Gideon Bibles and Atheists

When I’m in hotel rooms, I never know what to do with the Gideon Bibles. Obviously the “normal” answer would be to do nothing– Just ignore it.

But since it’s there, I feel like I *need* to do something as an atheist.

I’ve known atheists who, at one time or another, have done the following:

  • Take the Bible with them.
  • Put it in the garbage can.
  • Take the Bible with them to a different location and then put it in the garbage can (so the maids won’t just put it back in the drawer).
  • Put a funny message in it, sign it “Love, God,” and give it to someone as a present.
  • Put a warning label on it.
  • Put a handout/list of the crazier passages in the Bible for future guests.
  • Bring a copy of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species or the Constitution to place next to the Bible.
  • Call the hotel in advance and tell them they don’t want a Bible in their room.

On a side note, if you really want to annoy an atheist at a convention or large gathering, grab the Bibles from your friends’ rooms and toss them all in one person’s drawer. When the person opens the drawer up (and he most certainly will), he’ll see 98498123 Bibles waiting for him. Take pictures. Laugh.

I’m sure a lot of people think this whole conversation is just plain stupid. And it very well might be.

But what is the proper thing to do with the Bible? If the consensus answer is to do nothing, I’ll abide by that.

Also, if someone does take the Gideon Bible, is it considered stealing?


[tags]atheist, atheism, Gideon Bible, God, Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Constitution[/tags]

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I think the answer would be to ask yourself: “If I left atheist literature here in the hotel room for the benefit of others, what would I want a Christian who came across it to do with it?”

    Whatever you decide you’d want them to do to your stuff, do that. :)

    (BTW, no it’s not stealing to take a Gideons Bible. That’s what they hope you’ll do with them. :) )

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    I haven’t stayed in very many hotel rooms, but the few that I have stayed in, I have used two of these techniques.

    In one, I took the Bible home with me. I’ve still got it sitting on my shelf somewhere.

    In another case, I highlighted a lot of the more violent passages (like Elisha’s bears) and also made some comments regarding Gods probable nonexistence in the inside of the book cover.

    I like the idea of putting a copy of Origin of the Species in there, too. Sadly, I doubt anyone would read it. (After all, so few Christians read the Bible, let alone science books!)

  • mindspread

    I used to sign Jesus’ name in the front like it was an autograph.

    To my #1 fan, john, JC

    I figured there’s be at least one John who’d see it.

  • http://blog.dmcleish.id.au Shishberg

    It actually came in quite handy for me – I was writing a review of a Christian apologetics book at the time, and used the hotel Gideon to look up some of the more glaringly unflattering passages that the book chose to pretend didn’t exist.

  • Mriana

    ROFL! I don’t find this a stupid conversation. I think it’s halarious. Usually, I don’t pay any attention to it. I’ve even forgotten they have them in hotel rooms, even though I’ve stayed in them before and recently too. I really don’t seem to notice them anymore. It just sits there- unmoved, untouched, and unnoticed which could be very insulting if they really expected you to read it. However, I don’t really treat it any differently in my own life. I’ve been given many a Bible, have about 6 different versions collecting dust basically on the bookcase. The Humanist Manifesto gets far more attention. Humm… Ya think I should leave a copy of the Humanist Manifesto next time I stay at a motel? Paul Kurtz might love such an idea. lol

  • MTran

    If I’m not working I might read it. I actually enjoy ancient history and literature and have wasted many college hours and personal time learning and reading useless dead languages just to get a taste of the originals.

    Several times I have seen the Gideons Bibles accompanied by works from other faiths including the Koran, collections of Buddhist teachings, the Bhagvad Ghita (sp?), and a guide to the use of adult toys which I’m betting the hotel didn’t know about. I ended up reading selections from each of them. Yeah, that one, too.

  • Greg

    Marriot hotels always have a copy of the Book of Mormon with the Gideon because the founder was a Mormon.

  • http://jewishatheist.blogspot.com JewishAtheist

    I don’t think it’s right to throw them out. I’d also lean against defacement. Inserting a page pointing out inconsistencies, etc., is fair game, if probably a fruitless endeavor.

  • anti-nonsense

    I’ve never actually done anything with it, but the next time I go to a hotel I think I will write a “This book is a work of fiction” disclaimer on the inside cover.

    Either that, or I will buy an extra copy of The God Delusion beforehand and put it in the drawer along with the Bible.

    Or both. Or maybe I’ll just leave some printouts from an atheist website, since that’s cheaper.

  • Loren Petrich

    My solution in all my more recent hotel stays has been to write URL’s of various skeptical sites like the Internet Infidels and the Skeptics’ Annotated Bible; I think I also once commented about how the story of Lot and his daughters is great family reading.

  • http://atheistself.blogspot.com David W.

    Don’t forget the Gideon Exposed! stickers. Gideon, the biblical figure that the society is named after, killed, tortured, and plundered thousands of people.

  • http://austinatheist.blogspot.com/ AustinAtheist

    I recall some talk of a Bible recycling program. Bryan Flemming, maybe?

  • http://defendreason.blogspot.com Edward Baker

    I’m not sure throwing them out would help, there seems to be an endless supply. Stealing them is OK, as is “defacing” them with intelligent or humorous remarks.

    I am always insulted that people would think that I would want to read it, and either take it to read (quite useful, whenever I want to research something from it I have various copies with different themes highlights, or a new one to start in) or, if I feel particularly insulted, highlight parts such as the nonsense in Leviticus and leave the corners folded and sticking out to attract attention.

    My Blog: In Defence of Reason

  • Richard Wade

    Stealing it, trashing it, defacing it, highlighting dumb parts of it, putting stickers on it or contradictory literature next to it, feeling insulted by its presence…

    These all sound like you guys are giving it power over you that it doesn’t deserve. Why not ignore it? Why let it take up any space in your mind at all? It’s paper. I suspect that most of these ideas are just people kidding around but if you’re really free of its spell, be oblivious to it.

    A bible in the bottom drawer of your hotel room nightstand is not a threat worth your attention. Get a good night’s sleep and work hard the next day to protect separation of church and state, religious interference with science and education, and of course bigotry against non-believers.

    Please address all angry responses to Hemant. He started it, it’s all his fault.

  • Richard Wade

    Dammit, that of course should have read “fight religious interference… etc.”

  • HappyNat

    Richard,

    The bible does have power over us because most people in our society think it is the word of god. Many people (poloticians, teachers, etc.) use this book as a guide to how they live, this makes the bible “real” to me even if I don’t think it is divine. If putting a sticker on a bible makes one person question the bible or even helps them realize not everyone believes in the bible it is worth the time, IMO.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Stealing it, trashing it, defacing it, highlighting dumb parts of it, putting stickers on it or contradictory literature next to it, feeling insulted by its presence…

    These all sound like you guys are giving it power over you that it doesn’t deserve.

    That’s kind of the impression I got too. Kind of makes me wonder whether the next step is book burning.

    Why do people in our society (from whatever perspective) have such a hard time letting differing ideas simply coexist? Why are tolerance and pluralism so anathema to both liberals and conservatives, Christians and non-religious? Why do we feel so threatened by mere words on a page?

    And again, I wonder, would you want Christians to treat your books this way? If there was a story about Christians publicly defacing and mocking atheist literature, would you all just be okay with that? Or would you be railing against those ignorant and intolerant fundamentalists?

  • Richard Wade

    If putting a sticker on a bible makes one person question the bible or even helps them realize not everyone believes in the bible it is worth the time, IMO.

    Do you really think that anyone seeking out the Bible in their hotel room is going to be swayed toward your point of view by your sticker? Anybody whose faith doesn’t stick as well as a sticker on the Bible isn’t going to be looking for it in the first place. Remember, Christians have been taught that the more abuse they encounter the more right they must be. So the ones on the fence will just as likely become galvanized into increasing their faith.

    The only effect you will have on the stronger believer is to produce more hate for you. When I find somebody has put religious literature under my car’s windshield wiper, I’m annoyed. If they were to actually stick it on my car with glue I’d be seriously pissed, and I’d look around the parking lot for him so I could “stick” it to him.

    In these ways such futile, childish acts of vandalism have a net loss effect on others, but they can also have a negative effect on you. They can become a cheap substitute for real, effective action. Working to promote critical thinking and remove superstition in government, education and society takes time, money and courage. It could be tempting to think that being a sticker commando is enough, that you’ve done your part for the cause. Don’t kid yourself.

  • HappyNat

    Richard,

    Let me start by saying that I have never done anything with the bible placed in a hotel room.

    I didn’t say a sticker would sway somebody to my point of view, I said it might make them question bible or think about why other don’t believe in it. If anyone is convinced by a simple sticker then they are a goober of epic proportions and I don’t care if they agree with me or not. Why do you think the sticker on the bible would only be aimed at christians staying in that room?

    You analogy to your personal car is flawed, because the bible in the hotel room is not personal property. If I’d talked about breaking into their chruch or house and put the sticker on their bible that would be different.

    What is this “cause” you speak of? Why assume the “sticker commandos” aren’t doing more for your cause? Methinks you take the a simple action of self expression to personally.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Remember, Christians have been taught that the more abuse they encounter the more right they must be. So the ones on the fence will just as likely become galvanized into increasing their faith.

    The only effect you will have on the stronger believer is to produce more hate for you.

    Sadly that is very true. I don’t think we need to be giving the fundamentalists any more fodder for their persecution complex.

    The best suggestion I’ve heard so far is to leave atheist literature alongside the Bibles – whether a Dawkins book or just a pamphlet. Rather than disrespecting the views of others, why not just place yours out there too and let people make their own choice which they prefer?

  • http://www.whatbox.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Very interesting discussion! I would love to see the look of horror on a fundy’s face who opens the drawer and finds Origin of the Species sitting there next to Gideon.

  • Richard Wade

    HappyNat,

    I didn’t say a sticker would sway somebody to my point of view, I said it might make them question bible or think about why other don’t believe in it.

    And I didn’t ask you if you thought your sticker would sway somebody to your point of view, but if it would sway somebody toward your point if view. Causing someone to question the Bible and to consider why others don’t believe it seems like swaying them toward your/our point of view. If there’s a fine distinction I’m missing here, please help me see it.

    And hey, I’m all for causing people to question the Bible. I just think stickers are inffective and possibly counter-productive.

    Why do you think the sticker on the bible would only be aimed at christians staying in that room?

    So…. it’s also aimed at forlorn atheists who think they’re all alone in their disbelief, and this will encourage them? Am I overlooking any other possible targets?

    You analogy to your personal car is flawed, because the bible in the hotel room is not personal property.

    I assumed someone would argue that. Think about it from the point of view of the believer picking up the hotel Bible, and from the point of view of the person who put it there. The Gideon Bible is placed in the room as a gift intended for anyone who wants it. It is theirs to use and even to keep as their personal property. To put it back into the drawer is to relinquish that personal property to the next possible user, who then can accept that gift or not. To put it back with a sticker or other defacement is to vandalize the personal property of the person who might want it next.

    I think it is extremely important for atheists to follow a very conscientious code of ethical behavior. We’re always being characterized as having no ethics or morals by people who think those can only come from God. We have to be alert to the finer ethical points of our actions when we choose to alter an object that was intended as a gift for someone else. The fact that we may not agree with the content of the object is beside the point. We don’t have an ethical right to deface it.

    The “cause” I was referring to you described quite well in your previous post:

    The bible does have power over us because most people in our society think it is the word of god. Many people (poloticians, teachers, etc.) use this book as a guide to how they live, this makes the bible “real” to me even if I don’t think it is divine.

    Resisting that kind of influence and all the negative ramifications is what I meant by “the cause.” I don’t assume that all sticker commandos do nothing else. I said it’s tempting to be satisfied with empty, anonymous gestures of defiance instead of really putting oneself out there to fight oppressive social attitudes and governmental policies that are based on religion.

    You haven’t argued against any of the things I have said about the effect that stickers, etc. might have on less committed believers (to push them into believing more) and more committed believers (to foment more bigotry against non-believers.) That was really the only important point of my post.

  • Just Me

    Richard said:

    So…. it’s also aimed at forlorn atheists who think they’re all alone in their disbelief, and this will encourage them? Am I overlooking any other possible targets?

    Actually I think it is part of the reason the book is there. Of course aside from the obvious…for christians that do not have theirs with them.

    I do agree that defacing it would be self defeating. Would there be any objections to a short note or letter to be inserted inside it? That note or letter can be easily discarded.

  • Richard Wade

    Just Me,
    Yes, leaving literature of other points of view as you, Mike C and some others have suggested is a great idea. Express yourselves non-destructively. Everything from a note or flier to even a brand new copy of Dawkins’ The God Delusion. There must be many millionaire atheists who can afford that. Well a couple at least.

  • Chris

    Its a book. So I think I’ld open it, read a couple of verses, put it back for someone else to have a look at.

    Who knows, maybe I’ld stumble across the good samaritan story. I love that one.

    I don’t think I’ld leave a copy of anything, Darwin or whatever, that would cost me a bit of money and I’m skint.

    I don’t think that I’ld leave a note and so on either.

    I pretty sure I wouldn’t deface it. Why deface a book?

    I like Mike C’s approach right at the top.

  • http://www.removethatbible.com Thanos

    Taking the bibles is stealing.

    … but there are so many other things you can do …

    http://www.removethatbible.com

    Thanos

  • gothgate

    despite a seemingly endless supply, each gideon bible does cost something to produce, therefore each one taken, stolen, destroyed, etc. takes money out of their pockets.

    back in the days when calling an 800 number cost the owner a fairly high price, i used to call the 700 club about 20x a day. they’d answer, i’d string them along with nonsense for a minute or two and hang up. ching! another charge to pat’s account.

    if we all did that sort of thing, we might make a little pinch in their pocket.

  • Richard Wade

    gothgate,
    The next time someone steals something from you, tell yourself they’re just using a legitimate way of resisting something that you stand for. Will that soothe your anger and loss?

  • http://www.loopysite.org/ Anthony Jeffries

    I think we should leave copies of the Kama Sutra or something similar.

    If enough organizations start leaving their literature in hotels, maybe hotels will ban the practice altogether.

  • http://defendreason.blogspot.com Edward Baker

    I have created a petition (UK only) on the Prime Minister’s petition site to ban the placing these Bibles. I urge you to gin it if you are eligible.

    My Blog: In Defence of Reason

  • Stan

    Why worry so much about, or argue against something that you say doesn’t exist. By saying and doing all you mention in your blog, you are admitting and exposing the doubt and emptiness in your own life.

  • MTran

    Stan,

    You might want to step back and try to make some sense rather than hurling insults and making accusations about matters in which you are grossly ignorant.

    You say:

    you are admitting and exposing the doubt and emptiness in your own life

    Quit projecting, Stan. Just because your own life is empty and full of doubt, doesn’t mean anyone else’s is. It certainly doesn’t apply to a single atheist I have known.

    When religionists stop trying to ram their beliefs down the throats of everyone who disagrees with them, then most interest in their delusional mind-scapes will likely go by the wayside.

    And yes, I do mean “ramming down” our throats, as in: undermining both education and the US constitution by promoting creationism in all its guises as a fit topic for science classes in public schools, by blocking stem-cell research, by murdering doctors who work in family planning clinics, by flying airplanes into buildings.

    Maybe you don’t think that the people who promote murder and ignorance are worth your time and consideration. I happen to consider their criminal and ignorant behavior to be a great social ill that must be understood before it can be properly treated.

  • Siamang

    Why worry so much about, or argue against something that you say doesn’t exist.

    Nah… I’m pretty sure Christians exist. It’s them I worry about and/or argue against.

    But believe it or not, I’m mostly here to make friends and understand people better. Tell us about yourself, friend!

    :-)

  • sandy

    What are you all so afarid of…that you will read the Bible and believe it? Is that a powerful book or what?

  • Robin

    I have read it. Several different times in fact. Maybe you should try reading it with an open mind. What are you afraid of, maybe disbelieving it? It is a powerful book of fiction.

  • Mriana

    sandy said,

    April 21, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    What are you all so afarid of…that you will read the Bible and believe it? Is that a powerful book or what?

    Sandy, if I don’t even notice that it is there or not, this would imply I’m not afraid of it at all. It may exsist there, but I never see it and if one doesn’t see it, then where is the fear? This is like saying one has a fear of the unseen spider because they don’t see it and have no reaction to it. No reaction means there is no emotion to even the possible existance of it even if you do not see it.

    I live in the Ozarks and well aware a spider could be anywhere. I could put my hand in a cupboard, not see the spider, and get bit, but I don’t live my life in fear of it because I don’t see it. It’s just a part of life and I don’t give it a second thought, just like I did not give the Bible in a hotel room a second thought. I never even noticed if it was there or not. So, this implies no fear of the book.

    Now, if you are talking about the people and what they do with the book, that does scare me. I will give that a second thought, but the Bible can sit in a room and I don’t even take notice of it, like I do the people who use it to hit me over the head with it.

  • Larry

    GOD DOESN’T BELIEVE IN ATHEISTS!

  • Richard Wade

    GOD DOESN’T BELIEVE IN ATHEISTS!

    So God is an ahumanist? He doesn’t believe we exist? Well then we don’t have to worry about him smiting us. Larry, there are Christians who do the drive-by witnessing too, but they tell us that God loves us. So you and they are diametrically opposed on this issue. Maybe you and they should step outside and settle your differences like men. Then the winner can come back here so we can taunt them some more.

  • Larry

    Shalom Richard, Thanks for your thoughts. God knows it is impossible to truely be an atheist. He has made himself known to all mankind. He has set eternity in every mans heart. We are all without excuse for denying Him. What can be known of God is evident in all He has created. He won’t force anyone to beleive in, rely and trust in Him. It’s up to each individual.
    The Truth is available to all who sincerely want it. Why not ask Him personally to make Himself real to you.
    God Bless you in your search for the truth.
    Larry

  • Peter

    I was looking for something else and came upon this site. Am I correct in understanding that an atheist does not believe that God exists? If that is so then you guys must know eveything there is to know about everything in the universe. Do you claim to have universal knowledge? To be honest and realistic about this discussion, there are somethings that I know and there are some things that you know. Some of the things I know you may also know, but there are somethings I know that you don’t know, or haven’t discovered yet. When I was a teenager I discovered that God was real by asking Jesus into my life. Just because you haven’t discovered that yet doesn’t make it any less real. Some of you people should take a reality check. The Gideons place bibles in rooms because they believe they have discovered something of immense value. If we were lost in a desert and I found water it would be immoral of me not to share it with you. These people just want to share something they believe can save your lives!

  • http://www.removethatbible.com Thanos

    “… an atheist does not believe that God exists. If that is so then you guys must know everything there is to know about everything in the universe.”

    Well, not only that has absolutely no logical coherence, i.e. you have a huge leap in your deduction there, but you imply that if you do believe in god, then you do know everything there is to know about the universe.

    God is a rather poor explanation of the universe, as it just introduces a level of indirection, that does not answer the original question. It just defers it to “Who/what created God?”.

    Thanos

  • Mriana

    Oh good grief! *rolling eyes* Is this suddenly the attack of the Evangelical-Fundamentalists? It seems to me, that I made a simple statement that one can not be afraid of something if they don’t notice it and suddenly we get attacked? What did that have to do with any of this?

    BTW, I restate my question to all Christians, do you know that Muslims believe that all Christains and other non-Muslims are going to hell? If they are right and IF there is a hell, we’ll all be seeing each other in hell. Think about it.

  • Peter

    (@ Thanos) No, my friend, I did not say that. What I said was that nobody can know everything there is to know…BUT there are some things I know that you don’t know because you haven’t discovered them yet, and there are some things you know that I haven’t discovered yet. To make a claim that something does not and/or cannot exist implies universal knowledge. Nobody can make that claim.

    (@ Mriana) I don’t see any attack in what I said. Does a counter-argument pose such a threat to you? Yes, I know what many Muslims believe about non-Muslims, but I don’t understand what you’re getting at in bringing that up (unless it’s in response to an earlier post that I haven’t bothered looking back at.)

  • Mriana

    It wasn’t your post I was referring to, Peter. Sorry, I should have copied and used blockquotes for Larry’s posts. That would have made it clearer to others.

  • Axel

    Interesting to note how much atheists are interested in the Bible and less of other religions? Why is that? It’s almost as though one wishes to prove it wrong, why? Just say that you don’t beleive in anything, no God, no after life. That’s cool and o.k.!

    If atheists believe in nothing, it’s a belief onto its own, just like Christianity is a beleif onto its own. I see a lot on Darwin and evolution here. That still remains a theory too; therefore a belief system – and faith that this happened and is true. Otherwise – prove it. And then that would be agnostic, one doesn’t beleive because it cannot be proven. Hmmmm, interesting.

    If we came from monkey’s, why do we still have monkeys?

    Jesus is love and even if you do choose to beleive in nothing, that is your own personal choice. You believe in what you ever you wish to believe in. No one should ever force or coherce you. One thing is for sure, we must all die and if there’s a God, what then? Continue to seek the truth in your own way to discover why you are here and what happens when your time is up – and it will come. Death and taxes are inevitable.. God Bless you all. – Axel.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    If we came from monkey’s, why do we still have monkeys?

    For the same reason as this:

    My family came from Scotland. If I came from Scots, why do we still have Scots?

    Axel, please tell us about yourself. This is usually a place for listening and sharing. I think you have come here to prove something or bait someone into a debate.

    This site has been inundated with new posters recently who are contributing to a more rancorous tone. I hope that you will join us in attempting to make this place a place where listening is more important than proving something.

    We’ve heard all your preaching before. Many of us here are ex-belivers, ex-evangelicals… many of us perhaps weren’t all that different than you are know, and probably said the exact same things to other people not too long ago. You ask why so many of us are interested in the Bible, it could be because a lot of us are ex-Christians. Some people I know were Christians until they read the whole bible, and that made them become atheists. I know many atheists who could beat most Christians at a Bible quiz.

    Myself, I don’t know much about the bible, and my wife knows even less. But she was raised as an atheist and I was raised with some Christian upbringing.

    Please, share something about yourself, something unique, so that we might get to know you and understand you. How old are you? Do you have a family? What are they like? What do you do outside of your time evangelizing? What is your impression of atheists? Do you have any atheist friends? Would you like to?

    I hope that this place soon returns to how it was when people came to listen and share and not to convert and condemn. I hope you’ll stick around past when this current influx moves on, and you can be a part of this wonderful discussion between christians and atheists. There’s really nothing else like it I’ve found anywhere on the Internet.

    It’s kind of being mucked up right now by people unfamiliar with the usual culture of listening and sharing. Please stay around and help make this place a place for positive interaction and not “I preach, you listen!”

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Axel, and welcome.
    I’ll be happy to respond to your questions and statements and I’ll assume that you are here to better understand others and to be better understood by others. I won’t be arguing with you or your beliefs, nor will I be insulting or condescending. I will expect the same respect and openhandedness from you. I’m not interested in “converting” you to my way of seeing things, nor am I interested in you doing that to me. That’s not what this place is for.

    Please read Siamang’s response to you with an open mind and open heart. Don’t worry about being open; those beliefs that are important to you will not be in jeopardy. The only thing that might change is your attitude toward people who are different from you. Since the airing of the “debate” between Cameron/Carson and Sapient/Kelly this site has been visited by many people who seem to be spoiling for a fight, looking for a victory, hoping to score a conversion, or other kinds of motives that I consider aggression. Siamang has been making a heroic effort to respond to many, many of these often very negative commentors by offering positive and intelligent dialogue in return. A few of the new visitors are responding in kind, and many are not. What Siamang is doing is out of his loving and sincere heart. But I think he’s getting exhausted, so talk to me too. I’ll speak only for myself, but I do share many views with several others who frequent this excellent site.

    In order to have better understanding the first thing to do is to stop making statements about people who are different from you, and start asking questions instead. If you want to make statements, make them about yourself, and we’ll ask questions of you to understand you better.

    You made a few statements about atheists that show some common misconceptions, and if you were to frame them in the form of a question (I sound like Alec on Jeopardy) then I and others here will be happy to give you respectful and honest answers to clear up those misconceptions. Although your comment above is brief it’s packed with questions and information. Several things you say indicate you have a strong live-and-let-live attitude. I share that trait and I thank you for that. Rather than me addressing some of the things you brought up, perhaps you could take just one at a time to ask us about. I would very much like to learn together.

  • Darryl

    Larry, you said this:

    God knows it is impossible to truely be an atheist. He has made himself known to all mankind. He has set eternity in every mans heart. We are all without excuse for denying Him. What can be known of God is evident in all He has created. He won’t force anyone to beleive in, rely and trust in Him. It’s up to each individual.

    I find it interesting that you Christians claim to be the people of God and say you want to do his will, but you don’t follow his example.

    Not only does God not “force anyone to believe in . . . Him,” he does not preach at people; he does not badger people on blogs; he does not ridicule people for not believing in him; he doesn’t try to convert them; he doesn’t try to undermine the teaching of evolution in our schools; he doesn’t try to pack our Supreme Court so as to repeal Roe V. Wade; he’s not railing against stem-cell researchers; he appears not to give a damn about what gay people do in their bedrooms; and he has expressed no opinions on a host of issues from authoritarianism and militarism among conservative Christians to Britney Spears exposing her pathetic paw paw in public! Why don’t you be a real follower of Jesus and follow his example?!

  • Mriana

    Interesting to note how much atheists are interested in the Bible and less of other religions? Why is that? It’s almost as though one wishes to prove it wrong, why? Just say that you don’t beleive in anything, no God, no after life.

    Axel, is that what you thing? Check out: the current issue of Free Inquiry You cna read a few articles there and granted most are about Christianity, but CSER (pronounced Ceasar and stands for Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion.

    If you have time, take a look around CFI, AHA, and Council for Secular Humanism. You’ll find a lot on religion, including Islam and alike.

    So take a walk on the wild side and break a stereotype. ;)

  • TM

    Having been brought up as an (Irish) Catholic I was never encouraged (by the Church, school or parents etc.) to read the Bible for myself and form my own opinions for reasons that are obvious to me now. For that reason I like to familiarise myself with the content from time to time and hotel Bibles come in handy for that. It’s funny (albeit a bit pathetic) to find that as an atheist I often know more about it and Christian/Catholic theology than people who claim to have faith in this stuff. However the funniest incident was in a hotel adjacent to Schipol (Amsterdam) Airport when I opened the room Bible to have a bit of a read only to have it fall open on a page containing a small slab of hash/marijuana! Praise the Lord! :-) Since that stuff isn’t really my thing I passed it on to somebody who would appreciate it.

  • Karen

    However the funniest incident was in a hotel adjacent to Schipol (Amsterdam) Airport when I opened the room Bible to have a bit of a read only to have it fall open on a page containing a small slab of hash/marijuana! Praise the Lord! :-)

    LOL! Well, they say the Lord will provide … I guess he did!

  • Jay

    I expect this will note will not see the light of day, but have decided to respond. I am a Gideon, The purpose of this ministry is to spread the Word of God to all, we pray that thru his Word, people will find it in their heart to acccept Jesus. As a realist I know that not all who have read the Word will come to Christ, but we pray daily that it will effect just one. Since the1890′s, this ministry has produced bibles in over 80 languages and have provided copies in 182 countries. We distribute a million copies every 5 days. Yes, you and you friends can destroy, throw away or deface Gods Holy Word, but that will not stop us, It only drives us harder to reach to people such as yourself. I sincerly hope that someday, you will find it in your heart to open you heart to the Bible, I will be praying for you.

  • Andy

    Be open minded… Read the bible! (Try the gospel of John, for example).

    If you don’t want to read it – then don’t. Leave it alone for someone else to read instead. Many people have benefitted from reading it in the past. For example, some people have decided not to commit suicide because they found comfort in the bible. (Would you take a life-jacket away from a drowning man?) Don’t be petty.

    The central theme of the bible is that God loves you and wants you to have a special relationship with Him. After all, that’s why He created you.

    But there’s a problem… Humanity is essentially flawed. (Surely that’s apparent to everyone who reads the news?). This flaw is our fault – as a result of a spiritual “Fall”. In essence, God gave humanity free will – and sometimes humanity chooses to do evil over good.

    The bible shows the flawed aspect of humanity – and its cure. (See John 3:16 – especially if you don’t already know the most often quoted verse in the bible).

    Again I encourage you to keep an open mind. I have read The God Delusion and other atheistic literature. Can you say the same of The Bible?

    Andy

    (Science teacher)

  • Chris

    The Bibles should stay. I mean they paid to have them there. If you want your propaganda in there you can pay to have it there too! God loves you.

  • jill

    in response to axel’s statement, “If we came from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?”

    i will come right out and say it; i am a christian. i love god. And, i am happy and welcome that we as adults can have a dialogue like this, but please, if you want to make counterpoints, make them educated. uneducated remarks by anyone in any religion or non-belief system give that group a bad reputation.

    and to clarify what evolution is…

    evolution does not say we came from monkeys, it says we come from the same distant ancestors. it makes complete sense that they are still around. our line split with monkeys & apes sometime between 6 to 8 million years ago.

    take your third or fourth cousins, they aren’t really related to you any longer, but they still come from some where in your family and still happen to exist.

    the chain from australopithecus (our earliest human ancestors) to modern day homo sapiens can be quite interesting. you should pick up a book on anthropology or even archeology. you may like it. you never know.

    it is ok to believe in god and believe in evolution at the same time. that doesnt make me a hypocrite either. and, it is ok to have different beliefs. we dont have to beat eachother up for being different. we should all be more respectfull of eachothers thoughts, which can only result in less personal angst, if nothing else. and a lot less useless wars… think of all the people getting slaughtered right now, today, who get killed because they believe something different.

  • Richard Wade

    jill,
    It is always a pleasure to meet a rational and well-informed Christian. Please stick around. Your voice may be better able to reach the less educated of your faith than we atheists can. We can’t have too many appeals for respect and patience with each other, both on this website and in the world at large.

  • Heatherross

    Why do you think it is said, “God does not believe in Atheists?”
    Then I would like someone to review this;
    Consider Law of Math, does it change? or not change? is it material or nonmaterial? does it have matter or is it abstract, show me number 2 or 45,000; does 1+ 1 always =2? Can you prove people wrong with math? Say you gave a teller a $100 bill and she gave you 2 $5.00 bills back, can you prove her wrong with Math?

    Consider Law of Science, does it change? or not change? is it material or nonmaterial? does it have matter or is it abstract? can gravity be proven?
    Einstein’s E = Mc 2(square). Repeated observations and expressed in math equations, can support theories, formulated hypothesis, proven over and over. Let me see it physically.

    Consider Law of Logic, does it exist or not exist? does it change? or not change? is it material or nonmaterial? does it have matter? How do you make decisions everyday? How do you know which side of the road to driveon? How do you know that you can drink water from a bottle marked water, and it not be poison?

    Consider Law of Absolute Morality, does it exist or not exist? does it change? or not change? is it material or nonmaterial? When it is broken what happens? What if we all decided that anything goes, not far from wrong, Rape of children is acceptable, is it wrong? If a man takes your wife beats her and rapes, leaves her for dead, it is wrong? How do you know? Is it ok to lie, deceive, why be mad or upset at someone who lies if it is ok? What is your belief? Let me see it physically. How do you know what is the correct behavior you follow, and it doesn’t have to be opionion, but what you will not accept, why won’t you accept it? What if your neighbor thinks comes over and kills your family, he thinks it is ok, why don’t you? Show me physicall ly your morals.

    Rationality is the key isn’t it? Universal huh? If not, then your argument is futile, inconsistent with the Laws that govern humanity. If you think otherwise you must be a psychopath and need a psychiatrist, because otherwise is irrational thought.
    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God had made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21.

    Also Circular Reasoning. Person basing fact from the Bible. Example; How do you find the President of the United States, can you reasonable say you can find him in the white house? Is this proof? Let’s look in the white house…

    You can contact me with replies because I really do want them to me: qbee_75@hotmail.com

  • Elisabeth

    I heard a story when I was in college from my roommate who was a missionary’s kid. She said that a man in their church was saved by a page from a Bible that was used to wrap his fish in he had bought at the market. Now, I know that people often get offended by the presence of a Bible, a Christian, even a cross worn by a fellow co- worker. I don’t think that those folks who feel they should take the Bible or throw the Bible away are in any way frustrating God’s plan to get His Word out. Scriptural history is full of stories where God uses all kinds of people to move His Word from one boundry to another. (Maybe the trashman , a homeless person, a prostiture, or a hungry child stumbles upon that trash can where that disgarded Book lies.) God’s far more creative than a trash can and a dusty old bookshelf. What would make me nervous about taking a book that is historically reverened by mankind in general is the fact that those who have this Book in their possession will have no reason to ever argue they are innocent the knowledge of the Law written in it…. Just because you speed down a street, get caught and argue you never saw a sign does not mean you won’t get a ticket.. final judgement is the same way. You’re not hiding anything, you’re just placing yourself in greater jepordy because you have the Book in your possession. This is a Life argument… leave Religion out of it.

  • Forgiven

    Hmmm….

    To the atheist, you are simply denying the truth. The truth surrounds us everyday and we choose to believe it or not. Example, I can’t look at the human eye and all its wonders and deny a Creator anymore than I can deny that this chair that I am sitting on was designed and built by someone. Design points to a designer, everybody knows that. No matter what we think of the truth, it’s still the truth. God has written His law in your heart and you would be foolish to turn away from His truth. You (like me) need forgiveness and to be filled. Because I felt empty so long ago. So empty. There was a hole there that I tried to fill with everything you can think of including but not limited to homosexuality, alcohol, and being a good kid. But, God tore my heart with His Word and I can’t deny His truth. I need Him!
    Wow, that got far away from where I wanted to go.

    N-e-ways, it all boils down to faith. We each have faith in what we believe in. But the question is, what about truth? Is my faith in the truth? Or is my faith in a lie? One of us is denying the truth. I just made a t-shirt for me and my roommate today (iron-on letters). This is what it says, “I’m forgiven…that’s all I know.” And when it comes down to it, all I know is that I’m forgiven. I am no longer under the penalty of God’s law. I am free and I feel free. I try to prove something in this life, and find that I can’t prove anything in this life except that I am forgiven.

    Chady : )

  • Richard Wade

    To Forgiven/Chady,
    You seem to be a very introspective person. You have examined your own thoughts and feelings, and have made important changes in your life. I’m glad that you have gained freedom and fulfillment. Since you have worked so hard on yourself it’s probably accurate to say that no human being knows you better than you do. So if I came to you and claimed to know what your private thoughts, feelings and motives are without having even met you, you would be well justified in objecting to my arrogant attempt to portray you the way I think you are.

    You shouldn’t do that to others. (Golden Rule, remember?) From what you have shared about yourself so far you seem to be a decent person, so I expect that you would not wish to be rude or unkind. Telling someone unsolicited what you think they’re all about is rude and unkind. The only atheist you can say anything intimate about is the atheist that you have gotten to know very intimately over a long time. I suspect that you don’t know any even casually, because you sound like you’re parroting things that you heard some preacher say about atheists, something that he interpreted from an old book. We have heard it all many times before and it’s just not correct. We know ourselves and you don’t know us at all. Please don’t pretend to.

    You speak a lot about truth. Set that aside and concentrate on honesty. You have been honest and frank about yourself. Now continue to be honest and acknowledge that you don’t know us. That is the first step toward respectful understanding.

    If you actually want to get to know a person you have to ask them about themselves, rather than repeat stuff you heard elsewhere that simply does not apply. Try getting to know real people rather than tossing at arms-length religious clichés toward a stereotype “atheist” who doesn’t actually exist. Around here we call that “drive-by preaching.”

    There are several real, live atheists who read and comment on this blog who are complex, thoughtful and likeable individuals. If you ask them about themselves they will probably be happy to tell you. If you tell them about themselves they will, as anyone would, ignore you or ask you to shut up.

  • Jon

    I recently discovered I have a Gideon Bible at my own house. The Bible is supposedly from Canada and I am from the Philippines. I don’t know how it ended here. I never paid much attention to the other older Bibles lying around during my teen years while I was schooled in a Catholic school. I never had the gusto to read the Bible, frankly because I was actually so sick of the doctrines being 12 years in a Catholic school.

    Sometime around college, I recently had the urge to read this Gideon Bible I found. I regularly read a few chapters everyday or night, and I have to admit, I think its a wonderful book. Yeah there is bloodshed in it, tons and tons of battles, but I think every story has that. To think that the Bible isn’t just a manual – as I thought it would be (at first) because school never gave us the ‘stimulae’ to read it – Well its a story, quite practical and spiritual at the same time. I admit I have never had a clue there was so much love in it too. Thinking that most people I know link more violence and fear to it than love. When its definitely not the case. Overall, I think people should give it a chance. I dunno, I did, I feel better. I think its an impression that religion might have made more damage than good? But I can honestly say, I really didn’t find it in this book. I think its people who use the notion of God we should definitely watch out for and not the other way around. Later…

  • http://www.myspace.com/youshallneverdie Soul Hunter

    God either exists or he does not and we all better make sure we check it out and read the book (bible) or we face the consequences thereof…ignorance never excuses our own responsibilities!
    What goes around comes around and I believe that there has to be a God to keep all things in order, it makes more logical sense to believe in the “bible” because this is the studying of the “facts” and according to Acom’s razor: The simplest solution tends to be the correct one, so when in doubt check it out or do without!

  • Teresa

    I was doing a Google search on the Gideons and found this link. I’ve taken time to read every post and have been intrigued by some of the comments made.

    I empathize with those here who feel misunderstood about who they are and what they believe. I have felt frustrated more times that I can count with people who say that they are Christians and then open their mouths and give those who are really trying to be “Christ-like” a bad name. They come across in a very condemning tone (if that’s you, please read John 3:17 again). That’s not what Christianity is about, condemning others.

    Richard Wade said “… If you want to make statements, make them about yourself, and we’ll ask questions of you to understand you better.”

    My name is Teresa, and I am a Christian– and when I say that, I mean that I try to live my life like Christ did. His message was simple— love God and love your neighbor as yourself. If we do that we’ll treat everyone with honor and respect.

    I believe that God exists and that he loves all humanity; I also believe that God hates sin (evil—murder, hate, rape, lying, stealing, adultery, etc.) because of the horrendous affects it has on the lives of those who are exposed to it. So do I.

    Siamang said, “We’ve heard all your preaching before. Many of us here are ex-believers, ex-evangelicals… many of us perhaps weren’t all that different than you are know, and probably said the exact same things to other people not too long ago. You ask why so many of us are interested in the Bible, it could be because a lot of us are ex-Christians. Some people I know were Christians until they read the whole bible, and that made them become atheists.”

    I don’t understand this statement. Would you elaborate on why reading the whole Bible made you become atheist? And, when someone says “I’m an atheist,” what are they saying? What do atheist’ believe?

    Mriana said, I restate my question to all Christians; do you know that Muslims believe that all Christians and other non-Muslims are going to hell? If they are right and IF there is a hell, we’ll all be seeing each other in hell. Think about it.

    Yes, that’s part of their belief system, the Muslims believe that anyone who doesn’t follow their religion will go to hell. I personally believe that there is a hell, and that it was created for the devil (the source of all evil) and the angelic beings who chose to follow him—not for people. But, there are people who choose to be evil too; and those are the ones I believe will go to hell. (Evil: that which causes harm, ruin, injury, pain, misfortune, or destruction; morally bad.)

    Interesting to note, the Bible describes hell as a ‘lake of fire.’ I believe it to be in existence already and that we see it overflowing at times… Have you ever seen lava that spews from an erupting volcano. It is extremely hot, reaching temperatures as high as 1,300 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The Crater of Volcano Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands is literally called a ‘lake of fire.’ The Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley has a picture of it available. Glimpses of Our National Parks Website says of the Hawaiian islands, “they possess the fourth largest volcanic crater in the world, the largest active volcano, and a lake of turbulent sulphurous fire…” In 1989 geologists from the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK, reported the sighting of entire lakes of liquid sulphur around a volcano in Costa Rica.

    Question to think about. Would God (if you believe that He exists) be unkind and unloving if He punished people for being evil? We know they exist. Our world is full of lawless people, people who are immoral, who impose themselves on society. If He did have a place where these would ultimately be punished for the way they lived—does that make Him unkind or uncaring? Or would it make Him just the opposite.. one who really cares how others are treated?

  • Richard Wade

    Teresa, you’re very patient to have read all 62 of those posts before yours. They span over five months and a few of them border on the bizarre. You have asked several interesting questions, and I cannot answer for other people or answer several of them in an informed way. I will try to answer one of your questions from my own viewpoint as well as from my experience with other people:

    And, when someone says “I’m an atheist,” what are they saying? What do atheist’ believe?

    Firstly, it’s difficult to typify atheists because they are a very heterogeneous category. They tend to be very independent and often avoid affiliations with groups. Their opinions can be very disparate. A favorite joke around here is that getting atheists to agree on something is like trying to herd cats. So when I describe some of their characteristics, keep in mind that I’m being very general and there are many exceptions.

    In general, when a person says they’re an atheist, they’re simply saying that they do not believe in a god or gods. That is all they are saying and the many extra conclusions that people jump to are where so much misunderstanding and difficulty arise. Some of the things that non-atheists assume about atheists are far more peculiar than their own religious beliefs.

    One of the hardest distinctions for a believing person to understand is that there is an enormous difference between the statement, “I do not believe in god,” and the statement, “I believe there is no god.” To many believers who are unfamiliar with atheism these sound basically the same. That is because they assume that everyone has to believe in something. That is not correct. It is quite possible for a person to not believe in something without having a counter-belief in its place. Believing is a specific mental activity that some people just don’t do very much of, or none at all. The word “belief” has many nuances and connotations, so for clarity I’m using this definition: “a persistent assumption of the truth of something in the absence of acceptable evidence.” So if there is no acceptable evidence then some people just don’t busy themselves with the mental activity called believing.

    The vast majority of atheists fall into the category of “do not believe in god.” Very few go by “believe there is no god.” Most just don’t believe in things if there is no convincing evidence, and they don’t believe against things if there is no convincing evidence for that either.

    Some of the discussions on this site go on and on around the question of what is “acceptable evidence.” For most atheists it has to be something more substantial and verifiable than stories written in an old book that refers only to itself for its veracity.

    I think that some people respond to different senses more than others when they are learning. Some are more auditory and some are more visual. When it comes to believing, there can be a similar difference: Some people strongly respond to hearing, and will assume the truth of something simply by being told about it. Others will not respond strongly to that but will only respond to seeing. They are the ones who demand to be shown what is being described before they believe it. They are the skeptics. The word “skeptic” does not mean disbeliever. It means “to look.” By the very nature of their nervous systems they must see very convincing evidence before they can assume the truth of what they have heard. I do not imply that one group is smarter, or more mature or in any way superior. They are simply different. There have always been people who say, “please show me first.” It is not attitudinal; I think it is inborn.

    The unfortunate assumptions and stereotypes that people attach to atheists can be very unfair and very destructive. It is usually from simply never having gotten to know any atheists, but sometimes it’s really vicious, bigoted stuff. These include that atheists are all: anti-religious, immoral, stupid, conceited, depressed, depraved, degenerate, criminal or evil. To be sure there are a few angry ones, a few jerks, and a couple I wish would just shut up. But most of the atheists I know are good, moral, ethical and intelligent people who value fairness, freedom, compassion and honesty. It’s the same as you said about being frustrated when someone describes themselves as a “Christian” and then proceeds to embarrass Christians everywhere. You try to live a Christ-like life. I try to live my daily life by specific ethical principles that I have adopted, and to be open-minded and tolerant of others.

    This is why the thing I enjoy doing the most at this blog has nothing to do with debating religion or philosophy. I enjoy getting to know believers and dispelling the incorrect assumptions I have had about them, and helping them to do the same with non-believers. We find we have far more in common than our differences once we take the time to clear away our assumptions. We can work together for things we value in common.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Hi Teresa,
    First of all, welcome! This is kind of an old thread, and so you may or may not get a lot of responses to it… but Richard alerted me to it. I’d reiterate what Richard said. I wanted to respond to a couple of questions you had…

    You asked:

    I don’t understand this statement. Would you elaborate on why reading the whole Bible made you become atheist? And, when someone says “I’m an atheist,” what are they saying? What do atheist’ believe?

    Well, it wasn’t me who read the entire bible, but I have heard atheists who were Christians who walked away from Christianity after reading the entire bible. Julia Sweeney is one, and she has a wonderful, witty, warm, humorous and what I would call “spiritual” one-woman show about that process called “Letting Go of God.” (Check that link for some audio clips or to buy the CD.)

    If you want to know my story about how I came to believe different from how I was raised, it’s here.

    When I say “I am an atheist” what I’m saying is that I think the world is best understood as a natural process, not a supernatural one. I am also saying that I don’t know if there is a god, is not a god, are gods, are not gods or none of the above/all of the above. However, I pretty strongly suspect that the religions we have on this planet at the beginning of the 21st Century are so far off of what we may find as the “root and base truth of the universe” that I’m better off honestly acknowleging my ignorance rather than naming and making rather large and frighteningly specific claims about things we puny humans know nothing about. For me, the beginning of wisdom is the phrase “I do not know” and the beginning of knowlege is “let’s test the evidence.”

    But as Richard says, we’re all different. Best to ask each person individually what they believe.

    Interesting to note, the Bible describes hell as a ‘lake of fire.’ I believe it to be in existence already and that we see it overflowing at times… Have you ever seen lava that spews from an erupting volcano. It is extremely hot, reaching temperatures as high as 1,300 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Are you actually saying that volcanoes are really from Hell, and that Hell is physically in the center of the earth? And that these statistics about volcanoes are material support for the supernatural belief of a spiritual afterlife in torment?

    If so, please try to see it from my point of view… It just looks to me as if the line between fantasy and reality is not very clear to you. Do you also believe that lasers are the swords of angels, and meteorites are the tears of the devil?

    It just sounds like you have an overactive imagination, as do all pronouncements of an awaiting hell by believers.

    I do not believe that hell exists. And descriptions of it being a literal place below the earth’s tectonic plates (I’ll admit, that’s a new one for me) make it all the less likely that I believe in it. The more and more fantastic the claims of the supernaturalists in the world, the wider the gulf between their claims and their evidence.

    But I’ll continue to be a good, kind, loving and thoughtful person regardless. I do good for goodness’ sake, and leave the fears of an awaiting hell to the believers in such things.

    Anyway, welcome, and I hope my blunt answer about hell hasn’t put you too far off.

    Pick Richard Wade’s brain about volcanoes if you get a chance, he’s a volcano expert.

    Take care, and welcome!

  • Heatherross

    How can you believe in hell? Why would a good God send people to hell? In mention of hell, do you really believe that? What do you think hell is?
    I gather it’s supposed to be a place of punishment that never ends.

    Why in the world would you believe in that?
    I believe in hell because Jesus says it exists (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 11:23; 16:18; 18:9; 23:15,33; Luke 10:15; 12:5; 16:23). Late in Jesus ministry He taught His disciples that there would be a day of judgment for a people, and that on that day, His followers would be granted eternal, joyous life in the presence of God, but that those who rejected Him would “go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

    If God is good and loving, why hell?
    God’s goodness cannot abide the presence of evil, so only those who have been made good by Jesus can be with Him forever. Those who refuse to accept the righteousness of Jesus on themselves have chosen to be evil forever, and so have chosen to spend eternity separated from God. It is not God’s choice that they go to hell, but their own (Your own choice, your decision, you made up your mind not to believe, but that choice doesn’t make hell go away) Hell is one consequence of moral freedom. And that separation from God will mean unimaginable suffering, since man was really designed to spend eternity with God.

    But how can God permit them to make that kind of choice?
    Earlier I quoted from a man named C.S. Lewis, who became a Christian after years as an atheist and then as an agnostic. Lewis, too, struggled with the idea of hell. “I would pay any price,” he wrote, “to be able to say truthfully, ‘All will be saved’.

    But my reason retorts, Without their will, or with it?’ If I say, Without their will’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will’, my reason replies, ‘How if they will not give in?”‘

    In preservation in the freedom of man, can you write off the existence of hell? We may not like it, but if I could I would like to write off the existence of a number of things, but I can’t.

  • Mriana

    I read the whole Bible more than once. Not only was is boring, it was horrid! Then I read other mythology and saw a lot of similarities and began researching it and trying to find out why they are so similar. If Christians only knew or if those who do know would accept the facts, they might realize it’s all just a bunch of stories. Dreadful stories at that, but I won’t go into all the details because it would take several books all the size of Acharya’s or longer with many more resources than she has.

    BTW, 99% of these stories I didn’t read to my sons, but my sons both read the whole Bible and thought it was horrid too. The older one calls himself a Buddhist and the younger considers himself nothing, yet I raised them in the Episcopal Church. Then of course most Episcopal Churches consider them stories too.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Heatherross, I don’t think you’re getting much interaction. Perhaps if you told us about yourself and set the preaching aside for a bit?

    I come here to learn about other people and from other people. You don’t seem to be interacting with us. Are you a spambot? Will you set down your preacher’s robes and talk to us as human beings?

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Heatherross, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). You mean that Jesus was a failure? He would have to be if all weren’t saved. Either that or Paul was wrong. Do you really want to go there?

  • Teresa

    The initial statement made in this thread intrigues me.

    “When I’m in hotel rooms, I never know what to do with the Gideon Bibles. Obviously the “normal” answer would be to do nothing– Just ignore it. But since it’s there, I feel like I *need* to do something as an atheist.”

    What about being atheist would make someone feel compelled to do anything with “the Gideon Bible” other that pick it up and read it or just leave it laying. Do atheists in general get this feeling when they see a Bible? If so, why? What about the Bible makes it different from other religious books to you?

    Do all atheists believe the Bible is a work of fiction?

    Surely, historical evidence can’t be discounted. Archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible. Archaeological discoveries verify the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments. Archaeological findings demonstrate that the Biblical prophets accurately predicted events hundreds of years before they occurred—something that lies beyond the capability of mere men.
    When compared to other religious books, the Bible is unique in that it is the oldest, as testified by the places, people, titles, and events mentioned in the Bible; and the language and literary formats used to compose the Bible. The historical record of the Jews was written down on leather scrolls and tablets over centuries.

    A book I’ve found interesting—

    Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts – The contributors explore methodological issues, survey the five major eras in Israel’s history, and focus on specific issues related to understanding Old Testament historical texts – such as the dating of the Exodus, the use of large numbers during Israel’s monarchy, and the literary features in the book of Esther. This volume helps ‘give the sense’ of what the Bible says in historical narratives.

    These chapters were particularly interesting.
    • Archaeology and Biblical History: Its Uses and Abuses, by Eugene H. Merrill
    • Dating the Patriarchal Age: The Contribution of Ancient Near Eastern Texts, by Mark F. Rooker
    • The Date of the Exodus, by William H. Shea
    • From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period, by Bryant G. Wood
    • Conquest, Infiltration, Revolt, or Resettlement? What Really Happened During the Exodus-Judges Period? by Carl G. Rasmussen
    • The United Monarchy: Archaeological and Literary Issues, by Hermann Austel

    It’s refreshing to be able to dialogue with others who have different beliefs without sensing an argumentative spirit (for the most part anyway).

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Do atheists in general get this feeling when they see a Bible? If so, why? What about the Bible makes it different from other religious books to you?

    You’d have to ask individuals. For me, I don’t get any particular feeling with any religious book. I do think that hotels, if they want to provide religious texts to their guests, should provide many different ones, not just the one that has traditionally been the majority religion in America.

    Right now with just the Bible, it’s kind of pushy. America is a place of diverse beliefs.

    Howbout for a laff, I put a bunch of room-service menus in the pew-backs at a church!

    Do all atheists believe the Bible is a work of fiction?

    You’d have to ask all atheists, everyone is different.

    I personally think the Bible is a collection of many different texts from different sources, each with different goals. It includes myths, embellishments, laws, lineages, cultural memory, some history and a lot of poetry. Also some horiffic brutality that hopefully is merely legend as well.

    Surely, historical evidence can’t be discounted. Archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible.

    Wow, you speak as though the Bible is one document. It is certainly not. Some parts are more accurate than others.

    We do have archeological evidence that some of the places mentioned in some of the books and passages of the Bible existed. But unless I am mistaken, we do not have archeological evidence that a sky spirit was involved in any of it.

    What would such archeological evidence even look like? Is it at all remarkable that the authors of the Bible wound their myths around real places and historical figures they were aware of?

    Mt. Olympus is a real mountain, but its existence is not evidence of Zeus.

    Archaeological findings demonstrate that the Biblical prophets accurately predicted events hundreds of years before they occurred—something that lies beyond the capability of mere men.

    Keep a bunch of prophecies around for a couple thousand years and some of them are bound to come true if you’re nice and vague about the details. But these claims are unremarkable. When the details are specific, such as the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar, they haven’t come true. Since some of the predictions in the Bible actually failed… should we therefore discount the Bible as being entirely false?

    Or is it much more prudent to accept that the Bible is a collection of works, and instead examine each claim therein by the evidence available instead of declaring it an all-or-nothing all-true/all-false?

    It’s refreshing to be able to dialogue with others who have different beliefs without sensing an argumentative spirit (for the most part anyway).

    We try. Thanks for noticing!

    Good to talk to you as well.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Teresa. You asked,

    What about being atheist would make someone feel compelled to do anything with “the Gideon Bible” other that pick it up and read it or just leave it laying. Do atheists in general get this feeling when they see a Bible? If so, why? What about the Bible makes it different from other religious books to you?

    First of all I’d guess that most non-believers have little or no reaction to the presence of a Bible in their hotel rooms. They don’t even think about it and if they discover one in the bottom drawer, it has no effect. For those who do have some kind of negative response, again I can answer for others only in general terms, but having heard the stories of many atheists I can offer some insights:
    Many atheists come from very strongly religious backgrounds. Some rejected their religion as a result of very bad experiences at the hands of abusive or manipulative people in their religious community. Others turned away from their religion as their intellect developed to a point that they no longer could reconcile or ignore contradictions in scripture or conflicts between dogma and the physical and social reality they saw all around them. For whatever reason, for many of them the process of extricating themselves from their spiritual upbringing was very slow and painful. It often included the severing of relationships with family members and friends whom they cherished. So for some atheists, the Bible in the room is an unwelcome intrusion that triggers a set of painful memories.

    A few atheists come from very secular backgrounds, so they don’t have those deeply personal memories to trigger. But for them as well as for the ex-religious ones, the Bible can also represent a force in society that they have strong convictions against. It is the text of small but powerful groups of people who promote bigotry against any religion or world view that is different from their own. They use scripture to try to justify the subjugation and control of women, the reviling of homosexuals, the hijacking of public science education, the interference in scientific research, the imposition of their specific moral code onto society in general, the imposition of religious practices onto public schools, the abolishment of constitutional protections of freedom of religion, the manipulation of the political process to support their religious agenda, and even the justification of starting a war for which there is only one true motive, greed.

    Why the Bible and not some other religious books? Well, most of the people visiting this blog live in the U.S. The vast majority of sects here are based on the Bible. In other parts of the world, free-thinking people have to contend with other systems of belief that they feel oppress them. Often their struggle is much more dangerous.

    I hope my remarks help you to understand in general terms some of the issues that are important to many atheists, as well as to religious people who also have concerns about the negative things I described above. It is enjoyable talking with you.

  • Mriana

    Do all atheists believe the Bible is a work of fiction?

    I do, at least, and as for the history of it, it’s no more true than John Jakes North and South books. They do have history in them, but they are nothing more than works of fiction.

    Why do I think this? Well that would probably take me writing a book to explain it.

    BTW, Teresa, I think I should clear something up a little bit. I call myself a Humanist, Freethinker, and non-theist. I can appreciate Bishop John Shelby Spong’s (“Why Christianity Must Change or Die”, “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”, and “Sins of Scripture”) ideas and others like him (Don Cupitt and Anthony Freeman for example). I share some of the Sea of Faith’s ideas, but I share a lot more of Robert Price’s ideas (author of “The Reason Driven Life”). If that give you any ideas of what I believe.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    The Bible, to start with isn’t A Work, it’s a collection of very different kinds of writings, written, scrambled and rearranged well before they were selected by committees and assembled into The Bible. It’s a distortion of the contents to consider them science or history, since real history hadn’t been invented for most of the period, nor had science, it’s almost certain the intentions were noting like those relatively recent ideas.

    The Bible is what it is. It’s most useful as a motivation for disputing what its contents mean. Using it as science or history has a long history of failure.

    Large portions of it are quite entertaining, I don’t see how anyone reading it could miss that. The Gideon product has the distinct advantage of being in such tiny print that those of us with relatively bad eye-sight can’t see it. Though, as the King James edition, it’s not much use to anyone who cares about accurate translation.

    Since Dawkins has proposed replacing it in hotel rooms with The End of Faith, complete with the bigotry and calls for violence, maybe you should argue about that brilliant idea as well.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Personally a good book of sudoku and crossword puzzles would be my recommendation.

  • Mriana

    Or Star Trek books and mags! :D Hey, if there is a Trek con, there will be interested people.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Or Star Trek books and mags!

    How did I know you were going to say that??!?

    ;-)

  • Richard Wade

    When I’m in a hotel, other than what I bring along the only reading materials I look for are a list of the good local restaurants, the local stage plays and the TV listings. My wife and I recently spent a week at a resort near Lake Tahoe. We listened to the CD’s of the entire Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

    That was a month ago and I just realized there definitely was no Bible in the suite.

  • Teresa

    “…The more and more fantastic the claims of the supernaturalists in the world, the wider the gulf between their claims and their evidence.”

    I do believe in the supernatural—something ‘not natural.’ So I guess I fit into the category you put me in— one of the ‘supernaturalists.’

    I am imaginative, but not to the point of being over actively so. My faith comes not only from my belief in the Bible, but on testimony of fact and actual experience— All of my ‘claims’ of the supernatural are documented fact— these have not been made up for your amusement nor for mere conversation.

    Documented in 1987— My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, two doctors came into his hospital room, one of them sat down on the side of his bed and told him that at the most he had 12 months to live— given the staging (high-stage) of the cancer.

    We brought my dad home from the hospital; our family began to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, asking for the cancer to be removed from his body. Days later my dad had to go back to have other tests done; and when he went for those tests the doctors could not find the cancer, not in his bladder, nor anywhere else in his body. Their actual words to us were, “We know the cancer was there, and now it’s gone. We can’t explain it; we just know that it was there, and now it’s not.” Dad passed away in 2006—you do the math. And, I do not say that in a factious way.

    Documented in 2003—My nephew became extremely ill with flu and sinusitis type symptoms, he was admitted to our small town hospital where they kept him for 9 days and then discharged him (why they kept him for 9 days and was unable to diagnose his illness is still a mystery to us). The same evening (of his discharge) he got significantly worse; he was having extreme difficulty breathing. We took him to the emergency room of a larger hospital in a city not far from where we live. I was with him that Saturday morning at 3:30 AM when the Otolaryngologist came into his room with his little black bag in hand. He tried to insert an endoscope up my nephew’s nose but couldn’t— something was obstructing the opening of his nasal cavity. He ordered an x-ray to be done at once. I was sitting by my nephew’s bedside when he came back into the room after getting the results of it. He held up his hand and said, “You have a tumor this big,” holding his open cupped hand toward his own face indicating the size of something so large that it all but obscured his face from our view, “in your nasal and sinus cavities.” He was admitted to the hospital and scheduled for a biopsy the next morning. The Otolaryngologist had the Chief Pathologist to assist him with the biopsy because of the magnitude of the tumor. When the results came back he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Nasopharyngeal Lymphoma.

    When my dad and mom, and my sister (my nephew’s mom) stood in the hallway on that Sunday morning—just outside of the operating room where they did the biopsy, and the doctor came out and told them it didn’t look good, again, they began to pray—as did the rest of our family when we were told what the doctors had said. We also asked many of our friends who are believers to join their faith with ours in prayer for his healing.

    My nephew’s case was even more documented than usual because in their testing they also found the Epstein-Barr virus present in his body. Recent research findings linked Epstein-Barr as a cause of nasopharyngeal cancer and they wanted to include his case in research study—they ask my nephew if he would be willing to talk to a panel of doctors and medical students about the onset of his illness, his symptoms, etc. etc. He agreed, albeit he was very sick and barely able to sit up. So on Monday morning, they rolled a very sick young man in a wheel chair onto a stage in a large auditorium (it is also a teaching hospital)— Oncologists, Otolaryngologists, Doctors for research, and medical students all sat in attendance. They questioned him for several hours about his illness—all feverishly taking notes.

    However, by late that evening my nephew started to show signs of improvement; his appetite was returning (he began asking us to get him food), he began to breathe easier—although he had had no treatment other than pain medication and IV fluids. The next morning (Tuesday), one of the nurses came in and said the oncologist had ordered another biopsy, somehow the tissue they had removed from the tumor during the original biopsy was not correctly stored after the initial testing, and became unusable for more testing. She said that they had not yet determined what type of lymphoma he had and that they needed to know the type so they would know what kind of chemotherapy to start him on.

    When the results of the second biopsy came back—there was no cancer. There were no cancer cells in the tumor, no lymphoma cells. The tumor was still there, but it was no longer cancerous.

    Several weeks after his discharge from the hospital my nephew underwent further outpatient testing on the tumor. I was there for his final follow up visit at the oncologist office when his doctor walked into the examining room with his head shaking back and forth. He started to speak and stopped, shook his head again and then he said, “I cannot explain it, all I know is that it was there, and now it isn’t.” These were familiar words to me—I had heard them before from my dad’s doctors. He went on to tell us that the latest tests showed that the tumor had shrunk significantly—as a matter of fact it was almost gone, and he had no explanation as to how or why it had shrunk. He made one final comment to my nephew before we left that day. He said, “You had better be glad somebody up there (pointing toward the heavens) is looking out for you.” The oncologist was not a ‘believer,’ but he said he knew ‘a higher power’ had to have intervened for my nephew.

    Today the tumor is completely gone—no treatment of any sort, just prayer. There remains a big ? on his medical records to this day. I didn’t tell you in the beginning—but the Otolaryngologist was a believer. He later shared with my nephew in one of his visits that he had gone home on that Saturday morning after seeing my nephew in the emergency room and told his young daughter (who was about the same age as my nephew) that he was going to have to go to the hospital the next day and tell this young man and his family that he was probably was not going to live. They bowed their heads together in their home, the doctor and his daughter, and prayed in the name of Jesus, that the young man would be healed.

    Documented in 2002—I was having severe pain and went to my gynecologist (thinking it to be a female problem) to find out what was wrong with me. He ordered a sonogram, it showed massive amounts of cysts on my ovaries; my doctor said he would need to do a hysterectomy.

    My family prayed for me— I let the doctors operate, but when the doctors opened me up—they found healthy ovaries with absolutely no cysts. I’ve not had pain since, and I still have healthy ovaries.

    Documented in 1967—A young boy that my parents knew had stepped on a pile of broken glass while playing out in his yard, nearly cutting his heal off. He had surgery and the doctors had to insert metal pins to keep his heal connected to his foot so that it could heal properly; the boy was in a tremendous amount of pain. The boy had heard my dad share about miracles he had seen, and how that faith in Jesus Christ had healed others when we prayed. He asked his dad to take him to see my dad. When they arrived, he asked my dad to pray that Jesus would heal his foot. My dad prayed.

    The young boy and the dad got in their car and rode home. The man called my dad and told him what happened when they got there. He said when they got out of the car he could hear a noise when the boy walked, it sounded like something clinking together. When the young boy and his dad got inside the house the dad had the boy sit down on the couch and take off his shoes and socks. Inside the boy’s socks were the metal pins lying loose, and the scar on his foot from the surgery was a faint white line. The doctor who operated on the boy, his parents, their neighbors, their friends, and my family were all witnesses to what had happened to the young boy.

    These are not made up stories; these are actual witnessed accounts of ‘supernatural’ events in the lives of ordinary human beings.

    I could go on and on… but for the sake of your time to read, and my time to write.. I’ll refrain.

    I am a believer in the supernatural— ‘NOT NATURAL’events.

    Do these miracles prove the existence of a ‘sky spirit’ as Siamang puts it?
    For me—they do. The Bible teaches that such ‘supernatural’ power is given to believers through faith in Jesus Christ. I, and others I’ve mentioned asserted our faith in Jesus Christ for healing in the very real situations I’ve shared above, and miraculous healing was the result.

    Have my claims widened the gulf even more? I hope not, but if so— Anyway, thanks for letting me share some experiences in my life.

    Siamang—I loved your idea about putting the room service menu’s in the pews.. Some church folk don’t hear what’s being said anyway because of having their minds on what’s for lunch. At least they’d have something to keep them occupied until others finish what they came for. I personally am riveted the whole time we as believers come together for worship—lunch is the last thing on my mind.

  • Claire

    Theresa – I don’t think you have really grasped the concept of evidence. All those things you mentioned, we have only your word for any of them. Unless you have the medical records and can post copies of them, there is nothing documented about them. You could be remembering wrong, you have misinterpreted it at the time, you could be fantasizing, you could feel justified in making it up. So unless you have some evidence, above and beyond taking your word for it, you seem to have demonstrated the point in question rather than refuting it – fantastic claims, and no evidence at all.

  • Teresa

    Evidence in its broadest sense, refers to anything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. I shared all of that to assert my belief in the supernatural; you certainly can take it or leave it—I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. Your questioning it however, does not negate it either.

    Anyway… Raymond, are there any good restaurants near Lake Tahoe?

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Teresa, you make the sensible distinction between evidence of personal belief and that required for something like science. Don’t expect that some of those here will accept that there is a difference and that evidence for personal belief isn’t valid for its purpose, personal belief. They’ll deny this even as they demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s a standard they practice themselves but which they deny for those who come to a different, personal decision.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    It may just be that your family won the remission lotto. There’s bound to be a few people in the millions and millions of Americans who are statistical outliers.

    Those folks who did pray and didn’t find healing, or died, do not report on their lack of miracles. So there’s a reporting bias.

    If praying to Jesus Christ is the answer, we should see a statistical effect that has Christianity corrolating with increased remission rates. We don’t. In fact, Japanese cancer rates are lower than ours, and they’re almost 100% Buddhist. Scandinavian countries have much higher life-expectancies than folks in the American Bible Belt, and they’re predominently atheist.

    So again, you can see why I’m extremely skeptical about scientific and medical claims by believers… the numbers just don’t add up.

    If you really want to have a lower cancer rate, become a Buddhist. If you want to live longer than a Christian, become an atheist.

    I know those aren’t logical conclusions, but they are the conclusions that your reasoning lines up to when you look at the actual statistical facts.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    They’ll deny this even as they demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s a standard they practice themselves but which they deny for those who come to a different, personal decision.

    Olvizi, I don’t deny anyone their own beliefs or their own reasoning and experience. I blog for a Christian ministry for crying out loud.

    Can you just let Christians and atheists share our thoughts, opinions and experiences with each other without poisoning the well by predicting our future bad behavior?

    Thanks.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Olvizi, I don’t deny anyone their own beliefs or their own reasoning and experience.

    Then any reasonable person would conclude my comment didn’t refer to you. I’ll get to your blog sometime, Siamang.

    As to my poisoning the well here, now that’s rich. Look at Claire’s baseless and dismissive comment before I said anything to Teresa.

    All I said is that people should be entitled to their personal experience as evidence for them to make conclusions in their own lives, that many people here do so while denying that for other people. What’s poisonous about that?

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    All I said is that people should be entitled to their personal experience as evidence for them to make conclusions in their own lives,

    People will do that, whatever you think or advocate or provide as a “should” or say that they are entitled to.

    that many people here do so while denying that for other people.

    I don’t think that anyone here has the ability to deny it to other people. All people do here is SAY what they think and why they think it.

    All I can say is “your personal spiritual revelation has no bearing on me, my life or the way you want the country to be run. I’m glad you’ve got a magical experience, but that bears not on whether I’m going to spend eternity in torment in a giant underground volcano.”

    What’s poisonous about that?

    You’re predicting failure of this discussion rather than rooting for the success of this discussion.

    Look at Claire’s baseless and dismissive comment before I said anything to Teresa.

    I don’t find it baseless or dismissive. I find it a likely accurate description of Claire’s feelings when reading Teresa’s post.

    By those same lights, isn’t your response to Claire’s post baseless and dismissive? Why or why not?

  • Polly

    Teresa, you make the sensible distinction between evidence of personal belief and that required for something like science. Don’t expect that some of those here will accept that there is a difference and that evidence for personal belief isn’t valid for its purpose, personal belief.

    I accept that religious people are not hopelessly irrational. Many base their belief on something personal but, not all. Some have simply never ventured outside their upbringing. In the former case, I don’t see my purpose in life as having to dispel other people’s interpretations of their own experiences. I would probably interpret the same events if they happened to me differently, but I’m not so self-absorbed as to think others must reach the same conclusions as I do.

    The only problem I have with individual revelation is the tendency of some believers to then make it their mission in life to impose their special message on others. It then ceases to be a matter of individual revelation and enters the realm of public menace. I am NOT accusing anyone here of doing that.

    If someone has an experience in his/her life that convinces them that there is a god, and that doesn’t result in him harming himself or others, then I have no problem with that.

    Now, I’m really going to ramble on.

    But the definition of “harm” of course is a sliding scale, i.e. believing demonstrably false ideas about the natural world, constant fear of offending an omnipotent being, strained relationships with non-believers, etc., are things that some might think are actual problems. These can all come from religion, even mainstream religion. But, to the extent that the harm is self-inflicted and MINOR it’s still none of my business. But, I’d extend a differing view point as a matter of concern for others, and not just to push my opinion.

    And that’s because there is, IMO, a lot more freedom and personal fulfillment to be had in the materialist worldview than in most religions. But, I recognize that freedom and even “fulfillment” are not equally valued by all. Some want divine love, structure and assurance more than these things. And others are just convinced that they’ve experienced god.

    Supernatural belief will always be with us in some form or another because humans are creatures of imagination. Faith is an outcropping of hope and imagination. The tendency for human beings to reach beyond logic to a potential future, when all indications are that such a vision is silly, is what has driven some great leaps forward. There are some who hope against Relativistic physics that there will be a way to travel faster than light to distant reaches of the galaxy and even farther. For the moment this is simply wishful thinking. But, if we limit our imaginations only to what we know for sure, we will be poorer. Faith, of a sort, is necessary. But, it does nothing all by itself and can even be harmful if relied upon. It needs to be followed up with the work of science. Until then, it needs to be classified not as reality, but as hope, conjecture, unfulfilled desire, work-in-progress, or some other label befitting its status as potential not actual. Doubt is also important. It keeps us humble.

  • Claire

    Theresa – I’m sorry, I’m missing your point. If what you call evidence is only evidence for you, and worthless to anyone else, and you understand that, why post it at all?

    You say that “evidence in its broadest sense, refers to anything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion” which indicates this was intended to convince people, then you say that you were not trying to convince anyone, which seems disingenous. If you are trying to convince people, they will need objective evidence. If you aren’t, why bother?

    Siamang – thank you for the support, and I know that my comments were neither baseless nor dismissive. The resident troll seems to have taken a dislike to me, which I consider a badge of honor. However, those were not my “feelings”, they were an assessment of the weakness of her evidence on anything other than a personal level. But you seem like a good guy, so I will take it as it was meant, and say thanks for the kind words!

  • HappyNat

    Then any reasonable person would conclude my comment didn’t refer to you. I’ll get to your blog sometime, Siamang.

    Hey now, there is no reason to threaten anyone. :)

  • Teresa

    All I can say is “your personal spiritual revelation has no bearing on me, my life or the way you want the country to be run. I’m glad you’ve got a magical experience, but that bears not on whether I’m going to spend eternity in torment in a giant underground volcano.”

    It seems I’ve struck a nerve. Siamang you are really sounding bias now.

    Guess the ‘friendly’ has worn off. I really thought I had happened upon those with other beliefs that I could dialogue with about who I am and who they are without being belittled.

    I guess not.

  • Mriana

    Siamang said,

    September 11, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Or Star Trek books and mags!

    How did I know you were going to say that??!?
    ;)

    Because I’m the biggest Trek fan here? :lol:

    Teresa said:

    It seems I’ve struck a nerve. Siamang you are really sounding bias now.

    Guess the ‘friendly’ has worn off. I really thought I had happened upon those with other beliefs that I could dialogue with about who I am and who they are without being belittled.

    I guess not.

    Dear, you are among rationalists, atheists, Freethinkers, and Humanists here. Think about it for a bit.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Siamang you are really sounding bias now.

    Is it “sounding biased” to merely state my point of view? I thought we were here to share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences. If bringing up the volcano was too close to a dig, I apologize. We do try to keep things friendly here.

    Guess the ‘friendly’ has worn off.

    Only briefly. The volcano thing was a dig. But I am making a larger point with it, and that’s that whatever you believe doesn’t have bearing on me merely because you believe that it does.

    I really thought I had happened upon those with other beliefs that I could dialogue with about who I am and who they are without being belittled.

    Unfortunately, this place is about the best you’re likely to find. The atheist/Christian dialogue is terrible out there, and that’s to the extreme fault of members of both parties. If I took a step too far here, I apologize and will try to do better in the future. In the meanwhile, this dialogue is only as good as its participants. Please continue to add your voice and your example to this conversation, and better it by your contribution.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Dear, you are among rationalists, atheists, Freethinkers, and Humanists here. Mriana

    You’re predicting failure of this discussion rather than rooting for the success of this discussion.

    Looks like I’m batting 100 on that count, then, isn’t it.

    Mriana’s claims that there is rationalism, freethinking and humanism here is a bit of an exaggeration. There is some of it here but try really applying the first two rigorously and you’ll find the opposite of the third one is quite in evidence.

    HappyNat, Siamang invited me to visit once, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Tell you what, you list one and I’ll visit it right after.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    For example:

    If praying to Jesus Christ is the answer, we should see a statistical effect that has Christianity corrolating with increased remission rates

    No, you shouldn’t. By definitions miracles such as the cure of diseases through supernatural means would be something that happens outside of the natural order of things, it wouldn’t be miraculous otherwise. There is no reason to expect a statistical correlation to show up in the case of miraculous cures because a statistical correlation is the product of the natural order, not of miracles. You don’t have to believe in miracles of this kind but if you are going to insist on rigorous thinking you’ve really obligated yourself to going all the way. Not that that’s very commonly done even among the self-defined rationalist freethinkers.

  • Mriana

    Mriana’s claims that there is rationalism, freethinking and humanism here is a bit of an exaggeration. There is some of it here but try really applying the first two rigorously and you’ll find the opposite of the third one is quite in evidence.

    Again, you are taking it out of context and twisting what I said, Olvlzl. I said there were Rationalists, Freethinkers, and Humanists. That do NOT necessarily mean there is rationalaism, freethought, and humanism. Humanist can be very rational and freethinking, contrary to your opinion. I don’t know what you have against Humanism, but whatever… :roll:

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Mriana, so you’re saying that you can have “rationalists,… , Freethinkers, and Humanists” without rationalism, freethinking and humanism. Yeah, right. Makes all the sense in the world.

    You know, there were Humanists long before Paul Kurtz and his friends hijacked that group, it used to mean something real back then. Not to mention the humanists of the renaissance, many of whom were very religious.

  • Mriana

    Olvlzl, Humanists are human. They are not perfect and they are not ALWAYS rational becuase they are human. They are not Vulcans, but rather passionate and emotional human beings. Being a Humanist does not make a person perfect.

    I’m getting a bit tired of your confrontation remarks, taking things out of context, and down right game playing.

    I never once said one could not be a Religious Humanist. I know of many Religious Humanists, BUT you have to understand, their concept of God is not supernatural or metaphysical. If you question this then you need to visit the Sea of Faith link I keep posting around here and Greg Epsteins Harvard Humanist Chaplin page. Religious Humanists are non-theists.

    I really would appreciate it if some people would stop pulling strawmen out of their hats and trying to aggetate others.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Mriana, you have been accusing me of not reading what you write for several nights running. I didn’t make any statement about Humanists ALWAYS being anything. Your refusal to deal with some rather simple, if embarrassing, questions about psychology, distorting what I said in order to avoid answering them is continued tonight by your distorting what I said in order to answer points you would rather address than than the points I made. Talk about straw men, Ray Bolger didn’t do such a good job making one.

    I think what you are actually tired of is being called on absurdly broad and inconsistent statements regarding most of humanity as compared with your fellow members of the Humanist club. You are the one who has asserted that other people are deficient in some way due to their expressing faith, the entire point of our exchange last night was that I objected to that and pointed out that you and the field of psychology you cited as providing you with special insight into the matter weren’t as entirely faith free as you were pretending. It’s an odd humanism that is so based in snobbery and disdain for the largest part of the human species.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Maria,

    I didn’t find any good restaurants around Lake Tahoe although I’m sure there are several. We were on the Nevada side of the mountains and we kept things simple.

    All this rancor comes from people talking about each other rather than talking about themselves, so I’ll just speak for myself, and try to help you understand what is necessary to convince me of something remarkable. This is just what I require for myself, not what I think you or anyone else should require. That’s none of my business.

    Firstly, I’m glad that your family members were able to recover from their illnesses. The stories are remarkable and I have heard many such stories. Some of the stories include people praying and some do not. Some are about Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and members of small, almost unheard-of religions, and some are about people who have no religious beliefs at all. I’m glad for all of them, but I personally don’t find any of these stories sufficient to convince me that a supernatural being intervened in their diseases. Even if I did believe that a supernatural being was responsible, the fact that the stories involve people of very widely differing beliefs means that the stories would still not convince me that any one religion had somehow more effect than any other.

    Now I’m going to suppose some things about you, so let me know if this is correct for you: Your experience of these recoveries supports your belief which you already had before those events happened. So you put your experience into that context of your faith in God. If you and your family had not done the praying and the unexpected recoveries still occurred I think that you and your family would still have attributed the recoveries to God, because they seemed miraculous to you. Whether you prayed or not is not my point. For you to describe these recoveries as miracles requires you to have faith both in God and in doctors. You would need to have been convinced that the initial diagnoses of those life-threatening diseases were indeed accurate and that the doctors were competent in diagnosing. Calling the recoveries miraculous requires belief that they should not have happened by any natural means, and that requires an assumption that the doctors knew what they were talking about. That is sometimes not a wise assumption:

    Many years ago when my daughter was four years old, from an MRI image her doctors found a lesion in her brain. The neurologist said it was a cyst that would grow and if not removed would eventually kill her and the neurosurgeon agreed. There were horrid discussions about opening up her face as one would open a car door in order to get to the cyst. Fortunately, in the midst of my anguish I decided to get a second opinion from another doctor who was not with that medical group. He happened to be the most prominent neurosurgeon on this specific type of lesion and looking at the same MRI images he immediately saw that it was not a cyst, just a small, harmless empty space in that area. If they had operated, they would not have found anything to remove. She’s fine and is now 21, attending college with no neurological problems. She’s just a challenging pain in the neck who’s too smart for her own good. ;) I did not put much faith in just one medical opinion. If I had, and the surgery had been performed the surgeon might have said either, “Oops, I didn’t need to do this,” or “That’s strange, the cyst has unexplainably disappeared,” or he might have said nothing, closed her face up and declared the operation a “success.” So just as you put your experience into the context of your beliefs, I put my experience into the context of my way of thinking, which is to double check and triple check before jumping to a conclusion in making an important decision.

    I’m not saying my story implies anything about your stories. I’m not saying that your way of seeing things is “wrong.” I’m only trying to give you insight into why your way just does not work for me.

    As I said in an earlier comment to you, some people need more than hearing someone else’s stories to convince them of something remarkable. They simply need to see it for themselves. And as I also said, they’re not better or worse, just different. So when I hear your stories, it’s just not enough. For me. I’m not saying or implying that you are either a liar or are crazy. You might be a liar or crazy but so far I have no reason to assume yes or no about such things. I just need more than somebody’s story about somebody else to accept the explanation that you accept.

    Teresa, I’m sure you have at times heard people tell you things that you thought were very improbable, and before accepting them as true you wanted to see it for yourself and have more solid confirmation than just the person’s story. Apply that experience to me, and you may understand how I and perhaps others here think and feel.

  • Richard Wade

    Dammit I meant to address that to Teresa. Sorry.

  • Maria

    Olvlzl, Humanists are human. They are not perfect and they are not ALWAYS rational becuase they are human. They are not Vulcans, but rather passionate and emotional human beings. Being a Humanist does not make a person perfect.

    I’m getting a bit tired of your confrontation remarks, taking things out of context, and down right game playing.

    I never once said one could not be a Religious Humanist. I know of many Religious Humanists, BUT you have to understand, their concept of God is not supernatural or metaphysical. If you question this then you need to visit the Sea of Faith link I keep posting around here and Greg Epsteins Harvard Humanist Chaplin page. Religious Humanists are non-theists.

    I really would appreciate it if some people would stop pulling strawmen out of their hats and trying to aggetate others.

    I agree. Olvlzl I think you need to calm down-why do you keep attacking Mriana in particular and taking her remarks out of context? People call themselves rationalists and humanists to differentiate that they are not religious and/or that religion doesn’t guide their lives. It doesn’t make them always rational. No one is always rational, and I have yet to see anyone on here say that non-religious people are always rational. You say you didn’t say anyone is always like anything, well, maybe you didn’t use the word always, but you do sure seem to be generalizing quite a bit about people on this board.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Maria, calm down? You think I’m writing this in anger? No, I’m not angry though I’m annoyed. Mriana and a number of other people have made the most bigoted statements here about Christians, “theists”, etc. charging them with everything from ignorance to psychosis often in language that if you changed the target names would sound like they were coming out of a Klansman but it’s my objecting to their stereotyping and bigotry that seems angry. Why?

    Mriana started talking about religious faith as a sign of mental illness using her degree in psychology to lend her claims something like authority. I pointed out the widespread use of faith in the field of psychology and how the entirely science free practices of that faith, Rorschach and similar tests, for example, pass themselves off as science. She didn’t like it, offered no rebuttals, distorted what I’d said and I pressed the case. Since she also cited Dawkins I presented some facts about memes which are entirely the product of faith and which even Daniel Dennett, Dawkins’ greatest fan, has said will probably never be the subject of rigorous science. I happen to be a fan or rigorous science and don’t think that you can have real science without rigor and without honesty.

  • Mriana

    Mriana started talking about religious faith as a sign of mental illness using her degree in psychology to lend her claims something like authority.

    There you go again. :roll: I said it was a symptom, not a sign of mental illness. There is a BIG difference.

    distorted what I’d said

    Who distorted who? Most reputable psychologist don’t use the Rorschach anymore because it is a joke. You really need to update your information.

    I happen to be a fan or rigorous science

    And that too has been accused of being a religion, so I could have taken the same route and accused you the same thing, but I did not. I hardly see you as a scientist though.

    You really put way too much into what people say and to sit there and reword what people do say to suite your own means is not a good thing because not only is it taking it out of context, it’s putting words in their mouths they did not say. I still stand by what I said of religious delusions being a SYMPTOM of mental illness, but NOT the mental illness in and of itself.

    I agree. Olvlzl I think you need to calm down-why do you keep attacking Mriana in particular and taking her remarks out of context? People call themselves rationalists and humanists to differentiate that they are not religious and/or that religion doesn’t guide their lives. It doesn’t make them always rational. No one is always rational, and I have yet to see anyone on here say that non-religious people are always rational. You say you didn’t say anyone is always like anything, well, maybe you didn’t use the word always, but you do sure seem to be generalizing quite a bit about people on this board.

    Thanks Maria and you are right about the labels Rationalists, Humanists and alike. He also does generalize and he does it way too much. Then he wonders why we think he is aggetating others and playing games. :roll:

  • Jim Shaver

    If Tolerance is a Virtue why do you feel you have to do anything with the Bible?

  • John

    I am considering joining the Gideon’s. I was praying about it and trying to decide if it would be a good fit for me. I found your site while researching information on the Gideon’s. I must admit I don’t understand how ANYONE could have the faith it takes to be an atheist, but, the fact that this many atheists are noticing the bibles makes me think it would be a good endeavor. May God bless you all for helping me with this decision. Hopefully, some of you will read the promise of the scriptures, accept it, and we will have a good laugh about this 10,000 years from now.

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  • Bill

    Here’s a joke for ALL good athiests:

    In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

    The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, “Case dismissed!”

    The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, “Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah…yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!”

    The judge leaned forward in his chair and said, “Obviously, your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists’ holiday!”

    To which the lawyer replied, “Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?”

    The judge said, “Well it comes every year on exactly the same date—April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as ‘April Fools Day,’ consider that Psalm 14:1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’

    Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday!

    Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!”

    Later on the athiest dies and finds out there is a God….. Now you know the rest of the story!

  • Siamang

    Clueless fucking passive-agressive Christian Newbie alert!

    1. Comments on a long-dead discussion thread from fucking MARCH.
    2. Completely fucking off-topic.
    3. Insulting holier-than-fucking-thou “you’re all wrong, I’m right, therefore GOTCHA” so-called “joke”.
    4. Complete cut and paste job. AWESOME computer-skills!

    Bra-fucking-vo, Einstein.

  • Mriana

    Siamang, I’m wondering if it would have been far better to just ignore it and not have said a word. Then they wouldn’t know if any of us saw it or not.

    That’s an aweful lot of sex. I had no idea Christians did that or even that much. Hope they are having fun. Oh wait, they better confess their sin, because they aren’t suppose to f***. :lol:

    Sorry. I couldn’t resist since you pointed out what they were doing.

  • Siamang

    Ignore it and not said a word? I rather think Hemant should post these gems from time to time as topics to discuss.

    I think folks should discuss why mainstream Christian culture seems to get their jollies off of these charming passive-agressive wish-fulfillment revenge fantasies.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Bill,
    Since you are using biblical excerpts to bolster your opinion that atheists are fools, I assume that you consider yourself a Christian. However you are not representing your faith in a positive way at all. Christians who do what you have done here dishonor their savior by practicing the hostility and prideful self-righteousness that Jesus so earnestly urged his followers to abandon in favor of love, tolerance and compassion. In order to be one of his followers you have to follow his ways.

    If your commitment to your religion is enough to get you to comment on an atheist blog, then you should portray your religion in a positive light. Instead, you seem to have chosen to use it to indulge your desire to insult people you don’t know and to try to feel superior to them. That is not something you are going to want to bring before your savior. I don’t think he would be pleased with you.

    Your antagonistic “joke” is typical of the negative behavior that a few but not all Christians show toward atheists, and it is one of the contributing factors for why people reject Christianity. Their rude and acrimonious behavior makes their religion look unattractive. As you can see from the initial reaction, you are not winning anyone over to your point of view. Instead, you are doing the opposite.

    Bill, if you are interested in actually getting to know people here, stick around and ask sincere questions of us in an open-hearted way, as Jesus would probably have wanted you to do.

  • Claire

    I am seriously impressed, Richard. That was the kindest, most thoughtful version of tearing someone a new one that I have seen in a while. I tend to forget that it can be done that way, it’s so seldom seen. Wish I had the knack for doing that, but I just don’t speak the lingo.

  • Richard Wade

    Claire, thank you for your kindness. Just cut and paste what you need any time you get so pissed you can hardly talk. Sadly we’ll probably never run out of opportunities to offer an open hand in return for a middle finger. I lose it once in a while. We all do. Siamang has written remarkably patient and respectful responses to much more abusive remarks than this little heckle. We just have to keep taking deep, slow breaths and consider which outcome would we rather have, a new person with a more informed understanding or just another exchange of bloody noses.

    I really want people like Bill to be able to talk to atheists in mature and constructive ways. Some Christians have been fed propaganda that distracts them from showing the best of their religion, but I hope if we keep patiently responding to them with reason rather than reacting with rancor, one at a time they may come to practice the positivism that their founder preached.

    This should not be confused with acquiescence or passive acceptance of abuse. Far from it, this is about responding in ways that assertively stop the enmity rather than perpetuating it by reflecting it back in a reflex.

  • ralph evington

    Wow, I just read all this whole thread (string? I am not an experienced blogger if that is what I am doing here).
    Very interesting. I am proabably too late to the party as this thread is so old, but I hope not.

    Let me start by saying I know everything. ha ha ha , that was a joke.

    Over all I must say the most important / impressive thing is the desire to keep this as a truly open hearted dialog not an “insult-fest”. Wade seems to be the driving force and his voice definately injects a very “Christian” love despite the fact that he is not Christian. This Christian love is, unfortuantly, lacking in many Christians. His recent response to Bill highlights this. It, interestingly shows an Atheist being more Christ-like than a follower of Christ.

    I am on the fence as to divulge my beleif (even though I may not be able to keep it hidden), because, interestingly I found myself wating to know beliefs of various writers. I realized that I wanted to know that so that I could dump all my prejudices on them, very unfair of me. I have always found it very interesting to notice when I fall short of my own image of myslef / expectations of others.

    I ended up here cuz I came across something that suggested Atheists should remove bibles from hotels (The Abimelech Society). I was curious as to the legal issues. Is taking it stealing and whose property is it, if anyones. I looked at a number of sites. Then as I read this one, there was a flood of tangents many of which I feel warrent comments. But I will start with the Gideon / Abimelech issue.

    First is the very 1st comment made by Mike C, which drew kudos from a few including Wade. It is …
    “I think the answer would be to ask yourself: “If I left atheist literature here in the hotel room for the benefit of others, what would I want a Christian who came across it to do with it?” Whatever you decide you’d want them to do to your stuff, do that. (BTW, no it’s not stealing to take a Gideons Bible. That’s what they hope you’ll do with them. )”

    To start with the “BTW”, according to Wikipedia (which did not cite a source) Gideons expects that the bibles will not be taken. This is somewhat supported by the Gideons site which says (hardcore paraphrasing on my part here) that the founders wanted to be able to support the practice of thier faith by having a bible in each hotel room. IOW (In other words) they were not trying to convert non-Christians, but help out other Christians. But the Gideons now have clealry and overtly expressed that the primary focus of thier mission is to spread the word of God. This would imply they want the bibles to have that effect. If that is the case they would want (I presume) potential converts to take them, but not Atheists trying to prevent the spread of the word (there is abit more on this but it is more appropriate to put it in later)

    Now re the basic point he uses, basically, the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” This is a very tolerant position, it sounds reasonable, and is often wise counsel. There are times however where tolerance and “do unto others” is not wise. For eg, what if the literature were from another group we are all familiar with, that Nazi party. They were, similarly, interested in making things good for thier followers. And their literature was succesful in converting poeple to join the nazi cause (Hitler, whose message was one of hope, was Times “Man of the Year” before he was exposed). Tolerance of the Nazi regime would be hard to justify.

    I am obviously not saying that the bible is akin to Nazi literature, but what I am saying is that tolerance is not always virtuous. To beat a dead horse, tolerance of someone whose relgion requires virgin sacrifices would be hard to justfiy. One must look at that which is being tolerated to see if tolerance is wise. Note I am also not passing judgement on whether or not the Bible should or should not be tolerated by Atheists, I am merely saying they must each look at the goodness or evilness in /caused by the bible. If they feel they dont beleive in it but that it brings much good into the world, tolerance seems reasonable. If they feel it is evil, intolerance wins the day.

    There were a number of comments about how stealing them is not a good thing to do. Stealing is a very charged word that can cause an otherswise civil discourse to become hostile, in fact I think it is a negative judgement of the action of taking something. Taking becomes stealing only under certain circumstances. One of the key circumstances is that the item must be owned by someone else. If an item is not owned by anyone or any group, it cannot be stolen. Further ownership is not eternal. Property can be abandoned by the owner at which point it cannot be stolen. I beleive that the Gideon’s bibles cannot be stolen and it is improper to say that anyone taking them is stealing. I am fairly certain that a court of law would deem these bibles to be abandoned property UNLESS they have been gifted to the hotels, which is HIGHLY unlikley in that the hotels would owe tax on them, and I doubt that the hotels want to pay to have the bibles in the rooms. So I would propose that the word stealing be replaced with taking whenever talking about taking Gideons bibles.

    Similarly, once someone chooses to, they become the owner of the abandoned property. They have the right to do with it what they choose, including defacing or destroying it and then they too can abondon it. As one cannot steal unowned property I dont think one can deface ones own property. This is not entirely true however, in that if I bot the Mona Lisa, and spray painted it, I think we would all agree i had defaced it even though I owned it. Despite this I think deface is also a fairly highly accusatory term and is likely to lead to civilness dissolving. Therfore I would suggest using a term more congenial, like “altering”.

    My next observations were regarding the impact of taking / altering as well as other courses of action like adding literature or stickers. Very interesting stuff here. I see some surprising things from both the Atheists and the Christians here. I will start with my comments on the Atheists posts. If I were an Atheist (Note i will start the other section “If I were a Christian”). I think I would see that there are basically 2 huge categories. Those who are tolerant (do not see Christianity as evil and/or something to fight against) and want to make coexistance the goal, and those who were intolerant (who see Christianity as evil and/or something to fight against). If I were a tolerant Atheisit (Like it seems Wade and Mike C are) I would think I face an interesting dilemma re what to do about intolerant Atheists….darn, I gotta go now, I hope I can continue / there is still any interest in this thread.

    Take care all, I hope we all find truth.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi ralph,
    Thanks for commenting here. I appreciate your thoughtful ideas. It looks like you had more to say when you stopped so I will be happy to respond to you once you are finished. Other people may come back to start up the dialogue again even though most of the “regulars” here like to keep moving on with the newer posts that Hemant, Mike C. or I publish. One never knows.

    Just to confirm and clarify, Mike C. is a pastor in an Emergent Church and I am an atheist. Although he and I have never met face to face I consider him a friend and I am honored to be compared to him.

    I especially appreciate your insight and honesty about how knowing or not knowing such labels about people can stimulate our prejudices and color our perceptions. When you have the time please finish your comments.

  • Debora Mort

    I found this link as I was looking to buy memorial bibles in memory for a friend and neighbor. My desire was to have them put in places as access material to choose to read or not to read, as the T.V. in each room is there to watch or not. The bibles are bought by donations with indiviual’s money like mine. And usually in memory of a loved one. There is such a high level of love and compassion that puts those bibles in the rooms of motels and other places. Please allow me to share my personal thoughts and feels concerning some of the matters mentioned in previous letters.

    I grew up in this country when respect was at such a high level. I have seen so many young and not so young people demand it for them self but refuse to show and share it towards others.
    I was going through a difficult time this past year personally and physically. These challenges were unbarriable. While I waited in my chiropractors office he had a Gideon Bible on the table. I picked it up and found answers that people don’t usually give you. It was the saving Grace for me that day. My life and health changed that day !
    I understand the feelings to be faithful to what you believe, but there are other things to consider. Knowing that this country was founded for the specific purpose for Christianity and Godly principles I think it’s important to respect this countries founding principles.
    Same as in other countries that choose to serve Budda, or Cathloic. I’m always amaze at how when we go into those countries and respect them but not that of our own.
    The same freedom that afords us to believe in other religions and life styles, was never intended to remove our established foundation that our forefathers fought and died for! Our fore fathers died to provide The United States with the kind of freedom that protect our lives if we choose to believe something else, but was never intended to remove our foundational principals or established religion. Knowing that this country was founded by and for the freedom to worship the (God of this Universe) that we believe in then, it is the right of this country to place the Bible and literture in as many places as we choose because that is whoi the bible represents. And we can choose to read them or not. There was a time that I too didn’t want to read or see a bible, but that same respect to leave it there, payed off when I needed it and one was there.
    Same as replacing healthy food for fast food, going to the health food store verse going to the doctor, we have a choice. Thank you to our service men and forefathers that our basis needs have not been taken away from us, yet!!! It’s amazing to me, and I’m not talking about the kind spoken young man that created this page with the question, but to those who were given this freedom to choose now uses the same freedom to try and remove mine or even offend me.

    If you need a bible and ask the clerk to take one home I think they would be happy to supply you with one. But they are not placed in the rooms for desponal purposes, or for prankes. They are to be respected as our flag and not missused. There was a time respect was enforced. When it use to be a crime by this country if you abused the flag by crimmial punshiment. By God Himself judgement by death if you miss used the word that we now know as the bible. You use to be put to death for murder and now that’s not the case anymore either. All these thinks are still important and have the same value the only differences are the changes in the American people.
    Thank you Hemant I respect you for asking !
    I hope and pray your letter and the comments encourage people to think more responsible.
    At some point and time things will be so many people doing what ever they feel and want that it’s going to cause all of us to loose all of our freedom. It’s all in the Gideon Bible in the last book of the bible.

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  • http://blablabla.com eddie

    i think the best thing to do with it would be to read it.

    praying for you
    *hugz*

  • John

    If you take it or throw it away, doesn’t that go against what you as an atheist can’t tolerate? That is enforcing a religion or a belief on someone against their own free will. If you take the Bible and throw it away out of spite or hide it so no one else can find it, you are basically enforcing your non beliefs on someone other than yourself and preventing them from choosing whether they should be able to read it. The same way you may be offended if someone enforces their beliefs on you. The best thing to do is leave it alone. There’s no gun to your head forcing you to read it.

  • St Monance

    Gideons goal is to have a Bible in every person’s hands. So feel free to take one . . . they will replace them.

    Have you ever noticed the first few pages of their version of the Bible? Lots of references to readings you might find useful if you were , “Depressed”, “Contemplating Divorce”, “Looking for a job”, etc., etc. And they really are neat . . .

  • http://cabhara.com Christina

    This is an interesting discussion. I get annoyed by these bibles, just because they are placed with such arrogance against other world views. I have never done anything with them. I think removing them or adding stickers would give too much attention to them. Ideally, it would be nice to add some more books to relativate the importance: Greek gods stories/fables, Bhagvat Gita, Koran, Grimm’s fairy tales and Portable Atheist or similar. But who has the money…
    Realistically, a cool print-out of contradictions, or warning sign/sticker for the violence, or not doing anything would be the options.

  • Smith

    As a biologist I think that you should reconsider holding Darwin’s ToNS up as a relevent modern contrapoint to the Bible. The wisdom that the Bible contains is the cornerstone of rational Western thought being just as relevent today as 5000 years ago, whereas Darwin’s concepts of evolution are archaic at best and have been replaced by fields such as devo-evo.

    Defacing, or putting warning labels on the Gideons is adolescent, at best. Furthermore I would bet that regardless of your Godless existence you know and care about someone that still happens to believe in these funny myths. How terrible it would be if that person ever was lost and alone in a hotel room somewhere looking for solace in vain because some goofy college kid decided that he would educate the world by throwing out the Bible.

    Grow up and read something. You might learn something.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Have studied many Religions. none of them come up to the mark. However i still have a sneaking feeling that there is a god behind it all! Not the cruel God of Judaism / Christianity or Islam. Not Nature as that is not only cruel but impersonal in ints cruelty. Not interested in, on your knees cowtowing Religions anywhere in the world. If we are to make informed decisions we must be allowed to read these dreadful Bibles for ourselves. As others have said Burning Bibles makes us the same as Churches of old. Library at Alexandria in particular.
    If we are made in god’s image, then we should learn to respect the best in each other, even the stinking fundamentalists have some good qualities. We could learn how to make money out of thick country folk in the Bible belt! No but seriously folks no wonder god is missing, we have totally f£$^$” the world and each other up. That’s why I like this site, it calls itself friendly atheist! The world moves on and we are making new discoveries every day that the Church of old would have burn’t us at the stake for. In summary unlerline the cruel bits that current law outlaws (like the stoning of disobedient children etc)! Then put it back and go in peace and be thankful that superstition, fear and guilt mongering are not your trade mark.

  • http://starseyer.blogspot.com Mikayla

    I went out with my boyfriend for a weekend trip last week. I found the Gideon Bible in the nightstand in our room, as expected. I didn’t have any disclaimer stickers, but I did have a “Doubt” sticker I got at a CFI event. So I opened up the front cover and put the sticker right over top of the Gideon emblem.

    I just had to do something :)

  • Danny

    I don’t think it’d be much of a problem to leave some sort of quote, like,

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? (Epicurus)

  • joe

    Since you a ‘free moral agent’ take the shortcut and read the bible helps in the front.

    I personally know a man who checked into a motel room intending to commit sucide. Instead he read the bible there. Today he is a totally different man. I mean a 180 degree change.

    Reading the Bible won’t hurt any of us.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    What had he done to warrant committing suicide that Christianity made him feel better about? Christianity lets you off the hook for wrongs committed OR it promises you an afterlife that it can’t prove, because you feel wronged in this life. It’s attitude is – accept all the crap the cruel and selfish hand out, because your invisible friend is bigger than them and will sort them out for you in an afterlife! Thus avoiding making the WORLD a better place in the hopes of a heaven. How gullible, childish and cowardly. As Napolean said: ‘Religion, the only reason the poor don’t kill the rich!’

  • Matt

    I use them as a memento of the trip I was on at the time. I write the Hotel Name, Room Number and dates of the trip inside the front cover. I currently have 17 on my bookshelf. It drives my wife (she was raised Catholic) nuts!

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Facebook group ‘Freedom from Religion’ has a picture I put up from facebook ‘Gideon Bibles YES or NO’ has a bookmark to leave inside ‘Burn this Book – send it straight to Hell where it belongs.
    Think this link should work -
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678088531#/photo.php?pid=1438470&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=2346399275&aid=-1&id=678088531&oid=2346399275&ref=mf

  • joe

    My answer to Gram Ash-Porter from March 17

    Would you want your child, parent, spouce to commit suicide?

    The man I spoke of March 16, Elliott, had been rejected by those most dear to him. By his actions he rejected them first.

    He found something that he says made him a new person who now enjoys living for something worth living for.

    Eenough of my thoughts. The link below are his own words. I do know him personally.

    http://www.gideons.org/ChangedLivesVideo.aspx?source=video_elliot

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Joe re: Elliot
    Of course not. No one wants anyone to committ suicide. BUT- 1. How, after being rejected by those dear to him, can he have rejected them first? 2. If someone finds religion as something to make his life worth living for, after reading the Gideons cherry picked verses, then fine.
    BUT the so called ‘Holy Bible’ is the last place anyone should look for moral guidance. If you aren’t aware of the dreadful things written in there as moral guidance then I suggest The ‘Skeptics annotated Bible’ site. You can compare with your copy of the King James Bible to prove it’s not made up. I double dare you. It (KJV of Holy Bible) is a bronze age tribal guide for warring nations. The God of the whole world seemed to only have time for Jews and even then he destroyed them if they dared disagree.
    For instance would you take your disobedient child to the edge of town and have him stoned?
    Even if it were true it is totally out of date and out of touch with real life.
    The Golden Rule (which existed thousands of years before Christianity and is used by all Religions and civilised societies) is the only guide rule necessary.
    Half the 10 Commandments are about a vain invisible God’s need to be worshipped!

  • joe

    Pardon the absence. I’m an infrequent visitor.

    And what are the other half of ten commandmants about?

    RE: Elliott
    It’s hard to disagree with a first person experience that he has. Plus the evidence from his life is even harder to disagree with.

    You may be right. Elliott may have rejected them first, but it wasn’t cherry picked verses that chenged his life.

    I think now he knows more about the Bible than you, me, or most Gideons for that matter.

    Wish he were here to post 1st person comments. I would feel uneasy just giving out someone’s email address.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Hi Joe – Re Elliott
    I doubt that Elliott analyses his Bible, as us sceptics do. I suspect as all priest do, he seeks out the nice bits, for the gullible congregation.
    If You know Elliott, then you know that he is now a priest, so he should know his Bible. In which case if he has been to Bible school (some self-made priests don’t!), he will have come across all the evil stuff and learned all the inadequate rationalisations that Bible schools come up with. Show him this site and let him speak for himself! http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/03/25/gideon-bibles-and-atheists/

    Did you go to ‘Skeptics Annotated Bible’ site, as I double dared you to? Get Eliott to go there too.
    Whilst most modern Christians (hopefully!) wouldn’t condone most of what these wicked Bible verses say. What worries me and most rational people is that Whilst they (the wicked verses) are still left in KJV, they can be pulled forth at any time and used indiscriminately, by any nutter, church or regime (such as the Roman Catholic, Jew Hating, Adolf Hitler did). I am reminded of numerous Catholic Inquisitions, Holy Wars, Witch Hunts or todays right wing Bible belt Pious Christians!!! Did you see the DVD ‘Jesus Camp’? Try getting them or any other extreme Christians to remove or sanitise one word of KJV and they will start World War III, which they nearly did by encouraging Bush, when he told the USA that God had told him to go to war with Iraq, when in fact the Bin Ladens all come from Saudi Arabia? (OIL pipelines are needed in Iraq not Saudi). These nutty people can’t wait for War on a global scale, because they think from reading(?) (instead of critically studying) their Bible it would herald Christs second coming. Help!
    Anyway to answer your question.-
    As I have said previously the first commandments have nothing to do with morality,
    The second half of the ten Commandments are about rules for bronze age tribes.
    5. Honour your Parents (remembering disobedient Children get stoned, I’m not impressed with such violence).
    6. Don’t Kill (Unless it’s for God or the State (justified or Holy War and Capital Punishment)). Incidently if America is a Christian country, then why is it still following the Jewish Eye for an eye principle instead of following Jesus Christs rule of turning the other cheek???
    7. Don’t committ adultery (another stoning offence FOR THE WOMAN).
    8. Don’t Steal (Tell that to Televangelist Priests who get the poor to send money to spread ‘God’s word).
    9. Don’t Lie (Tell that to Priests, Politicians etc.).
    10. Dont Covet neighbours house, wife, manservant, maidservant, cattle, nor anything else of HIS (Christian America is the Greediest Nation on Earth).
    If God is supposed to be all knowing then surely his rules would be all encompassing for all time.
    Nothing Unique in those Ten Commandments that hasn’t already been said by other Religions and civilised Countries throughout all History.
    Incidently the ten Commandments arn’t the only commands from God. Study your Bible properly and be prepared to be shocked! Slavery condoned, Woman hating etc.
    First century rules are not adequate for 21st century people.
    Why are there so many different sects and denominations, if the Bibles message is so clear. Each new interpretation of the Holey Bible springs forth yet another new money making venture. If the love of money is the root of all evil, then why do the churches never have enough? And with all that money, why don’t they pay taxes?
    Why should I be taxed on something I don’t believe in, when schools and hospitals really need the money!
    Of course it is not in Religions interest to have people over educated, because then they could learn to analyse the bronze age myths for themselves, and find them wanting.
    In closing, I think the Bible should have a warning sticker put on it. NOT FOR CHILDREN.

  • http://??? Helen

    Interesting. I am a believer of the born again experience and if you look at it in the most simple concepts, it really is a gamble, but I chose to take the gamble and accept the born again idea as what do we REALLY know about what happens after death? Have any of you been there and returned? We do not have that valuable pre-decision experience. Why not try it, as it certainly won’t hurt at all!!! I agree there are endless supplies of Gideon Bibles for hotels.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Helen, Why do you gamble?
    In the tooth & claw world, the casino house always wins in the end.
    Religions are laughing all the way to the bank. Playing on peoples fears and gullibility.

    To say that Religion does not hurt at all is being naive. Have you not read the history of Religions, especially the Christian or Muslim ones? The Inquisitions, the holy wars, the witch burnings, the hatred of women (see new book out ‘Does God hate Women?) Let alone what goes on today in God’s name.

    Religion gives people false hope, because most are frightened of death and what might or might not be beyond it. The gamble you talk of is Pascals wager, which is flawed in that if you believe only because it is a safer bet bet than not believing, then don’t you think your God would know your false reason for believing and hold that against you? We have no pre-birth memories either, yet we are here. Likewise after death it will not matter as we will have no bodily bits to percieve and analyse with. Therefore end of life as we know it. FULL STOP. Beyond that is just guess work, otherwise why are there so many different religions all over the world with so many different stories?

    As for Gideon Bibles endless supply… if everyone actually read them instead of just cherry picking out the Gideons chosen verses, designed to make you feel worthless without Jesus, then more people would become atheists or at least agnostics. Unfortunately the Bible is so boring people doon’t stick with it, to uncover the disgusting divisiveness of the so called ‘Holy’ book.

    See Sam Harris’ site for his dissection of the ‘good’ book, and also the Koran, and book of Mormon, just to show he is not being partisan.
    http://www.reasonproject.org/scripture_project/The_Bible:Matthew_1/
    Good luck Helen in your search for reality instead of escapism.
    No Christians have been ‘there’ and returned either Helen.

    Stop relying on a 2000 plus year old history of Jewish and Christian myths for lifes guidance.

  • James Balster

    I have stayed at alot of hotels in my life and what I do with the bible is just put in a drawer. I do not and have never been into any god, but it is not my room nor my book. I will some times even read it I love mytholgy thoe the bible is not well written it is still amusing. Just belive in your selfves and all will be good.

  • John A. Fernung

    Well, it is good to see this thread is still strong. You know, I do have to admit that, as a Christian, I pay little attention to atheists. I have already went through my human rationalization i.e. “I’m smarter than God” stage. Praise Jesus I came out sane on the other side. Thank you for noticing the Bibles. I still have not joined the Gideons. You have to be a member of a church and I have a problem with church membership. Personal, mine to deal with. I intend to join as soon as the right opportunity presents itself. There can be no greater calling than fighting ignorance whereever it rears its ugly head. God Bless You All! I mean that! The sooner Christians realize that sin, not sinners, are the enemy, the better off the world will be.

  • Charles

    All this will be proof if God exist or not, the only thing I will ask is; if God exist and you did not believe in Him while you live, what will you tell Him if He ask you if you believe in Him or not. To be a christian is easy, go to church and look good, BUT to be his are a way of live that you can’t describe, but you know. To read the bible means nothing, but to know God as you Redemer, that’s miraculous, marvellous. there are only one thing of God and that’s to know Him personelly, He wait for you! Call on Him and He will answer you, He wait for you now.

  • joe

    Regarding Grahm Ash Porter coment of Aug 12 2009. My question is, What hope does atheism give a person …none.

    For many years man has listened to radio signals from space to detrermine if they can identify a language ( intellengence ) out there. Soneday we may find what we’re looking for.

    Everyone will agree that it takes a great amount of intellegence to develope a language.

    The language is built into the DNA of every living creature. Cells can read this DNA language and to an extent so can we now.

    That greater intellegence is out there even closer than many think.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    My question is, What hope does atheism give a person …none.

    Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. It’s not an all-encompassing worldview, and it’s not a religion. It doesn’t “give” us anything, and it’s not supposed to. Speaking personally, I have plenty of hope in my life. My atheism is not the source of that hope, but neither has it been a hindrance in acquiring it. The two are completely unrelated.

  • Sally

    Gosh, I was researching and I came across this website. Amazing how the Bible is so offensive to folks. I think actually it is a book for Christians, to guide them and give them examples of what happened, why it happened, how to avoid it, how to learn lessons from it. It’s kind of what’s happening on a daily basis all around us. The words of the bible are sharper than any sword and it cuts both ways. Maybe that’s what atheists are feeling…. ‘the cut’. We Christians feel ‘the cut’ too but we respond to it differently…. as a warning, as a chastisementment…. as encouragement. I invite ALL atheists to stop judging the book. It was not meant for them. Not yet! But it will come back to haunt them.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you for the “You’re gonna be in big trouble when Daddy gets home” argument. If you understood how ineffective that argument is to people who are emotionally over the age of seven, you’d probably stop using it.

    Personally I am not offended by a Bible sitting in my hotel room bottom drawer. I’m offended by people using it to interfere with public education, with civil rights, with scientific research, with private medical decisions, and with public funding of what ought to be religion-neutral projects and policies.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Sally , basing your belief on false assumptions (that the bible is the word of god, which it so obviously is not) you then proceed to tell us to not judge it!
    In every area of my life I judge everything I come into contact with (a survival mechanism). All I have found in the Bible are some history, some myths, tribal wars, hatred of all peoples especially women, and defunct, inadequate bronze age morals. How it helps you I cannot understand? The Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount) maybe has some use. The ten Commandments an ego trip of a bronze age desert god. Way out of date for the 21st Century. See comments 123 – 135 for my earlier thoughts on them.
    The KJV is poetic English and has value in that respect. But this covers the devlish hatred of a petulant and immature God. Certainly not a God that I could freely believe in!
    As for the Bible being a book for Christians: The Old Testament was/is for Jews, conveniently linked to the New Testament after Christ. With so much contradiction and hatred within its pages you wonder why we find it offensive! Read it properly and open your eyes as we have done. The proper study of humanity is humanity, not bronze age myths. It has survived 2000 years because people were forced to attend Church and make tithes to it, making Churches the richest institutions on the planet.
    60 trillion trillion flies feast on shit, but doesn’t make it correct for me to do.
    Instead of praying for atheists to see the ‘truth’ in your book. Get a real life based on what is out there, not imagining a cosy invisible friend who is going to look after you when you die. I don’t like your God and I don’t like ‘his’ followers trying to impinge their beliefs on rational thinkers.

  • Bombanater

    I was facinated by the different reactions to this blog, I am a studying anthropologist, I have been around Christians most of my life and have many christian friends, I would like to add a new perspective on the gideon bibles we so often find in our hotel rooms, think of a typical evangelical christian, if they are truly follow the teachings of the bible, they are called to spread the word of the gospel, it should be more insulting for them to knowingly not to evangalize, because they truly believe they have the ONLY way to eternal pardise, and anyone not on that path is bound to be tormented in hell for all eternity, now if this is what they believe, how much must they hate you if they do not want to “save you.” By not evangalizing they are effectivly say they want you to burn in hell, but those who evanglaize to you, wether you believe them are not, truly believe they are trying to save you. So what is worse believeing you have the key to paradise and withholding it or trying to get the word out. Regardless of how you feel about the bible the act of supplying a bible, in the mind of a Christian, is a loving act. This would be akin to a being in a burning building, and knowing the only way out, do you tell everyone were the way of escape is or do you leaving them to burn. You may not believe the bible, you might even hate it, but don’t throw it out or deface it, that is like spiting in the face of someone who trying to save your life. If you don’t respect it at least respect the wish’s of those who are truly trying to make a difference.

  • Daniel

    I would ask myself,Self if I don’t believe in God then why does this book in a hotel sitting in the dresser bother me so much? If a book about a fairy was in the same dresser it would not bother me at all. Huh whats up with that?

  • Richard Wade

    Daniel, thank you for asking.

    Generally, those who are bothered by the book being in their hotel room are not bothered because they don’t believe it.

    They’re bothered because many, but not all, people who do believe in it try to impose their religious views into six other rooms where they don’t belong: consenting adults’ bedrooms, public school classrooms, doctors’ offices, research laboratories, courtrooms, and the halls of legislatures.

    The intrusion into their hotel room is just an annoying reminder of all those other very destructive, very harmful other intrusions.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Bombanater,

    Anthropologists should remain detached from the views of the people they are studying. You don’t sound like you’re merely describing the beliefs of your “many Christian friends.” You sound suspiciously like you’re defending your own beliefs.

    Nevertheless, what you’ve said is not really a new perspective. It’s Argument from Good Intention. “Meaning well” when taking an action may be sincere or not, may be a pure or a mixed motive, but it by itself it does not remove responsibility for harmful effects of a person’s actions.

    The evangelizing act of placing a Gideon Bible in a hotel room, as I said to Daniel above, is for the most part innocuous. It’s simply a reminder of those other “well intentioned” evangelizing acts that I listed, acts that destroy innocent people’s private lives, erode our civil liberties including freedom of religion, set our nation back in the scientific world, and cause immeasurable harm, including preventable disease and death.

    Anthropology should also include insights into biology and psychology. Evangelizing basically does two things, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious biological one is to “perpetuate the species.” Organisms must reproduce themselves or go extinct, and they compete with other organisms. Religions that are able to grow memberships not just through family inheritance but also through conversion tend to grow faster and are better able to survive than their less prolific competitors.

    The more subtle effect is a psychological one, to reinforce a feeble faith. It’s hard to maintain a belief in invisible, inaudible and intangible things that do not respond to one’s appeals. One way to shore up a crumbling faith is to immerse oneself in a crowd of fellow believers. They come together regularly to nod at each other, saying “You believe, don’t you?” (nod, nod) “Oh yes! You too, right?” “Of course!” (nod, nod)

    It’s kind of similar to how Antarctic penguins keep warm in a blizzard by huddling close together. The ones on the outside edge of the huddle keep pushing in toward the middle, and so the whole group keeps circulating itself from center to periphery, over and over. They all stay just warm enough to not freeze.

    So evangelizing, swelling the sheer numbers of the mutual-prop-up-the-sagging-faith society helps this process. Seen in this way, it is not necessarily so selfless an act as your good intentions angle suggests. It is at least in part also a selfish attempt to make oneself feel less uncomfortable.

  • Daniel

    So the Bible itself is not what upsets you,it’s the assumption that someone else is trying to evangelize or convert people by leaving the Gideon Bible in the dresser.Even if everyone opposed having the Bible in the Hotel room it would not matter because the Hotel owner is the one who makes the decision to have the Bible or not. I am sure that born again Christians are not thrilled about a Morman book being in the hotel room.

  • Sally

    The CHRISTIANS believe the words….The FOOL has said in his heart that “there is no God”. Note: it is out of the condition of your heart that your mouth speaks. Your heart is not right. Comments concerning whether or not the Bible is God’s words matter not to the Christian. IT’S NOT YOUR BOOK. The Satanic Bible is to the Satanist what the Christian Bible is to the Christian. The evolutionist has his bible too. The atheists bible is his heart. So as a Christian, I say…. No amount of argument makes it right to KILL/SACRIFICE an ‘unborn child’. The majority of so-called ‘accidental pregnancies’ are avoidable. Why should an ‘innocent’ be tortured to death, because two totally irresponsible people were just having fun. The solution is for women to understand that if they have unprotected sex they may just get pregnant. But if they happen to be scared, selfish or immature they they simply opt for getting it cut out. As far as I am concerned there should be sentences for those two – they should ‘spend time’ for illegally bringing forth a fetus that they can have fun torturing to death. During that ‘time served’ they should be taught a better way to handle, or avoid the problem in the first place. The abortionist is truly not a doctor, but a murderer. There are people who do not know, that women in certain ‘religions’ produce offspring for the act of human sacrifice. They do it in secret…. and the abortionist doctor does it in public. But the cause is the same.

    Richard believes that my comments would not be effective to those ‘emotionally’ over the age of seven. Yet the atheist behaves like an emotional seven-year old who cannot get their own way.

    Christians have the ball and atheists want to get hold of if to put a hole in it. Christians do not want to put a hole into the beliefs of atheists, because it is already in hole…. we want to invite them to be whole.

    By the way, the real (as opposed to counterfeit) Christian is NOT religious. Religion and Christianity are two different and opposing things.

    As for scientific research…billions are spent trying to save lives. Experiments on animals and cells and millions of people fo practice on, cannot suffice. The flesh of animals and of humans are not the same. The creator made sure of that. Experiments and cures may work for a while but they are not the solution. I would love to see some studies done on prevention, rather than cure. Christians do that for free.
    They would go further than the so-called cures we have come up with.
    What’s wrong with me then, based on my beliefs and experiences, to share my view with others…………that there is another way of solving life’s problems and it can be found IN THE BIBLE. That if you keep consuming that alcohol you will do your kidneys in. Oh, but wait! We can get one from somebody else, even if it means paying a handsome sum to have someone knocked off to get it. Holywood stuff, but real. I am aware that you philosophers revel in your ability to spin words and phrases, but sometimes you would do well to listen to the logics of a 7-year old. Evolution is the biggest hoax of all times and all of creation teaches that. There is no such thing as an ape man, but the scientists are sure busy trying to make one. It’s all made up, by someone who was too embarrassed to admit that he mixed up the bones. There are some scientists locked up in secret laboratories working hard at creating monsters. While they are in their closests doing that, the atheists are out in the open doing the same. Creating a brood of humans going around patting themselves on the back and messing up society, simply by denying there THERE IS A GOD.

    Give God The Glory!

    I would like to speak to an X atheist please. How did he/she become an X.

    • Andy Anderson

      Graham: You cannot reason somebody out of a position they did not reason themselves into. Sally has obviously put a great deal of effort into simply ignoring everything piece of evidence that contradicts what she wants to believe is true on faith.

      You should probably stop casting your pearls before Christian swine.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Sally, what is wrong with you? You have been given answers to all your questions by various commentators, yet you ignore most, mine included and just repeat your same WRONG argument.
    Some questions for you:
    Where in the Bible does it condemn Alcohol (Jesus himself turned water into wine)? Yes moderation is a good thing in anything. Perhaps you should bear that in mind with you religion!

    Your Bible which contains your morals teachings if full of barbaric acts committed by or ordered by your God. He kills more people than abortionists ever will. Incidentally regarding abortion, the Bible says that God breathed into Adams nostrils and he THEN became a living soul NOT BEFORE.
    He also ordered his followers to smash newborn babies into rocks! Wipe out whole tribes with different gods. Keeping the virgin girls for themselves. etc.
    Where does it say in the Bible to go and kill and burn abortionists and their clinics?

    Also Sally, when will you understand what Atheism is? It is not a belief system. It just denies any convincing evidence for a God, any God. But places bronze age myth of Judaism and its follow-ons of Christianity and Islam with all the other unprovable myths. Like Thor, Wotan, Zeus, etc. These rational people then get on with THIS life, living it to the best of their ability.
    Not succuming to Religion out of a fear of death and threats of Hell fire! What is going to burn Sally Your body will have rotted along with all your sense organs, which are what you percieve with? Beyond the grave nobody knows. Religion traps you with scare stories. The truth will set you free. So grow up and use this life to make this planet a better place for you and your descendants.

    I believe your Jesus said to NOT judge others, lest others judge you? Also to pray in a cupboard not in public. I take that to mean, stop judging others and to KEEP YOUR RELIGION (only one of many) TO YOURSELF.

    Your repeat your claim that the Bible is yours, ignoring my earlier comment that actually it is a Jewish Book with Christian fables tagged on. How you all dare label it Holy I do not know, as it’s moral teaching of a bronze-age desert tribe offer next to nothing for civilised 21st Century people.

    Also who would want to follow (slavishly) a God so vain, violent, and petulant? Who had his own son killed, but not really, because he was part of god and thus immortal? How can you be conned into believing this rubbish.

    Also after reading of this violence etc. you say that we non-religious cannot be good without God.

    Also Sally, why do assume that your Religion is the one true one? There are thousands of denominations within Christianity (even Mormonism!) ALL claiming to be true Christians! They can’t all be right, if indeed any one of them are! And that is before you get on to other Religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism etc.

    Sally, I suggest you get an education, especially about Evolution, whilst you continue to write untruths about it, no-one can take ANY of your conversation seriously.

    I think you are like a lot of fundamentalist Christians, in that you resent science for slowly eroding most of the fables in the Bible. Whereas thinking Christians have accepted the bitter pill of scientific evidence and adapted their faith and got on with their lives. That sort of Christian we tolerate and even ignore, just as they ignore us and sometimes want to debate, to test their faith.

    Lastly Sally, I left Christianity after witnessing backbiting and hypocricy between so-called Christians. Running down different denominations etc. Perhaps the Churches should have exit polls to find out why their numbers are dwindling so fast? Also later when I went to Uni, where I studied Religion and Philosophy, it did me the biggest favour. I found out at first hand all the evil within most Religions, whilst claiming moral superiority. And all the contradictory verses within the pages of their books. Whilst Philosophy taught me how to think properly and to spot the fallacies within Religious thinking.

    Sally please don’t be offended, just get a proper education, and if your religion still gives you comfort, good luck to you x

  • Sally

    Dear Graham,

    Sorry to be late in replying. I have been busy for a while.

    I am not impressed by smug people. I do not need more education, to know that you are your own god.

    Sorry… what were the questions you say that you all have given me answers to?

    Since you asked:

    1)About alcohol…. Proverbs 23:21 … for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,and slumber will clothe them with rags. … (NOT GOD’S WORK – THE DRUNKARD’S WORK).
    2)Research can prove whether the fetus is
    ‘dead’ or ‘alive’. It hears and feels…. and thanks God for ‘breathing himself into them’. Glad you appreciate that.
    3)Abortionists, and people who want to kill them because they are killing – all sinners alike. There are too many references concerning people who kill people, and who sent them. If somebody killed your child and you were just standing there – would you kill them back? hmmmmmmmmmm or would you just say “well I do believe in peace and good living, so I won’t try to kill you back, because you are just some unfortunate person who didn’t get to start out right, you just go on ahead and have your fun…and go kil some more, and I’ll just keep turning a blind eye to you. So should you atempt to rehabilitate that person. I believe I, the CHRISTIAN, would probably out of rage and passion attempt to put out the person’s light out. The people who ‘GOD’ killed were up to something – read and see. By the way, how to you suggest we treat murderers (I mean the ones that do it for fun)?
    4) There’s that word again. The FOOL has said in his heart there is no God. Now that’s what I call a belief system….. “I don’t believe” . So what do you mean by we don’t believe – of course you do. You (all) don’t believe. You are just like ALL the other religions. Atheism is your religion, about which you are very passionate.
    5)I am set free by the truth – you are running away from the truth. “Death threats and HELL-FIRE”………. time will tell, just be patient please. You will find whether the Soul and Spirit CAN burn.
    6)I’m like you on this point….I dont BELIEVE in religion – I am a Christian – Christianity is a way of life. You do not need any other tool or gadget, or idols or pins or any other aids to live this life.All you have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If you believe that is.
    7) God did not kill his Son. His Son proved that you can kill the body but not the Spirit.
    8) The most foolish people I know are evolutionists…….. REALLY. I do not wish to educated by them. They are like little children – making up stories.. it’s their claim to fame. They will spend their whole life looking and they will still not themselves EVOLVE. hMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
    9)Scientists are slowly acknowledging that THERE IS A GOD……. It was so hard for them to admit it…. but they do.
    10)Finally Graham, you left Christianity because you witnessed what? You left because you didn’t want any challenges. It may be suprising to find that many people in the Christan churches are ‘plants’…. set there to be a stumbling block to
    ‘would be’ GREATS…. the faithful. But there is always “THE REMNANT”

    I don’t need more education Graham, I don’t need to be brainwashed. I still have the breath of my GOD in me.

    Thanks for your time. I will continue to pray for you. And there is nothing you do will convince me to do otherwise. Only GOD can say to me.. “do not pray for GRAHAM”. Have a BLESSED DAY.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Sally, thank you for your thoughtful reply.
    I personally am not smug, and although I cannot speak for others, I am always learning.

    The education I was suggesting for you was firstly about logic & critical thinking, the pitfalls and fallacies to avoid *. Perhaps it would stop or at least caution you and other so-called good Christians name calling too?
    How many evolutionists do you personally know Sally? You say those that you do know are fools. The ones I know are nobody’s fool and get upset when ignoramuses resort to insults as a last ditch attempt to win a fallacious argument! By the way that fallacious thinking is called an ‘ad hominem’ attack. When there is no real argument, just insult the person to make yourself feel good and ‘right’ (politicians are good at this emotional trick). If we responded in kind we would be soon dismissed, so matter how correct our science was. Nobody likes a smart arse, but also no one likes the rude smart arse who knows it all without any evidence! Unless you count a bronze age holy book written before science had explored the Universe.

    What I really had in mind for you though was more especially about educating yourself about evolution (** see book suggestions at end of this), rather than taking your pastors word as ‘gospel’.
    Sally, evolution is not made up, but follows very strict scientific principles. When you hear the word ‘theory‘ you seem to understand only one of its meanings. Any good dictionary will give you all the meanings. In science, a theory is something that has been tested and not found wanting. Testing done anywhere in the world will yield the same results (unlike religion which is different all over the world, and even different churches in the same town!). It could be modified as new evidence comes in, but once having achieved the status of theory, it can be assumed to be sound thinking, a solid foundation for further research. Without science we would still be living in caves or desert tents! Perhaps you would prefer bronze age living?

    One of sciences greatest principles is falsifiability. If research has hinted at a theory from a hypothesis, it is tested to destruction. It only takes one piece of evidence and your pet theory will be dismissed by the rest of the scientific community, or at the least adapted to take in the new findings.
    With evolution there has not been one piece of contradictory evidence, no not one! Developments, yes. Darwin et al would be happy with all the new findings since his day.

    The only contradictory ‘evidence’ has come from Creationist & ID ‘scientists’, which has been thoroughly routed by all real scientists! I know that will be hard to accept, but these psuedo scientists make themselves a laughing stock. This is NOT being said in an unkind way, it is just facing up to verifiable facts.
    I am reminded of the 1960 Spencer Tracy film ‘inherit the wind’ where the fundamentalist laywer/preacher was tied in knots by his opposite lawyer with a better knowledge of the bible and its contradictions. Most thinking Christians are aware of all the problems in the bible and just live as Christians, trying to follow the best teaching of Christ (there are some suspect teaching in Christ’s teaching too). Atheists don’t have a problem with this kind of Christian. Just the ones who can’t keep it to themselves, especially in matters of Politics, education and sex.
    I think you will find, following on from the above statement, that if the evidence came in to prove god, then all atheists would test it and if found true would convert overnight. I know you probably find that hard to believe, but we get so frustrated at people like yourself who say we are running away from truth. When the opposite is true. We are seekers of the truth, and yet find no convincing evidence in any of the world religions so-called holy books!
    You say you don’t need to be brainwashed. I know, someone has already done a good job on you already!
    Being alive (having the breath of god in you) is a gift whatever our differing opinions, but I still say that it is never to late to get a real education! I never stop learning, why are you so adverse to getting a verifiable education instead believeing in unproveable fairy stories?

    Answering your numbered points answered by number in case not covered above:

    1) Alcohol: Sally, I already said moderation in all things. Does Proverbs contradict Christ’s turning water into wine, or does Christ’s teaching supercede OT teachings?

    2) Foetuses alive or No? No simple answer here Sally as potential for life is not viable (able to survive outside the womb) life! Should we shun modern machinery that is extending the period that early births can be kept alive?

    3a) Abortionists and abortion killers all wrong? Partly Sally, What about terminating a foetus that will kill the mother ( eg Eptopic prgnancy) or a woman who was raped, thus making her a victim twice (getting raped and keeping his baby)?

    3b) You then go on about revenge killing against somone who has killed one of your loved ones… Sally, The Old Testament (which Americas seems to live by) is very much a believer in an eye for an eye philosophy, but I don’t see many Christians turning the other cheek! Sally, what is the difference between not killing an abortionist and not killing someone who has murdered?

    3c) The people God killed were up to something: Yes Sally, especially the babies god ordered to be smashed against rocks! etc.
    I don’t find biblical stories to be moral at all! A spiteful, vengeful, petulant God. No thank you.

    4a) You (all) don’t believe. You are just like ALL the other religions. Atheism is your religion, about which you are very passionate: Sally, I am not passionate about atheism, only the Truth.

    4b) Atheist are like ALL the other religions: Sounds like you have a lot of hatred for anyone who doesn’t aggree with your version of the truth (otherwise why capitalise ALL?). Once again (sighs) Atheism is not a belief system. We only are interested in what can be proven. As you can’t prove a negative, there is no point in wasting time arguing for or against the existence of a god(s). This muddled thinking is what has caused the rise of so many Religions and thousands of denominations within Christianity itself! And more importantly the go trips that lead to the deaths of the millions killed in the name of god and his various religions. WAKE UP SALLY, please.

    5a) I am set free by the truth – you are running away from the truth. Sally, I have already explained I seek the truth, I am not running anywhere, away from or to. especially to invisible friends!

    5b) “Death threats and HELL-FIRE”………. time will tell, just be patient please. You will find whether the Soul and Spirit CAN burn: Capitals again Sally. Had enough of hell fire threats as a child to last a life time. I don’t need the carrot and stick god for my moral guide. I can be good without threats of hell fire. My mum taught me to stay away from fire so as not to get burned. This sounds just like a ‘grown up’ version for ‘adults’.

    6) Christianity is a way of life…. All you have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved: Sally, Born again is an insult to your creator. The all-knowing God didn’t get it right the first time, so we have to pay for our distant ancestors mistakes. Crazy thinking.

    7) God did not kill his Son. His Son proved that you can kill the body but not the Spirit: What? So Christs resurection was not his body? Also God was his Son according to doctrine of Trinity. Wierd and wooly thinking Sally, trying to justify all the time an evil ‘loving’ god.

    8) The most foolish people I know are evolutionists…….. REALLY. I do not wish to educated by them. They are like little children – making up stories: Sally see above, science is a very strict discipline that suffers no fools! You are the one with the made up scary stories! Sorry Sally but I still don’t understand how you have been hoodwinked?

    9)Scientists are slowly acknowledging that THERE IS A GOD……. It was so hard for them to admit it…. but they do: Sally I don’t know where you get your ‘facts’ from. There are some scientists who believe in God, of course there are (currently about 2%). But if you question them, as I and others do, you will find they don’t believe in the type of God as found in the Bible, a father figure who saves you or punishes you etc. God is more a figure of speech to explain the stuff science hasn’t got round to, YET! That is what really scares Christians.

    10)Finally Graham, you left Christianity because you witnessed what? You left because you didn’t want any challenges: Sally you assume to much. The easy way would have been to pass the buck onto God, but I face my own challenges. Listening to judgemental, lying Christian hypocrites was not necessary for my evolution, especially if god planted them. What a deceiptful wretch God is.

    Compassion, understanding and learning from each other will do for me thanks Sally.

    If praying for me gives you comfort, then thank you, but I don’t need your prayers. Again you assume to much.

    Graham x
    * Christian Guide to Learning Logic At Home-Nathaniel Bluedorn
    ** Two good books that I think might help in your quest at marrying evolution & spirituality (as you already supposedly have the second part?).
    1 Thank God for Evolution by Michael Dowd.
    2. Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism by Ardea Skybreak.
    Happy reading ;)

  • John A. Fernung

    Amazing! I cannot believe this thread has survived this long! I have to agree with Sally, in a way. I have never been able to understand how anyone can look at this world and not see a creator’s hand. Unfortunately, this has caused me to look at pre-Christians as a little dim. But, the truth is some are intelligent just not ready to accept the truth of a loving creator with a way to get a reprieve from the penalty for their sins. Please don’t take the Gideon’s bibles as an insult. The insult would be if we (Christians) did not try to reach out to a lost world of people who will go to a Godless hell and we (Christians) would be the ones who would have to answer for OUR sin of omission. God Bless you all and keep checking those hotel room drawers! One time I found pot someone had left behind. If God’s letter to us doesn’t inspire you to look, that might! (Yes, I did flush the pot down the pot)

    • Andy Anderson

      “I have never been able to understand how anyone can look at this world and not see a creator’s hand.”
      - Your lack of understanding and/or willful ignorance is not evidence of your specific deity.

      “The insult would be if we (Christians) did not try to reach out to a lost world of people who will go to a Godless hell”
      - Can you demonstrate that that’s actually *true*? If not, then why should anybody take you seriously?

    • Jack

      “I have never been able to understand how anyone can look at this world and not see a creator’s hand.”

      No, we do get that, actually. This is because you’re stupid.

  • Graham ASH-PORTER

    Well John A Fernung, stop ranting about a loving creator, especially if it is the Biblical one. He (it must be a he) is a despot. A murderous, divisive, petulant, control freak not worthy of respect, yet alone worship (except out of the fear you all have).

    Gideon Bibles. Yes these are what makes the KJV the best selling book. Christians coerced into donating money to evangelise them. The best selling, least read (as in studied properly) book. Wish I could come up with such a good money making idea…

    Keep your sin laden lives to yourselves, as you are the only one who

    believes these fairy stories.

    You try to influence our politics, our school room education, and our sex lives. The world has moved on John, you havn’t! Keep your archaic ways to yourselves.
    Yes we do take it as an insult to our intelligence, being asked to believe such tosh.

    I also take it as an insult that you think we are all junkies too. We have better things to do than look for pot. Another brainwashed Christian who just resorts to insults. Brainwashed is not insulting you all. Just stating a fact.

    How sad that you have to believe bronze age myths (used to keep the plebs in order) instead of studying the wonders of the universe (god made or not) and trying to get on with everyone, not just those who have your sick beliefs!

    Christianity along with Judaism and Islam are the most divisive instruments of powere abuse on this planet. The cause of most wars, death, destruction, famines, destroyers of women’s rights etc. You all insist that you are right and all others are hell bound, just because a bronze age, desert tribe’s book says so! Wow that is really intelligent John.

    What a pity you didn’t smoke the pot and chuck the Gideon down the pan!

  • Sally

    How are you keeping Graham?
    Made any new discoveries lately?
    What is, always was! ……and always will be. The only thing evolving, if we don’t watch it, is our selfish ways. God always allows mankind free rein, to the point where mankind is destroying himself, and consequently the world. As a matter of fact, which you probably know, the world cleanses and renews itself in an ordered fashion. Scientists have their work cut out. It is within man’s nature to want to know, how, when, why and where….. and of course they need something or someone to explore and practice on. After all, we are the healthier for it.
    Take for instance the mess this world is in. Who caused it, God? Certainly not, but He warned us that we would live according to the choices we make………. reaping what we sew. What’s so wrong with that Graham? That’s perfect logic. You have to be an ignoramus (to put it in your words) not to be able to understand that. I don’t need to pull out my thesaurus to find an appropriate word to tell you like it is. You are simply blinded by education. A philosopher of the highest order! In our world we say, abortion is a sin. In your world we must not ‘try’ to tell you how to live. Education, religion, politics, sex – keep God out you say – are you joking? God shows you how to do all that stuff!
    However, Christians save themselves a lot of hassle if they follow the rules. You don’t have to believe the rules, or agree with the rules of your organization, but if you do things will run smoothly, or rather, smoother. Whether it’s a school, grocery store, or a home – things just work out better when you tow the line. Otherwise you just leave and start your own school, or grocery store, or home or whatever. Voila! That is simply what happens in life.
    Graham, I am not at all impressed or challenged by your verbose comments, only more determined. Atheists, Islamists, Jews, Christians and all other ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ will breath their last breath and still just be ‘scratching the surface’ – looking for the truth. Our manual (Holy Bible) says : God’s ways are past finding out. Unfortunatly the ‘ists’ have not discovered that yet! God is the TRUTH, THE WAY, THE LIFE. You just (from the depths of your very being) refuse to acknowledge him. You will find a verse in the Holy Bible that says tells you that even the demons believe “and tremble”. Atheists would do well to ponder on the possibility, that ‘after all’, there ‘might’ just be A GOD!
    Until next time!

    • Humbertozamora

      What a bunch of NONSENSE…!!! The god portrayed in the BABBLE is a PSYCHOTIC TYRANT together wit the so called jesus christ… just look at one of the passages of that FAIRY TALE book: Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me,
      and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
      sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.Now.. do you think these are GREAT family values? And there are a TREMENDOUS amount of CRAZY, PSYCHOTIC, RETARDED passages and contradictions in this crazy book. If you condone these things you are also a TOTAL NUT CASE.

    • Humbertozamora

      What a bunch of NONSENSE…!!! The god portrayed in the BABBLE is a PSYCHOTIC TYRANT together wit the so called jesus christ… just look at one of the passages of that FAIRY TALE book: Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me,
      and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
      sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.Now.. do you think these are GREAT family values? And there are a TREMENDOUS amount of CRAZY, PSYCHOTIC, RETARDED passages and contradictions in this crazy book. If you condone these things you are also a TOTAL NUT CASE.

  • ByYourFruitShallYeBeKnown

    If you do not want to read the Bible, the best thing to do is just leave it be. Throwing away the Bible does nothing but cost money. I am a Christian and although I do not believe in Hinduism, I would not damage or destroy their book if left in a public establishment. If I want to get my message across, it will be by my lips with compassion and love.

    • Andy Anderson

      When the message is Christianity or any other idea that requires belief without evidence, I don’t want to hear it.

      I especially do not want to hear it in a room I am paying good money for. I deface and trash the Gideon bibles with the *INTENTION* of costing them money.

      If the creator of life, the universe, and everything has such an important message, surely it doesn’t need a cheaply-printed book slipped into hotel rooms to get it across.

  • Thelastbloodbrother

    hahahah very inspirational, anyone want to start an organization that places the origin of species in hotel rooms? 

  • Don

    Hey, here’s a novel idea, anonymous guest contributor, whoever you are, why not actually read the thing?  You know, there are many true stories of people checking into a motel to commit suicide, only to change their minds after  finding & reading a Gideon Bible in their room.  Do you think a copy of Darwin’s book would give even one person in that situation the same kind of hope, peace, and purpose for living? 

    • Thelastbloodbrother

      Which is the exact reason I took it with me, to read. Up until now I’ve only had a hard copy of the New Testament. My thoughts seriously on the whole thing of having such an open display of religion, at least have the compassion to place a Torah and a Quran next to it.

      • tmark

        If religious organizations would put the, Torah and the Quran, into hotel rooms, for free, by the millions, then yes they would probably be there. Since this is not happening, you just have the bible.

    • mathemagician

      I hate to counter your beautifully crafted argument, but do you have any idea what Darwin wrote about? Darwin’s book is the scientific answer, supported by his years of study, to the question of the purpose of life. Anyone checking into a motel who read On the Origin of Species and who actually understood it would know, with a reasonable degree of scientific assurance, that the biological purpose for living is to create new life.

  • Sirlimp

    When I’m at a hotel I take the bible home and place it in my recycling bin. ALWAYS.

  • dudabubba

    Easy. Always take it, and throw it away. Everyone should do this. Just a simple way to take a stand against mass insanity.

  • Eric

    I am all about removing propaganda from places where it can do harm. I have a large collection of gideon bibles. I don’t know what to do with them but I think they should be destroyed.