Downsides to the Hope Offered by Christianity: Not Seeing Reality Clearly

Say you have a problem, and you want it resolved. You pray to God because you’ve been promised that God will take care of it in a way that’s tailor-made for your particular needs. If you can count on anything, you can count on God, right?

But you rarely get what anyone would call a remarkable resolution to your problem, and that’s where hope comes in. Hope maintains your confidence that sometime, somehow, God will deliver the best possible resolutions for this and all other problems.

The problem is that hope is always second best. You’d like prayer to work like a vending machine—you put in a dollar, and it gives you your snack. It works every time, without surprises. But when God looks like a no-show, hope fills the gap. Despite the evidence, you keep alive the spark that it’ll work out for the best.

Let’s continue our list of reasons why Christian hope is not a good thing (part 1 here).

2. Not seeing reality clearly

Suppose you’re crossing the street, learning to hit a baseball, setting a broken bone, or learning to swim. You’d need to see reality clearly to perform these tasks. How could you want to avoid seeing reality clearly in any other area of life?

If I go to the oncologist, I may want hope, but what I need is the truth—whether I’m healthy, or I have a cancer with a good chance of recovery after treatment, or I have two months to get my affairs in order and say goodbye. A pat on the head from the doctor would make me feel better (at that moment, anyway), but the truth would help me live my life better. In the same way, belief in heaven might make me feel better, but I want the truth. I want a life in harmony with reality.

Hope often blurs with faith. The Children’s Crusade of 1212 was a popular crusade (that is, not one sponsored and encouraged by the church), and it is a good example of faith crashing into reality.

Historians debate what actually happened, but it appears to be some combination of

  • charismatic child preachers raising a military force of perhaps 30,000 children,
  • the promise that once they got to Italy, the Mediterranean would part to allow them to walk to Palestine,
  • the promise that battle would be unnecessary because God would simply convert the Muslims occupiers of the Holy Land to Christianity, and
  • most participants either dying on the way from exhaustion or starvation or being sold into slavery and the remnant struggling their way home.

Ignoring reality has consequences.

The downside of hope is also the downside of Pascal’s Wager. This wager says that there’s no downside to being a believer—hedge your bets by acting like a Christian and you can’t lose. There are many problems with this thinking, but let’s just highlight one, the downside to being deceived. Participating in a religion that is nonsense means spending time, money, and energy on that religion instead of focusing on what’s real.

We see desperate hope in the alternative medicine field, which is worth $30 billion per year in the U.S. There’s not sufficient evidence to upgrade these alternative medicines into actual medicines, but they do give hope where science offers none. Similarly, religion gives hope when reality offers none, but that hope is also expensive. Religion consumes 115 billion dollars every year in the U.S.

To someone who is content to not see reality clearly, I wonder what argument they could have against being continually drunk or stoned.

One popular apologetic argument (and I still can’t get my head around the idea of an adult making this argument) is that atheism is discouraging or unpleasant, as if that were an argument against atheism. I made this first on the list of my 25 stupid arguments Christians should avoid. I’ve responded several articles that use this argument (here, here, here).

Do these professional Christian apologists think they’re talking to children? I wonder if they’ve read C. S. Lewis, who said, “If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be; if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.”

Continue with reasons 3 and 4, complacency and magical thinking

Here is the tragedy of theology in its distilled essence:
The employment of high-powered human intellect,
of genius, of profoundly rigorous logical deduction—
studying nothing.
— Andrew Bernstein

.

Image via Cicely Miller, CC license

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  • RichardSRussell

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”—George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer

    • Kevin K

      Not me, I’m a mean drunk.

      • RichardSRussell

        I first had the light dawn on me about the benefits of marijuana due to a fraternity brother who was a decent enuf guy when sober but also turned into a mean drunk after he’d had too many (which in his case was more than about 2 beers). But then he discovered pot, and when he was high he was one of the nicest, sweetest guys you could imagine. I knew then and there that the government had its head up its ass on the subject.

        • Pofarmer

          The govt has it’s head up it’s ass on lot’s of subjects.

        • Jim Jones

          This one has a fat, orange head up its ass.

        • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

          I swear some extra fudgey Keebler Elf head is up there, too!

        • Jim Jones

          It seems more like a human centipede every day.

        • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

          No one ever reads the end user license agreement!

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qslcnw-9KbI

        • Otto

          I grew up with a friend who was the same way. He was a really good fun guy, but get some alcohol in him and he turned into an asshole quickly. He was fine if he smoked some pot but alcohol flipped some switch in him. I had to cut off the friendship and I haven’t seen him for over 30 years. I hope he quit.

      • Brian Curtis

        Off-topic joke:

        Two men are sitting drinking at a bar at the top of the Empire State Building, when the first man turns to the other and says “You know, they call Chicago the Windy City, but it’s got nothing on New York. Last week I discovered that if you jump from the top of this building, the winds around the building are so intense that by the time you fall to the 10th floor, they carry you around the building and back in through a window”. The bartender just shakes his head in disapproval while wiping the bar.

        The second guy says, “What, are you nuts? There’s no way that could happen. “No, its true,” the first man says. “Let me prove it to you.” He gets up from the bar, jumps over the balcony, and plummets toward the street below. As he nears the 10th floor, the high winds whip him around the building and back into the 10th floor window and he takes the elevator back up to the bar.

        He meets the second man, who looks astonished. “You know, I saw that with my own eyes, but I still can’t believe it. I gotta try that.” He jumps over the balcony, plunges downward past the 11th, 10th 9th 8th, floors. . . . . and hits the sidewalk with a SPLAT.

        Back upstairs, the bartender turns to the other drinker and says, “Damn… you’re a mean drunk, Superman.”

    • Raging Bee

      And plenty of drunks realized they WEREN’T happier than sober people…so they got sober. And plenty of believers are having similar realizations.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        I’ve been the one and am now the other, Raging Bee…(Well, I was a supposed “social drinker”,if you will; I was never a drunkard.), and I have been/still am a Christian theist for over 40 years, and trust me: I’ll take being a Christian theist over a drunkard ALL.DAY.LONG, and 6 ways from Sunday. ” Happiness” is a relative term; lots of things make people happy, supposedly; I’ve heard serial killers testify that torturing their victims before finally killing them made them happy, so…The quality of life I have in Christ has NO comparison to what I thought was life outside Him: Partying, cheating, lying, stealing, a vicious, hateful, foul-mouthed hater…So yeah, I’ll take life in Christ over death outside Christ–41 years and counting, and as long as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, it will be so— PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!!!

        • Raging Bee

          What, you never experienced productive work, honest interaction, or decent friendships “outside Christ?” I guess that’s why “life in Christ” hasn’t really made you visibly more honest.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow, Raging Bee…It’s fascinating how what I iterated inre my former life just went right over your head; but I’m not surprised at your presumption in judging the presumed lack of honesty of someone you’ve never met; I actually expected that. Oh, well …one thing’s for sure you’ve demonstrated,and it’s dawning on me: atheists are a lot like my sometimes misguided fundamentalist brethren: once you’re convinced you’re right, there you go. The lifestyle I formerly lived WAS the lifestyle embodied by many atheists, to wit a lifestyle centered primarily on SELF-SATISFACTION. Is it really that hard to get that? Sure, I worked, had friends, engaged in honest interactions to a point with my fellow man, but so what? The type of person I was was the one I described; would you wanted to know or be friends with someone like that? Give what I said some thought instead of arrogantly dismissing me(IF you can),and I’ll await your reply, if any. PEACE.

        • Raging Bee

          The lifestyle I formerly lived WAS the lifestyle embodied by many
          atheists, to wit a lifestyle centered primarily on SELF-SATISFACTION.

          Really? That’s not how any of the atheists I know live.

          Also, you’ve already confesssed to “cheating, lying, stealing, [and being] a vicious, hateful, foul-mouthed hater” in your “past” life. So given that, and your more recent dishonesty, why should we believe anything you say?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…Once again, over your head. It certainly isn’t my intent to throw all my atheist friends under the bus, if you will; it’s just a general observation. I know presumed Christians who live their lives in a non-christian manner; just because you claim to be Christian doesn’t mean you are. As your claim that I was dishonest in some sense,I would challenge you to produce verifiable proof of that.

          Prove said dishonesty, or be found a liar, and when all is said and done, I’m not particularly interested in whether you believe me or not;I was simply relating some experiences. As I stated in my earlier post, I’ve been a Christian theist for over 40 years now; it’s beyond irrelevant whether I’m believed or not, especially by atheists. Unless or until you enter MY experience, you may disbelieve or attempt to repudiate my testimony, but you CANNOT refute it in any meaningful sense, because when all is said and done, again, it’s My experience, and you can say NOTHING regarding it…So—I await your reply, again.—PEACE IN CHRIST…

        • Jim Jones

          > it’s just a general observation.

          Which proves you have no powers of observation.

        • Raging Bee

          I don’t have to prove anything to you. We’ve noted the dishonesty and/or falsehood of many of your comments already, you have no credibility, and your story just follows the same evangelical/born-again template of “I was a horrible person in every possible way, but then I found Jesus and now I’m better then everyone else!” And now you’re pretending not to care whether we believe you or not, which implies that either you don’t think we’re worth the effort of convincing, or you don’t really have anything to offer us that’s worth the effort of making credible. Either way, there seems little point in talking to you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And now you’re pretending not to care whether we believe you or not

          LCR keeps coming, though, despite ‘not caring’ what we think…

          Funny, innit?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “Really? That’s not how any of the atheists I know live.”

          Before I became an atheist, I was faithful to my wife, I didn’t beat my kids, I didn’t steal, I wasn’t a drunkard, I didn’t do drugs, and I paid all of my taxes.

          After I became an atheist, I have been faithful to my wife, I haven’t beaten my kids, I haven’t stolen anything, I haven’t been a drunkard, I haven’t done drugs*, and I have paid all of my taxes.

          Huh. I must be doing atheism all wrong, I guess.

          *I’ve had exactly two “special” brownies since I left Christianity. Yup, that’s me… partying like a rock star.

        • Otto

          1) When did you stop beating your kids?

          2) more brownies.

        • Jim Jones

          > The lifestyle I formerly lived WAS the lifestyle embodied by many atheists, to wit a lifestyle centered primarily on SELF-SATISFACTION.

          Bullshit. What you have achieved is a level of self delusion that is extremely high.

          Sir Nicholas George Winton MBE was a British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”). Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The world found out about his work over 50 years later, in 1988.

          He was an atheist.

          Most of those children who failed to escape were murdered by the Catholics and Lutherans who ran Hitler’s death camps – and ran them with enthusiasm..

        • Otto

          You are right, people in religion, especially devote Christians, are not at all involved in SELF-SATISFACTION…no, that doesn’t happen. Being convinced you are friends with the creator of the universe and you are going to be infinitely rewarded for your fealty has absolutely nothing to do with SELF-SATISFACTION. /s

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…Once again, Otto, you embody the oft-stated claim by atheists that you know more about the Christian Faith than Christians do; I’m perpetually baffled by that claim because whatever you think you’re talking about in your post has NOTHING to with the Christian Faith; your strange premise certainly has no biblical basis.So, I’ll ask you in all seriousness: What exactly do you think you’re talking about?? I await your reply.

        • Otto

          Your right Ringo, I don’t know what I am talking about. No one ever says Jesus saves, or Jesus is the only way to salvation. The concepts I briefly mentioned have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Golly gee willekers where would I ever get those ideas?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dude, learn the meaning of ‘paraphrase’.

          That’s what Otto was likely doing, since your dogma is long, boring, and easily summarized…it’s a damned burlesque stereotype of itself.

        • Greg G.

          it’s a damned burlesque stereotype of itself.

          !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

          If a person acts that way and is an atheist, they are an atheist- no complaints about that. Being an atheist does not involve acting like you described. Understand the difference?

        • Jim Jones

          Re atheists and morality:

          There is a famous story told in Chassidic literature that addresses this very question. The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

          One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

          The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all – the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs and act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that god commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

          “This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I…kinda *like* that…

        • Jim Jones

          Church minister ‘raped girl, 9, on her dad’s grave and threatened her with demons’

          A CHURCH minister has been accused of raping a 9-year-old girl on her dad’s grave and threatening her with demons if she reported the alleged sex act.

          The victim claimed she lost her virginity to Mack Charles Andrews, pastor of the strict United Pentecostal Church.

          It allegedly followed two years of “grooming” at the hands of the 55-year-old.

          He also stands accused of violating the young girl when she was just seven with drumsticks, pens, letter openers and even a torch (flashlight).

          And he could have abused as many as eight other children in the late 80s and into the 90s, officials said.

          The victim, who is now an adult, said: “He told me if I didn’t say anything, he would come back and put flowers on the grave.

          “If I did, he said demons would come and get me from my bed.”

          “I’ve had members of the church try to bail him out of jail. Some wouldn’t even entertain the thought that he might have done it,” David Connor said. “He is a master of manipulating people and, for lack of a better word, brain-washing them”.

          https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/466469/Mack-Charles-Andrews-United-Pentacostal-Church-Alabama-rape-pastor-Alabama-US

        • The Binding of Mike

          I’m glad you found a way to become a better person.

  • Kevin K

    My Facebook feed was filled the other day with the case of a woman who eschewed standard medical treatment for breast cancer in favor of black salve — because God was going to cure her.

    She’s dead now.

    • Reminds me of Steve Jobs, who was going to cure his pancreatic cancer with clean living and health juice.

      His cancer was treatable until he delayed getting treatment in favor of clean living and health juice. He’s also dead now.

      • wtfwjtd

        To be fair to Steve Jobs, I would point out that the 5-year survival rate of Pancreatic cancer, even with timely and cutting-edge treatment, is pitifully and frightfully small: http://tinyurl.com/y7vadwuo

        All cancers are not created equal, some are more deadly and difficult to treat than others, even when caught early. And of course, the older you are, the odds of a successful outcome from treatment are even worse.
        But more to your original point, *low* odds don’t mean zero, and your chances of survival without science-based treatment are even lower. However, when treatment side-effects are figured in, as well as cost–at least, for most of us mere mortals who don’t have access to the wealth of a Steve Jobs–, and other personal factors, it’s my opinion that it isn’t necessarily an irrational decision to forego conventional treatments in some cases.

        • eric

          My father got through pancreatic cancer about two years ago. Blood work appears to be completely clean. And we’re not at all wealthy; AFAIK my parents basically used medicare coverage.

          Certainly a lot of luck and uncontrollable factors were involved and yes even with treatment, the odds weren’t good. We were told about 10% he’d make it to the one year mark even *with* treatment. But at least part of the credit should go to him and his doctors for their decision for immediate, serious medical treatment involving all three major techniques (chemo drugs, radiation, and therapy).

          The irony with Jobs’ decision is that, with only 2/3 of his pancreas left, my dad has been basically forced into clean living for the rest of his life whether he likes it or not. And of course he couldn’t drink or eat badly while on the chemo drugs. So clean living isn’t really an “option” for someone with pancreatic cancer; you’re going to do it whether you want to or not. You either do it with the treatment and have a low chance of survival, or you do it instead of treatment and have a negligible chance of survival.

        • I’m familiar with pancreatic cancer as well. Jobs’ case was particularly treatable (at least it was until he waited).

        • wtfwjtd

          Cases like his emphasize that sometimes, time is of the essence, and we don’t have the luxury of wasting time fiddling around with unsubstantiated nonsense. Makes me think that the title of your post might ought to be “The Downsides to the Hope Offered By Christianity: Not Clearly Seeing Reality in Time” or something similar.

          It’s a sobering reminder that delays caused by believing impossible things can literally be fatal.

        • Greg G.

          It looks like if you survive 5 years, you become practically immortal for the next five years.

    • Greg G.

      If someone survives with such a treatment, they spend the next five or ten years hyping the method up and encouraging others to do it. There’s nobody to discourage those methods when they fail.

      • Kevin K

        I’ve seen pictures of people who tried to treat skin cancer on their faces(!) with black salve. They lost their noses.

        Kids, don’t put a corrosive substance on your body, m-kay? Black salve is damaging to healthy tissue, and it fucking hurts!

        • Greg G.

          I kept nicking myself when i shaved and kept wondering when it would heal. One day, I remembered nicking myself at a training school which was a year earlier. So I went to the doctor. The doctor said if you are going to have cancer, it was the kind to have. It isn’t so bad.

          Around the same time, a co-worker’s husband had a worse form and didn’t get treated in time. He died on Thanksgiving Day.

        • Kevin K

          Luckily, most skin cancer is pretty benign. Just keep on top of the sun screen and such.

          Malignant melanoma — the opposite. I only know one person who survived it (he had massive surgery including removal of a shit-ton of lymph nodes). No picnic.

        • Greg G.

          I visit the dermatologist every six months.

  • Raging Bee

    One popular apologetic argument … is that atheism is
    discouraging or unpleasant, as if that were an argument against atheism.

    Christians don’t consider it a valid argument when we point out how discouraging and unpleasant their beliefs are.

    • Pofarmer

      You’re not doing it right.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Taking hope away from other people does not seem very noble to me. Some people were raised Christian, and others became one at a later date. My own arguements against christianity is the belief in a maltheistic god. Other than that, believe what you want, but if your actions are violent towards a large group of people you do not agree with, I am certain they wont stand for it, and eventually will fight back

    • Herald Newman

      Other than that, believe what you want, but if your actions are violent towards a large group of people you do not agree with, I am certain they wont stand for it, and eventually will fight back

      I actually am going to disagree with kind of thinking for several reasons:
      1. Strictly speaking, we cannot just “believe what we want to”. If you think this is true try to sincerely believe that coins are delicious cheese and that eating them turns you into Superman.
      2. Giving people a free pass to just hold whatever beliefs they’re going to fails to recognize that beliefs inform our actions, and actions have consequences. Beliefs that do not reflect reality are likely to lead people to actions that have harmful consequences
      3. I shouldn’t have to wait until somebodies false beliefs have led them to stupidity, and caused harm to others. False beliefs are, prima facie, something we should strive to avoid.

      I’m not advocating thought police, but I would hold that we do have a social responsibility to counter beliefs that don’t line up with reality. I want to live in a society where people care about truth, and strive to make sure that their beliefs are accurate. I want this because I benefit from it, and so do they.

      • Pofarmer

        I want to live in a society where people care about truth, and strive
        to make sure that their beliefs are accurate. I want this because I
        benefit from it, and so do they.

        I do as well, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way in the U.S. right now.

        • Herald Newman

          Indeed. I really don’t understand the slide our societies have taken into a post-truth era.

        • Pofarmer

          You have to admit. Orwell predicted it.

  • Pofarmer

    OT but I found it pretty fascinating.

    In a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, investigators
    at the University of Minnesota reported that mice and rats were just as likely as humans to be influenced by sunk costs.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/health/sunk-costs-decisions.html

    • wtfwjtd

      I dunno, that article seems pretty relevant to me:
      “This “sunk cost fallacy,” as economists call it, is one of many ways that humans allow emotions to affect their choices, sometimes to their own detriment.”

      That sounds like a pretty accurate description of religion to me. Once people have spent a considerable amount of time pursuing a false hope, they are generally very reluctant to abandon that pursuit, even after the realization begins to set in that they’ve been bamboozled.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        “That sounds like a pretty accurate description of religion to me. Once people have spent a considerable amount of time pursuing a false hope, they are generally very reluctant to abandon that pursuit, even after the realization begins to set in that they’ve been bamboozled.”

        Theramin Trees has a very good video (bending truth | how adults get indoctrinated) demonstrating that very point.

        • Pofarmer

          Thanks for the heads up. I’ll try to watch it.

      • Pofarmer

        I just find it fascinating all the links between us and all the other life on this planet. Sure, we’re different, everything is different. But, when you start looking at all the similarities, it’s just, Wow, mindblowing sometimes. All these behaviors that we think are uniquely “Human” are anything but and have deep roots all over the place.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yep, humans share a lot of behavior traits with other animals, it’s pretty obvious once you know what to look for. As a farmer, you’re probably more aware of this than many folks who aren’t around animals as much. It’s fascinating stuff.
          Being a careful observer of animal behavior can definitely be a real eye-opener, and helps one realize we’re not so “special” after all. Which is exactly what we would expect if evolution were true.

    • Kevin K

      In my MBA program, they called it “over-commitment to a failed plan”.

      • Otto

        In poker it is called being ‘pot committed’

        • Herald Newman

          I’ll partly agree with you. This doesn’t really have anything to do with sunk costs so much as it has to do with being given a profitable play.

          From PokerStrategy.com:

          A player is pot committed or committed if he has already invested so many chips in the pot that he can no longer fold if he is raised all-in.

          Contrary to the common misconception, this is not based on the fact that a player has already invested a large part of his stack but rather that he has very good odds for a call.

          For example, if a player has invested half of his stack in the pot and another player puts him all-in, then he will get pot odds of at least 3:1, meaning he must only win 25% of the time to break even. If there is other dead money in the pot, then his odds are even better.

          If the player believes himself to be so far behind that he no longer has correct odds for a call, it is still correct to fold even if he has already invested a lot. It is wrong to call a raise just because you have already invested a lot of money in the pot, since money put into the pot no longer belongs to anybody.

          Emphasis mine.

        • Otto

          I completely agree. The important part in my mind is that in poker we know that at the end someone IS going to win the pot. Therefore it is possible to believe you will most likely lose and still should see the hand to the end in some circumstances. A sunk cost situation is different in that regard imo, there may be no outcome one way or the other, it could just be an endless money pit.

        • The Binding of Mike

          Same with marijuana cultivation.

        • Otto

          Or when I was much younger after the 3rd bong hit.

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      “In a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, investigators
      at the University of Minnesota reported that mice and rats were just as likely as humans to be influenced by sunk costs.”

      I’m pretty sure they’re only saying this because they’ve put so much effort into the study.

  • To someone who is content to not see reality clearly, I wonder what argument they could have against being continually drunk or stoned.

    But don’t you know your body is the temple of the living God?
    (I kid – but that’s of course another example of seeing the world crooked, and while it’s generally anti-smoking today I’m told this same command was pro-smoking before we found the health risks…)

  • Brian Curtis

    The simple principle that “knowledge is better than ignorance” gets a surprising amount of pushback, and even outright opposition, from the truly devout.

    • Kevin K

      Was it Calvin or Luther who said just the opposite — that knowledge was the enemy of faith? I forget and I’m too lazy this morning to look it up.

      • Brian Curtis

        Luther. “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

        • Raging Bee

          If reason is a whore, she’s gotta be one of the least successful whores ever.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I disagree. If reason is a whore, she’s gotta be one of the most successful whores ever. She’s still working and getting paid well.

  • Conor

    The entire premise of this argument is faulty. Christian hope has nothing to do with positive outcomes here on earth. It has everything to do with the forgiveness of sins, the help of God’s grace, and the hope of eternal life through Christ’s merits.

    That doesn’t mean every Christian lives in this way, but that doesn’t turn ignorance into Christian hope. The lives of the martyrs and their veneration proves this. A religion that upholds those crushed by their enemies as the ideal of hopefulness is not oblivious to reality. It is also not deaf to the cries of the suffering, but relieves them as much as possible.

    • Kevin K

      Yes, we all know that “hope” is Christianese code for “the state of my after-death apartment”.

      It’s patent nonsense. When you die, you decompose. That’s it. Nothing else. Get off your knees and stop staring at the ceiling. It’s embarrassing.

      • Conor

        My “after-death apartment” isn’t on my mind. That said, the reality that I will die and return to dust is very much before me.

        As a Christian, I am aware of my mortality. I thus live my life in the present, to the best of my ability, trying to offer to those around me (and, yes, to God) that which is due them: Love.

        • Halbe

          When a Christian uses the word “Love” I always get very suspicious. Christian “Love” often means denying basic human rights to vulnerable minorities, denying women bodily autonomy, threatening with eternal torture for thought crimes, protecting abusers instead of victims, etc. That’s not love, that’s hate.

        • Conor

          I know I’m in the wrong part of Patheos, but such a view is disingenuous wherever it happens. It is not fair to hurl those accusations at the many folks for whom love means complete self-sacrifice, “willing the good of the other as other.” Indeed, belief and even love can have something to say about how we and others live our lives, beliefs to which you allude, but stating those beliefs, and trying to convince of their validity, does not make the actions hateful. Unfortunately, hateful actions done in the name of those same beliefs does, as you say, make those actions hateful, but please make the distinction between action, belief, and love.

        • Halbe

          And how do you suggest we make the distinction between “love” and “action”? Is the action of calling same-sex relationships an abomination loving? Is the action of letting women die of pregnancy complications loving? Is the action of gleefully telling an atheist that s/he will burn in hell for eternity loving? Is the action of forcing women (and underage girls) to carry their rapists’ embryo to term loving?

          Should we separate Hitler’s actions from his love of the Aryan Volk and from his Blood-and-Soil beliefs? No? So, why do that with the hateful actions that a “love” warped by religious beliefs inspire?

        • Conor

          IF it is true that same-sex relationships are harmful, then it is indeed loving to say so. IF it is true that you cannot kill one innocent to save another, and IF a fetus is a person, then love demands a hard choice in the case of pregnancy complications. IF an atheist is guilty of rejecting God and not simply ignorant of Him, then it is still NEVER loving to take joy in condemning the atheist, except to the extent that one has joy in speaking the truth and in the hope of the salvation of souls (assuming those hold here). Again, IF an embryo is a human person, then love demands sorrow for the rape and the circumstances, but cannot consider aborting the person.

          Is it actually true that Hitler “loved” the Aryan Volk, a group that does not exist? Or was his actual hatred for most people on clear display? I will not deny that, especially in this day and age, real hatred is spouted at and from ALL sides. But if you really listen to committed and truly loving Christians, you will find a different tenor, one which places the person first without avoiding the difficult and complicated issues surrounding modern day life.

        • Halbe

          Yes, thought so. The Christian “love” rears its ugly head. These are only “complicated issues” if your love of religious doctrine trumps your love of real human beings.

        • Conor

          It keeps being said that Christians don’t love “real human beings.” I don’t know why that accusation carries any water, unless the only evidence selected comes from media, which doesn’t represent reality in any way, shape, or form. Actually being with “real human beings” will offer a very different perspective on the whole, unless the human beings have been shaped by the vitriol of social media fora.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I know it’s only anecdotal but come spend a little time with me here in small town lower Alabama and I’ll be happy to show you Christian love in action when an atheist is in the room. Good, loving Christians here resent our very existence.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Maybe you should expand your horizons beyond “small-town Alabama “, Thanks4AllTheFish”…I’m a 40+ Christian theist from small town Mississippi, and I DON’T hate atheists; in fact. I love talking to atheists, even when they mock,scorn, ridicule and curse me online, which happens fairly regularly. Since I know why they conduct themselves in that fashion I can overlook it, because I was once that way.So…there it is. PEACE IN CHRIST ,ALWAYS !!

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Maybe you should expand your horizons beyond “small-town Alabama “, Thanks4AllTheFish””

          Thanks Laurence, I’ll certainly take that advise.

          I have lived in three different countries and several different states here all over the US of A.

          “I’m a 40+ Christian theist from small town Mississippi, and I DON’T hate atheists; in fact. I love talking to atheists, even when they mock,scorn, ridicule and curse me online, which happens fairly regularly. “

          Good to know. I’m a 70+ life-long atheist and I didn’t say anything about hate, although I’m sure there is some of that as well. What I said was they resent that we exist. I don’t know if that resentment comes from fear or just the fact that we challenge theist’s world view using empirical evidence, skeptical rationality, and critical thinking skills instead of faith and belief.

          I’m sorry if you have been mocked, scorned, ridiculed or cursed. I generally reserve those things for the actual beliefs and subsequent policies that cause pain and suffering to others outside the theistic bubble rather than the person who holds or supports those beliefs.

          “Since I know why they conduct themselves in that fashion I can overlook it, because I was once that way.”

          Well it’s good that you have found a way to marginalize the behavior of others by elevating yourself above them.

          “PEACE IN CHRIST ,ALWAYS !!”

          Wow! All upper-case and two exclamation points. That certainly puts us in our place.

        • Halbe

          Yeah, you were totally an asshole atheist before you found Jesus (and, by extension, all atheist are assholes, because only your imaginary friend can cure you from assholeritis). Credible testimony, really: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2013/06/19/guide-to-testimonies/

        • Michael Neville

          Why is it that almost every Christian who comes here to preach to the heathens and apostates says that they were once an atheist? Do they think we’ll reason “Laurence Charles Ringo used to be an atheist but then he Found Jesus™! Maybe I should drink the koolade because Laurence Charles did it?”?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          And I fail to see how, in this case, being a complete asshole AFTER becoming a Christian is supposed to win atheists to his side.

          Wow, he wants me to be like him? No, thanks.

        • kikipt

          Conor – your comments are so disingenuous as to be laughable. Your arguments are specious and predictable, and we have all seen them hundreds of times before. They remain absurd to anyone who knows how to reason. Obviously dogma gives you personal sense of hope, but don’t try to presume that it is anything more than your personal emotional subjectivity trying to justify a world that otherwise makes no sense to you. And while it is true that there are some Christians who attempt to live selfless lives helping others (I have known some), they are definitely a minority. But Christian “love” almost always comes with qualifications – with limitations, as you have proven in your responses. Of course, it is only out of “love” that I have to point out that your positions are irrational.

        • Halbe

          You could pay a visit to Savita Halappanavar’s family and tell them how much you love them. Or maybe have a chat with the 9 year old rape victim and her mother in Nicaragua, who were excommunicated by the RCC for aborting the rapist’s fetus? They will surely understand how much you love them. Or you could lovingly explain to Kristy and Dana Dumont in Michigan why they cannot adopt a child, and why their long-term committed relationship is an abomination.

          You should read this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2013/07/29/redefining-words-love/

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I think you are setting up a straw man here.

        • Michael Neville

          I trust media more than I trust religious propaganda. I’ve been more obviously lied to by godbotherers than by the media, other than Fox News and other godbother influenced outlets,

          I was raised as a Catholic. I was taught such things as sex was the most disgusting thing a person could do and I should save it for the person I loved. I was taught that it was better for a woman and fetus to both die than for the woman to have an abortion (Savita Halappanavar is Exhibit A for this teaching). I was taught that Baby Jesus cried whenever a condom was used (I have a mildly funny story about a priest’s reaction to a particular use of condoms in the military). I was taught that women were lesser than men because they were not suitable for the priesthood. I was taught that LGBTs were untermenschen and God hated them despite his alleged “love” for all humanity. When I finally became free of Catholicism I saw that all of these teachings were about pleasing the specific god the Catholic hierarchy was pushing, not about how “real human beings” should be treated.

          Have you ever noticed that when someone claims to know the mind of God that God has exactly the same opinions and prejudices as his mouthpiece? Do you think this is a coincidence?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you’re claiming to “hate the sin, but love the sinner”, then you actually hate the ‘sinner’ but don’t want to own up to it.

          Simple, really.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “It is not fair to hurl those accusations at the many folks for whom love means complete self-sacrifice…”

          This is in direct opposition to:

          “IF it is true that same-sex relationships are harmful, then it is indeed loving to say so. IF it is true that you cannot kill one innocent to save another, and IF a fetus is a person, then love demands a hard choice in the case of pregnancy complications. IF an atheist is guilty of rejecting God and not simply ignorant of Him, then it is still NEVER loving to take joy in condemning the atheist, except to the extent that one has joy in speaking the truth…”

          Thank you for showing us what you think love actually is, so that we can avoid your “love” as much as possible.

          People like you, with your twisted views of “love”, drive more atheists away from Christianity than anything other atheists do could.

        • Jim Jones

          > But if you really listen to committed and truly loving Christians, you will find a different tenor …

          Or a bomb under your car.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          And your proof of Christians planting bombs under cars is what,Jim Jones? That may well have happened, but you can’t point to any even fairly recent news story where that has happened, and there’s certainly no presumed” Christian ” reason that can be given to justify such actions.Trry again,and present valid proofs of your assertions, if you can.

        • Jim Jones
        • epeeist

          And your proof of Christians planting bombs under cars is what,Jim Jones?

          Besides the list that Jim Jones has given you might also want to look at the bombings (and killings more generally) of Catholics by Protestants and Protestants by Catholics in Northern Ireland.

        • Whoops–I should’ve known that you’d beat me to it.

        • There were a lot of bombings associated with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

          And BTW, I love the “No, I’m afraid that isn’t a valid argument. Please try again happyface happyface happyface” response. It’s adorable, but it’s kind of all you’ve got, isn’t it?

        • Otto

          Are you implying you are the arbiter of what is, and is not, justifiable in Christianity?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          It is false that same-sex relationships are harmful, in general.
          It is false that you cannot kill one innocent to save another. You can, but whether you should depends on the situation. A mother might kill herself to save her child.
          It is false that a fetus is always a person. It doesn’t become a person until it acquires consciousness around 24 weeks post conception.
          It is false that atheists reject God. They reject the idea that God exists. They are not ignorant of the concept of God.
          People take joy in proclaiming what they believe to be the truth, but they are frequently mistaken. Religious people are mostly mistaken in their beliefs.
          It is false that an embryo is a human person. It is a human organism at an early stage of development, prior to nine weeks post conception. It is not a person, however.
          Rape is always wrong. Aborting a fetus resulting from rape and before it becomes a person is always right.
          Hitler was a bad man.
          Conor, your beliefs are on very shaky ground.

        • IF it is true that same-sex relationships are harmful, then it is indeed loving to say so.

          And are they harmful? I see no evidence of this.

          I’ve written many posts on the opposite side of this issue that you can look up if you desire.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’m sure in response to this that Conor will pull up some bullshit religious study showing that homosexuals have higher rates of mental illness, disregarding the fact that mental illness tends to occur when large segments of the society you live in tell you that you’re shit for your entire life.

        • I’ve even heard the physical argument: homosexuals live shorter lives, ignoring that those stats were back when HIV was deadly.

          And yeah, the irony is lost on them that they themselves are part of the cause of any mental anguish.

        • ildi

          The study has been following the same group of moms and offspring (conceived through donor insemination) since the 1980s. Over the years, the study has found that those kids are faring as well as — or even better than — other U.S. kids their age.

          These latest findings show that’s still true in young adulthood, a time when mental health conditions like depression or anxiety disorders often emerge, said lead researcher Dr. Nanette Gartrell.

          “They’re psychologically very healthy, even during this vulnerable time of life,” said Gartrell, a visiting scholar at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

          The study began in 1986 with 84 families — mostly headed by lesbian couples, but with some single lesbian moms, too. Back then, Gartrell said, many people assumed that kids of same-sex couples would not fare well.

          https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2018-07-18/longest-study-yet-finds-adult-kids-of-lesbian-moms-are-doing-fine

        • IF an embryo is a human person, then love demands sorrow for the rape and the circumstances, but cannot consider aborting the person.

          I applaud your consistency, but by trying to please a Bronze Age god from an ancient book who does nothing to show that he even exists rather than consider the needs of a woman who actually does exist is not loving.

        • Venavis

          You sure love throwing that weasel word of ‘If’ into the argument, don’t you? It smells of pure cowardice.

          Since it’s been repeatedly proven that same-sex relationships are NOT harmful, throwing that weasel word in there to excuse the actions of those who dehumanize LGBT+ individuals is by itself a hateful act.

          It was a group of Christians that tried to kill me for being a member of the LGBT community, and put me in the hospital for multiple days with the beating they gave me. And here you are, giving them a smokescreen for their behavior. ‘IF’.

          —Again, IF an embryo is a human person, then love demands sorrow for the rape and the circumstances, but cannot consider aborting the person —

          And still more BS. Whether the embryo is a human person or not is completely irrelevant. It still wouldn’t have the right to use a woman’s body against her will.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So sorry for the crap you had to undergo.

        • Jim Jones

          > It is not fair to hurl those accusations at the many folks for whom love means complete self-sacrifice, “willing the good of the other as other.”

          Religion is a cloak to cover the wickedness of the “true believers” — who are neither. Look at the numbers who claim to believe that Trump is a “good Christian”.

          Or that blacks are inferior. Or that women are here to ‘serve’.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Love is mostly a good thing, but delusion and lying are not.

        • It’s not self-sacrifice. You’re in thrall to an ancient book of mythology. No, there’s nothing noble about this.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          There’s nothing noble about what, Bob? Define your terms, please.

        • Greg G.

          Note that Halbe said “Christian “Love” often means…” The word “often” does not mean “always”. It doesn’t even mean “usually”.

        • Nocturnal

          I was raised in Catholic school from the time I still wore a diaper to the day I graduated high school and for the longest of times, I distrusted anyone who used the word “love” because during my formative years I heard and felt, in the flesh, what Catholic “love” truly was.

          Will the RCC ever give me back who I was before the nuns locked me in a windowless room with red illumination and told I was going to hell, over and over again, until I couldn’t even think? When they deliberately violated my rights as a human being by refusing to call my mother, even when I repeatedly begged, until I was not even coherent enough to speak through all of my tears, my arm still sore from when they nearly dislocated it as they dragged me? Will the RCC give me back all the mornings I could not even walk unassisted to class because the fear was all consuming, and God was watching me, ready to throw me into everlasting fire? Will the RCC ever assuage the pain of a classmate of mine who, under its ‘loving’ attention WAS MADE TO KNEEL FOR HOURS, ON THE COLD HARD FLOOR, AT THE AGE OF FIVE? No?

          Yeah. Didn’t think so.

          What this talk of “love” and “forgiveness” truly does it make the victim complicit. It is every abusing husband’s motto, after a beating, “look what you made me do”, implicit, always is that the victim is at fault and needs to really get over it.
          So the victim, already traumatized, is re-traumatized all over again for “holding a grudge”, one is supposed to just take it, and take it, and keep on taking it until there is nothing left to give.

          It even goes beyond a specifically religious context; I was the fastest runner in our class so I was trained harder in order to compete in the relay race for the school competition. I actually enjoyed it as I really enjoyed running…until I fell. I got distracted, the sun was shining, I was 8 and happy, so my foot slipped and I fell.

          A normal kid, in this situation, will be scared and in pain (as per usual, no one was around when children actually needed surveillance) but fear of punishment would probably not enter into the equation. Yet I knew, even as I went down, that I had made a grave mistake that would have repercussions.

          And so, as falling had been my fault, I made an effort to painfully limp as fast as my bleeding leg allowed me, to report to my teacher who, as I expected, immediately scolded me- how dare I get wounded, everyone was counting on me- and proceeded to then ignore me.

          This meant my wound went untreated. No one sent me to infirmary, I couldn’t go alone, and so it was up to me and my friends to clean it as best we could and BANDAGE IT WITH TOILET PAPER.

          But they loved me, you see. So much love.

        • Susan

          So much love.

          Thanks, Nocturnal. It takes so much effort to escape the cult that is the RCC. They own us when we are trusting children. (Especially when we strive for excellence.)

          That they gaslight us later (as they do with abuse victims who are myriad) and accuse us of being haters (when we are not) and not being properly catechized (when there is no such thing) and call it “love”, frankly, makes me sick.

          You just reminded me of how sick it makes me.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’m replying here because Nocturnal’s post is marked as Awaiting Moderation, and I can’t see any reason it should be. Since it’s awaiting moderation, I can’t reply to it.

          I don’t know if someone actually flagged it, or if it’s just Disqus being stupid again.

        • Otto

          I would think someone would have flagged it, someone got butt hurt.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          One would think that, but it IS Disqus we’re talking about here.

        • Nocturnal

          I suspect it is probably the same person (assuming I did flagged) as I’ve noticed that whenever my comments veer on criticism of the Catholic Church (which is more my area of expertise, where I have real life experience) this tends to happen.

        • Greg G.

          The post has no down votes.

          <a href=”#” role=”button” class=”vote-down count-0” data-action=”downvote” title=”Vote down” name=”Vote down”><span class=”control”><i aria-hidden=”true” class=”icon icon-arrow”></i></span></a>

        • Problem fixed. No idea the cause.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Disqus works in mysterious ways.

        • Nocturnal

          You are absolutely right in using the term ‘own’ as that is exactly what it is. Time and time again a Catholic child is reminded that their own body does not belong to them, a terrifying doctrine that I suspect goes a long way into making them utterly vulnerable to sexual predators. If they don’t even own their own body then they have no recourse when adults in power use said body for nefarious deeds.

          They accuse us of being haters because they must rob us of our voice. I don’t know if you ever encountered this, odds are you have, the way in which the RCC systematically tries to devalue anger and indignation. Even if you were the victim of the most horrendous of abuses, the moment you speak out with the righteous anger that in some case was all that kept you sane (or even alive), you become a ‘hater’, someone who is ‘consumed with hate’ and so you are dismissed out of hand.

          What is the alternative? Shut up and take it.

          It is no coincidence that this organization has fostered the amount of abuse it has. The structure for systemic abuse is inbuilt in the way the child is groomed from the very cradle: become ‘less’ so that Jesus can become ‘more’; ’empty yourself’; offer up ‘your body as a living sacrifice’. It goes on and on.

          And when things ever go horribly wrong, the fault is always- always- yours. This mentality is so well put in place, at the subsoil of one’s being, that it needs constant vigilance to keep it from overtaking one. To this day, whenever I tell about the horrors that happened to me, I find myself explaining how I was also at fault.

          A good way I found of breaking through the spell is to imagine these things happened to someone else. When I do that, or when I bring to mind the children whose plight was so much worse than mine, any notions of ‘guilt’ disappear entirely. They may have wrecked my self-esteem but not my sense of empathy.

        • Wow. Insane.

          I have a friend who was raised in a RCC family. One time the father beat one of the sons so bad his leg had to be amputated. And my friend is the atheist; his disabled brother is still Christian. Crazy.

        • DogGone

          Some people think love = control. That’s why such matters don’t bother them at all.

        • Kevin K

          God is non-existent. You can offer those around you love without invoking one and you’ll do just fine. And save yourself an hour a week in a hard pew staring out into empty space.

          Everyone is aware of their own mortality, FWIW. Christianity offers zero special insight. It only offers blinders by claiming there is some “other” experience after death. The entire religion is based on the notion that everyone can be in heaven with the god(s); not just heroes and kings.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Unless you know literally EVERYTHING about the existence of everything in everyplace, Kevin K, your statement about God being non-existent is opinion, nothing more…

        • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

          No God disagrees

        • Kevin’s opinion is based on evidence. And yours is based on … ?

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Unless you’ve actually been dead, Kevin, you know that how,Kevin??

        • Greg G.

          We were all dead for billions of years. As Mark Twain says, I wasn’t inconvenienced by it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you’re going to posit the existence of something for which we have no evidence (what Kevin K describes is what happens to EVERYONE, and is perceptible and measurable), then why should we waste time on you?

    • RichardSRussell

      The entire premise of this argument is faulty.

      OK, you’re right, I give. Christianity offers no hope at all. Thanks for pointing that out to us.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        It gives hope, but it is false hope.

    • Otto

      >>>”Christian hope has nothing to do with positive outcomes here on earth.”

      You should get on my wife’s Facebook feed sometime. It is full of messages about praying to God and Jesus for some positive outcome here on earth, or thanking Jesus for something they have perceived has been accomplished here in his name. I will agree with you that part of Christian hope is for some ineffable afterlife, but your statement is patently false.

    • Ficino

      Ditto Otto’s. I never stop hearing about how basking in Jesus’ crazy love rocks and how being an atheist sucks. That’s talking about the here and now. A religion would be pretty pathetic if it promised literally “nothing to do with positive outcomes here on earth.” The NT is full of promises of answers to prayer about temporal matters.

    • Raging Bee

      Christian hope has nothing to do with positive outcomes here on earth.

      Or everything to do with them, depending on which scam a given Christian leader or cult is running (subject to change without notice).

      • Conor

        The Catholic Church at least keeps to the same “scam,” if you will.

        • Otto

          The Catholic church keeps to a general outline, ask 2 Catholic Priests a specific question and you are likely to get 2 different answers. Also the answers will change depending on if one is asking in broad terms or if one is asking as it relates to their life directly.

        • Conor

          So the answer may be based on a complex set of circumstances, yes. And perhaps one of the priests is better versed in the particular teachings at play than another, but “going up the chain of command,” so to speak, will result in the same foundational truths upon which the answer depends.

        • Otto

          I do not agree. A perfect example is when the Pope told a child that his atheist dead father is most likely welcomed by God. That is not in line with the Church teaching, it was an empathetic response to a child in pain, but it was not consistent with what the Church teaches on the whole.

        • Conor

          That simply is not true.

          From the definitive source of Catholic teaching, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM#-14F):

          846. How are we to understand this affirmation [“Outside the Church there is no salvation”], often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

          “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (Lumen gentium [LG] 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5.)

          847. This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

          “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (LG 16; cf. CDF, Letter, To the Archbishop of Boston [August 8, 1949].)

          848. “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” (Ad gentes 7; cf. Heb 11:6; 1 Cor 9:16.)

          I cite this in order to show the consistency of the teaching.

        • Otto

          Oh it sure sounds consistent. But from the story the father of the child had his kids baptized in the Church. So can it be said that the father ‘did not know the Gospel of Christ’? No he knew it. Did he seek God with a sincere heart? Well maybe, maybe not.

          If the teaching of the Church is so clear on the matter, where in the world would the child ever get the idea that his father was destined for hell? The child didn’t just make it up himself! Somewhere along the line someone in the Church taught him that!

          If you go through that catechism that you posted one could define and apply most anything said either way. A fire and brimstone Priest could easily say that a father that had all the connections to the Church that he did was not without fault, another liberal priest could say he was excused because he just ‘lacked the grace of faith’. One could say the father was sincere and the other could say he was not sincere. There is literally no consistency in that teaching. The whole thing is so malleable as to be absurd.

          Again, the child didn’t pull his conception of atheists going to hell out of his rear end, he was taught that by the Church. Your “definitive source of Catholic teaching” is anything but definite.

        • Susan

          Your “definitive source of Catholic teaching” is anything but definite.

          Exactly.

          On top of that, there is no good reason to believe a single thing they claim. About there being an agent that created the universe, that that agent walked the earth, died and came back to life, that saints live on after death and intercede on our behalf. That there is an ongoing struggle between angels and devils. It’s all ancient superstition.

          Even if the teaching were “definite”, there is no good reason to take it seriously.

        • Susan

          who through no fault of their own

          Could that be any more loaded with loopholes?

          do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church

          Which assumes the conclusion that they never support.

          who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart

          More assuming the conclusion and more loopholes.

          try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience

          The child’s atheist father, of course, would not have done this. He didn’t buy into the unevidenced assertions of “his will”. Anyway, this wouldn’t have and still doesn’t pass muster where the RCC has power.

          Women are put into prison to this day for miscarriages where the rcc has power.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/world/americas/el-salvador-abortion.html

          They were enslaved in laundries into the 90s where the catholic church had power.

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

          They are denied reproductive rights where the catholic church has power.

          Homosexuals are “disordered” and their right to marry is politically resisted based on superstitious nonsense, and the support for denial of their rights is fed endlessly by references to long refuted “scientific” studies that are nothing but propaganda.

          It is not love. It is superstition. Unsupported superstition that is buoyed by lies.

          It is perfectly fine if burning incense, and taking communion helps you through the day and helps your form community.

          “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back” is not my business until I have to deal with political forces that imprison people or take their rights away if they step on a crack.

          There is also the problem of systemic abuse of children, for which the church has not taken responsibility to this day of their own accord.

        • Phil

          “do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church” Well that lets us atheists in. The gospel of christ – which version? Doesn’t matter because they are all incomprehensible. Which church? Doesn’t matter because they are all distorting the distortions in the differing versions of the bible. So therefore no sane person can ‘know’ the gospel or the church through now fault of our own because some god built us this way to reason and question absurdities.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          It matters little if the teaching is consistent, but false. A lot of doctrines are consistent and false, and sometimes harmful.

        • Jim Jones

          “Christianity: 2,000 years of everyone making it up as they go!”

        • Raging Bee

          Actually, no, they don’t. Sometimes they talk about action, other times they preach “resignation” (as they did during their crackdown on “Liberation Theology”).

    • Conor

      I am sorry that you are receiving an image of Christianity that rings so hollow. To be honest, I agree with you about what you say. That brand of “faith” bothers me, too!

      But I reiterate that, while God does answer prayers, expecting a certain outcome is not what prayer is about.

      I understand that the idea of giving praise and worship to a being that you believe is nonexistent would bother you. But to see you annoyed by the same things that annoy me about Christians really bothers me. All I can say is that we are in agreement that “Prosperity Gospel” preaching and unhelpful judgements really need to stop.

      I don’t blame people for this therapeutic mentality, however, as it isn’t restricted to Christianity but is part of culture as a whole. Unfortunately, it really is, as this essay seeks to prove, “not seeing reality clearly.”

      • Gary Whittenberger

        Even if God did exist (he doesn’t), there is no good evidence that he answers prayers. By “answer” I mean “make a favorable intervention on behalf of the one doing the praying.” If you think otherwise, then present your case.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Asserting that God does not exist strikes me as more than a little arrogant, Gsry; it implies that you are in possession of a level of knowledge NO ONE BUT YOU POSSESSES. Is that true of you,Gary? If that’s true, then you are the most unique human being that has ever existed. As for the answers to prayers, that is usually the unique province of individual experiences, so you have no valid arguments beyond your own disbelief to refute anyone’s claims concerning answered prayers. I myself have experienced the answers to various prayers, but unless you yourself were present to enter into my experience, you won’t be convinced, so from that perspective there’s nothing that will convince you given that your default position is that is no god to bring about the answers to prayers in the first place so, again…conversations like these are an exercise in futility. I await your reply. I can relate an experience I had with answered prayer if you like,so…Let me know.

        • Michael Neville

          So, got any evidence that ANY gods exist? Of course you don’t, because if you did then you’d be pushing it in Gary’s face instead of scolding him for having a perfectly reasonable opinion based on the complete and total lack of evidence that the sadistic, narcissistic bully you worship exists, along with every other supernatural critter.

          As for your “answered prayers” nonsense, coincidences happen. Can you show beyond a reasonable doubt that your magic sky pixie “answered” your prayers? Of course you can’t because if you could that would be evidence your magic sky pixie exists, something we both know is so highly unlikely as to be effectively a zero probability. And remember, the plural of anecdote is not data.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          LCR1: Asserting that God does not exist strikes me as more than a little arrogant, Gsry;

          GW1: That is a common and almost always invalid reaction of religion persons in similar situations.

          LCR1: it implies that you are in possession of a level of knowledge NO ONE BUT YOU POSSESSES. Is that true of you,Gary?

          GW1: No, that’s not true of me. There are many people who possess this level of knowledge. It usually requires years of study.

          LCR1: If that’s true, then you are the most unique human being that has ever existed.

          GW1: I don’t think “unique” exists in degrees. I think we are all unique. No two of us are identical, except maybe for monozygotic twins for a very short period of time. But I am not unique in claiming that God does not exist. Roughly 10% of the population thinks so, and this percentage is increasing.

          LCR1: As for the answers to prayers, that is usually the unique province of individual experiences, so you have no valid arguments beyond your own disbelief to refute anyone’s claims concerning answered prayers.

          GW1: No, the conclusion about prayers is not the unique province of subjective experience. It is the province of scientific investigation. I believe there are no good scientific studies which show that prayer works. By “works” I mean “result in favorable objective interventions by a supposed supernatural entity.”

          LCR1: I myself have experienced the answers to various prayers, but unless you yourself were present to enter into my experience, you won’t be convinced, so from that perspective there’s nothing that will convince you given that your default position is that is no god to bring about the answers to prayers in the first place so, again…conversations like these are an exercise in futility.

          GW1: Your single subjective experience has no value in answering the question “Does prayer work?” Do you know how to design a scientific study of prayer? If you don’t, I’d be happy to explain it to you.

          LCR1: I await your reply. I can relate an experience I had with answered prayer if you like,so…Let me know.

          GW1: You need wait no longer. You have my reply. You may relate your experience with a prayer, if you like.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Why does asserting god doesn’t exist require more knowledge than asserting that he does?

        • I don’t say that I’ve turned over every rock and know that God isn’t there; most atheists do it the other way around–where is the evidence for God? There’s no good reason to believe, so we don’t.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’ve been too busy to look for God everywhere, on account of my comprehensive search around the globe for pixies.

        • I hear you. For me, it’s unicorns.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Good luck to you. I’m not sure why I didn’t choose something simple, like the Loch Ness Monster, which can only (we think) be found in Loch Ness, which limits the search area.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Don’t forget Champy in Lake Champlain…

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Not my job to find that one. I’m not going to start thinking about it now.

        • Greg G.

          I am keeping an eye out for GIANT unicorns. I have proved they are scarce so far.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Keep an eye open for virgins.

          I’d suggest an incel conference.

          😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Have you tried the bottom of the garden? (Arthur Conan Doyle reference, I think?)

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Yeah, but they might have moved back in there after I last checked. I’d better check again.

    • Anthrotheist

      After your first sentence, I honestly expected you to criticize the “To someone who is content to not see reality clearly…” line of argument that is presented. To assume that someone engaged in wishful thinking is consciously avoiding seeing reality, and is content doing so, is not only uncharitable but likely often incorrect.

      The objection that you raise instead comes across as a “no true Scotsman” argument. You assert that what the author described is nothing like “Christian hope”, which would indicate that you either believe that nobody who identifies themselves as a Christian believes as the author describes, or anyone who does so is not expressing genuine “Christian hope.” Now if you qualified your objection with phrases like “as I understand it”, or “as I was taught”, or “the Church to which I belong teaches”, then you would be pointing out that the author’s depiction does not describe your beliefs; instead you assert a definition of what it is that Christians believe.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      If God did exist, he wouldn’t forgive sins. Instead, he would justly punish for sins. So this hope you are talking about is invalid.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Since Almighty God does both, Gary, your point is what, exactly??

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I have many points, and here they are exactly:

          1. God does not exist.

          2. In this context, forgiveness is the withholding of or reduction in a just penalty in response to a harmful, immoral, unethical, and/or unlawful behavior by another.

          3. Forgiveness is contrary to justice. If God did exist, because he would be a perfect teacher, he would practice perfect justice and would not forgive anybody of their sins.

          4. Most religions, including Christianity, claim that if God did exist, he would be forgiving in some way, but they are mistaken.

        • Michael Neville

          Gary, I think both you and Larry Chuck are missing an important point. According to the propaganda, the sadist that Christians worship is also supposed to be merciful. Mercy would override the “perfect justice” that “sins” would entail.

        • Max Doubt

          “I have many points, and here they are exactly:

          1. God does not exist.”

          Prove it.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      That doesn’t matter until you can demonstrate that your belief is anything more than a shared delusion.

      When you can do that, get back to me.

      Until then, it’s going to be fun to treat you as a catnip toy to bat around.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Wow…the puerile arrogance of some atheists knows no bounds, does it “HairyEyedWordBombThrower”? Wow…

        • Greg G.

          You forgot to demonstrate that your belief is anything more than a shared delusion.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          My belief/faith is demonstrated by the manner in which I live my life in Christ, Greg. Since you obviously can’t observe the way I conduct myself in my interactions with my fellow human beings, it’s easy to mock,ridicule, and scorn my beliefs, the default position of most atheists towards Christians, at least here in America. I think that one of the problems with Christian/atheist interactions is that atheists somehow seem to think that Christians cease to be human when we embrace Jesus the Christ
          as Lord and Saviour; siimple observation bears out the falsity of that idea; atheists, for some reason, seem to expect us(Christians) to exhibit some unrealistic level of ethical or moral perfection.From my personal perspective, I’m not too bothered by these erroneous perceptions on the part of my atheist friends, we were warned that this would be the case in our engagement with unbelievers.So…there it is. There is no doubt that far too many of my co-religionists speak and act in ways anthetical to the commands of the Savior, and I deplore that; it’s primarily due to disobedience and lack of Scriptural knowledge. At any rate, when my brothers and sisters in Christ are misrepresented on these sites , I WILL defend them without hesitation , ditto for my faith in general. PEACE IN CHRIST,ALWAYS

        • Susan

          Since you obviously can’t observe the way I conduct myself in my interactions with my fellow human beings,

          We’ve observed exactly how you do that.

          I WILL defend them without hesitation, ditto for my faith in general.

          You have never defended your “faith”.

          PEACE IN CHRIST’ ALWAYS (extraneous smileycons).

          Fuck you too.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Really, Susan? Assessment of my comments isn’t observation of my lifestyle; what are you talking about? I must admit, reading a profane,vile word from a woman is extremely jarring for me, but by the same token I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; people who think the worse of their fellow human beings seem addicted to vulgarity and coarseness; it certainly seems to be the default method of communication on these atheist websites . I’ve asked this before, so I’ll ask you: Is profanity supposed to be indicative of moral/ethnical/intellectual superiority? Is there anyplace you WOULDN’T drop the F-bomb? When you’re talking to a child? In a church? In front of your mother? I am genuinely curious about this; even when I didn’t know Christ as Lord and Saviour, I would have NEVER used that type of language in front of my mom….So. I await your reply.

        • Otto

          Just because you opt for over the top passive aggressiveness and general douchery, doesn’t elevate your comments above someone who is blunt. I can tell you I would much rather have my children around someone who talks bluntly, but is authentic and sincere, than someone who tells you to ‘fuck off’ with a wink and a smile, those are the people I warn my kids about.

          HAIL SATAN!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          HAIL SATIN! Love me some sheets 😉

        • epeeist

          I must admit, reading a profane,vile word from a woman is extremely jarring for me

          Ah, you poor, special snowflake.

          You don’t think that she is simply returning one insult (“PEACE IN CHRIST’ ALWAYS”) for another. Oh wait, you don’t consider using this phrase to an atheist an insult. Well either you are too fucking stupid to realise this or too bound up in your own death-cult to realise it.

          Oh, and as for me using the “F-word”, don’t both coming back to chide me on my tone. As far as I am concerned you can go fuck yourself.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Epeeist, I am an atheist and I mostly disagree with LCR, but you’ve crossed the line and made uncivil remarks against him. Please don’t mistreat another person like that. I am shocked that you would behave that way. Yes, LCR is a Christian, but he has been misled for many years. Bullying him is our of line.

          LCR, please do not take Epeeist’s behavior here as representative of atheists in general.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Stop tone-policing, dude.

          When somebody is unpleasant, we are within our rights to return that unpleasantness and not be punching bags.

          As for the profanity, if it chases off such assholes, I count it a plus.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          BT1: Stop tone-policing, dude.

          GW1: I am not tone-policing. I am civility policing, and you verbally attacked another participant in this discussion. Please don’t do that! Also, don’t call me “dude.” I’m not your dude.

          BT1: When somebody is unpleasant, we are within our rights to return that unpleasantness and not be punching bags.

          GW1: When somebody disagrees with you and you feel disturbed by that, it is not within your rights to be uncivil. You’ve crossed the line. And now you are trying to defend your bullying behavior. You are totally out of line.

          BT1: As for the profanity, if it chases off such assholes, I count it a plus.

          GW1: You did much worse than use profanity. You said “either you are too fucking stupid,” “you can go fuck yourself,” “Ah, you poor, special snowflake” to LCR. Stop trying to minimize your bullying behavior. You are making atheists look bad.

        • Max Doubt

          “Epeeist, I am an atheist and I mostly disagree with LCR, but you’ve crossed the line and made uncivil remarks against him. Please don’t mistreat another person like that.”

          Oh shut up, ya fuckin’ whiner.

          “I am shocked that you would behave that way. Yes, LCR is a Christian, but he has been misled for many years. Bullying him is our of line.”

          And here you are, a known repeated liar, master of willfully ignoring anyone who doesn’t toe your arbitrary line of civility, pissing and moaning about how someone else chooses to engage in the discussion.

          “LCR, please do not take Epeeist’s behavior here as representative of atheists in general.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8584e9699835300b5cfac987c3af16856c52f4b5b6ac834122c051053c91097a.gif

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Why, thank you Gary! Wow! The last thing I expected on this site was that ANYONE would defend me in ANY capacity. Again, thanks! ,(Careful, though. Your fellow atheists may turn their knives on YOU!!)–PEACE!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You are welcome.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wise ta fuck up.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Right on cue…This is one area I can count on my atheist friends to be consistent. Nothing reveals the true character of an individual than their use of language. Peace in Christ is an insult?? And you wonder why humans are perpetually at war with each other; they simply have no interest in being at peace with their fellow man, nor are they capable of it….How terribly sad.

        • epeeist

          I thought you weren’t talking to me.

          Nothing reveals the true character of an individual than their use of language.

          Absolutely, which is why you have been picked up on your continuing passive-aggressiveness.

          Peace in Christ is an insult??

          Well it rather depends on who you are talking to doesn’t it, but your boorishness doesn’t allow you to understand this.

          And you wonder why humans are perpetually at war with each other; they simply have no interest in being at peace with their fellow man

          In-group/out-group antipathy is one of the causes of war. Some examples of such antipathy include nationalism and of course religion. Examples of both abound.

          Now personally I am a secularist, if you want to live your life by your beliefs then providing this doesn’t harm you or others then I have no objection. Similarly if a group of you want to live by a set of shared beliefs then again providing it does no harm then I will accept this.

          The difficulty comes when you want me to live by your beliefs, when you push for laws that will disadvantage or punish others who are not part of your in-group or have attributes you disapprove of. Then you will find that I reserve the right to treat your beliefs with “criticism, satire, derision, or contempt”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          BTW, I think you need to close an &ltunderline&gt tag someplace?

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently LCR hasn’t seen the research that indicates that those who swear are more honest.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/swear-wearing-honesty-lie-more-honest-facebook-psychology-cambride-university-maastricht-hong-kong-a7512601.html

          So, fuck em.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘Peace in Christ’, on an atheist board of people who very likely are tramatized escapees from religion, IS a not-so-subtle ‘fuck you’ to us.

          It’s up there with the classic Old South ‘Bless your heart’, which is also another passive-aggressive way to say ‘fuck you’.

        • Greg G.

          “I’ll pray for you” is another one.

        • Pofarmer

          And you wonder why humans are perpetually at war with each other;

          Hey——dumbass. We’re less at war with one another than at virtually any time in human history. And that doesn’t have anything to do with your religion.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Agreed. See Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature” for a book-length treatment.

        • Michael Neville

          So epeeist is right. You’re too stupid or too bound up in your death-cult to realize that “PEACE IN CHRIST’ ALWAYS” is an insult to an atheist. And don’t whine about our language, you’re the one who started the insults, asshole.

        • Susan

          too stupid or too bound up in your death-cult

          Or just a troll. His commenting history is nothing but obnoxious needling and bum waggling and victory cheers when someone reacts to it. Nothing of substance. Nothing.

          And Gary Whittenberger is concerned about him being “bullied”.

          Which is why Gary makes a particularly bad tone troll.

          He is oblivious to real tone.

          And triggered by “fuck”. Unbelievable.

          He didn’t even seem bothered that LCR took a dig at the idea that a woman would say fuck. No problem with that sexist tone whatsoever. Unfuckingbelievable.

          This will be my 7613th comment.

          I’ve probably said the word “fuck” fewer than 20 times in my entire commenting history. Let alone “fuck you”.

          But when LCR’s entire history consists of nothing but “fuck you”, it is perfectly reasonable for me to respond once in kind, in more honest language.

        • Michael Neville

          You are the mildest, calmest, most patient regular on this blog. For LCR to set you off means that he really is a fucking asshole.

          Gary Whittenberger, with his unique way of quoting and replying, his tone trolling, and his lack of respect for others, is also pretty unpleasant.

        • Susan

          Gary Whittenberger, with his unique way of quoting and replying, his tone trolling, and his lack of respect for others, is also pretty unpleasant.

          Yes. I set a personal record for highest cuss words in a single comment out of solidarity for all the people he’d blocked for using a cuss word.

          I’m not even sure Laurence is an actual christian. If he is, he’s a christian troll. But Gary decided to chastise epeeist and high five Laurence.

          Gary is not qualified to evaluate tone.

          Ironically, tone trolls usually aren’t.

          For LCR to set you off

          For the record, he didn’t set me off. (Some people do.) It seemed the most civilized thing possible to say “Fuck you too” to him.

          I don’t see how that harms civilization.

          For me, it’s civilized.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Interestingly, I kind of like Gary Whittenberger’s style, if not necessarily his content.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well it takes all sorts.

          GW reminds me of Marmite.

        • epeeist

          his lack of respect for others

          You missed out his conviction that he is always right.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are the mildest, calmest, most patient regular on this blog. For LCR to set you off means that he really is a fucking asshole.

          I’ve know Susan quite a number of years online and I can attest to that observation.

          I, on the other hand and as you well know, keep my barrack room language well practiced.

        • Michael Neville

          I still think of myself as a sailor and I have the language to go with those thoughts.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Sure assessment of your comment is an assessment of your ‘lifestyle’…BEHAVIOR IS AN ASPECT OF LIFESTYLE, NITWIT!

          Your behavior here is pugnacious, mendacious, and generally unpleasant to experience….why do you think you can assert different behavior in other spheres of your life and have ANY credibility at all here?

          ETA: Oh, I forgot to mention that your attempt at vocabulary slut-shaming and sanctimony, added to your hypocrisy and passive-aggressive posts, really put a shine on your assholishness.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          LCR1: My belief/faith is demonstrated by the manner in which I live my life in Christ, Greg. Since you obviously can’t observe the way I conduct myself in my interactions with my fellow human beings, it’s easy to mock,ridicule, and scorn my beliefs, the default position of most atheists towards Christians, at least here in America.

          GW1: It’s easy to criticize your failure to explain and defend your beliefs. Does your religion require you to act this way? Is this failure morally correct according to your religion?

          LCR1: I think that one of the problems with Christian/atheist interactions is that atheists somehow seem to think that Christians cease to be human when we embrace Jesus the Christ
          as Lord and Saviour; siimple observation bears out the falsity of that idea; atheists, for some reason, seem to expect us(Christians) to exhibit some unrealistic level of ethical or moral perfection.

          GW1: I’m an atheist and I don’t think that at all. I think you are a human person who is fallible and has been misled.

          LCR1: From my personal perspective, I’m not too bothered by these erroneous perceptions on the part of my atheist friends, we were warned that this would be the case in our engagement with unbelievers.So…there it is.

          GW1: I think your starting assumption is just mistaken.

          LCR1: There is no doubt that far too many of my co-religionists speak and act in ways anthetical to the commands of the Savior, and I deplore that; it’s primarily due to disobedience and lack of Scriptural knowledge. At any rate, when my brothers and sisters in Christ are misrepresented on these sites , I WILL defend them without hesitation , ditto for my faith in general. PEACE IN CHRIST,ALWAYS

          GW1: But the problem is that you are not defending your faith. In fact, for some reason you are avoiding a defense. Why do you not abide with the following verse? “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15, NIV I am asking you right now to give an account of why you believe that God exists.

        • Greg G.

          My belief/faith is demonstrated by the manner in which I live my life in Christ, Greg. Since you obviously can’t observe the way I conduct myself in my interactions with my fellow human beings,

          That is still not a defense of your beliefs. I worked with someone for ten years and we even played on the same softball team for a couple of years. (Actually we had met briefly in college once. She lived next door to my cousin and played on the women’s basketball team. I saw some of her old pictures when I visited her house and then made the connection.) One day I said a bad word at something I was trying to fix at work and she was shocked. I don’t know what you are accusing me of doing, but my life probably isn’t so much different than yours except I don’t go to church and don’t refrain from doing things for any sanctimonius reasons.

          it’s easy to mock,ridicule, and scorn my beliefs, the default position of most atheists towards Christians, at least here in America.

          You can’t defend your beliefs. It’s like asking a four year old how he knows the moon is made of green cheese.

          I think that one of the problems with Christian/atheist interactions is that atheists somehow seem to think that Christians cease to be human when we embrace Jesus the Christ
          as Lord and Saviour; since observation bears out the falsity of that idea; atheists, for some reason, seem to expect us(Christians) to exhibit some unrealistic level of perfection.

          No, we don’t. Atheists are often demonized from the pulpit, though. The things that are said about atheist in church are why there is a running gag about eating babies. Many of us are former Christians. We do not expect Christians to be perfect. We just ask for a justification for your beliefs that can distinguish those beliefs from every other imaginary thing. The thought of believing things based on reason and evidence seems to be something you have never considered before.

          From my personal perspective, I’m not too bothered by these erroneous perceptions on the part of my atheist friends, we were warned that this would be the case in our engagement with unbelievers.So…there it is.

          Right. Just what I mentioned. You are believing what some beggar behind the pulpit says about atheists so you cannot relate to atheists as actual people.

          At any rate, when my brothers and sisters in Christ are misrepresented on these sites , I WILL defend them without hesitation , ditto for my faith in general.

          You seem to think Christians believe the same things. There are over 45,000 denominations of Christianity. The range of beliefs are astounding. When you read “Christians say…” you may read it to mean “All Christians say…” when it is actually saying “Some Christians say…” You are in your own Christian bubble and don’t listen to what other Christians say. You just write them off as not real Christians. A justified Christian would have valid reasons for their belief system instead of fallacies and wishful thinking. Since there has never been a justified Christian, we can only go with people who call themselves Christian.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Laurence’s persecution complex is on full display in that post. Unfortunately, self- and social-awareness is nowhere to be found.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          There are LOTS of people living good, productive, loving lives without any of your vile superstition mixed in.

          Thus the lie is put to your assertion.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I made NO assertion about the lives of unbelievers, Hairy; I made the claim about MY life lived In Christ. I don’t presume to speak for others. I myself know people who are unbelievers who live the kind of life you iterated; and? (By the way, what’s “vile superstition “?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          By virtue of your comment that “My belief/faith is demonstrated by the manner in which I live my life in Christ”, you were OBVIOUSLY contrasting that with those who *don’t* have that manner, or even capability.

          Stop being a passive-aggressive shit.

        • Greg G.

          Once again, you forgotten to demonstrate that your belief is anything more than a shared delusion.

        • epeeist

          Once again, you forgotten to demonstrate

          Nah, nothing to do with “forgotten” and everything to do with “unable to”. Hence his whining about people “f-bombing” him, he obviously hopes that it will distract from the fact that when asked to justify his position he simply he simply cannot produce anything.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Thank you.

          Funny, I was thinking the same thing.

          All that can be seen is a bunch of deluded people who refuse to accept that they’re deluded.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          No matter how you try to slice it , HairyEyedWordBombThrower, your assertions that Christian theists are deluded is and will remain YOUR opinion, nothing more,so….move on.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          No matter how you try to slice it , HairyEyedWordBombThrower, your assertions that Christian theists are deluded is and will remain YOUR opinion, nothing more,so….move on.

          You make supernatural claims, refuse to entertain the possibility that they’re not reality, and also refuse to provide evidence or a test that would determine the matter in your favor for anybody BUT somebody who’s already convinced.

          That’s a delusion.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Here’s a thought, Hairy…Why don’t you ask God yourself? He’ll answer you…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I *did* talk to the ceiling, for a long time…and was so devout I ended up suffering both depression and anxiety badly enough to require medication.

          It got worse when I was losing my faith, because of the unreasoning terror that had been drummed into me as a child by the xtian churches I attended.

          Finally, I was mostly free of the fear of ‘hell’ that was designed to force me to believe, and since then, no depression, no anxiety, no medication, and a wonderful life.

          Oh, and it’s pretty nasty to assume that, in an xtian-soaked country like the US, that I hadn’t also been abused into belief as so many kids of my era were…happy to say, today fewer and fewer kids are being indoctrinated into that unreasoning terror that holds so many of their elders in the misery of attempting to force their own belief.

          Oh, and fuck you too, asshole, since that’s obviously what your smarmy sanctimonious comment was meant to convey, deny it though you will.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Arrogant? Which one of you believes the universe was created specifically for humans?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Since the idea that…”the universe was created specifically for humans”…has no basis in reality and most certainly isn’t a Biblical concept, what exactly are you talking about “JustAnotherAtheist2” ??

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          So you reject the Teleological Argument? Another pleasant surprise.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          The Teleological Argument relates to the concept of design, not the why of said design, nor for whom. Again, nowhere in Scripture is it stated or even implied that the universe was created specifically for human beings alone. I’d be interested in the origin of this particular theory/hypothesis since again, it has NO BIBLICAL BASIS. I await your reply, JustAnotherAtheist2…

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          The Teleological Argument requires a goal – designed for life. Without said goal it would just ask, “what are the odds that the universe would have just the right characteristics to allow for whatever form it happened to take?” Which would be 100%. It’s only if one particular outcome is of interest that the odds start to plummet.

          And I noticed that you inserted an “alone” into my question. So you always distort people’s positions in this manner? Did god create the universe with the intent of creating man, yes or no?

        • Greg G.

          There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth. The Bible’s account of the creation of stars, planets, and galaxies is one Hebrew word. The ancient Hebrew concept of the universe is the Earth and a dome over it. Humans were given dominion over all life on Earth in Genesis 1:27. The lights in the sky were there for signs and seasons according to Genesis 1:14. Who were the signs for? Humans.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Ad hominem is the *best* YOUR KIND can offer?

          Typical…

        • Ignorant Amos

          How in the name of fuck is it “puerile arrogance” to ask someone asserting an extraordinary claim to demonstrate it isn’t anything more than delusional.

          My claim is that I have an intergalactic time traveling machine, would it be puerile arrogance for someone to believe I was delusional and to ask me to demonstrate my claim?

          You’re a fucking idiot.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Wait, does it have “nothing to do with positive outcomes here on Earth” or is it “not oblivious to reality”? I presume you’ll say it is both, but then the question becomes, why did god choose such an imbalance between the two? And why did he emphasize the untestable one instead of the one that could provide compelling evidence?

    • Is there evidence that this hope is well placed? That these claims about God are real?

      Or is it just a random hope, not grounded in anything tangible?

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Both, Bob…The hopes of untold billions of Christians are indeed well-placed, and the unexplained origins of the Christian Church testify to the reality of God’s existence (Do you remember my yet-to-be answered challenge to explain the origin of the Church without the Resurrection of the Christ of said Church? That still stands.) So..

        • Claims. I want evidence.

          No, I don’t know of your challenge.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          The existence of the Christian Faith/Church is more than enough evidence for any fair-minded person, Bob; to attempt to deny that smacks of a sort of intellectual laziness; certainly it’s a brazen attempt to overturn historical reality. The history of the Christian Faith is the history and I daresay the foundation of Western Civilization, and there’s simply no coherent, credible denial of that.We may as well throw away ALL our history books and cancel all our history classes from kindergarten to the highest levels of history education in our universities. Come on, Bob…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The the existence of islam, the Dome of the Rock, and the Kaaba are more than enough evidence that islam is right.

          When are you converting?

        • The existence of the Christian Faith/Church is more than enough evidence for any fair-minded person, Bob; to attempt to deny that smacks of a sort of intellectual laziness; certainly it’s a brazen attempt to overturn historical reality.

          Then I’ll say the same thing about Islam. Will you next be haranguing us to follow the Prophet?

          The history of the Christian Faith is the history and I daresay the foundation of Western Civilization

          1. Irrelevant. We’re still at square 1, trying to figure out if this petulant god you worship even exists.

          2. Largely bullshit. Christianity did have a strong influence, but much of that was a negative influence. The things we appreciate today—democracy, civil rights, no slavery, science, and so on—most certainly did not come from the Good Book.

        • Greg G.

          more than enough evidence for any fair-minded person

          No, it isn’t. A fair-minded person looks at every other religion and that type of evidence cancels itself out, so it is not evidence at all. Most people just accept the religion of their parents, so the existence of any religion smacks of intellectual laziness. Christianity is divided into over 45,000 denominations, some of which are fiercely independent. Major divisions have gone to war and still kill one another in the present.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What a parcel of crap.

        • Otto
        • Phil

          If it is self evident then why is Christianity a minority religion. Why hasn’t the whole world taken this up?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Also, why are there about 40,000+ competing sects of xtianity, especially since one of the Jeez’s promises is that people would know xtianity is true bcuz they all spoke with one voice?

        • epeeist

          The hopes of untold billions of Christians are indeed well-placed, and
          the unexplained origins of the Christian Church testify to the reality
          of God’s existence

          And the faith of billions of Muslims is testament to the existence of Allah. The faith of Hindus and the longevity of the religion is testament to the existence of Vishnu and Ganesha.

          Oh, and the almost universal belief in a geocentric universe meant that at one time the sun really did orbit the earth.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Do you have a particular point to make here, epeeist? If so, make it.

        • epeeist

          Do you have a particular point to make here, epeeist?

          Simply that the belief of large numbers of people says nothing about the truth of the things they believe in unless their is substantive corroboration for the said belief.

          In other words, as my examples illustrate, all you are doing is committing the argumentum ad populum fallacy (sometimes called the bandwagon fallacy).

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The point is that your supposed ‘evidence’ is nothing but self-serving assertions with nary a lick of anything real behind it.

  • David Peebles

    I like to contemplate the flip side of Pascal’s coin. What if the believers are wrong? They will have pissed away their time worshiping a non-existent being, praising one who has earned no praise, who shits on their wants and needs, whom the bible portrays as a murdurous tyrant and megalomaniac. Even though I left religion long ago, I still regret and resent the summer days wasted in “summer vacation bible school,” the skull-numbing inanity of puerile sermons and pious moaning of vacuous hymns. And Pascal’s wager seems to imply that pretending to believe what you don’t really believe is all that it takes. I also point out how many true believers sweat buckets about their own unbelief, and piously beg god to help them in their unbelief. What a crock.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      If God did exist, he would reward the nonbelievers and punish the believers. Pascal never considered this.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Only in YOUR world would that make sense, David. What are you talking about??

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I can’t tell if your response was intended for me or David.

          1. If God exists, then he is the distinct unique spiritual person who is necessarily existing, everlasting, everywhere-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, fully free, self-sufficient, perfectly good, and supremely authoritative; who created our universe and any others which might exist; who at least sometimes intervenes in our universe, especially in human affairs; who wants us humans to believe and behave in certain ways in our current lives for which he sometimes rewards us in an afterlife; and who wants us not to believe and behave in other ways for which he sometimes punishes us in an afterlife.
          2. If God exists, he wants you to think rationally.
          3. If you think rationally, then you will conclude that it is very unlikely that God exists.
          4. Therefore, if he exists, then God wants you to be an atheist!
          5. If God exists and wants you to be an atheist, then he would reward the atheists and punish the theists.

          For more explanation and justification, find my book on Amazon.

        • Greg G.

          I have used that argument before. If God exists but gives no evidence that he exists, maybe he is weeding out those who are gullible enough to believe anyway.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That” argument” is so nonsensical it doesn’t even warrant a response.Maybe you should try to rework it and try to give it some coherence…

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          It makes more sense than a “benevolent” being basing our eternal souls on how gullible we are.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          No, it doesn’t. Try again, “Just AnotherAtheist2”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Do you have anything to offer aside from “nuh uh!”?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Whatever I have to offer will certainly be better than…”A benevolent being basing our eternal souls on how gullible we are”…that nonsensical statement is referred to as pseudotheologicai dreck since, again ,it has no basis in any coherent reality. Try again, my friend.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I wasn’t expecting you to agree that Christianity has no basis in any coherent reality, but it’s good to find common ground.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s funny, JustAnotherAtheist2!! LOL!!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Your emotional reactions are irrelevant to the discussion. Do you have anything useful to contribute?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          What “emotional reactions ” are you talking about , Gsry? Clarify , please…

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Specifically your emotional reaction of amusement indicated by this statement: “That’s funny, JustAnotherAtheist2!! LOL!!”

          An emotional reaction like that is not a substantive claim, an argument, or a defense of a position. Who cares about your emotional reactions here? I certainly don’t.

          Do you have anything useful to contribute? Can you set aside your emotional reactions from the discussion?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          This is an odd reaction given that it was you who called Christianity incoherent. This kind of emotional imbalance can be a sign of a deeper physical problem. For your own sake, I hope you get yourself checked.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Don’t try to be clever and put YOUR words in my mouth, JustAnotherAtheist2…Anyone who’ve read what I’ve posted ought to know that I would NEVER refer to the Christian Faith as incoherent, and while I try to be respectful and polite on this site, I won’t suffer fools gladly, and I won’t stand for having my views misrepresented. If you’re claiming that I would consider my faith incoherent, I don’t mind saying: Simply put, YOU are a liar. But then, I’ve come to expect that from those of your ilk…

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “…while I try to be respectful and polite on this site…”

          Are you… not trying very hard? Are you just phenomenally bad at doing this? Do you not realize how bad you are at doing this? Do you actually think you’ve ever succeeded at doing this?

          The mind boggles.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I didn’t put any words in your mouth. You said my description was incoherent rather than inapt, ergo you agree that the basis is incoherent. If you made a mistake earlier, then acknowledge it and explain why the original description is inapt.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I have to wonder, in the mind of LCR… what the fuck does being an asshole look like, if he thinks he’s been respectful at any point since he started commenting here?

        • Otto

          He thinks not saying naughty words means he is being nice and respectful.

        • First person to get Laurence to say “dang” wins a prize.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s not profanity, Bob…Seriously? That’s actually funny, LOL!!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          HINT: We’re not laughing WITH you….

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          There is nothing “naughty ” about the vileness and filth of F-,bombs, Otto.Tell me, would you shout out such a word ANYWHERE? In front of a child? Your parents? A church,?(You probably would.)–Grow up,why don’t you. It may surprise you, but I happen to think that the English language contains a sufficient amount of words to make the use of profanity and vulgarity unnecessary in normal conversation. But, that’s just me.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I use such words for emPHAsis, but yes, I would say them in public if the situation warranted it.

          And YOU definitely warrant it…profanity to the asshole, one could say.

        • Otto

          I happen to think words are just sounds we make that we then assign some sort of meaning to, words are just words. Only sanctimonious assholes try and make them something they are not. Fuck is a wonderful word if for no other reason than that it drives people like you right up a tree. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick Ringo, grow the fuck up.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86zlSplwK2A

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…while your presumed analysis of how you think the F-word affects me, Otto, my point is that the ongoing coarsening of our language will ensure that the art of civil dscourse is rapidly disappearing. (Apparently it has already done so on the Web.) So, let me ask you, Otto: Since you think the F-word is such a “wonderful ” word, does that mean that there is no place you won’t drop it? In front of a child? Your parents/grandparents? A church? (Yeah, you probably would).I await your reply.

        • epeeist

          my point is that the ongoing coarsening of our language will ensure that the art of civil dscourse is rapidly disappearing.

          Have you read any Chaucer? Or the letters of Mozart?

        • Otto

          How “fuck” affects you is quite obvious.

          And as I have already told you, people like yourself that use passive aggressive ways of expressing themselves are far more damaging than someone saying words that you don’t happen to like. The reason the ‘civil discourse’ between you and the other people here has eroded is because you continue to act like a douche and you refuse to acknowledge what you are doing. You offer nothing to the discussion and pretend you are holier than thou. Par for the course among sanctimonious asshole Christians.

          I have had some very good conversations with people of faith that conduct themselves with actual respect towards others that don’t happen to share their faith, and then I interact with fake and disingenuous Christians that pretend to be nice but the intent behind their words is obviously anything but civil. Guess which group you are in?

          And yes, I would say ‘fuck’ in any of those places depending on the circumstance. The fact that you think words have some magical quality and therefore can’t be used ever in some places is telling.

          I really hope you are not a Borderline Personality for the sake of the people you interact with in real life, but I have to tell you Ringo…I have my doubts.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hey, Transparent-Man!

          YOU brought up the topic of language, so it’s VERY obvious that it bothers you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Seems like a good place to drop in a Tim Minchin properly blasphemous song:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHRDfut2Vx0&has_verified=1

        • Greg G.

          Back when I was trying to keep from losing my faith, I went to the church where I was saved. The sermon was on why people use the Lord’s name in vain. The reason the preacher ended up giving was, “There is POWERRRR in the NAAAMMMME of the LOOOOORRRRDDDD!.

          I thought, “Bullshit. Oh, there’s power in that word, too!” That pretty much ended the last of my faith.

        • Michael Neville

          Tone trolling will win you no points here, Larry Chuck. If you don’t like the way adults talk then that’s your fucking problem, not ours.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          It may surprise you, but I happen to think that the English language contains a sufficient amount of words to make the use of profanity and vulgarity unnecessary in normal conversation.

          Doesn’t surprise me one bit.

          Who here cares what a stupid wankstain like you thinks anyway?

          A choice between you and William Shakespeare…you lose.

          “these be her very c’s, her u’s, and her t’s,…

          For someone who “knows” so much about his own religious text, you don’t seem to know about the cursing in it.

          ben ‘avah marduwth equates to “son of a bitch” for example.

          Biblical arguments against cussing are worthless, since even the Big Guy himself chooses to use rather vulgar language from time to time. To learn more about how to cuss like God (literally), check out Ezekiel 23:20 (There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of horses, means , you cum like an ass you asshole), Deuteronomy 23:2, 1 Samuel 20:30, The last example might not be bad language in English, but in Hebrew the phrase ben ‘avah marduwth is considered highly offensive, a fitting equivalent for the English phrase son of a bitch. Jesus himself resorts to swearing in Luke 13:31-32, and like before, calling someone a fox may not be offensive in English, but in Hebrew culture it is highly offensive to call someone a dog, and foxes are in the dog family.

          The word “dung”, (skubalon in Greek) found in the KJV, was used in the same way shite is used in the modern vernacular.

          But, that’s just me.

          Indeed…and we all know at what level of intellect you operate, don’t we?

        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44
        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s easily answered, at least from my perspective, Clint W.(Thought2Much)what such a person would sound like(or,since we’re all on line here, write like)–He/she would scorn, mock, ridicule, exhibit the utmost contempt for the views of their presumed opponents, and spew vile, profane, and vulgar language at said opponents, as one poster did earlier. So…as I said to someone earlier, I may be sharp, cutting, and sarcastic in my replies at times, but I DON’T wallow around in the gutter with ANYONE, and you think that my replies are discourteous, there one of two choices: Grow thicker skin, or don’t reply to my posts. PEACE.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “That’s easily answered, at least from my perspective…”

          Which we’ve seen is severely flawed. We can all see it, except for you. You may wish to ponder why. I doubt you ever will, though, because it’s been my experience that the vast majority of Christians are the worst at introspection.

          “He/she would scorn, mock, ridicule, exhibit the utmost contempt for the views of their presumed opponents…”

          Kinda like when you disparage atheists at every opportunity. Do you not realize you do this? Do you not realize that you’re an asshole in every post you make in which you disparage atheists? If you think you’re not an asshole when you do this, then you’re probably a complete moron in addition to being a complete asshole.

          “I may be sharp, cutting, and sarcastic…”

          This would imply intelligence on your part, something which is lacking in every post you’ve ever made. The fact that you also don’t think that the way you use these tools is disrespectful shows that you aren’t qualified to use them.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow, Clint….So that “Pot, meet kettle thing” is NOT just a slogan after all! Thanks for clearing that up! So, the other poster using his “Hail,Satan!” Emojis…can we assume that he’s NOT the vile word used to describe me? Interesting double standard…You atheists are seriously SERIOUSLY funny! I am having a ball!!!

        • Otto

          Hey, I take offense to that. ‘Hail Satan’ is just a friendly greeting…and you said you liked emoji’s so I thought I would add some to be nice.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I DO like emojis, Clint…It’s your atheist cohorts who seem to get bent out of shape about them(Go figure!)–Trust me, your cute little emojis don’t bother me at all. Thanks!!

        • Otto

          Umm…that was me that wrote that Ringo. You said you had a problem with ‘Hail Satan’ and I just don’t understand why. You implied I should be considered a “vile word” for using it. I think you need to explain yourself. I wait for your nattering response.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sorry, Otto, I meant to say to YOU that I don’t have a problem with your “Hail, Satan” emojis; they’re actually kinda cute! Some of your atheist friends seem to get bent out of shape about MY continued use of them, and they have implied that I’m sending a big “F-bomb” when I use them. As I explained to another poster on this site, due to my utter abhorrence of profanity and vulgarity, it would take quite the stretch of the imagination to extract such language from a cartoon character, and probably says more about the condition of said person’s than mine….PEACE!

        • Otto

          Yeah Ringo, I am sure you lack the self awareness and social sense to understand that the intent behind words and actions are often far more meaningful than the words and actions themselves. You are a passive aggressive douche, everyone here knows it, but as long as you can pretend otherwise you can keep your consciousness clean.

          >>>”I meant to say to YOU that I don’t have a problem with your “Hail, Satan” emojis; they’re actually kinda cute!”

          Your initial reply to Clint said otherwise. Go gaslight somewhere else.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I hope you realize that every post you make pushes people further away from Christ, and makes Christians embarrassed to be associated with people like you. For your own sake, you’d better hope that the Bible isn’t true, or you may be in for some nastiness when you die, seeing as how your behavior here is exactly the opposite of what your supposed savior instructed you.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Now THAT is funny, Clint, you an atheist, presuming to lecture me concerning my ultimate destination, an issue you literally know NOTHING about!! Tell me, Clint…how can an atheist be driven away from someone they claim doesn’t even exist? And don’t kid yourself: my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are most definitely NOT embarrassed by my defending our faith; I’m sure that I would hear about if they were. (This being an atheist website, it’s unlikely they would engage; so far I aeem to be the only Christian theist engaging you, and as I said, I’m having a blast!!) By the way, do you have an answer as to why you don’t have a special “pet name” for the poster who employed the “Satan” emojis? I suppose it’s O.K. for atheists to use them. huh? Your blatant hypocrisy is staggering. One last thing: Your remarks inre how My Savior would view my comments serves to illustrate your profound ignorance about Scripture and how He Himself contended with those who opposed Him.Knock the dust off your copy of the Book you don’t believe in and read how Jesus dealt with His enemies.

        • presuming to lecture me concerning my ultimate destination, an issue you literally know NOTHING about!!

          But you do? Tell us why your beliefs are worth listening to. Don’t forget to show why the other religions’ beliefs about the afterlife are wrong (and why).

          I’ll get the popcorn.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You’d better pick out a good DVD for yourself, Bob (I recommend Black Panther)—I don’t presume to know what the concept of the Afterlife is as adhered to by other religions ; I’ve dabbled in the field of comparative religions, but frankly I find such studies somewhat tedious; as far as I’m concerned, Jesus the Christ has NO EQUAL, PERIOD. As for myself and my fellow Christians, our final destination is attested to, and secured by Our Saviour; we can find no reason as to why He would lie about that, and if you want to know, Bob. read the Gospels. (Oops, sorry I forgot: You’re an atheist , so Jesus never existed anyway….) Oh, well.

        • epeeist

          Oops, sorry I forgot: You’re an atheist , so Jesus never existed anyway….)

          Oh, Jesus may have existed. But that doesn’t mean that his surname was “Christ”.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Is your comment apropos of anything relevant to the conversation I was hwving with Bob, epeeist?

        • epeeist

          Is your comment apropos of anything relevant to the conversation I was hwving with Bob

          You do understand the concept of a “forum” where anyone can comment do you?

          As it is I was pointing out that the possible existence of an itinerant preacher called Jesus from the apocalyptic tradition who was executed for sedition at the time of Passover is not evidence for him being the “son of god”.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah, epeeist…Unless YOU have some credible evidence that proves that Jesus WASN’T The Son of God as He is depicted throughout both the Old and New Testaments, it’s an exercise in futility to even start down this road. I have NO PROBLEM believing the Word of God, even as you don’t, so we’ll agree to disagree and leave it at that.(And yes, I’m aware that “Christos” or “Maschiach” means Anointed and isn’t Jesus/Yeshua’s surname,so…?

        • epeeist

          Unless YOU have some credible evidence that proves that Jesus WASN’T The Son of God as He is depicted throughout both the Old and New Testaments

          You are a veritable cornucopia of logical fallacies. This time it is an illicit attempt to shift the burden.

          Your belief that Jesus was the son of your god is your ontological commitment and it is therefore down to you to demonstrate the truth of this.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I’m not going down this rabbit hole with you, epeeist. The Gospels demonstrate the truth of who Jesus the Christ is. If you refuse to believe ,it’s not my job to convince you; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.If Almighty God is a liar to you , don’t dance around it,own it and say so.Either way, I’ve made my stance abundantly clear, so I’m done with this issue, and I won’t be replying to you again. PEACE, AND GOD BLESS!!

        • epeeist

          The Gospels demonstrate the truth of who Jesus the Christ is.

          The gospels are the claim, not the evidence.

          There are a number of theories of truth (I recommend something like Susan Haack’s Philosophy of Logics for a detailed exposition) among which are the coherence and correspondence theories.

          You cannot even demonstrate coherence in the gospel accounts, never mind any correspondence to actual matters of fact. One should also note that the gospel accounts are contraries not contradictories. In other words, one of the accounts might be true, but all could be false.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          your ‘gospels’ are storybooks.

          So are the Harry Potter books, Spider-man comics, and Star Trek.

          Why should we believe YOURS?

        • epeeist

          your ‘gospels’ are storybooks.

          Exactly, if he wants to claim that his holy book is evidence for the things in it then he has to accept that other holy books must also be evidential or explain why they are not.

        • that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.

          So atheists go to hell because the HS doesn’t deign to make us believe? What an asshole.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…No, Bob.Once again, atheists demonstrate that their vaunted claim of knowing more about the Christian Faith than Christians themselves shows itself to be a crock. There is a difference between convincing and compelling; NO ONE, atheists included, will wind up separated from Almighty God because they were forced to believe and didn’t; the famous Gospel verse John 3:16 makes it clear that an invitation to escape that fate is offered, no coercion is involved; a choice is held out.The Holy Spirit’s part, if you will, is to convince you of the validity of the offer, nothing more.In fact, this invitation is held out until one leaves this world.So…there it is.It basically boils down to belief or unbelief, your choice. Again, no one is forced to embrace Almighty God’s offer; as you atheists make it clear, to you it’s all a crock, so,what exactly is the problem? Haven’t you made your choice? Aren’t you happy to be free to go your way? Since you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe any of it–It’s a fairytale, a delusion, a fantasy, etc.,etc., why does this issue occupy you atheists so much? As I said before, I don’t think atheists have to worry that The United States of America will become a Christian-dominated theocracy; that’s what our courts are designed to protect us all from; as a Christian theist it may surprise you to know that I don’t want a theocracy to attempt to rule over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave; NO!! So, again Bob, relax and settle this issue in your mind; You have two very clear choices: BELIEVE, OR NOT.It’s really not that hard.The Holy Spirit convinced me that Almighty God’s offer of eternal life was absolutely true; It had little to do with my upbringing, any supposed
          childhood indoctrination, any “fear of Hell”(I didn’t even know what that was supposed to mean!), none of that. Admittedly seeds were planted, if you will, due to the cultural Christian milieu, but as I related in another post, going to church was more of a cultural thing, as least for me; to this day I have no idea what our local minister was going on about; as I said, I met the Risen Christ in the salvific experience in jail, long after I ceased attending regular church services, So….once again, take it as you will, Bob…God bless.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sigh…No, Bob.Once again, atheists demonstrate that their vaunted claim of knowing more about the Christian Faith than Christians themselves shows itself to be a crock.

          You’ve got some sort of bolt in that thing between your ears we can only loosely describe as a brain, that prevents you from comprehending that most of the atheists on this forum were once Christian’s of one flavour or another. There is more than one “Christian Faith” ya knuckle-dragging moron.

          There is a difference between convincing and compelling; NO ONE, atheists included, will wind up separated from Almighty God because they were forced to believe and didn’t; the famous Gospel verse John 3:16 makes it clear that an invitation to escape that fate is offered, no coercion is involved; a choice is held out.

          What does that have to do with what Bob said? You do know that “convince” is synonymous with “make”…right? Probably not.

          The Holy Spirit’s part, if you will, is to convince you of the validity of the offer, nothing more.In fact, this invitation is held out until one leaves this world.

          As part of an omnipotent entity, the HS is doing a shite job in convincing so many.

          So…there it is.It basically boils down to belief or unbelief, your choice.

          Yip…once an individual grasps the fact that the belief is a parcel of crap, unbelief becomes easier.

          Again, no one is forced to embrace Almighty God’s offer; as you atheists make it clear, to you it’s all a crock, so,what exactly is the problem?

          The problem is that religious believing fanatical cunts like you can’t leave those of no interest in your religion, fucking well alone.

          To paraphrase Agent Smith and apply it to religion…

          There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. [Religions] are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure.

          You want to interject your mind-numbing woo-woo into everything, and we just want you to fuck off and keep your supernatural crap to yourself.

          Haven’t you made your choice? Aren’t you happy to be free to go your way? Since you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe any of it–It’s a fairytale, a delusion, a fantasy, etc.,etc., why does this issue occupy you atheists so much?

          Because dumb cunts like you?

          Why does what atheists not believe occupy you so much? Do you give the same attention to all those other groups that believe in not your belief, but who also think your woo-woo is a fairytale. a delusion, a fantasy, etc., etc., etc..make believe,…I bet ya don’t.

          As I said before, I don’t think atheists have to worry that The United States of America will become a Christian-dominated theocracy;…

          That’s just the thin end of the wedge…there’s a lot more wedge in between that your kind of fuckwit is interfering with. And get this, contrary to your ego, the US is not the centre of the universe and Christianity is not the only religious fuckwittery causing a problem.

          …that’s what our courts are designed to protect us all from;

          Until they don’t.

          … as a Christian theist it may surprise you to know that I don’t want a theocracy to attempt to rule over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave; NO!!

          That being the case, then you are not the problem. But there are plenty of your fellow fuckwit believers that are a problem. See the problem when you bundle all Christian’s under the one roof? And I think you are lying. Given your interaction here, I reckon you’d be all over it like a rash if the day the US became Gilead. So YES!!

          So, again Bob, relax and settle this issue in your mind;…

          You really don’t know squat, do ya? A mad Mick atheist on the internet is having to educate a septic tank on the problems his religious beliefs are causing to others.

          But why don’t I let a fellow American explain some of the issues you clowns are at with your insipid nonsense…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE

          You have two very clear choices: BELIEVE, OR NOT.

          No shit Sherlock….did you work that out all on yer own Einstien?

          It’s really not that hard.

          Apparently it really is for lot’s of folk…so there’s you talking bubbles again.

          The Holy Spirit convinced me that Almighty God’s offer of eternal life was absolutely true;

          No it didn’t…the imaginary voice in your head that you mistakenly attribute to the holy spirit has…but anyway, bully for the gullible you for being so easily convinced. Then again, by the sounds of things, you were an easy target.

          It had little to do with my upbringing, any supposed.

          Talking more rot. You live in a demographic predisposed to Christianity, external to your home…I’m going to go out in a limb and say there was no other religion involved in your upbringing.

        • atheists demonstrate that their vaunted claim of knowing more about the Christian Faith than Christians themselves shows itself to be a crock.

          It’s more that we follow evidence and argument better.

          The Holy Spirit’s part, if you will, is to convince you of the validity of the offer, nothing more.

          And he didn’t do that. What an asshole.

          In fact, this invitation is held out until one leaves this world.

          As is the invitation to Islam or Scientology. Why haven’t you taken them up on their generous offers?

          It basically boils down to belief or unbelief, your choice.

          Wrong again. You can’t choose to believe.

          Or can you? Choose to believe in leprechauns and tell us how that goes.

          Since you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe any of it–It’s a fairytale, a delusion, a fantasy, etc.,etc., why does this issue occupy you atheists so much?

          Look around. There are attacks on the separation of church and state (the First Amendment) daily. You can’t even be an elected representative in the US without being a Christian.

          I don’t think atheists have to worry that The United States of America will become a Christian-dominated theocracy; that’s what our courts are designed to protect us all from

          But we’ve got Trump—an honest and moral Christian man if there ever was one—in there to change all that.

          a Christian theist it may surprise you to know that I don’t want a theocracy to attempt to rule over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

          Then you should be fighting Christian excesses along with me.

          You have two very clear choices: BELIEVE, OR NOT.It’s really not that hard.

          Apparently it is. You can’t just believe stuff.

          Think before clicking Post, OK?

          Admittedly seeds were planted, if you will, due to the cultural Christian milieu

          Hmm. That’s a good point. Maybe that explains why you adopted Christianity instead of Islam or Hinduism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wrong again. You can’t choose to believe.

          I think what he means is that in the dichotomy, one chooses one side or the other. That we make that choice based on what is the most evidence supported and convincing argument is the important bit.

          No one can be forced/compelled to chose a belief…though I’d claim they can be coerced into it.

        • epeeist

          I think what he means is that in the dichotomy, one chooses one side or the other.

          But I can refuse to choose, so the dichotomy is a false one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How does that work?

          One either has belief, or unbelief…what is the alternative?

          Refusing to choose still leaves one in either camp?

          Please explain where I’m going wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          I think what he’s saying is “I don’t know” is an answer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah..right…I’m not sure that I accept there are genuine “I don’t know’s”.

          Very few agnostics are 50/50 from what I’ve experienced.

          But for the sake of this discussion I’ll accept that that this is a third option…in principle in any case.

          The comment I had the gripe about was LCR’s directed at Bob.

          It basically boils down to belief or unbelief, your choice.

          Along with this…

          So, again Bob, relax and settle this issue in your mind; You have two very clear choices: BELIEVE, OR NOT.It’s really not that hard.

          I don’t think the third option is relevant in context. The dichotomy for Bob was presented as his position as an unbeliever vis a vis LCR’s position as a believer.

          Anyway…wouldn’t refusing to chose be a choice decision?

        • Greg G.

          If you choose not to decide
          You still have made a choice
          Free Will, Rush

        • You do pick an option, but I don’t think “choose” is the right verb. I can choose chocolate vs. vanilla, but I can’t choose believe vs. don’t believe in leprechauns (though I suppose I shouldn’t necessarily denigrate belief in the wee folk with everyone…).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well we pick a side. We pick it based on a number of criteria,

          Something like the flavour of ice-cream, the criteria are subjective.

          Something like the little folk, the criteria should be evidence based. Thereby making the decision an objective one.

          We make a choice between belief and unbelief based on the probability of the evidence being accurate, it’s what informs that choice is what is the issue.

          A belief cannot be forced. I cannot believe something that I genuinely and honestly don’t believe.

          [W]e can see that personal secularity is primarily the result of brain function combined with access to knowledge, information, and a social setting allowing disbelief. Given the right conditions, the result will be an individual who does not accept supernatural explanations.

          I guess the verb choice is ropey. What is a more accurate word?

          We have all, well most of us anyway, have stated that a god would know what would it would take for us to change our minds…given that state of affairs, would we not be making a different choice.

          “No-brainer” decisions, where the choice is so obvious that only one choice can reasonably be made.

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

          I think what I’m trying to say is that the decision to accept or reject at the proposition of evidence stage is where we choose what to believe, or not.

          This language bollocks has my head up my hole.

        • I would avoid “choose” and just say “believe.” I don’t believe in leprechauns and can’t “just believe.” Saying that I don’t believe is simply a restatement of the fact that the evidence compels me to reject the leprechaun hypothesis.

        • epeeist

          I don’t believe in leprechauns and can’t “just believe.”

          You can believe that leprechauns exist or believe that they don’t exist, which is equivalent to what a number of theists here want to posit as the only positions. But as you intimate, one can lack belief in their existence, you don’t take either horn of the dilemma.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I appreciate that we can’t “just believe” and agree on that point, but a decision making process was involved in my unbelief vis a vis any belief I once held.

          Just like I decided what flavour of ice-cream I favour.

          Now some folk have belief for the same reasons I prefer a particular ice-cream flavour over another.

          But that isn’t what I’m wondering about here. At some point, a lot of factors fell into place that lead me to change my mind about a belief. I chose a different path…I made a choice. Granted that the choice was made, imo rational thinking, but a choice was made nevertheless.

          I can’t chose to believe something I don’t, and that’s not what I’m suggesting, or is it what LCR suggesting…I think. What I think he is saying is that the stuff that convinced him to chose belief and not non-belief, is what made you and I chose non-belief over belief, we just look at what was convincing, differently.

          Anyway, this is not worth worrying about and the more I read up on it, the more my head is likely to pop.

          We all agree we can’t chose to believe something we can’t find reason to believe once we’ve decided there is no reason.

          Apologies for the distraction.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’m sure that LCR loves that we think his god is an asshole. Because then he gets to act just like his god and believe it’s justified.

        • You’d think that the fact that Yahweh can’t defend himself and needs Ringo to do it for him is a clue that something’s wrong with the story.

        • Otto

          God is at a loss for words without his underlings.

        • Rudy R

          And next, you’ll make a preposterous claim that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the actual authors of the Gospels.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          You’re trying to shift the burden of proof.

          If a ‘jesus’ existed, okay. That’s not an extraordinary claim.

          If you’re trying to claim the supernatural elements of the tales are *factual*, now THAT IS an extraordinary statement, by definition.

          So it’s easy, just provide extraordinary evidence.

        • The burden of proof is on the person arguing against Jesus? I suppose that puts the burden of proof on you to argue against the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Xenu, and Quetzalcoatl.

          Go.

        • But there is increasing evidence that his middle initial was H.

        • Greg G.

          You’re an atheist , so Jesus never existed anyway….

          Atheism has nothing to do with whether Jesus existed. There are some who doubt that Jesus actually existed who are not atheists.

          I have concluded that Jesus never existed by examining the evidence. The extra-biblical accounts are derived either directly or indirectly from the gospels. Gospel Jesus is fictional accounts based on Epistle Jesus. Epistle Jesus was invented from reading hope for the nation of Judea to be independent into the Hebrew writings

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          YOU have concluded? And ? Atheism certainly does have to do with Jesus’ existence; if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus did’nt exist, since He Himself attested to the existence of God numerous times, and since according to the Gospel accounts and the Pauline Epistles Jesus Himself was/is God, atheism must deny Jesus’ existence,because if that wasn’t part of His message, then some non-existent person preached about another non-existent person, namely, His own Father!! You can have it all kind of ways you want it, atheists!! Sheesh!!

        • Greg G.

          If God doesn’t exist, the Bible is a bunch of lies. If it says that Jesus said he was the son of God, that is a lie told by Jesus or the author who put the words in his mouth. It could still have some true statements in it.

          A Hinduism believer could doubt the existence of Jesus yet not be an atheist. That person would be more of a theist than you are. A Jew can believe in God and not believe Jesus was the son of God and could also doubt that Jesus existed.

          There have been many people throughout history that never claimed something yet legends were written about them.

          Paul doesn’t say anything about Jesus that cannot be found in the Old Testament. I think Christians have read him incorrectly for 19 centuries by reading the gospels into the epistles. All Paul seems to know about Jesus came from already centuries old literature. Paul seems to have thought that Jesus had lived centuries earlier but was going to come back during his lifetime. The first century Jews thought the Messiah was coming during their lifetime, too. They got the idea of a prophecy from their scriptures. It led them to pick a fight with the Romans. The Messiah never showed up for the Jews or the Christians.

          Paul speaks of Jesus hundreds of times but seldom tells us anything about him. Below is everything he tells us.

          Past
          Descended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12* > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10*
          Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7
          Made of woman, > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5
          Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26*, Habakkuk 2:4*, Leviticus 18:5*
          Was rich, became poor > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Zechariah 9:9
          Was meek and gentle > 2 Corinthians 10:1 > Isaiah 53:7
          Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9*
          Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11
          For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49*, 2 Samuel 22:50*, Deuteronomy 32:43*, Psalm 117:1*, Isaiah 11:10*
          Became Wisdom of God > 1 Corinthians 1:30 > Isaiah 11:2

          Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9
          Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

          Was crucified > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 3:13* > Deuteronomy 21:23*
          Died for sins > 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:12
          Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9
          Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4, 2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

          Present
          Sits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5
          Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

          Future
          Will come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8*

          (* indicates that New Testament passage contains a direct quote from the Septuagint.)

        • epicurus

          Excellent list, thanks.

        • Greg G.

          You’re welcome.

          I think 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is part of a major interpolation. I think that bit came from Luke. 1 Corinthians 10:18-22 sets up a pattern of a statement, a question, and an answer to the question using the same metaphors but the third answer is found in 1 Corinthians 11:30-31 which appears to mark an interpolation seam.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg, you are trying to wrestle with a pig, mate.

        • Susan

          Atheism certainly does have to do with Jesus’ existence

          That is like saying atheism has to do with Dave’s existence.

          if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus didn’t exist

          If God doesn’t exist, then Dave didn’t exist.

          since He Himself attested to the existence of God numerous times, and since according to the Gospel accounts and the Pauline Epistles Jesus Himself was/is God, atheism must deny Jesus’ existence,because if that wasn’t part of His message, then some non-existent person preached about another non-existent person

          No. People told stories that some guy claimed he was a god. People told stories that some guy was a god. A guy could exist who claimed he was a god and/or people could tell stories that a guy existed who said he was a god was a god.

          There are countless examples of people claiming they are god and countless examples of people thinking some guy is god.

          Sheesh!!

          That’s my reaction when a troll haunts these hallways.

        • Greg G.

          He seems to be at the Beavis and Butthead level. He snickers when somebody says “butt” or something. Then sea-lions.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Give me evidence, asshole.

          Evidence as real as the wind, or gravity.

          It has to point ONLY to your idiot superstition, though, and be capable of convincing somebody who doesn’t believe you in any way, the same way that gravity would still make a person who stepped off a cliff fall regardless of their knowledge or belief in it.

        • ildi

          Jesus could have existed and been wrong, (he was wrong about returning in his disciples’ lifetime), AND Paul created a religion based on his hallucinations of a spiritual Jesus god.

        • Susan

          Jesus could have existed and been wrong.

          Yes. Humans exist. Humans are often wrong. Countless humans have claimed to be a god. And more humans have claimed someone is a god even when that someone doesn’t claim to be so.

        • Yes, exactly. You’re a fan of Jesus. You’ve got a magic book, and in your opinion, you’re going to the Good Place afterwards. That’s it. No evidence.

          As we all suspected, you have no evidence of the afterlife, so the confidence in your comment to Clint W. was misplaced.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          A “fan” of Jesus? Seriously, Bob? Once again, an atheist demonstrates how little he knows about the Christian Faith. Wow.To us,Jesus the Christ is sooo far beyond the concept of “fandom”…Sigh. Try reading your Bible, Bob, if you have one. If you’re so intractably entrenched in your unbelief, well…

        • Seriously, Laurence? If you’ve got no answer, man up and say so. Don’t change the subject and hope that we don’t notice.

          You’re offended by “fuck you”? Being treated like an idiot offends me.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          The answer is in The Word of God and the Christ of that Word, Bob! How many different ways can that be said? Since I’ve never been dead, I can offer nothing that’supposed to be truth to you, and your entrenched mindset of disbelief wouldn’t let you believe; you would look for some alternative explanation, I have NO DOUBT of that . As long as you continue in unbelief, there’s simply no answer for you or ANY unbeliever, it’s that simple. Almighty God is not a “beggar” God; He has plenty of Children, and you are not a necessity to Him.Christians are no different than other human beings, it’s not within our purview to prove God to you or any other unbeliever; God is a God of revelation; as He reveals Himself to His people, so He will reveal Himself to ANYONE who earnestly seeks Him, as He did me 41 years ago. So…stop insisting that any given human being can reveal Almighty God to you; only Jesus the Christ can do that, and as long as unbelievers persist in their unbelief, to expect ANYTHING from God..Simply put, it’s an absurdity So…there it is.

        • How many different ways can that be said?

          Yeah, I get it. You’ve got your religious beliefs that are not backed up by evidence. That’s fine, just don’t pretend that you have a warrant for belief or that your belief is compelling to anyone else.

          your entrenched mindset of disbelief wouldn’t let you believe

          Try me. Give me some evidence.

          you would look for some alternative explanation, I have NO DOUBT of that .

          You have no evidence, I have NO DOUBT of that .

          God is a God of revelation

          Not really. We’re still stuck on whether this dude actually exists or not. You’ve got an uphill climb.

          He will reveal Himself to ANYONE who earnestly seeks Him

          Yeah? Tell that to the ex-Christians who begged God to reveal himself to them as their faith waned.

          If God existed, Christians wouldn’t have to invent laughably bad excuses why it seems like he doesn’t.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Mr.Siedensticker, I’ve said all I’ve going to say on this issue, sir. You’ve obviously come to the conclusion you’re right and 2.22 billion Christians, not to mention the untold billions that preceded this current number, Christians that ranged from the lowliest plowboy and milkmaid to some of the most brilliant individuals ever to walk this eartb , are ALL wrong. So why continue to engage in this Sysiphean futility? I have already made it clear to you, and I’m not sure what exactly you’re not getting:It’s God’s prerogative to reveal Himself to you; it’s not the purview of any mere human being to do that. As for the presumed “ex-Christians” you spoken of, obviously I can’t speak to that, but one thing is absolutely certain: From the Biblical perspective, there is NO SUCH THING as an “ex-Christian” and you can take that as you will; it would be the equivalent of walking into your mother’s room and claiming that you are no longer her child. Once you are born of the combination of your parents genes, blood, DNA ,etc. NOTHING can change that, ditto with being BORN OF GOD. I myself was Born Again October 4th , 1976 at 1:45 A.M. in a jail cell in my home state of Mississippi, an experience that I still remember as though it was yesterday, 41 years later. So whatever YOU believe or don’t believe, Bob, YOU cannot refute my experience, and I believe EVERYTHING Jesus the Christ has said on that issue. Whatever transpired with those supposed “ex-Christians”, I can’t enter their experiences; as the Scriptures say, I can only…”Speak that which I know and testify to that which I’VE seen”…(I don’t recall the verse at the moment.)–According to The Word of God in both Testaments, the Lord our God proclaimed: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. In my 41-year fellowship and communion with my Lord and Saviour that has/is certainly been the case, and literally untold billions of Christians, past and present can attest to the truth of this passage. So…I’m done with this issue, Mr.Seidensticker.If the appearance of an entity that did not exist before and CANNOT be explained without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, i.e. the Christian Faith/Church, an entity whose reality
          Is attested by secular history and historians, frankly, you will NEVER be convinced, and that’s your choice,sir.I’ve read the arguments against theist beliefs, particularly Christian theism, by the most brilliant atheists on the planet, both iiving and dead: Bertrand Russell , Frederic Nietzsche, Dawkins, Sam Harris,Stenger, on and on.But now that I have embraced and been embraced by the Risen Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ, there is NO human argument that can be concocted by any mere human intellect that will EVER overturn or refute that experience. So, Mr.Seidensticker, I have said ALL I’m going to say inre this issue. Believe what you will, or don’t believe; at this point I really don’t care, and I don’t mean that in a rude way.It’s obviously your intent is to persist in your obdurate disbelief, so…Peace, and God bless you.

        • epeeist

          You’ve obviously come to the conclusion you’re right and 2.22 billion Christians, not to mention the untold billions that preceded this
          current number,

          Seriously? We have been through this, as I pointed out this is simply an argumentum ad populum.

          But if you want to go with an argument from numbers consider the fact that there are some 7.6 billion people in the world so more than 70% of the world don’t accept your Jesus as the “son of god”.

          Oh, and “I DENY THE HOLY GHOST; I BLASPHEME THE HOLY GHOST; I DENY THE HOLY GHOST”

        • Bones

          “You’ve obviously come to the conclusion you’re right and 2.22 billion Christians, not to mention the untold billions that preceded this current number, ”

          Actually there’s been just as many atheists, pagans, animists, Muslims and Hindus…..

        • Greg G.

          Summary of your message:

          Mr. Seidensticker: Try me. Give me some evidence.

          Mr. Ringo: Mr.Siedensticker, I’ve said all I’ve going to say on this issue, sir.

          2.22 billion Christians

          5.4 billion people disagree with Christians. Most of them believe other religions based on the same lack of evidence. Many of them can tell the type of story you tell. It only proves that such a method is unreliable to arrive at truth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A wall of crap…again.

        • I’ve said all I’ve going to say on this issue, sir.

          And yet you continue to blather on.

          You’ve obviously come to the conclusion you’re right and 2.22 billion Christians, not to mention the untold billions that preceded this current number

          There are over a billion Muslims. So you’re arrogant enough to say that all of them are wrong??

          So why continue to engage in this Sysiphean futility?

          Read the news.

          It’s God’s prerogative to reveal Himself to you

          Which is just what you’d say if he didn’t exist and you were trying to shore up an evidence-less religious belief.

          From the Biblical perspective, there is NO SUCH THING as an “ex-Christian”

          The Old Testament spoke of the Chosen People. Sorry, but God chose, and it didn’t include you.

          whatever YOU believe or don’t believe, Bob, YOU cannot refute my experience

          And I don’t want to. If you say that only a supernatural explanation is possible, that’s fine. And if being a Christian is the only way you’ve found to be a good person, that’s even more fine. Just don’t tell me that there’s evidence that I should accept when your reason for believing is something you can’t share.

          I have said ALL I’m going to say inre this issue.

          You keep teasing me . . .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          TL;dr

          Wall of text to say, “I don’t have evidence so I’m going to throw every logical fallacy and shaming tactic in the book at you in hopes that SOMETHING will stick”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Shall we run a sweepstakes on how long it will take before Bob bans that useless cretinous oxygen thieving imbecile?

        • Moses was tongue tied, but Gawd helped him speak eloquently before Pharaoh. I guess Laurence doesn’t deserve the same treatment, which is a little surprising given that Laurence is defending God when God is unable to (not existing, and all).

        • Greg G.

          Why doesn’t God give LCR a concept of paragraphs? Maybe God have him the concept of a sentence by way of a jail term.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          That’s just an *assertion*.

          ASSERTIONS ARE NOT EVIDENCE!

          SHOW ME!

          I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Once again, an atheist demonstrates how little he knows about the Christian Faith.

          Then I challenge you to, WITHOUT using the Internet to look things up or even look in your ‘bible’, answer whatever bible questions Bob S. could ask you.

          Your head would be handed to you so many times it’d look like Capt. Jack Sparrow’s mum’s head in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, hanging from Keith Richards’ hand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya idiot…fan is the shortened version of fanatic, someone who engages in fanaticism.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_fanaticism#Christianity

          You, ya thick as pig-shite dolt, are a fan-boy of Jesus…stop lying and own it ffs.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hey,Ignorant Amos!! Once again, here you are, showcasing how proudly ignorant you are of your abysmal ignorance, LOL!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hey,Ignorant Amos!! Once again, here you are, showcasing how proudly ignorant you are of your abysmal ignorance, LOL!!

          Ignorance can’t be abysmal ya fucking Dime Bar…and I’d much rather be ignorant than stupid, ignorance can be fixed.

          No doubt it will surprise you to know that, depending on what one is fanatical about, that is considered a good thing, at least in America.(Such as being a fanatical sports fan), so I’m not insulted that you consider me a”fanatic” for Jesus the Christ; on the contrary, I consider it a compliment!!

          Nice try…but that is the fallacy of the non sequitur so pah! My comment was to demonstrate that you spew shite with every comment you make. That you think that being a rabid fanatic for Jesus is a good thing, surprises me not. Bob wasn’t making that assertion.

          But as I iterated to Bob, Christians view our embrace and commitment to Our Lord and Saviour FAAAR beyond the feeble concept of merely being a fan;

          Then you go and double down ya imbecile.

          fanaticism:~ wildly excessive or irrational devotion, dedication, or enthusiasm

          If you think you go further than that, then your head is well and truly fucked up…which no one here doubts…but you are still a fanatic…just a different level.

          And get this ya rocket, in your generalization to equate Christian’s to a single unified group with the same zealotry as you, ya moron, you have demonstrated that it is you that knows next to fuck all about all Christian’s, not us.

          You must be a Westbro Baptist fucktard…or on the same level of fanaticism.

          …but again, being abysmally ignorant of the Christian Faith, well…you can’t begin to grasp it’s true meaning.

          Something not in evidence, while you’ve repeatedly demonstrated that your knowledge of Christianity and it’s origins, is woefully lacking. Which is a great advertisement to show how the mind-virus can make someone if unchecked by the way.

          Sad…

          Not from this angle…who the fuck would wanna be a shithead like you ffs?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          LOL!!! Iove you, Amos; you’re SOOO funny!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          The feeling isn’t reciprocated.

        • epeeist

          Jesus the Christ has NO EQUAL, PERIOD.

          As I have said a few times I have just come back from Madagascar. While I was there I was constantly beset by aggressive beggars. In many places they tried to sell you crude figurines of lemurs or baobab trees, these were made of river mud baked in the sun and then daubed with paint. Once they come into contact with any moisture they simply crumble away.

          To be frank this is how I see you, an aggressive beggar pushing the stories from his bible, stories which crumble into an incoherent jumble of fables when exposed to scrutiny.

          Oh, and “I DENY THE HOLY GHOST; I BLASPHEME THE HOLY GHOST; I DENY THE HOLY GHOST”

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Like the famous saying about opinions, epeeist….

        • epeeist

          Like the famous saying about opinions

          And once again you demonstrate the vacuity of your responses.

          “I DENY THE HOLY GHOST; I BLASPHEME THE HOLY GHOST; I DENY THE HOLY GHOST”

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Are you stuck in some kind of loop here, epeeist? Seriously, seek help and move on…Sheesh!!

        • epeeist

          Are you stuck in some kind of loop here, epeeist?

          Amusing that these are the only posts of mine that you respond to.

          I point you to a list of Protestant/Catholic bombings in Northern Ireland, no response from you.

          I demonstrate (twice) that your posts about the number of Christians are simply ad populum fallacies, no response from you.

          I point out that even if an itinerant preacher called Jesus existed there is no evidence for such a person being the “son of god”, you respond with another logical fallacy this time an illicit attempt to shift the burden to me to show that he wasn’t the son of your god. Your response to this? That you weren’t going to reply to me again (and yet here you are replying to me).

          I point out that the biblical accounts of the supposed life and actions of Jesus are incoherent and cannot be taken to be true, no response from you.

          I tell you that it is your actions (and the actions of your fellow Christians) that cause atheists to react to you the way we do. Your response? Crickets.

          It’s almost as though you are responding to this particular sub-thread because you are incapable of responding to other posts I have made…

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…Obviously I have to reply to you, epeeist; you’re like the Energizer Bunny here!! Oh,well…The bombings in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics were primarily political violence more than anything else; any supposed religious connotations were peripheral at best.Also, the Christian Faith has never been particularly popular; certainly the Roman Empire made a concerted effort to stamp it out in its early stages, so the numbers aren’t indicative of any perceived popularity; it’s just numbers. There are large numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims on earth–so whst? That’s not an issue at all inre my faith.And, tell me: What would “evidence” of being The Son of God look like to someone like you,? Plus, the Gospel accounts of the Life of Christ are only incoherent and unbelievable to those who don’t know how to read them. Finally , as I’ve pointed out, salvation doesn’t bestow perfection upon Christians; we’re still human, and we still can say and do wrong words and wrong actions, as do my atheist friends.So,relax,epeeist, and take a deep breath.No one is forcing you to abandon whatever you believe or don’t believe; but don’t try to pretend that you have some real knowledge of the Christian Faith, because you don’t, and you’re obviously unwilling to learn; you’re perfectly content to hunker down and embrace your preconceived opinions, and that’s your prerogative.Frankly, I’m baffled as to why you’re so concerned about the Christian Faith at all.Aren’t you content in your unbelief? So, what is the problem? I await your reply…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh,well…The bombings in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics were primarily political violence more than anything else; any supposed religious connotations were peripheral at best.

          Absolute ballix. Something else which you don’t have a fucking clue about.

          Btw…religious violence is always political ya prick.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Frankly, I’m baffled as to why you’re so concerned about the Christian Faith at all.Aren’t you content in your unbelief? So, what is the problem? I await your reply…

        • epeeist

          The bombings in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics were primarily political violence more than anything else

          I see Amos has picked you up on this one, given that he lives in Northern Ireland both now and in the time of the troubles then I am more inclined to accept his position on this rather than a bare assertion from you. This is especially so given that I live in the UK and it chimes with my experience of the troubles.

          But it is a nice idea, it means that if there are multiple causal reasons for a series of events you can absolve yourself or your religion for any responsibility.

          Also, the Christian Faith has never been particularly popular

          But this isn’t the point I was making. You were claiming that Christianity was true based purely on the number of its followers, but as I pointed out other faiths can make the same claim. In addition one can make an immediate inverse, thus Christianity is not true if more people disbelieve in it than believe in it, which is and always has been the case.

          What would “evidence” of being The Son of God look like to someone like you

          Not my problem, your claim, your obligation to produce the evidence. The only burden I have is to show that your claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

          Plus, the Gospel accounts of the Life of Christ are only incoherent and unbelievable to those who don’t know how to read them.

          Oh, I am sure you can elide away an inconsistencies, the problem being that the more ad hoc auxiliaries you introduce to ensure consistency the weaker your accounts become. To paraphrase Marian Moore, “[That] which explains everything explains nothing, and we are still in doubt.”

          But again, those from other faiths can make claims to the truths of their holy books and take the same actions as you to preserve its consistency. Why should we accept that yours contains the truth and theirs does not?

          but don’t try to pretend that you have some real knowledge of the Christian Faith, because you don’t, and you’re obviously unwilling to learn;

          I certainly don’t know the bible as well as Greg G. but as much as anything this is because it wasn’t emphasised in my Catholic upbringing. You will find that many here, me amongst them, were brought up in and followed a religion before we became atheists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I see Amos has picked you up on this one, given that he lives in Northern Ireland both now and in the time of the troubles then I am more inclined to accept his position on this rather than a bare assertion from you. This is especially so given that I live in the UK and it chimes with my experience of the troubles.

          Which the louse has completely ignored, but found it necessary to pull me up on my correcting of his ignorant and erroneous understanding of the word “fan” in the context being used. Sheeeesh!

        • epeeist

          Which the louse has completely ignored

          Of course he has, as he has ignored anything that provides actual evidence or argument against his ideology.

          but found it necessary to pull me up on my correcting of his ignorant and erroneous understanding

          Tone trolling and semantics is all he has got.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tone trolling and semantics is all he has got.

          And he is profoundly shite at even that ffs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What would “evidence” of being The Son of God look like to someone like you,?

          I don’t expect a dolt like you to grasp the ramifications of a dumb arse question like that, but here goes.

          An omniscient god would know what the evidence would look like, an omnipotent god could produce said evidence…that it hasn’t, means omniscient and omnipotent god’s don’t want to, or don’t exist. If the god described as omniscient and omnipotent doesn’t want to, then the shithead isn’t omnibenevolent and the buybull God doesn’t exist. But I’ll go with doesn’t know, or can’t provide, which means the buybull God doesn’t exist.

          That was easy, wasn’t it?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dammit, there you go using reason and logic again!

          😉

        • Greg G.

          Do you mean the one that says that everyone is entitled to their opinion but most people should steal one from someone more intelligent than themselves?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The idiot is trying to not use “bad” language…but is too fucking stupid to realize that a thought crime is the same thing according to the the buybull.

          ETA parenthesis.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “That which is asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence” — Christopher Hitchens.

          Put up or shut up.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m buying popcorn futures…this is going to take a WHILE!

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          So, you’re saying that Jesus would be pleased with your behavior? Then your god is as much of an asshole as you are.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Again, I don’t know what behavior you’re referring to, Clint.Clarify, please…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re offensively pushing nonsense, trying to re-infect minds that have been successfully inoculated AGAINST your bullshit, and that still remember well the pain the disease called xtianity caused us.

          AND you refuse to simply go away and let us live our lives, intruding on us in your rude, pathetic, and ultimately impotent attempts. All you’re succeeding in doing is causing us mental anguish at realizing how much of our lives were wasted, and how much we suffered, before freeing ourselves.

          Any other stupid fucking questions about why your behavior, and your presence, is completely unwelcome?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m sittng here pishing myself laughing at the imbecilic inanity of the dopey fucking cunt. But then again, some people get frightened by clowns, I’m just not one of them.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “Knock the dust off your copy of the Book you don’t believe in and read how Jesus dealt with His enemies.”

          Except Jesus commanded you to love your enemies. Look it up. He also told them that if his followers went into a town and their message was rejected, they were to shake the dust off their sandals and walk away. Look it up.

          I seem to have missed the bit where Jesus commanded his followers to hang around those who had rejected his message and continuously spew disrespectful comments, and act like an asshole. I’m not sure which Bible you’re reading, but it’s certainly not the one I tried to follow for twenty years.

          By the way, you can read every smiley I post as “fuck you”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Except Jesus commanded you to love your enemies.

          Reminds me of a quote line in Michener’s The Drifters:

          “Love your enemies. It’ll make them crazy.”

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s a GREAT quote, HairyEyedWordBomb Thrower !! Thanks! (Or”emoji them to madness!!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I don’t recall stating at ANY time that I hated anyone who considered themselves my enemy or the enemy of my faith, so…Since the conversations being engaged in on this site isn’t seeking to propagate the tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in any sense of proselytizing said Gospel, any rejection of what is being said doesn’t apply. I have every right to defend my faith when it’s being mocked, ridiculed, and disparaged in a public forum such as this, Clint,so…And, as always, thanks for the gratuitous insults; i know I can ALWAYS count on them. Thanks!!!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Implication. Your obvious attempt at snooty superiority shows through your pale attempts at both humility and politeness.

          Also, you’re talking nonsense, and that is considered offensive in these parts. It reminds us of how we were abused by liars, however devout, who wielded power over us and forced us to behave, at least, as if we believed on penalty of punishment.

          You obviously also don’t give a rat’s ass how much you harm people who are just trying to GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM YOU and live our lives, discussing the idiocy of religion to denature the fear instilled in us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another knob-jockey that can’t read for comprehension. Is there a course you holy-rollers take at woo-woo school for that, or something?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Now THAT is funny, Clint, you an atheist, presuming to lecture me concerning my ultimate destination, an issue you literally know NOTHING about!!

          Uh, Clint W. was discussing what YOUR book says about YOUR probable fate in light of YOUR behavior and how the book discusses how to properly behave.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          If YOU think my replies are discourteous, perhaps you should knock the dust off you dictionary, JustAnotherAtheist2…I would be the first to admit that I can be sharp, cutting, and perhaps somewhat sarcastic, but discourteous? If you actually believe that, maybe you should grow some thicker skin. I’ve been cursed at, mocked, ridiculed, treated with the utmost contempt, my views are scorned, and I’M discourteous? Wow…

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yes, you’ve been discourteous. And you have a gigantic persecution complex. Sharp or cutting? All evidence suggests no.

          FWIW, people responding gruffly to you being a jackass doesn’t make you the victim. Once again, a long look in the mirror is warranted, even imperative.

          Edit: And don’t think it went unnoticed that you neglected to explain why my initial description was inapt.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          So,let me get this straight, JustAnotherAtheist2…You refer to the replies I receive as simply…”people responding gruffly to you being a (the insult you used) “…being courteous? Wow .2 things:(1)-I don’t consider myself anyone’s victim here, and (2), I don’t know what world you’re living in that would consider the vacuous, puerile , nihilistic worldviews of atheists “persecution “. Seriously? No one suffers genuine persecution in good ‘ole Freedom Of Religion America! Are you kidding me?? The feeble , ineffective, small-minded pushback from my atheist friends rises nowhere near anything resembling actual persecution!! (Sorry-Am I being discourteous? )—Do yourself a favor and get over yourself.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          the vacuous, puerile , nihilistic worldviews of atheists

          The feeble , ineffective, small-minded pushback from my atheist friends

          Mmmmm…. Feel that sweet courtesy.

          rises nowhere near anything resembling actual persecution

          I know. You’re the douchebag who’s been pretending that responses to your lack of civility are mistreatment of some kind.

          The way you phrased the statement makes me wonder, though… do you know what a “persecution complex” is? Or is English perhaps not your primary language?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “Mmmmm…. Feel that sweet courtesy.”

          And respectfulness!

        • Otto

          Actually you are a rather boring, you really don’t bring anything to the discussion. You don’t share your views other than proclaiming you are one of the most True Christians™ that ever was to ‘Jesus’ and no one has any idea what they are talking about besides you, even though you never really say anything thought provoking. If it sounds like I am describing a passive aggressive troll, it is because I am.

          HAIL SATAN!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You also get an A for creating diversions and distractions. You evade the substantive issues.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Listen to The Beatles a bit:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tvSvjpcBuo

          You’re not giving any love, so you’re not getting any.

          You’re treating us with contempt by refusing to leave when we don’t consent to your idiocy, and then wonder why you get contempt back.

          Truly I say unto you, your sanctimonious blindness will make you unwelcome ANYwhere.

        • I’m confused. What is the yellow face with the glasses supposed to be? From the context, I’m guessing it’s a Fuck You emoji.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well, you can certainly hold that opinion Bob; that’s your right. Obviously it’s too much to believe that I simply like emojis; I put no particular connotations on their use…Sigh…Is it just the default position for atheists to look for the worse possibe motives in Christian theists? I must say, I’m disappointed in you, Mr.Seidensticker; I thought that you were morally and ethically bigger than that. You’ve read enough of my posts to know that I deeply abhor profanity; why would your assume that my emojis are some back-handed attempts to curse at someone? Perhaps you should do some self-examination; that type of mindset says far more about you than it does about me, sir.PEACE.

        • you get an A in no profanity, but I have seen no thoughtful arguments from you, which is what actually counts.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          ALL of his emojis are “Fuck You” emojis.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Please explain and defend your claim that it is nonsensical.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you look at it using The Outsider’s Test for Faith, that’s what it looks like.

          It’s not our problem that, without your delusion, WE are able to see it as it is.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You are just saying that you disagree. You aren’t explaining or defending your own position. Step up and do your duty.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Typical…WHY oh why do you have to live down to our worst expectations?

        • Greg G.

          If a rational god exists, it would be less likely to prefer eternity with gullible souls who do not believe for rational reasons. Many believe because of a fear of hell, which is an irrational fear. A rational person believes things exist when there is sufficient evidence to support the belief and does not believe in things that cannot be distinguished from every other imaginary thing. If a rational god exists, it has taken great care to not give evidence that it does. So anybody who believes in such a thing is doomed for believing with insufficient evidence.

          On the other hand, if an irrational god exists, it doesn’t matter whether you believe or not. Sucking up to it might piss it off or not. Who would want to spend eternity with an irrational god? Who wants to spend an eternity with a god who prefers irrational believers?

          This is far more rational than a god that saves those who happen to choose the one religion it wants among thousands. It could be “Sorry, Catholics, only Presbyterians guessed right” or “you didn’t carve a single totem pole so off to hell you go.” You aren’t playing Pascal’s Wager, it is Pascal’s Roulette.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GW2: I mostly agree with what you said here, but I have couple disagreements.

          GG2: If a rational god exists, it has taken great care to not give evidence that it does. So anybody who believes in such a thing is doomed for believing with insufficient evidence.

          GW2: If a super rational god did exist, it would not do what you have described. Instead, it would take great care to reveal itself.

          GG2: … if an irrational god exists, it doesn’t matter whether you believe or not.

          GW2: It might matter. An irrational god might send you to hell for failing to believe in him, even when there is no good evidence for this. This god would be a Monster god.

          GW2: I like your final sentence: “You aren’t playing Pascal’s Wager, it is Pascal’s Roulette.” Rational and clever.

        • Greg G.

          GW2: If a super rational god did exist, it would not do what you have described. Instead, it would take great care to reveal itself.

          Without the knowledge that such a super rational god would have and what its reasons for having a universe are, I do not make the assumption. Would it provide evidence for ants and chimpanzees? Maybe our world was an unintended consequence of the universe and we are vermin.

          GW2: It might matter. An irrational god might send you to hell for failing to believe in him, even when there is no good evidence for this. This god would be a Monster god.

          An irrational god might praise you for praising perfectly for an eon, then damn you to hell for being monotonous the next eon. Its judgements might be arbitrary, where one person gets in for being Catholic and his or her twin gets damned for being Catholic.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GW2: If a super rational god did exist, it would not do what you have described. Instead, it would take great care to reveal itself.

          GG3: Without the knowledge that such a super rational god would have and what its reasons for having a universe are, I do not make the assumption.

          GW3: You are making a mistake. You don’t need to know those things to make the assumption. All you need to know is the nature of God, as he is defined. He is a hypothetical all-powerful, super rational, perfectly moral creator of the universe.

          GG3: Would it provide evidence for ants and chimpanzees?

          GW3: Maybe, maybe not. But it would provide evidence of itself. It would be immoral not to.

          GG3: Maybe our world was an unintended consequence of the universe and we are vermin.

          GW3: That cannot be the case, if God exists. If God exists, everything about our universe is intended, designed, planned, and created. I fear that you are doing what many religious people often do – moving the goal posts.

          GW2: It might matter. An irrational god might send you to hell for failing to believe in him, even when there is no good evidence for this. This god would be a Monster god.

          GG3: An irrational god might praise you for praising perfectly for an eon, then damn you to hell for being monotonous the next eon. Its judgements might be arbitrary, where one person gets in for being Catholic and his or her twin gets damned for being Catholic.

          GW3: I agree. But that is not the god which we are discussing and which is believed to exist by about half of the world’s population.

        • Greg G.

          GW3: I agree. But that is not the god which we are discussing and which is believed to exist by about half of the world’s population.

          How do we know? An irrational God could claim to be perfectly rational, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent when it is not. The rational version of that God cannot exist. Why not consider more interesting versions of god thingies?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          How do we know what? Your question is too general here.

          The term “irrational God” is not valid. By definition or logical derivation, God is rational. “God” (upper case “G”) refers to only one particular god (lower case “g”), and it is important to not confuse these two concepts.

          Why use the term “god thingies”? Isn’t the term “god” sufficient?

          I think God is the most interesting god of all.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Please do your best to tell us why you think it is nonsensical or incoherent. Your extraordinary claim here requires an extraordinary defense.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your problem is that the hypothesis fits the observed data better than your idiotic superstition.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GG1: I have used that argument before.

          GW1: That’s great! It’s like Newton and Leibnitz independently discovering calculus.

          GG1: If God exists but gives no evidence that he exists, maybe he is weeding out those who are gullible enough to believe anyway.

          GW1: I disagree a little with that. If God did exist, he would give evidence that he exists. It would be obvious.

        • Greg G.

          GW1: I disagree a little with that. If God did exist, he would give evidence that he exists. It would be obvious.

          I don’t make that assumption. A sufficiently powerful being could give evidence of its existence or hide that evidence, even from otherwise omniscient beings. It might have very good and legitimate reasons to do so.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          But here you aren’t talking about God. You are talking about some other two-bit god. By definition, God would be an all-powerful and perfectly moral creator of the universe. Hiding your existence is immoral. If you think not, then please present “legitimate reasons” for God to hide his existence.

          Keep this in mind: If God exists, he punishes people for not believing in him. How could it be moral for him to hide himself when he does this? I’m not buying it.

        • Greg G.

          Suffering exists. Suffering is either necessary or unnecessary. If it does nothing, it is unnecessary. If suffering does something, that something must be logically possible to achieve. If an omnipotent being exists, it has the power to do anything that is logically possible, so it could do whatever suffering can achieve, with or without the suffering, which means all suffering is unnecessary. If a god thingy cannot prevent unnecessary suffering, it is not omnipotent. If it can prevent unnecessary suffering but does not, then it is not omnibenevolent. Suffering exists, therefore there is no being that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. The argument also works with sufficiently powerful and sufficiently benevolent.

          That definition of God is obviously incorrect but the argument does not rule out other types of gods.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GG3: Suffering exists. Suffering is either necessary or unnecessary. If it does nothing, it is unnecessary. If suffering does something, that something must be logically possible to achieve.

          GW3: I don’t know what you mean by that last sentence. Doesn’t suffering always do something? It makes us wish for it to stop or decline and motivates us to search for ways to do so, at the very least.

          GG3: If an omnipotent being exists, it has the power to do anything that is logically possible, so it could do whatever suffering can achieve, with or without the suffering, which means all suffering is unnecessary. If a god thingy cannot prevent unnecessary suffering, it is not omnipotent. If it can prevent unnecessary suffering but does not, then it is not omnibenevolent. Suffering exists, therefore there is no being that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. The argument also works with sufficiently powerful and sufficiently benevolent.

          GW3: Ok, that’s better. I understand that, agree with it, and have been talking along the same lines for years.

          GG3: That definition of God is obviously incorrect but the argument does not rule out other types of gods.

          GW3: The definition is “obviously incorrect”? No, I think the definition is obviously correct. By definition, God is an omnipotent and omnibenevolent creator. I think you mean that this particular god, as defined correctly, obviously does not exist.

        • Greg G.

          GG3: Suffering exists. Suffering is either necessary or unnecessary. If it does nothing, it is unnecessary. If suffering does something, that something must be logically possible to achieve.

          GW3: I don’t know what you mean by that last sentence. Doesn’t suffering always do something? It makes us wish for it to stop or decline and motivates us to search for ways to do so, at the very least.

          Yes, but the unnecessary things that suffering does cannot make suffering necessary. If suffering does something that is necessary and there is no other way to achieve those things. The weakest definition is the ability to do anything that is logically possible. If suffering can do something, then it is logically possible to do that thing. Since an omnipotence can do the thing, it is not necessary for suffering to do it.

          GW3: The definition is “obviously incorrect”? No, I think the definition is obviously correct. By definition, God is an omnipotent and omnibenevolent creator. I think you mean that this particular god, as defined correctly, obviously does not exist.

          If the God defined by the parameters of the definition doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t prove that a god with other parameters doesn’t exist. If another type of god exists, then the impossible definitions are incorrect in describing such a god. Some Christians define God as the “ground of all being”. It is defined are so vaguely, it is difficult say whether they are correct or plausible.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…No doubt that sounds somewhat clever, Gary, but from a Scriptural standpoint that’s not how it works…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hmm…No doubt that sounds somewhat clever, Gary, but from a Scriptural standpoint that’s not how it works…

          Who told YOU, that you consider yourself such an authority?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Almost everything I post has Scriptural backing, HairyEyedWordBombThrower…SCRIPTURE is the authority, not me…

        • Think about it, just for a little. You pick the verses to quote. That makes you the authority. The Bible can be made to say just about whatever you want–love or hate. you pat yourself on the back when you make the Bible into a sock puppet?

          Think.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Then quote it, book/chapter/verse.

          SHOW why Gary’s point is ‘scripturally’ wrong.

          I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.

        • Phil

          “Almost everything I post has Scriptural backing” There is your problem in a nutshell.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          It’s not a problem, Phil…

        • epeeist

          SCRIPTURE is the authority

          And you know this how precisely?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Seriously, epeeist? Firstly, I’m not surprised that you asked that question, because Scripture is not understood by unbelievers, because Scripture must be revealed by the Holy Spirit, and what Almighty God reveals to His children, and those willing to hear and believe Him, THOSE are the ones to whom He reveals Himself, and gives understanding of His Word. Once you are born of Him, then Scripture becomes authoritative in a believer’s life .Simple, no? PEACE.

        • Otto

          If you can’t answer such a basic question why do you even waste your time and ours here?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          There may be a breakthrough here, Otto….What part of my answer to epeeist’s question is unclear to you? I await your reply.

        • Otto

          There will be no breakthrough here with inane answers like that one. Maybe if you go to the airport and sell your wares there you might get a few bites.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well, there it is…Thanks for proving my point, Otto!!! Wow! Who knew an atheist who confirm the truth of Scripture so convincingly! Thanks!–

        • Otto

          Wow…you are quite the poster child for Mental Health Awareness Month.

          I apologize for trying to get a straight answer from you. I should know better.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

          There is wiser locked up in mental institutions,

        • Ignorant Amos

          But that pile of crude is just you making excuses as to why you think your scripture is authoritative to you and your fellow delusional nutters.

          That’s how cults work.

          Your scripture is not authoritative to the rest of us, so pah!

          All other religious cults claim their scriptures are authoritative, they’re not to anyone not in the cult. That is unless they are made the laws of the land and you happen to be there in that land. Like Sharia. If you were in Saudi Arabia, Islamic scriptures would really be authoritative…Christian scriptures are as authoritative as toilet paper in such places. What were you saying about the US and keeping it not a theocracy? Coming from a prick that believes his scripture is the authority. Yeah, right, dead on.

        • Greg G.

          I wish I had a nickel for every True Believer™ who made that claim without ever reading the whole Bible. They proclaim that the Bible is the Word of God™ but they don’t seem to give a damn what the old guy has to say.

        • epeeist

          You will note that I asked you how you know, a term you obviously don’t understand.

          Now a classical definition of knowledge (which is sufficient for our purposes) is justified true belief, thus to know that “snow is white” the proposition “snow is white” must be true, I must believe it to be true and I must have justification for that belief.

          So let’s ask again, how do you know that scripture is the authority?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          From my perspective, epeeist , since this particular form of knowledge is common among Christians, it more than adequately meets the criteria you outlined as knowledge.I told you how in Christian theology Biblical authority is ascertained; again, from a Biblical perspective it is,to quote your definition ,..,,”justified true belief”…So, I don’t what else to tell you at this point. As I said , it transcend mere intellectual acumen; it’s simply a form of spiritual knowledge not privy to unbelievers,that’s all.So….That’s how I know. PEACE !

        • epeeist

          I told you how in Christian theology Biblical authority is ascertained;

          So effectively it is your god that reveals that scripture is authoritative, and where does your god reveal this?

          As I said , it transcend mere intellectual acumen; it’s simply a form of spiritual knowledge not privy to unbelievers

          So you know it is true though you cannot show the justification to me. What a wonderful get-out-of-jail-free card that is.

          You do of course realise that this means that Muslims, Hindus and members of any other religion can claim their “spiritual knowledge” means that your religion is false but that the reason they know this is “not privy to unbelievers” (in their religion).

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I REALLY don’t know what you’re trying to get at, epeeist. Almighty God shows that Scripture is authoritative iby the use of(Wait for it…)—SCRIPTURE!! You do know that Jesus Himself considered Scripture authoritative, right? So,it goes without saying that for Christians, if it’s good enough for Him,well… And I’m not going down the rabbit hole of other nations’ traditions; I’m a Christian theist of almost 42 years standing, and that’s what I know the most about, so…There it is.Have YOU read the Bible, epeeist? It may be hard going for an atheist, but-‘-‘Give it tty!!

        • epeeist

          Sigh…I REALLY don’t know what you’re trying to get at, epeeist. Almighty God shows that Scripture is authoritative iby the use of(Wait for it…)—SCRIPTURE!!

          You really are the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is this a circular argument but viciously so. This being so we can therefore dismiss your claim, unless of course you can produce a better argument.

          And I’m not going down the rabbit hole of other nations’ traditions

          Of course you aren’t, not because you don’t know anything about them but because you have no argument against their claims to truth. Or at least no better arguments than the ones you are making for Christianity.

          Have YOU read the Bible, epeeist?

          As I said I was brought up Catholic. I do not have the detailed knowledge of it that someone like Greg G. has but I was exposed to large amounts of it. There again I have also read a number of translations of the Greek, Norse and Irish and Welsh myths, some of the Vedas, the Epic of Gilgamesh and summaries of various other creation myths. I see no reason to privilege the bible mythos above any of these.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Disqus can be a right feckin’ pain in the arse and time-waster.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Almighty God shows that Scripture is authoritative iby the use of(Wait for it…)—SCRIPTURE!!

          The fallacy of circulus in probando.

          http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/sites/541/2018/04/circular-reasoning-e1523598111475.jpg

          You do know that Jesus Himself considered Scripture authoritative, right?

          Whaaa? Wasn’t Jesus supposed to be God?

          Except in the parts of the yarn when he ignored it’s authority.

          Jesus touched a leper and he repeatedly touched dead people. Both of these were declared unclean in scripture. Not only would this make Jesus unclean, it also would make him guilty before God. Jesus violated these scriptural rules personally. He also challenged the religious leaders on how they saw and enforced these rules.

          Another example. The Mosaic law gave quite a list of foods that were unclean. Eating them would defile a person, but Jesus said something different. It’s not what we eat that defiles us, he said. It’s the intentions of our hearts and the actions that emerge from them. He didn’t just clarify these rules about food. He directly contradicted them!

          Jesus’ clarification and re-interpretation of well-known Old Testament laws didn’t end with matters of ritual cleanliness and food. He also radically challenged the rules about the Sabbath. This was controversial territory.

          Sabbath-keeping was one of the most important markers of God’s people. Every Jewish child learned how to keep the Sabbath. The practice traced its origin back to creation. The Old Testament forbid work on the Sabbath. This wasn’t a minor rule2 It was embedded right in the Ten Commandments.

          Yet, Jesus supported the breaking of this law on several occasions. Two examples: His disciples were accused of breaking the Sabbath by picking grain to feed themselves. Jesus defended them. In another case, Jesus told a man he had healed on the Sabbath to pick up his bedroll and head home, even though this was a direct violation of God’s decreed will.

          And Christian’s don’t take whole swathes of scripture as authoritative, so more of your nonsense and lies.

          So,it goes without saying that for Christians, if it’s good enough for Him,well…

          Indeed.

          And I’m not going down the rabbit hole of other nations’ traditions; I’m a Christian theist of almost 42 years standing, and that’s what I know the most about, so…There it is.

          Wallowing for 42 years in ignorance and stupidity is nothing to be boasting about, or proud of Laurie.

          Have YOU read the Bible, epeeist? It may be hard going for an atheist, but-‘-‘Give it tty!!

          I think you’ll find that the majority of us regulars here have read it at least once. For some, that first time was the nail in the coffin of our theism. Folk on here such as epeeist who were RC, read it as part of their catechism I believe…lazy bastards like us ex-Protestant’s couldn’t be bothered and relied on being fed lies and cheery-pickings, until finding the will power to read the dross ourselves.

          I carry two versions of the buybull on my person at all time. Mostly to demonstrate to Christian’s that when I cite an unpalatable portion of their not-so-holy-book that I’m not spoofing. Very few Christian’s I know have read the bloody thing…in fact, at last count it was the sum total of one, and that was as part of a university course. The rest at least admit they’ve not read it, but that’s because I can easily catch them out and most know it. Just about everyone in my social circle are Christian’s btw.

        • Greg G.

          The Scriptural God doesn’t want you to think rationally. Scripture wants you to think irrationally. The word it uses is “faith”.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          How do you think it works from a scriptural standpoint? And why should anyone believe the scriptural standpoint?

          I doubt that you will even try to answer those questions. You are enamored of diversion.

        • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

          Assuming God is immortal and omnipresent, the Bible’s existence makes 0 sense… but our primary source for the Jesus God belief is the Bible, so…

          Gods having religious texts is a trope that makes no sense with omni-Gods, but how else would religious leaders push the idea since there isn’t any omni-God to speak for itself?

        • Phil

          From a scriptural standpoint nobody knows how it works. Sheesh, you have had 2,000 years to get it right.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s NOT what I said , Phil…

        • Phil

          Maybe not but it is still true.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sorry, Gary,that was meant for you…

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Hmm…That’s a mighty lot of activity on the part of that which has no existence, David. How does that work, exactly?

      • David Peebles

        The only “activity” I attributed to “god” was that he “shits on their wants and needs,” but your point is well taken. His being a murderous tyrant and megalomaniac I cited as a biblical portrayal (examples of this abound). I would add, that if “he” exists, “he” has a lot to answer for (I’m not convinced that gender is a significant attribute of the deity, but maybe somebody can illuminate this for me. Or is it just a reflection of our patriarchal mindset?).

  • EllyR

    Off topic but as a response to ” Cross Examined Comment Policy “… Lucky that I am an atheist… otherwise as I was born Jewish, I would not be welcome! OOOPS, that was off topic but very frank!

    • Otto

      But at least you are not Frank…he was a huge jackhole.

      • DoorknobHead

        Was Frank full of beans?

        • Otto

          He was literally the worst. He would just repeat “Atheists have no morality…atheists are stupid” over and over. Not one original thought came out of his head.

        • DoorknobHead

          I probably watched as he a wore everyone’s patients to a nub (to that end, there is more than one Frank I’ve probably observed come through here) … as you probably guessed, I just wanted to make a comment about Frank and Beans. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          You are pulling our legumes.

    • Fixed.

  • Jim Jones

    > Religion consumes 115 billion dollars every year in the U.S.

    And St Jude’s budget is under $1 billion.

    If half that money went to St Jude’s, you could have a hospital in every state. If ‘god’ is not malicious, which would She/He/It prefer?

  • John Do’h

    Religion is about pretending that you are important, that are special, and that you will get rewards for kissing the god’s arse. Subjective reality is preferred over objective reality, i must be special because I want to be.

  • Jim X

    Can we bet on Pascal’s wager in Vegas?

    • Susan

      Can we bet on Pascal’s wager in Vegas?

      I don’t like your odds.

  • DoorknobHead

    “Participating in a religion that is nonsense means spending time, money,
    and energy on that religion instead of focusing on what’s real.”
    This immediately reminded me of the people who spend the majority of their time in front of immersive video games, or maybe those walking around looking down at their phones while life whizzes past.