Well, They’re the Ones Calling it Good Friday…

The Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason would like to wish everyone a Good Friday:

Indeed, without the death of Jesus as God, atonement within Christian theology would be impossible. So great is this event, that Christians around the world commemorate it as “Good Friday.”

On this point, we can hopefully find no small level of agreement.

It is my sincere hope that we can celebrate together during this season of death and rebirth; while you and your Christian brothers and sisters are able to find joy in the sacrifice of the figure of Christ Jesus, your Humanist siblings are likewise jubilant at the death of God, and we embrace the necessity of sacrifice from one for each other, in the interest of advancing a human-centered ethic that benefits us all.

A very Good Friday to you, and a very happy Easter to your friends and family.


About Hemant Mehta

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

  • Gus Snarp

    Good Friday, the day we celebrate the brutal torture and execution of a Jewish dissident by the Roman Empire.

  • Mary

    This is just so unnecessary.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Why? Because it will make them whine?

      Who cares? Think about all the horrible shit they say about Everyone Not Them. It’s about time they got a taste of it back…Maybe a few of them will realize how ass it is and try to tone down their rhetoric.

      Either way, sitting around clutching pearls about “not being rude” only does so much. People who don’t show decency don’t deserve to get it back.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Why? Because it will make them whine?

      Who cares? Think about all the horrible shit they say about Everyone Not Them. It’s about time they got a taste of it back…Maybe a few of them will realize how ass it is and try to tone down their rhetoric.

      Either way, sitting around clutching pearls about “not being rude” only does so much. People who don’t show decency don’t deserve to get it back.

      • Chris B

        I empathize with your frustration, but if we are truly champions of reason it is our duty to privelege reason over emotion. Emotionally driven vitriol will win no one.

        • 3lemenope

          I never signed on to be a “champion of reason”. I will, though, if there are health benefits and/or really cool uniforms.

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

            amen.

            i am sick and tired of xtians whining about words they don’t like. get over yourselves already! and buck up your faith; if you god(s) can’t take a little holiday joking they are pathetic.

  • ganner918

    I lean toward the “firebrand” side of things, openly critical of religion and its privilege and power, critical of faith and the thinking behind religion, and not hesitating to go after sacred cows when warranted… but I think this is uncalled for. I don’t see this as serving any legitimate purpose. I mean, if I thought your mother was an awful woman who hurt a lot of people I’d run her through the mud where warranted, but I wouldn’t spit on her picture in front of you on her birthday just for the heck of it.

    • Taz

      The fact that some people put their religion on the same level as their mother is a large part of the problem.

      • ganner918

        True, but while I will shit on someone’s idol, I’ll restrict it to when I have reason to do so.

    • WallofSleep

      Meh. Seems pretty harmless to me. I did like the bit about how the death and resurrection of gods was not unique to Christian mythology.

    • Blue

      All they said was ‘have a good friday’. It’s one of the most innocous atheist messages ever, plus it’s pink and it’d raise a smile even from some Christian faces, I’d wager. I mean, the death of Jesus is what good Friday is about, how can a Christian object to ‘god is dead’ when that’s what they’re all saying themselves today? What kinda firebrand are you?

    • Eff Xians

      I agree. Take the fight to them with their Zombie Saviors, talking snakes, magic trees, transmogrification, rib women et al….

      They deserve a scorched Earth policy if ever there was one.

  • Rain

    Indeed, without the death of Jesus as God, atonement within Christian theology would be impossible.

    He only died for a little while. But he did technically die. So I guess God found a loophole in his own theology. I question the ehtics of finding looholes in your own theology, but it’s God so hey forgetaboutit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf0ZyoUn7Vk

    • curtcameron

      Jesus had a really bad weekend for your sins.

  • Witchgawd

    I laughed. In Texas too. Classic.

  • Claude

    Gratuitous.

  • C Peterson

    “God is dead” is an extremely unreasonable thing to say, especially for a group calling itself the “Coalition of Reason”. “God is dead” implies that a god existed at some point, which is not a reasonable message.

    And for what it’s worth, the “good” in “Good Friday” doesn’t mean the same thing as the “good” in “Have a good day”.

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

      I agree. And if they’re willing to play along with the death part of the story, they’re inconsistent if they don’t also play along with the resurrection part.

      • Tobias2772

        WOW. Everything that dies must be resurrected. Who Knew ?

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

          Not me. I said no such thing.

      • Ohil

        It’s not an actual statement of belief, it’s a joke.

        but maybe they’ll play along with the resurection with a ‘Zombie Jesus’ sign on Sunday.

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

          I understand that.

    • Gus Snarp

      I think it’s supposed to be a joke.

      • C Peterson

        I’m sure it is. But it’s a pretty poor one.

    • qt314

      They are being facetious, and you pedantic.

    • Vic

      Does it mean that it’s good that your savior died? I’m a bit confused about what makes it good.

      • C Peterson

        “Good” in “Good Friday” means “God” or “holy”, it doesn’t mean “pleasant”.

        • The Commenter

          “Good” Friday because the crucifixion lead to the resurrection, and mankind’s redemption.

          • C Peterson

            That’s actually not the sense of “good” in “Good Friday”.

            • Emmet

              Of course it is.

        • Jett Perrobone

          Exactly. Just like how “goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with ye”.

    • Rob

      It’s a quote from the philosopher Nietzsche. It’s not unreasonable if you parse it to meaning ‘the concept of god is devoid of meaning’
      and it’s funny.

      • C Peterson

        Unfortunately, the sense that Nietzsche meant it isn’t really something reasonable people want to advocate, either.

        • The Commenter

          Well, he was obviously wrong (regardless of how desperately he wanted to be right!)

        • Randay

          Why is that? You need to be more specific. Nietzsche used the expression several times so what do you object to?

          • C Peterson

            He was referring to a society that he saw operating without external guidance, or more precisely, without a belief in external guidance. He was comparing his society with what western society had looked like for a couple of thousand years before him.

            • 3lemenope

              And you disagree with him?

              • C Peterson

                Not really the point. All I was saying is that I consider the graphic to be poor because, above all, “God is dead” comes across to me as implying that such a creature must have existed. One can debate all day about how Nietzsche intended it, or how the existing religions that take that stand intend it. What matters is how most people are likely to read it.

                If they felt like publishing anything at all, I think something along the lines of “When you’re godless, every Friday is good!” would be much more effective, and would do a better job of conveying the beliefs of the organization’s members.

                • 3lemenope

                  The point was in asking you to clarify “Unfortunately, the sense that Nietzsche meant it isn’t really something reasonable people want to advocate, either,” in light of, “He was referring to a society that he saw operating without external guidance, or more precisely, without a belief in external guidance. He was comparing his society with what western society had looked like for a couple of thousand years before him.” Seeing as how that second quote seems like something you’d agree with, but for the fact that the first quote tells me you don’t (or at least don’t think reasonable people do).

                • C Peterson

                  The problem with the point Nietzsche was making is that it carries the implication that society was better off with its gods (even if imaginary) than without them. That is not something I agree with. The simple observation that Nietzsche’s society looked very different than western European society in the previous centuries, in part because of changing ideas about religion and theism, is very supportable.

                  Again, however, none of which is relevant to my objection to the graphic.

                • 3lemenope

                  Ah. I can see how someone could read that passage and come away with Nietzsche thinking that. He didn’t, though it takes more than that passage to get there in his thought on the subject.

                  In any event, thanks for clearing up the tangent.

            • Randay

              He was right.

    • The Commenter

      Or it means “the idea of God is dead”, or “the privileged place that Christianity had in our culture is no more”. Isn’t that how Nietzche, who coined the expression, meant it?

      • Rain

        Ah so maybe they were quoting Nietzche! “God is dead!” I think Nietzche meant it as a dramatic hypothetical. He was being a drama queen wondering what would happen if everyone killed the idea of God. I don’t think he actually thought the idea of God was dead.

        • Randay

          For Nietzsche it was not a hypothetical. Continuing his statement, “God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?… Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

          Nietzsche used the expression several times, another: “The greatest recent event—that ‘God is dead,’ that the belief in the Christian god has become unbelievable—is already beginning to cast its
          first shadows over Europe”

          • Rain

            Okay right you are dude. Although the death seems a little premature though! Seems more like wishful thinking.

    • Randay

      It should read “Have a Good Day of Frigg.” Frigg is the English goddess where our Friday comes from. In Latin derived languages like Spanish “viernes” comes from “the day of Venus”.

  • Chris B

    I’m not a fan of this one either. If we are to be seen as something besides babyeating evil-doers, we cannot afford to alienate people. We need to find more tactful means to get people to ask questions that religion can’t answer. We need open, honest, nonconfrontational dialogue. Even a “Jesus Zombie Day” celebration would have been better.

    • The Commenter

      Ha. Personally, I find the “zombie Jesus” references more annoying than things like the poster above. Open, honest nonconfrontational dialogue would be good.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        They’re both designed to annoy and bring cognitive dissonance to the fore. To make people think “hey, why is Jesus different from a zombie?” Or “wait a second, the Adam and Eve story really doesn’t make any sense when you just put it in plain words”. Or “wait, we’re celebrating the gory death-by-torture of our god, maybe there’s something messed up about that?” Zombie Jesus and this God is Dead poster are on the same level.

        • The Commenter

          Do you seriously think Christians need atheists to remind them that Good Friday is about the gory death-by-torture of Christ? How condescending. You must be very educated, to have spotted that, and to have told us about it, and we must be very blinkered, not to have spotted it before. Good grief. You think you’re the first people in history to have challenged the Church.
          We celebrate Christ’s death because of, you know, the whole atonement thing – because we believe that’s how we were redeemed. Like a person, saved from a gunman by a hero who is shot and then dies of his wounds, “celebrates the death” (remembers the sacrifice) of that person. There’s nothing messed up about that.

          • The commenter

            The reason I said the zombie thing is annoying is because it’s ludicrous. Zombies, according to the mythology, are reanimated humans in a less-than-human form, debased and dehumanised and intent on killing and feeding on other humans; Christ, according to the Church, was resurrected, (yes, “reanimated, if you like”) to a “more-than-human”, glorified form, thus bringing redemption to mankind. A dolt could see that Jesus and zombies are nothing alike, and the lazy atheist trope that posits they are does nothing but put in a bad light those atheists trotting it out with relish.

            • The commenter

              And the Adam and Eve story as told in the Bible? Myth. Or fact. The Church allows you to choose either.

              Somehow I logged in under a different name – I’ve worked out how to change to the one I normally use, which I’ll use from here.

              - Emmet.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Nono, I’m fully aware that Christians know what they’re celebrating. But they usually don’t stop and think about it, just go “yeah we’re celebrating the death of Jesus” and go on with their lives without considering the implications of that. Seriously, you must think I give Christians no benefit of the doubt at all, instead of considering them perfectly intelligent human beings who believe absolutely ridiculous things because that’s what they’ve been taught as children, but who are fully capable of logical thought.

            • Emmet

              They usually don’t stop to think about it? How do you know that, exactly?! Most Catholics I know consider the implications, like, all the time. A Christian who doesn’t think about the implications of Christ’s death by crucifixion will not be the Christian they could be.

              I’m one of those “perfectly intelligent human beings” you refer to, well-educated, well-rounded, plenty of life experience, friends of different creeds, sexual orientations and ethics systems, and I believe what I believe because I’ve thought it through and have decided that, on the balance of probabilities, what the Catholic Church holds as true is actually true – not because I was taught it as a child. Believe me, I can understand that that might make you frown and throw your hands in the air in disbelief that I could believe something so “absolutely ridiculous”, because there was a time in my life when I did the same, and left the Church for a while.

              If I wasn’t a Catholic I’d be an atheist – I don’t see that there’s any middle ground. Sometimes I think I stay Catholic (when I’m feeling down because the stupid of some of my co-religionists gets too much) because I couldn’t stand the effort of cobbling together a metaphysics that would attemp to answer the question, “Why be good?” I’d be good, because I have experienced that virtue is its own reward, but I would struggle to come up with a rational reason, beyond that selfish one, why.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                There’s a bunch of reasons, but I can understand not wanting to get into the philosophical and logical reasons to be good. To me, it basically boils down to one thing. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I want to live in a world in which I am treated as a full-fledged human being (I’m female, so sadly I don’t live in that world quite yet). I want to live in a world in which my potential is not limited by a lack of resources. I want to live in a world where if I get sick or hurt, I’ll get access to health care. I want to live in a world where I won’t be starving or homeless or ill-clad, where I have access to quality education and employment. And if I want to live in that world, I need to bring it about. Not just for me, but for everyone because they are all just like me, and I could be anyone.

                Every single human being is of equal value to every other human being. I am not more special than anyone else. I am not less special than anyone else. But every single one of the ~7 billion human beings on the planet deserves, nay, needs access to the advantages I’ve had, and I will do my damnedest to see that happen.

                There’s the personal benefits too, of course. A healthy, wealthy, educated, egalitarian society has low crime rates, high standards of living, long average lifespans, better political stability, safer workplaces, less pollution, and is generally a much more pleasant place to live than places that aren’t like that. Since I’d much rather live in that sort of society, I’m sort of obligated to make it happen, aren’t I? Any benefits to other people can be sort of thought of as fringe benefits, even though to me they’re also a main point.

                • Emmet

                  You write well. Thanks for your civility. I hope I am being as civil – while disagreeing with you strongly!

                  “Do unto others” is, perhaps, a good base for an ethics system – but it raises the question – why? Why do unto others as you’d have them do unto you? Why not do unto them as you *wouldn’t* have done unto you , so that you get an advantage over them – more money, more sex, more food, more stuff? That might well lead, in the end, to the results you want – for yourself and, when you use your power thus accumulated, for others.

                  So, abortion and “do unto others”, then. If I say “Abortion is always wrong, because it takes innocent life”, what is your answer according to your philosophy, as to why abortion is sometimes right?

                  “Every single human being is of equal value to every other human being” you say – so, to approve of abortion, you have to fly in the face of science and logic and say that a foetus is not a human being.

                  As to working hard to see that every person on the planet has the same advantages you have – I’m with you on that, but I would say it’s because they’re all children of God who have dignity as human persons, while I can’t see that you have any rational reason beyond the emotive one of, “It seems right to do so, and feels good to do so” – certainly, a materialist/moral Darwinist worldview doesn’t provide any logical reason for working hard to make 7b people happy and healthy.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Sure it does! We’ve evolved to have empathy. It’s an innate part of (the vast majority of) human beings, and it takes a lot of torture, other horrendous living conditions, or training to snuff it out. Those born lacking empathy can learn it- it’s really hard on their parents and they make pretty awful children, but around the teen years sometimes something “clicks” and they start recognizing hurting people feels to them like hurting me feels to me, which is not OK. Why do you think the first thing people do when they want to deny other people something is to dehumanize them, and the most effective way to combat that is to put a human face on the suffering? It’s because humans are innately empathetic. God has nothing to do with it; we evolved that way because it made our species thrive. We’re also innately selfish, of course- we have to balance those impulses, but there’s no reason to privilege selfishness like we’ve done in American culture either.

                  Secondly, who even cares what “nature” says? We have reason and logic, so we should use it. And logically, we should make the world a better place for every human being. We do all sorts of stuff against nature; houses, clothes, oil, cars, modern medicine, modern agriculture. We are tool makers who change the world to suit our needs and this is just an extension of that. I live better when everyone around me lives better. Thus, logically, I should make the world a better place. I want my offspring to live in a good place, so I should create that good place, and the best places are where it’s good for everyone.

                  Finally, on abortion. I honestly don’t think (non-viable) fetuses are people, but that also doesn’t impact my stance on the issue. What you’re doing isn’t giving a fetus equal rights to a person, you’re giving it more rights than a person. People have the right to bodily autonomy. You cannot be forced to donate blood, tissue, or organs to another human being, even if they’ll die without the donation. Even if you originally consented to do so, and you got tested and show a match, and you’re the only match in the world, you can change your mind at any time. A person’s right to bodily autonomy trumps the right to life of another person, period. Why do you think a fetus has the right to literally build itself out of the woman’s blood, oxygen, energy, and nutrients and she doesn’t get to say “I don’t want to make this donation”, but as soon as the baby is born she can refuse to donate blood to it? Why do you think a fetus has more rights than a person who is already born?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Emmet, you there? This was going so well, and now *crickets*

          • Randay

            Yes. Easter is moon related and varies from the March 22 to April 25. None of that makes any sense. Moreover, it is just an adaptation of the Jewish Passover based on the myth of the Exodus. The word “Eastor” comes from “Eastre”, an old English dawn goddess. Isn’t it amazing how many “gods” had goddesses as their predecessors? Everything about Xianity is messed up and even perverse. You are not very educated about reality.

  • allein

    I do like the pretty pink background….
    The best thing about Good Friday for me is my work is closed. :)

    • TSeeker

      Perhaps you should sue.

      • allein

        Why would I do that? I like days off.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Finally an atheist sign that’s well designed!

  • TSeeker

    As a non-believer, I long ago promised I would not say things about religion that made it clear I knew little to nothing about the religion I was trying to speak out against. This sort of statement, no matter how whimsical, is what I meant.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Got it…Until you are fluent in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and have a doctorate in Biblical studies with a masters in theology, you just don’t know enough to be able to question (or bust a gut laughing at) a trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be -returning-to-Earth-god who sacrificed himself to himself and was his own Father.

      • TSeeker

        It wouldn’t hurt. Atheists who are proud of their ignorance about the one subject they spend most of their lives criticizing are more ironically stupid than many of the religious fundamentalists they mock. Call me old and out of date, but I much prefer the atheists of old who could take on religious belief on its own terms, not on terms that atheists must invent to dodge the substance of the debate. Things like this, especially at this time of year, go a long way toward showing that atheism is just another religious perspective, with all the ramifications, rather than a passionate desire for seeking the truth. When I was a young fellow in college (more years ago than I care to admit), and vocally proud of my unbelief, I used to think like you. Then I realized just how little any of these zingers had to do with reason or truth, which is what the rejection of religious belief is supposed to be about.

        • 3lemenope

          A major part of the problem, some would say, is that by debating religion “on its own terms” people have been granting that side of the argument an advantage they have neither earned nor do they deserve.

          • The Commenter

            Not if “on its own terms” means arguing about what the Catholic Church (I won’t debate about what any other Christian community believes/does) actually believes and teaches, not what an internet atheist thinks it believes and teaches. “On its own terms” doesn’t mean you have to accept that God is real, for example, but it would mean that for an issue like abortion, say, you’d follow the evidence of philosophy, logic and science where that evidence leads.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              The Catholic Church believes that sin entered the world through women, that childbirth only hurts because Eve ate an apple that she was convinced to eat by a magical talking snake, that there is a God, that this God is three distinct people yet is only one entity, that Jesus was a person and God at the same time, that demons are real, that the Devil is real, that Heaven is real, that you must be Catholic to get to this Heaven. The RCC believes God had to sacrifice himself to himself in order to forgive us from rules he himself had made. It teaches that birth control is evil, that love is evil unless it’s in an approved form. The head of the RCC is a dude who becomes infallible when he says he is.

              So tell me, where should I start? Under what terms should I engage the RCC, when I think everything in the above paragraph is utter nonsense?

              • Emmet

                Fair enough.
                I’m not sure what you mean by “where should I start”?
                It’s obvious that you’re not going to bother with a debate about any of the above. But on *one* issue where the Church says X and you say Y – say, abortion – you could start by forgetting about all the above, and then, as I said above, following the science, philosophy and logic where it leads you.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  But if the reasoning on, say, abortion begins with “well God says X”, what do you think would be the appropriate response? There isn’t a God, try again? Every time I’ve tried science, philosophy, and logic on abortion especially, it always gets down to ‘well God/my pastor/my priest/the Bible says so’ after I’ve systematically demolished every other argument. You simply can’t separate out a single issue from the whole surrounding theology/ideology/philosophy.

                  Furthermore, whenever I try to explain my personal ethical philosophy, people just … don’t get it. I don’t think it’s that complicated, really, but apparently it is? Personal autonomy embedded in a society that encourages Equality.

                • Emmet

                  But the reasoning on abortion doesn’t need to begin with “God says it’s wrong”. It begins with the scientific facts about the product of conception, and then goes on to philosophical statements like “It’s not ever right to kill innocent humans.” Just as you don’t need a god to make your argument for abortion, I don’t need God to make my argument against it. You say that the product of conception is not human, or not a human person, so it is OK to kill it: I say that science and logic says it is a human being (or at the least *may be* human, and we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to human life) and thus it’s a crime to kill it.
                  Are you against the death penalty? Let’s assume you are – you don’t need a god to make your argument for that position, do you? Neither do I use my belief in God to argue against the death penalty as it’s practised today in the States and elsewhere.

                • Linnaeus The Elder

                  Are you familiar with Daniel Patrick Moynihan?

                  One of the greatest quotes he is credited with is very apropos in regards to your meandering “statement” above:

                  “Everyone is entitled their own opinion. Everyone is not entitled their own set of facts.”

                  You have a very skewed few of actual fact, and then divert to made up BS about conception, viability, sentience, life et al.

                  Before opening your cyber mouth again, perhaps you should go take some classes in basic biology, bio-chemistry and developmental biology.

                • Emmet

                  Sure. What would they teach me? That a foetus isn’t human? Come on. Thing is, the more science advances, the less you can use that argument.
                  Tell me – what BS have I made up about conception?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Already got this elsewhere. Let’s keep this to one thread if we’re going to talk about the same thing both places (abortion).

                  I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell me what I thought, though. As it turns out, you’re wrong on what I think about the potential humanity of fetuses. Don’t ascribe to me anything- ask me, and I’ll tell you.

                • Emmet

                  Fair enough. Sorry about that!

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

          i happen to meet a couple of the qualifications mentioned above your post and i find your argument silly. “substance” implies something exists, and there is no evidence that Zeus, Inanna or Jesus are real beings. debate is something the religious tend to run away from, also, as they get very butthurt when people point out the inconsistencies and contradictions their own “holy” texts contain. studies have shown that atheists are the *most* knowledgable about religion and tend to know more than believers about their own faiths. and while this particular zinger is mostly meant in a joking fashion, plenty of others have lots of truth and reason to them. read this blog more often for examples. and there isn’t even agreement within a particular religion what its “own terms” means, let alone a definitive one.

          • The Commenter

            “No evidence that Jesus existed” is a bold claim, and one that plenty of experts, Christian and otherwise, would disagree with.

            Pat yourself on the back about studies suggesting that “atheists are the *most* knowledgable about religion” (all atheists? most atheists? some atheists? one or two atheists? what?) – my impression, suggested again and again on blogs like this, is that many atheists’ “knowledge” of the Catholic faith is limited to what they’ve read on atheist blogs or from MSM websites! (The atheist echo-chamber, round and round and round. eg Francis was involved in Argentina’s Dirty War – i read it on a blog!)

            I’ll bet you anything you like that I know more about what the Catholic Church is, does and teaches, than you do, or Hemant does, or any of the regular commenters here do.
            (That’s a pretty empty claim – how will we settle that?/how will I prove it? – but I’ll make it anyway.)

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Actually, there’s a very long discussion about this over at Unreasonable Faith. It’s under the Bertrand Russell post, at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2013/02/bertrand-russells-why-i-am-not-a-christian/. I, too, thought there was historical evidence for Jesus-the-person, but I was wrong. It’s a very long discussion in the comments, but worth reading. Nox, especially, has a lot of good stuff to say.

              • Emmet

                Sure. Still, though, plenty of clear-thinking people say otherwise. It’s a bold claim to say the issue is settled.

        • The Commenter

          Exactly. I enjoy your comments on the whole, Peterson, (while mostly disagreeing with them!) because you’re a whole lot more thoughtful than many/most of your combox confreres. This is one of your best.

          All atheists should stand against emotive half-truths, intellectual laziness and/or dishonesty, aggression for the sake of aggression. I watched a Bill Maher video the other day – “that Catholic teaching isn’t in the Bible!” he kept repeating, showing no inkling of understanding that the Church doesn’t claim its beliefs have to be sourced from scripture alone. Someone brushed off criticism of the video by saying “It’s just entertainment”. Sure, it was entertaining – but also lazy, ignorant and small-minded. Is that really the face that atheists want to present?

          Here’s the thing: if more atheists were like you and less like Baby Raptor and Chicago Dyke, you guys might have more of a chance of winning… ;)

          (edited for clarity)

        • Drakk

          Nonsensical. Why bother to engage with the “subtlety and complexity” of whatever religion, when it doesn’t even succeed at demonstrating its most basic principles? I don’t need to understand the deeper principles of phlogiston theory when the basics of phlogiston theory are utterly incorrect.

          • Emmet

            Perhaps for the sole reason that when you pass judgement on an aspect of phlogiston theory that you’ve got only half right, you end up looking like an arse, and contribute to making the anti-phlogiston movement look intellectually stunted? Isn’t that a good enough reason?

        • TSeeker

          To all who replied. Thank you overall for your arguments. But here’s the thing – atheism is based on rational thought. It’s also based on assuming that the universe is a faith-free reality. That is, nothing demands pure faith. Oh sure, we may “Believe” that we will eventually discover the truth behind things. We may “Believe” that there could be things our minds will never comprehend. But in the end, it’s only our limitations, not the substance of the phenomena that dictates our belief. We could, theoretically, know everything, because everything is knowable, and nothing exists that can only be “known” with mere faith. We believe that it is always possible to know, even when we don’t know now.

          That is, to be a bit whimsical myself, the “faith” of atheism. Of course we can’t prove it. There is no way using any method of science or rational thought that we can ever prove it. All we can do is look at what we have learned and measure it against the alternatives: belief in the divine, the supernatural the spiritual, and conclude they are wanting.

          But to look at those ideals critically, we must look at them as they are understood, not by critics, or those who boast of hating those beliefs but by the best those beliefs have to offer. Was I the only one out there who was embarrassed by Bill Maher’s film Religulous? Except for a couple exceptions, he picked the worst that religion had to offer as if to make a point. I could do the same with atheism. Again, I grew out of that childish approach after I was out of college. Saying “religion isn’t valid so I won’t even consider it” is nothing other than a completely subjective personal faith confession and a way to dodge the heavy lifting. To say you’ve refused to examine something on its own terms because you think it is utterly ludicrous to begin with is not the result of serious investigation. It is to refuse to look through the telescope and see if Galileo was correct.

          It is, like Maher’s film, a testimony to weak thinking and cowardly debate, based on ideals that have no more grounding than a six day creationist’s, and appealing to a blind faith that would shame a fundamentalist. No, atheism is supposed to be about finding truth through reason. The only way you do that is to learn. To learn what is true, not what you believe to be true or want to be true, and refuse to find out otherwise.

          Now I must go. Busy weekend. I know a lot of people who are Jewish and Christian, and I make it a point at this time of year to wish them well, bid them a Good Passover or Happy Easter, and quietly reflect on my own conclusions and how I reached them.

          • allein

            And here I thought atheism was not believing that there are any gods out there. How much time are we supposed to spend examining all the myriad religious beliefs out there on their own terms? We’d never get anything else done. I don’t go around saying “I’m not going to consider this”; I simply don’t generally think about it. My (relatively benign) religious upbringing didn’t stick, and I see no evidence of any gods in my life, and so I go about my business without having to consider what some unknown entity might want. It’s really that simple.

          • Emmet

            Thanks. Happy Easter to you too – convert the sentiment of that thought to what you wish.
            Again, if more atheists thought like you, the “atheist movement” would stand a better chance of winning this culture war.

    • 3lemenope

      When whimsy isn’t safe, nothing is.

      • TSeeker

        Welcome to the 21st century, I’m sad to say.

        • 3lemenope

          Jokes had to be accurate to be funny before the 21st century?

          • TSeeker

            No, in the 21st century, nobody dares joke about anything. We’ve never been as intolerant and sensitive in recent memory as we are today. Though humor is at its best when it is accurate, yes. If I make a joke on the assumption that all Swedes have black hair, it doesn’t really go anywhere for anyone except perhaps those who know nothing about Swedes, or don’t like them anyway and so don’t really care.

            • 3lemenope

              I guess I’m screwed then. I joke all the time (often rather insensitively at that) when I guess I should have been waiting all this time for the other shoe to drop.

              No, but seriously, I don’t understand this (rather recent) cultural trope as our society being terminally unfunny. I don’t see much evidence that people are any easier to offend or any more effective at destroying or obstructing that which offends them. Comedy films are rife with ribald jokes, and people actually laugh at them.

  • onamission5

    My favorite part is how the graphic is covered in sweet little butterflies and flowers. Yay, dead gods! Yay, spring!

  • Frank Mitchell

    Good Friday and Easter Sunday (currently) are about a guy who died for humanity and came back … once. DOCTOR WHO, returning this Saturday, is about a guy who died for humanity and came back ten times and counting. Guess which one I’m celebrating.

    • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

      This calls for a Doctor Who marathon!

    • pagansister

      Yes, i most certainly vote for Dr. Who also! :-)

  • :)

    That’s fantastic, love the wordplay.

  • Game of Thorny Crowns

    I can’t wrap my head around this one…..

    Here are the religious/Jesus buffs who love this dude Jesus, yet, on the day they claim he was violently executed, the day gets called “Good Friday”. Wait, what?!

    Shouldn’t it be something more akin to, “Fucked Up Friday”, or even “Bloodstained Friday”?

    If I were Jesus I would be scratching my thorny head going, “What the Fuck everyone! Really? GOOD Friday!?! You know what, as punishment for this bullshit….NO MEAT ON FRIDAY’S…..You can all go fuck yourselves.!

    • Emmet

      Good grief. Read the comments in this thread, or indeed, the statement that the OP links to. But you know, whatever, just lay your ignorance out there for all to see if that suits you better.

  • Zombie Jesus

    Make sure everyone stops in at Ken Ham’s Facebook page to leave him nothing but pure easter zombie love this weekend!

    https://www.facebook.com/aigkenham

    I asked him if he thought Zombie Jesus would be making an appearance on the Easter Sunday episode of, “The Walking Dead”.

  • Steve K.

    Nice and classy. For a college sophomore.

    With friends like these…

    Go do something productive, DFACOR.


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