Tearing Through the Bible

You might have heard this story a couple months ago. A high school student had ripped up a Bible in English class as part of a project and was facing consequences from the administration as a result.

Maggie Ardiente has the full story in the new issue of The Humanist.

To set it up, Christopher Campbell was given an assignment where he had to take a Ralph Waldo Emerson aphorism and explain (with a visual aid) what it meant to him.

Chris picked this phrase:

“So far as a man thinks, he is free.”

On the day the project was due, Chris got up in front of the class and said the following:

What Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he said, “So far as a man thinks, he is free,” was that our only freedom, what we call our “free will” is our ability to think. This particular saying is likened to me because I no longer rely on such things as faith and feeling as sources of knowledge.

We must all grow up and lose our faith in the Easter Bunny, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and eventually Jesus, because such things are fairy tales and while maybe appropriate for children, they cease to be rational when one reaches a certain age. Things like faith, mysticism, and feeling restrict one from productive, rational thought, and if we are not thinking, we are not free. Our only means of acquiring knowledge should be through rationale and logic.

Ayn Rand personifies her vision of man’s existence in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. Rand says that the pursuit of our own happiness should be our goal in life and that morality does not come from others. The Bible says the poor man is rich for his kindness and humility toward mankind, and his rewards shall be great in the kingdom of heaven. Right. And I’m the King of England.

The Bible is not rational to me, so why would I want to waste my life studying it, trying to seek some “moral enlightenment” from its pages?

Now what I’m about to do next, some of your tiny little brains might not be able to comprehend, so viewer discretion is advised.

[Campbell then lifted a copy of the Bible in his hand as he spoke:]

This book has halted the intellectual advancement of humankind for centuries. But now I am free from its grasp, so I am free to do this.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became kindling. [At this point, Campbell starts to tear the pages.] This book is not holy. It was written by a bunch of old, smelly Mesopotamians with sand in their [expletive].

Now, will anyone come up here with me to testify, and kick Jesus out of your heart? [No response from the students.] Well, I guess I’m surrounded by a bunch of superstitious, simple-minded ignoramuses.

Three students clapped. One later told him, “You’re my hero.” Another remarked that Chris had a lot of balls to do what he did (presumably in a positive way).

He got a B on the project.

First, let’s get this out of the way: Insulting your peers for not thinking like you do is no way to win them over. And Chris’ immaturity shows when he resorts to insults and swears.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with what he did: ripping up the Bible.

But that seems to be what he got in trouble for:

Word quickly spread throughout Parker about the incident. Barbara Dougal, an assistant principal, brought him to her office later that day and told him several students had voiced concerns about his presentation, and that appropriate discipline needed to be taken.

He was taken to in-school suspension and then sent home. A meeting with his parents was scheduled. The assistant principal, a police officer assigned to the high school and a social services worker attended, Campbell says, and he was barraged with questions unrelated to the actual incident: What do you do when you get angry? Are there problems at home?

He wasn’t threatening to hurt Christians. He was just using the Bible as a symbol for stifling intellectual development. You can agree or disagree with that representation.

But some parents took it completely out of context:

… students did feel threatened–so threatened that one parent, Paul Jacobson, the father of Elle Jacobson, a student in Campbell’s English class, has withdrawn enrollment for both of his daughters from Parker, telling local NBC Channel 15, “This boy has done something that is unbalanced, violent in my opinion. He tore that Bible apart as an effigy for Christians. This was not some kind of a demonstration about free speech; this was in my opinion the words of a sociopath.”

You have to wonder if a similar punishment would’ve been given out if Chris used any other book.

Maggie writes this:

… it’s hard to believe school officials that the act of ripping the Bible had nothing to do with his punishment. Imagine a student tearing copies of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and calling evolutionists “simple-minded ignoramuses.” The student would receive no more than an afternoon of detention, if that…

Actually, I think detention would be too harsh a punishment. It’s the manner in which Chris spoke that the school should be talking about. It’s disrespectful (the swearing and insults, not the Bible-ripping).

Anyway, the Bible should not be “revered” any more than other books in a public school classroom. The student gave his interpretation of the Emerson aphorism. Another student could just as well have used the Bible to say it opens the door to intellectual curiosity, and there would be nothing wrong with that. (Though I’d love to see the support for that one.)

It’s a good lesson, especially in an English class, to learn to read or listen to someone who has a different opinion from you. Just because they disagree, it shouldn’t be perceived as a threat to your way of thinking.

Whether or not ripping the Bible was the right thing to do, Campbell had the freedom to do it. What better way to display the importance of Emerson’s words?

It did take guts for Chris to do what he did. And I hope he continues to stand up for himself in the aftermath.

It brings to mind another Emerson quotation:

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.



[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I agree, if he owned the Bible, he had every right to rip it up. And it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that high school students are immature.

  • James from Chicago

    Big-ups to Chris there!!

  • http://thislittlepiggyhadtofu.blogspot.com Al

    Wow. I wish I would have had the guts to do something like that in high school.

    That said, the whole thing smacks of the over-zealousness of a recent convert (in this case, presumably, to atheism). That’s not to say I don’t agree with his message, but yeah, the delivery could be honed a bit.

    It’s my feeling that ripping up a book is very rarely, if ever, justifiable. No matter how much we disagree with it. Ripping up the bible wasn’t wrong in a legal sense, but I’d argue it was wrong an intellectual and rational sense.

  • cautious

    Ayn Rand personifies her vision of man’s existence in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged

    (barf)

  • Mriana

    He did nothing wrong by ripping up the Bible. It’s just a book. There are several million in print, more being printed every day, and therefore is no lose. I see no threat to Xians either because he did that. He’s not unstable, he just doesn’t like what is contain within the covers of that book and I don’t blame him. He has good reason, sound reasoning, not to appreciate it. To preceive it as violence and as a threat, sounds like the accusers are projecting their own feelings on someone else and are actually the ones who are unstable. He did not do any harm to anyone else, only an inanimate object and that is an acceptable expression of frustration by psychological standards. Not only that, he is in high school, so there will be some displays of immaturity as they grow into adulthood. The teen years are a very difficult time and sometimes their expressions are immature, but they are being honest with how they feel. Sometimes adults just have to allow kids to express themselves, esp when it does no harm to others. It’s just a book and it seems to me that some adults need to grow up! So the kid doesn’t believe in God, esp not in the Christian God… Big deal. :roll: It doesn’t mean he is a bad kid.

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    It’s sad that things like this are so much more likely to be denounced than lauded.

  • Milena

    On one hand, I prefer to respect my theist classmates and their beliefs, so I wouldn’t tear one of their holy books or insult them. However, I see what he was trying to do by tearing a Bible and I do think that the response was exagerated.

  • Arlen

    This kid is not a hero; he sounds like an immature brat.

    While he may certainly have the right to tear pages from a Bible, I think it is fair to say that to do so in a public school is asking for trouble.

    Do I have the right to burn an American flag? Sure.
    Do I have the right to wear a “Muslims are terrorists” t-shirt? Sure.
    Do I have the right to toss a copy of the Torah into a gas chamber? Sure.

    But I have to understand that doing so in a public school is offensive, disruptive, and not going to fly. Ever.

    Is it right to restrict freedom of speech in a public school? That’s certainly debatable, but law, courts, and convention all side with censorship. The kid knew exactly what would happen and he did so anyway.

    An argument could be made for conscientiously objecting to that censorship and organizing a demonstration wherein people individually step up and say something terribly offensive (but which would usually be protected speech), but this was not that. This was a simple case of one kid being a brat and testing the limits of what he could get away with.

  • http://www.xanga.com/drew85 Drew

    I’m so mad at this kid and so envious too. I wish he wouldn’t have perpetuated the hateful arrogant stereotype that many apply to atheists. Personally, I disagree with the statements that the punishment was too harsh. I totally agree, it should have nothing to do with the bible, but I think standing in front of class and cursing and calling people names warrants an out-of-school suspension. I think respect is extremely important in a high school.

    But I do like that he chose such a powerful symbol to use as a visual aid, and although I doubt it brought anyone close to questioning religion, I agree that it took guts to do, and… well, it sounds like fun.

  • http://suitablydark.livejournal.com/ Dark

    I am pretty sure I can guess what the missing expletive he used is (“sand in their..”), and I have to say it would be really nice if he took his newly-found passion for intellectualism and freethinking and applied it to his sexism, as well.

    That said, I agree with the other commenters who do not find this kid amusing. Every student in that class (save the three who applauded), and probably many others in the school, are going to cringe every time they meet an atheist for the next ten years. He shouldn’t be punished for the bible stunt, but he didn’t exactly do us (or his classmates) any favours. Maybe this will wake him up to the fact that when you’re going to do something controversial in the form of a protest, it’s generally best to appear as sane and well-mannered as possible if you actually want to get your point across.

  • Kate

    I wish he wouldn’t have perpetuated the hateful arrogant stereotype that many apply to atheists.

    Bingo. This child is an immature brat trying to show off and attract attention to himself. I’m totally thrilled that he’s now cemented the image of a “God/Bible-hating atheist” into many people’s minds. GREAT PR, SUPER JOB.

    I disagree when Christians (and others) burn books and censor things…if you disagree with something, that’s fine. But don’t rip up books. I may not believe in God or lots of the things in the Bible, but it sure has some beautiful writing in some parts. Not to mention that it holds special meaning for many people.

    Ugh. What a fantastic job this kid did for our image. Disgusting.

  • Chris Clapp

    Other than the use of foul language and demeaning terms towards Christians (ignoramus etc.) I think Chris deserves congrats for having the courage to do that.

    What is most upsetting to me is that people treated him like he was unstabe, angry, depressed, or sociopathic simply because he spoke out against the reigious norms. It just demonstrates how far atheism is from being seen as a normal, healthy belief (non-belief) system.

  • http://scottishatheist.org.uk Ian

    Excellent!

    immature, possibly. completely correct in every detail? even more so.

    Whether Atheists are perceived as Arrogant is not anywhere near as important as the simple truth. We are right, they are wrong.

    Screw their sensibilities if they want to believe in Sky fairies.

  • Jen

    Hmmm…. on the one hand, I do hate to see books get destroyed. I won’t even break the spine on books; most of my books look brand-new. On the other hand, he wasn’t tearing up all the Bibles- its not quite the same as some Baptist minister in Mississippi burning all the local copies of Harry Potter he can find. And certainly while I love books, I can see the value in a symbolic protest, say, burning a flag to protest laws about burning flags.

    I think the school overreacted, and while I agree this is bad PR, I think the kid was kind of brave. I wouldn’t be suprised if he receives threats and all from this, so I do think he took an unpopular opinion- and as it is a minority opinion, he is of no threat to those removed from the school children- and did something interesting.

  • http://www.ineedtothink.com Seavee

    On the one hand, I usually agree that we should be polite and respect each others symbols and beliefs. On the other hand, there has to be a limit. What about self expression? Would we criticize a painter or a poet who depicts controversial ideas? I think that the assignment called for an artistic representation of personal beliefs and that is what the kid gave.

  • PrimateIR

    Faithlessly keeping the faith.

    It was brilliant.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’m trying to imagine what the reaction on this blog would be like if the story was reversed; if for instance, as Maggie suggested:

    Imagine a student tearing copies of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and calling evolutionists “simple-minded ignoramuses.”

    Or even, let’s say, a copy of The God Delusion, and calling atheists these names publicly in class.

    And then let’s say that a bunch of Christians chimed in here with comments like:

    Big-ups to Chris there!!

    or

    “Wow. I wish I would have had the guts to do something like that in high school.”

    or

    “It’s sad that things like this are so much more likely to be denounced than lauded.”

    or

    Excellent!

    immature, possibly. completely correct in every detail? even more so.

    Whether [Christians] are perceived as Arrogant is not anywhere near as important as the simple truth. We are right, they are wrong.

    Screw their sensibilities if they want to [dis]believe in Sky fairies.

    or

    It was brilliant.

    I’m wondering what the reaction to those kind of comments and approval of the student’s actions and attitudes would be by the atheists here. Would it be okay for Christians to approve of a Christian student who did stuff like this against atheists?

    Or does the fact that you believe you are right and they are wrong in their beliefs make it okay for you but not for them?

  • Kate

    I’m wondering what the reaction to those kind of comments and approval of the student’s actions and attitudes would be by the atheists here. Would it be okay for Christians to approve of a Christian student who did stuff like this against atheists?

    Or does the fact that you believe you are right and they are wrong in their beliefs make it okay for you but not for them?

    BINGO.

  • cautious

    Would it be okay for Christians to approve of a Christian student who did stuff like this against atheists?

    When a minority fights for their equal rights, they’re called mean things. When the majority fights for them to not gain equal rights, it’s called preserving the status quo.

    I hate (ha!) to play the revolutionary card here, but there is a difference between a minority calling the majority fools, and the majority calling the minority fools.

    I don’t like the kid’s tactics but I’m not going to act like I wasn’t a spiteful atheist in high school (it was only a few years ago, after all).

    That said, I don’t think it’s possible to directly answer the above quoted question because atheists (very literally) don’t believe anything is sacred, whereas religious people will always have sacred buttons that can be pressed. More to the point, atheists are already the country’s least trusted minority, what more can Christians do to lower our status in this country? Outside of becoming a theocracy.

    When you’re on the bottom of the pecking order, there’s nowhere to go but up.

  • cautious

    Imagine a student tearing copies of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and calling evolutionists “simple-minded ignoramuses.”

    Or…imagine a movie being released that says Darwin’s book led directly to the Holocaust and Stalin’s purges, and all evolutionary biologists are either actively denying this, or passively ignoring the evils inherent in evolutionary science, for some sinister purpose. (hint: it has to do with converting churches into baby delicatessens)

    Atheists don’t need to look far to be insulted in this country. Usually there’s at least one church billboard within driving distance that is happy to tell me I’m an idiot for not believing in God. We can throw example back and forth about how Christians, too, feel persecuted in this country, but, to put it in simplest terms, the rulers of a land can not be persecuted.

  • Mriana

    The thing is, I would far prefer someone take out their frustration out on a book (even a Bible) or any other inanimate object than a human being. Even my good friend, who is a Christian, says “it’s a book, if you make it more than that you are making it an idol (which we are not supposed to do) the book isn’t important.” We can both agree on that and it is more preferable than a taking anger and frustration out on a person. The boy is not unstable or violent, because if he were, he’d be beating up people, but he isn’t. He only tore up a book and I think people make too much out of objects. People are more important than any book, including the Bible.

    If he tore up an atheist book? I would have the same attitude. It’s just a book, which can be replaced. People can’t. This young man had the sense to destroy a book rather than a human, which is more acceptable because it is just an object that can be replaced. I dearly love books, but to put that much value on an object that can be replaced, rather than a human being, is just plain stupid to me.

    However, far more people have been killed over that book than one kid tearing up the book itself. Think the Crusade, the Inquisition, etc. I think the loss of human life is far worse than what he did.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    When a minority fights for their equal rights, they’re called mean things. When the majority fights for them to not gain equal rights, it’s called preserving the status quo.

    Is there any indication that “fighting for equal rights” had anything to do with this student’s demonstration? I’ve gone back and re-read it and I don’t see anything about that in his speech. I’m not sure it’s appropriate to paint this kid as some kind of revolutionary freedom fighter.

    I hate (ha!) to play the revolutionary card here, but there is a difference between a minority calling the majority fools, and the majority calling the minority fools.

    I would suggest that history demonstrates that when the oppressed use the tactics of their oppressors to achieve their ends, they usually just wind up becoming the very thing which they were trying to overthrow in the first place.

  • Mriana

    I would suggest that history demonstrates that when the oppressed use the tactics of their oppressors to achieve their ends, they usually just wind up becoming the very thing which they were trying to overthrow in the first place.

    Mike has a point with this too. Thing is, I agree with his first statement that the kid wasn’t exactly being a revolutionary freedom fighter. Frustrated and angry would be more like it in my opinion, but not unstable and violent.

  • Aj

    MikeClawson,

    I’m trying to imagine what the reaction on this blog would be like if the story was reversed; if for instance, as Maggie suggested:

    There would be disagreement with the opinion, but there wouldn’t be stupid typical Christian reaction:

    This boy has done something that is unbalanced, violent in my opinion. He tore that Bible apart as an effigy for Christians. This was not some kind of a demonstration about free speech; this was in my opinion the words of a sociopath.”

    My highlights in bold.

    It’s usually either that nonsense or the other pathetic tactic of dishonestly playing the victim. If there’s one thing Christians have it’s plenty of fake indignation. Firstly, how would you feel? *cry* *cry*

    Or even, let’s say, a copy of The God Delusion, and calling atheists these names publicly in class.

    Buy more copies! Rip more copies up! It’s not a sacred script. Buy God is not Great, End of Faith, etc… start book burning, as long you’re not destroying others property.

    Would it be okay for Christians to approve of a Christian student who did stuff like this against atheists?

    Yes… if the owner and moderator of this site wants them to. Unlike the Christian fascists, many atheists actually believe in freedom of speech. It would certainly be “okay” for them to say this, they’d just be very much mistaken, simple-minded ignoramuses.

    Or does the fact that you believe you are right and they are wrong in their beliefs make it okay for you but not for them?

    Atheism is a non-belief, but don’t worry, I don’t expect you to have understood that, it’s not like you spend time talking to atheists, or writing on an atheist blog. The whole idea that mutually exclusive claims can’t all be right might be hard for you to understand given your affliction.

  • cautious

    Is there any indication that “fighting for equal rights” had anything to do with this student’s demonstration?

    No, my response went …a fair bit off-topic. Re-reading the kid’s manifesto I realize that my initial response of “barf” to his Objectivism was the one I should have stuck to. He’s an atheist who thinks its cool to be a Ron Paul fan and thus has a lot less in common with me than say, me and this keyboard.

    I would suggest that history demonstrates that when the oppressed use the tactics of their oppressors to achieve their ends, they usually just wind up becoming the very thing which they were trying to overthrow in the first place.

    I …think this statement has little to do with my statement, which had more to do with the difference in connotation when an oppressed group uses, for example, provocative language to attack an oppressive institution, vs. when a member of the oppressing group uses that same language to oppress.

    Or put it this way. What’s the difference between this kid and the Bible? When this kid calls people who disagree with him “superstitious, simple-minded ignoramuses”, nobody calls that the Word of God.

    But you’re right, the oppressed need to use different tactics to achieve their ends than their oppressors, or else they’ll just become worse versions of their oppressors. Maybe atheists could do something like stop appealing to absolute authorities on moral matters… while simultaneously realizing that most people, for some reason, want such absolute authorities on moral matters to exist. Hmm. I guess we should probably invest in this wall of separation between church and state that some Tom Jefferson guy was talking about.

  • cautious

    I don’t expect you to have understood that, it’s not like you spend time talking to atheists, or writing on an atheist blog

    Mike, you don’t spend time talking to atheists or writing on an atheist blog? I take it your ghost writer wrote this?

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Mike, you don’t spend time talking to atheists or writing on an atheist blog? I take it your ghost writer wrote this?

    LOL… I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic. :)

    But I wouldn’t worry about it. At this point I pretty much expect Aj to heckle me no matter what I say. I’d be worried if he didn’t. :)

  • Aj

    MikeClawson,

    But I wouldn’t worry about it. At this point I pretty much expect Aj to heckle me no matter what I say. I’d be worried if he didn’t.

    Completely separate from the content of Mike’s comments. If you read my comments they don’t even address anything that Mike writes, there’s actually no disagreement.

    You can test it, if Mike now writes in agreement, then as predicted I will heckle the poor wretch, because I do regardless of what he may spew. It’s independent of his position obviously.

    Not that Mike should be compelled to answer any challenges to his babbling from his throne in the vacuous void.

  • Jen

    I’m wondering what the reaction to those kind of comments and approval of the student’s actions and attitudes would be by the atheists here. Would it be okay for Christians to approve of a Christian student who did stuff like this against atheists?

    Or does the fact that you believe you are right and they are wrong in their beliefs make it okay for you but not for them?

    I would compare it to race relations. Let’s say a black student tore up some white people’s book…. I don’t know, GQ magazine. Let’s say that while he was doing this tearing, he started calling white people “honkies”. Now let’s reverse that, and have a white student tearing up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings while calling the black students a terrible name.

    In the first case, you have a traditionally oppressed person striking out at the largest group of society, risking his personal freedom and safety to make a statement when the majority could react in real and terribly violent ways. In the second case, you are merely reacting along the lines of the status quo and further oppressing the minority group. It’s the reason that people with degrees in these matters say there is no such thing as “reverse racism”- briefly, that there can be minority groups that are real jerks because of race, but that they can’t be “racist” because the “racism” is based on a systematic oppression of people, and that system simply isn’t in place for black people against white people.

    This is, of course, despite the fact that atheists both love freedom of speech and don’t really care about Dawkin’s book.* I read it; I liked it, but I don’t even own a copy. Its not a sacred thing for me.

    *At least, not like Christians care about their Bibles.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    The kid just looks hysterical and needlessly rebellious. Most of you seem to lack all sense of perspective. I learned about tact when I was in grade school.

  • http://scottishatheist.org.uk Ian

    twisting the story around and asking “what if it was an atheist book, and he was calling atheists names” is rather pointless. Firstly, i doubt if I would care – atheists face that sort of abuse from christians all the damn time.

    Secondly, I’m not some dispassionate neutral observer here. I’m an atheist. The kid is one of us. Would you suddenly change which sporting team you were supporting because they took the lead and were not underdog any more? Do they have to agree with you 100% on every issue before you support them? of course not.

    The biggest difference between atheists and christians is that the christians will, by and large, support their own without over analysing. That’s why they are a dominant power block and we are a beaten down minority.

  • Daktar

    I admire his ability to speak up about his beliefs or lack thereof in a country which rarely tolerates atheism, but the manner in which he did it was really rather beyond the pale. I’m never really in favor of destroying books on any scale, unless it was something clearly intended to to cause harm, say, ‘The Jihadi’s Bumper Book of Bomb Making’. Even then I’d prefer to see it abandoned and ignored rather than physically destroyed.

    Furthermore, his ‘tiny minds’ comment just stinks of rebellious teenage ‘edgy’ atheism, with little thought put into the philosophy and rationale behind disbelief, instead taking a few choice quotes in order to appear knowledgeable about the subject. It just sounds as though he’s affecting intellectual superiority.

    Back to the book destruction issue, I think we should be be taking the moral high ground when it comes to censorship. Let the pastors and evangelicals buy their own copies of The Selfish Gene or God is not Great and burn them if they wish. We’ll allow Bibles, Korans, Torahs or whatever to stay perfectly intact worldwide. Just so long as the religious keep their noses out of public libraries and allow our ideas equal time alongside their own.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    The kid just looks hysterical and needlessly rebellious. Most of you seem to lack all sense of perspective. I learned about tact when I was in grade school.

    I would think learning about tact in grade school would be rather advanced so hats off to you. Acting tactfully takes many people much longer and some people never figure it out. Through middle and high school, most people are trying to figure the world out. Hormones are going nuts, you are dealing with parents, school, zits, and all that “teen angst”. I may not agree with the way he presented his project, but I don’t find it surprising. There is nothing wrong with pushing boundries as a youth.

  • Mriana

    The kid just looks hysterical and needlessly rebellious. Most of you seem to lack all sense of perspective. I learned about tact when I was in grade school.

    Most teenagers are rebellious, but at the same time we cannot force them to suppress their feelings. This is part of what causes emotional explosions, not like this kid, but far worse. What we can do teach them to express their feelings in appropriate ways that are not harmful to others. Again, what he did was not harmful to others. Was it appropriate? I will admit there are other ways and better ways to express his feelings, but I am happy he did not express himself in a manner that was harmful to others. Books can be replaced, people can’t. I don’t think I can express that enough.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Secondly, I’m not some dispassionate neutral observer here. I’m an atheist. The kid is one of us. Would you suddenly change which sporting team you were supporting because they took the lead and were not underdog any more? Do they have to agree with you 100% on every issue before you support them? of course not.

    The way I look at it, we’re all on the same team. We’re all just members of the human race trying to learn how to treat each other with justice and love. And I’d be equally offended if a Christian or an atheist got up in a public school classroom and started verbally insulting the other – because either way they are insulting someone on “my team”, “one of us”.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    It’s all very well to say that by teenager standards, he’s typical or something, but that’s quite a ways away from showering him with praise. The mere avoidance of violence while expressing himself is not sufficient to merit praise, not by any standards.

  • Mriana

    miller said,

    March 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    It’s all very well to say that by teenager standards, he’s typical or something, but that’s quite a ways away from showering him with praise. The mere avoidance of violence while expressing himself is not sufficient to merit praise, not by any standards.

    Miller, if you are addressing me, I didn’t use the word typical, not did I shower him with praise. I was purely speaking on a psychological level, which had nothing to do with praise or typical.

    However, if you are dressing someone else… nevermind.

  • Maria

    while I get where he was going with this, it’s stupid to tear up a book. he could have made his point without doing that I think. that was immature, but it is free speech.

  • Baraeris

    The author of this article falls prey to the style vs. substance fallacy. I know you’re supposed to be the “friendly” atheist but that doesn’t mean that you have to be servile.


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