The Futility of Appeasement

Quick! Somebody call the accommodationists!

Several men who went to a suburban mosque to perform morning prayers Wednesday were shocked to discover two bloodied wild boar heads wrapped in plastic bags in the mosque compound, said Zulkifli Mohamad, the top official at the Sri Sentosa Mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city.

This unpleasant stunt is just the latest symptom of a smoldering religious war that recently erupted in Malaysia, a multiethnic and multireligious country with a Muslim majority and significant Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities. The catalyst was a decision last year in which Malaysia’s highest court ruled that the Herald, a Roman Catholic newspaper, had the right to use the word “Allah” in its Malay-language edition as a term for God. This overruled a “years-old government ban on the use of the word in non-Muslim publications”, and this was the result:

Among the attacks in various Malaysian states, eight churches and two small Islamic prayer halls were firebombed, two churches were splashed with paint, one had a window broken, a rum bottle was thrown at a mosque and a Sikh temple was pelted with stones, apparently because Sikhs use “Allah” in their scriptures.

The New York Times gives further details of the ensuing violence and protests, including this bit:

“Allah is only for us,” said Faedzah Fuad, 28, who participated in the rally. “The Christians can use any word, we don’t care, but please don’t use the word Allah.”

…Hand-lettered signs reading “Please respect the name of Allah” remained in a stack on the ground where Ms. Faedzah had prepared them.

Another article notes that Malay Muslims “paraded a severed cow’s head in the streets” in November to protest the building of a new Hindu temple – one wonders if they inadvertently inspired the latest act of vandalism.

So far, prominent accommodationists like Chris Mooney and Karen Armstrong have yet to blame the Malaysian violence on Richard Dawkins, though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they come up with some connection.

But I’d really like to know how people who hold such views would respond to this. Should the Christians have sought permission to use the word “Allah” in their own publications? Why or why not? And how would they respond to protestors like Faedzah Fuad? Since Mooney and his allies hold that religious beliefs must be respected, does being respectful require that the rest of us be forbidden to even use a word if a particular religious group claims ownership of it?

It’s also worth noting, contrary to the worldview of the accommodationists, that the peace which formerly prevailed wasn’t a cheerful democratic diplomacy that was disrupted by a few reckless agitators. On the contrary, it was enforced by coercion: it was illegal for non-Muslim publications to use the word “Allah”, even if said publication was printed by people for whom that word was a part of their native language. Writing for Slate, Christopher Hitchens describes just how narrow the Malaysian court’s ruling was:

The high court finding was very narrowly drawn; it said that the Catholic Herald could say Allah in its Malay-language edition, provided that the paper was sold “only on church grounds and bearing the label FOR NON-MUSLIMS ONLY.”

But as Hitchens notes, even this incredibly circumscribed exemption was too much for the Islamists, and the court decision has now joined

the long list of actual and potential confrontations [between religions], derived from the infinitely elastic list of matters about which Muslims award themselves the right to be aggrieved… Who could have guessed that they wouldn’t notice until last year that there were non-Muslims speaking the same language as them? Who could have foreseen that within weeks of this startling discovery we would witness the usual dreary display of yelling crowds, snarling preachers, and smoldering buildings?

Events like this show the futility of trying to keep the peace by tiptoeing around religious believers’ sensibilities. Contrary to the accommodationists who believe all would be well if only we New Atheists would stop stirring up trouble, the truth of the matter is that there are millions of fundamentalists, of many different religions, who cannot be appeased, who will not accept anything less than total submission, and who need only the barest sliver of an excuse to resort to violence. Trying to keep these people happy is pointless: if we bow to one of their demands, that will just encourage them to demand more, until the whole world is shackled by their peculiar and archaic set of laws.

Violence like this is a reason why we need more atheist speech, not less. If religious believers expect that they can have any demand met by claiming offense, that only gives them an incentive to become more unreasonable and more prone to violence. We need to make it clear to everyone that no one’s beliefs are above criticism, and no one can expect to escape skeptical inquiry. That attitude, and not hypersensitive demands for self-censorship, is the only thing that will lead to an end of religious warfare and violence in the long run.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://www.undergroundgames.dk Slater

    Did it ever occur to these muslims, that maybe they should find another word for their god, than the word used to describe ANY god?

    Nah. That would give them one less excuse for violence.

  • Kevin Morgan

    Did it ever occur to these muslims, that maybe they should find another word for their god, than the word used to describe ANY god?

    It seems to me that the word “Allah” with it’s Arabic derivation and pronunciation has become synonymous with Islam and its followers. Much like the word “Band-Aid” is really a trademarked brand name that has come to represent all adhesive bandages. So even though ‘technically’ the word means “God”, I think it’s taken on a more culturally referenced meaning and makes one think “Muslim” or Islam, when one hears it.

    Why didn’t the xtians choose to use Yahweh? Is it just a language thing or is it to make Christianity more attractive to converted Muslims?

  • http://www.superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    Here’s a wild idea: How about Muslims can make up whatever rules they want but only Muslims need to follow them, while Christians follow their own dogma, and anyone else enjoys fair, logical laws under a secular government!

  • penn

    Kevin, why should the Christians have to pick another name? It appears that Allah is just the Malaysian word for god that they feel most comfortable using. Even if it wasn’t this whole debate is ridiculous. No religion should have legal protection of the use of certain words or names.

  • Rick M

    @ Kevin Morgan

    According to the Online Etomology Dictionary:

    Allah
    1702, Arabic name for the Supreme Being, from Arabic Allahu, contr. of al-Ilahu, from al “the” + Ilah “God,” rel. to Heb. Elohim

    The word allah pre-dates Islam as a word denoting a deity. Arab Christians use the terms allah al-ʼab (God the Father) and allah al-ibn (God the Son). Allah is the common term for what Germanic speakers call god in any culture that was influenced by a Semitic culture.

  • Herb

    I don’t entirely get this hostility toward Mooney. I know he prefers to avoid confrontation on religious questions when it comes to science education, e.g. persuading someone to accept the facts of evolution. But in the context of atheist activism, 1st amendment rights, etc. when has he suggested that atheists should roll over and play by the rules of the religious?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    But Jen, that’d make too much sense. We can’t have that.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Thanks for the clarification, Rick M. To my understanding, this would be like Pat Robertson demanding that the only people allowed to use the word “God” in America be Christians of some sort or another, right? I think it’s only ‘cuz we’re from here, as opposed to there, that we associate the word Allah with Islam in particular.

    Perverse curiosity makes me want to see how far this would go. Like, would you only be able to talk about religion at all if you already have one? Then maybe you could only talk about kids if you had some of your own? And then maybe only cancer patients could talk about cancer? Which means that only cancer patients could teach other people about cancer, and probably pretty soon only cancer patients could learn about cancer…

    (Also, I totally read the opening line as, “Quick! Somebody call the Ghostbusters!” at first.)

  • Kevin Morgan

    @ penn

    Kevin, why should the Christians have to pick another name? It appears that Allah is just the Malaysian word for god that they feel most comfortable using. Even if it wasn’t this whole debate is ridiculous. No religion should have legal protection of the use of certain words or names.

    I’m not saying they have to pick another name. I was just wondering if they had any other motives for picking that one. How about using Jesus? I think I recall hearing that one bandied about here and there. :-)

  • Nurse Ingrid

    Not to mention the fact that, even if we did want to abide by their silly rules, how on earth could we be expected to keep up with them all? Especially since they can change them whenever they want?

  • http://www.amanitobafreethinker.blogspot.com Mark

    Wow, Faedzah Fuad sounds a lot like a christian. Just change the word allah to marriage. How incredibly stupid.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    The word allah pre-dates Islam as a word denoting a deity. Arab Christians use the terms allah al-’ab (God the Father) and allah al-ibn (God the Son).

    There’s an interesting point about this in Christopher Hitchens’ column, which I linked to above. Apparently Hitchens was born in Malta, and learned to speak Maltese as a child. Although Malta is heavily Catholic, its language has affinities with North African and Arabic tongues – and in Maltese, the word for God is Alla.

    I don’t entirely get this hostility toward Mooney. I know he prefers to avoid confrontation on religious questions when it comes to science education, e.g. persuading someone to accept the facts of evolution. But in the context of atheist activism, 1st amendment rights, etc. when has he suggested that atheists should roll over and play by the rules of the religious?

    Herb, if Mooney was only saying that it’s not necessary to be an atheist to accept evolution, I’d have no problem with him. But he’s gone far beyond that. On multiple occasions over the past few years, he’s made arguments that can only reasonably be interpreted as a call for atheists to be quiet and to stop advocating for atheism altogether.

    For example, from 2004 in the Washington Post:

    And the Dawkins-inspired “science vs. religion” way of viewing things alienates those with strong religious convictions. Do scientists really have to portray their knowledge as a threat to the public’s beliefs? Can’t science and religion just get along?

    …There will always be a small audience of science enthusiasts who have a deep interest in the “mechanisms and evidence” of evolution, just as there will always be an audience for criticism of religion. But these messages are unlikely to reach a wider public, and even if they do they will probably be ignored or, in the case of atheistic attacks on religion, backfire.

    From Newsweek, in 2009 (see also this response from Sandwalk):

    The public’s willingness to reject science for religious reasons is certainly lamentable. But by arguing that science contradicts religion and makes it untenable, many atheists reinforce the very concerns that are keeping people from accepting science to begin with….

    Americans have serious problems with science, and religion is definitely part of the reason. But that doesn’t mean fighting religion, indiscriminately, is the answer.

    From Mooney’s book, Unscientific America:

    The American scientific community gains nothing from the condescending rhetoric of the New Atheists — and neither does the stature of science in our culture. We should instead adopt a stance of respect towards those who would hold their faith dear…

    And even from his own blog (see also response from Jerry Coyne):

    Religion is a very private matter, and given that liberal religionists support church-state separation, we really have no business questioning their personal way of making meaning of the world.

    Mooney’s message is consistent and unmistakable: show “respect” towards the faithful, don’t question them, don’t attack their beliefs, and don’t argue that science contradicts religion. He wants the New Atheists to be quiet. He’s not going to get what he wants.

  • lpetrich

    Even worse, it’s without demanding some quid pro quo, like showing respect for atheists, agnostics, and the nonreligious in general, instead of defaming them. Or publicly challenging the Religious Right and creationists and the like.

  • Herb

    Hey Ebon,

    I think these quotations reinforce my point — Mooney is typically arguing for atheists to shut up in the context of science education. He thinks that the social/political ramifications of science education are the most important thing, and if people think they have to choose between their religion and scientific facts, they will typically choose their religion (he’s right). If I were talking to a politician who believed that God would not allow climate change to happen, I would try to get him to accept the facts of climate change in the context of his religious beliefs, silly as they may be, because mitigating climate change is more important than atheist activism (in the short term, IMHO). Pointing out his absurdity will not make him abandon his religion (we know that people don’t deconvert because of great arguments), and will only harden him against the scientific argument I’m making.

    PZ and Dawkins are important atheist activists but they are also science educators, and it’s hard to tell when they’re wearing their science hat or their atheist hat or both. I think that Mooney only wants them to stay quiet for the sake of science because it’s very important that people believe the right things about medicine, climate change, etc. However, this gets tricky because many New Atheists believe that religion is itself a barrier to good science education (I agree), and so the most effective way to teach science is to remove that barrier (up for debate). At the same time, I’ve seen no evidence that Mooney thinks that refusing to confront the religious will be good for atheists in the long run. I think he would be sympathetic to this blog entry because it has nothing to do with science.

    What’s best for science may not be what’s best for atheists — there may be a real hard choice to make here, or a balance to strike, at least in the short term. Mooney has put science before atheism, and I think that some atheists are pissed because we don’t think there should be a choice. This might be naive.

  • prase

    Here’s a wild idea: How about Muslims can make up whatever rules they want but only Muslims need to follow them, while Christians follow their own dogma, and anyone else enjoys fair, logical laws under a secular government!

    But Jen, that’d make too much sense. We can’t have that.

    It seems that it actually sort of works (of course, imperfectly) in some countries. Wikipedia says about Malaysia:

    Muslims are obliged to follow the decisions of Syariah courts when it comes to matters concerning their religion. The Islamic judges are expected to follow the Shafi`i legal school of Islam, which is the main madh’hab of Malaysia.[74] The jurisdiction of Shariah court is limited only to Muslims over matters such as marriage, inheritance, apostasy, religious conversion, and custody among others.

    I remember it is somehow similar in Egypt, non-Muslims are extempted from some religious duties which Muslims have to obey. The problem is, of course, that once you are a Muslim, it is practically impossible to legally deconvert.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    If I were talking to a politician who believed that God would not allow climate change to happen, I would try to get him to accept the facts of climate change in the context of his religious beliefs, silly as they may be, because mitigating climate change is more important than atheist activism (in the short term, IMHO).
    – Herb, #14

    And then he would attack you anyway for trying to undermine his religious beliefs, and Mooney would say you need to show him more respect. While you’re being perfectly reasonable here, they’re not. I don’t think you appreciate just how bad some of these people think it is to even think about the opposition – remember that doubt is sin, to a lot of their minds, and that faith needs the protection of social proof. The faith of these people runs on the agreement of those around them, and voicing any dissent threatens their worldview (there are exceptions, of course, but this is how it works for a lot of believers and a lot of issues).

    You also said, “We know that people don’t deconvert because of great arguments.” Well, I’m living proof that that’s false. Sure, not everyone will deconvert because of good argumentation, but some will simply keep the faith no matter what, so it really doesn’t matter that we can’t get “all of ‘em” with this or that method. We need all approaches here.

    At the end of the day, the only way people can accept any scientific facts and still hold any religious beliefs is to compartmentalize the two, to say that these ideas are for thinking about and those ideas are not. That’s stupid, and the only way a person can deconvert is to admit, at some level, “I have been stupid for a very long time.” This is tough, no joke, but it is at the same time why we need to both A) be good people and set good examples, and also B) never let up on the message. It takes a whole lot of words to work through all that cognitive dissonance, and they’ll need a safe place to land once they’re through it.

  • nfpendleton

    Herb,

    You’re obviously an accomodationist of the Mooney camp. Good luck getting converts here…

  • Herb

    Hey D,

    I don’t think you appreciate just how bad some of these people think it is to even think about the opposition

    Sure, some people are beyond reach. Meanwhile there are Protestants who are becoming more interested in the threat of climate change. And the Catholic Church is not entirely opposed to evolution. These groups can be reached on certain science issues if you agree to disagree about religious issues. But people will balk at the science if they think that accepting science means they have to abandon their religion, or if they think that scientists generally think religious people are dumb. So the question scientists have to ask is, do we want to improve public understanding of science or promote atheism? PZ would say that you can do both – the best way to do the former is to do the latter. I think that this is a very long and difficult strategy… meanwhile the Earth isn’t getting any colder.

    Once again, I say that accommodationism is not the way to go on issues like the one Ebon originally raised in his post — we need more cartoons of Mohamed! With regards to science education I think Mooney has a point about short-term and long-term priorities.

  • Herb

    I was just reading back over this post and the corresponding WaPo article

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2007/04/et-tu-chris-mooney.html

    If OMGF is still around, I suspect s/he’ll back me up. :-) Mooney/Nisbet don’t criticize atheists for being outspoken – they criticize science communication by scientists. I think they have an important point that is being distorted.

  • Paul
    Religion is a very private matter, and given that liberal religionists support church-state separation, we really have no business questioning their personal way of making meaning of the world.

    Mooney’s message is consistent and unmistakable: show “respect” towards the faithful, don’t question them, don’t attack their beliefs, and don’t argue that science contradicts religion. He wants the New Atheists to be quiet. He’s not going to get what he wants.

    It’s relevant that the quote is in response to a book review Coyne made. Coyne wrote a fair and even-handed review of a book about religion, and Chris’s response is “religion is private, we shouldn’t question it”. Honest review of published works is off limits? Insanity.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Mooney/Nisbet don’t criticize atheists for being outspoken – they criticize science communication by scientists.

    Here’s Mooney again from 2004:

    Leave aside for a moment the validity of Dawkins’s arguments against religion. The fact remains: The public cannot be expected to differentiate between his advocacy of evolution and his atheism.

    If the public “cannot be expected” to differentiate between a defense of evolution and an argument for atheism, and Mooney argues that we should stop fueling rejection of evolution by attacking religion, there’s only one conclusion to draw: Atheists need to stop defending atheism. How else could you possibly interpret his words? And that’s not even to mention the unambiguous “We should instead adopt a stance of respect towards those who would hold their faith dear“.

    What’s also notable is that Mooney has been asked this very question many times: Do you think that atheists should stop speaking out in defense of atheism? If this was not his intent, it would be very easy for him to say so. To my knowledge, he never has. Instead, he’s ducked the question every time it’s come up.

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    there are millions of fundamentalists, of many different religions, who cannot be appeased

    This is the naked truth of the matter. Fundamentalists, people who believe that all those who disagree with the creeds of their religious sect are doomed to eternal torturous punishment and, even more disgusting, are deserving of such a fate, cannot compromise their beliefs and practices. Doing so would condemn them to share the same horrific eternal fate as the infidels they loath. Moreover, there is no distinction between sacred and secular for such people. For them, everything is connected in some way with religion – all is either profane or sacred; a religiously or morally neutral position or practice is inconceivable to such people. Appeasement, negotiation and compromise will not work with them. All concessions will be in their favor and, piece by piece, erode the rights of those who are not fundamentalists.

    We cannot, in a morally defensible manner, forcibly compel fundamentalists to turn away from their religions. But, we must not allow them to compel us to surrender our freedoms of conscience, thought and speech. It’s a messy business, and it would be nice if we could all “just get along,” but that only works if all parties are equally committed to getting along on the basis of the same ground rules. Thus far, hard-core fundamentalists have not shown an ability to do so.

  • hereigns15

    Violence like this is a reason why we need more atheist speech, not less. If religious believers expect that they can have any demand met by claiming offense, that only gives them an incentive to become more unreasonable and more prone to violence. We need to make it clear to everyone that no one’s beliefs are above criticism, and no one can expect to escape skeptical inquiry. That attitude, and not hypersensitive demands for self-censorship, is the only thing that will lead to an end of religious warfare and violence in the long run.

    People, ALL people, both the religious and atheists can do some crazy stuff to each other and maybe the most cruel of all are the words that we use to describe one another. I agree that everyone, no matter what particular beliefs the person holds should ALWAYS be held accountable for their actions. It is haughty to make a comment like, “…this is a reason we need more atheist speech, not less.” The comment assumes that the atheist does not commit heinous crimes or at the very least is “not as bad”, which is absurd. Jesus said, “offenses must come but woe to the man/woman through whom they come”, here’s a straight forward answer to this problem. If the Catholic Herald read and followed the teaching of Christ they would not feel the need to offend the Muslims with their use of the word “Allah”.

  • hereigns15

    Question, if one believes in God or a Supreme Being, what does the atheist call that person? Second question, are ALL people who believe in God stupid, ignorant, mis-informed, dumb, blind, in bondage, _______ you fill in the name of your favorite adjective to describe such a person? So some/all religious people simply need to be “educated” in order be “free” and its the goal of some atheists to make “converts” of those needing to be rescued?

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    @ Herb (#18): Well, now I think we agree – you just say it wrong! ;) But seriously, if you haven’t read some of Mooney’s stuff (Paul’s point in #20 is a good one – I wonder what Mooney would think of this Bible review!), then I can see how the quotes on this page might appear rather more innocuous on a first reading. I agree with your statements that believers are a diverse lot (though some sects tend to be more diverse than others…) and deserve to have the best approaches taken with them, when such may be identified. This includes simply leaving religion out of it when we can get them to do consequentially good things no matter what they believe (sometimes). However, Mooney doesn’t agree with you. He’s pretty much the “leave Britney alone” kid, saying we should treat religion as an inexorable force of nature…

    …which still doesn’t make sense to me, because we even struggle against inexorable forces of nature. We simply have no trouble pointing out their almost unilaterally bad outcomes in public discourse.

  • Archimedez

    Herb,

    “Mooney has put science before atheism,”

    My concern is that Mooney is putting religious sensitivities ahead of both science and atheism. In addition, Mooney is grossly underestimating the tendency of the religious to be offended. There is no way to criticize religion without upsetting religious people who hold more than a merely nominal belief or affiliation. Indeed, many religious people are deeply offended and hurt by the mere presence of non-believers. And when non-believers begin to express their views on religion at all, or dare to ask sincere questions that are incidentally embarrassing, this enrages believers even more. The mere mention of the word “atheist” itself evokes a hostile response and is considered an insult per se among much of the population of the United States, and in much of the Islamic world.

    Moreover, Mooney is overestimating the extent to which a reasonable person should regard the rhetoric of Dawkins et al. as offensive, and the weight we ought to give to the response of being offended. For example, some take Dawkins’ characterization of the Old Testament Yahweh as offensive. However, those who say that they are offended often fail to address the reasons why Dawkins would characterize the Yahweh character as he did. Thus, Dawkins’ criticisms are not out of proportion, given what the Old Testament tells us about Yahweh.

    Mooney also fails to apply his recommendations with sufficient vigor to religious believers. Should Mooney ask religious believers to stop advocating, or stop endorsing books that advocate, that disbelievers should be burned and tortured in hell-fire? One can list any number of beliefs and policies of the religious that harm non-religious people. Why is Mooney’s call for accommodation and “respect” so one-sided in favor of religious believers?

  • Alex Weaver

    Mooney also fails to apply his recommendations with sufficient vigor to religious believers.

    Fixed it for you.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Shouldn’t feed the troll, but I can’t resist such epic fail

    If the Catholic Herald read and followed the teaching of Christ they would not feel the need to offend the Muslims with their use of the word “Allah”.

    As has been pointed out, they aren’t trying to offend Muslims, they’re using the word “God” in their native tongue.

    Question, if one believes in God or a Supreme Being, what does the atheist call that person? Second question, are ALL people who believe in God stupid, ignorant, mis-informed, dumb, blind, in bondage, _______ you fill in the name of your favorite adjective to describe such a person? So some/all religious people simply need to be “educated” in order be “free” and its the goal of some atheists to make “converts” of those needing to be rescued?

    What do we call religious people? Usually “wrong” or “mistaken”. The stupid ones we call “stupid”, etc. Speaking only for myself, I’d like to convince believers that the preponderance of the evidence is in favor of the atheist position, but I don’t actively seek out such conversations; I do it mostly on public forums like this one.

    So you can take your passive-aggressive martyr complex and shove it.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    themann1086 “As has been pointed out, they aren’t trying to offend Muslims, they’re using the word “God” in their native tongue.”
    “Their native tongue”. Pah! God wrote the KJV in english, American english, for a reason.

  • Herb

    If the public “cannot be expected” to differentiate between a defense of evolution and an argument for atheism, and Mooney argues that we should stop fueling rejection of evolution by attacking religion, there’s only one conclusion to draw: Atheists need to stop defending atheism. How else could you possibly interpret his words? And that’s not even to mention the unambiguous “We should instead adopt a stance of respect towards those who would hold their faith dear”.

    I sincerely disagree… Mooney simply isn’t an atheist spokesperson (clearly!). When Mooney writes, “we” never means “we atheists” — it’s always “we science educators”. You and e.g. Christopher Hitchens should be as outspoken as you want and as disrespectful of religion as you think is necessary. You should do this because you aren’t professional scientists/educators (though the science posts here are great). But Dawkins is… in fact, he had the Oxford Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science! He is *the* science educator, and as such, Mooney/Nisbet claim that he doesn’t have the luxury of defending two causes, atheism and science ed, because the former may be undermining the latter (which is a shame because he’s brilliant at both). Reading back over your previous posts, I notice that you celebrate the fact that atheism is on the rise despite the “disrespectful” style of the New Atheists, but this is irrelevant to Mooney. He mostly cares about whether public opinion is shifting on climate change, stem cells, etc.

    What’s also notable is that Mooney has been asked this very question many times: Do you think that atheists should stop speaking out in defense of atheism? If this was not his intent, it would be very easy for him to say so. To my knowledge, he never has. Instead, he’s ducked the question every time it’s come up.

    My interpretation of this is that Mooney may not even give a crap about the atheist movement. Maybe he’s trying to hide that or maybe he’s just not interested in your question because it’s not science-related. Is he even an atheist himself? Does it matter? It doesn’t matter to me – his loyalty is to science, he’s doing what he thinks is best for science in the US, and as a scientist I’m happy he’s on my side. Where atheist interests diverge from scientific ones, I know what he’ll choose. I think this is the proper stance for atheists to adopt towards Mooney: he is not on “our” side, he’s on the side of science. Religious scientists are his greatest allies because they are, rightly or wrongly, persuasive to the most people. Atheist scientists should heed Mooney’s words and make a tough choice about priorities.

  • hereigns15

    themann1086, I was not attempting to be passive and a troll I am not. The atheists view is maddening to me, if person X or nation x who claims to be christian commits some act that one or more people disagree with then the assumption is made by some/most atheists that ALL religion is therefore bad all the while ignoring any “good” that may be done by person y or nation y. Why, why doesn’t the atheist acknowledge that there might very well be more good than harm done by those who truly follow Christ? I realize one of the intents of this site is to discuss the “horrors” committed by various religions and thereby “improving” the athestic view but at what cost? What does the atheist get out of saying ALL “religion is bad”? The words of Jesus are good for ALL, “love your neighbor as yourself”, don’t you agree?

    I’d like to convince believers that the preponderance of the evidence is in favor of the atheist position

    I dare not begin that conversation but obviously it’s all in how you interpert/view the evidence.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Herb,
    Mooney is an atheist, BTW.

    I think that Mooney started off doing what you indicate, trying to defend science. I think he sees religion as a threat to science, and if the religious would simply accept science, we wouldn’t have issues with them. IOW, the danger from religious followers (zealots) stems from their not accepting the empirical world as revealed by science. I also think the original intent was to warn atheists of the dangers of making over-reaching claims, like that one must be an atheist to really do science work or to really accept it.

    I think it has gone far beyond that now, and I can no longer support his position due to the lengths that he has gone. I understand that he’s passionate about science and defending science, and I’m grateful for that. His book, “The Republican War on Science” was excellent. But, I think there are also very real concerns about how far he’s been willing to take his criticism of the “New Atheists” and atheistic support for science in general. And, ultimately, I think the idea of appeasement seems to not be working.

    hereigns,
    Try to “interpret/view” the evidence without first assuming your god conclusion (it’s called begging the question).

  • hereigns15

    omgf, that my friend would be impossible unless you plucked my eyes out, covered my ears dulled all my senses and gave me a full frontal lobotomy. You hold onto your scientific evidence and claim there is no God and yet you’re unable to prove He doesn’t exist. Neither the atheist nor religious person can 100% prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of God or evolution because in the end ALL of us (religious and atheist) must take a leap of faith so it all depends on where you put your trust, in man or God.

    BTW, do you mind spelling out your OMGF acronymn for me?

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    I cannot wait to see OMGF’s reply.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    @ hereigns15: Have you heard of the No True Scotsman fallacy? The problem with the Bible is that it says lots of things, and so did Jesus. Some of it’s good. Some of it’s nuts. This is why you let yourself get away with “no true Christian,” because the real teachings of Christ are just what ends up being good, and anyone who’s using Christ for “not good” simply did the magic wrong and only says they’re Christian – am I close here? Also, have you tried being good just for goodness’ sake? It works for me. But there are a whole mess o’ folks who think that anything is OK if God simply says it is, and that just ain’t so – the Euthyphro dilemma has fairly handily dispensed with that notion for the last 2,400 years and counting. (Short version: if morality runs on God’s say-so, then such morality is absolutely meaningless because it boils down to “God does what God pleases,” which Evil God can also do. For morality to have any oomph at all, it has to be above everyone’s say-so, God included.)

    So, yes, of course religion can sometimes bring comfort to people. Of course people sometimes do good in the name of religion. And of course religion is a mixed bag like every other human endeavor. But as Stephen Fry remarked to Ann Widdecombe when she defended the moral backwardness of ancient believers, doing things like slavery and genocide like everyone else around them at the time, “Then what are you for?!” Think about it: is there anything besides religion that lets people get away with, oh, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the burka, suicide bombing, or pedophilia?

    “The Problem” is not that religious people and institutions are flawed – that much is obvious to everyone. “The Problem” is that a great many seem to want to have it both ways: they want religion/God to be both inscrutable and also authoritative. Well, sorry, but if you say something’s right, someone’s gonna scrutinize it, and you’re going to have to defend your ideas, rather than petulantly insist that everyone take them seriously just ‘cuz.

    Nobody here claims to have “100% proof” that there’s no God. I simply have no reason to believe in God, so I withhold belief in it just as I withhold belief in unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, and even gravitons and the Higgs boson (until their existence is demonstrated). It’s not that I trust myself or other humans “more” than I trust God, it’s that I don’t even know why I should think there’s a God at all to be trusted in the first place. I hope this makes things a little clearer for you. Another way to wrap your mind around it is to keep asking “why should I buy that” of any claim – if it comes down to a repeatable experience, something that can be tested over and over again, then I’ll probably buy it; if it comes down to “someone said so,” then I probably won’t (no matter who’s saying so).

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I know you directed that at OMGF, but I just cannot let it go by:

    omgf, that my friend would be impossible unless you plucked my eyes out, covered my ears dulled all my senses and gave me a full frontal lobotomy.

    I see. Your preconceptions require the abjuration of reality. Thanks for the free admission.

    You hold onto your scientific evidence and claim there is no God and yet you’re unable to prove He doesn’t exist.

    I don’t claim that “there is no god.” Please quit filling me with your words. I have no faith in god, and, lacking faith, require evidence for his presence. In the absence of said evidence, I feel no need to believe.

    Neither the atheist nor religious person can 100% prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of God or evolution because in the end ALL of us (religious and atheist) must take a leap of faith so it all depends on where you put your trust, in man or God.

    1)It is the obligation of the claimant to provide evidence for his claim. You claim god. Show me the money.

    2)As explained above, my atheism isn’t faith, but the lack thereof.

    ps: I think his name is OmniMaxGodFails

  • hereigns15

    D, first thanks for the sincere reply, it is appreciated. Yes, I am familar with the “No True Scottsman” fallacy. I’m going to assume you’ve read some/all of the New Testament and are familiar with the story of Paul, writer of roughly two-thirds of the NT. When you read about his life one can safely assume that this man, Paul, is the type of human being Christ wants His disciples to be like, caring more for others more than himself. Paul, once a Pharisee zealot who persecuted the same people, Christians, who eventually became a Christian himself inspite of suffering persecution from his own people due to his conversion. This life, encouraging and loving others, is what a Christian ought to be, anyone claiming to be a Christian and doesn’t follow this example may say they are a Christian but their actions may prove otherwise.

    Also, have you tried being good just for goodness’ sake?

    Where does “good” come from? Good is relative until you line it up with Scripture. Good for one person might be that they didn’t kill someone today while good for another maybe they didn’t lie to their spouse. If the Bible is false and all religions are in error then where does the atheist derive it’s morality? What is your measuring stick?

    The Problem is…they want religion/God to be both inscrutable and also authoritative

    The bottom-line is some humans use religion as an excuse to carry out their devious plans/desires. The sad part is the atheist throws the baby out with the bath water because some “relgious” people carry out evil acts in the name of religion.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Geez Mathew, way to put the pressure on.

    I don’t have much to add to what D and Thump have already said in response to hereigns. Atheism is a lack of faith, not a positive assertion of no god. It is incumbent (burden of proof) upon the theist to evidence god. If we went by the logic that we can’t disprove god, so we may as well believe, then we should similarly hold beliefs for all gods and anything else we can’t fully disprove, like unicorns, leprechauns, etc.

    So, when you claim that it would require you to pluck out your eyes, etc. what it comes across to me is that you’ve made up your mind and you don’t want to be bothered with the facts, or the distinct lack of them. I also see a huge incongruity with the rest of your post where you go on to claim that your belief requires faith.

    BTW, do you mind spelling out your OMGF acronymn for me?

    It’s a nickname that was given to me by some high schoolers that I used to volunteer for. OMGF = Old Man G Funk.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    When you read about his life one can safely assume that this man, Paul, is the type of human being Christ wants His disciples to be like, caring more for others more than himself.

    What do you base this assumption on, and what about Paul’s disregard for things like slavery or women’s rights?

    This life, encouraging and loving others, is what a Christian ought to be, anyone claiming to be a Christian and doesn’t follow this example may say they are a Christian but their actions may prove otherwise.

    Actually, the Bible clearly states that the Xian’s first duty is to god, not to others.

    Where does “good” come from? Good is relative until you line it up with Scripture.

    Euthyphro’s dilemma rears its ugly head. What do you mean that you “line it up with scripture?” What you mean is that you are interpreting scripture in your own subjective way and claiming that it is somehow objective. It is not. Also, “good” is a concept that is created by humans to describe states of the world and actions of the inhabitants.

    If the Bible is false and all religions are in error then where does the atheist derive it’s morality? What is your measuring stick?

    From our culture and from our shared evolutionary history. We know that animals exhibit different levels of morality for starters, and we also know that morality can help keep groups of social animals (like humans) together. We also know that Xians have not been against slavery for most of the history of Xianity, but have instead followed along what the general trend was in the cultures they lived in. Our culture drives our morality, and Xianity comes in after the fact and claims that it drives the cultural morality.

    The bottom-line is some humans use religion as an excuse to carry out their devious plans/desires.

    Yes, they do, because it’s quite easy to use as a shield due to its very nature.

    The sad part is the atheist throws the baby out with the bath water because some “relgious” people carry out evil acts in the name of religion.

    I don’t see why it would be sad to throw out false claims that are used to justify and incite such horrors as what has been listed above, especially when they aren’t necessary and are often used to counter real moral progress. It was religion that stood in the way of abolition and women’s rights, and it is religion that is standing in the way of gay rights now.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    OMGF = Old Man G Funk.

    Really? call me sad but I’ve wasted quite a few minutes (o.k maybe longer) hypothesising more contrived expansions :)

    Hereigns15

    I realize one of the intents of this site is to discuss the “horrors” committed by various religions and thereby “improving” the athestic view but at what cost? What does the atheist get out of saying ALL “religion is bad”? The words of Jesus are good for ALL, “love your neighbor as yourself”, don’t you agree?

    I’m not sure that’s anyones intention at all. Ebonmuse sets an agenda and we pitch in and discuss it. What sometimes happens is that moral positions are sometimes expressed in terms of religious authority, as atheists we quickly point out that religion does not really have any moral authority. It is inconsistent and hypocritical, you can’t read either the bible or the Qu’ran without that being self evident.
    Atheists are not without moral reference however. Morality has evolved as a consequence of our history as a social species. We are an empathic a cooperative animal for good evolutionry reasons. Also it is a fallacy to assume that “love thy neighbour”, “Do as you would be done by” etc are Christian doctorines. They pre-date christianity ny many centuries even in the historical record. Christianity derives most of its morality (and Paul incidentally is a good example) from the earlier greco roman philosophers, particularly the Stoics and Plato etc.

  • hereigns15

    Old Man G Funk :) (that is an interesting nickname),

    Atheism is a lack of faith, not a positive assertion of no god.

    Ok, fair enough.

    It is incumbent (burden of proof) upon the theist to evidence god.

    So, when you claim that it would require you to pluck out your eyes, etc. what it comes across to me is that you’ve made up your mind and you don’t want to be bothered with the facts, or the distinct lack of them.

    I have purposely grouped both of your comments together here and will reply to both here. You and I have been down this road so let me just quickly add, IMHO there is more proof that God does exist than that he does not. To reiteriate the point, it comes back to how one views and/or interprets the data given to us. Certainly we agree that science only takes us so far and NONE of us were here when the earth and humanity began. So we must then research for ourselves which seems more plausible, the universe and all that is in it began by some strange cosmic happen-stance or there is a Designer or Maker, if you will. So when I look at the evidence, the good, the bad and everything in between I see a design and purpose. When I gaze upon a star or look at the ocean or when I see/experience true love, I see a Maker. When I look at the human body and its various functions again I see a Maker. There’s so much more, I could go on and on but I’ll spare…so to me there’s plenty of “proof” of a God. My own life experiences tell me there is a God who not only created everything but more importantly that He loves me. It’s not as if I’ve always been a Christan, I too was an atheist so I’ve been on both sides of the tracks, so to speak. So yes, after more than 30 years of not “believing” and examining the evidence presented to me, including bothering with the facts, I’ve made up my mind on who I am.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Hereigns
    (Sorry OMGF this seems to be a day for jumping in front of you)

    It’s not as if I’ve always been a Christan, I too was an atheist so I’ve been on both sides of the tracks, so to speak. So yes, after more than 30 years of not “believing” and examining the evidence presented to me, including bothering with the facts, I’ve made up my mind on who I am.

    The Paley “It’s a watch so there is a watchmaker” argument notwithstanding, why did you make Christianity your theism of choice? You could quite reasonably have taken a deistic view of creation without buying into the personal God philosophy for one thing, or from there you could have chosen Budhism or Janism or Hinduism or Islam. Why Christ?

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    D

    But as Stephen Fry remarked to Ann Widdecombe when she defended the moral backwardness of ancient believers, doing things like slavery and genocide like everyone else around them at the time, “Then what are you for?!”

    This is the second time this week that the Stephen Fry / Ann Widdecombe debate has come up on a thread I’ve been on. Here’s a link to itwell worth following.

    Name drop alert: I shared a stage with Ann Widdecombe a couple of years ago at a charity fundraiser. She’s actually a very witty and entertaining person, but her religious beliefs are quite entrenched. I asked her when an openly atheist politician would make either U.K Priminister or U.S President. Her response “Not in my lifetime, thank God”. (that may have been irony though, not sure)

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    …IMHO there is more proof that God does exist than that he does not.

    I would maintain that it’s all dependent upon first assuming that god exists. Without assuming that god exists, why would you think that there is a purpose to the universe or a design? We have physical laws that describe the nature of reality, but none of them provide evidence for the idea that they are that way because some entity chose those natures or designed those natures.

    Certainly we agree that science only takes us so far and NONE of us were here when the earth and humanity began.

    Yet, we know quite a bit, especially about the formation of the universe. We know that there was a singularity that expanded rapidly outward and through natural processes that we completely understand, galaxies, stars, etc. formed. These are not very mysterious, and even though we weren’t there, we’ve gained enough evidence to know these things.

    There are, of course, gaps in our knowledge, but those gaps don’t give an excuse for inserting god (which is a logical fallacy after all). Yes, we can ask where the singularity came from, but the best answer is that we don’t know, not to assume that it must have been god.

    Oh, and Steve, it’s quite all right. Besides, you usually say things better than I do.

  • ildi

    we must then research for ourselves which seems more plausible, the universe and all that is in it began by some strange cosmic happen-stance or there is a Designer or Maker, if you will.

    Yeah, I know what you mean…

    … that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes…Azathoth is the Greatest God, who rules all infinity from his throne at the center of chaos. His body is composed of all the bright stars of the visible universe, but his face is veiled in darkness… The primal chaos, Lord of all…the blind idiot god—Azathoth!

    Azathoth just loves it that Komodo dragons start eating the guts of their prey while they’re still alive, that it can take a wolf pack three days to bring down a moose, and that old elephants die of starvation when their teeth fall out…

    When I look at the human body and its various functions again I see a Maker.

    Yeah, the type of ‘Maker’ that Holmes on Homes has to clean up after…

    Have you noticed the design of the prostate relative to the urethra? The larynx relative to the esophagus? The appendix? The pelvic girdle? The spine? The blind spot in the eye? The maker was smoking crack when he came up with some of these doozies…

    Confirmation bias, you’re doing it right!

  • Archimedez

    Herb,

    In science, criticism of theories and methodologies is necessary. Religiously-based theories and methodologies posed as scientific, or which are put into the scientific arena, should not be exempt from criticism.

    Dawkins is not being any more disrespectful toward religion than he is to any other area. He’s defending science, and that ruffles the feathers of the perennially ruffled. Mooney is caving in to religious sensitivities to the detriment of science.

  • Archimedez

    hereigns15,

    “…or there is a Designer or Maker, if you will. So when I look at the evidence, the good, the bad and everything in between I see a design and purpose. When I gaze upon a star or look at the ocean or when I see/experience true love, I see a Maker. When I look at the human body and its various functions again I see a Maker.”

    1. Doesn’t this logic lead us to conclude that another Designer (n) designed the Designer (1), and so on? Or does this logic stop at Designer 1 ?

    2. Are earthquakes, viruses, diseases and disorders, etc., included in what you take to be the Designer’s purposeful Making?

    You also wrote:

    “Good is relative until you line it up with Scripture.”

    Which religion’s scripture? Taking any given religion, which parts of it’s scripture? Can we reject some commands in scripture, and if so, why, and by what standard, do we do this?

    “If the Bible is false and all religions are in error then where does the atheist derive it’s morality? What is your measuring stick?”

    Surely you didn’t mean to say “it’s”. Anyways, morality is derived from our evolutionary history as social animals, and our developmental histories as individuals learning to get along with others within society. Morality in Western civilizations, for example, has developed through at least 2500 years of careful thought, debate, analysis, and consideration of the evidence (there has also been much careless thought and trial and error); and through social struggles of various kinds. Practically, there are various measuring sticks of morality. Without getting into a detailed analysis, one could cite systems that are related to morality, such as our legal systems; or the systems used in games to ensure fair play, equal opportunity, penalty to violators, and so on; or to international political standards such as the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The development of legal systems, rules in games and in social interactions, and political policies historically pre-date the inception of religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, etc., indicating that elements of existing moral standards were probably incorporated into these religions.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    …which seems more plausible, the universe and all that is in it Designer/Maker that was by definition all of existence began by some strange cosmic happen-stance or there is a .Double-Designer or Mega-Maker, if you will.
    – hereigns15, #41

    Fixed. That cuts both ways, it’s not an argument in favor of either position. I actually had to revise my entire metaphysics when I realized, “Oh, fiddlesticks! There might not be a most-fundamental constituent of reality – it could be infinitely-divisible ‘gunk’ all the way down.”

    Suppose I tell you I believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn. She made the world and told people about all the gods they believe in nowadays. One day she tripped in a meadow and got embarrassed, and then cursed the rest of the world to be a nasty and brutish place so that, even though bad things now sometimes happen to good people, she won’t be so embarrassed. We know she’s got exactly one horn, because unicorns have exactly one horn; and besides, if she didn’t have one horn, then she wouldn’t be a unicorn, now would she? And I know she’s pink because my brother JD saw her once and told me she was pink, and he wouldn’t lie to me. I also had a really nifty dream this one time where I was being carried on horseback through troubled times in my life when I thought I just got lucky. This is what gives my life meaning.

    So this explains all other religions having equivalent levels of evidence, deals with the problem of evil, uses the same style of argumentation (abbreviated), and confers the same benefits even if it’s complete horse-puckey. Do you buy it? If so, why not also believe in all religions? If not, how is your belief system superior in ways that competing belief systems are not? (For the record, my belief system relies on repeatable experience, and when that test is failed I revise my beliefs accordingly. I think a world with microwaves and computers is better than one without, and this is how we got them, so that’s why I think a pragmatically skeptical belief system is better: it makes this conversation we’re having possible.)

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Oh, balls. Accidentally double-clicked “Submit Comment,” got a duplicae comment error, clicked “Back” and now I can’t edit to say that Archimedez beat me. Or put that handy-dandy strikethrough around “universe and all that is in it.” I have this thing about these sorts of things. Argh.

  • hereigns15

    All,
    Sorry, I’m not getting on this merry-go-round again. We’ve done our fair share of debating most of the objections brought this go-round, I realize this will appear to some that I’m dodging your objections.

    Steve Bowen,

    Why Christ?

    Quick version…my life was a wreck and the Lord gave me a verse (Ecclesiastes 2:17) while I was in the shower. I found a Bible, which I had not read in over 25 years, looked up the verse and wept. When He gave me the verse I wasn’t even sure if there were 17 verses in Ecclesiastes 2. I read the entire book that night and then started reading the Gospels and I haven’t been the same since. You will draw your conclusions as to how this is possible and attempt to discount this life changing meeting but I’m so thankful that it happened, how can I ever go back to the way I was?

    OMGF,

    We know that there was a singularity that expanded rapidly outward and through natural processes that we completely understand, galaxies, stars, etc. formed.

    We agree but again this points to a specific time of “creation” which again points to Creator, IMHO.

    Archimedez,

    …Or does this logic stop at Designer 1?

    I understand the point you’re making but you already know my answer.

    The development of legal systems, rules in games and in social interactions, and political policies historically pre-date the inception of religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, etc., indicating that elements of existing moral standards were probably incorporated into these religions.

    Educate me, what and whose evidence is there to support this claim?

    D,

    …If so, why not also believe in all religions? If not, how is your belief system superior in ways that competing belief systems are not? (For the record, my belief system relies on repeatable experience, and when that test is failed I revise my beliefs accordingly…

    No other religion claims to have a Savior that died and rose again. Man would never invent such a thing, he’d make it much easier.

  • Paul

    No other religion claims to have a Savior that died and rose again

    Well, Christianity did not either, at least based on the available evidence. Unless perhaps you can explain why no extra-biblical contemporary sources noted an unexpected eclipse and a zombie uprising. What is your point? Many other religions make the same claim to dying/resurrecting deities, which is the most you can say for Christianity. No matter how many times you repeat it in apologetics, your religion is neither unique nor a special snowflake.

  • hereigns15

    Paul,
    I said a “Savior” that died and rose again. I agree that other religions claim to have deities that have died and rose again but none of them claim to do so because of the sins of the world which does in-fact make it a special snowflake.

  • Snoof

    Man would never invent such a thing, he’d make it much easier.

    So… complexity is what distinguishes true religion from false religion? Does that mean the insanely complex qabbalistic tradition of Judaism with its many levels of symbolic meaning attached to each character of the Hebrew alphabet is truer, since it’s far more complex than modern Protestant Christianity? Or perhaps Hinduism, since there’s far more gods than there need to be, many of which are versions of each other under a different name.

    I said a “Savior” that died and rose again. I agree that other religions claim to have deities that have died and rose again but none of them claim to do so because of the sins of the world which does in-fact make it a special snowflake.

    No other religion has a god with an elephant’s head and multiple arms. Does that mean worship of Ganesh is also a special snowflake and thus more important than others?
    No other religion has a god who sacrificed half his sight for foreknowledge of the end of the world and hung upside down from a tree with a spear in his side for nine days and nights to gain wisdom. Should we be worshipping Odin?

  • J Myers

    Sorry, I’m not getting on this merry-go-round again… I realize this will appear to some that I’m dodging your objections.

    Well, yes–because you are. If you aren’t even going to attempt to address the glaring deficiencies of your position, why continue to comment? And what would you think of us, were we to say, “You have some very good arguments supporting the existence of a god, but we’re tired of talking to you about these things, and would prefer instead to simply dismiss them and just continue to insist that no gods exist.”?

    Quick version…my life was a wreck and the Lord gave me a verse (Ecclesiastes 2:17)…

    So you were “given” a verse from… the OT? Shouldn’t you be a Jew?

    I found a Bible, which I had not read in over 25 years, looked up the verse and wept.

    Yet this verse had no such affect on you 25 years ago? I looked it up just now, and then read the first three chapters… this guy sounds like a bit of a putz. Still, I did like Ecclesiastes 3:12 (NIV): I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. Amen.

    When He gave me the verse I wasn’t even sure if there were 17 verses in Ecclesiastes 2.

    Well, considering the chapters in the OT average 25.7 verses each, and that that particular book had 9 of 12 chapters at or over 17 verses, the odds were certainly in your favor.

    I read the entire book that night and then started reading the Gospels and I haven’t been the same since. You will draw your conclusions as to how this is possible and attempt to discount this life changing meeting…

    Meeting… with a book? It so happens that I have one of those almost daily. They are quite gratifying, I’ll grant you that… then again, the books I meet are much, much better than the bible.

    how can I ever go back to the way I was?

    That being? And anyhow, you can’t, no more so than any of us can go back to precisely the way we were some time ago. Being that you were miserable, I’d say that’s a good thing… though I must ask: why not keep the cheery disposition, but return to the much more rational worldview? That’s where most of us are at, and it’s quite lovely, really.

    I understand the point you’re making but you already know my answer.

    I’ll take “special pleading” for a thousand, Alex.

    Educate me, what and whose evidence is there to support this claim?

    Which, specifically? That systems of ethics and legal codes preceded today’s major religions? I have to assume you grant at least that much (and if not, it’s certainly an easy enough fact for you to verify on your own). As to the proposition that they influenced Christianity, if you think for some reason that this would not be the case, you can start here and here.

    And keep in mind: the same OT that converted you contains some abject barbarism. Many Christians say that the NT paints a rosier picture, and supersedes the OT, yet it has its share of hideousness, and anyhow, if it modifies the ethics of the OT, so much for that objective morality…

    No other religion claims to have a Savior that died and rose again. Man would never invent such a thing, he’d make it much easier.

    I’m sorry, but I find it difficult to conceive of anything easier. Some god-person goes ahead and “dies for our ‘sins’,” (however that works), and can’t itself be said to have sacrificed anything, as it rose again a bit later. No effort, no loss, all reward–sounds exactly like something man would invent, doesn’t it?

    So why pretend it’s more than that?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Thumpalumpacus “Please quit filling me with your words.”
    Would you prefer he fill you with pudding?

    hereigns15 “So when I look at the evidence, the good, the bad and everything in between I see a design and purpose.”
    Um. You should probably keep in mind that when you’re hammering nails and hit your thumb, you blame the hammer. Misattribution of agency is a common human fault.

    “When I gaze upon a star or look at the ocean or when I see/experience true love, I see a Maker.”
    And (and I hope this never happens to you or anyone you know although, statistically, it will) when the doctor says “Your four year old daughter has cancer”?

    “My own life experiences tell me there is a God who not only created everything but more importantly that He loves me.”
    And (and I hope this never happens to you or anyone you know although, statistically, it will) when the doctor says “You’ve got cancer”?

    “…and the Lord gave me a verse (Ecclesiastes 2:17)”
    Ecclesiastes is probably the best book in the bible. Good choice. Now, if you can only explain to me why He “inspires” other people to pluck, say, that passage about homos and what to do with them…

    “I read the entire book that night and then started reading the Gospels and I haven’t been the same since.”
    And other people have said roughly the same thing about, wait for it, every other religion.

    “You will draw your conclusions as to how this is possible and attempt to discount this life changing meeting but I’m so thankful that it happened, how can I ever go back to the way I was?”
    You can’t. I’ve had a “transcendant” experience. It’s simply too remarkable, too big, too amazing and too hard to explain. It fades but doesn’t go away. Even the memory of the memory is enough to make me an occasional deist. (Note that if my “religion pump” had been sufficiently primed, I’d probably be in whatever religion happened to surround me)
    “I feel” works only for you and, problematically, it’s commonly incompatible with others’ “I feel”. “I feel” can be a path to comfort, but it’s a terribly inconsistent path to truth. At best, the hunch is a start. With religion (and other woo), it’s the conclusion. Organized religion is where similar “I feels” bunch together and praise each other’s ablility for being right.

    “I understand the point you’re making but you already know my answer.”
    But is it really an answer? You know how nutty, say, Scientologist or Hindu theology comes across to you? That’s exactly how yours comes off to them. Off the top of my head, there are three general poossibilities for this mirror-like possition and the least probable is “Everyone but you is wrong”.

    Steve Bowen “Name drop alert: I shared a stage with Ann Widdecombe a couple of years ago at a charity fundraiser.”
    Oh yeah? Well I bumped in to Kim Mitchell downtown when I was little. And this was before he was done doing his rock ‘n’ roll duty. Lastly, my references are seriously out of date.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    We agree but again this points to a specific time of “creation” which again points to Creator, IMHO.

    How so? The point at which the singularity expanded is entirely arbitrary as far as we can tell in the cosmic scope of things. It’s rather unsurprising that we would consider that time began then considering that time is a property of our universe.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    So our new friend’s arguments come down to “the world looks designed” and “how can you be moral without jebus?”

    Great. Someone alert me when he comes up with something that hasn’t been debunked for over a century.

  • hereigns15

    I certainly don’t expect my views to be very well accepted here but why the immature name calling by some? I also find it interesting that some atheists choose not to spell out the word Christian and instead opt to spell it xian while some spell out Jesus Jebus, I find that very strange. I state my case, whether strong or weak, and am belittled, kinda feels like I’m back in second grade. Hmmm, so are you sure atheism is the answer to all that ails? You reject the idea of God and my input, no surprise there, but what if you’re wrong?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    “Xian” is a well accepted abbreviation for the word, that has been historically accepted by Xians. (Jebus comes from the Simpsons, I believe, and is just a humorous change to the name.)

    …what if you’re wrong?

    The odds of you being right are so vanishingly small that there’s no reason why we should accept your religious beliefs over any other person’s. For all you know, Allah is very pissed at you for your obedience to Yahweh and Jesus instead of him and his prophet Mohammed. For all you know, there may be a god that prefers atheists to those who claim to speak for him, since everyone gets it wrong to some degree when they speak for him. So, perhaps we would be treated well and you would be tortured in hell for eternity. The point is that you need some sort of evidence that your views are correct in order for them to be at all compelling.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Atheism isn’t “the answer to all that ails”. It’s not even an answer. It’s a statement of fact, in the sense that we’re making a truth-claim; namely, that there is vastly insufficient evidence for the existence of supernatural entities, including but not limited to gods. It’s like complaining that the non-existence of Planet X doesn’t answer all that ails.

    I’m being flippant and “immature” because your arguments are old as dirt and have been handled, over and over and over and over and over again. Re: Morals, any introductory philosophy course on ethics/morals spends, at most, a single chapter considering and dismissing claims that religion or “god” or whatever is the basis of morality. Seriously, Moral Philosophy 101. Re: Argument From Design, you’re essentially making an argument from ignorance. Just because you can’t think of a way such-and-such could come into existence without [insert preferred supernatural entity here] doesn’t mean it didn’t.

  • hereigns15

    So what is the desired end result of the “atheism movement”? Simply because an argument is “old” doesn’t make it wrong simply because it’s old. We probably agree that ALL beliefs (Atheism, Hinduism, Muslim or Christianity) require some level of “faith”. Anyway, I made my point long ago regarding the leading article and was quickly dismissed by most/all of you but I hope one or more of you will pause for atleast a brief moment to consider if there is any validity to my original comment “No True Scottsman”.

  • Maynard

    The desired end result of the “atheism movement” (appropriately placed in quotations) is real simple: Stop using your irrational beliefs to determine how others should act; no laws or codes of conduct based soley on ancient writings; no more discrimination towards responsible adults; no more shielding of your bigotry behind unsupported, supernatural mythology.

    When you shut up about it, we’ll have very little else to say on the matter.

    And by you/your I mean all thiests, not hereigns15 specifically.

  • Peter N

    I also find it interesting that some atheists choose not to spell out the word Christian and instead opt to spell it xian while some spell out Jesus Jebus, I find that very strange.

    Anybody know how to write “Yeshua bin Yussef” in Aramaic? Because anything else is blasphemous (unless the Bible really was originally written in English, as some seem to believe).

    themann1086:

    So our new friend’s arguments come down to “the world looks designed” and “how can you be moral without jebus?”

    hereigns15:

    You reject the idea of God and my input, no surprise there, but what if you’re wrong?

    Pascal’s Wager! I’ve got Bingo! Make that three arguments any newbie atheist has already seen a hundred times.

    hereigns15:

    Simply because an argument is “old” doesn’t make it wrong simply because it’s old.

    Very true! Well put! An argument is flawed if its premises are false, or if it relies on logical fallacies. Of course even a flawed argument might reach a factually correct conclusion, but if that conclusion were refuted by evidence, well then, that’s strike three.

    Hereigns, if you read through the archives of this blog, you will see that many more sophisticated arguments than yours have been thoroughly and thoughtfully dismantled, leading every time back to the default position that unguided natural forces explain everything in our experience (see for example http://www.daylightatheism.org/2009/02/answering-lee-strobel.html You will also see that we would really welcome a new, good, and compelling argument for evidence of a god.

    Atheists are curious people. Most of us were religious at one point in our lives, but we aren’t willing to accept answers to life’s mysteries that depend on authority and faith — we want answers that are actually true. That means we are willing to be proven wrong — that is, to learn something.

    What about you?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Simply because an argument is “old” doesn’t make it wrong simply because it’s old.

    No, but old and already refuted, many times over, does make for a tiresome exchange.

    We probably agree that ALL beliefs (Atheism, Hinduism, Muslim or Christianity) require some level of “faith”.

    No, we don’t agree. In fact, you’ve already tried to level this charge earlier and been corrected on it in this very thread. In fact, you even agreed that atheism was a lack of faith. This is what becomes tiresome.

    Anyway, I made my point long ago regarding the leading article and was quickly dismissed by most/all of you but I hope one or more of you will pause for atleast a brief moment to consider if there is any validity to my original comment “No True Scottsman”.

    In my experience I’d conclude that you got a hell of a lot more consideration for your post than an atheist would on the vast majority of Xian blogs. The answers you received dealt with what you wrote, showing that your comments were considered. We’ve simply raised objections to your comments or given answers to your questions. Why is that not sufficient?

  • hereigns15

    Maynard,

    …Stop using your irrational beliefs to determine how others should act; no laws or codes of conduct based soley on ancient writings
    Obviously my beliefs are “irrational” to you but not to some just because you or someone else finds it irrational doesn’t necessarily make it irrational. Your response does not directly answer my question, a direct and more obvious answer for a ignorant troll putz, please ).

    Peter N,
    I’m certain others have posted on this site who have much more sophisticated responses to the objections brought up in this thread but sophistication or lack thereof doesn’t cancel out my reality and what I believe. I’m also quite certain you and others here are quite bored and tired of people like me, hence the site.

    …we want answers that are actually true

    Isn’t that what most of us want?

    OMGF,
    Yes, I know we’ve already been down the “faith” path before I simply didn’t know how else to word my response. The point is the same though…I know not one atheist or theist who was there when the universe began was my point. Please don’t beat me up anymore on how and when I use the word “faith”, I get it.

    In my experience I’d conclude that you got a hell of a lot more consideration for your post than an atheist would on the vast majority of Xian blogs.

    I won’t argue the point for obvious reasons and I won’t try to make an excuse for someone else’s behavior and how they respond to you, there goes that tried and true “No True Scottsman” rule again.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Obviously my beliefs are “irrational” to you but not to some just because you or someone else finds it irrational doesn’t necessarily make it irrational. Your response does not directly answer my question, a direct and more obvious answer for a ignorant troll putz, please ).

    What’s irrational about god belief is that it requires logically suspect thinking. One must beg the question. To this end, Maynard’s answer was actually pretty good. Atheists mostly want the world to not be saddled with irrational thinking, which is what religion is. For example, look at creationists pushing for Genesis to be taught in science class, the push against abortion, anti-gay rights bigots, or the push for abstinence only education to name just a few. These are all religiously motivated stances based on faith that religious people try to enforce on all others. In most cases, they even go against the empirical evidence we have, like the teaching of creationism and abstinence only.

    Yes, I know we’ve already been down the “faith” path before I simply didn’t know how else to word my response.

    You could unequivocably state and realize that the atheist position is not a faith position.

    I know not one atheist or theist who was there when the universe began was my point.

    That’s irrelevant because all physical occurrences leave behind forensic traces that can be detected and that we can study. The preponderance of evidence points to the naturalistic explanation of the formation of the universe, and all else is simply unknown – leading to a god of the gaps if you try to insert your god into the unknowns.

  • hereigns15

    OMGF,

    What’s irrational about god belief is that it requires logically suspect thinking…Maynard’s answer was actually pretty good

    God belief is “logically suspect thinking” in your opinion just as evolution is “suspect” in my opinion. No matter how many times we make our claim it does not make them any more or less true to either one of us. Based on both Maynard’s and your response it would appear to me that the atheist “goal” would be to eradicate theists from the earth in some form? Please make your response crystal clear for this dumb troll.

    Atheists mostly want the world to not be saddled with irrational thinking

    Man, that is a frustrating thing for you to say. Most Christians that I personally know do NOT desire to live in a world full of it’s own world views enforced! Like the one’s you brought up…the only exception I have to your list is abortion, with limited exceptions. Killing an innocent human being simply because a person does not desire to have a child because “it” was an “accident” is WRONG and should not be allowed, we must protect the innocent!

  • Paul

    You reject the idea of God and my input, no surprise there, but what if you’re wrong?

    Even the Simpsons got this one right. What if the real God gets mad every time you go to church to worship Yahweh and Jesus? Considering there are thousands of Gods that you disbelieve, why is Yahweh the one you decide to throw your soul in with? Odds are that if there is a God, it’s one of the others.

  • hereigns15

    Would the atheist world have any laws, rules, or regualations? Where would the line be drawn between right and wrong and whose line would they use? My head hurts just trying to think of the possibilities.

    BTW, there have been many atrocities over the centuries commited by religious and atheist zealots so let us not forget that militant atheism has slaughtered it’s fair share of people as well. There are these two clowns who stand out in my mind, Communists Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung. More than 100 million died at the hands of these crazed militant atheists. So atheists should not be so quick to boast in it’s well doing and relativley “harmless” nature. Christians have been at the forefront of expanding and defending human freedom around the globe ever since the first century Church was founded. Christians campaigned against the gladiator games in ancient Rome as well as against the slave trade in the U.K. and America, unless ofcourse you rewrite history then it all works out well for the atheist.

  • ildi

    Most Christians that I personally know do NOT desire to live in a world full of it’s own world views enforced!

    So you’re in support of alcohol sales on Sunday, stores opening for business on Christmas day, ‘In God We Trust’ taken off money, ‘under God’ taken out of the pledge of allegiance, legalizing gay marriage, atheists teaching in public schools and running for public office…

    Christians campaigned against the gladiator games in ancient Rome as well as against the slave trade in the U.K. and America, unless ofcourse you rewrite history then it all works out well for the atheist.

    Depends which Xians, eh? Talk about rewriting history!

  • hereigns15

    ildi,

    So you’re in support of alcohol sales on Sunday…

    With a resounding yes to all of your points. I believe the world we live in should be peaceful and individuals should have equal rights and people should be free to live how they choose as long as their choice does not cause harm (real – definitive harm) others. Putting or removing “In God We Trust” on money has no affect on me one way or another, if some are offended at the notion of God, why fight it simply remove it. Who or what a person decides to put their trust in is an individual decision not a countries. “Atheists teaching in public schools and running for public office…”, you mean that in jest, right? Our schools and public offices have it’s share of atheists.

    “Depends on which Xians, eh?” What’s your point, those who campaigned against the gladiator games weren’t really Christians?

  • Paul

    “Depends on which Xians, eh?” What’s your point, those who campaigned against the gladiator games weren’t really Christians?

    No, his point was just as many Christians were pro-slavery as anti-slavery. Acting like the anti-slavery side was the Christian side is either rewriting history or playing No True Christian.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    In reverse order:

    Plenty of Christians were on both sides of most of your examples.

    Lots of people are opposed to “the Other” teaching in schools or holding public office. There is one nonbeliever in congress, and he belongs to the UU Church.

    Would the atheist world have any laws, rules, or regualations? Where would the line be drawn between right and wrong and whose line would they use? My head hurts just trying to think of the possibilities.

    Seriously, take a Moral Philosophy 101 class, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    How many people did Stalin or Mao kill in the name of atheism? Very little; they killed in the name of communism, or in wars with national/ideological enemies. This doesn’t detract from their crimes or make them Not True Atheists (I don’t think Mao was though, didn’t he have some pretty standard Chinese mystic beliefs?); but, it does make them different from people who killed in the name of their god. It’s comparing all those killed by any atheist to those killed by the religious specifically because of religion. They’re different quantities. Further, most of the atheist pointing at religious atrocities or religious believers behaving badly is to make a point: that religion offers no special moral insight. Clearly, lack of religion doesn’t give you special moral insight, either, but the believer is not in any privileged position.

    Atheism is based on an examination of the evidence (I recommend God: The Failed Hypothesis) and the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that it does not support hypotheses involving the supernatural. We find the standard arguments used by the religious to be, frankly, laughable; yours were no different. In fact, they are variants of old, discredited arguments that atheists have dismantled with ease for centuries now (hell, even the ancient Greeks took apart your morality argument). It gets really damn annoying that believers continue to trot these out.

    What do we want? Well, beyond lower levels of religious belief a la Europe via debate and convincing people, here in the States we’d like atheists to have equal treatment under both the law (which we have on paper in some states, if not in actuality) and in the realm of public opinion. Did you know most Americans would vote for a gay or islamic person for president before they would an atheist? True story!

    Also, not to turn this into an abortion debate, but you’ll have a tough time convincing most of us that the fetus before brain development is a person.

  • hereigns15

    themann1086,

    …you’ll have a tough time convincing most of us that the fetus before brain development is a person.

    I’m gonna bypass all your other comments because this one is unbelieveable and I’ll just come right out and say it, this comment is truly what separates you and I. You boast of your great intellect and evolution yet you totally disregard this one simple yet profound process. When a male and female human have sex and the egg and sperm met this usually brings about an embryo which if allowed to fully grow normally becomes a male or female human being. Purposely stopping any part of that process would prevent the creation of a human being, which is murder. You can and will come up with all of your arguements against this view and I will not respond cause it will continue to derail this thread but had to comment on your comment. Unbelievable.

  • Paul

    You can and will come up with all of your arguements against this view and I will not respond cause it will continue to derail this thread but had to comment on your comment. Unbelievable.

    Cute. “I’m right because if you answer the thread is derailed”.

    Why did God design the human reproductive system so that about 30% (off the top of my head, could be slightly off) of all fertilized eggs spontaneously abort? He aborts more “lives” in the womb than legalized abortion, by far.

  • Archimedez

    Hereigns15,

    You quoted me:
    “The development of legal systems, rules in games and in social interactions, and political policies historically pre-date the inception of religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, etc., indicating that elements of existing moral standards were probably incorporated into these religions.”

    And then asked:

    “Educate me, what and whose evidence is there to support this claim?”

    Good question. Admittedly, I’m not in a position to educate you or anyone else on this topic, as it is not my area of expertise (I do not even have a hobby-type level of amateur knowledge on this particular topic). It is probably enough to note that the laws in Judaism were not the first to be written down.

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

    This suggests a temporal precedence of other laws before the laws in Judaism and Christianity. This means that Judaism could have been influenced by these earlier cultures, but, since these other systems were in place before the development of Judaism, the reverse cannot be true.

    There is also the issue of geographic separation. Legal and moral systems were developed in a wide variety of civilizations (in Asia and in the Americas) independently of Judaism.

    There is a broader question here as to whether humans developed explicit religious beliefs before they developed explicit moral rules, though the earliest religious beliefs were probably tribal and animistic, not quite what you are thinking of in terms of the God of the Bible.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    God belief is “logically suspect thinking” in your opinion just as evolution is “suspect” in my opinion.

    There’s a rather large qualitative difference here. god belief is logically suspect because of the distinct lack of evidence and because it relies on logical fallacy. Evolution is only suspect to you because of your suspect god belief and in spite of the vast amounts of evidence for evolution. So, you use the suspect thinking of the former to reject the empirical evidence of the latter. Your stance is a rejection of reality.

    Based on both Maynard’s and your response it would appear to me that the atheist “goal” would be to eradicate theists from the earth in some form?

    I would like to see theistic thought go away, but not by force, except maybe the force of the evidence and logic and argumentation. IOW, I don’t wish to have shock troops that force people to deconvert, I only wish for them to discard their superstitions. Barring that, I’d be very happy with religious people not pushing their religious views on the rest of us or starting wars with others over who has the bigger, better god.

    Man, that is a frustrating thing for you to say.

    I don’t know why you would find it frustrating in the least. You can’t deny the prevalence of religious sentiment inherent in every single campaign for national elected office in this country, the power that evangelists wield, etc. This has the effect of making non-Xians into second class citizens.

  • Fuzk

    Thank goodness that within all these religious (or political?) chaos in Malaysia, there are still some rational voices to be heard, even they are religious.

    Below is a link to Marina Mahathir’s blog, the daughter of the ex-PM of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad.
    http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/2010/01/confident-people-do-not-get-confused.html

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    OMGF “So, perhaps we would be treated well and you would be tortured in hell for eternity.”
    It should be pointed out that I (as well as OMGF, most probably) would say that any god (even, as in this example, one that loves atheists more. And He should. We’re adorable. Seriously) that punishes Those Who are Wrong (however “wrong” is defined), much less eternally, isn’t worthy of worship in the first place (not to mention that a 3-O’d deity whose incapable of carrying out rehabilition is clearly lacking one of more O’s). Tyranny isn’t righteous simply because the head, um, Tyran is the strongest and calling infinite punishment for finite “sins” justice mangles the word “justice” into incoherence.

    “This is what becomes tiresome.”
    You know what I find tiresome? Stairs.

    hereigns15 “Would the atheist world have any laws, rules, or regualations? Where would the line be drawn between right and wrong and whose line would they use? My head hurts just trying to think of the possibilities.”
    Really? We have 10,000 years of practical, tribal level and above, experience of what works and what does not (notice, too, that “…this is what God wants” has changed considerably over the years. Up until surprisingly recently He was for slavery, for instance).
    Human morality is mushy, maleable and changes. I see no indication that “revelation-divined absolute morality” fails to suffer from the same conditions. I’ll take a grey world built on observation and logic over a purportedly black & white one built on “special revelation” any day.
    “Special revelation” only gives one’s opinion more weight than it deserves. I, for example, am an idiot. I shudder to think what would happen if my own damn fool ideas had the weight of God’s sanction behind them.

    “There are these two clowns who stand out in my mind, Communists Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung. More than 100 million died at the hands of these crazed militant atheists. So atheists should not be so quick to boast in it’s well doing and relativley ‘harmless’ nature.”
    Tu Quoque (“Your’s is bad too!”) is not a valid line of argumentation and, even if it was, it wouldn’t be a good one. And I doubt very much that anybody here is a Utopian (particularly of the “cult of personality” variant, re Stalinism/Maoism). As such, nobody has declared that the “atheist State” is perfection. People are a mess of conflicting drives and emotions. Secular liberal democracy works well enough (it ensures that nobody is happy and also, generally, minimizes both the number pyres and necks trapped under iron heels). “Secular”, I should mention, to minimize the chance of confusion, is not atheist. It’s neutrality. “Liberal” implies the ability to change. “Democracy” is everybody getting a voice.

    “Christians have been at the forefront of expanding and defending human freedom around the globe ever since the first century Church was founded. Christians campaigned against the gladiator games in ancient Rome as well as against the slave trade in the U.K. and America, unless ofcourse you rewrite history then it all works out well for the atheist.”
    (…Sucking in of breath…) Incomplete. Christians (and Christianity and the Bible) have been both for and against “expanding and defending human freedom around the globe ever since the first century Church was founded”.

    “Purposely stopping any part of that process would prevent the creation of a human being, which is murder.”
    So, I assume you’re for banning abortifacients? Keep in mind that that group includes coffee, exercise, breastfeeding and stress.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I should also point out that “Atheist World” has the best roller coaster. I should, but I won’t.

  • Maynard

    Your valuing hearsay over empirical evidence makes me “suspect” your opinion.

    I don’t care if theism goes away or not. I’m just tired of it getting so much undeserved respect.

    Edit: And weren’t christians mainly against gladiator games because they usually ended up on the wrong end of the sword or lions paw in them?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Agreed Modus.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Maynard “Edit: And weren’t christians mainly against gladiator games because they usually ended up on the wrong end of the sword or lions paw in them?”
    I wouldn’t say “usually”. They were just one of the groups that ended up in the Colosseum. Other groups that found some of their members end there include pretty much everyone else. Christians, while at times viciously persecuted, only get top billing now because they eventually ran the place and got to correct history by erasing most the parts that reflected badly on them or how mean everybody else was (and Rome was mean. Tolerant up to the point that it threatened the State, then they’d torch your town and possibly sell you, as the Jews discovered after the failure of 1st Jewish-Roman War, among others. Admittedly, my Roman history is rusty. Plus, their numbers are letters, which doesn’t help. Frankly it’s silly). Then they got to be the persecutors. Groups which they persecuted consisted of pretty much everyone else, including whichever Christians happened to not believe whatever the “correct” variant was in that area (or the version of those who controlled it) at the time.
    Thus, the circle is complete.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Wups. To be clear, that should probably be “…that reflected badly on them and emphasized how mean everybody else was to them…”

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    OMGF “Agreed Modus.”
    Yeah! Down with stairs!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    And another post of some kind! I’m taking over this page! Go me! Woo!

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    god belief is logically suspect because of the distinct lack of evidence and because it relies on logical fallacy. Evolution is only suspect to you because of your suspect god belief and in spite of the vast amounts of evidence for evolution. So, you use the suspect thinking of the former to reject the empirical evidence of the latter.

    I’d like to nominate this for the “most re-quotable comment of the thread” award (In other words: I wish I’d said that, and given the opportunity I probably will:).

  • ildi

    …the only exception I have to your list is abortion, with limited exceptions.

    Care to specify what those limited exceptions are?

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m gonna bypass all your other comments because this one is unbelieveable

    Seriously, take a fucking Ethics 101 course. It’s not as uncontentious as “religion isn’t a valid source of morality”, but it is a fairly common claim that personhood begins when a being obtains consciousness. There are plenty of people who dispute this claim, but their arguments are, in my opinion, seriously flawed.

    I’ll just come right out and say it, this comment is truly what separates you and I.

    This should be good.

    You boast of your great intellect and evolution

    I’ve done no such thing. I’ve said that I think I’m right about the non-existence of the supernatural, but even presuming this is true it doesn’t make me inherently smarter. Plenty of smart people believe weird things, and plenty of dumb people believe correct things (like, say, gravity). Also, evolution has nothing to do with this. You and I are members of the same species.

    yet you totally disregard this one simple yet profound process. When a male and female human have sex and the egg and sperm met this usually brings about an embryo which if allowed to fully grow normally becomes a male or female human being. Purposely stopping any part of that process would prevent the creation of a human being, which is murder. [all emphasis mine]

    I’ve bolded “process” because you are so close, yet so far. The development of a sperm and ovum into a full-fledged person is a process which doesn’t have any clear-cut dividing lines. Your definition of personhood is failtastic. Any part of the process? Including the sperm/ovum meeting in the first place? If not why not? Your definition means that any time a man and a woman aren’t trying to get pregnant results in millions of murders (and any sperm that die interrupt the process of them creating a human being). It’s so broad as to be meaningless, unless you start adding in arbitrary boundaries. My definition is simple and has the benefit of including hypothetical non-human persons, a very important goal in any definition of personhood. The development of consciousness itself is a tricky business, but it’s a scientific process and can be measured and we can figure out when it happens (consensus is sometime around the 24th week, iirc).

    You can and will come up with all of your arguements against this view and I will not respond cause it will continue to derail this thread but had to comment on your comment. Unbelievable.

    Fuck you. You basically called me a monster and now you’re going to refuse to engage me because you don’t want to “derail”? You’re a wanker of the highest order, full of self-righteousness and sporting a martyr complex. You’ve continuously failed to answer any of our objections or arguments, you’ve ducked and weaved, changed the subject, and ultimately refused to engage. For kicks and giggles, here’s your first post, and I’m going to take it apart piece by piece:

    People, ALL people, both the religious and atheists can do some crazy stuff to each other and maybe the most cruel of all are the words that we use to describe one another.

    No, the most cruel thing we can do to others is inflict violence upon them and kill them.

    I agree that everyone, no matter what particular beliefs the person holds should ALWAYS be held accountable for their actions. It is haughty to make a comment like, “…this is a reason we need more atheist speech, not less.” The comment assumes that the atheist does not commit heinous crimes or at the very least is “not as bad”, which is absurd.

    No, that was not the assumption. If you read on, the poster you were quoting goes on to say “We need to make it clear to everyone that no one’s beliefs are above criticism, and no one can expect to escape skeptical inquiry. That attitude, and not hypersensitive demands for self-censorship, is the only thing that will lead to an end of religious warfare and violence in the long run.” In other words, he was talking very specifically about religious violence, and about how calls to stop criticizing religious beliefs are ultimately self-destructive. This, in my opinion, should be extended to all beliefs and ideas. The idea that we shouldn’t criticize people for their opinions is bullshit. Some opinions are unfounded and suck. All ideas need to be able to withstand critical scrutiny.

    Jesus said, “offenses must come but woe to the man/woman through whom they come”, here’s a straight forward answer to this problem. If the Catholic Herald read and followed the teaching of Christ they would not feel the need to offend the Muslims with their use of the word “Allah”.

    And as I replied, this is bullshit. It’s, essentially, victim-blaming. Obviously, the Catholic Herald shouldn’t have gone out wearing that outfit. What did she think was going to happen when she taunted the boys with her short skirt?

    Like I predicted, you’re a passive aggressive troll. You’re the one who started going on about how atheists have no morals, how atheists call the religious “stupid” etc… we were talking about how allowing religious beliefs (or any beliefs, really) to go unchallenged just empowers followers of that belief to demand more and more “protections”, ultimately resulting in violence over absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even, ultimately, have anything to do with the rightness or wrongness of a belief; it’s all about not protecting beliefs from criticism with the force of the state, or threats of violence.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    themann1086 “Seriously, take a fucking Ethics 101 course…”
    That’s an awfully specific branch of ethics for a 101 course.

    “You basically called me a monster…”
    That’s not necessarily an insult. What if you’re a monster, say, of cookies?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Thanks Steve. I feel like the shoe is on the other foot for once, since I’m the one usually thinking, “I wish I had said that,” when you comment.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I find that it’s simpler, upon reading something that makes one say “I wish I had said that”, to steal it and start using it elsewhere with neither admission of its unoriginality nor attribution as to the paragraph’s original source. Couple that with a pair of glasses (to help one appear smart) and you’re golden. Golden!

  • ildi

    hereigns15: you never answered my question regarding what limited exceptions you were referring to in this statement-

    the only exception I have to your list is abortion, with limited exceptions. Killing an innocent human being simply because a person does not desire to have a child because “it” was an “accident” is WRONG and should not be allowed, we must protect the innocent!

    you also say-

    I’m gonna bypass all your other comments because this one is unbelieveable and I’ll just come right out and say it, this comment is truly what separates you and I. You boast of your great intellect and evolution yet you totally disregard this one simple yet profound process. When a male and female human have sex and the egg and sperm met this usually brings about an embryo which if allowed to fully grow normally becomes a male or female human being. Purposely stopping any part of that process would prevent the creation of a human being, which is murder.

    What possible limited exceptions could exist that would justify killing an ‘innocent human being?’ The life of the mother? Let God sort it out, right? Serious birth defects? Ditto God’s will. Rape and incest? Then look in the mirror when you call murderer, and add hypocrite to it.

  • 2-D Man

    Where is your sense of style, Modus? You know you can just buy lab coats, right?

    (Note the lack of attribution.)

  • hereigns15

    ildi,
    Based on my initial response you were correct in calling me a hypocrite and to be quite frank I’m struggling with the “correct” answer to the questions you asked because I began to ask those same questions immediatel after making the post.

    themann1086,
    “…it is a fairly common claim that personhood begins when a being obtains consciousness.”
    Obviously we disagree when personhood begins, let us simply leave it at that.

    “You’re the one who started going on about how atheists have no morals…”
    I did not say Atheists have no morals. I simply asked the question, WHICH source(s) does the Atheist derive his/her morality from?

    BTW, if you calling me a passive agreesive troll makes you feel better than by all means proceed but it’s quite childish, don’t you think?

    Modus,
    “…have been both for and against “expanding and defending human freedom around the globe…”
    This goes back to “No True Scottsmans” and though admittedly this response will likely prove unsatisfactory to you it doesn’t change the way I see it. As I stated earlier not all who call themselves Christians are of the “fold”. We see this in Paul’s ministry, the first church, Demas and some others appeared initially to be of the fold but then began teaching some other Gospel who Paul later warned the Church about. As a matter of fact we see this throughout the NT especially in Revelation 2 and 3.

    Here is a small sampling of Christians who fought against slavery, Communinsism, religious persecution, equal rights and/or whose writtings have helped countless people understand our world much more clearly. St. Augustine, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Pandita Ramabai, Watchman Nee, Martin Luther King and C.S. Lewis. I do not discount that those who are outside of Christianity have also made positive contributions to this world I’m simply attempting to bring some balance to the original post.

  • Snoof

    Here is a small sampling of Christians who fought against… religious persecution… Martin Luther

    Fucking what.

    Have you _read_ Von den Jüden und iren Lügen? For those who don’t speak 16th century German, that’s On the Jews and Their Lies. Luther was _many_ things, but a tireless crusader for equality he most certainly was not. Although, another reading of that sentence…

    Here is a small sampling of Christians who fought against… equal rights… Martin Luther

    Yes, Luther most certainly did fight against even the concept of equal rights for Jews.

    Also: Opposing Communinsism (sic) is automatically a good thing? I guess we’d better praise HITLER[1] then, he certainly purged Germany of all those nasty communists.

    Sure, there are Christians who have done good things. There are also atheists, agnostics, pagans, Muslims, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians, animists and various others who have done good things. This suggests that “doing good things” is hardly a uniquely Christian trait, and the number of Christians who’ve done truly horrific things (Torquemada, anyone?) suggests that Christianity doesn’t prevent anyone from doing bad shit either.

    I’m simply attempting to bring some balance to the original post

    Really? Because it looked to me like you were using a discussion of tactics for dealing with a specific set of religious behaviours as an opportunity to proselytise for your particular flavour of theism.

    [1] Apologies for the Godwin.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m happy to leave it at “we disagree when personhood begins”, as that was the point I was trying to get across; it is a contentious issue among philosophers and lay people alike.

    I’m calling you passive aggressive for shit like your clarification of your “atheist morals” question. “From where do atheists get their morals”*, asked in such a way implying that without a divine source our morals are fake or unstable. That’s what being passive aggressive is.

    And no, you’re not “bringing balance”. As Snoof said, all groups of people are capable of doing good things. This is a pretty uncontentious point here and among most atheists. Our point in accentuating the negative, as I stated before, is to point out that religions offer no special privilege in providing morality.

    *As to the question, I’ll expand a bit because I’m feeling chatty. There are two parts to my answer. The first is, atheists, like pretty much every other human being, develop their moral system from their culture as they grow up. In other words, our concept of morality grows as our bodies do. This is separate from the idea of “how do we evaluate a moral system”. The answer here is: reason. Rationality. Objectivity. And so on and so forth. There are volumes of writings going over a large swath of moral issues, from particularly tricky hypotheticals to the core precepts on which a moral system is built. It’s a rich and interesting field, and (once again) I highly recommend you dive into it.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    …WHICH source(s) does the Atheist derive his/her morality from?

    Perhaps you could point out which source the Xian derives her morality from? (Hint: it ain’t the Bible).

  • hereigns15

    snoof,
    I made mention of Martin Luther for his translation of the Bible, not his anti-semitic work, which like you, I vehemently disagree with. Probably should not have included him in my list or atleast bracketed his contribution.

    themann,
    Thank you for allowing us to lay down “personhood”. Regarding the name calling, I understand how my “atheist morals question” was interpreted by you and quite possibly others but it was an honest question. I KNOW people outside of Christianity have morals, I wasn’t insinuating they don’t.

    Regarding “bringing balance”, my last sentence in my previous post acknowledged the fact that those outside of Christianity have ALSO made positive contributions to the world, “I do not discount that those who are outside of Christianity have also made positive contributions to this world I’m simply attempting to bring some balance to the original post.”

    ..sigh…

  • hereigns15

    OMGF, God, more specifically Jesus.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Fair enough; it certainly sounded that way, and most of our trolls do ask that question. If that wasn’t the intent, apologies.

    You’re still missing the point, though. We know believers do good things; we’re trying to fight the social perception that “faith” provides a person with superior moral clarity. We also don’t want any beliefs, anywhere, to be able to silence criticism through the threat of violence or the force of the state. And being able to speak out and not be bound by that religion’s taboos is an important part of pushing back.

    ETA: @100, does God command something because it is right, or is it right because God commands it?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    OMGF, God, more specifically Jesus.

    OK, so this raises the obvious question: why have Xians been unable to agree on what is moral since the inception of Xianity, and why have positions changed over the years? Take slavery for instance. Xians only recently have opposed slavery. Or, we could look at the shifting stance on abortion by Xianity over the years? Or, maybe the Xian stances on the age of accountability? If god is talking to people and giving them their morals, he seems to do a pretty bad job of it.

    It also makes me wonder how one receives one’s morals from god? What is the mechanism that god uses to impart morality on others? Lastly, does this not run smack dab, head first into Euthyphro’s dilemma?

  • hereigns15

    Apology accepted :). I share in your frustration with some who call themselves Christian.

    I don’t believe I’m missing the point…it’s refreshing to hear an Atheist state “believers do good things” cause I’ve never heard anyone on this site acknowledge that fact. I completely understand the Atheist fighting against the social perception that “faith” provides a person with supernatural moral clarity but I do believe based on my own life experiences and our “culture” that there is a vast difference between those who are “of Christ” and those who are not. I understand the Atheist doesn’t agree with my understanding but I do understand where you and others are coming from…I’m not a total idiot.

    ETA @ 100, short answer, yes. I believe it works both ways. I would liken that to our disciplining of our own children. We teach/train them up in the proper way to conduct themselves, if we are good parents we do so verbally and by example. We do so becaues we love them because it is the “right thing” to do and we expect them to obey because they know we love them.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I completely understand the Atheist fighting against the social perception that “faith” provides a person with supernatural moral clarity but I do believe based on my own life experiences and our “culture” that there is a vast difference between those who are “of Christ” and those who are not.

    No, there isn’t, unless you are stacking the deck in such a way that only people that you find moral are true Scotsmen…er I mean Xians.

    ETA @ 100, short answer, yes. I believe it works both ways. I would liken that to our disciplining of our own children. We teach/train them up in the proper way to conduct themselves, if we are good parents we do so verbally and by example. We do so becaues we love them because it is the “right thing” to do and we expect them to obey because they know we love them.

    This doesn’t answer the question. The question is about divine command ethics. Of course we try to be good parents and teach our children right from wrong, but your question went to the heart of what is right or wrong and where do these concepts come from. In furtherance of that, we asked how your stance that it comes from god works, i.e. whether god says something is right/wrong and it becomes so, or if something is right/wrong and god simply knows which is which and passes it on.

  • hereigns15

    OMGF, here are some “real life examples” that have played out in my own life. Before Christ I did not treat my wife the same way I do now, the differences are quite vast. For starters I did not honor my wife in the bedroom and I’ll just leave it at that but what I did our “society” would not necessarily see as “bad”. I did not honor with the movies we watched, other naked people which is seen even in some PG-13 movies. Secondly, I’m more aware that love is NOT based solely on my “feelings” and it is NOT selfish nor does it seek it’s own. From the beginning of our marriage We fought like “cats and dogs” because one of us always had to “be right” but I’m happy to say that those days are gone since Christ and that comes from both of us understanding how to “lay down” our offenses and communicate our feelings without using verbal arrows from the Written Word. I esteem her needs higher than my own by helping around the house, helping out with shopping, cooking occassionally and not always pushing her to have sex. I could go on and on but believe this should suffice. I realize you may read my list and say well you simply learned how to treat a lady and you would be right in saying so but it goes deeper than that and no words can express the “totalality” of change within each of us.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    Modus, you should take over every thread on the internet. They would all be much funnier, which, when it comes down to it, is pretty much what I care most about. :D

  • hereigns15

    OMGF, in regards to “divine command ethics”, based on Scripture it would be God commands it and we (people) choose whether or not to obey the command. Does that answer the question?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    hereigns,
    Not to sound crass, because it’s nice that you and your wife seem to have learned how to live together in harmony, but I’m not seeing the relevancy or how this answers the questions put forth in your response #105.

    As for #107, a further question, for clarification: when we (people) choose whether or not to obey the command, are we always morally wrong if we choose not to obey?

  • hereigns15

    OMGF,
    “…why have Xians been unable to agree on what is moral since the inception of Xianity?”

    I believe I’ve answered this “type” of question a few times now but this simple answer is true, we humans are really good at making a mess of almost anything not excluding Christianity. As a matter of fact, I’d say without hesitation Christianity in America is one sick bed ridden religion which I have seen and experienced first hand. That however doesn’t make it any less “true”, it simply means “man” is messed up.

  • hereigns15

    OMGF,
    “…but I’m not seeing the relevancy”
    “…that you find moral are true Scotsmen…er I mean Xians.”

    First, you didn’t sound crass and thank you.

    Hmmm, I attempted to answer your question by providing my own morality “outside of Christ” and “within”, apparently I failed in my attempt.

  • hereigns15

    OMGF,
    “…are we always morally wrong if we choose not to obey?”

    Yes, but this sounds like a “trap” so that is not an emphatic “yes”:)

  • 2-D Man

    hereigns15, you might be able to get your message across more clearly if you tell us what, exactly, defines a person “of Christ” as opposed to one who is not.
    So far, from what I’ve been able to tell, your definition explicitly includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

    1. Encouraging and loving others
    2. Strong convictions – to the point of suffering state-sponsored persecution
    3. Belief in Yahweh
    3a. Belief that Yahweh is good
    4. Belief in Jesus
    4a. Belief that Jesus’ teachings are complete
    5. Belief in the Bible
    6. No objection to living in a theocracy
    7. Belief that life begins at conception
    8. Demanding equality for all persons under the law (you haven’t explicitly stated this one, so I’ll give it some leeway)
    9. Include Martin Luther

    Personal notes:
    I don’t think a coherent definition can be built from these points (if you have an objection to any of them, then let us all know, but this is what I’ve gotten from reading your comments)
    Points 4a and 7 are in conflict as are points 1 and 9, points 8 and 9, points 6 and 8.
    You’ll get a lot of leeway on point 2, since modern American Christians are not persecuted, state-sponsored or otherwise.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    As OMGF was saying, that doesn’t solve the problem. If God’s commands (and presumably anything he commands is his will, yes?) are morally right, then morality is completely arbitrary. If God commands you to hammer a kitten to death, then hammering a kitten to death is morally right.

    And now, I will showcase my psychic* powers by posting your response to that

    “God wouldn’t command that”

    Why not?

    “Because God is good”

    Good as in moral… which we just established is based entirely on God’s will. So, God by definition is good, anything he commands is good, and hammering a kitten is a moral obligation. QED

    *I’m not psychic, I’ve just had this conversation several times. Just assume we went through the above back-and-forth and object to my QED without going outside the bounds of theological voluntarism (aka divine command theory).

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I believe I’ve answered this “type” of question a few times now but this simple answer is true, we humans are really good at making a mess of almost anything not excluding Christianity.

    This sounds like nothing more than an appeal to a no true Xian argument as well as special pleading. What you are doing is defining (after the fact) what attributes you’d like to identify in a Xian and then claiming that anyone who doesn’t measure up isn’t a true Xian. Yet, so many others do the same thing and would label you as not a true Xian in the process.

    I don’t think we can ignore the pervasive ideas of slavery and other issues that were endemic to all Xians (or such a large majority at least as to be considered virtually all). Are you claiming that no true Xians existed before the abolition movement?

    That however doesn’t make it any less “true”, it simply means “man” is messed up.

    It doesn’t make it true either. What makes it true is empirical results – i.e. whether it is in alignment with reality, which it isn’t.

    Yes, but this sounds like a “trap” so that is not an emphatic “yes”:)

    You’re right, it was a trap. I doubt that many Xians now-a-days would think that god would want us to commit genocide, that it would be immoral, and that they would have a hard time following such a command. Yet, in the Bible, this is exactly what god commands, on multiple occasions. Was it moral then to commit genocide and not now, or does something gain moral weight simply because god says so? In either way, you’ve basically advocated moral relativity, not absolute morality.

  • hereigns15

    2-D,
    Overall fairly accurate list, I made my adjustments to your list, placed quotations around adjustments.
    1. Encouraging and loving others
    2. Strong convictions – to the point of suffering state-sponsored persecution
    3. Belief in Yahweh
    3a. Belief that Yahweh is “JUST”
    4. Belief in Jesus
    4a. Belief that Jesus’ teachings are complete
    5. Belief in the Bible
    6. No objection to living in a theocracy (when did I say I prefer a government ruled by religious authority?)
    7. Belief that life begins at conception
    8. “Would like to see” equality for all persons under the law (demanding sounded too strong)
    9. Include Martin Luther (I believe I clarified this point)

    themann – “If God’s commands (and presumably anything he commands is his will, yes?) are morally right, then morality is completely arbitrary. Good as in moral… which we just established is based entirely on God’s will. So, God by definition is good, anything he commands is good, and hammering a kitten is a moral obligation.”

    OMGF – “Yet, in the Bible, this is exactly what god commands, on multiple occasions. Was it moral then to commit genocide and not now, or does something gain moral weight simply because god says so?”

    Please allow me to respond to both of your comments at once since they tie together. God is just in all that He does. I’m certain this “good” or “just” God debate has been beaten to death by many on this site. Furthermore I don’t believe this can be an “honest” discussion IF neither of you are willing to allow the possibility that God does in fact exist.

    So, assuming one or both of you are willing to believe for a moment that He does in fact exist, is it possible that He does things (past and present) that are beyond our human/limited understanding? It has been said, I believe by Sir Issac Newton but please don’t quote me “that man may imagine things that are false but he can only understand things that are true. If the things be false the apprehension of them is not understanding” or something to that affect. Each of us must freely admit that we have a very limited understanding as we use only a small percentage, I believe the average human only uses 3-5% of his or her intellectual potential. Personally, when I read the “hotly debated topics” brought up by those who oppose the Bible I don’t interpret the passages the same way. We (humans) judge the God of the Bible based on our own “moral compass” which is broken without His help. I find it quite intriguing how two people can see something and each describe what they’ve seen very differently. There you have it, very likely I’ve not presented anything new to you and probably not nearly as sophisticated as you are accustomed to either.

    “This sounds like nothing more than an appeal…Yet, so many others do the same thing and would label you as not a true Xian in the process.”
    I don’t disagree.

    “Are you claiming that no true Xians existed before the abolition movement?”
    No, I don’t, I’ve not done an in-depth historical study on the matter but I have no reason to doubt there were Christians who fought against slavery before the movement.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    hereigns
    So are you saying that genocide, stoning rape victims, child sacrifice etc is actually moral, it’s just that our poor mortal brains can’t understand why?

  • hereigns15

    steve Bowen,
    No, I am not saying that.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    is it possible that He does things (past and present) that are beyond our human/limited understanding?

    Each of us must freely admit that we have a very limited understanding as we use only a small percentage, I believe the average human only uses 3-5% of his or her intellectual potential. Personally, when I read the “hotly debated topics” brought up by those who oppose the Bible I don’t interpret the passages the same way. We (humans) judge the God of the Bible based on our own “moral compass” which is broken without His help.

    Well in that case I’m not sure what to make of this.

  • hereigns15

    Before we go too far into accusing God of being unloving or unjust let us first consider what Americans have done to the unborn for the sake of “pro choice”. All the statistics I could find show that 6-7% of all abortions are due to risk of maternal and/or fetal health or due to rape or incest. Since Roe vs Wade over 50 million babies have been aborted which means over 45 million babies have been aborted that do not fall into the previously mentioned categories, quite sobering. The amazing part is that these are only the reported statstics since 1973 how many more go unreported and how about over the past 200+ years. Alarming numbers if you ask me. These numbers pale in comparison to the number of people killed by God. We haven’t even discussed the number of murders, rapes and other crimes during the same time span.

    But God gets attacked for killing “all the innocent people and even children” in the Flood and other OT events. While Scripture tells us no of us are innocent, we all fall short of His glory. As we dig deeper into flood we clearly see what brought judgment on the people prior to the Flood of Noah’s day.

    Genesis 6:5
    Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Now that is a powerful statement, “…wickedness of man was great on the earth…every intent…was evil continually”. Every intent and thought was evil all the time, one can only imagine the evil that must have been going at that time. And yet God was slow to anger, He showed much patience as He called Noah to be a “preacher of righteousness” and yet the people still refused to heed his warnings and instead they mocked him. They continued carrying out their wicked actions. God also provided the people a way of escape via the Ark and yet no one else outside of Noah’s family entered. The means of salvation, preaching of righteousness, and God’s patience were all there but they refused to listen and fell into judgment.

    Deuteronomy 12
    “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’

    Eccl. 7:20
    Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

    On the other hand we have Jesus who came to the earth and never raised a hand to anyone including those who mocked Him while He lay dying on the cross. Jesus went a step further and prayed for His enemies by asking the Father to forgive them. Jesus showed great compassion and long-suffering for people in spite of the obvious difficult circumstances, which is the heart of God.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    2-D Man “(Note the lack of attribution.)”
    You’ve got to work on that bit.

    hereigns15 “I simply asked the question, WHICH source(s) does the Atheist derive his/her morality from?”
    The same ones you do. We just don’t misattribute the beliefs and stories of others, gathered together in the “right” book, to be any greater than earlier or later beliefs that didn’t make it in there.

    “Here is a small sampling of Christians who fought against slavery, Communinsism, religious persecution, equal rights and/or whose writtings have helped countless people understand our world much more clearly. St. Augustine, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Pandita Ramabai, Watchman Nee, Martin Luther King and C.S. Lewis.”
    You’re damn right that falls into the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. “True Scotsmen” end up consisently being the guys who were (eventually) on the winning side. Amusingly, this means that True Christians are now, as before, pretty consistently the disenfranchised “hippies” (meaning that groups like RC and SBC are not, and can’t, be True Christian…or would if I stretched my simply hypothesis to the point of the Genetic Fallacy).
    (I should note, too, that MLK was persistently dogged by accusations of communism. Something about some of the company he kept).
    And, it should be pointed out that the SBC’s biblical case for slavery was stronger than, say, the Quaker’s case against it.
    “I share in your frustration with some who call themselves Christian.”
    My definition follows the “fruits” concept. Bad fruit, not really Christian. Lots, thinking they’re doing the will of God, fail that simple test (and, if they’re poor at “fruting” themselves, they remain blissfully ignorant of how often their leaders fail. Unless the leader turns out to be a homo. Then he’s out of the in-group faster than a fundy can quote Leviticus).

    “Atheist…Atheist…atheist…Atheist…”
    You’re not doing it consistently, so I haven’t mentioned this before, but “atheism” isn’t capitalized.

    “.but I do believe based on my own life experiences and our “culture” that there is a vast difference between those who are “of Christ” and those who are not.”
    Now, can you tell the leaders (and a bunch of the followers) of the Christian Right that? They don’t much listen to us, and we (and, as usual, I speak for all atheists) are getting a little tired of having to debunk things like “homosexuality=pedophilia” or push the boulder of, say, civil rights for gays or evolution in biology class or comprehensive sex-ed in sex-ed class up the steep incline of their willful ignorance.

    “For starters I did not honor my wife in the bedroom…”
    Pics or GTFO! (Sorry, force of habit)

    “I did not honor with the movies we watched, other naked people which is seen even in some PG-13 movies.”
    Nudity is not a sin. I came into this world naked, by gum, and God willing I’ll go out the same way!

    “I esteem her needs higher than my own by helping around the house, helping out with shopping, cooking occassionally and not always pushing her to have sex.”
    You need Jesus to do that? You know that every other religion has followers with the same story? Heck even those dirty ex-theist atheists have stories like that.

    “Modus, you should take over every thread on the internet.”
    I’m trying to but have you seen the internet? It’s enormous!

    “They would all be much funnier, which, when it comes down to it, is pretty much what I care most about. :D”
    As long as you notice the very real points scattered in there.

    “God is just in all that He does.”
    If God commands His own to do Y, but proscribes, later, the same act of Y, then God’s morality is arbitrary. Even ignoring completely Euthyphro dilemma/Divine command theory, that simple fact makes God’s “unchanging, absolute and objective” morality none of those things. “Good” is whatever God commands at the time, which is divine moral/societal relativism.
    “Furthermore I don’t believe this can be an “honest” discussion IF neither of you are willing to allow the possibility that God does in fact exist.”
    I can’t deny the possibility that God or gods exist. All the ones so far have knocked themselves out of the race (No six day Creation, no literal Adam & Eve, no literal worldwide Flood, no Babel, no Exodus, for example. As for the NT, ignoring that the Tanakh’s God is already on the sidelines, Jesus’ lineage to David to Adam & “This generation shall not pass…” for starters).

    “So, assuming one or both of you are willing to believe for a moment that He does in fact exist, is it possible that He does things (past and present) that are beyond our human/limited understanding?”
    Assuming that’s true, you’ve just traded “God is good” for “Good is mysterious”. The latter is perfectly compatible with an evil or incompetent God (or gods), or no gods at all.

    “We (humans) judge the God of the Bible based on our own ‘moral compass’ which is broken without His help.”
    Judging the bible with the thing that the bible says is broken and that the bible says it can treat because the bible says so. There’s a good logical fallacy there. I don’t know what it is, but like opening the fridge and smelling rotten, it’s in there somewhere.

    “There you have it, very likely I’ve not presented anything new to you and probably not nearly as sophisticated as you are accustomed to either.”
    There are no “sophisticated” apologetics. There’s “complicated distraction of some kind” and there’s philosophical bafflegab. Thick books and long words don’t make bad logic any less bad (that Protestant’s rapture theology (1730′s for the spark, 1820′s for the flame) and RC’s immaculate conception (started in the 1400′s, made dogma in the 1800′s) are both remarkably recent should tell you something about how theology isn’t “glass darkly”, it’s “stumbling around in the dark, insisting that your flashlight really is working”). William Lane Craig is a smart man, but his arguments for God aren’t any better than your neighbour’s (note that I couldn’t debate him. He’s spent the better part of his life making confident sounding arguments that fit into seven minutes; arguments that that far longer than that to rebut, and that commonly aren’t rebuttable with that level of zealotry).
    There’s a reason religion appear, split and multiply (and keep doing so).

    “No, I don’t, I’ve not done an in-depth historical study on the matter but I have no reason to doubt there were Christians who fought against slavery before the movement.”
    Yes. Yes there were. For the most part they were called “slaves”.

    “While Scripture tells us no of us are innocent, we all fall short of His glory.”
    “A poor workman blames his (or in this case “His”) tools.”

    “…prior to the Flood of Noah’s day.”
    The what?!

    “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”
    Indeed there isn’t. Unfortunately, the evolutionary explanation (that “you” is built from of a cobbling of everything that lead to you, resulting in a conflicting, conflicted, wonderful mess of competing parts).

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    This will be lengthy and a bit technical.

    Please allow me to respond to both of your comments at once since they tie together. God is just in all that He does. I’m certain this “good” or “just” God debate has been beaten to death by many on this site. Furthermore I don’t believe this can be an “honest” discussion IF neither of you are willing to allow the possibility that God does in fact exist.

    My whole thought experiment pre-supposes that God exists, which you have clearly failed to grasp. The experiment says: “Presume that God exists and that divine command theory is correct. If God commanded X, then X is moral. You might object that God wouldn’t do that because he is good, but we have established that, by DCT, “good” and “just” and “right” are determined solely by God’s commands. Saying that God is just means that God follows God’s commands. This is meaningless, and leaves morality as completely arbitrary. Therefore, DCT fails. QED”

    So, assuming one or both of you are willing to believe for a moment that He does in fact exist

    See above

    is it possible that He does things (past and present) that are beyond our human/limited understanding?

    No.

    Ok, fine, I’ll expand. This is part of the bullshit goalpost moving that proponents of DCT and God in general use all the time, and it pisses me off. See, God’s commands determine morality, but God’s commands are beyond our understanding? No. Morality can be rationally determined.

    <blockquote?It has been said, I believe by Sir Issac Newton but please don't quote me "that man may imagine things that are false but he can only understand things that are true. If the things be false the apprehension of them is not understanding" or something to that affect. Each of us must freely admit that we have a very limited understanding as we use only a small percentage, I believe the average human only uses 3-5% of his or her intellectual potential.
    Oh man, did you really just repeat one of the biggest myths of our time? Hilarious. I’ll also add that Newton’s quotation applies just as easily in the reverse.

    Personally, when I read the “hotly debated topics” brought up by those who oppose the Bible I don’t interpret the passages the same way. We (humans) judge the God of the Bible based on our own “moral compass” which is broken without His help.

    See, it was good when God ordered the Israelites to kill every man, woman and boy, and take the virgin girls sexually. Because our moral compass is broken.

    I find it quite intriguing how two people can see something and each describe what they’ve seen very differently. There you have it, very likely I’ve not presented anything new to you and probably not nearly as sophisticated as you are accustomed to either.

    No, it’s about the level of sophistication I’m used to. To be honest, the more “sophisticated” arguments are less honest and even stupider, so don’t feel insulted.

    Before we go too far into accusing God of being unloving or unjust let us first consider what Americans have done to the unborn for the sake of “pro choice”. All the statistics I could find show that 6-7% of all abortions are due to risk of maternal and/or fetal health or due to rape or incest. Since Roe vs Wade over 50 million babies have been aborted which means over 45 million babies have been aborted that do not fall into the previously mentioned categories, quite sobering. The amazing part is that these are only the reported statstics since 1973 how many more go unreported and how about over the past 200+ years. Alarming numbers if you ask me. These numbers pale in comparison to the number of people killed by God. We haven’t even discussed the number of murders, rapes and other crimes during the same time span.

    I’m considering the truce broken, since you’re going to harp on this. Pretty chart from Guttmacher, who’s statistics and research is invaluable to understanding this issue. For those who don’t care to click over: 88.7% of all abortions performed in the United States are performed by week 12. 98.9% are done by week 16. For comparison, the fetus doesn’t obtain the ability to move until week 20, and its brain doesn’t develop the ability to perceive its environment until week 26 at the earliest. As the pregnancy progresses, the percentage of abortions that are done medically rapidly reach 100%.

    But God gets attacked for killing “all the innocent people and even children” in the Flood and other OT events.

    If you can’t see the difference between the moral worth of a 12 week old fetus and the birthed, I don’t even know what to say. It boggles my mind.

    While Scripture tells us no of us are innocent, we all fall short of His glory. As we dig deeper into flood we clearly see what brought judgment on the people prior to the Flood of Noah’s day.

    You know that the Flood didn’t happen, right? I mean, it’s a myth. Did. Not. Happen. Also, just because we fall short of “his glory” means he can do whatever he wants to us? Including kill us? And this is morally right?

    Genesis 6:5
    Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Now that is a powerful statement, “…wickedness of man was great on the earth…every intent…was evil continually”. Every intent and thought was evil all the time, one can only imagine the evil that must have been going at that time. And yet God was slow to anger, He showed much patience as He called Noah to be a “preacher of righteousness” and yet the people still refused to heed his warnings and instead they mocked him. They continued carrying out their wicked actions. God also provided the people a way of escape via the Ark and yet no one else outside of Noah’s family entered. The means of salvation, preaching of righteousness, and God’s patience were all there but they refused to listen and fell into judgment.

    So God is a Knight Templar?

    Deuteronomy 12
    “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’

    Eccl. 7:20
    Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

    Therefore God can commit any atrocity upon you he wishes. That’s what being perfectly just and good means!

    On the other hand we have Jesus who came to the earth and never raised a hand to anyone including those who mocked Him while He lay dying on the cross. Jesus went a step further and prayed for His enemies by asking the Father to forgive them. Jesus showed great compassion and long-suffering for people in spite of the obvious difficult circumstances, which is the heart of God.

    I love the Christian who believes the hold-hands-and-sing caricature of Jesus. It’s so cute!

  • lpetrich

    hereigns15, why don’t you look at the defenders of US slavery and segregation? They considered themselves good Xians, following what the Bible teaches about the races. Like black people having the curse of Ham on them and God mandating separation of the races.

    As to MLK Jr., consider:

    Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Christian?
    Martin Luther King Jr.’s Works EXPOSED!

    In his seminary years, MLK Jr. wrote a paper called “What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection”; he went on to argue that those notions were something other than literal history that one could watch from a time machine.

    Does hereigns15 consider that to be True Xianity?

  • 2-D Man

    hereigns15, first off:

    They continued carrying out their wicked actions. God also provided the people a way of escape via the Ark and yet no one else outside of Noah’s family entered. The means of salvation, preaching of righteousness, and God’s patience were all there but they refused to listen and fell into judgment.

    Please don’t threaten us; it’s irritating.

    More importantly, with regards to that list I made. The whole reason I did that was to point out that your definition of ‘Christian’ is self-contradictory. I made this point earlier, but you seem to have missed it (but you have agreed with these premises):

    4a. Belief that Jesus’ teachings are complete

    7. Belief that life begins at conception

    Now, I’m no biblical scholar, but I’m pretty sure that ‘life begins at conception’ was not one of Jesus’ teachings – someone had to augment them to get that moral imperative in there. One, or both, of these two has to be false in the case of every person, so I’m forced to conclude that there just isn’t anyone that fits your definition of a Christian – including you.
    In fact, you didn’t address any of the contradictions that I pointed out in my previous post. (You did fairly object to my declaring you lack of objection to theocracy, so I’ll discuss that now.)

    With regards to point #6, about the theocracy, I really should have made it read “6. It is not necessary to object to a Christian theocratic government.” This comes from this statement of yours:

    Most Christians that I personally know do NOT desire to live in a world full of it’s own world views enforced!

    which implies that there are people you’d consider Christian who do desire to live in a world where their own world view is enforced (Martin Luther, for instance – note that it is only necessary that you call him a Christian, your (dis)agreement with his treatment of Jewish people is irrelevant in this case).

    It might seem unfair for me to bring up single sentences from posts several days old, but when you throw up requirements for Christianity that run contrary to each other, it really does seem like you haven’t given this a lot of thought and I’d like to help you remedy that.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    So, assuming one or both of you are willing to believe for a moment that He does in fact exist, is it possible that He does things (past and present) that are beyond our human/limited understanding?

    Sorry to pile on, but you’ve just tripped one of my pet peeves. You’re trying to have it both ways. You want to claim that god is good and that you understand that he’s good somehow. But, when it’s pointed out to you that god has committed genocide and it’s indefensible, you claim that we can’t understand god. Sorry, but you can’t simultaneously claim that you have enough information to know that god is good while also claiming not to have enough information to understand god’s goodness, or evil in this case.

    But God gets attacked for killing “all the innocent people and even children” in the Flood and other OT events. While Scripture tells us no of us are innocent, we all fall short of His glory.

    Is it our fault that we were created as fallible beings that necessarily fall short of the glory of god? Is it fair to judge us to a perfect, and perfectly impossible, standard if we are necessarily incapable of reaching it?

    On the other hand we have Jesus who came to the earth and never raised a hand to anyone including those who mocked Him while He lay dying on the cross.

    Except for the time that he fashioned a whip and attacked the people in the temple, or when he was doling out verbal abuse at others?

    And, are you comparing us to this mythologized version of Jesus that you believe in? Remember, Jesus was part of god, and therefore would not really have been human. You’re still mixing apples and oranges. If you claim that Jesus was fully human, then you’re admitting that humans can be sinless on their own, as it has happened at least once. Therefore, not everyone would need Jesus in order to be sinless and hence wouldn’t need saving, right?

  • hereigns15

    To all, first I sincerely appreciate each of you taking the time to have this very intriguing conversation with me. I see that each of you are very passionate about the various topics that have been discussed. I also appreciate the respect most have shown me inspite of the fact that I’m in here “kicking up some dust” so-to-speak. To Modus, I mean this in a kind way, you’re nothing if not funny, I appreciate your humor.

    Your recent comments are quite lengthy and I could see us spending days, weeks, or even years discussing. I will attempt to shorten my next reply and will do my best respond to all the points. Hopefully you will understand it will not be immediate as I have several topics and people to respond to.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “I will attempt to shorten my next reply and will do my best respond to all the points.”
    Reply length isn’t much of an issue. It’s the content that counts.

  • ildi

    Oh, lest I forget this one, h15:

    you mean that in jest, right? Our schools and public offices have it’s share of atheists.

    How many public officials have you heard of who are avowed atheists? Not too many, considering this Effort to Remove Atheist From City Council: Conservatives Cite N.C. Constitution as Disqualifying Officeholders Who “Deny the Being of Almighty God”

  • hereigns15

    Modus,
    I couldn’t agree more but you guys (multi-gender comment) have laid it on thick this go around. Come to think of it…was that the intent…hmmmm.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “I couldn’t agree more but you guys (multi-gender comment) have laid it on thick this go around.”
    First, this is one of the most civil atheist sites on the internet.
    Second, the SAf/o/aT (Standard Arguments for/on/about Theism) and obvious logical fallacies (admittedly, it’s easier to spot them in others than it is in one’s self. Everybody knows that, even the chimpanzees, and the Founding Fathers enshrined it in the Constitution, and anyone who denies only does so because they’re stupid and biased against logic*1) still get a rise out of us*2. You’ve used a bunch of them.
    Third, ignorance (not in the pejorative sense) about atheism/secular morality/science also gets a rise out of us*2. Your reception here was far more cordial than the one you’d have received had you stumbled in here clearly arguing in bad faith (too common among crass biblical literalists) or mistaking for declaration for fact (too common among the modern American conservative). Instead, it appears to be mostly you not knowing what the positions/opinions of the “other” are.
    Fourth, you didn’t think it would be easy, did you? Some here used to be theists and as such have been on both sides of the argument. In some cases, from what I understand, it was the paucity and bafflegab of the theist arguments (or the willful mendacity of the big “C” Creationist ones) that started them down the road to more liberal variants of Christianity, deism, atheism and the like. The rest of us are just atheists because we really hate the God that we know in our hearts exists and we want to live in sin and debauchery and not be judged for it*3.

    *1. Argument from Popularity, Argument from Nature, Argument from Tradition, Ad hominem & Appeal to Motive, probably. Ha!
    *2. Note that I continue to, as usual, speak for all atheists.
    *3. Not really.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I’ll say this: HR15 has carried out is side of the conversation with a rare civility, despite Modus’s best efforts.

    He must be worth something.

  • hereigns15

    Modus, OMGF, Maynard, 2-D Man, lpetrich, etc…
    I started compiling my very lengthy “reply list” when I had this thought…each of us, deists and atheists alike, have the same information at our finger tips and yet each of us have our own life experiences, understanding, perceptions (both real and false) and yet each of us rarely, if ever, 100% agree on any one topic so it should come as no surprise that we have the extremes we have today regarding “religion” and all its details. So I could send my reply to all of your comments but it would appear futile if the following are true of your understanding:

    1) Evolution is full proof based on scientific evidence, it is a fact.
    2) C14, Potassium-Argon and Uranium-lead dating are reliable post 4,000 years.
    3) The earth is without a shread of doubt over 40 billion years old.
    4) The God of the Bible is 100% a man-made lie.
    5) It therefore follows that Christianity is also 100% a man-made lie.
    6) Jesus is basically a myth, even if he “may have” actually walk the earth.

    Feel free to modify/correct/add to the list above.

    Thumpalumpacus,
    Thank you, let me know when you figure out what that “something” is…) I see no reason to be offended by Modus, I understand where he’s coming from.

    BTW, that is a very clever User ID.

  • hereigns15

    Modus,
    “First, this is one of the most civil atheist sites on the internet.”
    Based on your somewhat defensive response it appears my “laid it on thick” comment was received in an unintentional negative tone, my apologies.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Sigh, looks like someone’s been reading Answers In Genesis*…

    each of us, deists and atheists alike, have the same information at our finger tips and yet each of us have our own life experiences, understanding, perceptions (both real and false) and yet each of us rarely, if ever, 100% agree on any one topic so it should come as no surprise that we have the extremes we have today regarding “religion” and all its details.

    Therefore reality is false. Wait, that doesn’t follow from the premises at all!

    So I could send my reply to all of your comments but it would appear futile if the following are true of your understanding

    Sure, you could attempt to refute our arguments with facts/evidence or logical arguments, but since we don’t accept your (false) conclusions (that you present as premises), you go for the classic combo: Golden Mean Fallacy coupled with an appeal that we agree on the facts but reach different conclusions.

    1) Evolution is full proof based on scientific evidence, it is a fact.

    Yes. Why, do you not consider the modern synthesis of neo-darwinism to be adequate in explaining life on earth?

    2) C14, Potassium-Argon and Uranium-lead dating are reliable post 4,000 years.

    Yep. Why, do you have an objection to the reams of scientific data supporting that?

    3) The earth is without a shread of doubt over 40 billion years old.

    Response 1: Uh, no. Without a shred of doubt it’s younger than that. 10 times younger.
    Response 2: Assuming you meant “4 billion”, well it’s closer to 4.5 billion, although it could be somewhat older and it went through a “reforming” process around that time. Why do you ask? Do you doubt the geological, chemical, and physical evidence supporting this fact?

    4) The God of the Bible is 100% a man-made lie.

    That’s harsh. No, not a “lie”, anymore than the Greek gods, the Roman gods, the Nordic gods, the Hindu gods, etc etc ad nasuem, are “lies”. Stories and myths, yes; attempts to understand the universe hypothesizing divine intervention, yes. Lies? Nah.

    5) It therefore follows that Christianity is also 100% a man-made lie.

    See above.

    6) Jesus is basically a myth, even if he “may have” actually walk the earth.

    Essentially, yeah, in the same way that either Vishnu was a myth, the Buddha was a myth, or the Pharaohs were myths (that is, ranging from “did not exist” to “did exist but were not demigods”).

    *From AiG’s website: “Just as a person wearing red glasses perceives the world differently than a person wearing clear, prescription lenses, so evolutionists “see” the world differently than creationists. We have the same facts. But what we make of those facts is colored by our worldview. Thus, creationists and evolutionists interpret the same facts differently. This point cannot be overstated.” This is also a claim used by the Creation “Museum” (see picture of one of the signs here).

  • Maynard

    Does Ebon have to actually sign something for Dembski to give hereigns15 full credit?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    hereigns,
    No one here is saying that no god could possibly exist. Disbelief in god is not the same thing as outright rejection.

    It should also be pointed out what I said earlier in this thread. The reason we accept evolution is because of the evidence. The reason you reject it is because of your assumptions. These are assumptions that we don’t have at all. The rational position and the one best able to interpret the world is the one that starts with fewer assumptions, which would be our position. You start with the assumption of god and then form everything from that assumption, including your “interpretation” of facts. This is called begging the question. We do not do this. We start with a blank slate and simply let the world speak for itself.

    By using our method, we can actually learn about the world. Using your method leads to misinterpretation of facts in order to force them to agree with you, and ignoring all the facts that can’t be shoe-horned into your preconceived conclusions. The two positions (ours and yours) are not on equal footing. In fact, I consider that you’re basically conceding your position when you resort to the above, which really is nothing more than saying, “Well, I know my position is untenable, but so is your position because I believe that you are doing what I’m doing.” The reason this doesn’t work is because we aren’t doing what you are doing. And, even if it were true, then you’d only be admitting that none of us have a position that works. It’s the scorched Earth method of debate.

    Maynard: That’s some funny shiz.

  • Nes

    Not to ruin the joke, but for those wondering what Maynard is talking about

  • 2-D Man

    hereigns15,

    So I could send my reply to all of your comments but it would appear futile if the following are true of your understanding: [insert rudimentary understanding of skepticism]

    Argh! No. That is not true at all. I haven’t attacked god-belief in this thread! I haven’t referred to evolution. I haven’t referred to dating techniques. I haven’t even referred to Christianity itself. In fact, my posts have had nothing to do with whether Christianity is true or false; I just want to know what it is (and more pertinently, what it is not).

    (Do note that I have a very good idea of what it is, having been a Christian. But you’ve said that I’m wrong, fair enough, it wouldn’t be a first. I’m open to correction, but I will not accept a definition which contradicts itself.)

  • hereigns15

    Correction, I meant to say the earth is over 4.0 billion years not 40 billion.

    1) Who invented the various dating “techniques”?
    Answer, humans. Have you ever met a man/woman/child who hasn’t told atleast one lie?

    Check out what three different evolutionists have said…

    Evolutionist F.B. Jueneman in Industrial Research and Development stated:
    “The age of our globe is presently thought to be some 4.5 billion years, based on radio-decay rates of uranium and thorium. Such “confirmation” may be shortlived, as nature is not to be discovered quite so easily. There has been in recent years the horrible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences. And this could mean
    that the atomic clocks are reset during some global disaster, and events which brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 65 million years ago, but rather, within the age and memory of man.”

    Evolutionist William Stansfield, Ph.D., California Polytech State stated:
    “It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological “clock.”

    2) If evolution is a fact, then why is it called a theory?
    It is well within my reasoning that “man” would invent such a theory to disprove God built on his/her own incorrect and/or false assumptions.

    Even the most ardent atheist must admit that the evolution theory has the following unexplainable breakdowns; nothing times nothing is nothing so where did the elements come from that caused the big-bang theory? Secondly, Charles Darwin stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have been possibly formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” The entire human body seems to fit this quite nicely but let’s just take the incredibly complex eye as an example. If just one of it’s functions was missing and/or removed it would render the eye completely useless. How did the eye evolve when all functions must be present at once in order to function properly?

    Charles Darwin stated:
    “To suppose that the eye could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, aburd in the highest degree.” He obviously later professed such an absurdity to be possible.

  • hereigns15

    2-D Man,
    You are correct. But are you saying you don’t follow the logic that I presented?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    1) Who invented the various dating “techniques”?
    Answer, humans. Have you ever met a man/woman/child who hasn’t told atleast one lie?

    Really? Are you going on record as saying that scientists are intentionally lying to all of us in claiming the Earth is as old as it is?

    2) If evolution is a fact, then why is it called a theory?
    It is well within my reasoning that “man” would invent such a theory to disprove God built on his/her own incorrect and/or false assumptions.

    Sigh. You don’t seem to understand what “theory” means in scientific language. A theory is a well supported collection of facts. Common descent is a fact. Evolution is a fact. The means of how it happened are the theory behind it. There are gaps in our theoretical knowledge, but not in knowing that it happened…at least to as much certainty as anyone can have about anything.

    Further, it was not “invented” in order to “disprove god” and it is not built on assumptions. This is what I keep telling you. Science is the process of empirical study that does not rely on assumptions. And, there’s no reason why one must jettison the idea of a god even when accepting that evolution is true.

    Even the most ardent atheist must admit that the evolution theory has the following unexplainable breakdowns; nothing times nothing is nothing so where did the elements come from that caused the big-bang theory?

    There are many, many problems with this statement. The first, and most obvious is that evolution has nothing to say about the formation of the universe. It is literally outside the scope of the theory, so it can’t possibly be a hole. It would be like if you said the theory of gravity has a hole in it because it doesn’t explain why you like to eat certain foods.

    Secondly, you don’t know that there was “nothing” “before” the big bang. In fact, to speak of “before” the big bang is really nonsense, considering that time is an attribute of this universe. It’s irresponsible to simply assert that there was nothing and then there was something.

    Secondly, Charles Darwin stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have been possibly formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” The entire human body seems to fit this quite nicely but let’s just take the incredibly complex eye as an example. If just one of it’s functions was missing and/or removed it would render the eye completely useless. How did the eye evolve when all functions must be present at once in order to function properly?

    This is just plain wrong. In fact, if you kept reading after the passage you cite, you’d find that Darwin explained a process for eyes to evolve. The evolution of the eye is well understood and well within the powers of RM + NS.

    What you are trying to refer to is Behe’s idea of irreducible complexity, which so far has yielded zero actual examples and is pretty handily shown to be a dead end. Something could indeed be IC and still have evolved. For instance, if the function of a part is co-opted to a new function, or if a part strips away all un-necessary pieces until it becomes IC, we would end with an IC system that evolved.

    “To suppose that the eye could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, aburd in the highest degree.” He obviously later professed such an absurdity to be possible.

    In fact, this quote directly proceeds the passage where he explains how eye evolution could occur. It’s a writing style where you set up the objection and then knock it down. It’s precisely what Darwin did there. I suggest you actually read some more of what he wrote…but don’t stop there, because evolution has progressed in the 150+ years since he wrote his book. You should start with the links provided to you above by themann1086.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Anyone who continues to quote mine Darwin about the human eye after it has already been shown time and time again to have been an example, to quote OMGF above “where you set up the objection and then knock it down” instantly flushes their credibility down the toilet.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    The full quote from Stansfield:

    It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological “clock.” The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists, but their overall interpretation supports the concept of a long history of geological evolution.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Hereigns15
    I know I’m going to reiterate what others have said, and frankly normally I wouldn’t bother. But do you actually understand how many creationist cliché’s you’ve parroted in the last few posts.
    When you said this

    Your recent comments are quite lengthy and I could see us spending days, weeks, or even years discussing. I will attempt to shorten my next reply and will do my best respond to all the points. Hopefully you will understand it will not be immediate as I have several topics and people to respond to.

    the cynic in me assumed you were going to speak to your pastor or similar for answers. In the event however themann1086 nailed it and you went to one of the least scientifically literate sources available.
    Look, there is no great scientific conspiracy. The very process of science and peer-review makes this scenario unfeasible. Also the fact that multiple dating methods from dendrology to carbon dating to …whatever damn isotope you wanna name, all overlap and correspond with mutation rates and bio-molecular data which overlap with ice cores and geological strata and archaeology and … (damn run out of ellipses).
    I won’t belabour the “evolution is only a theory” thing. You got that now, right?
    Seriously though. You cannot debate here from a scientific standpoint unless you want to acknowledge the science as it actually is, not the straw man creationists like to present. Most of us here are scientifically literate; some of us have an excellent philosophy background and we are all competent theologists (goes with the territory).
    Up to this point you seem to have produced a sincere if refutable argument for your position. Why do you suddenly present us with stock creationist propaganda?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I always find it interesting how Bible Thumpers describe or allude to their god construct in monarchical terms, with references to “the Lord”, “He Reigns”, depictions of sitting like a king on a throne rendering judgment on his subjects and so forth. It’s as if the people who ginned up the biblical god basically looked at the highest authorities they knew of on Earth, rulers of mighty kingdoms, and then took it to the next level by assuming that an all powerful being created the universe and ascribed the characteristics of earthly kings to it.

  • hereigns15

    Sigh…I must admit at this point I’m mentally wore out. I will also admit that I may have used one or two old creationist cliche’s :) during my posts but turn-around is fair play as many of you have as well.

    “Are you going on record as saying that scientists are intentionally lying to all of us in claiming the Earth is as old as it is?” Nope, I’d have to be God in order to say any scientist is doing anything intentionally. The point I was trying to make is we (humans) are prone to error.

    “You don’t seem to understand what “theory” means in scientific language.” Come’on give me some credit here. The point again is that humans make errors and as OMGF has pointed out repeatedly this is likely due to my inclination that God does in-fact exist.

    “It’s irresponsible to simply assert that there was nothing and then there was something.” So if there was “something”, where and why did the something appear? Sorry but this is a major disconnect for me…I can’t fathome anything simply magically appearing.

    “I suggest you actually read some more of what he wrote…but don’t stop there, because evolution has progressed in the 150+ years since he wrote his book.” Guess I’m gonna have to take you up on that.

    Steve Bowen,
    “Most of us here are scientifically literate; some of us have an excellent philosophy background and we are all competent theologists (goes with the territory).
    Yep, I kinda figured that one out. :)

    “Up to this point you seem to have produced a sincere if refutable argument for your position. Why do you suddenly present us with stock creationist propaganda?”
    Don’t what to say…I’m just throwing stuff out there to see where everybody’s at I guess. From this blog I have a clearer understanding of where most of you are coming from and that is a good thing. Hopefully I’ve been able impart something positive to one or more of you.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    BTW, you just know that if any of the dating techniques supported a young Earth, the Creationists would be citing it as proof that the Bible is right. But because the evidence does not support a young Earth, they respond with “well the dating techniques are faulty and how do you know evidence is the best way to find the truth anyway?”

  • 2-D Man

    hereigns15,
    Ooh, you leave so much low-hanging fruit, but I’ll refrain for now.

    [A]re you saying you don’t follow the logic that I presented?

    Well… no. First, you didn’t present logic, none that I recognized, anyway. Are you sure that you remembered to hit the ‘Submit Comment’ button? I have forgotten to do that before.
    And as far as my posts go, I am not demanding much in the way of logic; I’m demanding an assertion, a definition. The logic part comes in to deal with any contradictions that may arise. Now, you are trying my patience, but I’ll present it one more time, more formally as a chain of reasoning:

    P1: Christians believe that Jesus’ teachings are complete.
    P1a: Christians believe that all alterations to Jesus’ teachings will be done by imperfect entities.
    P1b: Christians believe that an imperfect entity’s alterations to Jesus’ teachings makes them morally inferior to their unaltered state.
    P2: Christians believe that it is morally superior to consider a fertilized human egg ‘our neighbour’ when applying the golden rule.
    C1: Anyone who does not believe premises 1 and 2 is not a Christian.
    P3: Jesus’ teachings do not include anything about fertilized human eggs, much less that fertilized eggs must be considered in applications of the golden rule.
    C2: To say that ‘life begins at conception’ is part of Jesus’ teachings, is to alter said teachings.
    C3: If it is morally superior to believe ‘life begins at conception’ in addition to Jesus’ teachings, Jesus’ teachings are incomplete.
    C4: Christians believe that Jesus’ teachings are morally superior if altered by a fallen entity, or they are are incomplete.
    C4a: It is impossible to believe premises 1 and 2 simultaneously, therefore Christians can not exist.
    P4: Christians exist.
    C5: P1 or P2 is false (not exclusively).

    Now where you can dispute this is by declaring one of my premises false (Christians don’t believe that Jesus’ teachings are complete, for example, or Christians don’t exist). Or pointing to a conclusion that doesn’t follow from the premises or a previous conclusion (a non-sequitur). Does this make my dispute with your definition of a Christian more clear?

  • ildi

    Sorry but this is a major disconnect for me…I can’t fathome anything simply magically appearing.

    Damn, those irony meters should really come with a warranty or a warning or terms of use or something.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15, remember this? “Your reception here was far more cordial than the one you’d have received had you stumbled in here clearly arguing in bad faith (too common among crass biblical literalists) or mistaking for declaration for fact (too common among the modern American conservative).”
    Now you get to see the other side of it.

    Sheesh, I make a nice comment and then you go all kook on me. I mean…
    1. F.B. Jueneman? He was one of the cadre who supported Velikovsky’s nutty theories (one of which, that objects of sufficient mass, like planets and our moon, would emit RF, proved correct. Saturn belching out Venus and causing a literal, worldwide flood, not so much). People that are trying to force facts to fit myths mangle facts. That said, yes, science isn’t 100%. It thrives on doubt. It can be wrong (and is, going from wrong to less wrong to steadily finer grades of a theory’s “incomplete but good enough for now, pending new data” models of things). That’s not a weakness, that’s a strength.
    2. “If evolution is a fact, then why is it called a theory?” Theories are the narrative that link together facts. Semantics can be problematic, as both fact and theory are different “on the street” than they are “in the lab”. This may fall under the “ignorance (in the non-pejorative sense)” for you that I mentioned earlier. Or it would have, except that it’s surrounded by stuff like…
    3. “Charles Darwin stated: “To suppose that the eye…” which, as has been explained, is a quotemine of the worst order.
    Going by the obvious sources of your quotemines, you’re running with a bad crowd. Some know the facts and the theories, but choose to ignore or twist them because they conflict with heartfelt beliefs (or, more cynically, they’re in it for the money and the power). Most follow of the remainder, knowing nothing of the facts and the theories beyond what little they were taught [poorly, probably] in highschool simply follow the first group because the first group is a part of the “in-group”, and pass that on as though it was gospel (to steal a phrase). Neither group should be taken as authoritative. The latter is ignorant (again, not in the pejorative sense) but well-meaning and the former is lying. The latter don’t know the fact and the former doesn’t care what they really are. The latter’s B & W, simplified, worldview and the former’s cynical manipulation and crass, crass (crass!) relativism combine to form a perfect storm of wrong. And you’re listening to them.

    In short, you disappoint me.

    Ignorance (again, not the pejorative…assuming that you’ve been suckered by the Creationist crowd and that, therefore, weren’t arguing in bad faith) is fixable. Start with Your Inner Fish.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m going to ignore the continued creationist argumentation and quote-mining and focus on the “why is there something instead of nothing?”

    First, why not?

    Second, stuff pops into existence all the time. Usually it’s a particle-antiparticle pair in empty space that annihilates itself shortly, but i like pointing to that whenever anyone asserts that “something can’t come from nothing”.

    Thirdly, all of the mass-energy in the universe [not accounting for dark energy since that increases as space-time expands] now has existed as far back as the beginning of time; as pointed out above, discussing “before” the big bang is tricky since time itself is a property of the universe that only manifests itself after the space-time continuum comes into existence.

    Anyway, I’m watching 1Up editors play the Starcraft II Beta since I didn’t get an invite in the first wave; squee!!

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Don’t what to say…I’m just throwing stuff out there to see where everybody’s at I guess. From this blog I have a clearer understanding of where most of you are coming from and that is a good thing.

    hereigns15 I often wonder what the motivation is for theists to engage in debates here. For some it is obviously just an intellectual exercise, then there is MSQuixiote’s obviously sincere desire to get to the philosophical root of the matter. Some short lived “drive by’s just want to proselytise. Sometimes there is a genuine interest in atheism and like Caiphen found, this can be a place to safely explore genuine doubt in religion.
    So what is your schtick? You are intelligent enough to argue your case,although perhaps scientifically naive enough to believe the Strobelesque nonsense that pervades modern creationism and expect it to have weight here. But what do you want from this discussion? Surely, if you could come up with the killer argument for God, we’d all be astounded, excited and probably converted. But that’s not likely is it, given where we have got to so far?
    Your default position, when logical argument fails, is that you know God exists through personal experience, yet you know we haven’t and cannot share that experience so have no reason to believe that experience was actually divinely inspired. So to avoid an endlessly circular impasse, I ask you sincerely, what do you want to achieve here?

  • hereigns15

    Modus, I get it. To all, I get it. I’ve obviously stepped on a couple nerves or in some cases a few land mines so I kindly ask for a little grace here. I hope I would do the same for all of you.

    2-D Man,
    I will respond please be patient.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “Nope, I’d have to be God in order to say any scientist is doing anything intentionally. The point I was trying to make is we (humans) are prone to error.”
    Well, let’s see…

    “Answer, humans. Have you ever met a man/woman/child who hasn’t told atleast one lie?”

    “It is well within my reasoning that “man” would invent such a theory to disprove God built on his/her own incorrect and/or false assumptions.”

    Nope, the point you made was that thousands upon thousands of scientists, across at least a couple of centuries, over a wide range of scientific disciplines, who all come to roughly similar conclusions, are, in fact, lying. That’s an insult, sir, gross enough that if we lived in less civilized times, a duel would be in order!
    The facts of reality point to the Theory of Evolution (and an old universe and the Big Bang, etc). That the facts may lead to uncomfortable conclusions in no way effects the validity of the facts (the universe is old and you are related to fungus). The big C Creationist crowd only accept the facts that please them, to the point where they have to twist a bunch of them to make them “fit”.

    “So if there was ‘something’, where and why did the something appear? Sorry but this is a major disconnect for me…I can’t fathome anything simply magically appearing.”
    It was a ball of something. What it was “before the Big Bang” is, frankly, moot, as “before the Big Bang” implies before time itself. Time – time = does not compute. It’s like asking how fast you could run a mile before you were conceived. Blame it on you’re evolving in a time-dimension’d universe, much as Man is bad at comprehending the really big and the really small, “before the thing that we gauge existence by” is outside of our experience.
    Also….
    …you may want to check the bible. Gen1 isn’t a “nothing at all, then something” universe. God, in that tale, didn’t magic up the universe from nothing, He simply modified an existing one. Succinctly put, it was a water universe, which He formed in to Earth, sky and Heaven. In short, it’s an interesting and poetic (and, for the time, pretty good, considering they had virtually no data other than “land down here, blue stuff up there, sparkly things above that”), if wildly obsolete model of the universe.

  • hereigns15

    Steve Bowen,
    “…So to avoid an endlessly circular impasse, I ask you sincerely, what do you want to achieve here?”
    Man, honestly, I’m afraid to answer that question cause it seems lately no matter what I say I’m getting “thumped” on every side. But seriously, to hopefully learn something and meet new people. Hopefully I can offer my own insights (right or wrong), agreements and disagreements on various topics. Maybe build a bridge between myself and one or more other humanoids. I mean in the end we all live and we will all eventually die that much we have in common but I wanna know what makes me think the way I do and what makes others think the way they do.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “I’ve obviously stepped on a couple nerves or in some cases a few land mines…”
    Yeah, quotemining scientists will do that.
    Look at it this way (and I’m bolding this because it’s important); If Creationists have to take the statements of scientists and cut critical parts out of those statements and take them out of context…just to make an argument against scientific theories, that doesn’t reflect well on the state of Creationist arguments, does it? Nor, it must be said, reflect well on their moral character.
    By accepting and repeating bad arguments from ignorant (for once, in the pejorative sense) boobs, willful liars and cynical manipulators, you are tarring yourself with their brush, and their brush is not coated in piety.

    “…so I kindly ask for a little grace here.”
    I’m trying, but these slip-ups aren’t making it easy.

    “I hope I would do the same for all of you.”
    Really? I was more hoping for a bite of that ham sandwich you’re holding.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    You didn’t “step on a few nerves”, you repeated well-known lies. I don’t appreciate that.

  • Snoof

    For the record, the best definition of “theory” (in a scientific context) that I can come up with:

    An explanatory framework with predictive ability, well-supported by evidence. (If it’s not well-supported, then it’s a hypothesis or conjecture.)

    So there’s the fact of evolution (a change in allele frequencies within a population) with is explained by the theory of evolution (selection and mutation).

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Thank you, let me know when you figure out what that “something” is…) I see no reason to be offended by Modus, I understand where he’s coming from.

    BTW, that is a very clever User ID.

    Oh, that was just me tweaking MO’s cheek. Thanks for the kind words, but my SN is just an old Air Force nickname.

    Ignorance (again, not the pejorative…assuming that you’ve been suckered by the Creationist crowd and that, therefore, weren’t arguing in bad faith) is fixable. Start with Your Inner Fish.

    If this site ran “rep”, this recommendation would get it. That is an outstanding read.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    hr15

    Nope, I’d have to be God in order to say any scientist is doing anything intentionally. The point I was trying to make is we (humans) are prone to error.

    OK, taking you at your word that you didn’t mean to imply something nefarious, this is still a rather extraordinary claim. The preponderance of evidence and the agreement between many, many different fields of science to all come to one conclusion – or a couple really – about the age of the Earth and the fact of evolution would mean that there’s a hell of a lot of error going on here. Too much, really, as the empirical facts are very consistent with our models of the universe.

    Come’on give me some credit here. The point again is that humans make errors and as OMGF has pointed out repeatedly this is likely due to my inclination that God does in-fact exist.

    Sorry, but your statement that evolution was just a theory tipped us all off to your ignorance of what “theory” entails in a scientific sense. Pointing out to you what theory means shouldn’t register a “C’mon, give me credit.” It should register a “Oh, well that’s different than what I thought or at least implied and thank you for pointing that out – let’s deal with the actual definition from now on,” and an abandonment of the original claim.

    So if there was “something”, where and why did the something appear? Sorry but this is a major disconnect for me…I can’t fathome anything simply magically appearing.

    You seem to still be stuck in this mode of ‘god must have created everything ex nihilo.’ We don’t know what happened “before” the big bang or even if that is a meaningful statement. It’s like asking what is north of the north pole. Because time itself started with the big bang, it’s hard to comprehend beyond that point. This does not give you license to insert your god, however.

    Guess I’m gonna have to take you up on that.

    Please do, it would be a win-win situation. We would appreciate you taking the effort (so long as you approach it with an open mind) and you would be educating yourself in the process.

  • hereigns15

    2-D Man,
    I will entertain your questions but I believe this too will end at a circular impasse. Allow me to preface my answers with…I don’t believe I have all knowledge and therefore don’t have all the answers to every question presented for or against Christianity but that doesn’t mean that God has failed me or anyone else, it simply means I have more learning to do and even at that I still won’t “know it all”.

    P1: Christians believe that Jesus’ teachings are complete.
    I believe they are complete. John 1 states that in the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh and He tabernacled/dwelt with us. So the Bible teaches that Jesus is the “living” Word and therefore both OT and NT are His Word. Jeremiah 1:5 states that before he was formed in the womb God knew him. While other verses tell us that children are a blessing.

    P1a: Christians believe that all alterations to Jesus’ teachings will be done by imperfect entities.

    Not sure what you mean by alterations, if you mean interpretations then yes. “Man” is prone to error.

    P1b: Christians believe that an imperfect entity’s alterations to Jesus’ teachings makes them morally inferior to their unaltered state.
    I can’t answer this until the word “alterations” is further defined.

    P2: Christians believe that it is morally superior to consider a fertilized human egg ‘our neighbour’ when applying the golden rule.
    With sincere sensitivity, yes. Understand I’m human and have my own difficulties with this apparently troublesome topic, specifically in cases when the baby(s) and/or mother’s life is in danger, rape or incest.

    C1: Anyone who does not believe premises 1 and 2 is not a Christian.
    I’m not God and He alone reserves the right to judge who and who isn’t a Christian. His grace is “big enough” to cover all of our sins.

    P3: Jesus’ teachings do not include anything about fertilized human eggs, much less that fertilized eggs must be considered in applications of the golden rule.
    Is it not true you were once a “fertilized human egg” and was that not beginning stage of your life?

    Our doctors and court system have decided when life begins and is therefore “legal” to destroy another human. A male and female human will make more male and female humans and not some other creature.

    C2: To say that ‘life begins at conception’ is part of Jesus’ teachings, is to alter said teachings.
    See P1.

    C3: If it is morally superior to believe ‘life begins at conception’ in addition to Jesus’ teachings, Jesus’ teachings are incomplete.
    See P1.

    C4: Christians believe that Jesus’ teachings are morally superior if altered by a fallen entity, or they are are incomplete.
    Is there a missing word or two in this statement?

    C4a: It is impossible to believe premises 1 and 2 simultaneously, therefore Christians can not exist.
    See responses above.

    P4: Christians exist.
    Yes.

    C5: P1 or P2 is false (not exclusively).
    No.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    but I wanna know what makes me think the way I do and what makes others think the way they do.

    Fair play! Personally, I’m just hanging around waiting for Modus to say something amusing.
    ………………… waiting……………………….still… waiting……………..yawn……………… :)

  • XPK

    hereigns15,

    So basically you are taking a bunch of random verses from the Bible, adding some italian dressing*, and tossing a Jesus spoke specifically about abortion being wrong salad? So did God know Jeremiah as a sperm, an egg, a disembodied soul? How far back did they go? I am pretty sure most people will agree that children are great, but I’m not sure why Jesus saying so holds any more weight than someone’s mom saying so.

    *by which of course I mean intense personal bias against abortion

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    XPK “I am pretty sure most people will agree that children are great, but I’m not sure why Jesus saying so holds any more weight than someone’s mom saying so.”
    Especially so, since Jesus had no kids, no matter how much his mom nagged him with “Joshua, stop being a nudnik. You’ve got to grow up sometime. Get a haircut…and a real job wouldn’t hurt! You should find a nice girl and settle down, maybe? Have a shtikale or four? It’ll bring you such yeshiva bucher! Fine. Don’t listen to your mother. I’ll just sit here in the dark until I’m dead. You’ll miss me when I’m gone!”

  • ildi

    Understand I’m human and have my own difficulties with this apparently troublesome topic, specifically in cases when the baby(s) and/or mother’s life is in danger, rape or incest.

    I’m gonna bypass all your other comments because this one is unbelieveable [sic] and I’ll just come right out and say it, this comment is truly what separates you and I [sic]. You boast of your great [God-given morality] yet you totally disregard this one simple yet profound [fact]: that you even consider killing an innocent human being because his or her father is a rapist or close relative is monstrous. And killing a baby because it’s life is in danger? What kind of twisted morality is this? Words cannot express my horror…

    I don’t think there is any evidence for a magic moment when God’s finger touches the freshly-united sperm and egg and inserts his own soul-jism. There’s no bright line in the sand. Life began billions of years ago; at what point in this chain an autonomous human being develops is a complex issue. You, however, have drawn this bright line, yet freely admit to supporting the murder of innocent babies because it’s not the situation of a woman who had sex and doesn’t “desire to have a child because it was an accident”.

    Don’t speak to me of Christian morality.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I haven’t been taking much part in this discussion, but I wanted to say a few words here:

    Jeremiah 1:5 states that before he was formed in the womb God knew him. While other verses tell us that children are a blessing.

    hereigns15: Scripturally speaking, this is pretty thin ice you’re standing on, don’t you think? Is that the clearest condemnation of abortion you can find in the Bible? If God hates abortion so much, why wouldn’t he just give us a direct, unmistakable command: something like “Thou shalt not abort”? (He spends whole chapters of the Old Testament telling men not to have sex with their mother-in-law or how they should wash themselves after having a wet dream. Don’t tell me he didn’t have the space.)

    Here’s a different verse that I think paints a clearer picture of how the Bible’s authors viewed human life: Numbers 3:15 and onward tells of a census that was conducted among the tribes of Israel. In this census, pregnant women were not counted as two people. Why would that be, do you think?

    Is it not true you were once a “fertilized human egg” and was that not beginning stage of your life?

    No, that isn’t true. I never was a fertilized egg.

    You probably think that sounds absurd, but in fact this is a demonstration of how words can mislead us if we stretch them beyond the boundaries of their applicability. Consider the following extension of your argument: When my mother was pregnant with me, she ate a potato. Some of the molecules from that potato became incorporated into the body I have now. Does that mean that I was once a potato?

    The problem with that analogy is the same as the problem with yours. I’m a conscious, thinking, feeling person – in fact, that’s what it means to be an “I”, rather than an “it” – and a potato is not a person. Even if there’s some physical continuity between the potato and myself, there’s no continuity of consciousness between us, so there was never a time when I could say that I was that potato.

    The same is true of a fertilized egg. An egg is not and cannot be a person, so although I developed from that egg, I never was that egg. Rather, when that egg existed, I did not yet exist. I began to exist only later, when I first developed the qualities that confer personhood. (For the same reason, I never was a sperm cell.) An egg has the potential to become a person, but by itself it is not a person, and doesn’t become one until a much later stage of its development.

  • Paul

    Here’s a different verse that I think paints a clearer picture of how the Bible’s authors viewed human life: Numbers 3:15 and onward tells of a census that was conducted among the tribes of Israel. In this census, pregnant women were not counted as two people. Why would that be, do you think?

    I don’t have a citation on hand, but there is also a part where people of different ages are assigned a monetary value. Counting starts at 1 month old.

  • hereigns15

    ildi,
    “…you even consider killing an innocent human being because his or her father is a rapist or close relative is monstrous. And killing a baby because it’s life is in danger? What kind of twisted morality is this? Words cannot express my horror…” “Don’t speak to me of Christian morality.”
    I did NOT say I supported the murder of innocent babies I simply said it is a difficult topic. In regards to ‘killing a baby because it’s life is danger’, please allow me to clarify the matter because what I was trying to say was…a child who’s birth could potentially kill the mother is a difficult matter.

    Now you can pretend the situations I mentioned aren’t difficult but I on the other hand will not because when choosing who will live in situations I described is NEVER an easy decision – which might be the understatement of the year! I’ve never been placed in any of those situations and pray I never will have to endure such hardship.

    Ebon,
    “Scripturally speaking, this is pretty thin ice you’re standing on, don’t you think?”
    No I do not, please elaborate why you think so.

    “Is that the clearest condemnation of abortion you can find in the Bible? If God hates abortion so much, why wouldn’t he just give us a direct, unmistakable command: something like “Thou shalt not abort”?”
    Not attempting to be “smug” but is “thou shall not kill”, which would include abortion, not clear enough?

    “…Numbers 3:15 and onward tells of a census that was conducted among the tribes of Israel. In this census, pregnant women were not counted as two people. Why would that be, do you think?”
    Placing this verse in context, Numbers 3 is dealing with assessing for redemption money (3:49-51) which would financially support the Levites (Priests). Furthermore it would be impossible to dedicate a child to service before it is born since that involved them living/serving in the sanctuary.

    “No, that isn’t true. I never was a fertilized egg.”
    You assume a child isn’t human until he/she has a conscious, can think, and has feelings even though it is alive and has human DNA and then pass judgment that it is not a person, you are begging the question. I’m not a biologist but who is truly qualified to decide when a person takes on the qualities you described (rhetorical question) and would they be the same for all (legitimate question)? At 8 weeks the child has already developed arms, legs, fingers and toes and moves in the embryotic sac.

    It was your father and mother who conceived you, their sperm and egg fertilized which contains the DNA which makes you, you and this was the beginning of you. Again, just because our courts have decided abortion is “okay” does that really make it “okay”, no need to answer yet another rhetorical question.

    “…so although I developed from that egg, I never was that egg. Rather, when that egg existed, I did not yet exist.”
    The egg is the initial stage of a person’s life, we pass from egg to embryo to fetus..etc until ultimately our physical death. One cannot bypass or jump the fertilized egg stage as this is the beginning stage of the human life.

  • hereigns15

    Wanted to clarify Exodus 20:13 before someone else attempts to jump on the word “kill”. I believe the correct interpretation of the word in question is murder or the taking of a life. Murder would then be defined as the unlawfully taking of human life. I understand some or all of you have issues with this so I kindly ask that we leave it at as there is already so much in this discussion, please.

  • Wedge

    Not attempting to be “smug” but is “thou shall not kill”, which would include abortion, not clear enough?

    Murder would then be defined as the unlawfully taking of human life.

    Abortion is lawful. Therefore it is not murder, and “Thou shalt not kill” does not include abortion.

  • Nes

    Ebon, I think we need an open thread for hereigns15. We’ve gone just a wee bit off topic :-)

    Murder would then be defined as the unlawfully taking of human life.

    Which then makes abortion okay, right? After all, it’s legal. Amazing how easily that commandment can be bypassed!

    Okay, more seriously, this always seems to devolve into a circular argument (in the sense of going round and round, not in the sense of logic, though that is also a possibility) about, “What is the unlawful taking of a life,” and “What is murder?” Because, apparently, it’s not unlawful nor murder when you commit genocide against a people that are on land that God says is yours*, but it is a murder to have an abortion (whether legal or not). [Insert rolling eyes smiley here.]

    *(Not intended as a barb at you if you’ve defended genocide, merely a remark on what I see as a Biblical inconsistency that I have seen many Christians try to defend. I honestly can’t remember if you’ve defended it or not, and I’m not going to reread all those comments to find out.)

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m not a biologist

    And you’re about to prove it…

    but who is truly qualified to decide when a person takes on the qualities you described (rhetorical question) and would they be the same for all (legitimate question)?

    Well apparently you think you are qualified. I like to think that we can figure it out via science. And you have (a bit) of a point: it is NOT the same for all, but the regulations become stringent at the earliest known point of our requirements, the onset of fetal pain and the development of consciousness (the two are considered equivalent; if you can feel pain, your neurons have begun functioning)

    At 8 weeks the child has already developed

    Checklist time!

    arms

    True

    legs

    Also true!

    fingers and toes

    Eh… not so much. You can see where the fingers and toes will be, but they aren’t there yet.

    and moves in the embryotic sac.

    If you count uncontrollable twitching, yes. But controlled movement doesnt occur until week 12.

    Pictured: 9-week old embryo/fetus. Size is ~1 inch from top to bottom.

  • ildi

    What a backpedal from:

    the only exception I have to your list is abortion, with limited exceptions. Killing an innocent human being simply because a person does not desire to have a child because “it” was an “accident” is WRONG and should not be allowed, we must protect the innocent!… Purposely stopping any part of that process would prevent the creation of a human being, which is murder. You can and will come up with all of your arguements against this view…

    to

    Now you can pretend the situations I mentioned aren’t difficult but I on the other hand will not because when choosing who will live in situations I described is NEVER an easy decision – which might be the understatement of the year! I’ve never been placed in any of those situations and pray I never will have to endure such hardship.

    No pretense on my part. I’m trying to reconcile your unequivocal statement that once the egg is fertilized any interference with that process is murder, with your allowance that abortions in the case of rape and incest may be acceptable. How in God’s name, given your earlier statements, can you even claim there is a difficult decision to make in those cases? If you REALLY, TRULY believe that the zygote/embryo/fetus is an innocent little baby, how can the thought of murder even cross your mind as an acceptable option?

    I’ll throw my theory out there. I think there’s a good possibility that you don’t really think of the embryo as a baby in the same way you think of an actual babe at arms. You just throw the ‘innocent human beings’ canard out there when women make choices with their own bodies that don’t meet with your approval. If the poor little dear has been traumatized by rape or incest, which is outside her control, then she doesn’t have to live with the consequences, but if she chooses to terminate the pregnancy for any other reason not due to direct health issues, then it’s MURDER!

  • hereigns15

    Nes,
    “Ebon, I think we need an open thread for hereigns15. We’ve gone just a wee bit off topic :-)”
    I agree :) or would that be :(

    “…this always seems to devolve into a circular argument (in the sense of going round and round, not in the sense of logic, though that is also a possibility) about, “What is the unlawful taking of a life,” and “What is murder?”"
    Agreed, which is why I kindly asked for us not to continue the derailment.

    “…I honestly can’t remember if you’ve defended it or not, and I’m not going to reread all those comments to find out.)”
    If I recall we have briefly discussed this topic earlier and like you I really don’t wanna go back review everything that has been said to this point, my head is already hurting…)

    themann,
    ‘but who is truly qualified to decide when a person takes on the qualities you described’ “Well apparently you think you are qualified. I like to think that we can figure it out via science. And you have (a bit) of a point: it is NOT the same for all, but the regulations become stringent at the earliest known point of our requirements, the onset of fetal pain and the development of consciousness (the two are considered equivalent; if you can feel pain, your neurons have begun (functioning)”
    Yes, I suppose I am saying I’m qualified but I’m simply using my own simple logic to point out that a fertilized human egg is what makes us people and not some other creature so by my logic that makes the egg the beginning of life.

    ‘fingers and toes’
    “Eh… not so much. You can see where the fingers and toes will be, but they aren’t there yet.”

    I won’t belabor the point but I simply googled “baby fingers and toes” and clicked on the first link in the list, fingers & toes . Which basically stated fingers and toes begin development in the 7th week and are formed by the 8th week but are webbed and stumpy which basically looks like the very cool picture you referenced.

    ildi,
    How in God’s name, given your earlier statements, can you even claim there is a difficult decision to make in those cases? If you REALLY, TRULY believe that the zygote/embryo/fetus is an innocent little baby, how can the thought of murder even cross your mind as an acceptable option?

    I 100% understand where you’re coming from and I’m apologize if I come across double-minded or backpaddling; all I’m simply saying is we are humans who at various times must make decisions that are physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult to make even if they are “right” choice. I mean I have a heart and care about people and can only imagine the pain some have had to endure. Bottom-line…I’m a Christian who understands that some people of various religions can come across as harsh and uncaring whereas I understand how difficult black and white can be simply because I’m human. If this helps clarify the matter I retract my initial statement of ‘abortion is murder except in certain cases’.

  • Paul

    If the poor little dear has been traumatized by rape or incest, which is outside her control, then she doesn’t have to live with the consequences, but if she chooses to terminate the pregnancy for any other reason not due to direct health issues, then it’s MURDER!she should have to deal with the consequences of sex!

    FTFY. Even those who are against abortion rights in cases outside rape/incest act surprised when asked if the mother should be imprisoned or otherwise punished by law. This would not be the case if they considered it murder. Contrast with cases where a mother commits infanticide, where you’d have a hard time finding someone who did not suggest criminal repercussions. Deep down they still don’t consider abortion murder, most simply thinking the woman should deal with the consequences of their action (sex is for babymaking, you had sex, you should have to birth and raise a baby).

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m not saying this to be mean, I’m asking cause it’ll help me to read your posts accurately, but please use blockquotes :) it makes the panda smile.

    Yes, I suppose I am saying I’m qualified but I’m simply using my own simple logic to point out that a fertilized human egg is what makes us people and not some other creature so by my logic that makes the egg the beginning of life.

    There’s a difference between “human” and “person”; non-humans can be persons (think intelligent alien lifeforms or fully sentient robots) and human entities can be non-persons (unfertilized eggs, sperm cells, cancer cells, etc). That’s why this issue is tricky; it involves determining personhood in a way that includes non-human persons and does NOT include universally-agreed-upon non-person human entities. That’s why a lot of us seem exasperated; your simple definition doesn’t handle these issues.

  • Peter N

    You assume a child isn’t human until he/she has a conscious, can think, and has feelings even though it is alive and has human DNA and then pass judgment that it is not a person, you are begging the question. I’m not a biologist but who is truly qualified to decide when a person takes on the qualities you described (rhetorical question) and would they be the same for all (legitimate question)?

    Clearly, there is ambiguity about when “life” begins. A fertilized egg cell is still a single cell. It carries all the genetic code of a human being, but a flake of dandruff carries millions of times more. A large percentage of fertilized eggs don’t implant in the uterine wall (I know, citation needed — I haven’t had breakfast yet so please let it slide), and of those that do, a large percentage fail to become fetuses carried to term, by purely natural processes.

    Is that cell, or small cluster of cells, a “person” that is “alive”? If it is, because it has the potential to develop into a what we would all agree is a person, what about the sperm and the egg before fertilization? What’s the difference; why isn’t the phenomenon of fertilization a purely arbitrary dividing line?

    There is ambiguity about when “life” ends, also. In some cases, a person changes from being clearly “alive” to clearly “dead” in moments, but in some cases it can take decades — consider Terri Schiavo. They might have fingers, toes, a heartbeat, involuntary movement, or other qualities of a 7-week embryo, but wherever they’ve gone, they’re not coming back. In these cases, doctors and loved ones may be squeamish about disconnecting life support, but that person has already “died” in the sense that his or her life is over.

    My point is that there can be no dividing line for when life begins and when it ends. Each is a process. When it comes to whether to grant “personhood” to embryos, I say that has to be left up to the living, breathing human (the pregnant woman, not yet a “mother”) to decide for herself.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    When it comes to whether to grant “personhood” to embryos, I say that has to be left up to the living, breathing human (the pregnant woman, not yet a “mother”) to decide for herself.

    Right on! Or as I like to say, a woman’s uterus is not a public domain.

  • ildi

    Paul:

    Even those who are against abortion rights in cases outside rape/incest act surprised when asked if the mother should be imprisoned or otherwise punished by law.

    I was using h15′s rhetoric to make a point, because the scary thing is there are countries where this thinking has been taken to its logical conclusion. Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua have banned abortion without any exceptions, even to the health of the mother. In Chile, the penalty for seeking an abortion is 3–5 years in jail and 541 days to three years jail time for providing an abortion. The law has had the effect of punishing poor women who go the public hospitals for treatment after a botched illegal abortion, whereas women who go to private hospitals are not turned in.

    In El Salvador a person who performs an abortion with the woman’s consent, or a woman who self-induces or consents to someone else inducing her abortion, can be imprisoned for two to eight years. In Nicaragua both the woman and the person who performed the abortion face a sentence of one to four years, and if she attempted a self-induced abortion, the term of imprisonment is four to eight years.

    What really gets me is the hypocrisy in this country of anti-choice women who exercise the freedom to have their own abortions: “The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion” When the Anti-Choice Choose. According to Joyce Arthur,

    Many anti-choice women are convinced that their need for abortion is unique — not like those “other” women — even though they have abortions for the same sorts of reasons.

    So, to tie this back to the actual OP, you can’t appease people who are operating on this level of self-deception and denial.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    In Chile, the penalty for seeking an abortion is 3–5 years in jail and 541 days to three years jail time for providing an abortion.

    541 days? Is that a metric year or something?

  • Shawn Smith

    a woman’s uterus is not a public domain.

    Let’s examine that statement with a hypothetical. Let’s say that you are a man who impregnated a woman, but left her because “it didn’t work out” before you found out she was pregnant. Let’s also say that she carried the kid to term, but unfortunately the kid had leukemia and diabetes which led to or will lead very soon to renal failure. The mom identifies you as the father when she finds out she is not a suitable donor. Should you then be forced to donate some of your bone marrow and one of your kidneys to save this kid? Should everyone who finds themselves in this position be forced, under the law, to be an organ donor? If you say yes, well, I guess that means you are being consistent, but I don’t want to live in a country where such a law could be enforced. If you say no, then it sounds to me like you really think that a woman should be forced to “pay” for being a “slut.”

  • Shawn Smith

    541 days? Is that a metric year or something?

    Thumpalumpacus, It sounds like 18 months (3/2 years) + 1 day. Yeah, yeah, it’s not exact, but my guess is their legal system uses 30 days per month, instead of 30.41666 or 30.5 days per month.

    If you were just asking a rhetorical question, I’m sorry for being a pedant.

    :-)

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Shawn,

    Or we say “no” because the man’s kidneys and bone marrow are also not part of the public domain. Back away from the MRA rhetorical slowly and no one gets hurt :P

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    If you say no, then it sounds to me like you really think that a woman should be forced to “pay” for being a “slut.”

    It seems to me that the enforcement apparatus of the state denying a woman the right to terminate a pregnancy is tantamount to forcing her to “pay” for being a “slut.”

    Your hypothetical presents a very narrow range of options, either “Force the biological father to donate” or “Don’t force the biological father to donate.” It assumes there are no other potential matches. It assumes that the father requires negative judicial coercion to donate, when in reality he might volunteer in return for some form of compensation.

    But all that distracts from what I was originally going to say, which is that a woman’s uterus does not become a public domain just because a sperm cell from some guy who fucked her fertilizes one of her eggs.

  • Shawn Smith

    themann1086,

    Or we say “no” because the man’s kidneys and bone marrow are also not part of the public domain.

    I completely agree. I’m not so sure opponents of abortion have considered that possibility, and was posing the hypothetical in order to tease out a possible double standard. To me, saying that a person’s body parts are not part of the public domain includes the idea that the state can’t force anyone to undergo a possibly dangerous medical procedure in order to save the life of someone else. Having the state force women to carry pregnancies to term to me sounds like it should be able to force anyone to be an organ donor, especially to save the life of a child. That is why I don’t want to live in a country where that’s the case.

    I didn’t intend my statement to be a “Men’s Rights Activist” rhetorical, but if you say so, I won’t be gender specific later.

    Tommykey,

    Your hypothetical presents a very narrow range of options, either “Force the biological father to donate” or “Don’t force the biological father to donate.” It assumes there are no other potential matches. It assumes that the father requires negative judicial coercion to donate, when in reality he might volunteer in return for some form of compensation.

    Yes, the options are narrow (mainly for the sake of space, and the fact I’m lazy) but “Don’t force the biological father to donate” includes enticing through payment, because no forcing is going on. The lack of other potential matches was primarily for rhetorical purposes, for the case where there are no other potential matches, or if all other potential donor(s) has/have specified that they will never donate to the class of people the patient belongs to.

    … a woman’s uterus does not become a public domain just because a sperm cell from some guy who fucked her fertilizes one of her eggs.

    I completely agree with that statement. There’s no argument from me there.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    No problem Shawn, I was being glib. Reading intent over the internets are hard work!

    ETA: for example, the intent here. I meant my ability to read your intent. Just so we’re all on the same page.

  • hereigns15

    themann,

    …human entities can be non-persons (unfertilized eggs, sperm cells, cancer cells, etc). …it involves determining personhood in a way that includes non-human persons and does NOT include universally-agreed-upon non-person human entities

    I understand your logic, though obviously I don’t agree as the matter is not nearly as ambiguous to me as it is to you.

    Paul,

    This would not be the case if they considered it murder.

    Yes. I realize since Roe vs Wade, as a society, we are very far removed from thinking so but killing an unborn child is murder and should have consequences associated with it.

    Shawn Smith,

    Should you then be forced to donate some of your bone marrow and one of your kidneys to save this kid? Should everyone who finds themselves in this position be forced, under the law, to be an organ donor? If you say yes, well, I guess that means you are being consistent, but I don’t want to live in a country where such a law could be enforced. If you say no, then it sounds to me like you really think that a woman should be forced to “pay” for being a “slut.”

    No, there’s quite the difference between killing and saving a person, don’t you think. But I would hope the father would want to help the child because he cares/loves the child. As a father I can’t imagine not willingly help my son in such a scenario.

    Regarding your comment “a woman should be forced to pay…”, now that is a mouthfull. This comment suggests a woman’s life is more important than the child she has conceived and that she should be punished for her actions. I believe children are a blessing and should be viewed as such.

    ildi,

    In Chile, the penalty for seeking an abortion is 3–5 years in jail and 541 days to three years jail time for providing an abortion.

    Aborted children don’t get a voice in the matter, all they get is a death sentence, especially in late-term abortions.

    Question: Is it okay to take a human fertilized egg and place it in the womb of an animal?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “I believe children are a blessing…”
    Even ugly children?

  • ildi

    Aborted children don’t get a voice in the matter, all they get is a death sentence, especially in late-term abortions.

    Love the late-term abortion strawman thrown in there. When you said

    If this helps clarify the matter I retract my initial statement of ‘abortion is murder except in certain cases’.

    What you were clarifying is that now you believe that abortion is always murder, with no exceptions? All I have to say is I pity any woman in your life who ever has to make this choice. I pity the families in Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua who lose wives and mothers and daughters to your barbaric religious beliefs.

  • hereigns15

    Modus,
    lol – yes, even the ugly ones.

    ildi,
    Did you not read this recent post I made to help clarify my position?

    I 100% understand where you’re coming from and I apologize if I come across double-minded or backpaddling; all I’m simply saying is we are humans who at various times must make decisions that are physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult to make even if they are “right” choice. I mean I have a heart and care about people and can only imagine the pain some have had to endure. Bottom-line…I’m a Christian who understands that some people of various religions can come across as harsh and uncaring whereas I understand how difficult black and white can be simply because I’m human. If this helps clarify the matter I retract my initial statement of ‘abortion is murder except in certain cases’.

    I pity the families in Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua who lose wives and mothers and daughters to your barbaric religious beliefs.

    What about the 50+ million babies that have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973, do you not pity them?

    What’s your stance on late term abortions?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    What about the 50+ million babies that have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973, do you not pity them?

    We’re not talking about 50 millions babies. Babies are born. Millions of fetuses have been aborted at varying stages of development.

    Want to know what I do pity? Children with abusive parents who beat and sometimes even kill them in a fit of rage. Children who live in places surrounded by war, disease and brutality. I read that 1 in 5 children in Zambia die from malaria before reaching the age of 5. That should trouble you a lot more than a teenage girl who terminates a pregnancy in the first trimester because she is not ready to take on the awesome responsibility of parenthood. As a father of two children, I know first hand what a big responsibility that is.

  • ildi

    Yes I did, h15. you said:

    I’m a Christian who understands that some people of various religions can come across as harsh and uncaring whereas I understand how difficult black and white can be simply because I’m human.

    It’s pretty damn clear. The fertilized egg is an innocent human being, killing it is murder, sorry if the black-and-white attitude of Christianity comes across as harsh.

    Late term abortions are done when there are serious health issues, and I feel for everyone when such a difficult decision has to be made. It is a medical decision that needs to be made by the mother in conjunction with her doctor, not by religious nutjobs.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I understand your logic, though obviously I don’t agree as the matter is not nearly as ambiguous to me as it is to you.

    Then no, you don’t understand my logic. You need to have a definition that includes non-human persons and excludes human non-persons (for an extreme example, think cancer cells). If your definition can’t do that, it fails as a definition.

    Aborted children don’t get a voice in the matter, all they get is a death sentence, especially in late-term abortions.

    Oh hell no, don’t make me repost stuff. Firstly, the Vast majority of abortions are done before week 16, let alone week 24. Late-term abortions are always done for medical reasons; late-term elective abortions are not allowed. Secondly, before week 24 (or possibly later) the fetus doesn’t have a voice, or an opinion, or self-awareness of any sort. It does not even have the cognitive functions necessary to feel pain.

    What about the 50+ million babies that have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973, do you not pity them?

    For the Vast majority, not really. They were potential people, but I “kill” millions of potential people on a nightly basis. The few late-term abortions, I do, but again almost all of those are done to save the mother’s life, and frequently in cases where the fetus wouldn’t survive anyway.

    It should also be noted that abortion bans do not reduce abortion rates; all they do is make them more dangerous to the women. The same is true of policies which make it more difficult to obtain early abortions, except these disproportionately affect poor women.

    This comment suggests a woman’s life is more important than the child she has conceived [...] I believe children are a blessing and should be viewed as such.

    This is a disturbing sentiment. An embryo or a fetus is of equal moral worth to you as an adult woman? That’s fucked up.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    So, can we take it hr15 that you would rush into a burning IVF clinic to save the frozen embryos?

  • 2-D Man

    Sorry I haven’t been around, everyone. I went off into the mountains to train (really! …Although the training was in mathematics and the mountains was the small town in which I grew up, but it is at a higher elevation!).
    hereigns15, in response to my last post you wrote:

    I’m not God and He *ALONE*[!] reserves the right to judge who and who isn’t a Christian.[That shit-ton of emphasis on the word "alone" is, of course, mine.]

    You’ve spent a whole lot of words in this thread telling us that so-and-so is not a really ‘of Christ’ because of such-and-such actions. Just now you’ve said that you can’t. Next time, make up your mind on the issue and the discussion won’t get bogged down with declarations of No True Scotsman fallacies. (Note that this doesn’t give you any protection against declarations of other fallacies, but I’ll be happy to help you out with clearing those up if you promise to do the same for me.)
    Hope to see you in another thread. I’m out.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    So, can we take it hr15 that you would rush into a burning IVF clinic to save the frozen embryos?

    I coffeesprayed.

    HR15, if you think abortion is murder, what’s your take on the murder of Dr Tiller?

  • Paul

    Yes. I realize since Roe vs Wade, as a society, we are very far removed from thinking so but killing an unborn child is murder and should have consequences associated with it.

    Do you believe that a woman that aborts a fetus deserves >20 years in prison, as a murderer would?

    If so, you’ll officially be the first anti-choice person I’ve ever heard say that.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Thumpalumpacus “…if you think abortion is murder, what’s your take on the murder of Dr Tiller?”
    I don’t know. Was he pregnant?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    It’s been a few days, but I have some follow-up comments on #167:

    Not attempting to be “smug” but is “thou shall not kill”, which would include abortion, not clear enough?

    If you are also unconditionally opposed to the death penalty, war, and killing animals for food, then I grant you’d have a point. If you are not opposed to any of those things, then you’ve already accepted that there are exceptions to this rule. And, as others have noted, if you think the correct translation is actually “murder”, then it’s an even easier issue: Abortion, where permitted by applicable laws, is by definition not murder.

    Placing this verse in context, Numbers 3 is dealing with assessing for redemption money (3:49-51) which would financially support the Levites (Priests).

    Agreed. What does that have to do with my argument? If unborn children are people, why doesn’t the Bible count pregnant women as two people?

    Furthermore it would be impossible to dedicate a child to service before it is born since that involved them living/serving in the sanctuary.

    Again, what does that have to do with my argument? If infants one month old are counted, why aren’t unborn fetuses, if the Bible values children as highly as you say? If you can dedicate a child to service at one month of age, why can’t you dedicate them prior to birth?

    You assume a child isn’t human until he/she has a conscious, can think, and has feelings even though it is alive and has human DNA and then pass judgment that it is not a person, you are begging the question.

    I don’t think you understand what “begging the question” means. If “alive and has human DNA” are the defining characteristics of a person, do you also support granting legal personhood to HeLa cells?

    I’m not a biologist but who is truly qualified to decide when a person takes on the qualities you described (rhetorical question) and would they be the same for all (legitimate question)?

    Your rhetorical question has an empirical answer, and ironically enough it’s the same as the answer to your other question: fetal brainwaves can be detected and measured in utero.

    At 8 weeks the child has already developed arms, legs, fingers and toes and moves in the embryotic sac.

    I fail to see what possessing fingers and toes has to do with personhood. Monkeys also have fingers and toes; does that make them human?

  • hereigns15

    Tommykey,

    We’re not talking about 50 millions babies. Babies are born. Millions of fetuses have been aborted at varying stages of development.

    I kind of figured someone would make that argument, correct 10-12 week old fetuses which have already developed basic brain structure of the fetus is complete and now the brain mass rapidly increases. Sockets for all twenty teeth are formed in the gum lines. Face has human appearance. Separate folds of the mouth fuse together forming the palate. Early facial hair follicles begin to develop. Vocal cords form in larynx and fetus can make sounds. Intestines have migrated into abdomen from the umbilical
    cord. Digestive tract muscles are functional and practice contraction. Nutrient-extracting villi line the now folded intestines. The liver starts to secrete bile, a thick, brown-green liquid containing bile salts, bile pigments, cholesterol and inorganic salts. The bile is stored in the gall bladder. Development of thyroid and pancreas are complete. Pancreas starts to produce insulin. Source

    52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.
    Statistics

    Want to know what I do pity? Children with abusive parents who beat and sometimes even kill them in a fit of rage…That should trouble you a lot more than a teenage girl who terminates a pregnancy in the first trimester because she is not ready to take on the awesome responsibility of parenthood. As a father of two children, I know first hand what a big responsibility that is.

    It is sad that some parents hurt defenseless children and nations are plagued with so much famine, disease and sorrow. We agree being a parent is an awesome responsibility on many levels but two wrongs don’t make a right.

    themann,

    Then no, you don’t understand my logic. You need to have a definition that includes non-human persons and excludes human non-persons (for an extreme example, think cancer cells). If your definition can’t do that, it fails as a definition.

    A cancer cell will NEVER become a person it is simply part of a person while A fertilzed human egg will grow to a mature adult if left to fully develop.

    Firstly, the Vast majority of abortions are done before week 16, let alone week 24. Late-term abortions are always done for medical reasons; late-term elective abortions are not allowed. Secondly, before week 24 (or possibly later) the fetus doesn’t have a voice, or an opinion, or self-awareness of any sort. It does not even have the cognitive functions necessary to feel pain.

    This simply belabors the point, we disagree when life begins.

    …but I “kill” millions of potential people on a nightly basis. The few late-term abortions, I do, but again almost all of those are done to save the mother’s life, and frequently in cases where the fetus wouldn’t survive anyway.

    What do you mean, you kill millions of people on a nightly basis? “Almost all of those are done to save the mother’s life”, what are some of the exceptions?

    It should also be noted that abortion bans do not reduce abortion rates; all they do is make them more dangerous to the women. The same is true of policies which make it more difficult to obtain early abortions, except these disproportionately affect poor women.

    Given my stance on the matter “reducing abortion rates” is a mute point, it’s about how we as a society view life. But simply because I’m curious, do you have any statistics to back up this point? I do agree that where abortion is banned it does make the procedure more dangerous to women.

    This is a disturbing sentiment. An embryo or a fetus is of equal moral worth to you as an adult woman?

    And thus the dividing line, we see things differently and I would echo your frustration back.

    OMGF,

    So, can we take it hr15 that you would rush into a burning IVF clinic to save the frozen embryos?

    If I knew of there whereabouts, had access to the location, would not be breaking the law and I had a way of keeping them frozen upon extraction then the short answer would be yes.

    2-D Man,

    You’ve spent a whole lot of words in this thread telling us that so-and-so is not a really ‘of Christ’ because of such-and-such actions. Just now you’ve said that you can’t.

    If a person’s intent (aka fruit) does not line up with the Word of God than based on that simple fact I would say the person is not a Christian but ultimately God will be the one who decides such matters and no mortal man/woman.

    Thumpalumpacus,

    HR15, if you think abortion is murder, what’s your take on the murder of Dr Tiller?

    Once again two wrongs don’t make a right. I don’t agree with abortion nor do I agree with the murder of Dr. Tiller.

    Paul,

    Do you believe that a woman that aborts a fetus deserves >20 years in prison, as a murderer would?

    In short, yes. I believe we (our society) has undermined how valuable and precious life is to all of us.

    Ebon,

    …as others have noted, if you think the correct translation is actually “murder”, then it’s an even easier issue: Abortion, where permitted by applicable laws, is by definition not murder.

    God said we should not murder. Let’s define allowance under God’s law for taking a life; self defense, war, execution etc, while the baby in the womb has done no wrong, yet it is killed. What law has the baby broken in their existence?

    I freely acknowledge that there have been and will be future “unjust wars” and improper executions, but what does that have to do with destroying life in the womb? If it’s improper to goto war or execute a person, why then is it okay to kill a child in the womb? Even the term fetus tells us it is a human-being as it is latin for “little one”.

    I’m sure most of us would agree that human beings have intrinsic moral value. Those who use people and love “things” are immoral as they don’t recognize the inherent worth of others and are not merely things to be used. Augustine rightly stated that we should love people and use things and not the other way around.

    Agreed. What does that have to do with my argument? If unborn children are people, why doesn’t the Bible count pregnant women as two people?

    You appear to simply be “mud slinging” here…it’s a failed attempt to get me to state the Bible does not acknowledge the personhood of the fetus. You failed to mention Numbers 3:40 which states they should only count the first-born male; does that than imply that God does not value other children or women, certainly not! Let us not forget the following verses which clearly show that God forms us in the mothers womb; Ecclesiates 11:5, Exodus 21:22-23, Job 31:15, Psalm 139:13, Isa 44:2, etc…

    If “alive and has human DNA” are the defining characteristics of a person, do you also support granting legal personhood to HeLa cells?

    Is this a sincere question, no. No human being will develop from these cells.

    I fail to see what possessing fingers and toes has to do with personhood. Monkeys also have fingers and toes; does that make them human?

    I was simply pointing out how quickly the fertilized egg begins to take the form of a human body.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    A cancer cell will NEVER become a person it is simply part of a person while A fertilzed human egg will grow to a mature adult if left to fully develop.

    This is not true. It’s so wrong I don’t even know where to begin. Ignoring the fact that somewhere between 25% and 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, a fertilized egg will not become a baby without 9 months of significant work done by the woman’s body. This is not trivial.

    This simply belabors the point, we disagree when life begins.

    …. Yes, and I pointed out why your definition fails. Cancer cells are alive, sperm cells are alive, unfertilized eggs are alive; non-living sentient AI should be [when they exist] classified as a person. This is not trivial, and your hand-waving of “well we disagree” just means that you lack a coherent argument.

    What do you mean, you kill millions of people on a nightly basis? “Almost all of those are done to save the mother’s life”, what are some of the exceptions?

    Sperm cells. I masturbate a lot. The exceptions involve people who have become pregnant due to rape (especially minors), or near-life-threatening conditions (which is basically the same thing as life-threatening).

    Given my stance on the matter “reducing abortion rates” is a mute point, it’s about how we as a society view life.

    So actually reducing the number of “babies” that are “murdered” isn’t your goal? Geez, what a surprise…

    But simply because I’m curious, do you have any statistics to back up this point? I do agree that where abortion is banned it does make the procedure more dangerous to women.

    I’m in a hurry or I’d pull the facts out for you, but start here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/12/4/gpr120402.html

    we see things differently

    Yes, one of us has no regard for the life of a human being. The other thinks women are morally worth more than potential future people.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    It’s interesting how many threads transmute into abortion debates, but whatever…
    hereigns15
    Regardless of when a foetus objectively become conscious, the elephant in the room here is SOULS. As a theist you are assuming that a human conceptus already has some magic ingredient which gives it a superior intrinsic worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.

  • Paul

    In short, yes. I believe we (our society) has undermined how valuable and precious life is to all of us.

    Earlier, you said the following:

    Understand I’m human and have my own difficulties with this apparently troublesome topic, specifically in cases when the baby(s) and/or mother’s life is in danger, rape or incest.

    This shows that you do not consider abortion murder. You can fool yourself into stating you do, and you can form the words, but you still hold different definitions in your mind for “murder” and “abortion”. Unless you could seriously say you “have difficulties” with whether a woman should be able to murder a 10 year old child if they were the product of rape or incest?

    Kudos on being consistent in advocating punishment, though, I suppose. I should give credit where it’s due. I find your opinion abhorrent, but at least you’ve put some thought into it. Not enough, but more than most anti-choicers in my experience.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Fun fact: approximately one third of all American women have at least one abortion. Have fun putting 35 million people in prison for 20+ years.

  • ildi

    Steve:

    It’s interesting how many threads transmute into abortion debates

    This time it’s particularly relevant because h15 is adamant that he has no intention of foisting his religious beliefs on others, but for some reason he doesn’t see “fertilized egg = innocent human being = same moral worth as adult woman” as a religious belief. As you say, it’s the unspoken assumption that a) we have souls and b) those souls are transmitted to us at conception.

    I always wonder if that means twins just have half-souls, since the zygote doesn’t split until several days after conception…

  • Paul

    Fun fact: approximately one third of all American women have at least one abortion. Have fun putting 35 million people in prison for 20+ years.

    And how many doctors? Husbands? How many people could be implicated due to Good Samaritan laws? That said, justice should not be based on expedience.

    I always wonder if that means twins just have half-souls, since the zygote doesn’t split until several days after conception…

    And here I go the other way and wonder if chimera get super powers (or are they simply more spiritual? Must check the scientific literature) from having 2 souls.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Anybody notice that HR basically conceded that more than 75% of pregnancies that are terminated are done so before 10 weeks?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Tommy, I counted 89% in the first trimester in his stats.

    You’re right: that is significant in itself.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “Given my stance on the matter “reducing abortion rates” is a mute point, it’s about how we as a society view life.”
    I see it more as ideally only being brought up as a reply to “If we ban abortion, we stop abortion”.

    “But simply because I’m curious, do you have any statistics to back up this point?”
    Bans ‘do not cut abortion rate’

    “I believe we (our society) has undermined how valuable and precious life is to all of us.”
    Then how come the most vociferous anti-abortion advocates tend to be the same group of people that doesn’t give a shit about “the child” once it’s left the womb? How come they stop caring, right up until that bit at the end, when they again really, really care about “the sanctity of life”? How come using the State to blow up swarthy people is fine and just, but using the State to help other Americans is “SOCIALISM!”?
    And how come they want to get rid of abortion, while also being against programs (like comprehensive sex-ed, subsidized Pills/condoms, etc) that realistically reduce the pressure for abortion and programs (like welfare, single mother’s programs, etc) that help deal with the outcome of pregnancy? Is it because, dare I say, it’s not about the embryo? Instead, is it about “punishing the whores for their whoring”? Is it about control? Is it about maintaining and strengthening the patriarchy?

    Steve Bowen “As a theist you are assuming that a human conceptus already has some magic ingredient which gives it a superior intrinsic worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.”
    The indestructible, immortal thing. The thing whose destiny, for Calvinists, has already been decided. The thing that other self-aware creatures don’t have, even though they are, to varying degrees, quite similar to us (empathy, the ability to form models of the future and the outcomes of action/inaction in their head, etc. Even spite and lying).

    ildi “As you say, it’s the unspoken assumption that a) we have souls and b) those souls are transmitted to us at conception.”
    *Pbbt!* It’s not an assumption. It’s a declaration. That’s exactly the same thing as a fact. I know this is true because I just said it. Besides, Conservapedia backs me up.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    And how many doctors? Husbands? How many people could be implicated due to Good Samaritan laws? That said, justice should not be based on expedience.

    True, I just wanted to bring that up to show the full scale of what a coherent abortion ban would bring about. Actually, it’s closer to 50 million; I underestimated the number of Americans (I went with 300 million), and discounted the estimated sub-18 year olds (100 million), then assumed slightly more than half are women (105 million women) and took 33% of that (35 million). Counting 14-18 year olds and using the real numbers would definitely put that number closer to 45-50 million. Throw in doctors, friends and partners as accessories to murder and you’re getting up towards 60-75 million.

    For comparison’s sake, the current US prison population is ~2 million, IIRC, and we have one of the highest incarceration rates in the industrial world.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Then how come the most vociferous anti-abortion advocates tend to be the same group of people that doesn’t give a shit about “the child” once it’s left the womb?

    MO, I have a theory about that. You see, the unborn are the epitome of innocence in the eyes of anti-abortion activists. The unborn don’t wake you up in the middle of the night with their crying. They don’t need to be nursed or have their poopie diapers changed. They don’t pester you to buy them candy at the supermarket or buy them toys at Target.

    Of course, the unborn can make some pregnant women quite ill with nausea, which is something a male anti-abortion activist never has to worry about experiencing.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Of course, the unborn can make some pregnant women quite ill with nausea, which is something a male anti-abortion activist never has to worry about experiencing.

    Not to mention the fact that they won’t be putting their asses on the line to give birth.

    Just sayin’.

  • Nes

    hereigns,

    How about if you ran in to the burning IVF clinic to save the embryos but came across an infant and only had time to save one or the other? Would you always pick the embryos, no matter how many there were? Is there a lower limit on embryos at which you would trade them for the infant? Would you always pick the infant, regardless of how many embryos there are?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Tommykey “MO, I have a theory about that. You see, the unborn are the epitome of innocence in the eyes of anti-abortion activists. The unborn don’t wake you up in the middle of the night with their crying. They don’t need to be nursed or have their poopie diapers changed. They don’t pester you to buy them candy at the supermarket or buy them toys at Target.”
    Um, not a perfect example, but what about Terri Schiavo?
    And the some of the elderly need feeding, depooping and they cry, lamenting on just how much harder hard candy was when they were kids, and the constantly nag about the temperature or on how they’re gonna be late for the Early Bird Special, but I don’t see the “life is sacred” movement being any less vociferous about protecting them against their own wishes*1 than they are about embryos.
    Granted, Grandma can be dumped off in a home and forgotten about. “Alive” is apparently the only goal. The quality of that life doesn’t even register.

    *1. I, Modusoperandi, being of sound mind and body hereby state that if I get Alzheimer’s bad enough that I don’t remember my own wife, kids or life, feel free to take me out back and Ol’ Yeller*2 me. That said wife and kids will miss me is sad but moot. I won’t miss me and I’d prefer that they remember me as I was before, rather than the long, slow death of Alzheimer’s.

    *2. Ideally, I’d like to go out as I came in; pink, naked, screaming and covered in mucus. I’d appreciate muchly if that could be arranged.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Mo, if you think about it… what does Terri Schiavo have in common with embryos?

    Lack of brain function. So of course our pro-life betters are able to speak on their behalf /snark

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Anybody notice that HR basically conceded that more than 75% of pregnancies that are terminated are done so before 10 weeks?

    To be fair to hr15, I don’t recall him/her making the argument that most abortions are late term or anything like that, so it’s not much of a concession, if one at all (although I could be wrong about that).

    What I find much more telling is the discussion over differentiating cancer cells from human persons:

    A cancer cell will NEVER become a person it is simply part of a person while A fertilzed human egg will grow to a mature adult if left to fully develop.

    A cancer cell will not become a person while a fertilized egg cell will become a person…but inherent in that statement is the idea that the fertilized egg is not yet a person.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    To be fair to hr15, I don’t recall him/her making the argument that most abortions are late term or anything like that, so it’s not much of a concession, if one at all

    OMGF, the reason I pointed that out because in the same post he rattled on about how at 10 weeks a fetus has developed this, that and the other thing, and I was merely showing that more than 75% of pregnancy terminations take place before these developments going by the statistics he provided (I’m assuming HR is a he, apologies if I’m wrong). Furthermore, HR wrote in an earlier comment about 50 million babies being aborted, and I countered that you can’t call a fetus at an early stage of development a baby, so to claim that 50 million babies have been aborted since 1973 is simply not true. It’s an emotional appeal meant to conjure up visions of cute little infants cuddling their blankets and cooing in their crib while dismissing the ramifications for women and teenage girls who find themselves pregnant and realize they are not in the position to be a mother at this particular time in their life.

    If one wants to talk about late term pregnancies where the unborn are in a state where they can viably exist outside of the womb with proper care, then you could probably consider them to be unborn babies. Again though, I really doubt there are legions of women out there who get themselves pregnant and then decide on a whim a couple of weeks before their delivery date that “You know, I changed my mind, let’s get rid of it.”

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    You’re right Tommy, hr15 did talk about development at 10 weeks, but I think the argument that (s)he is seeking to make is that abortion after conception is wrong, wrong, wrong at any time. So, pointing out that most abortions happen sooner, rather than later, doesn’t really impact the argument that any abortion at any time is wrong.

  • hereigns15

    thamann,
    A cancer cell will NEVER become a person it is simply part of a person while A fertilzed human egg will grow to a mature adult if left to fully develop.

    This is not true. It’s so wrong I don’t even know where to begin. Ignoring the fact that somewhere between 25% and 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, a fertilized egg will not become a baby without 9 months of significant work done by the woman’s body. This is not trivial.

    We can probably both agree that for a fertilized egg to eventually become a healthy infant the process “normally” requires 8-9 months of gestation in the mothers womb, right? The point I was making was…a cancer cell will not beget a child while a fertilized egg will eventually, under normal circumstances, become an adult of the human species while a cancer cell WILL NEVER do so.

    Just because I can’t convince you or anyone else for that matter why abortion is wrong doesn’t mean I “lack a coherent argument”, in this case it simply means you don’t agree with my logic and there could be several reasons as to why.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/12/4/gpr120402.html

    It’s sad that so many woman end the life of the unborn and potentially their own.

    Yes, one of us has no regard for the life of a human being. The other thinks women are morally worth more than potential future people.

    Yes and I have regard for both the teenager/adult as well as the fertilized egg, embryo, fetus, infant and child.

    Steve Bowen,

    Regardless of when a foetus objectively become conscious, the elephant in the room here is SOULS. As a theist you are assuming that a human conceptus already has some magic ingredient which gives it a superior intrinsic worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.

    Yes and no. The fertilized egg does has a soul and this is something we humans don’t fully understand but that does not mean the fertilized egg has “superior intrinsic worth” but rather equal worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.

    Paul,

    This shows that you do not consider abortion murder. You can fool yourself into stating you do, and you can form the words, but you still hold different definitions in your mind for “murder” and “abortion”. Unless you could seriously say you “have difficulties” with whether a woman should be able to murder a 10 year old child if they were the product of rape or incest?

    I’ve attempted to clarify this contentious point a couple times and am not sure I can relay my beliefs any more clearly than what I’ve previously stated. I do consider abortion murder in any situation, that’s pretty clear. I’m human and understand that some decisions are easier to make than others.

    ildi,

    This time it’s particularly relevant because h15 is adamant that he has no intention of foisting his religious beliefs on others, but for some reason he doesn’t see “fertilized egg = innocent human being = same moral worth as adult woman” as a religious belief. As you say, it’s the unspoken assumption that a) we have souls and b) those souls are transmitted to us at conception.

    I don’t disagree that my belief is held because of my belief in the Word of God. I agree with both a and b.

    tommykey,

    Anybody notice that HR basically conceded that more than 75% of pregnancies that are terminated are done so before 10 weeks?

    Conceded that more than 75% of abortions are terminated before the 10th week, I don’t recall making an argument of when abortions occur.

    Modus,

    Then how come the most vociferous anti-abortion advocates tend to be the same group of people that doesn’t give a shit about “the child” once it’s left the womb? How come they stop caring, right up until that bit at the end, when they again really, really care about “the sanctity of life”? How come using the State to blow up swarthy people is fine and just, but using the State to help other Americans
    is “SOCIALISM!”?

    Do you have stats to back up your claim that anti-abortion advocates tend to be the one’s who don’t care about the child once it’s outside the womb? Assuming your statement is accurate, which I seriously doubt, you believe that gives people the right to murder??? TWisted thinking if you ask me.

    And how come they want to get rid of abortion, while also being against programs (like comprehensive sex-ed, subsidized Pills/condoms, etc) that realistically reduce the pressure for abortion and programs (like welfare, single mother’s programs, etc) that help deal with the outcome of pregnancy? Is it because, dare I say, it’s not about the embryo? Instead, is it about “punishing the whores for their whoring”? Is it about control? Is it about maintaining and strengthening the patriarchy?

    I believe birth control is permissble and this assumes it’s limited use, not used to cause an abortion. Children are a blessing but that doesn’t mean all of us should have them and there are reasons why a couple should not have children. Again, the view of “punishing the woman for her actions” is wrong on so many levels; last time I checked it takes-two-to-tango, children should be viewed as a blessing not as punishment, if the woman can not afford the child adoption is a viable option, atleast it is in America.

    Nes,

    How about if you ran in to the burning IVF clinic to save the embryos but came across an infant and only had time to save one or the other? Would you always pick the embryos, no matter how many there were? Is there a lower limit on embryos at which you would trade them for the infant? Would you always pick the infant, regardless of how many embryos there are?

    So basically you’re asking if I value the infant over the embryo, the simple answer is they are equal. The question is akin to what would you do if your father and mother were drowing and you only had time to save one of them which one would you save, it’s impossible to answer that question. You wouldn’t know until you were thrust into the situation.

    OMGF,

    To be fair to hr15, I don’t recall him/her making the argument that most abortions are late term or anything like that, so it’s not much of a concession, if one at all (although I could be wrong about that).

    Thank you.

    A cancer cell will not become a person while a fertilized egg cell will become a person…but inherent in that statement is the idea that the fertilized egg is not yet a person.

    They have a soul, they are a person, they do not yet have a fully developed body.

    tommykey,

    …the reason I pointed that out because in the same post he rattled on about how at 10 weeks a fetus has developed this, that and the other thing, and I was merely showing that more than 75% of pregnancy terminations take place before these developments…development a baby, so to claim that 50 million babies have been aborted since 1973 is simply not true. It’s an emotional appeal meant to conjure up visions of cute little infants cuddling their blankets and cooing in their crib while dismissing the ramifications for women and teenage girls who find themselves pregnant and realize they are not in the position to be a mother at this particular time in their life.

    I was simply indicating the development of the embryo at week 10 which makes it quite clear the ferilized egg is forming into a fully developed person and not some cancer cell or other creature. It’s quite stunning how quickly the single cell egg begins to take form, it’s not at the 20th week but rather at a very early age. And OMGF is correct, I believe abortion is wrong at any time, whether it’s the first day or the 9th month.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Once you introduce this unevidenced soul (what happens with twins or even conjoined twins?) you’ve basically decided to argue that abortion is wrong simply because you believe so due to your religious ideas. It’s also a stop gap for the obvious problem of defining a person as a single cell that has all the requisite chromosomes. Now, a cancer cell can’t be considered a human under your definition because it lacks some sort of magic. What magic? We have no evidence for this magic and the evidence we do have seems to point away from the idea of a soul.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “Do you have stats to back up your claim that anti-abortion advocates tend to be the one’s who don’t care about the child once it’s outside the womb?”
    Which Party consistently cuts, tries to cut or sets things up so that their successors are under pressure to cut social programs, public school budgets and the like, or that loading departments that protect all people, not just fetii and those about to croak, (EPA, FDA and the like) with appointees that fundamentally disagree with the job of whatever department they head? Which Party sticks by ideals that don’t work and have proven to fail in the past, rather than taking pragmatic, harm-reduction approaches to governance? And who controls this Party (besides, until recently, the military/coal/gas/etc arms of Big Business)? In short, have you seen or heard the Christian Right?

    “Assuming your statement is accurate, which I seriously doubt, you believe that gives people the right to murder???”
    No. I’m just looking for action that matches rhetoric. Considering the morally absolutist rhetoric, the actions speak more of relativism.

  • Nes

    hereigns15,

    First, thanks for having the patience to deal with the huge dog pile :-)

    Second, you really can’t figure out which is more important: 50 embryos vs. an infant? 20? 5? 1 vs. 1 I can grant as a difficult choice, according to your belief that the embryos have equal worth, but I can’t figure out why it isn’t clear cut in the other cases.

    Unless, as crazy as it sounds, you recognize that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t worth as much as a living, breathing, pain-feeling infant.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    We can probably both agree that for a fertilized egg to eventually become a healthy infant the process “normally” requires 8-9 months of gestation in the mothers womb, right? The point I was making was…a cancer cell will not beget a child while a fertilized egg will eventually, under normal circumstances, become an adult of the human species while a cancer cell WILL NEVER do so.

    Just because I can’t convince you or anyone else for that matter why abortion is wrong doesn’t mean I “lack a coherent argument”, in this case it simply means you don’t agree with my logic and there could be several reasons as to why.

    Fine, like I said cancer cells was an extreme example. Sperm cells and egg cells will also become a person. And this isn’t a case of me “disagreeing with your logic”; your argument has flaws which you refuse to acknowledge and address.

    It’s sad that so many woman end the life of the unborn and potentially their own.

    Pop quiz, which is more dangerous: getting an abortion or giving birth?

    The fertilized egg does has a soul and this is something we humans don’t fully understand but that does not mean the fertilized egg has “superior intrinsic worth” but rather equal worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.

    And there it is, the deus ex machina. Reasonable discussion ends when one side posits a completely unprovable immaterial property that determines personhood.

    So basically you’re asking if I value the infant over the embryo, the simple answer is they are equal. The question is akin to what would you do if your father and mother were drowing and you only had time to save one of them which one would you save, it’s impossible to answer that question. You wouldn’t know until you were thrust into the situation.

    That is so FUBAR I don’t even know what to say. Remember kids, a fertilized egg is of equal moral worth as your mother!

    This is pretty much done. Embryos are persons because they have souls (so when do self-aware AIs get their souls?) and there’s nothing more to it. This isn’t a rational debate over the definition of a person; this is one side having developed a robust definition that acknowledges life has no beginning/end but exists on a continuum, and another that stands pat on ‘goddidit’.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I don’t believe in immortal souls, HR. Show me where I’m wrong.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I just want to say, for the record, that I haven’t closed comments because I think this is a genuinely interesting and productive discussion. I’m willing to let it continue so long as it keeps on that way.

    I have a response for hr15′s latest:

    …if the woman can not afford the child adoption is a viable option, atleast it is in America.

    Spoken like someone who’ll never have to face the dangers of giving birth themselves. Childbirth is not a trivial experience, hereigns15; it’s extremely painful, it’s dangerous, and even in the best case, there’s a small but genuine risk of lifetime disfigurement or impairment (do a Google search for “obstetric fistula”).

    Even with all the latest modern medical care – which, I hasten to add, is not available to billions of women worldwide – it’s still possible for women to die giving birth. (Google “placenta abrupta” or “eclampsia” for two ways this can happen.)

    Pregnancy can cause all kinds of health threats in addition to the life-threatening ones – a friend of ours got gestational diabetes, for example. In at least one case I’m aware of, a woman ended up going blind because she had this and the laws in her home country (I believe it was Poland) didn’t allow her to get an abortion. It is simply immoral for anyone to demand that women must be subjected to these risks.

    They have a soul, they are a person, they do not yet have a fully developed body.

    Is it possible that some eggs – or some adult humans – do not have souls? How could you tell?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Pregnancy can cause all kinds of health threats in addition to the life-threatening ones

    So much for intelligent design, eh?

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Why does your all-knowing all-powerful god allow half of all pregnancies to end in miscarriage/stillbirth? By your definition he’s the biggest murderer of all!

  • Snoof

    The fertilized egg does has a soul and this is something we humans don’t fully understand but that does not mean the fertilized egg has “superior intrinsic worth” but rather equal worth, regardless of its cognitive ability.

    So if a zygote is of equal worth to an adult human, why does the zygote’s desire to parasitise a person outweight an adult human’s desire not to be parasitised?

    Of course, since said zygote lacks any cognitive ability, it can hardly be said to have a desire. It’s just blindly following the dictates of biology.

    Much in the same way that a cancer cell replicating out of control is.

    a fertilized egg will eventually, under normal circumstances, become an adult of the human species

    Are you sure of this? Between sixty to eighty percent of fertilised eggs fail to implant. This would imply the “normal” fate of a fertilised egg is to be flushed out via menstruation – successfully implanting in the uterus is fairly abnormal. Not to mention that a large proportion of embryos fail to survive even once implanted. So I don’t think the “normally a fertilized egg will become a human” argument holds water.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Is it possible that some eggs – or some adult humans – do not have souls?

    Oi! I resemble that remark.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    O.K so if we assume for the sake of argument that every conceptus has a soul. From what we actually know a significant proportion of these will never even get to induce placental formation, let alone divide sufficiently to be recognised as any sort of organism. So when these conceptuses (conceptii?)die, what goes to hell? (or maybe heaven depending on your fundie theology). I mean what persistant personality does this soul have? The only way you could make any sense of persistence of the individual in those circumstances is to assume re-incarnation so these souls get a chance of having a personality to persist.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I personally would like to see the soul evidenced before addressing your smart questions, Steve.

    But that’s only because I asked earlier. [#223] :D

  • hereigns15

    Tell me, can science measure EVERYTHING, I mean literally ALL things? Can it measure the amount of love a man has a for a woman? Or how much compassion one has for another human being or creature? Or the beauty of a sunset? Proof you want of the extisence of a soul…sure…as soon as science can measure the amount of love I have for my wife and son; I mean real, tangible, measureable scientific readings.

    Ofcourse science isn’t capable of measuring everything but that does not negate its usefulness in certain instances but it is not the end all. If you’re an atheist you don’t believe ANY person has a soul much less a zygote. The proof you want can be found in the Bible but you will not accept it and I can add nothing more than this amazing proof. However, when you and I die we will most certainly find out whether or not we have souls. Have no fear, I can assure you your proof is surely coming.

  • Paul

    I do consider abortion murder in any situation, that’s pretty clear. I’m human and understand that some decisions are easier to make than others.

    Is it easier to decide to kill a 1 year old conceived via rape than a 10 year old? If not, why is it easier to decide to kill a fetus (which you consider to be equal to a born human) that is the product of rape than a 1 or 10 year old? You avoided my question completely. As I said, the fact that one situation is “an easier decision to make” really shows that you do not consider abortion to be murder. Your feelings and anxieties betray your mental state. Perhaps you should pay more attention to reason and how you actually feel, instead of partially-digested dogma handed to you by others.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Tell me, can science measure EVERYTHING, I mean literally ALL things?

    Science can measure any objective fact.

    Can it measure the amount of love a man has a for a woman? Or how much compassion one has for another human being or creature? Or the beauty of a sunset?

    All those things are subjective. Is the existence of the soul subjective? If so, why should it be a basis for morality?

    However, when you and I die we will most certainly find out whether or not we have souls. Have no fear, I can assure you your proof is surely coming.

    This is now crossing the line into preaching. Don’t do it again. We are neither interested nor moved by your threats.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Tell me, can science measure EVERYTHING, I mean literally ALL things?

    Is your soul concept exempt from empirical observation? If so, then why not posit any number of other things that are also exempt from any potential falsification and claim that they have real effects on the world, or should at least guide our morality? If the soul does impact our world, there should be a measureable effect that we can empirically test for. The blunt facts do not support this idea of a soul.

    The proof you want can be found in the Bible but you will not accept it and I can add nothing more than this amazing proof.

    That you read a book and decided that the fanciful ideas contained therein were correct does not mean that book constitutes proof. There is no support in the Bible that would lead us to believe that souls do, in fact, exist. IOW, there’s no actual evidence in the Bible for souls. Therefore, the Bible is not proof at all of the existence of souls.

    Would you accept the Hindu holy scriptures as proof of the concept of Karma? Why or why not? If not (I’m assuming as much) then why would you accept the Bible as proof of the concept of souls? Do you not see that you are asking us to accept evidence for your preferred dogma that you would not accept for other dogmas that you simply don’t personally believe in?

    Finally, you’ve basically conceded your point with the abortion debate. This isn’t about when we should or should not abort, it’s about trying to get us to believe as you do, based on your specific subset of religious beliefs, which are not evidenced and not supported. We should not commit abortion simply because you religiously believe it is wrong. But, why should your religious beliefs hold sway over the rest of us?

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Tell me, can science measure EVERYTHING, I mean literally ALL things? Can it measure the amount of love a man has a for a woman? Or how much compassion one has for another human being or creature?

    Wow, I’ve never heard that question before… oh wait. Yes I have. A lot.

    Proof you want of the extisence of a soul…sure…as soon as science can measure the amount of love I have for my wife and son; I mean real, tangible, measureable scientific readings.

    So you don’t have to prove to us that the soul exists because science doesn’t apply to souls and they are unexplainable. How convenient for you.

    The proof you want can be found in the Bible but you will not accept it and I can add nothing more than this amazing proof.

    Then post it. Unedited, no commentary. Show us this proof. Oh and in keeping with the theme of my comment: yeah, even if we saw the proof we wouldn’t believe it, so why bother showing it.

    However, when you and I die we will most certainly find out whether or not we have souls. Have no fear, I can assure you your proof is surely coming.

    Pascal’s Wager. How original. Again. Sigh.

  • Nes

    However, when you and I die we will most certainly find out whether or not we have souls.

    Actually, if we’re right and there is no soul, then no, we won’t find out, because there won’t be an us to find out!

  • Snoof

    Dunno about sunsets, but…

    Can it measure the amount of love a man has a for a woman? Or how much compassion one has for another human being or creature?

    Yes, actually.

    If a man claims to love a woman and yet continually shows her no respect, treats her cruelly and commits acts of violence on her, then it’s reasonable to assume that he does not love her.

    From this, one can conclude that, rather than being a purely internal and subjective state, love also includes the _behaviours_ which it causes in individuals. And behaviours can most certainly be measured.

    Compassion (or more accurately, the behaviours resulting from compassion) can be similarly measured.

    So don’t give me that “science can’t say what love is” line. The only way you wouldn’t be able to scientifically measure a soul is if it had no influence whatsoever on any physical process, including the behaviours of those who possess one. And if it doesn’t affect anything at all in any way, how can you claim that it exists?

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Proof you want of the extisence of a soul…sure…as soon as science can measure the amount of love I have for my wife and son; I mean real, tangible, measureable scientific readings.

    Hence my question here Your love for family and appreciation of sunsets is dependent on your personality and experience. Elements of consiousness you did not posses as a foetus. So if opposing abortion is about saving souls what have these souls experienced to know about love? and aren’t these souls bound for hell anyway as they won’t have been saved from original sin?

  • lpetrich

    hereigns15:

    Tell me, can science measure EVERYTHING, I mean literally ALL things? Can it measure the amount of love a man has a for a woman? Or how much compassion one has for another human being or creature?

    There is a science for handling such questions: psychology.

    As to Pascal’s Wager, I think that it is a load of merde de taureau. It’s essentially believing in the religion with the hottest hell just in case it’s true.

  • ildi

    as soon as science can measure the amount of love I have for my wife and son; I mean real, tangible, measureable scientific readings.

    Well, science can measure your love for God, is that good enough?

    Neurosurgical patients get closer to God

    Removal of specific parts of the brain can induce increases in a personality trait which predisposes people to spirituality, according to a new clinical study by Italian researchers. The new research, published earlier this month in the journal Neuron, provides evidence that some brain structures are associated with spiritual thinking and feelings, and hints at individual differences that might make some people more prone than others to spirituality.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    The proof you want can be found in the Bible but you will not accept it and I can add nothing more than this amazing proof. However, when you and I die we will most certainly find out whether or not we have souls.

    Citing the Bible to “prove” God is like releasing the murderer based on his protestations of innocence. It is the epitome of circular reasoning, and as such, my rejection of it as a source is amply justified.

    I can assure you your proof is surely coming.

    Appeals to fear never lurk far below the surface of religion. How pathetic is your argument that you must resort to “If you don’t believe me you’ll get it!”

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Thumpalumpacus “How pathetic is your argument that you must resort to “If you don’t believe me you’ll get it!”
    Well, you will. I spoke to Thor just the other day, as I do on occasion, and he remarked to me on his severe displeasure at the unwillingness of the current generation to prepare for Ragnarok. “A bunch of thralls”, he called you people.
    You know who you are.

  • hereigns15

    I said, “Have no fear, I can assure you your proof is surely coming.”, which apparently was taken as an offensive comment by some. I was simply stating each of us will eventually die, nothing more and nothing less; no implied threat intended, I was simply stating the obvious fact.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    See, we only get “proof” if you’re right. If we’re right, then our lives end. Full stop. So we don’t even get the luxury of gloating :P more seriously, the reason “you’ll get your proof” is taken as a “threat” is not that we think you’re going to kill us (unless you’re these guys), but the implication is “you’ll see God when you die, and he’s gonna be pissed at you!” Threat of hellfire and brimstone and so forth.

  • hereigns15

    “See, we only get “proof” if you’re right.

    True, well said and maybe I’m wrong here but it seems to me the “upsetting” word in my sentence was the word “proof”. I did not mean the use of the word in a derogatory way but rather overstating the obvious. I mean, if I’m wrong than none of us will know that I’m wrong but if I’m right, then I can gloat ) – just kidding, than we all will certainly be aware of the soul.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Have no fear, I can assure you your proof is surely coming.

    Can you, now? Actually, I take that as a promise, not a threat (guys, stick with me here a minute). What assurance do you have for me that proof is surely coming? Or do you only have scripture, table-pounding, and repetition? Because those things surely do not assure me.

    If one were to doubt, say, the validity of the COBE mission‘s results, I could assure such a person that the results are valid by explaining that the very same principles are at work in household microwave ovens. The chain of reason goes, “Microwaves work, and here’s how; we apply these principles to space, and measure them with thus-and-so a device; scientists built such a device, and calculated what it ought to get under a range of conditions; then they used the device, and got results that fit extremely well with one set of predictions.”

    This level of assurance and style of reasoning is more or less what it takes for me to believe in anything. The weaker the assurance gets, and the less direct the reasoning gets, the less confidence I can place in the idea. I never place 100% confidence in anything, because it’s always the case that I might be mistaken on this or that crucial point, and I typically reserve 0% confidence for things like contradictions. So, if you please, what assurance do you have for me that my proof is surely coming?

    (Kudos to everyone who’s been sticking it out this far, by the way – and, all snark aside, double-kudos to you, hereigns15, for staying in the conversation and doing things like clarifying your points and conceding things.)

    EDIT: Quick! Pimping for female philosophers who rock socks: hereigns15, you should really read Judith Jarvis Thomson’s A Defense of Abortion, as she grants that the fetus is a fully-fledged human being and argues from there. I’d be interested to know what you think of it.

  • hereigns15

    The “proof” I was referring to is death itself, which none of us can escape. Since none of us who are currently alive can provide proof of after-life it requires faith, believing without having seen first-hand.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    It doesn’t “require faith”. You can in fact just doubt: say that you don’t know, and deliberately abstain from supposing. That’s what I do. Why do you go and do all that “faith” stuff? This is the part that I honestly don’t get.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    The fact that we die is proof? Uh, no. I don’t have proof of the invisible dragon in my garage, but you’d be right to not believe it until I presented said proof. Until there is proof otherwise, it makes the most sense to take the “there isn’t anything” position.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com/ D

    themann1086, I’m pretty sure that hereigns15 meant that “the process of dying will supply you with the proof you seek”. You can’t see past the veil without crossing it, in other words. As for your dragon in the garage, the trouble is that “makes the most sense” is subjective. I mean, we can talk about parsimony, ontological deserts vs. jungles, economy of belief, and so on until the Sun goes out – there are still going to be people to whom it just makes sense to believe in anything at all rather than withhold belief when not forced to do so (which is impossible). Faith of this sort is more along the lines of the “hope” variety, from what I’ve seen.

    “To faith or not to faith” then comes down to values, which are born from preexisting psychological dispositions, which in turn are born from previous experiences. Consider that we are “ordered” to have faith by the Bible, the proclamation that “you gotta have faith”, and so on. To those whose experiences have largely been good when following authority, such orders ought to be followed, as such behaviors have been rewarded. To those whose experiences have not largely been good when following authority, more critical thinking is needed, and orders are categorically suspicious, as following them has not been consistently rewarded. What “makes the most sense” will come down to what your life has been like. We can’t control this.

    So, hereigns15, why do you have faith? And I don’t mean what informs your faith, I mean why do you have any faith to inform at all in the first place? Why do you put stock in the things that inform your faith? I can understand that you’ve got faith in some deity, in some manner of morality, in some sort of holy scripture, in some prophet or other, and so on – but why is the whole edifice there in the first place? Why is it that you make the leap? And, in turn, why should I? If I’m supposed to believe that faith will get me rewarded, why should I buy that I’m supposed to have such a belief in the first place? Why should I buy any of it, at any step of the way? This is my question, and really, the first person to answer it in a way that I can’t mutatis mutandis into any other religion will win another convert.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    hr15

    Since none of us who are currently alive can provide proof of after-life it requires faith, believing without having seen first-hand.

    To expand on what D said, we talked about this already. You’ve already agreed that an atheist disbelieving your positive assertions of faith does not entail the atheist taking a faith position of her own. This is much the same. Theists positively assert an afterlife with no evidence, asking us to take it on faith. When the atheist disbelieves in this afterlife due to the lack of evidence, the atheist is not taking up a contrary faith position, but simply saying that they do not accept the faith position of the theist. So, to sum up, the theist is going on faith, the atheist is not.

    D,
    Can you clarify something for me?

    To those whose experiences have largely been good when following authority, such orders ought to be followed, as such behaviors have been rewarded. To those whose experiences have not largely been good when following authority, more critical thinking is needed, and orders are categorically suspicious, as following them has not been consistently rewarded.

    It sounds here like you are saying that theists are theists because good things have happened to them from following authority while atheists are atheists because their lives were crap when they tried to follow authority. Or, am I totally misreading you? I don’t think that’s what you mean to say, but that’s how it looks to me.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Eh, it was late and I was being sloppy. While the thing I said can certainly happen, that’s not the underlying thing “really going on”, which I’ll try to explain better. Take a person’s reported agreement with statements such as, “It is always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubt in people’s minds.” Compare it to the kind of experiences that person had growing up, with questions such as, “It has been my experience that things work best when fathers are the head of their families. (Do you know families where fathers are not the head of the family? Do things work badly in such families?)” You’ll get a pretty strong correlation, and Bob Altemeyer lays out this and a bunch of other interesting stuff in The Authoritarians. It’s not a simple one-to-one dichotomy, of course – things are rarely so easy.

    But according to the research, people tend to show a high degree of “right-wing authoritarianism” (RWA) by default until life knocks it out of them. That is, they tend to submit to what they recognize as the authorities (both doing what the authorities say and also letting the authorities get away with stuff), they tend to be easily moved to aggression by those they recognize as the authorities (forming posses to lash out against threat du jour), and their social thinking tends to be highly conventional (“There’s one right way to do things, we got it, and everyone else just needs to fall in“). Children, or “life noobs”, tend to start out like this and then lose it a bit as they rub elbows with people of different stripes (and gain it back a bit when they have children of their own).

    As Altemeyer himself puts it:

    I have discovered in my investigations that, by and large, high RWA students had simply missed many of the experiences that might have lowered their authoritarianism. Take that first item on page 59 about fathers being the head of the family. Authoritarian followers often said they didn’t know any other kind of families. And they hadn’t known any unpatriotic people, nor had they broken many rules. They simply had not met many different kinds of people or done their share of wild and crazy things. Instead they had grown up in an enclosed, rather homogeneous environment–with their friends, their schools, their readings, their amusements all controlled to keep them out of harm’s way and Satan’s evil clutches. They had contentedly traveled around on short leashes in relatively small, tight, safe circles all their lives.

    Interestingly enough, authoritarian followers show a remarkable capacity for change IF they have some of the important experiences. For example, they are far less likely to have known a homosexual (or realized an acquaintance was homosexual) than most people. But if you look at the high RWAs who do know someone gay or lesbian, they are much less hostile toward homosexuals in general than most authoritarians are. Getting to know a homosexual usually makes one more accepting of homosexuals as a group. Personal experiences can make a lot of difference, which is a truly hopeful discovery. The problem is, most right-wing authoritarians won’t willingly exit their small world and try to meet a gay. They’re too afraid. And “coming out” to a high RWA acquaintance might have long-term beneficial effects on him, but it would likely carry some risks for the outgoing person.

    For a religious person who is also authoritarian, God is likely to be the Ultimate Authority. Abrahamic religion and authoritarianism (again: submission to and aggression on behalf of authority, with a high degree of conventionalism) have a lot of ideological overlap and can easily reinforce each other. While none of this means that they always go together or have any necessary relationship whatever, they show up together often enough – the correlation exists.

    But as I’ve just shown, phrasing this properly takes way long. That’s what I get for being lazy I mean, concise. Yeah. Hope that clears things up!

  • hereigns15

    D,

    …I’m pretty sure that hereigns15 meant that “the process of dying will supply you with the proof you seek”. You can’t see past the veil without crossing it, in other words. As for your dragon in the garage, the trouble is that “makes the most sense” is subjective. I mean, we can talk about parsimony, ontological deserts vs. jungles, economy of belief, and so on until the Sun goes out – there are still going to be people to whom it just makes sense to believe in anything at all rather than withhold belief when not forced to do so (which is impossible). Faith of this sort is more along the lines of the “hope” variety, from what I’ve seen.

    2 points awarded to D, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    So, hereigns15, why do you have faith? …I mean why do you have any faith to inform at all in the first place? Why do you put stock in the things that inform your faith? I can understand that you’ve got faith in some deity, in some manner of morality, in some sort of holy scripture, in some prophet or other, and so on – but why is the whole edifice there in the first place? Why is it that you make the leap? And, in turn, why should I? If I’m supposed to believe that faith will get me rewarded, why should I buy that I’m supposed to have such a belief in the first place? Why should I buy any of it, at any step of the way? This is my question, and really, the first person to answer it in a way that I can’t mutatis mutandis into any other religion will win another convert.

    Based on your previous responses I can see that you have atleast read some/all of the Bible so I won’t bore you with Scripture though Scripture in and of itself is an integral part/source of the Christians understanding, not only of this life but the one to follow as well. The first step for one to have “faith” in Christ, God, the Bible, the “after-life”, and this cannot be over-stated enough as it is the biggest one of all, spiritually speaking it’s the Grand Canyon, and it is…he/she must first recognize their need. Without this first and crucial step I’d still be in the same miserable state I was in a few years ago, living for myself. The “need” I’m referring to is for someone or something to remove or blot out one’s transgressions/wrong doings and without a shread of doubt in my mind the only One who can remove my stains is Christ. I had to first understand I was a “sinner” in need of a Savior, humble myself, before the Cross meant anything to me and this revelation did not come by own merit it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard it stated here quite often that other religions claim a similar message but when you really dig through all the other religions you’ll see dramatic differences between Christianity and all others. Christianity encourages it’s followers to live for others while other religions focus on improving ones self worth, either on this earth or the after-life.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    Christianity encourages it’s followers to live for others while other religions focus on improving ones self worth, either on this earth or the after-life.

    Cool, let’s accept this at face value for the minute. But what’s wrong with improving your self worth? It is hard to value others when you don’t value yourself.

    mind the only One who can remove my stains is Christ. I had to first understand I was a “sinner” in need of a Savior, humble myself, before the Cross meant anything to me and this revelation did not come by own merit it is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    I’ll not denigrate your sentiment, I’m sure of your sincerity, but what you have done is displace your internal understanding of your inappropriate behaviour to an external metaphysical saviour. What I find distressing about this is that something made you realise your life wasn’t on track, but you found the solution, not in your own behaviour, your own strength of character, but in a supernatural being who after all didn’t die for your sin, but for Adam’s. Hereighns15… we are all in need of redemption sometimes, but the means are within ourselves, our friends, our family, our work, the smallest interactions with our fellow beings. None of which require god(s) or risen saviours.

  • hereigns15

    Steve Bowen,

    Cool, let’s accept this at face value for the minute. But what’s wrong with improving your self worth? It is hard to value others when you don’t value yourself.

    Nothing per se, is “wrong” with improving with one’s self worth. But when we genuinely reach out to others in love it improves one’s own self worth because love that does not have borders or limits, if you like, makes all the difference to those around us and a great side-effect is that the person extending that kind of selfless love enhances his/her own life.

    What I find distressing about this is that something made you realise your life wasn’t on track, but you found the solution, not in your own behaviour, your own strength of character, but in a supernatural being who after all didn’t die for your sin, but for Adam’s.

    Yes, Adam was the first “man” to sin which was in-fact the cause of “the fall” but based on Scripture Christ did in-fact die for me (Psalm 32:5, Psalm 51, Psalm 91, Romans 3:23, John 3:16).

    Hereighns15… we are all in need of redemption sometimes, but the means are within ourselves, our friends, our family, our work, the smallest interactions with our fellow beings. None of which require god(s) or risen saviours.

    I too once believed that as well but thanks be to God I’m not who I once was! He has and continues to radically change me. I realize this may sound foreign to most/all of you but I won’t deny what He has done in my life. Life has a whole new meaning now, in so many ways.

  • hereigns15

    BTW, I sincerely appreciate the way some of you have conversed with me. I understand some, heck maybe all of what I’ve posted, sounds like a bunch of _____ (you fill in the blank), but some have show concern for my beliefs and not ridiculed/belittled me for them. So my hats off to you, you know who you are. :)

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    But when we genuinely reach out to others in love it improves one’s own self worth because love that does not have borders or limits, if you like, makes all the difference to those around us and a great side-effect is that the person extending that kind of selfless love enhances his/her own life.

    Okay, but this can be done without believing that the creator of a universe filled with billions of galaxies impregnated a virgin teenage girl in the Galilee a couple of thousand years ago.

    I too once believed that as well but thanks be to God I’m not who I once was! He has and continues to radically change me. I realize this may sound foreign to most/all of you but I won’t deny what He has done in my life. Life has a whole new meaning now, in so many ways.

    It doesn’t sound “foreign” to most of us, because many of us, such as myself, once were believers. But the fact that your religious belief may have changed your life for the better does not make the claims of the religion objectively true. That being said, I certainly don’t begrudge your right to your belief, even though I don’t think it is necessary.

  • hereigns15

    Tommykey,

    Okay, but this can be done without believing that the creator of a universe…

    Are you 100% sure? Based on my own life experiences I don’t believe it’s possible. Hear me now because I’m not saying one must be a Christian in order to love a person because we know that is not true but in order to love those who “hate” you, those that would be considered your enemy, those that cut you off while driving, those that attack you because of your belief, those that back bite, those that stab you in the back, et cettra, that requires a love that is beyond our own ability.

    It doesn’t sound “foreign” to most of us, because many of us, such as myself, once were believers.

    Interesting, may I ask which denomination you belonged to, just curious?

    But the fact that your religious belief may have changed your life for the better does not make the claims of the religion objectively true…

    Are you 100% sure my belief and claims don’t make the religion objectively true?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    1. Yes.
    2. Roman Catholic.
    3. Yes.

  • Peter N

    hereigns15,

    …in order to love those who “hate” you, those that would be considered your enemy, those that cut you off while driving, those that attack you because of your belief, those that back bite, those that stab you in the back, et cettra, that requires a love that is beyond our own ability.

    Well, I suppose I don’t “love” such people in the way that I love my wife or my cat, but the challenge when encountering them is not to label them as “enemy” and leave it at that, but to try to understand them. There are, for one thing, psychopaths, who for some reason just don’t seem to be wired for empathy and compassion the way most of us are. It may be nobler in the mind to “love” them, but by itself that does nothing towards understanding them, and ultimately helping them (and preventing today’s children from growing up to be tomorrow’s psychopaths). The most effective path to understanding and helping them is rooted in science, and an appeal to the supernatural is a dead end.

    Are you 100% sure my belief and claims don’t make the religion objectively true?

    Are you sure you want to stay this far out on the leafy end of the branch? I honestly don’t mean to belittle your beliefs, but you might want to pull back a little. Someone could substitute the words “alien abduction” or “reptilian conspiracy” for “the religion” and it wouldn’t carry any less weight, or any more. The sincerity of your beliefs isn’t evidence of anything except the sincerity of your beliefs.

  • hereigns15

    D,
    You requested I read “Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion” and offer my feedback on the article. So…

    As I’ve previously stated children conceived due to rape or incest is a difficult matter and should not be taken lightly. Rape/incest are obviously heinous crimes but why should the child(ren) be required to pay for the sin of the rapist? The mother has done no wrong but neither has the child, what “wrong” has he/she done which deserves the death penalty? If the woman who has been violated decides to move forward with the birth of the child(ren) she will at various times be reminded of the attack when she looks upon the child(ren). However, it’s also true that love is bigger than the horrible crime and what’s greater than the love a mother has for her child(ren).

    In regards to aborting a child “to save the mother” argument, Scripture gives a very narrow allowance for taking the life of another and none of which can be remotely construed as a justification for “aborting to save the life of the mother”. In dealing with difficult questions like “abortion for the life of the mother”, should not be approached with situational ethics or personal opinion to help make life-and-death decisions concerning unborn children but rather the unadulterated Word of God.

    Both of these responses go right back to my “learning to love without limits” or pre-conditions comments I made earlier. Jesus expressed how much He loves all of us with His sacrifice. Because of His great love and grace extended toward each of us shouldn’t we reciprocate this to others in our own lives as well? If one does not place any confidence in the Word of God or the sacrifice of the Lamb than it all boils down to personal values/ethics. If a woman considers the life in her womb to be human and not something that can or should be easily discarded, no matter what the circumstances in which the child(ren) is conceived, she will likely spare its life.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    hereigns15 “In regards to aborting a child ‘to save the mother’ argument, Scripture gives a very narrow allowance for taking the life of another and none of which can be remotely construed as a justification for ‘aborting to save the life of the mother’.”
    Am I reading that right? I can’t be reading that right. Even the Roman Catholics sneak in “double effect” to get around the conclusion that sacrificing both instead of one to save one would make one’s morality that of a monster.

    “In dealing with difficult questions like ‘abortion for the life of the mother’, should not be approached with situational ethics or personal opinion to help make life-and-death decisions concerning unborn children but rather the unadulterated Word of God.”
    If the Word says that when faced with the choice between “bad” and “worse” to choose “worse” then it’s reprehensible. Sacrificing oneself to save another can be good. Sacrificing both on the altar of “the unadulterated Word of God” is, frankly, idiotic.

  • Polly

    those that cut you off while driving

    The few times in life that I really, truly wish there were an actual Hell (and that I were god) is while I’m driving – especially while looking for parking at the mall.

    Relax! It wouldn’t be a terrible Hell. More of a having the TV eternally tuned to Telenovelas, kind of hell. Or, having chronic hangnails and everything is made of wool, kind of thing.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I want to begin this by apologizing to hereigns15 for my intemperate remarks to him in my last appearance in this thread (#233). In my defense, any atheist can tell you that we get quite a lot of this from proselytizers: “You may call yourselves atheists now, but just wait till you die and go to hell – then you’ll be sorry!” For understandable reasons, I think, we tend to get exasperated with these clumsy, malicious threats after hearing them for the hundredth time. If that wasn’t the sentiment he meant to convey, and I don’t think it was, then I misread his comments and I apologize for that.

    Some further thoughts:

    The first step for one to have “faith” in Christ, God, the Bible, the “after-life”, and this cannot be over-stated enough as it is the biggest one of all, spiritually speaking it’s the Grand Canyon, and it is…he/she must first recognize their need. Without this first and crucial step I’d still be in the same miserable state I was in a few years ago, living for myself. The “need” I’m referring to is for someone or something to remove or blot out one’s transgressions/wrong doings…

    hr15, you seem to be under the impression that Christianity is the only religion which promises its followers absolution. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every religion has some means of ritual cleansing or purification from sin – a ceremonial washing or immersion, fasting, making offerings to the temple, burning incense or kindling fire, a literal or symbolic sacrifice (dying-and-rising savior gods were very common in the time and place where Christianity was founded), and so on. Seriously, just take a look at this. Absolution and purification rituals have been a part of every religion since the beginning of recorded history, and Christianity is no different from all the rest in that respect.

    In dealing with difficult questions like “abortion for the life of the mother”, should not be approached with situational ethics or personal opinion to help make life-and-death decisions concerning unborn children but rather the unadulterated Word of God.

    You speak as if there was one clear, obvious standard acknowledged by all to be the word of God. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no deity descending from the clouds to tell us in person what his will is. Instead, what we have are countless groups of humans, each one of which claims to speak for God, and each one of which has a conflicting and incompatible interpretation of some ancient text. Even if we confine ourselves just to Christianity, and don’t consider any of the other thousands of religions in the world, there is still a huge range of opinions about the permissibility of abortion (or of any other moral topic you’d care to name). Of course, every group along that spectrum has convinced themselves that their particular interpretation is the One True And Infallible Word of God, but to an atheist standing outside the whole debate, there’s no obvious reason why we should take any one group more seriously than all the rest.

    As we’ve noted already, the Bible says nothing explicit about abortion. Everything you claim it says on the topic has to be “inferred”, and sometimes those inferences are in direct opposition to other verses that are hard to reconcile with modern evangelical interpretations (again, reference my earlier comment pointing out that a census taken in the Old Testament didn’t count pregnant women as two people).

    The interesting thing is that you’ve gotten so used to your particular interpretation, and you’ve probably heard it preached and reinforced so many times, that you don’t even see it as interpretation anymore. As your comment puts it, you’ve convinced yourselves that you can claim to know “the unadulterated Word of God” (unlike all those Christians with different opinions, no doubt, who are just stubborn, self-willed heretics). You claim that this is an alternative to “personal values/ethics”, but in fact you’ve brought your own values and your own presuppositions to this debate, just as all of us have. The only difference is that we’re willing to admit what our starting premises are, and to entertain the possibility that they might be in error and should be changed, whereas you’ve convinced yourself that your personal opinions bear the stamp of God’s infallible approval.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    @ hereigns15 (nos. 253 & 261): In the first place, I want to thank you for taking the time to actually read the article – it’s a long one!

    Abrupt segue to business! You asked, “why should the child(ren) be required to pay for the sin of the rapist?” The Bible abounds with examples and principles stating, quite clearly, that God punishes people for others’ sins all the damn time. (Only four passages dissent from this overwhelmingly clear message.) Doesn’t every living individual’s need for a savior ultimately come down to Adam & Eve in the garden? What is that if not all of humanity being required to pay for the sins of their forebears?

    As for the rest of #261, I don’t think you understand how profound an experience pregnancy is. My mom cried for days after a miscarriage, just a couple weeks into the pregnancy. Women take pregnancy very seriously, and there is no such thing as “something that can or should be easily discarded” when you have another life growing inside of you: that point is not being disputed, and it is already being taken into account by the other side, it just doesn’t weigh as heavily as you seem to think it does. But as traumatic as it is to lose a child, can you imagine the trauma of being forced to bear an unwanted child? It’s somewhere between “your worst nightmare” and “a living Hell”. I bet we could both agree that it would be for the best if the mother could change her mind and decide to love the child anyway – but this is not always possible. And while I would also agree with you that abortion is always regrettable, your arguments completely miss the point.

    As an aside, you also said, “If one does not place any confidence in the Word of God or the sacrifice of the Lamb than [sic] it all boils down to personal values/ethics.” Umm… I should tell you, this still boils down to personal values/ethics, you’re just going with God’s purported values/ethics (as you, a fallible human, understand them) instead of your own. What makes God such a great ethicist? From what I can tell, he seems to be pretty terrible at it.

    So what should the penalty be if a woman aborts? Because you and I both know that it’s still going to happen, no matter what we say or do. If she aborts herself, should it be first-degree murder? If she hires someone else, should she be treated no differently than a mob boss ordering a hit? A woman decides after much soul-searching that she cannot bear to keep the life growing inside of her – how should she be penalized for her wrongdoing? These are not rhetorical questions, I am very interested to know what you think here.

    The “need” I’m referring to is for someone or something to remove or blot out one’s transgressions/wrong doings and without a shread [sic] of doubt in my mind the only One who can remove my stains is Christ.

    Really? I mean, life is complicated, and getting your hands dirty is a part of it. When I make mistakes, I try to learn from the experience in order to make myself a better person. I know that I will never be perfect, I just strive to be a little less wrong every day, and I don’t always succeed, but that’s OK, too. When my mistakes affect another person, I try to make up with that person. And when things get really bad and I can’t set them right, I find a way to live with the regret.

    This is life, man. You of all people should know that you don’t stop sinning when you’re saved. But even when I was Christian, I knew that God’s unconditional forgiveness was meaningless by its very nature: you don’t have to make things right, you don’t even have to make them better, you just get a pat on the head and a “There, there” from the Guy In Charge. Who cares? Really: who cares? I always cared more about the harm I had done to people, and God’s forgiveness didn’t help one whit with that.

    But I digress. As you said, the first step is to recognize that I need a savior. So: why should I buy that? What is it that I need to be saved from, and why should I believe that it’s a danger?

    P.S. – I’m also confused as to how “getting into the Heaven club” isn’t improving one’s self worth. Isn’t the whole point that you want to either avoid Hell, reach Heaven, or please God? These are ultimately the same thing, I realize, but one aspect (avoiding punishment, achieving reward, or pleasing the Boss) probably takes the lead in each person’s mind, and they all seem like they improve a person. So how is Christianity different again? I would say that secular humanism with a utilitarian twist is actually better at motivating people to serve others, as it teaches that each person’s happiness or suffering is just as important as any other’s, and there’s no afterlife so we’d better make things as great on Earth as we possibly can. Where’s the hole in that?

  • Paul

    D,

    how should she be penalized for her wrongdoing?
    He already said in 199 abortion should be prosecuted as murder (I cited a prison term of >20 years, according to some quick Googling, which he agreed with).

    I’m also confused as to how “getting into the Heaven club” isn’t improving one’s self worth. Isn’t the whole point that you want to either avoid Hell, reach Heaven, or please God? These are ultimately the same thing, I realize, but one aspect (avoiding punishment, achieving reward, or pleasing the Boss) probably takes the lead in each person’s mind, and they all seem like they improve a person.

    Doesn’t follow. “getting into the Heaven club” may improve your outcomes regarding the afterlife, but while you’re still on Earth you’re still a sinful wretch only eternally salvageable through the love of Jesus. It doesn’t increase your self worth, especially if you buy into the doctrine of original sin (unless you’re immaculate like Mary, you have no self worth — you’re a sinner who can only be saved by Jesus). No matter how good you are in life, you are a sinner until you die and the Lord redeems you. Or so I was indoctrinated, anyway.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Thanks for catching me up, Paul! I missed that one. Well, I guess I’ll just have to agree to disagree on abortion, and be grateful that we don’t live in a theocracy. Oh, well.

    Paul, you also said, “…while you’re still on Earth you’re still a sinful wretch only eternally salvageable through the love of Jesus.” I was taught the same at one of the churches I attended, I just fail to see how being salvaged through the love of Jesus doesn’t improve a person. Besides, you’re still making things better for yourself anyhow, and I can’t understand how someone can write off that clear self-interest with a straight face. (Well, I guess I can, I just don’t like it.) If you ask me, a much better example of a personal sacrifice for the good of others would be going to Hell yourself so that others could get to Heaven.

    Anyway, I’m still interested to know what hereigns15 thinks I need to be saved from, and why I should think I need to be saved from it.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    If you ask me, a much better example of a personal sacrifice for the good of others would be going to Hell yourself so that others could get to Heaven.

    Like maybe an abortion provider?

  • Paul

    Paul, you also said, “…while you’re still on Earth you’re still a sinful wretch only eternally salvageable through the love of Jesus.” I was taught the same at one of the churches I attended, I just fail to see how being salvaged through the love of Jesus doesn’t improve a person.

    I replied without full context of what you were saying, mostly because I haven’t been interested in reading the last 50 or so post. I was replying to the “self worth” in your statement, and pointing out that I don’t think it’s accurate to assume that joining the “getting into Heaven club” improves your self worth (based on my upbringing). It “increases your worth” in the afterlife, but until you’re in those pearly gates cleared of sin you’re no better than any other fallen soul. If there was greater context, obviously my answer is insufficient.

    If you ask me, a much better example of a personal sacrifice for the good of others would be going to Hell yourself so that others could get to Heaven.

    Hm. I used to fantasize about not getting Raptured so I could convert the unbelievers during the Tribulations (my church believed in a pre-Tribulation Rapture, obviously). Boy, that was silly.

  • Paul

    I would say that secular humanism with a utilitarian twist is actually better at motivating people to serve others, as it teaches that each person’s happiness or suffering is just as important as any other’s, and there’s no afterlife so we’d better make things as great on Earth as we possibly can. Where’s the hole in that?

    I didn’t touch on this in my response (because it wasn’t really related to the point I was trying to make), but I don’t see a hole in it. I don’t currently subscribe to a positive philosophy, but secular humanism is where I would point someone looking for meaning/motivation.

  • hereigns15

    Ebon,

    I want to begin this by apologizing to hereigns15 for my intemperate remarks to him in my last appearance in this thread (#233)…

    Apology accepted, thank you, I appreciate your gesture. I will attempt to make my points more clear in future posts.

    …you seem to be under the impression that Christianity is the only religion which promises its followers absolution. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every religion has some means of ritual cleansing or purification from sin…You speak as if there was one clear, obvious standard acknowledged by all to be the word of God. Again, nothing could be further from the truth….

    Based on posts I’ve read from you I believe it’s safe to make the following assumptions; you’ve read several philosophical and theological books, including the Holy Bible, and you’ve thought long and hard about where and whom you will put your trust, either in a specific religion or atheism so I won’t bore you with what I believe to be supportive evidence for God, Christ, Scripture and fullfilled prophecies. Based on my responses maybe I’ve given a false impression that I’ve not studied other “religions”, to be clear I have. Unlike other “religions” Christianity is ultimately about restoration and relationship with God. It is outward-seeking while all others are inner-seeking. It is trusting in the finished and complete work of Jesus and what He did on the cross, it’s not about what one can for his or herself. Neither Confucius nor Buddha rose from the dead, Islam’s prophet Muhammad did not fulfill detailed prophecies. So either Jesus is true and all other religions are false or other religions are true and Jesus is false or there are no god(s) and atheism is true. But as for me, well by now you know where I stand.

    I’m certain you could provide me with your long detailed counter-points to Christianity but do you think you could narrow down why you believe Christianity is false in two sentences or less?

    As we’ve noted already, the Bible says nothing explicit about abortion. Everything you claim it says on the topic has to be “inferred”, and sometimes those inferences are in direct opposition to other verses that are hard to reconcile with modern evangelical interpretations (again, reference my earlier comment pointing out that a census taken in the Old Testament didn’t count pregnant women as two people).

    Whereas I do believe the Bible is explicit regarding abortion and doesn’t require any inference. Did you read my previous counter points regarding your census argument?

    The interesting thing is that you’ve gotten so used to your particular interpretation, and you’ve probably heard it preached and reinforced so many times, that you don’t even see it as interpretation anymore. As your comment puts it, you’ve convinced yourselves that you can claim to know “the unadulterated Word of God”…whereas you’ve convinced yourself that your personal opinions bear the stamp of God’s infallible approval.

    While I agree that as humans we do in-fact make errors but if God is real and His Word is true than it stands to reason that some have got it right. So who’s to say who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong? I believe the Bible self-interpreting and any misinterpretations or in some cases out-and-out lies, are due to human error. Which leads to the following question, does absolute truth exist?

  • hereigns15

    D & Paul, very interesting points by both of you, I plan on replying to your thoughts asap though I’m a little strapped for time so I can’t at the moment.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    Unlike other “religions” Christianity is ultimately about restoration and relationship with God.

    So are most pagan faiths. Oh, and citation needed.

    It is outward-seeking while all others are inner-seeking.

    Ditto.

    It is trusting in the finished and complete work of Jesus and what He did on the cross, it’s not about what one can for his or herself.

    So Christianity is unique in that it follows the tenets of Christianity. I could pick almost any other religion, replace “Jesus” and “on the cross” with suitable imagery, and make it work.

    Neither Confucius nor Buddha rose from the dead, Islam’s prophet Muhammad did not fulfill detailed prophecies.

    You’re making Krishna sad. Also, Jesus “fulfilling the prophecies” is pretty contrived, especially since they were written several hundred years after he supposedly lived.

    So either Jesus is true and all other religions are false or other religions are true and Jesus is false or there are no god(s) and atheism is true. But as for me, well by now you know where I stand.

    Well, there is the other possibility that all religions are wrong, but that atheism is wrong, too.

    I’m certain you could provide me with your long detailed counter-points to Christianity but do you think you could narrow down why you believe Christianity is false in two sentences or less?

    The problem of evil* is pretty damning to any proposed omniscient, omnibenevolent and powerful being (I’m being generous and leaving out the self-contradictory omnipotent and just assuming said being is “super powerful”), which includes the Christian God.
    *’Evil’ referring to “natural” evil, including but not limited to: diseases, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, meteor strikes, and the sun eventually exploding and making life in this solar system impossible.

    While I agree that as humans we do in-fact make errors but if God is real and His Word is true than it stands to reason that some have got it right.

    Emphasis mine. You’re not allowed to state your conclusions in your premise.

    So who’s to say who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong?

    Reality.

    I believe the Bible self-interpreting and any misinterpretations or in some cases out-and-out lies, are due to human error.

    Explain these please.

    Which leads to the following question, does absolute truth exist?

    Yes, although it may or may not be easily discernible. And there’s also the difference between things that are true/false versus opinions. For example, “the speed of light is the same in all reference frames” is a truth claim that is either true or false, while “chocolate is delicious” is an opinion. Hopefully this makes sense, I’m hungry and dinner isn’t ready yet.

  • lpetrich

    hereigns15, I suggest scoring Jesus Christ on Lord Raglan’s Mythic-Hero scale. I find that he scores about 18.5. He’s way up there among Romulus and Hercules and Oedipus and Krishna and Zeus the like.

    As to prophecy fulfillment, Zeus, Oedipus, Perseus, Romulus, King Arthur, Krishna, the Buddha, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Harry Potter, and Anakin Skywalker had also done so.

  • hereigns15

    D,

    You asked, “why should the child(ren) be required to pay for the sin of the rapist?” The Bible abounds with examples and principles stating, quite clearly, that God punishes people for others’ sins all the damn time. (Only four passages dissent from this overwhelmingly clear message.)

    Correct, God does punish people for their sins, both in the OT and NT because we all fall short, all of us are “in sin”; the foundations of His throne are truth and justice. So are you saying because God punishes people that we as humans are on equal grounds and have the same right to punish the “innocent”?

    Doesn’t every living individual’s need for a savior ultimately come down to Adam & Eve in the garden? What is that if not all of humanity being required to pay for the sins of their forebears?

    Through Adam sin entered into the world but we are accountable for our own actions not Adam’s.

    As for the rest of #261, I don’t think you understand how profound an experience pregnancy is. My mom cried for days after a miscarriage, just a couple weeks into the pregnancy. Women take pregnancy very seriously, and there is no such thing as “something that can or should be easily discarded” when you have another life growing inside of you: that point is not being disputed, and it is already being taken into account by the other side, it just doesn’t weigh as heavily as you seem to think it does. But as traumatic as it is to lose a child, can you imagine the trauma of being forced to bear an unwanted child? It’s somewhere between “your worst nightmare” and “a living Hell”. I bet we could both agree that it would be for the best if the mother could change her mind and decide to love the child anyway – but this is not always possible. And while I would also agree with you that abortion is always regrettable, your arguments completely miss the point.

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s loss. My mom also miscarried and to this day, 40+ years later, she still cries when she thinks about the loss of the child. Though I can’t completely understand what it’s like to lose a child, either willingly or unwillingly, I have seen first hand the impact it has on another’s life. Tell me, how am I missing the point?

    Umm… I should tell you, this still boils down to personal values/ethics, you’re just going with God’s purported values/ethics (as you, a fallible human, understand them) instead of your own. What makes God such a great ethicist? From what I can tell, he seems to be pretty terrible at it.

    Correct, I am fallible, just ask my wife and I do believe God to be the “great ethicist”. On whom or what ethics do use to base your own difficult life decisions?

    So what should the penalty be if a woman aborts? Because you and I both know that it’s still going to happen, no matter what we say or do. If she aborts herself, should it be first-degree murder? If she hires someone else, should she be treated no differently than a mob boss ordering a hit? A woman decides after much soul-searching that she cannot bear to keep the life growing inside of her – how should she be penalized for her wrongdoing? These are not rhetorical questions, I am very interested to know what you think here.

    Short answer, life for life. Obviously not the popular answer on this board but killing a fetus is no different than killing an adult. Killing a fetus is easier because we can’t see what’s going on inside during the operation. If fetus’ could talk maybe then we’d change our minds on the matter, atleast I’d like to think so.

    I just strive to be a little less wrong every day, and I don’t always succeed, but that’s OK, too. When my mistakes affect another person, I try to make up with that person. And when things get really bad and I can’t set them right, I find a way to live with the regret.

    It’s good that you seek ways to live more peacefully with those you come in contact with, I can tell that’s probably true by your postings to me. But one doesn’t have to be “religious” in order to strive to live a peaceful life. Most of us have figured out that living a chaotic lifestyle is counter-productive and does not bring peace.

    This is life, man. You of all people should know that you don’t stop sinning when you’re saved. But even when I was Christian, I knew that God’s unconditional forgiveness was meaningless by its very nature: you don’t have to make things right, you don’t even have to make them better, you just get a pat on the head and a “There, there” from the Guy In Charge. Who cares? Really: who cares? I always cared more about the harm I had done to people, and God’s forgiveness didn’t help one whit with that.

    I agree, a Christian doesn’t stop sinning just because he/she is “saved”, when did I say otherwise? You may see God’s unconditional forgiveness as meaningless by its nature but I don’t, it’s where it all started for me. I couldn’t even forgive myself of things I had done to myself much less other people until I received His. Here’s the thing, if Christ is real, then the penalty He paid for my junk makes it easy(ier) for me to forgive those who are my “enemies”. I could point out specific examples in my life but past experiences tell me they would be quickly dismissed here.

    So: why should I buy that? What is it that I need to be saved from, and why should I believe that it’s a danger?

    You already know the answer to this question, why repeat it?

    I’m also confused as to how “getting into the Heaven club” isn’t improving one’s self worth. Isn’t the whole point that you want to either avoid Hell, reach Heaven, or please God? These are ultimately the same thing…I would say that secular humanism with a utilitarian twist is actually better at motivating people to serve others, as it teaches that each person’s happiness or suffering is just as important as any other’s…

    Avoid hell, check. Reach heaven, check. Please God, check. The single most important thing you’re missing from your list is relationship. Christ came, died and rose again so that we can commune with God and thereby learn to love Him, ourselves, and others unconditionally. Yes hell is a scary place, heaven sounds sweet, pleasing God is good but I want LIVE now and enjoy life to the fullest! I’m doing that for the past 6+ years now and I couldn’t have said that before. Regarding “improving self worth”, I guess the term is rather vague to me, becoming a Christian does improve one’s life both directly and indirectly. The point I was trying to make is that the Christian is to be focused on helping those around them and learn to live peaceably with others and not necessarily focused on finding peace “within”.

    Paul,

    Hm. I used to fantasize about not getting Raptured so I could convert the unbelievers during the Tribulations (my church believed in a pre-Tribulation Rapture, obviously). Boy, that was silly.

    I agree, that does sound silly. Sadly, “the Western Church” for the most part has the rapture twisted and turned around but though it does make for good books and movies. Many “believers” are quite possibly in for a real shock.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Hereigns15, I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit, but now you’re just being ridiculous. Seeing a statement like that makes me question your very grasp of reality.

    The Rapture makes for terrible books and movies.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Correct, God does punish people for their sins, both in the OT and NT because we all fall short, all of us are “in sin”; the foundations of His throne are truth and justice. So are you saying because God punishes people that we as humans are on equal grounds and have the same right to punish the “innocent”?

    So, wait, none of us are innocent, except that some of us are? When do fetuses/babies become non-innocent and therefore worthy of hell? (I would also disagree with your statement that “the foundations of His throne are truth and justice,” considering that the system you seem to be advocating is simply not just.)

    On whom or what ethics do use to base your own difficult life decisions?

    I suspect that we base them on the same source, only you misattribute that source as coming from god. Our culture has a much more profound affect on our morality than god does. Xians simply take their cultural morality and then turn around and claim that it comes from god, but a cursory look at history is enough to disabuse one of this notion, else why would Xians throughout history support such evils as slavery, unequal rights (some still do!), Crusades, Inquisitions, etc.

    If fetus’ could talk maybe then we’d change our minds on the matter, atleast I’d like to think so.

    I’m sure many would, since that would indicate sentience. Too bad for you that is not reality.

    Here’s the thing, if Christ is real, then the penalty He paid for my junk makes it easy(ier) for me to forgive those who are my “enemies”.

    How does transferance actually work? How does some other guy being tortured and killed somehow absolve you of any wrongdoing that you may or may not have done?

    Regarding “improving self worth”, I guess the term is rather vague to me, becoming a Christian does improve one’s life both directly and indirectly.

    Maybe it does sometimes. Sometimes leaving Xianity improves one’s life both directly and indirectly.

    Unlike other “religions” Christianity is…

    Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that Xianity really does make some unique claims…so what? Many religions (if not all) have unique claims, but you don’t seem to think that their uniqueness makes them more believable, so why should we take the purported unique claims of Xianity to be evidence that it is more believable? Also, having unique claims is not a reliable indicator of truth – and sometimes it can be a good indicator that the claim is not true. So, why present this as an argument for your position?

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    @ hereigns15 (#275):

    So are you saying because God punishes people that we as humans are on equal grounds and have the same right to punish the “innocent”?

    Not at all. What I was getting at is that it makes no sense to punish person A for the wrongdoing of person B, no matter who’s doing the punishing, because punishments do not solve problems. But aborting a fetus is not a punishment any more than unhooking oneself from the violinist is a punishment, or keeping one’s house free of people-seeds even when one manages to get past the screen (to borrow Thomson’s examples).

    I say that you miss the point because of the following dilemma: either a mother is taking the idea of abortion seriously, and has given it due consideration, and arrived at her decision after considering the consequences; or the mother is being frivolous, in which case she probably shouldn’t be having a child in the first place. Either way, it’s the mother’s choice, and nobody else’s: if she doesn’t want to have a baby, then she shouldn’t have to. Besides, if the fetus is really innocent and has a soul, then it goes to Heaven without having to deal with life on Earth and thereby risking Hell, so what’s the problem? (That’s only half a joke.)

    …I do believe God to be the “great ethicist”. On whom or what ethics do use to base your own difficult life decisions?

    I base most of my ethics on the truism that joy is joyful and misery is miserable. Everyone wants joy, nobody wants misery, and sometimes the gap between “what I want to do” and “what is best to do” can be pretty big. It’s pretty easy from there: minimize misery, maximize joy, and try to be happy doing the right thing. With a dash of psychology, we can find that there’s no accounting for taste: one person’s joy may be another’s misery, in matters of sex, food, vacations, or any of a number of things, so we should try to find ways to help people reduce their own misery while opening as many paths to joy as possible. Because we all have to get along but we can’t all get our way, politics is necessary and necessarily a mess, underscoring the need for transparency and accountability in governance so that a few don’t get their joy at the expense of the misery of many. And because perspective can help us greater appreciate what we do have while learning to get along without what we don’t have, some philosophical training is also good.

    So if God’s such a great ethicist, on what are his ethics based? How does his ethics work? And what makes God’s ethics better than mine? And on what basis are you judging the two systems comparatively?

    …if Christ is real, then the penalty He paid for my junk makes it easy(ier) for me to forgive those who are my “enemies”.

    Good conditional! But that’s a mighty big “if” I see there. I also like that you put “enemies” in scare quotes, because I think that all enmity is invented and we’re all in this together. Now, I understand the importance of examples, but would the principle of Christ’s example be any less motivating to you if the story were made up? I mean, I take inspiration from fictional stories that I know to be false, like Candide or The Creation of the World and Other Business or Frankenstein. Consider the possibility that even if Christ is not real, the principles on which he acted might be worthy of following anyway, which could make it just as easy to follow them in your own life. What do you think?

    You already know the answer to this question, why repeat it?

    Oh, but I don’t. Seriously. What I do know is how I will proceed, whatever your answer is. See, whatever you give me, I’ll ask the same question: now why should I buy that? You’ll eventually have the option of saying that I just do, which makes no sense, or bringing yourself around in a circle, at which point I’ll ask why I should buy into the whole circle. Or there’s a third option which I’m missing, in which case I’d be super interested in where things go.

    So you see, I really don’t know the answer. But I’m pleased that we can cut to the chase, so: if I just need to believe, then why should I buy that I just need to believe? (Your say-so? God’s say-so? The Bible’s say-so? Why should I follow any of those orders, or believe that they’re even legitimate orders to be followed?) If it goes in a circle, then why should I believe in the circle? (If I “just do”, then we’re back at the first question; if there’s a bigger circle, why should I buy into that one?) Or if there’s that third option, then what is it and why should I buy that?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Unlike other “religions” Christianity is ultimately about restoration and relationship with God. It is outward-seeking while all others are inner-seeking. It is trusting in the finished and complete work of Jesus and what He did on the cross, it’s not about what one can for his or herself.

    This is just quibbling over semantics if you ask me. Christianity, like every other religion, has a list of moral duties, rules and expectations it places on its followers, rituals it expects them to perform, and specific ways of thinking, acting and speaking that it expects them to conform to.

    Neither Confucius nor Buddha rose from the dead, Islam’s prophet Muhammad did not fulfill detailed prophecies.

    Yes, and Jesus didn’t tell us the way to enlightenment and nirvana as Buddha did, nor did he deliver the last and most perfect revelation of God to humanity as Muhammad did, nor did he give us the ideal rules for a harmonious and orderly society as Confucius did. If you’ve studied other religions as you’ve said, then you should be well aware that every religion claims to be unique in some way. Christianity is no exception. It’s obviously silly and pointless to evaluate other religions by Christianity’s standard of what a religion should be like, just as it would be silly and pointless to evaluate Christianity by Buddhist, Muslim or Confucian standards. (I have to ask: Did your studying of other religions consist solely of reading Christian apologetics books which explain why they’re false?)

    I’m certain you could provide me with your long detailed counter-points to Christianity but do you think you could narrow down why you believe Christianity is false in two sentences or less?

    Yes, I can. The reason I believe Christianity is false is because the evidence is insufficient to support the claims. If I were God, and if I had carried out a self-sacrifice to save people from sin and wanted them to believe this, I wouldn’t hide away and leave the communication of this vital message to ancient, hazy, anonymous writings and fallible and often conflicting human messengers; I would appear to every person, in physical, tangible form, and explain clearly what I had done and what I wished them to do in response, so that there would be no room for doubt or confusion about my existence or my desires.

    I mean, really, have you ever thought about how bizarre your theology is? Christianity holds that God has a vital message for us, the most important message that’s ever existed, and it’s absolutely essential to our salvation that we hear it correctly and believe exactly what God wants us to believe. Yet Christianity also states that God has left the transmission of this incredibly important message to human beings – human beings who are ignorant and fallible, who are prone to misinterpret the message honestly or deliberately, and who introduce errors when they pass it on. And the Bible, God’s crowning book, he’s likewise left to the mercies of human scribes so that all we have now are copies of copies of copies, written in ancient dead languages which hardly anyone can still understand, and there are many verses where the correct translation or the original wording is unclear. (Even most Christian seminaries believe that only the original manuscripts of the Bible, which no longer exist, are infallible – they make no such claims for the manuscripts we possess today.) The multiplicity of Christian schisms and sects, all of them arguing and squabbling over issues of doctrine, are the obvious consequence of this.

    Are you really telling us you couldn’t think of a better way to do this if you were God? I can think of a lot: I’d start by making every Bible indestructible, immune to any attempt to change or destroy, and I’d make it so that every person sees the text in his or her own native language.

    Whereas I do believe the Bible is explicit regarding abortion and doesn’t require any inference.

    If that’s really your belief, then it’s just wrong. An “explicit” verse would be one that says, “Thou shalt not abort.” Unless you’re reading a different Bible than the rest of us, there is no such verse. You could say that “Thou shalt not kill” is the explicit verse, but as I asked already, do you also then oppose war, the death penalty and killing animals for food?

    While I agree that as humans we do in-fact make errors but if God is real and His Word is true than it stands to reason that some have got it right.

    That doesn’t follow at all. It could just as well be that everyone has gotten it wrong!

    So who’s to say who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong?

    You’ve posed a very good question, but you haven’t suggested a way to answer it. I suggest that it’s because there is no way within the realm of theology. When two people make opposing claims and both base their positions on faith, it’s impossible to settle the debate.

    Consider how this works under the opposite approach to faith, the scientific method. When two scientists disagree about the merits of some theory, they can collaborate on coming up with a scenario where their hypotheses make different predictions, then do the test and settle the matter. As a scientist, I can say, “When we run this experiment, if I’m right, this should happen, and if she’s right, that should happen.” (It doesn’t have to be a test in a laboratory with test tubes and Bunsen burners. A test can be of the form, “If I’m right, we should find a living species with a gene that has characteristics X, Y, Z,” or, “If I’m right, when we dig down to this stratum, we should find mineral deposits with properties A, B and C.”)

    There’s nothing like this for the Bible, no test we can perform to settle the interpretation of a disputed passage. Two Christians disagree, they both claim God has told them the truth, and… what then? They go on disagreeing, that’s what, and usually each group ends up denouncing the other as heretical. Since both their claims are ultimately founded on subjective personal experience, there’s no way to decide among them. That’s why Christians (and theists in general) are still arguing about the same theological issues that have divided them for centuries or millennia.

    There are still different churches with different beliefs about which biblical books should be considered canonical. (Not all Christian churches consider the same books to be canon, did you know that? And I’m not just talking about the Catholic Apocrypha.) There are still Calvinists and Armenians. There are still Christians who believe that Hell is a metaphor, that Hell is a literal lake of fire, or that there is no such thing as Hell. There are still Christians who believe in transubstantation and those who don’t. I could go on and on listing examples.

    Which leads to the following question, does absolute truth exist?

    Yes, but we can never know for sure that we possess it. The best we can do – which is more than good enough for our purposes – is to use the scientific method to come up with better and better approximations. Just the same way, as our technology improves, we can draw more and more precise circles, but we can never draw an absolutely perfect, Platonic ideal circle. But this only works for worldviews that can be tested by experiment.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Ebonmuse “As a scientist, I can say, ‘When we run this experiment, if I’m right, this should happen, and if she’s right, that should happen.’”
    Ah ha! As a theist I can say “When I read my holy scripture, if I’m right, I’ll feel warm inside, but when she read her different so-called ‘holy’ book, I won’t. If she’s right when she reads hers I will, but when I read mine I won’t.” There. Problem solved, and just as I theorized, my book/religion/sect/denomination/personal interpretation is exactly the right one.
    Take that, atheism!

  • Rabo K.

    Just so I’m clear, hereigns, are you honestly advocating for the death penalty for any woman who’s had an abortion? Because if your are that’s a nice example for your christian ethics there.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Ebon, your post #279 exemplifies why this is one of my favorite blogs.

    Modus: The experiment is being run here, but the results will be given to us after we’re dead. Kinda like my VA benefits.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com/ D

    You could say that “Thou shalt not kill” is the explicit verse, but as I asked already, do you also then oppose war, the death penalty and killing animals for food?
    – Ebonmuse, #279

    Oh. My. Stars. Ebon, how could you forget plants? They’re alive, too! Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life…

  • hereigns15

    Sorry for not following up on everyone’s comments recently, we had to put down our family dog last night so it will probably be awhile before I post again. For some this may seem quite trivial but her and I shared a close bond and her loss is very difficult, so I’d appreciate a little bit of grace. Modus your latest post is very irritating and did not go unnoticed.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    As a dog owner myself, my condolences on your loss.

  • http://steve.mikexstudios.com themann1086

    I’m very sorry to hear that. While not a dog owner myself, I am owned by several cats and know what it’s like to lose a pet. Best regards.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Sorry to hear about your dog, hereigns15. Family pets are still family, and it’s important to deal with grief at one’s own pace. Take your time, the Serious Business of internet argumentation can wait. Thanks for the update, and we appreciate you slugging it out with all of us here.

    (Modusoperandi, I thought your crack was funny, and a clever way of pointing out the importance of bias, falsifiability, and self-fulfilling prophecies all at once. Irritation is regrettable, but then again, any humor is bound to irritate someone. Terrible timing, though, as chance would have it. Like, jeez.)

  • hereigns15

    Thank you OMGF, themann and D for your condolences. I didn’t fully comprehend how close I was to our dog until last week, tough week. It’s simply amazing how attached we can become to animals, or in my case to a dog. Probably because it doesnn’t matter what kind of day any of us had she was always at the door eager to greet each of us. I miss the sound of hearing her tail pounding the wall from excitement before we opened the door. Animals don’t judge us based on our skin color, size, or language but rather on the time and affection we show them. Memories are good but I sure miss that crazy dog!