Kate Smurthwaite Responds to a Nun Who Claims Atheists Have ‘Faith’

The BBC recently held a televised conference in which 100 women from different backgrounds and faiths were invited to discuss pertinent issues.

Atheists were represented by the excellent Kate Smurthwaite, who had to respond to the age-old charge that she, too, had “faith”:

Smurthwaite had a tough role to play: Not only did she have to dismantle the ridiculous argument, she also had to promote feminism and equality alongside women who belong to misogynistic faiths that they still want to defend. But just as she did two years ago, Smurthwaite’s response here was polite but effective.

(via Atheist Women)

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.

  • primenumbers

    I hate to say it, but the Catholic and Muslim women were utterly stupid. No, you don’t get to tell someone else what they do or do not believe. When the atheist women says she lacks a belief in God, or lacks a religious belief you do not contradict that to her face because it makes you feel better.

    • Itarion

      Behind her back, sure, but not to her face.

    • Randay

      Which one of Monty Python is playing the nun, and which one playing the burqa lady?

    • LutherW

      They are not stupid enough to let the atheist get a word in edgewise.

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

    It seems some people can’t or won’t comprehend the negation of atheism.

  • LesterBallard

    Even if I do have “faith”, I’m not insisting that anyone else have the same faith, or that my faith is the only true faith. I’m not punishing anyone for not having my faith; I’m not oppressing anyone for not having my faith. I’m not denying others rights I claim for myself and saying it’s because of my faith.

  • trj

    The good old “Oh yeah? You have faith too” argument is a bit of a two-edged sword to the theist, I think.

    But more than that, I grow infinitely weary when I hear the argument “You just want to worship yourself/science/nature/whatever”. No, I don’t worship those things. I’m not an idol worshipper just because I don’t follow the tenets of your faith. Get over yourself, ffs.

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      George Carlin how I miss thee.

      http://youtu.be/gPOfurmrjxo?t=3m8s

    • Trickster Goddess

      I simply don’t get this obsession that you need to worship something. That is BS. I don’t worship anything.

  • Anna

    Hemant, the links in the sidebar are getting increasingly problematic. It seems like at least once a day, there’s a dead link.

    This thread is yet another example:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/31/kate-smurthwaite-response-to-a-nun-who-claims-atheists-have-faith/

    The link almost always shows the wrong date, and it often shows the wrong words as well. For example, “response” rather than “responds.” I have no idea what could be causing this, but it only started happening recently. Are you editing the URL after the initial posting?

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

      That may just be a glitch with this post. I changed the URL before the posting went up. I didn’t realize that affected other things! I’ll try to take more precautions next time.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        It also messes up the links that Disqus sends out. So if we want to reply via the comment link in email, we have to figure out and fix the url. Forever.

        • islandbrewer

          I’ve noticed that it happens more often with older threads, and I wonder if it’s just Hemant going back and editing the url, or something else screwing up Disqus, or just a sign from Jesus that I shouldn’t respond anymore.

          • Anna

            For me, I’ve only noticed it happening with new threads, those posted within the last month or two. Older threads don’t seem to be affected.

      • Anna

        Thanks, Hemant. It’s been happening more and more often.

        The ghost thread is similarly afflicted:

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/11/01/can-atheists-believe-in-ghosts/

        It says it was posted yesterday, not today.

  • JWade

    That was difficult to watch. The religious approach of “whoever talks the loudest and the most must be right” sickens me.

    And how does a woman in a burqa get up and talk about feminism at all?

    • Anna

      It’s crazy to me how they don’t see themselves as being oppressed, even when the sexism in their religions is plain as day. Presumably, a woman in a burqa believes she is submitting herself to her god, not to men.

      Same thing for the nun. I assume she happily accepts the fact that she will never be allowed to perform any of the sacraments or fulfill the duties of a priest.

      • Emmet

        Good grief. Yes, Catholic women who give believe in and give assent to the Church’s teachings happily accept the fact that they’ll never be priests. Is that so hard to understand?

        • cyb pauli

          It beomes hard when the Catholic woman in question claims to be feminist. Feminism demands that nuns be EQUAL in privilege and responsibility to priests or alternatively that women be able to become priests (and thus, bishops, Popes). She is actually just a misogynist parading about in misogynist clothing bleating the word feminism because she likes the sound of it.

        • Anna

          Why are you so surprised? Of course it’s hard to understand. It’s difficult for those of us who grew up with gender equality to understand how any self-respecting woman could follow a religion that does not allow her the same role as a man.

          This nun, I’m guessing, grew up steeped in her religious tradition, so perhaps she always accepted the inequality. I don’t find it difficult to believe that someone thoroughly indoctrinated into a certain religion would accept the limitations of that religion without question.

          However, I don’t understand how any of these women can speak about feminism, being part of anti-feminist traditions themselves. For a nun or a woman in a burqa to identify as feminist strikes me as absurd.

        • Olive Markus

          Actually, it isn’t so much that women won’t become priests, it is that you’re happy to believe in and worship the Catholic God who considers women to be so useless and incompetent that he won’t let them be priests (oh and also while calling yourself Feminists, of all things!). You want to worship a God that thinks so little of you? Please, by all means. However, don’t be surprised that we think that worshipping a being that finds women so useless and only marginally worthy of rights while thinking yourself a Feminist is ridiculous.

    • cyb pauli

      There is something about religion that permanently destroys a person’s ability to understand incongruent beliefs. That’s all I can come up with. She must not recognize the irony of discussing feminism while wearing male-designed garments to protect male eyes from observing the female form as commanded by a male god made up by men.

      • six981

        In my opinion, It’s Cognitive Dissonance.

    • El GrumpyolBat T

      Absolutely, I just wanted to slap the presenter for not giving equal time! arghh!!!!! and don’t even get me started about religion and feminism…. x

  • Mitch

    Sure, I suppose the case could be made that I have faith. I have faith, defined as a belief or trust in something, in humanity. I believe that we, as a species, will one day cast off the archaic and misogynistic tenets of all world religions. As for the strong belief in the existence of some deity… not so much.

    • NateW

      Out of genuine curiosity, what would you say would be the defining characteristics of a post-religious world? How do we know when we have arrived in it?

    • Stev84

      It’s that confusion between belief, faith and trust again.

      Faith is belief without evidence. An atheist may say “I have faith in my friends”, but the correct word there would be “trust”. And even then it can be argued that they did something to earn that trust and that relying on them can be justified by past experience.

      • Mitch

        While I do admit there are instances where people confuse those terms, I’d say it depends on what is meant by the word “faith.” If what faith means is “strong trust in someone or something,” then I think it’s an accurate word. Trust, used to mean a “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, etc.,” also applies to the situation.

    • CottonBlimp

      Yeah, but what exactly is their point in calling “faith”? It’s pure semantics. They can call my atheism “faith”, it’s still a faith that is subservient to reason and empirical evidence. It’s still a faith that is congruous with modern scientific knowledge. There’s still a massive difference between my “faith” and religious faith that the nun is blatantly trying to obfuscate.

    • primenumbers

      I think we all have faith==”earned trust”, but that’s no the same thing as religious faith (claims of knowledge without evidence and reason). Religious people will undoubtedly equivocate on the word faith==religious faith with faith==hope with faith==trust with faith==earned trust to try and make their argument. On our part we can a) call this abominable practise out, and b) only use faith to mean religious faith and use good words like hope, trust and earned trust for the other meanings.

  • Rick McCrae

    People of faith say that the existence of god cannot be proven. Typically, that is only applied to the existence of the god they believe in as the rest must surely be fanciful. However, the existence of god can easily be proven. Bring him (or her) out. Show her (or him). Apply the proofs that we apply to the existence of, say, Queen Elizabeth. Or the pope. Or anything or anyone else. Or anything else. I have no faith that Queen Elizabeth exists – I know it. I have seen her. I know of many others who have seen her. Her existence is confirmed by millions of data points. Do the same with god. That’s all it takes to prove the existence. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. But if you said there was a monarch of England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and many other countries who lived, breathed, interacted with people, bore children, kept Corgis and reigned for over sixty years but you had no witnesses, no pictures, no speeches – nothing at all – I would not believe you. And you wouldn’t believe it either.

    • mfergusson

      The truth, uncomfortable as it may be for those believers who agree that reason is a good way to understand the world, is that the existence of this particular god can be, and has been, disproved.

      You can’t simply move the goalposts when the other team is on the field and then move them back when you have the ball again. According to Jesus (referring to himself, I suppose) and Paul, Yahweh (which is the “god” we’re talking about here, after all) is the god who answers prayers (Jn.14:13, 1Jn. 5:14). It has been shown in double blind studies (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16827626) that prayer does not positively impact outcomes (or if you want to be charitable, certain less-rigorous studies have shown there may be trivially small effects). Prayers for the sick to get well do not get answered, therefore the Christian god, the god who answers prayers, does not exist. If you want to restate the argument and say that the god we’re speaking about is not the god that answers prayers, then fine, but you have to admit that there is no other way to describe the god of the new testament, and what you’re attempting to do is prove the existence of *someone else’s god*, not Yahweh.

      • Rick McCrae

        I think you misunderstood what I meant (perhaps I said it poorly).

        We’ve all seen many attempts at proving god (some god, a particular god) exists. They all rely on circumstantial evidence which is never conclusive. Yet, if one really existed, it would be trivial to prove the fact. I am not asserting that any god exists but rather, if one did, there is an obvious and convincing proof.

        Suppose I claim I have a dragon in my garage (no, this is not an original thought on my part). If true, it is easy to prove. I open the garage door, have him burn down a couple of buildings, demand children for sacrifice and the proof is reasonably well established (anyone asking for additional evidence can easily be accommodated).

        However, instead of doing that, I simply claim all kinds of magical properties for my dragon that cannot be proven. I speak to him and he speaks to me – but no one but me can hear his voice. He responds to my requests, but does so in an inconsistent manner and in a way that could be explained by natural (non-dragon) means. He refuses to provide winning lottery tickets but sometimes helps my favorite team win. My requests for favors are sometimes granted and sometimes not. No real physical laws of the universe are ever broken but good fortune is always attributed to him. And so on.

        However, disproof of the dragon, or the god, is much harder. Agreed regarding the prayer and lack of results. It is possible to imagine a god that is powerful but disinterested. Or a god that might have existed at some point in the past but doesn’t now. Of course, what are we left with for our definition of god?
        Some being more powerful, smarter or more technologically advanced than we are now? Big deal. On that basis, we would be gods to anyone that existed more than a few decades ago using current technology.

        Again, the point was that, if a god really existed, it is conceptually easy to prove. So the argument that ‘one cannot prove god’s existence’ is essentially a false one. It could be trivially done if one existed. That a trivial proof is not used is strongly suggestive that god does not exist.

  • cyb pauli

    How can a woman, a Catholic nun who can never become a leader in her faith and will never be considered equal to a monk or a priest, who is wearing a VEIL because female hair is too sexually arousing to show in public claim to be a feminist?! How DARE she say a single word to me about fighting misogyny while she wears a VEIL! Take the damn veil off first, as actions speak louder than words.

    It’s like a black man preaching about racial equality while freely, unironically wearing shackles.

    *screams as if possessed by Satan*

    • Anna

      Out of curiosity, what is the Catholic rationale for the veil? Is it the same as the Muslim one? I know they used to make ordinary Catholic women cover their heads in church, but that seems to have been discontinued. And not all nuns wear head coverings.

      • cyb pauli

        It’s something people don’t realize, but just like in the Mid East, for a long time in Christianized Europe it was considered improper for women past puberty to go about with their hair loose. Most “honest” women bound their hair or wore veils (or hats or bonnets or wimples, etc). Why? For the same reason, loose hair was considered sexual and thus evil. It is considered part of “modest” dress amongst the Benedictines and other traditions.

      • Nebuladancer

        The veil, or head covering as it is known throughout much of Christendom comes from a passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11. In the middle of a section where Paul is discussing how church meetings are to proceed (none of which can be seen in any Catholic or otherwise church today except a few fringe groups) he launches into the need for women to cover their heads. His rational is that women need a “sign of authority” on their heads because of the angels. The explanation I learned was that when christians pray, angels often act on their behalf. An uncovered woman is seen as having less authority (to tell angels what to do) but if she covers her head, it symbolised her submission to her husband, and therefore by her husbands male authority she can pray effectively. Because the passage specifically mentions husbands, the practice was later demoted to only referring to the brides of Christ, the nuns, and to married women. Hence, young unmarried women as recently as Jane Austen’s time went with their heads uncovered but once they married were expected to wear this awful bob-caps.
        The entire argument is supported on Euro/Middle eastern assumptions:

        1. women tend to grow their hair long (which black African women typically did not, a point that was made when I was a head-covering believer) proving that ‘naturally’ women prefer a head covering;

        2. It was culturally shameful for a woman to have a shaved head, or short hair (Paul insists that if a woman refuses to cover her head she ought to just go ahead a shame herself all the way and shave it off – which is the basis for the nuns sometimes shaving their heads before accepting the veil: if their veil comes off they’re already shaved, so their righteous on all fronts);

        3. Arabian women already covered their heads, so it must be natural. He makes the point that Arabian women will judge christian women who ignore this teaching.

        The idea that it was about modesty because loose hair was too “sexy” was not discussed much at all; instead if talked about was further proof from nature: godly women wouldn’t want attract sexual attention to themselves, so of course they would cover their hair.

        • Trickster Goddess

          young unmarried women as recently as Jane Austen’s time went with their
          heads uncovered but once they married were expected to wear this awful
          bob-caps.

          I have seen echoes of that attitude in my ex-mother-in-law (born 1920′s) who argued that once a woman got married she should stop having long hair and instead adopt a shorter hairstyle.

          I also thought it might be a social sexual signal that showed that the women was “taken” and also making her look slightly less comely so as not to be as attractive to other men.

    • Stev84

      They aren’t even really in charge of their own order. Yeah, they may be an abbess, but ultimately she serves at the pleasure of some bishop.

      We’ve recently seen in the US what happens when the hierarchy thinks that nuns have stepped out of line. They taught things about social justice (and I believe sexuality) that their male leaders felt was contrary to church teachings. So they were publicly censured and put under close supervision of a male priest.

    • islandbrewer

      How DARE she say a single word to me about fighting misogyny while she wears a VEIL!

      In her defense, it’s just a habit.

      • Jeff

        You have aroused a snort of epic proportions. Maybe you have to be Catholic to get it, or maybe not so serious about the conversation, but that is the most epic pun (or double entendre?) I have seen in a LONG time.

        • cyb pauli

          Same here, I enjoyed it immensely. :D

        • El GrumpyolBat T

          Just a sense of humour. A double-entendre is lewd.

      • baal

        It’s not a habit, it’s cool, I feel alive
        If you don’t have it you’re on the other side
        I’m not an addict (maybe that’s a lie)
        (K’s Choice)

  • Brian T Hall

    our minds are funny creatures, once faith of holly text enters the strange Creature call mind, strange creative things happen.. I’ll give this nun a face pam.. I will face pam for the nun… :/ ???

    • Emmet

      What?

  • GarrettsMom

    The argument is nonsense. Atheism is not a matter of faith in something not existing, but an acknowledgment that the evidence of reason and data is so overwhelmingly opposed to religious belief being true that the only reasonable conclusion is atheism. Atheism is a conclusion, not a premise. Certainly not a “belief”.
    By way of example, I do not believe in the Easter Bunny, because the evidence of reason and also the history and context of the “story” strongly supports the conclusion that he is an invention, so strongly in fact that one can say with (a great deal of) reasonable surety that the Easter Bunny is just a story. That’s a conclusion, not a belief.

  • JWade

    Another thought…I’ve always thought an effective response from an atheist to this charge is devoid of the word ‘belief’. The theist will always equivocate on that word to spin the argument.

    When presented with this argument, I’ve always stated to the theist that the existence of god is a factual assertion, which is either true or false. Since a fact is only established by looking at the available evidence, the atheist only has to say they judge the theist’s assertion to be false, based on a lack of evidence.

    While it may look to some as a statement of gnostic atheism, it isn’t. Evidence can always change. This way the argument doesn’t devolve into being all about the word “belief” but instead you end up arguing over the evidence, which is clearly not in favor of the theist.

    • Stev84

      Or shorter that an atheist of course believes in certain things but that faith – per definition – is belief without evidence. And often belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    • wtfwjtd

      I’ve always found it interesting that “god” always acts in ways that are consistent with actions and outcomes that are precisely what we would expect if he didn’t exist at all…

  • SeekerLancer

    The whole, “you have faith in something/worship something too,” argument never really made any sense to me. It’s like they’re admitting they know their faith is ridiculous and the only way they can advance their argument is by making the other side look just as ridiculous by projecting their understanding of belief onto them.

    • primenumbers

      It’s a blatant rationalization. They know themselves that faith (in the sense of religious faith) is bad and irrational or else why would they attack the atheist has having faith?

  • Rip Van Winkle

    It gets really tiring to hear these religious people repeat themselves like they think they’re making a different or better point. Different words don’t make a different statement.

    • Stev84

      And another drink for “atheists are narcissists who worship themselves”.

      I don’t think you can get much more narcissistic than thinking that the creator of the universe cares about what you do or has a plan for you.

      • L.Long

        But the belief that gawd cares what you do with your genitals and has a plan for you is not narcissistic, its called megalomania.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Now, now, no need to argue. They can be narcissistic AND megalomaniacal. See? Compromise!

  • bamcintyre

    These theists, regardless of which “god” they worship, refuse to believe that it is possible to NOT believe in ANY of them.. They insist that this must be a belief, instead of it being the ABSENCE of a belief. I’m sure that to accept that would be very threatening to their own belief.

    • El GrumpyolBat T

      I don’t believe you ;) x

      • El GrumpyolBat T

        (sorry I just couldn’t resist it… :P x )

  • L.Long

    Well most everyone here is about the same when it comes to this video.
    I’ll just add that it takes religion or some sort of dogma to make seemingly smart people look really stupid.

    The atheist’s main problem is that she let the ‘you BELIEVE in no gawd’ BS go unchallenged. As it is not that atheists ‘believe there is NO gawd’, it is that there is NO EVIDENCE of a gawd and that is what terrifies these religious delusional children, they are not adults mentally.

    • El GrumpyolBat T

      to be fair, she barely had a chance to respond before the nun popped back up again and the presenter then brought in another religious-believer. x

  • Janet Holmes

    You CAN prove whether the Christian or other god exists since they are postulated to have effects in the world, you can test for those effects. When these tests are done we find that prayer doesn’t work, the Bible is full of cruelty and forgery, and that visions of gods are epileptic seizures and other brain malfunctions. The only god you can’t prove the existence of is a deist god that does nothing, this is not a god worth worrying about since it has no requirements of us and can do nothing for us. Any god worth worshiping can be proved to be non-existent and has been proved to be so.

    • Emmet

      Has been proved to be non-existent… well, if you say so.

      1. God doesn’t exist.

      2. You can prove God doesn’t exist.

      3. Scientifically. You can do tests ‘n’ all that stuff.

      4. Therefore God doesn’t exist.

      For more Awesome Atheist Arguments see here: http://www.thomism.org/atheism/atheist_logic.html

      • cyb pauli

        1. Some people believe there is a God (AG).
        2. He is purported to have certain effects on the observable universe.
        3. No evidence of these effects can be found.
        4. I’m going to make a really long list of atheist strawmen.
        5. William Lane Craig.
        6. Therefore, AG exists.

        • Emmet

          Sure. So what?

      • Carmelita Spats

        Jumping-Jesus-On-A-Pogo-Stick…Thomism? ROFLMAO! The Godless
        Geeks
        are funny BECAUSE backing up a tremendous claim is NOT on them but on ANYONE who opens wide a mouthful of Savior so as to bray that “Looky here, Ma, we got us a genuine
        Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning God who sacrificed himself to himself and makes regular appearances as a transubstantiated wafer and you are allowed to swallow him bein’ as eating God ain’t ritualistic cannibalism; not like what we did that time
        with Uncle Joe’s head and some jumper cables and the bodacious chili recipe.” You can substitute “God” with
        “magical-spiritual-talking-lava-eating-sea-clams” and the comedic effect cuts to the quick just as well. The same skepticism that you apply to spiritual-magical-talking-lava-eating-sea-clams should be applied to Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecing-soon-to-be-returning-God. Why the double standard? The more descriptors you pile on, the funnier
        the punchline becomes and hence, Godless
        Geeks
        .

        The ONLY reason to privilege a Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-soon-to-be-returning-God who sacrificed himself to himself is because you read it on someone’s business card. Here’s the thing about print…Business cards are not evidence of anything. Anyone can go to a print shop and have cards that say anything they like. The king of Denmark can order cards that say he
        sells golf balls. Your dentist can order business cards that say she is your grandmother. In order to escape from the castle of an enemy of mine, I once had cards printed that said I was an admiral in the French navy. Just because something is typed on a business card or typed in a newspaper or in a Bible–this does not mean that it is true.

        • cyb pauli

          ARGUMENT FROM “THE MATRIX”
          (1) We cannot prove that we don’t live in a Matrix-like world.
          (2) Therefore we cannot know reality.
          (3) If reality is contingent, then everything is possible.
          (4) Therefore, God exists.

          I am depressed that Im not the only one who has had to rebut this one. :(

          • Emmet

            Yep, that’s a crap one too.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          In order to escape from the castle of an enemy of mine, I once had cards printed that said I was an admiral in the French navy.

          Annnd that is where I completely lost it. Took much longer than usual. :P

        • Emmet

          I’m never really quite sure what you’re going on about but I do enjoy reading your comments, so please, keep them coming.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Every religion with a god makes claims about that god’s effects on the world around us. Many of those claims are trivial to disprove. One disproof of the effects of any given god is a complete disproof of that particular definition of “God”. And every god you’ve heard of had been disproven in this manner.

        It’s a pity you can’t actually reason this out for yourself or pick it up from the numerous times it’s been explained, including in this thread.

        It’s pathetic that you get pissy when someone doesn’t go into detail about well-understood arguments like this every single time they’re referenced. It’s further a black mark against your understanding of even the basic issues and points.

        For more terrible theist arguments, see Emmet’s posts.

        • Emmet

          I’m not getting pissy. You keep saying that – it’s one of your favourite words – and I’m actually quite mellow. You make me laugh.

          By the way, you made the claim that cardinals kill popes that they don’t agree with and I asked you for evidence which you never produced – did you gather some yet?

          Or you could just say you were wrong and talking through your hat. Either way.

          • islandbrewer

            Hey Emmet, as you’re so mellow and not pissy, why don’t you explain how the Catholic church doesn’t actually object to condoms because they’re contraceptives.

            You appear to have utterly failed to explain that after being asked several times, as I recall.

            Edit: Or you could admit you were wrong and just talking out your ass.

        • Emmet

          At the end of the day no “proof of God” or “disproof of God” is watertight – I think that’s what the sister was getting at – so to say as you do that God has been disproved – well, that’s nice for you to think, but it’s just not true.

          • Scott_In_OH

            The Christian god, which I’m sure is what you mean by “God,” has been disproven to exactly the same extent as Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, and the Tooth Fairy.

            Yes, it is impossible to utterly prove that something does not exist, but I suspect you have disproven to your own satisfaction the existence of those four.

            Atheists do the same thing, but they add one more god to the “disproven” list: yours, whichever one that is.

            • Emmet

              What does that even mean, “disproven”?

              Of course I don’t believe in Allah, Vishnu, Zeus and the Tooth Fairy – I’m a Catholic, so that means I believe one God exists and others are made up. You don’t have to suspect that.

              • Anat

                Yes, but on what basis do you believe your god exists and the others do not? Or IOW why are you a Catholic and not a member of some other religion?

                • Emmet

                  Because I think the Catholic religion is true and the others are not. There’s no other reason.

                • Emmet

                  Because as I see it the evidence points to the Catholic faith being true.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                And we believe in one god less. What’s so hard about that?

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

            I have a very firm belief that there is a walrus that lives on Pluto. Please absolutely disprove this belief.

            • Emmet

              Why do I need to? Go ahead.

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

                Because you seem to think that the inability to logically disprove gods is meaningful. My point is that you can’t logically disprove anything. If you want to claim your god exists, it is your burden to show evidence of it. My sole burden is to judge your evidence as convincing or not and, if it is convincing, to change my mind.

                In the same way, it is my burden to show evidence of a walrus on Pluto, not your burden to prove that no such walrus exists.

                In other words, the sister’s argument is absolute bunk, and has been known to be absolute bunk for a long time.

                • Emmet

                  But I have no burden to convince you – I only have to convince myself, which I’ve done. You can weigh the same evidence I’ve seen and make your own choice.

                  Both of us are going as far as the evidence takes and then making a leap of faith one way or the other into a way of life.
                  Both of us are, hopefully, making honest intellectual decisions to do that, and then living a moral life as best as we see fit.

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

                  Point of order- it isn’t a leap of faith to say that I don’t believe in things that have no evidence for them. Literally none at all. Will you tell me that it takes a leap of faith to not believe in walruses on Pluto? Or is the self-evident absurdity of that proposition enough to reject it out of hand? Also, atheism isn’t a way of life. Secular humanism is.

                  I do agree that we are both, hopefully, making the best decisions we can and living moral lives as best we can. However, you’ve also often defended the Catholic church’s doctrines and tried to convince us that the RCC’s beliefs are reality-based. At that point, you do assume a burden of proof.

  • Celestine Stoltenberg

    It’s rather lopsided having a single atheist on a panel of people of different faiths, because the religious people will all share a basic disagreement with the atheist about the nature of spirituality, the existence of the supernatural, and the role of ancient traditions in modern life.

    Smurthwaite does an excellent job here, nonetheless. Thanks for posting this.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      On the bright side, there was an atheist on the panel.

  • Thai Flowers

    Pure solipsism. Arguments based on the semantics of words do not change reality, or the meanings of the abused words. Worship is worship, that is actions performed to honor a deity or deities. Non action is not worship. Doing something for the joy of it, is not worship. Sacrifice for your family or country, is not worship. Protecting the environment, is not worship. Working for your own survival, is not worship.

  • compl3x

    Imbecilic accusation. It does serve as an indication of how poorly theists are fairing against atheists in debates, though. The whole “atheists don’t really exist” argument is really scrapping at the bottom of the barrel.

  • Kellen Connor

    That condescending tone of voice the nun was using made her really hard to listen to without pitching a fit.

  • GCBill

    Woah woah woah, back this train up. The Benedictine nun says “…religion was trying to prove, by reason, that God existed. In the modern philosophy times, we have learned that reason cannot prove either that God exists, or that God does not exist.”

    I mean, I think she’s right that proofs for God are a dead-end industry, but theologians never gave up on any of the old arguments. In fact, Christians (and especially Catholics) are still trying to formulate *new* ways of demonstrating God’s existence. Furthermore, *very few* of the Catholic Church’s doctrines and teachings (especially regarding Natural Law), nor much of Scripture (Rom 1:20, Psalm 14:1, etc.) makes any sense whatsoever if there’s no way to prove that God exists. So she significantly damages the credibility of her institution (whatever credibility it had, anyway) with her opening statement.

    Now again, I *don’t* think there are any good proofs of God, and I think there are sound arguments that demonstrate the nonviability of personal gods. But why does this woman think she can throw in the towel for her entire tradition, just so she can take some cheap “But you have faith too, maaan!” potshot? Even as an atheist, it actually bothers me that someone could make it so far in their religious tradition, yet say something so obviously false about it. I’ll take those who wrongheadedly think they can prove God over those who give up and call their position “faith” – because at least they’re *trying* to be reasonable.

  • Tony Cummo

    Quote:
    “God can’t exist because of Eric The God-Eating Penguin. Since Eric is God-Eating by definition, he has no choice but to eat God. So, if God exists, He automatically ceases to exist as a result of being eaten. Unless you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist, God doesn’t exist. Even if you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist, that same proof will also be applicable to God. There are only two possibilities – either you can prove that Eric doesn’t exist or you can’t – in both cases it logically follows that God doesn’t exist.”..

    • islandbrewer

      Don’t fuck with the God-Eating Penguins!

    • Emmet

      Not a very good argument. It belongs on this page: http://www.thomism.org/atheism/atheist_logic.html

      • islandbrewer

        So, you can prove Eric doesn’t exist?

        • Emmet

          Can you prove he does?

          • Emmet

            Or, indeed, can you prove he doesn’t?

            • PaulDouglas1

              Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Please share evidence that your god exists.
              No personal anecdotes or unverifiable claims please.
              I’ll be waiting.

              • Emmet

                Oh ffs.

          • islandbrewer

            No, I can’t, in precisely the same way you can’t prove your god exists.

  • Rachael Butz

    Why do people feel like everyone HAS to worship something? That’s nonsense!

    • Anna

      Maybe these are people who grew up steeped in a worship tradition and don’t understand how others live their lives without it? Personally, I find this the most bizarre argument. I’ve been an atheist my entire life. I’ve never worshipped or felt the desire to worship anything.

      Even among religious adherents, worship (I guess defined as performing acts of devotion) varies. There are plenty of religions that don’t involve the worship of deities. They might involve other supernatural beliefs and practices, but worship is not among them.

  • Brett Ellis

    Then by extension we all have multiple faiths for example the Benedictine Nun has her faith in the Christian god but also her faith in the non existence of Thor, Ptah, Loki, Ares, Fairies, space teapots, Zeus, FSM, Cthulhu and all I neglected to mention.

  • Dan Dorfman

    “reason cannot prove that god does or doesn’t exist”
    Well, then, your religion is a useless exercise, you condescending windsock. Reason deals with claims that are demonstrable. If god is not demonstrable, then god has no observable manifestation in the real world. A god that does not manifest in or affect the real world is ENTIRELY indistinguishable from one which does not exist.

    • El GrumpyolBat T

      “condescending windsock”! hehehhehhehhh!! :D x

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Why not? Why can’t they prove their god exists? I’m serious. If you believe in a god who interacts with physical reality, why doesn’t that interaction leave behind evidence? I am sick of the argument that you can’t prove that god exists. If gods did exist there would be evidence for them. There isn’t any. If I’m wrong, show me the evidence.

      • Emmet

        What sort of evidence would convince you?

        • mfergusson

          A double blind study showing that prayer significantly improves health outcomes would be a start. Of course, you’d need to accept that the opposite result would disprove the existence of the “god who answers prayers” (Jn 14:13).

  • http://pjlowry.wordpress.com/ P.J. Lowry

    Faith by definition is believing something despite the absence of evidence. Atheists are not required to have faith because we have evidence. We don’t have faith that the world is round… it’s a proven fact. As is our orbit of the sun. Evolution has a crapload of evidence to back up it’s claim… we consider it true because we have examined the evidence. Faith is not required to be an atheist. We have proof of contradictions in the bible and that is our reason to choose not to follow the dogma of the masses. It’s a decision based on evidence, not faith.

    • Beth Clarkson

      “Faith is not required to be an atheist.”

      I think she is saying that faith is required to be human. It is not required that that faith be in god, but we cannot be functioning human beings without having faith in something. I feel that is an accurate observation.

      • islandbrewer

        Yeah, but here she’s playing this (incredibly irritating arghb!… sorry) semantic game of being fast and loose with more than one definition of “faith.” As others have pointed out “faith” can mean believing something without evidence (e.g., faith in God), but also “faith” can just mean trust from experience (e.g., I have faith in my friends). Those are very different meanings that use the same word. Whether intentional or unintentional on her part, it’s not really an honest argument.

        Edit: It’s not unlike when theists redefine “God” and “worship” to mean “things you like” and “liking things,” as in “Your children are your God and you worship them!” In order to show that we atheists actually do “worship” a “God.” It’s the stupidest argument technique short of throwing feces and running away screaming (in a rhetorical sense, of course).

  • deadweasel

    “Reason cannot prove God exists, and it can’t prove He doesn’t exist.”
    Take a good, close look at those first 5 words. What do they mean? What can we conclude from those words?
    If reason cannot prove God exists, then belief in God, by definition, is irrational, and there is nothing more to rationally discuss. The rest of the statement is irrelevant, as the first part has already conceded the case for atheism.
    It is at this point that the theist introduces faith; if reason cannot prove God exists, then faith is required. However, this is the Fallacy of Special Pleading. Since the theist cannot, and admits she cannot, justify a belief in God with reason, she must engage in fallacious thinking to justify her irrational beliefs.

    • James Stevenson

      ‘Reason’ is cold, methodical and anathema to ones sincere religious awakening.

      Surely if we’ve learned nothing its that God is that nice, warm, fuzzy feeling that makes you want to form a mob, light the torches, grab the pitchforks, and look for a minority for you to persecute and/or force to undertake your rituals against their will.

      Because really… what more proof of God do you need than that?

      • 3lemenope

        Reason is exactly as warm or as cold as the premises it is being applied to.

  • Mick

    Why do they bother to have a moderator on those panel shows? It is obvious the producers have ordered the moderator not to intervene when the shouting starts because that’s what gets the big ratings. Speakers are not to be protected from interruptions by other panelists because it is confrontation that keeps the viewers in their seats. And if anyone starts making sense they are to be cut short and a new topic introduced because it is assumed that the audience will regard educational information as boring.

    • James Stevenson

      Yea its annoying that’s really the case. Mainly because I’m completely the opposite. I absolutely can’t stand it when the ‘debaters’ start cutting into each other and shouting. Sure you have the opportunity to cut in, but do it sparingly and politely even if it is someone as vainglorious as Bill Donohue who you’re debating. I also hate it when the audience does it, ie either by laughing or booing or applauding so it interrupts the discussion that goes on. but unfortunately that tends to be the preferred format as you observed.

  • deadweasel

    Theist: “Reason cannot decide the question of whether God exists or not.”
    Skeptic: “How did you decide that? Did you use reason? If so, you applied reason to a question of God’s existence, and contradict yourself. Did you not use reason? Then your statement is mere assertion, arbitrary, and may be rejected without argument.”

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    One thing I have noticed during many exchanges like this is that the religious insist on being allowed to speak (and ramble on interminably) uninterrupted but see no problem with interrupting the non-religious when they are trying to respond. They really have no manners at all and are incredibly rude.

  • Timmah

    That particular argument is always so mindblowingly dumb to me. “We have found that we cannot use reason to prove God exists!” Ok do you know what we call everything else that we can’t use reason to prove it exists? We call those things IMAGINARY. So why do gods get a free pass over other imaginary things like Dragons, Unicorns and Santa?

    • islandbrewer

      What, there’s no Santa, now? Well, screw being nice for the next two months, then!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Two MONTHS? My gosh, did you ever learn wrong. Start being nice by helping prep for Thanksgiving at the very earliest.

        It’s actually a double win because the parents will decide to go all-out for you because you’ve been so nice, but since it’s already close to Christmas, they have to do five times as much work to find all the presents they think you deserve. :P

  • Beth Clarkson

    After lurking in the atheistic blogosphere for the last few years, I’m afraid the religion = misogyny therefore atheism argument doesn’t hold much water for me. Plenty of religious men and women that strongly believe in equality and plenty of atheists who don’t.

    • islandbrewer

      But I don’t really see her, or anyone, making the argument that (1) because religion is misogynist, you must (2) be an atheist. I see atheists pointing out misogyny in religion, and I also see atheists pointing out the misogyny in the atheist community (note that I didn’t say “the misogyny in ‘atheism’”).

      If any argument about misogyny and religion is being made, I think it’s that religion can (but not always) be used as a cover, excuse, and justification for misogyny, while atheism can’t be used that way. Misogyny among atheists is cultural baggage that can’t be (and isn’t) blamed on atheism itself.

      • Emmet

        Atheism can’t be used any which way. It’s not a thing to be used.

        • islandbrewer

          I utterly agree. Catholicism, on the other hand, can be used to deny rights to women, exempt employers from the law that others have to follow, effect policy that spreads STIs, induces unwanted pregnancy (and as a consequence increases the abortion rate), make abortions illegal and unsafe, and it can lead to policies where otherwise treatable conditions are ignored and women are effectively sentenced to death.

          And it can make women accept being treated as second class and still think they’re being feminists.

          Thanks, Catholicism!

          • Emmet

            Sure. You say it, so it must be true, I guess.

            Assertions don’t equal argument.

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

              Magdelene laundries. Baby selling in Spain. Religious exemptions from the ACA and nondiscrimination laws. Getting government money for charities in spite of that being totally unconstitutional. Hyde Amendment. Putting pressure on American foreign aid to only do abstinence only programs (which fail) instead of the ABC approach (which is moderately successful) for HIV prevention. Catholic hospitals won’t perform abortions, even when a woman’s life is at stake (Arizona, Ireland, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Poland, Dominican Republic, and many more). Catholic hospitals refused until very recently to provide emergency contraception to rape victims who were ovulating, all but ensuring an unwanted pregnancy and likely abortion. The RCC supports Natural Family Planning, an ineffective “birth control method”, which leads to higher unwanted pregnancy rates and therefore more abortions (not all are aborted, but some are). Women prohibited from the priesthood and any real positions of power in the church, yet somehow think it’s acceptable to follow rules they have literally no say in and maintain a faith that says that the lack of testicles and penis means they are innately incapable of being spiritual or secular leaders.

              There are mounds of evidence to islandbrewer’s claims. That you choose to ignore common knowledge (seriously, everyone in the US who pays any attention at all knows this stuff) is your fault, not hirs.

              • islandbrewer

                Thank you for writing that, Feminerd. After that whole Joseph O Polanco thing, I am so fucking tired of these disingenuous trolls.

                On a side note, I noticed that the one post of mine he won’t reply to is where I challenge his bizarre claim that the RCC doesn’t object to condoms because they’re contraceptives.

                • baal

                  RCC does allow for condom use on one condition. You have to poke holes in them first (no i’m not joking) and be used in the context of PIV sex in a marriage.

                • islandbrewer

                  ….

                  *blinks*

                  (no i’m not joking)

                  *blinks again*

                  You’re joking.

                • baal

                  My google fu isn’t up to a good link atm. It was around 2010 when the prior pope was trying to see less insane on condoms (which they still work against) and they were describing in a video the edge cases where condom usage would be ok.

                • islandbrewer

                  That’s the kind of “logical” conclusion that only a religion could ever come up with.

                • Emmet

                  A condom that’s been holed isn’t a contraceptive, is it? It’s not being used to contracept. Remember that the thing itself is amoral – just a piece of rubber (it’s not “the condom” that the Church objects to but the contraceptive) – and it’s what it’s used for that needs to be thought about. So the example you’ve noted is for collecting a sample of ejaculate for fertility testing. Masturbation is out, so a husband and wife can use a perforated condom to collect a sample.

                  You can’t imagine the sex in that case would be particularly amazing.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  That’s about as ridiculous as Orthodox Jewish rules about what you can and cannot do on the Sabbath. It’s like you score points for coming up with convoluted loopholes because deep down you know the underlying rule is ridiculous.

                • Emmet

                  Not really. It’s permissible to collect a sample of sperm for fertitlity testing but not permissible to masturbate in order to do so. With me so far?
                  So two options: a couple could have intercourse then collect out the ejaculate; or use a perforated condom (making sure it was one without spermicide) to do the collecting.

                  Not that convoluted at all.

                • islandbrewer

                  So according to you, if a contraceptive has it’s contraceptive property removed, it’s no longer prohibited. But it’s not the contraceptive property that makes it prohibited, according to you?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Ok, strike ‘convoluted’ and replace with ‘silly’. Is there a rule on how big the hole has to be? Can it be small enough to not actually let any sperm through? What about small enough for sperm one at a time, which makes contraception nearly, but not mathematically, impossible? What about the minute probability that the condom breaks, doesn’t that allow for conception in the same way as adding a tiny hole?

                  See? Silly. If you really think that you’re not supposed to get in the way of God’s plan, then you shouldn’t be bothering to collect sperm samples. Just have sex and if God wants you to have babies, you’ll have babies. Collecting sperm samples is just as much an affront to God- unless someone happens to decide for God that it isn’t.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  A response to the observation that the RCC’s original command amounted to “AIDS is bad, but condoms are worse”.

                  It’s also worth noting that while a condom may protect a man from getting HIV from a woman, it seems pretty unlikely that it will protect a woman.

                • Emmet

                  Especially with the failure rate of condoms.

                  Honestly, how loving is it to have sex with someone knowing you might infect them with AIDS?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  How loving is it to impose your own understanding of love onto someone else? How loving is it to refuse to have sex with someone because they might get AIDS from you. How loving is it to allow someone to care for you if you have any contagious disease, because they may get it from you?

                • Emmet

                  Oh for pity’s sake.
                  1.I assume you’re in favour of redefining marriage to include people of the same gender, because tru love.

                  Isn’t that imposing your understanding of love onto those who aren’t in favour of that?

                  2. I think it’s pretty damn loving to refuse to have sex with a person if i had AIDS. I mean, “I love you Babe, and I do hope this condom isn’t one of the ones in the box that statistically is likely to break. I do love you Sweetpea, I do.”

                  I mean, is that just me? Anyone else here on the same page?

                  3. I guess if the person is willing to risk catching the disease so that they can care for you then that’s pretty loving on their part. The love on the sufferer’s part would be to allow the other to make their own choice out of love for them.

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

                  1. How does it redefine your love to allow other people theirs? No one is saying heterosexual love is anything less, nor forcing heterosexuals to marry or love people of the same gender. No one is imposing anything at all on you by expanding rights to other people. How does saying the government isn’t allowed to discriminate based on who loves whom hurting you in any way or forcing you to do or believe anything?

                  2-3. It is loving to consent to no sex if one is HIV+ (not stricken with AIDS, even). It isn’t loving to unilaterally make that decision without input from one’s partner. Sex is a primal human instinct, and condoms to prevent the spread of disease quite well (it’s not 100%, but it’s pretty good). The combination of condoms and prophylactic treatment in the case of a condom failure is damned good at preventing the spread of HIV. As drugs have become less toxic and less expensive, we’re also looking into PreP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis) for people considered at high risk, including people whose lovers are HIV+. There are options between no sex and full-on penetrative sex as well. Love is looking at the situation, the risks and benefits, and making a mutual decision. Different couples will choose different options, and that’s fine.

                  I mean, substitute HIV for any number of contagious diseases. Is it loving to allow one’s partner to care for one when one has a cold? The flu? Tuberculosis? SARS? Ebola? Is it loving to ban one’s partner from one’s presence to prevent hir from getting sick? Or is it most loving to look at both people’s needs and desires and reach a reasonable accommodation based on each unique circumstance?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Sorry, I missed where anyone was imposing anything on any one. Is someone forcing you to marry someone you don’t want to?

                  Surely you can’t mean that you’re bothered by other people getting married? That would be ridiculous.

                  Same with your Sweetpea example. You know what? What other people do isn’t any of your business. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to prevent you from putting holes in your condoms if you want to collect sperm samples. I think it’s silly, but it’s your choice.

                • islandbrewer

                  Oh, you want to go down this route? Are you saying that if the efficacy of condoms in preventing STIs met a certain standard, they’d be ok? Is there an encyclical which states the rate of prevention that must be met? Is that what you’re implying?

                  If not, you’re simply being disingenuous.

                • Emmet

                  No, that’s not what I’m implying.

                  Shit man, don’t you understand the basic principle of understanding your opponent’s argument before you begin to attack it?

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

                  Emmet is a very polite troll, but he’s been around awhile as I’m sure you know. I don’t understand how he can say the same thing over and over again and expect different results- it’s not like we magically forget facts because they’re inconvenient to his case, nor do we forget that we’ve seen the exact same argument before, from him, and it was taken down last time too. How does he forget this time after time?

                • Emmet

                  Because you people are going over the same old hackneyed arguments yourself? Good grief.

                  I enjoy the conversation.

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

                  You reply to this, but not the evidence-filled post above that you simply cannot refute? Good grief. This is why we call you a troll, not a conversationalist. You simply drop things you cannot refute, but your arguments keep popping up again and again. You refuse to engage the arguments themselves, instead ignoring them and hoping to use the same tired rhetoric elsewhere, hoping that people will be convinced by an argument that you yourself cannot adequately defend.

                • Emmet

                  Fair enough. I can understabnd that frustration.

                  I am getting back to your “evidence-filled [sic] post” above. Letting it percolate for a bit before I get round to it.

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

                  Works. There’s a lot packed into a fairly small space. I look forward to your reply.

                • Emmet

                  I don’t understand what you’re saying, that’s why I didn’t respond. Still trying to work it out. The Catholic Church says contraceptives have no place in sex – but not because “they stop people from being born”, which is what people were claiming in that other thread.

                  What are you actually wanting me to say?

                • islandbrewer

                  Why would contraceptives have no place in sex, if not because they prevent pregnancy? That’s what I want you to explain.

                  You refuse to do so, dancing around saying things like “you don’t bother to understand the position” or various forms of “Nuh-uh!” or idiotic non-answers such as “contraceptives have no place in sex.” You’re plainly being evasive.

                  Now I predict you’ll respond with some references to documents with Latin titles, some airy “give your whole self to your partner” deepity, and still fail to show that the RCC doesn’t object to contraceptives because they’re contraceptives.

                • Emmet

                  OhgoodgriefwhydoIbotherreallywhy.

                  Your answer suggests you know the Catholic position already but are playing some kind of game. Not quite sure why. Do you want to prove to yourself or to others watching that you have a superior intellect? Perhaps dropping in a “Emmet you’re a fucktard” or two might do that. Probably not though.

                  Honestly, what are you after?

                • Emmet

                  Simply: the Church prohibits contraception because it is a frustration of the purpose of sex: it goes against the natural law for sex to be for bonding and babies.

                  So, yes, contraception is intrinsically skewed because it thwarts conception which is the natural result of intercourse. But no, it’s not prohibited because it means that children aren’t born – this is the misunderstanding expressed in the “every sperm is sacred” bollocks.

                  Does that make sense? I don’t know how else to put it to someone who seems to be wilfully misunderstanding me.

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

                  Why do you think sex is for babies? It can be, sure, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are all about natural law, why would God put goldenflowers on this Earth if He didn’t want women to use them for contraception? Why create abortifacients like tansies, ergot, and numerous other herbs?

                  Why would humans find anal and oral sex pleasurable, if sex was just for babies? Again, is God so incompetent he couldn’t figure out how to ensure this? Why do humans like having sex during non-fertile times? Why do humans like having sex even when infertile? Remember, your god is perfect. If he thinks sex is only for babies, why make sex so fun and put both contraceptive and abortifacient plants on the planet?

                  If the natural result of sex is conception, why do 50-80% of zygotes get flushed out because of failure to implant? That’s a horrible failure rate for a perfect god.

                • islandbrewer

                  No, you don’t make sense. And I’m understanding you perfectly.

                  the Church prohibits contraception because it is a frustration of the purpose of sex

                  Which is to conceive, I take it?

                  Let’s set aside this “bonding,” and I’ll take your word that the RCC likes big hard cocks uncovered because they like the natural feeling. So, drop the condoms, and switch to oral contraceptives.

                  So preventing conception isn’t the reason say, oral contraceptives, are prohibited. They’re prohibited because they “frustrate” conception?

                  And those two are different how?

                  So, yes, contraception is intrinsically skewed because it thwarts conception which is the natural result of intercourse

                  I’m going to enshrine that quote. It’s hard for me to type for all the laughing, really.

                  “It thwarts conception” – we have a word for things like that: “contraceptive.” A contraceptive, by definition, is something that thwarts (or “frustrates”) conception (or according to you, “the purpose of sex”). That’s it’s purpose.

                  For you to say this, after screeching about how contraceptives aren’t disdained because they stop conception, just demonstrates that you’re either (1) absolutely delusional in your logic, (2) a bald-face liar, (3) really have difficulty with the definition of “contraception.”

                  Ok, so contraceptives are bad because they “frustrate conception” but not because they do what contraceptives are designed to do, according to Emmet.

                  Thank you. That was a priceless gem.

            • islandbrewer

              Anyone who is so capable of ignoring the world around them as you are is either a ridiculous liar or truly in need of help.

              • Emmet

                Eh? Honestly, I can’t follow you. You’re all over the place.

                Sharpen up.

    • cyb pauli

      religion = misogyny therefore atheism argument

      For some people, holding incongruent beliefs is not uncomfortable. The traditional Catholic theology as practiced by this nun requires that women are less than men. It is anti-feminist. If this nun believes that women and men are equal in worth and ability, the most intellectually honest thing she should do is abandon her belief in Catholic theology. That might not lead to atheism, as there are a few feminist spiritual paths. But she can’t do that and neither can most liberal Christians. Instead they use cherry picking (a cognitive bias and a logical fallacy) to create a new Christianity that carefully avoids the aspects that are incongruent with their social views.

      The problem with atheism is that (unlike Bible based Christianity) it neither supports nor contradicts male-supremacy. Every misogynist, queerphobe, classist, racist, authoritarian etc quickly realizes that atheism is not a barrier to their bigotry. But every socially liberal Christian must contend with how their religion is a barrier to their compassion.

    • NathanExplosion

      > religion = misogyny therefore atheism argument

      Is this a commonly argued point?

  • Georgina

    What a shame that the video cut off just as the masked lady was explaining how narcisstic people are who don’t worship a god – they must worship *something*, so they obviously worship themselves, or their jobs.
    Ignorance at its best!

  • Colin Harwood

    Atheists do have a belief – in scientific method, logic, peer reviewing etc. Because for me to ‘believe’ in something wholeheartedly, my mind demands things like repeatable experiments that provide useful data or extrapolations that are then proven (thinking of cosmic background radiation or time dilation here). This is something that religion has singularly failed to do. Religion and specifically the Benedictine nun, where IS your god and why is he so shy? You’d think after worshipping him since the twelfth century the least he could do would be to pop in for five minutes to say hello and thanks for all the grovelling and unused wombs, wouldn’t you?

  • Crama

    Stating that not believing in a god is having a belief is like saying that not collecting stamps is a hobby.


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