – what he should do. We still need answers. de Sade had an answer.

        • Otto

          >>>”OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending?”

          Yes, because I am not saying that Christians have not thought about it, Christians HAVE thought about it, they have put an enormous amount of time and energy into the question. I am not dismissing their argument for a lack of effort. Do you not see the difference? What Klavan did was to say that atheists don’t know why they believe what they believe (I think he was specifically talking about their moral foundation). That is certainly not the case as a broad brush statement any more than if I was to say “Christians don’t know why they believe Jesus rose from the Dead”, if I said that it would be a shitty thing to say AND it would not be a true general statement even if I could point to some Christians as examples, because there are plenty that DO understand why they believe that. Does that explain the issue here?

          >>>”More to the point, how can people look at exactly the same evidence and come to such polar-opposite conclusions?”

          One side is grounded in fallacies and flawed conclusions based on that evidence.

          >>>”In your golfer analogy, of course, we have “par” – a clearly-defined standard. One’s score is compared to the objective standard of par.”

          Yes par is a standard, but it is not a perfect standard, there are better scores than par. Klavan is arguing the standard has to be perfect when obviously there is no foundation for such a statement. It is a bald assertion.

          >>>”If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”

          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.

          >>>”If morality is subjective, then I can betray anyone and declare my behavior to be good.”

          Morality does not have to be either completely subjective OR objective, it can be inter-subjective….or it could be objective with a grounding in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Either of those options do not require a God.

          Additionally isn’t picking a God a subjective endeavor? So isn’t the morality associated with whatever God is picked ALSO subjective? Again, the religious answer does not get around the problem that you and Klavan claim it does.

          1) An answer being plausible does not make it true, especially if that plausibility is based on the framework of “you can’t prove it isn’t”…which seems to be your goto response.
          2) That is why we have prisons, for people that think it is OK to harm other people. It doesn’t matter if de Sade made up his own person morality, the rest of society has a say in it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          >>>”If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”

          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.

          Clement doesn’t get it that that’s exactly what the Christian Nazi’s did do. The believed that eliminating a section of society was a good thing, because they believed those people were detrimental to the society overall. They were not doing a bad thing…what they were doing was for the greater good. And belief in the Christian God and theology was used as the ends to that means.

        • Otto

          Exactly.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending?”
          Yes, because I am not saying that Christians have not thought about it, Christians HAVE thought about it, they have put an enormous amount of time and energy into the question. I am not dismissing their argument for a lack of effort. Do you not see the difference?

          No. Sincerely, no. My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one. Granted, that’s not you, but your argument here is that you DID think it through and that is why you rejected theism. If that carries weight, then so should every mirror image.

          And, one of the lessons I’ve learned here is that Christians have not “run it to the ground.” They need to know why they believe what they believe.

          And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought. If there was an implicit comment about lack of thought in what he was saying, it’s also present in your testimony about how thought lead you to atheism.

          “If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”
          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God?

          Emphatically, no. There was a popular movement among academics in the early 20th century to eliminate selected races and religions. Not all advocated violence, but there nevertheless was a disproportionate representation of atheists among those pushing this. Revolutionary France, Russia, and China all pushed to eliminate religion, imprisoning and executing people on that basis alone.

        • Otto

          >>>”No. Sincerely, no. My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one. Granted, that’s not you.”

          Then don’t bring it up to me, if people do that then you can call them out. I addressed something you quoted from Klavan and explained why I had a problem with it. I didn’t even address my criticism to you, I addressed it to what Klavan said and why it is a problem. I then went on to to say that I think many Christians have thought about the issue deeply, obviously by saying so I disagree with my fellow atheists when speaking in generalities like that, but regardless being dismissive of one whole group as having not thought about their basis of what they believe is wrong, don’t you agree?

          >>>”If that carries weight, then so should every mirror image.”

          I give Klavan and other Christians credit for thinking long and deep about the issue…BUT I don’t give them credit for the conclusions and the reasoning used…those are two seperate issues

          >>>”And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought.”

          KLAVAN: “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          I see him saying atheists don’t know why they believe certain things are wrong, and he is saying atheists don’t understand that the reasons why atheists think some things are wrongs is because such things are grounded in God…and atheists don’t even know that they are basing their morality on God. Tell me if you think my interpretation of what is quoted was wrong

          >>>”Emphatically, no. There was a popular movement among academics in the early 20th century to eliminate selected races and religions.”

          And you are saying there were NO secular arguments against ANY of that? The ONLY arguments against that behavior were based in religion? I call complete and utter bullshit on that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I give Klavan and other Christians credit for thinking long and deep about the issue…BUT I don’t give them credit for the conclusions and the reasoning used…those are two seperate issues
          >>>”And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought.”
          KLAVAN: “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”
          I see him saying atheists don’t know why they believe certain things are wrong, and he is saying atheists don’t understand that the reasons why atheists think some things are wrongs is because such things are grounded in God…and atheists don’t even know that they are basing their morality on God. Tell me if you think my interpretation of what is quoted was wrong

          I think Klavan is saying something very similar to what you are saying. Your nuanced position is that Christians devoted quantity to thought, but not quality. Klavan used the phrase elsewhere, “running it to the ground”. One can devote enormous thought to an issue without exhausting all of its implications. He asserted that SOME atheists had done this, and came to the conclusion that morality is whatever they want it to be – there is no objective standard. They were content with that dismal truth. Moral Relativism has a lot of currency in atheist circles. It’s one thing to state it, but quite another to live it. I get a lot of “you sick fuck” moral indignation here. A number of atheists argue that mankind would be better off morally, without theism at all. How does one even arrive at such statements if all morality is whatever the individual says it is? Most of us are going to give up running it down at some point and settle for a reassuring comfort zone.

          I say “us” because I don’t think most Christians have run their POV to the ground either. Ask them what they believe and why and watch for the blank states. Klavan is stating what every human being should do. The world is full of Christians who say it, but don’t live it.

          You edited out a part of my comment that was a big part of the point I have been making here. You pointed to your own experience as if it had weight. You devoted high quality thought to Christianity and concluded it was wrong. implicit in that is the idea that if every Christian did the same thing, they’d come to the same – wise – conclusion. Here, you clarify that their conclusion was wrong, and their reasoning was bad. You are insulted that you understand Klavan to be saying something similar about you. Sauce for the goose – if one carries weight, so should the other. It’s an argument from anecdote. I give your personal experience weight, but no more than those going the opposite direction. It is ultimately a wash as an argument.

        • Otto

          >>>”He asserted that SOME atheists had done this, and came to the conclusion that morality is whatever they want it to be – there is no objective standard.”

          There is an objective standard, reality. We all share a common space, and there are constraints in this reality that we all share, life (and all the things necessary for it), death, etc. and whether we like it or not we are all playing the same ‘game’. The game we are all playing is essentially the game of ‘society’, we all know that life is easier if we work together on some level. So once that is agreed upon the question becomes how is ‘working together’ on some level best achieved…and bango…morality is born. Morality only matters in a social setting, if I am a hermit living in a cave moral questions become moot. Once other people are introduced, because we are animals, moral questions get messy, but over time (in our case a looong time) things start getting sorted out.

          If a God is used as a basis for morality, which God are we going to use and why? How do we determine that what “God” says is actually moral? (Euthyphro dilemma). How do we sort out new issues as they come up? What do we do when two people claim that God says we should act a certain way and those two people don’t agree with each other on ‘what God says’? Can you answer ANY of these questions?

          If God is going to be used for a Moral system all these questions need to be answered, but at this point I see no way any of these questions can be answered with anything resembling ‘objectivity’.

          Theists claim religious morality is objective, considering that hardly anyone agrees on questions of religion I have no idea how that could actually be the case. Religious morality is NOT objective, in fact religious morality is actually THE most subjective type of morality. Religion is completely relative, religious morality is therefore relative. The issue of Moral Relativism IS NOT SOLVED by inserting religion, it is actually accentuated.

          >>>”You devoted high quality thought to Christianity and concluded it was wrong.”

          I didn’t decide it was wrong, I concluded Christianity was internally inconsistent and did not match with reality. I think this is a point where we are talking past each other. One part of Christianity does not mesh with other parts. I tried to make the pieces fit, but it was like trying to put 2 pieces of pipe together but the connectors were both ‘male’ ends. When I asked different fellow Christians how to make the pieces fit I got different answers, and often they contradicted each other. Now when I talk to Christians they still can’t answer the questions and make the pieces fit.

          I finally realized why that is…because Christianity is not objective…it is completely subjective. I don’t have a problem with Christianity being subjective, I don’t care if Christians find more personal peace and meaning through being Christians…if they would only just admit that it is subjective and stop claiming it is objective.

          IF you and other Christians are going to keep saying it is objective, then I am going to ask you to show your work, explain to me how it is objective…and I seriously don’t think that is too much to ask.

        • Susan

          My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one.

          And yet your comment history here doesn’t show that.

          It shows that you shamelessly misrepresent people and continue to do so even when it’s pointed out to you.

          It shows that you make claims, and never support them when asked to do so.

          You are doing that with Otto in this exchange.

          It shows that you accuse people of being unable to accept any evidence when you provide no evidence.

          It shows that you ignore every substantial response to your claims.

          You accused me repeatedly of things of which I am not guilty and for which you offered no support and after a year of that, I explained that every time you did that, I would tell you to go fuck yourself.

          You continued to do so, so I did.

          You are lying to Otto.

          In order to distract him from the point.

          Good on Otto that he’s not letting you do that.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.”

          It seems to me that you are asserting that you can supply an irrefutable, timeless rational proof that it is never appropriate to “eliminate people.”

          Aren’t you bolstering the case for objective morality by making this assertion?

        • Otto

          I would be happy to answer that question.

          Except I have determined by reading enough of your posts that you are not interested in honest discussion and attempting to have one with you is fruitless.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am surprised at ya…Clement is interested in honest discussion?

          All the interactions with Clement have been fruitless. Not once has he conceded a point when he has been well and truly refuted. All he does is ignore and double down.

          I see no difference in the two of them. Maybe that’s just me though?

        • Jim Dailey

          Clement is way smarter than I am. Surely you see that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Given the lack of smarts Clement has, that’s not something I’d be boasting about if I were you.

          That said…there isn’t the thickness of a Rizla paper between the two of ya when it comes to honesty, as far as I can tell.

        • Jim Dailey

          Clement is showing the logical inconsistencies in Otto’s arguments pretty effectively.

          As far as “honesty”, I do not see where that plays any part in their discussion. In addition, I do not recall interactions where I was less than fully honest.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Clement is showing the logical inconsistencies in Otto’s arguments pretty effectively.

          I suppose you can support that claim with some examples?

          As far as “honesty”, I do not see where that plays any part in their discussion.

          Why does his “honesty” only apply to his discussion with Otto?

          In addition, I do not recall interactions where I was less than fully honest.

          All that means is that you may not have been aware that you were being less than fully honest.

        • Jim Dailey

          “I suppose you can support that claim with some examples?”

          It is too big of a pain in the ass for me to scroll, copy and paste. I am doing this on an iPhone. Besides, if you do not see something that appears readily apparent to me, I doubt I can persuade you anyway.

          “Why does his “honesty” only apply to his discussion with Otto?”

          I am trying to stay within the bounds of this thread.

          “All that means is that you may not have been aware that you were being less than fully honest.”

          Could be, I suppose. We all need to watch out for that – yes?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is too big of a pain in the ass for me to scroll, copy and paste. I am doing this on an iPhone. Besides, if you do not see something that appears readily apparent to me, I doubt I can persuade you anyway.

          That’ll be a no then. How difficult can it be given there are so many of them? No matter. If you can’t support your assertion it can be dismissed out of hand as being a disingenuous claim. That’s an example of you not being fully honest.

          I am trying to stay within the bounds of this thread.

          Sub-thread ya mean?

          You are making a non sequitur. My comment was a generalisation on Clements behaviour of being dishonest. not interlocutor specific. If you’d read for comprehension you’d have grasped that.

          Though I believe Otto could still probably cite where Clement has been less than honest in their discussion to date.

          Could be, I suppose. We all need to watch out for that – yes?

          Absolutely. And when anyone detects that flaw in any of my comments, I welcome being called out on it. In that way I can strive to remedy the problem. Clement, on the other hand, doesn’t.

        • Otto

          I view Jim as far more of a Troll, your millage may vary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not all that au fait with Jim Dailey and his commenting history is blocked, so I was relying on your appraisal of his honesty, or the lack thereof.

          My comparison was being made on the point of being dishonest, not trolling.

          Since my initial comment, I’ve seen Jim at work…and he is every bit as dishonest as Clement.

          Time will tell if he is more of a troll. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

        • Otto

          Jim has shown himself to be a complete asshole, plain and simple. I view Clement as being wrong, but he has not been an asshole to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…am beginning to get that impression of him now myself.

        • Susan

          It seems to me that you are asserting that you can supply an irrefutable, timeless rational proof that it is never appropriate to “eliminate people.”

          It seems to me that you are making that up.

        • Susan

          The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Sure.

          That mind would be God

          Whoa!

          Show your work.

          the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal

          And you wonder why people stop you in your tracks and ask you to think things through.

          He takes a personal interest in each individual.

          Except for almost all individuals in the hundreds of millions of years of life on this planet.

          there are mental leaps to be made no matter what explanation we choose

          Sure. It’s leprechauns.

          Everything’s equal. Mental leaps, you know.

        • Greg G.

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two. The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Sometimes it requires a choice between bad and worse, or good and better. Sometimes it requires playing the percentages according to the situation. A choice is not always clear cut.

          That mind would be God,

          Absolutely not! People from all parts of the world make moral choices. Usually they agree on the right moral choice. Don’t kill your friends. Don’t steal from your friends. Don’t deceive your friends. Even monkeys and dogs get this.

          Where folks disagree is when they try to imagine what their imaginary god thingy would want. Christians have gone to war over whether the god thingy’s name is God or Allah, and whether one should give money to the pope and his minions.

        • BlackMamba44

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad.

          And we can thank the serpent for that. God didn’t want his creations to have that knowledge.

        • Pofarmer

          Then Klavan is as dumb as you are. We find the beginnings of what humans would call “morality” in pretty much all mammals. We’re related to and intangled wit every other piece of life on this planet. That’s way cooler and more interesting than your lame theology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought Klavan made his case (about morality) well.

          Of course you did…confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance does that…what you’ve failed to do is explain why…but that is your modus operandi of course.

          However, my atheist friend got a totally different understanding from it.

          Did your atheist friend give you a reason why? Did you even ask your atheist friend? Or did you just make that bit up for full effect?

          Your mileage may vary.

          Yeah…and a bet Otto will back up why.

          His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally.

          But offers no support for this assertion. Or why the reason is a god.

          There is an ideal that we have an awareness of, but don’t know the details.

          Spirituality…no god’s required.

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two.

          Indeed, but since those are subjective terms, the morality based on them is subjective too. Is it good or bad to wipe out a whole people, bar the keeping of the virgin girls as sex slaves?

          The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Here we go again. What sort of mind is required in order to have the ability to make choices?

          That mind would be God, and the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal means He takes a personal interest in each individual.

          Nonsense asserted without evidence, remains just nonsense.

          “That mind would be the hive mind of Space Ponies, and the fact that They give us an awareness of that ideal means They take a personal interest in each individual.”

          Demonstrate I’m wrong.

          I may not have done him justice, and you will not agree with his thesis, but that is how Klavan arrived at his conclusion.

          What difference does it make if he is erroneous?

          Each assumption follows from the previous and leads to the next.

          At least you are admitting to it all being assumptive…that’s an advance if only a little.

          Faith is part and parcel of that process. Faith as in a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof [evidence].

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can’t speak to the amputated limbs issue without more information but I will say that something seems off.

          It’s the disingenuous antics of Clement and his misrepresentation of others…it’s more than off, it’s so rotten it is rank.

        • Otto

          I found a video with Dave Rubin where Klavan briefly went over what you are talking about, I am guessing this is the one. I have to tell you I was less than impressed. Klavan thinks he has answered the ‘morality’ question and claims atheists run out of answers when enough questions are asked. He thinks religion generally, and his version of Christianity specifically (he doesn’t say which one), answers that issue. I don’t think his answer actually answers the issue. Nor does he demonstrate that his answer actually is in fact true, he even mentions that that was the only ‘leap of faith’ he made (I think there were probably more). He says for instance that an atheist could not explain to a Nazi why they shouldn’t lock up the Jews (I don’t agree with that), but that he can explain it through his religion. But what if the Nazi in question said “my religion says I should lock up and exterminate the Jews”? Guess what, Klavan’s religious answer just got voided by that one religious statement from the Nazi, now they are at loggerheads again. Neither side is going to be able to convince the other because they both think God is on their side of the issue. This is a common problem with religious objective morality, the God that one picks is also subjective and so therefore any morality ‘discerned’ from that God is also subjective. The bottom line is Klavan thinks he has solved a problem that he has not actually solved.

          Klavan seems like a decent guy and I think I would enjoy talking with him, but I have a whole host is issues with things he said in that 1/2 hour interview. In general he claims atheism falls apart when enough questions are asked, and I would argue if I asked him enough questions about his religious philosophy it is equally susceptible to falling apart. It isn’t enough to ‘have answers’ to questions, the answers need to be demonstrated to be true, if the answers cannot be demonstrated to be true…”I don’t know” becomes a much better answer.

        • Greg G.

          What part of “there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief in god thingies” falls apart under questions? It only falls apart under answers in the form of evidence.

        • Otto

          “Can you prove there is NOT God thingies?” is about the only one I can come up with.

          I love the term ‘God thingies’.

          I get the feeling after watching the video that Klavan took the ‘hard atheism” position when he identified as an atheist, he seemed to think that agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. That was one of many issues I had with what Klavan said.

        • Greg G.

          I am drawing a blank on the name but I stole that from someone who stops by occasionally and makes some wonderful arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I found a video with Dave Rubin where Klavan briefly went over what you are talking about, I am guessing this is the one. I have to tell you I was less than impressed. Klavan thinks he has answered the ‘morality’ question and claims atheists run out of answers when enough questions are asked. He thinks religion generally, and his version of Christianity specifically (he doesn’t say which one), answers that issue. I don’t think his answer actually answers the issue. Nor does he demonstrate that his answer actually is in fact true, he even mentions that that was the only ‘leap of faith’ he made

          Yes, that’s the one. I had forgotten how long it was and that it was 10 minutes into it before he gets to our point of interest. I apologize for that. In reply to your point here, I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one. I have ripped off his phrase “running it to the ground” because so many of us quit without thinking topics all the way through. I describe my own faith as a “process” because I have not finished “running it to the ground” (and probably never will). When he ran atheism to the ground, he arrived a point where he ran into a wall. He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable. It is not outrageously persuasive, but it makes sense.

          He says for instance that an atheist could not explain to a Nazi why they shouldn’t lock up the Jews (I don’t agree with that), but that he can explain it through his religion. But what if the Nazi in question said “my religion says I should lock up and exterminate the Jews”? Guess what, Klavan’s religious answer just got voided by that one religious statement from the Nazi, now they are at loggerheads again.

          I took his point to be something like, “Is there anything in atheism that rules out genocide?” Well, atheism says nothing about anything. The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide. FTM, what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1? The Nazi Christian would be a hypocrite. The Nazi atheist would not be. If Klavan can say with absolute certainty that child abuse is immoral, where does that come from? His atheism? Well, no, it can’t be that. It has to come from someplace else. Given a choice, Christianity made more sense to Klavan.

        • epeeist

          Well, atheism says nothing about anything.

          To be blunt, bollocks. It says things about the existence or otherwise of gods. What it doesn’t do is entail particular positions on other subjects, for example one could be a socialist, libertarian or conservative atheist, one could follow consequentialist, deontological or contractualist ethics, one could be a metaphysical naturalist or substance dualist.

          what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1

          The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide.

          They could if they wanted to cherry-pick what Jesus was reported to have said and ignore the passages about coming with a sword and turning families against one another.

          The Nazi atheist would not be.

          Because of course the Nazi atheist wouldn’t have morals at all, you only get morals if you are religious.

          So where do Christians get their morals from? From the bible or, given that the ethical system in the bible is so inadequate, from those developed by Plato and the neo-Platonists and espoused by Augustine or from Aristotle, as espoused by the Scholastics.

        • Otto

          >>>”I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one.”

          Regardless, it is not, it is literally worse.

          >>>”He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable.

          What is illogical about looking at theistic claims and saying “I don’t believe this”? Atheism is just an answer the question “do you believe in a personal God”…that is all it is, nothing more. There is no philosophy, there is no ritual, there is no logical implications unless the specific theistic claim can logically support itself, in which case only then would atheism be ‘illogical’.

          >>>”I took his point to be something like, “Is there anything in atheism that rules out genocide?” Well, atheism says nothing about anything.”

          Well there is nothing in atheism that would rule out genocide, but there is nothing in theism that rules out genocide either… until we start talking about a specific theism. That does not mean an atheist cannot logically defend being against genocide, but they are going to have to use some other foundation for it beyond atheism.

          >>>”The Nazi Christian would be a hypocrite.”

          So Martin Luther was a hypocrite too than right? Martin Luther advocated for treating Jews essentially the same way the Nazi’s did.
          And if Martin Luther was a hypocrite than a whole lot of your Christian brothers and sisters are hypocrites going back thousands of years. Christians find all kinds of reasons to treat other people like shit and they refer to their religion to justify it. Jesus chased Jews around the temple with a switch turning over tables, etc. Is that treating people with love? If you are going to so narrowly define Christianity in only the way you see it, then there are not all that many True Christians™ out there. Additionally any of those fake Christians can cite chapter and verse for their horrible views, I have heard them do it, I guarantee you Fred Phelps knew his Bible and would have no problem explaining why God Hates Fags to you. You may not agree with him but you would not be able to say he can’t justify that view within his religion.

          >>>”If Klavan can say with absolute certainty that child abuse is immoral, where does that come from?”

          Ummm…empathy. I don’t know why that is hard. I am sure Klavan would respond by saying “but where does empathy come from?”…and I would answer it seems to be through evolution. My cat has shown empathy and self sacrifice…I am not even kidding.

          But for arguments sake let’s say I can’t answer that question at all…show me where empathy comes from the Christian God, and show me that it can only come form the Christian God, because that is what Klavan is asserting and he certainly didn’t support that argument in that video. If he can’t demonstrate his claim to be in fact true how in the world can you or him say that makes more sense? I will say this again and I really hope you let this sink in…arguing that “atheists can’t prove it doesn’t” is NOT a valid argument that it does in fact come from God. That is a horribly fallacious position and does not in any way make sense.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one.”
          Regardless, it is not, it is literally worse.

          As opposed to . . . . “figuratively” worse? Or just plain “worse”? Note how as we veer off into editorial, the hyperbole increases?

          “He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable.
          What is illogical about looking at theistic claims and saying “I don’t believe this”? Atheism is just an answer the question “do you believe in a personal God”…that is all it is, nothing more.

          I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.

          As a fun aside, I looked up the definition of “Deism” in my father-in-law’s college dictionary c. 1959. It sounded like Christianity. Then, I looked it up in my own college dictionary, and it had dropped some of the Christian attributes. Lastly, I looked it up online – it is unrecognizable from the 1959 version. You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much. Yet, . . . .

          Well there is nothing in atheism that would rule out genocide, but there is nothing in theism that rules out genocide either… until we start talking about a specific theism.

          Well, we are talking about a specific theism – Klavan’s and why he chose it.

          At the beginning of that transcription, Klavan made some comment about “religion” and atheists. I think it was in response to a question like, “Why can’t atheists have morality?”. He agree they do, and suggested (by my understanding) something along the lines of coming from culture, and our culture has religious origins.

          And if Martin Luther was a hypocrite than a whole lot of your Christian brothers and sisters are hypocrites going back thousands of years.

          I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. OK, maybe not on the topic of murder, but there are still Christian communities attempting genocide in parts of Africa. Christians seemed to embrace wholesale slaughter during the Religious Wars of Europe. There was no shortage of hypocrisy. I think you are also going to find examples of Christians rationalizing their murder based on scripture. But, as you guys point out, scripture can be contradictory and nuanced. When Jesus says, “Love your enemies”, it’s tough to get around that.

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution. FTM, I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary. Klavan has to satisfy his own criteria and you have to satisfy yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As a fun aside, I looked up the definition of “Deism” in my father-in-law’s college dictionary c. 1959. It sounded like Christianity. Then, I looked it up in my own college dictionary, and it had dropped some of the Christian attributes. Lastly, I looked it up online – it is unrecognizable from the 1959 version. You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much. Yet, . . . .

          No Shit Sherlock!

          And you’ll never believe this, words can have more than one definition, fancy that, who’d have thought it, eh?

          And yet you are the one that gets bent all outta shape when asked to provide the definition for a word you are using.

          And get this…you’ll never believe it, but some words and terms mean the complete polar opposite to what they once did do…go figure.

          https://www.rd.com/culture/opposite-words-funny/

        • Ignorant Amos

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.

          We know…and yet folk with no god belief, or a belief in another god you don’t believe exists, or those that went before your God was invented, had morality and empathy. While you can’t demonstrate that it comes from your God…imagine that.

          FTM, I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary.

          We know…you’re stupid.

          Klavan has to satisfy his own criteria and you have to satisfy yours.

          Oh no…it doesn’t work like that. You brought Klavan up as evidence you have an argument on this issue, ya haven’t, and Klavan’s story does nothing to change that.

        • Susan

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.

          And yet evolution is demonstrated.

          And “God” is not.

          What do you mean by “God” and how is it connected to morality or empathy? This is the part you never connect. But you know that. It’s been pointed out before.

          You might as well say it came from Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

        • Otto

          >>>”As opposed to . . . . “figuratively” worse? Or just plain “worse”? Note how as we veer off into editorial, the hyperbole increases?”

          No there was no hyperbole intended. If one person says the Earth is a ball and one person says the Earth is flat both are wrong, but one answer is demonstrably worse.

          >>>”I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.”

          No, what I said had nothing to do with Deism. A theistic God is personal in that it has specific attributes that the person has ascribed to it.

          >>>”You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much.”

          Dictionary’s report on common usage of words, it is not so much objective as inter-subjective. Interestingly I think that a dictionary would be a good analogy for morality. Words gain use among the population and then that spreads, and then people later get it in their heads that the definitions have just always been that way and are therefore objective.

          >>>”Well, we are talking about a specific theism – Klavan’s and why he chose it.”

          Yes, in Klavan’s version of Christianity that is the case, but not everyone’s version of Christianity comes to the same conclusions, as an example Martin Luther and his view of Jews.

          >>>”He agree they do, and suggested (by my understanding) something along the lines of coming from culture, and our culture has religious origins.”

          Our culture has roots in religious aspects, it also has roots in secular aspects. The culture we are in is not rooted specifically from religion only.

          >>>”I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. ”

          Fair enough, but then pointing at the Nazi Christians and leveling the hypocrisy label on them as if they are different than other Christians really doesn’t hold water. My point was Christians CAN get around “Love your enemies” quite easily and have done so for centuries. If you want to understand HOW they get around it you would have to ask them, my guess is that they just point to another verse somewhere else. The fact that “Love your enemies” tops your Christian ideal does not mean that others in the religion do the same.

          >>>”I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.”

          We have tons of reliable evidence that evolution is a real thing, we have no reliable evidence that God is a real thing, so that statement is a non-sequitur.

          >>>” I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary.”

          That was exactly the rationalization I used to prop up my Christian belief for quite awhile so I do completely understand why you would say that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No there was no hyperbole intended. If one person says the Earth is a ball and one person says the Earth is flat both are wrong, but one answer is demonstrably worse.

          Let me guess – “Not yours”? Your conclusion is really heavy on opinion, there. At the risk of suggesting another experiment, do we have any examples where atheists controlled a society to compare with (there’s a veiled barb there, because obviously we do)?

          “I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.”
          No, what I said had nothing to do with Deism. A theistic God is personal in that it has specific attributes that the person has ascribed to it.

          When I think of a personal God, I think of a God that is a person; that can have a relationship with another person. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe another word choice would have been better on your part. I’ve never seen an atheist insert that (or any, FTM) word.

          “I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. ”
          Fair enough, but then pointing at the Nazi Christians and leveling the hypocrisy label on them as if they are different than other Christians really doesn’t hold water.

          What I was pointing out was that we have a solid basis for saying the Nazi Christian chose to elevate “Nazi” over “Christian”. No doubt, a determined person can rationalized away the conflict, but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

        • epeeist

          but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

          You really are a dishonest cunt. I note you didn’t care to take up this very point in my response to you on this very point from the other day.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Oh, no. Not only am I a woman, but I am a dishonest one!

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously. That is a tactic that people with bad points use. Intellectually, it makes no sense, but has an enormous emotional appeal to the user. So, yeah, your were going to have to make a pretty good argument in order to get a reply on that post. If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic. You dodged my question, which was probably your goal anyway. It looked like a waste of both our time to try to make something useful out of it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh, no. Not only am I a woman, but I am a dishonest one!

          Ah…yes…definitions and context again…the stupid it burns,

          cunt:- “an unpleasant or stupid person” …or both.

          The dishonest bit goes without saying.

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously.

          It’s tough to take someone that focuses so much on tone trolling while ignoring relevant points against their position seriously.

          That is a tactic that people with bad points use.

          But the fact of the matter is, those of us who have employed name-calling as descriptors of your performance and behavior here, have also made good points that you have repeatedly ignored. The fact of the matter is, you’ve been roundly refuted in all you’ve engaged, but think that tone trolling gives you an out. It doesn’t, it just makes your position even more untenable, and makes you look an even greater tit each and every time ya do it. But don’t stop…I’m enjoying the train wreck in slow motion.

          Intellectually, it makes no sense, but has an enormous emotional appeal to the user.

          Well, if you engaged in honest and ingenuous discussion, folk might not get so frustrated and resort to calling you what it is you are displaying. There comes a point when folk are just playing with a chew toy.

          So, yeah, your were going to have to make a pretty good argument in order to get a reply on that post.

          I can’t imagine why you think epeeist is likely to give a fiddlers fuck…no reply is better than the lying dross you pump out anyway.

        • epeeist

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously.

          If you read through my posts you will note that I rarely swear. This time it was precipitated by your sophistry, lack of intellectual integrity and crass dishonesty.

          If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic.

          Except of course I didn’t. So either poor comprehension or dishonesty on your part.

          You claimed that “The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide”. Because of course Christians have never blamed the Jews (as a people) for the death of Jesus from the Gospel of John onwards, there never was need for Pope Benedict to exonerate the Jewish people for the death. Jews were never ghettoised by Christians, never subjected to pogroms by them or forced out of the countries in which they lived. No Christian ever produced a book called On the Jews and Their Lies. No Christian ever accused a Jew of killing children to make matzos.

          As ever you make unfounded assertions ignoring any evidence counter to your claims.

        • Michael Neville

          If you read through my posts you will note that I rarely swear.

          We’ve noticed but we accept it as a harmless foible on your part.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic.

          Except of course I didn’t. So either poor comprehension or dishonesty on your part.

          Here’s the exchange i was referring to:

          “what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned
          by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1”

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism. You quoted my (rhetorical) question, and this was the reply to it. I don’t think that is poor reading comprehension nor dishonesty on my part. I do think your answer was purposely deceptive.

          Nazis also banned and.or persecuted Christian groups as well, with vastly more members than the GFS.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate. Xianity has all that moral writing. Once a person rejects Xianity, one can write anything in its place. No one can say to an atheist, “You hypocrite. The Bible says don’t do X, yet you do X.

        • epeeist

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism.

          Either comprehensions or dishonesty problems again I see:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate.

          As has been said before, atheism is simply the lack of belief in the existence of gods and does not therefore entail any particular system of ethics. But this is different from saying that atheists are not moral, which is the intimation put forward by some theists. In actuality if one takes a Kantian view of ethics the Christian could be considered as less moral than the atheist given that their actions are done either by expectation of gain or fear of punishment.

          Xianity has all that moral writing.

          Except, as I noted, the “moral writing” is all too often derived from the ethics of Plato and Aristotle. Christianity certain doesn’t provide anything that could be considered a normative ethical theory.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism.

          Either comprehensions or dishonesty problems again I see:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          Your first comment is fair – I did brush past the “such as”. Was the experience of the GFS typical of atheists under the Nazis?

          You say it isn’t difficult to find the 94.5% figure. Here’s where I found it:
          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist”.[6]

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss. Pre-Nazi, atheists didn’t even show up on the RADAR, and after six years of being banned, they are 1.5%. The same article says members of Hitler’s inner circle, Martin Bormann and Goebbels were radically anti-church, while Himmler was a paganist. It goes on to say:
          Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany’s 28 existing Protestant churches. The plan failed, and was resisted by the Confessing Church. Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Hitler moved quickly to eliminate Political Catholicism. Amid harassment of the Church, the Reich concordat treaty with the Vatican was signed in 1933, and promised to respect Church autonomy. Hitler routinely disregarded the Concordat, closing all Catholic institutions whose functions were not strictly religious. Clergy, nuns, and lay leaders were targeted, with thousands of arrests over the ensuing years.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate.

          As has been said before, atheism is simply the lack of belief in the existence of gods and does not therefore entail any particular system of ethics. But this is different from saying that atheists are not moral, which is the intimation put forward by some theists.

          Let me hasten to point out that neither Klavan nor I have made such an argument. Both of us argue that atheists’ moral must come from someplace else. I had hoped that we all agreed on this point. Klavan argues that, to some extent, atheist morals come from religion. I argue that they come from culture – in the case of Western nations, Western culture, which is deeply rooted in Christian values. I am befuddled that this plain truth is so offensive.

        • epeeist

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          Not necessarily so, if you read reference 20 you will see that it shows 62.7% Protestant, 32.5% Catholic, 0.8% Jewish and 4% other or irreligious in 1933. Now if my arithmetic is correct then this would mean that 95.2% of the population were Christian.

          The 1939 census (reference 5) gives 54% Protestant, 40% Catholic, 3.5% Gottgläubig (believers) and 1.5% irreligious. Again, simple arithmetic gives 94% Christian.

          Oh, and “irreligious” is not the same as “atheist”.

          Klavan argues that, to some extent, atheist morals come from religion.

          And his basis for this claim is? How does he account for the ethical systems of Buddhism and Confucianism?

          Western culture, which is deeply rooted in Christian values

          Tell me, where does the idea of “Christian virtues” come from?

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          Not necessarily so, if you read reference 20 you will see that it shows 62.7% Protestant, 32.5% Catholic, 0.8% Jewish and 4% other or irreligious in 1933. Now if my arithmetic is correct then this would mean that 95.2% of the population were Christian.

          The chart, “Religious Statistics of Germany 1910 – 1939”, that reference 20 referred to had it at 67/33%, adding up to 100%. The quote at the beginning to the article had those same percentages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do know that not all Germans in Nazi Germany were Nazis…..right?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hey, I said as much to epeeist earlier, my comprehension-challenged friend.

        • Otto
        • epeeist

          Yeah, don’t expect a reply on this one. He said that “Nazi Christians” could “easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide” to which I gave examples of anti-Semitism in Christianity going back as far as the Gospel of John.

          He dropped the topic like a hot brick.

        • Otto

          Jesus and the money changers in the Temple. Nuff said.

        • Susan

          I said as much to epeeist earlier, my comprehension-challenged friend

          It seems like only yesterday, you accused him of being arrogant for explaining physics to you.

          And now, you are pretending that he claimed that all Germans in Nazi Germany were Nazis.

          He did not.

          It all started with your bullshit comment :

          but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

          Not believing Yahwehjesus exists gives you no information on one’s moral philosophy.

          Any more than not believing pyramids have magical powers does.

          So, fuck off about “his philosophy”.

          Believing Yahwehjesus exists gives you no information either.

          The Jews rejected their own god and killed Jesus was a popular sentiment.

          That’s the problem with mythological beings. . They don’t ground anything. They can want anything you say they want.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …said as much…

          You think you said as much, that ain’t the same thing as you did…and you didn’t even say as much either.

          As near as I can find is this comment….

          Nazis also banned and.or persecuted Christian groups as well, with vastly more members than the GFS.

          Which is true, but if you think that those Christians the Nazis persecuted were all non-Nazis, then you are wrong. So, no you didn’t say as much at all. But maybe I’ve missed it and you did say as much elsewhere. Citation or ya didn’t.

          From what I gather, you are insinuating that the rise in atheism in Nazi Germany because of the Nazis was a bad thing. Maybe the fact that such a Christian oriented party, and the inhumane antics they were carrying out in the name of YahwehJesus, was what drove those people away from their faith. Seems very plausible.

          This nit-picking about figures is more of your attempt to slew the point.

          If there were atheist Nazis, their numbers would’ve been negligible. The vast majority of Nazis were Church going Christians.

          Being an atheist in Nazi Germany was to be a member of a proscribed group. If one was stupid enough to be an atheist Nazi, it was prudent to keep that secret.

          Atheist Nazis were not putting Jews into gas chambers and ovens, it was Christians doing that.

          It amazes me the comments that you give rise to reply to are of such relevance as to not matter, yet you never answer the important issues put to you. Yet another example of your disingenuous lying.

        • epeeist

          The chart, “Religious Statistics of Germany 1910 – 1939”, that reference 20 referred to had it at 67/33%, adding up to 100%.

          Ah, so what obviously happened was that while Germany was 100% Christian in 1933 some Jews and atheists moved there in order to allow the Nazis to send the Jews to the gas chambers and to ban the organisations that the atheists had set up.

          As it is, even if you take the 1939 figures the Christians outnumbered the irreligious by over 60:1. This being so it is highly unlikely that the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was 1:1.

          But this is the minor point in the discussion. I note that you have not tackled the major points, namely Klavan’s evidence for ethics to come from religion or where the idea of “Christian virtues” came from.

        • MR

          Ah, so what obviously happened was that while Germany was 100% Christian in 1933 some Jews and atheists moved there in order to allow the Nazis to send the Jews to the gas chambers and to ban the organisations that the atheists had set up.

          Damned migrant atheists.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yes, it’s time to move away from a direction that is not helping you. The same chart listed Jews as <1%. I provided a quote from that Wikipedia article showing that 70% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – left their Christian churches in order to be in the organization. There was no 60:1 ratio of Christians to atheists. You would be left to nit-pick as to whether "Pagan Occult" was sincere.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says. Pointing out this obvious truth did not cast some sort of hypnotic spell on him to make him renounce his atheism.

        • Otto
        • Ignorant Amos

          I provided a quote from that Wikipedia article showing that 70% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – left their Christian churches in order to be in the organization.

          Did you read that before posting?

          So 30% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – didn’t leave their Churches to join the organization? Wait a wee minute, leaving ones Church wasn’t necessary to join the organization then? See a problem?

          Again, they left organised Christianity, but the remained God believers…where did they get their morals, or lack thereof, from?

          There was no 60:1 ratio of Christians to atheists. You would be left to nit-pick as to whether “Pagan Occult” was sincere.

          Nah…even if your SS nonsense were all atheists nonsense was granted…you are still way off on your 1:1 fuckwittery.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzstaffel#SS_membership_estimates_1925%E2%80%9345

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here is the quote:

          Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig, while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.[32]

          It mentions 2 arms of the SS – one with no Christians at all, and one in which 70% of its members withdrew from their Christian churches. It does not tell us the what the makeup of the other 30% was. It could be that 100% were Christians and 7-out-of-10 dropped out, or it could be that the 30% were non-Christian to begin with.

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite, other than about 1% of Germans were these hard-core, predominantly non-Christian Nazis.

        • Susan

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite

          It’s pretty basic. You don’t show that it was necessary to leave a christian church to be an SS member.

          Also, they didn’t drop out to be atheists. They dropped out to be “god believers”.

          They were persuaded by arguments for a non-christian god.

          And as IA points out, even if it were granted that they all dropped out to be atheists, you still don’t get 1:1.

          SS was only a small part of Nazism.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite

          It’s pretty basic. You don’t show that it was necessary to leave a christian church to be an SS member.

          Did you follow his link? All it showed was the growth of the SS over time. I don’t follow how you got that conclusion out of that information.

          As to your point, these overwhelming number of (presumably ambitious) officers certainly seemed to think it would advance their careers. Judging by their actions, it is at least suggestive that is the case.

          Also, they didn’t drop out to be atheists. They dropped out to be “god believers”.

          Yeah, and that is kind of a vague term, isn’t it? You are usually a stickler for that kind of thing. On the surface, it sounds like Deism – belief in a Creator, but not much else. Given that Himmler was a Pagan Occultist, I’m thinking that is probably what it means. It has the feel of people with secular concerns, going through the motions of insincere religious beliefs.

          And as IA points out, even if it were granted that they all dropped out to be atheists, you still don’t get 1:1.
          SS was only a small part of Nazism.

          I mentioned the 1:1 ratio in response to a point about Christian Nazis and the (inferior) morals of Christians. It was a comment about the premise of Nazism as support for that conclusion. For my purposes, if atheists found Nazism more appealing than Christians did (disproportionately joining the party compared to the population as a whole), that makes my point. I picked 1:1 in jest. to make that point.

          That said, this is a fun exercise. So, Nazi Party members – at their peak – were about 10% of the German population. According to AI’s chart, SS members were about 10% of that number. I found the first number surprisingly low and the second surprisingly high BTW. I have no data for Nazi Party religious affiliation. I am presuming that the most extreme Nazis – the SS – would show the most extreme example of the overall tendency of Nazis with regard to religion.

          So, while the German population as a whole only lost a little Christian percentage, among those exhibiting the strongest Nazi beliefs, Christianity lost enormous support. The number on the Christian side of the atheist/Christian ratio took a big hit. if it were granted that all Christians dropping out of Christian churches became atheists, the number on the atheist side of the ratio would increase. Yeah, it MIGHT not get to 1:1, but it would be FAR from that of the population as a whole. It’s enough for statistical significance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, and that is kind of a vague term, isn’t it?

          Nope…not vague at all. They believed in God.

          You are usually a stickler for that kind of thing. On the surface, it sounds like Deism – belief in a Creator, but not much else.

          Or non-clerical Christianity.

          After Nazi Germany had surrendered in World War II, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services published a report on the Nazi Master Plan of the Persecution of the Christian Churches. Historians and theologians generally agree about the Nazi policy towards religion, that the objective was to remove explicitly Jewish content from the Bible (i.e., the Old Testament, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Pauline Epistles), transforming the Christian faith into a new religion, completely cleansed from any Jewish element and conciliate it with Nazism, Völkisch ideology and Führerprinzip: a religion called “Positive Christianity”.

          Adolf Hitler’s religious views are not a difficult case. Hitler was baptized Catholic as a baby. Hitler was an alterboy in his youth. He regularly went to church as an adult, and contrary to popular belief, was never excommunicated after he died. He had the Christian moniker “Gott Mit Uns” meaning ‘god with us’ put on many nazi uniform belt buckles.

          Given that Himmler was a Pagan Occultist, I’m thinking that is probably what it means.

          That’s because you are stupid, and rather than go and find out, you’ll just pull stupid shite from yer arse.

          Himmler did have neo-pagan beliefs…but he formed a hybrid paganism that included elements of the Völkisch movement, Christianity, and God as the supreme creator.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lkisch_movement#Influence_on_Nazism

          https://www.jstor.org/stable/4547272?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

          The historic example which Himmler used in practice as the model for the SS was the Society of Jesus, since Himmler found in the Jesuits what he perceived to be the core element of any order, the doctrine of obedience and the cult of the organisation. The evidence for this largely rests on a statement from Walter Schellenberg in his memoirs (Cologne, 1956, p. 39), but Hitler is also said to have called Himmler “my Ignatius of Loyola”. As an order, the SS needed a coherent doctrine that would set it apart. Himmler attempted to construct such an ideology, and to this purpose he deduced a “pseudo-Germanic tradition” from history. However, this attempt was not entirely successful. Höhne observes that “Himmler’s neo-pagan customs remained primarily a paper exercise”.

          He dislike just about everything about organised Christianity, but he was a believer, and he did not insist that SS members take his personal view of God belief.

          Many of the concepts promoted with the SS violated accepted Christian doctrine, but neither Himmler nor his deputy Heydrich expected the Christian church to support their stance on abortion, contraception or sterilization of the unfit – let alone their shared belief in polygamy for the sake of racial propagation. This did not however represent disbelief in a higher power from either man nor did it deter them on their ideological quest. In fact, atheism was banned within the SS as Himmler believed it to be a form of egotism that placed the individual at the center of the universe, and thus constituted a rejection of the SS principle of valuing the collective over the individual. All SS men were required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or gottgläubig (“Believer in God”). Himmler preferred the neo-pagan “expression of spirituality”. Still, by 1938 “only 21.9 percent of SS members described themselves as gottgläubig, whereas 54 percent remained Protestant and just under 24 percent Catholic.” Belief in God among the SS did not constitute adherence to traditional Christian doctrine nor were its members consummate theologians, as the SS outright banned certain Christian organizations like the International Bible Research Association, a group whose pacifism the SS rejected. Dissenting religious organizations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses were severely persecuted by the SS for their pacifism, failure to participate in elections, non-observance of the Hitler salute, not displaying the Nazi flag, and for their non-participation in Nazi organizations; many were sent to concentration camps where they perished.[66] Heydrich once quipped that any and all opposition to Nazism originated from either “Jews or politicized clergy.”

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

          The occultist bullshit is more of a myth.

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

          It has the feel of people with secular concerns, going through the motions of insincere religious beliefs.

          Yeah…like a world full of hypocritical Christians ya mean?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I mentioned the 1:1 ratio in response to a point about Christian Nazis and the (inferior) morals of Christians. It was a comment about the premise of Nazism as support for that conclusion. For my purposes, if atheists found Nazism more appealing than Christians did (disproportionately joining the party compared to the population as a whole), that makes my point. I picked 1:1 in jest. to make that point.

          Another lie.

          And you have not demonstrated that there were any atheists in the Nazis…and given that to be one openly in the Nazis would be detrimental to ones well being, I doubt you’ll find many…. so any point you may think you made, is ridiculous and moot.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That said, this is a fun exercise.

          What’s most fun about it is that you have already admitted that atheists don’t get their morality from their atheism, so it must come from somewhere. Then you assert that atheist get their morality from a Christian centred world. So atheism is off the hook either way.

          So, while the German population as a whole only lost a little Christian percentage, among those exhibiting the strongest Nazi beliefs, Christianity lost enormous support.

          Only because you are stupid and can’t tell the difference between leaving a Christian denomination and leaving Christianity.

          The number on the Christian side of the atheist/Christian ratio took a big hit. if it were granted that all Christians dropping out of Christian churches became atheists, the number on the atheist side of the ratio would increase. Yeah, it MIGHT not get to 1:1, but it would be FAR from that of the population as a whole.

          Talk about flogging a dead horse. Just make stuff up and squint when looking at it so it makes sense.

          It’s enough for statistical significance.

          Nope.

          You are classing being a Nazi as only those card carrying members. And even then you get nowhere near 1:1 silliness.

          In his book The Nazi Party 1919-1945: A complete history, Dietrich Orlow wrote that early in the war, membership in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the full name of the Nazi party) surged to about 6.5 million.

          That’s about 10% of the population, but support for Nazism was around 35% at the polls.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They were persuaded by arguments for a non-christian god.

          And not even that…just not a Christian God that needed to be affiliated to a particular Christian denomination.

          There are millions of God believers today that are unaffiliated to any Christian denomination.

          Then there is this …

          A new [2018] Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

        • Greg G.

          A new [2018] Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

          <blushing> Shucks, I probably shouldn’t take all the credit because I still have so much more to do, but you’re welcome.

        • (Your humble reply seems to have been chopped up.)

        • epeeist

          Did you see this – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/09/report-damns-culture-of-acceptance-of-sexual-abuse-at-two-catholic-schools

          Another one to add to the list. The report in the Guardian is fairly explicit as to what went on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig,…

          At their height in 1944, the SD had 6,482 members.

          It mentions 2 arms of the SS – one with no Christians at all,…

          Nope…try and read your citation for comprehension? What it says is they withdrew from their Christian denominations, it says nothing about them withdrawing from Christian belief. It also says that they changed their religious affiliation to gottgläubig.

          Do you know what that word means? Nah…because if ya did, you wouldn’t be making such a cunt of yerself.

          It literally means “Believers in God”…that’s big “G” god.

          Google is your friend, but let me help…

          The 1943 Philosophical Dictionary defined gottgläubig as: “official designation for those who profess a specific kind of piety and morality, without being bound to a church denomination, whilst however also rejecting irreligion and godlessness.” In the 1939 census, 3.5% of the German population identified as gottgläubig.

          Now…

          The Nazis were not favourable towards religious institutions, nor did they tolerate atheism on the part of their membership: Gottgläubigkeit was a kind of officially sanctioned unorganised religion.

          So, as usual, your citation is evidence against you.

          …while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.

          So 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same as the SD. In other words, they left their Christian denomination and became gottgläubig, literally “Believers in God”. I’m going out on a limb here and say it was still the Christian God…the one with the Jesus bit tacked on…given the Nazis distaste for Jews and all that.

          …and one in which 70% of its members withdrew from their Christian churches.

          But not the God of Christianity.

          It does not tell us the what the makeup of the other 30% was. It could be that 100% were Christians and 7-out-of-10 dropped out, or it could be that the 30% were non-Christian to begin with.

          What they were not, was atheists. So it is neither here nor there in regards to the nonsense you are pushing. But I’ll chuck you a bone…

          People who identified as gottgläubig could hold a wide range of religious beliefs, including non-clerical Christianity, Germanic neopaganism, deism, and pantheism. Strictly speaking, Gottgläubigen were not even required to terminate their church membership, but strongly encouraged to.

          As for numbers…

          The census of 17 May 1939 was the first time that German citizens were able to officially register as gottgläubig. Out of 79.4 million Germans, 2.7 million people (3.5%) claimed to be gottgläubig, compared to 94.5% who either belonged to the Protestant or Catholic churches, 300,000 Jews (0.4%), 86,000 adherents of other religions (including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, neopagans and other religious sects and movements, 0.1%), and 1.2 million (1.5%) who had no faith (glaubenslos). Paradoxically, Germans living in urban areas, where support for the Nazi Party was the lowest, were the most likely to identify as gottgläubig, the five highest rates being found in Berlin (10.2%), Hamburg (7.5%), Vienna (6.4%), Düsseldorf (6.0%) and Essen (5.3%).

          Now let’s put this fuckwittery of yours to bed once and for all…

          Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler declared: “As National Socialists, we believe in a Godly worldview.” He insisted on the existence of a creator-God, who favoured and guided the Third Reich and the German nation, as he announced to the SS: “We believe in a God Almighty who stands above us; he has created the earth, the Fatherland, and the Volk, and he has sent us the Führer. Any human being who does not believe in God should be considered arrogant, megalomaniacal, and stupid and thus not suited for the SS.” He did not allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”.

          Is that clear enough for ya? There were no atheists in the SS, they were not allowed. Give it up already ffs.

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite, other than about 1% of Germans were these hard-core, predominantly non-Christian Nazis.

          Of course you don’t, why would ya? You might have to be honest if ya admitted ya did.

          The SS personnel records show that most of its members who left the church of their upbringing, did so just before or shortly after joining the SS. The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) members were the most willing corps within the SS to withdraw from their Christian denominations and change their religious affiliation to gottgläubig at 90%. Of the SS officers, 74% of those who joined the SS before 1933 did so, while 68% who joined the SS after 1933 would eventually declare themselves gottgläubig. Of the general SS membership, 16% had left their churches by the end of 1937.

          They left their Churches, they didn’t necessarily leave Christianity, they certainly remained God believers, they certainly did not become atheists ya dolt.

          You have done nothing to show that they were non-Christians. They certainly were not atheists. But, giving you your nonsense that you consider they were atheists, it does nothing for your Christian Nazi to atheist Nazi ratio in any way helpful to your assertion. Most people in Nazi Germany were Christian’s…most Nazi’s believed in the God of Christianity…most of the most fundamentalist of the Nazi party, the SS, believed in the God of Christianity.

          This obfuscation exercise in splitting hairs over a % here and there, just shows your desperation. The data might not be exact, but that doesn’t get you to being right…how many times has this to be pointed out…The Relativity of Wrong.

        • epeeist

          Yes, it’s time to move away from a direction that is not helping you.

          ROFLMAO

          The same chart listed Jews as <1%.

          Ergo Germany could not have been 100% Christian. A large number of Jews came to Britain from Germany (the Association of Jewish Refugees estimates some 70,000). There are obvious examples of Jews leaving Nazi Germany, including Albert Einstein, Max Born, Kurt Gödel, Erich Korngold.

          As for the non-religious in Germany, there was a significant Communist party in place during the 1930’s, are you seriously suggesting that all their members were Christian. Going back to the German Freethinkers League, this had a membership of half a million in 1933, are you saying that all of these were Christian?

          In other words your claim that Germany was 100% Christian in the 1933 is obviously ludicrous.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says.

          You did? And yet you don’t provide a link to it.

          As it is I don’t give a flying fuck what Klavan says, what I want to see is the actual evidence on which he bases the claim.

          Oh, and I note you still haven’t told me where the idea of “Christian virtues” comes from.

          EDIT: Missing word

        • Clement Agonistes

          Ergo Germany could not have been 100% Christian.

          You cited the chart. I was using the information you pointed to. These figures are the only evidence we have on this subject. I suspect we both have questions about their reliability. That is why I did not mention them until you cited them as support for your point.

          You brought up the Freethinkers League again. In another post, you asked why Hitler persecuted Catholics. IMO, he persecuted both organizations for the same reason – he wanted total control.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says.

          You did? And yet you don’t provide a link to it.

          I’m missing something here. Both you and Susan made that point. I see people here providing links without discussing the significant of what is in those links. Is this a thing in this blog? I mean, the link would be significant if I had modified it to change what it said, but if that were the case, it would be super-easy to find the article yourself and show that. In the case of the Wikipedia quote, you and I were looking at the same article, yet you demanded that I show you the source for the source for the source. It looks more like a tactic than a genuine interest.

        • epeeist

          You cited the chart.

          No, I cited reference 20 in the article.

          I suspect we both have questions about their reliability.

          This being so why did you make the definitive claim that Germany was 100% Christian when anyone with a modicum of sense could see that this was hardly likely to be the case.

          You brought up the Freethinkers League again.

          As well as the Communist party to illustrate that there were non-religious people in Germany at the time. Not forgetting the various mentions of Jews, again to illustrate the fact that there were religious non-Christians in the country.

          All of this to show how ridiculous your claim that the country was 100% Christian was.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You cited the chart.

          No, I cited reference 20 in the article.

          You cited the stats. R20 shows they rounded.

          I suspect we both have questions about their reliability.

          This being so why did you make the definitive claim that Germany was 100% Christian when anyone with a modicum of sense could see that this was hardly likely to be the case.

          You mentioned the stats. I thought that meant you gave them credibility. I’m arguing on the turf you picked out.

          All of this to show how ridiculous your claim that the country was 100% Christian was.

          I am TOTALLY willing to go back to the time before you brought up those stats. The rest of the Wikipedia article more than makes my point.

        • epeeist

          Let’s go back to your original claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          There is no ambiguity here, you are claiming Germany was 100% Christian in 1933, not “approximately 100%” or “more than 99.5% Christian”. Let’s cast this into canonical form, it can be restated as:

          “In 1933 all Germans were Christian”. This being so all I need to do is find a single exception to show that your claim is false. In other words all I need to show is that there was at least one person in Germany at the time who was non-Christian.

          Now the chart you keep referring to gives 0.8% of the population as adhering to the Jewish religion (You inaccurately state “The same chart listed Jews as <1%.", someone who is ethnically Jewish need not necessarily follow the Jewish religion) then there must have been at least one non-Christian in the Germany of the time.

          Hence your claim is false and all of your wittering about the SS and inaccuracies is irrelevant.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Let’s go back to your original claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          No, that was not the original claim. My “claim” that started this whole thread was, “what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          You replied:
          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned
          by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1
          ” (The “atheist” side of the ratio would have had fewer raw numbers)

          I challenged the logic behind that comment on two points:
          1) The GFS was not representative of all atheists in Germany. You correctly pointed out that you did not claim all atheists in Germany were members of the GFS – it was just an example of what was happening overall to atheists.
          2) Christian groups in Germany were also subject to bans and other persecutions.

          That was when YOU introduced the now-suspect numbers being discussed. You said, “It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          It was then that I quoted from the Wikipedia article that we both used in this discussion:
          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist

          It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply. I followed that sentence saying, “Pre-Nazi, atheists didn’t even show up on the RADAR, and after six years of being banned, they are 1.5%. The same article says members of Hitler’s inner circle, Martin Bormann and Goebbels were radically anti-church

          Your gripe here has been that atheists existed in Germany in 1933, but had such low numbers that rounding the Christian percentages made it look as if there were no atheists at all. IOW, in 1933 they “didn’t even show up on the RADAR”. Two of Hitler’s inner circle were atheists. If atheists were being persecuted, other ambitious Nazis would have used this against them to have Bormann and Goebbels removed. Instead, they were renouncing their Christianity – the raw number of Christians in the ratio was decreasing.

          You are nit-picking that if Christians went from 99% of the population to 94.5%, that doesn’t suggest that Christian persecutions had any effect, and that an (essential) doubling of the atheist population doesn’t suggest any thing about the effects of atheist persecution.

          You chose to make the census figures from 1933 and 1939 significant in determining the Christian: atheist ratio among Nazis. Even IA saw the flaw in that logic, noting that all Germans were not Nazis. At its peak, the Nazi Party only had about 10% of the German population. What was happening in the SS was a far better gauge of Nazi attitudes than the German population as a whole. There were few Christians in the SS. Relative to the general population, there would have been fewer Christians among Nazis. . . . . . and more atheists. If Nazism is the determinant of moral inferiority (I don’t accept Otto’s premise), then the case is stronger for Christian moral superiority than it is for atheism. Otto’s conclusion that atheism is the superior moral model (only I challenged this claim, BTW) is not supported.

        • epeeist

          No, that was not the original claim.

          You made the fucking claim that Christians made up 100% of the German population. Now you want to deny that you actually made it when we can actually see the fucking post where you made it.

          Not only are you a lying cunt you are also a fucking stupid cunt as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And he does it without even blushing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply

          No, that was not the original claim.

          You
          made the fucking claim that Christians made up 100% of the German
          population. Now you want to deny that you actually made it when we can
          actually see the fucking post where you made it.

          In my post that you are responding to, I recapped that whole exchange, including an exact quote for the same source you were using that showed where I got the figure. You know that what you are claiming is not true.

          In the post you are responding to, I said, “It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply.” Not only did I not-deny it, I specifically agreed that I had said that. What you are claiming is demonstrably untrue.

          You also know that your assertion that it was the original claim is not true.

          You knowingly opted to say things which which you know are false – the very definition of a liar. Coating it with misogynistic insults only serves to show just what your true nature is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          misogynistic insults

          Wise up…you have shown the context of why you are a cunt…and yet, you keep supporting the the very reason why some are calling you a lying cunt.

          Cunt:- An extremely unpleasant or objectionable person (in US, especially a woman; in UK or Ireland, more usually a man).

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cunt

          Epeeist is an Englishman, I am an Irishman…we are both from the UK…get a grip.

          Swearing is good for you… yes you’ve heard right – time to let it all out! But first, find out the science behind why…

          Scientist and author, Emma Byrne outlines the fascinating science behind swearing: how it affects us both physically and emotionally, and how it is more natural and beneficial than we are led to believe.

          In a sparkling debut in the entertaining pop science vein of Mary Roach, scientist Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. She reveals how swearing has been around since the earliest humans began to communicate, and has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims recover language, and to promote human cooperation. Packed with the results of unlikely and often hilarious scientific studies— from the “ice bucket test” for coping with pain, to the connection between Tourette’s and swearing, to a chimpanzee who curses at her handler in sign language—Swearing Is Good for You presents a lighthearted but convincing case for the foulmouthed.

          Now piss off with your tone trolling fuckwittery.

        • epeeist

          Look fuckbag, you said “So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%” which is plainly fucking false and only a fucking lying douchebag would try to defend what is utterly and absolutely a false fucking claim.

          As far as I am concerned you can go fuck yourself, preferably with a wire brush.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hey, make it 99%. That works just as well for me, and your use of German census data is still a silly argument.

        • epeeist

          Hey, make it 99%

          No, that isn’t what the data in reference 20 shows.

          However, I am pleased to see that you acknowledge that your claim of 100% of Germans being Christian is false.

          Perhaps now we could move on to the other, major points I raised, namely what actual evidence does Klavan have for his supposition that morality derives from religion and where did the idea of “Christian virtues” come from.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your science would point would sound more scientific if you would throw in a few more “fuck”s.

          For instance, look how much better this would look in a peer-reviewed journal: “However, i am fucking pleased to fucking see that you fucking acknowledge that your fucking claim of the fucking 100% of fucking Germans being fucking Christians is fucking false.”

          I mean, if that does convince them that you are right, nothing will.

          You have no major points, and that is why I just assumed you weren’t serious and didn’t respond to your that got us off on this rabbit-chase in the first place. Otto – at that time – at least was capable of civil, dispassionate conversation (hint).

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do better to not reply at all if this is what you have to offer…a mean talk about embarrassing oneself.

          Get’s you off answering the hard stuff I guess…

          “Perhaps now we could move on to the other, major points I raised, namely what actual evidence does Klavan have for his supposition that morality derives from religion and where did the idea of “Christian virtues” come from.”

        • Susan

          Your science would point would sound more scientific if you would throw in a few more “fuck”s.

          When you made claims about cosmology, epeeist tried using scientific language with you and was met with crickets.

          When you made claims about logic, epeeist tried using logical language with you and was met with crickets.

          You’re not a scientific journal.

          You have no major points.

          You’ve been here a very long time now, Clement.

          What major points do you have?

          Pointing at squirrels doesn’t count.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, do you even remember why Klavan came into the conversation in the first place?

          And, how likely do you think it is that you’ll ever get back to addressing the original main point?

        • Susan

          do you even remember why Klavan came into the conversation in the first place?

          Because you mentioned him as an “ex-atheist” who had found Yahwehjesus through “logic” (even though his actual conversion story didn’t include that bit).

          Something about “morality” coming from “religion” (by which you seem to mean christianity, because you sure don’t count deists or pagans as “religion”.

          You didn’t even include a link originally. You handwaved to an “atheist”. Otto had to hunt it down.

          You still haven’t addressed virtue ethics, nor the fact that accepting a superstitious claim is no more a moral system than not accepting a superstitious claim.

          So once again Clement, what’s your point?

          I would think if you had one, you would have gotten to it by now.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The original topic was false hope – finding comfort from hope in God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is a false hope?
          We must know with absolute certainty that God does not exist.
          Show me convincing arguments that God exists.
          Is that how atheist come to believe God exists?
          Otto saw them all and is convinced that God did not exist.

          i do not think seeing arguments is how atheists come to be theists. They may give lip service to it, but when it actually happens, they describe it as something supernatural. An exception might be Andrew Klavan who read the works of atheists and they didn’t fit with his view of moral reality.

          Even in his example, that only got him to theism. You provided an account of how he got from theism to Christianity. If I recall it correctly, it had kind of a supernatural feel to it – he felt compelled to be baptized.

          So, why is it that some people have this supernatural, personal experience and some don’t? I don’t know. Bob provided a quote that said something to the effect that if one person experiences it, it is a delusion, but in many do, it is a religion. If it is a delusion, then the argument is that Christians are insane – the “gaslighting” argument that Otto didn’t like.

          All that said, we are still stuck with the reality that hope in God can only be false hope if we know with certainty that the hope can never be realized.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The original topic was false hope – finding comfort from hope in God is a false hope.

          No…it wasn’t. That is your straw man of the original topic. It is as stupid now as it was then…and still a lie.

          How do we know it is a false hope?

          When it doesn’t work. You were given oodles of examples of when it doesn’t work. Of course you completely ignored the evidence, because that is inconvenient for your nonsense position.

          We must know with absolute certainty that God does not exist.

          No we don’t. And nobody but you are make this idiotic assertion. Your God could exist and not give a fuck. Which if it does exist, seems to be the case.

          No, the problem with your logic is that not everyone places their hope in YahwehJesus. Must you know with absolute certainty that whatever they place their hope in must exist in order to know whether the hope is false or not? Of course not.

          Was Steve Jobs foolish for placing hope in homeopathy? Was his hope false? It appears that it was, and likely caused him his life.

          The web is littered with examples of folk placing hope in YahwehJesus and it ended up being false. But you ignore that.

          Show me convincing arguments that God exists.

          There aren’t any. That theists think there are doesn’t make it so. It just makes them gullible. You don’t even realize how ludicrous you are being. The burden is yours and you’ve failed to meet it.

          Show me convincing arguments that Space Ponies exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Xenu exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Shiva exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Raëlian extra-terrestrials exist.

          There are people on this planet that believe the evidence for a flat-earth is convincing…doesn’t mean it is though.

          Is that how atheist come to believe God exists?

          Obviously not.

          Otto saw them all and is convinced that God did not exist.

          You’ve got this arse backwards as usual. It’s the arguments for no-gods existence that convinced Otto…and most of the rest of us.

          What evidence convinces you that Space Ponies, Xenu, Shiva and Raëlian extra-terrestrials don’t exist? When you work out what that is, then the penny will drop.

          So, why is it that some people have this supernatural, personal experience and some don’t?

          You haven’t demonstrated that the personal experience is supernatural.

          But anyway…let’s play DA.

          Why is it that those having this supernatural personal experience all don’t have the same one from the same supernatural source? Why is it that some who are convinced by the supernatural personal experience of one supernatural source, later get convinced by a different supernatural personal experience…and sometimes a different one from that again?

          I don’t know.

          We know ya don’t. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem. The multi-omni YahwehJesus is a problematic hypothesis under these circumstances.

          The emperors new clothes can be a very effective phenomena.

          I came to the conclusion that either the adults who “talked to Jesus” were lying to me, or consumed by delusions, or possessed some sense I lack. They were either cruel or crazy, or I’m the blind man wondering what is all this fuss about rainbows?

          But the coercion as a child to say you hear or feel this thing you do not is immense. On more than one occasion I lied about it and aped whatever Jesusy things the other kids were saying. I found it ironic that this building I was taken to every Sunday to instill in me morality was instead teaching me my first lessons in deception.

          Later in adolescence, I really dove into the Christian religion from a “how deep is the rabbit hole” perspective. There, I had to confront the fact that there are seemingly rational, functional adults who swallow hook, line, and sinker the idea that the universe was created 6,000 years ago by a violent sociopath who hates foreskins, gay people, and shellfish, and we must telepathically pledge fealty to its form as its own son, a flying zombie alchemist born of a virgin, which it sacrificed to itself because a rib woman was coerced by a talking snake into knowing right from wrong by eating a forbidden fruit, then the entire earth had to be flooded, including the numerous civilizations existing at the time that have uninterrupted historical records before and after such flood, killing every living human and animal, except, presumably, other people who had boats and fish, or else the sociopath who created us will ensure we all suffer for eternity, but it loves us.

          Roll out the apologetics.

          Bob provided a quote that said something to the effect that if one person experiences it, it is a delusion, but in many do, it is a religion.

          And for those Christians that find themselves in a dire predicament say that “God-made-me-do-it” as a defence, what happens to them?

          What’s your views on Raëlism? Or flat-earth belief? Or Scientology? Or Aghoriism? Or Pana Wavism? Or Universe People? Or the Aetherius Society? Or the Happy Science? Or Zoroastrianism? Or the Church of Maradonna (at least Maradonna is real)?

          If it is a delusion, then the argument is that Christians are insane – the “gaslighting” argument that Otto didn’t like.

          But not those that are delusional are insane, so your point is moot.

          And have you never heard of religious Compartmentalization?

          People compartmentalize their beliefs all the time. That’s particularly true of religious beliefs in modern society. Over the centuries, science has steamrolled religion. Faith has fervor, but science has evidence, technical power, and progress on its side. So religion has retreated to the margins. Today, if you’re a serious scientist, you can still believe in God. But you have to consign Him to the spaces unclaimed by science. You have to compartmentalize.

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/saletan/2014/02/06/creationism_science_and_religion_can_a_nasa_scientist_believe_in_the_resurrection.html

          Folk who claim to have been abducted by aliens are delusional, but not necessarily insane.

          As to “gas-lighting”…

          Religion: Gas-Lighting Children Since Time Immemorial

          What a terrible gas-lighting I and other children have suffered at the hands of organized religion! Surrounded by adults telling you unreal things are real and if you don’t sense them, it’s your fault for not “letting Him into your heart”. Deceiving yourself and others until you reach the age where you can rationalize, “Well, it’s not so much of a voice as it is a feeling…”

          https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/religion-gas-lighting-children-since-time-immemorial_us_587588cbe4b065be69099042

          All that said, we are still stuck with the reality that hope in God can only be false hope if we know with certainty that the hope can never be realized.

          No, “we” are fuck all of the sort and the reasons have been pointed out why this is bullshit have been pointed out to you ad nauseam, but you continue to ignore them because you have no intellectual integrity, lie, and disingenuously obfuscate at every opportunity.

          Do you use the emergency services, i.e. medical, fire, police?

          Of course ya do. Why?

        • epeeist

          You have no major points,

          Ah, so besides being wrong about 100% of Germans being Christian you are also unable to show any evidence backing up Klavan’s claims that morality derives from religion or show where “Christian virtues” come from.

          Got it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look, I added 67 and 33 and got 100. So, shoot me. The only relevance of the numbers was as they related to the ratio of Christians to atheists among Nazis. Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans. The data told us that the number of Christians decreased between 1933 and 1939, while the number of atheists increased.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical of gov’t policy against atheists, implying that the policy would negatively affect the number of atheists in the ratio. The data not only show the opposite, but also suggest that gov’t policy toward Christians negatively affected the number of Christians in the ratio.

          And, when we improve our stand-in to real Nazis, the data are even worse for your claim. Rather than admit your claim was not supported, you are reduced to name-calling and obscenities.

          . . . . . and gloating over a rounding error.

        • epeeist

          Look, I added 67 and 33 and got 100.

          In other words you claimed that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian. And when it was pointed out to you that your claims was utterly and absolutely ludicrous and didn’t match the figures in reference 20 you doubled down and tried a whole stack of irrelevant waffle in order to try and shore it up rather than admitting you were wrong.

          Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans.

          Nope, your premiss that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical

          I claimed two things here:

          1. The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had 500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian Germany, as does the fact that the population had 0.8% of those who followed the Jewish religion;

          2. The GFS was banned by the Nazi authorities, as were other such organisations. However Christian organisations were not banned. Therefore the ration of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was likely to be higher than the 1:1 which you hypothesised about.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans.

          Nope, your premiss that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical

          I claimed two things here:1.
          The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had
          500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian
          Germany

          I had not made that claim yet. Are you a psychic? It is impossible for you to be responding to a comment I had not made yet. Just 2 days ago, I went through that timeline with you. You know what you are saying is not true.

          And, the “100%” comment was my SUPPORT, not my premise. My premise was that your claim was not supported by the data. It still isn’t, which is why you are forced to divert attention away from it instead of admitting a mistake.

          In your quest for the Truth, your personal pride takes precedence over the truth. You do more harm than good to your case. You call me a liar for saying 67+ 33 = 100, but continue to repeat things you know to be untrue. That speaks volumes about any argument you make.

        • epeeist

          I had not made that claim yet.

          In this comment you state:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          In other words you are lying yet again.

          Given that you habitually lie why should anyone take anything that you say seriously?

        • Clement Agonistes

          The issue isn’t whether I said it or not, it is WHEN I said it. You a are looking up the posts – just look at your post that was in response to, and you’ll see that it is the post you now claim was in response to this one. In THIS post, I quote you as saying:

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          How can I quote you as saying something that you have not said yet?

          Here’s what you said this morning:

          I claimed two things here:
          1. The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had 500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian Germany

          You did not bring up the GFS in order to falsify the 100% stat. I hadn’t presented it to be falsified yet. You presented the GFS to address the “1:1” comment (which was not a claim).

          I have NEVER denied making the “100%” comment (as you are still claiming). I have not only agreed that I said it, I have offered to modify it to 99% since that still makes my point and it would remove this stumbling block for you. Apparently, giving you what you want is not enough.

        • epeeist

          You lie like Trump, simply saying things which are convenient regardless whether they are true are not.

          This was your claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          It does not matter when you said it, you are making the claim that Germany in 1933 was 100% Christian. This does not correspond to the facts and hence is not true.

          I have not only agreed that I said it, I have offered to modify it to 99%

          And once again we see your lack of concern for the truth, you wish to change one false figure for another, arbitrary figure that has no evidential backing rather than a figure that actually has a basis in reality.

          You lack any intellectual integrity whatsoever.

        • epeeist

          I note also you still have not tackled the other two points that I raised. The first one was Klavan’s idea that morals are derived from religion. Now if Klavan was saying that some ethical systems are derived from religion this is true but trivial and I wouldn’t argue against it. However if his claim is that all ethical systems are derived from religion then this is a different matter, let’s assume this is as a premiss:

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

          P2: Confucianism and Buddhism have ethical systems which are not religious in nature (see something like Karl Jasper’s The Great Philosophers for detailed exposition);

          C: P1 is false

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think Otto provided a link to the interview with Klavan. I provided a partial transcript of it. Susan provided a link in which Klavan explains his conversion to Christianity after the thought process in rejecting atheism. Did you get a chance to watch/read these?

          As I understood Klavan, he was saying that the implications of naturalism were that nature determined morality – that a person what nature tells them to do. This would not be an ethical system derived from religion. That did not fit with his (Klavan’s) concept of objective morality (He clarified that there are some things we all know to be wrong even if society said they were good.). After his rejection of atheism, Klavan converted to Christianity. So, it was not Christianity that lead him to his morality (quite the opposite). But, he stated that atheists are essentially living in a world religion to some degree.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          When asked if atheists could have good morals, Klavan agreed, saying that demonstrably atheists do.

          I did not understand P1 to be a premise of Klavan. I think he and Gray are saying that our ethics come from our society, and our society is monotheistic – Judeo-Christian-Islamic.

        • epeeist

          Did you get a chance to watch/read these?

          I am in a different time-zone to most people here, as such you cannot rely on me seeing posts from those on the other side of the Atlantic.

          As I understood Klavan, he was saying that the implications of naturalism were that nature determined morality – that a person what nature tells them to do.

          So he is a biological determinist who thinks we are completely controlled by nature. So where does he think things like art, literature and music come from? Or even science for that matter?

          That did not fit with his (Klavan’s) concept of objective morality (He clarified that there are some things we all know to be wrong even if society said they were good.).

          He thinks that objective morality exists? I presume he can demonstrate this. As for “society” saying things are good, society doesn’t say anything. From your simple exposition he sounds as though he is confusing “universal” and “objective” when it comes to morality.

          But, he stated that atheists are essentially living in a world religion to some degree.

          And his evidence for this would be?

          I did not understand P1 to be a premise of Klavan.

          Then we are back to my other alternative, that only some ethical systems and principles are derived from religion, sounds like a deepity to me.

          I think he and Gray are saying that our ethics come from our society, and our society is monotheistic – Judeo-Christian-Islamic.

          But as we have seen Judeo/Christian and Islamic ethical systems are inadequate and therefore they import from the likes of Plato and Aristotle, neither of whom were Christian. We also import from the Stoics, again not Christian as well as other societies, such as the Romans and the Norse both of which are sources for our laws and governments.

        • Clement Agonistes
        • epeeist

          I don’t do videos, the information transfer rate is far too slow.

          Give me a link to a paper containing his arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Have you thought about upgrading to Windows 95?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Susan

          The information transfer was pretty good in that case.

        • Greg G.

          I think he means that he can process more information by reading than someone can speak it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think it means that he is not genuine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s a bit rich coming from you ffs.

        • epeeist

          Have you ever thought about reading a book. Once that consists of words rather than pictures and “charts”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have a crappy computer, and can load this video in about 20 seconds even with Discus gumming up the works.

          But, since you brought it up, Klavan has a book out that discusses this very topic in more detail. I thought it dishonest to use the “read a book” argument. I had provided a partial transcript of Klavan’s interview earlier. It may not have been sufficient to do justice to his argument. You seemed to be basing your understanding of his argument on my interpretation of it rather than the transcript, and you were mischaracterizing my understanding. The discussion was so far removed from the original data set that I felt any hope of genuine conversation required that both of us be looking at the same facts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a crappy computer, and can load this video in about 20 seconds even with Discus gumming up the works.

          Your comprehension skills really suck.

          “I don’t do videos, the information transfer rate is far too slow.”

          A wee hint: It has fuck all to do with his computer.

        • epeeist

          and can load this video in about 20 seconds

          Loading the video isn’t the problem, it is the fact that the information content tends to be low and the delivery speed slow. Whereas my reading speed is much higher than average.

          You seemed to be basing your understanding of his argument on my interpretation of it rather than the transcript

          Your interpretation is all that I have seen.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I found a review of his book that quotes from the book and touches on this topic. It’s pretty close to what he said in the interview, and, I presume, more carefully worded:

          Here at last, however, was an atheist whose outlook made complete logical sense to me from beginning to end. If there is no God, there is no morality. If there is no morality the search for pleasure and the avoidance of pain are all in all and we should pillage, rape, and murder as we please. None of this pale, milquetoast atheism that says “Let’s all do what’s good for society.” What is society to me? None of this elaborate game-theory nonsense where we all benefit from mutual sacrifice and restraint. That only works when no one is looking; then I’ll get away with what I can. If there is no God, there is no good, and sadistic pornography is scripture.

          Hamlet said these things when he was pretending to be mad. … Shakespeare was telling us, it seemed to me, that relativism was not just crazy, it was make-believe crazy, because even the people that proclaimed it did not believe it deep down. If, after all, there is no truth, how could it be true that there is no truth? If there is no absolute morality, how can you condemn the morality of considering my culture better than any other? Relativism made no sense, as Shakespeare clearly saw.

          But the opposite is also true. That is, if we concede that one thing is morally better than another, it can only be because it is closer to an Ultimate Moral Good, the standard by which it is measured. An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. The rain isn’t morally good even though it makes the crops grow; a tornado that kills isn’t morally evil — though it may be an evil for those in its way. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. But true, objective good and evil, in order to be good and evil, have to be aware and intentional. So an Ultimate Moral Good must be conscious and free; it must be God.
          So we have to choose. Either there is no God and no morality whatsoever, or there is morality and God is real.

          After reading Sade, I abandoned atheism and returned to agnosticism. I couldn’t quite bring myself to follow my own logic to its conclusions. That is I couldn’t quite bring myself to accept the existence of God. But I knew the road to hell when I saw it and I chose to go home by another way.

          Why, after all, should the flesh be the ground floor of our interpretations? Why should we end our understanding at the level of material things? It’s just a prejudice really. the flesh is convincing. We can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it. It’s very there. It’s a trick of the human mind to give such presence the weight of reality. Men kill each other over dollar bills that are only paper because the paper has come to seem more real to them than the time and value it represents. In the same way, and for the same reason, people destroy themselves and everyone around them for sex: because sex has come to seem more real to them than the love it was made to express.

          … I was beginning to realize there was a spiritual side to life, a side I had been neglecting in my postmodern mind-set. Strip that spirituality away and you were left with a kind of “realism” that no longer seemed to me very realistic at all.

          It’s a flattering philosophy for intellectuals, no doubt. Endless analysis is what they’re good at. But the reductiveness and meaninglessness of the enterprise are creations of the enterprise itself. That is, you have to first make the assumption that material is the only reality before you can being to reason away the spirit.

        • Susan

          If there is no God, there is no morality.

          Why not?

          Also, why is there morality if there is a “God”?

          He seems to have skipped over this bit.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He explained it in the rest of that same paragraph. You edited out his “because” that answers your “why”.

        • Susan

          You edited out his “because” that answers your “why”.

          No. I didn’t “edit it out”. It’s right there in the comment to which I responded, in which you copy/pasted his “reasoning”.

          All he does (and it’s an old canard) is evade moral theory completely, point at a psychopath and claim that without “God”, everything leads there.

          But he shows no reasoning.

          Where is the reasoning?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Quote it, and we can discuss it. The fact that you can pretend it didn’t exist tells me how this is going to go, but I enjoy the comedy of your denials enough to put the group through this.

        • Susan

          Quote it, and we can discuss it.

          Sure. It’s unnecessary seeing as it’s in your copy/paste directly above my response to your comment.

          But I’ll edit it to add . Then, please answer the questions.

        • Otto

          Are you going to reply to me about how you apply your basic Christian morality to the questions of homosexuality?

          If you are not you should quit posting about how wonderful God based morality is because it obviously can’t even address basic questions.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your question was about civil rights and marriage. I already addressed the issues. I think you are so deep into the rabbit hole that you don’t even understand what you are asking. I suggested discussing the Christian view on the morality of atheism to help clarify the point.

        • Otto

          >>>”Your question was about civil rights and marriage.”

          NO…my question was about how YOU apply your basic morality to the issues of civil rights and marriage.

          If a Christian Nazi used the same argument you are here about how the treatment of Jews/Homosexuals, etc. are political and civil rights questions and NOT questions of morality you would call him a hypocrite.

          >>>”I suggested discussing the Christian view on the morality of atheism to help clarify the point.”

          Yes you suggested we change the subject because I believe the implications of where I was going with the question made you REALLY uncomfortable.

          I am asking you to apply your basic Christian morality to a current issue and I am noting for all here you are refusing to address it. If you address my question I will address the Christian view on the morality of atheism…a subject I would be happy to talk about but not as a way for you to deflect from the question I asked.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If a Christian Nazi used the same argument you are here about how the
          treatment of Jews/Homosexuals, etc. are political and civil rights
          questions and NOT questions of morality you would call him a hypocrite.

          Your issue was about love – could I love a homosexual? But, that wasn’t the question you asked. The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.

          Yes you suggested we change the subject because I believe the
          implications of where I was going with the question made you REALLY
          uncomfortable.

          There is no discomfort. As I pointed out in my original response, I have ZERO problem loving an atheist. How much easier is it to love a homosexual? The fact that you would even say something like this demonstrates that you are not saying what you really mean to say. Make your words match your thoughts. I am in a position where I am guessing what you really mean. My guess is that you are asking whether I view homosexuality as a sin. If that is your point, i find in nowhere in you posts.

        • Otto

          >>>”our issue was about love – could I love a homosexual? But, that wasn’t the question you asked. The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.”

          Soooo…you think that treating people as equals under the law has NOTHING to do with showing them love? I would beg to differ.

          And no there is not ‘too much emotional baggage’ to talk about the subject. The fact that Christians behavior about loving their neighbors and enemies did not match their words was a major reason I took a good hard look at Christianity…as much as you talk like you are different Clement it is becoming very obvious you are really no different.

          >>>”There is no discomfort.”

          So answer the questions.

          >>>” As I pointed out in my original response, I have ZERO problem loving an atheist. How much easier is it to love a homosexual?”

          So atheists should be treated equally but homosexuals not so much? You aren’t making sense.

          >>>” My guess is that you are asking whether I view homosexuality as a sin.”

          Honestly it does not bother me at all if you think homosexuality is a sin. I don’t expect you to take a position that would go against your belief. What I am asking is how should homosexuals be treated using your morality? Should they be treated the same as every other person? Every person is a sinner in your view right? We all fall short of God right? If that is the case than why would some sinners be treated equally but certain others should not? I am trying to understand how you draw the line in your own Christian thinking.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.”

          Soooo…you think that treating people as equals under the law has NOTHING to do with showing them love? I would beg to differ.

          I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote. If you are suggesting that constitutional rights are created by God, then yeah, gov’t should not infringe on those rights. Homosexuality should have no effect whatsoever on civil rights. But, frankly, I’m having a Tina Turner moment here – what’s love got to do with it? There is no mention in the Constitution or even the Declaration of Independence of love. I agreed with your list, except – as I said – for your definitional problem with marriage. . . . . but not because of love.

          What I am asking is how should homosexuals be treated using your morality? Should they be treated the same as every other person? Every person is a sinner in your view right? We all fall short of God right? If that is the case than why would some sinners be treated equally but certain others should not? I am trying to understand how you draw the line in your own Christian thinking.

          I’m trying to make sense of what you are saying here. OK, uh, sure, I should love everyone; I should love everyone equally (probably impossible, but certainly a goal). I am totally lost about what “line” you are talking about.

        • Otto

          >>>”I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote.”

          We aren’t talking about children, we are talking about adults…we aren’t talking about giving specific citizen rights to non-citizens, we are talking about your NEIGHBORS.

          >>>”If you are suggesting that constitutional rights are created by God, then yeah, gov’t should not infringe on those rights. ”

          No I don’t think that…but you do.

          >>>”But, frankly I’m having a Tina Turner moment here – what’s love got to do with it?”

          I guess a Nazi Christian could make the same argument…ugh. I guess it is not hard at all for Christians to rationalize treating people as ‘less than’ because of their faith. You have no problem with it.

          >>>”There is no mention in the Constitution or even the Declaration of Independence of love.”

          There is a bit of a mention about equal treatment…but guess who is fighting against that?

          >>>”I agreed with your list, except – as I said – for your definitional problem with marriage. . . . . but not because of love.”

          Nope…can’t have that…because your religious belief is more important than treating people as equals…just like the Nazi Christians. If we can find religious reasons to marginalize one group we don’t like, why would you think it would be hard to do it to other groups…like Jews? If we can find one reason to deny a specific right to certain people, how hard would it be to come up with reasons to deny other rights? How exactly is your (Love God…Love other people…Love your enemies) morality going to stop that once that door is opened?

          >>>”I am totally lost about what “line” you are talking about.”

          Well when I was a Christian Clement I felt that regardless of MY personal religious beliefs all people should be treated equally under the law…no matter what, that is where I drew the line. I was trying to understand if your ‘simple Christian morality’ would lead you to the same conclusion. Apparently the answer is ‘no’. I think that is being hypocritical as it relates to that morality, but you have found a work around in your thinking…why should you be surprised when other Christians do the same thing but are willing to take it even farther?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote.”

          We
          aren’t talking about children, we are talking about adults…we aren’t
          talking about giving specific citizen rights to non-citizens, we are
          talking about your NEIGHBORS.

          Canadians are our neighbors. Children are our neighbors. Voting is a separate – civil rights – issue. It has nothing to do with loving them. You are not communication what you want to say. If homosexuals are being denied civil rights, it is because they are convicted felons – just like any other convicted felons.

          If we can find religious reasons to marginalize one group we don’t like,
          why would you think it would be hard to do it to other groups…like
          Jews? If we can find one reason to deny a specific right to certain
          people, how hard would it be to come up with reasons to deny other
          rights? How exactly is your (Love God…Love other people…Love your
          enemies) morality going to stop that once that door is opened?

          OK, now we are starting to crack the door enough to get a peek at your real point. You need to establish that what you claim is actually happening. Your argument here seems to be your prediction of something that might occur in the future, but you are finger-pointing about the present.

        • Otto

          Silly me to think equal rights (regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation) could be grounded in the Christian idea of Love your Neighbor-Enemies. Thanks for setting me straight.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You have been putting words in my mouth throughout this thread. I don’t know why I even bother trying to speak for myself when you do it for me so freely. Like I said, there is simply too much emotion in this for you in order to have a rational discussion. (What rights are being denied?)

        • Otto

          I think I have made my point. You tie yourself up in knots over what should be simple according to your Christian morality of Love.

          If you deny that gay people should be able to get married under the law that is not ‘Love’.

          I am not gay…there is no emotion on my part. I am showing you your own hypocrisy. You think that treating other people unequally based on your religion is OK. The Nazi Christians were no different.

        • epeeist

          Why didn’t you just give a link, then we could have seen who wrote it and in what context.

          As it is it makes an early, unsubstantiated assertion, “If there is no God, there is no morality”. The rest of the piece succeeds or fails on the truth of that statement. But without justification why should we accept it?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I didn’t give a link because we were discussing the contents of his interview. I had provided a partial transcript of that interview that was very similar to these excerpts from his book. You did not see the transcript. This was a better source. The excerpts didn’t have the conversational distractions the interview had. I wanted to make sure that you had the chance to see his argument directly instead of my summary of it. You mischaracterized my summary, and I thought maybe you had seen the original and had a different interpretation. Clearly, having his argument before you, has in no way changed your interpretation of his point. The data may change, but the conclusion would never consider the data in the first place.

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

        • Clement Agonistes

          I didn’t give the link because:
          1) They were excerpts from Klavan’s book. The source is Klavan’s book.
          2) Earlier, I had provided a partial transcript of the interview. They are essentially the same.
          3) The issue here was.

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

          and whether that was a correct characterization of Klavan’s premise. As you read these quotes, do you see that as his premise?

          As to your comment above, if you agreed with it, you could not be a Secular humanist. He walked the reader through his reasoning to arrive at that conclusion. We could start at teh P1 of that

        • Ignorant Amos

          See….me and Clement are simple….or should that be Clement and I are simple….in the company of our betters?

          Anyone here taking bets?

        • Susan

          Susan provided a link in which Klavan explains his conversion to Christianity after the thought process in rejecting atheism.

          And the link I provided had nothing to do with logic or a moral argument.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          A lot of gibberishy assertions that he doesn’t support.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And the link I provided had nothing to do with logic or a moral argument.

          . . . . . as I pointed out at the time.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          A lot of gibberishy assertions that he doesn’t support.

          Burn the heretic!!! He didn’t support it . . . . in the article. He is an author, ferpetesake. He writes about stuff. Heck, Amos went looking on the internet for trash about him. A rational person might spend some of that time reading his support.

          . . . .if they cared.

        • Susan

          …..as I pointed out at the time.

          No. If I recall correctly, I pointed it out by linking to his conversion story. After you’d handwaved toward an “ex-atheist” who had converted for “logical” reasons. When I did that, you explained that he converted to theism before christianity, without showing a bit of support for that.

          A rational person might spend some of that time reading his support.

          Because Clement Agonistes handwaved toward an “atheist who admits the truth”?

          I have wasted far too much energy following your squirrels and they always come up empty.

          All you have is burden-shifting, strawmanning and handwaving so far.

          Also, a notable pattern of pulling statistics out of your rectum and making accusations that you never defend.

          That is, you don’t support anything.

          ….if they cared

          You’ve got nothing, Clement.

          Nothing at all. And you don’t seem to care that you have nothing at all.

          You want to make it our problem.

          Why are you here?

        • epeeist

          Let’s also consider the origin of virtue ethics:

          1. Virtue ethics can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle in the West and Mencius and Confucius in the East

          2. None of these figures are Christian

          3. Both Augustine and the Scholastics (including Thomas Aquinas) incorporated virtue ethics into Christianity

          4. “Christian virtues” are therefore derived from non-Christian ethical systems

        • Greg G.

          . . . . . and gloating over a rounding error.

          It was not an rounding error. You were trying to compare a ballpark figure – a guesstimate – with precision statistics.

          When you see percentages that are multiples of one tenth, one quarter, one third or one half, it is a ballpark figure. 25% is not the same as 25.0%. The first is probably a rough estimate or based on a small sample size. It might be more than one fifth and less than a third or something between 20% and 30%. Maybe it is used on a web page because the author didn’t know how to make ¼. But 25.0% gives an air of precision that indicates something between 24.5% and 25.5%, though you should consider the source because it could still me a fantasy number.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The chart in question had 2 sets of data for 1933 (and 1939, FTM). It was based on census data. I just went with the quote, “the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.” from the article and verified by the 2nd set of numbers in the chart. It could have been 66.7% and 32.5% for all I know. It makes no difference to the obvious conclusion that the percentage of Christians inside Germany decreased. The number of Christians inside Germany is a weak analog for Nazi Christians. What do you think?

        • Greg G.

          Then from that data set, you should have concluded that everybody who was not imprisoned in a concentration camp was either a Catholic or a Protestant, meaning all Nazis were either Catholic or Protestant.

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . . or that the numbers were not statistically significant early on.

          I’m not sure I follow your reasoning there. I think it goes something like, “Since all other demographic groups were imprisoned, then Nazis only had non-others to choose from. The data contradict that hypothesis. By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%. Their persecution failed if the goal was to decrease their numbers. Most likely, it was Communist atheist (anyone want to talk about Christian Communist Party members?) who were being persecuted early on. By 1939, atheists would be more likely to be Nazis.

          The number of Christians, nationwide, had decreased, regardless of which set of data we use. I pointed out that those with ambitions to be officers were dropping Christianity like crazy. The 1939 data set shows something like 3.5% in some sort of new nazified deism-ish something-or-other. The gain of that group was primarily at the expense of Christianity, and fits nicely with the size of growth of that group in the SS. Deism has had a kind of Soft Atheism feel to me, but let’s not go there.

        • Greg G.

          By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%.

          Maybe the atheists who reported being Catholic or Protestant earlier could no longer stomach making that declaration. Or maybe it was the question on the questionnaire was different. Maybe the sampling was different.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Those are certainly possible. Would you expect that to be the case if the experience of the GFS (gov’t persecution) was typical of what was happening to atheists?

        • Greg G.

          I checked your sources. You are throwing up numbers without understanding them. Your argument is absurd.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I want to understand. Can you clarify?

        • Greg G.

          You are comparing approximations from 1933 Germany with statistics from 1939 Germany. 1933 Germany does not include Austria. 1939 Germany does include Austria. Annexing another country will change the statistics. You would have to add Austria’s 1933 statistics to Germany’s 1933 statistics before you compare them.

          But the 1933 Germany approximations are not actually statistics. When you see 67% and 33%, you should not think those are accurate statistics. Those are far more likely to be approximations and guesstimates. When it is referring to numbers in the millions, they are unlikely to be 67% and 33%, and you should expect more significant digits if they were statistics.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are comparing approximations from 1933 Germany with statistics from 1939 Germany. 1933 Germany does not include Austria. 1939 Germany does include Austria. Annexing another country will change the statistics. You would have to add Austria’s 1933 statistics to Germany’s 1933 statistics before you compare them.

          Again, I’m going to have to direct you to the chart, and the footnotes below it. You will note that the 2 sets of figures for 1933 show the exact same population, but the figures for 1939 have two different population totals that differ by 10 million (Austria had a population of 6.6 million and the Sudetenland, 3.1) . One is for the Weimar Rep. and the other is for Nazi Germany, including Austria. We want to compare apples with apples, so I am suggesting comparing Weimar Rep. (1933) with Weimar Rep.(1939).

          As an aside, why are there two sets of data for 1933? I understand why that is the case for 1939, but why 1933?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Population of Germany

          1933 = 65,362,115

          1939 = 79,375,281

          Your asserted increase in atheism at the expence of Christianity is pure speculation.

          By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%.

          And the sources being cited don’t claim 1.5% declared themselves atheist, they declared themselves as having no faith…the two are not synonymous. So more ballix and lack of reading for comprehension. What sort of simpleton is going to declare themselves as an atheist on a census form in a place where atheists are not tolerated? Wise up Clement.

          The census of 17 May 1939 was the first time that German citizens were able to officially register as gottgläubig. Out of 79.4 million Germans, 2.7 million people (3.5%) claimed to be gottgläubig, compared to 94.5% who either belonged to the Protestant or Catholic churches, 300,000 Jews (0.4%), 86,000 adherents of other religions (including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, neopagans and other religious sects and movements, 0.1%), and 1.2 million (1.5%) who had no faith (glaubenslos). Paradoxically, Germans living in urban areas, where support for the Nazi Party was the lowest, were the most likely to identify as gottgläubig, the five highest rates being found in Berlin (10.2%), Hamburg (7.5%), Vienna (6.4%), Düsseldorf (6.0%) and Essen (5.3%).

          Now you could say what sort of simpleton is going to declare themselves as a Jew on a census form in a place where Jews are not tolerated? But hiding ones Jewishness wasn’t that easy apparently. Especially as existing records detail ones ethnicity. And of course, the 1939 census pre-dates the Final Solution and the extent of the persecution that was ahead, so ignorance was bliss.

          Overall, of the 522,000 Jews living in Germany in January 1933, approximately 304,000 emigrated during the first six years of Nazi rule and about 214,000 were left on the eve of World War II. Of these, 160-180,000 were killed as a part of the Holocaust. On May 19, 1943, only about 20,000 Jews remained and Germany was declared judenrein (clean of Jews; also judenfrei: free of Jews).

          I pointed out that those with ambitions to be officers were dropping Christianity like crazy.

          And I pointed out why you either can’t read for jack-shit, or are lying. Yet you continue to repeat this nonsense.

          The 1939 data set shows something like 3.5% in some sort of new nazified deism-ish something-or-other.

          You are lying through your eye-teeth again. First, 3.5% were not all SS. And all it identified them as non-denominational. Many may well have remained Christians and likely did do.

          In Nazi Germany, Gottgläubig (literally: “Believers in God”), was a Nazi religious movement of those who had officially left Christian churches, but kept their faith in a higher power or divine creator. Such a person was called a Gottgläubige, plural Gottgläubigen, and the state of being gottgläubig was Gottgläubigkeit. The term implies someone who still believes in (a) God, although without having any institutional religious affiliation. The Nazis were not favourable towards religious institutions, nor did they tolerate atheism on the part of their membership: Gottgläubigkeit was a kind of officially sanctioned unorganised religion. The 1943 Philosophical Dictionary defined gottgläubig as: “official designation for those who profess a specific kind of piety and morality, without being bound to a church denomination, whilst however also rejecting irreligion and godlessness.” In the 1939 census, 3.5% of the German population identified as gottgläubig.

          The gain of that group was primarily at the expense of Christianity, and fits nicely with the size of growth of that group in the SS.

          Only by lying.

          The SS personnel records show that most of its members who left the church of their upbringing, did so just before or shortly after joining the SS. The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) members were the most willing corps within the SS to withdraw from their Christian denominations and change their religious affiliation to gottgläubig at 90%. Of the SS officers, 74% of those who joined the SS before 1933 did so, while 68% who joined the SS after 1933 would eventually declare themselves gottgläubig. Of the general SS membership, 16% had left their churches by the end of 1937.

          So, again…not everyone in the SS or SD…and none became atheist.

          The SS were still not atheists, so whatever way you want to try and cut this up, you still lose.

          Deism has had a kind of Soft Atheism feel to me, but let’s not go there.

          Complete fuckwittery…so yeah, let’s not go there ya dumb cunt.

        • Greg G.

          He seems to be having trouble understanding how Germany annexing Austria between 1933 and 1939 might change the demographics of Germany.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you are joking here, but sure, let’s have fun with it.

          Your hypothesis would be that since the non-Christian groups had been culled out, the only people available would have been Christians. The 1939 data contradict that hypothesis. There were other, non-Christian demographics that were now showing up in the stats. Atheist had gone from some decimal point to 1.5%. If the goal of persecuting the GFS was to decrease the number of atheists, it had failed. My bet is that most atheist persecution was aimed at the hated Communists (perhaps we can discuss the Christian:atheist ratio in the CP someday). These might not even be the same atheists from 1933.

          Then, there was the growth in the non-Jew Other demographic. It had also increased, mostly at the expense of the Christian demographic. A sizable chunk of them were the nazified, deism-ish gottglaubig BS.

          BTW, the concentration camps didn’t really get going until kinda late (1939+). There wouldn’t have been enough people in them to influence the census data.

        • Pofarmer

          What’s your fucking point? This is stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Flailing about like a wounded fish outta water..

        • Ignorant Amos

          Atheist had gone from some decimal point to 1.5%.

          Nope…they didn’t…those declaring no faith did. Having no faith, doesn’t necessarily equate to no god belief.

          Then, there was the growth in the non-Jew Other demographic. It had also increased, mostly at the expense of the Christian demographic.

          Nope…can be explained by the increase in populstion and growing size of Germany over that 6 year period.

          A sizable chunk of them were the nazified, deism-ish gottglaubig BS.

          Nope..no sizable chunk…just a lie you keep repeating with no support whasoever.

          There were no atheists in the SS and I would doubt there were any openly out atheists in the the Nazis in general.

          You are flailing about all over the place, but you can’t make the connection. Your ratio crap is shot to smithereens…but you just keep on digging the hole…it a fun train wreck to watch.

          BTW, the concentration camps didn’t really get going until kinda late (1939+). There wouldn’t have been enough people in them to influence the census data.

          There were a variety of concentration camps…not all were death camps.

          No need to factor the numbers of German Jews that entered the camps as an effect on their numbers…Nazi Germany was hemorrhaging Jews by the tens of thousands over the pre-war 6 years of the Nazis. The numbers more than halved in that 6 year period with German Jews doing a runner.

          Hitler built concentration camps as soon as he got into power in 1933. The 1939+ saw the industrialization of the concept, but the folk going into them by that time weren’t, for the most part, Germans.

          The lead editors of the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, operating from 1933 to 1945. They estimate that 15 million to 20 million people died or were imprisoned in the sites.

          Clearly not just the 120-180 estimated German Jews that perished in the concentration camps then.

        • epeeist

          He is talking utter bollocks (again). If you read the actual data you can see that the percentage of Protestants (Evangelischen Kirche) in 1933 was 62.7% while the percentage of Catholics (Römisch-Katholischen Kirche) was 32.5% which makes 95.2% of the total population. The rest (Sonstige) is 4.8%, which includes 0.8% Jews.

          You will notice that the table doesn’t include atheists, which may well mean that the question was never asked (compare the British Census, this allows “no religion” but doesn’t include “atheist” as an answer to “What is your religion”).

          You will note he keeps referring to “charts”, and not to the actual data. I don’t think he is capable of comprehending anything unless it has a picture; another thing he has in common with Trump.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The lies are hanging right out of him…such a prideful Christian…baby Jesus is gurning.

        • Greg G.

          My bet is that most atheist persecution was aimed at the hated Communists (perhaps we can discuss the Christian:atheist ratio in the CP someday).

          You have been given Hitler quotes about targeting atheists, not atheist Communists or Communist atheists.

          Why do you associate Communists and atheists? Read Acts 4:32-5:11. According to that, early Christians were as Communist as you could get? Why aren’t you advocating for life like that?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hitler’s speech referred to the political alliances of the Catholic
          aligned Centre Party with parties of the Left, which he associated with
          Bolshevism, and thus, atheism
          “. – Wikipedia “Religious views of Adolph Hitler”

          On October 13, 1933, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess
          issued a decree stating: “No National Socialist may suffer any
          detriment on the ground that he does not profess any particular faith or
          confession or on the ground that he does not make any religious
          profession at all.”[180] However, the regime strongly opposed “Godless Communism”[181][182] and all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), atheist, and largely left-wing organizations were banned the same year.

          – Wikipedia, “Religion in Nazi Germany”.

        • Greg G.

          So you are saying that the reason you associate Communists and atheists are because Hitler and the Nazis did?

          What about Ananias and his wife Sapphira in Acts 4:32-5:11? Do you think they deserved their fate?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It relates to may comment about Hitler’s motivation to persecute atheist in 1933, but not later. It’s an explanation about why the number of atheists grew despite the persecutions in his early years. I don’t think you can overestimate Hitler’s hatred of Communists. I’ve heard the hypothesis that he associated Jews with the Communists of the 20s.

          Now, if you want to change the subject to the Christian:atheist ratio in Communist Parties, bring it on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But according to you and your source, Hitler and all the leading Nazis were atheists.

          Which is it?

          You are all over the place here like a mad woman’s shite ffs.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones. It was left-wing atheist organizations that were banned in 1933. Six year later, there are more atheist than ever What is your interpretation of Hess’ comment?

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones.

          So being atheist had nothing to do with it then?

          But here again, your ability to read for comprehension comes into play.

          And taken in context with what Hitler and other leading Nazis were saying about atheists or the godless…it isn’t just certain atheists.

          It was left-wing atheist organizations that were banned in 1933.

          So it was their left-wing views that was the problem, not their atheism. Not too many right-wing atheists about. None in the SS.

          The oath of allegiance taken by the SS…as recorded in Himmler’s book…”Die Schutzstaffel als antibolschewistische Kampforganisation”….

          “Wie lautet Dein Eid ?” – “Ich schwöre Dir, Adolf Hitler, als Führer und Kanzler des Deutschen Reiches Treue und Tapferkeit. Wir geloben Dir und den von Dir bestimmten Vorgesetzten Gehorsam bis in den Tod. So wahr mir Gott helfe !”

          “Also glaubst Du an einen Gott ?” – “Ja, ich glaube an einen Herrgott.”

          “Was hältst Du von einem Menschen, der nicht an einen Gott glaubt?” – “Ich halte ihn für überheblich, größenwahnsinnig und dumm; er ist nicht für uns geeignet.

          Which translates to…

          “What is your oath ?” – “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God !”

          “So you believe in a God ?” – “Yes, I believe in a Lord God.”

          “What do you think about a man who does not believe in a God ?” – “I think he is overbearing, megalomaniac and foolish; he is not one of us.”

          https://archive.org/stream/DieSchutzstaffelAlsAntibolschewistischeKampforganisation/HimmlerHeinrich-DieSchutzstaffelAlsAntibolschewistischeKampforganisation193717S.#page/n13/mode/2up

          Six year later, there are more atheist than ever.

          That’s the lie you are peddling, none of your sources backs that up. The sources don’t say atheist, that’s just your interpretation.

          What is your interpretation of Hess’ comment?

          My interpretation is that along with “Godless Communism”, all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), largely left-wing organisations, and atheists, were all opposed by the Nazis.

          “However, the regime strongly opposed “Godless Communism” and all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), atheist, and largely left-wing organizations were banned the same year.”

          The punctuation marks either side of the word atheist are a dead give away.

          The comma is used in many contexts and languages, mainly for separating parts of a sentence such as clauses, and items in lists, particularly when there are three or more items listed.

          If, as you assert, it was only Communist atheists, Freethinking atheists, and right-wing atheists, that were being opposed…wtf is that none defined group of atheists doing on the list?

          But perhaps we differ on how we learn to read in English Language class on this side of the pond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones.

          So being atheist had nothing to do with it then?

          You are thinking that Hitler was OK with the God-ful Communists? It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos. Jim Crow sounds like it is even-handed, but it was a BS excuse to target Blacks. The consensus of experts on Hitler agree he was an atheist, himself. He was not persecuting himself. He was not persecuting his immediate underlings.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are thinking that Hitler was OK with the God-ful Communists?

          Whaaa? It’s your argument. If Hitler wasn’t okay with God-ful communists also…if there even was such a thing…then the atheist bit has fuck all to do with it.

          If their atheism was a non sequitur then just say so.

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          Go on…cite “Hitler’s Table Talk”…a double dare ya…you will be right royally torn a new one.

          Jim Crow sounds like it is even-handed, but it was a BS excuse to target Blacks.

          Irrelevant fuckwittery. Don’t care.

          The consensus of experts on Hitler agree he was an atheist, himself.

          Just because you assert something, doesn’t make it true. If you had any evidence for your lies, you’d present it…so far fuck all.

          He was not persecuting himself.

          Fuckwit. He wasn’t an atheist. Nowhere did he claim to be an atheist, while time and time again, in his writings and speeches, he claimed to be a believer. Both privately and publicly, he declared his belief in God.

          He was not persecuting his immediate underlings.

          Because they were not atheists. You haven’t done anything to demonstrate they were atheists, and have ignored evidence to the contrary.

          You are a disingenuous lying cunt with the intellectual integrity of a slug.

          But keep going, you are a case study to behold for sure.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          In Hitler’s early political statements, he attempted to express himself to the German public as a Christian.[8] In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he described himself as a Christian.[9][10] Hitler and the Nazi party promoted “Positive Christianity”,[11] a movement which rejected most traditional Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, as well as Jewish elements such as the Old Testament.[12][13]
          In one widely quoted remark, he described Jesus as an “Aryan fighter”
          who struggled against “the power and pretensions of the corrupt
          Pharisees”[14] and Jewish materialism.[15]
          While a small minority of historians accept these publicly stated views as genuine expressions of his spirituality,[8]
          the vast majority believe that Hitler was skeptical of religion and
          anti-Christian, but recognized that he could only be elected and
          preserve his political power if he feigned a commitment to and belief in
          Christianity, which the overwhelming majority of Germans believed in.[16]
          Privately, Hitler repeatedly deprecated Christianity, and told
          confidants that his reluctance to make public attacks on the Church was
          not a matter of principle, but a pragmatic political move.[17]
          In his private diaries, Goebbels wrote in April 1941 that though Hitler
          was “a fierce opponent” of the Vatican and Christianity, “he forbids me
          to leave the church. For tactical reasons.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing in that screed is evidence that demonstrates Hitler was an atheist…so pah!

          Got evidence?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was addressing your comment I quoted.

          You’ve made it clear that you do not think “atheist” and “irreligious” are synonymous. Every thesaurus ever disagrees with you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was addressing your comment I quoted.

          I know…let’s look at that comment you quoted.

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          Where in the screed you cited does Hitler “talk God”?

          Try reading for comprehension sometime, it’ll make you look less an arse.

          Even the bit about what most historians believe about Hitler, doesn’t mention God, it is his Christianity that is being questioned.

          Try harder.

          You’ve made it clear that you do not think “atheist” and “irreligious” are synonymous. Every thesaurus ever disagrees with you.

          Not necessarily synonymous…try harder.

          There are loads of people who believe/believed in God, but have/had given up on organised religions. I can’t understand why this is so feckin’ difficult for you.

          If they were all atheists in that group of irreligious, why does the source not cut to the chase and just not say so?

          You are floundering…your sources don’t get you to where you want, so you are forced to make shite up…keep going, it’s just more evidence of your disingenuous interactions. Your intellectual integrity is in the shitter already.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Seriously? You are going to try to weasel out by distinguishing between “talking God”, and “Christianity? I meant that he was pretending to be a Christian – talking about God as if he were a Christian. The quotes I provided said over and over that he was saying one thing in public, but another in private.

          BTW, it wasn’t that long ago that you were talking up his Christianity, citing as evidence:

          Adolf Hitler’s religious views are not a difficult case. Hitler was baptized Catholic as a baby. Hitler was an alterboy in his youth. He regularly went to church as an adult, and contrary to popular belief, was never excommunicated after he died. He had the Christian moniker “Gott Mit Uns” meaning ‘god with us’ put on many nazi uniform belt buckles.

          You even called him a “typical Christian”. And, you neglected to mention that all Nazis were excommunicated from the RCC in 1930.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? You are going to try to weasel out by distinguishing between “talking God”, and “Christianity?

          Yes, seriously. If you can’t tell the difference between “God talk” and “religion talk”…that’s your fuck up, not mine. The citation you provided makes no reference to him disparaging God.

          I meant that he was pretending to be a Christian – talking about God as if he were a Christian.

          And that’s not what you said, nor can it be demonstrated that that’s what Hitler was doing. You can’t have it both ways. Hitler was anti-Christian as an organisation controlled by not him. He was vocal about that in public and private, that’s not the issue.

          See, here’s the thing, there’d always been many Christianities. There is in excess of 45,000 versions out there today. For some reason you think that because Hitler was slating certain versions of Christianity, he was slating all versions of Christianity. Read your own source…

          “In Hitler’s early political statements, he attempted to express himself to the German public as a Christian. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he described himself as a Christian. Hitler and the Nazi party promoted “Positive Christianity”, a movement which rejected most traditional Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, as well as Jewish elements such as the Old Testament.

          “Positive Christianity”…did Hitler and the Nazis contradict themselves, absolutely…a well worn Christian trait.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Positive_Christianity

          Now, to the official policy of the Nazis…

          The Party stands on the basis of Positive Christianity, and positive Christianity is National Socialism… National Socialism is the doing of God’s will… God’s will reveals itself in German blood;… Dr Zoellner and Count Galen have tried to make clear to me that Christianity consists in faith in Christ as the son of God. That makes me laugh… No, Christianity is not dependent upon the Apostle’s Creed… True Christianity is represented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party and especially the Fuehrer to a real Christianity… the Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation. ~Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs, 1937

          And for some reason, you think that Hitler is the only person in history not allowed to change their position on what they believe about what and when. Yet all God believers do it with regularity.

          The quotes I provided said over and over that he was saying one thing in public, but another in private.

          No, they don’t …read them again. And there are quotes of Hitler supporting Christianity in public and in private. Hitler was a bit deranged apparently.

          The citation I provided that you copied above was to demonstrate the variety of views out there on Hitlers beliefs. His beliefs were all over the place, like Christianity itself. I also provided a citation from a recent book by an historian that claims Hitler to be a pantheist. And it makes a good case.

          You even called him a “typical Christian”.

          Well, I certainly could’ve, but given your penchant to quote-mine in order to dishonestly portray a different position, when you cite where I said it in which context, I’ll concede or call ya out.

          I’m betting the context will be a “typical Christian” as in a hypocritical liar who is a disingenuous self serving arsehole…because other than that, there aren’t any “typical Christians”.

          And, you neglected to mention that all Nazis were excommunicated from the RCC in 1930.

          I neglected nothing. It’s a moot point. When the topic of excommunication comes up, it is about those two cowardly bastard popes that were sitting in the Holy See during his rise and time in power, not what their underlings were doing in Germany.

          On September 1930, the Bishop of Mainz denied Nazi Catholics the sacrament…ipso facto excommunication.

          On February, 10th, 1931 the Bavarian bishops (among others) issued an internal pastoral directive (i.e. for clergy only) because the NSDAP was the second largest party in parliament since the elections of September 14th, 1930. (18,3% , about 6.4 million voters)

          So excommunicated in secret. Hmmmm.

          The Mainz document was a blanket excommunication. The Bavarian document only applied to a blanket excommunication of clerics, lay persons were to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

          On March 1933, the bishops of Fulda annulled the previous two documents. So pah!

          The point is, the Holy See never excommunicated Hitler officially. If the argument stands that all Nazis were ipso facto excommunicated in 1930, then why did the Holy See deem it necessary to excommunicate certain Nazi individual?

          Pius XII had his own super weapon which he could have utilized excommunication. Traditionally, however, excommunication has been used against those for their wrong beliefs, not their wrong actions. Excommunicating Hitler would probably have been pointless, but excommunicating all Catholics who supported his policy of extermination might have, at the very least, put reins on his policy. On the other hand, excommunication might have had the opposite result; many Catholics would have left the Church rather than reject their country.

          There has been much debate over the question of Pius XII using excommunication as a weapon against Nazism.

          Given the indifference of the fate of the German population toward the fate of the Jews, and the highly ambivalent attitude of the German hierarchy toward Nazi anti-Semitism, a forceful stand . . . on the Jewish question might well have led to a large-scale desertion from the Church.

          The pope knew that the German Catholics were not prepared to suffer martyrdom for their church; still less were they willing to incur the wrath of their Nazi ruler for the sake of the Jews whom their own bishops for years had castigated as a harmful influence in German life.

          Some writers suggest that excommunication would have done more damage to the Jews, to the half-Jews and to the Church. Obviously, the condition of the Jews could not have been worse. Rolf Hochhuth asserts that excommunication was the answer; he argues that Hitler backed down with each papal intervention. Furthermore, Pius XII excommunicated active communists, so why not Nazis?

          http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1983-4/shelton.htm

          Like I said…”typical Christian” hypocritical liar who is a disingenuous self serving arsehole.

          See, every Catholic that has an abortion is automatically excommunicated. What is being asked is why the Pope never felt the need to make it official…like what he did with the Nazi for the heinous crime of marrying a Protestant?

          http://www.nndb.com/people/201/000025126/

          Of course Hitler did nothing that the RCC hadn’t been doing for centuries, so the whole idea of excommunication by the RCC is a bit rich.

          Anyway, It makes no difference what Hitler was saying about Christianity, or by extension, God if ya like, in public and private…he still wasn’t an atheist. You still haven’t made

        • Ignorant Amos
        • epeeist

          Six year later, there are more atheist than ever

          Really? Got evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          You know, quite honestly, it might not be all that surprising there would be more atheist in Germany 6 years later when people watched all the horrors that their Christian countrymen were doing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The population was larger, and so was the demographic percentage. Is more necessary?

          Would this point have any relevance for you if I am correct?

        • epeeist

          The population was larger, and so was the demographic percentage.

          I asked you for some evidence, not for you to make something up.

        • Clement Agonistes

          More IS necessary.

          Population, 1933: 65,218,000
          Population, 1939: 69,314,000
          The population of Germany was larger in 1939 by 5,096,000.

          Percentage, 1933: 0.8%
          Percentage, 1939: 1.5%
          The percentage of German atheists increased by 0.7%.

          Putting the two together, that translates to an increase of roughly 356,000.

        • epeeist

          More IS necessary.

          Ah, so given that the population of the UK is larger now than in, say, 1980 then the number of Christians in the should be larger now than then, correct?

          Let’s look at some statistics.

          I am presuming that the 1939 percentage for atheists comes from Evans. Where did you get the 1933 figure from?

          EDIT: typo

        • Clement Agonistes

          Ah, so given that the population of the UK is larger now than in, say,
          1980 then the number of Christians in the should be larger now than
          then, correct?

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          I am presuming that the 1939 percentage for atheists comes from Evans. Where did you get the 1933 figure from?

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

        • epeeist

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          The point is that the population and identity figures are not necessarily correlated, either can change without reference to the other.

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

          This one? There is no mention of the percentage of atheists being 0.8% in 1933 in the article.

          As for the 1.5%, Evans gives this as the percentage of atheists while the census gives 1.5% as “irreligious”. As I have pointed out before “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily mean atheist.

          Also if you want to take the census figures, then the 1933 value for “other or irreligious” is 4.0%.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I have pointed out before “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily mean atheist.

          He knows, but since that doesn’t fit with the fantasy between his ears, it is conveniently ignored.

        • epeeist

          His reading comprehension really is appalling, and the fact that he keeps referring to the pictures on the web page rather than the actual numbers is telling.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          The
          point is that the population and identity figures are not necessarily
          correlated, either can change without reference to the other.

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

          This one? There is no mention of the percentage of atheists being 0.8% in 1933 in the article.

          As for the 1.5%, Evans gives this as the percentage of atheists while the
          census gives 1.5% as “irreligious”. As I have pointed out before
          “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily
          mean atheist.

          Well, not if you want it to bad enough. Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective. If only he’d know just how bad you would need to muddy the waters, I’m sure he would have seen it your way.

          Click on “irreligious” next to the 1.5% figure and it will link to a write up that, yeah, says it should not be confused with atheism, then scroll down to “Kinds of irreligion” #1 is Secular humanism – the belief that that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. Familiar, no? it is a sect of atheism.

          #2? “Freethought”. You cited persecution of the Freethought movement as proof of Nazi persecution of atheists . . . . . not the “irreligious”.

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard.

        • epeeist

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Err, what? If the population increases by a certain amount it does not necessarily follow that the number of people associated with a particular attribute will change.

          Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective.

          He did? How did he get to the figure of 1.5%?

          Secular humanism – the belief that that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. Familiar, no? it is a sect of atheism.

          And the dishonesty kicks in again. As has been pointed out to you numerous times before atheism is a position on one question, non-belief in the existence of gods, but you keep on pressing the reset button and repeating the same thing as though nothing had been said.

          You have claimed that atheism has implications but when I asked you what these were you didn’t deign to reply.

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard

          Going to have to repeat it once more, you really are one of the most dishonest cunts I have seen posting on this site. You really have no intellectual integrity whatsoever.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Err, what? If the population increases by a certain amount it does not
          necessarily follow that the number of people associated with a
          particular attribute will change.

          Err, as specified, “If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.” (the comment you were responding to). As an example. 1% of a population of 600 would be 6, but 1% of 900 would be 9. The raw numbers would increase by 3 solely due to the population increase. As I said, the raw numbers are tied to the population, but there is no guarantee that the percentages would stay the same (or increase). One is linked to teh population; the other isn’t.

          Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective.

          He did? How did he get to the figure of 1.5%?

          Clearly, like all the others, he is plotting against you behind your back. Like any normal, objective person without a horse in this race, he equated “irreligious” with “atheist”. When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists. I note you edited that point out of your comments on my post. Coincidence, right? We all know I am the dishonest one here.

        • epeeist

          As I said, the raw numbers are tied to the population

          The only numbers that are tied to the population are the numbers in the population, you have provided nothing which shows that the population and religiosity or atheism are correlated.

          Clearly, like all the others, he is plotting against you behind your back.

          So you are unable to answer the question.

          When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists.

          Given that its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany then it would seem reasonable to do so.

        • Clement Agonistes

          When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists.

          Given that its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany then it would seem reasonable to do so.

          Honesty isn’t even an option for you , is it?

        • epeeist

          Honesty isn’t even an option for you , is it?

          From this page.

          The German Freethinkers League (‘Deutscher Freidenkerbund’) was an organisation founded in 1881 by the materialist philosopher and physician Ludwig Büchner[1] to oppose the power of the state churches in Germany.[2] Its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany.

          Dishonesty is obviously so embedded in your thinking that you can’t conceive of anyone else being scrupulous about the truth.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are projecting.

        • Susan

          You are projecting.

          No. He is spot on.

          By the way, you said that if I included the crucial next paragraph in my comment, that you’d explain how logically there is no morality without Yahwehjesus, but that there is morality with Yahwehjesus.

          You said that you’d explain everything if I included that paragraph. I notified you that I edited my comment to include that paragraph.

          But you still haven’t explained the “logic”.

        • epeeist

          You are projecting.

          About having a fencer at the senior world championships, possibly.

          But when it comes to you and your dishonesty, absolutely not. It isn’t just me either is it, plenty of others (including someone who initially supported you) have come to the same conclusion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right? I mean, if I could find “plenty of others” who said exactly the opposite, then THAT would become the truth, right?

          And heck, let’s not stop there – let’s swing for the fences; let’s go for the whole ball of wax – theism vs atheism. If more people say theism is true compared to those who say atheism is true, then the issue is settled, right?

          Your first hint that your case was falling apart was when you could not present a factual argument and had to resort to name-calling. Your intellectual argument has only gone downhill from there. Look what you are reduced to now – name-calling combined with the argumentum ad populum.

          You have presented 2 arguments that are at odds with each other. You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence (or are flatly refuted by evidence). Your pride dictates what positions you take. You say things that you know are not true. You don’t have a reliable methodology for ascertaining truth.

        • Susan

          the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          As opposed to you just asserting it (“You are projecting.”) when epeeist provided an explanation of what freethinkers are from the page you linked.

          epeeist has simply pointed out that your indifference to evidence and habit of asserting things without supporting them has been pointed out by many people, mostly with accompanying evidence.

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence.

          Give us an example. While you’re at it, give us an example of you making any leap of logic that’s supported by evidence.

          (Hey! Just reminding you. You promised that if I linked to the second paragraph of that “ex-atheist who was convinced by logic”, then you would show us how morality relies on Yahwehjesus, but so far, you haven’t kept your promise. I’m accustomed to you making no case, whatsoever.)

          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          Support something.

        • epeeist

          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          Agreed, he is more ήπιος ανέντιμος than ήπιος πρωταθλητής (apologies to John Milton). The only thing he is actually champion at is lying.

        • Clement Agonistes

          the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          As opposed to you just asserting it (“You are projecting.”) when epeeist provided an explanation of what freethinkers are from the page you linked.

          Susan?! “Projecting” . . . what? Here is the comment I was responding to:

          Dishonesty is obviously so embedded in your thinking that you can’t conceive of anyone else being scrupulous about the truth.

          All he did was assert it. He had just provided a quote from Wikipedia showing that the GFS consisted of materialists AND atheists. Atheists didn’t even rate first-billing. Earlier in this thread, he asserted that the GFS – as an atheist organization – was an example of Nazi banning of atheists, with the implication (dishonest?) that the number of atheists in Germany would be decreasing, and the (dishonest?) implication Christian population would not be decreasing because they had Nazi support.

          Once “irreligious” was equated as meaning “atheist”, epeeist had to dump his previous assertion and make a different assertion about the SAME data – that the GFS was NOT atheist, but irreligious. It can’t be both. One assertion has to be thrown under the bus. When I pointed this out to him, his response was to name-call (a red flag for dishonesty), not to provide support for his assertion. All he had to do was to say that he was mistaken either originally, or now in order to be honest. But, that would be asking too much for someone who gives lip service to science.

          Note that you only “found religion” on the need for support when I was the one making an assertion. Note that I had provided support for my assertion in previous posts and he was the one ducking and dodging. There was not so much as a peep from you when it was your tribe member making assertions.

          I get it. You have a bias. We all do. The purpose of philosophy is to eliminate our human frailties from the process of discovering the truth. If you cast that aside at the first hint that your hypothesis might be imperfect, then what is the point – you don’t care what the truth is.

          Which is kinda my point All of us ultimately fall back on our hunches about what the truth is. But, we need to be self-aware that is what we are doing. Bob says hope in God is a false hope . . . . but that is just a hunch. It is an assertion without the necessary knowledge to state it as fact. EVERY conclusion about the ultimate truth we come to has premises that are just hunches. The Objective Truth eludes us. We insert a subjective truth based on subjective experiences. You guys just delude yourselves that you are not doing that.

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence.

          Give us an example. While you’re at it, give us an example of you making any leap of logic that’s supported by evidence.

          I provided examples in my response to epeeist – let me know if you missed it.

          Obviously, I do not think I am making and “leaps” of logic (LOL). One example of where you might think so would be SS officers being more representative of the number of Christians in the Nazi Party than the German population as a whole. Nazi Party membership was a requisite.

          Another would be equating “irreligious” with “atheist” I pointed out that the thesaurus calls them synonymous, and epeeist equated the 2 initially. IMO, any man-on-the-street without a horse in this race would too. Early on in this thread, epeeist presented public quotes as evidence that Hitler was Christian-friendly. After the consensus of historians was presented showing that was a farce, he had to retreat to “irreligious” as a fall-back position to avoid admitting Hitler was just some version of a weak atheist. He made an assertion, and then abandoned it without ever acknowledging the mistake.

          (Hey! Just reminding you. You promised that if I linked to the second paragraph of that “ex-atheist who was convinced by logic”, then you would show us how morality relies on Yahwehjesus, but so far, you haven’t kept your promise. I’m accustomed to you making no case, whatsoever.)
          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          So, you don’t object to making assertions without support when it’s a non-tribe member, eh? (provide examples)

          1) It was your claim that I would go through Klavan’s quotes with you.
          2) I have been looking forward to doing what you promised on my behalf. I did not understand what you were saying you were going to do. I have been waiting for a lengthy post from you going through his logic point-by-point. Was there a link I was supposed to go to? Was it in that post? Did I miss a post?

        • Susan

          It was your claim that I would go through Klavan’s quotes with you

          It was your claim that Klavan was persuaded by logic.

          You then accused me of editing out a paragraph that explained his logic (even though that paragraph was there for all to see in the comment to which I responded.) You then said that if I were to include the paragraph, you’d explain Klavan’s logic.

          I edited to include the paragraph.

          I have been looking forward to doing what you promised on my behalf. I did not understand what you were saying you were going to do. I have been waiting for a lengthy post from you going through his logic point-by-point.

          There is no logic. Simply assertions.

          Here’s where you’re supposed to show the long-promised logic.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was your claim that Klavan was persuaded by logic.

          Here is the exact quote of what I claimed that started the whole Klavan thread:
          Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he
          had to reject his own atheism. He just couldn’t not-believe. Like you
          guys, he described it as a liberating moment. The stories are the same,
          only the plots are reversed.

          I edited to include the paragraph.

          Ah, OK, now I understand what you meant. You went back and changed your original post to include the deleted explanation.

          OK, let’s walk through it:
          Here at last, however, was an atheist whose outlook made complete
          logical sense to me from beginning to end. If there is no God, there is
          no morality. If there is no morality the search for pleasure and the
          avoidance of pain are all in all and we should pillage, rape, and murder
          as we please. None of this pale, milquetoast atheism that says “Let’s
          all do what’s good for society.” What is society to me? None of this
          elaborate game-theory nonsense where we all benefit from mutual
          sacrifice and restraint. That only works when no one is looking; then
          I’ll get away with what I can. If there is no God, there is no good, and
          sadistic pornography is scripture.

          The Marquis de Sade (“an atheist”) argued that there was no God, and, as a consequence, no morality. Therefore, logically, he threw out ALL pretense that we have a purpose in life to serve the good of society. He is talking about the MdS’s thought process.

          Now, in a different paragraph, Klavan explains how he got to theism:
          if we concede that one thing is morally better than another, it can only
          be because it is closer to an Ultimate Moral Good, the standard by
          which it is measured. An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It
          must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. The
          rain isn’t morally good even though it makes the crops grow; a tornado
          that kills isn’t morally evil — though it may be an evil for those in
          its way. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we
          ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. But true,
          objective good and evil, in order to be good and evil, have to be aware
          and intentional. So an Ultimate Moral Good must be conscious and free;
          it must be God.

          As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion. The logic is sound. The problem is the premises – are they true? Is “one thing better than another”? Is there an Ultimate Moral Good? Does knowledge of good and evil require a mind? Does that mind have to be free to choose good (or evil)?

          I understood that you were going to go through those quotes and show, step-by-step, to edit it and show where you disagreed with Klavan. You claimed he showed no reasoning, yet left it at that assertion. I assumed you were going to support your claim and was waiting for that post.

        • Greg G.

          Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism.

          That is illogical. The claim of atheism is there is insufficient evidence to support believe in gods. The only logical reason to believe in something is to have sufficient evidence for the existence of something.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, of course, there are variations on that theme. I don’t know if you have had the opportunity to read Klavan’s own words to make sure I am correctly characterizing his thoughts. If not, make sure I am getting this right. The specific author he references is the Marquis de Sade. The MdS was of the naturalist flavor of atheism. He was a hard atheist who made no allowance whatsoever for any God. Nature was all there was. Klavan asserts that the MdS believed that morality was not natural, and nature was to seek one’s own happiness.

          The argument against the MdS would seem to be that it is in our nature to behave morally. That gets into determinism and free will. I don’t see the evidence to make definitive conclusions about those.

        • Otto

          “As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion. The logic is sound. The problem is the premises – are they true?”

          No, you don’t get to declare that the logic is sound before figuring out whether the premises are true, because if the premises are not true than there is no logic involved. Utilizing logic requires sound premises. You are attempting to put the cart before the horse.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m making a distinction between two parts of a logic statement. One is whether the conclusion follows, logically, from the premises. The other is whether the premises are factual. As an example, suppose I said:

          A. Bob weight 180 pounds.
          B. Bob drives a car.

          Therefore,
          C. Bob is a Methodist.

          All 3 statements could be true, but the conclusion does not follow from the two premises. it is bad logic even though all three are correct.

          Next:
          A. All planets are gas giants.
          B. The Earth is a planet.

          Therefore,
          C. Earth is a gas giant.

          The conclusion follows from the premises. But, one of the premises is factually wrong. I fault the information, not the logic.

          I cannot know whether Klavan’s premises are true, but I can know that his conclusion follows from them.

        • Otto

          I get what you are trying to get across, I do. And I think you fairly represented what you meant.

          But Klaven’c conclusion is… “An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will.

          Not only do I not know if the premises are correct, but I am not convinced the conclusion follows at all from the premises. The premises do not mention a ‘mind’ or ‘personality’ in the sense he is using it, i.e. God. So no, while I understand the distinction you are making I do not agree with it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not confident of my interpretation of what Klavan is saying. That’s why I keep encouraging people to quote from what he is saying to make their case.

          The premises do not mention a ‘mind’ or ‘personality’ in the sense he is using it, i.e. God.

          Allow me to state what I think his progression is and see if it makes sense:

          1. Given a moral issue, we recognize one thing is better than another. This seems, to me, to be one of those Capt. Obvious observations. We may not agree on what is more moral than another, but we all have that sense that one thing is better than another.

          2. Since (1) is true, then anything “better” is closer to an ideal moral good. OK, that sure seems to build on #1. If something is “better”, then is is closer to “perfect” than it was earlier.

          3. If I am declaring one thing to be better than another, then a choice is being made. Klavan makes the point that a hurricane isn’t making a choice to be evil. A hurricane can’t decide to be evil. Only when a choice is made can evil – or good – be picked.

          4. Since 3 is true, then the ability to choose requires a mind. Klavan links consciousness, free will, and personality into this point. IMO, that equates with a mind – something that has an awareness of good and evil, and can freely choose between them.

          5. If 4 is true, then this Ultimate Moral Good – this perfect Objective Morality – is a person, but not a human because our morality is subjective and flawed. God is the only term that fits that description. Buddhists might call it “the universe” – a force that permeates everything.

          Pick that apart.

        • Otto

          Re: 1. We may argue one thing is better than another, but the situation makes a difference. I may agree stealing is worse than not stealing, but there are situations where not stealing is worse than stealing. There is not one ‘catch all’ answer for stealing. While in the general sense I don’t have a problem with this premise, I don’t like how the idea of ‘one thing is better than another’ is presented as all encompassing. There could be 1 situation with 2 different actions or inaction’s, both of which could be moral; could one be ‘better’ than another…maybe, maybe not.

          2. The idea that there is some moral ‘perfection’ is smuggled in here.

          3. I am fine with the idea that an ‘agent’ makes moral choices. Humans do that.

          4. I agree that moral agency requires something that can assign value and then make moral decisions. Humans have minds, so we are still ok here.

          5. Here is where it goes off the rails. There is no demonstration of Ultimate Moral Good, even though the idea of perfection was attempted to be smuggled in earlier. Then “this perfect Objective Morality – is a person” does not follow from the previous steps. Morality is dependent on there being some sort of society, morality is by nature ‘social’. There is nothing that points to morality being ‘A Person’ in the previous steps.

        • Susan

          I get what you are trying to get across, I do

          What do you think he was trying to get across?

          I think you fairly represented what you meant.

          What do you think he meant?

        • Otto

          He meant that in his opinion (not mine) the conclusion matched with the premises, though he admitted the premises are without foundation, so I don’t know why that would matter, but to him it does. I agree that the premises are without foundation but I disagree that the conclusion would even follow from the premises even if the premises could be shown to be true. He thinks if the premises could be shown to be true the conclusion would logically follow. Nope.

        • Susan

          I cannot know whether Klavan’s premises are true.

          You can’t show that they’re true. Neither can he.

          I can know that his conclusion follows from them.

          Yahwehjesus exists follows from those premises? No.

          Even if the premises are true. And there’s no reason to think they’re true.

          Thus concludes the “moral argument” for Yawhehjesus.

          Got anything else?

        • Susan

          You went back and changed your original post to include the deleted explanation.

          Because you insisted. I didn’t delete anything. I blockquoted directly from your copy/paste and stopped about where “Klavan’s explanation” went right off the rails.

          You insisted I include the following paragraph (even though that paragraph was included in the copy/paste you provided and to which I responded.) I notified you that I had edited it in because you insisted it was some necessary step in the process.

          Christ on a Cracker, Clement.

          ” Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he
          had to reject his own atheism.

          Yet,when I looked up his conversion, it bore no resemblance to your description of it.

          And it makes no sense. It skips over the step of defining a specific god that atheists don’t accept exists (because it’s not defined or supported)and showing that it exists. Instead, we have assertions. .

          As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion.

          The logic is sound.

          The logic can only be sound if the argument is valid and the premises are necessarily true.

          IF…THEN…? That’s all you have? If I’m right, then I’m right? That’s what you’ve been putting off for days?

          the problem is the premises – are they true?

          Yes. Huge problem. Now, either you or he has to show that the premises are true. If you’re both going to rely on such a primitive argument, the premises must be true.

          I’m going to guess that this is where you’ll point at squirrels. But by all means, if you can demonstrate that any of the premises are true, then you’ll at least have an interesting discussion for a while.

          It’s not even valid but if it were, he would have to demonstrate that each premise were true. He doesn’t.

          Nor do you.

          =====

          Several edits over the course of 5 minutes to address Clement’s errors about basic logic. .

        • epeeist

          And, the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          Ah, you are trying to imply that all these people simply believe you are dishonest rather than have actual evidence that you are dishonest.

          You have presented 2 arguments that are at odds with each other.

          I have, and these would be?

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence (or are flatly refuted by evidence).

          I do, and examples of this would be?

          You say things that you know are not true.

          I do, and examples of this would be?

          You don’t have a reliable methodology for ascertaining truth.

          So give me one that is better than my preferred, correspondence theory of truth.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          Ah, you are trying to imply that all these people simply believe you are dishonest rather than have actual evidence that you are dishonest.

          I am flat-out saying that the argumentum ad populum is a fallacious argument. And, yeah, this particular populum might be just a wee bit biased when it comes to making judgements about honesty. Their “evidence” is not objectively evidence.

          You have presented 2 arguments that are at odds with each other.

          I have, and these would be?

          Ahh, so “evidence” is something I have to present, but not you. Since you are not projecting, you will be reciprocating? (I won’t hold my breath)

          1) GFS is atheist.
          2) GFS are irreligious, not atheist.

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence (or are flatly refuted by evidence).

          I do, and examples of this would be?

          Nazi persecution of atheists was worse than of Christians; that German demographics demonstrated Nazi Party membership.

          You say things that you know are not true.

          I do, and examples of this would be?

          You claimed that my comment, “So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.” was the initial use of the census data, not in response to your use of the census data. You even quoted it with your census data comment that it was in response to.

          You claimed I denied ever saying this quote.

          You claimed no Christian groups were persecuted as badly as the GFS (see initial comment, above)

          You claimed Hitler was pro-Christian.

          You don’t have a reliable methodology for ascertaining truth.

          So give me one that is better than my preferred, correspondence theory of truth.

          Add this one to my list of examples of things you say that you know aren’t true.

        • epeeist

          I am flat-out saying that the argumentum ad populum is a fallacious argument.

          Agreed, if and when it based on the appeal to emotion of people.

          When however one there is a consensus based on the evidence for a particular position then we are not committing an ad populum fallacy.

          And, yeah, this particular populum might be just a wee bit biased when it comes to making judgements about honesty.

          Ah, so what you are saying is that all these people have judged you to be dishonest are actually biased in their conclusions.

          1) GFS is atheist.
          2) GFS are irreligious, not atheist.

          Point me to the place where I said that the German Freethinkers League (not Society) was simply irreligious. You don’t think I didn’t check that they were an organisation at least some of whose members espoused atheism?

          Now the person making stuff up here is you when you say that

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard

          in this post. All irreligious means is “Indifferent or hostile to religion, or having no religious beliefs” (Source), it says nothing about belief or non-belief in the existence of gods.

          Nazi persecution of atheists was worse than of Christians;

          I note in all of this you never actually quote what I said or give a link to where I supposedly said it. Why is that do you think?

          In This postou raised the question:

          FTM, what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          In a number of posts I pointed out that:

          1. The percentage of Christians in the German population in 1939 was approximately 95%;

          2. If we take Evan’s value of 1.5% for the percentage of atheists in Germany in 1939 then the ratio of Christians to atheists is roughly 60:1

          3. While Christian organisations weren’t banned at this time the Nazis did ban atheist organisations, of which the German Freethinkers League was one example.

          As I result I concluded that:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1

          (in this post)

          and

          Therefore the ration of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was likely to be higher than the 1:1 which you hypothesised about.

          (in this post)

          So where in either of these two posts am I saying that “Nazi persecution of atheists was worse than of Christians”?

          As for, “that German demographics demonstrated Nazi Party membership”, you are going to have to give me a reference to that.

          You claimed that my comment, “So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.” was the initial use of the census data

          I may well have got the initial post wrong, but my statement your claim that the German population pre-Nazi was 100% Christian was correct.

          You claimed no Christian groups were persecuted as badly as the GFS (see initial comment, above)

          Citation required.

          You claimed Hitler was pro-Christian

          I pointed out that a) he was never excommunicated by the Church and an RCC cardinal ordered that a requiem mass be said for him (Source).

          I also pointed out that he made several statements about Germany being Christian and being against atheism (Source).

          Add this one to my list of examples of things you say that you know aren’t true.

          One takes it therefore that you can a) offer nothing better than the correspondence theory of truth and b) that you are unable to provide a substantial criticism of the theory.

          Now I have taken an amount of care in formulating this post because it is obvious that your post a) misquotes me in several places and b) claims I said things that I did not.

          In other words it is even more evidence of the depths of your dishonesty.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Long pot – i am going to break it up into digestible bits.

          1) GFS is atheist.
          2) GFS are irreligious, not atheist.

          Point me to the place where I said that the German Freethinkers League (not
          Society) was simply irreligious.

          “… simply” Where did that word come from? I certainly never used it. Regardless, you are stretching the truth, not breaking it. August 6 was the first time “irreligious” meant something other than “atheist”. Prior to that time, you did the same thing Evans did – equate the two.

          Your initial mention of the GFL (correction noted) was:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers
          Society were banned by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than
          1:1

          You don’t think I didn’t check that they were an organisation at least some of whose members espoused atheism?

          Not until this week, no. You stated that they had 500,000 members (roughly 0.8% of the general population in 1933), and IMPLIED that their ban affected the atheist side of the of Nazi Party member ratio. I have provided a cite showing that NP policy was OK with atheists as members – bans were for non-Nazis.

          Now the person making stuff up here is you when you say that

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard

          I pointed out to you in a previous post that if you will click on the “irrelegious” link that you had mentioned in the census data chart, the Wikipedia article on Irreligion listed 5 categories – a (laundry) list of sects of atheism, both hard and soft:
          1) Secular humanist – morals come from men, not religion. This is familiar stuff here.

          2) Freethinkers – materialists and atheists. Materialism, like SH, is just more boiler-plate atheism.
          3) Spiritual – another soft atheism.
          4) Theological noncognitivism – arguing over the definition of “God” (Susan’s turf).
          5) Antireligion – du-uh. It opposes all religion, even the non-organized kind like an individual might do. It’s the militant, hard sect.

          All irreligious means is “Indifferent or hostile to religion, or having no religious beliefs” (Source), it says nothing about belief or non-belief in the existence of gods.

          Which is the opposite of what you were saying until August 6. Freethinkers kept being atheists until this week. Until this week, you needed them to be atheists. Your definition changed when your need changed. If you knew better, then you are lying before this week. Every thesaurus I looked at had “atheist” as a synonym. You went with the same understanding that every rational person would have. Your current position is the disingenuous one.

        • epeeist

          And again you don’t quote me or provide links to my posts.

          I will say two things, firstly in this post I specifically say:

          Oh, and “irreligious” is not the same as “atheist”.

          Every thesaurus I looked at had “atheist” as a synonym.

          If you are going to look up the meaning of a word then it is usual to use a dictionary rather than a thesaurus.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And again you don’t quote me or provide links to my posts.

          I will say two things, firstly in this post I specifically say:

          Oh, and “irreligious” is not the same as “atheist”.

          1) I presented a direct quote from you about the GFS(L), putting it in quotations, italics, and attributing it to you.
          2) The “irreligious” quote you provide above was the one from August 6 that I kept referring to in that post. I assumed that you were already familiar with it. That was an incorrect assumption, but now you have corrected that. Do we agree that your first mention of “irreligious” was August 6? And that prior to that you – like Evans – equated it with “atheist”? Can we agree that the difference is so nuanced that it is typical to understand it that way?

        • epeeist

          2) The “irreligious” quote you provide above was the one from August 6 that I kept referring to in that post.

          When the information from the 2011 UK census was published a number of people claimed the the increase in those reporting themselves to have “no religion” meant that the number of atheists in the UK was increasing.

          I pointed out that “no religion” simply means that people have no religion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are atheist.

          Now I am not going to trail back all the way to 2011 but if you really wanted to you could look at my profile on the Guardian website around November of that year and find comments of mine to that end.

          Unlike you I am careful how I use words, I may not always get it right but there again I am merely a fallible human being.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I am flat-out saying that the argumentum ad populum is a fallacious argument.

          Agreed, if and when it based on the appeal to emotion of people.

          You state that you rarely use name-calling and obscenities. Yet, this has been common throughout this conversation. To me, that is a sign of someone whose emotions have gotten the better of him.

          When however one there is a consensus based on the evidence for a particular position then we are not committing an ad populum fallacy.

          “Consensus” – of people with a bias – determines truth? As I pointed out, all i have to do is to change the target audience, and the “evidence” swings the opposite way. Your logic here isn’t logical, and either you can’t see that or just can’t admit a mistake.

          You can recognize that you are appealing to popularity, and then throw in a “Yeah, but . . . .” There is no “Yeah, but…” You are using a fallacious argument. I’m having to explain to you why a fallacious argument IS a fallacious argument. Please, value your credibility more than this.

          And, yeah, this particular populum might be just a wee bit biased when it comes to making judgements about honesty.

          Ah, so what you are saying is that all these people have judged you to be dishonest are actually biased in their conclusions.

          Ahh, and once you go down that pathway of fallacies, might as well throw in a Straw Man, right? Heck, let’s throw in Circular Reasoning while we’re at it – their conclusions that are the result of bias justify those same conclusions. Throw everybody under the bus to protect yourself from admitting a fundamental mistake of logic. It would be a huge time-saver if you could distance yourself from your emotions.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Nazi persecution of atheists was worse than of Christians;
          I
          note in all of this you never actually quote what I said or give a link
          to where I supposedly said it. Why is that do you think?

          Because it is not necessary. My point is that you ONLY dealt with the atheist side of the ratio, and never directly, at that. The “ratio” comment was just a humorous way of pointing out that Nazi Party membership was more problematic for Christians than for atheists. But, we’ve been off and running after rabbits ever since then.

          By implication (already a problem), you argue that banning the GFL was typical of the kind of persecution atheists faced in 1933. You did not establish that Nazi Party atheists would be subject to this persecution. I provided a cite showing Nazi atheists being reassured that there was no problem with them continuing to be atheists. You did not establish that any NP members were in the GFL. Due to your recent change of direction, you haven’t even established how man GFL members were actually atheists.

          You stated that the atheist side of the ratio would be harmed by actions like banning the GFL. This is all be implication, not direct evidence. You assumed that the Christian side would remain unchanged. This is also by implication. You provided quotes from Hitler, asserting that they proved he was at least neutral and probably pro-Christian. You asserted that since the overall percentage of Christians in Germany in 1939 (including the newly-acquired lands that had not been subject to Nazi policies) was similar to that of 1933, it implied the same occurred within the NP.

          When I addressed this argument, Amos misunderstood, thinking I was equating the overall German population with the NP population. He insulted my intelligence for making such an argument, not realizing it was your premise. Even he saw the problem with your logic (which worries me that you might have a point).

          In sum, you made two errors:
          1) You equated “Germany” with “Nazi”, and

          2) You assumed no change on the Christian side of the ratio.

          It’s probably not accurate to use past tense there since you are still making these arguments. Also, demanding a direct quote for an implied argument is a dishonest tactic. For someone who is harping on dishonesty, you need to do better.

        • epeeist

          Because it is not necessary.

          So it isn’t necessary for you to provide links or quotations of what I actually wrote. I should just accept what you say I wrote.

          Sorry, but I am not going to accept this especially as all through the rest of this post you continue to misrepresent my position.

          I am not going to respond to your interpretation of what I said without actual quotations or links to support it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I spent 4 paragraphs dealing with the subject matter, and you present one – decapitated – quote so you can evade the point. You “position” is frail and unsustainable. It falls with the slightest scrutiny. YOU should be the one putting it out of its misery. Instead, you go through these humiliating contortions to try to keep it on life-support. We should not even be discussing the GFL or German census data in tha first place. The problem is not that your position is being misrepresented, it is that your position is poo-poo.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Add this one to my list of examples of things you say that you know aren’t true.

          One takes it therefore that you can a) offer nothing better than the
          correspondence theory of truth and b) that you are unable to provide a
          substantial criticism of the theory.

          Only if one is dishonest.

          You did not apply the correspondence theory of truth. You made truth statement that you knew were false.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You claimed Hitler was pro-Christian

          I pointed out that a) he was never excommunicated by the Church and an
          RCC cardinal ordered that a requiem mass be said for him (Source).

          I also pointed out that he made several statements about Germany being Christian and being against atheism (Source).

          And, you knew what you were saying was not true.
          a) is not true because ALL Nazis were excommunicated years before Hitler came to power.
          a) is also based on a false premise that excommunication is proof of non-Christianity.

          b) (mass) Is also based on a false premise.

          c) (his BS) is false, as the vast consensus of experts attests. Why you would even lend your credibility to a man who is credited with the “Big Lie” strategy shows how little regard you have for it.

          Even when you say you “pointed it out”, you are being deceptive. You made a claim. Your support for that claim failed on both logical and factual grounds. You know this, yet continue to claim I am the one who is being dishonest by pointing these failures out.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You claimed that my comment, “So, pre-Nazi Christians were
          100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.” was the initial
          use of the census data

          I may well have got the
          initial post wrong, but my statement your claim that the German
          population pre-Nazi was 100% Christian was correct.

          . . . . and, as I have stated several times now, I NEVER denied that I had stated that. I did show the census data I got it from, however. Yet, you persisted in calling me dishonest on the basis of my denying that I said it and dishonest for saying that I was replying to your use of census data. The best that you can muster up is a “I may have been wrong”. Obviously, it is an enormous struggle for you to admit that you made a mistake. I have my moments, but I am not a vindictive person. My goal here is not to rub your nose in it.

          The entire point here is applying the same standard. If the atheist points to his own deconversion as proof of something, then the same standard means the theist who points to his conversion also proves something. Neither story proves anything.

          If the existence of Christians who were Nazis proves something, then atheists who were Nazis proves something also. Ditto, Communist, etc. We’re not just missing the forest for the trees, we’re missing it for the stems and leaves – minutia far removed from the relevant point.

        • epeeist

          Unless and until you start providing quotations and links I am not going to bother responding to your prolix, incoherent and frankly whining rambles.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And, the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right? I mean, if I could find “plenty of others” who said exactly the opposite, then THAT would become the truth, right?

          That would depend on what evidence they were using to support their assertion.

          And heck, let’s not stop there – let’s swing for the fences; let’s go for the whole ball of wax – theism vs atheism. If more people say theism is true compared to those who say atheism is true, then the issue is settled, right?

          And the dumb just gets dumber. I love the umbrella term of theism, like you are just one big happy family.

          Your first hint that your case was falling apart was when you could not present a factual argument and had to resort to name-calling. Your intellectual argument has only gone downhill from there. Look what you are reduced to now – name-calling combined with the argumentum ad populum.

          And tone trolling isn’t an argument either, soft boy.

          You have presented 2 arguments that are at odds with each other. You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence (or are flatly refuted by evidence). Your pride dictates what positions you take. You say things that you know are not true. You don’t have a reliable methodology for ascertaining truth.

          Spoiiing!

          Now that really is projection.

        • Ignorant Amos

          equating Freethinkers with atheists

          FFS…that’s because they were atheist ya clown….

          The German Freethinkers League (‘Deutscher Freidenkerbund’) was an organisation founded in 1881 by the materialist philosopher and physician Ludwig Büchner[1] to oppose the power of the state churches in Germany. Its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany.

          Which was the reason why Hitler banned them…

          By 1885 the group had 5,000 members. The largest organization of its sort in Germany at the time, by 1933 the German Freethinkers League had a membership numbering some 500,000. The League was closed down in the spring of 1933, when Hitler outlawed all atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany. Freethinkers Hall, the national headquarters of the League, was then converted to a bureau advising the public on church matters.

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

        • Clement Agonistes

          equating Freethinkers with atheists

          FFS…that’s because they were atheist ya clown….
          The German Freethinkers League (‘Deutscher Freidenkerbund’) was an organisation founded in 1881 by the materialist philosopher and physician Ludwig Büchner[1] to oppose the power of the state churches in Germany. Its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany.

          So, your emphasis is on atheists . . . . AND materialists? If materialists are atheists, isn’t it kind of redundant? I mean, it’s “atheists and atheists” at that point, right?

          So, Jehovah’s Witnesses are being thrown into concentration camps, and Catholic priests are being thrown in jail throughout the Reich, but the one-off 1933 banning of the GFS was THE persecution to end all persecutions? It was a slap on the wrist – no one was harmed, then . . . . . nothing. Cue the calliope – Amos is in the building!

          Just make up your minds, guys. You argue Hitler was a Christian, then do a 180. You argue that atheists were Freethinkers, then do a 180.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, your emphasis is on atheists . . . . AND materialists? If materialists are atheists, isn’t it kind of redundant? I mean, it’s “atheists and atheists” at that point, right?

          Do you ever check anything before hitting the post button ffs?

          Your imbecility never ceases to amaze me. While materialists are atheists, not all atheists are materialists, both are non-believers in gods. Plenty of famous atheists were idealists too. Try harder.

          So, Jehovah’s Witnesses are being thrown into concentration camps, and Catholic priests are being thrown in jail throughout the Reich, but the one-off 1933 banning of the GFS was THE persecution to end all persecutions?

          So fucking asinine with one head. The example of the GFS was to show the Nazis attitude to non-believers. The whole GFS was banned because they didn’t believe in a supreme being.

          Now why was the JW’s banned? Was it because they were Christians who believed in God? C’mon, try harder ya fuckwit.

          Why were Catholic priests being thrown in jail? Was it because they were Christians who believed in God? C’mon, you can do better ya dopey cunt…just make an effort.

          It was a slap on the wrist – no one was harmed, then . . . . . nothing. Cue the calliope – Amos is in the building!

          You have a strange fetish for the straw man fallacy…it gives you a boner…but it makes you look a right fucking eejit.

          Just make up your minds, guys. You argue Hitler was a Christian, then do a 180.

          Where has any of us guys done this 180 bullshit you assert. There was/are more than one kind of Christian you dolt. Whatever sort of Christian he was or wasn’t, is of no importance to this discussion. He wasn’t an atheist and you haven’t demonstrated that he was.

          Even if he was, it doesn’t help your position, because by your own admission, atheist morals are not as a result of their atheism, so pah!

          You argue that atheists were Freethinkers, then do a 180.

          Only in that amoeba sized brain between your ears you idiot. You are really not very good at this online discussion malarkey at all, are ya? Perhaps you should return to the children’s table and brush up on it a wee bit. You are embarrassing yerself at the minute.

        • Susan

          Clearly, like all the others, he is plotting against you behind your back.

          Yet epeeist never claimed that. He asked a simple question. One for which you have no answer.

          Like any normal, objective person without a horse in this race, he equated “irreligious” with “atheist”.

          How many “christians” have I heard proclaim that they are “christian” but “not religious”? How many god believers have I heard proclaim that they are “spiritual” but “not religious”?

          There is nothing “normal” or “objective” involved here. You have no substance and play games with editorial terms to point away from that.

          We all know I am the dishonest one here.

          The evidence does seem to indicate that.

          Your discussions here begin with strawmen and burden shifting and then handwaving after that.

          “Look! Here is an ex-atheist who converted for logical reasons!”

          But the conversion story shows no logic after all.

          “Look! Morality made no sense to this ex-atheist wthout Yawhehjesus!”

          But the ex-atheist just seems to be repeating standard apologist tropes after an emotional conversion.

          Which is typical.

          Ask you to show the logical connection between Yahwehjesus and morality and you’ve got nothing.

          Also, you make statistical claims without doing statistics.

          Ask you what god you’re claiming and how you support it and you get defensive, accuse people of being narrow-minded and closed to the evidence, while in the same breath, presenting no evidence.

          So, yes. So far, you are the dishonest one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have claimed that atheism has implications but when I asked you what these were you didn’t deign to reply.

          And for all his bluster…immorality ain’t one of them, because he has already stated it is so…I’m left wondering what ta fuck he is arguing for here?

        • epeeist

          Well Clement is rather like Trump, honesty and integrity are immaterial when it comes to promoting Jesus.

        • Susan

          You have claimed that atheism has implications but when I asked you what these were you didn’t deign to reply.

          I think his reply is here:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/downsides_to_the_hope_offered_by_christianity_believing_because_its_consoling/#comment-4028997200

        • epeeist

          Thanks for that, missed it in the Disqus oubliette.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard.

          Except when it isn’t…which means you are lying again ffs.

        • Pofarmer

          See what they did there? They lied. Weird Huh. Could a national Socialist be a Jew?

        • Ignorant Amos

          All Christians are hypocrites don’t forget.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m starting to wonder if a certain number of them aren’t clinically brain dead.

        • epeeist

          I just went with the quote, “the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.”

          And once more you lie, what you said was:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          Not only do you drop the “approximately” from the source but you also miss the “better source needed” marker at the end of the sentence.

        • Greg G.

          From the Wikipedia article, Religion in Nazi Germany, which is apparently your source:

          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist”.[6]

          As I expected, there is a problem with your data comparison. You are comparing pre-Austria-annexation with post-Austria-annexation.

          I also came across the Wikipedia article, Religion in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Germany

          Those who left the churches were designated as Gottgläubig: they believed in a higher power, often a creator-God with a special interest in the German nation, but did not belong to any church, nor were they atheists.

          Regarding modern Germany from that same article:

          Demographics of religion in Germany vary greatly by region and age. A majority of Germans under 25 years-old claim to not believe in any religion.[4] Non-religious people (including atheists and agnostics) represent the majority in some of Germany’s major cities, including Berlin and Hamburg, and the absolute majority of 70–80% of the population in all the eastern states of what between 1949 and 1990 used to be the German Democratic Republic;[5] by contrast, rural areas of the western states of what in the same period used to be the Federal Republic of Germany are more religious, and some are highly religious.[6]

          What I said at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/07/downsides-to-the-hope-offered-by-christianity-believing-because-its-consoling/#comment-4037037919 was in jest but it seems to be the rule now.

        • Clement Agonistes

          From the Wikipedia article, Religion in Nazi Germany, which is apparently your source:

          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist”.[6]

          As I expected, there is a problem with your data comparison. You are comparing pre-Austria-annexation with post-Austria-annexation.

          In that article, under “Background”, there is a chart titled, “Religious statistics of Germany, 1910–1939“. It has two sets of figures for 1939, one that includes Austria and the Sudetenland, and one that is the Weimar Republic borders from the 1933 figures. Regardless of which figures one uses, the 1939 Christian percentage (adding Protestant and Catholic) is 94%. The only difference is skewing toward Catholicism and away from Protestantism – it’s a wash.

          I also came across the Wikipedia article, Religion in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

          Those who left the churches were designated as Gottgläubig: they believed in a higher power, often a creator-God with a special interest in the German nation, but did not belong to any church, nor were they atheists.

          It’s kind of a vague term, isn’t it. Elsewhere (maybe in that same article on Nazi religion), one of Hitler’s higher-ups (maybe Bormann) described “God” as a force that is subject to natural law and synonymous with power. One write-up called it a nazified religion. “BS” is my characterization. It was a political creation.

          In the article on modern Germany that you cited, I was immediately struck by the map showing the geography of beliefs. the former East Germany can easily be defined by its atheism. I have a theory about why that is that ties in nicely with this conversation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were no atheists in the Nazis….you’ve not demonstrated that there was…so until you do, you are talking rubbish.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In Germany during the Nazi era, a 1933 decree stated that “No National Socialist may suffer detriment… on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all”. However, the regime strongly opposed “godless communism”, and all of Germany’s atheist and largely left-wing freethought organizations such as the German Freethinkers League (500,000 members) were banned the same year; some right-wing groups were tolerated by the Nazis until the mid-1930s. In a speech made later in 1933, Hitler claimed to have “stamped out” the atheistic movement.

          By 1939, 94.5% of Germans still called themselves Protestant or Catholic, while 3.5% were so-called “Gottgläubigen” (lit. “believers in God”) and 1.5% were without faith. According to historian Richard J. Evans, those members of the affiliation gottgläubig “were convinced Nazis who had left their Church at the behest of the Party, which had been trying since the mid-1930s to reduce the influence of Christianity in society”. Heinrich Himmler was a strong promoter of the gottgläubig movement and didn’t allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”. Himmler announced to the SS: “We believe in a God Almighty who stands above us; he has created the earth, the Fatherland, and the Volk, and he has sent us the Führer. Any human being who does not believe in God should be considered arrogant, megalomaniacal, and stupid and thus not suited for the SS.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          …, preferably with a wire brush.

          And Dettol, don’t forget the Dettol…

          Time for a lighthearted moment in among the Agonistes mandwankery agony…

          A senior general (think of Stephen Fry as General Melchett) is visiting a field hospital during the First World War. He comes into a ward
          and approaches the first bed, where the soldier struggles to come to attention, lying down.
          “At ease,” says the general. “Why are you here?”
          “Piles, sir. Chronic piles. Can’t walk sir on account of the piles.”
          “I see” says the general. “What treatment are you being given?”
          “Wire brush and Dettol, sir. Wire brush and Dettol morning and evening.”
          “Jolly good. jolly good. And what do you want most in life?”
          “I want to get better so I can go out and kill the Hun for King and Country, sir.”
          “First rate. Carry on.” And the general goes to the next bed.

          “At ease,” says the general to the next chap. “Why are you here?”
          “Crabs sir. Chronic infestation of crabs.”
          “I see,” says the general, easing away a little. “What treatment?”
          “Wire brush and Dettol sir. Morning and evening, wire brush and Dettol.”
          “Excellent. First class. And what do you most want in life?”
          “I want to get well so I can kill hundreds of the bosche, sir.”
          “That’s the spirit,” and the general moves on to the third bed.

          “At ease,” says the general. “What are you in hospital for?”
          “Pyorrheoa, sir. Chronic infection of the gums.”
          “Yes, good, good. What treatment?”
          “Wire brush and Dettol, sir. Morning and evening, wire brush and Dettol.”
          “That’s the spirit. And what do you desire most in life?”
          “To get my hands on the wire brush before those two bastards use it.”

          Boom! Boom!

        • epeeist

          Coating it with misogynistic insults only serves to show just what your true nature is.

          Misogynistic? I am not anti-women, I am anti-stupid.

        • Pofarmer

          You may be battling severe Dunning/Krueger on this one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Defo an element of that involved.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Then the “stupid” in front of it would have been redundant. A racist would argue that “nigger” is defined as “a lazy person”.

          …. but we all know the truth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Idiot….try a Google search before typing…ya stupid cunt.

          Derek & Clive –
          “You Stupid Cunt”

          http://www.phespirit.info/derekandclive/come_again_01.htm

        • Susan

          Then the “stupid” in front of it would have been redundant.

          People use redundant language for emphasis all the time. In many languages. “Stupid idiot” or “stupid moron”, for instance.. Also, possibly redundant language like “stupid asshole” or “stupid liar”.

          A racist would argue that “nigger” is defined as “a lazy person”…

          And a Brit would just know that “cunt” means “idiot”.

          You hypocrite. You make grand claims about existential points and attack people for asking you to define your vague language when you try to connect unsupported points.

          But when Greg G. uses evangelical ( a term used by evangelicals) or epeeist uses “cunt” (a term used normally in Britain to describe an idiot), you nitpick about terminology.

          I will describe you as a weaselly hypocrite.

          I will be happy to define my terms.

          “Weasel” is a common term used to describe a slippery and dishonest human and is no slur against literal weasels.

          I love literal weasels. (Despite the fact that Yahwehjesus didn’t bother to die for them). I’d rather deal with a literal weasel than an internet weasel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Two of Hitler’s inner circle were atheists.

          Anti-Christian church is not synonymous with renouncing their belief in God …something you seem to be struggling to comprehend.

          It has yet to be demonstrated that two of Hitler’s inner circle were atheists.

          “[He believed that] God is present, but as a world-force which presides over the laws of life which the Nazis alone have understood. This non-Christian theism, tied to Nordic blood, was current in Germany long before Bormann wrote down his own thoughts on the matter. It must now be restored, and the catastrophic mistakes of the past centuries, which had put the power of the state into the hands of the Church, must be avoided. The Gauleiters are advised to conquer the influence of the Christian Churches by keeping them divided, encouraging particularism among them…”

          If atheists were being persecuted, other ambitious Nazis would have used this against them to have Bormann and Goebbels removed.

          You’d think so wouldn’t ya? Especially with the power struggles that went on at the level of those guys, yet no such move was attempted. Now either they were not deemed to be atheists, hence there is no such displacement necessary. Or atheists were not persecuted. Now we know that atheists were persecuted, and we know that Himmler would not allow atheists into the SS…guess what rank Bormann held? Promoted in 1940 to SS-Obergruppenführer. But Himmler wouldn’t have an atheist in the SS…how can that be?

          Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS, said of Bormann, “I hope I can succeed in outmaneuvering him without having to get rid of him.”

          As for Goebbals…

          “What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.”

          “A nation without a religion – that is like a man without breath.”

          “Christianity is not a religion for the masses, let alone for all. Cultivated by few and translated into deeds, it is one of the most splendid blossoms that can grow in the soul of a good man.”

          “My God is a God of strength. HE does not like the smell of frankincense and the dishonoring crawl of the crowd. I stand before HIM proudly, with the head held high, as HE created me, and I profess gladly and freely before HIM. The true German seeks God for all of his life.”

          “I feel how inside of me word follows word and thought follows thought, growing to the last act of creation. Holy hour of bringing forth, you are pain and pleasure, and a longing for form, image and essence. I am only the instrument that God uses to sing his song. I am only the vessel that nature smilingly fills with new wine.”

          “At night I sit in my chamber and read the Bible. Far in the distance roars the sea. Then I lie down and think for a long time about the calm and pale man from Nazareth.”

          An atheist he was not.

          Instead, they were renouncing their Christianity – the raw number of Christians in the ratio was decreasing.

          The numbers on the atheist side of the ratio were not going up though.

          Why is it even relevant? Atheists, you admit, don’t get morality from their atheism, they get it from somewhere else. That somewhere else you suggest, and cite Klavan as support, is that they get their morality from the Christian world view and God. Christian’s from the same place…which means all Nazis, Christian and the imaginary atheist ones you’ve invented, got their morality from the same place…ya can’t have it both ways.

          Even IA saw the flaw in that logic, noting that all Germans were not Nazis.

          That’s right, but then you are conflating German’s in Nazi Germany to Nazi German’s.

          At its peak, the Nazi Party only had about 10% of the German population.

          Academic…35% of Germans were Nazi Germans…probably more…they were Nazi followers/sympathizers…it was their votes that got the Nazis into power. They were aware of the shenanigans the Nazis were up to and supported them in it. You were comparing Christian Nazis to fictitious atheist Nazis. That’s the ratio you need to demonstrate is anywhere near 1:1…you haven’t.

          What was happening in the SS was a far better gauge of Nazi attitudes than the German population as a whole.

          And in the SS there were no atheists.

          There were few Christians in the SS.

          Nope.

          Still, by 1938 “only 21.9 percent of SS members described themselves as gottgläubig, whereas 54 percent remained Protestant and just under 24 percent Catholic.” Belief in God among the SS did not constitute adherence to traditional Christian doctrine nor were its members consummate theologians, as the SS outright banned certain Christian organizations like the International Bible Research Association, a group whose pacifism the SS rejected.

          And whatever God belief the SS had at any time…there were no atheists, it was forbidden.

          Relative to the general population, there would have been fewer Christians among Nazis. . . . . . and more atheists.

          You are lying. You have done nothing to demonstrate this fuckwittery.

          If Nazism is the determinant of moral inferiority (I don’t accept Otto’s premise), then the case is stronger for Christian moral superiority than it is for atheism.

          Atheism says nothing about moral superiority, something pointed out to you and with which you agreed.

          Otto’s conclusion that atheism is the superior moral model (only I challenged this claim, BTW) is not supported.

          Where did Otto make this claim? This is the lie you keep repeating. Atheism says nothing about morality. It is a position based on one question. You already conceded this.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Adolf Hitler’s religious beliefs have been a matter of debate; the wide consensus of historians consider him to have been irreligious, anti-Christian, anti-clerical and scientistic.”

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

        • Ignorant Amos

          And as usual, you address nothing in my comment and play the “look, over there, squirrels!” game.

          But anyway…to your bullshit…

          Consensus? Where’s this consensus? Does this consensus say he was an atheist? No. What they say is something else entirely.

          For a man whom history can never forget, Adolf Hitler remains a persistent mystery on one front—his religious faith. Atheists tend to insist Hitler was a devout Christian. Christians counter that he was an atheist. And still others suggest that he was a practicing member of the occult.

          None of these theories are true, says historian Richard Weikart. Delving more deeply into the question of Hitler’s religious faith than any researcher to date, Weikart reveals the startling and fascinating truth about the most hated man of the 20th century: Adolf Hitler was a pantheist who believed nature was God. In Hitler’s Religion, Weikart explains how the laws of nature became Hitler’s only moral guide—how he became convinced he would serve God by annihilating supposedly “inferior” human beings and promoting the welfare and reproduction of the allegedly superior Aryans in accordance with racist forms of Darwinism prevalent at the time.

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hitlers-Religion-Twisted-Beliefs-Drove/dp/1621575004

          Hitler repeatedly affirmed the existence of God, but his conception of God differed substantially from the Bible’s. He rejected Christ’s divinity and frequently mocked Christianity. Hitler, Weikart points out, was a baptized, confirmed Catholic raised in Austria, a predominantly Catholic country, and he retained some vestiges of Christianity. Nevertheless, he repeatedly repudiated Christianity (especially privately) as “a Jewish plot to undermine the heroic ideals of the Aryan-dominated Roman Empire.” Hitler denounced Christianity as a poison, outmoded and dying, ridiculed its teachings, and persecuted Protestant and Catholic churches alike during the Third Reich [in cases when they refused to do his bidding]. Nor was Hitler an occultist, [as some have claimed], since he explicitly repudiated key occult convictions and mystical practices.

          Weikert claims Hitler was a pantheist.

          I give zero fucks anyway, unless the evidence supports the claim conclusively, which it doesn’t, it is just an argument from popularity, then Hitler was not an atheist. It doesn’t, and he wasn’t.

          There is any number of historians that make claims about the religion of Hitler…but it is all moot in this discussion.

          Let’s play DA and grant you that Hitler was an atheist, where did he get his morals from?

          Not atheism, you’ve already conceded that as nonsense.

          What did Klavan say again? A Christian world religion?

          Where did those one third of German’s who were supporters of Hitler’s regime and were Christian’s, get their morality from?

          Hitler and his cohorts were pieces of shit, atheist or not, but since they couldn’t have got their morals from atheism, why are you still trying to associate atheism with this immorality?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hence your claim is false and all of your wittering about the SS and inaccuracies is irrelevant.

          Particular so, because there was no atheists in the SS…they weren’t allowed.

        • epeeist

          . I provided a quote from that Wikipedia article showing that 70% of SS
          officers – the hard core of Nazis – left their Christian churches in
          order to be in the organization.

          Ah yes, but you weren’t talking about the ratio of Christian SS officers to Nazi atheists were you, you were specifically comparing Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists.

          The fact that you have to change your original query says much about your inability to support it and even more about your lack of intellectual integrity.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not sure what you mean by “changing my original query”, but I’ll take a stab at it. My original query in this Nazi thread was the ratio of atheists to Christians among Nazis. Among the general German population, that ratio might have been something like 1:99. Can we agree on this point?

          So, there are two terms in our ration – atheists and Christians. Anything that affects the raw numbers on either group affects the ratio. For instance, if the number of atheists were cut in half, the ratio might double to something like 1:200.

          I am not claiming that SS officers are the sum total of all Nazis – clearly, there are non-officers in the SS. However, they do represent a good stand-in for those with the strongest Nazi beliefs. We would expect to see comparable trends in others with relatively less-strong Nazi beliefs. It doesn’t definitively answer the question, but it does give us reason to believe that the ratio will not be the same for Nazis (my point) as for the general population (yours).

          In one arm of the SS, 100% of Christians renounced their churches. In the other, 70% did so. In our ratio, the number of Christians decreased drastically. As a for-instance, if the number of atheists in our ratio stayed the same, but the number of Christians decreased by 90%, our ratio changes to something on the order of 1:10, which is vastly different than what it was n the general population.

          If we call BS on the “Pagan Occult” religion, the number on the atheist side of the ratio could increase significantly.

        • epeeist

          My original query in this Nazi thread was the ratio of atheists to Christians among Nazis.

          Yes.

          Among the general German population, that ratio might have been something like 1:99. Can we agree on this point?

          I see that you have now switched from the ratio Christians:Atheists to Atheists:Christians.

          I am not claiming that SS officers are the sum total of all Nazis

          In the context of the ration of Nazi Christians:Nazi atheists in general the whole SS thing is a complete red herring and I am not going to discuss it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          My original query in this Nazi thread was the ratio of atheists to Christians among Nazis.

          Yes.

          Among the general German population, that ratio might have been something like 1:99. Can we agree on this point?

          I see that you have now switched from the ratio Christians:Atheists to Atheists:Christians.

          I see your point – that makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it?

          I am not claiming that SS officers are the sum total of all Nazis

          In the context of the ration of Nazi Christians:Nazi atheists in general the whole SS thing is a complete red herring and I am not going to discuss it.

          Well, du-uh, what does the SS have to do with Nazis?

          I’m sorry the conversation isn’t going your way. You are justified in shutting it down.

        • epeeist

          Well, du-uh, what does the SS have to do with Nazis?

          The SS has quite a lot to do with the Nazis, but nothing to do with your claim about the ration of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists.

          I’m sorry the conversation isn’t going your way.

          Well I’m not the one having problems with basic arithmetic or desperately trying to switch claims.

        • Greg G.

          Xianity has all that moral writing. Once a person rejects Xianity, one can write anything in its place.

          But once a person accepts Xianity, one can write anything in the place of other moral writings, which is what Xtianity has done for its own culture. Buddhism has moral writings, too.

          Xtian moral writings are Bible-based and teaches us that there is something wrong with picking up sticks but just one day of the week. It teaches us that having slaves and beating them is moral, even letting us know which types of beatings incur penalties.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Greg, I guess my point is more about hypocrisy – if your view of reality says nothing about morality, you can never be accused of hypocrisy. I am being told that a view with numerous moral teachings is morally inferior to a view with no teachings at all. That doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Greg G.

          My view of morality is based on reality. My morality is not based on pretending there are god thingies dictating morality. I think basing a morality on what you suppose are the preferences of a thingy you can only imagine is as absurd as it gets. Especially when said god thingy is logically incoherent.

          My morality is based on empathy and understanding actual people as well as I can.

        • Clement Agonistes

          My view of morality is based on reality. My morality is not based on pretending flawed people dictate morality. I think basing a morality on what you suppose are the whims of society is as absurd as it gets. Especially when said society is logically incoherent.

          My morality is based on empathy and understanding actual people as well as I can.

          Or, “We disagree.”

        • Susan

          My morality is not based on pretending flawed people dictate morality.

          But you’re catholic, aren’t you? If so, then yes, it is.

          I think basing a morality on what you suppose are the whims of society is as absurd as it gets. Especially when said society is logically incoherent.

          But the whims of the RCC are the whims of a society that is not logically coherent.

          My morality is based on empathy and understanding actual people as well as I can.

          Lol.

        • Clement Agonistes

          My morality is not based on pretending flawed people dictate morality.

          But you’re catholic, aren’t you? If so, then yes, it is.

          This marks the third time I can remember one of you taking a stab at this and getting it wrong. I’ve never mentioned a particular sect because i consider it irrelevant and mere fodder for diversions like this.

          My morality is based on empathy and understanding actual people as well as I can.

          Lol.

          There’s a reason the Golden Rule is golden.

        • Susan

          This marks the third time I can remember one of you taking a stab at this and getting it wrong

          All right. You’re not catholic.

          Your morality is still based on flawed people dictating morality.

          I consider it irrelevant

          Being clear about what claims you accept is not irrelevant.

          There’s a reason the Golden Rule is golden.

          The Golden Rule requires no Yahwehjesus belief.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Golden Rule is flawed and really not all that golden. Philosophers have been coming to terms with that. Which is why “Susan’s Moral Rule”…“My morality is based on empathy and understanding actual people as well as I can.” is far superior.

          The Platinum Rule is more superior to The Golden Rule, which is found in the NT at Matthew 5:43-45, but Christian’s ignore it and for good reason. So, dishonesty prevails.

          I think anyone who views the case objectively must admit that this principle of sacrifice represents a higher moral value than the laissez-faire attitude of the Golden Rule in its negative form, and a higher moral value than the reciprocity principle of its positive form as well. The chief criticism that can be raised against the Platinum Rule is that it requires more than most of us are able to deliver. However, that may say less about the Platinum Rule than about human nature.

          https://philosophynow.org/issues/74/The_Golden_Rule_Not_So_Golden_Anymore

        • Susan

          Susan’s Moral Rule

          It’s actually Greg G.’s moral rule.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I seen that too…but I’m hoping CA might read my reply to you and it made more sense to let you have the rights under those circumstances.

          I’m sure the rule applies to lots of us, even though it was Greg that worded it so precisely. Kudos for that me auld china.

        • Greg G.

          You mean I was right? I wish I could remember what drugs I was on.

        • Susan

          I seen that too…but I’m hoping CA might read my reply to you and it made more sense to let you have the rights under those circumstances.

          I know. Disqus forces our hands, sometimes.

          I’m sure the rulle applies to lots of us.

          I think so too. Greg G. is trying to establish morality as something that applies to agents that actually exist.

          You guys know me. I don’t preach about it but I extend it to earthlings that aren’t humans. I’m not sure how we can avoid doing that.

          Clement wants to say the source is a claim of some humans about a specific, incoherent, unevidenced being. Good luck on that in a moral philosophy course.

          it was Greg that worded it so precisely. Kudos for that me auld china.

          Kudos, indeed. It’s a step closer to moral reasoning. He doesn’t waste energy on apparently imaginary beings.

          One of my rules of morality is that itaddresses a relationship with things that can be shown to exist and we can proceed from there.

          While Clement seems to want to say that without Yahwehjesus belief, morality is meaningless.

          But he doesn’t seem to be interested in making a case for it.

        • Otto

          >>>”Good luck on that in a moral philosophy course.”

          All those stupid professors don’t realize everything they teach is founded on religion…

        • epeeist

          All right. You’re not catholic.

          He hasn’t said he is, he hasn’t said he isn’t…

        • Susan

          he hasn’t said he isn’t

          He said:

          This marks the third time I can remember one of you taking a stab at this and getting it wrong

          The stab I took was that he was catholic. He tells me I got it wrong.

        • epeeist

          OK, I freely admit I may have got this wrong.

          Is my memory correct in that we have argued Aristotelian metaphysics with Clement in the past? If so, then how many non-Catholic Aristotelians have you come across?

        • Susan

          Is my memory correct in that we have argued Aristotelian metaphysics with Clement in the past?

          I don’t remember doing so. You might be thinking of Ameribear.

          I think they were commenting at the same time a while back.

        • epeeist

          You might be thinking of Ameribear.

          Yes, in which case I withdraw my comment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My view of morality is based on reality.

          So not the teachings of the RCC then?

          You cherry-pick your morality from the catechism and such like?

          Limbo babies…is that a morality based on reality? Wise ta fuck up Clement, you’ve been well and truly undone with your fuckwittery.

        • Greg G.

          Especially when said society is logically incoherent.

          Are you disputing that society exists? Or that you do not grasp that societies develop from contingent histories?

          Your morality is based on what flawed people suppose are the preferences of a god thingy imagined by flawed people.

          So there!

        • epeeist

          if your view of reality says nothing about morality, you can never be accused of hypocrisy

          You made this comment after I pointed out that simpliciter atheism does not entail a particular ethical system, which is different to atheists not having a moral foundation. And yet here you are again making comments that ignore things that have already been said.

          You do realise that others can see your posts and not just the person you are replying to I presume.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You do realise that others can see your posts and not just the person you are replying to I presume.

          I have assumed that, however, people will address a point I covered days ago as if it never happened. The context of your comment here seems to suggest that you put this issue to bed days ago. You are arguing against points I am not making, and against truths we all agree on.

          I have NEVER said atheists have no morals. I have NEVER said they have inferior morals. I HAVE said their morals MUST come from someplace other than atheism. Atheists have the liberty to choose ANY place to get their morals. It’s not that I am ignoring what you say. It’s that it adds nothing to the conversation that hasn’t already been said.

          Note that you call me a dishonest [vagina] because I made a comment about the number of atheists vs Christians among Nazis. When we get to the facts, we find out you are the one dodging the point and citing deceptive stats. I let the facts speak for themselves. You name-call. . . . . but it wasn’t your fault; it was mine. You are just an innocent puppet in my masterful hands, it would seem. Seriously?

        • epeeist

          I have NEVER said atheists have no morals.

          Not explicitly, but the intimation of phrases such as ” the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions” is that the “Nazi atheist” has no moral compass. In other words, just weasel words.

          When we get to the facts, we find out you are the one dodging the point and citing deceptive stats.

          What “deceptive stats”? For some reason you asked what the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was. I pointed out that a Freethinkers organisation was banned and I followed up with estimates of the number of Christians and atheists in Germany at the start of WWII.

          Oh and you might care to look at this set of quotations:

          And to that charge I can answer: In the first place it is Christians and not international atheists who now stand at the head of Germany.

          and:

          We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.

          and a longer one:

          National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The Church’s interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement

          EDIT: All of the above quotations are from Hitler

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have NEVER said atheists have no morals.

          Not explicitly, but the intimation of phrases such as ” the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions” is that the “Nazi atheist” has no moral compass. In other words, just weasel words.

          No, not even implicitly. Look, I have my work cut out for me defending what I actually said. I don’t need you out there fabricating arguments I never made. As I clarified multiple times, an atheist has to get his morals – good or bad – from someplace other than atheism. I had hoped we had agreement on this point. He COULD choose to adopt National Socialism’s values. If he did, there is no conflict; contradiction in his atheism. He does not need to ignore some parts and twist other parts to make the two fit. There is no hypocrisy.

          When we get to the facts, we find out you are the one dodging the point and citing deceptive stats.

          What “deceptive stats”? For some reason you asked what the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was. I pointed out that a Freethinkers organisation was banned and I followed up with estimates of the number of Christians and atheists in Germany at the start of WWII.

          1) Your stat was for ALL Germans, not “Nazis” – you changed topics (dodged the point”).
          2) Your stat told us nothing about the effects of Nazi policies. Looking at the change form 1933 to 1939, we see a decrease in Christians, and increases in atheists and pagans. If Nazi policies wiped out atheists, we wouldn’t see their percentage increase.

        • Clement Agonistes

          and a longer one:

          National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The Church’s interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement

          EDIT: All of the above quotations are from Hitler

          Well, if there is one thing we know about Hitler, it is that he was not the kind of man who said one thing and did another, right?

          The Wikipedia article we have been referring to actually came close to answering the question I asked that you have been working so hard to avoid:
          Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig, while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.” The number of Christians among hard-core Nazis was very small.

          It had a lengthy discussion under “National Socialist attitudes towards Christianity“. Here are some of the highlights:
          “aggressive anti-Church radicals like Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, and Heinrich Himmler saw the kirchenkampf campaign against the Churches as a priority concern, and anti-church and anticlerical sentiments were strong among grassroots party activists.
          Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, saw an “insoluble opposition” between the Christian and Nazi world views.[34] The Fuehrer angered the churches by appointing Alfred Rosenberg, an outspoken pagan, as official Nazi ideologist in 1934.[35] Heinrich Himmler saw the main task of his Schutzstaffel (SS) organization to be that of acting as the vanguard in overcoming Christianity and restoring a “Germanic” way of living.[36] Hitler’s chosen deputy, Martin Bormann, advised Nazi officials in 1941 that “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.”[35]
          Hitler himself possessed radical instincts in relation to the conflict with the Churches in Germany. Though he occasionally spoke of wanting to delay the Church struggle and was prepared to restrain his anti-clericalism out of political considerations, his “own inflammatory comments gave his immediate underlings all the license they needed to turn up the heat in the Church Struggle, confident that they were ‘working towards the Fuhrer,'”

          “Christianity remained the dominant religion in Germany through the Nazi period, and its influence over Germans displeased the Nazi hierarchy. Evans wrote that Hitler believed that in the long run National Socialism and religion would not be able to coexist, and stressed repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, founded on modern science.”

          “During Hitler’s dictatorship, more than 6,000 clergymen, on the charge of treasonable activity, were imprisoned or executed.”

          “Hitler promised the Reichstag on 23 March 1933, that he would not interfere with the rights of the churches. However, with power secured in Germany, Hitler quickly broke this promise.[54][55] Various historians have written that the goal of the Nazi Kirchenkampf (Church Struggle) entailed not only ideological struggle, but ultimately the eradication of the Churches.”

          “In Hitler’s eyes, Christianity was a religion fit only for slaves; he detested its ethics in particular. Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.
          — Extract from Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock
          Writing for Yad Vashem, the historian Michael Phayer wrote that by the latter 1930s, church officials knew that the long-term aim of Hitler was the “total elimination of Catholicism and of the Christian religion”

          “Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, if there is one thing we know about Hitler, it is that he was not the kind of man who said one thing and did another, right?

          Typical Christian then, eh?

          You don’t get it yet, do ya? It’s what the German people believed that is important, and Hitler told them what they wanted to hear about God, Christianity, and the Nazis…how much honesty or sincerity in all that pomp and circumstance, is debatable and may never be known. The fact is, Christian’s followed him because they believed he was a godly Christian. That’s where their God-given morality lead them.

          The Wikipedia article we have been referring to actually came close to answering the question I asked that you have been working so hard to avoid:

          “Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig, while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.”

          The number of Christians among hard-core Nazis was very small.

          What about the not-so-hardcore-Nazis?

          So, now it is about splitting hairs…gottgläubig Nazis were not atheists. They were “God believers”…so where did they get their morality from?

          Nothing in the rest of that post rescues your atheist:Christian ratio in Nazi Germany bullshit.

          Read “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII”…

          Backed by a wealth of new research, John Cornwell tells for the first time the story of the World War II career of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who was Pope Pius XII, arguably the most dangerous churchman in modern history. In the first decade of the century, as a brilliant young Vatican lawyer, Pacelli helped shape a new ideology of unprecedented papal power in Germany. In 1933 Hitler became his negotiating partner, an agreement was arranged that granted religious and financial payments to the Catholic Church in exchange for their withdrawal from social and political privillage, ensuring the rise of Nazism.

          Hitler would never have achieved full autonomy without the Catholic German Centre Party stepping aside and supporting the “Enabling Act”.

          Hitler believed that with the Centre Party members’ votes, he would get the necessary two-thirds majority. Hitler negotiated with the Centre Party’s chairman, Ludwig Kaas, a Catholic priest, finalising an agreement by 22 March. Kaas agreed to support the Act in exchange for assurances of the Centre Party’s continued existence, the protection of Catholics’ civil and religious liberties, religious schools and the retention of civil servants affiliated with the Centre Party. It has also been suggested that some members of the SPD were intimidated by the presence of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) throughout the proceedings.

          Some historians, such as Klaus Scholder, have maintained that Hitler also promised to negotiate a Reichskonkordat with the Holy See, a treaty that formalised the position of the Catholic Church in Germany on a national level. Kaas was a close associate of Cardinal Pacelli, then Vatican Secretary of State (and later Pope Pius XII). Pacelli had been pursuing a German concordat as a key policy for some years but the instability of Weimar governments as well as the enmity of some parties to such a treaty rendered the project moot. The day after the Enabling Act vote, Kaas went to Rome in order to, in his own words, “investigate the possibilities for a comprehensive understanding between church and state”. However, so far no evidence for a link between the Enabling Act and the Reichskonkordat signed on 20 July 1933 has surfaced.

          “Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists”

          Funny thing the RCC never seen fit to excommunicate them…celebrating Hitlers birthday and sending him best wishes on surviving assassination attempts…though other German Catholics were excommunicated for supporting cremation over burial…go figure.

          I think you broke “Godwin’s Law” way back when you brought up atheist Nazis vis a vis Christian Nazis…and opened up this red herring of another rabbit hole. Fuckwit.

        • epeeist

          Well, if there is one thing we know about Hitler, it is that he was not the kind of man who said one thing and did another, right?

          Which is why the RCC excommunicated him. Oh wait, no it didn’t.In fact Cardinal Bertram ordered that all the churches of his archdiocese hold a special requiem mass for him.

          Let’s not be dogmatic on this though, the RCC did take action against one member of the Nazi hierarchy, Goebbels was excommunicated because he married a previously divorced protestant woman.

          Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists

          And Blainey’s actual evidence for this is?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, if there is one thing we know about Hitler, it is that he was not the kind of man who said one thing and did another, right?

          Which is why the RCC excommunicated him. Oh wait, no it didn’t.In fact Cardinal Bertram ordered that all the churches of his archdiocese hold a special requiem mass for him.

          Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans compromised their religious beliefs to that regime. Hitler was persecuting Catholics in Germany (et.al.), and the Pope may have thought he could mitigate the harm by not pissing Hitler off. If you want to make the case that Christians give in to (even mild) pressure, I cheerful grant that premise. I told Otto every Christian is a hypocrite. Your point does not justify your conclusion. You are being deceptive.

          Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists

          And Blainey’s actual evidence for this is?

          Clearly, he just made them up. That is the only possible explanation for why he would say something that got in your way.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans compromised their religious beliefs to that regime.

          Nope..and it has been demonstrated to you that a Christian hatred of the Jews as Jesus killers goes back to the NT was part of Christian belief throughout the ages.

          Hitler was persecuting Catholics in Germany (et.al.),…

          Hitler was persecuting anyone whom he perceived to be a threat, including Nazis, but he allied himself with those that could further his ambition.

          …and the Pope may have thought he could mitigate the harm by not pissing Hitler off.

          Wise up…when you know what your talking about, then comment. The pope…and the then future pope Eugenio Pacelli… were consorting with Hitler well before he was in a position to do anything about anyone pissing him off. And after he was in a position to do something, there is a difference between pissing off and appeasement.

          If you want to make the case that Christians give in to (even mild) pressure, I cheerful grant that premise.

          The issue is about morals…specifically the ones you claim for Christianity. Clearly they were absent during this period. Hitler was being a cunt before he had overall power and the German people, most of whom were Christian, were sucking his dick instead of finding ways to oust him.

          I told Otto every Christian is a hypocrite.

          Because you told Otto is irrelevant. We knew already. But if every Christian is a hypocrite, then they are all immoral.

          Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in a general sense, hypocrisy may involve dissimulation, pretense, or a sham. Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles.

          You’ve just conceded the argument.

          Your point does not justify your conclusion.

          Yes…it does…and you just confirmed it.

          You are being deceptive.

          Spoooiiing!

          Clearly, he just made them up. That is the only possible explanation for why he would say something that got in your way.

          You can’t support the source you cite then? It’s not what Blainey wrote, but what evidence he uses to support his claim, that is what has been requested.

          So, now you are using the fallacy of the argument from authority then?

          In A Short History of Christianity, the historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists, but that Hitler courted and benefited from fear among German Christians of militant Communist atheism. “The aggressive spread of atheism in the Soviet Union alarmed many German Christians”, wrote Blainey, and with the National Socialists becoming the main opponent of Communism in Germany: “[Hitler] himself saw Christianity as a temporary ally, for in his opinion ‘one is either a Christian or a German’. To be both was impossible. Nazism itself was a religion, a pagan religion, and Hitler was its high priest… Its high altar [was] Germany itself and the German people, their soil and forests and language and traditions”.

          Hyperbole is easy…it sells copy, but it is worth fuck all if it can’t be demonstrated as having any veracity, even when coming from an authority.

        • Susan

          Clearly, he just made them up. That is the only possible explanation for why he would say something that got in your way.

          So far, all we have is you saying that he said it. No citation. No explanation.

          And then a smarmy “Clearly, he just made them up” when asked to support it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          1) I was not asked to support it. I was asked where Blainey’s evidence for his conclusion is.
          2) I cited where i got the quote. It was a direct quote. That is why epeeist did not challenge the quote itself, but fell back to his next layer of evasion. The article had a citation had epeeist been sincere.
          3) it was not the only quote from that article stating that Hitler was an atheist.

        • Susan

          I was not asked to support it. I was asked where Blainey’s evidence for his conclusion is

          That’s what people generally mean when they ask you to support something.

          I cited where I got the quote.

          Could you please provide the link to the specific article? So far, all I have found is a discussion about an article. It is Disqus so it’s possible that you provided the link but I can’t find it.

          If you don’t know (that is, if it’s a technical problem), just right click on the page title and paste it into the next combox in response.

          but fell back to his next layer of evasion

          You’re making stuff up again, Clement. He asked you a very specific question. What is Blainey’s actual evidence for this? He didn’t say there isn’t any.

          It’s just if you’re going to say someone claimed something and expect us to take it on authority, it’s normal to show how they came to that conclusion.

          The article had a citation had epeeist been sincere.

          And the citation includes Blainey’s evidence for his conclusion? If it does, you can directly link to it by opening the citation and copy/pasting it into the combox.

          It was not the only quote from that article stating that HItler was an atheist

          Again, it might not be. I don’t have the article, nor the references, nor the quotes nor the support for the claim.

          He might well have been. That doesn’t mean all Nazis were atheists.

          Without Nazis, HItler couldn’t have accomplished much.

          Anyway, please provide links.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Let’s see if this works:

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

          The paragraph of specific interest here reads:
          Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists, but that Hitler courted and benefited from fear among German Christians of militant Communist atheism.[77] (Other historians have characterised Hitler’s mature religious position as a form of deism.) “The aggressive spread of atheism in the Soviet Union alarmed many German Christians”, wrote Blainey, and with the National Socialists becoming the main opponent of Communism in Germany: “[Hitler] himself saw Christianity as a temporary ally, for in his opinion ‘one is either a Christian or a German’. To be both was impossible. Nazism itself was a religion, a pagan religion, and Hitler was its high priest… Its high altar [was] Germany itself and the German people, their soil and forests and language and traditions”.[77] Nonetheless, a number of early confidants of Hitler detailed the Führer’s complete lack of religious belief. One close confidant, Otto Strasser, disclosed in his 1940 book, Hitler and I, that Hitler was a true disbeliever, succinctly stating: Hitler is an atheist.[78]

          It is found about 2/3rds of the way through the section titled, “National Socialist attitudes towards Christianity“. The section finishes with Martin Bormann defining “God” as “the force governed by natural law”. This might shed some light on what they meant by “god believers”.

        • Susan

          Let’s see if this works.

          It does. Thank you for providing a link.

          Here is a page on Gottlaubig,which includes

          The Nazis were not favourable towards religious institutions, nor did they tolerate atheism on the part of their membership: Gottgläubigkeit was a kind of officially sanctioned unorganised religion. The 1943 Philosophical Dictionary defined gottgläubig as: “official designation for those who profess a specific kind of piety and morality, without being bound to a church denomination, whilst however also rejecting irreligion and godlessness.”[3] In the 1939 census, 3.5% of the German population identified as gottgläubig.[2]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottgl%C3%A4ubig

          I will try to respond in the morning.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Clement doesn’t get it.

          No one is denying that, “Geoffrey Blainey wrote that Hitler and his Fascist ally Mussolini were atheists” and he wrote this in his book. What is being requested is the source for Blainey’s claim. What is his evidence for his claim? Until we can see why Blainey made his assertion, that’s all it is, an assertion. Clement thinks that citing a wiki that cites a book by a particular historian is all that is required.

          Is Blainey’s source Otto Strasser’s book “Hitler and I”? If so, it is highly problematic.

          http://mediotutissimus.blogspot.com/2015/04/hitler-and-i-otto-strasser.html

          I’m wondering if Blainey’s evidence is so convincing, why is the question even being asked among historians and scholars alike?

        • Sample1

          Gottesglaubich, as someone who used to speak German more fluently than I do now, sounds what we’d call deistic today.

          Not living there I’m likely not understanding the colloquial meaning but it comes off as a very* general God belief to me. That said, it was never taught to me, just looking at the parts in the word involved which can be tricky to translate in many languages but German usually makes it easier than most. I did get an odd feeling saying it, trying to think in Deutsch, which I’m not sure is a result of the Nazi association or the etymology itself.

          Mike
          *is very needed? Haha.
          Edit done.

        • Otto

          >>>”I told Otto every Christian is a hypocrite.”

          Jesus was a hypocrite, so it is not surprising.

        • Clement Agonistes

          because . . . . .?

        • Otto

          Love God…Love your neighbor…Love your enemies …are the basis of what your think Christianity is all about right? Which ones did he violate?

        • Clement Agonistes

          IMO, in order to be a hypocrite, one has to say one thing but do another. The only instance I can think of where it could be argued that Jesus did such a thing was when he turned over the money changers’ tables. is that what you are talking about?

          Or, maybe you were thinking that my comment about living Christians included those of ages gone by?

        • Otto

          >>>”The only instance I can think of where it could be argued that Jesus did such a thing was when he turned over the money changers’ tables. is that what you are talking about?”

          Oh I can come up with others…but for this exercise one is enough.

          >>>”Or, maybe you were thinking that my comment about living Christians included those of ages gone by?”

          You mean your comment didn’t include all Christians past and present?

          Not that it matters to my point. I went back to the person credited with starting Christianity, and the person worshiped in Christianity. Since Christians worship a hypocrite is it all that surprising that current Christians are all hypocrites too?

        • Clement Agonistes

          If you are going to argue that Jesus was a hypocrite, then I think it is crucial that you demonstrate a contrast between stated values and actions. I threw out one possible example, but I’m not sure what the contrasted value would be (“Slow to anger”?).

          The context of the comment that got us into this particular point had to do with Christians who were Nazis. I pointed out that every Christian gives in to societal pressure to engage in behavior that is not consistent with their stated values. The behavior does not cause the values to cease to exist.

          Your comment is so far removed from relevancy to the topic that it has the feel of a troll. If you are just venting, I’m OK with that, but let’s not go on as if you were being serious. If you are serious, then make your case rather than just assertions.

        • Otto

          >>>”The context of the comment that got us into this particular point had to do with Christians who were Nazis.”

          No, the comment that got us to this particular point was you saying all Christians are hypocrites and basically violate one of your big 3 of Christian values (Love God…Love you neighbor…Love your Enemies).

          >>>”If you are going to argue that Jesus was a hypocrite, then I think it is crucial that you demonstrate a contrast between stated values and actions. ”

          The values of loving neighbors and loving enemies is contrasted by Jesus walking into the Temple grounds and turning over tables chasing people around with a home made whip, ect. It was an act of violence and was certainly not the behavior of someone loving neighbors and loving enemies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Something that would’ve been unnecessary had Jesus have the powers he has been accredited with in the yarn.

          Also, the Jesus in the yarn says one thing in public, but another in private…

          Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. ~ Matthew 10:34-35

          And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. ~ Mark 13:11-12

        • Greg G.

          In Matthew, Jesus is against using the sword in general. In Luke, Jesus advises to buy a sword.

          Matthew 26:52 (NRSV)52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

          Luke 22:36 (NRSV)36 He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.

          Jesus is all about turning the other cheek but he is all over the place with weapons. Matthew’s Jesus doesn’t like weapons, not even a staff. Mark’s Jesus advises carrying a staff while Luke’s Jesus favors the steel.

          Mark 6:8-10 (NRSV)8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.

          Matthew 10:8-11 (NRSV)8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9 Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.

          Those are obviously Synoptic parallels, but Mark’s version agrees more with Jewish Wars 2.8.4 than to Matthew ans Luke.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A verse to suit everyone then I see.

          “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

          Am not sure that is a verse against the use of swords per se, it’s just a warning that those that chose to do so, will likely come to a violent end. Am not sure it is even all that relevant given the impending so to be end times.

        • epeeist

          Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans compromised their religious beliefs to that regime.

          Possibly, and this is relevant because?

          Hitler was persecuting Catholics in Germany

          Possibly, but if so why was he persecuting them?

          Clearly, he just made them up.

          Possibly he did, or possibly he has an absolutely solid case that Hitler was an atheist. Until you provide some references to his evidence then who can tell.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans compromised their religious beliefs to that regime.

          Possibly, and this is relevant because?

          It demonstrates the results of secular pressure to put secular concerns ahead of religious principles. It ties in to the part of that quote that followed – Hitler was persecuting Catholics. If the Pope was concerned about the numbers of Catholics who would give in to secular pressure and leave the Church, he would be prone to compromising his own principles like so many others were doing.

          Clearly, he just made them up.

          Possibly he did, or possibly he has an absolutely solid case that Hitler was an atheist. Until you provide some references to his evidence then who can tell.

          He wasn’t the only biographer cited in the article who was making that claim. Each mention of those claims in the article contained cites for those who care enough to follow-up on them. IF you were interested (you are not), you could have followed them as far as you wanted. The information contradicted what you needed. On that basis, you are trying to imply something you know following up would not support. You are game-playing here. You are not sincere.

        • epeeist

          It demonstrates the results of secular pressure to put secular concerns ahead of religious principles.

          Secular? It has nothing to do with secularism, I would have ask whether you actually know what the word means.

          He wasn’t the only biographer cited in the article who was making that claim.

          And yet more irrelevance. Does Blainey have any evidence that you could reference or not?

          Each mention of those claims in the article contained cites for those who care enough to follow-up on them.

          Your claim, your burden, don’t try and shift it.

        • Greg G.

          Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans compromised their religious beliefs to that regime.

          As did the Evangelicals in the last election in the US. 8o(

        • Clement Agonistes

          I got a laugh out of that one. I think we may have had this conversation before, but what exactly is an “Evangelical”?

          For comedy purposes, I cheerfully spot any poetic license, if that’s what you were doing.

        • Greg G.

          but what exactly is an “Evangelical”?

          The Evangelical movement got into bed with Trump and the Neo-Nazis. Trump has called the Neo-Nazis “fine people”. I don’t know if he has called the Evangelicals that.

          What is an Evangelical? (From the National Association of Evangelicals)
          https://www.nae.net/what-is-an-evangelical/

          What Is Evangelicalism?
          A simple definition based in doctrine, history, or sociology won’t do. But a vibrant stream really does exist.
          (Christianity Today)
          https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/march-web-only/what-is-evangelicalism.html
          What Is an Evangelical? Four Questions Offer New Definition
          https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2015/november/what-is-evangelical-new-definition-nae-lifeway-research.html

          Defining ‘Evangelical’
          Its meaning has shifted throughout Christianity’s long history and changes depending on who you ask. Why?
          The Atlantic

          Evangelicalism
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

          Poll: white evangelical support for Trump is at an all-time high
          Republican partisanship and a utilitarian evangelical strategy might help explain why.
          https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/4/20/17261726/poll-prri-white-evangelical-support-for-trump-is-at-an-all-time-high

          This is why white evangelicals still support Donald Trump. (It’s not economic anxiety.)
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/06/19/white-evangelicals-still-support-donald-trump-because-theyre-more-conservative-than-other-evangelicals-this-is-why/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ea40ab14fc26

          White evangelicals fear the future and yearn for the past. Of course Trump is their hero.
          https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/07/08/evangelicals-support-donald-trump-out-fear-nostalgia-column/748967002/

          POLITICS
          White Evangelicals Can’t Quit Donald Trump
          New polling finds that their support for the president remains strikingly high. But are they mortgaging the future of the faith?
          ROBERT P. JONES
          APR 20, 2018
          https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/white-evangelicals-cant-quit-donald-trump/558461/

          True believers: why US evangelicals support Trump
          Despite the scandals, many churchgoers find ways to justify their allegiance to the president
          https://www.ft.com/content/65282eaa-4817-11e8-8ae9-4b5ddcca99b3

          Neo-Nazis and white supremacists celebrate Trump’s SOTU
          David Duke and Richard Spencer, among others ‘thanked’ the US president for his address.
          https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/neo-nazis-white-supremacists-celebrate-trump-sotu-180131114154878.html

          Hail Trump: White nationalists mark Trump win with Nazi salute
          https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-38057104/hail-trump-white-nationalists-mark-trump-win-with-nazi-salute

          American Nazi Party: Trump victory would be ‘a real opportunity’
          https://www.timesofisrael.com/american-nazi-party-trump-victory-would-be-a-real-opportunity/

        • Clement Agonistes

          but what exactly is an “Evangelical”?The Evangelical movement

          No, not the “Evangelical movement”, “Evangelicals”.

          What Is Evangelicalism?

          No, not “Evangelicalism”. “Evangelicals”.

          Evangelicalism From Wikipedia

          Ditto.

          Poll: white evangelical support
          White Evangelicals
          why US evangelicals
          White evangelicals fear
          True believers: why US evangelicals support

          Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

          Clearly, it has a meaning for you that is far different than it’s meaning. To you, it means something along the line of “Conservative.” I’ve asked this question of other people who used the term in similar contexts to yours. One person had just used it to describe Jews. Another used it against Catholics. If a person has to use the adjective “White” before it, clearly, there must be Evangelicals of other colors, as well. But, they aren’t the ones you are talking about. Yet, the broad brush paints all Evangelicals the same.

          It’s a tough term to define.

        • Greg G.

          Clearly, it has a meaning for you that is far different than it’s meaning. To you, it means something along the line of “Conservative.”

          That’s what it means in this day and age. It’s not what it was forty years ago when I was a Christian. Back then they were more like fundamentalists who just came back from Fairy Land. They were into faith healing.

          What I gave were the top few items from Google searches on very basic topics. I didn’t use a lot of Google Fu to get a specific set of items.

          Trump got 80% of the vote from those who identify as Evangelical. Trump is also supported by Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists. Those make up his base. That was my point.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That’s what it means in this day and age. It’s not what it was forty
          years ago when I was a Christian. Back then they were more like
          fundamentalists who just came back from Fairy Land. They were into faith
          healing.

          No, not even then. As best I can define it, an Evangelical is someone who is a Protestant who doesn’t give preeminence to liturgy – Methodists, for instance.

          You and I follow this stuff pretty closely, yet neither of us knew the real definition. Asking people if they self-identify as Evangelical implies they are any better at it than we are. I’ve bounced this one off a number of people now, and no one has gotten it right yet. The 80% number is for White Evangelicals. Evangelicals are diverse. The vast majority of Black churches, for instance, are Evangelical, yet you’re not likely to find many Trump supporters there. In 2013, it was estimated that over 33% of Hispanics were in Evangelical churches, and that is a fast-growing demographic.

        • Greg G.

          an Evangelical is someone who is a Protestant who doesn’t give preeminence to liturgy

          I think that is better than the definition than the one given by the the National Association of Evangelicals as it distinguishes the movement from other types of Christianity. The term has become more general but perhaps it has influenced other denominations. There was definitely a difference between Fundamentalists and Evangelicals forty years ago. The Methodist church I went to was not anything like the Evangelicals I knew when I was in the military. But I recall my mother telling me about a woman who began to speak in tongues in the Methodist church and everybody thought it was weird. The lady was one of the “new” people, my grandmother’s term for those construction workers who came to the area to build an aluminum plant, then hired on when it was completed. (My grandmother’s ancestors settled the area over 200 years ago.)

          The 80% number is for White Evangelicals.

          Thank you. I should have specified white Evangelicals.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As best I can define it, an Evangelical is someone who is a Protestant who doesn’t give preeminence to liturgy – Methodists, for instance.

          That might be how you define it, and when you’re using the word, that’s your prerogative. But you don’t get to dictate to others how they use a word that has many interpretations and definitions.

          Words are defined by their use in common parlance…

          But words are more than their etymologies and dictionary definitions. They carry connotations with them too, which change over time and across geographies as they are used in different ways and settings.

          I feel a No True Scotsman Fallacy coming on.

          “The way one defines ‘evangelical’ influences the story they tell about the most influential group within the most influential religion in the world’s most influential country.”

          https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/evangelical-christian/418236/

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s a tough term to define.

          Nope. It’s easy to define. It’s how it is used that is the problem. Which is where all the confusion creeps into the fray.

          “Evangelical” is a fairly simple word, as well. It is from the Greek euangelion which means good news or gospel. An evangelical Christian, then, is just a Christian who believes it is important to tell others the good news about how Jesus can save us from our sins.

          In the public arena, however, the phrase “evangelical Christian” is used in different ways. For many, it differentiates a Protestant from a Catholic. For others, it’s a term used to describe Protestants who are politically conservative. Within the larger church, it’s often used to mean someone who believes in what the Bible says regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, sin, and salvation.

          The real meaning of evangelical Christian is simply a Christian who takes the Great Commission seriously: to go into the world and teach the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). Which is something all Christians should do.

        • Susan

          It’s a tough term to define.

          *Gasp* You’re not nitpicking about definitions, are you Clement?

        • Clement Agonistes

          LOL. Relax, Susan, it was just for fun

        • Susan

          LOL.

          Seriously?

          Relax, Susan.

          You’ve got to be kidding.

          It was just for fun.

          You lying hypocrite.

        • Otto
        • Otto

          >>>”I have NEVER said atheists have no morals.”

          Yes you did.

          So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.

          Right there you are saying ‘atheism says’ “anything goes”. You know that is NOT what atheism says…so you lied when you said it and you are lying now when you say you did not say it.

        • epeeist

          He is correct, he has never said that atheists have no morals.

          What he has done is produce a large number of instances where he has implied that atheists have no morals.

        • Otto

          I would say he has “explicitly and repeatedly made statements that can only have the specific conclusion that atheists have no morals”, especially when taken in context in the larger discussion.

          I am not trying to be pedantic, but I do think he has gone far beyond just ‘implying’, and I am tired of him trying to weasel out of his statements on technicalities.

        • Susan

          I would say he has “explicitly and repeatedly made statements that can only have the specific conclusion that atheists have no morals

          I think he is trying to suggest that atheism provides no basis for morality and christianity does.

          Pretending that Yahwehjesus is the source of morality and that, therefore, anyone who has that superstitious belief is being a
          hypocrite if they are a Nazi. While an atheist Nazi isn’t.

          Completely ignoring the fact that neither atheism nor christianity are a moral system, in and of themselves.

          He has provided no basis for any of it and continually dodges the problems when called on it.

        • Otto

          >>>”I think he is trying to suggest that atheism provides no basis for morality and christianity does.”

          Yes and we have repeatedly agreed with him on this, so for him to continue to go back and make statements like the one he left me yesterday saying atheists have no viable philosophy to argue against human rights violations leaves no room for misunderstanding what he means.

          Now whether he is doing it because he actually believes “atheists have no morals” or because he is just trying to be a troll… or a combination of both, is up to debate.

        • Susan

          Yes and we have repeatedly agreed with him on this.

          I haven’t. I don’t think epeeist has either. Nor Greg G. Nor Amos.

          He is trying to pretend that moral philosophy rests on one’s acceptance or non-acceptance of Yahwehjesus.

          He makes no case for it. He ignores the evidence against it. Just keeps pretending that it rests on his personal superstitious belief (for which he has made no case, but even if he could, it doesn’t escape Euthyphro’s Dilemma)

          That is, even if he could define Yahwehjesus and show it exists, he would still have to make a case for its morality. .

          At the very least, it is a category error.

        • Otto

          >>>”I haven’t. I don’t think epeeist has either. Nor Greg G. Nor Amos.”

          Fair enough. I think many Christians do base their morality in their religion and that is why it is all over the place and unreliable, Christian belief is all over the map so I don’t find it surprising their morality is too.

          >>>”He is trying to pretend that moral philosophy rests on one’s acceptance or non-acceptance of Yahwehjesus.”

          What he has said to me was that all morality is based in religion…even an atheist’s morality goes back to religion whether they know it or not…but he makes no case for that either.

        • Susan

          I think many christians do place their morality in their religion and that is why it is all over the place and unreliable

          Then, their superstitious beliefs/claims look no more like moral reasoning than not believing their superstitious beliefs/claims does.

          That is the point.

          Moral reasoning is a whole other issue that involves beings who exist.

        • Otto

          And I do agree with you from my view. What I am saying is from the view of many Christians they are following what they perceive to be a moral code or a moral system. I agree it is not moral reasoning and I agree actual morality requires moral reasoning and being a moral agent…and what they are doing is following rules and being obedient…which is not morality. But try and get Clement or other Christians to understand that nuance. Personally I would say they are following a moral code, but following a moral code is not being a moral agent.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think many Christians do base their morality in their religion and that is why it is all over the place and unreliable, Christian belief is all over the map so I don’t find it surprising their morality is too.

          They cherry-pick to suit the scenario…and much of the morality they call Christian morality, ain’t theirs to own in the first place. Clement has had all this explained in detail…but religious mindwankery won’t let him process it.

        • Otto

          Yes I pointed out to him every positive value in Christianity originated somewhere else. I gave him a chance to name one that came from Christianity and he couldn’t.

          So stop calling them ‘Christian’ values.

        • Greg G.

          Then there are those Judeo-Christian ethics. The Romans were into public torture, public execution, and bloodsports, but they restricted the Sanhedrin’s ability to impose their death penalties. No more stoning sassy children or stick-picker-uppers. But slavery was a Judeo-Christian ethic that carried over into our society until just over 150 years ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          His problem is that he equates atheism and Christianity as both being religions. One with no grounding in a moral philosophy, while the other one is grounded in a moral philosophy.

          It is the Christian that can’t do what one pleases cause YahwehJesus, but the atheist can do whatever one pleases because no YahwehJesus. And therefore does so, because no moral philosophy restricts them. Which is complete and utter nonsense.

          Most Christians and atheists don’t keep slaves not because YahwehJesus.

          Though some/many Christians did/do keep slaves because YahwehJesus.

          Most Christians and atheists don’t commit genocide not because YahwehJesus.

          Though some Christians did commit genocide because YahwehJesus.

          Clement can’t grasp that fact.

        • epeeist

          I don’t think epeeist has either

          All I have said is that atheism doesn’t entail any particular system of normative ethics and this is different to atheists having no code of ethics. He has a habit of trying to weasel the second in from the first.

          He is trying to pretend that moral philosophy rests on one’s acceptance or non-acceptance of Yahwehjesus

          Yeah, another one he tries to weasel in without saying so explicitly.

        • Pofarmer

          To be fair, the religious numbnuts he normally talks to probably just sit and nod their heads in agreement.

        • Otto

          >>>”All I have said is that atheism doesn’t entail any particular system of normative ethics and this is different to atheists having no code of ethics.”

          You said that a damn site better than I did.

        • Greg G.

          Pedestrians do not derive their morals from Pedestrianism, but it doesn’t mean that pedestrians are not moral. Atheists and atheism are like that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What he has also asserted is that any morals that any atheist has, must grounded in god belief/religion. A religious world. Or world religion. He pointed to Klavan in support of this thesis.

        • epeeist

          He pointed to Klavan in support of this thesis.

          But (as yet) he has provided nothing to support Klavan’s hypothesis. Nor has he responded my question as to where the idea of “Christian virtues” comes from.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Agreed. Klavan’s opinion is worthless. Anyone can say whatever to fuck they want without support, and do. Clement is example of that. Klavan seems to be some kind of appeal to authority for Clement, but what gives Klavan any authority?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Anything goes” means atheists can choose ANY moral system they want. And, elsewhere I said exactly the opposite of what you claim I said. You cherry-picked this quote that you misinterpreted (being generous).

        • Otto

          You said that since atheists do not have a moral philosophy (which is not necessarily true) that they would not have an answer to human rights violations… which since the first part was not true the conclusion was also not true. You knew what you wrote was not true and you did it anyway… even though you and I had been over the issue and agreed that the first part was not true in previous posts…and even though you had been over this same issue with others here (Susan, Amos and Epeesit) and yet you still dishonestly spout that verbal diarrhea of lies. You have been given several chances to walk back your statement and you refuse to do so.

          Quit pretending you are a victim…you aren’t. Part of actually being a moral agent is admitting when you are wrong.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Dude. Just go back and read the CONTEXT. I said, “Atheism . . . has nothing contradictory to ANY behavior.”
          You replied, “I don’t see this as a problem. So what.”

          So, any source of morals fits the bill – “anything goes.”

          We ALL know this is true. There is NO behavior that atheism – itself – has to say ANYTHING about. epeeist is calling me a lying cunt because atheism says something about belief in God . . . . .period.

          PREMISE 1: Any morals atheists have must come from someplace other than atheism.
          PREMISE 2: Atheists have morals.

          CONCLUSION: Atheists obtained their morals from someplace (anyplace) other than atheism.

          Honestly, if you are going to hit me over the back of the head with a sandbag, pick something that makes logical sense.

        • Otto

          I said, “Atheism . . . has nothing contradictory to ANY behavior.”
          You replied, “I don’t see this as a problem. So what.”

          Yep I responded “I don’t see this as a problem. So what.”

          Why do you think I responded that way? I will tell you …because you and I had been over the fact that atheism does not supply a moral foundation. We had talked extensively about asking atheism to supply a moral foundation was like expecting a hammer to take out a screw, that is NOT what atheism is and you goddamn well knew that. We had already established that multiple times So when you said “Atheism . . . has nothing contradictory to ANY behavior.” the proper answer is SO WHAT? I could have said “Duh” or “no shit Cap’t Obvious” either of which would have been perfectly acceptable considering we had beat that dead horse bloody.

          THEN you said ….”So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          At THAT point you pivoted from “Atheism” to “Atheists”. And since I had stated”I don’t see this as a problem. So what?”… what you were obviously saying is that the problem is that atheists (NOT ATHEISM) have no morality to or philosophy to oppose human rights violations…which is just you being completely inflammatory and deceitful. You and I had just agreed that doing that was WRONG…and you went and did it anyway. I am still astounded at your behavior and pretending to be completely innocent. You are either too stupid to understand or you are intentionally being a troll…and you know what Clement…it really doesn’t matter which to me because it shows I have no reason to trust your ability to have a dialog honestly.

          Then afterwards when I asked you to apologize and walk back your statement you accuse me of setting YOU up… I set you up after I personally defended you to Susan and Amos…how would that even make sense? I set you up so that I could look like an idiot to them….ya that makes sense….fucking unbelievable. Get some morals and a good dose of self awareness before you post anything more.

          >>>”Honestly, if you are going to hit me over the back of the head with a sandbag, pick something that makes logical sense.”

          Is that enough logic for you jackass?

        • Clement Agonistes

          At THAT point you pivoted from “Atheism” to “Atheists”. And since I had stated”I don’t see this as a problem. So what?”… what you were obviously saying is that the problem is that atheists (NOT ATHEISM) have no morality to or philosophy to oppose human rights violations…

          … based on ATHEISM. Your claim is that atheism is superior – in terms of morality – to Christianity. I’m trying to figure out how in the world such a statement makes any sense. There is Martin Luther’s anti-semitism . . . . . OK. I mean, *I’m* a Christian, and my morality that I get from Christianity says that is bad. Do you see the irony? Your morality that you DO NOT get from atheism says anti-semitism is bad. Ergo, atheism is superior??? Do you see the irony?

          There is nothing about atheism that made you choose to think anti-semitism is bad. You COULD have chosen to believe anti-semitism is good, and the answer is the same – “So what.” There was no “transition”. A person IS an atheist BECAUSE he believes atheism is correct. He can say, “This is wrong”, but not BECAUSE he is an atheist. Atheism cannot be morally superior to Christianity when it is not a basis for morality. . . . at all.

          Yes, this Captain Obvious stuff. I am mystified that you can’t grasp something so obvious.

        • Otto

          >>>”… based on ATHEISM.”

          Atheists don’t base their morality on atheism…that doesn’t mean they have no basis to oppose immoral actions…and that is not a PROBLEM FOR ATHEISM OR ATHEISTS.

          ethnocentrism

          noun
          evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture.

          HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DOES EVERYONE HERE HAVE TO SAY IT BEFORE YOU GET IT?

          You will never get it…go away liar.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “… based on ATHEISM.”

          Atheists don’t base their morality on atheism.

          which is why atheism can’t be morally superior to Christianity. Look, this is your claim. Claims have to be supported, right? Getting all huffy and taking your ball home is not supporting a claim. It is evading providing reliable evidence. It is an emotional smokescreen to cover an escape.

        • Otto

          I didn’t say it atheism was morally superior, I said atheism is a better ‘answer’. You said Klavan says that Christianity is a better ‘answer’, I said it is literally not. Then you made it up in your own mind that I was saying atheism is a better moral answer…and I didn’t. But after that exchange you just couldn’t get it in your head what I was saying because you don’t listen to what is being said to you, even though it was clarified later, you still go back to that brief statement as if I said that. I wouldn’t say atheism is a better MORAL answer because atheism is not a MORAL answer…and I have repeatedly said that over and over. But you figure if you go back to that you can score a point. You are not interested in understanding…you are interested in scoring points and that is why I have no interest in continuing with you.

        • Susan

          There is nothing about atheism that made you choose to think anti-semitism is bad.

          No. Because moral reasoning is a completely separate issue from Yahwehjesus.

          You COULD have chosen to believe anti-semitism is good

          So COULD christians. And many, many did for a very, very long time and some still do.

          Because moral reasoning is a completely separate issue from Yahwehjesus.

          As moral reasoning is a completely separate issue from believing pyramids have magical energy, or believing that the stars dictate our destiny.

          this Captain Obvious stuff. I am mystified that you can’t grasp something so obvious.

          Couldn’t have said it better about you trying to sneak in (without supporting it) that one’s position on accepting the existence of Yahwehjesus, an incoherent and unevidenced deity…

          is any way a primary concern when it comes to making a moral argument.

        • Susan

          A person IS an atheist BECAUSE he believes atheism is correct.

          A person is an atheist when they don’t accept the claim that god(s) exist.

          If you have a god whose existence you are willing and able to define and support, you might change some minds.

          But so far, you don’t. All you have is handwaving.

        • Clement Agonistes

          A person IS an atheist BECAUSE he believes atheism is correct.

          A person is an atheist when they don’t accept the claim that god(s) exist.

          You know what – you’re right. Atheists do not think they are correct. I don’t know how i could have gotten such a crazy notion.

        • Susan

          You know what – you’re right. Atheists do not think they are correct. I don’t know how i could have gotten such a crazy notion.

          Still shifting the burden.

          And you’ve still got nothing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Correct about what?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bwaaaahahaha!

          That is ballix and you know it. The context is everything. Even if your lie is granted, you generalised all atheists. The atheist part is irrelevant.

          Your “anything goes” applies to any group gaining power including the religious, and has. And sometimes they’ve twisted their moral system to accommodate the “anything goes”. Something that has been repeatedly pointed out to you.

        • Susan

          That doesn’t make sense to me.

          It’s been explained many, many times but you ignore and hit the reset button.

          Not believing a superstitious claim does not mean you have a view with no moral teachings.

          Stop it. You keep making it clear that your moral view is completely OK with lying.

          Most people here don’t seem to share that moral view.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Not believing a superstitious claim does not mean you have a view with no moral teachings.

          Educate me, Susan – just what are the moral teachings of your view (atheism) of reality?

          When I say that atheism says nothing one way or another about morality, how is that lying?

          Look, you guys point out the history of immoral behavior of Christians – do I deny it? Do I get my feelings hurt so badly that I have to lash out at you and call you names? No – the truth should not hurt us. “Lying” demands that an untruth must be spoken.

        • Otto

          When you say

          “So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          You are lying…and you are absolutely aware of why this statement is a lie. You throw statements like this out so that the people you are in a conversation with get irate…and then you sit back and point the finger at us for getting angry with your dishonesty…like you had nothing to do with it. That is the behavior of someone with highly abusive sociopathic tendencies. So now it has been established that you are a liar and should be treated accordingly.

        • Clement Agonistes

          In the first place, that wasn’t MY topic. i wanted to talk about hope in God. Look how far we’ve run astray from the topic at hand. I entertained those diversions because you were using a conversational tone instead of the usual bluster and posturing.

          Here, your claim was that Christianity was morally inferior to atheism. I’ll freely grant that such a statement has the feel of someone pulling chains for the joy of evoking an emotional response. I responded in two ways: 1) asking you to defend that claim, and 2) showing evidence that contradicts it.

          As I sarcastically pointed out to Greg, these conversations ultimately end up pointing out that we have very different conclusions about reality. There comes a point when we have nothing factually or logically to offer, and are reduced to our emotional hunches. That’s when 1) things turn ugly, and 2) there’s no place left to go. The ugliness is a red flag that it’s time to quit. Let’s mop up any loose threads and we3’ll pick up with some other fresh topic Bob picks out for us later?

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the first place, that wasn’t MY topic. i wanted to talk about hope in God.

          No you didn’t. Another lie. You wanted to talk about, and knock down, a straw man that you created. There is no mention of hope in your opening comment here three weeks ago. You moved the issue onto meaning. And the OP is about giving false hope where it is detrimental to the one being given the false hope, but that wasn’t of any interest to you, so you’ve skittered from definition to definition a lied through yer eye teeth in the process.

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

          As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/downsides_to_the_hope_offered_by_christianity_believing_because_its_consoling/#comment-3991158509

          Every shitty point you have made since thar has been roundly refuted, so you’ve been all over the place like a mad woman’s shite.

          Look how far we’ve run astray from the topic at hand.

          Those are the rabbit holes you religious fuckers pull us down in an attempt to obfuscate and move the goalposts. It isn’t exclusive to you, we see it all the time, it’s what happens when you can’t honestly defend your position.

          I entertained those diversions because you were using a conversational tone instead of the usual bluster and posturing.

          Lying cunt.

          Here, your claim was that Christianity was morally inferior to atheism.

          Where was that claim made?

          I’ll freely grant that such a statement has the feel of someone pulling chains for the joy of evoking an emotional response.

          Whaaaa?

          I responded in two ways: 1) asking you to defend that claim, and…

          A claim not being made.

          …2) showing evidence that contradicts it.

          Evidence that Christianity was not morally inferior to atheist morality?

          Why would you defend such nonsense given that you think atheism has nothing to say about morality…remember?

          When I say that atheism says nothing one way or another about morality, how is that lying?

          The lies just keep on coming….you don’t have a decent enough memory to be good at, that’s yer problem right there.

          As I sarcastically pointed out to Greg, these conversations ultimately end up pointing out that we have very different conclusions about reality. There comes a point when we have nothing factually or logically to offer, and are reduced to our emotional hunches. That’s when 1) things turn ugly, and 2) there’s no place left to go. The ugliness is a red flag that it’s time to quit. Let’s mop up any loose threads and we3’ll pick up with some other fresh topic Bob picks out for us later?

          Hopefully Bob will ban yer lying arse…there is nothing productive you have to offer anymore. Failing that, next time your name appears on a thread, folk will have the wit to block yer disingenuous mindwankery.

        • Otto

          Where was that claim made?

          Clement said: “I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one.”

          Otto said: Regardless, it is not, it is literally worse.

          I then went on to clarify that answers rooted in reality are better than answers rooted in superstition. I did not say that atheism was a better moral answer, though I can see why he might have understood me to say that, but of course all that was hashed out later and he knew my position crystal clear on the subject. So for him to refer back to that as if it was a claim I made is just more dishonest bullshit.

          Again, you and Susan were right, he is not interested in an honest discussion. He wants to string people along until he finds the crack he can insert his lying BS and claim victory and/or just be a troll.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I knew that. He was never going to reply to my request anyway.

          I also know, that I know of no atheist that would make such a claim.

          There are Christians that have both superior/inferior morals to atheists. And there are atheists with superior/inferior morals to Christians. But that is based on my subjective view of morality. I couldn’t imagine any atheist doing what he was claiming.

          I could imagine me pointing out to aspects of Christianity that are inferior morals in general to what I think is moral, but that’s completely different.

        • Otto

          I don’t give a shit about the topic or how it came about.

          I only care that you made a statement that you know is not true, and when asked to admit that it was not true, you refused more than once. I don’t know why you feel the need to lie, that is something you have to figure out.

          What that indicates to me Clement is you ARE NOT interested in a genuine honest discussion. Regardless of our differences I honestly engaged you and was willing to address our differences, but you have no problem lying for Jesus, just like some people steal for Jesus and murder for Jesus.

          My feelings are not hurt, my trust of you is gone. THAT is the ramification of the real world we live in, and that is more profound than any religious writing on the subject. You should think long and hard on that, but I highly doubt you will.

        • Susan

          Educate me, Susan

          Lol.

          When I say that atheism says nothing one way or another about morality, how is that lying?

          That’s not the lie as you well know.

          Atheism is a single position on a single claim. It is not a moral system.

          As not believing pyramids have magical powers is not a moral system.
          As not believing leprechauns exist is not a moral system.
          As not believing Krishna exists is not a moral system.
          As not believing Yahwehjesus exists is not a moral system.
          As not believing Muhammed is the final prophet is not a moral system.
          As not believing it’s turtles all the way down is not a moral system.

          Yahwehjesus belief is not a moral system either.

          It is a superstitious belief.

          That you keep trying to conflate “atheism” with “no moral view” and “Yahwehjesus belief” with a single “moral view” is the lie. A lie you make no effort to support. You just keep lying. A lie you can’t support, like all your other lies.

          A lie that’s been pointed out many, many times. And one you keep repeating.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s about the implications. When Klavan talks about “running it to the ground”, he isn’t talking about the superficial layer; he means the implications. When asked what was the most important rule, Jesus is quoted as saying (paraphrased for length), “Love God, and love you neighbor as much as you love yourself.” The moral implications of those run a LONG way.

          There are sects of atheism. Each has its own set of implications.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus is quoted as saying (paraphrased for length),

          Why? When was length of a comment an issue for you? And if it is paraphrased then Jesus isn’t quoted as saying it.

          “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

          “Love God, and love you neighbor as much as you love yourself.”

          The highlighted part is superfluous…you haven’t shown any reason it isn’t…the rest has its own problems, a god would do better. I certainly can.

          How many Christians honestly live by the maxim of the Golden Rule…even though it is problematic?

          The moral implications of those run a LONG way.

          What a loada ballix.

          There are sects of atheism. Each has its own set of implications.

          Citation please.

        • Susan

          It’s about the implications.

          What are the implications?

          There are sects of atheism

          No.

        • Otto

          >>>””Love God, and love you neighbor as much as you love yourself.” The moral implications of those run a LONG way.”

          They certainly do.

          Rule #1 God comes first
          Rule #2 Treat other people decently
          Rule #3 If anything gets in the way of “God comes first” like treating homosexuals as equals…or being honest…see Rule #1 because Rule #2 is number 2 for a reason.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Technically, “Love” comes first.

        • Otto

          No…when you put 2 words together to create a concept it would be deceptive to try and later single out one word and pretend that the concept you intended was only with the first word and the second word was inconsequential. If I refer to my “blue car” I couldn’t turn around and say what I meant was to refer only to the color blue.

          C’mon…really … quit treating people here like we are idiots. It is literally dishonest.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s a command, Otto. Christians are commanded to love God. If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

          . . . . and Jesus specifies that everyone is your neighbor. I guess I am an idiot since loving every person on the planet is explicit, not implicit, there.

        • Otto

          >>>”It’s a command, Otto. Christians are commanded to love God. If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves..”

          It sure doesn’t work out that way often enough. If Christians decide that shitting on other humans in the NAME of God is what GOD wants …than screw the second part. Maybe you should spend more time on Christian sites telling them how they are fucking up this straightforward COMMAND.

          Oh and by the way…COMMANDING LOVE is complete garbage. You can’t COMMAND love. “I ORDER YOU TO LOVE”….bunch of fucking nonsense.

          But that goes right with the Christian thinking that people are soooo awful God had to kill himself…ugh. People are so shitty God had to slaughter himself…but he expects people to experience an emotion of LOVE for those same crappy people. What complete stupidity.

          >>>” I guess I am an idiot since loving every person on the planet is explicit, not implicit, there.”

          Yeah…not the first time I have been told what a loving person some Christian claimed they were….but their behavior showed them to be the exact opposite… Maybe you should study your commands from GOD rather than coming here and telling us we have no basis in morality.

        • Greg G.

          Oh and by the way…COMMANDING LOVE is complete garbage. You can’t COMMAND love. “I ORDER YOU TO LOVE”….bunch of fucking nonsense.

          Sounds like an abusive relationship. If you just stop doing things that make God angry, he won’t have to keep punishing you. Just do everything he says and it will be fine.

        • Otto
        • Ignorant Amos

          Wouldn’t the omniscience know if ya were bluff loving since it is no more sense to say one is commanded to love, than claiming to believe something one doesn’t?

          Maybe that’s actually how Clement opperates?

        • Clement Agonistes

          If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves..”

          It sure doesn’t work out that way often enough.

          No, it doesn’t. I wish now that I had stated that Christians are hypocrites.

        • Otto

          You did. And they are.

          But what you fail to understand is that many (not all) of the shitty things they do are justified in the beliefs they hold. Not every Christian puts the emphasis of what is important in Christianity in the same places you do or in the same way that you do. You are SO myopic and arrogant that you think the only proper way to look at Christianity is through the exact same lens you do. Seriously Clement if there was only one way to look at Christianity do you think there would be 40,0000 different denominations and growing? Don’t you think it would be like science where the understanding would converge? Christian understanding diverges…and it continues to diverge.

          Let’s take a basic issue…homosexuals and homosexuality. Now let’s take your basic Christian rules and apply them to that issue. Love God…Love your neighbor as yourself…Love your enemies.

          1) Should homosexuals be treated as complete equals in society?
          2) Should they be allowed to get married and have their marriages viewed the same as yours and mine in the eyes of society?
          3) Should they be allowed to adopt Children?
          4) Should they be given every protection and right that every heterosexual person has?

          Now the answer should be easy and straight forward right? The answer should be YES to every question. And yet the majority of Christians have answered NO to many if not ALL of those questions. The ones who answer YES to each and every question very often go AGAINST what the churches they attend teach. It is not enough to say “well they are just hypocrites”…no they are following what THEY think God wants and what their churches teach. The Catholics are not hypocrites when they point to their Natural Theology and say that homosexuality is disordered. So just stop with that over simplified bullshit. It is not furthering the discussion nor is it addressing the issue or the problem.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Seriously Clement if there was only one way to look at Christianity do you think there would be 40,0000 different denominations and growing? Don’t you think it would be like science where the understanding would converge? Christian understanding diverges…and it continues to diverge.

          1) If we narrow Christianity to something like the Nicene Creed, virtually all of those 40,000 would be in agreement. When you take the Top 5 denominations, you have accounted for probably upwards of 90% of Christians. The other 39,995 would be crammed into that last 10%. Huge numbers of those denominations are simply single, independent churches that did not want to be subject to a denomination’s organization. In terms of beliefs, they are orthodox.

          2) I’m not sure what you mean by diverging on either count. Relative to the NC, there may be virtually no divergence from it, whatsoever. Relative to science, there was a time when a single person could have read every scientific book in existence. Today, it is doubtful that a single person can even read all of the literature in his own area of specialization. Science is diversifying into sub-specializations.

          Both are dealing with a topic that borders on infinite. I thought you were going to say that science and Christianity should be converging as we gain knowledge about reality. I’m not sure what we should expect since we have no previous experiences to draw on.

          Let’s take a basic issue…homosexuals and homosexuality. Now let’s take your basic Christian rules and apply them to that issue. Love God…Love your neighbor as yourself…Love your enemies.
          1) Should homosexuals be treated as complete equals in society?
          2) Should they be allowed to get married and have their marriages viewed the same as yours and mine in the eyes of society?
          3) Should they be allowed to adopt Children?
          4) Should they be given every protection and right that every heterosexual person has?
          Now the answer should be easy and straight forward right? The answer should be YES to every question.

          I don’t follow your logic here. You seem to be saying that proof of love is approving of behavior a person exhibits. None of the things you mentioned are incompatible with loving a person. 1,3, and 5 seem like political issues to me, and #2 is a definitional problem.

          Allow me to do you one better that might make your point (basic issue) better – what about someone who totally rejects God? Can a Christian love such a person? There is no “if” or “maybe” wiggle room in terms of what Christian doctrine says about the morality of such a decision. Biblically, that person is loved by God, and should be by us. I think your point may be that not every Christian will go through the hypocritcally-necessary step of saying one thing and then doing another. They do not love and do not say that they love. Other than that Wood-something Church in Kansas (?), I know of no churches that teach hatred of anybody.

        • Susan

          If we narrow Christianity to something like the Nicene Creed

          Then, all you have is a superstitious claim. Not a moral theory.

          Which is the point I have made repeatedly.

          A Nazi christian or a a Nazi atheist can be, or not be, a hypocrite, depending on the moral system they espouse.

          The acceptance or non-acceptance of the incoherent, unevidenced deity (among countless deities) Yahwehjesus is no measure of hypocrisy.

          Can a Christian love such a person?</blockquote

          "Love" is a willy nilly term but I've learned to skip the charitable step of asking you to define your terms so that I can understand you better.

          It is not love to deny a person equal rights under the law. It is not love to make children feel there is something inherently wrong or deviant about them if they fall in love with the same sex.

          Pretending that you feel affection for them while denying who they are is based on superstitious commitments. Not morality.

          It is not love to deny women medical choices.

          It is not love to pretend that we live on a planet where the only suffering that matters is human suffering.

        • Otto

          1) I don’t agree with your numbers but that had nothing to do with my point anyway, Christianity is not converging, it is diverging. The differences are enough to form new denominations.

          2) You need to learn the difference between the terms diversify and diverge. Science does converge even as it diversifies. What we know about one discipline feeds into another, a perfect example is how geology helped confirm evolutionary biology. We see no such thing in Christianity, we see the exact opposite.

          >>>”I don’t follow your logic here.”

          Well those are rather simple yes/no questions and all I was asking you to do was apply your simple view of Christian morality to them. Is that too much to ask or is Christian morality not what you claim it is?

          >>>”You seem to be saying that proof of love is approving of behavior a person exhibits.”

          No I am not, but I think you have to frame it that way in your attempt to side step the problem I presented. Even if you brand homosexuals enemies of God…you are supposed to love your enemies…so their behavior should not make a difference in how you treat them.

          >>>”1,3, and 5 seem like political issues to me.

          Being treated as an equal is a political question? So the order to “love each and ever person in the world” does not mean to treat everyone as equals in your mind and is just a question of politics? Wow. Do you think people that are marginalized because of the religious beliefs of others feel ‘loved’ by them? If gay people do not feel love from certain Christians because of the Christians views of them and their actions towards them…is it fair to call what the Christians do ‘love’? The golden rule says to treat people as you would be treated…are Christians doing that?

          Even if those are political questions…is it impossible to answer political questions with your morality? Abortion is a political question and I have a feeling you have answered that issue with your morality…right?

          >>>”I know of no churches that teach hatred of anybody.”

          What does ‘not teaching hatred’ have to do with ‘showing love’? One can not hate a person…but not love them either. You said the commandment was to ‘love everyone’ and nothing you have said actually answered the issues. All I am asking is to apply your very simple “loving” morality to some current questions…and you couldn’t even do that. Very disappointing…I thought this would be easy for you.

          Would you actually care to answer the questions using your morality or are we done here?

        • Clement Agonistes

          1) I don’t agree with your numbers but that had nothing to do with my point anyway, Christianity is not converging, it is diverging. The differences are enough to form new denominations.

          I don’t agree with my numbers, either, if the your point is how precise they are. If, however, you are challenging the principle behind them, then you are wrong. The vast majority of Christians are in a handful of denominations.

          The “differences” aren’t significant. They are analogous to new leaves sprouting from the same branch of a tree. Leaves do not disprove the tree; they confirm it.

          “You seem to be saying that proof of love is approving of behavior a person exhibits.”
          No I am not, but I think you have to frame it that way in your attempt to side step the problem I presented. Even if you brand homosexuals enemies of God…you are supposed to love your enemies…so their behavior should not make a difference in how you treat them.

          The issue is what the word “treat” means to you. You do not make a distinction between loving someone and approving of their behavior. Is speaking out against the behavior the same thing as not-loving them? Well, no, and plainly so. That is why I attempted to mover the conversation to an easier topic – rejection of God. The concept of sin is that which separates people from God. A person with same-sex attraction can still be close to God, but an atheist actively seeks out that separation. Yet, a Christian should love an atheist. If it’s true there, then it should be even easier to grasp that should be the case with SSA.

          Your thesis was that many of the shitty things Christians do are justified in the beliefs they hold. You used the example of SSA to clarify this point. What you didn’t mention – explicitly – was what the things were. Implied, they were not approving same-sex marriage and adoption and denial of civil rights. As I tried to point out, denial of civil rights begs the question of whether this is actually taking place. You didn’t even establish “things”, much less “shitty”.

          Christians do not approve of adultery, is that a shitty thing?

          That is why I suggested that if you are sincere about this topic, let’s discuss something more clear-cut and less emotional like atheism. A stronger case could be made that atheists are enemies of God. The conclusion won’t change, but at least you’d be able to see the logic more clearly.

        • Otto

          >>>”The “differences” aren’t significant.”

          The differences are significant enough for groups to split off and claim the other groups are doing Christianity wrong.

          >>>” Is speaking out against the behavior the same thing as not-loving them? ”

          Speaking out is different than actually attempting to marginalize a whole group of people. One can speak out against a behavior without actually trying to get people who engage in behavior to be treated unequally by the gov’t. Saying ‘homosexuality is wrong’ is different than saying “people who are homosexuals should not have the same rights as everyone else”

          >>>”That is why I attempted to mover the conversation to an easier topic – rejection of God.”

          Well changing the subject to the rejection of God is just muddying the waters because rejection of God is a highly subjective idea. I am trying to keep the discussion on your big 3 of morality (Loving God…Loving neighbors …Loving Enemies). I am trying to see how you actually apply that morality to a current topic and one that Christians are themselves divided over. You claim that Christians act against their morality and are often hypocrites. I am trying to figure out which Christians are the hypocrites as to the actions against a specific group of people and get you to answer that.

          >>>”You didn’t even establish “things”, much less “shitty”.”

          I think it is well established that some Christians are working to marginalize homosexuals in society, it is also established that some Christians are supporting homosexuals obtaining equal rights in society. Using your big 3 of Christian values…who is right and who is wrong? Why is this such a difficult question if your Christian values are so simple and straight forward? I have to say Clement I just am completely baffled that you can’t address this issue with the values you say are so fundamental to Christianity.

          Here is your full post that started this…

          It’s a command, Otto. Christians are commanded to love God. If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

          . . . . and Jesus specifies that everyone is your neighbor. I guess I am an idiot since loving every person on the planet is explicit, not implicit, there.

          Loving each person is explicit…apply this explicit COMMAND to a current group and the question of how they are treated.

          >>>”Christians do not approve of adultery, is that a shitty thing?”

          Are they trying to get adulterers to be treated differently and unequally in society or are they just saying the behavior is wrong but treating them the same as anyone else?

          >>>”That is why I suggested that if you are sincere about this topic, let’s discuss something more clear-cut and less emotional like atheism.”

          Oh I have no doubt you would rather change the subject to atheism. But really Clement this is pretty tangential to how the big 3 are applied to the differing views within Christianity. The Nazi’s marginalized all sorts of groups and you said that the ones that were Christians were hypocrites because they violated basic tenets of Christianity. I said that was not necessarily so…so I am asking to use this current subject to figure out if using the big 3 values of Christianity can get to the heart of how homosexuals should be treated.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The “differences” aren’t significant. They are analogous to new leaves sprouting from the same branch of a tree. Leaves do not disprove the tree; they confirm it.

          Another shit analogy by a Christian.

          The differences were significant enough ya dopey bastard.

          So much loving they neighbor from the largest denomination in the world…they put untold numbers of folk to death in the most heinous ways imaginable.

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

          https://undergod.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=000087

        • Ignorant Amos

          1) If we narrow Christianity to something like the Nicene Creed, virtually all of those 40,000 would be in agreement. When you take the Top 5 denominations, you have accounted for probably upwards of 90% of Christians. The other 39,995 would be crammed into that last 10%. Huge numbers of those denominations are simply single, independent churches that did not want to be subject to a denomination’s organization. In terms of beliefs, they are orthodox.

          If we narrow Christianity down to something like those that drink water, definitely all of those 40,000 would be in agreement…so what…it ain’t what unites them that is the issue.

          2) I’m not sure what you mean by diverging on either count. Relative to the NC, there may be virtually no divergence from it, whatsoever. Relative to science, there was a time when a single person could have read every scientific book in existence. Today, it is doubtful that a single person can even read all of the literature in his own area of specialization. Science is diversifying into sub-specializations.

          Absolute fuckwittery as has been pointed out already. But a non sequitur in any case.

          I know of no churches that teach hatred of anybody.

          Apart from the Westbro Baptists in Kansas that you know about, that doesn’t mean they are not out there?

          Google Christian hate preachers…2.5 million hits in 0.36 of a second.

          And then we are back to those love everyone Roman Catholics…particularly the children loving ones…but also those other folk they showed so much love for too…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Catholic_Church#Criticism_of_Catholic_actions_in_history

          With loving “neighbors” like that, who needs enemies?

          I live in Northern Ireland, the hatred between Catholics and Protestants is palpable…where does that hatred come from do you think?

          Here’s a clue from the popular Bible thumping Christian pastor of his time here…

          “They breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin” – talking about Catholics at a loyalist rally in 1969.

          “I denounce you, Anti-Christ! I refuse you as Christ’s enemy and Antichrist with all your false doctrine” – addressing Pope John Paul II on a visit to the European Parliament October 1988.

          “This Romish man of sin is now in hell! – on the death of Pope John XXIII.

          …hateful sectarian bigot, the Reverend Ian Paisley, Presbyterian.

          But anyway…the issue is with your assertion about the message to love everybody as oneself, and it’s ineffectiveness among actual Christians to follow it through. A moral lesson that is largely ignored, is as useful as no moral at all. A morality message that is myopically cherry-picked, but never realised…and one that wasn’t even god given, let alone commanded. So even more your nonsense.

        • Susan

          Christians are commanded to love God

          Whoopee.

          If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

          No. That does not necessarily follow. How exactly does one “love” an inchoherent, unevidenced being?

          What moral justification is there for putting that before your fellow earthlings? Don’t pretend that one necessarily leads to the next until you show that it must.

          Jesus specifies that everyone is your neighbour

          Really? The reports that a guy named Jesus include his specific instructions that neighbours include everyone?

          Why didn’t you start with that chapter and verse?

          Don’t worry. We all have oversights.

          You can do so now.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

          No. That does not necessarily follow. How exactly does one “love” an inchoherent, unevidenced being?

          Logically, it follows because that has already been accomplished. The first premise is to love God. The second premise is to love your neighbor BECAUSE you love God (and God commands you to love your neighbor). It is the first premise that you find flawed. The 2nd one flows from the first. it follows.

        • Susan

          the 2nd one flows from the first. it follows.

          It does not. Saying it does does not make it so.

        • epeeist

          Logically, it follows because that has already been accomplished.

          Given that you have two premisses and a conclusion you ought to be able to lay it out as a syllogism. Off you go…

        • Ignorant Amos

          The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke is used to defend the “everyone” trope. But the Samaritans were just the most disliked of the in-group called the Hebrews.

          When instructing his disciples as to how they should spread the word, Jesus tells them not to visit any Gentile or Samaritan city, but instead, go to the “lost sheep of Israel”

          5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ~Matthew 10:5-6

          The Buybull…because ya can make it say whatever ta fuck ya want.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan#Interpretation

          Moral superiority, my arse.

        • Greg G.

          The Good Samaritan parable is derived from:

          2 Chronicles 28:15
          15 Then those who were mentioned by name got up and took the captives, and with the booty they clothed all that were naked among them; they clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them; and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kindred at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve read where some Jews think the Samaritan might be a later substitution. Which they say makes more sense given the meaning of the word in Leviticus.

        • Greg G.

          Do you mean the “Then they returned to Samaria” at the end? Was it added when the Chronicles were written or that it was interpolated?

          I did a little research on my own to answer my questions. Here is a table for the parallels between 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles that I had saved long ago:

          2 Kings 16:1-2 2 Chronicles 28:1-2
          2 Kings 16:3-4, 6 2 Chronicles 28:3-8
          2 Kings 16:7 2 Chronicles 28:16-19
          2 Kings 15:29 2 Chronicles 28:20
          2 Kings 16:8-18 2 Chronicles 28:21-25
          2 Kings 16:19-20 2 Chronicles 28:26-27

          The whole account that ends with 2 Chronicles 28:15 doesn’t have a parallel, though 2 Kings 6:8-23 is close. The Chronicles have parallels with 1 Samuel, 2, Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings but looking at the table and comparing the verses where Elijah and Elisha are mentioned, it looks like they were written out of the Chronicles. Perhaps 2 Kings 6:8-23 was scrubbed to be included in 2 Chronicles 28.

          Robert M. Price cites C. F. Evans’ book on how the central section of Luke follows the topics of Deuteronomy with sometimes different takes than Deuteronomy. The Good Samaritan is an opposite take on Deuteronomy 7. The previous passage is based on the Commandments in Deut 5 and the Shema in Deut 6 while that next passage parallels the “Man does not live by bread alone” in Deut 8.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The story of the good Samaritan, in the Pauline Gospel of Luke x. 25-37, related to illustrate the meaning of the word “neighbor,” possesses a feature which puzzles the student of rabbinical lore. The kind Samaritan who comes to the rescue of the men that had fallen among the robbers, is contrasted with the unkind priest and Levite; whereas the third class of Jews—i.e., the ordinary Israelites who, as a rule, follow the Cohen and the Leviteare omitted; and therefore suspicion is aroused regarding the original form of the story. If “Samaritan” has been substituted by the anti-Judean gospel-writer for the original “Israelite,” no reflection was intended by Jesus upon Jewish teaching concerning the meaning of neighbor; and the lesson implied is that he who is in need must be the object of our love.

          http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3744-brotherly-love

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

        • Greg G.

          That article seems to have missed 2 Corinthians 28:15. I had seen that Chronicles covered the two Kings but it was never pointed out that the Chronicles never mention the parts with Elijah and Elisha.

          The 2 Chronicles 28 passage and the 2 Kings 6 passage are about the war with King Aram. The 2 Chronicles 28 passage has a man of God named Oded. The 2 Kings 6 passage has Elisha. Both have captives being given food and water and returned home. In the 2 Chronicles 28 passage, they were Israelites who were captured by Israeli troops.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s a command, Otto. Christians are commanded to love God. If they do, then they will . . . . follow the 2nd command to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

          You think people can be commanded to love? Seriously?

          . . . . and Jesus specifies that everyone is your neighbor.

          Why not just say “everyone” in that case?

          That’s just one exegesis, a modern one, but it isn’t the only one. And lots of Christian’s don’t follow the “command” nor that interpretation of “neighbor”, so the buybull morality is subjectively fucked already.

          http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

          I guess I am an idiot since loving every person on the planet is explicit, not implicit, there.

          Yip. Explicit to whom? The Westbro Baptist’s? The Ugandan Christian’s, with the support of their US brethren who want to execute Gays? The Northern Irish Protestant and Catholic Christian’s tearing each other asunder? I don’t think it is as explicit as you think it is…and other Christian’s struggle with it too.

        • Pofarmer

          You really have to be ignorant of the entirety of human history here to understand that this simply doesn’t work. Never has worked. It’s a huge sham.

        • Greg G.

          Technically, “Love” comes first.

          Not according to the Ten Commandments.

          The First Commandment
          I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
          Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5

          Paul quoted Leviticus 19:18 saying that was the whole law summed up.

          Galatians 5:14 (NRSV)14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

          James says that is a good start but you still have to follow the whole law or you will be committing adultery and murder.

          James 2:8-11 (NRSV)8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

          Paul responds to James by saying that if you love, you will not commit adultery, murder, steal, or covet.

          Romans 13:8-10 (NRSV)8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

          (When I looked up the Ten Commandments on Wikipedia, there was a note that one form of the Septuagint has adultery then murder. Perhaps that is similar to the version James used, as he has adultery before murder.)

          But then Mark puts the words in Jesus’ mouth that it is God first.

          Mark 12:28-31 (NRSV)28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

          Matthew does too.

          Matthew 22:34-40 (NRSV)34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

          But Luke has it that Jesus stole the idea from his lawyer.

          Luke 10:25-28 (NRSV)25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

        • Clement Agonistes

          Jesus cribbed it form the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:5. He was asked in the Synoptics which law was the most important. Jesus singled out Deuteronomy 6:5.

        • Greg G.

          Mark got it from Deuteronomy 6:4-5

          Deuteronomy 6:4 (NRSV)4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

          as in

          Mark 12:29 (NRSV)29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;

          So, it is still “Rule #1 God comes first”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I concede the point. Yes, Jesus says to love God before He says to love every human being on the planet. I deserve to be in this briar patch.

          I threw out the suggestion that, tor help move the conversation forward, we could scrap the semantic of “God” and just substitute the concept to “Objective Truth”. so, when we seek a methodology that would lead us to the OT, we could be lovers of truth.

        • Susan

          Jesus says to love God before he says to love every human being on the planet

          You still haven’t supported the point that Jesus says to love every human being on the planet. In the stories, the Jesus character says to love God (him) first. He does not say to love every human being on the planet. He didn’t mention planets. He completely ignores all other life forms on the planet even though according to christian apologetics, he created them all from metaphysical nothingness so they could all suffer for no reason whatsoever. He didn’t even suggest “don’t beat your farm animals.”

          move the conversation forward, we could scrap the semantic of “God”

          It’s only semantic because you’ve never defined it in clear terms.

          and just substitute the concept to “Objective Truth”.

          They are not interchangeable. And it’s more semantics. Even worse, a cheap attempt to pretend that Yawhehjesus is both “objective” and “true”.

          Define each and show an overlap.

          If you don’t, then don’t try to substitute one meaningless term for another.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Jesus says to love God before he says to love every human being on the planet

          You still haven’t supported the point that Jesus says to love every human being on the planet. In the stories, the Jesus character says to love God (him) first. He does not say to love every human being on the planet. He didn’t mention planets.

          He says, “Love your neighbor”, then clarifies by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. Since the Pharisees who asked Jesus what was important hated the Samaritans, this story hit home – God commanded them to love people they did not love. I only mentioned “planet” to emphasize that the entirety of humanity is included. “Your neighbor” is everybody. As someone who nit-picks definitions, I thought you would appreciate that Jesus went that extra distance to specify that He was defining “neighbor” as everybody (even those you regard as racially inferior). I should never underestimate your capacity to be obtuse when you need to be.

          and just substitute the concept to “Objective Truth”.

          They are not interchangeable. And it’s more semantics. Even worse, a cheap attempt to pretend that Yawhehjesus is both “objective” and “true”.

          Nope. just an attempt to communicate.

        • Susan

          this story hit home. God commanded them to love people they did not love

          No. The story explains what loving your “neighbour” means. It doesn’t tell the Jews to love the Samaritans. It says nothing about “God” commanding anyone to do anything. It explains that an example of loving your neighbour is demonstrated by a Samaritan.

          Here is a link for anyone interested:

          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37&version=NIV

          Nothing about the story says anything about “loving people you do not love”. It’s a story about compassion. From a guy who shows compassion. Unfrickinbelievable if this is all you have to support your claim “Jesus said love every human on the planet.”

          The story doesn’t even support your statement.

          (And to take the story seriously, I have to overlook the fact that you are pretending the story was told by Jesus, a mangod despite its sources)

          Nope. Just an attempt to communicate equivocate.

        • Clement Agonistes

          this story hit home. God commanded them to love people they did not love

          No. The story explains what loving your “neighbour” means. It doesn’t tell the Jews to love the Samaritans. It says nothing about “God” commanding anyone to do anything. It explains that an example of loving your neighbour is demonstrated by a Samaritan.

          The Samaritans hated the Jews, too. It begins by answering a question about God’s commands – which is the most important? Jesus says the first is to love God and the 2nd of God’s commands like the first – love your neighbor. Jesus is asked “Who is my neighbor?” He tells the parable, and finishes with:

          ““Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
          37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
          Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

          God commands “Love your neighbor.”, and Jesus clarifies, commanding to imitate the Samaritan’s love for the man of the hated race.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Samaritans hated the Jews, too.

          Obviously not all of them.

          But let’s run with your assertion. So whatever reason the Samaritan had for helping the guy, it wasn’t love. Maybe it was because he was good, ya know, as in a good Samaritan.

          The expert in the law replied,…

          Not much of an expert that he didn’t know who his neighbor was ffs.

          Was the beaten and robbed guy a neighbor of the Samaritan? Nope.

          “The one who had mercy on him.”

          Mercy eh?

          The parable is riddled with plot holes. Which is why it was such an enigma to the Jews.

          God commands “Love your neighbor.”, and Jesus clarifies, commanding to imitate the Samaritan’s love for the man of the hated race.

          Complete and utter bullshit. And a shit parable for a man-god too.

          And the lesson fell on deaf ears and hasn’t been learnt in any case. So pah!

        • Ignorant Amos

          The big question is, who is “thy neighbor”?

          This term has been used to weasel. It doesn’t mean everyone and that is obvious from history.

          In Judaism, it meant ones kinsmen afaicr.

          Christian’s have used the loophole to refer to members of their own particular in-group.

        • Susan

          Technicaly “Love” comes first.

          “Love” an incoherent, unevidenced being that can mean almost anything that falls under the Yahwehjesus umbrella comes first..

          Consider the experience of living beings comes second.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But how would ya know…love has no evidence in support according to you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Educate me, Susan – just what are the moral teachings of your view (atheism) of reality?

          Not religious. Which is the only relevance the “(atheism)” bit of that sentence has got.

          Here’s a clue….try secular morality.

          “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.” ~ Albert Einstein

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

          What came first, secular morality or religious morality?

          Religion and morality are not synonymous. Morality does not necessarily depend upon religion, though for some, this is “an almost automatic assumption.” According to The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, religion and morality “are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other. Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides.” In the views of others, the two can overlap. According to one definition, morality is an active process which is, “at the very least, the effort to guide one’s conduct by reason, that is, doing what there are the best reasons for doing, while giving equal consideration to the interests of all those affected by what one does.”

          Even more rational Christians realise you are talking bubbles ffs…

          According to Stephen Gaukroger: “It was generally assumed in the 17th century that religion provided the unique basis for morality, and that without religion, there could be no morality.” This view slowly shifted over time. In 1690, Pierre Bayle asserted that religion “is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality”. Modern sources separate the two concepts. For example, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics says that,

          “For many religious people, morality and religion are the same or inseparable; for them either morality is part of religion or their religion is their morality. For others, especially for nonreligious people, morality and religion are distinct and separable; religion may be immoral or nonmoral, and morality may or should be nonreligious. Even for some religious people the two are different and separable; they may hold that religion should be moral and morality should be, but they agree that they may not be.”

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

          Morality…born out of altruism…evolutionary beneficial.

          Religion…from god belief…co-opted morality for it’s own interests…god belief is a by product of Hyperactive Agency Detection and Theory of Mind….which are evolutionary beneficial.

          When I say that atheism says nothing one way or another about morality, how is that lying?

          It isn’t wrong, in and of itself, but that isn’t where you leave it…and for some reason you think it is important to make a connection with atheism and morality when there isn’t one, so why bring it up? Here’s why…

          “So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          There is no fucking atheist philosophy. There are atheists with a wide a varied spectrum of philosophies…this is your major malfunction ya moron.

          “So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          It wasn’t their atheism that did that. I’m presuming the mention of the “Siberian concentration camps” that this is a punt towards the communist regime of Stalin? It was their communist philosophy, not their atheism that did that, and a particular tyrants communist philosophy at that. One of totalitarianism. Stalin had no problems sending atheists to the concentration camps in Siberia when it suited his purposes. Furthermore, he had no problems allowing Christians and Muslims to practice their faiths when it suited him also.

          Look, you guys point out the history of immoral behavior of Christians – do I deny it?

          You’d look even more sillier than ya do already if ya tried to deny it, would you not…given all the evidence.

          Do I get my feelings hurt so badly that I have to lash out at you and call you names?

          You think you are getting called names because my feelings are hurt…”badly”…you’re a cretin.

          No – the truth should not hurt us.

          How you’d know is way beyond me.

          “Lying” demands that an untruth must be spoken.

          Whaa? “demands”? “must”?

          Well, no…and that’s a lie you’ve just spoken.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie#Types

        • Susan

          Xianity has all that moral writing.

          No. Just superstitious claims, that can be interpreted to justify genocide (see Martin Luther and William Lane Craig) or to serve soup to homeless people. It is not a moral prescription. It is a superstitious claim.

          atheism-itself-is a clean slate

          It is a single stance on a claim. It has nothing to do with morality.

        • Pofarmer

          Does this doofus really think no one else has/had moral writing or that it’s original to Christianity? I mean, it’s really too stupid for words.

        • Susan

          Does this doofus really think no one else has/had moral writing or that it’s original to Christianity?

          I don’t know if think is the right verb.

          He is happy to assert it. Despite the obvious flaws that people point out.

          But, (sorry to keep repeating), this is what he’s always done.

        • Otto

          >>>”Does this doofus really think no one else has/had moral writing or that it’s original to Christianity?”

          He thinks all morality comes from religion…but he can’t name one positive moral teaching that is original to Christianity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He thinks that morality has an evolutionary benefit, but that that morality is grounded in religious and god belief all the way down.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It says nothing about anything (except its definition).

        • epeeist

          It says nothing about anything

          And once again you expose yourself as a lying cunt. As Susan notes and I as I have said before atheism says something about the belief (or otherwise) in the existence of gods; this is certainly not nothing.

          But as ever, when caught out in lie you simply double-down and repeat it again (and again).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did Clement edit in the bit in brackets…don’t remember that bit in the original comment?

        • epeeist

          <blockquote.Did Clement edit in the bit in brackets

          Don’t know. Would it surprise me if he had? Absolutely not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope, it would not.

          Just curious.

          But I wouldn’t have thought you’d have missed it, as the bracketed bit “except its definition” get’s him off the main thrust of your complaint in your reply….atheism says something about the belief (or otherwise) in the existence of gods; this is certainly not nothing…i.e. its definition.

        • epeeist

          But I wouldn’t have thought you’d have missed it

          I was out for a goodly amount of time yesterday so it is quite possible that if he did make a change I missed it. Susan would obviously be the person to say.

        • Susan

          Just curious.

          The phrase is included in the e-mail I received.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, the “except its definition” part . . . . in no way clarifies that statement for you? I mean, you edited it out on purpose.

          The irony is that I am catching grief for pointing out that atheism has implications, and you are giving me grief because atheism has implications. Apparently, the punchline is that no matter what I say, someone is going to tell me I am a liar.

        • Greg G.

          someone is going to tell me I am a liar.

          No they won’t. </snark>

        • Otto

          He doesn’t lie….he spreads misinformation with the intent to be deceptive.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here is an excerpt from an interview with an atheist. See if any of his ideas sound like I ripped them off from him:

          A good human life can be embodied in doubt’ — John Gray speaks to Nick Spencer

          25 May 2018

          But when you come to define religion early on, your emphasis is not on a theory to explain but as an attempt to acquire and detect meaning. In your view, humans are fundamentally meaning-seeking animals, aren’t they?

          Yes, they are; or meaning-making animals. And that’s their strength — but it could also be seen as their weakness, because it makes them vulnerable to upset in a way that other animals are not. Because, first of all, their stories . . . terminate in death, and they’re more aware of the fact of death, though not of its significance. We know no more of its significance than any other animal, but we appear to be more aware of it than other animals.

          There are traces of meaning in octopuses, elephants, and higher primates, but they’re faint traces. But that’s why you are far more sympathetic to the idea of religion than the vast majority of atheists writing today, because you see it as fundamentally interwoven into human beings.

          Well, it certainly can’t be eliminated. If humans are meaning-seeking animals, then religion can no more be eliminated than sex can be eliminated. . . [The psychologist] Adam Phillips pointed out last night [in a conversation at the London Review of Books] . . . [that] one of the messages of this book is that religion permeates everything in the way that Freud said sex permeates everything. If you repress it in the way that the Victorians did, it comes out in sleazy and weird forms. . . It’s not humanly universal; not every single human being has it. It seems to be pan-cultural, I would say. And, certainly, if you try to eradicate it from society, what you end up with is some sort of state cult, and that’s happened repeatedly.

          One of the aspects of the unempirical, even anti-empirical, character of contemporary atheism is when you say “Look what happened in China, or the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany” and they say “It’s nothing to do with atheism”. [They argue that] Christianity, all the evils that it’s been associated with, it’s all come from Christianity; but, with atheism, none of the evils come from atheism. In one sense, that’s true, but not in a very interesting sense. If you just take atheism in this very minimal, negative formulation, meaning the absence of the idea of a creator God, then, of course, nothing follows from it logically. But, historically, whenever atheism has been organised as a movement, or has acquired power in the State, it has always, I think it could be said, become a repressive cult.

          One of the features of the emergence of atheism is that it comes in a thickly Christian culture, and therefore the statement “There is no God” is untenable in public. It has to be “There is no God and therefore there is humanity, or science, or whatever it is.” So, from those fundamentally destructive or parasitic seeds, atheism has always had to be a creative phenomenon in order to justify its position on the table.

          I say somewhere in the book: “A world from which the Christian God has been removed is still a Christian world.” So, an atheist world, in the modern sense, is still a monotheistic world. They haven’t stepped out of monotheism. Because, in a sense, the atheisms that can really step out might be more threatening or chilling to you as a Christian than the ones I’m attacking. If you really step out of it, which Nietzsche tried but failed, and Schopenhauer more successfully did and ended up with this kind of mystical atheism, it’ll be further out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And John Gray is to be accepted as what and why exactly?

          Be careful what you wish for….

          And on it goes. Humans, Gray tells us, are really not so very different from other animals, except that they make myths (which of course requires small things like imagination, cognition, self-consciousness, language, the ability to makes choices…). But even this is too much for Gray, who approvingly refers to a scene in a JG Ballard novel where an observer sees things which ‘show the human organism sloughing off personality in a creative response to a life-changing event’.

          That Gray contradicts himself with every purposeful sentence he writes seems not to concern him (but what’s the use of concern anyway, on Gray’s view?).

          http://www.spiked-online.com/review_of_books/article/the-shallow-nihilism-of-john-gray/15999#.W2s0EihKhPY

          So you’ve found an atheist that says somethings you agree with…like Klavan…why should we accept what Gray has to say anymore that Klavan? Because he’s an atheist? Wise up Clement. Atheist talk shite too ya know?

          ETA: link.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And John Gray is to be accepted as what and why exactly?

          He should be accepted as an atheist. In the context of conversations here, it is significant that he does not have a knee-jerk position that is automatically the opposite of whatever the theist just said. As i pointed out, speaking the truth does not negate one’s atheism.

          Note the nature of your response to this quote:
          1) You reflexly attack the messenger.
          2) You do not address the substance.

        • Susan

          He should be accepted as an atheist

          atheists. Does that mean that I should accept that lizard people walk among us?

          it is significant that he does not have a knee-jerk position that is automatically the opposite of whatever the theist said

          It is significant that you call “knee jerk” without supporting it and have done so without shame. It is significant that you call requests that you provide evidence for Yahwehjesus a red herring when it’s the very heart of the subject in question.

          What is not significant is that you found some atheist who agrees with you on some points that neither of you support.

          You reflexly attack the messenger

          It’s not an attack. That you are unable to answer the simple question “And John Gray is to be accepted as what and why exactly” with any substance but “he should be accepted as an atheist” says it all.

          You do not address the substance

          How does he substantiate his claims? I read what you quoted and don’t see the substance.

          Freud, for christ’s sake!

        • Ignorant Amos

          He should be accepted as an atheist.

          What has his atheism got to do with the veracity of his opinion?

          Does his disagreeing with your stance on other matters here mean you are wrong?

          In the context of conversations here, it is significant that he does not have a knee-jerk position that is automatically the opposite of whatever the theist just said.

          Who cares? If he is talking nonsense, he is talking nonsense.

          As i pointed out, speaking the truth does not negate one’s atheism.

          You have yet to demonstrate he is speaking the truth, so pah!

          Not that you’d know what the truth is ffs.

          Note the nature of your response to this quote:
          1) You reflexly attack the messenger.

          Nope, no “reflexively attack” involved …I asked a question. You think that a navel gazing philosopher’s musings that agree with you…on a particular issue, but whose musings you reject elsewhere, stands as some sort of support for your specific position here, because he is an atheist, matters? But you can’t tell us why. Behave. The messenger still has nothing of substance.

          2) You do not address the substance.

          There isn’t any.

          The answer to the first question in the interview you’ve cited has not been contested here.

          The answer to the second question has not been contested here up to this point…

          ; but, with atheism, none of the evils come from atheism. In one sense, that’s true, but not in a very interesting sense.

          …then the crap starts…

          But, historically, whenever atheism has been organised as a movement, or has acquired power in the State, it has always, I think it could be said, become a repressive cult.

          Which is ballix. And very few atheist, if any will agree with this ballix. Much ink has been spilt as to why it is ballix.

          You’ll have to cite an example of a state where the “cult of atheism” acquired state power and then the “cult of atheism” became repressive. And the reason for that repression was/is the atheism of the powers that be.

          Now here you are doing it again, trying to associate atheism to a cult with immorality because of atheism. Making you the liar you are for the reason that Otto has highlighted.

          Hoist by your own petard.

          His last answer is pure fuckwittery to a fuckwits statement…wtf is a Christian world?

          Some of the most irreligious countries in the world are the least repressive. Those that are, it isn’t because of the “cult of atheism”.

        • Greg G.

          CA seems to be tilting at the windmill of atheism in his mind. He thinks atheists must agree on everything he sees as related to atheism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because he is an dishonest idiot.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Pofarmer

          When has atheism ever been organized as a movement? And, no, not communism, atheism.

          Why are the happiest, most peaceful countries in the world right pretty much universally the most secular and least religious?

          I won’t hold my breath.

        • Susan

          atheism has implications

          Other than not believing gods exist, what are the implications?

          you are giving me grief because atheism has implications

          No. People are giving you grief because you keep alluding to implications (e.g. a christian Nazi is a hypocrite but an atheist Nazi isn’t) that it doesn’t have.

          no matter what I say, someone is going to tell me I am a liar.

          I only tell you you’re a liar when you’re lying, which has been often, and I support it.

          You, on the other hand, have called me a liar for at least a year now when I’m not lying and you never support it.

          But back to the point.

          Neither atheism nor christianity are moral systems, in and of themselves.

          It is as simple as believing Yahwehjesus, an incoherent, unevidenced deity exists (which can include all kinds of moral systems) or not believing that Yahwehjesus, an incoherent, unevidenced deity exists (which can include all kinds of moral systems.)

          Moral reasoning is a separate issue.

        • epeeist

          The irony is that I am catching grief for pointing out that atheism has implications

          So go on, what implications does atheism have?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It would be a very long list. Here is a tip-of-the-iceberg list. It implies a belief in the non-existence of gods. That belief might be a mere non-belief, agnosticism, or a really strong conviction (that does not even allow for rally caps in the 9th inning). It implies that there is no such thing as the supernatural. It implies here is no Allah, Odin, Quetzalcoatl, Vishnu, [how long would the list of Gods need to be to satisfy this point?].

          It might imply that there is a natural explanation for everything we see (naturalism, scientism). That, alone, has vast implications (even about Self).

          It might imply that human life is worth more (humanism), the same, or less than other life.

          It implies that one could adopt one’s values from religion, be totally focused on one’s self, or anywhere in between or beyond. (Is Buddhism atheism?)

          It might imply that a hope in God is a false hope. It might imply that hope in God is justified for some people, but not for others, or never justified under any circumstances.

          It might imply that non-atheist should become atheists for their own good (How much effort?).

          It implies that no value system is any more inferior or superior than any other.

          You didn’t really want an answer, but I obliged anyway. . . . . . because I enjoy the abuse.

        • epeeist

          It implies a belief in the non-existence of gods.

          It might, but all that is necessary is the lack of belief in the existence of gods.

          It implies that there is no such thing as the supernatural.

          No, this is note entailed by a lack of belief in gods. As an example, Buddhists and Wiccans may not believe in gods but still accept the existence of the “supernatural”.

          It might imply that human life is worth more (humanism), the same, or less than other life.

          No, this is not entailed by a lack of belief in the existence of gods.

          It implies that one could adopt one’s values from religion

          No, a lack of belief in gods does not entail the following of any particular system of ethics.

          It might imply that a hope in God is a false hope

          No, this is not entailed by a lack of belief in the existence of gods.

          It might imply that non-atheist should become atheists for their own good

          No, this is not entailed by a lack of belief in the existence of gods.

          It implies that no value system is any more inferior or superior than any other.

          No, this is not entailed by a lack of belief in the existence of gods.

          When one says “A implies B” what one means is B is a logical consequence of A.

          Only in the first example is the second statement a logical consequence of the first sentence.

          In all the rest logical consequence does not apply, to take your second example, one may or may not reject the existence of the supernatural if one is an atheist.

        • Otto

          >>>”Your conclusion is really heavy on opinion, there. At the risk of suggesting another experiment, do we have any examples where atheists controlled a society to compare with”

          Honestly I do not know what ‘atheists controlling society’ have to do with the point I am making. What I am trying to get at is that Christianity makes numerous claims about our shared reality that do not have any evidence for them.

          *God intervenes in reality (miracles)
          *God came to Earth
          *God (specifically the Christian God) is the basis for morality
          *God makes things happen according to his will
          (etc, etc, etc)

          Now each and every Christian has their own list of what God does and doesn’t do, I am certainly not claiming ALL Christians think each and every thing I listed is true, but I will go out on a limb and say the basics are generally agreed upon. The issue is there is no reliable evidence that any of those things are true.

          We DO have reliable evidence that evolution happened, we don’t know for sure that morality was an evolved trait, but we do have indicators that it is likely to be the case and NO indicators that the Christian God had a damn thing to do with it, short of the bald, baseless assertions of Christians. Morality has existed far longer than Christianity, so it is indisputable that Christian thought is NOT the basis for Morality. You can just claim the Christian God was responsible for morality, but what do you have to actually make that connection? I would certainly say evolution has a leg up on that claim and I don’t think you can really say the two hypothesis’s are equally grounded.

          >>>”When I think of a personal God, I think of a God that is a person; that can have a relationship with another person.”

          Yes I would agree with that as well, but isn’t that a general Christian idea that people can have a relationship with Jesus/God? It may not be your personal view but I don’t think stating in general that such is the case is going out on a limb.

          >>>”What I was pointing out was that we have a solid basis for saying the Nazi Christian chose to elevate “Nazi” over “Christian”.

          Again you are saying that the treatment of the Jews was based on Nazism, not Christianity. And I give you Martin Luther…Nazism was not THE complete foundation for that mentality of oppressing the Jews. Jewish oppression has a much longer and deeper history within Christian culture going back centuries. What did Martin Luther elevate over “Christian” in coming to his conclusion? He certainly grounded his religion in his views of Jews, you would have to agree right?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Your conclusion is really heavy on opinion, there. At the risk of suggesting another experiment, do we have any examples where atheists controlled a society to compare with”
          Honestly I do not know what ‘atheists controlling society’ have to do with the point I am making.

          Maybe I have been misunderstanding what you have been saying. We were discussing Klavan’s rejection of atheism. Faced with all of Christianity’s shortcomings, he still chose it. I pointed out that he found in Christianity the moral basis he did not find in atheism. You created a scenario in which a Christian Nazi justified killing Jews based on Christianity. I don’t know if that ever happened, but it seemed plausible enough to accept. I replied that I didn’t think Klavan was saying that Christianity was perfect morally, but it was superior to atheism in his view. You countered that Christianity was literally worse. Your clarification was that it wasn’t even a contest – Christianity is far more immoral than atheism.

          Did I misunderstand you?

        • Otto

          >>>”Did I misunderstand you?”

          Yes because atheism is not a basis for morality…as I have said over and over. And as others have said to you…over and over.

          Christianity does not mesh with reality…therefore a secular moral system based on reality is superior.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yes because atheism is not a basis for morality…as I have said over and over. And as others have said to you…over and over.

          I have said it too, AND been called names for saying so. So, keeping that truth that all of us agree on in mind, let’s go back to the point Klavan made that we have been discussing. Klavan says something to the effect that atheists are living in a world religion made. You took offense to that. So, if the atheist view of reality says nothing about morality, where does atheists’ morality come from? The obvious answer (that I get hammered for speaking) is “Somewhere else”.

          The Marquis de Sade asserted that morality comes from nature. So, if nature says he should force violent sex on someone, then that is the moral thing to do. OTOH, the atheist who doesn’t lie, steal, cheat on his wife, helps widows and orphans, and treats other people the way he wants to be treated gets his morality from . . . . . . . religion. We live in a culture that has DEEP roots in Judeo/Christian/Islamic values. “To some extent”, says Klavan, “atheists live in a world made by religion.”

          Don’t be offended. Embrace it. Just say, “Yeah, and religion came from nature.” Now, it is the believer’s decision whether to be offended or not. It doesn’t offend me. But, we’re back to what the MdS said about nature. At some inflection point, the atheist diverts from our animal nature to religious nature. . . . and stops dwelling on the topic, satisfied with the hunch that there is nothing more to think about.

          Christianity does not mesh with reality…therefore a secular moral system based on reality is superior.

          Do you need reliable evidence for that assertion of fact? Do you need to know why you believe what you believe? I am stunned that after all the other things you have said that you can say something so starkly in contradiction with your other assertions.

          Here, suppose that I asserted, “Atheism does not mesh with reality . . . .” Would you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Gee, I guess he’s right.”? If you would reject that argument in a NY second, why would you think I wouldn’t reject it? Maybe because your own beliefs are so deeply imbedded that they blinded you to it?

        • Greg G.

          Don’t be offended. Embrace it. Just say, “Yeah, and religion came from nature.”

          Empathy comes from nature but there may be something like epigenetics that can inhibit it. A school teacher explained it to me that studies have shown that when babies do not get attention when they cry in the earliest months and years, their sense of empathy is diminished. I learned about epigenetics later and made a possible connection. Perhaps, the Marquis de Sade didn’t get enough attention when he was a baby so that empathy was not a part of his moral theory, therefore, his moral theory was incomplete.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I also am a fan of speculation when we have no reliable evidence.

        • Greg G.

          I get your point. I should not have taken what you said about the Marquis de Sade as reliable evidence.

          My friend has advanced degrees and has studied child development so she is a reliable source. I have read reliable sources about epigenetics and how it can affect behavior. So the only unreliable evidence involved in my speculation is from you.

          You are a fan of speculation based solely on your imagination devoid of any evidence from reality.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are a fan of speculation based solely on your imagination devoid of any evidence from reality.

          But only speculation of his specific imaginary woo-woo…no such speculation is granted to contradictory imaginary woo-woo’s.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The point about the MdS wasn’t what events lead him to be the way he was. That is a diversion. The point was what he did with the argument of moral relativism and nature – he ran it to the ground.

          Klavan’s point that we were discussing was where morals come from. Klavan says atheists are just borrowing morality for other places, because atheism itself says nothing about the subject. I think we all agree with this statement. Atheists are free to borrow morality from anywhere they want. But, when Klavan says that to some degree atheists live in a religious world (borrow from religion), they are insulted. “No, it’s nature. Morals come from nature.”

          But nature tells us to serve ourselves. In the case of the MdS, serving himself meant as much pleasure as possible. His actions were in harmony with nature. Imagine how happy we would all be if our every moment were happy.

          The answer, of course, is that we have to change that truth to something that fits our wishful thinking. There is no God, but theists simply make one up to satisfy that wishful thinking. Atheists simply make up scientific speculation for the same reason. Both sound rational. They seem to make sense because we want them to so badly. The difference is that the theist is not averring beliefs that conflict with their understanding of reality.

          Now, i am totally willing to throw Klavan under the bus on this one. This is his conclusion. However, I can’t shoot it down, and the best alternative explanation that has been offered just doesn’t fit the evidence. And, if there is no evidence, we can’t believe it, right?

        • Susan

          what he did with the argument of moral relativism and nature – he ran it to the ground.

          Of course he didn’t.

          when Klavan says that to some degree atheists live in a religious world (borrow from religion), they are insulted

          No one’s insulted. Exactly what do we borrow from religion?

          No, it’s nature. Morals come from nature.

          This is not inconsistent with the fact that we live in a world where there is religion.

          You’re points don’t connect. I am getting used to that.

          But nature tells us to serve ourselves.

          No, it doesn’t. That’s a ridiculous caricature. There are plenty of examples of interspecies compassion, (herds, packs, flocks…. ) and all kinds interesting examples of compassion between individuals of different species.

          The answer, of course, is that we have to change that truth to something that fits our wishful thinking. There is no God, but theists simply make one up to satisfy that wishful thinking.

          Most theist were taught as children. They didn’t make it up.

          the best alternative explanation that has been offered just doesn’t fit the evidence.

          Of course it fits the evidence. There is altruism in many species. Group bonding. Young rearing.

          That you stick your fingers in your ears, completely ignore the evidence and claim Godiddit is your problem.

          It’s called God of the Gaps for a reason. It doesn’t give you Yahwehjesus.

          Nor does it escape the Euthyphro Dilemma.

          Nor is Yahwehjesus a particularly impressive example of morality.

        • Greg G.

          The point about the MdS wasn’t what events lead him to be the way he was. That is a diversion. The point was what he did with the argument of moral relativism and nature – he ran it to the ground.

          It wasn’t a diversion, it was a digression. My point was that his moral relativism did not include empathy, for whatever reason. My moral theory includes empathy which means it considers the position of all involved. I think a religious moral system that does not include empathy is as poor as de Sade’s. Skipping a mutual win-win moral solution for what is found in an ancient text is idiotic. Cherry-picking different parts of the text depending on which side of the decision you are on is even more deplorable.

          Your portrayal of Klavan’s moral theory sounds about as bad as MdS’s.

          But nature tells us to serve ourselves. In the case of the MdS, serving himself meant as much pleasure as possible. His actions were in harmony with nature. Imagine how happy we would all be if our every moment were happy.

          No, nature tells us to consider the group and to serve oneself. We see this in social creatures and in those that care for their young. If supporting those who can support you is beneficial is a genetic trait, it will be selected for whether there is a god thingy or not. If there are times when it is beneficial to look out for oneself, then that trait will also be maintained but the two will both have to be present and active.

          The answer, of course, is that we have to change that truth to something that fits our wishful thinking. There is no God, but theists simply make one up to satisfy that wishful thinking. Atheists simply make up scientific speculation for the same reason. Both sound rational. They seem to make sense because we want them to so badly. The difference is that the theist is not averring beliefs that conflict with their understanding of reality.

          Except the god thingy tends to be logically inconsistent.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The point about the MdS wasn’t what events lead him to be the way he was. That is a diversion. The point was what he did with the argument of moral relativism and nature – he ran it to the ground.

          It wasn’t a diversion, it was a digression. My point was that his moral relativism did not include empathy, for whatever reason. My moral theory includes empathy which means it considers the position of all involved. I think a religious moral system that does not include empathy is as poor as de Sade’s. Skipping a mutual win-win moral solution for what is found in an ancient text is idiotic. Cherry-picking different parts of the text depending on which side of the decision you are on is even more deplorable.
          Your portrayal of Klavan’s moral theory sounds about as bad as MdS’s.

          Every single sentence in that paragraph has a problem.

          1) A “digression” is still a “diversion”, only it is meant to be temporary.
          2) Moral relativism must include empathy. Do we know his didn’t?
          3) Your moral theory . . . . is the one that matters.
          4) Are there any that don’t include empathy?
          5) “…idiotic” – an emotionally-loaded term. You need to establish the premise. Name-calling skips the logic in favor of the editorial.
          6) Am I cherry-picking?
          7) More moralizing, and no rationale.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least you admit that the evidence is not reliable and you base your claim on speculation.

          You are not a fan of the speculations made by other religious supernatural claims though…so not much of a fan at all really.

          Now why should anyone take you seriously when you admit it is speculation?

        • Otto

          >>>”I have said it too, AND been called names for saying so.”

          This seems to be a common place our two sides talk past each other, there is a difference between saying ‘atheism has no basis for morality’ and ‘atheists have no basis for morality’. One is correct and one is not necessarily correct. My guess is that often the former is said when the latter is maybe meant, and that sometimes the latter is said and the former is perceived.

          >>>”So, if the atheist view of reality says nothing about morality, where does atheists’ morality come from?”

          There are a variety of secular moral views just like there is a variety of religious moral views, secular moral views go back as far in history as religious view do.

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

          >>>”Klavan says something to the effect that atheists are living in a world religion made.”

          Religion no more ‘made’ the moral landscape of the world than religion made the idea of law. Religion promotes morality yes, it did not come up with the concept.

          The Marquis de SadeMartin Luther asserted that morality comes from nature religion. So, if nature religion says he should force violent sex on someone treat Jews as moral degenerates and to treat them as less than human, then that is the moral thing to do.

          That knife cuts both ways, and that shows that religion does not solve the problem it is claimed that it solves.

          >>>”OTOH, the atheist who doesn’t lie, steal, cheat on his wife, helps widows and orphans, and treats other people the way he wants to be treated gets his morality from . . . . . . . religion.”

          Show your work, I think this is a baseless assertion.

          >>>”We live in a culture that has DEEP roots in Judeo/Christian/Islamic values.”

          Name one Judeo/Christian/Islamic positive value that did not exist until one of these religions brought it into existence. You don’t get to co-opt values that were already around and pretend like religion was the original source just because these religions promote some of these values sometimes in some situations, that is not the same thing. I am not offended, I just think such a statement is wrong and is furthering a falsehood. At some inflection point, the theist co-opts everything positive in human nature and pretends like their religion is the source of good and that that there is nothing more to think about..

          >>>”Do you need reliable evidence for that assertion of fact?”

          What evidence would you like that reality is superior to superstition? I would say this has been demonstrated in history countless times.

          >>>”Here, suppose that I asserted, “Atheism does not mesh with reality . . . .”

          Show me how not accepting a religious claim conflicts with reality. This is a non-starter.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I have said it too, AND been called names for saying so.”

          This
          seems to be a common place our two sides talk past each other, there is
          a difference between saying ‘atheism has no basis for morality’ and
          ‘atheists have no basis for morality’. One is correct and one is not
          necessarily correct. My guess is that often the former is said when the
          latter is maybe meant, and that sometimes the latter is said and the
          former is perceived.

          I think that is a fair and true statement. The individual may display behavior that conflicts with the philosophy. You brought up the scenario of a Nazi Christian who says one thing, but does another (or worse yet, justifies his bad behavior using Christianity). I DO think atheists have a basis for their morality. I don’t think they know where it comes from. We’ve narrowed it down to “not atheism”, which leaves the question essentially unanswered.

          My bet is that the man-on-the-street atheist is going to say, “society”. if we point out that our Western society is essentially Christian, they will say, “Yeah, but without the supernatural stuff.” In a forum like this, that seems to be a difficult thing to admit. . . . . . because it isn’t consistent with the stated beliefs.

          “So, if the atheist view of reality says nothing about morality, where does atheists’ morality come from?”

          There
          are a variety of secular moral views just like there is a variety of
          religious moral views, secular moral views go back as far in history as
          religious view do.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

          Did you pick up on how many times that article used the phrase “Some believe …”?

          If it were fact, there would be no appealing to the (conflicting) beliefs. This isn’t fact; it is a hypothesis. It has the trappings of a faith statement.

          “Klavan says something to the effect that atheists are living in a world religion made.”

          Religion no more ‘made’ the moral landscape of the world than religion made the
          idea of law. Religion promotes morality yes, it did not come up with the
          concept.

          And, we don’t need lock-solid evidence for those kinds of claims, do we?

          The Marquis de Sade Martin Luther asserted that morality comes from nature religion.

          In the same writings ML would point to, there are teachings which contradict him. Atheism . . . has nothing contradictory to ANY behavior.

          “OTOH, the atheist who doesn’t lie, steal, cheat on his wife,
          helps widows and orphans, and treats other people the way he wants to be
          treated gets his morality from . . . . . . . religion.”

          Show your work, I think this is a baseless assertion.

          In order, Commandment #9, Commandment #10, Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (among a host of others), Luke 6:31. I think the point you may have been making is that these biblical mentions were preceded by secular rules. We have even less basis for that assertion than mine, and they still have to be unrelated to religion. The purpose for rules is . . . . that they are needed. if people behaved themselves, there is not need to change anything.

          We live in a culture that has DEEP roots in Judeo/Christian/Islamic values.”

          Name one Judeo/Christian/Islamic positive value that did not exist until one of these religions brought it into existence.

          That is how they came to our culture. If there was a religion that said the same thing before those religions, then the origins are still religious. i would be wrong on the details, not the principle.

          “Do you need reliable evidence for that assertion of fact?”

          What
          evidence would you like that reality is superior to superstition? I
          would say this has been demonstrated in history countless times.

        • Otto

          >>>”We’ve narrowed it down to “not atheism”, which leaves the question essentially unanswered.”

          It is going to entirely depend on the individual, you would have to ask the individual atheist.

          >>>”My bet is that the man-on-the-street atheist is going to say, “society”. if we point out that our Western society is essentially Christian…”

          I have pointed out that all the positive morality that Christianity promotes is not original to Christianity. I give Christianity credit for promoting positive values when it does, I also call out Christianity for its failures and its omissions. I have found no positive moral concept within Christianity that is original or specific to it. Christianity is a tool for teaching a moral system, however it is not the creator of the morality it teaches and is not necessary for that morality that it promotes. That seems to be a difficult thing to admit. . . . . . because it isn’t consistent with the claims of Christians.

          >>>”This isn’t fact; it is a hypothesis. It has the trappings of a faith statement.”

          I am not sure what you are getting at…are you saying secular morality has not existed historically?

          >>>”And, we don’t need lock-solid evidence for those kinds of claims, do we?”

          Would to care to provide the evidence for the claim that morality is rooted in religion? Because that is Klavan’s claim and you don’t seem to have a problem accepting that with anything more than his say so. You said “Klavan says something to the effect that atheists are living in a world religion made.” I just basically said I don’t believe this…and now you are complaining that I should have to prove his claim false. No that is not how it works. He hasn’t provided anything that gives evidence for that…and I don’t have to do his or your work. Klavan is basically saying without religion humans would not have morality…hogwash.

          >>>”In the same writings ML would point to, there are teachings which contradict him.”

          There are also teachings that support him. I will say it again, the Bible is a Rorschach test.

          >>>”Atheism . . . has nothing contradictory to ANY behavior.”

          I don’t see this as a problem. So what.

          >>>”In order, Commandment #9, Commandment #10, Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (among a host of others), Luke 6:31.”

          Umm…you said that “the atheist who doesn’t lie, steal, cheat on his wife, helps widows and orphans, and treats other people the way he wants to be treated gets his morality from . . . . . . . religion.”

          And then you pointed to Bible verses as if that proves your point that ALL atheists derive their morality from it? I don’t see you actually making that connection. There are plenty of non-believers in the world that do not live in religious communities and do not read the Bible…and you have done nothing to show that those verses have anything to do with their sense of morality…again you are just throwing crap around as if it just ‘true’ until proven otherwise. Additionally now you are conflating ‘religion being the source of morality’ with ‘the Bible or Christianity is the source of morality’. That takes some balls to try and pivot like that and think I am not going to notice that slight of hand…wow.

          >>>”That is how they came to our culture.”

          That is the vehicle that was used to promote them in THIS culture…it does not follow that therefore it is the source. That is like claiming the source of immigrants in New York is from boats…while technically it is true, the immigrants did not originate in the boat out of thin air.

          >>>” If there was a religion that said the same thing before those religions, then the origins are still religious.”

          No, that does not follow. All that would mean is that some religion said it before, it does not mean that therefore that religion is its origin. And regardless you are missing the point I was making which is that Judeo/Christian/Islamic values do not make Judaism/Christianity/Islam special, because the values they espouse predate those religions and therefore make labeling them as “Judeo/Christian/Islamic values” a misnomer. Now I would think that if Judeo/Christian/Islamic was special you could name some positive concept that originated with them…but alas apparently they didn’t have a positive original thought among them…unless you want to take another crack at the question.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “This isn’t fact; it is a hypothesis. It has the trappings of a faith statement.”

          I am not sure what you are getting at…are you saying secular morality has not existed historically?

          “Some believe” it has. “Some believe” it has not. This comment of mine related to the “some believe” that immediately preceded it. They are belief statements that Wikipedia is sharing with us. These are hypotheses that do not have the requisite facts that should follow, allowing us to come to a conclusion. This next comment builds on this theme:

          “And, we don’t need lock-solid evidence for those kinds of claims, do we?”

          Would to care to provide the evidence for the claim that morality is rooted in religion?

          So, we have several belief statements, instead of rock-solid evidence. Evidence is the Gold Standard for claims. We don’t make claims without R-SE, right? We don’t just default to wishful thinking.

          Now, to address your question, I’m going to have to break the rule I just stated. I can’t point to a time in human history when religion did not exist. We have no written records until about 5-6,000 years ago – tens of thousands of years after the time period we are talking about. We have cave paintings, burials, and we have carved objects that invite any number of fanciful interpretations. I don’t see enough evidence to make reliable conclusions about morality from 50-100,000 years ago (OK, maybe butcher-knife cuts on human bones doesn’t speak well of their morals).

          “In the same writings ML would point to, there are teachings which contradict him.”

          There are also teachings that support him. I will say it again, the Bible is a Rorschach test.

          A determined person can certainly spin it to rationalize what they want to do. I will confess that I haven’t read much ML, however, what I remember did not cite scripture, but instead spoke in broad generalities, like “Jews killed Jesus.” (for which, ironically, I should owe them a deep debt of gratitude). My point, however, was that we at least can also point to specific prohibitions. Since atheism says nothing about morality, it has no such prohibitions.

          I don’t see this as a problem. So what?

          So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.

          “In order, Commandment #9, Commandment #10, Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (among a host of others), Luke 6:31.”

          Umm…you
          said that “the atheist who doesn’t lie, steal, cheat on his wife, helps
          widows and orphans, and treats other people the way he wants to be
          treated gets his morality from . . . . . . . religion.”And then you pointed to Bible verses as if that proves your point that ALL atheists derive their morality from it? I don’t see you actually making that connection.

          I thought you wanted a examples. I assume in Buddhist and Hindu cultures, atheists there don’t cite the Bible.

        • Otto

          >>>””Some believe” it has. “Some believe” it has not.

          So in essence you are saying that it cannot be determined, and yet when Klavan says it HAS been determined you are OK with that…
          I am starting to see why people here get very frustrated with you. Klavan making a concrete statement regarding the origin of morality is A-OK…Me saying I don’t believe him and presenting evidence that secular morality has existed for a long time is NOT OK and is a faith statement. I am not impressed with you right now Clement. You need to address this issue.

          >>>”Now, to address your question, I’m going to have to break the rule I just stated.”

          So there is no evidence that we are in fact living in a moral world religion BUILT. I expect you will be contacting Klavan and explaining his mistake.

          >>>”A determined person can certainly spin it to rationalize what they want to do.”

          Yes a determined person can spin it either way. What you seem to be implying is that YOUR interpretation is not spin. You have offered nothing to support that. There are determined people to show the Bible in the most favorable light…wouldn’t you agree?

          >>>”So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          If you are going to pretend like ALL the time we have spent talking about this particular subject DID NOT HAPPEN I will be done with you forever and I will join the ranks of people calling you names. What you did right there was as bad as anyone calling you any name… Fuck you you fucking asshole.

          YOU FUCKING APOLOGIZE FOR DISHONESTLY PRETENDING THAT I HAVE NOT ANSWERED THIS OR I AM DONE WITH YOU.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Some believe” it has. “Some believe” it has not.
          So in essence you are saying that it cannot be determined, and yet when Klavan says it HAS been determined you are OK with that…
          I am starting to see why people here get very frustrated with you. Klavan making a concrete statement regarding the origin of morality is A-OK…Me saying I don’t believe him and presenting evidence that secular morality has existed for a long time is NOT OK and is a faith statement. I am not impressed with you right now Clement. You need to address this issue.

          What I am saying is that each of us makes our decisions about reality with unreliable evidence. I have stated something to the effect that ultimately it comes down to a hunch. Klavan states that atheist sort of live in a religious world – not exactly a concrete statement. As a standard for making a conclusion about reality, his whole exchange with Rubin was kind of wishy-washy. But, his logic was solid.

          You guys strongly disagree. You need concrete evidence for everything. No matter how solid the logic, unless there is concrete evidence, we cannot arrive at a conclusion. So, I ask you – what is this rock-solid evidence for the alternative. “Oh, well it is Secular Morality, and here is a link that has no basis in reliable evidence.” You offer me what amounts to a statement of faith, no different than what I am offering. The difference, of course is that yours is the True Faith. When we run it to the ground, the demand for evidence rings hollow.

        • Otto

          I went to bat for you Clement, I told Susan and Amos and everyone else here that I felt you wanted an honest discussion, you have now proven me wrong. You do not care for honest discussion, if lying furthers your goal you use it like a tool. I was really hoping I could show Susan and Amos were misreading you, but they were right and I was a fool, that part is my failure and I have to own it. If your goal was to troll me and show me as a fool for engaging with you…well you succeeded, good for you I guess.

          You are a dishonest liar. Since obviously you have no qualms about lying or admitting your wrong doing I am starting to wonder if you have no qualms about stealing either…and if you have no qualms about stealing then it is quite possible you murder. You are really no different than Martin Luther or a Nazi Christian, the religious morality you hold up as the STANDARD is just something to use when it is useful, but it is like a chocolate Easter bunny and is hollow and empty.

          The only thing you have “run to the ground” is your integrity. Apparently your moral system is not all that it is cracked up to be. No apology, no admission that you used deception and gaslighting. You are really reprehensible and your behavior is unconscionable. I would like to point out I tried, I really did.

        • epeeist

          You are a dishonest liar.

          In various places I have come across Catholics who simply abandon any empathy when it comes to things like child abuse and its systemic cover up by the church. With Clement he extends the lack of empathy to lack of honesty and integrity when it comes to anything that threatens the dogma that he follows.

          I had a post that included a reference to Babylon 5 recently, here is another about the Psicorps

          https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_l9_M3jYn25I/ShmLBs59gpI/AAAAAAAAGBU/TIA2tZ3hEo8/s320/signage.JPG

        • Otto

          I don’t know what specific Christian he is…is he Catholic?

        • Susan

          is he Catholic?

          As far as I know, yes. He’s catholic.

          You’ll have to ask him.

        • Otto

          That would explain some of this.

        • Susan

          That would explain some of this.

          Sad, but true.

          It takes you back, doesn’t it?

        • Otto

          To be honest he isn’t arrogant or condescending enough imo for me to have thought he would be Catholic (see Jim Dailey)…though he checks the box in the passive aggressive and pretending to be honest categories.

        • Susan

          To be honest he isn’t arrogant or condescending enough

          I keep suggesting you check his comment history. Please do. Go as far back as you can bear.

          imo for me to have thought he would be Catholic.

          You mean a catholic apologist. Being catholic does not mean you are arrogant and condescending. Catholic apologists, on the other hand…

          he checks the box in the passive aggressive and pretending to be honest categories.

          Oh, yeah. Complete wanker.

          The literal version of which is supposed to be a sin in the eyes of an incoherent, unevidenced agent.

          But metaphorical wanking seems to be all they have.

          Apparently, that gets a thumbs up from the incoherent, unevidenced agent.

        • Otto

          >>>”You mean a catholic apologist.”

          Yes

        • Pofarmer

          Why do Catholic apologists tend to be the worst? Well, there’s presuppositionalists, too. And, well. Mathew Kelly is carving out a special place of loathing right now.

        • Otto

          They are just more irritating to me personally. Presuppositionalists are a close second.

          And I have never heard of Mathew Kelly…I am cringing before I look.

        • Pofarmer

          Mathew Kelly is the new “Evangelical Catholic.” Like ole Cletus here, he has absolutely no problem with lying for Jesus.

        • Susan

          Presuppositionalists are a close second.

          How are catholic apologists not presuppositionalists?

          They are speaking on behalf of the one true church.

          Because… ?

          (no help from the audience)

        • Otto

          Presuppositionalists argue that ONLY Christianity can account for morality, logic, truth, etc.
          While there is nothing stopping a Catholic apologist from using that argument bullshit, I have not seen one make use of it.

          Did I pass?

        • Susan

          Why do Catholic apologists tend to be the worst?

          I don’t think they are the worst. I think they are equally bad.

          That they begin with the conclusion that they speak for “the one true church” is part of the problem.

          They are as smug and oppressive as the other cults who see them as the lying pagans.

          It’s all a bunch of superstitious nonsense. Catholics, Calvinists, Chopraists, astrologists, mormons, scientologists, etc.

          Ask them what they are claiming and how they support it.

          It’s like kryptonite. Such a simple and honest question.

          They never fail to evade and/or attack when you ask it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          How am I lying? How am I no different than mass murderers, ferpetesake?

          ALL claims must be defended. If you don’t want your claims to be challenged, don’t make them. If I have to produce reliable evidence, show me why a different standard should apply to you.

          My experience with these spasm of name-calling is that they give you insight into the name-caller. 9 times out of 10 they are telling you what their own tactics are. I knew going into this there was a chance you were just setting me up for this moment – you aren’t the first. I mean, “gaslighting”? Really? I haven’t heard that one about anybody in 20 years, and that was because I was watching the movie. Dude, don’t be so transparent.

        • Otto

          I explained what I had a problem with and I asked for an apology, you did not even attempt to address what I said and you continue to pretend like you did nothing wrong.

          Fuck you Clement

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your evidence for secular morality . . . . . wasn’t. It was like me citing the Pope and Billy Graham’s opinions as evidence for God. You demand reliable evidence for my claims, then point to “Some believe . . . ” as if it were Hammurabi’s Code.

          Why do you believe what you believe? “Because . . . . . fuck you! That’s why.”

        • Otto

          >>>”So, anything goes. If atheists controlled gov’t and said, send theists to concentrations camps in Siberia because of their beliefs, there is no basis in their philosophy to say no.”

          If you are going to pretend like ALL the time we have spent talking about this particular subject DID NOT HAPPEN I will be done with you forever and I will join the ranks of people calling you names. What you did right there was as bad as anyone calling you any name… Fuck you you fucking asshole.

          YOU FUCKING APOLOGIZE FOR DISHONESTLY PRETENDING THAT I HAVE NOT ANSWERED THIS OR I AM DONE WITH YOU.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Kudos to you for “running it to the ground” though. A true and honest skeptic. *doffs cap in your direction*

        • epeeist

          Fuck you you fucking asshole.

          Glad you have realised what a dishonest cunt Clement is.

        • Otto

          He seems to have proven his lack of integrity to everyone else…I guess it was my turn. It cannot be said I did not honestly try, though I am still the fool.

        • Susan

          It cannot be said I did not honestly try

          No. It can not. Many of us honestly tried. Like I said, you can check his commenting history. It has been like this always.

          though I am still the fool

          No. You were just new to Clement. Attempting to have honest discussions with people is a good thing. It just turns out to be impossible when you are dealing with a liar.

          It took a year for me to swear (I think). epeeist and you eventually swore. He leaves you with nothing else.

        • MR

          Welcome to the world of Clement Dishonistes.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Susan

          now you are complaining that I should have to prove his claim false.

          Well, that’s our Clement. That’s his approach in a nutshell. It’s been pointed out countless times before you pointing it out now and still, he dishonestly repeats it.

          you are just throwing crap around as if it just ‘true’ until proven otherwise.

          Yes.

          That’s been his main strategy since the beginning. Nothing dissuades him from shamelessly repeating that strategy, no matter how dishonest it’s been shown to be time and time again.

          You’ll notice that he has and will continue to ignore all your substantial points and then just repeat falsehoods and unsupported assertions.

          You’ll also notice that he pretends that both his position and yours are about equal, because all positions are equally subjective and it’s just about what persuades someone.

          He will also accuse you (and others here) of deciding ahead of time that no matter what evidence he provides, we will reject it. A dirty, rotten accusation. Especially from someone who provides no evidence, no matter how many times he’s asked. Especially when he’s talking to a lot of ex-christians.

          He said he’s not familiar with apologetics. But he’s running through all the standards. It’s been Apologetics Bingo for a year now.

          If someone does this for a few days, even weeks, it’s reasonable to assume they haven’t honestly examined their own arguments yet but might be trying to.

          That is not Clement.

          He’s a liar. At this point in the discussion, it’s no accident.

        • epeeist

          That is not Clement.

          He’s a liar. At this point in the discussion, it’s no accident.

          Absolutely, hence my outburst the other day. He will use anything to support his dogma with honesty and truth being collateral damage.

          (The reason I didn’t get back to him immediately was the fact that it was my birthday last Friday and I was taken for a weekend away with dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant)

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbb3d52db23c0d720bcfd98492f741493e57575fc6d6d3772eb14513fb090b18.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          Happy birthday!

        • epeeist
        • Pofarmer

          Amos hell.

        • Greg G.

          That looks like another party.

        • epeeist

          Yeah. I opened the Corryvreckan (the one on the right). I don’t know whether you can read the label but it is cask-strength, 57.1%. Definitely falling-over water.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed. The green is hanging outta me.

          It’s my birthday Friday week. My daughter has booked us on a Game of Thrones pub crawl to see the 6 most northerly doors of the 10 carved from the fallen trees at the “Dark Hedges”. We’ll be having a starter at one of the stops, a main course at another, and a cheese board at another. Starting at Coleraine and ending up in Belfast for last orders. Should be a blast.

          https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/northern-ireland/articles/where-to-see-the-game-of-thrones-doors-in-northern-ireland/

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget to take pictures.

        • MR

          You always demanding evidence.

        • Greg G.

          The job isn’t done until the paperwork is finished. Documentation or it didn’t happen.

        • Otto

          My meticulous Catholic mother had two embroideries on her office wall at work.
          One was of US symbol of the bald eagle that said “In God We Trust”
          The other was of a chicken that said “All Other Must Document”

        • Greg G.

          My wife does embroidery sometimes. They may as well say,
          “This is to remind you that I have the patience to stab something a thousand times.”

          ETA: That is the subtext to all embroidery.

        • epeeist

          Given my advancing age and the pre-prandial drink before hand, the five wines with the meal and the flight of port at the end moving between establishments wasn’t