Of All the Problems in North Korea, Lack of Bibles Really Isn’t High on the List

Pastor Eric Foley, who runs a Christian mission group called Seoul USA, just gave a gift to the people of North Korea: Bibles. 50,000 Bibles. All delivered by way of hot-air balloons.

Not edible Bibles, mind you, just run-of-the-mill paper Bibles.

Because that’s what the isolated, starving, desperate people in North Korea need: Jesus.

This is a perfect example of Christians pretending to do something of value and accomplishing absolutely nothing. Just as praying for you after a tragedy won’t change your situation, these Bibles won’t do anything useful for the North Korean people.

Check out what the group did and think about how much money it cost them:

The balloons, made from a large sheet of “farm plastic,” said Foley, are filled with hydrogen before the Bibles and “tracts” — testimonials written by other North Korean Christians — are attached at the bottom inside a sack or box. Timers are then used to release the materials in stages, dispersing them at high altitudes across North Korea. Foley and members of his Christian mission group, Seoul USA, use GPS technology to help direct where the Bibles land. Around 50,000 of them have dropped from the skies in the last year.

It’s their money. They’re free to do what they’d like with it. I’m just saying if those balloons contained a granola bar along with the Bible, the people would have been far better off.

Just to be clear, North Korea is a place where Christians are actually persecuted — unlike in the U.S. — but it’s not hard to see that food would be more helpful than a book. And if you have the money and technology to air drop anything to the people there, why waste it on the Bible? Even if proselytizing was the goal, wouldn’t you need to meet everyone’s physical needs before you tried to go after what you think are their spiritual needs?

So here’s my helpful suggestion to Pastor Foley: If you want to convert North Koreans to Christianity, next time, drop something edible. Feel free to wrap it in pages from the Bible. They’ll be so grateful, they’ll have no one else to thank but your God.

(via Christian Nightmares. Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

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

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    A bible in a fire pit can keep you warm for an hour or two. In a privy, it can keep your ass clean for a year or more. Not as good as food, of course, but not entirely useless.

    • JT Rager

      I came here to paraphrase an Emo Phillips joke here too.

    • Intelligent Donkey

      Good rolling paper for blunts, too.

  • anniewhoo

    I wonder what might happen to a person who is found with one of these “gifts” in their possession? This plan was not thought through on so many levels…

    • Intelligent Donkey

      They’ll be fast-tracked to Heaven?

      Christianity is a death cult, you know.

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      They’ll automatically be registered as members of the “Hostile Class” under the North Korean Sonbung class system and likely sent to a labor camp for a stay doing hard labor. Once that’s done, them and two future generations of family in the future will be unable to get any kind of favorable treatment from the government, and will be at risk of further criminal action later.

      But hey, Jesus and all that right?

      • Stev84

        These kind of Christians would just see them as martyrs for the cause.

    • LNF1

      North Korea staged gruesome public executions of 80 people this month, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean entertainment videos or being found in possession of a Bible, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday. L.A. Times, Nov. 11, 2013

      • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

        Actually, if they wanted to destroy North Korea’s government they would do well to just drop DVDs of Korean soap operas and unlocked cell phones.

  • Art_Vandelay

    This is a perfect example of Christians pretending to do something of value and accomplishing absolutely nothing.

    Hey, if you got a funny fat and a bulletproof ride, that trick will apparently work on atheists too.

    • guest

      I don’t understand this comment. Translation, please?

  • the moother

    Let’s face it: after all the indoctrination they get in North Korea, Jesus would be a welcome relief.

    If atheists aren’t ballooning anything over that’s better than bibles, I’d say it’s pointless criticising.

    It’s just like Joe Kleien said.

    • Jasper

      Spreading idiocy is always worthy of criticism… swapping one form of idiocy for another doesn’t nullify this.

    • islandbrewer

      Um, the bible in North Korea is a good ticket to either a prison sentence or execution. It actually is making things worse for North Koreans.

    • indorri

      It’s just like Joe Kleien said.

      So even after previous examples of Atheist charity, you still believe this, because we think this example is posturing and not actual charity?

      Go away.

      • the moother

        It’s all just grandstanding… Do your charity and shut up about it… That’s my point.

        • Jasper

          Or, even better, we can do charity AND shame those who do stupid things!

        • James Stevenson

          Funny definition of charity you have there:
          ‘Does not directly help the recipient and increases their chance of imprisonment or death’
          And no if this was an atheist group distributing non-theistic literature and dressing it up as ‘charity’ would be calling them out on the bullshit to.

          • smrnda

            If I told people I would give them food but made them sit through me playing the accordion first, I’d consider it bullshit and just a way to get a captive audience.

            • James Stevenson

              Perhaps, rather than playing the accordion, you could read from a book! A big fat book no one in their right minds would generally consider having any entertainment value. But you say that this book puts across the unbridled truth of the cosmos. Then you’d be doing a public service!

        • 3lemenope

          When your point is “shut up”, one always has to wonder why the advice ever escapes the lips.

        • Fentwin

          You come across as very charitable with your opinion, now just close the deal.

        • indorri

          No, your point was to shame and denigrate atheists because we said mean words about an effort that at first glance looks charitable and nice, but under scrutiny is at best useless and at worst making things worse for the effort’s targets. You wouldn’t have brought up the Joe Klein thing otherwise, and now that you’ve been rightfully chastised for your uncharity, you’re attempting to save face.

          • the moother

            Lol… do you really think some or other religious person would have made the Joe Klein remark? Can you not tell that I’m not religious just based on that?

            I’ll say it again: do your charity and shut up about it. Thank you.

            If it’s good work, it will become notable. If it’s shit, the opposite. Trying to show the religious that we are better than them by shouting about our charity or condemning theirs makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Because it’s grandstanding.

            God-bots will learn soon enough that giving to the church is not the same as giving to charity or doing truly charitable things. And that serving the homeless a bowl of soup while telling them they will burn in hell for eternity is also not charity.

            The truly charitable will become secular soon enough…. And they will do this without us having to show that we are better than giving. Because we are. And actions speak louder than words.

      • Spuddie
    • EdmondWherever

      “You’re going to hell if you don’t believe” is a welcome relief? Sounds like they’d be trading one petty, vengeful dictator for another.
      .
      And what happens to the 50,000 balloons after they’ve completed their mission? I’d say that atheists NOT ballooning anything is BETTER than tossing more garbage into the nearest gyre.

      • sware73

        I was just thinking of it as garbage as well. They’ve essentially just littered all over.

    • Spuddie

      Joe Klein is never around when South Korea gives asylum to North Korean defectors.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Come down off the cross. We need the wood.

    • smrnda

      I’ve heard that some people used to drop pictures of the Great Leader that said something like “Kim Jong-il is not a god.” Of course, some people wouldn’t pick up the tracts since they were taught that if you touch a picture of the Great Leader, your hand will disintegrate.

      Will have to find the source on that, I found it quite interesting.

    • Glasofruix

      So, a frickin’ bible falling from the sky is a relief? Well, it might relieve you from your life if it lands on your head…

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      Yes, specifically a welcome relief from having stuff like a home and property after they’re jailed for even touching one of these drops.

  • Mick

    Pastor Foley isn’t even slightly interested in helping North Koreans. He’s proselytising because he thinks it will guarantee him a place in heaven. Whether or not the Koreans gain anything for themselves is of no consequence to Foley.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Uh, Seoul is in South Korea. But then again Pyongyang USA just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Most of them will end up as paper for rolling cigarettes. That by the way is an efficient way to get the word of god into peoples hearts.

    • Pepe

      Into their lungs, you mean?

      • Feral Dog

        Oh, some of it will get to the heart eventually, once it reaches the bloodstream.

  • Rain

    How would they like it if other countries made a habit of deploying balloons to time-release books onto the USA? Yeah didn’t think so.

    • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

      It might improve the literacy rate in the United States. If they were good reads, I’d say drop a few over my back yard!

      • Rain

        You got a point there. Free books! Didn’t think of it that way. Come on over folks and bring all your balloons lol.

  • Matt

    Stories out today are saying that North Korea actually just executed a whoooole lot of people for various things, though the relevant crime was … possession of a Bible.

    • Intelligent Donkey

      So, now they’re in Heaven?

      In Christianity, death is a good thing.

  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/hugh-kramer Hugh Kramer

    “This is a perfect example of Christians pretending to do something of value and accomplishing absolutely nothing.”
    Not quite true. There’s a shortage of TP in North Korea too, you know.

  • Justin T. Storar

    You know, bibles are at least a pound. lets be generous and say a quarter pound.
    I would not want to be hit with a box of 1/4lb bibles dropped from 50,000 feet or even 1000 feet.

    • flyb

      Indeed. Or crashing through the roof of some poor peasant’s farm house. Talk about a sign from gawd.

    • Spuddie

      Wouldn’t a small bag of rice be more useful?

      • Glasofruix

        It would, but then you’re not buying your ticket to heav….er…spreading the word of god.

        • Spuddie

          LOL

    • smrnda

      One might just hit the Great Leader (or whatever they call his son now) on the head, though I’d think the probability of that is rather low….

  • http://geneticmaize.wordpress.com/ Anastasia

    This pastor is paving his way to heaven on the imprisonment and deaths of North Koreans.

    “In North Korea, the practice of Christianity is illegal. Owning a Bible is a crime, and any person caught with one is sent – along with three generations of his or her family – to prison.” – http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/11/08/bible-drop-christian-group-takes-to-sky-to-sneak-gospel-into-north-korea/

    Here’s one individual case of torture and imprisonment for having bibles http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38085424/#.UoGC8mRDsQo

  • Tobias 27772

    Are they in Korean ??

    • FTP_LTR

      Of course not, they’ll be in the language of God and Jesus, English!

      • LesterBallard

        King James English, most likely.

        • Tobias 27772

          I wonder what that would actually look like. A poor peasant steps out of his hovel and sees a book and a little parachute float to the ground. He goes over and picks it up and looks at the meaningless print inside. (hey, I guess it’s still meaningless print whether it’s in Korean or English) What does he think or say ??

          • Glasofruix

            Free toilet paper.

          • trogon

            I hope when you say “it’s still meaningless whether it’s in Korean or English” you mean that the text itself is meaningless, rather than that you believe North Koreans are generally illiterate. (The CIA Factbook gives the adult literacy rate in North Korea as 100%. Not super-easy to verify, but in a totalitarian state, if they require schooling people aren’t going to keep their kids at home, so I don’t think it’s likely to be too far wrong.)

            • smrnda

              I heard that studying the books of the Eternal Leader Kim Il-Sung is required by everyone, everyday. I’ve actually seen footage of an American who was captured by the North Koreans who had huge chunks of Juche memorized, and he said that was not unusual.

            • FTP_LTR

              I’m skeptical about the 100% figure for literacy. I know that the CIA have a lot of resources, but how do the CIA assess literacy in somewhere like North Korea in a way that’s not affected by in-country propaganda?

            • Tobias 27772

              Yeah, I meant the words are meaningless regardless of your language, but I am surprised by the 100% too

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    “Foley and his group won the legal rights to conduct the balloon launches
    from South Korea, but officials there “don’t make it easy,” he said,
    noting that they often try to force hydrogen suppliers not to sell the
    group hydrogen. ”

    How do you say, “Oh, the humanity” in Korean? So not only are they dropping heavy books on poor farmers, who may be arrest if the farmers are found with the material, Seoul USA is doing it with highly flammable balloons.

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    As somebody who studies North Korea professionally, these measures do two things. First, they increase the odds of a provocation by the North Koreans in response (so as to put pressure on the ROK government to stop that). With the ROK interested in reacting more strongly to these provocations in light of the ROK Army’s self-identified poor performance the last few provocations, this increases the odds such actions could spark a renewed conflict. Second, North Korean citizens caught with these materials, even if they were just they are just trying to get rid of it, they face the possibility of execution or deportation to a labor camp.

    Additionally, there is (as I recall) defector testimony that these tracts are often used as toilet paper. So, you know, congrats: you increase the risk of war ao North Korean People’s Army troops have something to wipe with.

    • smrnda

      This reeks of American cultural imperialism. There are plenty of South Korean Christians with better perspective who realize these risks and wouldn’t pull a stunt like this.

      • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

        To be fair, I’ll suspect you’ll find these launches are by South Korean Christian groups; this organization is merely lending them funding. ROK Christian NGOs have been doing these launches for years, much to the consternation of the locals around the launch site, who are afraid the launches will invite artillery attacks on he surrounding area in retaliation (remember, the NLL artillery exchange was only a few years ago).

        The Korean National Police and the ROK Army often come in to chase them off, but what this article failed to mention is more often or not it’s the KNP/ROKA who are protecting these folks from angry mobs from the local communities who want to lynch once the launch is complete.

        It’s a complicated issue. Personally, they would do better to launch Choco-Pies and Ramen over the border with leaflets attached. The Kaesong Industrial Complex was basically paying their workers in that stuff it was so scarce north of the MDL.

    • Rosa Lovelace

      Provoking NK was my first thought, too. Fucking idiots.

  • A3Kr0n

    Strange. I just spent the last couple days watching videos on North Korea, and here’s a blog about it. People caught with bibles there are arrested. I don’t think these Christians understand what they’re doing.

    • FTP_LTR

      But if you’re arrested with a bible, you’ll be Saved, even if you’re tortured to death.

      “Jam* tomorrow, shit** today.”

      ——
      *For the Americans: Jelly
      ** For the Americans: shit

      • 3lemenope

        Americans have jam, too.

        • FTP_LTR

          Really? With the linguistic divergence, I thought jam was called jelly ‘over there’, like crisps being called ‘chips’, and Miley Cyrus being called ‘a singer’.

          • Baby_Raptor

            They’re different types of spreads. I think jam still has the seeds and fruit bits in it?

          • 3lemenope

            There’s a remarkable amount of linguistic diversity in the United States just in terms of local English dialect. The part of the US that I hail from (New England) managed to preserve quite a few colloquialisms from England–you’ll occasionally catch someone saying “cheers” instead of “thanks”, for example–though not quite as trapped in amber as some North Appalachian dialects (which, linguistically, are the surviving dialects in the world closest to Elizabethan English, to the point it is sometimes mistakenly claimed by Appalachian natives that they are actually speaking Elizabethan English).

            Anyway, in the US, jelly is primarily used to describe strained fruit preserves that have been jellied with added pectin or honey. Jam, by way of comparison, is fruit preserves that are unstrained (and usually retain chunks of fruit-flesh, but not whole fruits; that’s called a conserve, and is trickier business) and jellied by heating the fruit pulp to activate the naturally occurring pectin.

            • trogon

              In my usage, (and that of the Ball Blue Book of canning), it is the strained/juice vs. chunks of fruit distinction that determines jelly vs. jam; jams can and often do have added pectin.

              • 3lemenope

                …jams can and often do have added pectin.

                Quite so. My grams called this “cheating”. Most jams are either made with high pectin fruits or include them as a subsidiary just for their pectin.

              • FTP_LTR

                In the UK and in Australia, “jelly” almost exclusively refers to the jello family of creations.

                Jams, jellies, conserves. It’s a complicated business. Don’t even get started on pickles, chutneys and relishes. That way madness lies.

                • 3lemenope

                  You’re not kidding. Just yesterday I was educated on the difference between a pickle and gherkin.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Just ask Arlo Guthrie the significance of the pickle. Try substituting a gherkin, and it just won’t scan.

  • DougI

    North Koreans winters can get pretty cold, now they’ll have something to heat up their homes with.

  • James

    Just drop a little weed too and you got yourself a party! I remember the good ol’ days of rolling joints with bible paper in highschool. I guess Catholic school was good for something…

  • anon

    Apparently N Korea is executing people who possess bibles. This pastor is in essence, killing people. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/11/12/north-korea-publicly-executes-80-for-crimes-like-watching-films-owning-bible/

  • wildmanofwongo

    Serious question…if they’ll arrest you in North Korea just for owning a bible and if people are actually using them for toilet paper, would they still arrest you for having the bible if it’s somehow clear that you’re only using it to wipe your ass?

  • Michael J Freeman

    They should go to Islamic countries and distribute their Bibles…

  • Jay

    On the one hand, if I was stuck in North Korea with nothing to read except propaganda, I might welcome a bible, simply because it would be something different to read (any new book would be nice if you had none).

    Otoh if North Koreans will be killed just for picking them up, yeah, it’s a terrible idea.

    Books that might be more useful: First-aid manuals, instructions on how to build a simple radio, a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a history of communist/totalitarian regimes and how they were overthrown, The Anarchist’s cookbook or similar weapons-making manuals, a handbook on the edible plants and animals of the Korean penisular, or maybe some books about how to increase farm yeilds under extreme conditions.

    I’m not sure what we should be doing about North Korea. Part of me thinks sanctions should just be dropped. Trade might open people’s minds. Let the regime have nuclear weapons. We have them, we have many times more than North Korea.
    An Amnesty for North Korean refugees across the developed world would be nice too. The country would empty overnight. You can’t be a dictator if all your people leave.

  • The Other Weirdo
  • Erica

    http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/11/why-do-you-christians-always-throw-the-bible-in-my-face/

    What’s so special about this “Bible,” anyway?

    It’s a book written and compiled before the printing press; preserved and protected by the blood of many millions; passed through the ages in spite of the countless attempts by marauders and tyrants to erase it from existence. In all of history, no book has been read by more people, nor changed as many lives, nor spurred as many acts of courage and heroism, nor driven men and women to advance civilization like the Bible. But what’s the big deal? It’s the most influential piece of writing of all time, hands down, no contest, without question, but so what? Why should people be kind of psyched about it? Why should it be in our schools? It’s just history’s single most important collection of writings, that’s all. I scoff at it. I scoff at it and all who have died to preserve it.

    God Bless :)

    • islandbrewer

      And dropping them in North Korea is a good way to get some North Koreans killed or imprisoned. Was that what you really want happening? I find that a far greater likelihood than any of them converting to christianity as a result of a book falling in their field.

      • Erica

        Read the article. Maybe you’ll understand it A LOT more. Maybe even learn a thing or two ;)

        • islandbrewer

          I did read it.

          It was a tedious study in both bad writing and an intentional mischaracterization of secularism (aka, strawmanning). There was also a lot of snark that I had to read and reread without ever understanding what point he was trying to make. Walsh is a horrible communicator.

          I understood that he thinks secularists fit some screechy stereotype of his, and learned only that Walsh should take a few writing classes.

          • Erica

            Criticize, criticize, criticize. The point isn’t about him taking a writing class. The point is The Bible has saved an unfathomable amount of lives. The reason the Bibles are being dropped is so they can save more lives. You don’t know they will be killed for reading The Bible they find. If they do happen to be killed after reading the Truth, they have eternity with our Creator. Judge away.

            • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

              This entire comment captures two essential truths about you. One, you have absolutely no clue about North Korea; and two how clearly you don’t value human life, considering its secondary to getting people to bend a knee to your pet theory. Amusingly, this attitude is nearly identical to thw North Korean government.

              • Erica

                Don’t value human life? Why? Because I know what happens after one’s body is no longer on earth and don’t want to see ANYONE be anywhere but up in Heaven? No one has to bend any knee.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  No, your deluded into thinking something happens to you after you die. Some proof would be nice. Until then YES, you clearly don’t value human life because your condemning people to a painful death just so you have new members for your little club.

                  Vile.

                • baal

                  Look, you have no evidence that heaven is anything but a pipe dream brought on by some first century mystic with some odd personal quirks. I know with similar ferver that the only way to not have the worst outcome ever is to dance suggestively with half breeds in the swamp. That is the demanded worship of the only true and Elder Gods.

                  We’re going to get some badly tuned flutes soon, I’ll reserve one for you.

                • Erica

                  You have no evidence it’s not real.

                • baal

                  I know you are but what am I?

                  Look, if I tell you that there is a dragon in your garage (google that phrase for the full thing), it’s on me to prove it to you. I made the claim that deviates from well, reality.

                  You’re claiming the existence of a supernatural being – god and that magical things called souls exist. The burden is on you the claiment to prove it.

                  I also use the invisible pink flying unicorns of Bolivia as an example. Those’d be pretty rare but if I’m the one saying they exist, it’s on me to prove it and not on you to disprove it.

                • Erica

                  Where is your proof that it isn’t real?

                • FTP_LTR

                  You’re not getting it, Erica. You’re the one claiming it’s real; the burden of proof is on you.

                  Where’s your proof that invisible flying pink unicorns of Bolivia aren’t real?

                • 3lemenope

                  That everyone who’s anyone knows that invisible flying pink unicorns hail from Paraguay. Bolivia has the invisible venomous vegetarian boa constrictors.

                  And of course, intergalactic miniature giant space hamsters are right out.

                • Erica

                  If God does not exist, life is ultimately meaningless. If your life is doomed to end in death, then ultimately it does not matter how you live. In the end it makes no ultimate difference whether you existed or not. Sure, your life might have a relative significance in that you influenced others or affected the course of history. But ultimately mankind is doomed to perish in the heat death of the universe. Ultimately it makes no difference who you are or what you do. Your life is inconsequential.

                  Thus, the contributions of the scientist to the advance of human knowledge, the research of the doctor to alleviate pain and suffering, the efforts of the diplomat to secure peace in the world, the sacrifices of good people everywhere to better the lot of the human race—ultimately all these come to nothing. Thus, if atheism is true, life is ultimately meaningless.

                • FTP_LTR

                  So, in essence, your proof is that you want it to be true? Your proof is that you would like there to be something bigger? That isn’t proof – that’s wishing.

                • Erica

                  Or you’re just wishing it isn’t true. You have no argument.

                • FTP_LTR

                  I thought we’d got past that?

                  I’m not the one making claims: you need something to back up your claims and wishes.

                  What evidence is there that it is true? Other than “if it isn’t, then life is meaningless”?

                  Thus, the contributions of the scientist to the advance of human knowledge, the research of the doctor to alleviate pain and suffering, the efforts of the diplomat to secure peace in the world, the sacrifices of good people everywhere to better the lot of the human race—ultimately all these come to nothing.

                  Yes. And? So what?

                  Why does there need to be an afterlife for this life to have a meaning? I strongly believe that there is life after my death – it’s just that it’s other people’s lives, not mine.

                • Erica

                  Where do you think you came from? How was man/life/earth/universe/etc. created?

                • FTP_LTR

                  Those are questions, not evidence.

                  Am I right in summarising your ‘proof’ as being “I don’t know how the universe started, therefore it must be God”?

                  I don’t know how reality TV got so popular, but I don’t just throw up my hands and say “God did it.”

                • Erica

                  The Bible is proof that God created the Universe. Where do you get your proof from on how we were created? Seems to be a lot of avoiding here.

                • FTP_LTR

                  How is the Bible proof? Because it says so?

                  If that’s how it works, then we have proof that invisible unicorns exist – because baal said so.

                  I don’t have proof of how we were created. I’m not the one making the claim. Do you not understand that part?

                  Here’s a simpler analogy:

                  You hold out your closed hand and say “I have 10c in my hand”
                  I say “Prove it.”
                  You say “Where’s your proof that I don’t.”
                  I’m supposed say “Ok, I believe you.”

                  See how nonsensical that is? That’s your argument in a nutshell.

                • Erica

                  You believe scientist “because they said so” right? Faith vs. Science.

                • FTP_LTR

                  seems to be a lot of avoiding here

                  Sounding familiar yet?

                • Erica

                  Yes. You’re still avoiding. I’ve answered your question. My proof is in my prayers being answered, seeing the Lord’s work in my life, having a relationship with the Creator and feeling the peace after knowing how and why I’m going to heaven. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for every ones sins but His own. I do not deserve or will I EVER deserve the mercy or the grace He shows me every single day. I can’t prove that the sun is going to shine every day or prove that there is a heaven or life after death ANYMORE then you can prove that there is not. That is where faith steps in. I know I am not living my life for just me and there is a higher purpose. There is no void when you have peace. My prayer really is that every human being can experience the same.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Aaaaand we’re done. The circle is complete.

                  You believe because you have proof. Your proof is that you believe. Your proof is that you believe without needing proof. Your proof is that you know.

                • Erica

                  aaaaand your proof?

                  Still waiting.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Ok. One more time. Slowly.

                  I. Was. Not. Claiming. Anything.

                  I’m not claiming any explanation in place of “God did it. He told me.”

                  What are you asking me to prove?

                  Go back and read the parable of the 5c coin again. Try and relate it to this conversation. Please?

                • Erica

                  We all just magically appeared one day? I am asking YOU how YOU think we got here? I’m genuinely interested in hearing what you think.

                • 3lemenope

                  It’s a very amusing attempt to level the playing field.

                  “I believe [x]”
                  “[x] has no evidence. Provide some.”
                  “Well, you have no evidence for NOT[x].”
                  “Don’t need it. Logic 101.”
                  “Oh. Huh.”
                  [...]
                  “What do you believe, [y] such that you hold [y] as true?”
                  “Quit changing the subject.”
                  “But it’s not fair! I want a NOT[y] to hang over your head!”
                  “Sorry to disappoint.”

                • FTP_LTR

                  I have proof that an invisible goblin hides my keys sometimes, and that a golden monkey returns them when I’m not looking. The same golden monkey makes the sun shine. The proof is that I know it. I pray that you can experience the golden monkey the same.

                • Erica

                  Good jokes. But still no evidence on what you believe in came from. Scientist. Because they said so.

                • 3lemenope

                  The only thing that’s really funny here is your insistence that the claims you cling to are in any way different from the “good jokes” that FTP_LTR presented.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Please, 3lemenope… don’t stoop to Erica’s level. I don’t need patronising… they were very very weak jokes ;-)

                • FTP_LTR

                  If we have to move on to my beliefs, ok…

                  My proof is in my prayers being answered by the monkey, seeing the Monkey’s work in my life, having a relationship with the Monkey and feeling the peace after knowing how and why I’m going to the banana farm.

                  Because the monkey died on the cross for every ones sins but His own. I do not deserve or will I EVER deserve the mercy or the grace He shows me every single day.

                  I can’t prove that the sun is going to shine every day or prove that there is a banana farm or life after death ANYMORE then you can prove that there is not. That is where faith steps in. I know I am not living my life for just me and there is a hired porpoise. There is no void when you have peace. My prayer really is that every human being can experience the same.

                  Over to you to prove otherwise, if I understand how this ‘works’, Erica.

                • Erica

                  I guess you aren’t capable of having an adult conversation or one where you don’t mock someone else’s belief. Totally alright with me.

                  If that is what you believe, then I’m glad you stand for something.

                • FTP_LTR

                  You asked me for proof. Please prove that my belief system is untrue.

                • 3lemenope

                  It’s not your beliefs that are being mocked. It’s your inability to defend them, and your unwillingness to recognize how argumentation and proof work.

                • brian schneider

                  A scientist can show me the evidence, Your bible? Not so much.

                • islandbrewer

                  By that logic, the Bhagavad Gita is proof that several gods exist, the Koran is proof that Mohammad flew to heaven on a white horse, the Book of Mormon is proof that Native Americans are actually a lost tribe of Israel that came to America on boats built by Phoenicians. And the Discworld novels are proof that we float through space on the back of the turtle Atuin.

                  Why do you think your work of fiction trumps the others?

                  P.S. Walsh is a pretty craptastic writer. His points aren’t clear. He’s verbose without being entertaining, informative, or even vaguely interesting. He doesn’t make any actual arguments or provide support for anything he says. He engages in pretty egregious rhetorical fallacies.

                  I teach fifth graders who write better than he does.

                • 3lemenope

                  Why does significance not matter unless it is “ultimate” significance?

                  Not that I even buy your central premise. But I’m curious where that particular leap comes from; it strikes me as a particularly bizarre version of “if it isn’t perfect it can’t be good.”

                • Erica

                  If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them. And the claim is that in the absence of God, moral values are not objective in this sense.

                  Many theists and atheists alike concur on this point. For example, the late J. L. Mackie of Oxford University, one of the most influential atheists of our time, admitted: “If . . . there are . . . objective values, they make the existence of a God more probable than it would have been without them. Thus, we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of a God.” But in order to avoid God’s existence, Mackie therefore denied that objective moral values exist. He wrote, “It is easy to explain this moral sense as a natural product of biological and social evolution . . . .”

                • 3lemenope

                  Yes, I am familiar with the almost comically wrong argument that objective values cannot exist without a supreme lawgiver.

                  But that’s not what I asked. I asked why you are obsessed with value having to be ultimate in order for it to be meaningful. Even if I accepted your thesis that a supreme lawgiver is necessary for ultimate value, not all values are ultimate, and our experience and pursuit of them is not in any way diminished by their impermanence or imperfection.

                  So, try again, this time actually responding to the question.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  How miserable is your life that without the delusion of god you see only misery?

                • Erica

                  Without God, there is only misery.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  Odd, I would beg to differ. I’ve got an awesome life. I have great friends and a great family. I travel a lot. I have a job I love. No misery here.

                • FTP_LTR

                  But you’re clearly deluded and deceiving yourself, YankeeCynic.

                  Or your life may be awesome, but it’d be heaps awesomer with Jesus in your life.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  This whole thread is a candidate for fundie bingo. I’m waiting for the “you actually believe in god but say you don’t so you can sin” canard to get broken out.

                • FTP_LTR

                  Yep, we’re also missing:
                  * Not a True Christian;
                  * Persecution of Christians; and
                  * Stalin

                  Edit: add

                  * [nature/awe/wonder/etc] is God/Jesus/Religion; or
                  * God/Jesus/Religion is [nature/awe/wonder/etc]

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  Oh! Don’t forget the Sye Ten Brugantate-style JAQing off, though we’ve hinted around the edges of it.

                • FTP_LTR

                  I had to google Brugantate.

                  Wow. Just wow.

                • 3lemenope

                  I give a ham sandwich to a person who was a bit hungry, and misery turns to satisfaction.

                  Your move.

                • brian schneider

                  Where is your proof that it is real?

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

                  Rule of Logic #1: The person making the claim must provide evidence to support the claim.

                  You claim Heaven is real. That is a hypothesis about the world. Therefore, it is your responsibility to provide the evidence for that claim. The null hypothesis is what is the case if your claim has insufficient evidence behind it; in this case, the null hypothesis is that Heaven isn’t real. It is the default option. What you are trying to do is present enough evidence to cause your audience to reject the null hypothesis. What we, your audience, have to do is look at your evidence and decide if it’s good enough to say the null hypothesis is wrong.

                  So, present your evidence for Heaven. We’re waiting.

            • islandbrewer

              Criticize, criticize, criticize.

              That’s kind of rich, considering that it basically all that Matt Walsh does.

              The point isn’t about him taking a writing class.

              Ah, but you do agree he’s a horrible writer!

              The point is The Bible has saved an unfathomable amount of lives.

              Citation needed.

              You don’t know they will be killed for reading The Bible they find.

              And I don’t know if I’ll kill anyone by spraying a building with automatic weapon fire. It’s still a horrible idea.

              If they do happen to be killed after reading the Truth, they have eternity with our Creator.

              You left out the part about buying that load of crap and converting, but let’s infer that part, too. It still doesn’t deflect the citation needed.

              P.S. Are you just Matt Walsh trolling?

              • Erica

                I don’t think Walsh is a bad writer. I never stated that. You made a point to say that, and I said that isn’t the point of the statement. It’s called Faith. ‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’ Hebrews 11:1. Where is the proof we all were created from a bang? Why would MILLIONS AFTER MILLIONS of people believe this Book and continue to believe it if it was such a hoax? Over thousands of years? That is one major hoax. You won’t believe it till you experience it yourself, and I really do pray that you do come to know the Lord one day. Have a nice rest of the day.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  Why would MILLIONS AFTER MILLIONS of people think the sun revolved around the earth, that mental illness was caused by evil spirits, and that the world was flat if it was such a hoax? Over thousands of years? That is one major hoax.

                  See what I did there?

                • Erica

                  Millions after millions of people believed that huh? Where is the citation for that? Those numbers aren’t even close to the same amount that have believed the Word.

                  Still waiting on proof of us evolving from a monkey? Or a bang?

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

                  Well, if your only criterion for truth is that lots of people believe it over lots of time, I guess Hinduism and Islam are just as true as Christianity then.

                • Fred

                  Don’t forget ancestor worship.

                • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

                  I’m curious as to what the popularity threshold has to be in order to become undeniably true. Ten million? How about eleven million? Ten and a half?

                  Oh! That’s right. This is just one big argumentum ad populum.

                • brian schneider

                  Ape, not monkey. And the evidence is there if you look for it.

                • Martina M.

                  Who created that Ape? Where did the Ape come from? Or all living cells? Or non-living cells?

                • brian schneider

                  Read some science texts.. The information is out there. I’m not going to do your research for you.

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

                  So, at its most basic, life is a replicating RNA strand. The outer protein shell of a virus is quite beneficial in protecting that core, but it isn’t necessary.

                  We have seen self-replicating RNA strands compose themselves out of unconnected protein blocks (that we know form in nature) in various experiments. Voila! One theory of abiogenesis. We also know that cell-like membranes form spontaneously. There are other theories of abiogenesis as well. Wikipedia has an excellent overview.

                  From such primitive life forms as self-replicating RNA strands, the entire immensity of life as we know it evolved over quite a lot of time. Talk Origins should have answers to any questions you might have, and many more answers to questions you didn’t know you had.

                • NickDB

                  At one stage of human history 100% of the population believed the world was flat and the sun spun around the earth. So it must of been true at one stage according to your logic.

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          No, most of us read the article. That doesn’t invalidate any of it. Especially because your response doesn’t actually respond to the point many of us were making, but rather just regurgitates an especially ill-lettered and poorly reasoned nonsense.

          But hey, in many ways the Bible and the social system of North Korea have a lot in common. After all, both subscribe to a vile system of hereditary atonement and believe in an all-seeing, omnipresent dictator loitering over people.

          Also, enough with the emoticons already. This isn’t high school and we’re not going steady.

    • Feral Dog

      What’s so special about this “Bible,” anyway?

      It’s a book written and compiled before the printing press; responsible for the torture, enslavement and death of many millions; passed through the ages helped by countless attempts by marauders and tyrants to promote its ideals. In all of history, no book has been read by more people, nor changed as many lives, nor spurred as many acts of unspeakable cruelty and malice, nor driven men to stagnate civilization like the Bible. But what’s the big deal? It’s the most vile piece of writing of all time, hands down, no contest, without question, but so what? Why should people be kind of psyched about it? Why should it be in our schools? It’s just history’s single most horrific collection of writings, that’s all. I scoff at it. I scoff at it and all who have murdered because of it.

  • Ranson

    Some evangelist org in the 80′s made a big deal of doing this with the Soviet Bloc. James Randi covered it in “The Faith Healers”, I think. Oddly enough, there was no actual proof that anyone ever actually sent any balloon packages. MAde for good copy in the fundraising literature, though

  • John the Drunkard

    Peter Popoff, of Johnny Carson/James Randi disgrace fame, used a ‘bible-balloons’ pitch to defraud his dupes out of millions. In his case the balloons were to drift accross the Iron Curtain and bring peace and happiness to all the good little children….

  • Robster

    Hope the bible thingies were translated into Korean. Wouldn’t that be a fun job, you could changes things, most things for the better and no one outside of North Korea would be any the wiser.

  • ShoeUnited

    Think of how much the great leader is going to talk this shit up about how we’re so desperate that the only thing we can do is send bibles via a shitty balloon when glorious Best Korea has air travel.

    Adding to the “failure of so many levels”.

    • islandbrewer

      Gah! Now I have that Kim Jong Il puppet from Team America World Police in my head!


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