Consider Humanism: The Largest Atheist Ad Campaign In History

Today, the American Humanist Association is launching the largest atheist ad campaign in history. It challenges Biblical morality and fundamentalist Christianity and it’s bound to get a lot of attention.

There will be a TV commercial during Dateline NBC this Friday night.

There will be billboards in Idaho and Philadelphia and bus ads in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

There will be ads on cable TV, ads in magazines like Reason and The Progressive, and ads in newspapers in places like USA Today, the Seattle Times, and the Village Voice all “demonstrating that secular humanist values are consistent with mainstream America and that fundamentalist religion has no right to claim the moral high ground.”

It’s called “Consider Humanism” and you’ll be hearing a lot about this campaign in the coming weeks — click on the ads for larger PDFs:

According to the AHA’s press release:

“Humanist values are mainstream American values, and this campaign will help many people realize that they are already humanists and just did not know the term,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Humanists believe in and value love, equality, peace, freedom and reason — values that are comparable to those of moderate and liberal religious people.”

“It’s important that people recognize that a literal reading of religious texts is completely out of touch with mainstream America,” Speckhardt added. “Although religious texts can teach good lessons, they also advocate fear, intolerance, hate and ignorance. It’s time for all moderate people to stand up against conservative religion’s claim on a moral monopoly.”

I love that the campaign includes verses from the Koran and the New Testament.

I know it’ll be easy for Christians to say, “Of course I don’t believe that,” but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? It’s silly to take a literal interpretation of the Bible. It also makes no sense for so many religious moderates to dismiss the Old Testament rules when the New Testament ones aren’t much better.

The point is that religious texts say some horrible things and we shouldn’t put them on a pedestal. We certainly should’ve base our lives around them. The more we can expose people to that kind of thinking and steer them toward Humanism, the better off we’ll all be.

Incidentally, the total cost of the campaign is $200,000 (with $150,000 coming from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation). If you want to keep the campaign going, you can donate here.

So let’s hear it:

How will Christians react?

How effective will the campaign be?

Do you like the campaign?

  • http://Welldone! Rieux

    This is the most courageous and productive step I’ve seen a specifically humanist group take in quite a while. Strongly agree with Hemant about the impressiveness of including NT passages.

    My one nitpick is about the Luke 12:5 passage: the ad should note that that’s Jesus speaking, too. It’s Jesus preaching fire, brimstone and “fear,” as he does so shockingly frequently in the Gospels.

    But that citation issue is a minor quibble. Kudos, AHA!

  • asonge

    I would like to also see more contemporary Christian and religious folk being quoted here, Rick Warren in particular. The Purpose Driven Life is full of these Biblically inspired ideas and reflects the modern Christianity more than the Bible does…in particular, quoting Rick Warren gets you away from “OMG OLD TESTAMENT, OLD COVENANT! DOES NOT APPLY!”

    Other than that? I like it.

  • http://www.siouxlandatheists.org Dana

    Hmmmm, Reason and The Progressive are probably not magazines I would choose for this message…most funadamental Christians or those who think Atheism is a bad thing, probably don’t read those regularly. The ads would be more effective in a more “mainstream” magazine….but I still think it’s great that they are trying!

  • Dan

    I hope the American Humanist Association has some sort of protection against attacks. I see Muslims having more chance of attacking than Christians. But it could go either way.

    I’m sure they’ll be some defacing of the advertisements.

    My guess: Muslims will threaten violence, Christians will deface property.

  • Claudia

    I absolutely love it. I love the idea of taking the bad ideas from religion and not only saying they are wrong and immoral, but putting something in their place.

    Atheism is true, but Humanism is good.

  • Rieux

    As for Hemant’s other questions:

    How will Christians react?

    It’ll run the usual gamut. Right-wingers will excoriate AHA as intolerant bigots and/or evil infidels. Liberally religious people will tut-tut and roll their eyes and express exasperation that anyone could so horribly misconstrue religion and the Bible.

    And plenty of religious folks will learn some eye-opening things they didn’t know before about the notions they profess to believe—and, silently, their conceptions of religion and the Bible will change a little, and for the worse.

    That’s progress. Which is why we can expect religious folks to protest loudly.

    How effective will the campaign be?

    If past experience is any guide, AHA will see a huge bump in the number of membership applications they receive. (Hell, I’m considering submitting one myself.) By that measure, I suspect it will be very effective.

    Then, at the broader project of lessening the power and privilege that religious notions have in our society, it’ll do a little. Just like the Four Horsemen’s books have done a little. And “Friendly Atheist” and other atheist blogs are continually doing a little. And the reliable misconduct of so many (usually fundamentalist) religious people does a little. Drip, drip, drip, and the hole in the religious-privilege dam becomes a little larger… a little larger….

  • Robert W.

    The press release says that humanist support mainstream American values.

    Since when was supporting gay marriage a mainstream American value? It isn’t and never has been. Everytime it goes to a vote of the people it gets overruled.

    I wonder why the quotes for the humanist position were not taken from the humanist manifesto. But then it would be obvious that it doesn’t mention freedom, love or equality at all. It mentions complete faith in science to solve all of man’s problems.

    And with the exception of the quote from Bertrand Russel and maybe Einstein, Christians could belief what the bible says and the professed humanist potition.

  • Troglodyke

    I gotta say, though I like the campaign as a whole, Robert is right.

    On the ad with the Leviticus quote, the Humanist position should be that Humanists affirm that human sexuality is not something to be ashamed of, it is natural and positive, and sexual contact between consenting adults is no one’s business but their own, and does not harm society. We’ve got to get people to loosen up about the idea of sex in general a bit more before cramming same-sex marriage down someone’s throat. It’s a narrow issue.

    I am a proponent of gay marriage, but Robert is correct: it loses the popular vote every time. Is this because “the other side” scares the crap out of people? Yes. But the facts are still there.

  • Rieux

    Since when was supporting gay marriage a mainstream American value?

    The mainstream American value is the equal protection of the laws, which is codified in the Fourteenth Amendment. California federal and Iowa state courts, among others, have explained in overwhelming detail how civil marriage equality is an indisputable matter of equal protection. Evidently you weren’t paying attention.

    The fact that you and other reactionaries think there is an exception to equal protection that’s marked out by your own bigotry does not change any of this. Equal protection is a bedrock American value regardless of your refusal to apply it to people you hate.

    Once upon a time, your intellectual forebears argued—based on the same religious and then demographic notions you are pushing here—that school segregation and anti-miscegenation policies were “mainstream American values.” But the Fourteenth Amendment, and the justices applying it, knew better.

    I wonder why the quotes for the humanist position were not taken from the humanist manifesto.

    Perhaps because there are three Humanist Manifestos, humanism being a system that adapts to changing circumstances. Why you think a document drafted in 1933 is a necessary citation for the modern AHA is less than clear. The current Manifesto, finalized in 2003, is nothing like your representations. (Hint: that Manifesto is what’s being quoted in the ad that also cites Exodus 21.)

    And with the exception of the quote from Bertrand Russel and maybe Einstein, Christians could belief what the bible says and the professed humanist potition.

    So you think the Hepburn quote is congruent with Christianity? Ha!

    Like it or not, every one of those ads draws a stark contrast between a religious idea and a humanist one. The fact that some Christians manage a cognitive dissonance in which they think they can affirm both

    A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

    And:

    The rights of men and women should be equal and sacred….

    …merely demonstrates religious folks’ ability to perform intellectual contortions; it does nothing to show any kind of actual philosophical compatibility.

  • Rieux

    Troglodyke:

    On the ad with the Leviticus quote, the Humanist position should be that Humanists affirm that human sexuality is not something to be ashamed of, it is natural and positive, and sexual contact between consenting adults is no one’s business but their own, and does not harm society.

    All of that is true, but also, and for those very reasons (among others), humanists support civil marriage equality.

    Your description is much tougher to fit on a short ad than the text of the 2004 resolution is.

    And come on: how is stating that humanists are in favor of sexual equality and civil marriage for GLBs “cramming” anything down anyone’s “throats”? That notion is straight (heh) out of the right-wing homophobic playbook.

  • Eric

    I have one contentions with the sign. The quote from Humanism and its Aspirations says that each person should be treated as they have inherent worth. I do not think there is any good proof that there is some sort of inherent property that people have that makes them magically important. Instead I would say morality is about the relationships between different things and desires. Because both desires and relationships between things are real, moral motivation and thought for me stems from that. Look up Desire utilitarianism if you want to learn more about what I mean by that.

    On another note, the black (evil) and white (good) motif is completely fine because color is just another way to convey a message(like in a painting). I have my way of conveying the difference between moral theories.

  • Gilraen

    I think it’s a great idea, and I wish them the best. It will be interesting to see what reactions various groups have to the signs/ads. I wish the signs could come to other cities, too.

  • Tim

    Liberal and Moderate Christians will praise the message, ignoring or barely mentioning its godlessness. Mainstream and fundamentalist Christians will decry the entire campaign because of its atheism; proving yet again that they don’t really care about the values, just the belief in superstition. It will probably get a lot of news play, with the media plastering “ATHEISM” and “ANTI-CHRISTIAN” all over the campaign, while glossing over the entirely-positive message. Christian’s persecution complexes will begin itching.

    The campaign will be very effective, if not at raising our image in the eyes of Christians, at giving fellow atheists and humanists the courage to be confident in their beliefs.

    I love the campaign.

  • http://www.DangerousTalk.net DangerousTalk

    I actually don’t like this campaign. If these are going to be on billboards they will not be effective. They are far too wordy. They should be only 7 or 8 words and be quick to read and understand by someone driving past.

    Putting Islamic quotes is also useless unless they are next to Bible quotes. If those two Islamic billboards are out on their own, no body will pay any attention to them. It only makes sense when comparing them to Bible quotes.

    I really hope the commercial is better, because these ads suck. AHA should really have consulted Fred Edwords on this.
    -Staks
    PhillyCoR Coordinator
    (this is the first I heard that it will be in Philly)

  • Lost Left Coaster

    @Robert:

    Since when was supporting gay marriage a mainstream American value? It isn’t and never has been. Everytime it goes to a vote of the people it gets overruled.

    According to an Associated Press poll from this year, 52% of Americans now support marriage equality. Link here (PDF warning, see page 8 of the document).

    Obviously it is still a contentious issue, but you can’t necessarily judge the popularity of a topic nationwide by who comes out to vote. Voters are not a representative random sample of the American people.

    Also, I suspect when they say that that humanist values are mainstream American values, they’re talking about American values like equality and freedom that are often held up as examples of what America stands for. Thus, supporting equality and freedom for LGBT people is in fact a reflection of mainstream American values.

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    What the religious will hear: “We want to get high on drugs, kill your god, enslave the souls of your children, and have a homosexual orgy on a pile of bibles.”

  • Rieux

    We want to get high on drugs, kill your god, enslave the souls of your children, and have a homosexual orgy on a pile of bibles.

    Sounds like a fun weekend to me!

  • http://sassyseminarian.blogspot.com Julie

    Actually, as a Christian, I think this is an incredibly effective ad campaign. A lot of the comments here point out (correctly) that many Christians will jump all over them with “ZOMG OLD TESTAMENT,” but we have to realize that we can’t say that 99.9% of what is said in the OT doesn’t apply but the parts about “homosexuality” (not even a concept they would have had back then) do. I think the AHA is very wise to show how Humanists are living out their beliefs about human equality and kindness…it unsettles me, as a Christian (because I know that fellow Christians are not acting in such ways), and I frankly think that means it’s a good campaign.

    Also, in Systems Centered Therapy, there’s this concept called “functional subgrouping” where you look at someone who, at the outset, seems very different from yourself, and you find the nuanced ways that you are similar to that person. This often helps to resolve big conflicts, but can also just help someone see that they are not so different from the person sitting across the room from them. For those of us who are “liberal” Christians, I think this ad campaign might help us find a functional subgroup with Humanists. While we might seem very, very different from Humanists, a lot of the quotes used to counter the Bible in this campaign are in line with our understanding of God (but please don’t interpret this as me trying to co-opt Humanist ideas for Christianity!). Maybe this can help build bridges and create helpful dialogues with Humanists where we haven’t always had them before.

    [Side note: sorry if this is disjointed...I'm attempting to divide my attention between posting here and paying attention in class, so it might be a little jumbled. Please let me know if anything needs clarification!]

  • http://www.DangerousTalk.net DangerousTalk

    It’s official, the commercials suck too. Between these ads and the impossible to read all white people FFRF ads, it seems like we need some more media savvy atheists.

  • Rose

    I like the campaign. I think this one has been well thought out. It almost goes far enough.

    I think it is missing a few things, though. It isn’t only atheists that are humanists. I think the campaign would be more effective if it didn’t separate secular and religious humanists. By including religious humanists, more “mainstream” religious people would be able to relate to humanism. By only relating to secular humanism, it excludes, and creates a defensive position for a lot of people who live, and are involved in religious communities. These are the people that would be willing to consider humanism as an acceptable alternative to religion. And whether or not they are ready to embrace it, it would further the potential for the toleration, and later, acceptance, of humanism as a replacement.

    It is a great next step though. But if I were a curious liberally religious person wanting to know more, I would expect to go to the website, considerhumanism.org, and see more information (such as the humanist manifesto at the very least) about humanism. I wouldn’t expect to go to the site to find more about the ad campaign. I think they are totally missing the ball on that.

    Also, I don’t know what the plan is for the videos but they seem to be saying the same exact thing as the other ads. That might be ok but I don’t think they are nearly effective as the print ads in the same format. It is difficult to hear those words and have the same comparison effect. I actually think the videos are more harmful than helpful. Simply adding the text to the videos would improve them greatly.

    Just my 2 cents. I think that each campaign will bring new insights and AHA will learn what works and what doesn’t. I look forward to seeing what results may come from this campaign.

  • Rieux

    Julie:

    Side note: sorry if this is disjointed…

    No, that was a terrific comment. Coherent, too. No need to apologize.

  • Kaitlin

    I absolutely love this! I only follow a few blogs but ever since I saw this one I’ve been dedicated to reading it. Thank you for making me feel normal in a family full of dogma :) Cheers to sanity!

  • Darryl

    I have already found the ad very useful as a way to communicate to a couple of family members what I have had a hard time getting across with my own words. (So, yes, they’re getting some support from me.)

    I was a liberal Christian for a long time, and had plenty of common cause with secular humanists. (So much so that I jumped ship.) I’m glad to hear that this rang true for you, Julie, and I hope that your “functional subgroup” does indeed gather and thrive. (And then jumps ship, just like me!)

    I agree that going to the linked website should emphasize information about the movement over the campaign itself.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    They are very simple and very clear. An awesome campaign.

    How will Christians react? That depends I think. “Christian” is such a nebulous term that many will react favourably while many will treat it like we’ve just set fire to granny.

    How effective will the campaign be? One thing is certain. It won’t be ignored.

    Do you like the campaign?

    I like it a lot. As Robert W says “Christians could belief what the bible says and the professed humanist position”. That means that a lot of Christians will look at humanism and see that it isn’t a nest of venomous vipers ready to devour their children. They’ll hopefully lose any fear of the idea of secularism and accept it as normal even if they don’t abandon their faith and join up.

    That said I do think that a lot of believers need only an alternative to religion in order to leave it. Does the AHA offer this? Maybe.

  • Samiimas

    Since when was supporting gay marriage a mainstream American value? It isn’t and never has been. Everytime it goes to a vote of the people it gets overruled.

    96% of Americans opposed interracial marriage. Doesn’t change the fact that they were pathetic bigots pissing all over the ideals of freedom and equality this nation is supposed to stand for.

    Equal rights for LBGT people is an American value no matter how much the bigots want to argue otherwise and I’m glad this ad has the balls to point out that atheists are the ones fighting for equality while theists try to take our rights away.

  • Alex

    So after we convert all the muslims and christians or other anti-naturalists in the crowd, where do they go? What community and support options have we given them?

  • Daniel

    Those Christians prone to public statements will deride the attack on themselves with a caveat that the ads are correct about Islam. The others won’t care much.

    It will get a few more people to think about their religion – always a good thing for Atheism.

    I like it over all, but would be happier if the ads were being targeted towards tougher audiences.

    D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are fine, but how about Atlanta, Nashville, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City?

  • Daniel

    Those Christians prone to public statements will deride the attack on themselves with a caveat that the ads are correct about Islam. The others won’t care much.

    It will get a few more people to think about their religion – always a good thing for Atheism.

    I like it over all, but would be happier if the ads were being targeted towards tougher audiences.

    D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are fine, but how about Atlanta, Nashville, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City?

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    Personally, I like the campaign. Every time I have talked to one of my religious acquaintances who finds out that I am an atheist, they express surprise because, “You are so cheerful all the time, and so nice!” And of course, that can’t happen without religion!

    If there is one message about atheism that I think it is important to convey it is that being without a god or religion does NOT equal depravity, and that is what this campaign concentrates on. It is a entirely false misconception that is nonetheless extremely widespread. If we can attack that misconception, then atheism will become a much more tenable viewpoint to many people, and even if they do not leave their faiths they will, hopefully, become more accepting of those who do not share it.

    And DangerousTalk, I understand your viewpoint regarding the design, but I think that the message they are trying to convey is slightly more complex than would effectively be achieved by four or five words. I agree there will likely be a lot of tl;dr. But I also think that by removing their direct quotations it would lose some of its impact and take on the ring of “heresay” or “just another attack without basis” to those who don’t already have a humanist outlook on life. (of course, if someone came up with an effective counter example I would be willing to admit that I was completely wrong about that.. after all my sister might be a designer, but I certainly am not)

  • Rieux

    Alex:

    So after we convert all the muslims and christians or other anti-naturalists in the crowd, where do they go? What community and support options have we given them?

    I’m not sure who suggested that “our” aim is mass conversion—but as for “options,” uh, how about the American Humanist Association?

    To pick one totally at, er, random?

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    Alex:

    Not all community, and social support comes from religious activities… in fact I would hazard to say that almost all of it doesn’t…

    I was raised without religion, and I have always had more than enough social and community support from friends, schools, groups I’ve joined, work colleagues, heck even tea shops and restaurants I’ve frequented… we’re human it is coded into us to form social groups, whatever the interest or commonality is that we decide to group around.

    Besides mostly my aim as an atheist wouldn’t necessarily be to convert people to my viewpoint so much as it is to demonstrate that it isn’t as untenable as many people like to pretend and/or believe.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    I like it. Although seeing all the billboards messages together was a powerful experience, I wonder how effective each one in isolation will be. Ads in magazines may be quite effective if they can combine several of these billboard slogans together.

  • Claudia

    @Julie, that’s a very interesting way to think about the campaign, thanks so much. I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Liberal Christians and/or doubters will look at the contrasting statements and realize that they self-associate much more with the Humanist stance than the religious dogma stance. People are more likely to support and defend groups with which they identify, so this campaign will not only (hopefully) bring more indifferent atheists into Humanism but also garner sympathy amongst well meaning theists.

    If you’re that insightful when distracted, you must be a sight to behold concentrated ;)

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    That said I do think that a lot of believers need only an alternative to religion in order to leave it. Does the AHA offer this? Maybe.

    @hoverFrog: Funny, I was thinking something opposite. The billboards are all fine and well, but if I just got out of a real religion, the last thing I’d want to do is join some quasi-religion like Humanism. Having just escaped the conformity factory of organized religion, why replace it with the conformity factory of organized atheism?

    The trick is not changing the social domination game you play, where everyone falls into the category of either a leader or a follower – i.e. a controller or the controlled; the trick is escaping the game altogether. That’s true freedom, and it’s invaluable and grossly underrated.

    What community and support options have we given them?

    @Alex: I take it your question was rhetorical, but the answer is, as always, ‘None!’

    But then my only sense of community is defined by whatever zip code I happen to be residing in at the time, so what do I know?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    A few thoughts:

    * As a practical matter, those ads are far better suited for print media than they are for billboards or bus signs. The small text is hard to read for someone who has only a few seconds to see the ad.

    * It was wise to use the phrase “What Some Believe” rather than “What Christians [or Muslims or Jews] Believe,” since not every believer will take the texts cited at face value.

    * Even given what I said above, Luke 14:26 was probably a bad choice of passage, since even conservative Christians will recognize Jesus’ use of “hate” as rhetorical exaggeration.

    * I saw the videos of the ads, and I think they made a mistake in having Dawkins in one of them. Yes, he’s famous, and yes, many atheists like him, but his reputation amongst the target audience is dodgy. (Note that whether he has earned that reputation is beside the point. Advertising is often not about what’s fair.)

    * The rest of the video ads are fine, though, and the only quibble I have with them is that I would have preferred it if they had showed the text on screen, possibly below or to the side of each talking head.

  • http://www.eatingnormal.com Karen

    If the aim of the ads is to explain what we believe, I think they do a fair job. I agree with the comment that they’re very wordy. And, I would add cerebral, typical of us Humanists. Reading them didn’t give me, as a secular Humanist, any ah-ha moments, as I had reading the ad “good without God.” However, the ads are a start in setting the record straight about who we are.

  • James

    In regards to the ads. Mind you I am not Christian (am formerly). My basic beliefs form from a few Wicca reliions but Id thought Id poke at these ads.

    1 Timothy 2 – What I can gather is that this is a passage about going to church to worship, Paul wrote about issues when trying to do services and this passages deals with how it should work for both men and women, attire and behavior. The attire was not restricted just because of sexual connotation of a woman’s dress but of ones that may flaunt their wealth and disturb worship. Sure anyone can take this small passage and take it out of contect thinking it was ment to submit woment but you can do that with most texts from the BiBle if you take them literally without first knowing what the passage is for. Also the ad is only showing Vers 11 – 15, not all of 1 Timothy 2. Also this particular Chapter is addressing the current problems they were facing with disturbances. Just because men or women were specifically mentioned in the verse it is directed to all to follow but only directed because that was the group that was doing it at that time.

    Exodus 21:20-21 – TBH this whole chapter for the most part deals with Servants and personal injury. This particular set deals with a person excessively beating their servant/slave. Remember at the time this was written times were much different than they are now and back then servants were considered property of the person that owned their services. Verse 21 refers to the assumptions that if they recover that it was due to being punished, similar that of disciplining a child by spanking. If you look at verse 26 and 27 it further goes that bodily harm to a servant will cause them to go free. 26/27 specifically talks about taking out an eye or tooth but I would assume this rule can go for any permanent harm to the servant.

    Proverbs 3:5 – This pertains to faith. This talks about how using your heart for your beliefs instead of your head that it will yield more for you. This has nothing to do with anything material. This small section is easily misinterpreted when only part of the proverb is posted as is. This only refers to a persons faith in the religion nothing more, it is not stating you shouldnt think only that your faith through your heart and not your head is far greater in rewards.

    Leviticus 20:13 (Ad is typoed) – According to what I can find this is in reference to Male Temple Prostitutes and also how when Moses lead his people away from Egypt to not continue the pagan religious rituals that they were practicing at that time. I believe that is wny the full chapter states all that, it was part of the ritual that the Canaanite religions had for fertility rites. They essentially did every kind of sexual practice, which Leviticus 20 prohibits. In context its saying: ‘You shall not do what they did when you were in Egypt, this stops when I bring you to the land we are going to.’ Literally, its easy to surmise that is against homosexuality but we all know that the bible cant be taken literally.

    Luke 12:5 – This is another passage easy to misinterperet. Though it says to fear God in context it refers to how much power God has and that in that fear you will have satisfaction and that you will not be visited with evil. In the bible there are many references beyond this that explain that hrough the fear of God you will be content and gain the wisdom of God as through that fear he will teach you. Remember this is a faith and with faith and fear of God this is what bring absolution for people that believe in this. This is a fear not of just consequences but the rewards from the powers of God that can be brought.

    Luke 14:25/26 – The word hate is being taken out of context here to. Its not hate in the same meaning we know today, this is in reference to ‘to love less’. This means that if you are going to be a Disciple of Christ you must love him more than any other.

    Hosea 13:16 – This was a warning to who it was directed to. The context of this passage refers to the rebellion against God. If the people repent, no action was taken. This goes along the line of everything that the Bible is. God is everything, he has power both reqarding and consequential and that because of that it requires faith from you to reap the most, those that dont face the consequences of their actions. Think of it as a moral of a story of what not to do, thats all that this is referring to.

    1 Samuel 15:3 – Again remember for its time, the word of God was law, only he was able to make this type of decision. This is most likely due to the cruelty the Amalekites did upon God’s people which is why that was decreed. Nowadays we have things in place to prevent this but some passages just really cant reflect with the way things are today.

    Though the bible is considered to be the word of God, remember is was written by men (quite a few in fact). Just think of it this way with each person comes their own interpretation, whether or not that was the intention of God’s word or not each person inflected their being into the writings. Even so today’s translations may not be correct in context as our word meanings differ from days old. Bible shouldnt be taken literally. It is a guidence for those that want it. Im not saying its the correct path or not but it is no ones place to influence a belief. Everyone is entitled to believe what they will.

  • ScarletA

    Look…whether it is a perfect campaign or not, is IS…and that’s what matters. At this point…in the Phoenix area…we are bombarded with dogma. Even my teachers and classmates in college talk all the time about their mormon activities in class. so inappropriate, but I doggedly wear my “A” necklace, and whenever I’m asked, I speak in earnest about my beliefs. It’s true…drip by drip…drop by drop…

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  • http://www.meaningwithoutgodproject.blogspot.com Jeffrey A. Myers

    I really like the ads. Much better than the American Atheist ad for Christmas that was discussed last week.

    Couldn’t agree more – the OT, NT, Quran all contain a lot of horrific, awful, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, bloodthirsty, racist, xenophobic bullshit that has no place in modern society.

    Humanism is and has been America’s value system for a long ass time. We haven’t had a judeo-christian moral center for quite a while. It’s about time we started pointing that out.

  • http://www.atheistatom.com Atheist Atom

    Exposure is good. I’m not a humanist, because we share this world with animals, most of which have more value than some humans. Anyway, keep chipping away at the destructive delusions. >A<

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I’m not much of a fan of asking how Christians will react to something. It’s a lot like asking how men will react to something. Some Christians can be pretty predictable, but not all.

  • Caitlin

    I posted this campaign on my facebook page, as I quite liked it and wanted to share. I got this response from a Christian (“Latin Rite Catholic”) acquaintance, and I wanted to ask for help–how does one even begin to respond to this? I think I’m a little too baffled, angry and unfamiliar with debating this particular subject to know how to react without devolving into ad hominems and snide remarks.

    The response I got was:
    “Humanism is ridiculous, deny religious ideology, but idealize science (which is wholly inadequate for understanding certain human issues), reject a philosophical basis for ethics (instead relying on relativism and other circumstantial “feel… good” ethics), claim to follow reason and support democracy (which is the antithesis of reason and scientific inquiry[imagine if scientific facts were determined by voting]). All humanism is is a rejection of gods and religion to be replaced by an ill defined concept of “humanity” which is no different in the final practical application. Its a way for people to feel self-important. I will re-iterate one of my favorite quotes “We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion.”-Michael Crichton.”

  • Steve

    @James
    Sure there are various interpretations to the Bible. Few if any people know what some of the most controversial ones actually mean.

    But you have to distinguish who is doing the misinterpreting. Some of what you claim are atheists seeing only the bad stuff in it. But in the case of the whole Leviticus verses, it’s the theist who don’t know what it really means. That’s an important difference.

    The word “abomination” is the real issue. It has connotations of something intrinsically bad and evil. The Hebrew word used there (toevah) actually means behavior common among non-Jews, but prohibited for Jews. It’s more like a social taboo or ritual uncleanliness. The entire Leviticus rules are a holiness code. One that arguably only applies to Levite priests.

  • Bram

    Although I consider myself to be a humanist, I think these ads are giving off an overly strong “us” against “them” vibe. The sharp black & white contrast, the quotes that are rather extremist.

    The best this will do is throw more fuel on the fire and pit people against each other even more. Which is exactly the opposite we should strive for.

  • reparker

    @James

    Luke 14:25/26 – The word hate is being taken out of context here to. Its not hate in the same meaning we know today, this is in reference to ‘to love less’. This means that if you are going to be a Disciple of Christ you must love him more than any other.

    I agree with that interpretation, but I still think that’s kind of terrible. I say love the actual people in your life before you go and find other non-existent things to love.

    Regarding the ads:

    There are a couple of nit-picky things in the ads that bother me. For one, they have a lot of text. There are handy, bold-faced words to get the main message across without having to read the whole thing to help with that problem, but this is where the second issue comes in.
    On two of the ads, the boldface words in the Humanist section are negative, which confuses the message (even though the whole quote is very positive). In one, you see FEAR twice and in the other, GENOCIDE. Probably could have bolded “CONQUER FEAR” and maybe “PUNISH ACTS OF GENOCIDE” instead.

  • James

    @Steve

    Its hard to tell though as we translate the Bible if we are using the correct context not everything will translate well. Who are we to say that the current versions are exactly how they were meant for the time?

    I see the bible as such: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. If someone choses to believe in the Bible that is a chose they make, same as my choice in my belief that we are part of one big energy source and that when we die, we go back to it and are redistributed. I go along the notion and belief that energy is neither created or destroyed, only transferred.

    It is very easy with current bible translations to pick a ver and say ‘OMG thats wrong!’ or anything else that may suit your arguement

  • ManaCostly

    I dislike the first one becouse it gives the impression that humanism is against same sex marriage.

  • Jane

    I like them for the most part. However, the layout is a bit annoying (you shouldn’t split words at the end of a line). This is from a Proofreading point of view.

    Love the message and the idea. Would be hard to use on billboards, though. Maybe a much shortened version could work.

  • Claudia

    @Caitlin,

    Someone like that is likely to be too far gone for you to reach, but if you want a response here are a few ideas:

    Hi! You’re mistaken about Humanism, but that can be solved easily. Go here to find out what Humanism is about:
    http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_Are/About_Humanism

    Generally, humanists reject religious dogma and support science for the same reason; we think humans should be guided by evidence. If you don’t use evidence, you can end up believing many silly things. Maybe you think that the people who believe in an elephant god (Ganesha) are wrong, but all they have is a different faith as you. The only way to distinguish things that are true from things that are not is evidence.

    I don’t think Humanism is self-important. It just says that we should try to make life as good and fair for one another as we can. I think it would be more self-important to assume that an all-powerful deity created a mind-numbingly gigantic universe with an uncountable number of stars 14 billion years ago, then arranged for a dazzling explosion of life on one particular planet all for the benefit of my puny little species.

  • Jamie

    I posted this campaign on my facebook page, as I quite liked it and wanted to share. I got this response from a Christian (“Latin Rite Catholic”) acquaintance, and I wanted to ask for help–how does one even begin to respond to this?

    [...]

    I’d simply respond point-by-point:

    ————

    Humanism does not argue for science, it simply argues against supernatural dogma and its validity as the basis for morality.

    Humanism does not reject a philosophical basis for ethics, it rejects a purely theological basis for ethics: philosophy covers the religious arguments of Aquinas and Pascal just as much as it does the secular arguments of atheistic philosophers, and the relativism you deride is simply one stance among many in the philosophical literature.

    Humanism does support democracy in a scientific context: Peer-review and collaboration are important aspects of scientific research, and anyone is freely able to propose hypotheses to be tested and otherwise participate in the scientific process. “Democratic rule” means that everyone has a voice, not that everything is simply decided by a majority vote.

    “The values of science and the values of democracy are concordant, in many cases indistinguishable. Science and democracy began – in their civilized incarnations – in the same time and place, Greece in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. . . . Science thrives on, indeed requires, the free exchange of ideas; its values are antithetical to secrecy. Science holds to no special vantage points or privileged positions. Both science and democracy encourage unconventional opinions and vigorous debate. Both demand adequate reason, coherent argument, rigorous standards of evidence and honesty.” Carl Sagan

    “Humanity” is not ill-defined. You are part of humanity. I am part of humanity. Every human being on Earth is part of humanity, and every single member of humanity deserves the same right to knowledge and freedom from superstitious dogma as any other.

    “And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – and we believe they can do it again.” John F. Kennedy

    ————

    Hope that helps.

  • anon

    They won’t be having any in the south? :(

  • Kamaka

    James @ FreeReligionLesson.com

    This is another passage easy to misinterperet.

    The difficulties of biblical interpretation have been the cause of murder and war for nearly 2000 years.

    From Phillip Jenkins’ “Jesus Wars”: “The bible is anything but clear on the relationship between Christ’s human and divine natures.” The christers have been killing each other over this one biblical ambiguity for a very long time, so I find your “interpretation” apologetics lacking in credibility.
    ———–

    Awesome campaign! What a great way to deflate the arrogant “moral high-ground” claim of the religionists.

    But..but, this advertising campaign should have targeted the Ten Commandments! Y’know, the basis of all human moral law that not one of the religionists find convenient (or possible) to actually obey.

  • http://www.perigee-syzygy.com Perigee-syzygy

    This post has generated a lot of interesting discussion. Thanks!

    It also makes no sense for so many religious moderates to dismiss the Old Testament rules when the New Testament ones aren’t much better.

    It frustrates me when Christians try to sweep all the horrific violence of the OT under the carpet when they say, “Oh but that was before Jesus came and fixed things” (i.e.paying the price for the sins of the world through his death). According to my understanding of the scriptures, Christians are still worshiping the god of the OT, Jesus or no Jesus.

    Sure it was humans who did most of the slaughtering and enacted many of the absurd ‘rules’ in the OT, but god’s stamp of approval is evident in most of these passages. The OT atrocities do not warrant an easy dismissal. I like that this campaign points them out, but I fear that Christians will flippantly wave them away by saying, “Oh, but that was before Jesus came and fixed things”. The NT references are valuable for this reason.

  • Sahara

    I really dislike how so many of these quotes are being presented out of context. While this isn’t true of every single one of the chosen quotes, some of these need to be read with the entire paragraph, chapter, and so on in order to be truly understood. Sure, people will misinterpret them anyways, but this will definitely cause a lot of misunderstanding. I’m afraid this won’t be much better than those Christians who read the one line in the Bible that says not to cut hair and then treat it as though people with short hair are hellbound.

  • Butters

    This is the worst cherry-picking I have ever seen.

    1. This is stated by Paul, not Jesus. Paul is not God, nor Enlightened, and he is obviously a misogynist, as many ‘humanists’ (used interchangeably with ‘atheists’ in the ad campaign, so I’ll follow suit) throughout history have been. One good example is the Marquis de Sade, a rapist, avowed misogynist and pornographer: http://www.investigatingatheism.info/atheistamoralism.html.

    6. ‘Some people’ also believe: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4)

    7. This is a metaphorical expression of detachment. ‘Hate’ here refers to a willingness to renounce. And the amazing thing is that the humanist ad then contrasts the idea of being kind to others with this teaching of Jesus! Because we all know that Jesus didn’t bother about kindness or love at all, right *rolls eyes*.

  • gabe35

    I have only one thing to say:

    Please, those atheists out there, do not mark moderate christians/Jews/Muslims etc. for what fundamentalists believe. I (though no longer ‘technically’ a Chrsitian myself [go agnostics =)], but I was) have seen many wonderful people, who simply never knew the bad parts of their beiefs. Many make there own bibles that leave out the bad stuff, and that is what they follow. You don’t have to be an atheist or an agnostic to be a humanist or to be humane.

    gabe35

  • gabe35

    James: Beautiful. that’s what i meant. Some atheists shove their beliefs down others throats, the same way they claim fundamentalists do (though they ARE right). They too, to prove their beliefs, take out of context things. Although the Bible is definitely hateful, and the man on man part did mean gays.

    MODERATE. AGNOSTIC. LET’S GO. WE have to unite as well.

  • Tony

    Do you like the campaign?

    I can see the appeal of this campaign however I think it is inherently flawed. Comparing “belief” and “thought” is comparing apples and oranges.

    This campaign seems to be instigating a separation between people based on what group they identify with, which doesn’t seem very different to me from what the major religions do.

    Also, it borders on dishonesty and unreasonable bias by only using the horrific and deplorable aspects of the major religious texts.

    “Humanist values are mainstream American values, and this campaign will help many people realize that they are already humanists and just did not know the term,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

    This kinda drives home the point for me. I don’t think it’s right to claim people as part of your group or club or whatever just because they happen to agree with you about certain issues. They do it again here,

    “Humanists believe in and value love, equality, peace, freedom and reason — values that are comparable to those of moderate and liberal religious people.”

    Self proclaimed humanists can expound whatever beliefs they like, just as moderate and liberal religious people can. But it starts to be scary when they present the world, as this campaign does, as filled with people who are either believers… or humanists… and advertise that we all have the same beliefs but humanists have the right word and the right team.

    I don’t think i’ll be supporting this campaign but I do hope that it is successful.

  • kvtxzsvzxhktz

    I don’t think this will work – the text is too small. Plus, some of the religious quotes are too easy for people to distance themselves from. I think if this concept is going to work, they have to be talking about things which are commonly known to be fundamental weaknesses of the ideology.

    How about something like this:
    “Are you human? Then you deserve respect.Humanism: it’s that simple.”

    or this:

    “Humanism: Because you don’t need to be told which people deserve to be treated like human beings.”

  • Kamaka

    Butters @ FreeReligionLesson.com

    This is stated by Paul, not Jesus. Paul is not God, nor Enlightened

    Christianity is not Christian, it is Pauline. It is very doubtful that a person “Jesus Christ” ever existed. Paul, on the other hand likely did exist and was the Joseph Smith / L. Ron Hubbard of his day. Your renunciation of Paul’s teachings rings hollow. It is Paul who created xtianity as we and history know it.

    The Jesus myth is a bunch of made-up crap, and Paul is the one who made it all up.

    Because we all know that Jesus didn’t bother about kindness or love at all, right *rolls eyes*.

    Jesus quote @ Luke 13:5 Unless you repent, you will all perish.

    Jesus quote @ Matthew 13:49-50 The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the lake of fire.

    Jesus is about love and kindness? Spare me the *eye roll*, the jesus myth is about “sin” and divine retribution and vengeance.

    And tithing, let’s not forget the money-making opportunties here…Paul was a great promulgator of tithing!

  • Kamaka

    Sahara @ Apologetics.com

    I really dislike how so many of these quotes are being presented out of context.

    OK. Give me some context for this:

    II Kings 2:23-24: While he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered him, saying “Go away, bald-head.” When he turned and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

  • Demonhype

    Unfortunately, the moderate christians/jews/muslims still insist on some kind of special moral superiority for their religious books and that they be put on a pedestal beyond question or criticism. Even as they say “you know what’s right or wrong, you know those nasty bible quotes aren’t what god really had to say”, while insisting that that very violent, hateful, genocidal book is the very source of morality and ethics.

    Uh, no. If you’re using your own knowledge of right from wrong to decide which parts of the bible are acceptable, or to torture some cut-and-dried biblical hatred so you can convince yourself it’s saying something other than what it is actually saying, you are a humanist and you are not deriving your morality from that book. So stop demanding special reverence, regard, or moral superiority for your ugly, dusty old tome.

    And again, no, atheists are not every bit as bad, as evil and arrogant, as fundies. On one hand, we have people waging an active war on the BoR and the rights of all non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual non-Christians, who have shown at times a disturbing willingness to return to the glory days of shedding the blood of the enemies for Gawd. On the other hand, we have people who say things and write things that some people don’t like to hear, who are actively waging a defensive against the war on the BoR and are perfectly willing to fight for the actual civil rights of people they don’t like.

    To say the latter is “as bad” as the former is a joke, one told by the dispassionate so they can feel superior without actually doing anything. Doing shit requires passion, and that’s apparently bad.

    If the fundies limited themselves to the tactics of the atheists here, but were willing to defend and respect the rights of everyone including people they don’t particularly like, rather than actively and malevolently trying to disenfranchise those who are different from them, then this conversation wouldn’t even exist.

  • Phil Kyson

    Read anything D.M. Murdock (Acharya S) has written and find out about the true origins of religions. Free yourselves from the lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Bah! Religious advertising all around. Why didn’t they do some truth in advertising:

    What some believe? The Ten Commandments.

    What Humanists think: See our manifesto and live by it. You know you couldn’t be a good, decent human being without us telling you how to me. So let us decide for you what’s moral.

  • James

    @Gabe

    TBH those passages (if you look at it as a whole), its dealing with the situation when Moses was leading the people away from Egypt, away from Pagan rituals, at that time there were rituals that were very objectionable to those in that day. I do not think that it necessarily means that Christianity is against homosexuals.

    As my future mom in law puts it: If you believe God doesnt make mistakes, then there is no mistake with homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a choice that people make it just happens. It is known to happen in the animal kingdom. We are no different than animals even though we can do more than most beasts.

    @Kamaka

    I expected a response like that. Its very easy to misinterpret the bible, especially if you take it literal and not for what some of the texts are trying to teach, it is so easy to take a verse or set of verses, look at it and bend it to your will.

    Again I am not Christian, though I used to be, but I hate, hate when people try to take passages from the bible and twist it for their own purposes their own means, its no different than others that try to present the bible their way.

    As far as 2 Kings 2:23-24 – From what I can gather and read that is a story not to be taken literally and that the moral of the story is to point out the authority and importance of prophets and that they should not be disrespected in that manner.

    What some still seem to forget is that if fine if you feel the bible is a myth or that its full of lies. It doesnt make someone that wants to believe in it any less wrong or right in that manner. Beliefs are a core thing that people need. It doesnt matter if said belief is in God, gods, no god, humanity or what not, it is an integral role that keeps people going, it is that passion that drives people.

  • Rieux

    James:

    I hate, hate when people try to take passages from the bible and twist it for their own purposes their own means, its no different than others that try to present the bible their way.

    It certainly appears to me that that is precisely what you are doing. The amount of nastiness and unjust carnage in the Bible is overwhelming—but numerous examples on this thread have been simply pooh-poohed and dismissed by folks who clearly can’t abide the notion that there is anything seriously wrong with the book. I’d say you’re twisting some simply awful texts beyond recognition for your own “purposes” of fabricating excuses for hatred and horror.

    The real Bible, interpreted in perfectly reasonable (and indeed clearly legitimate) ways, carries numerous messages that are simply awful. Willfully blind denial by fans of the book does not change that.

    Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while [God] was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place. Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!

    Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament — oh, incomparably more atrocious than ever he was when he was at the very worst in those old days!

    Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the light of the hell which he invented.

    - Mark Twain

  • Kamaka

    Again I am not Christian, though I used to be, but I hate, hate when people try to take passages from the bible and twist it for their own purposes

    And I hate it when people take their selected passages from the bible and use them to tell me and others how to behave. And the christers are all so pushy about making rules for all of society.

    Beliefs are a core thing that people need.

    Do you have any facts to back up this assertion?

    It doesnt make someone that wants to believe in it any less wrong or right in that manner.

    “Belief” in things fictitious does nothing to improve the human condition. History proves “belief” causes humans to behave inhumanely.

    Facts to back up this assertion:

    Holy War / Jihad.

    Inquisitions and pograms.

    Taliban.

    Heresy.

    Albinesian Crusade.

    9-11

    Killing in Israel / Palestine, Sudan, the Balkans, India / Pakistan, Somalia, Indonesia.

    There has never been a suicide bombing done in the name of atheism.

  • James

    @Rieux

    Actually anything thats posted I looked up and check with various sites/groups and those are the general consenus for what passages most likely meant.

    I post rebuttals to the ad cause they are skewing certain passages for their own agenda.

    You have to remember that the Bible has alot of stories, if they truely happened or not I dont know. They could be just that, stories that have lessons for what to do and what not to do. That is why we cannot take everything literal with the bible. It is why I stopped being Catholic, I just couldnt get answers to what I wanted.

    My views are not meant to go either way, it is to show that its easy to take an interpretation in anyway you want. Those that believe in the bible feel these verses depicted mean very different than how humanists think the passage meant.

    Perception is all in who whats to see. Some will refuse to see any perception but their own. I try to be tolerant of all religions because it is not my place to instill how I believe on others. Though the teachings of the boble does states to spread the word. It should be up to the person to decide if they want to follow religion or not.

    It is not someone elses job to influences anothers beliefs. Everyone should have the right to believe what they feel REGARDLESS how yo may think its wrong of someone to think that way.

    Campaigns attacking another belief will just add fuel to the fire, I do not believe there is one ‘right’ way of thinking, in the end at its core generally all beliefs have a common ground. Most just cant see it that way.

  • James

    @ Kamaka

    “Belief” in things fictitious does nothing to improve the human condition. History proves “belief” causes humans to behave inhumanely.

    You cannot blame someones belief structure based on what some fanatics have done in the past.

    Facts to back up this assertion:

    Holy War / Jihad.

    Inquisitions and pograms.

    Taliban.

    Heresy.

    Albinesian Crusade.

    9-11

    Killing in Israel / Palestine, Sudan, the Balkans, India / Pakistan, Somalia, Indonesia.

    There has never been a suicide bombing done in the name of atheism.

    These are all attributed to fanatics of the religion. They have nothing to compare to those that are in the middle ground for the religion, you cannot blame those that follow Christian/Muslim faith on those that tke it to the extreme.

    Atheism have no belief in higher powers that be so there is nothing to clash with for it, nothing really for fanaticism.

    Though fanaticism does exist in atheists as you guys spend SO much time attacking other religions. Why does it bother you that someone believes in one way or another. Just because athesits dont bomb or cause violence doesnt make it any better. Your resources could be used for so much more if you guys werent so ficused on trying to take down ‘faith’.

    Im actually finding it sad that I once thought about being atheist. Im glad I dont. People just need to be more tolerant. It shouldnt bother you if someone believes in something other than what you believe in. Thats how it works in my family. My fiance wishes I believe in God but she respects my beliefs and doesnt try to change me.

  • Kamaka

    James @ FreeReligionLesson.com

    Campaigns attacking another belief

    Really, quoting evil holy-book passages constitutes an attack? The religionists would have us all bow to these fictions.

    The religionists are the attackers.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    Although I consider myself to be a humanist, I think these ads are giving off an overly strong “us” against “them” vibe. The sharp black & white contrast, the quotes that are rather extremist.

    The best this will do is throw more fuel on the fire and pit people against each other even more. Which is exactly the opposite we should strive for.

    @Bram: Throwing more fuel on the fire and pitting people against each other is great for membership drives. Which is exactly what ideological organizations strive for.

    How about something like this: “Are you human? Then you deserve respect.Humanism: it’s that simple.”

    or this: “Humanism: Because you don’t need to be told which people deserve to be treated like human beings.”

    @kvtxzsvzxhktz: Like the word Humanism, no one but the choir would have any idea that your ads are targeted toward people who reject religion. Which is terrible for the membership drive the ads were created for.

  • Kamaka

    These are all attributed to fanatics of the religion.

    No, this is religion past and present. Killing heretics is what religion does best.

    You are a history-denier.

  • James

    @Kamaka

    Have you ever read the bible or have heard others what the teaching are there for? Yes there are evil acts, but that exists in all of history.

    Humans have a dark history from the Holocaust, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials, etc etc. Just because their are ‘evil’ stories depicting dark times doesnt make it a bad book, those ‘evil’ verses may be teaching a lesson or just showing that you should not act in a certain manner.

    I dont claim to know all of the bible, and yes it is filled with alot of stuff, alot which can seem bad, but remember this is again written by man and man is fallible and this book shouldnt be taken so literally as people still seem to want to do so.

  • James

    No, this is religion past and present. Killing heretics is what religion does best.

    You are a history-denier.

    No you deny what is there.

    9/11? Religious Muslim Extremeists, not all Muslims agree to what was done on that day.

    Taliban? Again a muslim extremeist group.

    Everything you listed was all done by fanatics of said religion. Not EVERYONE has that same set of beliefs. You cannot blame all Christians for the Holy Crusade as not all Christians felt that way. Same with 9/11 you cannot say that ALL Muslims feel that way.

    If you do feel that everyone of the religion feels the same as a fanatic then you are delusional as when I was Catholic I did not agree to what was done with the Crusades.

  • Kamaka

    Have you ever read the bible

    Yes, very carefully and in multiple translations.

    You cannot blame someones belief structure based on what some fanatics have done in the past.

    Some fanatics? Christers have been burning heretics since day one. And the heretics they can’t get away with burning today, they instead threaten with eternal burning. There is nothing nice about xtianity, nothing at all. Eternal damnation, original sin, obedience to an angry, all powerful supernatural entity that will punish you for your thoughts…

    Islam is no better. Girls who go to school are liable to have acid thrown in their faces. This is not fanaticism. This is standard operating procedure for all of religion for all of history.

    Obey God’s law or be burned!

  • Kamaka

    No you deny what is there.

    What is there, is religious sanctioned bigotry against non-heterosexual people. The religious bullies think it is a fine idea to deny an entire class of citizens their civil rights.

    Everything you listed was all done by fanatics of said religion.

    What say you about the evil of anti-gay bigotry? The religionists claim this bigotry is condoned by God and his bible.

  • AxeGrrl

    Troglodyke wrote:

    We’ve got to get people to loosen up about the idea of sex in general a bit more before cramming same-sex marriage down someone’s throat.

    My response to the above? I’m sooooooo very happy/lucky/grateful to live in Canada, where the battle has already been fought and won on this issue.

    I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this (in various forms) from anti-same-sex peeps: “demanding rights is rude/off-putting and it’s enough to make me vote against gay marriage, just because.”

    Whenever an American tries that crap with me, I just reveal my citizenship and laugh in their smug/condescending face :)

  • AxeGrrl

    Rieux wrote:

    The mainstream American value is the equal protection of the laws, which is codified in the Fourteenth Amendment. *snip*

    The fact that you and other reactionaries think there is an exception to equal protection that’s marked out by your own bigotry does not change any of this. Equal protection is a bedrock American value regardless of your refusal to apply it to people you hate.

    All I can say is…..

    BRAVO!

  • James

    What is there, is religious sanctioned bigotry against non-heterosexual people. The religious bullies think it is a fine idea to deny an entire class of citizens their civil rights.

    How is this different than say the rights of blacks or the rights of women over the course of history in the US? Even today there is still things that will come against blacks or women even though its not really in the forfront anymore. Given time it will be accepted. Its not just religious people that are against gays, even though they do make a majority of it.

    What say you about the evil of anti-gay bigotry? The religionists claim this bigotry is condoned by God and his bible.

    Out of all the bible there is what maybe 2 verses that could pertain to it. Though again from my research they pertain to other thinks not specifically homosexuals.

    Remember if God created everything and makes no mistakes there is no mistake with homosexuality

  • venwin5

    In response to many of the aforementioned comments I would simply like to render unto all of you a quote from two of the greatest profits of the 20th century:

    “Be Excellent to each other.”
    Ted Theodore Logan and Bill S.Preston Esq.

  • Claudia

    @James what you are doing is a (very) softened version of what the theist does when one child survives a landslide that hit his school and proclaims a miracle, while ignoring the dozens of children who died as somehow not god’s responsibility.

    You’re right that there are good bits in the Bible along with the bad bits, but you seem unhappy that we choose to dwell on the bits that are about rape, murder, slavery, subjugation of women and hellfire and not the (in my view far more rare) nice bits where Jesus is kind to children. First let’s be clear; of the books that were decided by men to become the Bible, only a small portion are dedicated to the life of Jesus but Christians consider the entire Bible to be relevant. Even liberal Christians, while hurriedly insisting that OT law is invalid now and nervously shifting when asked if baby-drowning god was the same god as the NT god, will not renounce the relevance of the OT to their religion. The practice of Christianity draws from the whole Bible, not just Jesus. In fact, you couldn’t have a Catholic Church or any Church just with Jesus, so let’s stop pretending that it’s invalid to point out the horrific bits of the Bible unless Christians are willing to say that the OT and Paul are not holy at all and have nothing to do with their religion. I won’t hold my breath.

    Let’s also dispense with this notion that a hardliner, homophobic, mysoginistic, atheist-hating Bible-thumper is any less of a “True Christian” than the kind, Jesus-loving, merciful, giving, charity volunteer. I absolutely think one of the two is morally superior mind you, but both are just as true to their religions. It’s impossible to live as a Christian while obeying the entire thrust and laws of the Bible, because the books are riddled with contradictions. Both the kind and the mean Christians can authoritatively point to Bible verses backing up their worldviews. The nice liberal Christian may feel offended, understandably, by people who have moral views close to theirs trotting out awfully uncomfortable parts of their books because they don’t share the views in those verses, but they can’t deny that they worship a god that sure left a lot of room for open intepretation and exploitation by their nastier correligionists, and since the whole affair is predicated on faith, there’s no way of arguing against it.

  • James

    @Claudia

    You do know that the bible we know of today is not even the full bible, what is in the books is dictated by the church. I dont claim that the bible is all one big hunky dory happy go lucky thing of a book. It is riddled with contradictions because lets face it there are what around 10-20 people that contributed to it? each with their own view, their own writing style.

    Remember that for the times alot of what we deem is wrong was ok for that particular time period. Back then women were submissive, and stayed that way for the most part for the better part of human history.

    Things change over time, the bible hasnt as nothing has been added to it since it was first written so any types of rules/punishments or what not never changed with the times, we cannot with common sense think that Christians would want to follow every old punishment for sins in todays society. They are still sins but different punishments are in place to fit what is acceptable today.

    As far as the landslide comment, there is a reason why something happens. As tragic as it may seem that a life was taken, it is what has to happen. Im not talking about the landslide, its death, with life comes death. Its easy to think that God created the landslide that killed several children and spared one or more. Sometimes things happen, instead of thinking why did God do this, some say its better to think why did God create a form that gets sick or is easily broken/destroyed?

    There are only a few instances in the Bible that God was directly responsible for killing people, in almost every case there was some justification of why it happened. It was either due to the corruption or evil in people.

    Again alot of these may just be stories, to give lessens for the faith, as to what to do and not to do, how one needs to lead their life. Religion isnt for everyone, neither is atheism. Instead of putting everything in black and white or trying to ‘attack’ the bible. Why is it so hard to just be tolerant of others beliefs.

  • Claudia

    Remember that for the times alot of what we deem is wrong was ok for that particular time period. Back then women were submissive, and stayed that way for the most part for the better part of human history.

    Oh absolutely. When you look at the Bible as what it is; a collection of stories and archaic laws created by desert tribesmen who didn’t understand the origin of disease, let alone things like the sun being just a star that’s really close, then the violence, sexism, slavery, and contradictions are perfectly understandable. Problem is, people want to claim that this very obviously man-made collection of stories and laws comes in some form from god. Contradictions and obvious moral failings are a problem when you’re trying to claim it comes from a perfect creator. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what Christians do. When they say “well times were different” they need to put their foot down; either slavery and massacring children was moral thousands of years ago, or those are stories made by men and god has nothing to do with them, or God ordered and condoned blatantly immoral behavior.

    we cannot with common sense think that Christians would want to follow every old punishment for sins in todays society. They are still sins but different punishments are in place to fit what is acceptable today.

    Yes, because as much as they protest otherwise, the vast majority of Christians do not follow Bible morality, but Enlightenment values. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing (I think it’s great) but I am saying that it’s impossible to have any moral code of any kind without essentially ignoring really large chunks of the Bible. And if you’re picking and choosing which verses to follow (and good or bad, every Christian does), you’re essentially using your external criteria to decide what’s good and bad, not the Bible’s criteria.

    As far as the landslide comment, there is a reason why something happens. As tragic as it may seem that a life was taken, it is what has to happen. Im not talking about the landslide, its death, with life comes death. Its easy to think that God created the landslide that killed several children and spared one or more. Sometimes things happen, instead of thinking why did God do this, some say its better to think why did God create a form that gets sick or is easily broken/destroyed?

    I’m not quite sure I follow. My point with that is people are quick to thank god for “miracles” but ignore all the bad things, in the same way nice Christians would rather dwell on this:

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

    than this:

    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity
    And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42

    even though both things were supposedly said by Jesus. You cannot simply decide that you can ignore all the wailing and torture, and sexual violence in the Bible but point to the mercy and kindness as a sign of it’s holiness.
    In any event with your “everything happens for a reason” comment you seem to be advocating the existence of fate or some sort of god. I contend there is absolutely no evidence in favor of that proposition.

    There are only a few instances in the Bible that God was directly responsible for killing people, in almost every case there was some justification of why it happened. It was either due to the corruption or evil in people.

    Uhm…LOL? Yes, just a few instances. Like when he burned Sodom and Gomorrah, because everyone there was sinful. I suppose that included suckling infants and playful toddlers. He burned them alive. Then there was the time he killed every firstborn Egyptian child, which I’m going to guess included a fair number of blameless babies. Then there was the time he drowned the entire world. How many children died in the mother of all genocides? Here I’m talking about god directly murdering infants himself, discounting the many more times he condoned or ordered humans doing the dirty work for him. Then there’s the small issue of establishing a hell, so that death will not be the end of suffering, but torture can go on forever as Jesus, meek and mild put it, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. At least the god of the Old Testament left you alone once you died.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    At least the god of the Old Testament left you alone once you died.

    This is precisely why I think the New Testament is a massive regression from the Old Testament. The New Testament God is much more evil than the Old testament God with the notion of infinite punishment or reward based on if you had the “proper” beliefs during a finite lifetime. Of course, if you remove heaven and hell from the equation, then the New Testament is not so bad. Kudos to any Christians that do this.

  • Steve

    And let’s assume for a moment that it’s indeed right to pick and choose from the Bible. We decide to live by all the nice stuff and say that the bad stuff is…well bad and may have made some sense in the context of the time, but is irrelevant now.

    So then why do religious people still insist to base secular laws on the Bible? Specifically some of the bad stuff that we say is outdated. And don’t even for a second try to claim that it’s just the extremists who do this. In Western Europe, maybe for the most part. But in some Eastern European Countries, the US (very much so) and some parts of Latin and South America, the moderates are right in the thick of it too. They aren’t usually the ones screaming around and proposing those laws, but when they are up for debate and voting, they are all for them.

  • Rieux

    James:

    Actually anything thats posted I looked up and check with various sites/groups and those are the general consenus for what passages most likely meant.

    But we who are debating you are not interested in consensus; we are interested in reality. The “consensus” of Christian interpreters you appeal to have their own biases and agendas that have no necessary connection to the actual contents of those books. That they have figured out ways to rationalize and ignore the overwhelming inhumanity that exists within the Bible proves nothing but those folks’ own ability to figure out complicated ways to deny the truth.

    The “consensus” you appeal to, in numerous cases, is wrong. That’s the issue you need to deal with, rather than lobbing up a silly and thoughtless argumentum ad populum.

    I post rebuttals to the ad cause they are skewing certain passages for their own agenda.

    You have shown no such thing—but even if you had, you (and the Christian “consensus” you appeal to) are doing precisely the same “skewing” you complain about.

    For example, it is very likely not the Christian “consensus” that the Bible is pro-slavery. However, it is the truth that the Bible is pro-slavery: there is not a single word in the book contending that slavery is bad, whereas there are numerous passages condoning and/or approving of it.

    Now, there are Christian rationalizations for problems like that one: for example, there is the claim (you hinted at it in your “defense” of Exodus 21:20-21 above) that slavery in the Bronze Age and then the Roman era was quite different—less cruel, less permanent, etc.—than slavery in the antebellum American South. But, like so many of your “consensus” gambits, that doesn’t address the actual problem at all; it’s merely a red herring to distract attention from the problem. It is in fact not at all obvious that B.C.E./First Century slavery was less evil than American slavery was—and even if it had been, slavery is still horrendously wrong, and it is a blight on the Bible and the characters in it (including Jesus) that they condoned and/or approved of slavery of any kind.

    A “consensus” of people who have dishonestly rationalized away patent inhumanity is meaningless. Reality is not subject to majority rule.

    You have to remember that the Bible has alot of stories, if they truely happened or not I dont know.

    Yes. You seem to have missed this, but your opponents on this thread are very literate people who have read the Bible, and critiques and defenses of it, very thoroughly. We are well aware of the issues involved—more so, it would appear, than you are. (We also, ahem, know how to spell “a lot,” “truly,” and “don’t.”) Being lectured on the fact that “the Bible has alot [sic] of stories” is a little aggravating.

    That is why we cannot take everything literal with the bible.

    You mean “literally.” And no one here (except maybe Robert W., and forget him) is taking the Bible “literally.” We are merely pointing out the outrageous and nasty lessons the book has to teach.

    My views are not meant to go either way, it is to show that its easy to take an interpretation in anyway you want.

    In that case, your views are “meant to go” in the direction of nihilism.

    Sorry, but words mean things. Some interpretations of literature are more legitimate than others. Pretending that a line like “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear” (Ephesians 6:5) is anything but disgusting trash is simply dishonest.

    Your opponents are interested in honest and informed interpretations, not just any spin that any partisan could possibly put on a given passage.

    Those that believe in the bible feel these verses depicted mean very different than how humanists think the passage meant.

    Indeed they do. If the believers’ interpretation is entirely divorced from the obvious meaning of the passage, that disagreement is irrelevant. An overcast day is an overcast day even if an in-the-tank partisan swears that there’s not a cloud in the sky.

    Perception is all in who whats to see.

    No. Reality exists. By your epistemological method, all statements about the world—for example, evolutionary theory, and the reality of global climate change—are just ho-hum matters of perspective. Your total relativism can’t stand.

    I try to be tolerant of all religions because it is not my place to instill how I believe on others.

    And who, pray tell, is doing otherwise? We are having a debate about ideas. No one is attempting to force her own beliefs on anyone else. Please stop trying to muzzle your opponents with religious privilege.

    It should be up to the person to decide if they want to follow religion or not.

    Of course it should. And is. It’s simply nonsense to pretend that showing the problems with religious ideas and texts denies anyone the right “to decide if they want to follow religion or not.” Cut it out.

    It is not someone elses job to influences anothers beliefs.

    You can’t be serious. What in the world do you think you are doing right here? Trying to “influence[ ]” our “beliefs” about the Bible is precisely your stated purpose!

    On this thread, you have attempted to forward several “beliefs”—such as “they [the AHA] are skewing certain passages for their own agenda” and “its [sic] easy to take an interpretation [of the Bible] in anyway you want.” How dare you try to “influence” our beliefs in that direction?

    All you’re doing is trying to enforce religious privilege, in which the very same thing you’re doing—defending particular ideas and criticizing others—becomes evil when the ideas being criticized are religious ones. Then, you pretend, the discussion suddenly becomes a matter of “instill[ing] how I believe on others” or denying people the right “to decide if they want to follow religion or not.”

    Your double standard is illogical, it’s unjust, and it’s wrong. Please stop it.

    Everyone should have the right to believe what they feel REGARDLESS how yo may think its wrong of someone to think that way.

    Of course they do have that right. No one here has ever argued otherwise. Shame on you for pretending that arguing about an idea is a violation of other people’s right to hold that idea.

  • Rieux

    Jeff P:

    This is precisely why I think the New Testament is a massive regression from the Old Testament.

    Mark Twain argued exactly that same thing (as I quoted yesterday, upthread):

    Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while [God] was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place. Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!
    Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament — oh, incomparably more atrocious than ever he was when he was at the very worst in those old days!

    Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the light of the hell which he invented.

    - Mark Twain

    Of course, if you remove heaven and hell from the equation, then the New Testament is not so bad. Kudos to any Christians that do this.

    I don’t know about that; in order to “remove heaven and hell from the equation,” you have to throw out an enormous number of Jesus’ recorded statements from the Gospels. The guy hollers about his enemies burning in hell more times than he says anything about love, peace, and blessing put together. Do Christians who arbitrarily ignore a huge proportion of their Savior’s ideas, because they’re inconveniently disgusting, deserve kudos? (“That Hitler guy was really wonderful, with his ideas about love and caring and pride; I just ignore the stuff he had to say about Jews.” Kudos?)

  • Rieux

    Well said, Claudia. This line from James:

    There are only a few instances in the Bible that God was directly responsible for killing people, in almost every case there was some justification of why it happened. It was either due to the corruption or evil in people.

    …causes me to wonder if there is any depth to which James will not stoop. Claiming that “corruption or evil in people” is a “justification” for global genocide is about as bad as a moral argument can get.

  • James

    So what was Hitler’s Justification in the Holocaust? How about many incidents in Africa that still go on to this day that no one seems to want to do anything about.

    People wrote the bible, it would have been far easy for anyone to say ‘well God told me so’ and no one would question. Who’s to say that just wasnt an excuse to do what they did.

    Reality is a form of perception how your mind interprets everything. Reality isnt the same for everyone as not everyone has all their senses to see/feel/taste the same reality for you. Its like free will. We all perceive that we all chose our path in life, but what if its not, what if something (im not saying it God as I dont believe in God) causes things to go a certain way. Or if said choice is made who’s to say that a parallel dimension gets created that pans out that opposite or other choice(s). Reminds me of a favorite quote of mine: Adam (Mythbusters): I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

    The man purpose behind all the ‘bad’ things in the bible is to show the consequences of what happens when you dont follow the doctrine of the religion Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah). Christians feel that path to righteousness is to repent for sins you commit, follow God’s law to get into heaven.

    As for killing of ‘innocents’, it is known that children are not always innocent, even today children get corrupted into a line of thinking that can be seen as wrong, any child that grows up in a house that is full of racists or those that wish to do harm unto others, those children in most cases will become that way, who is to know if children killed in the bible were innocent.

    I do not believe in slavery or killing of people (regardless of age), but why is it ok for it to happen in the bible and that no one spoke out about it? Most likely those that wrote the verses percieved that slavery was ok, as that was norm in that era and that anyone that was against their beliefs and sinned deserved damnation.

    Are the notions accepted today? Absolutely not. WOuld things be different if they say, rewrite the bible to reflect todays society?

    I dont remember at anytime when I went to church that they ever stated or condoned alot of the bad things that happened within the bible.

    Most what I remember when I used to be Roman Catholic was: Do unto others as you want done to you. Judgements are only for God to make. God loves you even if you dont believe in him.

    IMO alot of these ads are intentionally bolding certain words and phrases, trying to entirely take them out of the context of the passage they are ment for. That’s where I am feeling that they are trying to influence people to believe in that way.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Rieux,

    I think a Universalist theology that believes everybody goes to heaven is morally superior than a belief that some go to perpetual heaven while others go to perpetual hell.

    Taking it a step further, I think that much of the mischief of religion can be removed if all notions of an afterlife are simply dropped.

    Your Hitler analogy would be better if you talked about the political philosophy of National Socialism instead of the bad things that Hitler did. National Socialism wouldn’t be quite so bad if they didn’t engage in any kind of “Fuhrer worship”, didn’t persecute minority groups, and had and honored free elections. I only mention this to get the analogy right. I’m not a Nazi.

  • Rieux

    So what was Hitler’s Justification in the Holocaust?

    Maybe you should try looking it up. Here’s a hint: it looked a lot like the excuses that you pitiably offered for Yahweh’s decision to commit an even more awful (except that it’s fictional) massacre in Genesis 7:11-24.

    In your 7:30 am post above, you pretended that those excuses were legitimate and worthwhile justifications for mass murder. In fact, they were outrageous, reprobate, and disgusting. I wish you’d stop pretending that there’s no use trying to tell the difference.

    How about many incidents in Africa that still go on to this day that no one seems to want to do anything about.

    What about them? Genocide is outrageous and immoral. You’re the one trying to pretend otherwise.

    People wrote the bible, it would have been far easy for anyone to say ‘well God told me so’ and no one would question. Who’s to say that just wasnt an excuse to do what they did.

    Sorry, but that paragraph is incoherent. Of course people wrote the Bible. However, millions and millions of modern-day believers think that those “people” were inspired by God, and that they wrote down infallible truth. Millions of Christians believe this, in essence, because “God told [them] so.” Apparently you think they’re wrong, even though your argument to that end violates the very same standards you are trying to impose on the rest of us (“It is not someone elses job to influences anothers beliefs”/”Everyone should have the right to believe what they feel REGARDLESS how yo may think its wrong of someone to think that way”/etc).

    You grant yourself the right to attack religious beliefs you disagree with, while you attempt to gag anyone who attacks religious beliefs you find less disagreeable. Well, tough; your hypocrisy is not our problem.

    Reality is a form of perception how your mind interprets everything.

    No, you solipsist, it is not. You can’t seriously believe that.

    Reminds me of a favorite quote of mine: Adam (Mythbusters): I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

    For chrissakes, the man was kidding. He expected his audience to recognize how ludicrous that notion is.

    It verges on self-mockery for you, defending the notion that reality is nothing more than “a form of perception how your mind interprets everything,” to cite “Mythbusters.” Just think of the title, man: “Mythbusters.” Does that show conclude that the myths the examine are “BUSTED FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW”? Do they finish up an episode with “CONFIRMED, AS FAR AS OUR PERCEPTION IS CONCERNED”? No. They don’t waste time with the nonsensical solipsism you are pushing here: the entire basis of that show (and of science, and of rational philosophies such as humanism) is that reality is real, that there is something we can test those “myths” against, that this is not all just a capricious figment of someone’s imagination.

    One wishes that you recognized what a fundamental attack you are unwittingly attempting on the very edifice of rational treatment of reality.

    The man purpose behind all the ‘bad’ things in the bible is to show the consequences of what happens when you dont follow the doctrine of the religion Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah). Christians feel that path to righteousness is to repent for sins you commit, follow God’s law to get into heaven.

    So what? That’s a disgusting message, especially when (as in the Bible) it involves mass murder and/or eternal torture. Why in the world should humanists (and indeed anyone) not denounce such reprobate inhumanity in the strongest possible terms?

    As for killing of ‘innocents’, it is known that children are not always innocent, even today children get corrupted into a line of thinking that can be seen as wrong, any child that grows up in a house that is full of racists or those that wish to do harm unto others, those children in most cases will become that way, who is to know if children killed in the bible were innocent.

    That’s disgusting. You are responding to objections to the Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc., by arguing that children are evil, too? Shame on you, sir. We are talking about mass murder of innocent people, and you dare to claim that it’s not morally problematic because they’re not “really” innocent? How do you sleep at night?

    I do not believe in slavery or killing of people (regardless of age)…

    That’s hard to believe, in light of your ugly defenses of the obscenities in the Bible.

    …but why is it ok for it to happen in the bible and that no one spoke out about it? Most likely those that wrote the verses percieved that slavery was ok, as that was norm in that era and that anyone that was against their beliefs and sinned deserved damnation.

    Of course. Those people were hideously, outrageously wrong. The books that they wrote that incorporated their bigotry and backwardness are, in large swaths, awful books. That’s precisely what your opponents have been arguing all along, and you’ve been tossing up excuse after excuse and whining that there’s something deeply wrong with our insistence on pointing out the inhumanity in the books. Why?

    Are the notions accepted today? Absolutely not.

    Actually, they are, in depressingly large groups within human society. How you could have failed to noticed that I don’t understand. Moreover, the excuses for those “notions” are accepted and perpetuated by even more people—for example, embarrassingly, by you.

    I dont remember at anytime when I went to church that they ever stated or condoned alot of the bad things that happened within the bible.

    Then it appears you either (1) attended a very, very liberal church or (2) failed to pay attention to the reality of the doctrine your church preached. Your excuses in this thread for some very real “bad things … within the [B]ible” do not inspire confidence that we can trust you to have noticed, and to have taken seriously, the ugly portions of your church’s program.

    IMO alot of these ads are intentionally bolding certain words and phrases, trying to entirely take them out of the context of the passage they are ment for.

    Aha—so never mind all that solipsist stuff, huh? Previously you claimed that reality is all “perception,” and everything is relative to the notions of the observer, but now you’ve conveniently changed your mind, and there is an objective reality about “context” and what it’s “ment [sic] for.” It’s very odd how your premises change entirely based on whether you’re attacking or defending.

    Anyway: your religionist bias is not “context.” The fact that you and other apologists think the passages in question mean something different than what these humanists think they mean proves nothing. You need to make a factual case for the interpretations you have in mind, and what you’ve offered thus far on this thread has been notably weak.

    That’s where I am feeling that they are trying to influence people to believe in that way.

    Of course they are. So are you. “Influencing people to believe” things about those Bible passages, about Christianity, and so on is exactly what you are doing here. And yet you slime these humanists for doing that same thing.

    Your argument is simply riddled with hypocrisy and illogic.

  • Rieux

    Jeff P:

    I think a Universalist theology that believes everybody goes to heaven is morally superior than a belief that some go to perpetual heaven while others go to perpetual hell.

    Oh, I agree; it’s just that that morally superior theology is also Biblically inferior. The reality and torturous nature of Hell is one of the most thoroughly established ideas in the New Testament. Pretending that Jesus’ message didn’t include the notion that people who disagreed with or defied him would be subjected to unspeakable torment is simply dishonest.

    A little scriptural dishonesty is of course much less awful than support for eternal torture, but it seems to me still rather short of ideal.

    Taking it a step further, I think that much of the mischief of religion can be removed if all notions of an afterlife are simply dropped.

    I generally disagree. That still leaves faith, and it leaves arguments from tradition and authority, including the ultimate authority of Divine Command.

    In fact, even without beliefs in an afterlife, we’d still be left with three of the four main drivers of religious violence—sacred space, inscripturation, group privileging, and salvation—that Hector Avalos identifies in Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence. There’s simply plenty of harm that has come to the world as a result of religion that hasn’t depended upon a notion of an afterlife.

    Your Hitler analogy would be better if you talked about the political philosophy of National Socialism instead of the bad things that Hitler did.

    Well, Hitler’s the analogical stand-in for God (or for the author of some particular book of the Bible) here; “the political philosophy of National Socialism” is basically the counterpart, within the analogy, to the ideas expressed in the Bible. For the purposes of this argument, I don’t think it matters much which side of the analogy we concentrate on.

    Hitler, personally, very much did have a huge amount to say about love, caring, pride, and Jews (among many other things—several of which he was actually totally clueless about). There’s no need to replace him with his movement’s philosophy in general for the purposes of my argument.

    National Socialism wouldn’t be quite so bad if….

    As a German major I, uh, disagree… rather strongly. Though I’m not sure I’m interested in following that issue down a rabbit hole.

  • Claudia

    OK, Rieux already did the legwork, but I really can’t resist:

    So what was Hitler’s Justification in the Holocaust?

    Various lies were used to vilify and dehumanize the Jews, but naturally the anti-semitism that had been fostered by Christians in Europe for hundreds of years (Christ killers, blood libel) was very useful in their scapegoating.

    How about many incidents in Africa that still go on to this day that no one seems to want to do anything about.

    What about them? Much like the Hitler thing, you seem to have thrown this at the thread with no good explanation of how it relates to the topic at hand.

    People wrote the bible, it would have been far easy for anyone to say ‘well God told me so’ and no one would question. Who’s to say that just wasnt an excuse to do what they did.

    Very good. You seem to have a firm grasp on how ignorant/bigoted/breathtakingly cruel ideas can end up in a “holy” book.

    Reality is a form of perception how your mind interprets everything.

    Also see this and then when you’re ready for a real conversation return.

    The man purpose behind all the ‘bad’ things in the bible is to show the consequences of what happens when you dont follow the doctrine of the religion Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah).

    Yes, like that time a man was stoned to death for the temerity to pick up sticks during the sabbath, or that other time god sent several bears to maul children for making fun of a guy. Why is it that when a man beats his wife for not washing the dishes, he’s a bastard, but it’s OK when God does it?

    As for killing of ‘innocents’, it is known that children are not always innocent, even today children get corrupted into a line of thinking that can be seen as wrong, any child that grows up in a house that is full of racists or those that wish to do harm unto others, those children in most cases will become that way, who is to know if children killed in the bible were innocent.

    OMFG. Seriously? You’re trying to justify burning babies alive? You’re justifying drowning an infant that can’t walk or talk yet? I have to believe you aren’t sincere, because the option is that you think murdering babies is sometimes moral, which doesn’t bear contemplating.

    I do not believe in slavery or killing of people (regardless of age),

    Me neither, you should really tell that to the guy above who tried saying that some babies might be “sinful” or not innocent enough to deserve not being executed.

    but why is it ok for it to happen in the bible and that no one spoke out about it? Most likely those that wrote the verses percieved that slavery was ok, as that was norm in that era and that anyone that was against their beliefs and sinned deserved damnation.

    Couldn’t agree more. It had to come from a warrior tribe with a very underdeveloped sense of morality. Certainly it came from anywhere but a just and loving god.

    Are the notions accepted today? Absolutely not. WOuld things be different if they say, rewrite the bible to reflect todays society?

    Yes, a god created today would reflect the people creating the god. Again, you neatly demonstrate how obviously the Bible is of human, not divine, origin.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Rieux,

    It seems we can agree on the following statements and then kind of let this be and move on to other arguments:

    1. National socialism wouldn’t be quite so bad if it didn’t state many of the bad things commonly associated with National socialism.

    2. The bible wouldn’t be quite so bad if it didn’t have all those passages about following authority figures, acting on faith, mind and behavior control, and damning consequences if you don’t obey or believe.

    3. Hitler wouldn’t have been quite so bad if he hadn’t done any of the bad things he did.

    4. God wouldn’t be quite so bad if he didn’t do and say all the bad things attributed to him.

    That is all, Have a nice day. I’m getting back to work.

  • Rieux

    Sure, Jeff—but those are some very big “if”s! :-)

    (You already knew that, obviously.)

  • Nordog

    “Exposure is good. I’m not a humanist, because we share this world with animals, most of which have more value than some humans. Anyway, keep chipping away at the destructive delusions.”

    I’m curious as to what standard one uses to make such judgmenents from a materialistic poiint of view, both in general (what’s “value” to begin with?) and in the particular (why that bird may be of greater value than that man?).

  • James

    So what? That’s a disgusting message, especially when (as in the Bible) it involves mass murder and/or eternal torture. Why in the world should humanists (and indeed anyone) not denounce such reprobate inhumanity in the strongest possible terms?

    Why do humanists care so much what another believes. Why are they set to denounce something they really dont believe in? Why is there so much effort to want to change how others feel about what they believe in?

    What about them? Genocide is outrageous and immoral. You’re the one trying to pretend otherwise.

    How am I pretending otherwise? there are alot of evils in this world that no one seems to want to do about. There are alot of atrocities that still happen still exist and absotlutely nothing ever seems to get done to fix the problems in this world.

    That’s disgusting. You are responding to objections to the Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc., by arguing that children are evil, too? Shame on you, sir. We are talking about mass murder of innocent people, and you dare to claim that it’s not morally problematic because they’re not “really” innocent? How do you sleep at night?

    Again how do you know everyone was innocent, how do you know its just not a story. I find it an impossibility that the whole world was flooded (there is not enough water to do that). It may have been maybe the region that was flooded but doubt the whole world was flooded. How can you really be sure that everyone cept Noah and family died in that flood? Because they bible says so?

    Actually, they are, in depressingly large groups within human society. How you could have failed to noticed that I don’t understand. Moreover, the excuses for those “notions” are accepted and perpetuated by even more people—for example, embarrassingly, by you.

    I was refering to Christians, I dont know of any that still hold old laws as is. I know there are a few Muslim sects that still follow their book too the teeth

    No, you, it is not. You can’t seriously believe that.

    How is it hard to believe such a statement. To a vegetarian do you think meat tastes the same for them if for instances on accident they have some is the same taste for you? Is their reality of how that meat taste different than yours? Science is constantly changing, data changes here and there, anomolies will happen and the reality that science paints can change.

    Remember hundreds of years ago people though the world was flat. People used to think that the earth was the center of the universe. Reality changed as science evolved. If i remember it used to be that science pegged the speed of light as a constant value, now that has changed. Or how about Pluto, I keep seeing it flip flop from a planet to not one, choose one already. Science is only as good as the data collected, if the data is wrong then results wont be correct.

  • Steve

    Why do humanists care so much what another believes. Why are they set to denounce something they really dont believe in? Why is there so much effort to want to change how others feel about what they believe in?

    Because beliefs don’t just exist in a vacuum. They have consequences. Consequences that hurt people. People who often don’t share those beliefs. That’s why they are problematic and dangerous.

    Remember hundreds of years ago people though the world was flat.

    No, they didn’t. It was already well established among scholars in Antiquity that the Earth is a sphere. One of calculated its radius with a reasonable amount of accuracy given the available means. By the time of the middle ages it was accepted by the general population.

    And yeah, science changes its models and ideas if something better comes along. That’s the beauty of it. Religion doesn’t. It’s unchanging and still tries to live by values that may have made some sense two thousand years ago for a bunch of desert dwelling goat herders. Today they’re irrelevant.

  • Claudia

    Why do humanists care so much what another believes. Why are they set to denounce something they really dont believe in? Why is there so much effort to want to change how others feel about what they believe in?

    Because what others believe has a direct effect on me and others. I live in Madrid. One day, I woke to the sound of a text message on my cellphone, informing me that other people’s beliefs in what their god wanted had resulted in the deaths of almost 200 people, many in the very train station I was supposed to be at 1 hour later. When a child dies because her parents think that taking her to a doctor for that infection doesn’t show sufficient faith in god, it doesn’t touch me directly, but it gnaws at the core of my being. The beliefs of others have consequences for all of us, so you’ll pardon if I’m a bit concerned.

    Again how do you know everyone was innocent, how do you know its just not a story.

    Again you shockingly want to see some sliver of justification for the slaughter of infants. It is just a story, but the morality at play in it is horrific. Please, can you simply state “An infant never deserves to be killed”? If you cannot state that without hesitation or hair spliting, then I’m afraid I’m not the one who has to look deep inside to see if something is broken.

    Science is constantly changing, data changes here and there, anomolies will happen and the reality that science paints can change.

    You state this as if this were a weakness of science, instead of a strength. Science continues to improve previous understanding as new data comes in. We undoubtedly have an imperfect understanding of the world, but we continue to improve it day by day. That doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly going to discover that we were wrong, the Earth was flat after all (not unless we return to Solipsism, an occupation I can personally assure you interests scientists not at all). Contrast this with religious belief; it’s true because god says it’s true. There are tens of thousands of living religions, uncountable numbers of dead religions and sadly probably a lot of not yet founded religions on the way. By definition the vast majority of them MUST be wrong, but since they are predicated on faith, not reason, they have no method for self-improvement, which is how you get hapless not-Christian-anymore-but-still-defending-Christianity commenters tying themselves in knots trying to explain away the slaughter of children.

  • Brandon

    This wouldn’t be such a bad campaign if the verses weren’t so taken out of context. You’ve likely lost any chance of converting or even making Christians think, when it’ll be obvious to them that time wasn’t spent making this campaign even remotely viable in terms of using appropriate biblical contexts.

  • Mark

    Unfortunately, every bible verse quoted on this page has been taken out of context. Looking at one verse from a single chapter in the bible is similar to taking a political speech, cutting it up and pasting it back together in a different order to suit your own needs (this is done all the time with political ads)!
    You must read the whole chapter and sometimes even the whole book in which a verse is taken from AND understand the time period in which it was written and the audience it was originally written for to come away with an accurate understanding.
    I encourage you to read the bible for yourself with an open mind before assuming the humanism movement is an accurate description of your beliefs. You’re an intelligent individual and as such and you should take the time to do your own research and think for yourself before conforming to ANY belief system just because it sounds good.

  • Steve

    Quoting them out of context may be hypocritical, but you are making a gigantic mistake if you think many Christians actually know much about the Bible, let alone the context of those verses. They simply don’t. Many either don’t know the passages, have already ignored them and certainly don’t know their theological and historical context.

    Those that have studied the Bible and still think it contains truth are beyond hope anyways.

  • James

    Again you shockingly want to see some sliver of justification for the slaughter of infants. It is just a story, but the morality at play in it is horrific. Please, can you simply state “An infant never deserves to be killed”? If you cannot state that without hesitation or hair spliting, then I’m afraid I’m not the one who has to look deep inside to see if something is broken.

    Everyone dies at some point, it doesnt matter how long youve lived, how innocent you are. Its part of the life cycle. No one deserves to die but there is nothing we can do to prevent death. I know it may seem heartless of me to say but that is part of life, it is the other side of the coin, same with evil, it has to exist in order for there to be good. Again I dont believe anyone deserves to die but accept that it is part of life and that it must happen

    You state this as if this were a weakness of science, instead of a strength. Science continues to improve previous understanding as new data comes in. We undoubtedly have an imperfect understanding of the world, but we continue to improve it day by day. That doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly going to discover that we were wrong, the Earth was flat after all (not unless we return to Solipsism, an occupation I can personally assure you interests scientists not at all). Contrast this with religious belief; it’s true because god says it’s true. There are tens of thousands of living religions, uncountable numbers of dead religions and sadly probably a lot of not yet founded religions on the way. By definition the vast majority of them MUST be wrong, but since they are predicated on faith, not reason, they have no method for self-improvement, which is how you get hapless not-Christian-anymore-but-still-defending-Christianity commenters tying themselves in knots trying to explain away the slaughter of children.

    Im mearly stating that physical evidence especially with science can change on a whim, especially when data changes to go a different route. The reality of things change as new things come to light. There are at times though where results can be adjust to support a claim, I dont think all scientists will do it but ive seen a few things here and there that just seems like the data that was collected only supports what they were going after.

  • Steve

    Again I dont believe anyone deserves to die but accept that it is part of life and that it must happen

    Barring accidents and illness, death usually happens at the end of a life that went on for 60 to 90 years. Infants being killed by tyrannical gods is not how things “are supposed to be”. It’s not how life usually works.

    Im mearly stating that physical evidence especially with science can change on a whim, especially when data changes to go a different route.

    That’s not how it goes.

    There are things called reproducibility and peer review. Current theories are just changed willy-nilly when new data comes along. And yes, there are scientists who falsify data or (more common) misinterpret them. But their claim alone doesn’t change scientific understanding. In such a case other scientists would say something like “hey, you made that shit up” or “Sorry, but we can’t reproduce your results. You may have made a mistake.”

  • Claudia

    Again I dont believe anyone deserves to die but accept that it is part of life and that it must happen

    That wasn’t my question now was it? I will restate it. Can you, without equivocation or hair-spliting, agree that murdering infants is never justifiable? If you try to go the “but death is inevitable” route again, I will assume you would prefer it be thought you think murdering babies can be justified than confront the idea that god could behave immorally, which is pretty amazing all on it’s own.

    Im mearly stating that physical evidence especially with science can change on a whim,

    Absolutely, categorically false. I defy you to show me a single modern example of science changing “on a whim”.

    especially when data changes to go a different route.

    In what universe is the emergence of new data the changing of ideas “on a whim”? Never mind your suggestion that one day scientists let go of a ball and it falls but another day maybe it goes sideways. Data doesn’t simply change from one day to another. What does happen is new data, or the discovery of a better intepretation of existing data, or the realization, with the above that data collection had a given weakness. Your complaint amounts to “science doesn’t get it right on the first try!”. Can you give me a better alternative to learning about the natural world?

    The reality of things change as new things come to light. There are at times though where results can be adjust to support a claim

    What you are talking about is scientific fraud. It does happen, and it’s usually dealt with very harshly. This concept that scientists keep up frauds in some sort of global conspiracy (evolution, global warming etc.) comes from people who have never stepped into the scientific arena. We aren’t in rooms puffing cigars while we conspire to fool the world. The quickest way to prominence in science is to demolish a previous scientific idea and replace it with your own, so you can see where fraud would be found out pretty quickly most of the time.

    I dont think all scientists will do it but ive seen a few things here and there that just seems like the data that was collected only supports what they were going after.

    Care to show me a few examples, and state your scientific objection to the obtained data?

  • Myrmidon

    @ James:

    Reality changed as science evolved.

    The reality of things change as new things come to light.

    Do you posit that as humans gain better understanding of the universe, reality itself changes?

  • James

    Barring accidents and illness, death usually happens at the end of a life that went on for 60 to 90 years. Infants being killed by tyrannical gods is not how things “are supposed to be”. It’s not how life usually works.

    How is life supposed to work exactly? Death happens at any time, happens with animals, humans are no different. There are countless people that are in ‘good’ health that just drop dead. Life isnt something you can just predict or something that is always the same.

    That wasn’t my question now was it? I will restate it. Can you, without equivocation or hair-spliting, agree that murdering infants is never justifiable? If you try to go the “but death is inevitable” route again, I will assume you would prefer it be thought you think murdering babies can be justified than confront the idea that god could behave immorally, which is pretty amazing all on it’s own.

    TBH it really depends if said child has a high probability of killing others or what not then yes I could see justification. If I dont know if that will happen then no there is no justification.

    Care to show me a few examples, and state your scientific objection to the obtained data?

    Tobacco studies to name a few, both sides like to skew data, not sure if its happened recently, i just know in the past it has been done that way or at least they ‘claim’ that evidence goes one way or another.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Well said Steve and Claudia. What you are saying should really go without saying but people will always try to justify their religions.

  • James

    Do you posit that as humans gain better understanding of the universe, reality itself changes?

    Its not just science that changes reality but perception of the people. 50 years ago it was a reality that blacks and whites were separate. It was also around that time that reality changed to where women became more accepted in the workplace as opposed to the kitchen.

    Our reality is that our universe is big, but what if what we think is reality in that we are big is in fact that there is something even bigger beyond us, beyond our universe.

    As far as the future who know what reality may change to.

  • Claudia

    Ugh, you equivocated after all. You seem incapable of saying something as simple as murdering a baby is never ok, never mind murdering a whole population of babies, like god does. I will abandon the question. My attempt to get you to correctly answer quite possibly the easiest moral question in the world has failed miserably.

    Tobacco studies to name a few

    That’s not a few, that’s one. You, probably involuntarily, do raise a legitimate issue of corporations financing self-serving “studies”, but you omit the fact that those studies are ordinarily torn apart by unbiased scientists during peer review and though a corporation can sometimes control a select group of “scientists” (and I use the term loosely) they cannot control the scientific consensus. BP can pay a few guys in labcoats to say that crude is safe enough to eat, but they can’t change the consensus that it’s pure poison.

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    @James

    Everyone dies at some point, it doesnt matter how long youve lived, how innocent you are. Its part of the life cycle.

    Exactly! But the belief that people die at the whim of a god or gods directly places the blame at the feet of that god(s). People die, it is a natural process… it does not have to occur at the whim of a god to make it so. The stories in the bible where these children die are stories of how god killed them, their parents, everyone… which DOES actually place any blame on the god that perpetrated these acts. In one moment you are saying that we cannot know that they were “innocent” (whatever that means) and in the next you are saying that “well, people die, it is a natural process”.

    No one here ever argued that death wasn’t a natural process. We simply argued against the idea that the deaths were somehow “deserved”.

    Im mearly stating that physical evidence especially with science can change on a whim, especially when data changes to go a different route. The reality of things change as new things come to light.

    Reality doesn’t change. Reality is reality. That point of science is to try to understand that reality. It is a process that can only be achieved by seeking out and accepting new evidence as it comes to light. That is one of the most important points so many people without a grounding in science miss… our body of scientific knowledge is a collection of data about which we make hypotheses and that we TEST rather than simply accepting that we are automatically correct…

    Once something becomes “theory” (for example the theory of gravity) it means that it has undergone many tests and many refinements until it has a sufficient body of evidence with no dissenting evidence. And EVEN then if something new and contradictory is discovered it MUST be subject to change regardless of how attached people are to it.

    There are at times though where results can be adjust to support a claim, I dont think all scientists will do it but ive seen a few things here and there that just seems like the data that was collected only supports what they were going after.

    This is true and it is why the process of peer review, rigour and reproducibility is so integral to science. Because many people only see science from the outside they will be exposed only to snippets of the process. Scientists constantly attempt to debunk, confirm, refine and test each other’s hypotheses and results. And if they find different results they are not silent about them, they are, in fact, the opposite. The whole point is that even if a few scientists “cherry pick” results (particularly if those results point to something interesting, exciting or important) other scientists will apply their own tests that will very quickly show the initial tests as skewed.

    This is why scientific knowledge is based not on the word of one person or study group but on rigorous and reproducible results that are constantly being retested in new ways. It is a mistake to think that a scientist will want to only get results to confirm the status quo… the most well-known and revered scientists throughout history are those that challenged that status quo with new and interesting results… results that brought us things like gravity, quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, germ theory… Things that are now used universally and to demonstratable effects in our lives from medicine, to travel, to computing, to obtaining and finding resources.

    Sorry for the long response… It’s just that it always saddens me when people attack science by completely misunderstanding the process… usually just because of the way it is presented to them in media rather than because of the way it actually functions.

  • Steve

    Urk. Science never changes reality. It only changes our understanding of it. It can’t change the laws of the universe, but only provide new means to use them to do things.

    Don’t bring social changes into this. We are talking about natural science like physics, chemistry, astronomy or biology.

  • James

    Ugh, you equivocated after all. You seem incapable of saying something as simple as murdering a baby is never ok, never mind murdering a whole population of babies, like god does. I will abandon the question. My attempt to get you to correctly answer quite possibly the easiest moral question in the world has failed miserably.

    Theres really no black or white about the issue though. If you knew beforehand that said child would grow up to kill lots of people is it ok to let the child live and fulfill that or could it be justified to stop them before it happens.

    There are quite a few kids that gets bred into hate, bred into being killers. I believe is it just as justifiable to kill them as it is an adult if it can save people. If all they plan to do is cause that type of harm then that would be a justification to do that nothing more.

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    @James

    If you knew beforehand that said child would grow up to kill lots of people is it ok to let the child live and fulfill that or could it be justified to stop them before it happens.

    That assumes an inevetablity to their development that I don’t ascribe to. As a child they are almost certainly not “planning” their actions as an adult.

    What you are saying is that you would support a system like that present in “Minority Report”. Where all possible future actions would be punished as though they had already happened. Which violates the idea of caring about a person’s guilt before you condemn them.

    Would the world be a better place had Hitler been killed as a child? Probably not, because he may have been the personality but the situation that created him was still there, and there were plenty of co-conspirators that could have stepped in. And even leaving open a situation where you could KNOW the future the idea that you can punish (particularly so summarily as with death) on “what will or could happen” is abhorent to me. And I think it leads itself open to a paradoxically spiralling situation where the changing of the future course via the killing of that one necessitates the killing of another and another and another.

    So no, possible future transgressinos, do not, to me, justify killing anyone (adult or child) by any supposed deity or man. If you have reasonably cause that they are planning something that would threaten harm there are options other than summarily sentencing them to death.

  • James

    Sorry for the long response… It’s just that it always saddens me when people attack science by completely misunderstanding the process… usually just because of the way it is presented to them in media rather than because of the way it actually functions.

    Differs from doing the same to the bible how?

    Exactly! But the belief that people die at the whim of a god or gods directly places the blame at the feet of that god(s). People die, it is a natural process… it does not have to occur at the whim of a god to make it so. The stories in the bible where these children die are stories of how god killed them, their parents, everyone… which DOES actually place any blame on the god that perpetrated these acts. In one moment you are saying that we cannot know that they were “innocent” (whatever that means) and in the next you are saying that “well, people die, it is a natural process”.

    No one here ever argued that death wasn’t a natural process. We simply argued against the idea that the deaths were somehow “deserved”.

    Could it just be the authors way of explaining what happened to an area and putting down ‘it was a decree of God’. It could have been a natural disaster that the author spun for what they needed or that was the best way they could describe what happened.

    Look at other stories, like mythilogical one, they have a story to explain everything they couldnt, i would guess same could go for those that wrote the bible

  • Rieux

    James:

    Why do humanists care so much what another believes. Why are they set to denounce something they really dont believe in? Why is there so much effort to want to change how others feel about what they believe in?

    As has now been explained to you repeatedly, beliefs have consequences.

    Pray tell, why are you working so hard to change our beliefs about all of these things you’re going on about?

    Do you not see the constant hypocrisy in complaining about humanists wanting to change beliefs… and then posting (at last count) fifteen comments on this thread trying to change beliefs? Your capacity for introspection appears to be very poor.

    What about them? Genocide is outrageous and immoral. You’re the one trying to pretend otherwise.

    How am I pretending otherwise?

    Are you kidding? Again and again on this thread, you have offered pitiable excuses for the outrageous mass murders that are described in the Bible. Every time you do that, you are pretending that genocide is not outrageous and immoral. Again, you’re just blind to the reprobate nose on your own face.

    You did it here:

    There are only a few instances in the Bible that God was directly responsible for killing people, in almost every case there was some justification of why it happened. It was either due to the corruption or evil in people.

    That’s you, pretending that genocide is sometimes justifiable. Your argument is disgusting.

    And despite Claudia’s increasingly shocked prodding, you refuse to back off from it: presented with a story about murdered babies, you belch out:

    Everyone dies at some point, it doesnt matter how long youve lived, how innocent you are. Its part of the life cycle.

    You said that in response to the example of murdered babies. And you can’t even bring yourself to say that that’s wrong.

    At some point I dearly hope you will stop and realize the horrors you are asserting.

    Again how do you know everyone was innocent, how do you know its just not a story.

    Very obviously it is “just a story.” But you have forgotten that we were talking about the morality of that story. You were pretending it was something other than obscene. You were (and are) wrong.

    And the heartless gall it takes to consider a victim of genocide and whine, “how do you know they were innocent” is just astounding. I don’t understand why you don’t recognize the depravity of what you are saying.

    There are alot of atrocities that still happen still exist and absotlutely nothing ever seems to get done to fix the problems in this world.

    Yes. That’s a good reason to believe there is no all-powerful, all-knowing being in the neighborhood that deserves to be worshipped or considered good.

    The Problem of Evil does nothing to support your ugly arguments.

    How can you really be sure that everyone cept Noah and family died in that flood? Because they bible says so?

    Yes. We are talking about a story. In the story, God massacres everyone except that family. Your opponents are arguing that that action is outrageously immoral. You are claiming that it’s not. You are clearly having a very difficult time keeping a simple argument straight in your head.

    Reality is a form of perception how your mind interprets everything.

    No, you, it is not. You can’t seriously believe that.

    (Did you delete the word “solipsist” from your quotation of my comment because you didn’t understand what it means? I hope you at least looked it up….)

    How is it hard to believe such a statement. To a vegetarian do you think meat tastes the same for them if for instances on accident they have some is the same taste for you?

    Again, you’re just continually confused. You made a statement about reality. Not “how meat tastes” (WTF?)—reality.

    Taste is the epitome of subjective sensation. You’re being thoroughly absurd.

    Science is constantly changing….

    Yes, because it’s adapting to reality. It’s nice that your silly “changes on a whim” bit is being refuted repeatedly above; your understanding of science appears to be very poor.

    Remember hundreds of years ago people though the world was flat.

    As you’ve now learned, educated people have known for thousands of years that it’s round—but regardless, your own point shows why your “Reality is a form of perception how your mind interprets everything” is nonsense.

    Once upon a time, a large number of people did in fact think the world was flat. That was their “perception.” But guess what? The reality is, and was, that it was round. The earth has always been round, even when human “perception” was otherwise. Therefore your assertion that “reality is a form of perception” is false, indeed ridiculous. Q.E.D.

    Reality changed as science evolved.

    Others have taken the Socratic “ask questions” route responding to that notion of yours; here I’ll just say that it’s simply stupid.

    If i remember it used to be that science pegged the speed of light as a constant value, now that has changed. Or how about Pluto, I keep seeing it flip flop from a planet to not one, choose one already. Science is only as good as the data collected, if the data is wrong then results wont be correct.

    You are flailing around absurdly. None of those examples, and indeed nothing you have ever offered, shows the reality that science studies changing. Human constructs, such as scientific theories and terminology, change. But those are tools that we use to understand and describe reality; they aren’t the reality being studied itself.

    I have trouble imagining how thick your confusion must be, given that you have trouble understanding such fundamental concepts.

  • Rieux

    Mark:

    Unfortunately, every bible verse quoted on this page has been taken out of context.

    Yes, that’s what apologists always complain whenever they’re shown a passage from the Bible that advocates or describes hate, violence, or injustice. The immediate excuse is always “context,” “context,” “context.”

    Having been in numerous debates with apologists swinging the “context” club around, I’m willing to state that it’s nearly always bullshit. Apologists have figured out stories to tell themselves that they think empty the Bible of any problems, but those stories are routinely riddled with illogic, willful blindness, and simple nonsense. Often the challenged passage is absurd or disgusting even if we accept the apologist’s background story about it; often the factual assertions underlying the story are dubious or fallacious in themselves. Apologist “context” is frequently an exercise in fervidly pretending that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says when what it says is awful. In those cases, it’s a psychological defense mechanism, not a rational argument.

    So—the fact that you have come up with an excuse for some ugly passage and called it “context” is only as legitimate as the excuse itself is. Until you explain why your particular account is less weak or ad hoc than so many other apologists’ excuses, neither the AHA nor any other critic of the Bible has any responsibility to take your “context” complaint seriously.

    I encourage you to read the bible for yourself with an open mind before assuming the humanism movement is an accurate description of your beliefs.

    Millions of us have done precisely that. As numerous atheists have pointed out, the best way to become an atheist is to study the Bible.

    Hemant even put it in his most recent post, quoting a Christian minister who has become an atheist but is still working as a minister:

    “The more I read the Bible, the more questions I had,” Jack said. “The more things didn’t make sense to me — what it said — and the more things didn’t add up.”

    Jack said that 10 years ago, he started to feel his faith slipping away. He grew bothered by inconsistencies regarding the last days of Jesus’ life, what he described as the improbability of stories like “Noah’s Ark” and by attitudes expressed in the Bible regarding women and their place in the world.

    “Reading the Bible is what led me not to believe in God,” he said.

  • Rieux

    This wouldn’t be such a bad campaign if the verses weren’t so taken out of context.

    Says you. It is a bald (and dubious) assertion that any of the AHA’s passages were “taken out of context.” The Bible does say those things, and the fact that Bible fans think there are excuses for it is neither here nor there.

    You’ve likely lost any chance of converting or even making Christians think, when it’ll be obvious to them that time wasn’t spent making this campaign even remotely viable in terms of using appropriate biblical contexts.

    If those Christians are the ones who get to define which “biblical contexts” are “appropriate,” then no Bible quotation whatsoever could ever work.

    As I just explained to Mark, though, the “context” excuse is just about always another name for “I don’t want to accept that the Bible really means that, so I’ll figure out some way to rationalize it away.” That’s what routinely passes for “appropriate” in Christian interpretation of the Bible. The AHA isn’t required to accept that; none of us are.

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    Could it just be the authors way of explaining what happened to an area and putting down ‘it was a decree of God’. It could have been a natural disaster that the author spun for what they needed or that was the best way they could describe what happened.

    Yes, yes it could. And in those cases where it spun from some truth it probably is the case. But that certainly doesn’t support the idea of the bible being true or christianity being true or special. It definitely doesn’t refute that the bible says some things that are pretty cruel and abhorent. It just supports it as being a construct of human minds.

    Your argument doesn’t even indirectly go against the idea that attributing these deaths as an “act of god” because the people they happened to were “somehow deserving” is a fallacy. It might be a comforting fallacy if you don’t want to see the bible as containing some cruel or abhorent ideas (along with the ideas that are good) but that doesn’t make it true.

    Differs from doing the same to the bible how?

    First of all the bible is a book, not a process. It is a book that has not changed in a very long time. Science is a process that is ongoing. It is much more difficult to to not understand how the bible works (even as an atheist… after all, we can read too) than it is not understand how science works when you have never seen or been involved in it.

    Second of all, nothing discussed in these comments is misunderstanding the construction of the bible or the institution of religion. Many (if not most) agnostics and athiests come from religion. We understand how it works, there is a set of core beliefs held to be sacred, there are symbols held to be sacred, there are stories that are meant to to teach morality of some sort, there is a deity protrayed to be powerful and knowing (often also considered to be The Creator). A heirarchy of people is formed in order to teach these beliefs and an institution is formed to . Just because we don’t ascribe to the belief doesn’t mean we are unable to understand how your belief system works.

    Also, you were attacking science on the basis of a faulty understanding of its workings. Whereas the positions argued against the bible within this discourse are being argued about concrete things that are actually, proveably within the bible. The fact that most people don’t actually agree with these things (or for the most part believe in the things they say) doesn’t change the fact of their existence. Or the fact that, however people chose to gloss them over today, they were followed to the letter at some point and the people following them were justified by the bible’s claim of authority.

    The fact that beliefs have changed and that christians actually reject many of the old teachings is the point of this campaign. It is saying that morality is not just determined by the teachings of a book and religion. It is something that can exist and develop independent of, or even in spite of, the letter of the teachings of a religion. To the point were devout followers of a religion will reject immoral assertions from their own holy writs and teachings.

  • Rieux

    OEA, to James:

    Just because we don’t ascribe to the belief doesn’t mean we are unable to understand how your belief system works.

    If I understand correctly, James is not (any longer) a Christian.

    But terrific comment anyway.

  • James

    If I understand correctly, James is not (any longer) a Christian.

    But terrific comment anyway.

    Nope Im not, not atheist either, did think about it at one time.

    My beliefs stem from a little bit of Pagan. I believe in energy, that encompasses everything living and not. When we die we go back to the source to get redistributed. The core of my belief is that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred.

    It doesnt matter if im correct or not, that is my belief.

  • Rieux

    It doesnt matter if im correct or not, that is my belief.

    Well, James, you’re unfortunate (or fortunate) enough to have wandered into a community in which we do care whether the things we believe are true or are just comforting illusions. Many of us think that that “matters” as much as anything in the world.

  • Steve

    Well, to be fair if it’s just some kind of pagan belief in nature, life force, energy or whatever I don’t really care much. I may think it’s silly, but if someone wants to believe that, why should I care? It really doesn’t hurt anyone and is perfectly harmless.

    It’s theism I (and most atheists I guess) have a problem with. And if theists just kept their beliefs to themselves and in their place of worship, I’d be content to let them be too.

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    I don’t even have a problem with theism… so long as people don’t preach about how people not blieving their particular brand of theism are wrong, or how without religion people cannot be moral, or insist that scientific facts are untrue because their religion told them so. It’s the group of people who not only have beliefs but believe that everyone ought to ascribe to their brand, or that condemn someone or a subset of people because a book (or an authority figure) told them to, or insist that their religion is more real than reality and evidence, or threaten people who don’t believe as they do with eternal damnation, that I have a problem with.

    And sadly those attributes (together or separately) apply to an amazing number (I will hazard a guess to say a majority) of theists. If theists had no problem accepting that ways of thought other than their own could be equally valid (or heaven forfend more valid) I wouldn’t have a problem with them believing their little hearts away. But the number of theists who, upon finding I am an atheist, insist that it can’t be true because I am “far too nice” and then try to convince me that theism is the place for me because they don’t want to see me condemned, and then insist at me that evolution is untrue “because things never change! Because God is perfect so he would have made it perfect to begin with”… well most of the people here already know all about it, so I will leave it there…

  • http://humanistcontemplative.blogspot.com DT Strain

    @Rose,

    Religious Humanists are atheists and naturalists too. Modern Humanism (capital H) is non-theistic and without supernaturalism. That’s true whether you’re talking about the two subgroups: Secular Humanists or Religious Humanists. Religious Humanists are those who wish to practice and consider Humanism as a religion, in structural terms and in tone – albeit a naturalistic religion. Secular Humanists want to practice it as a philosophy and an ‘alternative’ to religion. The difference is in the manner of practice and the ‘feel’ of the gatherings. But all modern Humanists are naturalists, skeptics, and non-theists – or they are not Humanists.

    There may be many supernaturalists and theists who share Humanistic values alongside their beliefs (other than the Humanist value of reason-based beliefs) – but this makes them humanitarians, humane, etc. – not Humanists.

  • Robert W.

    All of you who are giving James a hard time by talking about murdering babies- How many of you are pro abortion? Oh the hypocrisy.

  • Claudia

    All of you who are giving James a hard time by talking about murdering babies- How many of you are pro abortion? Oh the hypocrisy.

    Unless you’ve been in a terrible accident lately Robert, you remember that most of us don’t consider an embryo to be a baby. If you have suffered sudden massive memory loss, my condolences and I refer you to the link for a reminder.

    [edit]: Oh and I think it’s friggen hilarious that asking someone to clearly condemn the slaughtering of infants and small children is giving them a “hard time”. A “hard time” is figuring out a moral question that’s easier to answer than “murdering infants and young children is wrong”.

  • Robert W.

    Claudia,

    I do remember the discussion and am in fine health, but thank you for your good wishes. The fact that you don’t think this living being is a baby doesn’t change the fact that it is.

    The hypocrisy of your second question is supported by your response to my comment. What you are saying to justify the right of a women to kill her unborn baby is simply to not call it a baby. How is that in anyway moral?

  • Rieux

    Well said, Claudia.

  • Rieux

    The fact that you don’t think this living being is a baby doesn’t change the fact that it is.

    Oh, well then. Good to know that complex ethical questions about fetal personhood are all just illusory—the “fact” is that a microscopic clump of cells just “is” a baby, without any need for the slightest bit of reasoning, or indeed thought.

    It’s a good thing that you aren’t just mindlessly blathering empty dogma, right?

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

    – Exodus 21:22, oddly declaring that involuntary abortion is a tort compensable by money, rather than a capital crime….

  • Robert W.

    Rieux,

    This verse deals with a premature birth not with a baby that dies. That is handled in the next verse which calls for death to the person causing the death of the unborn child.

    Here are the entire verses in context.

    “And if men strive together, and hurt a pregnant woman, so that her
    fruit [children] come out, and yet no harm follows; the one who hit her shall surely be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall impose upon him; and he shall pay a fine as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth . . .”

    Oh, well then. Good to know that complex ethical questions about fetal personhood are all just illusory—the “fact” is that a microscopic clump of cells just “is” a baby, without any need for the slightest bit of reasoning, or indeed thought.

    The only time it becomes an ethical dilemma is if you strive for the convenient lie that this unborn human isn’t a baby. Unless of course you agree with writer Antonia Senior who acknowledges that the unborn is a baby but that in the name of feminism it can be killed. ironically, she came to this conclusion after she had her own baby and realized that it was a baby from conception.

    Here is the article:

    Indeed, the experience of having a child convinced Senior that the inhabitant of the womb is indeed a human life. Responding to a recent British medical report claiming that fetuses feel no pain before 24 weeks of gestation, she correctly observes that this has nothing to do with the fundamental issue at stake. “Either a fetus is life from conception, or it is not,” she rightly asserts, “ability to feel pain is not, in itself, a defining factor.”

    Her experience of giving birth to a daughter redefined that issue. “What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, a fetus is a life by any subjective measure,” she writes. “My daughter was formed at conception, and all the barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular sperm meeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at that moment. She is so unmistakably herself, her own person — forged in my womb, not by my mothering.”

    Abortion, which she acknowledges is the killing of a human life, is defined as “a lesser evil” than the curtailing of abortion rights in the name of liberating women.

    “As ever, when an issue we thought was black and white becomes more nuanced, the answer lies in choosing the lesser evil,” she assures. “The nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year are the lesser evil, no matter how you define life, or death, for that matter. If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too.”

  • Rieux

    This verse deals with a premature birth not with a baby that dies.

    Bullshit. That verse refers to a miscarriage caused by injury, as honest translations attest:

    When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

    (Italics added.)

    And I realize that simple realities about pregnancy have a hard time penetrating your ugly misogyny, but you can’t actually induce labor by assaulting a pregnant woman. You can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth, though. By your absurd reading of the passage, it was written to address a scenario that’s medically impossible. Nice try.

    The only time it becomes an ethical dilemma is if you strive for the convenient lie that this unborn human isn’t a baby.

    Just as I said: you don’t bother to reason, or even to think. It’s a “convenient lie,” no need to consider anything, move along, nothing to see here.

    Some of us just aren’t as hostile to simple reasoning—not to mention disdainful of women’s very status as human beings—as you are.

    “Either a fetus is life from conception, or it is not,” she rightly asserts, “ability to feel pain is not, in itself, a defining factor.”

    “Rightly asserts”—how very contemplative!

    So you think quoting another person who refuses to reason or think justifies your mindless parroting of dogma?

  • Robert W.

    Rieux,

    You are simply wrong.

    The Hebrew word mistranslated “miscarriage” in this verse is “yatsa,” which actually means to “come out” or “give birth.” This word is regularly used for live birth in the OT. In fact, it is never used for miscarriage, though it is used once for still birth. In this passage, as in virtually all OT texts, it refers to a live, though premature birth.
    The same writer used the normal word Hebrew word for miscarriage “shakal” just two chapters later in Exodus 23:26. This clearly indicates the writer had something besides miscarriage in mind for the Exodus 21:22-25 passage.

    And I realize that simple realities about pregnancy have a hard time penetrating your ugly misogyny, but you can’t actually induce labor by assaulting a pregnant woman. You can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth, though. By your absurd reading of the passage, it was written to address a scenario that’s medically impossible. Nice try.

    Wrong. Trauma including falls, accidents, domestic physical abuse, and emotional trauma have all been linked to increasing a woman’s risk for inducing premature labor, not just miscarriages and stillborn births.

    Look here:

    http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/prematurelabor.html

    Just as I said: you don’t bother to reason, or even to think. It’s a “convenient lie,” no need to consider anything, move along, nothing to see here.

    Some of us just aren’t as hostile to simple reasoning—not to mention disdainful of women’s very status as human beings—as you are.

    Wrong again. Refusing to acknowledge that an unborn baby is a life from the moment of conception doesn’t take reason at all. It simply takes ignoring the facts.

    I will not resort to insults as you are prone to do, but I will say that you could not be more wrong when you say I disdain women. You do not know me nor my background.

    My position that life begins at conception is no reflection on how I love and respect women. The fact that you think it does shows the lack of reason in your position ie- “since Robert believes that life begins at conception he hates women”. So much for reason.

  • Robert W.

    Rieux,

    By the way, did you read the entire passage from Antonia Senior? Doesn’t it make your skin crawl that as a prominent feminist she acknowledges that life begins at conception but that it is okay to kill those babies anyway in the name of protecting women’s fertility rights?

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    As with so many other reproductive issues if all else was unchanged but men bore children there would probably be almost no problem with abortion, contraception would have been developed (and accepted by everyone) much earlier on…

    Look at where all of the objections to reproductive choice stem from and you will find a male authority figure on the other end…

    If you care about the fetus at that stage, and believe it to be a human, then argue for support of the mother, not the life of the fetus. Women don’t choose abortion because they want to kill a child or believe themselves to be killing a child but because they do not have a life to offer a child. But don’t pretend that the issue is less complicated than it actually is, particularly as person whom the issue could never touch in a personal way… and don’t pretend that there is no possible way that anyone could hold a different opinion from the facts about fetus developement than you do… the point where agreement occurs across the board is after birth… once birth has happened you have a human…

    I personally don’t think that a biological case can be made to justify ruining the life of the mother is justifiable for a collection of cells with the potential to become a human (after all a great number of WANTED fetus don’t make it to term). A fetus who is addicted to drugs from birth, a fetus who suffers from fetal alchohol syndrom… you are condemning life to assuage your assertion that there is no complexity to the issue. That at the first stage of cell division you have a fully human being… and that you therefore cannot have any justification to stop a very dangerous process (look up all of the things that go wrong on a regular basis with pregnancy) to occur in your body.

    If you want to lower abortion rates, care more about the people that are driven to them than about the group of cells they carry. Help them have a life to give before they get pregnant… don’t just assume that “every sperm is sacred” or in this case “every sperm that manages to hit the egg is sacred”.

    Improving quality of life making life worthwhile is more important than numbers. We live in an overpopulated world… and so many of the pro-lifers also object to contraception “because it encourages pre-marital sex”… by which they mostly mean women losing their virginity early… after all women get almost all of the consequences, so it must be their fault.

    Also… don’t argue that abortion is deterimental to women and their mental health. It is no more detrimental than pregnancy itself:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/05/AR2010110503095.html

  • Robert W.

    Old Earth,

    If you care about the fetus at that stage, and believe it to be a human, then argue for support of the mother, not the life of the fetus.

    If you want to lower abortion rates, care more about the people that are driven to them than about the group of cells they carry.

    These two positions are not mutually exclusive.

  • Claudia

    The fact that you don’t think this living being is a baby doesn’t change the fact that it is.

    The hypocrisy of your second question is supported by your response to my comment. What you are saying to justify the right of a women to kill her unborn baby is simply to not call it a baby. How is that in anyway moral?

    Translated: You disagree with my conclusion because you disagree with my premise. But I’m right about my premise and you are wrong, therefore you are wrong again!

    Please tell me you do realize you have not made a new argument with this, but simply restated the original comment in new words?

    Here, let me help you. I see no hypocrisy in true pro-lifers who distinguish between innoccent life and non-innoccent life (as opposed to “all life is sacred” pro-lifers) and act to murder abortion providers. Sure, I think they are batshit insane and have to be stopped, but once you accept their premise, their actions are totally rational, heroic even. I would applaud someone who gave up their liberty and even their life to stop someone from murdering children, even if that meant killing them. The issue is that I don’t accept their premise; that embryos are equal to babies. However they are certainly not hypocritical. They are acting in a fully rational and consistent manner within their mental framework. The same cannot be said for all those who say they think an embryo is a baby but do not want abortion providers and pregnant women charged and jailed (if not executed outright) for murder in the same way they would want a guy knifing 6 month old babies jailed.

    You disagree with our premise that an embryo is not a baby. That does not make us hypocritical. Hypocrisy involves acting in a way that is not consistent with your claimed beliefs. We are being consistent with our claimed beliefs, we’re just not being consistent with your claimed beliefs. See the difference?

  • Rieux

    Robert:

    The Hebrew word mistranslated “miscarriage” in this verse is “yatsa,” which actually means to “come out” or “give birth.”

    Again, patent bullshit. Take a look at the Hebrew Lexicon entry for “yatsa’.” It’s chock full of separation and loss.

    You have conveniently forgotten what is actually described in Exodus 21:22: an assault, a specific injury that leads to “yatsa’”/”her fruit depart[ing] from her.” Your medical illiteracy aside, assault does not induce labor. (The webpage you comically linked to refers to stress factors, such as domestic violence and numerous other matters, that can, over time, cumulatively lead to premature labor. That’s a totally different picture than the Woman Injured -> Fetus Comes Out story told in Exodus 21:22. You’re just not honest enough to accept this; your cutely tentative language—”increasing a woman’s risk for inducing premature labor”!—is a very funny attempt to distract attention from what the passage actually says.) Hey, look: you’re taking that word out of context!

    If a woman is physically assaulted, and as a direct result of that assault her pregnancy ends, it will not be a live birth. That’s just brutally obvious biological fact. Obviously ignorance of biological fact is endemic among anti-abortion extremists like yourself, but the rest of us can’t be expected to follow your fact-free lead.

    Refusing to acknowledge that an unborn baby is a life from the moment of conception doesn’t take reason at all. It simply takes ignoring the facts.

    Exactly! You don’t reason at all; you just pretend your arbitrary decrees are “facts.” You’ve drawn us a perfect picture of openly mindless dogmatism.

    I will say that you could not be more wrong when you say I disdain women. You do not know me nor my background.

    I’ve seen you parade your bigotry repeatedly in comments on this blog. Like all anti-abortion zealots, you are a thoroughgoing misogynist. “Insult” though that may be, it happens to be true.

    The fact that you think it does shows the lack of reason in your position ie- “since Robert believes that life begins at conception he hates women”. So much for reason.

    Ha! You’ve made it quite clear that “lfe begins at conception” is a silly fig leaf you’ve concocted as an excuse to control women; it’s the consequence of your misogyny, not a premise underlying any conclusion of yours. Tell yourself whatever story you’d like, but the rest of us can recognize anti-abortion zealotry for what it is.

    By the way, did you read the entire passage from Antonia Senior?

    Of course; it’s just as absurd as your nonsense is. Your ability to find a freakish doof who accepts your single-cell-is-a-person absurdity and yet is willing to “kill” that poor unfortunate single cell shows nothing. She’s ridiculous. So are you. So what?

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Robert W

    How many of you are pro abortion? Oh the hypocrisy.

    Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. At least try to understand the position that you are arguing against.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I know I’m guilty of this myself, but why does everyone allow Robert to derail threads? This post is not about abortion.

  • Rieux

    Yes, good point, Anna. Sorry that I contributed to the problem.

  • Robert W.

    Rieux,

    Again, patent bullshit. Take a look at the Hebrew Lexicon entry for “yatsa’.” It’s chock full of separation and loss.

    At least be intellectually honest in your argument. The Hebrew Lexicon you reference doesn’t show that the word mean sorrow or loss at all.

    Here is the definition from the lexicon:

    to go out, come out, exit, go forth

    1. (Qal)
    1. to go or come out or forth, depart
    2. to go forth (to a place)
    3. to go forward, proceed to (to or toward something)
    4. to come or go forth (with purpose or for result)
    5. to come out of
    2. (Hiphil)
    1. to cause to go or come out, bring out, lead out
    2. to bring out of
    3. to lead out
    4. to deliver
    3. (Hophal) to be brought out or forth

    It doesn’t mean miscarriage at all so it doesn’t support your position that this passage means that the bible puts less value on the unborn.

    You’re just not honest enough to accept this; your cutely tentative language—”increasing a woman’s risk for inducing premature labor”!—is a very funny attempt to distract attention from what the passage actually says.) Hey, look: you’re taking that word out of context!

    So when a lady has the baby “come out” prematurely that doesn’t include premature labor?

    If a woman is physically assaulted, and as a direct result of that assault her pregnancy ends, it will not be a live birth. That’s just brutally obvious biological fact. Obviously ignorance of biological fact is endemic among anti-abortion extremists like yourself, but the rest of us can’t be expected to follow your fact-free lead.

    Since when does it always lead to a still birth? It doesn’t and you have no medical support for such a ridiculous statement. You are reading what you want into the passage to support your view.

    Besides, the very next passage calls for capital punishment if there is a death involved from the assault. Either to the baby or the women.

    Exactly! You don’t reason at all; you just pretend your arbitrary decrees are “facts.” You’ve drawn us a perfect picture of openly mindless dogmatism.

    So if life doesn’t begin at conception, in your opinion when does it begin?

    Claudia,

    If a pro-life advocate killed someone else that would be hypocritical because they take a life in order to protect life. The reason why pro life advocates can’t call for the imprisonment of doctors who perform abortions is because it is currently legal in this country. It doesn’t mean that we don’t consider it murder. It is just government sanctioned murder.

  • Eric Craven

    I love it! Finally a movement based on human wisdom! And apparently this wisdom allows us to grab quotes and verses from the middle of books or speeches disregarding the rest of the book or speech which would help further explain and add context. Let’s just promote our own wisdom and intellect! Woman debased in the Bible yes! Billion dollar porn industry yes we’ve made such progress! Hooray for human wisdom!

  • Nadia

    I believe that at the very least the campaign will stir Humanists, Christians, and Muslims alike to evaluate what they believe.

    However, as previously mentioned any excerpt from any book may be taken out of context as many of these quotes are. The Bible and the Qur’an (and the Hadith) were written in a different time when different things were culturally acceptable. In those times, they were both a large part of social reform that alloted more human rights than anyone could claim before they existed.

    Also, as the “melting pot” America is known for its differences in values and culture so claiming to be at one with the mainstream is going to seem to some to be inherently opressive to people who believe otherwise. It is like saying accept everyone and everything unless they believe that they don’t have to accept everyone and everything.

    The campaign will cause more adversity and much like the political realm seeks to diparage the views of others to further the party’s own perspective. Why can the campaign not promote humanists views without attempting to put down others?

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  • Mary

    I am a Christian and I just wanted to say for the Luke 14:26 passage, it is totally taken out of context. Jesus does not want us to hate ANYBODY, he simply was trying to point out that he wants us to love Him so much that in comparison it seems like we hate those close to us,he doesn’t actually want us to hate them, he actually wants us to love them. He is also trying to point out that we should be willing to leave everything for him. I just wanted to clear the air about that :).


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