Atheist Billboard Quoting Bible Verse Vandalized in Pennsylvania

That didn’t take very long…

Just one day after being put up, the PA Nonbelievers’ billboard has been vandalized:

The billboard was a response to the “Year of the Bible” Resolution passed by the state’s House in January. The atheists quoted a particularly controversial Bible verse in the hopes that they would encourage viewers to take another look at the Holy Book.

Brian Fields, the president of the PA Nonbelievers, has issued an apology (I don’t think it’s necessary) to anyone who may have misinterpreted their intentions:

I want to say that I’m truly sorry that many people have misunderstood this billboard. It was never our intention to use “race” as our message itself — The point of our billboard was:

  1. The bible is NOT holy or moral as promoted by the PA House of Representatives in the “Year of the Bible”.
  2. The bible was used as an excuse for many very bad things — Including American slavery.

We would have hoped this message was clearer to observers.

***Edit***: Brian tells me the reason he issued the apology was because much of the local media coverage is centering around the claim that this billboard is somehow racist. “It’s hard to come back from when the race card gets thrown — Even in this case where it’s clearly wrong,” he said.

Ironically, the part that was vandalized was not the Bible verse with the word “Slaves.” It was the part that named the atheist groups that paid for the billboard and the rationale for putting it up in the first place, as you can see from yesterday’s photo:

Brian reiterates: “They removed the entire point of the billboard, the criticism, and left the actual ignorant and savage part.”

Questions I want answers to:

  • Will anyone take credit for the vandalism? Will the culprit be caught?
  • How soon will a replacement billboard be put up?
  • If there are any costs associated with it, who will be paying for it?

If you’re talking or writing about this, be careful not to jump to conclusions. It’s tempting to accuse Christians of committing the crime, but there’s no evidence of that just yet.

Another view of the vandalized billboard:



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dharmaworks David Benjamin Patton

    This says a lot about the  one who did the vandalism if they are more offended by the atheist comments than the actual offensive passage in the bible.

    • Anonymous

      Looks like they ripped what they could reach. It could have been anyone that didn’t like it for any reason.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ED6TTXZER7BVAJZVM5OB26GPT4 MarkM

        It’s funny that the end result of the vandalism gets the point across even more powerfully than the original full billboard.  Now it looks like a billboard that a ultra-right-wing crackpot church would put up (a bible verse and maybe a picture).  They don’t feel the need to put contact info or take credit on their billboards, at least in my neck of the woods.

        • Anonymous

          True.

    • Anonymous

       It’s exactly what I expect from believers though. No surprise there

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Yes. Because Christians are highly known for their vandalism. 

        Every time a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake ravishes an area it’s the pesky Christians who are vandalizing homes and businesses.

        What’s that? Oh! Christians are the one’s who lead in the aid giving process?  Most relief organizations are ran by *gasp* Christians? So Christians aren’t the ones who vandalize homes and businesses? Christians aren’t vandals? But what about this billboard thing? 

        Seriously Stev84, you expect Christians to be vandals? What planet do you live on? Now, maybe someone who proclaims to be a Christian might have done it. But in reality, anyone who would go to such measures is a false witness and isn’t living their life according to the Bible. 

        Maybe it’s simply someone who is very against slavery and misunderstood the message. I’m thinking without visiting this site it would be very easily understood by some people. Especially if they get enraged after reading the quote and don’t think rationally as a result. 

        Stev, what have you done to help out Indonesia, New Orleans, Haiti, Japan and Joplin, MO? Maybe you gave $10 here and there? I’ve taken “vacation” time and volunteered my summers to go to some of these very places to help in the relief and rebuilding efforts and I gave a large % of my income. As have the Christian church as well. Even though the cable news outlets forgets about these places except for on anniversary dates, the church is still working there. Vandals? Really? C’mon.

        I expect more from such logical, rational,  free-thinkers. Especially after the author made it a point to say don’t jump to conclusions. 

        • ara

          that’s a lovely example of the no true scotsman fallacy… bravo for being so cliche.

        • guestthatssmarterthanyou

           we expect them to be nutjobs or less educated or less wise, they believe in a skygod that they’ve never seen or had proof of. that kind of blind acceptance leads to hate and rage which we have seen the world over. so yes, this is exactly what people have come to expect of you.

          as for aid only coming from religion, that remark is profoundly stupid to a very high degree.

          • Rwlawoffice

             For someone who claims to be so much smarter than  Momma J, where in her entire post did she say that all aid comes from religion?  She didn’t. Also, her comments about the aid that is coming to the people suffering from tornadoes is correct. News reports have stated that the first people on the scene with aid and assistance were Christians. Even including, oh how shocking, churches opening up their “private clubs” to house and feed people displaced. 

             

            • Jean-Paul Marat

              “News reports have stated that the first people on the scene with aid and assistance were Christians.”
              It just so happens that Christianity is the dominant religion of the region, so, yes — the first responders were Christians. Just like if there were an earthquake in Turkey right now, the first responders would be Muslims, and if there were floods in Norway, the first responders would be secularists.

              • Rwlawoffice

                I am sure that is true.  All the more reason not to paint with a broad brush and  criticize an entire group of people

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  For once I agree.  While I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the vandal is a ‘believer’, that doesn’t mean all or even most believers would react in the same way.

                  I also think that assuming the vandalism is theologically motivated (as opposed to racially) is like saying Stalin was motivated by his atheism to have people killed.

                • Jean-Paul Marat

                  Then you can’t praise people with a broad brush, either, can you?

        • Anonymous

          This is hardly the first such billboard that got vandalized. It happens almost every time and can indeed be expected with a high probability

          What I expect Christians to be though are irrational idiots

          • Rwlawoffice

             The International Red Cross was founded by Henry Dunant, a Christian.

            • Jean-Paul Marat

              So was the Klan (Nathan Bedford Forrest).

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                There are obviously non-Christian agencies. I never said that there wasn’t. Search the internet for humanitarian aid agencies without typing the words “Christian” or “secular” and see where the majority of these agencies are coming from.

                • Animal lover

                  Go to an animal shelter, look at the bumper stickers, you will see

                  the “tolerance” ones with all the diff symbols, you will see “namaste”, several “not every sperm needs a name” lots of flying spaghetti monsters, liberal candidates, not a whole lot of bumper stickers with the christ fish, anti abortion, or other “christian”  type stickers, or conservative support.
                  Just saying

                • Rwlawoffice

                  I commend you for your assistance to animals, however I find it curious that alot of people with these same stickers would be the ones who are pro choice and the right to abort a baby.  If that same treatment was to unborn puppies there would be an outcry, yet millions of unborn children are killed every year.

                • lamocla

                   Nobody aborts babies, get a science book.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Okay fetus. Which is a human life. Is a toddler, teen or geriatric not a person as well. Is it okay to kill them just because they are inconvenient if we give them different titles too?

                • amyc

                   Is a toddler, teen or geriatric person living inside my body and using my resources?

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Yes! Helping animals is definitely a valid cause, but maybe the reason that you don’t see those anti-abortion stickers or “Christ fish” (ichtys or ichtus) is because those people are helping out in soup kitchens, distributing clothes and talking to the homeless PEOPLE! I love animals, but I tend to think of people as more important. 

                  When was the last time you stopped and helped a homeless person? I do it all the time. I sit down with them. Talk with them. Find out their name, their story, how they got to be where they are. Because “homeless” just describes their lack of an address. It does not describe who they are. I buy them a meal, and give them a care package. My wife and I both keep several care packages in our car that are pre-made pick me ups that address finances, hunger and the current weather climate. 

                • SMackonTrack

                  Why are people more important than Animals, I would like to argue that point since there is no rational justification in such a statement.  Evolution has created humans but somehow we tend to place ourselves higher on the food chain? And for what reason?  What is the justification in what is considered “higher” species vs “lower” species, and if you look at a dolphin or dog at 6 weeks old and compare it to a  homo sapien child i would have to give the advantage to the dog or dolphin.  Sentient animals should have every right that humans have, some animals should arguable have more, dolphins for example have more senses, add echolocation and larger brains so are they superior, what makes us better than them? We know they have family structure, we know they mourn, we know they rear they offspring, arguably better than most humans, but yet religion wants to reserve the mythological bs of the so called Heaven for humans only how egotistical and narcissistic.  I am so glad I do not believe  these fables and lies.  I will rest with that  

                • SMackonTrack

                  By the way when I lived out West I actually donated time at shelters and helped feed the homeless on holidays since I do not celebrate religious holidays, which I am sure not many CHristians would give up Christmas to feed the homeless. I also had many benefits for charities that i promoted and sponsored, and I will be moving back next week, I know live in the pathetic Southern US and I offered my time at a shelter run by  a religious organizationwhich they denied me because I did not believe in God, just how pathetic and so called Christian is that? I need not say more!

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  I often give up Christmas to assist. I love my family, but I love my neighbors just as much. MY family can see me any day theywant just about. A homeless person cannot get a meal any day theywant. 
                  I applaud you on yourpreviousservice. That’s great. It’s pretty lame that any agency in that position would turndown anyone. 

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Let me guess, you are vegetarian then? Because if not, you just pretty much said that it’s okay to eat people and I’m pretty sure THAT’s not okay. 

                • http://twitter.com/Skepgineer skepgineer

                   Look up prison statistics.   Nonbelievers are quite underrepresented in prison relative to their proportion in the general population.

                  http://atheistempire.com/reference/stats/main.html

                  If the majority of charitable agencies in the US were founded by Christians, it is only because the majority of people in the US are christians, not because christians have a greater propensity to be charitable.

                  Several of the wealthiest philanthropists ever were nonbelievers (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Andrew Carnegie).

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Three wealthy non believers give away their fortunes and from that you claim that Christians aren’t more charitable on the whole?  The facts get in the way of this illogical premise.  Sorry but it is not just their number that make giving by Christians add up to more then the giving by atheists.  It is the percentage of Christians that give and the giving that is done through Christian organizations. When was the last time you saw Secular Humanist Hospital? Or the Atheist food bank? Or a nongovernmental atheist homeless shelter?  They are few and far between.

                • TiltedHorizon

                   When was the last time you heard of an atheist priest molesting children?

                  See. I can fly off on tangents too.

                  There was no illogical premise asserted. In the US, Christianity is dominant therefore Christianity accounts for most charity. You are the one correlating charity to faith.

                  Based on latest statistics, the US is the most generous in terms of dollar amount donated to charity. But when the same statistics are polled to show donations per capita, Thailand (Buddhist) leads the pack.

                  It would seem that if charity is the benchmark to judge a worldview on then call me a Buddhist.

                  Read about it here: http://unitedexplanations.org/english/2011/12/28/thailand-is-the-most-generous-country-in-the-world-in-2011/

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The argument was Christians v secular humanists.  If you want to change it to people of faith, like Buddhism and atheists, I will go with that. Assuming that it is the Buddhists that are doing the giving in Thailand then it shows that people of faith give.   Then we are left with the same argument- faith lends itself  to charity.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  The problem with that assumption is Buddhism is not a faith, it is closer to a philosophy, more in tune with secularism. Classifying it is not really important to the point though, your argument attempts to suggest exclusivity, hubris, as if no one can ‘give’ as well as Christians. It seems that is not really the case. So again, to the point, if charity is the benchmark, it seems Christianity has been outshined by the better worldview.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Much as I’m chagrined to admit it, I do think religious people give more.  And conservatives give more than liberals.

                  Sure there are various explanations for parts of it, like some of my charity money goes to religious organizations.  Most of it is secular, but if an organization is focused on doing some very good work, and doesn’t push religion on those its helping, I’ll help them out.

                  But the bigger question to me, at least regarding faith if not politics is, do you give because of your faith?  Because what I do I obviously don’t do because of faith.  I like to think that any Christian who became an atheist (you know, it does happen :-) they’d continue to give at about the same level.  I honestly don’t know, but it would be an interesting survey.

                  I guess what I’m asking is: is faith/charity just correlation, or is it also causation?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  First let me say that i know that atheists give to charities and that this giving is growing which is wonderful.  As for whether a christian turned atheist would stop giving I doubt that they would.  Even if you stop having faith, the teachings of being charitable would probably still hold merit.  Because of this teaching I think that there is at least some correlation.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            There must be an epidemic on this board about not reading what I post.  Did I mention the Red Cross above? 

            Of course there are several secular agencies. Obviously the Red Cross it the most obvious. Let me tell you something about the Red Cross though, they show up pretty quick, and they leave pretty quick too. They leave far before the work on the ground is finished. 

            Not to mention, that they’re workers (I love them to death) play it safe when compared to somebody like Samaritan’s Purse. I’m not involved with them, but they continue to go to war-torn Africa and help out as much as they can. 

            N.Korea? Check out this link:

            http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/mb/us_ngos_welcome_nutritional_assistance_for_needy_north_koreans/

            I don’t see the Red Cross on there do you?

             Since you are trying to talk to something you don’t have much exposure to, Christian aid agencies that is, the goal is NOT to evangelize but to just (metaphorically) be the hands and feet of God. For agencies to work in some of the areas that they go to, the have to sign documents that say that they are not to engage in evangelism. This was EXPLICIT when Christian agencies went to Sumatra following the 2004 quake.

            • Tigerboy

              Why does God need extra “hands and feet?” Do His “hands and feet” lack sufficient ability? Didn’t God create this tragic situation? Why are you working so hard to change a tragedy that God Himself wished to inflict? You must be agents of Satan, working so hard to alter the course of events and the outcome of a situation God mandated.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Seriously? 

                • amyc

                   Yes, seriously. If the Christian god is omnipotent, why can’t it solve these problems on its own? Seriously, if tomorrow I woke up and suddenly all illness was cured and wars had inexplicably halted and poverty were alleviated, and a voice from the heavens took credit, I might just give credence to this whole god idea. God could get two birds with one stone: prove its existence and solve all the world’s problems.

        • Amie

          Momma J, from a free-thinker as myself: You are ridiculous. There is no point to anything you just said. You’re being hypocritical and hateful – that is just so Christian of you.

        • Anonymous

           momma J you should do some reading on the True Scotsman fallacy (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman).

          Isn’t a big part of Christianity that we are fallen and commit sin? So how can you say with 100% certainty that this wasn’t a Christian who may feel true remorse afterwards and pray for forgiveness?

          And what does volunteering in New Orleans/Haiti have to do with vandalizing a sign? One does not preclude the other.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Philly! Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I’ve never heard of this before but again, I thank you for bringing up to my attention. You are correct, I was extremely hasty in making my strong, self-imposed assured statement. 

            Clearly, I am not the vandal type, so I really have no idea what would go through someone’s head when they do something like this. Maybe I’m a bit more controlled with my emotions that a vandal. If I see someone trying to spread a message that I do not agree with, vandalism, nor heckling for that manner, is just simply not where my mind gravitates to. So I apologize for projecting my reactions onto someone else. 

            It is entirely possible that the person is a true Christian and is or will be remorseful in the future. If they are not remorseful, ever and pretty much see nothing wrong with defiling property then I would still bring up the argument that this person is not a true Christian. 

            I say that because the Bible teaches that a true Christian is filled with God’s Spirit and lives a transformed life. That doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. We’re still fallible, selfish, people, but to remain in sin unrepentant tells me that their Christian life and values is all talk.

            As for the NO/Haiti comment, I think vandalism might be my soapbox. I HATE IT. It doesn’t make sense in any context whatsoever. EVERY TIME I see a natural disaster of some sort on t.v. it is always followed up by looters and vandals. People decide “hey, my neighbor might be buried under a pile of rubble choking on his own vomit, but I’m going to crash an electronics store and have a sweet t.v.!” Or “my team just won a championship! I think I’ll go outside and set fire to whatever it is I see first that doesn’t belong to me!” I will NEVER understand this. It’s an incredibly selfish act that I just don’t get. I have never seen a Christian vandal in all of my 32 years of being in the Church. That doesn’t mean that it can’t exist, but it’s got to be extremely rare. 32 years, I’ve attended 6 different churches over that time (thanks to moving) and I’ve never heard of it. 

            • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

              Well, here’s another one of your True Christians. Speaking of disaster areas…
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSp7fzgCuqI

              • Nxorable

                Wow, that’s frightening to think that actually believe that nonsense.

            • lamocla

               Wrong! If a christian did this he is a true Christian because he only act out want his master taught him, that is, no respect for other people property. Remember the all lovable Jesus casting devils into pigs and making them jump of a cliff disregarding the owners care. Are how about god of the old testament destroying other nation property an bellowing? About the apostle burning books in Acts. Again no respect of others.

              If you’re not willing to do the same, then you are the false Christian!

            • amyc

              ” Philly! Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I’ve never heard of
              this before but again, I thank you for bringing up to my attention. ”

              Were you meaning to say that you had never heard of the “no true scotsman” fallacy? Because I know I have seen you use the fallacy before on here and other people point it out. If you were talking about something else though, then I retract my statement.

        • Anonymous

          In country where the 83% of populous claims to be Christian, why would it be such a surprise that the vandals might be Christian?

          Seems to me it would be a highly probable concept that it would have been done by Christians.

        • Andytk

          With 70 of the population being Christians it is easy to argue that they do more of pretty much everything, both charity and crime.  Paying a church tax to your own club, btw, doesn’t count as charity.  At best you can claim the 5% of what you donate assuming that your church spends 5% of the money that comes in on out group charity.  The other 95% of the money that is spent paying for the priest, the mortgage, insurance and maintenance on both the church and the priest’s home, along with money spent on magic wafers, wine, candles, incense, and other incidentals is all money spent to support your private club, not to help the needy.
          I’m also curious how you think the quote is out of context?  [On a side note I think it would be great if each Christian denomination’s version of the Bible had little footnotes that indicated if a passage is no longer considered the word of god, is ignored because verse X conflicts it and we believe X instead, or is considered a metaphor.  This would allow members and non-members to know which parts of the Bible to ignore and which are mortal sins.]

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            First off I’m confused. I’ve seen three interesting #’s that claim they know what percentage of people who “claim” to be Christians. Why are those numbers so different?

            Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is actually a Bible-studying, praying, God-believing Christian. If so many people are Christians, seeing that the population is growing at such a high rate and all, you’d think churches would be packed out all the time!

            A bit more realistic is the percentage of people who say that they go to church regularly. That’s about 40% in the U.S. I could argue that the percentage of people who are true Christians is even lower than that %. Think about it, how many of you have gone to church previously because you had to as a child or did it because your parents did it before you. 

            I’m sure that out of the 40%, a measurable % would fall into this category and into the category of attending for a numerous amount of other “wrong reasons”. Example:”Uh…I don’t know…uh… because I’m supposed to”

            I give 10% to my church and 20% of their budget goes to vaious charities, both locally and globally. Nice made up #’s by the way. 

            I also give annually another 7% on my own to other charities  and causes of my choosing as both monthly giving and as one time, event-based gifts. And no, I’m not rich either. I’m a teacher and my wife works part-time for her father who owns his own CPA firm. She comes back and sees people’s tax returns and almost breaks down when she sees what % of people’s large incomes go to charity. Often it’s less than 1% for those who are making 6 figures. 

            As for your last statement, I’m assuming that the quote on the billboard is an attempt to take a part of a scripture and attach some new meaning to it that somehow tries to imply that Christians are pro-slavery or some other nonsense. *Sigh* This has been a recent argument on this and other boards recently. NOWHERE in the Bible does it condone slavery. The quote does not even complete the entire verse. The complete verse and part of the following verse is this:

            “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to gain their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” 

            I must have missed the part that taught that it is okay to take people captive as slaves. In fact, the term slave as is referenced in the Bible is not the same that today’s society thanks of it. Back then, it was an indebted servitude. Often times it was because someone owed to someone else, a debt that they could not pay off so they had to work it off. Today that idea doesn’t exist because of credit.

             Slavery as we know it (based off of race or gender) today is actually condemned in the Bible in Exodus 21:16 and again in 1 Timothy 1:8-10. So the feeble attempt at trying to tell everyone who horrible the Bible is based on the misquoted 4 words is weak at best. It’s just sad and is really grasping at straws. 

            No need for explaining away the true meaning of the text. In fact the problem is that you all don’t read to find out the true meaning of the text. 

            It’s like you (collectively, not personally) have been duked by a giant scam. It’s like the picture that circulated the internet that showed G.W.Bush looking at a book that was upside down. SO many believed it and I heard a lot of chatter about how dumb our president was. The dumb ones were the one’s who didn’t take the time to find out if it was real or photoshopped. 

            Quotes out of context, both culturally and from the Book itself are a dime a dozen. Not only are groups falling for it, they are trying to use them as a straw man argument to lure people away from the opposing camp. How sad indeed. 

            One last argument for the Bible, I will admit that it is a bit soft on slavery. Again, because it meant something different in their day and place, but also because the text has a different purpose than social reform. The book is meant to be studied and learned for personal reform. 

            Oh and who was it that was SO instrumental in teaming up with Wilberforce to end slavery in the UK. John Newton, a Christian. I’m pretty sure if the Bible was teaching that slavery was okay, then he either wouldn’t have fought so hard against it or would not have been a believer in Christ. He in fact did and was both.

            • Rwlawoffice

              As a fellow Christian I appreciate your comments and defense of our faith. You will not find a receptive audience here but it is worthwhile to attempt to correct some misconceptions that are loosely and as in the case of this billboard, intentionally spread about Christians and Christianity.

              • lamocla

                The Bible which is the christian dogma book teaches that slavery is acceptable, no loose end here!

              • Anonymous

                Even if she lied to defend it?  There is no misconception and no excuse for her or you to be so ignorant of your own religion.    You can look these sections of the bible up in a few minutes.   Google “slavery in the bible” and get yourself an education.

            • Anonymous-Sam

               The numbers vary depending on who’s taking the data, what assumptions they used, whether they only counted individual confirmation (ie, did people say they were Christian, or did they only count the number of people who were attending the church, and if the latter, over how much time?) and what they count as “Christian” (for example, some denominations don’t count, say, Mormans as real Christians).

              The 78.4% figure comes from pewforum.org: http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

            • Anonymous

              Momma J,

              You didn’t provide the entire quote:
              Colossians 3:22″Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. ”

              So what it is saying is be a faithful slave in this life and you will get a heavenly reward.  In other words it’s a trick to make the slave be cooperative with his master.

              Exodus 21:16 doesn’t condemn slavery.  It states that you should not steal someone elses slave and sell him.  You can’t steal a man if someone doesn’t own him.  Upon stealing him you couldn’t sell him if as you claim this was about debt.  It’s in a section that talks about all sorts of rules about slavery.  Like how to sell your daughter into slavery if you please.   Try explaining how that’s about bondage when it talks nothing about the daughter owing money.   It explicitly talks about selling her FOR money, with no mention of debt, or paying it off.  The section puts a time limit (6 years) on keeping Hebrew slaves, but that seems to be a special rule for Jews, and does not talk about paying off a debt.  There would be no need for those rules if slavery was being outlawed and condemn.

              Only two paragraphs before 21:16 at 21:4 we find this beauty:
              “If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”

              What don’t you understand about owning the man forever? What don’t you understand about automatically owning the children your slave bears.   This is clearly treating people as property like cattle.

              You are dishonest for claiming otherwise.  The bible clearly condones slavery.  

              Oh, and BTW, bondage slavery is also a BAD form of slavery.   Bonded slaves are generally never freed and their children inherit their debt.  They are NOT the same as indentured servents.

              So you are wrong.  Your statement, ” NOWHERE in the Bible does it condone slavery.” is in fact a lie.   It condones slavery in the very quotes you misrepresented.   It also condones it in many other places.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Haven’t looked into the others, nor do I have time until after Friday is done, but I looked at 21:16 again. You added your own interpretation of it. The passage is indeed talking about slavery. vs 16 though does not mention the word. You added it. It talks about about a “man” just as a “man” is to grow up and cleave from his father and mother. No where in that sentence (and I’ve read 4 versions, 1 in Hebrew) does it refer to a slave until the end of that sentence. The intent of the person who stole the man is to put them into slavery. 

                Absolutely you can steal a person before they are already into slavery. The initial process of entering someone into slavery as we did to the African continent or like those who disgustingly take part in the sex slave business have done to many small children, I would consider that to be stealing. They are stealing them from their mamas and daddies  and are stealing away the children’s future.

                • Anonymous

                  Stealing implies a prior owner. No one says that Africans were stolen in Africa. They were captured and then sold into slavery. Slaves ARE men who are owned. So if you steal a man you must be stealing a slave. Since the entire section is on how to busy and sell slaves it fits in just fine with my interpretation, and your interpretation is ridiculous.

                • MattP

                  momma J, please read Numbers 31 at your earliest convenience and weep (literally).
                  A quick summary:
                    Jealous (Exodus 34:14) sees some Israelite men marrying Midianite women and leaving Him for the Midianite religion.
                    Jealous commands Moses to raise an army and eradicate all in the land of Midian.
                  Moses raises an army of 12000 men and sends them off to Midian.
                    Army arrives in Midian and kills all men who oppose them (attempt to protect their families and property from invading forces).
                    Army burns all buildings and kills all kings in Midian.
                    Army takes all surviving children and women back to the Israelite camp along with booty (gold, jewels, cattle, etc.).
                    Moses gets pissed “Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.”  (Numbers 31:15-16)
                    Jealous says the army is now unclean and must be purified before re-entering the camp.  Pass all treasures under fire.  Kill all surviving male Midianites (young boys and infants).  Kill all mothers.  Subject every remaining female (children, pre-teens, teens) to a horribly invasive, humiliating, terrifying, and painful physical inspection of her hymen.  All non-virgins are slaughtered along with their mothers, brothers and older married sisters.  “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18)
                    The remaining 32000 virgin girls are divided among the Israelites.  16000 among those that did not go to war.  16000 among those that did go to war.  1 in 50 of those divided among those who did not go to war are given to the Levites (keepers of the tabernacle of the Jealous).  1 in 500 of those divided among those who did go to war are “given” to Jealous (human sacrifice likely considering the Israelites’ enthusiasm in slaughtering the survivors’ families). “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation: And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation: And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the LORD.” (Numbers 32:25-29)

                  How is this not the Bible supporting slavery?  By Jealous’ command, the Israelites took VIRGIN girls from their families “like those who disgustingly take part in the sex slave business have done to many small children, I would consider that to be stealing. They are stealing them from their mamas and daddies  and are stealing away the children’s future.“?  Why were the soldiers not punished with death for stealing those girls and killing their families?  Why did Jealous command their enslavement and the execution of their surviving family members if the Bible considered slavery to be evil?

                  Context makes this even worse for your argument, because it was Reuel (the priest of Midian) who took in Moses (fed him, clothed him, housed him) during his exile from Egypt and even gave his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as his wife (even had a son named Gershom). (Exodus 2:15-22)  Meaning Moses committed the same exact “heinous” crime of marrying a Midianite woman and falling further away from the worship of Jealous.  Did Jealous condemn Moses to death for his crime?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Did you take all of this from the Skeptics annotated Bible? You need to read the entire book of Numbers to see why this was done and why the young girls were saved. Not to become sex slaves as you put it but actually wives.

                • MattP

                   They were still stolen from their families and their families slaughtered by Jealous’ command.  There is nothing that could ever make that acceptable or just.  If any person in this day and age were to kill his neighbor’s family and take the virgin daughter as his wife, there would be a mob at his door to arrest/kill him within hours of discovery.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   In further reply, there is no indication in the text that there were any human sacrifices. That is a fantasy twist that the skeptics’ bible places on the text.

                • MattP

                   What do you call the slaughter of the entire people of the land of Midian?  What do you call the systematic processing of females to determine virginity and killing all those found to be lacking?  It does not matter if it occurs on an alter in a temple or in a field outside the camp, HUMANS were sacrificed by other humans in the name of and for the glory of Jealous and by His direct command.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Nice spin Matt. This was war and this country haad tried to destroy the nation of Israel. God had made a covenant with Israel to protect them from their enemies and this was part of it.  The end reason of course being that Christ would come fromthe nation of Israel and would bring redemption to wht entire world. I don’t expect you to agree with that but that is part of the overall picture.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  To bad nobodyhad thought of the Geneva Conventionback then.

                  Also strange thatsome of God’s children are more equal than other of God’s children.

                • MattP

                  Nice spin Matt.

                    Sadly can’t say the same for your attempt at spin, Rwlawoffice.  Call me a half-way decent human being, but I’ve always been under the impression that a war required two or more armies.  Regardless of whether the Midianites ever had an army to counter the Israelite invasion, when one group has had all its adult males killed, its women and children (and livestock) held in bondage, all its buildings and infrastructure reduced to ashes, and its treasures plundered, then it is no longer a war, but genocide and other crimes against humanity.  The non-virgin women and male children of Midian were not killed in some far away land, but after being forcibly removed from the land of Midian to just outside the Israelite camp in the desert.  The Israelites were not killing combatants in battle, they were murdering/sacrificing unarmed women and children (and livestock). 

                  It is for shit like this (both the attrocities committed by/in the name of Jealous and all attempts to justify it) that the Iron-Age compilation of Bronze-Age stories commonly known as the Bible (or any other collection of religious fables) should never be encouraged/promoted by government, and that is the entire point of this billboard and others like it. People today are mostly smarter, kinder, more compassionate and moral than those in the Bible.  That does not mean we have no room for improvement, but returning to the Bible is definitely not an improvement.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Not to mention it does not say a faithful slave gets rewarded, it says if you are faithful (in living in the presence of God) then you will be rewarded. But whatever. You’ve read this passage like twice in your life. You’re clearly the expert here. It must suck to be me and to live a life in hope that I will get a reward for being faithful to God. 

                It’s so much better to be you and to think that there is nothing bigger than yourself. When you die you die and that’s it. So what’s the use then? Why even live? What’s the purpose of living? Does that purpose change depending on your circumstance (because it gets too hard) or on your mood? 

                Why do we even care if people are treated equally? Why? If you think something is right and I say something is wrong what does it matter? Is it fairness? Is life fair? If life were fair then why is there death? Wouldn’t it be more fair if a) We lived forever or b) if we had never lived at all? 

                What give you joy? Why does that thing give you joy? Do you like joy? Don’t worry, it’s only temporary. So live up life while you can and enjoy it I guess because you only have so long right?  So what is it to you if I live it up and make you made in the process? Your anger and my enjoyment won’t last forever anyway right? Heck, they might not even make the week right? 

                With that, tell me atheists, what is it you want and why do you want it? Why do you come to this board? Why are you so bent on trying to paint me as a horrible person who is blindly led astray? What does it matter? Life ends and theirs nothing else according to you so why make such a big deal about it? 

                Why does anyone fear death? What? You say you don’t fear death? I guarantee if you got pushed into deep water you would swim right? Why? Because you don’t want to die. Why don’t you want to die? Death would be easier right? Then you wouldn’t have to listen to me “trolling” on your board right?

                So why do people fear death? Have you ever died before? Can you tell me what death is like? Can you tell me certainly that I don’t have a soul and everything just ends? Really? What was that like? Oh……. you haven’t died before. Huh? So you don’t know what happens after I die? If so please describe from a first-person perspective.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  It’s so much better to be you and to think that there is nothing bigger than yourself. 

                  That’s kind of the opposite of how many of us think.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhGKwo6-lCE

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  (apologies if this is a repost, Disqus is hungry tonight)

                  It’s so much better to be you and to think that there is nothing bigger than yourself.

                  Speaking only for myself, the opposite of that.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhGKwo6-lCE 

                • Anonymous
                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
                • Jett Perrobone

                  It must suck to be me and to live a life in hope that I will get a reward for being faithful to God.

                  Yes, because being moral in order to receive a reward is clearly less selfish than doing so simply because it’s the right thing to do.

                  When you die you die and that’s it. So what’s the use then? Why even live?

                  This has to be the saddest part of the Christian mindset I’ve ever heard.  Atheists choose not to waste the only life they get being a slave to an imaginary man-god, just so they can get a free ticket to Disneyland in the sky.  To paraphrase Guy Sebastian: “Life is short, we only live it once, so live it up.”

                  I guarantee if you got pushed into deep water you would swim right? Why?
                  Because you don’t want to die. Why don’t you want to die? Death would
                  be easier right?

                  Well, obviously the vast majority of people want to live if their lives are threatened.  Human beings have a self-preservation instinct that has evolved with us for millions of years.  Just because atheists don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that they find life to be worthless.

                  Can you tell me certainly that I don’t have a soul and everything just ends?

                  Can you tell me certainly that there aren’t fairies dancing in my back garden?

                • Anonymous

                  And to think that Christians accuse us of being nihilistic. It’s mind boggling. The saddest, most nihilistic statements I’ve ever read come from Christians

                • NickDB

                  Why does anyone fear death? What? You say you don’t fear death? I
                  guarantee if you got pushed into deep water you would swim right? Why?
                  Because you don’t want to die. Why don’t you want to die? Death would be
                  easier right? 

                  I don’t fear death, I fear dying and pain, so do you. I also enjoy life so why would I want to give it up?

                  What I don’t get is why you religious people fear death? And aren’t all extreme sport junkies pushing the edge in the hope you get to your nirvana sooner?

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                  The instinct to swim when pushed into deep water needs no magical explanation.  Evolution does just fine.  The opposite instinct would be an extremely maladaptive trait, quickly removed from the gene pool by natural selection. 

                • Rwlawoffice

                  So I guess it was a mutant gene that led to the evolutionary trait that causes one person to push another person under the water in the first place.  If that is true then would you say that violence is genetic? If so then would that justify killing all violent criminals so that that bad gene would be wiped out?

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                  Why do you always take a statement to its most illogical conclusion?  Violence is a complex trait that a mix of genetic and environmental factors.  It’s not comparable to a base survival instinct like breathing, which is what I was talking about.  I know sticking to the topic at hand isn’t your strong suit, but come on.

                  I am wholly opposed to the death penalty.  I even keep a signed and notarized document with my will stating that if I should be murdered, I do not want my killer to be executed, only incarcerated to keep others from being harmed.

                • Annie

                  Enuma-  when you view your response here, do you still see Rwlawoffice’s original comment above?  Over the last few days,  I will see both comment and response in my email alert, but when I come to this site, only the response remains.  It has only happened with comments made by Rwlawoffice and MommaJ, so perhaps they are deleting their original comments?  Sorry for being off topic, just trying to figure this out…

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  When the total number of commentsget too large, linking to a specificcomment doesn’t show youprevious comments.  If youremove everything from the # on in the URL and reload the page, you’ll get ALLthe comments.  Keep searching and everything is there.

                • Annie

                  Thanks Rich!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  There are numerous competition strategies, including direct violence, co-operation and deceit.  You will see all deployed in nature.  A strategy might work well in one situation but not in another.  If a sociopath resorts to violence all the time, to the exclusion of co-operation, then in a social species like humans, other members will probably co-operate to counter the sociopath.   That’s why they end up in prison (or perhaps on death row).  And as an unintended side effect, less likely to pass on their genes.  Perhaps eventually whatever genes may be linked to sociopathy may die out.

                  All people are violent to various degrees.  There is certainly no ‘violent’ gene.  Thinking you could (or it would useful to) wipe out violence in humans by stopping some more violent people from breeding is just plain stupid.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  i am glad you think so. This solutions sounds alot like eugenics

            • amyc

               You use that “No true Scotsman” fallacy over and over and over and over again. The reason there might be different numbers is because different polls of the population ask slightly different questions in regards to religion (or count some sects as entirely different religions) and therefore the numbers are slightly off. You claim that a more accurate number would be to look at those who regularly go to church, but if I were to point out people who regularly go to church and yet still do terrible things, you would claim they are not christian either. When you guys can agree on a coherent definition of what a christian is, then I’ll start caring when you claim somebody isn’t a “true” christian.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

          I believe you’ll find it’s the American Red Cross, a secular organization, which leads the way post-disaster.  Along with FEMA, yet ANOTHER secular organization.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            My brother and I help out with the Salvation Army. He lives 20 minutes away from Joplin and their local unit was there BEFORE the Red Cross has set anything up. I found about it  that evening from my cousin gathered supplies on my own dime and was there somewhere around 4:00 the following morning. FEMA was there for about a week and then pulled out because they were stretched to thin.

            Yes, the Red Cross is secular, but they are not the only aid agency then are they? 

            • amyc

               The Salvation Army discriminates in their hiring practices against the lgbt community. I do not support them. The American Red Cross will accept anybody who is willing to do the work. The Red Cross sounds like a better organization to support.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
        • Ricky

          “But in reality, anyone who would go to such measures is a false witness and isn’t living their life according to the Bible.” Nice. You know, women who speak in church, pray without their head covered, and parents who don’t murder their children for disobedience are also not living their life according to the Bible. How about you read the bible you think you live your life by instead of getting spoon fed all the nice parts in church. Ignorant fool.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Name calling? Really? Classy. 

            What do those things that you mentioned have to do with me? a) I’m a guy. The moniker is something that was handed to me that was kind of fun (I’ll spare you the back story) b) Again, not a woman but thanks. c) I’m not a parent so I have no children to be disobedient or to discipline. I’m a bit puzzled by the relevancy of your post.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              His post is relevant because he’s referring to scripture.  I’m honestly a bit surprised that you didn’t seem to catch that.  That YOU aren’t a woman and don’t have kids isn’t necessary to the point.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                I know it’s from scripture. I’m having a difficult time connecting the dots. Between a random scripture that the person found on Goggle and trying to attack ME for MY post. 

                From what I read he listed those things and in the next to last sentence was implying that I do the things that he posted, therefore I also am not a God-fearing believer. I in fact cannot be in violation of any of the 3 things he mentioned. 

                The biggest part, and I explained it later is that I am wrong in assuming that the person is not a believer. Every one has there bad moments. Just like Franklin Graham was wrong and later admitted that he cannot judge Obama’s religious stance, only God can do that. 

                What I neglected to add to my original statement that the person cannot have acted in such a way, remain unrepentant and be a true believer. 

                The idea of vandalism I have a hard time understanding and so I neglected to add that in. My apologies :(

                • Anonymous

                  How about this, momma J?  You are not supposed to bear false witness.  You just did with your claims about slavery in the bible.  Thus you, by your no true Scot reasoning, are not a true Christian.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

                  Time to stop feeding the troll.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Time to read what I say and not interpret what you’ve been fed from the “this is what the Bible says” vending machine. Geesh!

                  As long as any of are not Jewish, the OT law doesn’t really have to apply anyways, but that’s a side point that I’ve been trying to stay away from.

                • amyc

                   Accept of course when Jesus said it did still apply…but we’ll just gloss over that too.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  As long as any of are not Jewish, the OT law doesn’t really have to apply anyways

                  I’m sure you’d agree that we’re all people first, and Jewish/Christian/Wiccan/Atheist second (maybe third or later).  An injustice against one of us is an injustice against all of us.

                  Use any subgroup you want: Jewish, Black, Woman, Left handed, Gay.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I didn’t start this way, but as the day wore on, the theistic stance of the vandal mattered to me less.  I think it’s unlikely to be a non-believer just based on what was vandalized, but I don’t recall anything in the Bible saying “Go rip down billboards”.  I think the motivation was more ‘asshat’ than ‘doing God’s work’.

                  But since vandalism is such a sore point for you, here’s a piece that might interest you from before ‘Friendly’ was on Patheos. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2010/07/07/worldnetdaily-supports-atheist-billboard-vandalism/

        • Jean-Paul Marat

          “But in reality, anyone who would go to such measures is a false witness and isn’t living their life according to the Bible.”

          Ah, the No True Scotsman fallacy. It makes it so you never have to defend your religious beliefs because you define the problem away. Christians are *never* bad simply because you define the membership of the set “Christians” to exclude vandals, murderers, rapists, bigots, assholes, and rapacious capitalists. Problem solved.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, he said that right after he lied about slavery in the bible.

        • Gunstargreen

          All I hear is “No True Scottsman.”

        • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

          Given the demographics of our country, there’s about a 76% chance that the people vandalizing homes after a natural disaster are Christians. 

          • Rwlawoffice

            What an illogical comment.  Its like saying that 76% of the people at an atheist convention are Christians because of the demographics of our country.

            • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

              Irony: you call me out for being illogical and try to prove your case with an incredibly illogical example.

              You can’t expect a random sampling of different religions at a religion-themed event. 

              You can expect a random sampling when it comes to something unrelated to religion, such as vandalism. 

              If anything, the expectation that vandals are Christian at the same rates as the general population is being overly generous to Christians.  Perhaps I should have gone by the religious demographics of people we know commit crimes: convicted criminals in prison, in which case the vandals would be more likely to be Christian than the general population.

              • Rwlawoffice

                One way to point out absurdity is to use absurdity 

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                  True, but that’s not what you did.  You tried to inject absurdity where none existed, and used a laughably bad comparison in the process.

                  When in a hole, it’s usually best to stop digging.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

                  Just like Rush Limbaugh.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              The original statement was

              It’s exactly what I expect from believers though.

              mommaJ turned that into

              Yes. Because Christians are highly known for their vandalism.

              (And then pulled a True Scotsman)

              What’s the opposite of ‘believer’?  Maybe ‘atheists’?  Do you think Jews vandalize synagogues?

              I’m sure most believers don’t vandalize.  And some atheists do.  But I’m reasonably certain that whoever did THIS believes in Jesus, or Vishnu or Yahweh.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Believer is different than follower. Maybe this how I should word it from now on. There are a lot of “believers” in Jesus and in God. The problem is that many of those believers have a jacked up theology and think of God as a cosmic santa clause. 

                If God does exist, He indeed is not santa. He is the creator of the universe and should be treated as such. That opens up a door that most professing “believers” do not open and walk through. It’s a tough path because it enlightens our own selfish tendencies. 

                All of this is based on the assumption that God does exist. It’s a bit of a stretch for this audience I know. That’s because you believe that He does not exist. I get that. 

                But what you have to try and understand is that the majority of “believers” are not actual followers. The Bible even says this doesn’t it?

                Read 2 passages of scripture for me. Not for the purpose of me trying to convert you or anything overly transparent like that. But simply to understand where my argument is coming from. Read Matthew 7:13-21 and James 2:14-20. I think those 2 things will sum up what I am trying to say. 

                I guess my words and thoughts are failing me today. Blah! Sorry all. I’m out for now. 

                FYI: I do appreciate the feedback though, especially on the Scottsman fallacy was it? I hadn’t hear of it stated that way, but I definitely needed that correction. Look at me, getting a fix from a pro-atheist website! As most boards, there are always good posters and bad posters.Good posters, keep thinking and posting. Bad posters, just take lessons. I will continue to learn and hopefully become a good poster myself someday. 

                • Anonymous

                  You just commited the no true Scotman fallacy again in trying to claim that Christians are not in fact Christians when they don’t behave the way you like.  Sorry not the case.

                • Anonymous-Sam

                   Here is where I might intercede, however. It’s quite possible to call yourself something–even to believe you are something–and have absolutely nothing in common with it beyond that name.

                  The problem is, “Christians” who murder people, steal funds from charity, lie pathologically and blaspheme six ways from Friday don’t exactly come with a “Fake Christian” label on their forehead, and when leaders among the Christian faith have a tendency to commit abominable acts as well, that blurs the line even more.

                  At some point, you stop seeing the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest because too damned many of them are rotten to the core. What makes it worse is that they still believe they’re all fresh and green.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  It has nothing to do with what I “like” for them to act. Put a label on it if you want, if that makes you feel better.

                  If someone is not repentant about sin then they are not a Christian. Those are not my words, but is what the Bible teaches. I can self-proclaim myself to be whatever I want, but that does not mean it is true. 

                  Have you ever watched someone try to fit and integrate themselves into any kind of collective? Maybe I admire chess players. Maybe I want to become one and I start to identify myself as one. Until one actually plays the game, they can call themselves a chess player, but really they are not. 

                  The movie adaptation of Frank Abagnale Jr.’s life would have you believe that he portrayed several different occupations. He played dress up. He wasn’t actually a doctor now was he?

                   Clearly you didn’t take me up on my suggestion of the follow up reading. If that’s the case then we’re done and I’m saddened.

                • Anonymous-Sam

                   The problem is when such people don’t believe they are sinning. Some people genuinely interpret the Bible as justifying the murder, rape and torture of others (ignoring for a moment that such things do exist and are permitted in the Bible). Suddenly kidnapping a man and pounding nails into his skull becomes the moral thing to do – what God wants you to do.

                  If there’s anything I hate most about the Bible, it’s the ambivalence in such matters. It could clearly spell out that such actions are reprehensible, but not only does it dispassionately condone them (not even by omission — it assigns rules for the proper way to murder, rape and torture people!), but it focuses more on trite rituals and animal laws than on moral behavior at all.

                • Anonymous

                  No one is a Christian then. The bible is full of rules that are so numerous and archaic that nobody can claim to follow them all, and no one seems to care about that fact. Their lack of care is a lack of repentance, so according to your claims they cannot be Christians. You just lied about there not being any advocation of slavery anywhere in the bible. This violates the Christian rule against bearing false witness. You are unrepentant. According to your silly rules you are not a Christian. BTW, you will turn on a dime and likely argue that the number of Christians is an argument for it’s truth, and count these “no true Christians” to your advantage.

                  The middle ages were so brutal that one could easily argue that there were next to no Christians in Europe based on your criteria, yet it is arguable that Christians of that era were in fact much more Christian in their behavior in other ways, like days in Church.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

              Epic fail.  

          • Anonymous

            Actually the odds are higher because atheists commit crime at a lower rate.

        • Pureone

          Christians (and other religions) are known for their vandalism when it comes to a different (non) belief/religion. Holy Houses of one religion are torn apart/defaced to make it a holy house for a different religion after conquest. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s not atheists, Muslims or Buddhists ripping Darwin Fish off cars….

        • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

          A lot of people in prison have Christian-themed tattoos. Hmmm.

    • Mairianna

      Let’s not forget the angle that it could be someone who thinks this was posted by Nazis or Aryans, and they perceive it as a racial issue. 

      • Anonymous-Sam

         Quite right. Apparently a great deal of complaints over the billboard were due to people misinterpreting the advertisement as advocating slavery.

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking that as a possibility, but they’d have to be really stupid.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

      I think it shows how tall they were, but that’s just me.

  • T-Rex

    Who ever the vandals were it shows their stupidity as they left the Bible quote up.  I guess they were too short in height…and smarts? lol.  I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t a group of atheists,  jews or muslims responsible for it though. That leaves….

    • Aljaž Kozina

      The Wiccans? Yeah, it’s definitely them.

    • Andrew Carmichael

      Hobbits?  Damn them trickies hobbits.

    • Gus Snarp

      Offended African Americans, regardless of religious belief?

      • Coyotenose

         Far from impossible, but even if so, the odds are high in that case that they were American Christians and acting accordingly.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      But they got rid of the politically relevant message, and sidetracked the debate from the action taken by PA administrators to some red herring about racism.

  • http://twitter.com/HealthyHumanist The Healthy Humanist

    I would place a guard on it with the sole intention of taking pictures of the people vandalizing it.

  • NickDB

    Might not be the worse thing that could of happened to it, now it’s just the quote and the verse. So now if people see it hopefully they won’t just ignore it because it’s a message from a atheist group, and perhaps realise how terrible the bible is!

    A church could of put it up for all they know now.

  • Lurker111

    Curiosity Q:  Why are comments off on the Hebrew/Arabic billboards story?  Just askin’.
     

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Accident! Fixed.

  • Trace

     AA seems to be doing a better job with the graphics in their ads (judging from this and the Arabic/Hebrew ones in the previous post).

    Good job!

  • Mrschili

    Wow.  That DIDN’T take long.  I wonder; is it going to be replaced?

  • LeBon

    Another controversial Bible verse (Matthew 4:23) … http://nzh.tw/10790424

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I didn’t even put money on one day. I figured it would at least make it to the weekend before this went down.

  • Anonymous

    When these billboards go up, whatever group is paying for them should pay a security guard to babysit them for the first 48 hours. Let them begin to deface it, detain them, have them arrested and sue for the damage. Drag these troglodytes out into the daylight so we can see their faces.

    • Brian Pansky

       dude this is an awesome idea!  I mean, since it doesn’t seem to take long for vandalism to happen, it would be so easy and so fun!

  • Trace

    “They removed the entire point of the billboard, the criticism, and left the actual ignorant and savage part.”

    Probably that’s all they could reach.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fieldsb Brian Fields

       That’s quite possible.  One would never accuse vandals of being overly intelligent, but the result of their action is to leave a more abhorrent message in place of the original one.  That’s irony.

  • Stumpy

    What a Christian thing to do….

  • Andytk

    Guards are expensive.  On the other hand given the risk of vandalism it would be prudent to place some kind of recording device nearby.  There are motion activated cameras that store what they see in the minimal case.  The optimal solution would be a video camera that can transmit to an offsite server.  It would be a publicity win to drag some fundamentalists to court and get them to pay for the damages plus some secular community service.

    • Anonymous

      I’d be willing to bet that there are some atheist security guards out there that would love to do it for free or at a discount.

      If one of these signs goes up near me, I’ll patrol it myself. I’ve got a few good cameras and a cell phone to call the police. Really, what more does one need?

      • NickDB

         Backup, because I doubt it was just one of them that vandalised it.

        • Anonymous-Sam

           And because petty, destructive people like this have a tendency to become violent when confronted.

      • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

        I’m in PA. Nearish to H-burg. I’d sit and watch it with cameras and call the cops if need be. I’m an insomniac and unemployed, might as well do something useful.

        • http://www.facebook.com/fieldsb Brian Fields

           Come out and join us at our meetings!

          http://www.panonbelievers.org

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LNWAM4DYCN4MLBLHFGDHE2YKZM GloomCookie613

            Now that I should be able to resurrect my car (*snicker*), I’ll have to get my butt in gear and do so! :)

  • Yewtree

    Er, I think the message could have been clearer. If you hadn’t explained the context, it would have been easy to miss the point.

    But then, I’m not from Pennsylvania, and didn’t know they were having a “Year of the Bible”.If Christians in Pennsylvania are the kind of people who believe the Bible is inerrant, this might work, but if they are liberals, they might just think it was silly.

    Also, the book of Colossians was not written in the Bronze Age. It was was written in the Iron Age. though arguably the ethics of this injunction are pretty backward, even for the Iron Age.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

       I think the message was crystal clear: your morality is better than the bible’s

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        I especially like the part when the Bible is quoted out of context and manipulated to try and make a point. 

        The point of the verse is NOT to say that slavery is okay. The point of that section of scripture is to teach that no matter what circumstance that you find yourself in, you should be  working as to please one person or  an audience of one (that would be God btw). The following verse, 23, sums up the spirit of the previous verses, but I guess that would require you to read more than 4 words so never mind.

        Nice double standard though. Atheists pounce on Christians if they pull from context or misquote and then they turn around and do it intentionally. Sigh. I don’t expect anyone here to be a Biblical scholar, but try getting context first. If that’s too much or if you don’t own a Bible or refuse to read the Bible, try reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It does a nice job of showing what vs22 and 23 looks like when lived out. That’s what this passage is talking about. That’s what it’s author  is exhorting his audience, the Christians in Colossae, to live like.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          ok mommaJ, is there ANYthing in the Bible that you find bothersome?  That context doesn’t explain away?  If you ‘give’ a slave a wive, then at the end of the 6 years she, and any children remain ‘yours’?  The binding of Isaac?  Lot offering his daughters to a mob to rape?  Mixed fibers bad, but beating your 6-year-indentured servant within an inch of his life ok?  Job?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Bothersome? Of course. I don’t know your Bible history so I’ll lay this down in extremely general terms. The OT law has so many laws that they cannot possibly keep from breaking, no less than keep them straight. 

            It’s almost like an episode of Star Trek where they go to a new culture, have no idea what the laws are and accidentally break them. There are obvious flaws in this analogy of course. The purpose of the OT law, on this side of it, can be seen as completely exasperating the Israelites. If you haven’t noticed the penalty for everything seems to be death right? 

            Bottom line, the OT law is impossible to keep. So everyone’s penalty is to die. Sounds a bit crude, but we are talking about offending the creator of everything. So everyone offends God at some point and then everyone’s punishment is death. 

            But that’s where the NT comes in with Jesus. His role is to bear that punishment Himself. He’s an advocate. He takes the punishment so others do not have to. 

            What about those who have already died before Christ was born? Although they did not hear of Jesus’ name, they knew of someone to come and if they put their hope in that person, whenever He comes and whoever He is then they also do not bear eternal punishment.

            So w/o trying to look at each and every circumstance, I can if you REALLY want me to, keep this in mind. 

            Context doesn’t explain anything away, but it is necessary to have an idea of what is actually taking place. Just as I am guilty of the previous fallacy that was pointed out to me earlier, athiests are guilty of the quote mining fallacy when it comes to the Bible. It’s not a book that you’ve studied is it? If you studied a specific Shakespearean play, then I would you let go and consider you the authority on it. I might not understand your argument but I wouldn’t try to use Shakespeare to tell you why you are so wrong about the interpretation of Shakespeare. That does not make any sense. Why then do you insist on trying to quote mine a book that I’ve studied since I could read and to what end?

            You can say it’s not true. That’s fine. I can’t counter that. I wouldn’t try to. But saying that you don’t agree with it when you haven’t studied it and that I am somehow less than you for believing it AFTER I have studied it is pretty messed up. Just because I read Shakespeare once doesn’t mean I understand every detail of every play. In fact I took a Shakespeare class in college. That was the worst choice that I ever made in college. I wanted to like Shakespeare, but didn’t devote enough effort to get the nuances of it all. Just as you have not done this with the Bible.

            • amyc

               Why couldn’t god have just said,”Don’t own slaves, that’s a commandment. If you own slaves then you will be punished. Also don’t rape people (or anything for that matter). If a woman gets raped, don’t punish her, don’t mark her as unclean and refuse to marry her. Here’s a novel idea, women and children are people too and should be treated as such.”?? If that were in the Old Testament, I think I would respect it a little bit more.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              As a start, although I’m sure I’m not at your level of Bible study, nothing you or RWLawOffice has said in the last few days is ‘new’.  As I said somewhere else, this horse is glue.

              Our disagreement isn’t due to either of us being stupid, or ‘better’, or not really understanding.  I’ve heard and read the explanations.  There are points of fact, and there are points of opinion.  Even if I accept all of your facts as stated, I often come to a different opinion.

              For example:

              Bottom line, the OT law is impossible to keep. So everyone’s penalty is to die. Sounds a bit crude,

              Agreed.

               but we are talking about offending

              Wait!

               the creator of everything. 

              I’ll agree for the sake of argument.

              See, the problem for me is the creator of everything getting offended.  If my son is tired and hungry and says something mean to me, I don’t get offended and want to punish him (unless I’m tired and hungry in which case I might want to punish him, but that’s a huge fail on my part.

              And I know the parent/child relationship isn’t God/me.  I would expect God to be MORE understanding than me.

              And yes, I know it’s all our fault for doing the one thing he told us not to.  And I know he changed the rules by sacrificing himself.

              Even taken as fact, none of that helps.

              The explanatory background leads me to the conclusion that either the Bible was written at least in part by humans, with nothing to do with God, or God is petty and vindictive.

            • Anonymous

              So everyone offends God at some point and then everyone’s punishment is death. 

              momma J, I have a sincere question:

              why would you feel any desire to worship an entity that set up the system you just described?

        • C. Hugh Later

          So, is that an excuse for the vandalism?
          I think Harrisburg Mayor/Queen Linda Thompson needs to spend less time telling Atheists to find Jesus, and more time educating her constituents in obeying the law and finding peaceful methods of debate.

          • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

            No,no. Ms. Thompson needs to learn how to do her job, first and foremost.

        • Anonymous

          In what context can slavery, genocide, rape, mass murder or the death penalty for trivial offenses possibly be justified? That’s a rhetorical question. Don’t bother to answer

          The point is that all these things may be understandable when seen as the fucked up moral code of a primitive, semi-barbaric society, bur it makes absolutely no sense as the divine law of an allegedly all-knowing and all-loving deity

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Ya, but frankly, considering the many trips around the Merry-go-round with RWLawOffice (and mommaJ) in the last few days, I think this horse is glue.  RW is firmly in “Bible=God=Good”.  I’m just wondering if momma is in the same camp.

            • Anonymous

              That’s why I said it was rhetorical. I don’t need to see this debated again here. The answers are entirely predictable

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Sorry, my cold is getting in the way of my reading comprehension :-)

        • http://www.facebook.com/reapsow1 Reap Paden

          Let’s go back say 300 years (more if you like) and then imagine if we used your ‘out of context’ argument. How do you think people would have looked upon your views? It hasn’t always been considered out of context. Who decides when it’s time for the word of god to be considered such? I used to think religion was stuck and would never change. That’s not true, it just takes a very long time to catch up with the real world and it fights that change tooth and claw (ty JT) You are providing a good example of that here.

        • icecreamassassin

          “no matter what circumstance that you find yourself in, you should be working as to please one person or an audience of one (that would be God btw)”

          I imagine you disagree, but this, right here, is why the idea of morality from the bible is horrifying.  Genocide?  That’s cool…trying to please god.  Rape and pillage?  All good…trying to please god.  Owning slaves?  Not a problem…pleasing god.

          If that’s the larger context that you’re referring to, you can have it.  You know what?  Screw that.  You can’t have that.  There are real people here on Earth, alive, right now, and any sense of morality that does not take into consideration of other creatures capable of suffering should be dismissed lest real suffering be inflicted.

        • Anonymous-Sam

          Do you really want to use Uncle Tom as an example of moral behavior?

          When all is said and done, you are trying to justify slavery. Moral relativism has clear, obvious limits. Step back, take a second look at your argument. You are trying to justify slavery, and only because the Bible was fine with it.

          What kind of morals are those?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Yes. I would like to use that book as an example of moral behavior. Tom’s moral behavior. No one else’s. Just look at Tom’s character. Or did I miss something? Did he enjoy slavery? Of course not. But danged if he didn’t try to be the best slave that he knew how. He worked hard, he comforted others and encouraged them. He knew it was useless to fight against it so he constrained to be the best slave he knew how to be. 

            Again, that doesn’t mean that his character was FOR slavery. He had just learned to be content in whatever circumstance he was in and to do his best.

            If you are in a stinky job in the west, you should suck it up, be the best at your job and if you feel so inclined try to find something different or get more educated so you can go somewhere else and work. But while you are there, you should be the best employee that you can be. Trust me, I know tough jobs!

            I hated being there, but at the time it was necessary. And rather than being lethargic or apathetic I tried to be the best that I could be during my time there. That was often mistaken as me loving my job. Trust me, I did not.

            I am NOT justifying slavery. Nor does the text. It simply says IF you are there, be the BEST at that as you are working for an audience of One. 

            Why is that so difficult to understand. Why are you trying to tell me what I am saying. Is there something about my word usage that i difficult to understand?

            • NKOTB

               Your response would have been just perfect in the antebellum South for a slave master.  Don’t resist; do what you’re told; it’ll all be ok in the by-and-by.  I think this is part of the point.  The Bible gives no recourse to slaves (or anyone for that matter) to resist their oppression and to fight for their dignity as human beings.  This is why the Bible was so easy for the slave masters to use against slaves.  Because the text agreed that all of the power belonged to the master and the slave’s role was to submit regardless of how cruel their master was (1 Pet 2:18-19) 

            • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

              Because even if you had a point about it not condoning slavery (which I would contend) it’s still implicitly condoning it. If it had instead said something to the effect of “Throw off your shackles, no man should be beholden to another man against his will. Every man is created free! I allow no man to be the master over another and no one should be physically or emotionally punished for their work” then  you’d have a point. But it doesn’t.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                You are thinking EXACTLY what the Jews of the time were thinking too. They were tired of being repressed and was hoping for either a magnificent general or a incredible social reformer. That was THEIR design for rescue, but not God’s. Sorry, He didn’t consult you on what to do.

                • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                  So you’re admitting that your god has no problem with slavery. Thanks for clearing that up.
                  Confirms that he (assuming he exists, for which there is zero evidence, but let’s play along here) is a right bastard with despicable morals and not worthy of worship.
                  That Jesus guy could have said something about it then. Funny how he’s silent on the issue too.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Can you read? Please quote where I said that God has no problem with slavery? PLEASE!

                • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                  They were tired of being repressed and was hoping for either a magnificent general or a incredible social reformer. That was THEIR design for rescue, but not God’s.

                  Right there.
                  Seriously, you cannot be that daft. By not opposing such a horrible thing as keeping slaves, even laying down rules for their treatment, your god clearly has no problem with slavery.

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                   I gotta agree with Gentle Giant.  The more you try to defend your god, the less he sounds like a being worthy of worship.  Your defenses make me glad such an evil being does not exist.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  Don’t worry. You’ll change your mind someday. And that is gonna suck…for eternity.

                • Anonymous

                   You are a walking cliche

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Like the play ending Deus ex machina, the discussion ending argument from God.  Rings like a playground taunt.

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                  If your god is real and he is going to punish me eternally for being skeptical of his existence (when he’s gone so far out of his way to hide all evidence of it), then I wouldn’t be so cocky.  If he’s evil enough to put me in hell for such spurious reason, then he’s evil enough to send you there too, just for shits and giggles.  You think a being as evil as the one you describe is going to be concerned about keeping promises to you?  That’s… naive, to put it as mildly as I can. 

                • NKOTB

                   Threats of hellfire.  Last refuge of a (fundie) scoundrel.

                • NKOTB

                  It’s agreed then.  The Bible teaches that slaves are defying God if they run away or otherwise resist.  Great message for the modern world.

                  Secondly, the Bible does teach that slavery is good.  After all, Christians are “slaves” to Christ.  The Israelites were “slaves” of Yahweh.  Slaves are a part of a well-ordered household (Eph 5-6).  These are rosy colored, paternalistic portrayals of an institution that inherently diminished the value of the person because they were repeatedly referred to as PROPERTY (or, literally “money”; Hebrew: kesep).  This is not unique to the Bible.  Other ancient texts portrayed brutal institutions as positive, just, paternalistic things that allowed for the orphans, widows and other vulnerable people to be taken care of (monarchy, empire).  

                  And the thing about “the Jews” (they are, after all a collective Borg mind that all think alike).  Let’s leave aside for a moment that there were different views among Jews on their relationship with the Romans and that many Jews during the crisis of the 60s were sucked into it by nationalist sentiment. 

                  Your reference to “the Jews” (dunt dunt duuuuun) proves the point.  The NT was written during Roman imperialism–a brutal time for our species.  The NT promotes collaboration with the ideology and practice of the Roman world and read with the assumption that all of its values apply to today, the NT is toxic for a society that values democracy, human rights, individual freedoms and gender equality–as we saw with the issue of slavery, integration, feminism, etc. 
                   

            • Anonymous

              I am NOT justifying slavery. Nor does the text. It simply says IF you are there, be the BEST at that….

              Seeing the lengths you’re going to to defend the Bible’s complete lack of demonizing of slavery makes me sad.

        • Fargofan1

          Can’t speak for others but I have a degree from a Christian college in biblical studies. So one can’t assume unbelievers don’t know or “refuse to read” the Bible.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I live in PA. It’s a mixed bag. Mostly Christian in the area I’m from. Some are insane and rabid, others are kind and laid back.

      • Jean-Paul Marat

        There’s a reason why the middle part is called Pennsyltucky: the vast cultural wasteland between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that resembles something out of Deliverance.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LNWAM4DYCN4MLBLHFGDHE2YKZM GloomCookie613

          Pardon the phrase, but you’re preaching to the choir!  I live in Schuylkill County (Southern tip, right in the Dauphin/Lebanon/Berks/Schuylkill intersections).  I saw more Confederate flags growing up than American ones.  Thankfully that’s starting to slowly change.

          People ask why I stay.  I just figure *somebody* has to try and drag a few of these folks into the 21st century!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LNWAM4DYCN4MLBLHFGDHE2YKZM GloomCookie613

          Also:

          Paddle faster! I hear banjos!

  • Yewtree

    argh that comma changes the meaning of what I wrote.

    I meant:  though arguably the ethics of that injunction were pretty backward even in the Iron Age. 

  • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

    Kind of improved this way… no context whatsoever… just in-your-face offensive Bible

    Let’s call it found art. 

    • Anonymous-Sam

       No. Turn it upside-down. Then it counts as art. :D

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWUAB6VWGQWUV4GQTMTPBBU33Q JessicaR

    LOL they left the most offensive part! 

  • beijingrrl

    Perhaps the vandals attempt was to make a racist statement and not accidental at all.  Sadly, there are still plenty of people here in the US who think black people should be treated as slaves.

    • Michael

      Good point and very credible.

      • Lamocla

        That’s my theory.

    • NickDB

       I imagine a fairly large percentage of the  “Like Slavery” group are also members of the “Hate Atheists” group.

  • Annie

    I think it was all they could reach… or they were interrupted and fled before finishing the job.  I’d be lying if I said I was surprised.

  • Junkmale

    It was a politician who vandalized the billboard. no surprise.

  • BKLYN3415

    Yep, they left the most offensive and disturbing part, way to go!!! 

  • Anonymous

    It could also have been someone who objected to what they perceived as racism, regardless of the criticism of the Bible (and couldn’t reach the objectionable part).

  • Lamocla

    What’s with that stupid apology Brian?

    • http://www.facebook.com/fieldsb Brian Fields

      Sorry – next time I will consult each and every atheist in the world before offering an apology for a misunderstanding.

      • lamocla

         If you’re going to give an apology, apologize to all the people who’s right just been deface by an ignorant individual. We don’t need to apologize to whoever refuse to think, understand, rationalize or even respect others’ people point of view. The billboard message was loud and clear. No disrespect on your part toward any one. If someone is offended by it, they should take it up to god, cause he’s the author (apparently) of the bible.

  • Anonymous

    If they replace it, they should do another verse. Like maybe the one about women submitting to their husbands, or saying that Christians ought to remain celibate.  Or go Old Testament and put one of Yahweh’s commands to genocide and take sex slaves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reapsow1 Reap Paden

    They  couldn’t reach high enough to remove it all, that’s all that saved the remaining portion. I can not believe it lasted one day. I’m pissed. I don’t care if it comes as no surprise or it was expected. I don’t care if the people/persons who did this were christians, elves, blue, green, or yellow. It doesn’t matter if the message was unclear, it was the truth. Just because people are too stubborn or stupid to get it does not mean we should expect the truth to be destroyed or kept hidden away because it makes people think. This has to stop.  We have an incredible amount of people walking around who live their lives based on a fairy tale belief system. Most of them haven’t even taken the time to learn anything about it. I spent the entire day yesterday reading comments from people who live in PA about all different subjects.  It was troubling to say the least.
      Ignorance and stupidity vandalized this billboard and it’s too bad if people don’t speak up and or out about it. We can not allow this kind of thing to continue.  It’s not rude or disrespectful to stand up for yourself or to tell the truth.

  • Kristin

    It’s now been replaced with a billboard for the Harrisburg Symphony.

    http://www.wgal.com/news/30624435/detail.html#ixzz1oRl1xLZV 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Listening to the man-on-the-street reactions, I think the picture of an African slave was the main mistake among others. People seemed to think that the ad was using the Bible to condone the enslavement of Africans in America, rather than condemning the Bible for condoning slavery in general.

    The explanatory text was far too small, too long, and too indirect.  You have only about 2 seconds to get your message across. The intended meaning of an ironic comment like “This lesson in Bronze Age ethics brought to you by The Year of the Bible and the House of Representatives” is lost on many people for several reasons:
    Text is too small.
    Text is too long.
    Irony of statement is too subtle and indirect, so it is not understood.
    Very few Americans know what the Bronze Age was.
    Very few Pennsylvanians have heard about The Year of the Bible.

    I suggest a billboard something like this:

    PA Legislature has declared the Year of the Bible.
    THE BIBLE APPROVES OF SLAVERY
    Colossians 3:22
    Keep government and religion separate!
    Paid for by Americanatheists.org  PANonbelievers.org

    Something like this is quick and less prone to misinterpretation. The second line could have several variations on different billboards to say many other things that the Bible approves of, such as,
    THE BIBLE APPROVES OF CHILD ABUSE
    THE BIBLE SAYS KILL DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN
    THE BIBLE APPROVES OF SLAUGHTERING INNOCENT PEOPLE
    THE BIBLE FAVORS TREATING WOMEN AS PROPERTY
    each followed by the appropriate scriptural citation.

    • Synapsetx

      Given that this is already Women’s History Month – I’d move directly to the women as property / “Wives submit to your husbands” route – with the appropriate domestic violence imagery to go with it.

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Or to turn two groups against each other,

      THE BIBLE ADVOCATES ABORTION

      (Numbers 5:11-28)

      • Rwlawoffice

         Where in this portion of scripture does it say that the woman was pregnant?

        • Anonymous

           It says “her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry”  — verse 27.   I see no possible way of inflicting a miscarriage if she was not pregnant.  

          • Rwlawoffice

            The term miscarry is used in the NIV.  In the New American Standard and the King James it is not, so this is open to some interpretation.

            • Anonymous

              Wow! The ceremony in KJV reads like witchcraft or voodoo curse. It’s a recipe for making magical truth serum that will make your wife’s belly swell and her thy rot if she’s lying about having an affair.  This bible thingy never ceases to amaze!

              Still, I wonder if the priests invented this little ceremony to promote connubial bliss. Even if a woman was getting a little something something on the side, the priest could intercept the inevitable domestic violence by  proving her unsullied!

            • lamocla

               Here comes the acrobat apologist Rwlawoffice. How many pirouette do you have do to convince yourself of  the nonsense you are putting out.

            • Anonymous-Sam

               I’m not sure what that means for those who read the Bible literally and take it as the perfect, unchanging word of God (if a perfect tree falls in a forest and only imperfect ears are around to hear it, does it make a perfect sound?).

              However, I did read through numerous versions of these verses and I agree that they do not all use the term “miscarry.” The New Living Translation informs me that the Hebrew translates directly to “your thigh to waste away,” and most translations repeat that verbatim. Others, however, suggest miscarriage or infertility. A few are explicit, such as the Easy-to-Read Version.

              My interpretation would be that “thigh” in this case refers to the genitals — as with the Greek god Dionysus, reputed to have been sewn into Zeus’s thigh. Modern translators of the Greek beliefs now clarify that this was in reference to the testicles, not the tissue around the femur. This would stand to reason as “God’s inner thigh” is used to refer to circumcision (especially Abraham’s). The term “yarek” (translating as thigh, or lap) is used several times in reference to praying or receiving a blessing by bowing one’s head to the lap of a superior, e.g. God, and is used in reference to one’s seed, especially that of Abraham’s line (which would, of course, eventually beget Jesus).

              So… a grain of salt. Here are my translations by version-

              ASV: “thy thigh to fall away”
              AMP: “her thigh to fall away”
              CEB: “induces a miscarriage”, “her womb will discharge and she will miscarry”
              CEV: “You will never be able to give birth to a child.” “Immediately unable to have children.”
              DARBY: “thy thigh to shrink”
              DRA: “thy thigh to rot, and may thy belly swell and burst asunder.”
              ERV: “You will not be able to have any children. And if you are pregnant now, your baby will die.” “Your loins will fall.”
              ESV: “your thighs fall away”
              GW: “your uterus drop” “make you have miscarriages”
              GNT: “your genital organs to shrink”
              HCSB: “your thigh shrivel”
              KJV: “thy thigh to rot”
              MSG: “your womb shrivel”
              NASB: “your thigh waste away”
              NCV: “your body unable to give birth to another baby.”
              NIRV: “your body unable to have children”
              NIV: “your womb miscarry”
              NIV1984: “your thigh waste away”
              NLV: “your leg waste away”
              NLT: “makes you infertile, causing your womb to shrivel.” “her womb to shrink.”
              TNIV: “your womb miscarry”
              WYC: “thy hip to grow rotten” “hip shall wax rotten”
              YLT: “thy thigh to fall”

              So in most cases, it suggests infertility, not abortion. Emphasis is placed upon whether or not the woman has been unfaithful to her husband (sexually speaking), so a pregnancy is implied in all cases, so I believe miscarriage is at least a logical consequence to one’s womb becoming barren during a pregnancy.

            • Edmond

              WHY???

              Why are all the different versions of this book so open to interpretation?  Why ARE there so many different versions of this book?  If there is only one AUTHOR of this book (and he is the most powerful and knowledgable being in the universe), then there should be only one VERSION, one translation, one interpretation.

              If all these different versions carry different terms with different definitions and different messages altogther, then they are open for ANYONE to claim that they mean ANYTHING.  And Christians DO this all the time.  ANY two Christians can be found who disagree on ANY point of dogma.

              How can this book, or this religion, carry ANY truth, if anyone who reads it can interpret it however they want??  How do you get “truth” out of this customizable vagueness?

              • Rwlawoffice

                 What we are dealing with is translations of ancient Hebrew and Greek into English.  Some translations are better then others.  When you interpret the Bible I believe that the best method is to use a literal, grammatical and historical interpretation with no presupposition of what you want it to mean. That way it can’t say just what you want it to mean. 

                • Edmond

                  Using a literal, grammatical and historical interpretation is still only YOUR idea of the “best method”.  This STILL leaves the book personally customizable and wildly interpretable.  Other Christians have other methods that contradict you.  Which Christians are doing it right?  When Christians disagree, which do we defer to?

                  Also, if we’re going to take a literal interpretation of the bible, are you saying that donkeys can literally talk?  Are you saying that Heaven was under a literal threat when humans decided to work together to build a tower to reach it?  Are you saying that if all species on Earth were literally wiped out, literally down to only 2 specimens of each, that the remaining prey animals could both support the predators as food AND reproduce enough to maintain their numbers?

                  A literal interpretation of the bible requires a BROAD suspension of logic and disbelief regarding many impossible stories.  How do you reconcile this literal interpretation with reality?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   This method of interpretation was common until about 350 or so ad when an Augustine started to interpret the Bible allegorically. This was the method accepted by the Catholic church and thus controlled until the 1700′s.  A literal interpretation of the Bible does not preclude the normal use of language which can include figures of speech, analogies, metaphors, etc. The goal is try and get as close to the original author’s intent as you can.  To determine that you use what is written as well as the context and the historical setting, just as you would when reading any other book.  Of course I do believe that the Bible includes recorded miracles. You obviously believe in only the natural world, so of course your view would be different.

                  Now if you are concerned about which would be right, I would ask you the same thing.  If you are trying to determine what is correct, what method would you use?

                • Edmond

                  I would use the one that provides measurable results under controlled experimentation.  What ELSE would you use?

                  What else would WORK?  Any other method amounts to HOPING that your GUESSES are true.

                  If the “goal” is to get as close to the author’s (or authors’) intent, then what stops people from going in completely opposite directions in their interpretations, as so often happens?

                  What tells us that YOUR interpretations are correct?  What tells us that Fred Phelps’ interpretations are wrong?  You are STILL free to self-guide your OWN interpretation, leading anyone to glean any message they want from the thing.

                  That’s HOW we get the Fred Phelpses of the world.  Anyone that wants to confirm any crazy idea WILL find confirmation for it in the bible.  It’s inevitable.

                  If you’re not relying on empirical data obtained through objective testing, then you’re relying on your own wishful thinking. 

      • SMackonTrack

         

        The Bible & Abortion, This is in the book of Numbers
        5:11 (1-31)

         I actually cannot
        believe the ridiculous responses to these passages from Christians.  1st depending on which version you
        read from – the wording is actually very similar nonetheless, although everyone
        seems to have their own interpretation hence all the different versions of the
        bible & different factions of religions across this country and the
        world.  This is on Christianity and is
        written because these people seem to think they have all the answers when most
        in reality no very, very little about the book they actually place so much
        emphasis on.

        Now, regardless of whether you agree on whether this is an
        abortion or a miscarriage performed by the Priest, the one thing that stands
        out is the fact that the Priest is placing a horrible curse on this woman  or making her drink this horrible potion because
        God has said to do so because of Adultery.

        The priest gets to charge or judge her in this case because
        of what? No facts were ever discussed just the punishment.

        The entire issue of adultery is based on no factual evidence
        at all, not to mention that the woman has NO SAY whatsoever just like some
        religious fundamentalists want today, or just like the whole damn contraception
        issue now, which claims the Church no longer wants to pay for contraception
        (hmm funny when you break it down to the final level they aren’t paying anyway
        the employee is, they have 25 dollars or so a week to cover their medical
        insurance taken from their pay, the only thing the church provides is the large
        group to receive a better premium price, so in the end it is all about control
        by the church) not freedom of speech, or freedom of religion it is just utter
        non-sense .

        But another issue is (If God is Omnibenevolent this sure isn’t
        a very loving God to torture a women then save her only if she is innocent of
        adultery) 

        Secondly, (If God is Omniscience then he would already know
        if she committed adultery hence the torture or curse would not need to be
        carried out)

        Thirdly, (If God is Omnipotent then he would have had the
        power to never allow this horrible act to take place to begin with)

         

        Now the verses in question and the arguments the Christians used
        were that she was not pregnant and it didn’t mention pregnancy!  Wrong, it depends on which version or
        interpretation you read, I listed all the versions literal interpretations and
        for the sake of argument I will take the ones that speak more vaguely and not
        mention directly womb, miscarriage, infertile, child, baby, etc…

        Given the book is ancient text and regardless whether you
        take it as the word of God or the truth, literally, or don’t believe at all,
        the fact remains that people were having sex regardless and I am quite certain
        there was no birth control available at the local drug store, nor was civilization
        so advanced enough to know how to utilize “Pull and Pray” method.  So my guess is that many people were impregnated
        regardless of the matter, so hiding infidelity would be quite difficult in the
        Bronze Age or Dark Age. Regardless in the King James Version if she is innocent
        she will conceive seed, can’t argue with that as being pregnant. However the
        other versions use the terms mentioned above which cannot deny a
        pregnancy. 

        I just love how the so called Christians who will argue a
        point in futility with absolutely no knowledge of the book they worship so
        dearly. 

        This is exactly what I mean when I always say the belief come
        1st and all explanations for the belief follow!!! (Even with the
        lack of evidence is painfully clear, or just plain doesn’t make sense or
        whether you try to manipulate the words to make it say what you wish it to
        believe.

        This is why there are so many different versions and why
        there are so many different beliefs. Funny how none of the logic Christians utilized
        to justify their view on this matter makes any rational sense.

        This is heinous and this is awful regardless what you
        believe, once again there is the abhorrent verses in the Bible which cannot be
        denied, it is not all kindness and love, try reading the book before you preach
        to me about it.

         

         

        ASV: “thy thigh to fall away”

        AMP: “her thigh to fall away”

        CEB:
        “induces a miscarriage”, “her womb will discharge and she will
        miscarry”

        CEV: “You will never be able to give birth to a
        child.” “Immediately unable to have children.”

        DARBY: “thy thigh to shrink”

        DRA: “thy thigh to rot, and may thy belly swell and
        burst asunder.”

        ERV: “You will not be able to have any children. And if
        you are pregnant now, your baby will die.” “Your loins will
        fall.”

        ESV: “your thighs fall away”

        GW: “your uterus drop” “make you have
        miscarriages”

        GNT: “your genital organs to shrink”

        HCSB: “your thigh shrivel”

        KJV: “thy thigh to rot”

        MSG: “your womb shrivel”

        NASB: “your thigh waste away”

        NCV: “your body unable to give birth to another
        baby.”

        NIRV: “your body unable to have children”

        NIV: “your womb miscarry”

        NIV1984: “your thigh waste away”

        NLV: “your leg waste away”

        NLT: “makes you infertile, causing your womb to
        shrivel.” “her womb to shrink.”

        TNIV: “your womb miscarry”

        WYC: “thy hip to grow rotten” “hip shall wax
        rotten”

        YLT: “thy thigh to fall”

        • Rwlawoffice

           Actually you are factually wrong. Most employers who provide coverage for insurance pay a portion of the premiums. The cost is not borne out completely by the employee. Additionally, alot of the institutions that were complaining were self insured and would have been required to provide this coverage in their self insurance plans. so they would be paying for it one way or the other.

          As for your analysis of numbers 5, it makes quite a few misquided assumptions. First, there is no indication that there was not a discussion of the evidence or why the man brought is wife to the priest in the first place. You are assuming that the priest would do this on the man’s word without any discussion or defense from the wife. Secondly, you are assuming that if the wife was innocent she would still suffer torture but be saved.  There is no indication of that. Finally you are forgetting that the punishment for adultery for both parties was death. It was a serious offense and not taken lightly in their culture because of all the problems it would cause.  (Just look at our culture and all the problems caused by adultery).

          So before you condemn the Bible maybe you should read the whole thing and then we can talk about it.

          • Anonymous-Sam

            According to the Mishnah, women did get a chance to defend themselves before the elders, before the ritual would occur. However, this was closer to an inquisition than a trial, the assumption being that the woman was already guilty, and she would be pressured to confess. Women, as you ought to know, did not have many rights in that era. They were largely considered to be the property of their husbands and more susceptible to the temptation of devils, so their words could not be trusted.

            The bitter waters were her chiefest defense. If she drank the waters and didn’t become ill, then and only then would she be considered innocent. Prior to that (and it could take up to three years before it was confirmed that she was, indeed, innocent — meaning the sudden death of the child would equate to her guilt), the assumption was that she was still guilty. Additionally, the woman brought before the priest would have her hair loosened, as with a criminal, and be stripped of her upper clothing, as with a harlot. This was done before she had even drunk the waters.

            The whole thing reminds me rather much of a witch trial. “The innocent will be spared death — if she dies, then clearly she was evil incarnate. Now set fire to her and see what happens!” The only mitigating factor is that the ritual itself sounds rather unlikely to produce an effect at all. Holy water, dust, primitive ink and paper, do not sound like they would equate to a deadly poison. On the other hand, we are talking about 2000 years ago — overall health quality was probably never very high, water is often unclean and containing of parasites, dust from the feet and bodies of workers who trudge through animal defecation can be contaminated with all sorts of unhealthy bacteria, and their ink could have had toxic properties. That combined with the arbitrarily long period of the trial (in which any illness could befall the infant or the woman) may very well swing the odds strongly against the woman.

            It’s worth noting that if the woman and child did survive the trial, her husband would be held blameless for his accusation. This is true of this context, referencing the Sotah Ordeal — in Deuteronomic Code, a trial before the elders would suffice and the punishment for a false accusation would be whipping, a fine, and the inability to divorce her (which still doesn’t measure against the threat to her life).

            • Rwlawoffice

              Thank you for a through response. 

      • NickDB

        After reading the replies there is an easier way to turn them against each other, put a picture of the king james up and another version of the bible, with a simple “which ones right?” above them.

    • walkamungus

      I like “THE BIBLE SAYS KILL DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN” because the “kill disobedient children” part is the one statement (of the four Richard gives as examples) that 100% of viewers would not agree with. 

      I still like the current billboard, but I do agree that there’s a bit too much text, and slavery as a topic brings in a racial component that tends to obscure the point.

      • http://twitter.com/Skepgineer skepgineer

         ” that 100% of viewers would not agree with. ”

        I wouldn’t be so sure of that, if the billboard is posted in the South.

    • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

      I think it’s a greater tragedy that so many Americans don’t understand such a simple billboard…
      But when you have a potential Presidential candidate who advocates against higher education and calls college educated people snobs, I guess it’s to be expected.

      • Pseudonym

        An even greater tragedy is that people who design billboards don’t understand the medium.

        In the modern world, we are saturated with advertising. Advertising space is not a scarce commodity. The scarce commodity that you, as an advertiser, are actually competing for is attention. You have no deity-granted right to compel people to put some thought into your advertisement. Therefore, you have essentially three options:

        1. Make your message simple, clear, unambiguous, and easily understood at a glance.
        2. Make your presentation compelling, which gives people a reason to look and think about it, and reward them for it in some way (e.g. make them feel good when they “get” it).
        3. Waste your money.

        In this case, option #3 was chosen.

        I’d wager that almost everyone could have understood the billboard. Everyone here did, after all. The difference is that here, the context is different. By reading this blog, you’ve already committed yourself to investing at least some of your attention. The same is not true when you’re driving past at 60km/h (or whatever the equivalent is in imperial measure).

        • Sean

           Yes you are right. Our societal misunderstanding of proper billboard etiquette is FAR more terrible than candidates saying education isn’t important to our children. You are a winner.

    • datadev1

      Sometimes when you are trying to make a point, you need to consider your audience and make as simple and clear as possible. I agree that you need to measure the tone and focus the message.

    • http://twitter.com/Skepgineer skepgineer

      “THEREFORE, F**K THE BIBLE” to make it obvious for the irony-impaired.

  • Justin Miyundees

    The apology was ill-advised.  He should have simply agreed that the sentiment IS highly offensive and it came from the Bubble.  The state legislature, then, is guilty of proposing highly offensive dogma as honorable.

    • Anonymous

      I agree.  Why apologize when you are not in the wrong?

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    Although an improvement, still an example of bad atheist design. (I look at all these billboards as proof that we atheists don’t believe in intelligent design, even graphic design.) If they can get the billboard replaced, Pa Nonbelievers should look at this as a blessing in disguise (well, so to speak), so here are a few suggestions for them.  As a general rule small print and wordy sections of billboards go unread, So most people will see this as a pro-slavery quote paid for by atheists. Nix the bronze age ethics line and put the “brought to you by the Year of the Bible” in large type with or without adding the part about the PA House. Make the sponsorship message smaller and/or chance the color scheme so it doesn’t stand out so much; pointing out the flawed nature of Biblical morality is the primary purpose of this add, self promotion is secondary.

    • NickDB

       I know of a atheist graphic designer who does jobs for people all around the world if anyone needs one.

    • IndieThinker

      As a graphic designer/part-time proofreader-editor, I agree. Type too small, message not immediate/obvious enough for a billboard. I’d give you a higher grade for sophistication of message, but if people don’t get it easily, what good does that do? And, on the surface, it looks like you’ve delved into more than one controversy (church & state, the bible & slavery), and not indicated clearly on which side you stand. Maybe you think you have, but perception and results are all that matter. If you had taken a scaled-down version out to the person on the street, asked him/her to look at it at an appropriate distance for ten seconds, then asked what they saw and their response to what they saw, you might have come up with a more workable result.

  • Country Crock

    The great thing is the proliferation of the new led billboards where the sign actually changes every ten seconds or so. By the time they try to vandalize it, the sign would have changed to another sponsor.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

      2 problems with that though. 1) Light pollution. I love astronomy and star gazing and we have too much of this as it is and 2) More of a question I guess. Do they cost more to run an ad there. Upkeep would be more pricey therefore I would think that the cost to rent space is pricey too. Paying more money for less air time. 

      The best solution is for people to find better outlets of letting their thought be known than through vandalism.

  • Country Crock

    The great thing is the proliferation of the new led billboards where the sign actually changes every ten seconds or so. By the time they try to vandalize it, the sign would have changed to another sponsor.

  • Anonymous

    Willful ignorance is very tiring, wouldn’t you agree? It’s not even lunch time and I need a nap!

  • Forrest Cahoon

    It’s hardly surprising, in retrospect, that the race card would be played here. From what I’ve read by modern African-American atheists (e.g. Sikivu Hutchinson and Jamila Bey), Christianity is an especially deep cultural bonding force in the African-American community. Having an outsider group (as in, c’mon we all know those are all white folk) point out that blacks in particular are fools for embracing Christianity … err, doesn’t go over well. And it’s easier to deal with the cognitive dissonance by rejecting the outsider group than by  questioning your deep cultural traditions.

  • urvisionist

    Taking one sentence out of scripture and forming an entire subject around it is not only dangerious but foolish. Read the entire col 3 and 4 chapters to understand the true meaning behind this statement.   Yes there have been servants all thru time and into Jesus time and beyond to today in some parts of the world.  Not everyone who proclaims to be Christian is walking the path of Christ.   Beware of these false beleivers for they will surely lead you away from Christs teachings.  Many self proclaimed Christians will indeed be judged with the blood of the inocent on their hands whether they are masters or not by the true and only Master God almighty himself.   I dont care if youre an athiest , agnostic , muslim,. hindu or or some guru from the bush, you will be judged by this Master.

    • Anonymous

       There are dozens of similar verses explaining where to buy slaves, how to keep them, what to with their spouses and children and how to beat them

    • Jordan Sugarman

      So god is a cosmic slave master? That actually explains a lot of what passes for morality in the bible. Thanks for clearing it up.

      • NKOTB

         Especially considering that some people, like the Essenes (according to Josephus) believed that it was wrong, inherently, to hold slaves.  Not even the idyllic book of ACTS banned slavery for Christians!  And that was the IDEAL church! 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          Maybe they were too busy running for their lives in underground churches to speak to it. Besides why would they. At that point in history to identify yourself with the early church meant persecution to the max. Did not all of the disciples get executed for simply their beliefs? One would think that if it wasn’t true, people when pressured with death or retraction of something false they would indeed retract. 

          Yet, the church survived and grew. It wasn’t because it was popular or the cool thing to do. Most people don’t say that they believe in something just so they can live in a cave or worse. 

          Again, the purpose of the NT is not to reform a society, it is to reform the heart of a person. 

          • amyc

             Actually, nobody knows for sure how the disciples (or any apostles) died. There’s no historical proof one way or another. There are certainly no Roman records that list the disciples or how they died (they were notorious record keepers). Your statement about the disciples dying for the truth or a lie fails, because we don’t know how they died (or even if they existed as is written in the New Testament).

            Then you seem to be implying that Christianity’s growth from humble beginnings is miraculous or proof that it was true. Do you know what other religions were persecuted? How about…Druids, Judaism, the Cult of Bacchus and the Pythagoreans. And how many religious groups were persecuted once Christians did gain control? Oh, that’s right, all other religious groups.

            Also, every religion has humble beginnings. There have been over a million different gods/goddesses worshiped throughout human history. All followers of these religions were at some point persecuted. Seriously, an idea surviving persecution of an overzealous majority doesn’t give any credence to the idea’s truth.

          • NKOTB

             Well, momma, the writer of Acts certainly got around to making fun of slaves (Acts 12:13-15).  See J. Albert Harrill for his analysis of this passage.  In fact, read the whole book.  It’s a typical Roman slave parody.  Not only did they not seek to “reform” society, they enthusiastically reinforced the (undemocratic, anti-egalitarian, sexist) values and customs of the time. 

            • Rwlawoffice

               Are you trying to say that the book of Acts in its entirety is a typical slave parody? Harrill doesn’t say that at all. If you don’t think that the early church tries to reform society and enthusiastically reinforced it, then you just haven’t read it. The overall message in the New Testament is that Christians, even though they were  in this world were to no longer live as if they were. For example, in Ephesians 6 masters were told to treat their slaves with love and compassion and to serve them.  In Galatians, Paul teaches that in Christ there is no slave and master, all are equal.  This was far different from the Roman world.  And it is well documented that at the time of the new Testament approximately 1/3 of the roman population were slaves with no safety net to support them if they were on their own.  So it would have been impractical for Paul to call for all slaves to revolt or for all slaves to be set free. It was a reality of the times.  Instead, Paul calls for men’s hearts to be changed and for all men slave or master to treat each equally and with love and compassion.

              • NKOTB

                 No, I meant to read all of Harrill’s book.  See also my response to momma j below.  The paternalistic vision of Ephesians 6 is a rosy presentation of slavery.  Clearly, beating slaves was compatible with “loving” them.  Loving your neighbor as yourself was compatible with enslavement. Slavery is a labor and class differential that is inherently oppressive to the body and soul, regardless of how “nice” a master thought he or she was being.  Oddly, your fundamentalist Christianity prevents you from unequivocally saying that. 

                And Paul most certainly did not say that slave and master are equal in their statuses on earth, which is how you are misreading Galatians 3:28.     

          • Jordan Sugarman

            Did not all of the disciples get executed for simply their beliefs? One would think that if it wasn’t true, people when pressured with death or retraction of something false they would indeed retract.

            There’s not really any good evidence that they were executed. The biblical stories are at best second-hand accounts written down decades, or in some cases centuries, after the events they describe. The claims therein are not corroborated by any other historical documents. And even if you could prove they were executed for their beliefs, how strongly one believes something has no bearing on whether or not it is true. It is possible to fervently believe something and still be wrong.

    • Lurker111

      “Thou shalt not keep slaves” and “Thou shalt not molest children” were on the third tablet.
       

      • Anonymous

        “Thou shalt not keep slaves” and “Thou shalt not molest children” were on the third tablet.

        That would make a great bumper sticker (if you didn’t care about possible ‘repurcussions’ to your vehicle)

    • Fentwin

      I can’t think of any conceivable way to defend slavery. The only way is to use logic so tortured that it would look like an Escher. 

      Kind of akin to defending rape. Anytime, anywhere, it is wrong.

  • The Realist

    There is only ONE thing that makes ANYTHING real…. Your believe in it!!!

    • Fentwin

      So I killed Santa Clause when I was seven years old?  I feel so guilty now. :P

  • Keulan

    Wow that was fast. I expected vandalism, but not after only one day.

  • Anonymous

    It’s my understanding some African-Americans were deeply offended by this billboard.  I can’t see why.  As an African-American myself, I think it’s high time we took a critical, mature look at Massa’s religion.  I’m sure it would generate lots of discomfort, but that’s the nature of growing pains.  The physical shackles are gone, but the mental shackle of Christianity remains in place for far too many of us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

      Brilliantly said.  

      • Ekendall004

         There is no ‘dislike’ button, but for this, I would select it.

    • http://www.bblss.org/ Miki

      Bronxboy47, if you think back to your believing days (if you ever had those), you’ll remember why black folk were offended by the billboard.  Something about that imagery grinds that chip further into the shoulder of black folk who embrace perpetual victimhood.  And there’s the added (perceived) insult of white folk using the history of black slavery to advance their own agenda.

      Also, my observation of the “believing” community is that irony is almost always lost on them.  We (atheists) are assuming believers are going to put some thought and consideration into what they’re reading, when they really just go with the knee-jerk reaction; to feel victimized, to conclude that it’s a “test of faith,” and that the “devil” is after them. 

    • Ekendall004

       I did not realize that my religious beliefs of Christianity could be stigmatized as ‘mental shackles’. I am also disheartened that that is your opinion of the Christians of the world.

    • FYI!!

       I am an African-American woman and also a Christian.  I take great pride in my religion and have no idea what you are talking about.  If you want to be factual, African Americans were not in fact the first slaves in American; it was the Irish as indentured servants.  The first hate group was the Star Spangled Banner, which was towards the Irish.  I think it is about time that “Americans” learn their history and stop posting unintelligent comments that have no factual basis and prejudice towards religion. 

      • Bill Hicks

        Screw religion. It’s where most prejudice originates.

  • Carrie

    I think I have finally put my finger on what bothers me about this billboard. It smacks of appropriation. I know that some African Americans don’t have a problem with this sort of thing, and that’s absolutely their prerogative. But thinking of Crommunist’s post about Shroedinger’s Rapist, right in the first line he says he doesn’t care for other people using the oppression of African Americans in order to make a point. Intentionally or not, that’s what was done in this case. 
    “…I hate it when white people use anti-black racism as a cudgel with which to beat other people…”
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/01/16/shuffling-feet-a-black-mans-view-on-schroedingers-rapist/  
    And, as usual, instead of listening to the concerns of marginalized people who calmly say they have a problem with it, the community at large appears to have taken to shouting them down and saying how ridiculous it is to even suggest it’s inappropriate. 

    • http://cuterus.blogspot.com/ Palaverer

      Thank you! This billboard has been bothering me, too, and you and Forrest Cahoon have pinpointed why.

  • Anonymous

    The bible is a terrible moral compass, it has caused more destruction in the world than any other piece of fiction. Anyone who uses the bible as a moral compass is likely to own slaves, beat children, and stone gays and adulterers to death. Oh, and not eat figs either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=827129722 Heide Marie Hibbard

    I think that as we all do not want to be labeled devil worshipers, heathens etc we should not use a broad brush to paint Christians in a negative light. There are plenty that are idiots and jerks especially since they are the majority but I am thinking it is the same percentage within any group of people including atheist. Don’t let yourself be pulled down to the level of trolls who come to this discussion to agitate. This is a perfect forum for people who wonder what atheists think or what they are about to see that atheists are able to resist that lower level gut speak that is mean spirited hate talk.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LNWAM4DYCN4MLBLHFGDHE2YKZM GloomCookie613

    I’m with the others suggesting that instead of putting the same billboard back up (if that’s the route they’re going), avoid the slavery thing.  Right now is the *perfect* time to point out the inequality and abuse of women in the Bible.  Many women are already up in arms via the whole Rush Limbaugh fiasco, all the personhood amendments, all the ultrasound bills.  I’m not so good with slogans, but I think that would be a better direction to push it into.  It’s not like there’s not a boatload of offensive quotes to find.

    Though I would love, personally, to put a billboard with this quote right in the direct line of Linda Thompson’s sight in her office:

    “But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
    Timothy 2:12

  • Anonymous

    Set up cameras. Even if it takes shifts of volunteers.

  • Mattflannagan

    Why did the person not quote the next line of the passage?  instead of snipping out of context and putting a picture next to it to create a misleading impression.  The answer is obvious, quoting the next line would take much of the bite out of dishonest propaganda.
    Also I am unclear how exactly does this passage  as quoted condone slavery?  I obey the tax laws in NZ, I encourage others to as well, yet often I disagree with them. Its actually possible to obey a law and think its unjust at the same time. Out of context quotes followed by poor inferences which don’t follow, I guess thats “free thought” for you.But a final issue, given people in here have advocated banning church billboards because they are “offensive” to cancer sufferers it seems you can’t complain if someone   offended by your message violates your free speech rights. 

    • icecreamassassin

      “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.”

      I fail to see how this helps.  Having slaves for the sake of some other authority does NOT diminish the immorality of having slaves in the first place.  Putting some context of “slaves, make sure you obey, because the lord will reward you” doesn’t help the cause at all.  Owning people is still wrong.

    • Micah Dylan

      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from
      among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to
      those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 
      (1 Peter 2:18)

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will
      not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.  (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

      i could list more examples of the bible condoning slavery …

      http://www.evilbible.com/Slavery.htm

    • NKOTB

       Rom 13:1-7 says all authority is ordained by God and that to resist authority is to resist the ordination of God.  Certainly seems as though he is saying obeying authority (including slave masters) is a good thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cameron-Willadsen/550975056 Cameron Willadsen

    I am unsurprised. This is not the first story I’ve read of atheist group signs being defaced. And I am glad it’s somewhat controversial. It should be as it’s displaying the ignored dichotomy of their ideology that would deface it. The bible is not, “the good book.” and Christianity is not a religion with a nice track record.

    And for those trying to say. “But but but…some Christians are good, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” You.Are.Missing.The.Point. How nice or not you are is immaterial to the argument between theist and atheist as your niceness does not make something more or less a fact. The crux of the argument is on empiricism, not morality. And even on the issue of morals faith fails. The idea of a ‘chosen people” is essentially a racist idea.  The idea of being moral without religion is still a relatively modern idea. The bible after all calls the non Christian evil and incapable of good. Those ideas and others in the bible motivates many Christians to try to enact policies in government or to otherwise have a sociological influence. Many of those influences harm people one way or the other. And that is no small part of why atheists create organizations and raise these billboard. as well we should. Free speech is supposed to be for everyone and that includes us atheists.

    If the tactic of some Christians is to try to  silence dissent then they have already lost.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cameron-Willadsen/550975056 Cameron Willadsen

     Ah “context” eh. Funny that those who say they hate relativism default to it in disadvantageous situations.

    • Anonymous-Sam

       And it bothers me. It doesn’t matter that slavery was considered ethical back then. What does it matter what people thought was ethical? We know it’s never ethical. Or is slavery moral at some times, but not others? If you travel back in time far enough, is there a transitional point between slavery being moral and being immoral?

      It was “moral” because the people in charge considered it moral. That need not even have been the majority of people, or the majority of a race, or even the majority of a single country. All that stands in the way of slavery being immoral is for a single person to command others to tolerate it, and be obeyed. And when you have this useful little set of oral traditions which state that God appoints rulers and that all must obey the rulers without question, as they would God and whatever God says is moral is moral, suddenly you’ve set yourself up for one solitary man to command whether or not slavery is celebrated or condemned.

      What do men with power almost invariably want?

      More power.

      So slavery is “moral.”

      Realbiblical morality right here. That’s all it boils down to — a set of logic-defeating arguments which give rulers and the priesthood the same authority as God, so they can decide what is or isn’t moral, as long as they don’t stress people’s credulity enough.

      And several thousands of years later, we’ve still got people buying into it, not just what their leaders have told them is moral (even when it involves lying about child molesting), but what those leaders thousands of years ago told their people. Don’t make excuses for these criminals! Hold to your faith if you need to, but condemn villainous acts for what they are and were!

  • Anonymous

    Man they have got to think ahead! Before selecting a location, determine if there is a place to put a webcam so we can watch the vandals in action!

  • Anonymous

    I have been debating about this billboard with some of my amazulu folk in PA. They failed to mention that it was vandalized even though one of them has a child at that school. 

    I didn’t know some of my friends felt this way. 

    When I challenged them about the Bible verse, many of them were quiet. 

  • Anonymous

    The locals just don’t get it.  They are claiming it is “blatant racism” and haven’t managed to make the association with defects in their book.

    • NickDB

       I’d like to see them try and punish it as a hate crime, if they do then they’ll have to punish the bible too.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    This has certainly been lively (and mostly the same topic over several posts)

    I have one more Q for you momma J if you’ll indulge me.  It’s a question I’ve asked a few of my closer Christian friends, with varied responses.  And all are Christians who, like you, do a great deal of good work in the world.

    Would your outlook change if you didn’t believe in God?  Or say God shows up walking on water and moving mountains and re-growing amputees limbs, and says “oh yeah, I’m real, but that book?  Naw!  That was a joke, do whatever you want!”

    Do you do good because it’s what Jesus taught, or because you think it’s the right thing to do?

    In The Brothers Karamazov we have “Without God, all things are permissible”, meaning that without God telling us what do to, we could do whatever we want.

    But I’m guessing that although your faith is deeply tied to your works, your works would live without your faith.  That’s not true of everyone.  I’ve met a few people who only turned their lives around when they found Jesus.  And for that I’m glad they did.  But I think most people who strive to do good don’t do it because they think it will get them into heaven, but because they just feel it’s the right thing to do.

    Do you think that could describe you?

    I think for every question you have about the joy and motivation and fear and outlook on life that atheists have- it’s really not all that different from yours.  You just see it as a gift from God- and we don’t.

  • MattP

    I know it is way off topic, but is it just me that finds the way the nested comments reduce further and further in width within a fixed width column really friggin’ annoying? Or is it just a Firefox rendering issue? Using the right-click -> “Inspect Element” option is a partial work around for reading comments too far nested, but still seems like an inelegant solution to a problem that shouldn’t really exist.  Then again, I suck at html and javascript… and most other things in life.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Being subscribed in email helps, although email strips the ‘blockquote’ formatting so you can miss who’s saying what.  Other than that when it gets this narrow sometimes I’ll find a reply further up thread and start over with some mention of what I’m doing.  The people in the conversation follow just fine.

    • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

      It is indeed very bothersome, especially with such a narrow band of actual used space in the WordPress set-up (I guess it’s to accommodate lower resolutions and smaller screens).
      Those narrow posts I usually copy and then throw them into Notepad to read. The line formatting is kept, although everything else is, of course, lost. But it’s usually legible anyway.
      Here’s a screenshot of how much unused space I have on my screen when I view the blog.

  • Corporation Intellect

    Atheists love taking things completely out of contest. I do disagree with vandalism. I do support freedom of speech.

    “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you also have a Master in heaven” Colossians 4

    Arguably, my boss is my master and I am a wage slave.

    • Nikolai T

      “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”  (Exodus 21:20-21)

      We can quote contradicting verses all day if you want to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625429396 Andrew Kilian

    I can see why Blacks would take offense. Perhaps a different image would be better.

  • Frank Kean

    Saddened you do not understand the provision of slavry in the old Testament. It is not what you think.

  • atheist

    What You think about People Chiping in U.S.A.? ( LAW: HR3200 )
    It is a great christian Edea of B. Obama!!!


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