Christian Newspaper Makes Hilarious Mistake

The (Australian based) Christian newspaper Eternity recently published a special issue focusing on atheism. It featured an article by Bible Society Australia CEO Greg Clarke in which he talked about “Ten Key Propositions for Atheists and Christians Today” — basically, ten things atheists ought to know about Christians:

If you look carefully at #7, though, Clarke may have accidentally told the truth…

I’ll second that. Christians have definitely done more harm than good.

Oh, sure, Clarke will call that a “typo,” but we all know better… :)

(Thanks to Scott for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    Let’s “further the debate” by reasserting my own side’s claims and not giving a voice to the other side.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      The “other side” is more than welcome to voice their opinions on here. They are more than welcome to show how Christianity over the centuries has not done more harm than good.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    That’s a freudian slip. You know when a priest says one thing and means his parishioner’s daughter. 

    • Thackerie

       Or son, as the case my be.

  • AndyTK

    I have a friend that is a very nice well educated Christian that is always upset that I could view her faith so poorly.  To her I am lumping her, and in her mind the majority of Christians, with the crazies.  To which I tell her that the crazies are more numerous than the hippy Jesus followers.  Still it is important to recognize that there are large number of peaceful, non-Christianist Christians out there.  It sounds like this article is from one of them.  The trick is to get these people to be as upset about their brethren as we are.

    • Donaving

      So, in your mind, the majority of Christians are “crazies”? Please reflect on whether this vast majority of Crazy Christians are those that you’ve actually encountered–or what you’ve seen on t.v. Please. It’s important.

      To hate a group based on anecdotal evidence is dangerous. And has much historical precedence.

      Please think about it.

      • The Other Weirdo

         If the Rapture fiasco of yesteryear taught us anything at all, it’s that there’s scant different between Harold Camping, who put a scientifically-verifiable date to the end of the world, and all the other Christians who claimed he’s dead wrong because… no man knows the hour, only the Father. While perhaps he was crazier than them, he was also more honest and upfront about his beliefs.

        • Donaving

          Damn it! You caught us! You’re totally right, Mr. The Other Wierdo (if that IS your real name), we Christians do, in fact, know the “scientifically verifiable” date of the the end of the world. God told us and we’re keeping it a secret. Camping was just a smoke-screen. Tee, as they say, hee.

          Seriously, though, if you persist in thinking that all who call themselves themselves Christians are exactly the same and believe in exactly the same things, you are in danger of becoming what is known as a “bigot”. It’s not a good thing to be. Don’t be that, please.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I suppose Gentle Jesus condemning the majority of humanity into Hell for eternity is considered too Old Testamenty and should be ignored.

    Happy Hitchens Day everyone.

    • AndyTK

      I could care less about what they think will happen to me after death than I am about how they treat me and others in the here and now.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    I think you can tell it’s Australian. The tone seems a lot more reasonable than most American evangelical publications. 

    Although I must admit I was amused by his second point:

    We are too Euro-centric about this; most people in most cultures at most times throughout history have believed in a deity of some sort. This is still true today.

    Yes, exactly! I view this as one of the strongest arguments against his deity. All those cultures invented different gods and goddesses. They didn’t all create and worship the same ones. It took thousands of years of animism and polytheism to even get to the point of monotheism, for goodness’ sake. What does he think makes his deity so special? How can he claim that his god is real and all the others were just the product of ignorant societies?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I’m more concerned with what #8 might be trying to say intentionally.   Atheists can be moral?  Or some moral visions aren’t so moral?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Is it just me, or is there a lot of religious backlash in Australia right now?

      Another e.g. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/hitler-escapes-atheists-arguments/story-e6frfhqf-1226324219286 in reaction to Dawkins vs. Cardinal Pell.

      • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

        It’s not just you. The Global Atheist Convention is being held in Melbourne, and has provoked numerous defensive articles from Christians. Stats show Christians are slowly losing their grip on society, but – unfortunately – still hold a lot of power. For example, chaplains are placed in many public schools subsidised by the tax payer.

        There is a long way to go, but if the ridiculous ‘reasoning’ and outrage against ‘New Atheists’ on display is a good measure of progress, things are definitely heading in the right direction for us Aussies.

        • Chris A.

          Actually government funding has been reduced by nearly half in the last 2 years. Chaplaincy, whilst generally being a Christian profession, serves a general counsellor type role in schools – particularly primary schools. Most kids that see a school chaplain is not out of religious belief or contention, it’s just to have some help get through an issue, where having a Christian morality influence the child’s decision is no more than guidance. 

          No doubt the church has undue power in some places, but I see many cases of local governments overruling any possible ‘power’ for a small body of lower-middle class people who meet weekly on a Sunday morning. In one instance I currently see a local government in process of shutting down a church because they offer a free meal to those who can’t afford it, and the people types this attracts are ‘unsavoury’ for the neighbourhood. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jym-Small/1234664497 Jym Small

        Bolt is a dolt. Hitler was a Christian….. that’s why the Nazis killed Jews. Why would an atheist kill Jews?

        • Glasofruix

           Because he could be a wicked little asshole? Nobody’s shielded from the crazy.
          On the other hand I never heard those ‘evil’ atheists the christians just love to cite the names of saying that they were doing so in the name of atheism, not true the other way around.

        • Benchdepends

           you don’t have basis… you ask bro. eli soriano and you’ll know

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      4. Christianity is more tightly connected to history than many other religions.

      Oh, he’s a Muslim?

      Must be Hitch’s birthday.  I’m full of vinegar.

    • Thalfon

       #8 just looks like another one of those “atheists don’t have an external, objective, perfect guidance, hence they could have absolutely any sort of moral compass.” The idea that simply because we do not subscribe to a religion that tell us what is good, that we could literally come to any moral conclusion, no matter how terrible. It lacks a certain understanding of psychology and sociology, methinks.

      • Demonhype

         Even better, it looks like there’s some of that “well, the moral atheists are just copying our morals that we totally invented out of whole cloth, nyah nyah nyah so there” that some xians are so fond of.

  • http://twitter.com/adam_the_k Adam K

    I’m confused about Prop 6, that atheism “presents concepts about…right and wrong,” and Prop 8, that atheism is “compatible with any moral vision.” If it’s compatible with any morality, then I suppose it can present a morality, but it can present any moralities. I wish he would just come out and say what he thinks these “concepts” are.

    And about it being obviously Australian; of course, because I doubt any liberal American theist would  have necessarily included something called Prop 8.

  • Kirby

    What a bizarre article. 

    Prop #1:  Has anyone seriously declared God dead?  And saying that ancient peoples believed in a supernatural cause for things they didn’t understand doesn’t support your argument.

    Prop #2:  You have a lot of evidence, but you either can’t show it to the atheists, or when you do it fails all the rules of actual evidence.  You let people’s hearts choose which to believe because they are much easier to sway than their minds.  Emotionally-informed individual choice is much easier to obtain than peer-reviewed consensus.

    Prop #3: “The best case for Christianity is Jesus himself.”  The bible is true because the bible says so!

    What does Prop #4 even mean?   They are english words, and they look like sentences, but there is zero semantic meaning to this paragraph.

    Prop #5: Atheists think you are too Old Testament?  Then stop demanding things that are in the Old Testament!  If ‘law’ involves the heart and not paper, what real-world, rubber-meets-road practical difference does that make?  Does it mean you will stop referring to the paper?  If not, then what’s the real point of Prop #5?

    If there is no value in corecing people into belief (Prop #2) then why not assume lack of belief until people are old enough to decide properly for themselves instead of needing to “pass wisdom on to children” (Prop #6)?  If you want room to disagree, then why is Jessica Ahlquist treated this way?  Why are children who don’t believe ostracized by family?

    Prop #8 is a complete strawman.  “Atheists say we will all end up with an acceptable moral vision in the end which I will now argue against”.  Has anyone here ever heard an atheist argue that?

    Prop #9 is eye rollingly bad.  Google a few things before you write.

    Prop #10: God can not be argued into or out of existence.  Either can Yetis or mermaids.  History and tradition tell us they exist.  Do we assume they exist, or are we skeptical until there is real evidence?

    Seriously, is this the best that a minister can rally against atheism?  This is weak!

    • The Other Weirdo

       Nietzsche did. The real question is, though, does anybody care about that now apart from a bunch of crazy characters on a sci-fi show that’s been off the air for more than half a decade now?

  • Zeggman

    Wow, seriously? You, Hemant Mehta, the “friendly” atheist,  think ” Christians have definitely done more harm than good.”

    Are you really claiming that the sum total of the harmful acts performed by people calling themselves Christians over the last 2000 years has outweighed the sum total of good acts by those very same people?

    In the “good acts” I would include everything from planting and harvesting crops to writing and publishing books, raising children and tending gardens, countless technical innovations, some major (like the reaper, automobile, airplane), but many more unsung,  the construction of roads and buildings, scientific breakthroughs from men like Boyle, Pasteur, Maxwell, and Newton, contributions to the abolition of slavery,  the civil rights movement, and the U.S. Constitution, etc. etc. etc.

    In the harmful acts, I would include the inquisition, burning people at the stake, the suppression of free thought and sexual freedom, opposition to scientific progress, etc. etc. etc.

    When I think of the individual and mostly forgotten contributions to human progress which people who call themselves Christians have made over the course of the past 2000 years, and subtract the individual and mostly forgotten acts of those same people which have eroded that progress, there’s no question in my mind that their good acts have outweighed their harmful acts. When you consider that, for most of that time, in the West at least, the majority of people have been Christian, if those individual acts had truly been more harmful than beneficial “the march of Western Civilization” would have been a net negative. I don’t believe that’s been the case, and I’m amazed that you can think a rational case could be made that it has.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019365643 John J. Ronald

       Oh what nonsense.  The Christian religion marks a definitive setback in the progress of Western science (look at Tertulian’s attitudes and other early church fathers) that took centuries to recover from.  That alone condemns it.

      • Zeggman

         The quote did not accuse “the Christian religion,” it accused “Christians.” It may have been simply a joke, but if so it appears to have gone over both of our heads.

        Tertullian was certainly one Christian. Please list the promising buds of Western science that were nipped by Tertullian’s attitudes. I’ll save Newton to counterbalance a weightier Christian; some nameless Christian alchemist who ten centuries after Tertullian advanced the art of chemistry by seeking the philosopher’s stone should be enough to offset any setback Tertullian might have caused.

        • icecreamassassin

          While Christians aren’t the only ones who do it, Christians do elevate faith as a virtue.  Not trust…faith.  And when I say ‘Christians’, I don’t mean ‘the Christian religion’ – I mean the individuals comprising Christianity.  Those people.  The ones who allow the idea of ‘faith’ to be a good thing.  The generally nice, caring people who honestly, truly, want the betterment of society.  They allow the ideas that ‘it be true because someone says so’ or ‘it be true cause it would suck if it were not’ or ‘it be true cause my gut tells me so’ to be garnered with respect, dignity, and a free pass from criticism.  All that things that provide shields and barriers to atrocity and grant no benefit to true moral good.

          Yeah.  I’ll go ahead and accuse Christians.  And any other group that wants to eschew knowledge for bulls**t.  Religious or otherwise.

          The acceptance of the notion – no, the *virtuousness* of the notion – that one need not look at the reality of a situation to evaluate how to react to that situation – it is as close to a ‘root cause’ for problems as I can think of.

          • Zeggman

             

            The acceptance of the notion – no, the *virtuousness* of the notion –
            that one need not look at the reality of a situation to evaluate how to
            react to that situation – it is as close to a ‘root cause’ for problems
            as I can think of.

            So then I should suppose that, like me, you consider it more virtuous to look at the reality of a situation to evaluate how to react to it.

            What problems, specifically, do you experience in the world today that are caused by this attitude you attribute to Christians? Did thousands of people get laid off in your city because someone wanted to eschew knowledge for bulls**t? Did buildings and bridges collapse during an earthquake because engineers substituted Biblical teaching for scientific analysis? Were mortgages collateralized and sold to witless investors in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history because that’s what the preachers were shouting from the pulpits every Sunday? Did some Christian doctor advise you to join his prayer group rather than schedule surgery?

            Surely if the Christians who elevate faith as a virtue are really the “root cause” for problems, you should be able to document it. If faith  (rather than greed, ignorance, carelessness, selfishness or any number of other human shortcomings) is the central problem, let’s connect the dots and get to work. ‘Cause you know, both you and I want to start with a clear-eyed look at the reality of the situation.

      • Demonhype

         Gotta love that claim that planting and harvesting is somehow something they gave the world, rather than something the predates Christianity and Judaism.  And the absurd idea that Christianity was prevalent in abolitionism and the civil rights movement–because, you know, there were a handful of liberal churches  that joined those movements, therefore all Christianity can take credit for it despite the fact that the majority of churches supported, endorsed, and fought to keep slavery and segregation in American society.  The same “logic’ that I get from people who insist that “look at those nice old ladies at this church, selling baked goods for charity, that surely overshadows that church’s massive attacks on civil rights and equality.”

        BTW, Christianity was the sole acceptable viewpoint for over a thousand years.  You don’t get to take credit for any technological advances or nice paintings or anything else when anyone who was an atheist or some competing religion would either be oppressed and persecuted or outright killed.  When your religion silences all opposing views, your religion doesn’t get to take credit for anything good that comes out of that society because any one of those people could–and likely were–not Christian but just had this affinity for, you know, being alive and not tortured.

        You’re absolutely right, John J. Ronald. that Christianity created a nice fat crater in human progress.  The Romans were more advanced, but that all went firmly back to the Stone Age at the advent of Christian dominance.  And to make this “Christianity is responsible for all technological advances” claim even more absurd, those advances were made in spite of the Church and Christianity, not because of it.  It was only when people started challenging or outright doubting Christianity and it’s absolute power that people started becoming open to reality.

        They’re losing ground and on their way out, and their last-ditch effort to dig in their heels and maintain their privileged position is to misrepresent or outright rewrite history and make false claims about numerous other things as well.

        • Zeggman

           

          Gotta love that claim that planting and harvesting is somehow something
          they gave the world, rather than something the predates Christianity and
          Judaism.

          You misunderstand. I don’t claim that Christianity invented agriculture, but that Christians living their day-to-day lives grew crops that fed their families and neighbors, drove buses and taxis that helped ferry people from where they were to where they wanted to be, wrote stories, cooked meals, bathed babies, tended the sick, repaired computers, took pictures, swept streets, piloted ships, and did a million other tasks. Much of their activity was mundane and menial, some was noble and uplifting, and some was cruel and destructive.

          On balance, they did more good than harm, just like any other group of human beings.

          If “The Friendly Feminist” argued that men have done more harm than good, and pointed to wars fought and murders committed by men, I could just as easily cite a long list of offsetting accomplishments by men. Thomas Edison didn’t wake up one morning, look in the mirror, say “Well, will you look at that — I have a penis! Guess I’d better invent a light bulb!” any more than Timothy McVeigh said “A penis!? Well, something’s going to get blown up now!”

          Neither the accomplishments nor the destruction were (usually) a result of some arbitrary label. They were human beings being human, which means being mostly good.

          • Bryan

             So what you’re saying is that humans will be humans regardless of religion.

            Thanks for proving our point.

            • Zeggman

               Yes, humans will be humans regardless of religion.

              Religion is one of the environmental factors (like education, nutrition, philosophy, etc.) that will color what kind of humans they are.

              The humans who call themselves Christians (like the humans who don’t) are, for all their flaws and shortcomings, generally more beneficial than detrimental to those with whom they share the planet. It’s a bigoted lie to say that this labelled group or that labelled group of people has done more harm than good.

              Was that your point? I’m happy to have “proven” it for you.

        • Glasofruix

           Not to mention medicine, which was more advanced during roman domination than during the middle ages.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’ll second that. Christians have definitely done more harm than good.

      I would have preferred ‘Christianity’ over ‘Christians’ myself.  For example the scientific contributions of Newton had nothing to do with his faith.  However it is possible that he was held back by his willingness to give up looking for answers and give the credit to God.

      • Brett

         I agree with you Zeggman, while many atrocities have been done in the name of God, Jesus, Allah, and what have you… we ( and i am an atheist) can not deny the good that is done becuase of belief in God. We also can not deny the horrible things done in order to get rid of religion. Humans are bad and humans are good. That is a fact.

        And we wonder why atheists are viewed in negative light in general society?

        • Demonhype

           Because of many efforts to rewrite history to make Christianity the best thing that ever happened to the world and atheism to be the cause behind genocide, slavery, war, etc.  Because of the many efforts to paint all Christianity as good because “look, some nice Christians, that overshadows the atrocities done specifically in the name and at the behest of their holy book” while meeting a single “jerk” atheist (which translates into “this atheist didn’t act apologetic and ashamed of his/her atheism while behaving as if my religion was special”) is absolute confirmation that atheists are by necessity evil, child-killing, puppy-raping murdering monsters–due to the social programming combined with the desire to protect their preconceived notions that their religion makes them magically “better”.

          Let’s not pretend atheists did this to themselves.  There are many centuries of outright demonizing lies that have primed people to react to the simple admission of atheism with the same horror as if that person admitted to being a rapist or murderer.  We were hated before we opened our mouths–before it was even safe for us to open our mouths.  Even now, the only way to make them “like” us is to pretend there is something wrong with us or pretend that our being blunt and unapologetic and our failing to treat religion with kid gloves or as some special superior thing is EXACTLY as bad as some of the shit Christianity or Christians have done (even beyond the obvious, there is the constant modern effort in America to use the force of law to maintain and even advance Christian privilege at the expense of LGBT people, women, and atheists among others, which is something the atheists aren’t doing no matter how “mean and nasty” they may seem in converstion.  Which is something to keep in mind.)

          • Demonhype

             I’m just waiting for the revisions that will claim that atheists and non-Christians have always been free and open during over a thousand years of Christian rule, and that all that persecution is just an evil lie we made up to make Christianity look bad.  Or that we had our chance to be nice, but when the Christians tried not to oppress us we just insisted on being rapists and killers and such and so they had to bring their fist down.  Or that atheism is a brand-new thing and didn’t even exist back then and once someone started doubting and disbelieving it caught on like a virus and destroyed the magical golden-age candyland that the Christians had created, which actually has been claimed despite evidence to the contrary–at least, the “atheists didn’t exist until very recently”. (Hecht, “Doubt: A History”)

        • The Other Weirdo

          What horrible things were done to get rid of what religion, when and by whom?

          • Brett

            This is quoted from:  Glenn E. Curtis, ed. Russia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress,
            1996.

            http://countrystudies.us/russia/38.htm

            “By 1918 the government had nationalized all church property,
            including buildings. In the first five years of the Soviet Union
            (1922-26), twenty-eight Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200
            priests were executed, and many others were persecuted. Most seminaries
            were closed, and publication of most religious material was prohibited.
            The next quarter-century saw surges and declines in arrests, enforcement
            of laws against religious assembly and activities, and harassment of
            clergy. Antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths; beginning
            in the 1920s, Buddhist and Shamanist places of worship in Buryatia, in
            the Baikal region, were destroyed, and their lamas and priests were
            arrested (a practice that continued until the 1970s). The League of the
            Militant Godless, established in 1925, directed a nationwide campaign
            against the Orthodox Church and all other organized religions.”

            Now before you all go saying that this is awesome and why doesn’t America adopt this system… really think about its implications.  over a thousand were killed becuase of their faith… in order to get rid of religion.  We are not able to cast the first stone. 

            • Zeggman

               I agree with you, Brett. I’m geniunely disturbed by all the hate-filled ideologues I see posting comments claiming that there’s nothing whatsoever good about religion and it should just be eliminated as expediently as possible.

              I’m concerned that if such people were in positions of power, they’d be executing people just like the ideologues of the French Revolution, or the League of the Militant Godless. I expect I’d be among those executed, for trying to stop the killing.

              “B-but I’m an atheist too!”

              “Not the right sort of atheist, filthy appeasing accommodationist.”

              • Glasofruix

                 You are just being stupid. We are not AGAINST religion per se, we are against the unrightful privileges it has and the fact that many people are FORCED to eat that bullshit. You can worship shaved monkey balls for what i care as long as you don’t shove your beliefs down my throat.

              • Brett

                 Thanks, I am equally concerned.  Are you a fellow blogger?

                • Zeggman

                   No, just an opinionated gadfly. Where do you blog?

                • Brett

                   http://oneworldmanygods.wordpress.com/

            • Glasofruix

               So, what happened in the last centure is more grave that something that was going over a thousand years?

              • Brett

                 It is not about what is more grave or what. My point is that we should not blame religion for the atrocities that have been done in the past. We should blame the people.

                Now, some one might argue that if those people were not religious then we wouldn’t have these problems.  Stalin has proven that not to be the case.

          • Harold815

            Communist Russia communist China
            are two fine examples.  Also the cartoon Jesus
            and Mo is actually racism disguised as religious criticisms.  The cartoon is about denigrating Middle Eastern
            immigrants to Europe. 
            The author adds Christianity in to help disguise his racism.  I find it odd that Jesus is drawn like a European
            man.  The reality is that Jesus and Mo should
            look a like.  This game of Atheism or secularism
            is free of violence is blind.  I actually
            look forward to atheist taking control.  They
            will be the people flying air planes into building.  The more control they have then less they will
            be able to run from the fact of human nature. 
            Of course there is always the cop out “they weren’t really atheist or secularist”.
             I also forgot the French Revolution tried
            to get rid of religion.  Also the French government
            a secular government is taking away a group of peoples religious rights. 

             

            Harold   

            • Glasofruix

               I’d like you to develop the “french government taking away peoples religious rights” part, because it smells like bullcrap.

              • Harold815

                The Religious Tolerance website states the following.

                2004-MAR:
                Law passed that “bans the wearing of Muslim
                hijabs, Sikh’s head coverings, large Christian crosses or crucifixes, Jewish
                yarmulkes, etc. Small Christian jewelry is permitted.” 

                 

                This website also
                gives us an example of one student being expelled for wearing a hijab.  Looking closer at this story we can see that
                this ban is about discriminating against a group of people.  “The Minister of Education ordered the
                expulsion from schools of all female students who wore the hijab. The
                French government took no action against Roman Catholic students wearing a
                crucifix, Protestant students wearing a cross, Sikh male students wearing a
                turban, or Jewish male students wearing a yarmulke (skullcap).” 

                Link to article:
                http://www.religioustolerance.org/rt_franc2.htm

                 

                In 2010 France banned any veils that covered
                the face including the burqa.

                 

                This removal of
                religious freedom is an attempt by the French government to discriminate
                against the Muslim immigrants.  Here is
                an article the shows the discrimination that Muslims are facing in France.  Mind you France is a secular society.  Not a Christian society. 

                Here is a quote, from
                this article, from a secular Muslim in France “Brahim Branki,
                53, is one of those Zitouni helped. A secular Muslim who opened a popular
                seafood restaurant in Mantes-la-Jolie, he is worried about the current climate.
                “Now they point their finger at a Muslim, the bearded one,” he said.
                “It’s like the Jew before…. It’s dangerous, because anything is possible
                once you start aiming at one group.”

                Link to above
                article: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/21/world/la-fg-france-muslims-20100722

                 

                Human nature is human
                nature.  We are a tribal animals; it does
                not matter if you are secular or religious. 
                France is showing us right now that
                a secular society is and can be as bad as any religious society.  

                • Glasofruix

                  Still bullshit, and I live near France.
                  The law states clearly that any visible religious sign is banned in public schools. Small religious jewelery is permitted because it is not allways visible. I don’t have the article right here but there was also a stir because a student was banned for wearing a giant crucifix. The ban of veils that cover the face is logical for ID purposes, many of those women drive cars or get hit by cars because they can’t see shit through the layer of fabric.

                • Harold815

                  Religious freedom
                  means that you can practice your religion in public, religious freedom means
                  that a Muslim can ware a hijab or a Jewish man a yarmulke.  To remove that right from a person is
                  removing their freedom.  

                  A hijab is a
                  veil or a head scarf; it does not block the face from being seen.  The only reason any government would ban
                  these items is to discriminate against religious people. 

                  I agree that banning the burqa not the hijab for
                  id purposes is a legitimate reasons but to make it illegal to ware a burqa
                  while being a passenger in a car is wrong. 
                  The truth hurts but it is the truth anyhow.  

                  The reality is that France is taking away people’s
                  religious freedom as away of discriminating against Muslims.  The LA Times article discusses the
                  discrimination that Muslims are facing in France.  

                  Banning the burqa and the hijab is just one
                  more way to discriminate against Muslims in France.  One last point America like other countries has
                  Muslims that wear hijabs and burquas and they also have id and security issues.  

                  Yet these countries have not banned hijabs or
                  the burqa because like America these governments actually
                  believe in religious freedom.  

                  Remember
                  people are tribal animals.  Secular or
                  religious people will cause harm to protect their own interest. 

                   

                  -Harold

        • Melda Asli

          because of religious people… and their brain wash by  their religion… but still agree with you,  there are good humans,  bad humans…

      • Zeggman

         Yes, if one wanted to argue that society would be better off if those Christians were something else, I think a case could be made. Certainly Newton’s scientific investigations entered a bit of a cul-de-sac when he began to scour the Bible for hidden meaning. If he’d continued to seek unseen order in the natural world perhaps he would have discovered scientific principles which remained unknown for decades or centuries following his death. It’s impossible to know, of course, but tempting to speculate.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        What was responsible for the 10s of millions dead in the Soviet Union.  Atheism, or an atheist?

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Are you really claiming that the sum total of the harmful acts performed
      by people calling themselves Christians over the last 2000 years has
      outweighed the sum total of good acts by those very same people?

      Counting the extraordinarily corrosive attitudes and beliefs inflicted by Christianity upon its followers, who then carry those poisonous beliefs to inflict all manner of subtle damages upon others without ever realizing it, let alone having the intent? Yes!

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

         And then there’s things like the Dark Ages, and the Burning of the Library of Alexandria – who knows what they cost us!

        • Zeggman

           The evidence that Christians were responsible for the burning of the Library of Alexandria is murky at best, with fingers being pointed at Julius Caesar predating the account of Christian destruction and (less credibly) at Muslims postdating it. Certainly its destruction was a loss, as was the loss of the Library of Congress at the hands of the British Christians in the War of 1812, and the loss of Beatles recordings and memorabilia in the great bonfires following John Lennon’s declaration that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”

          I’m not arguing that Christians haven’t often been a destructive force in their 2000-year existence, only that on balance they’ve done more good than harm. To me, the evidence supporting that claim is irrefutable — the swathes of Western civilization which have been under Christian hegemony for most of that time are better off now than they were then. If Christian contributions had been a net negative, that would not be the case.

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

             The progress of Western Civilisation has been progress away from and in spite of christianity.

            • Zeggman

               

              The progress of Western Civilisation has been progress away from and in spite of christianity.

              And yet, accomplished mostly by Christians. What a paradox.

              • Glasofruix

                 Because not being a christian during those times was a bit risky for the health.

                • Zeggman

                   I would argue that even during the last 50 years, when not being a Christian has not posed any serious health hazard, Christians have still done more good than harm.

                  During the last week.

                  During the last day.

                  We’re talking about the sum total of the actions of hundreds of millions of people. Most of those actions have been neutral or positive.

                  I have no problem with pointing out Christian actions and policies which have been destructive, but I see no need to demonize a group of people by pretending that these destructive acts characterize them in toto.

          • Anonymous-Sam

            The problem is, you’re not looking deep enough. “Destruction” isn’t just the things that get burnt, or the people who get killed, or even the policies that get passed that oppress the unbelievers.

            My argument is that the beliefs themselves, even when not expressed with intent to cause harm, themselves cause harm to both the believer and nonbeliever. Food for thought- analyze what the belief that everyone is a sinner who deserves to go to Hell does to someone at an internal level.

            • Zeggman

               I don’t hold that belief, so I can only speculate what it does to someone at an internal level. I suspect it varies from individual to individual — someone who truly believes it may suffer no small amount of anxiety and even anguish if they know someone they love refuses the “get out of hell free” card Jesus offers. For others, it is probably comforting to imagine that those who “get away with murder” will pay for their crimes eventually.

              Since you apparently hold that this internal action may negate lifetimes of good acts, perhaps you can quantify its negative effects for me a bit more concretely.

  • Onamission5

    LOL, it took me like three reads of that statement to figure out what the typo was. I was all, well duh, of course they’ve done more harm than good!

  • The Other Weirdo

    Wow, seriously? You got no better issues to discuss other than a simple typo that’s already been corrected in the online version? is this what you’ve been reduced to? Making fun of editing errors? Things can be mistakes without being Freudian slips. I’m not even sure what the joke is supposed to be, or why you think it’s funny.

    • The Other Weirdo

       The content of the article would’ve made for a far better blog post here than a scan of a newspaper page.

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Yes, how dare he waste our valuable time by posting something largely irreverent and potentially irrelevant! I demand my 10 minutes of life back! I come to this blog for very specific reasons, and as this isn’t one of them, I demand a refund of the existence I wasted being exposed to something utterly unworthy of my attention!

      Or, y’know, if you don’t like it, you could swivel your eyes several inches downward (and soon to be upward) and read a more relevant article. Nobody says you have to appreciate every piece of irony called to your attention, or to give it any attention. I happened to get a chuckle out of it, and apparently so did several others. The only people in any position to demand that he not post something just because he feels like it are those who host the blog, provided he doesn’t pay for it directly out of pocket (I have no idea how Patheos administrates its content).

  • jeczaja

    You are making the same emotional generalizations you rail against. You think you have identified a group, the members of which are the enemy, the sole cause of the sufferings of mankind. Eliminate the group and you eliminate the suffering. You are wrong about that, but to quote Simon and Garfunkel, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. “ 

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

       not being “the sole cause” of suffering isnt the same as not being *a* cause.

  • Good and Godless

    Atheists and christians.

  • dantresomi

    LOL! hilarious! 

  • Harold815

    Yes Christianity has done harm; however, any system of
    belief or human activity can lead people to do harm.  Science has even lead people to do harm.  Talking about how bad Christianity is only
    lead to a game of Tit for Tat and solves no real problems.  
    Further more with the dawning of the 20th
    century it is now evident that Christianity causes no more harm then any other
    belief system.  The reality is that any
    organized human activity can do harm. 
    Just look at politics.  The reason
    for this is because of human nature. 
    People will always have a tendency to be selfish or tribal which can
    lead to harm and violence.  

    Science,
    secularism, atheism, even Buddhism have caused harm.  This statement about how bad Christianity leads
    away from the greater problem of how we transcend the violent parts of human
    nature.  Religion has been trying to deal
    with this problem since the beginning. 
    If secularism, humanism or any other form of non-belief wants to have
    any credibility then they must also deal with this problem also.  

    Instead of this, “your beliefs are bad and
    mine are good” game.  We all need to work
    together to combat all the violence in the world.  For example, programs like Karen Armstrong’s
    charter for compassion campaign.  Karen
    Armstrong works to find what we have in common and goes from there to create
    peace among different people.  Focusing
    on how we are a like is how one combats any type of violence.  Focusing on how bad another group of people
    are just promotes intolerance which leads to more violence. 

    Lastly, Christianity has done more good then
    bad.  For non-believers to ignore the
    good or to diminish it simply for political reasons diminishes the non
    believer’s credibility.  If you have no
    credibility with people who are not in your group then you have no real power
    to change the world for the better.  

    I
    know that there will be people who disagree with me and that is fine.  What I see with some atheist is the
    development of intolerance towards religion and Christianity in
    particular.  If atheist and non-believers
    are not careful and continue this path they will become the very thing they
    hate.  

    Harold

    • Donaving

      Wise words Mister Harold. Actually–for what it’s worth–the hatred and intolerance on the site is one of the things made me begin to question my own indifference and Agnosticism and led me to start reading the Bible (again), and going to Church. And I’ve had no regrets. 

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        The behavior of atheists doesn’t make atheism true or false, just like the behavior of Christians doesn’t have a thing to do with the veracity of their religion. It’s completely irrelevant.

        Sounds like you didn’t fully shake off your childhood indoctrination, but really you’re making the same mistake as someone who decides to become an atheist for emotional reasons. Leaving the church because the pastor or congregation are “big old meanies” makes just as little sense as re-joining Christianity because you perceive atheists as hateful and intolerant. It has nothing to do with the way people behave. It has to do with whether their claims are true or false.

        • Donaving

          The assumption you make is understandable, but incorrect. I wasn’t raised Christian. I grew up in a town so small that we didn’t even have a church. (Lest you think I’m exaggerating, you can look it up on Google Maps–Baker, Nevada.) I don’t think that we even had a Bible in our house, and if we did, it wasn’t given any prominence. I started going to church, at 38, out of curiosity, and I keep going because I like what I find there.

          No, the behavior of atheists doesn’t make atheism true or false, I’ll grant you that, but it does bespeak the attitude that atheism engenders, which often strikes me as bigoted–mostly because so many assumptions are made–the biggest perhaps being that we are all brainwashed sheep–or that we’re all anything. Christians, like Hindus, like Muslims–like atheists–are all unique. 

          But I do try and keep an open mind, which is why I visit and occasionally comment on sites like this. If I see something persuasive enough to change my mind about being a Christian, I  will, but I haven’t yet.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Out of curiosity, have you tried any other religions?

            • Donaving

              We’re getting into dangerous territory here–Not as regards faith or anything, but we’re getting to the point where the replies will be narrowed to the point of illegibility.

              (If
              you
              know
              what

              mean.)

              First, Ms Anna–I said that I started reading the Bible again because, while I wasn’t raised Christian, I did my best to educate myself in the World’s literature, and that included dipping into the Bible from time to time (also the Tao Te Ching, and the Koran, and the Analects of Confucius, and Apocrypha, and Glosses, and Refutations–etc. At the moment, I’m also re-reading Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God.)

              I read the Bible as an intellectual exercise, because it’s such a part of the cultural landscape that not having some familiarity with it seemed kind of dumb. 

              (The inflection on “read”, above, is past-tense. To switch to the present tense–if I may–I now read the Bible also as an intellectual exercise–but in a different way.)

              You ask if I chose Christianity because it’s popular in the society I live in.

              That’s another assumption, and a very telling one. 

              To be honest, I’m still sort of  ”in the closet”, as it were, about being a Christian, as most of my friends are atheist or agnostic–and many are openly antagonistic when it comes to religion. 

              I don’t do things because they’re popular. I do things because they make sense to me, and they feel right. (I have sort of a joke with a couple of friends that the reason I go to church is that it’s the last refuge from hipsters–you can’t take communion ironically–but that the minute I see a waxed mustache or a skateboard propped up against a pew I’m outta there.)

              I like that it’s genuine. It’s not about being “cool”. It’s not about being popular. It’s not about winning an argument or having the biggest car.

              Quite the opposite–it’s about realizing that none of that really matters.

              What matters is that we’ve got to be good to each other, and think about something beyond ourselves.

              I didn’t choose Christianity. It chose me.

              Mr. Wilson–

              One thing I’ve learned–am learning–is that you don’t try a religion, you live it.

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                Well, it does seem that you’ve educated yourself about other religions, and since you weren’t indoctrinated as a small child, obviously you’re coming to this as an adult and making a free choice. As an atheist, I’d like to see more people in your position, ie: able to actually evaluate the evidence and make a free and informed decision. As it stands now, most children are indoctrinated from birth, so I would see your situation as a vast improvement.

                That said, I must admit that your experience is completely foreign to me. I don’t understand how people can convince themselves that a particular god from a particular religion is real, and simply knowing nice Christian people (or visiting a nice Christian congregation) would do absolutely nothing in the way of convincing me that what their religion teaches is true. I see no evidence that anything the Christian religion claims is based in reality. To me, that’s the crux of the problem. No religion would ever “feel right” to me unless it made sense.

                • Donaving

                  How did you convince yourself to be an atheist?

                   

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Actually, I didn’t. I’ve been an atheist my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I simply assumed that gods and goddesses were imaginary. When I was a little girl, I assumed that everyone else thought they were made up, too, but that turned out to be a wrong assumption, LOL.

                  I consider atheism the natural and default position, and since I was never indoctrinated, I can see no way to make myself believe that deities are real. I’ve  read religious books and attended religious services, but they never make any sense to me. I simply don’t understand how people can believe that the supernatural is a real thing.

                  That’s the root of my atheism, right there. It’s not about emotion; it’s about evidence. It doesn’t matter to me how the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims and the Hindus behave (even though some do behave very badly). It matters whether or not their supernatural claims are true, and I can find no evidence that they are anything but the products of vivid human imagination.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Sorry, I made an assumption. You said that you had started reading the Bible again, so I thought that you had been a Christian in your youth.

            Perhaps blogs are not a good way to judge the attitudes of an entire population of people. I could point to myriad Christian blogs filled with hateful, arrogant, sexist, and homophobic content, but it would be wrong of me to say that all Christians share those attitudes, despite the fact that the Christian holy book (which they all purport to believe) does seem to demand some of those attitudes from them.

            I don’t think that atheism can “engender” certain attitudes, because atheism doesn’t require that we believe that religion is harmful. There are atheists all across the spectrum. Some atheists like religion. Some think religion is useful. Some admire religion. And some, of course, are the opposite of that. But atheism doesn’t require one particular viewpoint. The only thing that atheists necessarily have in common is that we don’t believe in gods.

            Incidentally, if you were never a Christian, why did you choose Christianity over all the other religions in the world? Just because it’s popular in the society that you happen to live in? I have a hard time understanding why an agnostic or an atheist would think that the biblical deity was somehow more likely to be real than any of the gods and goddesses from other cultures. I mean, why not explore Hinduism, or Zoroastrianism, or Jainism?

      • Zeggman

         I read the Bible frequently; it’s never tempted me to become a Christian. I do lament the hatred and intolerance shown by atheists, because I feel (rightly or wrongly) that it reflects on me.  Does the hatred and intolerance displayed by Christians lead you to start reading God is Not Great and The God Delusion?

        • Donaving

          I haven’t had a chance to yet, but they’re on my reading list. So many books, so little time. I’m currently re-reading The Big Sleep. 

          I think one thing that atheists and believers can agree on is that Raymond Chandler is awesome.

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

       tone troll

  • Benchdepends

    you ask bro. eli soriano and  you’ll know the answer… c”,)

  • Chris A.

    I think something that hasn’t yet been stated here is the separation of the Christian person, Christian people, Christian religion and Christian church. 

    The vast majority of events in any length of history has been caused by the church, generally the catholic church because it is the largest church body but also because catholic envelops most church denominations. Yes it took real people to do all those things, but isn’t it the same with governments today? Gillard says ‘go’ and has the nation at her command, 99.99% of the Australia population don’t have a say (and realisticly 99.98% don’t care) in what she does with that nation. The people who follow that one person’s command are just doing their job. It is similar with any leader and body throughout history, other than those with the power – and few share power – the rest just follow along.

    I think it would also be pertinent to consider the separation of religion and the Christian faith. Christianity is all about moving away from religious acts and towards a relationship with their God (Ask a Christian to explain how their monotheism works with a triune God – and get some popcorn).

    Someone mentioned Christianity being linked throughout history. Historically speaking Christianity claims its existence since creation (and technically before creation). the Majority of  Christian scholars will concede creation between 5000 and 3000 BCE. The major religions of: Buddhism started in 5th century BCE, Hinduism from around 1500 BCE, Islam sees itself as a branch  of the Christian faith though it’s ‘leader’ was only in 7th century CE. The biblical Noah is dated around 2500 BCE

    It is interesting that though many countries claim a state of non-religious law ALL nations uphold the 5 non-theological laws of the deuterocanonical Ten Commandments. 

    The problem with addressing this argument is placing both atheists and Christians stereotypically, some will identify, some won’t, and most won’t know why they do or don’t. Only those that read this have the opportunity to respond, and only a select from those will actually respond. But either way my opinion is not likely to affect anyone, and no ones is likely to affect mine. The article wasn’t written to convert anyone any more than the bible tries to convert anyone, ‘anyone who is willing let them listen’, if it doesn’t apply to you then don’t spend time on it. 


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