If Kindness is Your Guide, You’re Doing it Wrong, Says Christian Writer

I have some advice for Christians (if they want it): When someone says that “kindness” is important, don’t argue against them. You won’t win. You won’t look good. And you’ll just give people like me blog fodder.

This all stems from writer George Saundersviral commencement address in which he said the following:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded… sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

It’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but c’mon, it’s a beautiful sentiment.

And hard to disagree with, right?

Of course.

Unless you’re Christian.

Jen Pollock Michel writes at Christianity Today that Christians would be misguided if they followed Saunders’ advice:

It’s not that kindness is evil or anything, Michel says, only that it misses the mark:

To make kindness into an ultimate virtue is to insist that our most important moral obligations are those we owe are to our fellow human beings. Under Saunders’s assumptions, the only plane of human behavior with moral import is the horizontal one: neighbor to neighbor. Sin is exclusively defined as the harm we do to one another.

But Scriptures does not support this view. Instead, it describes sin primarily as offense against God.

*Facepalm*

She goes on to imply that what made Jesus great was not his kindness to those less fortunate, but his sacrifice to “God’s wrath.”

Which pretty much takes away one of the few things Jesus had going for him.

Michel’s final paragraph summarizes her awful advice:

We are better off, not with George Saunders’s advice, but with the wisdom of King Solomon, who, at the end of his life of study, concluded this about living life well: “Fear God and keep his commandments.” Honor your Creator first — and kindness to his creatures will follow.

Or you could cut out the non-existent middleman and be a damn decent human being because it just makes the world a better place.

That shouldn’t be asking too much.

Leave it to a Christian to parse and discredit kindness as a supreme virtue.

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.

  • baal

    I’ve heard other groups dis kindness and I hold them in similar low regard.

  • TheG

    Is this surprising? We’re talking about a group that can justify anything with “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
    It doesn’t matter what the end result is or who gets harmed along the way. Morals have no importance, on obedience.

    • Keyra

      There’s a major difference between those who pollute Jesus’ name to justify their own immoral choices, apart from those who actually follow him

      • b s

        In other words, you still haven’t figured out what “No true Christian” means?

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          In other words, you still haven’t figured out that most politicians aren’t Christians even though they say “God bless America!” at the end of every speech.

          • The Other Weirdo

            Please provide a list of all current True Christian™ politicians and infallible means of detecting in the future all imposters.

            • 3lemenope

              The ones that agree with TIA, obviously!

      • Spuddie

        Except to all of those who invoke Jesus’ name, ie all Christians.

        Since Christians claim their entire moral center comes from Jesus, nothing is immoral if you are doing it in his name.

      • iamgog

        I don’t put sugar on my boiled oats, either.

        Edit: you guys all need better fonts.

        • The Other Weirdo

          It’s a good thing I read that again before freaking out, because on first blush your post read to me as “I don’t put sugar on my boiled cats, either.” And I thought, well, that escalated quickly.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

            I saw the same thing, what does it mean??

            • Kodie

              I don’t put sugar on my boiled cats. I don’t think anyone should!

              • WallofSleep

                “I don’t put sugar on my boiled cats. I don’t think anyone should!”

                Oh dear gawd, of course not. Butter, salt, maybe some bacon bits, but never sugar. I mean, we are civilized after all.

            • iamgog

              Two Scots were having breakfast together. One says to the other, “A Scotsman does not put sugar on his boiled oats!”

              The other replies “I’m a Scotsman and I put sugar on my boiled oats.”

              The first says, “yes, but a _true_ Scotsman doesn’t put sugar on his boiled oats!”

              It’s called the No True Scotsman fallacy. It’s often invoked by religious believers in order to distance themselves from other believers of the same title with whom they disagree.

              • baal

                It’s a good thing the scottish highlands are filled with the scottish since we see the “No True Scotsman” here daily. It’s like scottish anti-particles on parade.

                I for one would avoid the cats boiled in blood sugared or not. Really, how do they expect to get tourism if the food is so nasty.

                • Machintelligence

                  Really, how do they expect to get tourism if the food is so nasty.

                  They seem to manage in spite of blood sausage and haggis.

                • b s

                  “They seem to manage in spite of blood sausage and haggis.”

                  I’ve had them both, they’re really not bad.

                • Gus Snarp

                  I like blood sausage and haggis. I mean really, it’s not fair to insult Scotland’s food because it conjures a nasty mental image of the source, when Eastern European food in general is far worse tasting, and often as questionably sourced.

                • smrnda

                  The food might be awful, but the whiskey is great :-)

                • 3lemenope

                  Really, how do they expect to get tourism if the food is so nasty.

                  They have scotch.

                  They have all the scotch.

                • DavidMHart

                  To be strictly pedantic, several centuries of depopulation, through a combination of economic necessity and violent eviction, means that the Highlands cannot really be called ‘filled’ with any kind of people. The overwhelming majority of Scots, including myself, live in the Central Belt stretching roughly west-to-east across the Lowlands.

                  Oh, and my granddad always sweetens his porridge, but does not eat cats :-)

                  [End pedantry]

              • 3lemenope

                Hey, neat. It’s the PG version of the NTS fallacy. Usually when invoked it involves serial killers. And Glasgow.

                • iamgog

                  Glaswegian serial killers notwithstanding, it’s the only version that I was aware of. I shall seek out yours.

                • 3lemenope

                  The original form, by Flew, included Glasgow but had a sexual predator instead of a mass murderer. I misremembered. :)

          • Vanadise

            Wow, and I thought I misread it when I thought it said “I don’t put sugar on my blood oats, either.”

          • iamgog

            Who boils cats?

            They really should be smoked.

            • Thom Mills

              How do you roll them up in the little papers?

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Dunno, but the catnip rolls pretty well, and, uhm… then Gracie stole it.

      • blasphemous_kansan

        So I assume you wrote Jen Pollock Michel a message chastising her for polluting Jesus’ name, right? Since she’s the one perverting the message and all, right?

        No, I didn’t think so. That would require bravery, conviction, or just a desire to change something that you perceive as wrong in the world. Coming here and lecturing us (again) for pointing out how disgusting some members of your cult can be is more in keeping with your cowardly nature and desire for persecution.

        “You all just don’t understand me and what I’m about!!” was something I said when I was 14, and people seemed to perceive me as a petulant shit. Not much changes when it’s an adult coming here and repeating essentially the same thing, ad nauseum (hint: I’m talking about you).

      • TheG

        Just like there is a difference between someone who wants to have a conversation to clear up misconceptions and someone who engages in drive-by platitudes that solve absolutely nothing. You can tell the former because of their use of logic and respect. The latter? They use an unregistered account with no intent of ever responding.

        TLDR: Constructive dialogue vs. condescending monologue. Or: you vs. everyone else on this site.

      • The Other Weirdo

        The No True Christian in 32,000 41,000 Denominations Except Mine™ alert!

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          La Wiki puts it at 41,000, but yeah ;)

          • The Other Weirdo

            My bad. Thanks.

            • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

              No worries. It doesn’t change much except to make the alert all the more poignant! I’m totally stealing that, by the way.

              • The Other Weirdo

                As recompense I will, of course, require from you the deed to your soul, executable at any time chosen by myself or my minions, three of your children–preferably well-behaved, four if not well-behaved–a signed, notarized bank-guaranteed IOU for 1 billion gazillion dollars, and also a shrubbery.

                • katiehippie

                  Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under
                  considerable economic stress at this period in history.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  … A SHRUBBERY! YOU MONSTER! What will you want next? Another shrubbery, put right beside the first shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get a two-layer effect with a little path running down the middle? How could you ask such a thing of someone?

                • The Other Weirdo

                  I ask of thee nothing stranger than that which doth the poor giveth, and likewise the rich. One shrubbery shalt ye give. Zero shrubberies shalt thou not give, excepting that thou then giveth me one shrubbery. Two shrubberies shalt thou likewise not give, except that it be one more than one ye gave. Three is right out, and thou shalt not ask for a shrubbery back, for that is a negative number, and these do destroy the universe on a daily basis.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  I need to see that again. Tonight.

          • 3lemenope

            The extra 9,000 are just splitters.

      • Matt D

        Just as laws do not prevent criminals from committing crimes, the truth doesn’t keep you from lying to bolster your self confidence. It must be pretty low for you to feel better by drive by posting on an Atheist blog.

      • Kodie

        You all think you are doing it right. You all think you are doing morality the right, Christian, way. You may disagree with some other Christians, but you are making an error to judge them as throwing your lord under the bus to get ahead in life, when you are just propping up your opinions with a supernatural belief. It’s not to be understood one non-polluted way, since all y’all are cherry-pickers.

      • Bitter Lizard

        Just happened to have Buzzfeed open in another window and thought of you, Keyra.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Don’t forget to hold yourself up as morally superior to other Christians*. Jesus rewards that by giving you the power to shoot beams from your eyes or something.

        *My bad. You already had that well in hand.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        Yup, there are no true christians let’s just extend that a bit further and say there are no christians, just asshole’s who belong to the religion called “I’mNotLikeYou.”

      • ganner

        Yes, the greatest theologians for centuries have debated the true nature and will of God, the true meaning and intent of the Bible. But YOU, you know the real truth.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Thank goodness you’re doing it right out of all those other millions of Christians who are dead-convinced they are too but are totally wrong. Every Christian in the world is convinced that he or she is in the right church, believing the right Bible verses, and living the right way that Jesus told them. But you’re the one who is right, while they are all wrong. What are the odds? How crazy unlikely is it that you would get it right out of all the different options and choices offered by all those conflicting and totally contradictory denominations in the world just in that one religion alone–much less that you’d pick just the right religion out of hundreds if not thousands of different world religions that have come and gone?

        You must be a person of absolutely divine discernment and judgement to have navigated those crowded waters so accurately.

        Or, maybe, you just picked the flavor that made the most sense to you as a person, and your choices were heavily influenced by where you grew up and what your parents believed–like how most people fall into the religions and denominations they do. Diet plans and MLM “opportunities” have better success rates than Christianity. For a god who desperately wants people to worship him and be saved from the fate he himself set up for them, he’s being awfully shy about demonstrating just who the TRUE CHRISTIANS™ are among the lot of you.

      • That’s Not Yogurt

        Fuck Jesus.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Ew, no. He’s gotta be all dry and bony by now.

          • baal

            dust

            hrm, I’ll have to wait to see what the Rule 34 for dust looks like.

            • Kodie

              It starts like this.

          • WallofSleep

            Nah. Just tired, sweaty, and a little dirty. All from a hard days work. Of course I can’t speak for him, but I bet Jesus could use a decent fucking after a hard day’s work.

            http://weknowawesome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/thanks-jesus-food-de-nada-550×647.jpg

          • Obazervazi

            He was only dead for three days, he can’t have decomposed that much. Plus, he seems to have become a sexy Caucasian at some point!

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Plus, he seems to have become a sexy Caucasian at some point!

              This makes me too sad to snark. :-(

      • baal

        Keyra, we’ve already had the discussion with you were we often can’t tell the difference between the ‘true christians’ and the ‘non-true christians’ until you do the sorting for us. They are the one and the same.

  • Rain

    I loved him in All About Eve and The Jungle Book! Great performer.

  • WallofSleep

    Since becoming an atheist, a lot of the old fears I once harbored have disappeared. For instance, I no longer fear death or eternal damnation as I no longer believe in any kind of afterlife. Sure, I don’t want to die, but it’s an inevitability that no longer worries me.

    But I will tell you what I do dread now. I dread the idea of dying and leaving behind loved ones who might not know how much I cared about them. I dread the idea of someone I love dying without ever knowing how much I cared about them. If I still believed in the false promise of an afterlife, these things wouldn’t worry me. I would have an eternity to show my loved ones how much I care about them. But I don’t, because I don’t believe in such superstitious nonsense. All I have is now.

    And with that in mind, I have since endeavored to be a kinder, more loving, more sympathetic and more helpful person. Not just to those I know and love, but to strangers as well. This has made a change in me that no amount of superstition or false gods ever could have.

    • WallofSleep

      So, yeah. Not only can one be “Good Without God”, many of us are better people without god.

    • JET

      Very well said!

  • Stev84

    If they keep being assholes, Christianity will fade away into irrelevancy much faster.

    • cipher

      I so desperately hope so.

    • Matt Bowyer

      Please, let it do so.

  • Sven2547

    Honor your Creator first — and kindness to his creatures will follow.

    If only that were true, but we’re still not seeing the second part of that.

    • WallofSleep

      Rape. Murder. Incest. Slavery. Genocide. Treachery. Deceit.

      All of these, and more, are acts of virtue and kindness when committed in the name of the OneTrueGod.

    • smrnda

      Christians treat each other pretty bad. “Well brother or sister so and so, it’s time that you humble yourself and divulge lots of personal information to me so that I can exhort you to greater godliness, and then make your personal failures the public business of the whole church. After I do this, as a pastor, I will violate the privacy of my own family to score some rhetorical points.”

      Or… being a Christian means avoiding meaningful friendships with non-Christians.

  • sam

    Oh sweetheart, Solomon didn’t write any of Ecclesiastes. The redacted end (Ecc 12:9-14) from which you quote directly contradicts the entire sentiment of the first 11 chapters: that there is a god _and_ there is no meaning or purpose in life. It is all vanity, a chasing of wind.
    I would complement you, however, on your very concise encapsulation of the moral bankruptcy of an authoritarian worldview. Enjoy being a slave.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Leave it to a Christian to parse and fail to discredit kindness as a supreme virtue.

    There. Fixed it for ya.

  • SeekerLancer

    Let’s go to Jesus for his response:

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Well, great. They made him make that face so much that now he’s stuck that way. Mom warned them!

  • Kodie

    I would like to see an explanation exactly how, if you honor your creator, kindness will follow.

    • WallofSleep

      It’s either…

      A. You can not be truly “kind” if you do not fear my god, or
      B. If your kindness does not stem from a fear of my god, then it’s done in the service of satan

      • Soren

        It’s funny, because Satanism actually promotes a lot of values that a good human being should exhibit, such as not making unwanted sexual advances, and respecting yourself and others, no matter what.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          There’s even an explicit rule about not harming children.

      • Kodie

        I was thinking more that I don’t think kindness is one of the top five attributes of a theist (in my observation). They are too self-centered, as having such a personal relationship can do to a person, and use the voice in their head to justify being judgmental, as well as following the lead of others at their church and desiring to conform. Maybe that means they collect cans of food, and that makes them feel like they’ve been kind. Maybe they pray for someone sick, and that makes them feel like they’ve been kind. Maybe they never curse and they say the meanest things with heaps of sugar, and this makes them feel kind. Then when someone is needy, if it’s someone they know, they except them from the rest, those free-loading welfare queens who just need to get off their fat taxpayer-subsidized Mercedes-driving asses and get a job. If someone is having a hard time feeding their children, it’s their fault for opening their legs, but they can’t have an abortion either. I don’t think they are kind. Some of them may be especially kind, but it’s not what I’d notice is a common attribute of anyone who calls themselves Christian.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

          They are a R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N of one. GO RELIGION.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          There are plenty of good people who are Christians. You don’t see them out much because they don’t self-promote or make asses of themselves.

      • WingedBeast

        The great irony is that, under B., the most evil thing that Satan could do would be genuinely, honestly, unironically, compassionate and kind.

    • UWIR

      And if “Christianity leads to kindness” is presented as an argument for Christianity, isn’t that implicitly accepting that kindness is a virtue one should strive for, independently of Christianity?

  • C Peterson

    Christianity. It’s not how you live, it’s not how you act. It’s all about what you believe, regardless of the worldly consequences.

    It’s disgusting.

    • joey_in_NC

      Atheism. Ultimately…it’s about nothing at all.

      It’s sad.

      • David Kopp

        Atheism only exists because theism is forced upon so many.

        Humanism, on the other hand, is all about caring for your fellow man. It’s what most atheists subscribe to.

        But I’m guessing you’re being intentionally ignorant there. At least I wouldn’t hope someone is actually that stupid.

        • joey_in_NC

          Tell me what you mean by “humanism” and more likely than not it does not exactly jell with materialistic atheism.

          • David Kopp

            Humanism is caring about other people. That’s really the gist of it. A quick google can help you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

            I’m not sure what “materialistic” atheism is, but atheism is simply not believing in any gods. There are no moral claims or riders, not even nihilism.

            I think you’ve got yourself a nice straw-man set up that you’re trying to knock down, but it won’t work, because your imaginary “materialistic atheist” almost certainly doesn’t exist, and is definitely not the average atheist.

            • joey_in_NC

              If humanism simply means “caring about other people”, then theists can be humanist just as well.

              • WallofSleep

                Of course they can. I’ve not seen anyone argue otherwise. Though I’m not sure that is the correct definition of humanism.

                • spookiewon

                  The definition of humanism is “an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.” By definition, theists cannot be humanists.

              • David Kopp

                Yes. But without all the downsides of organized religion requiring proselytization and such.

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                yes they can

              • TheG

                They often *can* be, but their underlying motivation needs to be examined first. A humanist will do actions to increase the joy/decrease the misery in others. If their motivation is to please a deity or avoid said deity’s punishment, it isn’t humanism.

                • MarkTemporis

                  Surely one’s humanism could be informed by religion, right? What if I work to increase joy and decrease misery because the only gods are those who either ignore or want to eat us, so we’re all we have to depend on?

                • TheG

                  Then you aren’t doing it with the gods in mind.

                • Tom

                  Well, it’s functionally humanism, but basically arrived at by accident, in that case, rather than deliberate, consciously formulated humanism.

                • TheG

                  Their actions are humanistic, but that doesn’t make the religious folk humanists.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

              Materialistic Atheism is a highlighted word used by many of the New Christians and Presuppositionalist’s. They are trying to say atheists are all about the corporeal and that they hold the only non-corporeal truths.

              Basically this language comes from an university educated Christian but means the same things as a high-school drop outs definition i.e. Atheist’s are physical – theist’s are spiritual.

              • joey_in_NC

                Do you think atheists can believe in souls? If not, why not?

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  Can you admit that it might be possible that all of your knowledge could be wrong?

                • joey_in_NC

                  Your evasion of the question is noted.

                  If not souls, then what about “inherent human dignity”?

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  What necessitates your lines of questioning?

                • rtanen

                  Not sure what you mean by dignity, but if you ask whether we on this site support universal human rights and and basic respect for others, the answer is yes.

                • joey_in_NC

                  By human dignity, I mean intrinsic human worth. In other words, the worth of a human is innate and not subjective. A human person has value simply for being a human person, and this value doesn’t go away if others don’t recognize it.

                  This belief usually serves as the basis for the support of “universal human rights”.

                • smrnda

                  I think universal human rights can be adequately understood as nothing but a social contract which requires no belief in innate rights or value.

                • joey_in_NC

                  If universal human rights are merely a “social contract”, then the notion isn’t universally binding considering it depends from society to society, correct? If there is a society where minority-hating Nazis is the vast majority, then a minority living in this particular society wouldn’t have these human rights. And one cannot say denying minorities of these human rights would be objectively wrong at all. In fact, if the “social contract” of this society is such that minorities should be denied human rights, then doing so would be right for that society, given the popular social contract and the ideals of democracy.

                • AxeGrrl

                  one cannot say denying minorities of these human rights would be objectively wrong at all

                  One doesn’t need to say that something is “objectively” wrong in order to demonstrate why/how it’s morally reprehensible.

                  I’m still waiting for anyone to demonstrate that such a thing as ‘objective morality’ can/does even exist. Perhaps you’d like to take a crack at it.

                • joey_in_NC

                  One doesn’t need to say that something is “objectively” wrong in order to demonstrate why/how it’s morally reprehensible.

                  But what is “morally reprehensible” would be entirely subjective. A Nazi killing a Jew would not be “morally reprehensible” to the Nazis, under their “social contract”.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Morality is subjective. The subjective part is determining upon a scale to judge morality. Christians use their Bible, according to their selective interpretation of it. This is why some Christians think it’s moral to hate homosexuals and oppose marriage equality, and other Christians take the exact opposite stand.

                  Many nonbelievers choose to, and can argue in favor of, gauging morality by harm and suffering caused to conscious creatures. This is why we would not have moral obligations to rocks (they lack sentience), but we should treat animals humanely. Actions are judge on their capacity to cause or alleviate harm and suffering, it’s that simple.

                  The tricky part is in gauging which actions are objectively better or worse (the judgement criteria is subjective, but the ruler of comparison is objective, some actions will be better or worse than others), but even if we can never determine the answer in practice, the answer does exist in principle. So this is why we value science, because more so than anything else it will help us to better understand the impact our actions have on the world so that we can more accurately gauge the net suffering they cause or alleviate. This is how we can adjust our actions to fall more in line with being more moral, by promoting actions that alleviate suffering.

                • spookiewon

                  Questions of morality are questions about suffering and happiness. A Nazi killing a Jew clearly increases suffering and decreases wellbeing. There is nothing “subjective” about it.

                • joey_in_NC

                  What about utilitarianism? What if killing the Jew increases the overall happiness of the Nazi-filled society? Would you argue then that that would be objectively good?

                • smrnda

                  I find the use of the term ‘objective’ to be meaningless. Some social contracts suck. That’s why it’s so much work to fight for a good one.

                • TheG

                  Just as your evasion of over a dozen other comments here is noted.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  Believe me Joey I am well versed in the sye ten bruggencate method of questioning.

                • baal

                  and why did the primate of presuppositionalism name himself Satan? (syn ten)

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  and this is not an example of what you are critiquing me of?

                • rtanen

                  Most atheists do not believe in supernatural phenomena lacking evidence, being skeptics as well, but as an atheist means only someone who does not believe in a god, a non-skeptical atheist could. However, the atheists on this site seem to be skeptics as well, so I doubt that any atheist on this site believes in souls.

                • Glasofruix

                  It depends, do you believe in unicorns? If not, why not?

                • EvolutionKills

                  BELIEVE!

                • 3lemenope

                  Shun the unbeliever. Shuuuuuunnnnnn…..

                • WingedBeast

                  Define “soul”.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Define “soul”.

                  It could simply mean the non-material part that is you that includes your moral agency/responsibility. The thing that makes you more than a mere biological machine.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  That would be “sentience” and “sapience”, nothing supernatural there. (Also, NO animals are “mere biological machines” — they have needs, wants, emotions, just like you. Spend any time in a community of cats, and you’ll quickly start to pick out distinct personalities among them.)

                • joey_in_NC

                  Many atheists would consider humans simply as complex biological mechanisms, in which their fundamental parts follow the laws of physics and nothing more.

                • WingedBeast

                  I’m going to have to repeat my well considered question.
                  So what?
                  Unless you have so little respect for humanity that it needs some non-material element in order to add value to you, so what?

                • rx7ward

                  You are describing a materialist, not an atheist.

                • WingedBeast

                  I don’t believe that moral agency/responsibility requires that there be any non-material part of me.

                • silverryno

                  delete

                • GCT

                  That moral agency/responsibility does not require a non-material component does not imply that every material component or entity must therefore have moral agency. You’ve created a false dichotomy (excluded middle) which is fallacious.

                • joey_in_NC

                  It’s not a false dichotomy if I first believe that every human being possess moral agency/responsibility/value. In other words, I believe these qualities are inherent to all human persons.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Belief alone does not make it true, any more than asserting Unicorns exists makes them real.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Belief alone does not make it true, any more than asserting Unicorns exists makes them real.

                  Well, duh. The point is that if you believe in inherent human agency/responsibility/value like I do, then try to figure out exactly what they are.

                  If you don’t believe in these inherent things, then you don’t. Then any notion of “universal human rights” is simply just another subjective opinion.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “If you don’t believe in these things, then you don’t. Then any notion of “universal human rights” is simply just another subjective opinion.”

                  Try arguing for ‘universal human rights’ on a slave galley bound for Virginia during the 1700′s. The rights are not inherent, ‘rights’ are a social construct. This is obvious as many humans have simply never had the rights you think they do, because they were in societies that never GRANTED them those rights.

                  A wild bear does not care about your ‘inherent rights’ as a human, and will kill and eat you all the same if it needs to. Nature doesn’t care about your ‘inherent value’, and will drown you with a flood, burn you with a forest fire, or smite you with lighting all the same.

                  People can place value on other people, because they are people. It’s really self serving for a human to find their own existence has ‘inherent value’, it makes them feel special but it’s clear the universe doesn’t give two shits about us or our perceived self value. It will not stop a local star from going supernova and wiping out all life on this planet in a sea of radiation.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Try arguing for ‘universal human rights’ on a slave galley bound for Virginia during the 1700′s. This is obvious as many humans have simply never had the rights you think they do, because they were in societies that never GRANTED them those rights.

                  I certainly can argue that denying a person of their moral agency is wrong considering I recognize that every human being possesses moral agency.

                  Can you argue that it’s wrong if you don’t recognize moral agency as inherent to persons? You may, but that’s like attempting to convince non-vegans that they shouldn’t drink milk. It would merely be your opinion, and not much else. If you can live with that, fine…but I can’t.

                • EvolutionKills

                  If there is no freewill (as per determinism and neuroscience), then ‘agency’ moral or otherwise is a mute point.

                  And the beautiful thing about reality is, that it doesn’t give a SHIT what you believe. Gravity doesn’t care whether or not you believe in it, you walk off the top of a building, you will fall to the ground.

                • joey_in_NC

                  If there is no freewill (as per determinism and neuroscience), then ‘agency’ moral or otherwise is a mute point.

                  Then any talk of ethics is “mute”, so why bother, right?

                  And the beautiful thing about reality is, that it doesn’t give a SHIT
                  what you believe. Gravity doesn’t care whether or not you believe in it,
                  you walk off the top of a building, you will fall to the ground.

                  And if you think that the atrocities committed in this world is as inevitable as a body plummeting to the ground due to gravity, then I feel sorry for you. That’s not the worldview I choose to believe in.

                  And could you even fault me (and others) for believing in God and free will if those outcomes are the result of determinism, i.e. blind physics taking its course?

                • EvolutionKills

                  Just because I don’t have freewill, does not mean that I don’t value morality and ethics. It’s just that I accept that I am where I am in life because of the sum total of action in the universe up to the present moment, and all of these actions will determine what I will do in the future even if I am not able to perceive them all. I might not control how I got here or what I value, but that won’t stop me from valuing it and trying because of it.

                  It means that I can show true compassion and forgiveness to someone that has wronged me, because I know that at root, they are not responsible for their subconscious; they too are the sum total of the universes actions upon them. That’s not to say that we don’t lock up dangerous or violent criminals, but it means that we don’t focus on hate and retribution.

                  Because what knowledge I do have still informs my decision, even if I’m not in 100% control of everything that goes into my decision making process. This is why I’ll continue to oppose religious delusions and support free-thought and skepticism, because I am now aware of their benefits and wish to spread that knowledge.

                  I’m okay with not having freewill, the universe still makes sense. I do wonder why most theists find the idea frightening, when compared with an all-knowing god that already knows everything that will ever happen for eternity. Which system is more bleak and depressing? Freewill is not possible in either scenario, but I’ll take the evidence based naturalistic explanation over the all-powerful cosmic voyeur any day.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Just because I don’t have freewill, does not mean that I don’t value morality and ethics. It’s just that I accept that I am where I am in life because of the sum total of action in the universe up to the present moment, and all of these actions will determine what I will do in the future even if I am not able to perceive them all. I might not control how I got here or what I value, but that won’t stop me from valuing it and trying because of it.

                  Do you not realize the absurdness of that statement? If you have no control, then you have no control over “valuing it” or “trying”.

                  It means that I can show true compassion and forgiveness to someone that has wronged me…

                  If you do show true compassion and forgiveness, it wasn’t because you chose to do it. I can go on…

                  This is why I’ll continue to oppose religious delusions and support free-thought and skepticism, because I am now aware of their benefits and wish to spread that knowledge.

                  If you continue to do these things, it wasn’t through your choice.

                  I do wonder why most theists find the idea frightening, when compared with an all-knowing god that already knows everything that will ever happen for eternity.

                  Maybe because they had no choice in the matter, and they have these ideas simply because that is what their brains are hardwired to believe?

                  … but I’ll take the evidence based naturalistic explanation over the all-powerful cosmic voyeur any day.

                  Only because you’re compelled by physics to take that road and nothing else.

                  I’m okay with not having freewill, the universe still makes sense.

                  Ha! And as I illustrated in this post, the universe without free will makes no sense. Existence becomes absurd.

                • EvolutionKills

                  It is far less absurd than a universe in which we all live on predetermined paths guided by Yahweh. That is no way to get to your vaulted Freewill.

                  I have no more freewill to ultimately determine what I think or do, than I have control over the time and place of my birth. Had I been born in Pakistan, I would most likely be a Muslim with little education or knowledge, I would not even be aware of the concept of free-thought. Would I be free to choose to be an atheists in such a scenario? The option is there, but getting a hold of sufficient information to influence that decision, that choice, is exceedingly harder to get in some places of the world over others. Making the ‘choice’ to be an atheist is a conclusion borne of my knowledge and thought processes (processes that I don’t have direct control over). I was fortunate enough to not have either denigrated by religious indoctrination. But if I had, I might not have come to the same conclusion, the same ‘choice’, even with access to the same information. This is the illusion of freewill.

                  I can appear to choose, but that choice is influenced by things that I have no control over. It’s a simple illusion that we use to deal with the world, much like how we rarely notice the blind-spot in our field of vision because our brain’s software is so good at hiding it. Our actions are influenced by our knowledge, among other things.

                  This compels me to fight your ignorant bullshit, even if I do not have conscious control over the chemical reactions that compel me to do so (any more so than someone has conscious control over the chemical imbalances that can manifest itself as depression or bi-polar).

                • joey_in_NC

                  This compels me to fight your ignorant bullshit…

                  If I am ignorant, then you can’t blame me. I had no choice (but then again, you had no choice for blaming me either). I can do this forever…only because I’m compelled by nature to do this.

                • EvolutionKills

                  You’re still a dick and an ignorant jackass, but I don’t hate you for it. You can no sooner control the underlying impulses that cause you to lie for Jesus than you can control the weather on Venus. If you cared enough about learning the truth, instead of defending your faith against all reason, we could move on. But once again, it’s ultimately not your fault that you have a brain incapable of accepting reality as it really is. You do have a will, just not your vaunted absolute freewill, because you do not control your own subconscious and the things that alter it.

                  Most of the things that happen in your life that affect your thoughts and decision you have little to no control over. I fail to see how belief in your god changes this. But what do you care? You think we all live in a celestial dictatorship ruled over by the monster Yahweh, and you’ll believe this in the face of all evidence to the contrary, so why do you even bother?

                • joey_in_NC

                  Most of the things that happen in your life that affect your thoughts and decision you have little to no control over.

                  “Most” things? Not all things? So what are these few things that I do have “control over”?

                  Because what you say oddly sounds like my position that moral responsibility actually exists.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Funny, I remember you arguing in favor of a god, free will, inherent human value, and agency; but never moral accountability.

                  We should be held accountable for our actions. A murderer may just be the sum total of a lifetime’s worth of bad luck and things that person had no control over, but that person needs to be removed from society for everyone else’s safety all the same. This perspective allows us to pass judgement without malice or hatred. It allows us to see everything that happens, good or bad, as being merely the victim of circumstance.

                  That’s doesn’t mean that we should abolish society’s laws or to not hold people accountable for the actions they take. It is meant merely to acknowledge that if you were to swap places with that person, to have their DNA, their life experiences, to be under all of the same affects that lead up to this or that fateful decision; you would in effect be that person and would have made the same decision and for the exact same reasons. This is a conclusion borne from a deterministic universe, the kind of universe we appear to live in.

                  If I were to ask you to name me a city, any city on the planet, that seems like a simple act of freewill right? Well unfortunately, I can tell you that you have chosen the wrong city. Were you free to choose the name of a city that you did not know? How or why did you choose the city that you did? Are you conscious of or do you have control of the processes that lead to your decision? This is why I think absolute freewill is nothing but an illusion, a mental and social construct we have created as evolved social creatures readily adept at projecting agency into the world.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Funny, I remember you arguing in favor of a god, free will, inherent human value, and agency; but never moral accountability.

                  Please reread the post in which you made this reply.

                  “Most” things? Not all things? So what are these few things that I do have “control over”?

                  Because what you say oddly sounds like my position that moral responsibility actually exists. -me

                  “Responsibility” and “accountability” are not exactly antonyms.

                  BTW, you evaded my question. What are the few things that we have control over?

                • EvolutionKills

                  Moral accountability is not an inherent property, it is a social construct. You can see it in the behavior of other advanced social creatures, like dolphins and the other great apes. It is not a uniquely human characteristic.

                  “BTW, you evaded my question. What are the few things that we have control over?”

                  I don’t know, and when taken to it’s logical extreme, most likely nothing. There many be a line that as a society we draw between what we would consider to be traditional ‘will’ and the near infinite line of previous actions; if only to fit within traditional social constructs like our rules of law. But once again, that would be nothing more than a social construct that we overlay on top of reality to help us deal with it. Much in the same way that we perceive objects as solid, even though we know that the gaps between atoms and their subatomic particles are quite vast.

                • GCT

                  It is, because you’ve only given 2 options. Either souls exist and there is moral agency, or souls do not exist and everything material must have moral agency. Now, you are dodging the fact that I’m calling you out on it.

                • WingedBeast

                  Actually, that’s a contradiction with your question to me. Your question to me is dependent upon a belief that moral agency/responsibility/value is not inherent to human persons, but imbued by a non-material element.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Does a car or computer have moral agency/responsibility? What about a tree? What about an amoeba or rat? You should think more closely what moral agency/responsibility involves and entails before automatically presuming they are material or that their source is material.

                • DavidMHart

                  To have moral agency, all you need is to be aware that your actions can impact on the wellbeing or suffering of conscious entities.
                  To have moral responsibility, all you need is to be able to evaluate two or more courses of action for their likely outcomes in terms of other conscious entities’ wellbeing or suffering.

                  If you want to assert that either of those things require part of us to be made of spooky non-physical stuff that nonetheless interacts with physical stuff enough to animate our minds and bodies, go right ahead and try to demonstrate that. Until you can, the rest of us are not going to presuppose that part of us needs to be made of magic in order for us to care about others and be accountable for our actions.

                • talkingsnake

                  If you mean it is an emergent property of my brain and is a concept in our heads, then I agree with you!

                • WingedBeast

                  I have. And, by including a rat, you have admitted that being conscious of one’s surroundings does not need a non-material part of me.

                  I further deny that a consciousness of the consequences of my actions requires a non-material part of me.

                  So, too, do I deny that a consciousness of the difference between myself and the rest of the world requires a non-material part of me.

                  The same with regards to the ability to see other people as entities equal to myself. The same with regards to basic empathy, compassion, and love.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Magic is not needed to explain the human condition.

                • spookiewon

                  Can you provide evidence that anything non-material exists?

                • EvolutionKills

                  You can be open to things that are non-material, so long as there is evidence for it. I don’t reject the idea of a soul because it conflicts with a dogmatic adherence to materialism, I reject the idea of a soul because there is no evidence that they exists so there is no reason to think that they do.

                  What is a soul made of? How much does it weigh? How does it interact with anything else? Can you verify it’s existence or it’s place of rest? Until you can provide objective verifiable evidence that can answer these questions, I will remain skeptical about the existence of souls.

                • joey_in_NC

                  What about human freedom? What about moral agency/responsibility? I believe that all humans possess these things. Don’t you?

                  But what are they? If you go by materialism/naturalism, those things are completely incoherent concepts that simply don’t belong. Do fundamental particles have “agency” or “responsibility”? Do the laws of physics have “freedom” to do whatever they want? Do fundamental particles combined with the laws of physics suddenly produce “agency” and “responsibility” as emergent properties? It simply doesn’t make any sense in the materialist realm. Therefore, materialism/naturalism IS NOT ENOUGH to explain the totality of human existence and experience.

                  That is why so many materialists/naturalists simply argue that those things simply don’t exist and are merely illusions. Bullcrap. Let me forcibly deny the agency of a free will deniers and let’s see if they would still think it’s only an illusion I’m denying them.

                • GCT

                  But what are they?

                  They are concepts that we made up to explain what we observe in the natural world.

                  If you go by materialism/naturalism, those things are completely incoherent concepts that simply don’t belong.

                  Quite incorrect.

                  Do fundamental particles have “agency” or “responsibility”? Do the laws of physics have “freedom” to do whatever they want?

                  Fundamental particles don’t do lots of things. They don’t moo like cows. They don’t sleep. They don’t write comments. They are the building blocks for all the actions, thoughts, natural stuff, etc. that make up the world around us.

                  Let me forcibly deny the agency of a free will deniers and let’s see if they would still think it’s only an illusion I’m denying them.

                  I’d like to see you figure out a way to have free will with an omni-max god. The two concepts are inherently contradictory.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “What about human freedom? What about moral agency/responsibility? I believe that all humans possess these things. Don’t you?”

                  Those are not souls. Those are ideas, concepts, and social constructs. They are things to be thought of, explored, and debated; but none of them have mass or interact with light or gravity. Then again none of them claim to be ticket to an unverifiable alternate plane of existence that we go to when we die, and the crucible for which we keep our ‘selves’ together after our physical bodies dies and your brains cease functioning.

                  “But what are they? If you go by materialism/naturalism, those things are completely incoherent concepts that simply don’t belong. Do fundamental particles have “agency” or “responsibility”? Do the laws of physics have “freedom” to do whatever they want? Do fundamental particles combined with the laws of physics suddenly produce “agency” and “responsibility” as emergent properties? It simply doesn’t make any sense in the materialist realm. Therefore, materialism/naturalism IS NOT ENOUGH to explain the totality of human existence and experience.”

                  This entire rant essentially boils down to an argument from ignorance. You are building up to ‘I don’t know, therefore god’. Please try harder. Also, you are terribly misrepresenting everything you are rallying against. You’ve set up a bunch of stawmen to knock down so that you can make an argument from ignorance, you’ve managed to stack fallacious reasoning upon fallacious reasoning.

                  “That is why so many materialists/naturalists simply argue that those things simply don’t exist and are merely illusions. Bullcrap. Let me forcibly deny the agency of a free will deniers and let’s see if they would still think it’s only an illusion I’m denying them.”

                  Do naturalists really argue that? Please provide citation or other evidence. Most likely it’s the apologists trying to discredit naturalist that say this retarded drivel, either through ignorance or (more likely) purposefully lying for Jesus.

                  We live in a deterministic universe, everything that is happening is the result of the sum total of previous events. A strong case can be made that freewill is nothing but an illusion, a concept that we cling to. Neuroscience is starting to show us that we don’t have nearly as much control over our decisions as we’d like, where simple things like the temperature of a drink we are holding in our hand can significantly affect the statistical outcome of our decision making processes. You’d never think that your decision had been influenced by the cup’s temperature, but it appears that it very well may be the case. There are things happening in our brain at a subconscious level that affect and control our thought processes, and we have no direct control over them. So how much freewill do we really have if the chemical reactions in our neurons that determine our decisions are out of our control?

                  We like to think we have agency, and we’re really good at projecting it unto the natural world. That is why primitive societies that lack solid empirical scientific understanding are filled with spirits, ghosts, demons, and gods. We evolved to be very paranoid, to see danger in every shadow; it helped our Australopithecus ancestors survive on the plains of Africa once we dropped out of the trees.

                  Ideas like responsibility and freedom are social constructs. They are not inherent properties of being human, they are not granted to us by having a soul, nor where they brought down from on high by a god or other supernatural being. As ideas and concepts, they need not have mass or any physical properties in and of themselves. They exist as information, whether stored on print in a book, as bytes of data in a computer, or electrical pulses and complex chemical reactions in the brains of humans.

                  Nothing you have said is in anyway a refutation of naturalism. All you have down is express your own abject ignorance.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Do naturalists really argue that? Please provide citation or other evidence.

                  You’ve never heard of Sam Harris? He wrote a book just on this topic just a year or two ago?

                  For citation/evidence that naturalists generally feel that free will is an illusion…here…

                  http://www.naturalism.org/freewill.htm

                  We like to think we have agency…

                  In other words, you don’t think we have moral agency or free will. I do. I believe moral agency is fundamental in ALL human persons.

                  Nothing you have said is in anyway a refutation of naturalism.

                  That’s because you disagree with me that moral agency fundamentally exists. If so, then I don’t blame you for clinging to naturalism. As for me, I believe in the fundamental existence of my moral agency and free will, and therefore I cannot be a naturalist.

                • talkingsnake

                  You just used the word ‘retarded’. Michael Busch will be along shortly to scold you.

                • AxeGrrl

                  Do fundamental particles combined with the laws of physics suddenly produce “agency” and “responsibility” as emergent properties? It simply doesn’t make any sense in the materialist realm.

                  Perfect example of an argument from ignorance/incredulity.

                  Do you have any evidence that ‘agency’ cannot arise from matter and physics? If not, you’re not justified in asserting that “it simply doesn’t make any sense in the material realm”.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Moral agency, along with free will, are questions of philosophy, not physics. These concepts don’t even belong in the realm of science, unless you think that conscious beings can somehow alter the natural laws of physics with their minds/wills.

                  You do understand that many (I would say most) of the more prominent “New Atheists” do not believe in free will, right?

                • EvolutionKills

                  Sam Harris does not, because the concept of ‘freewill’ falls apart in a deterministic universe when combined with our ever expanding knowledge of neuroscience. We do not really control our own thoughts, because we do not consciously control the individual chemical reactions going on between our trillions of neurons in our brains that give rise to our consciousness. If we could, then we could stop our own heart beating with a simple thought or command, but we cannot.

                • spookiewon

                  OTOH, Dan Dennett disagrees with Harris on this. It’s far from a closed case among the “new atheists.”

                • EvolutionKills

                  Of course, but Dennett is a philosopher while Harris is a neuroscientist. So what science can learn about the brain and consciousness in this emerging field will greatly affect the course of the debate.

                • spookiewon

                  The only thing atheism implies is the rejection of any god belief so far encountered.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Hence, that is why I included the “materialistic” modifier in front of atheism.

            • Tom

              I suspect by “materialistic” they really mean “naturalistic.” Maybe they like to use
              “materialism” instead because the word “materialistic” has a strong
              negative connotation even among many non-theists (that actually applies
              only when used in a different sense, i.e. when referring to an obsession
              with material gain), whereas “natural” generally doesn’t sound bad at
              all.

            • C Peterson

              Humanism is caring about other people. That’s really the gist of it.

              To me, humanism is first and foremost about carrying for ourselves, but doing it in a way that maximizes everybody’s happiness. I don’t think humanism is about putting others in front of ourselves, or caring for them more than we care for ourselves.

          • Michaela Samuels

            Buddy, if you don’t even know what humanism is, then you have no business defining atheism.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

            Look joey has a dictionary

          • The Inconsistent Atheist

            Humanism is simply the religion of atheists. They don’t want to admit that they’re religious, but of course they are. They use word games and people’s misunderstanding of the Constitution to promote their religion in the public sphere, while outlawing any competing religions.

            • C Peterson

              If you choose to label every philosophical viewpoint a “religion” you simply reduce the word to something that has no utility, and little meaning.

              All religions encompass philosophical viewpoints, but most philosophical viewpoints are not religions, and have nothing to do with religion. That includes secular humanism.

              • The Inconsistent Atheist

                Part of the problem with these discussions is the varying definitions of words. If by religion, you mean belief in a supernatural being (which is a common definition of religion), obviously atheism is not a religion.

                However, when discussing “religion” in the United States, the discussion often revolves around public policy decisions regarding freedom of religion, religion in government/schools/etc. The Founders didn’t consider acknowledging God, praying to God, and various other “religious” acts to go against the First Amendment. Clearly they had a different definition of what constitutes “religion.”

                My point is that secular humanists have used the First Amendment as a club to beat down and out any competing worldviews in contradiction to the intent of that amendment, which would allow governmental acknowledgement of God and even promotion of His laws, while not compelling anyone to worship Him or perform specific religious rites (as contrasted with the Puritans experience in England).

                • EvolutionKills

                  “My point is that secular humanists have used the First Amendment as a club to beat down and out any competing worldviews in contradiction to the intent of that amendment, which would allow governmental acknowledgement of God and even promotion of His laws, while not compelling anyone to worship Him or perform specific religious rites (as contrasted with the Puritans experience in England).”

                  This statement can only be made in complete ignorance to the history, culture, and inferred intent of the Founding Fathers based upon their writings.

                • C Peterson

                  It is well understood that some philosophical viewpoints are compared to religion in a legal context. How could it be otherwise? When a philosophy exists as an alternative to religion, it is necessarily granted certain protections by any society that similarly protects religious expression.

                  That legal distinction doesn’t mean those beliefs are religions in any traditional sense of the word. Yes, a religion requires some sort of belief in the supernatural, some sort of deity. Secular humanism is nothing more than a philosophy of ethics, it is not a religion. Nor does it necessarily replace religion, as humanism is an element in the dogma of many religious belief systems, as well.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Okay, ethics does not equal religion. However, secular humanism in America today is doing the same thing to Christians that England did to the Puritans centuries ago.

                  Worldviews are comprehensive, so there is always conflict, but men like Jefferson and Franklin, while not orthodox Christians, still believed in God and Biblical morality. We really could use some leaders like that today.

                • C Peterson

                  What exactly do you imagine secular humanism doing to Christians today?

                  Neither Jefferson nor Franklin believed in God, and they considered large amounts of the morality presented in the bible to be wrong.

                • GCT

                  Okay, ethics does not equal religion. However, secular humanism in America today is doing the same thing to Christians that England did to the Puritans centuries ago.

                  That is an outright lie. Shame on you.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

              Except there are no ritual baby sacrifices or zombie worship or cannibalism or unexplainable miracles or any of the endless list of non-corporeal claims that the theists steadfastly defend as facts.

            • tyler

              y’do realize that there are many christians, and people of other religions, that subscribe to humanism as well, right?

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                naw he doesn’t he just trying to argue down any merits atheism has to justify his own opinions

            • baal

              “Humanism is simply the religion of atheists”

              See TIA, there you go again making your points in about as offensive a way as possible and then claiming you only just wanna talk why can’t we be nice to you. What is the color of darkness (or what’s the color when you’re blinding by a flash of light for that matter)?

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Does Jesus love that you lie on His behalf? Give it some thought while lying awake tonight.

            • smrnda

              You seem to be confusing neutrality and the absence of government sanctioned religion with government sanctioned atheism.

            • Sandrilene

              The ancient Greeks knew that morality and religion were two separate things. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp.
              I think having kindness as your guide is an excellent philosophy, it doesn’t really matter whether you believe in God or not. If there is a God I hope it’s the God from the parable of the sheep and the goats.

            • Len

              OK, so you don’t understand what atheism is.

              **EDIT** FYI, it’s not believing in any gods. If that is paired with something else, like humanism, nihilism, or pastafarianism* then that’s in addition to the atheist part.

              * Yes, pastafarianism is a joke religion – intelligently designed to make fun of the silly beliefs of the religious.

            • DavidMHart

              I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve had it explained to you that most of the people on this blog understand ‘religion’ to mean not just any worldview, but specifically a worldview which asserts the existence of supernatural beings or forces and which advocates attempting to communicate, appease, harness or otherwise interact with those beings or forces. That is to say, most of us use ‘religion’ in something like sense 1 (b) here, whereas you insist that only sense 4 is real, when that is an extended metaphorical sense.

              What you are doing is as dishonest (although coming from the opposite direction) as the creationists who insist that the word ‘theory’ only has one definition, and that the meaning of the word as used by scientists (i.e. a well-esablished explanatory framework supported by a large body of evidence) is somehow invalid, when in fact it is merely different from the more common colloquial use (i.e. a vague hunch or guess).

              You’ve had this explained to you at least twice already just by me, let alone however many other people.

              Do you at least have the honesty to admit that when you use the word ‘religion’ to mean ‘any worldview’ and when I (and most other people) use the word to mean specifically a supernatural-based worldview, we are talking about different things, and that your arguments therefore apply only to what you’re talking about and not to what we’re talking about?

            • talkingsnake

              I admit I don’t understand it, but I really, really enjoy it, when godbotherers call atheism a religion and use it as an insulting/derogatory term.

              • EvolutionKills

                The irony, it burns!

            • spookiewon

              Why is it so important to xians that atheists be “religious?”

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Misery is desperate for company.

              • DavidMHart

                I suspect because it backs up the idea that religion is something we cannot do without. If someone does seem to be doing fine without a religion, then in order to hold on to your hypothesis of religion as a human necessity, you have to re-label whatever worldview that person holds as ‘religion’, even at the cost of wildly distorting the ordinary meaning of the word.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              It’s really unsurprising that you’re anti-intellectual and ignorant enough to equate multi-word ideas to word games. It’s a sadly typical trait of American “conservatives” to be suspicious and dismissive of complexity.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            If you don’t know that “materialistic atheism” is essentially redundant, then nothing about Humanism can be successfully explained to you.

          • Junction_Boy

            How can atheism be materialistic? Not believing that your sky daddy exists has nothing to do with possessing stuff.

            • TCC

              That’s almost certainly not what joey means by “materialistic.”

            • Anat

              Materialism in the sense that all things that exist are made of matter/energy.

          • spookiewon

            Humanism = “An outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.”

        • rg57

          “It’s what most atheists subscribe to.”

          As an atheist, I do not buy this claim.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            He said “most”, allowing for the near-certain existence of non-humanist atheists.

      • Guest

        There are No True Non-Atheists

      • Lee Miller

        Actually, atheism is about everything: everything that’s real, that is. Atheists are just regular people who don’t spend their time trying to figure out the rules supposedly given by an invisible deity. Instead they focus on the richness of the material life we have here on earth. Oh, and they get to stay home Sunday mornings, drink coffee, and read the paper with no guilt.
        Pity the poor Christians and other religious folks who have wasted so much time, energy, and money on invisible things.

        • joey_in_NC

          Atheism is about everything…while you’re alive. Once you die, absolutely nothing matters. And every single living thing eventually dies. Therefore…atheism is about nothing at all…ultimately.

          • Edmond

            And what is theism about? Or more specifically, Christianity? 80 years of suffering for some, or wealth and comfort for others, so that all God’s beloved creations can be sorted into “flammable” and “inflammable”?
            An atheist is headed for eternal burning torture, right? And this destiny is something that God knew about each and every atheist, even BEFORE he created them, right? And yet he created them ANYWAY? Just to deliberately add more suffering to the universe? There wasn’t enough suffering if he simply DIDN’T CREATE people that he KNEW would spend eternity suffering?
            This isn’t a “purpose”, and it doesn’t supply theism with something to be “about”. It’s a scare tactic, plain and simple. If it were true, it would be monstrous, and I would never support it.

          • TheG

            The fallacy you are making there is what is called an “unstated premise”.
            You assume that because someone no longer exists, their existence meant nothing.
            I don’t know about you, but I try each day to make sure that after I’m gone, my existence has a lasting effect.

            • joey_in_NC

              But you will never know if your existence has a lasting effect once you die (given atheism). It’s all about what you think this lasting effect would be once you die while you are alive.

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                this premise of yours has equal merit to all religions and non-beliefs, as of yet no one has returned from an extensive stay in your imaginary afterlife and gave testimony that would prove your premise true, and by extensive I mean years later not minutes later.

                • joey_in_NC

                  this premise of yours has equal merit to all religions and non-beliefs…

                  No. Many religions believe that the actions we do in this life have ultimate consequences.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  prove it.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Prove that there are religions that have beliefs that our actions have ultimate consequences? Just Google “Christianity”.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  prove there are ultimate consequences

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  Please could you and all of your friends and all of their friends and all who believe in the afterlife, could you once and for all, settle this argument.

                • Tom

                  Come now. You know that’s not what was meant by the question, else you wouldn’t have bothered to write the qualifier. Now you’re just deliberately wasting everyone’s time because they won’t stick to your script.

                • joey_in_NC

                  My point a few posts back was simply that many religions believe in ultimate consequences. TBJ asked for me to “prove it”. So I did, by telling him to look up the ideals of Christianity. Don’t blame me that TBJ misinterpreted my initial post.

                • GCT

                  Ah, no. TBJ didn’t misinterpret, you did, and quite deliberately too.

              • Artor

                So? I know I’ll be remembered fondly by my friends and my son. I know that the things I’ve built will stand after I’m gone. I don’t give a flying fuck if I’m praised or beatified, but knowing I’ve raised my kid well and done as little harm while I’m here is a good thing. How is imagining an afterlife supposed to improve anything?

              • TheG

                You mean after I die, my son will no longer exist? My parents and sisters go “poof”? The thousands of patients I saved or at least helped evaporate? My students are gone? The guy I let in while everyone was stopped dead in traffic?

                • joey_in_NC

                  No. I simply mean that after you die, then to you absolutely nothing would matter, since you would cease to exist.

                • WingedBeast

                  If that’s your objection, I have a well thought out response to that objection.
                  So what?
                  So, after I die and cease to exist nothing will matter to me anymore. Why should that stop anything from mattering to me now?

                • joey_in_NC

                  Or similarly, one can say, “Why should that stop me from caring right now?”

                • WingedBeast

                  That’s really just a rewording of what I said. I care. That I will someday be no more does not eliminate my caring right now.

                • EvolutionKills

                  How sad that without the promise of an infinite afterlife, you cannot seem to take any solace or enjoyment in the one life you are currently living; the only one you know you are going to get.

                  How sad to be you.

                • Tom

                  Correct. But I, for one, am not dead yet, so stuff does matter to me now – that one day nothing will matter to me because I will no longer exist doesn’t mean I should care about nothing in the meantime. I really can’t see how this is a problem.

                • Len

                  I love my family and friends, so I want the best for them – even after I cease to be able to know about it. I want the best to continue for them, regardless of whether I’m around to witness it. Because I love them.
                  Believers seem unable to do something for their loved ones if it isn’t in some way built on their deity. Are they unable to do something nice just because they want to, to benefit the people receiving that nice thing? How shallow.

                • TheG

                  It matters to me now and it matters to them in a concrete, verifiable way.

              • Glasofruix

                But you will never know if your existence has a lasting effect once you die

                If i’m dead i most certainly don’t give a fuck about lasting effects, i’m dead, i dont care, really.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Bingo!

                • Anat

                  And?

                  Why do you think that is a winning point for you?

                  It is a great thing that once I’m dead I have nothing to care about. My fear of death vanished when I became confident in my atheism. (Both my grandmothers lived to their early 90s. One was religious, one wasn’t. The religious one feared death, the non-religious one did not.)

                • talkingsnake

                  I think you are saying ‘bingo’ because you WANT to believe that Glasofruix is saying he does not care today while he is still alive.
                  That’s not what he is saying though – he is saying he won’t care when he’s dead because he’ll be, well, dead. He won’t be doing anything – he won’t even be he.

                  Unfortunately (and it is so obvious) you actually know what he meant. You are lying for jeebus…again.

                  Do you really believe that the claim of afterlife is not dubious? I mean if you want to believe that, go for it I suppose, but you do realize there is not a shred of evidence to support it? Or is the magic book all you need?

                • Tom

                  Well, different people have different opinions on that – I, for one, would quite like to have had a lasting positive effect on the world by the time I’m gone – but the point is, that’s also something I’m feeling now, while I’m alive.

              • Kodie

                We can observe that people who have died have affected people who live, and they were affected by people we don’t even know anymore, and you know, that’s sort of the pattern. It’s just that the truth is you can be as big of an asshole as you want, as long as you don’t care what people think, and the universe will not punish you either. That’s the thing you hate the most about atheism and how you don’t want it to be true.

              • Anat

                I personally differ from TheG in that I don’t particularly care if my existence has lasting effect. I care that I keep learning while I live – because I want to. And I care that I do something good for those around me – because I care about them. Those of them who outlive me may be affected by my actions for a while even after I’m gone, but effects decay over time. A few years, maybe a few decades after my death the world will probably be indistinguishable from an alternative one in which I never existed. So what? Why should I be bothered by that? I won’t be around to notice my lack of lasting effect.

              • TheG

                So? I have evidence that it will and it improves the lives of others. I don’t know that my wife won’t leave me a week from next Friday for a NASCAR driver, but I have enough compelling evidence (she thinks NASCAR is boring) that I don’t worry about it.

          • baal

            Try it the otherway round Joey. If death means oblivion, shouldn’t you get on with having a life while you’re alive? I’d also suggest making everywhere you go a little better than it was before you got there.

            • joey_in_NC

              That doesn’t necessarily have to be the course. It is equally valid to argue that you should do anything that would increase your own happiness. Maximizing your personal happiness is not exactly synonymous with leaving the world a little bit better.

              • Tom

                That depends if you’re the sort of person who’d be made maximally happy by living in a better world, or whether you’d settle for just satisfying your own needs as the world around you suffers for it.

                But here’s the thing: if you *wouldn’t* be made happier by living in a better world, then why is the concept of heaven so appealing to you?

                • joey_in_NC

                  A “better world” is a very ambiguous concept. A “better world” to me could simply be a world in which I am happier, if I’m were a solipsist or just a plain psychopath. But a person who believes in a heaven probably would make the effort not to be a solipsist or a psychopath.

                • Tom

                  You’re the one who introduced the phrase “leaving the world a little bit better.”

                • EvolutionKills

                  I bet Hitler believed in Heaven.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Additionally, if there are gods, do you think they’d want us to waste our lives away trying to do everything “right”, or want us to enjoy the brief time we have here…

              • joey_in_NC

                Are you a parent? Would you want your kids to do what is “right” or do whatever they “enjoy” doing for the brief 18 or so years in which they still live under your house? Those things aren’t mutually exclusive, but as a parent I would definitely would want them to concentrate on doing the former.

          • Artor

            Did you love your grandparents? Are they still around, or are they gone. While they may have vanished into oblivion, their influence on your parents, yourself, and your own children and grandchildren lives on. Yes, death is the cessation of being, but there’s still a world of living things and people that goes on. Recognizing that there is no realm of imaginary paradise after death does not sap the meaning from everything else. If anything, that understanding makes the limited time we have alive all the more precious.

          • Tom

            So, what, anything that doesn’t last forever has no value at all? Do you only eat the blandest food to maintain your life, because the fleeting deliciousness of anything more interesting will soon be gone and hence never have been worth anything? Do you never read books, because they have endings?

          • rx7ward

            Once you die, you don’t exist anymore, so who gives a F either way?

      • Carmelita Spats

        Christianity. It’s the wide-eyed repetition of a creepy little tale in which a Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning–resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning God sacrificed Himself to Himself for his own fuckups by impregnating a horny teenager with Himself so that premarital sex and all “sin” could be forgiven which makes about as much sense as my neighbor knocking on my door with a halfwit’s beaming smile and hollerin’ at me that he loves me SOOO much that he just took a blowtorch to his nuts for my mortgage. It’s sad.

        • EvolutionKills

          You really do have some of the most creative rants around.

        • Bitter Lizard

          I’ve always had a hard time accepting that, when Jesus/God knocks up his future mom, it really counts as a consensual act considering it was God using his authority to enforce an edict on a woman’s body. I think by any enlightened reading, Christians need to come to terms with the fact that their beacon of all moral guidance is a dude who basically raped his own mom.

          • The Inconsistent Atheist

            The virgin birth did not involve any sexual interactions between God and Mary. That’s what “virgin” means, since you seem to be unaware of the definition.

            Jesus hadn’t been born yet, so He certainly didn’t have anything to do with it.

            Mary’s response shows her consent (and delight).

            Your misrepresentation of what the Bible says simply highlights your ignorance and weakens your case (in this case, completely destroying your whole point).

            Thanks for confirming that atheism is inconsistent and irrational.

            • tsara

              Actually, virginity isn’t really a clearly defined term. For all I know, she’s only known as a virgin because the word used to refer to her in the Greek is ‘kore’ (which means ‘maiden’, and which says more about her marital status than anything else). Or it could be that she had an intact hymen, in which case Jesus could be an assbaby (God can do that, right?).

              Asexual reproduction/cloning doesn’t work, because Jesus was a guy (although I don’t think we know for sure that he wasn’t trans* or pretending to be a guy).

              “Mary’s response shows her consent (and delight).”

              Also, I thought angels were supposed to be difficult to say ‘no’ to? Or was Gabriel not particularly special? I think zie was supposed to be one of the archangels (and I do know these things, because I did a lot of research before I picked that as my name).

              • b s

                “Jesus could be an assbaby (God can do that, right?).”
                A lot of priests seem to keep trying, so they must think so.

            • Goape

              Don’t presume to know how your god fucks. You’re not a god, so you can’t know if he magically impregnated her or had some secret god sex with Mary.

            • Bitter Lizard

              So you don’t think Jesus is God? If you think Jesus is God, then it makes no sense to say something that had to do with God had nothing to do with Jesus.
              Regarding consent, let’s look at Luke 1:

              29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

              34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

              35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

              Note that Mary is never asked if she wants the Holy Spirit to come on her, this is something that is simply dictated to her before she has any say in the matter, which makes it nonconsensual. It is true that in the next line she says, “I am the Lord’s Servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” But it doesn’t count as consent just because a woman defers after the choice has been made for her. “She didn’t fight back” is a poor excuse for a rape.

              And to say it isn’t rape because it isn’t sex is ridiculous. There are many forms of rape that don’t even involve vaginal penetration. This one actually resulted in a pregnancy.

              But I don’t really expect someone who worships a mommy rapist to be especially sensitive to these things. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

            • EvolutionKills

              You seem unaware that the Greek word used for translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, for the passage in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling a virgin birth was most likely a mistranslation.

              The original Hebrew word was ‘alhma’, meaning simply ‘young woman of marriageable age’. This is curious, as the Hebrew did have a word that specifically did mean virgin, and that word was ‘bethulah’. When it was translated into Greek they used the word ‘parthenos’, which means specifically ‘girl’. Even with the Greek the virginity is implied, but not explicit; in the same way that we would expect a ‘child’ to also be a virgin, even though it might not necessarily be the case. Homer used the word to refer to non-virgin women, and he was the standard bearer for learning ancient Greek.

              Also the original passage says, even if mistranslated, that ‘a virgin will conceive’. Is that really so miraculous? Can’t a virgin become pregnant on her wedding night when she loses said virginity?

              So the whole idea of a virgin birth is most likely built upon a bad translation or a particular variant of the Septuagint being used by the Greek intellectuals that created the Gospels.

              http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/virginprophecy.html

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Oh my Ceiling Cat.

          Marry me.

          • EvolutionKills

            To be fair, I do read all of her (?) posts in Mandy’s voice; and it is amazing!

      • C Peterson

        Atheism. Ultimately…it’s about nothing at all.

        I agree. Why should it be about anything? It’s simply a lack of belief in one thing. There are millions of things that people lack any belief in, and they seldom get their own word.

        But there are philosophies that are shared by many atheists, such as humanism, which actually are about things. Humanism, for instance, is about how you live and how you act. It doesn’t worry about your beliefs. And it results in much more ethical, moral behavior than any religion can manage.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Christianity: it’s about being made happy and content forever after death, despite knowledge of what went on in the material universe and the living urge to grow and explore, which means that souls have to be brainwashed to the point that their identities are erased, which means it’s nothing but an eternal living death. Very sad and horrifying.

      • WingedBeast

        This makes the assumption that atheism has exactly the same impact upon one’s life, philosophy, and moral thinking that any of the individual theistic religions do.

        It doesn’t.

        A Christian, for instance, may see God’s dominion and command as influencing in philosophy, choice of career, moral thinking, etc. But, for an atheist, the lack of belief in a deity is only one descriptor on one element. Philosophy, choice of career, moral thinking, choice of how to live one’s life, all of this has other influences beyond that one issue.

        This is all something you can quite easily learn if you were to ask atheists about themselves rather than make assumptions.

        In other words, get over yourself.

      • Matt D

        Sorry, your voice is a bit muffled when you insist on speaking out of your ass.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        So was Seinfeld, and it was successful…

      • Kodie

        Life ends and Christianity is a lie that says it doesn’t. You find it less sad to believe a lie, but that doesn’t make it any more true.

    • The Inconsistent Atheist

      Christianity is not just about what you believe. How you live and act is essential, as a survey of the Bible clearly shows.

      Comments like yours just reinforce the stereotype of atheists being ignorant and arrogant. I will admit that some of my comments may come across that way as well, although what I really want is to engage in real discussion. Sometimes that is difficult since the bar is so low in these comments.

      Maybe no one really wants to discuss the issues. Maybe they just want to vent. But I don’t get how misrepresenting the position you are criticizing helps the situation.

      It seems to me that Hemant Mehta purposely posts inflammatory articles. Instead of being “The Friendly Atheist,” he is continually promoting misunderstanding and superficial perspectives without actually engaging the real issues.

      • C Peterson

        No, how you live and act is most certainly secondary to your beliefs.

        Christianity will excuse you for living badly, and it will excuse you for acting badly. But it will not excuse you for thinking wrong, no matter how good a person you are. While there may be Christians who believe otherwise, theirs is a minority viewpoint.

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          “No, how you live and act is most certainly secondary to your beliefs.”

          What are you basing this statement on? What Christians have told you? Your own reading of the Bible?

          In any case, you have created a false dichotomy. Beliefs and actions are inextricably tied together. Sure, people are hypocrites, but the way we live reveals what we really believe.

          “Christianity will excuse you for living badly, and it will excuse you for acting badly. But it will not excuse you for thinking wrong, no matter how good a person you are.”

          Actually, the Lord Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for both wrong behavior (eg. murder, homosexual acts, etc.) and wrong thinking (eg. disbelief in God and His Word). Repentance, a common Biblical word related to forgiveness, refers to a change of mind.

          However, the Bible makes it clear that someone who practices sinful behavior as a lifestyle has no place in the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). I’m well aware that there are Christians who excuse sins, such as adultery, homosexual acts, drunkenness, etc., but that is not the teaching of the Bible.

          As for thinking wrong, if you’re referring to not believing in God or the Bible, of course Christianity asserts that you must change your mind about those things. And Jesus Christ offers forgiveness even to those who disbelieved Him to such an extent that they killed His disciples (eg. Saul/Paul).

          • C Peterson

            I’m basing my statement on the mainstream Christian view. Are you suggesting that as an atheist, who entirely rejects the very notion of salvation, the very notion of sin, the very existence of a god or a messiah, that if I’m wrong, I will go to heaven if I lead a good life, always kind to others?

            It would be a rare Christian who believes that, and the very idea is contrary to the dogma of any Christian sect I’m aware of.

            Yet virtually every Christian, as well as the dogma of all sects, tells me that no matter what I did in life, no matter how bad I was, if I sincerely repent and accept Jesus (whatever that means), even on my death bed, I will go to heaven.

            Beliefs come before actions.

            • playonwords

              Beliefs come before actions is NOT “mainstream” it is the view of a minority Christians belonging to some protestant churches. Please keep displaying your ignorance of fellow Christians.

              • C Peterson

                Beliefs come before actions is NOT “mainstream”

                I think you are wrong. Name me one mainstream Christian sect that allows me to go to heaven if I don’t believe in Jesus and don’t believe in repentance, despite living a good life. Name me one mainstream Christian sect that denies me heaven if I repent my sins and accept Jesus, regardless of the kind of life I have lived.

                That is what “beliefs before actions” means.

                • playonwords

                  Catholicism, Episcopalianism/Anglicanism an UUs all have theologies that allow the worthy unbeliever to enter heaven (eventually) because there are so many of them. They acknowledge that there were and are many worthy pagans both before and after the supposed birth of Jesus.

                  In your system Gandhi is to be denied heaven as is Siddhartha Gautama, Socrates, Bhadrabahu Acharya, the post-Christ Jews and Bertrand Russell.

                  In your theology God will commit to hell for eternal torture all who do not believe – no exceptions. Some perversions of this faction even say “once saved always saved” where once you have admitted Jesus as your personal saviour then any actions following that conversion allow you entry to heaven.

                • C Peterson

                  I believe the exceptions you list (with the exception of UU, which isn’t Christian) do not allow an active unbeliever to get to heaven. The exceptions are for those not exposed to Christianity, not those who “choose” to reject it.

            • The Inconsistent Atheist

              “…I will go to heaven if I lead a good life, always kind to others?”

              If you always led a good life and never did anything wrong, then yes, you would go to heaven. Are you claiming to have done so? The Bible points out that no one ever has, and in fact that no one is capable of doing so (excepting Jesus Christ, of course, who lived a perfect life and did in fact go back to heaven). So your hypothetical situation is impossible, which is why Christians reject it.

              Regarding deathbed conversions, they are possible, although not common. And actually, even in those cases, there would be actions to go along with the belief (ie. the thief on the cross calling out to Jesus). If someone thinks they can do whatever they want and then simply “convert” on their deathbed, they are deceiving themselves.

              “Beliefs come before actions.”

              That’s getting back to your original point. Are you saying that is true regarding Christianity but not atheism? Are you saying that atheists’ beliefs come from their actions?

              Edit: I just saw your other comment below regarding “beliefs before actions.” Just to clarify, the teaching of the Bible is that beliefs and actions are inseparably linked (James 2 addresses this issue of faith and works). We all may say and do things that go against our stated beliefs, but what we say and do reveals what we truly believe.

              • C Peterson

                The idea of “perfect” in antithetical to reality, so I reject it from rational discussion. Obviously Jesus (assuming he existed, which I doubt) was not perfectly good. Indeed, if we take him as presented in the Bible, he was not a very good person, ethically speaking. If he is supposed to be the model of goodness required to get into heaven, that’s pretty sorry.

                A good person is one who, on balance, does more good than harm, who as a rule does not actively seek to hurt others, who strives to maximize happiness, his own and others. Any theology with an afterlife that would punish such a person is obscene, and should be actively rejected by any moral person.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  The idea of “perfect” is antithetical to sinful humanity.

                  If you don’t want to go to heaven, that’s your choice. C.S. Lewis has a great book about this called “The Great Divorce.”

                • C Peterson

                  I don’t recognize the existence of “sin”, so your statement strikes me as meaningless.

                  It’s not a question of wanting to go to heaven. If there’s an afterlife, I obviously don’t want to be punished in it. While I think it extremely unlikely that an afterlife exists, I think it even more unlikely that it is presided over by a judgmental deity that would punish anybody for having the wrong beliefs. If there is judgment at all (and why should there be?) any rational deity will base it on actions, not beliefs.

                  Of course, I can no more choose to believe in Jesus or God than I can choose to believe in Santa Claus. It’s simply not possible. But I hardly think I’m placing my chances of getting into heaven in any jeopardy because of the conclusions I’ve arrived at in regards to the likely existence of any gods.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  No one will be punished for having the wrong beliefs. The Bible teaches that we will be judged for what we say and do.

                  John 5:28-29
                  28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
                  29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

                  So if you’ve never done anything evil, you have nothing to worry about. If, however, you have done evil, you had better rethink your position.

                • Matt D

                  So, what is the definition of “evil”?

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Well, you could read the Bible to see the definition that is being used in that context. It would include things like murder, stealing, lying, etc. As a general overall definition, evil is doing what God has said we shouldn’t do, or not doing what God has said we must do.

                  I doubt you’d accept that definition. What is your definition, and would you say that you have never done evil according to your own definition?

                • tsara

                  I’ve done some assholish things, but nothing evil, per my own definition. My definition of evil, though, requires something beyond the ordinary, general human shittiness. So lying about food and homework, continuing an argument after the other person asked me to stop talking, going into too much detail or glossing over my issues in casual conversation, breaking up with someone who was in love with me, insulting people, intentionally harming myself, masturbating, not believing in God or Jesus, and existing as a human being… are not evil.

                • Matt D

                  I don’t have a defintion of “evil”, you do, hence the reason I asked for one. Now that you’ve given it, however, I see that you calling Atheists “inconsistent” is a form of hipocrisy I never thought possible.

                • GCT

                  Apparently, it doesn’t include things like slavery, racism, physical assault, etc.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  The Bible specifically condemns slavery as it was practiced in America (kidnapping people and forcing them to work against their will without cause). For that matter, “slavery” still exists in America (eg. the prison system). Part of the problem is that “slavery” in the Bible was like what we today would call “having a job”, but people can’t recognize that the definitions are different.

                  You’ll have to clarify what you are referring to regarding racism and physical assault for me to be able to respond.

                • GCT

                  The Bible specifically condemns slavery as it was practiced in America (kidnapping people and forcing them to work against their will without cause).

                  No, it most certainly does not. And, even if it did, you’re defending the owning of people as being OK as long as it isn’t “bad enough” to merit comparison with American slavery. This is ahistorical nonsense.

                  Part of the problem is that “slavery” in the Bible was like what we today would call “having a job”, but people can’t recognize that the definitions are different.

                  That’s a load of bollocks and you know it. Bible slavery included the ability to own your slaves, to beat them, to take them from neighboring tribes (force them into slavery), to claim children that slaves had as property in perpetuity, etc. What you are trying to claim is morally reprehensible.

                  You’ll have to clarify what you are referring to regarding racism and physical assault for me to be able to respond.

                  Jesus physically assaults people with a whip at one point and spits racist epithets at a woman who brings her child in for healing. Apparently, you find these things to be part of the package of being perfect.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Regarding slavery, I don’t have time to go into that in detail right now, although I would be interested in pursuing that further at a later time. Briefly though, you are mischaracterizing slavery in the Bible and also denying that legitimate forms of “slavery” do exist. Actually, one of the main points of Biblical slavery is that it is something you should seek to avoid and/or get out of. It has important implications regarding sin, but since you deny sin, you miss the point.

                  The Bible does not say that Jesus whipped anyone. You’re just making stuff up now.

                  As for spitting racist epithets, I think I know what passage you are referring to, and that is hardly an honest representation of what took place. He had a brief conversation with a woman using figurative speech including “children” and “dogs”. The woman referred to herself as a “dog”, so clearly she didn’t take any offense at it, and Jesus ended up healing her daughter. You have no idea of the tone or sentiments of the people involved, so you are simply trying to cast Jesus in the worst light possible despite the clear evidence of the text itself.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Annnnnd now you’re defending slavery. The true colors of a true Christian revealed.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  I don’t know exactly what you mean by “defending slavery”, but I don’t think anyone should be enslaved. Of course, people do all kinds of things that I don’t think they should.

                  As I said above, the Bible teaches that people should avoid or get out of slavery if at all possible.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “What god sanctioned in the Old Testament and permitted in the New, cannot be a sin”

                  This was an all too common justification spouted by the religious in support of the Confederate south, the most pious Christians this country has ever known. Keep in mind that abolition of slavery had to be spread throughout the south at the point of a bayonet.

                  You are colossally ignorant and sick as shit.

                • spookiewon

                  Yes. I DO DENY ANY LEGITIMATE FORMS OF SLAVERY EXIST! I do. And anyone who believes there ARE “legitimate forms of slavery” is without morals, and certainly not someone who I’m going to seriously entertain anything else he has to say.

                  You are truly sick. PLEASE get help before you harm yourself or someone else. Really. Seriously. If you believe there is ANY legitimate form of one person OWNING ANOTHER PERSON AS PROPERTY you frighten me.

                • GCT

                  Briefly though, you are mischaracterizing slavery in the Bible and also denying that legitimate forms of “slavery” do exist.

                  1. No, I’m not. Modern apologists who rightly realize that slavery is endorsed in the Bible have put forth false ideas in order to try and salvage the Bible.

                  2. There are no legitimate forms of slavery. As soon as you claim there are, you lose.

                  Actually, one of the main points of Biblical slavery is that it is something you should seek to avoid and/or get out of.

                  Ah, no. It’s mentioned in passing once by Paul. Paul also says that slaves should obey their masters.

                  The Bible does not say that Jesus whipped anyone. You’re just making stuff up now.

                  Jesus fashioned a whip and went after the money changers in the temple. That is assault. If someone even threatens you with a weapon, it is assault.

                  As for spitting racist epithets, I think I know what passage you are referring to, and that is hardly an honest representation of what took place. He had a brief conversation with a woman using figurative speech including “children” and “dogs”. The woman referred to herself as a “dog”, so clearly she didn’t take any offense at it, and Jesus ended up healing her daughter.

                  He calls her a dog. She agrees so that he’ll heal her child. At that time and place, calling someone of her ethnicity a dog was tantamount to calling her by the n-word. That a desperate woman would agree to that in order to save her child does not indicate that she took no offense.

                • spookiewon

                  It’s not like “having a job.” I can quit my job any time I want to; my employer doesn’t “own” me. He is NOT allowed to beat me so long as I don’t die within the day.

                • talkingsnake

                  Equivocation is the last retreat of the liar.

                • spookiewon

                  I don’t believe in “evil” any more than I believe in “sin.” I believe in morality. Questions of morality are questions about the suffering and happiness of conscious creatures. Have I ever caused suffering? Sure. Do I deserve torture for it? Nope. Neither do you. You (or your god) have problems with the concept of degree. Hitler caused a LOT more suffering than you did (I don’t even need to know you to know that much) and even he didn’t cause unending suffering. Neither he nor you “deserve” unending torture.

                • C Peterson

                  The bible teaches nothing. Or anything. The bible is useless in practice for evaluating Christianity. That can only be done by examining Christian interpretations of the bible and by examining the specific dogma of the major Christian sects. And by that light, people are not judged primarily by their actions, and they most certainly are punished for nothing more than their beliefs.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  I’ve been to dozens of churches of various denominations, primarily what would be called “evangelical” (eg. Baptist, Missionary Alliance), and that’s not what they teach.

                  I think I understand the confusion though. Many Christians rightly say that unless you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are going to hell. However, what they may not often make clear is that you go to hell not because of not believing but because of your sins (words and actions).

                  It’s kind of like saying that someone drowned because they didn’t grab onto a life preserver. While grabbing onto the life preserver may have saved them, it wasn’t not grabbing the life preserver that caused them to drown. The cause of drowning is independent of the life preserver.

                • tsara

                  Except that we have no evidence that the life preserver is there. And we have no evidence that the water is there, either.

                • Bdole

                  And instead of a life preserver, it’s a lifeguard floating nearby refusing to help you because you won’t pledge him your undying devotion.
                  Edit: And he keeps pushing your head underwater.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Really? You don’t believe people die?

                • GCT

                  Again, highly dishonest.

                • tsara

                  Oh, no. People die (which is a shitty state of affairs that I would really like to change).
                  We just have no evidence for any sort of consciousness after death. Sinfulness (and therefore Hell after death) was the water in that analogy, was it not?

                • GCT

                  This is misleading, however. Not believing in Jesus is seen as a sin. Additionally, since Xians believe that no one can be perfect, then belief in Jesus is required in order to go to heaven, since that is the only way to be forgiven by god. So, you go to hell for being human and can only be saved from that by being Xian (the right kind, of course).

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  So what you’re saying is that you don’t like things the way God set them up. You don’t want God to be able to do whatever He wants. You want to be “god” yourself and make things your own way. The Bible talks about people like that.

                • GCT

                  Nice try.

                  What I’m saying is that you’ve set up a self-defeating system that is logically inconsistent with the idea of an omni-max god.

                  I’m also saying that you are engaging in obfuscation for the purposes of trying to win a debate point and being dishonest in the process.

                • spookiewon

                  No. We’re saying we don’t believe in the god you say set up these things we also don’t believe in. They’re IMAGINARY.

                • C Peterson

                  Theobabble.

                • spookiewon

                  IOW, xianity is a “Get out of hell free” card in a giant game of Monopoly. Right. Your religion has decided no one is worthy of heaven and only your religion has the “Get out of hell free” cards available. It’s my choice, but if I decide a giant game of Monopoly isn’t the way to live, well, that’s just tough.

                  News flash! Your argument is unconvincing. Provide some evidence that doesn’t involve the bible maybe?

                • Kodie

                  If you have done even the evilest of evils, you won’t be punished after you die, and if you are clever, you might not be punished before you die, either. That’s just the way it is. God is a fantasy that says Hitler is in hell foreverrrrrr! With my gay classmate John, who was one of the most generous people I ever knew, and my atheist grandfather, who probably did what he thought was the best he could at the time and no worse than many Christians who exemplify themselves based on their Christianity alone. With Hitler! No sense of proportion and only wishful thinking.

                  It’s just sad for you that people you judge to be wrong are not punished, and that no matter what you do or what you believe, you aren’t going to heaven either. You just stop living and that’s the end. You fear “sin”, you fear admitting to yourself you are actually gay, or you fear your children being gay, you fear there is really nothing on earth you can do to win cosmic approval. You don’t get to escape mere equalizing death without a phantom from outer space giving you the gold star. Hitler also died! You are mad because you don’t get a holy merit badge for being a better person than Hitler and you will also just die, just like Hitler.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  I don’t think I’m any better than Hitler. Neither are you. We’re all sinners who justly deserve unending torment. I am thankful, though, for God’s grace in saving me.

                  Since you brought up Hitler, on your view, he is no different than your friend John or your grandfather. He was simply doing what he thought best. Would you condemn him for that? Who are you to judge? It’s just sad for you that people like Hitler and your grandfather are just purposeless collections of matter whose actions are solely the result of impersonal chemical/physical reactions and thus have no meaning or morality.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  And the winner of most repellent post of the thread goes to…

                • allein

                  We’re all sinners who justly deserve unending torment.

                  This makes me feel sad for you.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Don’t be sad for me. Be sad for yourself if you think that people can do whatever they want and get away with it.

                • allein

                  What makes you think I think that?

                  Edit: Some people who do bad things do get away with their crimes. Some are punished in this life by the judicial systems we have created, and when that happens we feel vindicated. That’s just reality. As much as it might be nice to think there is some ultimate justice (though I don’t think eternal torture is justice), I don’t see any reason to believe that it’s true. Frankly, if someone has done something truly terrible, and they die, it’s enough for me to know they are dead and can’t hurt anyone else. I get no satisfaction from thinking they are being burned forever in the afterlife.

                • WingedBeast

                  Actually, based on the impossibility of not sinning, you similarly believe that people can do whatever they want and get away with it. After all, the one difference that makes the difference has not to do with deeds, but with belief.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  No, I don’t. If people could get away with it, Jesus Christ would not have died on the cross.

                • WingedBeast

                  No, Hell has nothing to do with one’s actions. It is impossible not to sin, because sinning in one’s heart (or rather, one’s mind, as the statement was made during a time in which people believed that the mind resided in one’s heart) is sin enough. That means that even saying that, theoretically, in a given situation, one in which there is no perfectly right answer, that you would do one thing or the other, you will have sinned merely for having considered a scenario in which a perfectly moral option was not available.

                  Since it isn’t the case that some actions have this consequence but, in effect, *every* action has this consequence, the consequence is no longer a consequence of actions. Sinning isn’t a functioning part of the equation, but a red herring.

                  Therefore, no action, save for that of worship or the lack thereof, has any consequences. Everybody gets away with everything they do, for they can never accrue any worse a punishment or any greater a reward. No consequences.

                • smrnda

                  I think you should be able to do a lot and get away with it. THe Xtian god has lots of pointless rules.

                • spookiewon

                  Who here has asserted that? I am a realist and I know some people will get away with behaving badly. That’s life. I believe real morality doesn’t need, and indeed is diminished by, an all-powerful overseer.

                • Kodie

                  But they actually can. You are the one who is deluded, that anything magical or special happens to you after you die. You are the one who is living your life to escape the fate you claim everyone deserves.

                • talkingsnake

                  It’s truly awesome to watch you spout the same crap in the face of so much logic and reason, just ignoring the points made against your infantile arguments.

                  For example, numerous people on here have showed you the false dichotomy of “torture forever” or “nothing”. Yet your response is “do whatever they want and get away with it”, implying “torture forever” is somehow the correct choice.

                  You really should be glad that folks on here are even engaging you in this debate. You saying that we are going to burn forever is the exact same as a new age hippie coming on here and telling us he is going to punch us in our aura.

                • C Peterson

                  I’m ethically better than Hitler. I’m not a sinner (which isn’t the same as saying I don’t sometimes act wrongly). And I most certainly haven’t done anything in my life that deserves unending torment. No human, including Hitler, has done that.

                  But then, Christianity isn’t really about what you do, which was my original point. Christianity sees all humans as deserving of eternal punishment simply for being human, and sees the only way to escape that being the arbitrary grace of a deity.

                  If you don’t see that as obscene, there’s something wrong with you.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Again, all you’re doing is refusing to allow God to be God. He made us for a purpose. He can do with us what He chooses. A potter can make one vessel to be a vase and another to be a mop bucket. The mop bucket has no right to complain or to tell the potter that it’s unfair that it’s a mop bucket instead of a vase. You want to restrict God to only making vases or nothing at all. But He isn’t in any way limited by what you think or want. Maybe you are just a mop bucket. Or maybe you’re a vase and God just isn’t finished with you yet. Either way, whether accepting or rejecting Him, you will accomplish the purpose He created you for.

                • C Peterson

                  Happily, I don’t believe in this rather nasty god of yours, which sees its creations as things to be played with, destroyed, rewarded, or tortured according to its whims. That anybody could believe such a thing is pretty revolting.

                • GCT

                  Sorry, but this doesn’t work. You’re abdicating god’s responsibilities to his creation when you should be holding god to a higher standard. If you create a pot, it is non-sentient, so we don’t have moral responsibility. If you create a child, then you hold a responsibility to that child. If we extend your metaphor to children, then why can’t parents claim that they own their children? That the children should grow up as the parent demands or else the parent has the right to do whatever that parent pleases with the child, up to and including killing the child?

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  “You’re abdicating god’s responsibilities to his creation”

                  Wait a minute. You’re trying to be the mop bucket telling the potter what he can and can’t do.

                  “you should be holding god to a higher standard”

                  I should be holding God to a higher standard than Himself? If I did, He wouldn’t be God.

                  Your whole argument hinges on the idea that you think you know better than God what He should or should not do (ie. you want to be “god” yourself).

                • smrnda

                  If you make a mop bucket that has feelings, you are responsible for how you treat it. When you have kids, they aren’t your property.

                • spookiewon

                  Please provide evidence of this god of yours. So far, everything you say is hypothetical, since you’ve provided no evidence your god is real.

                • Kodie

                  Your whole argument hinges on the idea that god is an abusive tyrant and that’s ok, since he’s god. I realize your hands are basically tied with that, believing he is real and all.

                • GCT

                  Wait a minute. You’re trying to be the mop bucket telling the potter what he can and can’t do.

                  Yes, because I am a sentient creature.

                  I should be holding God to a higher standard than Himself? If I did, He wouldn’t be God.

                  See, here’s the thing. You’re holding god to a lower standard than you hold humans. You’re not holding god to a high standard at all.

                  Your whole argument hinges on the idea that you think you know better than God what He should or should not do (ie. you want to be “god” yourself).

                  Your argument hinges on might makes right. I think we all agree that someone who has power/money/etc. does not have a free license to do what they want and be considered moral. Yet, this is what you want to do for god. You want to give god a free pass to do whatever he wants simply because he has more power than you. If the police tortured you for jaywalking, you’d be rather upset. If god does it, it’s suddenly OK? (Which, BTW, also destroys the concept of absolute/universal morality – a concept that you are simply tossing out the window while also trying to claim that it exists.)

                • tsara

                  “The mop bucket has no right to complain or to tell the potter that it’s unfair that it’s a mop bucket instead of a vase.”
                  Wow, your God’s an asshole.

                • Matt D

                  No, we refuse to allow YOU to define “God” for everyone else, including other Christians. You may think lurking on Atheist blogs prevents others from noticing your fellow Christians from disagreeing with ywould disagree with you, but we are quite aware they do so, despite your attempts to hide it.

                • WingedBeast

                  “The mop bucket has no right to complain or to tell the potter that it’s unfair that it’s a mop bucket instead of a vase.”

                  This analogy takes objects which can be owned and used as owner sees fit without any moral consideration to how they are treated and applies that same position to people.

                  The word for people being owned as objects is slavery.
                  What you have said, here, is that God is a slave owner and, indeed, has no moral considerations for how he treats anybody.

                  This makes clear that the superiority of God is not a superiority of character, but a superiority of position, that, in fact, anybody in God’s position would be as moral, regardless of their character.

                  Thus, you expose the basic moral bankruptcy of Christian morality.

                • smrnda

                  So bend over and take it from the tyrant or else? I’m supposed to find this appealing?

                  I think you do have a right to complain to your maker. Children are entitled to tell their parents off for parents making poor choices. A parent who isn’t a complete shit admits that their children have a right to criticize them.

                • Josh

                  Hey guys. I was just reading through this conversation thread, and it occurred to me that nobody really touched on the fact that Jesus came not to judge, but save the world.

                  I understand that taking someone who says something like this seriously, let alone believing what they are saying, would first require acknowledging that you just might actually need “saving” from this downward spiral you may find yourself in at some point in your life- perhaps, your lowest point, perhaps, when you feel that you have nothing left to lose (am I the only one who has ever felt so alone?).

                  Have any of you ever felt alone in a crowd of people? Felt like you lacked purpose? Felt like you were worthless? Why are we so quick to assume we must be meaningless..that we are accidents? Call me a hopeless romantic (or a disciple of Jesus), but I can’t help but feel that this is a conclusion we arrive at when we are at the point of despair….we let go of all hope, and just, accept things as they are, for what they are. Is that realism?

                  Why do we find it so hard to believe that there could be more to our lives than what we can see and hear and feel and touch? An honest question I have for you all-

                  I understand we have no proof of an after-life of any sort- nor do we have physical evidence, save miracles (let’s just say we don’t give God credit for life-saving miracles/healing), that God is really here- like, we can’t look up at the sky and see Him. Right?

                  So (please, just humor me and go along with me on my thought), does the force we know as wind not exist in the aftermath of a hurricane? We certainly see the effects of it. We hear it, we feel it, we know it moves…we just can’t see it physically- or take a picture of it. I understand that this is a rather rudimentary example, but in the same way that we can’t take a picture of the wind (although, yes, I understand that we can see air molecules), the God that I know and love and live to serve…well, He can’t be put in a box. The God I know cannot be confined to a church building, nor to this group or that group- they who are right, or they who are more right…My God is righteous and just, but also loving and compassionate- abounding in love, slow to anger. I believe my God is greatly compassionate, and generous- I see Him to be the God of second chances (pardon my potentially cliche phrase).

                  So, He is loving and forgiving…so where does the argument that says God is only full of wrath and judgement come in? I understand that God does punish peoples in the bible for their wickedness, but I also understand that this is because God is also just in nature. I will admit freely to you that I don’t understand why He waited so long to send Jesus, but I do believe it’s part of His redemption plan for us.

                  I am being vulnerable and open with you all about my own faith- I hope you will be kind enough to respect me as a fellow human being and not mock my views shared here, or simply disregard/scoff at what I say without giving it any real thought…I want to share what I think too, and my heart longs to know that I’m valued- and indeed I am. However, for your own parts in this tale, if you are to show “Christians” love, would not a good start be by simply being patient with people like me and giving people like me (who are still people too, also trying to find their way in this world) a break and just hear me out? I share what I am with you not because I see you as dirty sinners that need saving- it’s because the love and truth I’ve come to hold by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is given to us from God upon belief.

                  I affirm your statement that belief precedes action, and yet, I also hold to the idea that what you consistently and willingly do without struggling against it (that is, trying to break free from- e.g. addiction to alcohol or drugs, or thoughts of hate or desire to harm others) speaks volumes about where your heart is at and what you truly believe deep down). If you are fighting to be the man/woman you believe we all should be, we are not so different, you and I. I believe in being the best I can be, in love, for the world.

                  I believe in the Jesus that says He came not to judge you and I, but save you and I. As I, for my own part, in my own life, cannot deny the existence of a higher power (whom I know, and speaks with me on a day to day basis), and, as I see my God- He is definitely kind and compassionate- I know His heart breaks when people are hurting, because our hearts are one, and my heart breaks when I see people hurting. When I see people acting out, I don’t condemn them for being cruel- my heart goes out to them, because I know the same pain that they do- I have suffered as we all do suffer, and i suffer daily. When people are hurt, they won’t always respond with kindness or gratefulness when you are nice to them. However, that is not the kind of love my God has,He put the kind of love in my heart that in the Greek texts, we refer to it as agape love. Agape love, in my own understanding, is a love that simply, is. It is a love that gives regardless of what is given. It is a love that never runs out or fails. A love that can endure- a love that is long-suffering- patient. Agape love is selfless, and, if it is the same love of God, which I can’t explain, but brings me great joy to act upon, it never fails- it never ends…thus, it can outlast the feelings of despair and cruelty that may cause another to lash out at you upon first reaching out to them in love.

                  As a follower of Jesus, I am called to suffer daily for His glory and for the saving of this world- how do we “save” this world? How do we “save” those in the world? We love them….right? Isn’t that what you believe? I know we don’t agree on everything, but I’m willing to defend my own position and explain why I believe what I believe, and what I think about any of the various inconsistencies we can bring up and out from the Bible.

                  I just want you all to know, for you who may be curious- I do not align myself with any specific doctrine or theology, because these are man-made interpretations of God’s word, which we have through our faith (which is not just belief, but also proclaimed with our mouths and shown through our actions to the ones in this world whom we consider the “least of these”- the outcasts…a group from which I myself have come- I understand what it’s like, and so, I look for opportunities to reach out and I take them whenever I can).

                  I believe that when you put belief above compassion, it is not truly love, unless you are choosing to define “belief” as holding to your deep-seeded convictions regarding what is right and just and fair and ultimately, for the greatest good, which you also happen to believe sums up the views of an omnipotent, omniscient, loving and compassionate, yet righteous and just God.

                  I would just like to leave you with this thought- life is not always fair, and it would be foolish to say that we always get what we deserve, because we don’t, whether it’s things of a good or bad nature…I believe that it’s in the age yet to come, that we will finally be rewarded in full for the kindness we have shown to the “least of these”- the poor and the hungry and needy and downtrodden. God sees when we are kind to others- He also sees when we are not. He says that He brings rain upon the good and the bad- the wicked and righteous. He sees when we, as human beings, show the love of Jesus to this world, without which doing, we cannot show love to God.

                  You will find in this world (as I have) that there are many who claim to follow Christ, but if they curse those made in our Father’s image with the same tongue by which they praise Him, they are not of the Father, because God is selfless love, and anyone who loves selflessly knows God. I have a few atheist friends, and they tell me about a balance they know exists, but are still looking for.

                  For me, letting go of all my doubts and asking God to open my eyes and teach me and humble me and use me for His glory- these are the things that have led me to find that balance…I suffer and struggle and deal with physical as well as emotional and perhaps also, spiritual pain, just the same as you, but, in my view, so did Jesus, for all of us. That is why I choose to live the way I do, although it is not always most popular (even at my own congregation, where I attend and serve in the ways that I am able- in the ways that fills my heart with joy..the things I believe God is filled with joy to have me doing)…

                  Please feel free to ask me any questions you have..I hope that we can have an open and meaningful conversation, respectfully, so please, if you have a legitimate question that isn’t about disproving my faith, but perhaps, it’s a question you have of your own, please leave another comment. I am confident in my faith, and I trust there is a reason I found this blog. I pray we can find understanding of each other through this, and perhaps, as iron sharpens iron, we’ll sharpen each other for the better. Thanks again guys!! :)

                  -Josh

                • spookiewon

                  Those of us who are actually moral beings don’t consider vases and mop buckets to be conscious creatures, thus they are irrelevant to the discussion. I’m neither a vase nor a mop bucket, and you have yet to provide evidence of this god you keep asserting.

                • mikmik

                  By now, I am questioning your sanity. This conversation goes thusly:
                  Someone: Only a childish freak would set someone up to fail, and then punish them when they do.
                  TIA: Who are you to judge God?
                  Someone: There is no god to judge – I am judging the idea that making something just to condemn them in order to use that to coerce them into fawning over the maker, is childish and immoral.
                  TIA: You are refusing to allow God to be God.
                  Someone: There is no God. I am not trying to do anything because there is nothing there! This is about your CONCEPTION OF GOD, NOT GOD. Okay? Just remember. not about God. Not about God…
                  TIA: You are telling God how to act.
                  Me: Fuck.

                • Kodie

                  You believe every human deserves unending torture?

                  And you’ve come here to complain about us implying that Christians were unkind or that putting god first sometimes leads to less than kind results. You’ve come here to complain that the Friendly Atheist was not friendly enough for you!

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  “You believe every human deserves unending torture?”

                  Yes, I do. And apart from God’s mercy and grace, that is what each one will receive.

                • GCT

                  Do you not understand how hateful that is? How utterly revolting?

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  How is God graciously saving people who deserve unending torment hateful?

                • Matt D

                  How is it gracious to save people from a trap you created?

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  The same way it is gracious for a potter to make vases when he could make nothing but mop buckets. Of course the analogy breaks down because mop buckets and vases don’t realize what they are. But if they did, they would both bring glory to the potter for making them at all. The eternal torment of wicked sinners brings glory to God as do the praises of redeemed saints.

                • Matt D

                  Was that supposed to answer my question, or satisfy your need to have the last word?

                • spookiewon

                  STOP comparing self-aware beings to pots, vases, and mop buckets!

                • GCT

                  The eternal torment of wicked sinners brings glory to God…

                  This is sick. How does torturing people bring glory upon the torturer?

                  Additionally, what does god need with glory? This, once again, violates the tenet of an omni-max god.

                • tsara

                  Summed up, God says: “Let me save you from what I’ll do to you if you do not worship me.”
                  However, to answer your question:
                  1. He’s not ‘graciously’ saving them. He’s grudgingly and petulantly saving them if they stroke his ego first.
                  2. They only deserve unending torment according to Him (and you), and that’s an absolutely hateful judgment to make. Not one single person or thing has, in the history of everything, deserved unending torment.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  You want God to be like a judge who lets everyone off because he’s really “nice.” But a judge like that isn’t nice at all. He’s unjust.

                  1. You don’t understand Biblical salvation.
                  2. You must have a really big ego to tell God that He’s wrong. That’s okay though. He can take it.

                • b s

                  Yet god has been described as perfectly just (giving out the exact punishment required) and perfectly merciful (giving out a reduced punishment or none). How does he decide who gets what and if he gives out both mercy and justice, is he “perfectly” either?

                • tsara

                  Justice is not a concept that I find valuable. I do not believe in punishment for the sake of punishment. I find it morally reprehensible.

                  1. O RLY? What did I get wrong?
                  2. No, I just need to have a brain and use it to analyze your claims. I don’t believe in God; the idea just does not compute.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Justice has nothing to do with punishment for the sake of punishment. Justice has to do with getting what you deserve, which may be a paycheck you worked for, paying back something you stole, or eternal torment for failing to obey God.

                • tsara

                  ‘deserve’: another concept I find useless. I find karma (and similar principles) to be just as icky.

                • spookiewon

                  Really? You claim I “deserve” to be punished for all eternity. So tell me, what have I done that would make that “just.”

                  And don’t include offending or “failing to obey” any being you have not PROVED exists.

                • Kodie

                  You seem to think we are telling god who he should be. We don’t believe in god, or that there is “eternal” justice from space. Everyone just dies and doesn’t go anywhere. You, on the other hand, worship a “thing” of some sort, an imaginary thing, because if you don’t, you’re going to hell. You don’t worship him because he loves you, saves you, or graces you – you simply assume he does – but because you sadly understand that you deserve unending torture. You should be relieved to find out there is no god, but you choose to be defensive because someone ridiculed your beliefs.

                • WingedBeast

                  God deeming people to deserve unending torment is hateful.
                  That I have to point that out is either indicative of a basic lack of thought on your part, or a basic lack of honesty on your part.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Right, God should just wink and let everybody off scot free. I know many people believe that they shouldn’t be accountable for the wrongs they have done, but that doesn’t justify saying that God is bad for doing so.

                • spookiewon

                  You STILL have not provided evidence this god of yours is real.

                • WingedBeast

                  Let’s take a moment and pretend that those really are the only two options.

                  Option A: Consign every single soul, even for sins they do not actually commit but believe they would commit given the right circumstance, even if the situation does not present a sinless option, to eternal and total torment.
                  Option B: Don’t punish anybody at all.

                  If you are honestly claiming that those are the only two options, then option B. remains more ethical option. Is it the morally perfect option? Perhaps not, but still better than option A.

                  Now, I also contend that these are not the only options, that, in fact, there is a wide middle ground whereby individual actions are attributed individual punishments each with a purpose other than just the punishment for punishment’s sake.

                  If your claim is that God lacks the imagination to conceive of what I so readily did, then please admit to so right now… and then start worshiping me as I have just been identified as wiser than the god you worship.

                • spookiewon

                  Or both.

                • DavidMHart

                  “How is God graciously saving people who deserve unending torment hateful?”

                  Even by your standards, this stand out as a towering triumph of dishonesty. You know full well that what GCT considered hateful was your belief that everyone, no matter how kind, considerate and loving, is, simply by virtue of existing, guilty of a crime deserving of eternal torture.

                  I can’t think of any crimes that would make someone deserving of torture at all. And a crime that would make someone deserve to be kept alive forever in order to be tortured forever simply does not compute. If someone was so evil that they could not possibly be allowed to co-exist with humans, then I could maybe, just about, understand the case for the death penalty, administered as painlessly as possible (though I would still oppose it because we can never make any legal system watertight enough to avoid killing the innocent). But deliberate torture for the sake of torture, simply for being human? I cannot believe that you are unable to see how unethical that is. Your religious commitments have profoundly warped your compassion if that system strikes you as fair.

                  Here’s how it works: Your god is an omnipotent, and omniscient god. That means he deliberately creates a universe full of humans that he knows full well he is going to find so defective that he feels logically compelled to condemn them to eternal torture, then he throws them a lifeline that he knows full well only some of them will actually grab hold of.

                  Thus he deliberately creates a universe in which he knows full well some people will be condemned to eternal torture, even though (by virtue of his omnipotence) he is capable of creating a universe where no one is subjected to eternal torture … or indeed torture for any length of time.

                  Your god is thus a being of infinite cruelty. Do you understand why we find your hypothesis not merely wildly implausible, but also astonishingly unjust?

                • spookiewon

                  I wish I could just upvote this 1,000,000 times because you said it so perfectly.

                • Kodie

                  Because of the “everyone deserves unending torment” part, and you just being a sick fuck repeating it like you were telling me I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

                  My best friend in the whole universe thinks you’re a dick!

                • GCT

                  It’s hateful to create a species for the purposes of unending torture. Deciding to save some of them does not merit praise. That would be like commending Hitler for not putting a couple Jews in the oven.

                  It’s hateful to think that all your fellow human beings are deserving of torture (unending or not). It’s anti-human and disgusting.

                • C Peterson

                  I’d say that I hope you get your wish, but I’m more ethical than your god.

                • tsara

                  That’s disgusting.

                • Matt D

                  That’s fine, I’m comfortable with my evidence that your wrong, despite your Torquemada impression.

                • smrnda

                  If you think that, I think you’re simply a sadist looking for excuses.

                • spookiewon

                  There is something wrong with you. You are sick.

                • Kodie

                  Again, the Friendly Atheist is not friendly enough … for you. That’s why you come here, to tell us we deserve unending torture in hell, but someone said a Christian was misguided and gave out bad advice, and you … who claim we deserve unending torture … take offense at his attitude.

                • Birdie1986

                  Awesome! Where do I sign up to believe in that merciful and grace-giving god that will save me from the unending torture that he will impose on me if I don’t bow and scrape to him?

                • smrnda

                  If you don’t think you’re better than Hitler I question your sanity. That’s like me saying that I’m no taller than a mountain.

                  UNENDING torment? This god of yours just throws a hissy fit over the most meaningless shit. Punishments should fit the crime, and it’s wrong to hold people accountable to unreasonable standards.

                • spookiewon

                  I can’t speak for you since I don’t know you, but I AM BETTER THAN HITLER. There really is an objective morality, and no overseer is needed for it to exist. Questions of morality are questions about the suffering and happiness of conscious creatures, and it is most certainly possible to say that one action is more or less moral than another without calling on a god to do so.

                • Fred

                  “I don’t recognize the existence of “sin”, so your statement strikes me as meaningless.”

                  Sin is a type of invisible yet horribly dangerous grime that theists tell you about so they can sell you a special product capable of removing it.

                • C Peterson

                  Too late. I already have a special product. It’s called “reason”, and it leads me to a humanist viewpoint, and consequent “goodness”.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Unfortunate for you, ‘sin’ is an unverifiable thing. Do you have any proof that it really exists, or that it determines what happens to us after we die? You have about another 20 steps between reality and even attempting to validate something like ‘sin’.

                  Until you can do that, there’s no reason to think it’s more than a made up concept used to control those in the faith. They convince people they are sick, so they can sell them the cure; and those that control access to the cure (the church) have undue control over the lives of their followers.

                  There you go, a perfectly natural explanation for ‘sin’ that doesn’t require any super-natural assumptions.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Sin is easily verifiable. The Bible defines various sins (eg. murder). People have committed murder. Thus, sin exists.

                  As for it determining what happens to us after we die, we know that it determines what happens to us before we die (everything we do affects us one way or another). So I guess your question really amounts to, “Does anything happen to us after we die?”

                  Ultimately, this leads to, “Is the universe eternal?” What do you think?

                • C Peterson

                  “Verifiable” does not mean a definition exists in some old book. The bible claims that an infant exists in sin, which is an absurdity.

                  The Universe may or may not be eternal… a scientific question that has no bearing on whether or not there is an afterlife.

                • Matt D

                  Well then, since the diety “god” is a murderer, he is also a sinner…now “that’s” inconsistent!

                • EvolutionKills

                  “Sin is easily verifiable. The Bible defines various sins (eg. murder). People have committed murder. Thus, sin exists”

                  But do you proof that ‘sin’ will cause you to go Hell when you die? No? Then all the ‘proof’ you have for ‘sin’ is it’s very definition. A definition is not proof of anything.

                  “As for it determining what happens to us after we die, we know that it determines what happens to us before we die (everything we do affects us one way or another).”

                  No, WE do NOT know that it determines anything before death. WE do NOT know if it is anything more than a concept or a definition.

                  “So I guess your question really amounts to, “Does anything happen to us after we die?””

                  Our chemical metabolism ceases, and with it all of our bran functions. Without that, ‘we’ cease to be. At that point the body is nothing more than a pile of inert organic material. There is no reason to believe that we continue on in anything other than the memory and thoughts of others.

                  “Ultimately, this leads to, “Is the universe eternal?” What do you think?”

                  I don’t know, and I’m fine with that. I will never live long enough to see the end of the universe if there is one. The universe’s end will have little affect on me, and isn’t more than a mental exercise for me.

                • GCT

                  Um, no. Sin is defined as an action/thought/deed that god doesn’t like. In order to show that sin exists, you have to show that god exists and is offended by certain actions. Good luck with that.

                • Fred

                  LOL, water is wet, fire is hot, therefore god? Seriously you are laughable.

                • Remington 870

                  What a dick skinner you are Fed-dork.

                • RobMcCune

                  Looks like someone’s mad their god is fake and their champion is an idiot.

                • Remington 870

                  You must be a like minded spirit of Fred, the homosexual poster. Most of you athiests are homosexual dick skinners. Must be hell on earth having to live your pathetic life.

                • GCT

                  Flagged.

                • RobMcCune

                  Nope, the only miserable pathetic person here seems to be you.

                • Fred

                  I’ll take lame pejoratives that somehow imply that sex is wrong Alex!

                  Keep up the funny sh1t Remi!

                • smrnda

                  Who wants to go to heaven with a nutty control freak who thinks that sleeping in on a sunday is an INFINITE sin?

          • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

            The Bible makes clear…? really? which part? which of the various books from various authors in the cannon is clear? Have you read Revelation? Daniel? Genesis? Exodus? Leviticus? Deuteronomy? For God’s sake Ezekiel? Jonah? Job? The mere presence of these texts illuminate just how “clear” biblical teaching is. The only parts which denote clarity, are direct commands from “The Almighty” and usually involve various actions that somehow offend him and require death, or sacrifice. Not to mention the fact that the God of the Universe commits suicide as an act of forgiveness which can only be obtained by belief and additionally conditional behavior modification to coincide with whatever morals Christians cherry picked from the old law combined with Greek philosophy. Yep, super clear.

            • The Inconsistent Atheist

              I have read through the entire Bible numerous times, and yes it is quite clear that how we live and act is important.

              As for Christians combining OT law with Greek philosophy, I agree that that is a major problem. Christians need to ditch the Greek philosophy.

              • Matt D

                And why would you read one religious text numerous times and accept it as truth, yet call the other hundreds out there lies?

        • NateW

          Please forgive all the scripture quotes here. You will never see me proof texting against atheists, but this is such an egregiously abhorrent bit of commentary by a profession Christian that I can’t help but try to show what the bible really says. She misrepresents everything that I hold to be true as one who aspires to follow the Christ.

          Whether she holds the minority or majority viewpoint among profession Christians I don’t know. If it is the majority view than perhaps I need to give up the label “Christian.” I endeavor to follow Christ himself, not mass-Christianity. Whether I am “Christ-like,” whether I do this successfully or not, is for my friends, neighbors, and enemies to judge, not me. Feel free to judge everyone who takes up the name of Christ, but do so by the words of Christ Himself, not by the words of those who make a profession of “belief.” Anyone can say I’m a Christian, and one who is Christ-like can come from anywhere, but no one can be a non-Christ-like Christian.

          The passages below are just a few examples of what the bible says about those who put “belief” in God above showing unconditional loving-kindness to their neighbor (greek “agape” love).

          Matthew 25
          31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.’

          41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

          Matthew 7 (Jesus teaching)
          21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

          John 15 (Jesus teaching his disciples)
          8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

          12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you.

          Romans 13 (Paul speaking to Christians in Rome)
          8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

          1 John (Jesus’ disciple John writing to other Christians)
          7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

          13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, butperfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

          • C Peterson

            I’m happy to hear that there is at least one Christian out there who believes I will go to heaven despite being an atheist, simply because I choose to live my life being good and showing consideration to others.

            But I think you’re in the minority there. Indeed, you should consider giving up the label “Christian” and simply being a humanist.

            • Glasofruix

              Not to mention the official catholic doctrine…

          • playonwords

            Nate, What you are doing is called “cherry picking”. you are selecting only the parts of the bible that support your view.

            Guess what? Atheists read the bible as well.
            Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 New Living Translation)

            They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 New American Bible)

            He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Mattew 10:37 King James’ Version)

            Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:51 KJV)

            These are just a few portions of the Bible chosen at random.

            And, while you consider that, please inform us all how a relationship where you must both love and fear is not an abusive relationship.

            • James

              Isn’t what you just did the same cherry picking you accused Nate of?

              • Kodie

                The difference is our afterlives don’t depend on the particular interpretation of the one book that holds all the fucking answers. We’re entitled to point out to believers pertinent items of the bible they so easily sweep under the carpet.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Upvoted ‘cuz you know your shit.

      • baal

        Harping on Hemant’s lack of friendliness is at odds with your stated desire to engage in real discussion.

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          Sorry, I thought that’s what atheists considered “friendly.” I was just trying to follow Hemant’s example.

          • Bitter Lizard

            Hemant is way, way too friendly. He needs to dial that shit back a little.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              I’d like to see this guy try his schtick over at Pharyngula…

              • The Inconsistent Atheist

                I know there are atheists much worse than Hemant, but his mocking and condescending tone still doesn’t fit the description of “friendly.” To quote some ancient wisdom, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

                • EvolutionKills

                  After centuries of being tortured, burned alive, and killed by the religious; you should be happy that the worst most theists have to put up with is being MOCKED by nonbelievers.

                  Now get over yourself you big baby.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Okay, then, as you’ve nothing nice to say, SHUT UP.

          • talkingsnake

            We love the xian, hate the beliefs over here.

            Sound familiar?

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        TIA is foolishly attributing values to a statement that has no value in other words he is actually trying to turn atheism into a religion.

        TIA you might not like what you are wishing for.

      • Matt D

        Perhaps choosing a silly nickname to insult atheists while constantly disparaging Hemant for not being “friendly” has something to do with our reticence.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

          he has changed it a few times until he stuck with this one, at least on this point he is consistent

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          I’m simply trying to point out that you are being inconsistent. If Hemant really wants to be “The Friendly Atheist,” he’s welcome to do so. But the present content of his posts is anything but what I would consider friendly. If insulting people and arrogantly mocking their views is what atheists consider “friendly,” why are they upset when I respond in kind?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            …..

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            srsly?

          • EvolutionKills

            Being friendly does not mean that he is not allowed to offend your delicate Christian sensibilities. It also does not mean that by you being offend, that he is being anything but cordial, respectful, or friendly.

            You do not have the right to not be offended, welcome to the internet.

          • Goape

            It sounds like you’re confusing inconsistency with a perceived hypocrisy here. Also, most of what Hemant does is simply reporting on embarrassing things that theists do, so you can blame your fellow theists for offending you.

          • Matt D

            It seems that your reason for visiting this blog is to feel persecuted, not discuss the “important” issues with us.
            If you have a problem with beliefs being mocked and ridiculed, then you need to stop the clowns not tell the audience to stop laughing.

      • Machintelligence

        It seems to me that Hemant Mehta purposely posts inflammatory articles. Instead of being “The Friendly Atheist,

        Snerk. If you think Hemant is unfriendly to theists, hie yourself over to Pharyngula at Free Thought Blogs and hold onto your hat.

        • rg57

          Truly, that is where Hemant should be directing his kindness message. Christians already get that message from Jesus (if you if ignore the “my daddy-self is going to fry’em in hell FOR you, so you don’t have to” reasoning).

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Heh. GMTA, yeah?

        • spookiewon

          Hell, I’m an atheist and I’m offended by Pharyngula a lot of the time, FFS. But PZ would block him so fast his head would spin, so it’s irrelevant anyway. They have a low tolerance for disagreement at FtBs.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            The blocked list at Pharyngula, even after quite a few years, is pretty small. They’re all listed by name on one page.

      • Randay

        I have mentioned this before, but I keep need to be reminding some people that “how you live and act” is not essential in the Bible, at least not in the NT. Paul several times–read Galatians for one–says that good works will not save you, but ONLY faith in Jesus as your savior will. Works have no effect. If xians think otherwise, they haven’t read their NT.

        But as usual there is a contradiction in the NT–surprise, surprise. James says that both faith and works are required. So make your bets; who is right, Paul or James?

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          There is no contradiction between faith and works. Paul emphasizes faith in Christ as the means of salvation as opposed to human effort. James points out that faith in Christ will produce good works. Difference of emphasis does not equal contradiction.

          Having recently completed a study of Galatians, I’m well aware of what it says. Paul points out that you can’t be saved by being circumcised (works) and that if you think you have to be circumcised to be saved, you’re wrong. However, while there is a contrast there between faith and works, the real contrast is between human effort and Christ’s finished work on the cross. To say that we must do some “work” to be saved is to deny the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross. But that doesn’t mean Paul is against doing good works. He writes in Galatians that we are to “bear one another’s burdens,” and in Ephesians that we are saved “unto good works.”

          • GCT

            Saying “only” and then saying, “not really” is a contradiction. Try again.

            But that doesn’t mean Paul is against doing good works.

            No, it doesn’t, but that’s irrelevant to the discussion. If Paul is saying that only faith matters, then works do not matter. He can advocate good works all he wants, but it is not a condition upon which one obtains salvation if the only condition is that one have the correct beliefs.

          • Randay

            You take me for an idiot. I can read what Paul said and I used to have a half dozen of his quotes which you can find on a Bible site with a word search. For Paul, works are useless. The only intelligent thing that crazy or drug-crazed Paul ever said was that you don’t have to be circumcised.

            Of course he was preaching to the Greeks and Romans who destested the insane practice. “Studying” Galatians is a total waste of time. You might as well pray. Then there is the useless hair-splitting of James who no one knows the author which was around the 3rd century. James, what a great guy who says, I am “a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Now there’s a guy you want to follow.

            I am done with quibbling over Bible Bull Shit.

      • phantomreader42

        According to “CommentMaker” in this thread, works are irrelevant, faith is all that matters, and your understanding of the bible is not that of a True Christian™. Have the two of you discussed that? Or will you just ignore the inconsistencies between your delusions so both of you can focus on lying about atheists?

  • Guest

    Some Christians do become kinder by trying to honour their creator. The problem is, it doesn’t always follow. What if you think the creator wants you to persecute gay people, repress women or dash infants’ heads out on the rocks?

    • Spuddie

      Are they being kind out of honoring their creator or because they have a genuine desire to be kind? If you are doing it out of fear of God, then it is as phony as the response “God Bless you” when they feel insulted.

      • The Other Weirdo

        You’re looking for strike, not strikethrough.

        • Spuddie

          No problem Thanks!

    • WingedBeast

      The thing about being kinder as a means of honoring one’s creator is that it still subverts kindness. Kindness becomes not a virtue in and of itself, but a tool for the use of expressing the higher virtue, which is devoted obedience.
      It really doesn’t make people more loving, it makes people less loving, in that it takes any love that you may have for your fellow living/human/sentient/conscious beings and subverts those to love of God.

    • Anat

      Well, if they are decent people they will decide the best way to honor the creator is to tell him to fuck the hell off. If they aren’t, they will convince themselves that persecuting gay people, repressing women and dashing the heads of infants on rocks is in fact being kind to the respective groups mentioned.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Mehta and the atheist commenters completely miss the point of Michel’s article. It’s not about whether or not we should be kind (we should). The issue is that we are not always kind. The atheist has no solution for that problem. Christianity does.

    • Bitter Lizard

      I’m sure if Christians keep at it, they’ll find a cure for kindness in no time.

      • 3lemenope

        [snerk]

      • Tom

        They already have – they use no official name for it, but some of us call it the Prosperity Gospel. It’s the bastard child of Christianity, far-right conservative economics and so-called Objectivism, and it basically results in the just world fallacy turned up to 11.

    • Kodie

      1. Look around yourself.
      2. Communicate.

      Christianity’s solution is to pray and conform to your immediate neighbors.

      • The Inconsistent Atheist

        Kodie, that is what Michel was doing. Are you agreeing that she’s got it right?

        Actually, pretty much everyone looks around and communicates. Are you saying that everyone is always kind? Why are we even having this discussion then?

        • Kodie

          She is saying to ignore what people say they want and micromanage their lives on behalf of a figment of their collective (but not always similar or consistent) imaginations. Vaguely, she suggests that kindness comes from following god. You are suggesting that at least it’s a system and atheists are willy-nilly because we have no such system!

          This is true, we, as a loosely bound group, have no moral “code”, but it is also true that we are all humans, and humans do have morals. Most animals do develop a behavior of cooperation and many even have empathy. Parenting in the animal kingdom (as we have observed) would not go well if an animal could not help a young animal get what it needs before it can get it itself. How can a bear pick up a young cub in its teeth if it didn’t have the ability to decide what to kill and what to carry?
          Anyway, humans are animals and it’s not mysterious that we can weigh our options and develop skills to observe a person in need, ask them what they need, and help them get what they need?

          How do you think you know to hold a door open for someone? How do you know if someone is hungry? How do you know if someone lost everything they have in a storm?

          What does honoring god’s commandments have to do with your responses to these circumstances? Believing that kindness automatically comes from beliefs or honoring god is useless or detrimental. Stopping to ask god what you should do means you don’t think for yourself, you don’t actually know the right thing to do. And depending on the person, god’s advice might be to let the door close if the person is black; deny them food because they should have to work for it; or attribute the storm as god’s personal response to homosexuals.

    • John Small Berries

      When will Christianity begin implementing that solution, then? Because, let’s face it, you’ve had two thousand years to get it right, but many Christians still don’t seem to have a handle on it.

      • CommentMaker

        John Small Berries,

        I’m a Christian. I guess all of your Christian examples seem to fail you. Have you tried expository preaching? Go to http://www.gty.com or youtube and type in John MacArthur. You may come away with a different perspective.

        • Bitter Lizard

          No, reading your posts on this thread, it is clear you would make an exemplary “Exhibit A” for every negative thing an atheist has ever said about a religious person ever.

          • CommentMaker

            Bitter Lizard,

            See John’s comment. Same KKK mentality toward religion. Case in point.

    • icecreamassassin

      “Fear God and keep His commandments” is an atrociously bad and ineffective solution at making people kind. Fred Phelps seems pretty keen on fearing god and keeping his commandments, and look at what a massive c*ntbag that guy is.

      • The Inconsistent Atheist

        “Fear God and keep His commandments” isn’t the whole answer. The Bible itself points out that we are incapable in ourselves to fear God and keep His commandments (and be kind). We need God’s mercy and grace.

        I know nothing about Fred Phelps, so I can’t comment on him, other than to say that if he is not kind, he is definitely not fearing God and keeping His commandments.

        • Spuddie

          Could have fooled me by the way it is referenced by Christians.

          Of course you have heard of Fred Phelps, anyone who has come by here as often as you would have. Lying for the Lord much?

        • The Other Weirdo

          We are how God made us, assuming for the sake argument that the myths are true. Why did your God burden us with this curse? And even more importantly, why has He never come down and actually taught us proper behaviour? Imagine how much better we could have been had we only had divine education and advice from a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good, all-caring being that created us.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

          You must live under a rock (most likely) to know nothing of Fred Phelps.

          • 3lemenope

            Why, he lives under the Rock of Ages!

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      Well that was kind of you.

    • David Kopp

      Is kindness forcing others to believe in your god? To bend to your opinions? Injecting your religion into public policy? All of these things are what Christians do, they follow the “creator”, yet they aren’t terribly kind at all. Only if you believe that the end justifies the means, and that’s an end you can’t prove.

      • The Inconsistent Atheist

        Your response is completely reversible.

        Is kindness forcing others to not believe in God? To bend to your opinions? Injecting your beliefs into public policy? All of these things are what atheists do. They don’t follow the Creator, and they aren’t terribly kind at all. Only if you believe that the end justifies the means, if atheism even has an end.

        • Spuddie

          Reversible but not factual.

          Nobody is forced into atheism. Least of all under color of law. Same can’t be said of Christianity. Atheists do not have the same trouble as Christians do when it comes to ensuring government respecting all beliefs, even those outside of their own.

          Christian notions of kindness and charity seems to be rather self-serving. If it does not bolster the faith, it is rejected and denigrated. Rarely is it done without strings attached.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

          and the same goes for you

          Is the belief in god forcing others not to be kind? Have your opinions been bent? Is it your public policy to inject your religion into daily life? All of these things are what asshole’s do. They aren’t terribly kind at all by following their creator. There is no end that justifies the means.

        • baal

          “Believe what you want – at home!”

          is just not the same as

          “My GOD or HELL for you!”

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

            are you down voting me again?

            • baal

              Consider it performance art performed for an audience of one.

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                I don’t know why you think I am such a bad person

                • baal

                  {condescending teacher mode}
                  You’re obviously capable of good, funny and smart comments but all too often engage in plain trolling (trolling for good is still trolling) or tagging comment chains you like with flat tiny idiotic comments (like MattD) (painfully pointless noise). (failure of potential)

                  Worse, I’m harboring a suspicion that you have a Hyde that gets nutty abusive over on the WWJTD blog. As a minor paranoic, I’ll keep looking for better evidence but your neckbeardedness is showing. (lurking menace)

                  /end condescension

                  TL;DR: some questions are better off unasked

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  I mostly comment on this blog. Like 99.9% of my comments are here maybe a few on some News sites like Tribnet or LA Times but pretty much here. I have no other accounts or aliases. I am way too myopic in debunking PA’s to care what other xians are saying.
                  As for the painfully pointless noise and lack of potentials I am trying my best to not be really harsh, admittedly I was once exceptionally angry and hateful towards theists and I have toned down that rhetoric a lot.
                  My main trolling now is focused on engaging presuppositional apologists. If you think you are wise enough to stand up against them, then by all means do so, but I suspect once you do, they will dominate this forum in a few months and y’all will move on or Hemant will just close his blog. In my personal opinion the PA’s are the Taliban of Christianity and though they might not be violent yet I believe they will start getting physically violent soon.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

                  Of course I always seem to forget that if you give someone a hundred dollar bills they might complain that many bills won’t fit in their wallet.

        • kaydenpat

          And all Christians are kind? And all atheists aren’t kind?

          In which planet?

        • Obazervazi

          Incorrect. One might notice the difference between promoting secularism and promoting disbelief. (hint: secularism stays out of peoples’ personal lives.)

        • Tom

          Twaddle. Atheism does not force anyone not to believe in god, except if you consider logical disproof to constitute forcing someone not to believe what you’ve disproven. Atheists, overwhelmingly, want secular policy, not atheist policy. Many are kind. Atheism has no end, because it is stupid and nonsensical for a truth statement to somehow also be considered a goal or target.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      Not having a solution is better than making excuses for not dealing with the problem the christian seems to forget his solutions were all copied from others.

    • baal

      And yet I don’t know Christians by their kindness. I know them for their mental blinders and brutal silencing of voices they don’t like (kind or not).

    • WingedBeast

      Actually, Christianity does not have a solution for that problem. It, in fact, exacerbates the problem by subverting kindness before obedience.

  • eric

    Modern right-wing fundamentalist Christianity = “George Orwell’s Guide To The New Testament.”

    • WingedBeast

      To be fair, that isn’t exactly new. The Orwellian aspect of religion has been there from the beginning, from the all-seeing God that could be looking in on you at any moment to the need to subvert even your comprehension of reality before the word of God, to the impossible-to-keep rules, to the ever-present danger of punishment either in current conditions or in afterlife.

      George Orwell observed this tendency of powerful parties to exert power for its own sake, to self-deceive, etc, as something already extant. He didn’t make it up. The fright of 1984 isn’t that he imagined up the system, it’s that he took it to its logical conclusion.

  • ajginn

    To make kindness into an ultimate virtue is to insist that our most important moral obligations are those we owe are to our fellow human beings.

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23

    Leave it to that asshole Paul to make kindness into an ultimate virtue!

  • Gus Snarp

    To make kindness into an ultimate virtue is to insist that our most important moral obligations are those we owe are to our fellow human beings.

    Sounds like Humanism!

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      Tell that to Inconsistant

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    The other day when I heard that a Catholic guy was arguing against love-based marriage, I wondered–I mean I literally wondered right then–what Christians were going to do to top themselves against that one. Guess I know. Now I’m wondering what’s next.

    “Babies, you have got to be kind.” — KV

  • daryl carpenter

    Ah, the naive fundie, thinking Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. But despite the gloss of a later editor (quoted by Michel) giving it a more theistic sheen, it’s still the best thing in the whole bible.*

    *Regrettably it does lapse into misogynistic territories on occasion, which is a shame.

  • Mary Ellen

    And of course this dichotomy in perspective simply reminds us that Christianity (like atheism, Protestantism, liberalism, conservatism, sexism, or any other “ism” you can name) is not homogeneous. It is a broad continuum of beliefs about ethics, the universe, and even its own principles. Christians like Saunders believe the prime directive is duty to others. Christians like Michel believe the prime directive is duty to God. The former is a more “humanistic” flavor of Christianity than the latter, so it’s no surprise that a humanist blogger would find more to agree with. :)

  • Sk3ptec

    I think a definition of kindness is in order. And also an explanation why atheists think they are particularly “kinder” than other people. Judging from the comments on this post, kindness isn’t exactly a natural or instinctual phenomena.

    • Mitch

      I’ll use Wikipedia’s take on kindness: “marked by good and cheritable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.”

      Perhaps some atheists view the way they talk as an act of kindness. In their mind, doing away with someone’s (considered misguided or supterstitious) beliefs is to show concern for their intellectual well-being.

      Other than that, maybe the general anonymity and “distance” of online discussion allows people to act and speak in ways they wouldn’t in face-to-face conversation.

      I’m not trying to claim that everyone here fits with the ideas I’m tossing out. Just a little thinking “out loud” on my part.

      • Sk3ptec

        “general anonymity and “distance” of online discussion allows people to act and speak in ways they wouldn’t in face-to-face conversation.” I do completely agree with this. It is one unfortunate side-effect of our online society.

    • Gus Snarp

      The tone of blog comments anywhere is not in any way indicative of the kindness of a real world community. Nor does strongly criticizing bad ideas demonstrate a lack of kindness in general.

      • Sk3ptec

        True.

    • baal

      Reversibility error. The complaint is that a christian should not argue against kindness. It looks like hypocrisy. It is mean. Regardless, kindness is a part of humanism – a philosophy many atheists subscribe to. Atheism doesn’t have a prescriptive belief set.

    • Theodore (Tugs) Njáll McCowan

      Isn’t it kind to reveal another human’s negative traits for the good of the planet?

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    I know, I know there are enough verses in the holey book for everybody however…..Micah 6:8 says what does god require of you…. to act justly to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Two out of three isn’t bad and if you could be humble about your imaginary friend I will put up with that as well. If christians pick and choose their verses (and they do) . I wish this one was higher on the list

  • CottonBlimp

    Honor your Creator first — and kindness to his creatures will follow.

    This one sentence demonstrates how religion, in all its forms, will ALWAYS have a negative affect on human morality. Not only does it introduce to the moral equation an unnecessary variable (God) it places that variable as more important than people who actually exist.

    We don’t better serve our fellow man by serving an alien entity that may not even exist, whose commands are open to the interpretation of the individual.

    • CommentMaker

      Hi, CottonBlimp,

      You sure believe in absolutes when it comes to Christians and Christianity as a whole. Just a clarifying comment. In Christendom, God does want the full allegiance of His followers. In turn, the good He wants to do is better served through many loyal followers. More good can be done. Yea, a couple of wack-o hypocrites will weasel in and make things look bad, but don’t look at them. They are simply a distraction. Look at the good of many others who are committed followers exercising what their God wants them to do. It is more orderly that way.

      • b s

        “God does want the full allegiance of His followers. In turn, the good He wants to do is better served through many loyal followers. ”

        You know what would really help? Good, solid evidence. Have any?

        • CommentMaker

          b s,

          Changed lives is the only evidence a Christian has. I worked with a man that was vile and hated life itself. He was a gang member and hurt many people. He was converted and began to serve the people society had cast out. I don’t think bad people make that decision on their own. If you want solid evidence you would have to find someone like that and see the transformation.

          • tsara

            What makes you think he ‘hated life itself’? Because that sounds like you’re saying he was suicidal.
            And what makes you think he was a bad person? Why do you think he wouldn’t have been able to make that decision on his own? Why does ‘Jesus’ need to be the answer? Is there evidence that Jesus works better to turn people’s lives around than a placebo?

            • CommentMaker

              tsara,

              His confession is what I go by. You do not want to believe and I will not try to convince you.

              • tsara

                It was more your phrasing that I was having difficulty with, especially with ‘hated life itself’. I’ve been suicidal, so that caught my attention.

                EDIT: though, if there were evidence that Jesus worked better than placebos, that would be evidence for Christianity being true.

                • CommentMaker

                  I have been suicidal, too. I didn’t turn to Jesus at that time. I worked through it for a couple of years. The evidence of Christianity came to me when Jesus opened my eyes. That will be the only evidence and you know it from the very beginning.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  You are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “evidence”. It stands in opposition to “faith” in usage. Evidence is by definition material.

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L. Honeycutt,

                  And you, sir, are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “faith”. Faith is measured out to the believer by God (Romans 12:3). It is not something we conjure up in our mind either. Here is the Bible definition, but you may not understand it if God has not provided His faith to you.

                  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

                  Here is another verse that may help you understand where the Christian sees how things were made.

                  “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

                  I don’t expect you to understand or like it, but this is why true Christians think the way they do.

                  BTW, God is a Spirit, not material. You may never have the evidence you think you are looking for. That is why I said what I said.

                • GCT

                  Faith is not evidence, even if your Bible tells you it is. You can have all the faith in the world that you’ll be able to jump off a cliff and fly unaided by flapping your arms, but that faith of yours does not constitute evidence that the proposition is true. Faith is the belief in a proposition for which there is either no evidence or the evidence that exists runs counter to the proposition in question.

                  Additionally, if god is the one that must provide us faith, you’ve got quite a few problems. Why are you here? If god has to confer faith upon us, then what do you think your actions will contribute to the discussion? We would be unable to see unless and until your god gets off his duff and decides to help us out.

                  Another problem for you would be the fact that us going to hell would not be by choice, but because god never revealed himself to us, which would paint your god as an evil asshole.

                  You also have to explain why faith is necessary and why the evidence we do have (supplied by god, no less) does not point to there even being a god, at best, and at worst leads us to the conclusion that no god exists.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  Define faith your way if you want, I happen to know why the Bible defines it the way it does. I do not know why God has not shown you or given you the faith that brings salvation. That is His choice exclusively.

                  You know, I have given you evidence from the Bible what true Christianity is about and you either deny it, change it, call our God names or get mad about it. You really do not want evidence, do you? You prove that you cannot take it anyway. All I showed you was what the Bible says to believers and you step in and have a hissy fit. (head shake)

                • GCT

                  Define faith your way if you want, I happen to know why the Bible defines it the way it does.

                  What you are describing (the Bible definition) is not faith. One does not need faith if one has evidence. Also, faith is not the same as evidence, as I pointed out. You can insist on using the word wrongly, but you’ll also have to agree that people have evidence of Leprechauns, unicorns, Santa Claus, etc.

                  I do not know why God has not shown you or given you the faith that brings salvation. That is His choice exclusively.

                  Yet you’re more than willing to give god a pass for torturing people for eternity simply because god didn’t give them faith. That’s horrible.

                  You know, I have given you evidence from the Bible what true Christianity is about and you either deny it, change it, call our God names or get mad about it.

                  You’ve done no such thing. You’ve told me what your interpretation of specific passages is. Other Xians disagree with you and claim that they know what true Xianity is and you don’t. It’s fallacious when they do it and it’s fallacious when you do it. Also, the Bible is not evidence of god. It is only evidence of what some people a couple thousands of years ago thought.

                  You really do not want evidence, do you?

                  That’s preposterous on numerous counts. First, if god does exist, why would I not want evidence. Second, I’ve been asking for evidence for many years now, because I value truth. Third, you’re trying to make it my fault that you have no evidence to provide.

                  You prove that you cannot take it anyway. All I showed you was what the Bible says to believers and you step in and have a hissy fit.

                  I would say you are the one having a fit, because your religious privilege has been challenged. Get used to it and get over yourself.

                • Gus Snarp

                  Oh, well that makes it easy then. It’s God’s fault I don’t believe in him, he didn’t give me any faith! Or, since I once believed, he took the faith back. Or maybe my belief wasn’t based on “real” faith. Either way, I’ve got no magic faith, in spite of trying, so God has basically condemned me to hell for not having faith he didn’t give me.

                  Man, that’s a great moral exemplar and model of kindness you’ve got there. Also, a great way to make unfalsifiable claims.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Actually, I was familiar with that exact definition. Good job of foolishly assuming I wasn’t, based on no EVIDENCE. Faith in a religious sense is belief without EVIDENCE. Faith in a nonreligious sense is akin to the word “trust”, meaning a belief based on prior observations.

                  You got kinda defensive about not knowing that, sir, did you notice?

          • b s

            “If you want solid evidence you would have to find someone like that and see the transformation.”
            I have seen a few people like that. Not all of them were christian (True or otherwise). No evidence there.

            • CommentMaker

              b s,

              If God came down and stood in front of you and said, “BELIEVE IN ME” you still would question Him. Evidence isn’t what you are looking for.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                If you wouldn’t question your senses when confronted with that scene, that’s a problem with YOUR thinking, not anyone else’s.

                Evidence isn’t what you are looking for.

                Wow, it took almost two days for your sickness to completely emerge. You make judgments about the innermost feelings of others based on your prejudices and sloppy thinking.

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L. Honeycutt,

                  What is the evidence of a person in love?
                  What is the evidence of a person that enjoys baseball, basketball or football?
                  What is the evidence of a person who is a bodybuilder?
                  What is the evidence of a person who is a banker, counselor, teacher or constructor?

                  I give the only evidence we Christians offer, a changed life, and it is tossed aside as nothing. Making up your own definition of evidence is also prejudice and sloppy thinking.

                • GCT

                  What is the evidence of a person in love?
                  What is the evidence of a person that enjoys baseball, basketball or football?
                  What is the evidence of a person who is a bodybuilder?
                  What is the evidence of a person who is a banker, counselor, teacher or constructor?

                  I fail to see the point in your questions. We can present evidence for these propositions. You cannot present evidence for your propositions.

                  I give the only evidence we Christians offer, a changed life, and it is tossed aside as nothing. Making up your own definition of evidence is also prejudice and sloppy thinking.

                  The one making up definitions is you. That someone claims to have changed their life is not evidence of the Xian god anymore than an atheist claiming a changed life from leaving Xianity is evidence of no god. You seem fundamentally confused about what “evidence” is and means.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  “I fail to see the point in your questions.”

                  Because you don’t want it to be evidence or you are blind.

                  Behavioral changes in humans are extremely difficult. Try losing weight and keeping it off for your lifetime. When a person is transformed from within there is a behavioral change that occurs. You would have to know the person before and after. You would also have to have a good understanding of human behavior to be able to measure it, too.

                • b s

                  “I give the only evidence we Christians offer, a changed life, and it is tossed aside as nothing. ”

                  Because it is nothing. You do realize that people who do not believe in god can change their life as well, right? Unless you propose some method by which we can determine who or what caused that change?

                • GCT

                  Because you don’t want it to be evidence or you are blind.

                  What in the world are you talking about? You posted a bunch of meaningless questions that are easily answered and then claim that it somehow constitutes evidence? And, further that my inability to understand why you think that you’ve made a point is somehow me not wanting to have evidence and blindness? Let me ask you something: is there a possibility that you could be wrong about god’s existence?

                  Behavioral changes in humans are extremely difficult. Try losing weight and keeping it off for your lifetime.

                  Losing weight is not a behavioral change.

                  When a person is transformed from within there is a behavioral change that occurs.

                  Evidence that someone is being “transformed from within” please. You can find people converting to all kinds of different religions or deconverting from religion that claim to be happier. This is not evidence that any of those religions or non-religions are true. If you are really claiming that Xianity is true because some people are happy when they become Xians, then you also have to believe that Islam is true, Mormonism is true, atheism is true, etc.

                • phantomreader42

                  If YOU are the example of a life changed through the grace of god, no one wants any, because you are a vile, arrogant, bigoted, stupid, lying sack of shit!

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Making up your own definition of evidence is also prejudice and sloppy thinking.

                  Agreed, which is why you shouldn’t do it. Changing one’s life isn’t evidence of any of the gods, because there is no verifiable element outside of the material universe to which that person is reacting. Their brain lights up in predictable ways in response to stimuli. If one of the gods was influencing them, then they would take actions that had no corresponding neural activity.

                  Citing a change in one’s life as evidence of a god is exactly equal to citing smiling while watching My Little Pony as evidence that flash animation ponies are real.

                  and it is tossed aside as nothing

                  So if God changed your life, does that mean that before you found God, you were NOT prone to imagining persecution directed at you? Because that’s what you did right there.

                • Kodie

                  You give evidence that you belong to a cult, so we can put that on par with your examples. I have no reason to disagree with your claims to belong to a cult.

              • Bitter Lizard

                Riiight. Because that would be exactly the same thing as what we have now: idiots with no evidence mindlessly vomiting nonsense. Same. Goddamned. Thing.

              • b s

                IF that happened and he could prove he was god (and provide the same evidence so others would also believe), I would believe. You know why? That would be evidence. Exactly how he would do that, I am not certain, but I’m sure god could figure that out.

                But know what? That has never verifiably happened to anybody, anywhere throughout human history.

          • RowanVT

            How about changed lives when leaving christianity? My life improved by leaps and bounds once I gave up on that religion.

            • CommentMaker

              RowanVT,

              Obviously, you had no religion in the first place. You just gave up trying to work your way to heaven.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                That was a foul, ignorant, and stupid thing to say. You should be ashamed of yourself for your presumption to know what goes on so deeply in the hearts of others. You should be ashamed of yourself for your flippant dismissal of the trials and journeys of others. You’re implicitly claiming that your path is the only valid one, and anyone else who doesn’t follow it is just playing and not serious about their lives. Your words and thinking are sick.

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L. Honeycutt,

                  I do not think so. There are only two (2) ways people try to get into heaven; works or faith. My experience for the past 34 years is that men and women who leave the church have some sort of idea that they have burned out. This is always due to a thinking that they must work harder for something. Faith does not work that way. Faith is simply resting in Christ. You do not burn out by resting. RowanVT seemed to be bragging that he obtained a life improvement when he left religion. All he did was quit working to get to heaven. No faith was there anyway, so, now, he just doesn’t believe in heaven and feels better. He didn’t have true religion in the first place. I’m glad he’s happy.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  I repeat,

                  That was a foul, ignorant, and stupid thing to say. You should be
                  ashamed of yourself for your presumption to know what goes on so deeply
                  in the hearts of others. You should be ashamed of yourself for your
                  flippant dismissal of the trials and journeys of others. You’re
                  implicitly claiming that your path is the only valid one, and anyone
                  else who doesn’t follow it is just playing and not serious about their
                  lives. Your words and thinking are sick.

                  Because you have done nothing except declare again that you have magical knowledge of the other person’s struggle and deepest feelings.

                  That’s being a false prophet, by the way. Wanna know what happens to them?

                • Bitter Lizard

                  I wonder if he still thinks he’s being “nice”. Wait a second–no, I don’t.

              • phantomreader42

                Are you sure it’s a good idea for you to pretend you have hte magical power to read people’s minds? I seem to recall that imaginary god of yours having a rather dim view of sorcerers and false prophets. Will you set yourself on fire now, because your precious book of myths tells you not to suffer a witch to live? Or will you just keep lying through your teeth as always? Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

              • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                I was going to ask how you can treat people that way and still think of yourself as “a nice guy.” I think you need to redefine yourself. You’re definitely not “a nice guy.” After seeing that comment, I’d say you are quite awful.

                Whatever the case, that was an absolutely disgusting thing to say. Very judgmental and cruel. Are you simply ignorant of why people leave Christianity? Then ask. Most of us are happy to share our deconversion stories. You’ll quickly find that most of us were far better Christians than you could possibly hope to be. I’m an ex-Christian and still could not even imagine saying something that revolting to someone and dismissing them in such a callous manner. If you are a True Christian™, if you are what your god values and desires in a follower, then I am doubly glad to be away from such a toxic religion and mindset. You haven’t got the faintest idea how to love. Why, it’s almost as if there isn’t some magic daddy up in the sky informing your behavior and shaping your actions. Crazy, isn’t it?

                All we have is each other and how we treat each other. You’re wasting your life mistreating people to make yourself feel superior. That’s so tragic. But ultimately it’s your life and your time.

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  I prefer you to think of me the way you do. RowanVT is like any other person that thinks they can work their way to heaven. Sometimes people need a wake up call by telling it like it is. Christianity is not of works lest any man should boast. That means no works whatsoever in the born again experience. None, nata, no. That is the difference in true Christianity and false Christianity.

                • b s

                  “Christianity is not of works lest any man should boast. That means no works whatsoever in the born again experience. None, nata, no. That is the difference in true Christianity and false Christianity.”

                  Wait a minute, you told me in another post that this (among other things) was just political and” are points of controversy. They are not what makes a Christian” yet here you are claiming that it is the difference between True and False Christians.

                  Which is it? Are you confused or lying?

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  Christianity will always confuse an atheist. Just live with it.

                • GCT

                  It’s not that Xianity confuses us. Many of us used to be Xians. It’s the contradictory “explanations” that you posit that are in question. And, the question was put to you whether you are the one confused or lying.

                • Kodie

                  You’ve spent dozens if not over 100 posts boasting that you’re a true Christian and additionally using that to:

                  judge others not true Christians
                  judge former Christians for never having been true Christians
                  judging atheistS of having prejudice against Christians
                  equating your chosen delusion with being black
                  equating atheistS with the KKK
                  … among many other things

                  Essentially all you’ve done is demonstrate that Christianity makes someone terrible. Having the lord inside you has transformed you into someone quite arrogant, boastful, and presumptuous – as if you have some justification for this behavior, you refuse to elaborate on why you are real and others are phony Christians, according to you, because you know what god thinks and presume to speak for him. You have used this thread, even though you said you don’t encounter atheists, atheists don’t bother you, and you don’t like to debate atheists, to troll atheists and talk about yourself. It still is not prejudice or bigotry to judge you or any Christian, anyone who calls themselves Christian, based on behavior that is based on head games and emotions they cannot prove – which, because they cannot prove, have decided they must not be supposed to.

                  Nobody here thinks that is relevant. If you can’t prove there’s a god, then you have absolutely no excuse for being such a rude asshole. You would have to produce evidence that demonstrated there is a god and he prefers rude assholes.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  The atheist on this blog think that if a person calls themselves a Christian, they are one. That is were I had to identify the difference between a hypocrite and a true Christian. None of you were ever convinced. That tells me that you do not know anything about Christianity.

                • Kodie

                  That is were I had to identify the difference between a hypocrite and a
                  true Christian boast and boast and boast and boast about how nobody but me is good enough for the lord. None of you were ever convinced. That tells me that you
                  do not know anything about Christianity.

                  FTFY.

                  You say you are a true Christian and I believe you because you say you are. You do behave like one – i.e. blowhard, self-centered, judgmental, and sick. God picks the worst people.

                • GCT

                  The atheist on this blog think that if a person calls themselves a Christian, they are one.

                  If you refuse to give criteria for how to tell whether that person is lying or not, why should we not take them at their word?

                  None of you were ever convinced.

                  You have no way of knowing that. And, there are plenty of deconversion stories out there that you could read of people who were plenty convinced.

                  That tells me that you do not know anything about Christianity.

                  Being convinced that something is true is irrelevant to having knowledge about that subject.

                • GCT

                  Another person in this very comment thread is claiming that works are important. Would you kindly go and inform that person that they are not a true Xian? Thx.

      • CottonBlimp

        I find it hard to believe you’re a part of the solution when you minimize the problem. The problem isn’t caused by “a couple” of Christians. The Crusades weren’t fought by “a couple” of Christians; we’re talking about the majority of Christians through the majority of history. If you approach this with any semblance of honesty, the instances in which Christians do good seem much more like the distraction from the anti-human agenda at the heart of the religion.

        You’ve also completely missed the point. It’s not that Christians aren’t capable of charity – it’s that every dollar that goes to a Christian charity is one less dollar that goes to a secular charity. At the absolute best, Christian charity means there’s just some, slight degree less that Christians are helping their fellow man, and the average reality tends to run far, faaaar worse.

        • CommentMaker

          CottonBlimp,

          Obviously, you do your research in the wrong place. The money given to the Christian denomination I am affiliated with goes to a charity that is the third largest human charity in the world. The only two larger are the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I am part of the Southern Baptist and we spend billions in foreign aid when tragedy hits. Get your facts right. It seems that you only want to find what fits your negative belief system and throw the baby out with the water. Better research will make you a better atheist.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Well, there are several ways to rank charities, so this is a guess, but…

            Religious charities like Catholic Charities USA spend some of the money donated to them for religious purposes. That is money not going to people in need of things like food, shelter, and vaccines.

            Several major branches of Catholic Charities have pushed heavily against being forced to treat all people equally, which means they spent donated funds to lobby for their right to discriminate. Worse yet, when they lost, they took their ball and went home. These incidents have been described on this site. They’ve done such things as drop all health coverage for couples rather than provide it to same-sex couples, and completely exited the adoption game rather than adopt out to same-sex couples.

            CC USA receives almost half of its money from the Unconstitutional Faith-Based Initiatives budget, billions of dollars’ worth. See above for things done with said money.

            What is a “human” charity?

            I am part of the Southern Baptist and we spend billions in foreign aid when tragedy hits.

            Citation please.

            You ignored his entire first paragraph, probably because actual history agrees with him. Therefore, ahem, “It seems that you only want to find what fits your belief system and throw the baby out with the water. Better research will make you a better Christian.”

            Atheism isn’t a negative belief system. Try again.

            • CommentMaker

              C.L. Honeycutt,

              All charities do not use 100% of donations on the poor and sick. They have administration cost and, yes, the donations go to religious purposes and the givers know and want that. That is just the way it is. You do not have to donate to them but you do not have to condemn them either. More people are being helped than you think or know.

              I am not Catholic, but I support their right to uphold what they believe. It has been that way all along. The church does not have to change along with society. You wouldn’t allow a society to force you to go to church if the shoe was on the other foot. Give it up! Homosexuality and religion does not and will never mix.

              You seem to have an agenda that is against any and all religion. It is like you are offended by religion like the KKK is offended by the color of a person’s skin. No rhyme or reason, just pure prejudice toward anything to do with religion. Coexistence is not part of your thinking. You have nothing positive or good to say about religion like many other comments I have read here. It seems to me that atheism is the new KKK.

              • Bitter Lizard

                A few points:

                (1) The KKK is an explicitly and fervently Christian organization. They’re you guys. Don’t you find it a little telling that when you want to insult atheists, your go-to slur is to compare them to your fellow Christians? It’s a little like the “atheist fundamentalist” canard: “You guys suck so much that…uh…uh…d’ur…you’re like us!” Nailed it!

                (2) So…atheists are intolerant and awful because they criticize other people’s beliefs, but you, on the other hand, are doing…what now?

                (3) The word “prejudice” means to “pre-judge”. Atheists couldn’t “pre-judge” religion if they tried–we have been bombarded with more of it than we frankly need to make an informed judgment. You guys are simply awful. This isn’t a “pre-judgment”, it is, if anything, a post-judgment, following your long-standing, consistent and unrelenting awfulness.

                • CommentMaker

                  Bitter Lizard,

                  The KKK is not a Christian organization. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. That is why Jesus told the Phrases they were hypocrites or play actors. Lots of people want on the band wagon, but they simply are not genuine.

                  Criticizing another’s belief in a conversation is far from a group of people that have nothing better to do than to talk about their prejudices toward others belief in their own blog. That is what the KKK does when they talk about the color of someone’s skin. The KKK dismisses it just like you.

                  You pre-judge the thoughts and intents of another’s heart and mind. That is prejudice. I have noticed on atheist blogs that most comments are directed at calling us stupid, awful, ignorant and so on. That is what the KKK does toward blacks and Jews. No difference. Because you have nothing to live for, you live against. Same KKK mentality. Keep telling yourself lies.

                • GCT

                  The KKK is not a Christian organization.

                  Yes, they are, explicitly. I’m sorry that offends you, but it’s true, and no amount of not true scotsmen can change that.

                  Criticizing another’s belief in a conversation is far from a group of people that have nothing better to do than to talk about their prejudices toward others belief in their own blog.

                  Should we talk about your religious privilege then? If anyone is displaying prejudices, it’s you.

                  I have noticed on atheist blogs that most comments are directed at calling us stupid, awful, ignorant and so on.

                  More religious privilege on your part. You see what you want to see based on your prejudices.

                  Because you have nothing to live for, you live against.

                  And here is the money shot. Not content to simply push your religious privilege and biases on us you have to actually demonize and attack.

                • CommentMaker

                  Just make it up as you go. No substance here, either.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Want to have some fun? Go up to a KKK member and tell him that he’s not a Christian. I hope he’s not armed with a gun so that you only receive a physical beating instead of being shot on the spot.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  Do you think for a second that I haven’t done that? You think I fear man or the KKK? The poison of hate must be addressed and abolished.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “It seems to me that atheism is the new KKK.”

                  “The poison of hate must be addressed and abolished.”

                  Yeah, your hypocrisy is staggering.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  Taking things out of context is rather common here.

                  Atheism has all of the signs of unprovoked hatred toward religion. It is in most of your literature and even the comments on this blog before I got here. Religion is on your mind more than most religious people I know. Your hatred toward religion and your constant mocking of it must be addressed and abolished. But not the way you think.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  You do realize that you’re going to keep getting called out on your blatant hypocrisy, right? With regards to us “mocking” you, you do realize that you’re the one opening the door over and over again, and we’re just walking through it? Right?
                  Completely sincere question: what did you expect to happen when you started posting on this thread?

                • CommentMaker

                  Bitter Lizard,

                  You have proven yourself insincere already in everything you have said to me.

                  Go to my very first comment. The great Captain Cassidy chose to go off topic and then spew his venom of lies, mockery and condemnation. I thought I came on this stream with all good intentions. The KKK mentality toward Christians changed that.

                • EvolutionKills

                  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  But you do not believe there is a hell, therefore, your intentions may be tainted.

                • EvolutionKills

                  I don’t believe in Hell, but the sentiment still stands.

                  People with good intention can do horrible things if they are not careful of their actions. Case in point, your pompous presuppositionalism, constant use of the no-true-Scotsman fallacy, and whining about being offend and having hurt feelings; all have done little to help your ‘good intentions’.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  You just told everyone that you don’t understand what “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” actually means. Sigh.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  I just started posting here, CommentMaker, and no offense to all the good people here, but you are totally my favorite. “Did you ever feel like life was a tuxedo and blah blah KKK VENOM LIES!” I want to put you in one of those little puppy sweaters and carry you around and give you smooches. So…when you say you “thought” you came here with good intentions, does that mean you now realize you were wrong?

                • CommentMaker

                  Bitter Lizard,

                  (crickets)

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Jesus, too thick to understand what the “sound of crickets” meme means.

                  Here’s some help: Only one person doesn’t get to decide if a joke falls flat. *Crickets* only applies if everyone falls silent.

                  Christ… *rolls eyes*

                • Kodie

                  Play the innocent victim real hard! You’re an offensive piece of shit, so far. We’re just pointing out where your elaborate fantasy makes you into a worse person than you like to believe you are “by the grace of god”. Christians are nasty, spiteful, and arrogant just like you, and we do have a problem with that! We’re supposed to just tolerate you and coexist with this nonsense and abuse of privilege? And then you call us the KKK, which is bizarre. I don’t remember lighting a swastika on your lawn or threaten your life. We’re just talking to you and you don’t like what we say. Big baby tears! Go pray to god about it and leave us alone. You’re not a nice person, and last time I checked, I don’t have to lie down and take that shit from you.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  “swastika on your lawn”: This gives me an idea, and I apologize in advance, but I’m just going to sort of casually throw out the word “Nazis” just to see if CommentMaker takes that ball and runs with it as a sort of thought experiment.

                  ATTENTION COMMENTMAKER: NAZIS! What do you think of that?

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  All I did was define what atheist do and you come back with your bitter hatred toward me. You have put me down rather than communicate, called me names and belittled me all in one paragraph. Then I asked you a question and you couldn’t answer it and I know why, you have no kindness.

                • Kodie

                  I answered all your questions. I don’t have to be kind to you.

                • GCT

                  If someone walked into your house and started calling you bigoted names, and you responded by pointing out the person was being a bigot and was not a nice person, would you expect that person to turn around and claim that they are being belittled, name-called, and put down? Do you not realize that you are the person who walked into the house to spout out a bunch of atheophobic shit? Now, you’re mad because we didn’t want to sit there and take your abuse?

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  You have ignored my very first comment. I was good and I am still remaining good. I’m doing better than most of ya’ll. So, grade me on a curve, if you please.

                • GCT

                  If that’s the criteria, then all of us are good since none of us have said anything wrong in our first comments. Hooray.

                  Unfortunately for you, that’s not how it works. You have been vicious in your atheophobic attacks, directing quite a bit of abuse at us. You don’t get to pretend that there’s nothing wrong with that.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  By virtue of keeping up with attacks from everyone I have commented to, I cannot have atheophobia. Talking about making it up as you go.

                • GCT

                  By virtue of keeping up with attacks from everyone I have commented to, I cannot have atheophobia.

                  This makes no sense. That would be like saying that a KKK member that goes onto an NAACP forum in order to hurl racist insults in not actually a racist by “virtue of keeping up with attacks from everyone [that person] has commented to.” That you keep responding and keep throwing atheophobic and religiously privileged insults at us doesn’t mean that you aren’t a bigot.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  You edited your very first comment here.

                  Does Jesus love that you’ve lied dozens of times just this week, just in one place? Feel free to ask Him.

                • EvolutionKills

                  You are willfully ignorant on a level that is staggering.

                  What part of ‘lack of belief in gods’ do you get the ‘hatred for all religions’? What holy book can you quote to support that claim? What dogma can you cite? What religious holidays do we celebrate by going out and being assholes to believers?

                  I can tell you that the KKK are Christians. They consider themselves Christians, they believe in the divinity of Christ. They do, like all Christians (yourself included), cherry-pick the Bible to suite their own agendas. They are no different than the Catholic Church or the Spanish Inquisition, they all have used a Biblical defensible selection of interpretations to defend their actions.

                  Could it be that it’s because we are persecuted by religions for our lack of faith that we can get defensive? When other religions try to force their faith on us and we push back, how does that make us evil or filled with hatred?

                  “Your hatred toward religion and your constant mocking of it must be addressed and abolished.”

                  Well seeing as how I reside within the continental United States of America, I feel compelled to tell you that I have a Constitutionally protected (some might even say mandated) right to tell you to GO FUCK YOURSELF. You will not be limiting my free speech anytime soon, and to advocate as such puts you in the same mental camp as totalitarians, fascists, Nazis, and the Catholic Church.

                  Your religion has for thousands of years simply tortured and killed those it found to be disagreeable, even those who claimed to have shared the same faith. Humanity has had to put up with this bullshit for far too long. Now here in the Information Age, where secular advances have finally gotten us to the point where religion no longer has absolute control over our lives and we’ve progressed by leaps and bounds. Now the nonbelievers can speak without fear of being burned at the stake; and you have the gall, the wherewithal, to BITCH about how we simply MOCK your religion?

                  Kiss my ass, and don’t bother to come back until you’ve taken enough time to learned the sordid, evil, and bloody history of your own religion. Then we can talk about which is the real source of hatred, violence, and misery in this world.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  You guys keep going to the bad times. That is over. Christians came to America to get away from those forms of religion. It took time, but we shed most of that mentality a long time ago. Today we have other challenges with “health & wealth”, “name it and claim it”, “miracle revivals” and so on. We have Westboro Baptist Church which is neither Baptist nor Christian. Bottom line, true Christianity is doing fine.

                  You know, a prisoner can be one of two kinds of people. He can stare at the bars or look to the stars. There is something about being free and having a hope for tomorrow.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Salem Witch Trails – Massachusetts 1692-1693

                  The Atlantic slave trade to America – 1620-1865

                  The Trail of Tears – 1830

                  The KKK – 1865 to present

                  The Puritans came to america to avoid persecution, and brought it right alone with them. The persecuted both the native american and fellow colonist who were not Puritan, like the Quakers.

                  The Slave trade operated for centuries with the explicit endorsement of all Christian churches involved, including but not limited to the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.

                  American Christian colonists persecuted the native Americans, driving them off their land with rifles in one hand and forcible converting them with Bibles in the other.

                  The KKK is a reactionary white supremacists hate group that has always been heavily Christian, and has used that backing to support it’s hatred and violence.

                  Once again, your ignorance of history is ASTOUNDING. All you are doing is defining anything you don’t like as ‘un-Christian’ then walking around like ‘Christians’ are great and wonderful people because you have conveniently ignored all of the evil assholes that do barbaric things IN THE NAME OF CHRIST.

                  You do not get to decide what a ‘true Christain’ is any more than the KKK, the Westboro Baptists, the Roman Catholic Church, or Martin Luther.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  I’m sure you have every verse in the Bible highlighted that says to kill and stone people for sex crimes. You know all the founding fathers who were atheist, too. You also think hypocrites are real Christians. Look, I have heard all of the atheist arguments. You repeat them like you think we repeat the gospel to you. The only thing I have recently realized is that atheist are consumed with religion and judge men by their belief system. Do you realize that our laws protect us against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin? I wouldn’t work for an atheist or KKK for fear of never advancing in the workplace. You really need to start telling yourself the the truth.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Go fuck yourself. I say that not because you are a Christian, I say that because you are a pompous presuppositionalist that makes terribly ignorant arguments in defense of your one-particular-selective-interpretation of your religion.

                  As far as the law is concerned, non-belief is granted all of the same protections as any other religion for the purposes of discrimination and the like.

                  A KKK member probably won’t get ahead in the liberal north east, because even the other Christians he is most likely to work under think he’s crazy. But down in the Bible Belt, in a community where other KKK members run and operate businesses? No problem there, so long as they don’t leave their bubble. And religious bigotry is far more acceptable so long as you are a member of the religion in the majority.

                  A atheist will likewise have trouble holding onto any job in the Bible Belt if anybody finds out he is an atheist. He will be fired for simply not believing because none of the Christians that operate any of the businesses want to be associated with one.

                  Now this is the part where you tell me that those Christians that would fire an atheists simply for his non-belief (which is religious discrimination recognized by the federal government), they aren’t your ‘True-Christians’. Then we’re back to you peddling the same No-True-Scotsman bullshit from before, and I really rather you didn’t.

                • GCT

                  Do you realize that our laws protect us against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin?

                  Do you?

                  Last I looked, there are no atheists pushing for laws that exclude Xians or people of any other faith. Take a gander at this blog for a couple days and you’ll find plenty of Xians trying to do just that. That you would accuse us of this is the extreme of hypocrisy and blatant dishonesty.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  Yes, there are some Christians who try to fight fire with fire. They are young and do not know the first thing in how to properly communicate. They have just learned something and think you need to know it. I’m just having a blast talking to some of you.

                • GCT

                  Fight fire with fire? Are you serious? Where are the atheists trying to enshrine atheism into law? There is no fire from the atheists side to fight with your fire. That you can write such a privileged statement with presumably a straight face is the height of cluelessness.

                  To make matters worse, you’re claiming all of these Xians are young and don’t know how to communicate and that they all just learned about Xianity? Again, that’s just so far from reality that clueless would be a step up.

                  You have no credibility on this, and I’m seeing very little reason to believe that you aren’t acting in bad faith and being intentionally dishonest.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  Frankly, I have no clue what other Christians are saying to you at other times and I do not know the topics. I was accepting your earlier comment as true and gave you a couple of thoughts of maybe why.

                • GCT

                  Then I have to seriously question your reading comprehension skills. Even given this latest excuse for why you can’t carry on a competent discussion and why you seem to have a blind spot for all the ways Xians try to dominate America and American politics, this is rather weak tea. You honestly think that only young Xians that have just heard about Xianity…do what exactly?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Does Jesus love that you just spouted a bigoted lie?

                  Come on, does He?

                  I’m just having a blast talking to some of you.

                  Thanks for admitting that you’re trolling and that you think Jesus is okay with that.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  That’s very loving of you to say. Very meek, humble, and loving. Tell me again why you chose to attack people on this blog?

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  You are putting me to sleep. Yawn.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  I’m wondering if you realize that you just admitted that you’re so used to mistreating people that when they object to your mistreatment of them, instead of apologizing like any moral person would do, you dismiss them, insult them anew with your attitude, and want to sleep.

                  Are you sure you’re a TRUE CHRISTIAN™?

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  I’m tired of sarcastic comments. They make me sleepy. Are you sure you are a TRUE ATHEIST? Of course not, you don’t have to live up to anything. No responsibility. No accountability. And so on.

                • dorcheat

                  Well if your so weary of sarcastic comments CM, perhaps you should rest a long period.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Look, I have heard all of the atheist arguments.

                  If you use the No True Scotsman fallacy, and you have done so numerous times in a week that isn’t even half over, then you did not UNDERSTAND those arguments you purport to have heard. You’re terrible at this, and as long as you fail to realize this, you won’t get any better.

                  And no one believes for a moment that you’ve been involved in atheist arguments online when there was a four-year gap in your comments on any site involving DISQUS. Far more likely that you’ve just decided you know, especially since you keep spouting fallacious arguments straight out of the Christian playbook that you could have cleared up with just one Google search apiece.

                  The only thing I have recently realized is that atheist are consumed with religion and judge men by their belief system.

                  Would you like some tweezers to help get that beam out?

                • Kodie

                  You can take your empty platitudes and stick them.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Now I know why Christianity is always in your face. Everyone is happy around you and you can’t stand it because there is something obviously good in their lives and you don’t have it.

                • Kodie

                  I can’t tell the difference between a Christian and an atheist unless they tell me, and Christians are the ones who never shut up about it. I don’t see happy or especially kind people. They don’t act like they have anything good in their lives. They are as rude, selfish, ignorant, and judgmental as anyone. You keep proving you are in a fantasy world by making shit up and using it as an insult. You don’t know what the fuck you are even talking about. If Christianity were true, there should be a measurable effect on its believers – it should make them better than bare-minimum civilized human beings, but it doesn’t, and often makes them worse. Don’t tell me what I must be unhappy about.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Fine, be miserable and contaminate everyone around you.

                • GCT

                  Christians came to America to get away from those forms of religion.

                  Xians came to America (some of them at least) to get away from persecution by other Xians. Then, they turned around and set up their own enclaves where they could persecute other faiths.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  It was Protestants getting away from Catholics. Did they continue to persecute? No. You guys live in the past too much. Look for the good in things. I’m getting depressed with the way the atheist mindset has frozen in the past.

                • GCT

                  It was Protestants getting away from Catholics.

                  Exactly, Xians getting away from other Xians.

                  Did they continue to persecute? No.

                  Learn some history.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_religion_in_the_United_States#Persecution_in_America

                  You guys live in the past too much.

                  You brought it up, I simply answered you. Which apparently is my fault that we are now discussing it and indicates that I’m the one stuck in the past? Again, you brought it up. We wouldn’t be discussing this if you hadn’t brought it up.

                  Look for the good in things. I’m getting depressed with the way the atheist mindset has frozen in the past.

                  And, I’m getting depressed with your constant bigotry – which BTW is ongoing (not in the past).

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  You are correct. I did bring it up. My apologies to you, sir.

                  The question that I asked and answered about continued persecution was from the early persecution to the present (2013).

                • GCT

                  What present persecution? Xians are not persecuted in this country in any way.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Jesus Christ…

                  The Puritans came over to get away from the PROTESTANT Church of England and England’s silly religiously progressive laws. The Baptists in early America were (and had cause to be) afraid that other PROTESTANT denominations would practically wipe them out through legislation aimed at doing just that. Fifty years ago, it was a serious concern among PROTESTANTS that a Catholic president would be a puppet for a foreign ruler. Today, PROTESTANT organizations lobby to persecute minority groups every day.

                  These are by no means isolated events. You might as well give up. You’re as good as done with that grade-school understanding of American history and current events.

                • CommentMaker

                  CL Honeycutt,

                  The Puritans were Protestant. Protestants voted for Kennedy. Protestants do not lobby to “persecute” anyone.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  …except gays, women, non-Christians and, historically, anyone who wasn’t white.

                • Tom

                  Remember the KKK you mentioned several times earlier? They’re Protestant too.

                • Kodie

                  Religion is an attitude that can certainly be judged. It is not a natural state, it is a manufactured state of being, thinking, and behaving. If religion didn’t provoke judgment, we wouldn’t have anything to say, and at least for me, it’s not hatred, it’s just opposition. You believe in a fantasy and it’s a harmful misguiding fantasy. Relevant to the article posted, it misguides people to live for this fantasy and do what it wants and not to care about people first. Kindness is supposed to be a result, but just like “love,” theists have a really warped definition of “kindness.”

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  A racist judges another man based upon the color of his skin. Atheist judge a man by his belief in God and elevates himself to be better than the weak minded religious fool. Calling what we believe in a fantasy or fairy tale is a condemning way of addressing a Christian and you know it.

                  What is a theists definition of kindness and I will tell you if you are right?

                • Kodie

                  I don’t judge you for your belief in god – I judge theists for their behavior based on their beliefs in god, since there is no evident justification for it. The article featured someone instructing believers not to care about their fellow humans and to favor god first, to honor his commandments and kindness will follow.

                  If you want to stop being like a KKK member, you might want to stop judging other Christians first. Your assessment of Christians who aren’t just like you is that they are hypocrites and play-acting, and not sincere, for if they were sincere, they would interpret this fantasy just like you do. So you slam them, you judge them, based on nothing. It’s all a matter of interpretation, but every Christian thinks they are doing it the right way, and have the same emotional transforming experience that you have. It just informs them differently because it’s made up, it’s psychological, it’s whatever you want the ink blot to be a picture of – but you all base your whole lives on it.

                  One of the reasons I’m an atheist is because I can totally notice this. You are blind to it and judgmental of it to preserve your sole righteousness in the literal SEA of Christianity. Only your way, you believe is sincere and true and valid, but it’s so easy to mess up and get wrong, and still be sincere about it. You have claims to knowledge, claims to certainty that your way is the real way and everyone else is actually a fake. Quite many of you use your imaginary friend as an excuse to actually be assholes to other people, deny them rights, and judge them, and in effect, hate them. It’s the opposite of kindness, but you hold onto the premise that god is good, you are his friend, and that makes you good. Unfounded. I judge you on how you and others under the umbrella of sincere beliefs use their imaginary friend as a shield to hide your disgusting behaviors behind. It’s not prejudice against your beliefs, it’s how you use them to bludgeon your neighbor with the kindness of judgment.

                  You’re not god, I might remind you. You don’t know you’re doing it right except you tell yourself. You feel like you are. I feel like I am. Your feelings do not supersede my feelings. I can and do judge Christians for being ridiculous at best and dangerous at worst. Christianity is not a color of your skin, it’s all inside your own head, and what you think ought to happen to please god (as per the author of the article featured in this blog) is better than the results you can see with your own eyes from making a person happy. That’s so fucking warped. You deem yourself relevant and essential to micromanaging humanity to god’s will – you don’t know god’s will, nobody does. He doesn’t exist, and even if you think he does, you are imagining what he wants to suit your own preferences – ahead of what actually will be and would be good for other people. It’s literally none of your business! Get out of the business of making other people’s business your business and by extension god’s business. Why do you think I accuse theists of arrogance?

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Unfortunately, you have the wrong view of me and all of true Christianity. I never think of atheism until the subject comes up or it is in the news. All I can see about atheist is they think about religion all the time in a mocking and bitter way. That is no way to live.

                • Kodie

                  All Christians think they are true Christians. You are not a better person for judging them to be phony. They all come along to tell us you’re the one being phony.

                  I don’t think about religion in a mocking or bitter way – I think of its gullible and sometimes dangerous, but mostly judgmental followers in a mocking or upset way. You don’t have to think of atheism because it’s not in your fucking way all the time. Christianity imposes on society without justification, it’s in our face all the fucking time. Think about this shit for a while, won’t you?

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Your opening paragraph doesn’t make sense to me so I will not comment on it.

                  I have never looked at what atheist see as being imposed on society without justification and being in your face all the time. Is it church buildings? Is it advertising? Is it TV? Is it bumper stickers? Is it crosses people and Catholics wear? How many Christians ask you about your eternity? Is it all the Muslim attention? Is it Christmas and Easter? Is it the gods who the days of the week are named after? Is it our paper money with our nations motto on it? Is it people like me coming to your atheist oasis and communicating with you? Seriously, I can empathize with you in that regard. It really is in your face 24/7. I just do not have an answer that would help you, and I mean that in the kindest way.

                • phantomreader42

                  If you have never looked, then maybe, just maybe, it might be a good idea for you to consider LEARNING WHAT THE FUCK YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE BABBLING MORONIC LIBELIOUS NONSENSE!!!!! But then, I’m sure that would be against your religion, because we all know honesty makes teh pwecious babby jeebus cry. :P

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42,

                  You are just a trash mouth in need of crutch words to make your sentences look longer. You do not offend me at all. I have had worse than you in my life and know you are no bigger than a pimple.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Jesus must love your words on His behalf. He WAS all about acting superior and dismissive, right?

                  Right?

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L. Honeycutt,

                  You sure don’t know Jesus very well.

                  “On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him (Jesus), “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Luke 13:31,32

                  Jesus called King Herod a fox. That was not a compliment either.

                • b s

                  “Jesus called King Herod a fox.”

                  OH! SNAP!

                • Fred

                  Nobody knows jesus very well. That’s the problem with mythological heroes.

                • GCT

                  Actually, I’m going to agree with you here. Jesus was all about acting superior and dismissive. He spent a lot of his time ranting and raving about those who he didn’t like and how much they would be tortured in hell, according to the most certainly fabricated accounts of him. The gospels do not paint a paragon of virtue.

                • Kodie

                  It’s arrogance and misguided advice, along with public policy, believing laws don’t apply to them, believing their laws must apply to everyone, make attempts to steal my rights from me, and general shittiness you find in someone who only has one friend, and he’s not even real, the kind where you stick your fucking business in other people’s private fucking business.

                  You are beyond ignorant if you think I am upset because someone wears some jewelry.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Lots of people on this site are extremely offended and it is producing hate like I have never seen. How do you live in America? If the shoe was on the other foot and I was the minority and godless Atheist were cramming their nonbelief down my throat, I think I would either be a constant witness of my faith or I would pack up and get out of here so I could live in peace.

                • tsara

                  …Let me get this straight. You “never think of atheism until the subject comes up or it is in the news,” and atheists are cramming their nonbelief down your throat?

                  Wow.
                  EDIT: Oh, wait. Was that supposed to be a counterfactual? I might need more coffee.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  It was a hypothetical situation. I never think of atheism until it is brought up or I want to discuss it with kind folks like you.

                • tsara

                  Note my edit.

                • GCT

                  Wait a second. You just got done criticizing all of us for thinking about religion too much, for speaking out too much, etc. Now, you admit that if you were on the receiving end of what we are on that you’d do the same? Do you even understand how hypocritical that is?

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  Re-read my comment. I would either be a constant witness of my faith or I would leave to be in peace. Being a constant witness does not include hate or bitterness. It includes loving your enemy and helping others.

                • GCT

                  Oh, so what you’re saying is that we should STFU or leave?

                  BTW, you keep claiming hate. If there is any hate, it may be directed at you for your bigoted attacks upon us, but you don’t get to claim that it’s simple hatred for all of Xianity. You do realize the difference, right? I really dislike it when people make bigoted attacks on me and other atheists, and I will not apologize for standing up for our rights and our persons. If you’re expecting me to feel ashamed for standing up against your bigotry, then think again.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  You can stew in the offence that our society presents to atheist on a daily basis and be miserable or you can try to figure out a way to find peace. Since I found peace I will not allow misery or hate to rule my life.

                • GCT

                  I’ll take another option. I will stand up for my rights. I will speak out. I will not shrink from offending those in power, because those in power will not lightly and meekly give up their privilege. I will stand up to bigots and tell them they are bigots and shame them. No civil rights movement has succeeded by sitting down and shutting up. None.

                  And, you know what? I’m at peace with this decision. My life is made harder by the bigots, like you, that seek to keep me as a second-class citizen, but I refuse to let you dictate to me how my life should be. You are the one that needs to change, not me. You are the intolerant one that needs to learn to live with others, not me.

                • Kodie

                  Then why do you allow misery and hate to guide your life?

                • Kodie

                  There’s a 3rd choice – defend your rights.

                • Kodie

                  We don’t live in a theocracy. I am not driven from my home because a group wants to turn it into one, or mistakenly believes it already is, or was intended to be. Theists are offensive to me mainly because they want what doesn’t rightly belong to them. Atheists are not trying to make atheism a state religion by keeping religious beliefs out of law. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. If you don’t want to be gay, try as hard as you want to not to be gay. Theists are ill-informed about government, history, and science, and are spreading this information and creating a hostility against reality. You appear to be one of their products, you coming here and being as ignorant as you are.

                  None of this misinformation should have anything to do with things that matter, laws that are passed, etc. You want to put up the 10 commandments where they don’t belong, or promote your religion on public space, all you are doing is attempting to strong-arm your privilege by engaging the government. It’s exclusionary.

                  Your answer to this (being outnumbered by imposing law-breaking Christians) is to pack my bags and move to another country? You asshole. This is my home. You law-breaking ignorant fucks should just pipe down, go to church, pray as much as you want with your groups of friends, and stop interfering in things you know shit about.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  We live in a Republic. The majority votes in their candidate and that candidate is the voice of the majority. That is how it was set up in America. Who ever is in the majority will likely have their way with things. Call it strong-arming, lawbreaking or whatever, we must abide by how we are set up. You don’t have to like it either but that has made America great.

                  I’m not going to argue abortion or gay rights. I have the freedom just like you do to voice my opinion and beliefs. We have a great system that I use for what I believe is good and you can use it for what you think is good, too.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  You aren’t familiar with anything regarding the phrase “tyranny of the majority”? You aren’t familiar with little tidbits like how the SCOTUS and federal government had to step in and end Segregation in the 1950s because the state and local governments were allowing bigotry and discrimination through majority rule?

                  Again, you aren’t competent enough at basic history to be attempting to speak authoritatively. Please, for serious, go read a book.

                • allein

                  and you can use it for what you think is good, too.

                  And then you’ll tell us we’re being hateful and intolerant when we attempt to do that.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Everyone has a vote. Being down right mean during Christmas or Easter has an effect on children. That is hateful and intolerant.

                • tsara

                  Who’s mean during Christmas or Easter? Or do you think that zombie!Jesus articles are mean?

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  I think it is mean and cruel to tell a child that believes in Santa Claus that he is not real. I know you better now and think you would be the Grinch.

                • tsara

                  What makes you think I do that? I generally avoid children. They scare me a bit.
                  (Although I do question the idea that it is good to teach kids to believe in Santa/the Easter Bunny.)

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  You have the freedom to raise your children the way you want. I love Christmas and Easter. It is fun and the kids love it. They mature and discover the truth and for a moment wish they could still believe. They keep doing it because of the excitement. I simply would not go to an atheist Christmas. I would be bored. I know how you guys thing and would be in a strain. Sad.

                • tsara

                  lol. You’re definitely not as intuitive as you think you are.

                  My parents still do my Christmases (youngish university student here), and I’m genderqueer and never going to have kids.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  That is great to know. I would choose atheism, too.

                • tsara

                  Wait, what? Why would you ‘choose atheism, too’?

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  I know what God says about homosexuality. I would not want to live with knowing my lifestyle offended the being who had control of my eternity. I would want to enjoy my few years here on earth. I would have to enjoy myself now. I would have to distance myself from Him to enjoy my present lifestyle. I would have to be an atheist.

                  Keep in mind, Jesus never condemned the woman at the well for her adulterous life. He simply told her not to sin any more. Jesus liberated women from God’s wrath. I know you do not like what I am saying. Jesus simply wanted to free people who felt that they were in bondage. You may not feel that way and that is just the way it is. But God does not accept that lifestyle at all.

                • Kodie

                  Ignoring a god you still believe exists is not what it is to be an atheist. And yet again, you provide further evidence what an arrogant douche you are and that Christianity misguides people further from kindness.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  On thing for sure about arrogance, it takes one to know one.

                • tsara

                  Uhm, I’m not gay. I’m ace. Apparently you don’t know what the word ‘genderqueer’ means; it actually has nothing to do with sexuality. Plus, I’ve been calling myself an atheist for much longer (like, about five years) than I’ve been calling myself genderqueer.
                  EDITed for not-awake-yet grammar.

                • phantomreader42

                  I see you’re back to pretending to be a mind reader. You’re really shitty at it. I doubt you could read your OWN mind.

                • phantomreader42

                  CommentMaker babbled:

                  I think it is mean and cruel to tell a child that believes in Santa Claus that he is not real.

                  But do you believe that Santa Claus is actually real? Or do you just think telling the truth is intolerably mean? And what if a child doesn’t believe in Santa Claus? In fact, what if a child doesn’t like the idea of being constantly spied on by an elderly, morbidly obese serial home invader who lives beyond the jurisdiction of conventional law enforcement, mistreating animals and elves? What would you propose to do with a child who has figured out that the Santa myth makes no sense in the real world? Should they be lied to, threatened, beaten, tortured, or murdered to keep them from telling other children the truth? Because that’s how your cult has handled people speaking inconvenient truths in the past, by brutally murdering them.

                • Kodie

                  And it’s not mean and cruel to children to inform them that as soon as they are born, they are disgusting and deserve to go to hell, so they had better learn and cling to your myths?

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  That is a big assumption on you part. We do not do that. You are the one who dreams up these kind of things.

                • Kodie

                  Ok liar.

                • GCT

                  You may not like the way Kodie stated it, but that is an accurate distillation of Xianity.

                • allein

                  Wanting to keep purely religious displays off of government property and out of public schools is not being mean.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Then get a permit and build a manger scene. Then, only have donkeys and goats in it on the next corner. Or, set up a Santa Clause display on the other corner with “Provided by Atheist” on the display. That should bring them in.

                • allein

                  Or, put the manger scenes on your church lawn or other private property.
                  .
                  Though to be honest, I personally don’t get all that worked up over Christmas displays at courthouses and such. (Public schools are a different issue.)

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Personally, I like the voucher program. Public schools cannot teach the various mindsets that exist. It would be a better classroom if atheist, Christian and the rest of beliefism could train under their own belief system. We could come together with an understanding that everyone doesn’t believe the same. The classroom would be less stressful.

                • allein

                  How does everyone learning in the context of their own belief system lead to kids understanding that everyone doesn’t believe the same? Kids learn about other viewpoints by being exposed to them in the real world.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  It is just an opinion. I have had 3 children. Each are different and learn differently. Each possess a little of my ADD and my wifes ADD. It amounts to ADHLAS (Attention Deficit, Hey Look A Squirrel). I think the relaxed atmosphere allows for a better learning experience. I do not know about normal kids. When I am around people with similar beliefs I am able to accept information more easily. It may be different for everyone else. I do not know.

                • GCT

                  The 1950s called and said that you’re way behind the times.

                • Kodie

                  The Constitution is the law of the land. It’s not a tyranny of the majority.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Then you should be able to understand why atheists (and other religious minorities) are pushing back against Christianity.

                • CommentMaker

                  wmdkitty,

                  That is right. Keep in mind, one of the other religious minorities that is pushing back is growing by leaps and bounds in America. It is the Muslim. You may think that is good or is better than we have now. Guess again.

                • Kodie

                  You want a theocracy and that’s what it will be like. You may think that a nation full of Christians will be great, peaceful, united, but you yourself judge other Christians with hostility, judgment, and suspicion. I don’t think it turns out well if Christians have their way.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Then give it to the Muslims.

                • Kodie

                  Do you know what a non sequitur is?

                • GCT

                  The atheophobic bigotry and religious privilege is strong with you.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  There is a confidence that I have in my relationship with a living God. In written form and atheist it comes across as you have stated. I’m really a nice guy. I have been courteous to the courteous here.

                • GCT

                  No, you haven’t. Saying bigoted things in a “nice” way is not nice. Of course, that’s not even true. You’ve been vicious in your attacks, the only thing that you’ve refrained from is using “bad” words like shit or fuck. This doesn’t make you nice or courteous. It makes you a bigot, unethical, and immoral. If you want to have productive discussions, then you’ll have to stop attacking us with your bigoted nonsense and start examining the very evident religious privilege that you are shoving down our throats.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  Here is the definition of bigot:

                  a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

                  I think I am a bigot toward atheist as defined up to the first semicolon. The atheist I have talked to yesterday and today fit the whole definition.

                • GCT

                  Except for the fact that you keep making arguments based on stereotypes, generalizations, and your preconceptions (biases). You are exhibiting a lot of hatred and intolerance, even if you deny it.

                • allein

                  Can you please learn how plurals work? The plural of “atheist” is “atheists.”

                  /pet peeve

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Will do. Thanks.

                • phantomreader42

                  Lying is not courteous. Fraudulently pretending to read people’s minds is not courteous. Falsely equating innocent people with a terrorist organization is not courteous. Claiming to be courteous when you are not is not courteous.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  To add to the other response, editing your very first post here to make yourself sound more civil and hide the fact that you came in swinging is not courteous. You did that.

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L Honeycutt,

                  Your accusation is absolutely false and I am not going to get in defense mode here. I did edit one post that had 2 “and” in it. If it was the first one it was simply corrected not change to make me sound more civil. You are only trying to muddy things with me. I must be getting through to you. That will make everybody happy on your side.

                • allein

                  From your comments I’m beginning to think you are all of “True Christianity.” Apparently no one else measures up.

                  If you “never think of atheism,” I’m curious as to how you ended up here.

                  Do you think our posts here are the sum total of how we think and act? We have other things going on in our lives, too, you know.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Well, if you claim to be a true atheist and I know what a true Christian is, I’m that. Paul said he was the chief of sinners, but he knew he was a true Christian. We are not perfect, but we do not preach heresy.

                  Read my first post to find out why I came here.

                • b s

                  “Well, if you claim to be a true atheist and I know what a true Christian is, I’m that. ”

                  OK, now tell us exactly why YOU are a True Christian while every christian who disagrees with you isn’t. Specifics please.

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  You lost me at “Specifics please.” I am not getting into a conversation with you based upon your ground rules. They do not match with a true Christian or anyone who believes in God. Nice try.

                • b s

                  “Specifics” is not a difficult concept. Above you very clearly claimed that you know what a True Christian is and that you are one. So tell us, what specifically do you (as a True Christian) believe that other (False) Christians do not. Or vice versa. You see, that way when we meet a Christian on the street (or online) we will have a checklist that we can go through to determine if they are True or False.

                  So a couple of starters:
                  Universe – 14.5 billion or 6000 or other
                  Mary – perpetual virgin or had other kids
                  Transubstantiation – real or symbolic
                  Salvation – faith or works or both
                  Snake Handling/Poison Drinking – good or bad

                  Feel free to add as many others as are necessary

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  One thing a true Christian can discern is sarcasm. This is where the verse comes in about casting pearls before swine. Take it for what it is worth. It is just what we are instructed not to do in the Bible.

                • b s

                  “One thing a true Christian can discern is sarcasm”

                  Oddly enough, many people can. As a matter of fact, I can too. Does that make me a True Christian or does it invalidate your first True Christian metric?

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  Discernment is principle based. Dealing with allot of people like you sharpens the intellect. I just don’t know how you discern. I do know you can come up with allot of “stuff” that rolls the eyes.

                • b s

                  “Dealing with allot of people like you sharpens the intellect”
                  But not enough to get you to where you know not to use “allot”

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  If you can’t win, condemn. That is standard in debates like this.

                • b s

                  “If you can’t win, condemn. That is standard in debates like this.”

                  More like “If you the other person isn’t going to answer direct questions, why not have fun?”

                  You don’t honestly think you are winning, do you?

                • b s

                  “One thing a true Christian can discern is sarcasm.”

                  Also, sarcasm or not, the list I gave are things that various christian sects do disagree over. You have claimed to be a True Christian. So here is your chance. Tell me which things on my list do True Christians believe. If you cannot, I see absolutely no reason for me to believe that you are a True Christian or any others are False Christians. It should be pretty easy for you to do, right?

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  Your points are points of controversy. They are not what makes a Christian. That is why it is difficult to discuss Christianity with an atheist. You only want to be contradictory to faith in the finished work of Christ. You don’t believe and it is worthless to discuss this.

                • CommentMaker

                  b s,

                  The things you have laid out are political in nature. Obviously, we have no common interest in Spiritual things. You do not threaten me with your absense of non-belief. You simply need to realize that you answer to God. He does not fancy to your demands and will allow you to go your way without revealing Himself to you. It is just the way it is.

                • b s

                  “The things you have laid out are political in nature.”

                  Whether or not you can gain salvation through works or faith is political? Who votes? Does god get a say in this?

                  “Your points are points of controversy. They are not what makes a Christian.”

                  Then what does? If you say you know who is and isn’t a True Christian, there should be something concrete you can give us.

                  “You don’t believe and it is worthless to discuss this.”
                  I don’t believe because I have seen no reason to. Obviously you have, but it seems to be from personal experience. But anyone of any faith can say they believe because of their own personal experience. Then what it comes down to is which personal experience do we believe? Do you have any compelling reason why your personal experience is more valid than, say, a Shinto?

                • GCT

                  Why do you utterly refuse to give us a way of telling who is and is not a true Xian? You seem to be able to tell all of us who is and isn’t. We’d simply like to know how we can do the same, so that we know who we are dealing with.

                • allein

                  Yes, I’m a true atheist, because I don’t believe in gods. Simple as that. But I don’t go around telling everyone that “does atheism” differently that they aren’t really atheists. (Though I’m not sure what my “claiming” to be an atheist and your insistence that no one else is really Christian have to do with one another.)

                  This thread has gotten so huge that I cannot find your first comment. But I wasn’t asking “why are you here,” I was asking “how did you find the site in the first place if the topic is not something you think about?” (And it’s not like this is your first comment thread here.)

                • CommentMaker

                  allien,

                  I have only commented on two subjects here. I found this place by Googling “atheist blogspots”. This was the one I picked because it said “Friendly Atheist”. Boy did that change. I really don’t think about atheism and I do not like debating with atheist. I think debating the two subjects are stupid because both do not have the same criteria to argue about as shown in this thread. Every debate I have heard says they won. So what.

                • allein

                  I found this place by Googling “atheist blogspots”.

                  I really don’t think about atheism and I do not like debating with atheist[s].

                  Then why were you googling for atheist blogs?

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Trying to find a way and means of communication with east vs. west beliefs. I started off on this stream the right way and I never got a positive or informative response. I didn’t start it. I just began to respond to comments and it went south. You are one of them, too. You act as if you are wanting a sincere answer and you strike like a viper as disrespectful as you can. You have encouraged me to fight harder for what I know to be right. For that, I thank you.

                • allein

                  Viper? That’s a new one. How am I being disrespectful? My quetstion is sincere: You say you don’t care to debate, you don’t think about our side of things, but you are deliberately seeking us out. Why? I don’t know what your initial post said but I have seen plenty of disprespect and condescension from you throughout these comments. Perhaps you honestly don’t see it that way, but the response you are getting should perhaps be a indicator that you should take a step back and try to see your comments from someone else’s point of view. I have seen plenty of perfectly civil and productive conversations between theists and atheists on this blog. The response you are getting is a reaction to your words; people aren’t attacking you just for the sake of attacking you.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Here is my first response:

                  Do you ever feel like the world is a tuxedo and you are a brown pair of shoes? I’m stopping by here because I’m tired of talking to people who agree with me all the time, so I need to talk to you fine folks. I’m a Christian. Hope we can communicate.

                  Kindness was usually mixed in with goodness, longsuffering, peace and things like that in the Bible. One of the things Jesus talked about was compassion. On several occasions it was said that Jesus had compassion on the multitudes. Remember the Good Samaritan? Jesus says of him, “And when he saw him, he had compassion.” Kindness is like a friendly way of being toward someone. Compassion moves us in their direction.

                  I called you a viper because or your response to my honest answer to your question. You called me names for some reason and that drew the line for me.

                • allein

                  Names? What names did I call you?

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  My apologies. It was tsara that called me an A hole.

                • CommentMaker

                  allein,

                  Sorry, it was another person similar to your name. I apologize.

                • allein

                  Thank you.

                • CommentMaker

                  Allein,

                  Attacking the truth I hold dear is an attack. The same as you see me attacking your belief. I only respond with what I believe and nothing else unless I am condemned.

                • allein

                  I suppose that’s the difference between you and many people here. When people criticize atheism as a belief system (such as it is), we don’t tend to take it as a personal attack (as opposed to being told we’re terrible people just for being atheists). If your ideas are so easily rattled by criticism, you should either rethink your ideas or stay away from atheist blog comments, or grow a thicker skin. That you believe it is the truth does not make it so, and it does not make that belief immune from criticism.

                • CommentMaker

                  allenien.

                  Same to you.

                • GCT

                  I think debating the two subjects are stupid because both do not have the same criteria to argue about as shown in this thread.

                  The problem is one of your making. The only way to sensibly settle disputes is through the use of evidence. You reject that, however, and think that you can claim your personal experience and beliefs as compelling reasons to accept your word. Not only does it not work when atheists and theists talk, but it doesn’t work when theists talk to each other, and you are a shining example of that. The fact that you continually tell us that all these other people who claim to be Xians are not, while they tell us the same about you is testament to this fact. The fact that there are tens of thousands of Xian sects is testament to this.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “Calling what we believe in a fantasy or fairy tale is a condemning way of addressing a Christian and you know it.”

                  Calling a spade a spade is not an insult to the spade, if it is in fact a spade.

                  As a general rule of thumb every religion thinks that all other religions are false, because most all religions are mutually exclusive. You don’t believe in the Buddha, Vishnu, Krishna, Thor, Zeus, Baal, or any other god that has ever existed besides your own. To you, they all might as well be fairy tales.

                  To nonbelievers they are ALL fairy tales. Get over it you butt-hurt crybaby.

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills.

                  It is one thing to consider one’s religion exclusive. It would be a faith based religion, if it wasn’t, it would be a doubt based religion. It is out of respect that many religions aren’t as aggressive as atheist. That is why I tend to believe atheist have a KKK mindset.

                • EvolutionKills

                  “It is out of respect that many religions aren’t as aggressive as atheist.”

                  Bull-fucking-shit.

                  You are a prime example of walking cognitive bias.

                  There are plenty of aggressive religions, all of the largest ones are aggressive proselytizers (how else did they get to be the biggest?). Christians, Muslims, and Mormons are all aggressive in their conversion aims. Once again, you are simply ignoring reality in favor of your own forgone conclusion, and making yourself look like an even bigger ignorant ass than you did before.

                  “That is why I tend to believe atheist have a KKK mindset.”

                  Yeah, because persecuting people in the name of Jesus has a lot of overlap with stopping discrimination and the people hiding behind their religion to do so. You really are that stupid…

                • CommentMaker

                  EvolutionKills,

                  Correction: I did not mean that atheist were aggressive proselytizers. I meant aggressive haters and mockers of religious people.

                  If you are asked to become a Christian, just say no and move on. Buddhist, Mormons, Muslims and every other normal person just says no.

                • EvolutionKills

                  Just saying ‘no’ won’t stop people for pushing for Christian prayer in public schools.

                  Just saying ‘no’ will not stop people opposing marriage equality because they like to selectively ignore parts of Deuteronomy.

                  Just saying ‘no’ will not stop the religious right from attempting to insert exemptions into hate speech laws so that their bigotry is no longer a crime.

                  Just saying ‘no’ will not stop the child molesting Catholic priests.

                  Just saying ‘no’ will not stop wars of aggression in the name of gods.

                  Just saying ‘no’ simply is not enough to do much of anything. Be happy we are only opposing you with logic, reason, science, and ridicule. Your religion regularly killed people for far less back when it had the power to do so, and the non-religious would be fools to forget that part of history that you so conveniently ignore.

                • Kodie

                  We have explained to you that your fantasies aren’t harmless. We’re not mocking people because they’re ridiculous but harmless – the woman in the featured article gave out very bad advice! And we are trying to explain it to you, but you’re very very hard-of-understanding.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Purposely fearing God and keeping His commandments to produce kindness would be wrong in and of itself. That would offend God because the person’s purpose in fearing God would be viewed by God as insincere. It would produce nothing.

                • Kodie

                  Then why are you here? You’re off-topic. You came here to teach us that “true Christians” aren’t like that. If you are a true Christian, I think your kind is also an ass. Thanks to all you have given to demonstrate that true Christians are asses too.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Talking to you is like talking to the ACLU or the NAACP. How do you process information? Through a heart full of KKK hate!

                • GCT

                  Talking to you is like talking to the ACLU or the NAACP.

                  Wow…this says quite a lot. And, the icing on the cake is after denigrating an organization that promotes equality for blacks, CM claims that we are the ones like the KKK. This is beyond ridiculous now.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  You are cherry picking. Both of these groups are well known for their horrendous twisting of the truth among conservatives. That was the purpose of using them. Try to make an issue of something else.

                • GCT

                  No, they are not well known for that. Only bigots generally make that claim. But, I guess the shoe fits.

                • phantomreader42

                  And conservatives are well known for being delusional pathological liars who refuse to check the facts.

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42.

                  You are wrong. i will not respond to you comments in the future..

                • phantomreader42

                  Of course, you’re not capable of actually SHOWING that I’m actually wrong about anything, so you have to flee in abject terror from the facts, as your cult always does.
                  Well, goodbye and good riddance to bad rubbish.

                • tsara

                  …trying to figure out what the appropriate graphic response to this is. So many options!

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Thanks for admitting that you haven’t read anything about what the ACLU actually DOES, and are just Mister-Ed-With-A-Mouthful-Of-Peanut-Butter mouthing what your preacher ranted about them. Here’s a little clue: The ACLU defends Christians, atheists, and anyone else whose civil rights are being trod upon. If not for them, you PERSONALLY would have fewer civil rights. You, the guy at the keyboard. You would have less religious freedom without their work.

                • CommentMaker

                  C.L Honeycutt,

                  The ACLU has done more damage to the church in recent years than they have done good.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  When I was in college way back when, the ACLU was a well-known defender of Christians whose rights had been violated. It’s strange to see how demonized such a laudable group has become in Christian eyes now that “civil rights” are filthy words to them. And the NAACP too? Where did that even come from? Why not get drag in the Make-A-Wish Foundation while you’re at it? It’d make almost as much sense.

                  Are you for real? You really are just as hateful and as deluded as any other True Christian™. I want to be charitable here, and hoped you’d take the hint with my post earlier advising you that “straightforward” does not mean what you clearly think it means and that you were very far from “pretty nice” to me in that other thread, but I’m finding that very difficult. You just went hundred-and-crazy-percent nuts somewhere along the line.

                  Don’t tell people you love them. Let them guess. If you were trying to be a sweet loving Christian to show everybody what a TRUE CHRISTIAN™ looks like, well, you failed. I couldn’t have done a better job of damaging Christianity’s credibility without a day off work, an axe, and a mission statement (as Get Fuzzy joked once).

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  I checked those horrible statements I made to you and they were no different than your statements to me. At least you are a good liar.

                  I am not going to try to prove to you anything about the ACLU and NAACP because you are in with them. Wouldn’t do any good.

                  One thing I detect in you is that you are a whiner and complainer. You need to change your title to something more respectable. The captains I know can take what is thrown at them.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  That was so very loving. I’m just basking in the glow of your “nice guy” behavior–insults, attacks, dismissals, lies, assumptions, and evasions. Are you now going to try to tell me how I’m allowed to feel about how you treated me on that thread? Reading my mind now, are you, and deciding what is and isn’t valid for me to feel? That’s the mark of an abuser, you realize–trying to imply that their victims have no right to feel the way they do, trying to dominate their most intimate thoughts. What an incredibly “nice” thing to do to someone. How very loving, and how very Christian.

                  You’re the one who is under a threat of eternal torture for not loving your neighbor as yourself. If you didn’t like my objections to your behavior, that’s not my fault, but I’m not actually under the same rules you are so it’s kind of silly that you’re even going that route. And blasting me for perceived offenses is NOT the same thing as excusing your own behavior. You were an asshole there, and you’re being an asshole now, and it doesn’t really matter what justification you use. You don’t get to control people’s emotions or tell them what is and isn’t valid. It sure didn’t take long for that ultra-abusive, controlling “love” to come out of you, did it?

                  Tomorrow, when everybody reading this thread wakes up and looks back at all these posts, do you think they will look at you and admire how lovingly and patiently you handled all those objections? Or do you suppose they’ll laugh about the hateful, deluded Christian “nice guy” who abused everybody just like every other TRUE CHRISTIAN™ they’ve ever met has? Will they say, “Wow, that abusive jerkwad really had something special that I’ve never seen before–I should totally check his religion out!” or will they dismiss you as another zealot who can’t even fulfill the first and greatest of his own savior’s explicit commands? Please think about it. If your religion leads you to treat people this way, then your religion is broken and so are you. You not only haven’t given us ANY reason to even consider your religion a valid faith system, but you’ve actively damaged its credibility even further than it already was damaged.

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  Are you drinking? You are getting awfully wordy.

                • phantomreader42

                  You tend to believe a lot of things that are incredibly stupid and false, so your libel against atheists really doesn’t have any credibility.

                • CommentMaker

                  Phantomreader42,

                  This is a longshot, are you one of those millions and millions of years evolutionist?

                • EvolutionKills

                  Good lord, if you drag your sorry ass into support of Young Earth Creationism, we cannot be held responsible for the massive level of verbal smack-down that you will be on the receiving end of.

                  You have been warned.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  One thing at a time ;)

                  Man, this thread turned into epic comedy gold in my absence. I’m having one of those “what is this I don’t even” moments.

                • phantomreader42

                  Let me guess, you’re a YEC, which means you have not the slightest understanding of the science your cult has taught you to hate, and you’d sooner kill and eat your own family than learn anything. Your willful ignorance does not give you credibility. Quite the opposite.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  “Theist’s definition of kindness”: had to look this up.

                  “If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you.” –Deuteronomy

                • EvolutionKills

                  The morality of Yahweh.

                • Tom

                  Skin colour is neither a choice, nor an unproven or disproven truth statement. Religion is both, and either one by itself would be sufficient for it not to be immoral for us to judge you for it.

                • GCT

                  It’s not hatred, and it’s not unprovoked. It’s provoked anger. Read this site for a couple days and you’ll see why. You’ll continually see Xians trying to enforce their beliefs into law and trample our rights. You’ll continually see Xian bigotry towards atheists (including yours). You’ll continually see attempts to demonize atheists. What do you receive in return? You receive arguments as to why you are wrong. This, you equate to attempts to destroy our rights. Shame on you.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Slate actually just posted a really interesting inside look at the Klan that’s worth checking out. (The comments are hilarious. And yes, one of the Klansmen is sporting just about the most elaborate crucifix necklace I’ve ever seen, not that it will make a difference to our friend here.)
                  http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/08/13/anthony_s_karen_a_photojournalist_s_unrestricted_access_to_the_ku_klux_klan.html

                • phantomreader42

                  Yes, CommentMaker, you just make it up as you go, and none of your comments have any substance. Thanks for openly admitting that. Now would you kindly fuck off?

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42,

                  You play Twister too much.

                • GCT

                  I see that you’ve decided not to engage my arguments. That’s find. It shows that you have nothing but empty rhetoric. You’ve displayed an alarming amount of religious privilege coupled with atheophobic attacks on us, then lashed out at us and accused us of doing it to you. Your biases are strong and you really should examine them if you care at all about fairness and equality.

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  If you are talking about the short answer I gave above, I chose to step over that pile because I find myself repeating myself. I have about 10 of you guys commenting to me and I have about 20 waiting to be answered.

                • GCT

                  Let me get this straight. I posted a comment addressing your points and you took time out to claim that there was nothing there, but that shouldn’t be construed as you declining to engage my arguments, because…why again? If you had time to answer the comment, then why not address the points?

                • CommentMaker

                  GCT,

                  KKK – Not Christian even if they make the claim.

                  Prejudices – Atheist do not believe in God. That is not prejudice.

                  Name calling – Still no civil to do so.

                  Living against in lieu of for something – What, pray tell, do you live for?

                • GCT

                  KKK – Not Christian even if they make the claim.

                  You have yet to provide any criteria for us to judge that, except your say-so. They would probably say the same thing about you. How do I tell who is right and who is wrong?

                  Prejudices – Atheist do not believe in God. That is not prejudice.

                  If that’s all you said, then it would be fine. It’s not all you’ve said, however. You’ve compared atheists to zealots, the KKK, fanatics, etc. You’re also engaging in stereotypical attacks, see below.

                  Living against in lieu of for something – What, pray tell, do you live for?

                  This is an attack. It’s not an honest question, it’s an attack on atheists (not atheism) based on stereotypes and insults that people have made up about atheists in order to “other” us.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  I’ll respond to each point explicitly:

                  “The KKK is not a Christian organization.”: I’m pretty sure that it’s well-known to everyone here that Christians like to throw their fellow Christians under the bus in order to create distance whenever they find it expedient. It is not a new tactic, nor a particularly interesting one, and nobody’s going to fall for it so you can take that shit right on down the road right now.

                  “Criticizing another’s belief in a conversation is far from a group of people that have nothing better to do than to talk about their prejudices toward others belief in their own blog. That is what the KKK does when they talk about the color of someone’s skin. The KKK dismisses it just like you.”: It could take a long time to unpack this amazing paragraph, so I’ll try my best to narrow it down.

                  (1) Criticizing another’s belief is exactly what you are describing as “far from” doing so, you just reword it and make it more specific in the second part of the first sentence.

                  (2) So, what makes the KKK bad is that they criticize people’s beliefs “on their own blog”? As opposed to doing it on “someone else’s” blog like you are? I always thought the reason the KKK was bad was because they were racist. Thanks for enlightening me.

                  (3) Criticizing someone for their beliefs is not the same as criticizing someone for the color of their skin. If criticizing someone’s beliefs is the same, then you’re a racist by your own definitions.

                  “You pre-judge the thoughts and intents of another’s heart and mind.”: Having read your exchanges with others on this thread, it seems like this wording is largely just a repetition of what others have (accurately) accused you of doing, and hence highly ironic. No, I didn’t “pre-judge” anything about you. I had no opinion about you whatsoever until you started posting here, and then I made judgments based on what was actually there. And they are accurate.
                  The reason we call you awful is because it is true. To say that calling “blacks and Jews” awful is the same thing, therefore, is to infer that it is true as well. I don’t think it’s the same thing at all, but you clearly do. Why do you hate blacks and Jews so much?

                • CommentMaker

                  Just make it up as you go. No substance here.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Yeah, I guess a forfeit was really your only move there, but it still makes me sad because I was enjoying you. It’s like having a new puppy run away.

                • phantomreader42

                  Would you be so kind as to post a picture of your certificate, signed personally by almighty god in eternally burning letters, that appoints you and you alone as the sole arbiter of what constitutes a true chrsitian? Until you do, shut the fuck up with the No True Scotsman bullshit.

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42,

                  It takes one to know one and obviously it isn’t you. I do not play by your rules of paper proof. That is what hypocrites use.

                • phantomreader42

                  So, you expect us to accept you as The World’s One And Only True Christian™ without even pretending to offer anything that vaguely looks like a speck of evidence to back up your narcissism. Why should anyone believe a word of your self-serving bullshit?

                • EvolutionKills

                  Because he says so, and it’s good enough for him. He reasons on the level of a elementary school student…

                • phantomreader42

                  That’s insulting the intelligence of kindergarteners…

                • Bitter Lizard

                  He literally just said “it takes one to know one” and he didn’t seem to be kidding.

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42,

                  Never said it like you want me to say it. I just know what I know and am confident in who I am. No one here is going to believe me anyway because I make a claim to Christianity.

                • phantomreader42

                  No, the reason no one here will believe you is because you’re a lying sack of shit. You don’t even have any ORIGINAL lies, just a bunch of tired, old crap we’ve heard tens of thousands of times, with nothing to back it up but the testimony of the voices in your head. The things you keep saying are false, we know they are false, even YOU know they are false. You have nothing to offer but incredibly stupid lies debunked long before anyone here was born. You’re dishonest, lazy, and stupid.

                • Kodie

                  You have a built-in excuse for everything! That’s all Christianity IS!

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  And every reply I receive has a built-in excuse, too. Keep in mind, the communication ratio here is about 10 to 1 and I am keeping up with each of you.

                • Kodie

                  You’re dismissed from shoveling.

                • phantomreader42

                  the Ku Klux Klan is, and always has been, a CHRISTIAN hate group and terrorist organization. As long as it has existed, the Klan has dedicated itself to fighting against the legal rights and equality of non-whites and anyone they consider insufficiently christian through intimidation and occasionally murder, while pretending to be doing good for whites to justify their crimes. Christianists today dedicate themselves to fighting against the legal rights and equality of anyone they consider insufficiently christian, and hide behind largely imaginary “good works”. The primary differences between the klan and the christianists is that christianists are more numerous, have more political power, murder slightly fewer people per capita, and have small differences in how they determine if a target is sufficiently “christian”.
                  The kkk has openly denounced the Phelps cult of homophobic sociopaths. Because they make other christians look bad. Think about that. Homophobic christianists screeching that their imaginary god hates america MAKE THE KLAN LOOK BAD!
                  Oh, and there happen to be christian schools teaching that the kkk is not a terrorist group but a benevolent social organization. Think about that. Christian schools are teaching children that a group that FORMED LYNCH MOBS TO MURDER PEOPLE is a good christian organization! I really, REALLY wish I was making this up. If you don’t want christians to be compared to the kkk, stop demanding taxpayer funding to teach children that they’re the good guys, and stop treating gay people like the kkk treats black people.

                • CommentMaker

                  phantomreader42,

                  Insisting, jumping around, pounding the table top, USING ALL CAPS or screaming that the KKK is Christian is never going to convince me or any other believer. Not in this lifetime. You are so wishy washy on your belief system. You wont believe in God but you will believe that if a group calls themselves Christian with no viable proof then, by gum, they be Christian. You do not deserve debating.

                • tsara

                  Uhm… How do you suggest we determine who is and who is not Christian?

                • phantomreader42

                  By listening to the eternal and perfect wisdom of the voices in CommentMaker’s head. ;)

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  You do not believe in God anyway. Why would you want to know who is a Christian? It is a meaningless request.

                  To the KKK it doesn’t matter if a black man is good or bad. You already have an opinion of all who claim Christianity, so it doesn’t matter.

                • tsara

                  No. That’s not how it works. If a thing is true, I want to believe it. If a thing is not true, I want to not believe it. If I want to evaluate the claim that Christianity makes people better, I need to be able to distinguish between those who are Christian and those who are not Christian, and I can’t start from the definition ‘better people are Christian.’
                  The fact that you don’t understand this, actually, boggles my mind a bit.

                • phantomreader42

                  All you really need to know here is that CommentMaker has appointed himself as the type specimen for True Christians™. He bills himself as the most Christian™ of all christians anywhere ever, past, present, or future, and judges the christianity of any other purported christian by their similarity to himself. So, considering CommentMaker as the perfect representative of Christian™ behavior, does being a Christian™ make one a better person? No, it absolutely does not. That is the only possible conclusion. Christianity™ not only does not make people better, it celebrates bigotry, fraud, willful ignorance, arrogance, and hypocrisy.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  CommentMaker is a riot as soon as you give up on actually reasoning with him. I love his early posts on this page, where he tries to be all nice and throws out all kinds of ludicrous folksy expressions, and everyone is skeptical and prods him a little bit, and then all of a sudden he just loses it and starts screaming “KKK” at everyone. Thin-skinned and impossible to take seriously: the best kind of theist commentator.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  You may be one of those atheist who know only a select few verses and use them to support why you wouldn’t believe in a mean heartless God. Bibles are available everywhere, maybe you already have one. Find one and read the New Testament about Jesus. Find out what His characteristics were and that may give you some basic information about what a Christian is like.

                • tsara

                  Incorrect assumption. I’m an atheist because the concept of God is entirely meaningless, not because the God of the Bible is a jackass. I’ve read two books of the NT in the original Greek (I… have a lot of hobbies). I found contradiction upon contradiction when it came to defining what was good and how Jesus was (other than ‘good’ and ‘perfect’). But again: I can’t use the characteristics of people as a way to define who is and is not Christian if it is those same characteristics that I’m trying to evaluate. That’s not how evidence works.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  I have said this before, you want define evidence from the human standpoint and it is different in the kingdom of God. You would have to live the Christian life to know the characteristics of a Believer. Unfortunately, it is not for you to know until you meet Jesus. That is the only way I can say it.

                • tsara

                  Then how can I know whether or not Christianity is true, or a good thing? That’s entirely ridiculous that we should be expected to take the claims of Christianity on no evidence at all, or burn forever. If that God actually exists, He’s the worst being in existence.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  How much effort and study have you done already? I don’t want to duplicate anything you already know.

                  Many things about God are contrary to our humanistic way of thinking. If you want evidence and He gives you none and you declare Him to be the worst being in existence, He will still be in heaven when you die.

                • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

                  So you have credible, objective, verified evidence of your god and a reliable way of knowing exactly what he wants of humankind, then, right? Because out of 41,000 denominations of Christianity and 2000 years of trying, nobody’s managed either one of those things. Please explain how we know how it is that you are right and everybody else is wrong.

                • CommentMaker

                  Captain Cassidy,

                  Setting the parameters of how to convince you that God is real is simply not what God had in mind. I find no evidence that He is obligated to show Himself to any of us sinners. He did say:

                  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

                  “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

                  I just don’t think God is coming to you on your terms.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  I asked. I begged.
                  I knocked, pounding my (metaphorical) paws to a pulp.
                  I sought, near and far.

                  And I got NOTHING from your “God”. (The ones I did find, however, have proven a far better fit.)

                • CommentMaker

                  wmdkitty,

                  I find God to be true to His word. I would knock till the day I died. Then I would have something to hold over God’s head if He didn’t respond. You just gave up too soon because of your unbelief and lies, didn’t you?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  You wish.

                  No, it was more a matter of shaking the dirt off my paws and finding another path. Or, rather, my path found me.

                • CommentMaker

                  wmdkitty,

                  Good for you. I am glad you have found your path.

                • b s

                  “He didn’t respond. You just gave up too soon because of your unbelief and lies, didn’t you?”

                  I’ve never understood the whole “you didn’t try hard enough” line. What is the quote about insanity; doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? How am I to know the difference between “giving up too soon” and “there is nothing there?” How do I know if I am even looking for the right god? Anybody of any faith could say “just keep trying.” I could keep searching for Shiva until I somehow came to believe in him, then look at everyone else and say “You just gave up too soon because of your unbelief and lies.”

                • Kodie

                  Can you ever read what you write and realize what a fucking arrogant douche you are? You seem to take after your imaginary friend so well.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  Maybe if you didn’t have a chip on your shoulder you could have a pretty enjoyable life. I’ve known people like you and they seem to love seeing into comments and seeing only the bad. Sad.

                • Kodie

                  Don’t blame me because you don’t know how not to be a turd in social situations.

                • phantomreader42

                  Thank you for admitting that your precious “True Christianity™” is a monstrous cult of death, suffering, hatred and ignorance, which blames the victim without an instant’s thought or remorse. You have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that not only is your god imaginary, but its followers are pure evil.

                  It’s no surprise that your imaginary god is a hateful, arrogant, stupid, lazy bigot. You made it in your own image, so it’s just like you.

                • tsara

                  “How much effort and study have you done already? I don’t want to duplicate anything you already know.”
                  All I’m asking you to do is define your terms in a way that makes the question ‘Does Christianity make people behave in ways that are better/more moral?’ something other than question-begging.

                  If He condemns me to Hell for requiring evidence, He is a monster.

                  EDITed to make sense.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  Christianity is individual and intimate yet universal. Christianity does not make people better. The part that is the new creation, the dwelling of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit inside of the person and the applied laws of God to the heart attribute to new behaviors that are Christlike (Romans 2:13-15; 2 Corinthians 3:2,3; Hebrews 10;16). Every person is as individual as their DNA and no two people have the same effect from being born again. There is, however, a greater disdain to sin with the presence of a holy God.

                  If He condemns you to Hell you will have the greater loss, not God. The Devil will be the only one to hear your complaint, but what can he do about it? Monster or no, God will be in His heaven.

                • tsara

                  So, in addition to being an asshole, you’re incapable of answering questions. Fair enough.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  I answered this question: “Does Christianity make people behave in ways that are better/more moral?”

                  I said that Christianity does not make people better. That is the answer to the way you worded your question. Then I proceeded to give you the details of what takes place in a believers life that cause changes to occur. You are now calling me a name and charging me with the inability of reading your mind. That is so far out of comprehension that I am staggered at your response. Incomprehensible!

                • tsara

                  No. I asked you to define you terms. I wanted you to help me make the statement ‘Christianity makes people better/more moral’ into a testable proposition so that I can determine the truth of it for myself.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  That is the mainstream problem between atheism and Christianity. Christianity is not a mechanical thing to be etched on paper and reviewed. If that is what you want, no one can help you on my side of the equation. Your thinking is too analytical and Christianity is not that. God is not responsible to reveal Himself to you that way. He is free of your kind of demands. You will never never receive the type of evidence you require. You simply need to accept your fate if there is a God.

                • tsara

                  “You simply need to accept your fate if there is a God.”
                  But that’s such a huge ‘if’.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  For you it may be 50/50. For me it is 100%. There is a difference.

                • tsara

                  The odds look much more like (5.00×10^6million):1 from where I’m standing.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  If you believe in evolution you would have to believe in God. He had to evolve spiritually before lightening struck a mud puddle.

                • tsara

                  I don’t believe in evolution. I understand evolution. I can’t say the same about your comment, though; I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  If you do not believe in evolution, what can you believe in if you do not believe in God?

                  My comment was depicting the evolution of God first. I think that isn’t true either.

                • tsara

                  Evolution is just a thing that happens, and I understand how it happens. It isn’t some great meaningful whatever. (I’m using ‘believe in’ in the sense of ‘believe in yourself!’. Or something. I’ve gotten tired.)

                  But evolution and God are not mutually exclusive, and you don’t have to ‘believe in’ either of them (in any sense of ‘believe in’). There are plenty of other things.

                • CommentMaker

                  tsara,

                  I’m tired, too. Rest in peace.

                • Kodie

                  You speak for god because he can’t. Got it. Don’t really get upset anymore when people ridicule Christians because you are deluded. A non-answer, “my god can’t tell you” boast is not really convincing.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  No, I don’t “Got it”. You only consider the idea that what we see in the world simply got here by chance. That is deluded.

                • Kodie

                  No, you don’t got it, but you are talking about a completely new stupid thing I didn’t even bring up. You have an imaginary friend and you expect people to respect that.

                • Kodie

                  So you admit it’s a cult.

                • CommentMaker

                  Kodie,

                  You seem to go off the edge of the earth sometimes. No answer here for you because cult is no where in my statement. It is your definition.

                • Kodie

                  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult

                  It’s everyone’s definition.

                • phantomreader42

                  But that’s a definition from REALITY, and CommentMaker thinks reality is some kind of evil librul plot to sap and impurify his precious bodily fluids.

                • tsara

                  *snorfle*
                  Now I have to clean coffee off of my computer.

                • phantomreader42

                  SEE!!!!!!111!! Fluids are already in peril!!!!111eleventyone!!!

                • Bitter Lizard

                  CommentMaker, I have another question: do you think it’s weird that I’m starting to feel kind of attracted to you?

                • CommentMaker

                  Bitter Lizard,

                  I have no expectations of you.

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Oh, I see what you’re saying. Subtext.

                • phantomreader42

                  I’m fully aware that no amount of reality or evidence will convince you of anything, because you would sooner die that glance in the general direction of the truth for a single instant. Your willful ignorance does not magically make you right, nor does it make all the facts you hate so much disappear.

                • CommentMaker

                  Phantomreader42,

                  It is hard to see facts with so much cursing, mocking and down right foolishness filling the comments.

                • phantomreader42

                  You whine a lot about mockery and naughty words, but can you point out a single thing I’ve said that is factually wrong? No, of course you can’t, you’re not even capable of thinking in such terms, are you? The very idea of facts beyond the delusional ravings of the voices in your head is beyond your feeble imagination.

                • Tom

                  You must be particularly feeble-minded if a mere smattering of coarseness can prevent you from following what someone is saying. Clutch those pearls a little tighter, tone troll.

                • Kodie

                  You say you’re a Christian with no verifiable proof. So nobody is a Christian unless they’re you because we can trust you? Sorry, no fucking way. You’re a true Christian because you say so, then everyone is, even if they conflict with your particular interpretation of a vague text that can be and is being interpreted by other true Christians to mean anything they prefer it too. They are not being phony, they are are also receiving the same kind of “evidence” in personal feelings that you are.

                  You have overlooked this every time I brought it up. Like I’m speaking a foreign language to you. You are not any more “true” because you say so, or because you have “feelings” than any other Christian whose source is identical to yours. You interpret selectively what you like, and so do they.

                  The KKK justifies their bigotry from your bible! It’s obviously absolutely possible to justify bigotry if you read and are concerned with the bible. It’s also possible to read it and wave that stuff away and look at something else, and be some other kind of Christian. If they didn’t think it was important to god that they keep their white race pure, they would not be able to find any other reason to hate so sincerely.

                  It’s just one way of interpreting what’s written in the book. No one disbelieves that you are a Christian, but this “true Christian” nonsense directed at us might be better directed at people who are using their Christianity in a way you disagree with. We’re not the ones making up these interpretations and misunderstanding Christianity.

                  You believe in supernatural magical bullshit, and that you have in common with all the others, at least. You believe that, then you have the obligation, when inserting yourself to derail a topic and talk about yourself (arrogance!), to fucking provide the evidence that the magical supernatural bullshit is true. None of your other qualities matter, and “true Christians” are awfully vague about what sets your kind apart from the “fake” kind – who are also true Christians. Go take up the brand rights with them, nobody here gives a shit.

                • BrowncoatVoter

                  The KKK was supported by Southern Baptists for years.

                • CommentMaker

                  Westboro Baptist Church was too. Some Baptist churches still have the Masons meet above their auditorium and the preacher is a Mason. So what! Pointless.

                • Spuddie

                  That’s not a cross they burn its just a big “T” for tolerance. =)

                • BrowncoatVoter

                  The KKK is not a Christian organization.

                  Yes they are. My grandfather tried to raise me in the clan. It was church Sunday morning and rallies Sunday night. He was Southern Baptist.

                  Nazis are also christians and was supported by the RC Church. I don’t really care if 50 or 75 years later they disavowed their involvement.

                • CommentMaker

                  If you have proof of a Southern Baptist Church that is KKK today, please forward the information with proof to the Southern Baptist Convention and they will take care of it. We have a black president today.

          • CottonBlimp

            You’re not listening. I know Christians donate money. But I donate money too – the difference is, I donate to a charity and not my church. So all of my money goes to an actual charity, while groups like the Salvation Army use the money donated to fund anti-gay lobbying.

            • CommentMaker

              CottonBlimp,

              It is all about helping the children, downtrodden, homeless, abused, disabled and many more less fortunate than we.

              • EvolutionKills

                Not if the group you are donating to is also spending that money to oppress gay people…

                • tsara

                  No, see, it’s actually Christians who are getting kicked out of their homes by their atheist parents, not gay people who are getting kicked out of their homes by their Christian parents. It totally works.

                  EDIT: /snark.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          I can’t agree with that second paragraph. Christian organizations have the infrastructure needed for large, effective charitable works. Since we can’t guess what the state of charities would be if Christianity had not taken root, all we can do is point out how they could be better. It’s not that Christian charities are helping some degree less; it’s that reorganizing charitable giving into secular groups could result in helping some degree more.

          • CommentMaker

            C.L Honeycutt,

            All I need is material evidence.

            • Bitter Lizard

              Every time a theist uses the word “evidence”, a baby gets AIDS.

              • CommentMaker

                Bitter Lizard,

                You must be the Imperial Wizard here!

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Upvoted. Don’t ever change. I love you.

          • CottonBlimp

            That’s a fair point. My issue is that no matter how competently a Christian charity is run (and it runs the full gamut, let’s be honest) it can’t really be “effective” when charity is only a portion of tithes.

            Religion, in both charity and morals, is, at best, an unnecessary middle-man who takes a cut for himself.

  • smrnda

    Take a perfectly sensible moral stance – be kind to others, and instead, replace it with appeals to follow the dictates of a tyrant who might not exist, regardless of the damage it does to others. Why am I not thinking this is a good idea?

  • LesterBallard

    That’s why I don’t play nice with them. And usually when Christians do act nice, it’s just manipulation. They’re not being nice or kind simply to be nice or kind, it’s to further their agenda and worldview, their theology.

    • CommentMaker

      Hi, LesterBallard.

      When anyone first meets another person they usually “act nice”. Some are more genuine, others not. That’s true. We all do it. All of us have an agenda, too. I think Atheist want every Christian to realize that there is no God and every Christian wants every person to know their God. I don’t think that is going to change. It is the nature of the beast, however, we can be kind to one another in the process.

  • CommentMaker

    Do you ever feel like the world is a tuxedo and you are a brown pair of shoes? I’m stopping by here because I’m tired of talking to people who agree with me all the time, so I need to talk to you fine folks. I’m a Christian. Hope we can communicate.

    Kindness was usually mixed in with goodness, longsuffering, peace and things like that in the Bible. One of the things Jesus talked about was compassion. On several occasions it was said that Jesus had compassion on the multitudes. Remember the Good Samaritan? Jesus says of him, “And when he saw him, he had compassion.” Kindness is like a friendly way of being toward someone. Compassion moves us in their direction.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      Yeah, I didn’t see a lot of that out of you on the last thread. Hopefully you’ve learned and grown a bit since, um, 14 hours ago.

      • CommentMaker

        Captian Cassidy,

        I was pretty nice for the subject. I didn’t see any comments deleted. What’s your take on compassion?

        • Mario Strada

          They usually don’t delete comments here/. They really have to be out of line or clear spam. Also anyone that posts the same comment over and over may be considered spam. But contrary views, even expressed with a good dose of disdain, obnoxiousness, even personal insults won’t get censored.

          As far as the topic, I haven’t read the main article on CT so I can’t really say, but from what I gathered so far, I am all for Christians writing these kind of articles. They tend to beef up the ranks of the unbelievers and that is usually a good thing.

          • CommentMaker

            Hi, Mario Strada,

            I was looking around at some of the comments and did see a couple deleted on another post. Must have been pretty bad. Do you show kindness?

            • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

              Don’t you mean to ask the reverse? Do you avoid killing people, and otherwise treating people with disrespect? Do you give a man a snake when he asks for bread? What are you asking here? It feels to me that you are doing exactly what Mr. Cassidy accused you of. That you are questioning someone’s integrity by using “comments deleted” as a measure of their worth. I’m sorry but that’s not a measure of anything.

              • CommentMaker

                YesDavisIsMyFirstName,

                Nothing you have accused me of is true. I cannot imagine someone thinking the thoughts you think or feel. Odd.

                • phantomreader42

                  Well, if you don’t like people saying things about you that aren’t true, then maybe you should consider not saying things about other people that aren’t true, like all your comments in that other thread. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness? I seem to recall a story about some guy who said to deal with the log in your own eye before whining about the speck in your neighbor’s. Do you by any chance have any idea who that was? Oh, never mind, surely he must’ve been some damn godless hippie, since everyone knows no true christian would ever dream of saying such a thing, much less living by it…

                  But of course, the above is all irrelevant, since what Davis said about you is actually true, and THAT is what you can’t stand. Why does your sick death cult hate the truth so much?

            • Mario Strada

              Users often delete their own comments. In fact, if the comment shows as deleted it’s likely they were user deleted but if they had responses they don’t completely go away.

              I don’t use this system, but in the one I do use if I delete a comment as an administrator it’s gone forever.

              As for the last question, it’s unrelated to this post.

            • Hi Father!

              “I was looking around at some of the comments and did see a couple deleted on another post. ”
              I don’t remember exactly what he posted, but several comments were deleted by “friendlyandskeptical” aka “friendlyandskepticallikehemant” aka “godless” aka “goddess” aka a few other names. I do not have proof, but I am fairly certain he was an RC priest from another site. His sentence structure and phrasing were amazingly similar to his posts on his own blog and a few of his topics mirrored those here about the same time these comments appeared. Most of his posts weren’t very intelligent or kind.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          Wow, you actually thought that was “pretty nice.” I didn’t. You accused me repeatedly of having a belief system I do not as if that would make me behave dishonestly or see reality differently. You created straw people in my likeness to attack, and insulted my integrity. You ascribed motivations to me that were not true. You repeatedly tried to attack and invalidate me as a person so you didn’t have to engage with my arguments. I don’t consider any of that “pretty nice.” You didn’t call me “sweetie” or threaten me with Hell, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you were “pretty nice,” mmkay? You can’t fix a problem if you can’t see the problem, so I’m glad to help you out by pointing out how you treated me and everybody else on that thread like a Grade Z Asshole so you can maybe improve yourself for next time.

          My take on compassion is that humans often show it even when it costs them a great deal of time, money, and energy, that compassion existed even in caveman times (we’ve found evidence for ancient people helping crippled members of their tribes for what must have been decades, and there are some very tender and touching ancient burials of children), and that we’ve never needed anything supernatural to tell us to be compassionate. Animals show compassion, just like we do in many cases, so I’m mystified about why you would need me to explain a “take” on the subject. Why do you ask? Is there some different way to look at it?

          • CommentMaker

            Wow, Captain Cassidy.

            I’m going to have to go back and see what I said to you. I was only straight forward with a few obnoxious people. I didn’t think you were one of them.

            Please stay in the here and now. The subject is about Kindness and the word Christian was thrown around with a little disrespect. I came here to present real-time Christian responses.

    • William Butler

      CommentMaker,

      I’ve been reading some of your comments and you, sir, are amazing!

  • arensb

    But Scriptures does not support this view. Instead, it describes sin primarily as offense against God.

    Whenever I see a claim like this, which implies that God needs humans to do something, I think of the one redeeming feature of Star Trek V: the line “What does God need with a starship?”

  • Yanik Crépeau

    An easy answer to the Christians regarding who is right and who is wrong on that issue: Mt 7:12.

    Being kind with the others, or the Golden Rule, is present in about every religion on Earth. Empathy is in the heart of every human being.

  • ShoeUnited

    A woman writing? There’s gotta be a commandment against that. She better not be wearing pants!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Ooohh, I smell a meme coming on!

      “Need a woman silenced? There’s a Commandment for that.”

  • Anna

    To make kindness into an ultimate virtue is to insist that our most important moral obligations are those we owe are to our fellow human beings. Under Saunders’s assumptions, the only plane of human behavior with moral import is the horizontal one: neighbor to neighbor. Sin is exclusively defined as the harm we do to one another. But Scriptures does not support this view. Instead, it describes sin primarily as offense against God.

    And this is exactly what is so horrible about Christian theology. The only thing that matters to them is what they think their god wants. They believe it gives them license to act however they want. That’s why they will cheerfully stigmatize others and attempt to use the law to force people to adhere to their view. They don’t consider it immoral because it doesn’t matter what people want. It doesn’t matter if people are hurt. It doesn’t matter if people are deprived of rights. All that matters is their conviction that is is appropriate to push their god’s will on us “for our own good.”

  • jdm8

    Dicks for Jesus?

  • Robster

    Is there anything even remotely attractive about christian belief? Donthinkso.

    • aaa

      free wine and crackers?

      • RowanVT

        Have you ever tasted that wine and the cracker? They’re *awful*.

        • Gus Snarp

          To quote the usual Christian response to those who leave the faith: “You’re just going to the wrong church”. Well, the crackers are universally bad, but I went to an Episcopal church a few times that had pretty tasty wine. The problem is one of quantity. They look at you funny if you try to take the cup or go back for seconds.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            I see opportunity here… have the regular wine and crappy crackers, but also set up a flesh and blood of Christ buffet line nearby for the big weekly tithers!

  • Dal Bryn

    “it describes sin primarily as offense against God.”

    And that’s why the concept of sin is absolutely ridiculous.

  • newavocation

    Fear keeps them coming and keeps the collection plates full. There’s no money in promoting a free heaven.

  • klhayes

    The Fundies gotta get their message to jive with the heartlessness being displayed by the GOP.

  • William Butler

    Holy Moly the atheists are getting their butts seriously kicked by a few Christians on this forum.

    • fsm

      Delusional troll is delusional

  • William Butler

    A bit off the subject, but I just thought I’d say that based on the comments I often read on this blog from atheists I’d say that the answer to this question is “yes”:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/seanthomas/100231060/are-atheists-mentally-ill/

    • GCT

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  • Birdie1986

    Also, it appears that fearing God and keeping his commandments results in the opposite of kindness in many, many people (need I say “Westboro Baptist Church” or “Pastor Steve Anderson”?)

  • Paula M Smolik

    Wow, I don’t think this idiot gets to redefine kindness as “lack of sin”. Holy cow!!

  • James

    Whether deliberate or not, your blog post misses the point of both the referenced article, and the scriptures you so easily dismiss. The author’s point was not that we should not be kind to one another. And you will find nothing in scripture that says we should not be kind to one another. But, a consistent reading of the Bible, in context, without cherry picking, supports the author’s point. That is to say that being a good person, or being kind, is not enough. A good virtue, yes. But not enough.

    The central argument of the Gospel is that sin exists, we are all prone to it and infected by it, it will eternally separate us from God, and we need a Savior to undo that separation. At the end of the day, you may choose to dismiss this as nonsense. You may believe there is no afterlife and once our time is done on earth, that is it. And you might be right. Or you might be wrong.

    But, if there is more than just this life, and all it takes is being a good person to make it to Heaven, then how good does one need to be? How good is good enough? The central point of the Gospel, and the point the author makes, is that this is the wrong question, because there is no way to answer it. The Gospel says there is no amount of goodness that is enough. The sacrifice of Christ is required. You can choose to believe that or not. But you cannot argue that this is not the point.


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