More Annoying Christian Clichés

After doing it twice before, Christian Piatt has yet another list of annoying Christian clichés and why they need to stop using them:

I’m praying for you:

I had a guy say this to me last week who was not a fan of my work. And although sometimes people mean well when they say this, often times it’s basically the religious equivalent of the middle finger (I don’t like you and wish you would change, so I’m going to pray you become more like me). Now, there are those times when people say it with truly benevolent intent, but it’s still a very personal thing. Instead, consider asking someone if they would like for you to pray for them, and ask what they would like you to pray for instead of making too many assumptions.

That last line’s not a bad idea… because most atheists are just waiting to respond with “And I’m thinking for you.”

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.

  • Sven2547

    I was in a sort of inverse situation yesterday, when I handed some money to a charity.  “I hope you’ll keep us in your prayers,” the woman said.

    “Uh… yeah…”

    Not particularly annoying, just kinda awkward.

    • CanadianNihilist

       Money or prayers lady, choose one :P

    • Sandra Duffy

       I just say “you’ll be in my thoughts” or ” I’ll be thinking of you” whenever a situation like that arises. Seems to do the job of communicating I care about the person or situation.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

    my personal peeve is ‘have a blessed day.’ xtians aren’t the only ones to do this, i’ve gotten it from pagans, wiccans and other monotheists. i was getting my hair done once and the woman who was doing it was on the phone (i was getting braids and you sit in the chair for hours) talking to some other person in her church and just praying and blessing and invoking jeebus and oh my FSM did i want to just puke. didn’t go back to her, needless to say. i just cannot understand people who are so addicted to religion they can’t not talk about it all the time, to strangers, at work, on the bus, when they call in to a talk show…

    • Russian Alex

      I don’t know. I usually just shrug it off. Maybe that’s because I live right in the Bible belt, but something tells me that I don’t need to get upset over “blessed days,” “bless you,” and “thank God” said as mere figures of speech: too much fuss over nothing. I myself sometimes say “Jesus!” and omit “Fucking Christ!” if the situation isn’t particularly fitting to explicit profanity. So what — it doesn’t make me any more of a theist; not a Christian for sure. Sure, overt proselytizing is annoying, but it’s usually a bit more than a wish to have a blessed day at the end of a commercial transaction.

      Just my 2 kopeyki ;)

      • usclat

        You know, I agree with Russian Alex. We skeptics, non-believers, Atheists and other persons of reason should not get too worked up by the utterings of people who have been aggressively conditioned into reflex reactions to very worldly circumstances. Most mean well but have no other way of immediately expressing solidarity or concern with you. I say we relax, take a deep breath and learn to pick and choose our battles. Like for instance, raising one’s children AWAY from faith-based nonsense and teaching them to be critical thinkers. Plus many other ways!

        • Sandra Duffy

           Yep I’ve been an atheist for thirty years but still use terminology I grew up with like  For gods sake turn down that music!”, and ”christ almighty, have you seen that weather outside?!”. And of course that old Irish favourite – a long drawn out “Ahh Jaaaysus” in any and all situations requiring the expression of exasperation.

    • Sven2547

      My brother, while Christian, is a pretty secular guy.  Interestingly, when he moved to Wisconsin and heard that phrase for the first time, he loved it.  “They’re so nice here!” he told me over the phone.  “Nobody ever said that back on the East Coast!”  I guess he just liked the sentiment or something.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        When I moved to Texas, I also thought the folks were really nice. That was until they learned I was atheist and began pushing all their Christian love on me.

        They are really only nice here if you conform. They are anti-intellectual and anti-individual. For an eccentric atheist like myself, it is quite the stifling environment.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      Yeah, this one is annoying to me… I don’t care if they want to waste their time praying but this one is more of a command for me to worship their god with them in absentia.  I usually just say thank you and walk out.  Like the pray thing, I know it’s usually either just rote on their part (checkout people) or they mean it in a benevolent manner.  But it still bugs me.

  • machintelligence

    In response to the “I’ll pray for you”, you could try: “Would you also sacrifice a goat? I’ve heard it makes prayers more effective.”

    • Foster

      “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

      • usclat

        An acknowledgement of Tlaloc? Zues? Jesus? Yaweh? Jehovah? Buddha? Krishna? Quetzalcoatl? Thor? 

        I know … you’re quoting a certain mythological book. BUT … I insist that it doesn’t matter. I still ask … Which god are you acknowledging? 

        • Foster

          If you know that I’m quoting a “mythological” book, I hardly think it credible that you don’t know to what God I refer.  Otherwise, you don’t get out much.  The law of entropy would strongly suggest that the universe is not eternal, and yet you apparently think it to be so.  If the universe is not eternal, then the atheist argument is that something, in this universe of ours following the naturalistic laws we study in science, came out of nothing.  That’s not very logical either.  No, something does not come out of nothing.  Something has always existed outside the laws of our multiverse, and that something is God, who has revealed himself in the scriptures, in the Church, and in miracles to exist.  And the best philosophical candidate among all the religions of the world for who that God is:  Jesus Christ, whose Church endures long after any other monarchical structure has crumbled, whose worshippers in the Catholic Church make up the largest organized, led religion in the world, whose Church has guided Western Civilization to achieve the scientific greatness it has today by encouraging scientific realism over nominalism, and the idea of a lawful harmonious universe that mankind can in principle understand.  Atheism creates nothing.  It is, has always been, and will always be, a minority view, because it denies what the majority knows instinctively, something does not come out of nothing.  

          • dewnotbelieve

            But physics has proven – conclusively – that somethings come out of nothing ALL THE TIME!

            Plus, “came out of nothing” is AT LEAST as logical as “Something has always existed outside the laws of our multiverse.” We have EVIDENCE that the former can (and does) happen.

            • Foster

              What scientific papers are you talking about?  I do not doubt your sincerity, but I suspect that preexisting energy was required to create something out of “nothing.”  But energy is not nothing.  Please cite your source, and we can talk about it.

              • dewnotbelieve
                • Foster

                  The first link you provided me (11 minutes ago) is dead.  The second link leads to a general explanation of string theory, which is not directly related to our conversation, since you have apparently chosen to defend “something came out of nothing” rather than that the universe is eternal. At no point do they discuss “something coming out of nothing,” and if they did, as a courtesy to me, you should have pointed out where.  As it is, it appears you were attempting to snowball me in minutia, and without a doubt you have wasted my time.  If you would care to be more specific, however, we can try again.  

                • dewnotbelieve

                  Sorry, I provided about six links, but apparently they were cropped.

                  Also, I’m not trying to defend “something came out of nothing.” I’m actually trying to point out the false dichotomy in your claim. Your position is that either the universe came from “nothing”  on its own or an eternal being created it from “nothing”. My view is that neither of those is likely, and that one of the many alternatives is much more probable. I like the idea that the universe has always existed in various forms, possible very different than what we observe now, and can apparently experience violent upheavals like the Big Bang. Based on current knowledge, this probably won’t repeat, but something else may happen. Who knows what?

                • Foster

                  If you were going to deny the dilemma I posed, it would make more sense to state that initially, rather than choosing one of the horns to defend.  However, denying the dilemma as you have belatedly done, is a legitimate move, but I still think it is an illogical one based upon what we know about the universe.  The big bang occurred, yes, we agree, actually a Catholic priest first posited the big bang theory, but my point is that positing endless cycles of creation and rebirth of the universe tends against what we know about entropy.  Things do not run in cycles on their own. Rather, in nature, they become increasingly disordered and we have no reason to believe otherwise.

                • Coyotenose

                   Citing LeMaitre’s being a priest to somehow bolster your position is fairly desperate.

                  He based his ideas on Einstein’s work, who clearly stated that he did not attribute anything to your god. Therefore by the way you choose to argue, atheism wins. Ta da!

                  Oh, and this?

                  …but my point is that positing endless cycles of creation and rebirth of
                  the universe tends against what we know about entropy.  Things do not
                  run in cycles on their own. Rather, in nature, they become increasingly
                  disordered and we have no reason to believe otherwise.

                  You just argued that you don’t believe in the planet Earth.

                • Foster

                  The planetEarth enjoys the existence of the Sun, which will some day run out of energy, at which point,Earth will die.  It is not a sustainable cycle.

                • brianmacker

                  You shouldn’t argue science you don’t understand.

              • Baal

                You somehow missed the basics of quantum mechanics?  At the subatomic level, stuff appears to poof out of existence and then back in again.  This even seems to be the normal course of things.  Deepak Chopra loves to cite ‘quantum’ as the sign that God is busy with recreation of life the universe and everything due to it.

                • Foster

                  My dear Baal, get real.  Few people have ever seriously studied quantum mechanics.  I have (B+ in an undergraduate course at a highly respected research university), and the basics of quantum mechanics cover mostly wave-particle duality and atomic theory.  You atheists frequently misrepresent the scope of what science has definitively told us about the universe.  Now, if you’d like to cite a scientific paper or even a popular article discussing these results, I think it will become obvious that small subatomic particles that come into existence due to energy interactions and then pop out of existence is a far cry from there being absolutely nothing in the universe at all, no thin film of radiant energy, nothing–And then there suddenly being something, the source of everything, in fact.  No, the best you can do is to suggest that entropy is only a local phenomenon and not in fact universal.  But if we experience entropy in everything we see and have never seen the universe act otherwise, is it not more logical to assume that it is a universal phenomenon rather than a local one?  

                • Coyotenose

                   If you had actually done the studies you claim, you wouldn’t have had to ask what he was talking about, and you certainly wouldn’t phrase it as “something from nothing”. I now know to not bother to take your comments seriously again.

                • Foster

                  As I said above, I can speak from experience in saying that physical particles spontaneously arising en masse is not the subject matter of basic quantum theory.

              • Stev84

                No. Virtual particles don’t require energy input to appear out of nothing. At least not in the way you think. That’s because even a perfect vacuum contains vacuum energy (also related to zero point energy) due to quantum fluctuations. And of course the Big Bang is thought to the result of quantum fluctuations that caused the expansion of space-time.

                • Foster

                  How nice that you apparently have mind-reading powers and can thereby know what I think, even at such a distance.  Seriously though, we’re not talking about virtual particles.  We’re talking about everything, including actual particles, and your regurgitating the vagaries of quantum theory does not change the fact that the actual particles that make up our universe without energy input should not spontaneously arise out of nothing according to any scientific data I (or I suspect you) have heard of.  But if you’d like to point me towards the experts who say otherwise, I would be glad to be enlightened so that I may alter my opinions accordingly.

          • Baal

             I would now like every one to imagine a person standing here ringing a loud clanging hand bell who is also shouting, “Kalam Kalam”.  (Quick! To the google machine bat man! i’ve never heard of Kalam’s Cosmological Argument)

            • Foster

              My argument does not make quite the lofty claims that the Kalam argument makes.  For according to it, the source of the universe *must* be God.  Rather, I am saying that assuming something outside the universe existed prior to its establishment is more logical than either denying the universality of entropy or suggesting that everything spontaneously arose from nothing at all, particularly in light of the strange persistence of the Church over the past two millennia and of verifiable miracles.  To expand on verifiable miracles, let me cite the incorruptible bodies of saints such as Padre Pio and St. Bernadette, who can be viewed by anybody, the appearance of scientifically unexplained religious apparitions to thousands of people who had no reason to lie about their experience at Zeitoun and Fatima.  In the case of Fatima, the appearance was predicted to occur at the exact time that it did four months in advance.  How exactly would you like God to prove his existence to you in a more credible way?

              • Coyotenose

                 Greek philosophy has survived far longer than the RCC and in a far more perfect form. Congratulations on your new conversion to the Greek mythos, based on your bizarrely fallacious argument.

                • Foster

                  Philosophy is not a religion and much of the best of Greek philosophy has been incorporated in Christian theology, so I genuinely fail to see your point.  Greek philosophy is a menagerie of different ideas about the world with no authority structure or orthodoxy.  The Catholic Church is ruled by the Bishops on Earth, who have chosen the Pope to preside as the first among equals.  Your equivocation of Greek philosophy with Greek mythos with a religious organization is what is bizarre to my mind.

                • RobMcCune

                  Exactly it’s all about obedience to authority. Where are all the greek philosophers, gone. Who got rid of their works, that’s right, the church. It’s clear who the winning team is. Hell, they even threw Aristotle in trash. At least until they found him useful 15 centuries after his death. Which was all part of gods will, or something.

                • Foster

                  This little thing called The Fall of the Roman Empire happened that you might have heard about, and caused a great deal of literature, both ecclesial and secular to be lost.  The Church did not trash Aristotle.  The Church preserved Plato as well as some of Aristotle’s work, and was happy to rediscover it and teach it in the University system they invented.

              • brianmacker

                You sure do blow a lot of smoke. Which you’d know was smoke if you were actually educated. There is no need for anything to come prior to the big bang, nor is the big bang an example of something “coming from nothing”. Time is an aspect of the universe itself, not something outside it. You are using reasoning that applies to things in the universe, not to universes themselves. You have no basis for saying what does or does not make sense with regards to universes.

                • Foster

                  Really, BM, there’s no need for insults, as I’d think someone with your initials would be happy to hear.  But seriously, as I said earlier, there are two options.  Either something comes from nothing, or the universe and all the stuff in it is eternal.  That’s not smoke, it’s a tautology.  The something coming from nothing is the same language Hawking has used, so I really don’t see how you can reasonably fault it.  We’re not talking about plural universes, we’re talking about the physical matter that exists in our one universe. So you’re saying that it is perfectly possible that nothing comes prior to the big bang because time slows to an indefinite halt, in which case you have chosen the eternal universe option, since all of time is occupied by our material universe under that theory.  The problem I see with that is that the amount of matter in the universe is finite.  While you might slow time down to a crawl, it would take an infinite amount of matter to stop time completely, an amount of matter which does not exist.  So there must be a prior, even after all the matter in the universe is as compact and organized as it can possibly be.  Then what?  What logically preceded this point, if it is not credible that time was just stopped on account of the infinite amount of matter it would take to prevent there from being a “temporally prior”?  It seems to me that at that point we must either deny entropy’s universality or posit everything physical coming out of nothing.

                • brianmacker

                  Nesting too deep so I will respond at the same level.

                • brianmacker

                  It is not the amount but density of matter that effects time (around black holes for example).   You just don’t understand what you are talking about.  Granted you understood entropy better than one opponent, but that is not a hard concept.  It’s classical physics, not Einstienian, and certainly not quantum physics.

                • brianmacker

                  “The something coming from nothing is the same language Hawking has used, so I really don’t see how you can reasonably fault it.”

                  Not likely he equivocated when using the phrase like you did.   Look up the philosophical definition of equivocate and don’t just assume you understand what I’m talking about.

                • brianmacker

                  “there’s no need for insults”

                  Don’t mistake an assesment for an insult.  You appear to be uneducated with regard to this subject and you are blowing smoke via the various fallacies you commit.  I think I am being rather chariable in my interpretation of why you are making these mistakes.  Of course, I could be wrong but I assume you’ll correct me as to the source of your errors once you figure out that you are in error, if that ever happens.

                  ” But seriously, as I said earlier, there are two options. ”

                  Wrong, there are multiple options.  I gave you one that lies outside your false dicotomy and you failed to understand it.

                  If you knew a little of Einstein then you’d know that space and time are not completely unrelated concepts.   One can be converted to another depending on frame of reference.

                  Likewise at the time of the big bang it could be that it is not so much that time becomes infinite than that it becomes ill defined.  Sort of like if you head north the closer you get the to pole the less you move in the direction the polar axis points north and more radially inward towards that axis.

                  This has been explained in the popular literature as one possibility yet you are unfamiliar with it, and therefore uneducated with regards to it.   It lies outside your false either/or dicotomy.

                  “But seriously, as I said earlier, there are two options.”

                  You were wrong, and I gave you an example of why.   There are many other possibilities that have been explored, and many more that haven’t.

                  ” Either something comes from nothing, or the universe and all the stuff in it is eternal. ”

                  False for many reasons.   You have an ill defined phrase ” something comes from nothing” that you are using to equivocate between different possible meanings of both the words “something” and “nothing”.   

                  You also commit a category error.   “Something” can refer to different classes.  A something in the class, “objects inside the universe” is a completely different category that the class of “universes”.   I explained but it apparenlty when whoosh right over your head.

                  Furthermore the two halves of your dicotomy aren’t even opposites with a clear definition of the words.   The opposite of “something comes from nothing” is “something doesn’t come from nothing”, not ” the universe and all the stuff in it is eternal. ”   Any child can see they aren’t opposites.  

                  The statement “all of the stuff in the universe is eternal” is false.  We know because we have examples like the fact we die, as do our laptop batteries.   So the second half of you dicotomy is false.  That doesn’t mean that the first half is automatically true.  Just because we die we cannot conclude that “something comes from nothing.”

                  You are a poor logician to say the least.   I’d continue to demolish the rest of your smoke, but I’ve got better things to do.   If you were a good pupil and were to admit the errors I have already pointed out then maybe I will entertain educating you on the rest of your intellectual issues.    Only you can internally assess why you make these errors, but you are making them.

                   

          • al kimeea

             u obviously have not read your favourite book very closely and the Dark Ages show that any advancement which occurred happened despite the stranglehold the bronze age child rapists have had on Europe

            • Foster

              Ockham, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Descartes, Pascal, Faraday, Maxwell.  What these great scientific minds have in common is that they were all devout Christians.  Christianity is obviously not antithetical to science from the historical perspective, but is at least an adequate matrix for nurturing it for the reasons I gave above.  My “favorite book” must be interpreted in light of Jesus Christ, who made clear that the Old Testament was not the full revelation of God, but pointed to Christ as the hard-hearted people of the time were able to understand, culminating finally in the teaching of Christ himself and the establishment of the Church.  “You have heard an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I tell you…”  If the Catholic Church has committed any errors in what it teaches about morality (and I don’t think it has), advocating rape or abortion are certainly and verifiably not among them.

              • Pedro Lemos

                “My “favorite book” must be interpreted in light of Jesus Christ”

                Read: My favorite book must desconsider reality in order to fit my personal beliefs.

                • Foster

                  “Desconsider”?  Sorry, that word isn’t in my vocabulary.

                  Anyway, no Pedro, they are not only my personal beliefs but what is most logical to conclude from the words that Christ spoke in the gospels, including the words I quoted above, regarding his new standard for ethical behavior. 

              • Coyotenose

                 You didn’t argue against what he actually said by citing Christian scientists.

                Oh, that LeMaitre* thing was bugging me. Look, Wikipedia!:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre#cite_note-15

                (actually citation 16, despite what the link says…)

                The man would most likely be appalled by your arguments and attempt to use him on your side.

                *Yes, I know I keep misspelling it.

                • Foster

                  Actually I did address his point, by demonstrating that it is a straw man to judge Christianity based on the way people acted a hundreds of years before there *were* any Christians.  The mention of Lemaitre was in passing (I didn’t even mention his name), and is obviously not crucial to my argument, which is not for a literal six day creation.  However, I will ask that if Christianity is so bad for rationality and science, why were so many of the scientists, the giants upon whose shoulders we stand, vocally Christian?

                • amycas

                  “I will ask that if Christianity is so bad for rationality and science,
                  why were so many of the scientists, the giants upon whose shoulders we
                  stand, vocally Christian?”

                  Because that’s the world view that was available at the time…because they might get persecuted and tormented for not being one…because of indoctrination…because of the uncanny ability of the human mind to compartmentalize what we know and believe….do you want me to go on?

                • Foster

                  Compartmentalization is the last thing the thinkers above did.  No, their research and work was clearly enlivened and a part of their Faith, particularly in the cases of Kepler, Newton and Pascal, but also in the others. Indoctrination and culture are plausible reasons they might be Christians, but their Faith certainly was not divorced in any way from their Reason.

          • Sindigo

            What scientific papers can you quote that show miracles to exist?

            • Foster

              Miracles are not strictly within the purview of science except insofar as science throws up its hands and says, “I cannot explain it.”  I won’t go into medical miracles, since the Vatican privately examines those, but instead, let’s look at things anyone can look at and ask themselves what the natural cause could possibly be.  This is a copy-paste from above, btw.  Let me cite the incorruptible bodies of saints such as Padre Pio and St. Bernadette, who can be viewed by anybody, the appearance of scientifically unexplained religious apparitions to thousands of people who had no reason to lie about their experience at Zeitoun and Fatima.  In the case of Fatima, the appearance was predicted to occur at the exact time that it did four months in advance.  How exactly would you like God to prove his existence to you in a more credible way and what is the naturalistic explanation for these inexplicable mass eyewitness accounts that you yourself will be a part of if you go visit the strangely non-decomposing dead bodies of these and other dead saints?

              • Sindigo

                Miracles certainly are within the purview of science, being observable phenomena. Were they ever to have happened.

                Padre Pio’s body was, according to the church’s own records preserved in formaldehyde after his death and his remains, described as “partially skeletal” by morticians at his exhumation are now topped with a reasonably lifelike silicone mask. Doubtless the other cases you mention could be explained in the same way.

                The Fatima phenomenon is explained here:
                http://www.csicop.org/si/show/real_secrets_of_fatima/

                So, “How exactly would you like God to prove his existence to you in a more credible way”? 

                Simple. I want him to appear to me. For an omnipotent deity it would be the work of the merest whim. My attention and adulation would be easy to obtain and yet he makes no effort toward obtaining it. However, he is willing to appear to others whom I am then expected to simply blindly follow. It doesn’t make any sense that they should be so blessed while I am not. 

                And for the record, before you tell me that I’ll find him if I would only seek him. Bollocks. I looked. He wasn’t there.

                • Foster

                  “Miracles certainly are within the purview of science, being observable phenomena.”  Granted to a point, but you’re never going to see a scientific paper about them which is what you originally asked for, because miracles are by their very nature (assuming they exist, yes) non-repeatable phenomena and inexplicable, whereas scientific papers are about explaining repeatable phenomena.  For something to qualify as typical science we need to be able to examine it in laboratory type settings.  It is in this sense that I meant miracles are not within science’s purview. The supernatural can only at best be documented, as it was at Fatima and Zeitoun, not dissected.  Someone sent me an article debunking Fatima as a “mass delusion.” I simply don’t buy it.  (They also sent me info about Padre Pio’s being injected with formaldehyde, which would explain the degree to which his body is incorrupt.  Okay, fine, I didn’t know that, and I am willing to give up belief in that particular miracle now that I know that.)  But consider that thousands of people at Fatima and Zeitoun, all of them are simply mistaken about seeing something supernatural at the exact time the supernatural appearance was predicted months in advance?  If you buy this reasoning, I don’t believe you, Sindigo, when you say you’d believe if He appeared.  If He appeared to you, you would probably shrug it off as a delusion in the same way.  Think about it, which is more credible, your eyes alone, or the eyes of thousands of people many of whom were secular non-believers like yourself?  Based upon your own preconceptions, even such a miracle would probably not change your mind.  If it would, then why should you disbelieve what thousands of people tell us they experienced?

                • Sindigo

                  A laboratory is simply part of the apparatus of science. Observation and recordability are science too and that, I’m afraid can be done anywhere. 

                  So, you don’t buy a simple, rational explanation but instead decide to believe in magic with no good evidence whatsoever. Well, whatever comfortable delusion gets you through the night then I guess.

                  Tell me, how do you decide which miracles to believe in? What criteria do you use? Is it enough that they broadly originate with your favourite mythos or do you have a more sophisticated methodology? What’s wrong with the Brahmic religions’ description of the world’s creation, for example?

                  No, I’m sorry but you’re wrong. It would be well within a god’s power to convince me of his existence. He could simply make me believe. Yet, he chooses not to. Instead relying on me to choose for myself; relying on my “free will”. There are millions who have never heard his name yet he relies on their free will to choose him over their local deities too. It seems such strange behaviour for an omnipotent being who craves our adulation. Strange, inconsistent, illogical, like the creations of man. Not of gods.

                • Foster

                  I sympathize with readability issues, but as others know, the comment system can be very finicky, and frequently compacts my paragraphs together on me.  It’s even worse when I try to copy-paste from Word.  Any possibility of updating things to be more mac-friendly, Hemant?  

                    I honestly don’t think that calling “mass hysteria” as your article does qualifies as a “simple rational explanation.”  It qualifies as denying thousands of eye-witness accounts for the sake of saving a materialist system.  On the other hand, the appearance at Zeitoun was caught on film.  How do we explain that away with “simple rational explanations” that rely on everyday materialist forces?

                  Regarding miracles happening for people of other religions, yes, I think it’s possible.  In Catholicism, we don’t claim to limit what God can do even within other religious frameworks.  

                  As for Vedic religion in general, worshiping rivers and natural forms and regarding the natural world with unquestioning reverence is not a good foundation for science, nor is it a coincidence that while they have great facility for mathematics in that part of the world, science did not develop there.  Christianity makes no such claims, and our fundamental image of man and the world is not bowing down in worship to the world, but of tending the world as a garden.

                  “He could simply make me believe.”  Sorry but God’s not going to take away your free will along with that of everyone else on the planet, just to make you believe.  Free will is a part of who we are, and it has inherent merit.  It is perfectly rational to think that by forcing you to believe something, God would (hypothetically speaking) do more harm than good, since free will has intrinsic value, which would be a good explanation of why he does not.   

                  But your response suggests that you agree with me when I said above that even if he did appear to you, you still would not believe and would be more inclined to attribute it to a delusion unless God stripped you of your free will.  This makes your hypothesis unfalsifiable.  Obviously mine is not, since I’ve been debating over what the more logical conclusion is from mass testimony that supernatural events occurred. 

                  As for “There are millions who have never heard his name yet he relies on their free will to choose him over their local deities too.” in Catholicism, we do not believe that God punishes people with hell because of ignorance of his name.  Everyone is born with a conscience, and in that sense He does speak to everyone.

                • Sindigo

                  I didn’t realise you were having that issue, thanks for clearing it up.

                  What was caught on film at Zeitoun was some lights in the sky and then, not very clearly. To jump to the conclusion that they were miraculous is hugely less rational than an explanation of mass delusion. I don’t care if there were millions of eye-witness accounts, rather than thousands. 

                  But herein lies the problem. My response does not agree with you that, should god reveal himself to me I would still refuse to believe in any way but If Zeitoun was indeed a miracle then those thousands were given a reason to believe. A reason that an omnipotent god would know would be enough to convince them. So where is their free will in this example? And besides, why have I not been afforded that proof? God would know what would convince me but he doesn’t seem to care for my belief.
                   
                  What sort of just god distributes the rewards of heaven and eternal life so inequitably? Answer: an invented one.

                  Your only evidence for miracles is that a bunch of people swear it happened and you describe my hypothesis as unfalsifiable?That’s a ludicrous statement from someone who cannot see that a conscience is something that could have simply developed by natural processes through environmental stimuli and as such, is not good evidence for the existence of a divine creator.

                  I thought that Jesus said that the only way to God is through him. It’s certainly what I was taught as a child. If you have a different interpretation of that verse then fine. I’m not going to attempt to second guess the logical hoops that your personal belief system forces your brain to jump through. 

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

                  I use a Mac and the comments show up okay for me… not sure why people are having such problems! (I blame Disqus, not the commenters.)

                • brianmacker

                  On a paste the Diqus system will remove on newline. Put two newlines between paragraphs in your word doc comments and then paste.

          • Artor

             “And the best philosophical candidate among all the religions of the world for who that God is:  Jesus Christ,”[citation needed]

            • Coyotenose

               I think what he meant to say is that since Jesus’s best message is derived from far older ideas in numerous other Oriental philosophies and religions whose influence was slowly spreading across that region at the time, that he is actually a follower of Vedic Brahmanism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, or possibly even the Egyptian mythos and philosophies.

            • Foster

              You might have quoted the entire sentence to get my reasons for coming to that conclusion.  Here, let me put it in context for you since your abilities to copy-paste appear limited: “And the best philosophical candidate among all the religions of the world for who that God is:  Jesus Christ, whose Church endures long after any other monarchical structure has crumbled, whose worshippers in the Catholic Church make up the largest organized, led religion in the world, whose Church has guided Western Civilization to achieve the scientific greatness it has today by encouraging scientific realism over nominalism, and the idea of a lawful harmonious universe that mankind can in principle understand.” 

              • RobMcCune

                The idea of an ordered universe is hardly unique to the Catholic Church, in fact the scientific revolution began to get underway as the church began to decline in power and authority. Though I don’t think there is a causal relationship there.

                “And the best philosophical candidate among all the religions of the world for who that God is:  Jesus Christ,

                What’s more your ignoring plenty of secular philosophy that contributed far more [to] the scientific revolution than the bible or Aquinas.

                • Foster

                  That’s a bunch of nonsense.  I never spoke Aquinas’ name on this blog, so you can stop placing words in my mouth, friend.  The scientific revolution owes its birth primarily to Copernicus (Catholic priest), Kepler (Catholic priest), Galileo (Catholic priest), Newton (Anglican Christian who wrote theological treatises and talked about his faith in the *Principia*), Leibnitz (Lutheran Christian), Descartes (Catholic), Pascal (Catholic Christian), etc., but mainly those guys.  Now who precisely are you thinking of who “contributed far more to the scientific revolution” than these men, sir?  

              • Artor

                I truncated the quote to save you from some embarrassment. My apologies. In my universe, the Catholic Church has been the bane of scientific progress at every step, and it’s Xtians who claim that the universe operates by God’s whim, not actual physical laws that mankind can understand. You might have heard of Galileo, or the current debates over ID & creationism?

                • Foster

                  Galileo was a Catholic priest, who was inspired in his research of the sun and the planets by a deeply religious Lutheran man, Kepler, who was inspired in his study of the planets and the sun by another Catholic priest, Copernicus.  All of them were deeply religious men, as were most of the key contributors to the scientific  revolution.  The Galileo incident is the exception, not the rule, which is why critics of the church mention it so much rather than sprinkling it among other incidents of the Church supposedly stifling science. Pseudohistorians blow it out of proportion in terms of the overall history and development of science which occurred in Christian culture.  The irony of the whole thing is, Galileo’s theory of the tides was actually mistaken, his quarrel with the Church was probably more about Galileo’s metaphysical theology than about the science, and while what the church did was wrong, as the Church has admitted, it was while he was under house arrest obeying the church’s request not to do further research or publish on celestial matters, that he did his most fruitful work in kinematics, which would inspire Newton’s *Principia*.    ID and creationism do not concern me and should not concern Catholics, as an honest reading of Genesis compels us not to take the two accounts in chapters 1 and 2 literally but as largely symbolic, both from the style of the writing, and from the fact that if taken literally the two accounts contradict.  You may not be aware that the last two popes have believed in theistic evolution by natural selection.

          • Coyotenose

             You aren’t familiar with the current state of Physics. I barely am, and will admit that even works like Hawking’s excellent books nearly went over my head – and they’re written for laymen.
            - A state of “nothing” is theorized to be extremely unstable, or rather, what we would call nothing, which is rather hard for anyone not a physicist to talk about, since they’re the only ones with a shot at even conceptualizing it.
            - When gravity is figured in, the total energy of the universe is estimated at zero. Try to conceptualize that. It’s a task.

            In other news, the RCC has survived for exactly the same reason that the Mafia has. Give that one some thought. It isn’t a coincidence that the historical seats of their power are so politically and geographically related.

            The rest is, frankly, just gibberish and foot-stamping. Demanding something be so does not make it so. The Bible is not supported by any source outside of itself, and is in fact refuted even solely on a historical basis many times, let alone a supernatural one.

            As I recall, you already tried the “The RCC made Western civilization” argument a few weeks back. Did you miss the copious counters to that claim, or just conveniently ignore them as Evertonian would?

          • amycas

            How the hell did you get from a joke question about which god you were invoking, to the cosmological argument? Seriously, we should be calling you Evil Kneivel after that jump.

            • Foster

              It was a natural evolution in conversation, mostly outgrowing (provoked?) from Baal’s comment, “You cannot petition what does not exist,” which preceded my explanation of why I believe He does exist.

              • Foster

                *an explanation, anyway, certainly not the only reasons (I didn’t even get into human conscious experience and the existence of objective evil).

          • McCowan

             “No, something does not come out of nothing.”How do you know “something” does not come out of nothing? No one in the world have ever created a bowl full of nothing. Maybe when scientists can do that, “something” will be created.

          • Sage McCarey

            Foster, you are so in your bubble there is no reasoning with you.

      • Maria

        And then there’s other verses IN THE SAME BOOK saying the the smell of burnt animal flesh is “pleasing to the lord”  Bit of a contradiction there hmmm?  A book with so many contradictions clearly shouldn’t be taken as any sort of truth.

        • Foster

          By the same book, I assume you mean the Bible, which is actually a collection of books.  I was referring to the book of Hebrews, in which there is no command to offer burnt sacrifice, and which explains that burnt sacrifices are inferior to doing good and sharing with others. The New Testament abrogated several of the traditions of the Old Testament, among them burnt sacrifice.  So machintelligence’s comment and yours demonstrate willful ignorance of the traditions and practices of Christians and hinder dialogue and rational discussion by foisting beliefs onto Christians which we do not have.  

          • Baal

             And you missed the point that machineintel was making.  Pray with or without sacrifice or any of it’s various permutations are all equally ineffective.  You cannot petition what does not exist.

            • Foster

              “Pray [sic] with or without sacrifice or any of it’s various permutations are all equally ineffective.”
              I happen to believe that God does exist, as do the majority of people on our planet, not that that’s a proof of anything, but it might give a circumspect person pause to consider.  Whether He exists or not is indeed *the* question.  However the persistence of the Catholic Church over the past two millennia, the historical person of Christ and his message as presented in the gospels, the consistent and productive effects of Christianity upon civilization, and credible reports of miracles even in recent history tend to sway me towards believing that He does.

              • McCowan

                Credible reports of miracles??? Heheeee

          • amycas

             Oh ok a collection of books. So which book in the collection do you follow??

            • Foster

              All of them are informative in so far as they enlighten us about who Christ Jesus is and what he came to do.  Obviously the New Testament is superior in that regard, as it has the benefit of having been written after Jesus’ ministry.  Therefore the Old Testament is interpreted in Christian tradition in light of the New Testament, and where they apparently differ, the New Testament has precedence, although the Old Testament also serves to clarify things that would be obscure in the New if they were taken out of context.  The scriptures work together as an organic whole, and as they are interpreted by the Church, they are infallible in their sum teaching regarding morality and doctrine.  

              • Sage McCarey

                The Church has never welcomed any knowledge, input or leadership by women. A bunch of old men cannot possibly have the truth when they shut out half of humanity from the very beginning. They do not speak for me as a woman in any way!

          • Antinomian

            “So machintelligence’s comment and yours demonstrate willful ignorance of the traditions and practices of Christians and hinder dialogue and rational discussion by foisting beliefs onto Christians which we do not have.”

            I hear what you’re saying Foster. The question is do you?

            I doubt that most of us are in any way ‘willfully ignorant’ of most Christian traditions as many of us grew up and many times spent a part of our lives with them.

            As far as the dialog you accuse us of hindering, the dialog you look for is really a monologue from you and us agreeing that we’re wrong. Sorry, no double bonus Jesus points for conversion are coming your way in this place. Then, the rational discussion: I forgive you in that you are deluded as a believer. We here know that but you can’t understand that we have found over and over that there are no rational discussions with the deluded theists.

            And to top it off, you accuse us of foisting our beliefs on you… Really? You’re the one who came here searching for the elusive Double Bonus Jesus Points. We didn’t search you out. We didn’t make you come here. You’re just acting the foolish martyr.

            By the bye, you know nothing of Quantum Mechanics or the General Theory of Relativity, quit acting like you do.

            • Foster

              I never accused you of foisting *your* beliefs on me, but rather I accused your fellow atheist of foisting unrepresentative theistic beliefs on Christians.  Ironically you misrepresent me yet again by saying so. “As far as the dialog you accuse us of hindering, the dialog you look for is really a monologue from you and us agreeing that we’re wrong. Sorry, no double bonus Jesus points for conversion are coming your way in this place.”  Yet another mind-reader we appear to have in the house.  You are mistaken in thinking my aim is primarily to convert.  If that happens, then great.  My more realistic purpose is to take a pulse.  I want to know what others are thinking.  By probing those thoughts I discover their depth as well as my own.  It’s possible you might convince me that you are right, but that is the risk we all take when we actually engage with someone.  Today, for example, Sindigo informed me that the corpse of Padre Pio had been injected with formalyn before death, which may account for his apparent preservation over several decades.  This is useful for me to know, because it means I need to research how long formalyn would likely preserve a body and how well, and if this naturally comports with Pio’s state.  If it does, then I’d best stop regarding Pio’s state as a reason to believe (although there are plenty more in that category http://listverse.com/2007/08/21/top-10-incorrupt-corpses/  many of which seem probably too ancient to have been embalmed so as to account for their preservation, but Sindigo has inspired me to read up on this in more detail.)  On the other hand, his explanation of Fatima as a mass hysteria, not even regarding Zeitoun which was captured on film, did not seem credible to me.  It’s all about the dialogue and seeking after the truth.  The conclusions we reach are not so important as the honest process.  I don’t believe anyone’s going to hell for what they could not know, and I’m with my Church on that point.  Regarding the Physics, I will not claim graduate level knowledge of quantum physics, but someone talked about “basic quantum physics,” and I do not lie when I say that I was one of the better students in a quantum mechanics I (of two parts) course I took in my Junior year of college after completing the first two general physics classes and a class in modern physics which dealt with both general and special relativity earlier in college.  It’s really neither here nor there, but it is true. I believe we may learn from one another, even if we disagree.  I’m sorry if you feel otherwise.

              • Antinomian

                Foster, I can almost give you a pass on the foisting beliefs issue, but, I see you for who you are and you are nothing more than an
                apologist for the RCC. A very skilled one, but an apologist none the less. By skilled I say, you write in such a way that you can come back and say “you’re not understanding what I mean, this is what I’m saying…” Some may call you a liar or at best, less than truthfull but you seem like a decent sort of fellow. I’ll just say you know how to misplace your ontological predicates to leave any meaning purposely murky. “If you can’t dazzel them with brilliance, wear them down with minutiae.”

                That being said: You still present the same old tired arguments that we’ve rejected. Why would you bother other than to convert others? My thinking ( and no I’m not a mind reader. ESP in the skeptics veiw is as debunked as the notion of a supreme being or gods) is that this gives you talking points in your group of theists and thus a voice on a subject where there is nothing new to say.

                My veiw of any Christian apologist is that no matter how clever you are you’re still just saying silly unproven things. You may win the Silly Talk Olympics, but you’re still a silly talker.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Years ago, I regularly visited Christians chat rooms at Yahoo. It’s not a surprise that some of the Christians wanted to pray for me. I tried to explain that prayer seemed not to work, but they insisted

    Eventually, I had the idea to keep a record of their prayers. I asked them to share the content of their prayer(s) for me, recorded along with the date and username of the individuals. I explained to them it would serve as documentation of the results, whether it be success or failure. Most of them clearly expected success.

    I have a list of well over 100 prayers said on my behalf. Of those specific enough to be verified, none of them have been answered. As damning as the project was for the efficacy of prayer, the contributors seems unfazed by it.

  • Greisha

    Let them knock themselves out.  The more time they spend on useless prayers – the less on what can bring actual harm.

  • Godlesspanther

    I looked at all the lists and the worst one — the stupidest, most annoying, most shamelessly dishonest, most vile, most brain-damaged piece of idiotic xtian bullshit is missing from the lists:

    “It’s not a religion, it’s a personal relationship… with whatever.”

    Don’t be a dick — I can live with not being a dick for the most part, but if they say that — BE A DICK!

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Have you come across the Atheist cliché response to that cliché?

      “Yes, and I have a personal relationship with reality”

      • Russian Alex

        That one is best saved for inane claims that atheism is a religion.

  • Keulan

    You know what annoys me? People using the word “Christian” as if it’s a synonym for “good.” A lot of people need to realize that you don’t need Christianity (or any religion really) to be a good, moral person.

    • Sandra Duffy

      That’s changing though. Using the word Christian in that context tends to be synonymous with sanctimonious dickhead nowadays – at least in my neck of the woods – a  formerly very catholic country. A recent politician who tried to corner the market as the “Christian ” politician earned himself a lot of eye rolling and last place in the election.

  • OregoniAn

    Wow.. I saw the title and immediately thought ~ “That crazy Hemant has gone off and compiled the last 100+ comments made by  that smug dickwad “Guest” and the ever-insufferable douchebag “Evertoniancalvinist”.. So relieved this was not the case!

    • Doomedd

      Evertoniancalvinist
      was banned yesterday

      • RobertoTheChi

        Really? Yay!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Yup! He thought it would be a good idea to use his “But as an atheist, you believe…” speech to someone who was trying to deal with their fathers suicide.
          You know, Christian love.

      • RobMcCune

        I suspect he’ll be back, unfortunately.

    • cipher

      Calvinists are the worst of the worst. God decides from the beginning of time to create billions of beings for no other purpose than to torture them eternally – and that’s just fine with that! They’re going to get a ringside seat.

      They’re psychopaths, and their insanity should be bred out of the genome.

  • Revyloution

    ‘Are you Catholic or Christian?’

    I think that’s a fair, if loaded, question.  The Pope himself has declared all other branches of Christianity to be false.   There are clear differences between many of the splinters of the 2nd wave of the Abrahamic faith.   I don’t doubt that many a modern Christian would like to sweep it under the rug (heck, many Protestant and Catholic alike are warming up the welcome wagon for the Mormons), but the fact remains that there are major differences between the variety of Christendom. 

    • Foster

      I disagree.  Such a question is historically ignorant.  It is not fair to say the pope has declared all other branches of Christianity to be false, nor would the pope say such a ridiculous thing.  Obviously, we believe that they are mistaken about some important things, as they believe other Protestants and we are mistaken about some things, but the Church doesn’t say that anyone is going to hell over these errors unless they are willfully committed while knowing they are wrong.  Catholicism has always made up the majority of Christianity.  No denominational sect comes close to the 1.16 billion members the Catholic Church has even today.  Those denominations with common leadership that come anywhere close, with the exception of the Assemblies of God (60 million members as of 2007) strongly resemble the Church in their traditions, theology and organization.  Christianity is best represented by Catholicism.

      • Baal

         Having been to Assemblies of God services and spending every Sunday for ~16 years at Catholic Mass, I can assure you that they are very different.  As to the Assemblies of God hierarchy and them having a Pope and a extra-territorial city-State, I defer to your greater knowledge in that area. 

        BTW Foster, are you Evertoniancalvinist?

        • Foster

          Regarding your first paragraph, I think you must have misread what I said, missing the important words “with the exception of.”

          Regarding your question, no.  While he and I have similar world views from what I can see, we arrive at them very differently, and we discussed this point with each other in the comments of another post on this blog.  EC considers the authority of scripture to be his “arche” or first postulate or principle from which he judges the world.  I am more of an empiricist-rationalist in my belief.  I think that indeed the heavens do declare the glory of God, as do the mouths of babes, as the Psalms teach us, although we may not always be able to hear the message.  That is, I start with the world as I see it as my first assumption, and work from there to the conclusion that Catholic Christianity is true.  You might have also noticed that I am Catholic, whereas “Calvinist” would strongly suggest that EC is Presbyterian.  

        • Coyotenose

           No they aren’t. Foster put paid to EC a couple of times pretty solidly, which makes his poor argumentation here very disappointing.

          • Foster

            Funny how my argumentation suddenly becomes “poor” when I happen to be disagreeing with you.  Eh, CN?  Oh well, your *atheist* arguments such as they are disappoint me too, if it makes you feel any better.

      • JoeKing

        Having a majority believing in something will not make it true. Most people used to believe the earth was flat.
        Most Christians throughout the world fall into the poorer and undereducated demographics, and “Christianity is best represented by Catholicism”.  So, by your reasoning, those numbers should validate the a claim that most Catholics would be prone to ignorant superstitions vs. science explanations.

        • Foster

          In the sense that most of the people on the planet would be similarly prone, sure.  You misunderstand me if you think I’m suggesting that our majority within Christianity should be taken as a proof from your perspective of our being right about God.  I’m merely commenting on the bizarreness revyloution’s saying that Catholics aren’t Christian when we are the largest Christian denomination in the World by far, all Protestant denominations trace their heritage and most of their beliefs to us, and the vast, vast majority of Christians on the planet worship very similarly to us, *a la* smells ‘n’ bells, vestments and liturgy.

      • Lucilius

        “Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.
        Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians.” – NBC, July 7, 2007
        Now who’s historically ignorant?

        • Foster

          Okay, Lucillius, I denied what Revyloution said when he declared, “The Pope himself has declared all other branches of Christianity to be false.”

          In the same NBC article you just quoted,  “The document said Orthodox churches were indeed “churches” because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed “many elements of sanctification and of truth.” But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope — a defect, or a “wound” that harmed them, it said.”

          So right there, Revyloution’s comment is false on its face, since the papacy regards Orthodox churches as true churches, according to the source you provided.

          Additionally, Revyloution’s comment is misleading, because the sense in which Protestant denominations are not true churches is only in the technical sense that they do not enjoy apostolic succession.  The papacy does acknowledge them as Christian brothers, and as “ecclesial communities” (*Ecclesia* is Latin for “Church”) in the article you cited.  So I do not retract anything I said above based on what you just told me, not that I’m incapable of being wrong, just that the evidence you presented confirms me in thinking Revyloution’s statement inaccurate and yes, historically ignorant.

          • Lucilius

            Boy, talk about hair-splitting. To a Christian, how does “not true churches” equal “not going to Hell,” when the whole Christian shtick (especially for determinedly hierarchical churches, such as both Catholic and Orthodox) is based on accepting your particular dogma? And if it doesn’t require that, why assert those beliefs as crucial to your particular religion?

            Your error becomes glaring when the rest of your selective quotation is read: “merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the ‘means of salvation’” – therefore, they’re going to Hell.

            But hey, if you could face facts without frantic rationalization, you wouldn’t fall for medieval claptrap in the first place.

            • Foster

              Upon examining that troubling statement about Protestant churches not having the means of salvation, the fault belongs to NBC reporting, as I think they literally misquoted the document.  Examining the document “Dominus Iesus” they cited, 

              http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

              using “Find,” I found only two uses of the phrase “means of salvation,” neither of which denies them to the Protestant communities or even to other religions (though other religions are said to be “in a gravely deficient situation.”)  These are as follows:

              With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31). This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’”. If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.  However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged.” and the second mention:”Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.”so it seems NBC failed to report the document accurately and actually pretty much got it entirely backwards as regards the Catholic position on whether Protestant communities are the means of salvation.  Am I missing anything?   

            • Foster

              Read my other comment first, as it is the more significant in correcting your false claims, but just so we’re clear, the Catholic Church today does not claim to have any knowledge about who goes to Hell, and who does not, regardless of their religion.  We don’t teach double predestination as Calvinists do, and we believe that it is God’s desire that everyone be saved (1 Tim. 2:4).  Rather, we believe that all people will tend to be happiest and thrive best when they live in the truth of Jesus Christ and according to the teaching of the Church, and we have confidence that those who do so will inherit eternal life.

      • McCowan

        Hindus? Muslims?

        • Foster

          We’re talking in the context of Chrisianity in this thread, not of world religion.  The question is whether it makes sense to make a mutually exclusive distinction between Catholicism and Christianity.

      • Sage McCarey

        Do we really have to go through this again? Pagans were stamped out by the xtians. Non believers were burned at the stake by the xtians. The catholic missionaries cut off the feet of native americans to force them to stop their “devil dances”.
        The natives say, “When the missionaries came we had all the land and they had the Bible. They said, ‘let us bow our heads and pray.’ When we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.” And the reason you list all those catholic scientists is because none of those people were allowed to profess any other philosophy or they would be tortured or burned. I know you did not learn about all those things in your Catholic bubble education but those things are all accepted parts of history by everyone else.

  • advancedatheist

    If prayer worked in real life like it does in the bible, every christian who does it right would turn into something like a Green Lantern. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    I don’t care when someone says this to me… my mom says it at least once when I visit and I just answer, “I know you are, Mom… and thank you.”  I know from her, it’s done with good thoughts even though she hates that I don’t believe.  In her worldview, I’m doomed and she prays that I’ll change so I won’t be.  When I was a teen, she prayed for me to change, too, so this is really no different.

    When my best friend says it, I don’t care either… I know she loves me and just wants the best for me, even if I don’t agree.  I think for her all the time.  :-)

    If they want to waste precious seconds of their lives thinking about me with their imaginary friend, it doesn’t bother me at all.  Even if the “pray for you” were like Christian’s experience, so why… I don’t care if they approve or disapprove of my nonbelief.  So be it.

  • Fbab661

    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets

    • Foster

      “…but to fulfill them.”
      “Moses gave this law to you because your hearts were hard, but from the beginning it was not so.”

  • Mark O’Leary

    When they say, “I’m praying for you,” they really mean, “I’m praying AGAINST you.”

  • Athrefall

    i enjoyed your comments. I feel a little bit sorry for christians myself…they are brainwashed from birth in many cases.
    Anyway your opinions made me smile .

  • Himcant Methhead

    Here’s an athie cliche’, yet every time it’s used, the perp thinks they are being sooo clever and cutting.
    It’s saying “Your invisible friend” to a Christian.
    Hardy Har Har Har!


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