They Caught Him!

Another picture that will probably offend 39481921 people.

GhostJesus

(Thanks to Rachel for the pic!)

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

    You just hit numbers randomly on your keyboard, don’t you?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    You just hit numbers randomly on your keyboard, don’t you?

    Never. That was a mathematically precise number of the people I will offend. The “probably” was just for good measure. I may be off by 1 or 2. :)

  • http://atheisthussy.blogspot.com/ Intergalactic Hussy

    Its about time! LOL

  • http://Skepticsanctuary.com Tom

    It is healthy for you to offend people. The more people you offend, the better. Personally, I never miss out on an opportunity to offend people, whether this includes horrifying naughty words, or just the usual extreme blasphemy. Being from Denmark, blaspheming religious figures in pictures, comes natural to me.

    Btw. really funny pic!

  • http://suttsteve.com Steve Sutton

    Heh, that’s funny.

  • http://atheista.net benj

    Oh jeez, im old. I bet the kids born in the 90s wont get this. haha

  • Brendon Lake

    Not too offended.
    Just waiting for something to be posted on this site that is positive or particullarly relevent to day to day life or even a bit interesting.

    Since all Athiests seem capable of under that label is be negative and condescending to anyone not sharing their belief, I’m glad I’m not one.

  • Brendon Lake

    Check out this review of ‘the God Delusion’

    probably not what most would expect a Christian to say…

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

    Brendon,

    I like that review. If you’re looking for places of positivity and (hopefully) relevance, please check out my blog from the link in my name above. I share blogging duties with a Christian.

    (Yes, I’m trolling for hits. It’s really depressing to have to do it one poster at a time!)

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    OMG, that is just TOO funny!

  • http://starseyer.blogspot.com Mikel

    Interesting. The Ghostbusters movie was the first place I ever remember hearing the word ‘supernatural’. It fits, doesn’t it :)

    BTW, I was born in ’80, so I was quite young when I first saw Ghostbusters.

  • UnboundSet

    That’s Art. Atheists need their own Louvre.

  • Desert Son

    Brendon Lake,

    Since all Athiests seem capable of under that label is be negative and condescending to anyone not sharing their belief, I’m glad I’m not one.

    With as broad a brush as you paint, I know some houses that could use a fresh coat or two of all-weather exterior latex. Let me know your rates and I’ll check with the owners to see if they’d be interested.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Vincent

    I used that picture back in march to kick off a thread on blasphemous art on this hobby board I’m on.

    There were quite a few good easter oriented objects of blasphemous art:

    http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/viewthread.php?tid=19393&page=1

  • Ash

    Just waiting for something to be posted on this site that is positive or particullarly relevent to day to day life or even a bit interesting.

    terribly sorry dear, why don’t we talk about a 2 thousand year old book and all the dead people in it instead?

  • Anthony

    Since all Athiests seem capable of under that label is be negative and condescending

    I’m very compassionate to fellow humans suffering from paranormal delusions. How often do you spend time with people who think they are Napoleon, or think that apples talk to them? It can be tiring, but I try to remain very compassionate and loving towards them. I spend every day of my life with such people – paranormal delusions like ghosts, astrology, magic beans, and virgin births.

  • Donna

    You know this site is becoming more and more unfriendly toward anyone who’s not an athiest. Maybe you should just drop the “friendly” label. It’s not so much Hermant, (although you had to realize that picture might offend some people-if you want this to be an atheist only site, just say so) as I’ve noticed some of the people on this site are very quick to ridicule when someone not an atheist points out that something bothers them. You don’t like it when someone “labels” all of you, but more of you seem to be doing the the same thing to others more and more. Why don’t you treat others as you want them to treat you a little more? Too many Christians aren’t doing too good a job of that-now you want to behave like that too?

  • Donna

    Not too offended.
    Just waiting for something to be posted on this site that is positive or particullarly relevent to day to day life or even a bit interesting.

    Since all Athiests seem capable of under that label is be negative and condescending to anyone not sharing their belief, I’m glad I’m not one.

    I think you need to do some research before you stereotype an entire group of people. You’re not exactly making non-atheists look good here.

  • Donna

    I’m very compassionate to fellow humans suffering from paranormal delusions. How often do you spend time with people who think they are Napoleon, or think that apples talk to them? It can be tiring, but I try to remain very compassionate and loving towards them. I spend every day of my life with such people – paranormal delusions like ghosts, astrology, magic beans, and virgin births.

    Nice. “I’m compassionate but they’re all delusional”. You sound no better than the comment you are responding to. Seriously, I would think you, as an atheist yourself who has probably experienced stereotypes first hand, would know better than to descend to his level. The guy’s comment was ignorant and stupid. You can say stuff to him without insulting EVERYONE from a particular group and sounding like him.

  • Anthony

    You sound no better

    Donna, I do not mean it has a pejorative. I’m quite academic in my tone when I use ‘delusion’. I think it is, on a denotative level, a valid term to describe the phenomena.

    And yes, I am very compassionate and understanding of that worldview. 100% of my family and most of my friends are deluded with the paranormal, and I can fully understand why they are such deluded. I once was as well.

    Might someone who is deluded be offended if I called them ‘deluded’? Of course!!! But I don’t do anyone favors by lying to them; by telling the alcoholic that they only have a mild problem, for example. Why should I not use the most accurate and truthful term I can find?

    I’m not out to bully! In my heart of hearts, I think ‘deluded’ is a strong, accurate term to describe the phenomena of humans who fixate on false beliefs in spite of scientific evidence. Other words such as ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘confused’ just don’t seem to accurately capture what is going on.

  • Ash

    Donna – if i went onto a site, ignored the content (i.e. not ‘relevant’ + ‘interesting’ seems to include politics, current affairs and theological debate) and insulted the majority of the users, i’d expect to get a little comeback.

    personally i’ve had some great convos/enjoyed reading other peoples with people of differing beliefs. that doesn’t mean that i wont respond to a facetious comment with one of my own.

    as for Hemant, he can speak for himself. which is probably why his site is called the ‘friendly atheist’, and other posters use their own tags.

  • Donna

    Why should I not use the most accurate and truthful term I can find?

    Because it’s your OPINION. If you don’t want non-atheists calling you names like “heathen” how can you support this? I know quite a few liberal believers who are pretty sympathetic to you and support separation of church and state, but the recent onslaught of calling everyone who’s not an atheist crazy and delusional hasn’t exactly made matters better.

  • Donna

    Donna – if i went onto a site, ignored the content (i.e. not ‘relevant’ + ‘interesting’ seems to include politics, current affairs and theological debate) and insulted the majority of the users, i’d expect to get a little comeback.

    I didn’t say not to give him “comeback”. I said to not behave just like him and making sweeping generalizations about EVERYONE not like you.

  • Ash

    4 people responded. 1 person generalized. 1 person responded to that lot…and generalized about all respondants.

    i’m not trying to offend you, just as i presume you’re not trying to be personal to me, i’m just trying to point out that everyone has their failings. which is where i agree with you in trying not to use their failings against them (but, hey, it happens, let’s try to give each other a little slack)

  • Donna

    okay. sorry. I don’t mean to sound bitchy even though I probably do. I have a very diverse set of friends, and we all do get along (most of the time :)), so I just hate generalizations of all types. And I guess I feel atheists really should know better, but we are all human.

  • Richard Wade

    You know this site is becoming more and more unfriendly toward anyone who’s not an atheist. Maybe you should just drop the “friendly” label.

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Donna on this. I’m gradually more often feeling embarrassed by both the postings and the comments here. The insensitivity, cheap shots, stereotyping, intolerance and impulsive hostility are slowly increasing, a little more, a little more, and the rationalizations in their defense are becoming thinner and less convincing.

    I’m all for humor and I’m not into avoiding offending people at all costs. But we should remember that the cost is high and we should be frugal about it, using it when we must rather than spending it recklessly as if we don’t need to care. I’m all for giving people a little slack as well, and letting them play and spoof and tease. Then there’s becomming slack, where teasing becomes thinly disguised unkindness.

    Hemant, the “Answer me Jesus” is hilarious, the “You Know You’re an Atheist When” is hilarious, but this is just kind of dumb. A little bit of funny for a lot of offense. You spent too much of our good will on this one.

    Maybe your vision of a friendly atheist site is changing or maybe I’ve never clearly understood it. Part of this site is is what you create, and part is what the rest of us create. But you hold the cards, you press the buttons, you choose the issues and items. We can only comment, approve, remonstrate, lurk or leave.

    Everything ages and becomes not what it once was. Maybe this site is already moving past its prime. I’ve grown so much by participating here, becoming more open-minded, more open-hearted and more focused on understanding instead of winning. If I stay will I lose what I have gained?

  • Ash

    nah, s’all good, i don’t always manage to type out my thoughts as they’re meant, which i guess everyone shares at one point or other. i also make generalizations then have to carefully extract my foot from my mouth too. *mental slap on wrist*

    forget the atheist part, i feel i should know better because i’d like to think of myself as intelligent and rational. you can imagine how dissapointing this is for me nearly every time i re-read my old comments…

  • Ash

    Richard Wade –

    this is just kind of dumb. A little bit of funny for a lot of offense.

    i didn’t notice your comment on the muslim cartoon? or has this been building up?

    btw, you’re late. i feel you should be fired from your hall monitering duties.

  • Donna

    Richard-are you an author or an English teacher? Seriously-b/c whether I agree with you or not (usually I do, and I agree with a lot of your last post too-thanks for seeing what I was trying to say but didn’t say very well)-your posts are often so elouquent and well worded! I mean that in a good way-you are really good with words.

  • Donna

    nah, s’all good, i don’t always manage to type out my thoughts as they’re meant, which i guess everyone shares at one point or other. i also make generalizations then have to carefully extract my foot from my mouth too. *mental slap on wrist*

    forget the atheist part, i feel i should know better because i’d like to think of myself as intelligent and rational. you can imagine how dissapointing this is for me nearly every time i re-read my old comments…

    LOL, I hear you dude. As you can obviously tell, I have the same problem. :)

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

    I saw nothing offensive about this particular post. It’s too absurdly comedic to be offensive. I might have just as likely seen this in a religious publication like the Wittenburg Door as on an atheist site.

    However, I still actually agree with Richard & Donna on the following point:

    You know this site is becoming more and more unfriendly toward anyone who’s not an atheist. Maybe you should just drop the “friendly” label.

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Donna on this. I’m gradually more often feeling embarrassed by both the postings and the comments here. The insensitivity, cheap shots, stereotyping, intolerance and impulsive hostility are slowly increasing, a little more, a little more, and the rationalizations in their defense are becoming thinner and less convincing.

  • Spin Sycle

    THAT is awesome!!!

    you keep posting whatever you want! this site is all yours!!

  • Donna

    I didn’t actually find it offensive myself. I found it pretty funny. I just said that I thought there might be others it might offend, that’s all.

  • Mriana

    :lol: That is too funny, Hemant.

    However, I still actually agree with Richard & Donna on the following point:

    You know this site is becoming more and more unfriendly toward anyone who’s not an atheist. Maybe you should just drop the “friendly” label.

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Donna on this. I’m gradually more often feeling embarrassed by both the postings and the comments here. The insensitivity, cheap shots, stereotyping, intolerance and impulsive hostility are slowly increasing, a little more, a little more, and the rationalizations in their defense are becoming thinner and less convincing.

    :( I was afraid of that when people started attacking each other in other threads. A friend of mine, who is a liberal Christian, said that Hemant had to know such things would happen given his blog, but I insisted it is possible for others to get along IF they try. Of course, it is a two way street. There are some Christians who come here and start attacking everyone. I think the last one I was nice enough to give them the info they asked for and WHAM! there went the sparks. :(

  • http://www.ohiorationalresponders.com/ healthyaddict

    Haha! That was one of my favorite movies as a kid! :P

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    I agree that the tone has gone downhill lately. I think a lot of it relates to the much more conservative visitors Hemant’s been getting due to his posts on the Creation Museum. While we secularists are (mostly, I think?) civil with Mike C., I think some find it harder with others. I thought the picture was funny, but in the sort of way I groan when I read the Jesus and Mo cartoons.

  • Richard Wade

    didn’t notice your comment on the muslim cartoon? or has this been building up? btw, you’re late. i feel you should be fired from your hall monitering duties.

    Ash, I don’t comment on everything, offensive, neutral or delightful. Yes this has been building up and I’ve been remarking about it from time to time. I fired myself from playground monitor a few days ago after objecting on another posting to the kind of stuff I described above. But that doesn’t mean I forever gave up expressing any opinions about the processes that go on here. My remarks were to Hemant. He doesn’t need to respond this time; I think we understand and respect each other. I spoke up because another person was expressing what I was beginning to feel.

    The cartoon above isn’t really very offensive, but that’s not the point. The point is the drip drip drip of negativity that gets to me. Maybe it’s not really increasing, maybe I’m getting more annoyed by it, or maybe it’s both. There were at least three times today on various postings that people who were apparently Christians commented for the first time and someone instantly jumped down their throats with some smart ass, unwelcoming remarks. I’ve heard enough clever ways to say “fuck off” to last a lifetime. If I want to engage with these people and attempt to start a positive dialogue I have to first clear away the damage done by somebody with a chip on their shoulder who got there first, and often the targeted person doesn’t even come back.

    Eventually somebody’s going to say well if you don’t like it go somewhere else. I haven’t found anything close to having the potential that this site has for promoting positive change. I think the potential remains not fully realized in part because of the sort of things I object to.

    Richard-are you an author or an English teacher?… your posts are often so elouquent and well worded! I mean that in a good way-you are really good with words.

    If you’re trying to butter me up to stay, …it’s working. No, I perform science shows for kids. I take forever to write things because I go over every word carefully. Words are extremely powerful. People can be so careless and destructive with them, spraying the room with them like bullets from a machine gun. They don’t realize how much more powerful their words could be, how much potential they could have for positive change if they just followed a few simple principles: Never, ever lie or pretend, never deliberately insult, and listen with your words more than talk with your words.

    I’ve become very attached to several people here, looking forward each day to their insight, their knowledge and their humor. So attached that I miss and worry about one of them who has vanished. If enough of you think I’m still taking it all too seriously or still being the playground monitor then I’ll really consider that and I’ll shut up much more than I have yet. Your words have tremendous power because I take them to heart.

  • Maria

    I was afraid of that when people started attacking each other in other threads. A friend of mine, who is a liberal Christian, said that Hemant had to know such things would happen given his blog, but I insisted it is possible for others to get along IF they try. Of course, it is a two way street. There are some Christians who come here and start attacking everyone. I think the last one I was nice enough to give them the info they asked for and WHAM! there went the sparks.

    I usually don’t comment much, I just watch, but I wanted to say something to all of this. You are right, it is definitely a two-way street. I’m a liberal believer, and in general Mriana, I’ve found your posts to be very decent, open minded, and friendly. I’m sorry those jerks jumped down your throat. They jump down mine too when I agree with people they don’t agree with. I think they find it ironic that while many of you are atheists and I’m not, I agree with a lot of what you all have to say about separation of church and state. It just makes more sense to me, and I’ve felt this way for years. I really don’t like where this country is heading under “Dubya” and his theocratic views. globalizati, I think you are right about the more conservative posters coming in recently. I have noticed this happening more since Hermant started talking about the creation museum. Some of them seem to feel very strongly that everyone wants to take their religous rights away, they just don’t seem to get that is about science, not religion. Richard, I agree with Donna about your posts. I’ve always found them an interesting and good read too. I hope you don’t leave, but if you do, please leave behind a way to talk to you b/c I’d really like to talk to you some more. Thanks.

  • Mriana

    If enough of you think I’m still taking it all too seriously or still being the playground monitor then I’ll really consider that and I’ll shut up much more than I have yet. Your words have tremendous power because I take them to heart.

    No, I think you are very human, with a very big compassionate heart who cares very deeply for people. Call me weird, but I can sense that in what you are saying.

  • Darryl

    Richard,

    I respect your viewpoint on the tone of this website and your concerns about the direction that you see it heading, but I think you have painted the picture too black, and some of your comments go over the top.

    Don’t expect too much from any one site. Hemant has not been given the task of single-handedly supporting the reputation of the atheist world. I have not been offended by anything that he has posted to the site though I have not considered all things to be of equal quality. But, I don’t expect more than this. Most of what goes on here is not, and should not be, under his control. He hasn’t ever tried to censor my comments (though perhaps some of you would have liked that), and he has been quite solicitous of differing views.

    Are some of these cartoons unnecessarily offensive? Maybe. But who judges that? The very existence of this site offends some–are the offended justified in their offense? Should Hemant shut down the site? Hemant has shown himself to be pretty balanced in his placement of content. In my view, there are many different ingredients to this ongoing discussion/argument, and they must all be used, and some of them are good old satire, mockery, scorn and ridicule. This may seem out of bounds to you, but not to me. Some things demand to be mocked. Some things require ridicule. To do anything less would give an ounce of respect to worthless notions and give offense to reason.

    Sometimes the fire needs to be stirred up; sometimes people need a good kick in the pants to wake them up; sometimes atheists need to blow off a little steam; and sometimes the hard asses that love to attack us just need to know that we’re not a bunch of spineless wimps (unfortunately, for some people, force is all they respect).

    If you think not, that’s your choice. If you don’t think confrontation or controversy is ever appropriate, that’s your view. But, at least consider that sometimes a shot across the bow is necessary to let the world know that we’re here, we’re not going away, and you’d be advised to listen to us. Don’t prematurely mourn the death of a good thing. Just keep on speaking your mind. I think you have made some of the best comments on this site. They are usually interesting and hardly ever cheap.

  • Mriana

    My post to Maria disappeared. :( I swear sometimes that spam box has it out for me. :lol:

  • Mriana

    You are right, it is definitely a two-way street. I’m a liberal believer, and in general Mriana, I’ve found your posts to be very decent, open minded, and friendly. I’m sorry those jerks jumped down your throat.

    Thanks, but I know I’m not perfect, esp when I have to stand up for myself when I get jumped.

    I think they find it ironic that while many of you are atheists and I’m not, I agree with a lot of what you all have to say about separation of church and state. It just makes more sense to me, and I’ve felt this way for years.

    It makes sense to me too. I also think atheists, non-theists, agnostics, and liberals have a tendency to blend together, esp to those with extreme religious views. We can all look alike to them. We freethinkers can be very hard to tell apart sometimes.

    Richard, I agree with Donna about your posts. I’ve always found them an interesting and good read too. I hope you don’t leave, but if you do, please leave behind a way to talk to you b/c I’d really like to talk to you some more. Thanks.

    I don’t want to see him leave either and I hope my post to him, before Darryl’s, gives him some warmth and comfort. If he does leave though, I would like to stay in contact with him too.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Hemant, the “Answer me Jesus” is hilarious, the “You Know You’re an Atheist When” is hilarious, but this is just kind of dumb. A little bit of funny for a lot of offense. You spent too much of our good will on this one.

    Richard (and others)– Was it really that bad? I mean, personally, I think it’s funny, but that’s because I don’t take the subject matter so completely seriously. I figured many others would find it funny, so I posted it. I also didn’t post it just for the sake of offending Christians. I thought most (who don’t take themselves so seriously) could see the humor.

    I don’t think it’s a bad thing to post things that might poke fun at religion, because I don’t think I’m ever limiting myself to that. If there was a funny cartoon making fun of atheists (and it made me laugh or made me mad), I’d post it just the same.

    And since the cartoon is a joke and not saying anything serious about religion, I wonder: what’s the big deal? I think the “friendly atheist” moniker would still apply. I do my share of trying to get a real dialogue started when warranted. And I try not to make commenting difficult, so yes, there will be some annoying people saying crazy things, but hopefully, we can keep it to a minimum and show others what a real conversation is like. Most people here contribute to that.

  • Maria

    I wasn’t offended by the picture, actually I found it pretty funny. I loved the Ghostbuster’s movies :) About the posts in general, I haven’t liked some of the generalizations that have been going on on both sides lately. I don’t think any one person or group is to blame, it’s just something that is happening-it’s a very human thing. But I think it’s also something that can be overcome.

  • Maria

    My post to Maria disappeared. I swear sometimes that spam box has it out for me.

    Sorry to hear that! This has happened to me before too………

  • Mriana

    I don’t think it was bad, Hemant.

    Yes, Maria, Hemant’s spam program for this blog like to eat my posts for some reason. I tried 4 times to post it and then finally gave it up. :( Maybe Hemant will find it and post it for me. He generally does.

  • Mriana

    I don’t think any one person or group is to blame, it’s just something that is happening-it’s a very human thing. But I think it’s also something that can be overcome.

    :lol: If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a Humanist, Maria. ;)

  • Richard Wade

    Richard (and others)– Was it really that bad?

    On reflection from Hemant’s and Darryl’s remarks I think I have overstated about this silly cartoon. We’d have to ask the folks who would be more likely to be offended, and not many have spoken up. My first reaction was to wince, but whether that is accurate empathy that I’m having for others, I cannot know, because for the most part they’re silent or absent. I shouldn’t speak for others. I guess I’m imagining a cumlulative effect. Any one teasing or mocking joke by itself may be innocuous, but there is eventually for everyone the last straw. It’s more about the overall tone going downhill, as globalizati said.

    Darryl points out correctly that confrontation is not just unavoidable, it’s necessary. My concern is that confrontation requires interaction, and when the room smells too strongly of hostility, people don’t stay long enough to interact. They come in, take a whiff and leave. That’s not confrontation, that’s a missed opportunity for interaction. It might have become confrontational but it didn’t have the chance.

    I think I’m getting out on thin ice making all these process comments on this site. I don’t know what exactly is going on with me. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. (Where does that weird saying come from?) Time to lighten up again, I suppose. My friends, your kind words are heartwarming and I don’t really intend to leave. I’m too addicted to this and too attached to you.

    Hemant, I wouldn’t want to discourage your creativity or your humor. As Spin Sycle said, “you keep posting whatever you want! this site is all yours!!” You can’t please everybody nor should you try. You have created something unique and wonderful. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be positive.

  • Maria

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a Humanist, Maria.

    Heh heh. I’ve gotten this before. Well, I don’t know. Can someone be a humanist and still believe in something? If so than maybe I kind of am. I do have faith in humanity as well as God. I’ve often been asked how I can be as liberal as I am and still maintain faith. Well, I did not have the “typical USA religious upbringing”. I’m currently writing up the “story” of how I was brought up, and how my beliefs have evolved into who I am today, and I’m going to send it to Hemant when I’m done, b/c he has kindly expressed interest in it, for which I’m grateful. If anyone else is interested, please let me know.

    As for the offense part, well, I usually tend to let a lot of things slide, b/c I feel that everyone needs to laugh at themselves once in a while. I also try to see validity in as many view points, as I can, and I try really hard to be objective and see where people are coming from. It’s not always easy but I believe it’s the only way people can understand each other. I’m not out to convert anyone, or put anyone down, I’m just trying to understand and get to know people. I know we won’t agree on everything, but I had hoped we could focus on our commonalties. This website has already brought together two groups that were estranged before and has spurred a lot of positive dialouge. As for me, I fully support separation of church and state and I think the non-religous deserve the same rights as everyone else, and have been denied them for too long. I’ll tell you what does offend me, if anyone is interested in hearing it from someone like me: the “anyone who believes in anything is stupid, crazy and delusional” comments do hurt. I haven’t seen an overwhelming number of them on this site, and that’s great to see. I think this site is a wonderous achievement. Being stereotyped hurts (i.e. “oh you’re a believer, you must like people like Jerry Falwell-ick no-Jerry would have chased me around with pitchforks if he’d heard some of my views on stuff! I was not exactly sad when he died.)-I haven’t seen a lot of that here either. And the whole “moderates are just as bad as right wing radicals” hurts too. Again I haven’t seen too much of that here, and I’m grateful for it. I guess I’m what I’m saying is-please remember not everyone who believes in something is crazy, bigoted, and hateful. There are a number of us that are liberal (though not in the bible belt!), and I agree we have been silent for too long. Me personally, I was silent often b/c I just didn’t care enough about stuff to speak up,i.e. I was apathetic. But as I said before, I DO NOT like the direction this country is going in at all. The religious right very much concerns me.

    I know there is much cause to be angry at a lot of what many religious leaders have done. I do not deny that. Many of us cringe when we hear about things like the creationism museum and Ken Ham too (I wanted to go to the rally but couldn’t). Many of us would like to kick people like William Donahue and Pat Robertson’s a****. Many of us do believe in evolution. Many of us support separation of church and state. Many of us have no problem with people of differing beliefs or with non-believers, and are more than willing to respect their rights as long as they respect ours (and no I don’t view every scrutinization of faith as an attack. I just ask that it be done with a tone of some civility). Many of us do support things like gay marriage. And many of us take heat from our more conservative counterparts for it. I guess what I’m saying in a nutshell is-please don’t lump us all together under a “broad brush” as Desert Son calls it. I try really hard not to do it to any group. I have seen many people on here go out of their way to not label all believers the same way, and I’m very grateful for that. I know of course not everyone can agree, but I’d like to think all decent people can try and be civil most of the time. If you think I’m silly for believing in something, you of course have your right to your opinion. But please don’t constantly rub my nose in it and try to respect me as a person. That’s how I feel about it. This is not aimed specifically at anyone here, or even at this site, it’s just an in general summary of how I feel about the offense issue. On that note, I hope this hasn’t offended anyone and I’m sorry if it has. I’m a little tipsy right now so it might not come out right. Everyone have a good night. :) Sorry if I made this too long.

    PS If you see any fundies/haters on here, please, send them my way. I have a few things I’d like to say to them. Also if you see any liberal believers on here, send them my way too-it would be nice to talk to them too.

  • Tina B.

    Personally, I enjoy reading each and everyone’s comments. If there were no opposing sides to life’s mysteries, it would be pretty boring. I for one, have enjoyed Hemant’s posts and I do think he is a very fair person in regards to his posts. Thanks Hemant.

  • Desert Son

    Richard Wade,

    The expression, “to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve” was probably first coined in the late 16th or early 17th century (Shakespeare’s Othello from 1604 is a notable reference, and possibly the first written reference). The phrase itself may refer to several hundred years prior, to the courtly traditions of feudal society in which, during jousting tournaments, knights wore the “colors” (a patch of cloth or ribbon) on their sleeve indicating the favor of the lady whom they represent on the field. The colors were given to the knight by the lady, and the knight jousted in her “honor.” Thus it was an external expression of the knight’s “feeling” of supporting the lady, and gradually became associated with a visible display of emotion or feelings.

    An aside: I made a sarcastic comment in response to what I deemed was a generalization (and I deem that I deemed such correctly). Whether appropriate or not, your concerns raise some good points. Chief among these is, how does constructive communication become established in a hostile environment? I, for one, am not too worried, as humans have somehow managed to maintain constructive communication in hostile environments since time immemorial. Nonetheless, such carries risk, but then, life is risk.

    However, a less hostile environment can make communication easier, obviously. The trick, and I think this is a very delicate matter, is to ensure that a welcome environment for communication is available without sacrificing the strength of one’s own convictions, nor the ability to defend one’s position. Opening up the “room” to dialogue is good, but it always runs the risk of someone showing up and monopolizing the dialogue, or demonizing the participants, etc. In such case, it behooves the participants (I think) to stand up and give as good as they get, if necessary. It’s a way to say, “I will not let you marginalize me for our difference.” I say this as someone who truly dislikes confrontation, and who has long wished for the establishment of peaceful communication and dialogue on a host of issues.

    As a child I was told to ignore bullies and they would go away. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that sometimes ignoring some individuals does make them go away. Others have to be confronted. It’s sad, but sometimes you have to fight. I don’t necessarily mean fight in the fisticuffs sense, but to make a showing of not being cowed.

    I found in Brendan Lake’s comment a disparagement of a broad selection of individuals and felt it highly inaccurate. Positive, after all, is frequently in the eye of the beholder (much the way the humor, or lack thereof in the cartoon, is). His comment, to my mind, is as misguided as my stepping into a blog of religious adherents and declaiming them all for their lack of contributions to the positive experience of people on earth. Neither works toward improving dialogue between disparate groups that desperately need to have some dialogue. My response was a way to say, “Stop and think about what you said and see if that’s really true.” Could I have been more diplomatic? Undoubtedly, and for taking a lower road, I apologize.

    I am soon to shut up, but two last thoughts: dialogue is good, as long as all the participants are willing to engage. It’s unfortunate, and made all the more easy in the “relative” anonymity of the internet, but in some cases, individuals invited to dinner are merely going to walk into the room, shit on the rug, and leave (pardon the crude metaphor). In that case, those individuals are not interested in dialogue (and perhaps Brendan Lake is interested in dialogue), and for them to be shouted from the room seems a small price to pay to try and maintain a forum for others willing to talk (and listen).

    In the short time I have been here, your posts seem among the most astute, and encompassing. That is a thing to be admired, and it may be that what may seem negative now is, like any cyclical phase in nature, merely a change in air pressure, and that, too, shall pass.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Desert Son

    Upon rereading my post I note several grammatical errors, including a missing comma, as well as a mixed metaphor right at the end, and apologize for any confusion such may have caused. I really did proof the post before I submitted it, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that from reading it.

    I take this as a sign: need more coffee.

    The divinity of which is, as always, up for debate ;)

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Mriana

    I’ve gotten this before. Well, I don’t know. Can someone be a humanist and still believe in something?

    Maria, you maybe interested in learning about this possibility: http://www.hopehumanists.org Others are welcome too. (Sorry, Hemant, I don’t have her email or I’d send the invite privately, but others, including you, Hemant, are welcome).

    As Humanists we put our faith, first and most, in our fellow humans. Hope Humanists believe that we (all humans) are responsible for solving our own problems, and for taking care of the planet that sustains us. Spirituality and religious beliefs are either unimportant, or a matter of personal preference – but should not take the place of personal action to right the wrongs in our society and create a better future for our children and their children.

    You can read more, join the board to talk with others, ask questions, and decide for yourself. I promise you, you will not be attacked or forced to conform in anyway. The majority of us there are either Humanist Celebrants or working on becoming one, but there are others who aren’t celebrants too and have no plans of becoming one.

    I’m currently writing up the “story” of how I was brought up, and how my beliefs have evolved into who I am today, and I’m going to send it to Hemant when I’m done, b/c he has kindly expressed interest in it, for which I’m grateful. If anyone else is interested, please let me know.

    I’d love to. :)

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I agree that the tone has gone downhill lately. I think a lot of it relates to the much more conservative visitors Hemant’s been getting due to his posts on the Creation Museum. While we secularists are (mostly, I think?) civil with Mike C., I think some find it harder with others.

    I think there’s something to this comment. I have no problem with people being Christians or followers of any religion generally, but I have a huge problem with conservative right-wingers, whether they are religious or not, and I have a particularly HUGE problem with the religous-right pundits who take advantage of naive and sincere religious people under false pretenses for political gain. I have no patience and very little tolerance for people who spout neocon bullshit, especially when they are just regurgitating stuff they heard on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh’s show. I can’t stand it when people — and many evangelical Christians do this a lot — regurgitate what they’ve heard from the pulpit or from some pundit who claims to share their values, instead of saying what they personally think in their own words. Unfortunately, if no-ones calls them on it, many of these people have no idea that they’ve forgotten how to think for themselves. For what it’s worth, I am speaking from personal experience.

    It’s best not to attack these people, but to try to draw them out. Say things like, “That’s nice. I guess it’s what you heard somewhere but what do YOU think about this issue. Can you epxlain your personal thoughts and feelings to me in your own words?” You have to really care about what the person thinks, however, or don’t bother to try this. And you may have to ask over and over again before you get a true response. These people (not like Mike C., but the real right wingers who have been totally brainwashed sometimes since birth) are afraid of thinking for themselves, because they are often afraid that their thoughts will be influenced by Satanic forces.

    Well, enough for now. But you have to look at these people who seem ridiculously stupid sometimes from an insider’s perspective. They are not stupid. They are most often afraid and very often have been crippled by peer- or self-enforced ignorance of the broader issues and other perspectives. We secularlists must be very careful not to fall into the same trap.

  • Richard Wade

    Desert Son,
    Thank you for your remarks and for the illumination of the “sleeve” metaphor. I agree with most of what you say; I just have a different angle on it. It is a constantly shifting balance we try to find when talking with a continuous flow of strangers about the contentious subjects we discuss here. Sometimes we find it for a while, sometimes we don’t. Feelings can be strong, intellects can be sharp and so can the words. We get well informed people who will still disagree with us, we get well intentioned but misinformed people who may or may not still disagree even if we’re able to straighten out their errors, we get bullies looking for a target for their avarice, we get the truly mentally disturbed and we get trolls. They all have to be dealt with differently; some engaged, some dismissed and a very few blown out of the water. But never on the very first response. We have to find out about them first. If after two or three attempts to clarify we realize it’s gone as far as it’s going to go, then we should say goodbye and move on.

    Some people here seem to have gotten the impression that I am against confrontation. That is not correct. I’m for all sorts of confrontation. But two people on passing ships waving their middle fingers at each other is not a confrontation. A verbal slugfest is a confrontation of sorts but not one worth entering. When I first started posting on blogs I delighted in giving withering barrages of deeply hurtful ridicule. The worst stuff here is mild by comparison. My cruelty was appalling, and finally I was appalled too. So I watched how the skilled masters of argument worked instead of the skilled insult artists, and I learned how to argue.

    Your mentioning of the jousting tournaments in the “sleeve” explanation comes to mind, for the ideal of chivalry. “Giving as good as you get” is not the guiding principle, because that always ends up meaning giving as bad as you get, or giving worse. When we have descended to throwing our own feces back at the ape in the zoo, we have already lost any fight worth fighting. (How’s that for a vulgar metaphor?) The important fight is never with the other guy but with your own negativity, immaturity, anger or fear. By chivalry I mean you knock the guy on his ass in the manner of a proper gentleman. Not only are the logical points of your argument stronger and more accurate, your good manners lend credibility to you and those who agree with you. By your conduct you do honor to your opinion, not just defend it.

  • Desert Son

    Richard Wade,

    Your’s is a refreshing perspective, one which I will think on in greater detail, and I thank you for your reply. I’m not sure I entirely agree with you, but I’m grateful for your post, as it adds some angles I had not previously considered, and perhaps my own recent negative experiences cloud my ability to measure the larger context of constructive communication. I wish I had more stomach for confrontation (healthy confrontation, that is), and admire those who do. I don’t have more to add to the discussion at present, so I’m off to ponder. Thanks again.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Richard Wade

    Dammit, by avarice I should have said viciousness. Sorry.

  • Richard Wade

    Desert Son, Hail and well met! Fare thee well for now, my lord. I will see thee as my comrade on the field of honor anon.

  • Mriana

    My only problem is when people are so dogmatic that hate anything or anyone that does not fit that dogma. They attack anything that does not fit that dogma too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I cannot see how anyone can love themselves when they hate that much. So much anger and hatred is a big turn off, for me at least.

    I don’t mind debate or a sense of humour, but I do mind it when people are attacked for their ideas. A person can share ideas without attacking others, IMHO. Hateful and demeaning dogma has no place in that scheme. IMO, there is no contentment with one’s self or life if they filled with hate and anger. A person can talk about God all they want, but they should be aware that it IS their own concept of god. Others may not share that concept, IF they have any concept at all about a god.

    Whatever the concept one may hold (supernatural or natural), ultimately, I believe, the person should come first. It doesn’t matter if one’s god is Love and Compassion, or the Source of All Life, or if it is some invisible man sitting in the sky somewhere judging people. What matters most to me, is what is in one’s heart and how they treat other people.

    That is just my two cents.

  • JL

    Just remember
    “Philippians 2:9-11 (New King James Version)

    “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    Some day this will come back to you who mock a Living God.

  • Vincent

    I’ve just skimmed through the comments and I’m rather amazed by what I see.

    Everyone who complained about the cartoon noted that they themselves didn’t find it offensive but “others” would.

    What does that mean? How do you know how others will view it? I would hate to see even self-censorship out of a fear of offending a hypothetical person.

  • Richard Wade

    Vincent, welcome to the discussion. I agree that self-censorship out of fear of offending a hypothetical person would not be desirable. If you read carefully the comments that you skimmed I think you will see that people are being more thoughtful about it than that, and that the issue is more complicated than that.

    To everyone, just above Vincent’s comment is an opportunity to respond with derision, dismissal or engagement starting with attempts to clarify. I don’t have the time right now; I have to rush off to do an astronomy show. Give it a try.

  • Darryl

    Philippians 2: 5-11 ESV

    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    JL, you neglected to mention the point of this passage when you quoted its final thought. I have emboldened the central thought, and I would suggest that you ponder this idea. I have a challenge for you that will be edifying for you: go into the Old Testament (the book that the writer of this epistle was studying) and do a search on this pairing of humbling oneself, and of being exalted. Notice how many times you find this pairing. With this in mind, I suggest you carefully read the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 4. It’s a wonderful story–one of my favorites. Once you have done this, and taken away the lesson, then go to the New Testament and search there. Then come back here and tell me what you have learned, and I will listen.

  • Ash

    Richard Wade – regarding my last comment to you, the first was an honest question borne of interest, the last was a joke. i actually enjoy it when you speak as the voice of reasonable middle ground, it helps everyone stand back and say ‘whoa, did i really want to be going there?’ i can imagine it’s a tiring thankless task though…

    i reacted to Brendon Lake coz i’ve seen him here before (i.e., he’s not just shitting + leaving!) and i honestly felt he should explain himself on a comment that was attacking a site he doesn’t appear to have read…yeah, my idea of humour’s shite. i won’t be responding to JL because he probably won’t be back, and his issue is rather different (i.e., he will probably never accept that it’s ok not to believe in god, or deign to talk to people of opposing views…what’s the point?)

  • JL

    I came across this post by accident and was extremely shocked that people think it is funny to take my Lord and make fun of Him.
    But in the end, everyone will know that Jesus is the King of Kings and they won’t make fun of Him then. That was my point. This cartoon would cause riots if it were Mohammad. You think because I believe, that I don’t think freely or have the right to get upset at things like this. Where is your tolerance for the Christians?
    I personally do not thrust my beliefs down anyones throat. I say what I believe, if you have questions, I try my very best to answer what is truth. Choices are the end results. Choices, that will determine where you spend eternity. It is your choice not to believe in a Wonderful, Powerful, Sovereign God, but it is my choice to serve Him. I do so humbly and willingly because it is my choice. I have however the privilege of defending my KIng.
    Take that anyway you like!

  • Mriana

    Oh brother! :roll:

  • Anthony

    Ahhh, finally, a mainstream Christian visits the Friendly Atheist. It’s almost comforting.

  • JL

    No not mainstream…..

  • Brendon Lake

    Hi Ash

    Admittedly my comment was mainly to get a reaction and it clearly worked! My thinking was, ‘how would I feel if this comment was targeted at me?’

    From the time I’ve spent reading posts on this site, I havent often found much I consider would actually encourage meaningfull discussion and debate which I am sure is the reason this site exists. From some of the responses there are those who agree.
    I will admit that some Christians havent helped matters by being insensitive at times (the thread concerning Hemant’s friend Clark springs to mind).

    To conclude, I’d like to say that everyone living has faith in something, I’d go as far as to say that these things become ‘gods’ whether we are aware of it or not, things like wealth and people whom are important to us or pastimes we enjoy.

  • Ash

    hey Brendon, yeah, guess it did work!

    what would you like to discuss then? and have you thought of setting up your own blog or contacting Hemant directly with suggestions? he seems pretty open to it…

    yeah, some christians…but hell, some everyone from all faith/non-faith perspectives…(just let me tick that box on my own c.v.) don’t think it hurts all the time tho, or a lot of the above wouldn’t have happened, and would that be so bad?

    yeah, i’d agree everyone has some degree of faith, personally i believe that the sun is pretty damn likely to rise in the morning – dunno if you could call that a god tho…(although i saw a really weird site recently that claimed the story of jesus was just an adapted understanding of ancient astronomical stories – son=sun etc.)

  • Mriana

    I’m staying out of this one. Just try and be nice guys.

  • Darryl

    JL,

    Don’t forget that study I mentioned. I mean it. You know Who is watching, so get to it. He wants you in his Word every day–makes a great devotion time.

  • Darryl

    Hey, where’s Dan Harlow been lately?

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Ash, there’s no tension between us. I knew where you were coming from.

  • HappyNat

    To conclude, I’d like to say that everyone living has faith in something, I’d go as far as to say that these things become ‘gods’ whether we are aware of it or not, things like wealth and people whom are important to us or pastimes we enjoy.

    Sure we all have ‘faith’ in something. I have faith the driver coming at me will stay in their lane and not hit my car. I think to call these things ‘gods’ deflates the meaning of the word god. I have faith my car will start . . . .does this make my battery a god, or the spark plus, or is the entire Jeep god?

    You think because I believe, that I don’t think freely or have the right to get upset at things like this. Where is your tolerance for the Christians?

    Where is our intolerance for Christians? This a Web site where we are free to discuss or laugh at anything we want. Hemant isn’t sending this picture to your e-mail or posting it on church signs. Nobody forced you to come look at this Web site. Some conservative/antigay/anti human rights Web site make me so mad I can’t see straight, so i don’t visit them. I’m not saying I want you to leave (stick around lets talk!), but you also don’t have to force yourself to look at things that make you unhappy.

    Also, if you look around the site, we make fun of a variety of religions. Christianity just comes to the front more often because the “leaders” of our country keep bringing it up.

  • Desert Son

    JL,

    You posted: “I have however the privilege of defending my KIng.

    Honest question: if God/Christ/YHWH, or any other deity from history, represents the apex of everything, or equates with omnipotence (which I’m taking to be given by the definition of “god”), why would such an omnipotence need defending? To put the question another way, if God/Christ/YHWH is omnipotent, wouldn’t that power be, by definition, unassailable? Wouldn’t the image depicted, in this case the reported ascension of Eshua bar Yehosef into heaven, photoshopped with four fictional characters from a mid-80s comedy film, transcend the very barb (good natured or otherwise) implied? In essence, there couldn’t possibly be any hurt as a result of the image, if God/Christ/YHWH is omnipotent, correct? At least, there couldn’t be any hurt to God/Christ/YHWH.

    Also, as a follow up, couldn’t the same case be made for any deity so pictured, assuming that omnipotence is a characteristic of a deity (which may not always be the case, for example, in ancient Greek mythology, while the gods were often illustrated as very, very powerful, there did seem to be limits to their power, or at least implied limitations given the context of some of the stories)?

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Mriana

    Also, as a follow up, couldn’t the same case be made for any deity so pictured, assuming that omnipotence is a characteristic of a deity (which may not always be the case, for example, in ancient Greek mythology, while the gods were often illustrated as very, very powerful, there did seem to be limits to their power, or at least implied limitations given the context of some of the stories)?

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

    No kings,

    Robert

    OK I was trying hard to stay out of this one, but would you have the same reaction if it were Hercules, son of Zeus? He was a god/man too with an almost similar story. Or what if it were Horus or Krishna? Both are similar stories too. Or even closer to the story of JC is the Roman god Mirtha. What if it were anyone of those gods, would you still be screaming, “I WILL PROTECT MY KING!” I seriously doubt you would, even if you did know all their stories.

    It’s a just a picture meant for a good laugh and means nothing. Get over it. Besides, you don’t even know what JC looked like obviously. IF he ever lived, then he would look more like an Arabian or Egyptian. NOT a white dude with long wavey brown hair and blue eyes. So, you’re getting up in arms about the wrong dude here. This one looks like a white man with long wavey hair and not someone from the Middle East. Definitely not JC if he were a Nazarenen or Galilean, so IF you think it’s JC in the pic, well you definitely have the wrong person. Unless your saviour is a white dude of course, then your saviour is not JC. Either way, you’re barking up the wrong tree with this one.

  • Mriana

    OOPS! That last post was asking JL, not Robert, but Robert brought up myths. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Desert Son

    Mriana,

    Thanks for your reply.

    What if it were anyone of those gods, would you still be screaming, “I WILL PROTECT MY KING!” I seriously doubt you would, even if you did know all their stories.

    This part of your post is exactly what I was trying to get at with the latter part of my own post, though I may not have been clear, and I sometimes muddle what I’m trying to say, so if I wasn’t clear, I apologize.

    Thanks.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Mriana

    Glad I could help, Robert. Nice to have someone around who knows the various myths and can help clarify, isn’t it? I hope so at least.

    I was just as confusing though, because I forgot to address it to JL, who it was really meant for.


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