Ed the Combox Atheist

Guest blogger Ed Blanch comments regularly on various religious websites and he blogs at There’s No Sky Fairy where he regularly receives 273 visits a month. Ed is taking a break from his studies at North Jersey College of Technology. Domiciled in his mom’s basement, Ed is busy developing an exciting new video game concept.

He doesn’t have time to write a guest post, but we’ve been lucky enough to have Ed visit the combox where he displays the amazing stuff he learned in his comparative religion class and from the internet. Here’s the latest from Ed.…

I think once again the theist is trying to find ways to attack atheists, and as there are few lagitimate arguments for the theist they resort to things like this, some sort of hypocrisy, although you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to tell the difference between Santa, a bit if harmless fun, a genuine fairy tale which is enjoyed and taken lightly throughout the world, and Christianity, a far right wing, religiously invoked political movement that takes advantage of the uninformed and the vulnerable, and have outrageously damaging beliefs and doctrine. We all stop believing in Santa at an early age, any intelligent mind would do the same with the equally rediculous claims of theological religions…

I mean This is so outrageously rediculous it’s funny, French revolutionary atheist induced murder? Lie!, Nazi regime? Roman Catholic. Stalin regime? A result of left wing politics, not atheism, there is no proof anybody has killed in the name of atheism, hitler was a roman catherlic, who announced his faith several times, and on each S.S. uniform was a religious engraving, devoting them to God. In America it is a small minority, unfortunately for you theists though, this is one that will grow and grow, in the UK here, 70% of the population claim to be irreligious, with 30% claiming to be atheist, Norway, 85% atheist, France 40% , Vietnam 80%, Japan 70%, Europe as a whole over 50% atheists, the figures are growing and growing, the trend does suggest that developing countries are more likely to be religious due to poor education, and the Middle East, probably due to extreme punishments for apostacy, and teachings of Islam in schools as truth. The aging professor, is Richard Dawkins, a pioneer in his field of biology and a soldier of the truth, a true gentleman. If I was you, I would start getting used to atheism, it’s not going anywhere, and unless your intelligently inferior you won’t believe the right wing sadistic bollocks it spouts anyway

I do agree with abortion, I believe a child likely to born in poverty, or as a result if rape, or deformed shouldn’t have to endure the horrific life that would proceed him/her, I do believe it should be a thought out, carefully discussed and professionally advised parental decision.
I don’t worship satan, as I don’t believe he exists, but if you research God, you’ll find he’s a evil, genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, filacidal, jealous, sadistic racist, so given the opportunity I would probably rather go to hell and sit with the more loving lucifer than spend a second worshipping a sadistic moron like that. Harsh I know but true.

PS: I now don’t bother to compose Ed Blanch posts. I just lift stuff straight from the combox –mis spellings and all. The interesting thing is, these quotes are from a guy who is actually called ‘Ed’. 

COMMENTS ON THIS POST ARE NOW CLOSED.

  • vox borealis

    Soooo funny, until you realize these are actual comments. Then it’s still funny, but not much “ha ha funny” as “shake your head in disbelief funny.”

  • Lila

    The air in his Mom’s basement must be really thin… ;)

  • http://www.treesforlunch.blogspot.com JD Curtis

    Oh brother! Keep this guy coming Fr D. He’s like the gift that keeps on giving!

  • Marye

    Those mean-spirited theists, always looking for ways to attack atheists. Thank you for this, it’s been a challenging day and gave me some much-needed chuckles.

  • Nathan

    Funny until you get to the line about how he’d rather go to hell than worship God. It’s lines like those that really drive home why Hell exists. If you don’t want Heaven no one forces you in. Wasn’t it CS Lewis who said something like in the end there are two kinds of people, those who say to God thy will be done and those to whom God says thy will be done?

  • Stan Norman

    I suspect in a ‘contest of the ridiculous’ your bible would win over Ed. Noah’s Ark, talking serpents, casting out demons and so on. The sad part is that you let this collection of myths dominate your life, instead of choosing to be moral for goodness’ sake rather than because you think a god told you to be.

    Science may not provide ever provide answers to all our questions but that is a strength rather than a weakness, because a willingness to say ‘I don’t know’ is better than saying ‘magic did it’ anyday. Put simply science works, it leads to wonders and possibilities that are demonstrably real. That is why atheism is on the rise. Not because people choose a hedonistic lifestyle and reject a god they think is real, but because they realize how ineffectual the reliance on ‘magic’ is.

    I hope in the fullness of time that all sides of thhis debate will decide that the promotion of the virtues of kindness, empathy, generosity and tolerance are more important than pushing their theist or atheist agenda.

    In that spirit I sincerely wish all those reading a truly wonderful day.

    • clint

      Theist do not choose to be” moral for goodness’ sake” rather they choose the good because God is good. Do these virtues that you wish to promote exist independently of there being a God or because there is a God? If there is no God why should we exalt any one type of behavior over another, does objective morality exist? If there is Truth is that an agenda or is it simply truth? PAX

      • aveteran

        Howzzat again? I thought it was fear of hell that prompted theists to be “moral”. Because I see all the time theists asking atheists what stops them from raping, pillaging, murdering, if they don’t believe in god. Which begs the response, if belief in god is all that stops theists from doing those things, are they in fact “moral”?

        There is a lot of vitriol on both side of the aisle, and I understand where Ed’s coming from. Despite his rudeness and poor spelling, he does bring up several falsehoods and slurs repeated by many Christians which they refuse to acknowledge or correct. Civility requires the cooperation of both sides; unfounded claims and baseless attacks are what prompt responses such as Ed’s.

        • Paul Rodden

          Hi aveteran.

          Catholicism teaches Natural Law, and that God does not restrict grace to Catholics alone, so I can guess who would ask the, ‘theists asking atheists what stops them from raping, pillaging, murdering, if they don’t believe in god’ question, and it’s not an informed Catholic. So it’s yet another one to be asked of our ‘separated brethren’ (like most of them, actually).

          (q.v., Ronald Knox (Creed in Slow Motion) on why your umbrella is more likely to be nicked from the back of a Catholic Church than a Methodist Chapel.)

      • abb3w

        For the “choose the good because God is good” goes back to Euthyphro, of course.

        But I think the “does objective morality exist” question fails twice, even as Socratic inquiry. In mathematical terms, it appears to be implicitly presuming that God is both sufficient to “objective” morality (rather than merely constituting another “subjective” basis), and that God is necessary to objective morality (that is, nothing else exists, even abstractly, which is both “objective” and provide a basis of morality). That and the question on Truth both seem to go back to Hume’s questions.

    • Michael

      Thank you Steve for such a positive atheist comment. Atheists are often characterized like this person, and some are like this, but in my experience they are the minority. I find what theists find most disturbing is that non-believers live good, productive and virtuous lives (although not infused with Divine Grace – what ever that means). We don’t lack wonder, and we don’t lack love and we don’t lack a purpose in our lives.

      I wish the believers well too. I was once one myself and I know the experience, but I am so much more fulfilled now, both with myself and with other people. Now if living a good life, being helpful to others and seeking to leave the world in a better condition than one found it, but not worshiping the correct God in the correct way with the correct beliefs somehow ends up with me spending eternity being tortured in hell. In my opinion that says more about that God than anything about me. And since I do not believe God exists, that threat of hell says a great deal about the persons who created this myth.

      • Paul Rodden

        Hi Michael.
        Actually, the people who create ‘our’ myth are people like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, etc., and they’re just like the people who create your myth: Fred Phelps, and people like him. It’s the pot calling the kettle black.

        There are wacky stereotypes on both sides. Only the ignorant or those with vested interests advert to them as experts rather than clowns.

        • Dale

          hmm… I think better of Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens than to compare them with Phelps. Perhaps a better counterpart to DDH would be Tony Perkins or Bryan Fischer or Louis Sheldon, evangelicals with a decided political edge and an attitude to go with it.

          At any rate, Phelps or any of the men I mentioned do not determine Catholic teaching.

          However, I do agree with you that there are wacky individuals who represent any view. Rather than calling out the claims made by clowns, it is more productive to address the reasonable arguments presented by respected advocates.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            One of the main problems with atheists is that so very few of them have a sense of humor.

        • Psy

          “Actually, the people who create ‘our’ myth are people like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, etc.,”

          I wouldn’t know I haven’t read any of their books, I have read the Bible, the Catechism, Mormon doctrine and the Koran.

    • http://ehmsnbc.com E.H. Munro

      The sad part is that you let this collection of myths dominate your life, instead of choosing to be moral for goodness’ sake rather than because you think a god told you to be.
      For a Catholic we don’t “do good” because “god orders us to”. Divine command theory isn’t a Catholic belief. We do good because god is goodness, because goodness is the heart of the natural order. The real question is how you can define “goodness” without a god. How one can define objective morality within a context that it can’t possibly exist in.

      Science may not provide ever provide answers to all our questions but that is a strength rather than a weakness, because a willingness to say ‘I don’t know’ is better than saying ‘magic did it’ anyday. Put simply science works, it leads to wonders and possibilities that are demonstrably real.
      This is one of those silly strawmen cum category error arguments. Science is great for its particular purposes, explaining the material and efficient causes of natural phenomena. On the other hand science can’t tell me anything about the Pythagorean Theorem, Euclidian and non-Euclidian geometry, ethics, aesthetics, literature, art, etc.. I have no problems “believing in science”. I daresay I know more about than 99% of the new atheist types. I also know what it’s used for, and what questions it can answer. And I would no more ask Science!™ (to use sci-fi author Mike Flynn’s witticism) to tell me why Shakespeare and Wilde were great playwrights than I would consult metaphysics for answers about constructing a functional fusion reactor.

      • Michael

        But metaphysics has never answered anything conclusively. The same questions have been asked for centuries and it’s no further ahead. And if you do know so much about science you’ll know that the only current functional fusion reactor in our solar system is in the centre of the sun.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Stan,

      Just a point of clarification. What you’re calling ‘science’ isn’t actually science. It would come under the domain of technology. Science is very dry and often theoretical. The practical and relevant stuff is that application of science, which is technology.
      Also, science is very like Catholicism in its method, and not the rantings of scientists who’ve decided to abuse their authoritative position in that domain, and use it to discredit anything outside that domain with which they happen to disagree.
      In other words, when they do proper science it’s peer reviewed and is only of interest to other academics and a small number of lay readers. However, when they ‘do religion’, it’s sloppy and ridiculous, and they’re method is to appeal to people with an IQ of around 10, through entertainment where they’re generally all-round charlatans.
      In short, anyone who takes them seriously on religion is no different from the person who buys ‘Sudso’ washing powder because the guy in the advert is wearing a white lab-coat.

      • Paul Rodden

        As an analogy of science and technology:
        Many teenagers struggle a bit with passing into adulthood, and so they decide to go to Uni and study Psychology – except – they don’t realise that what they really want to learn about is Psychotherapy, and so they’re puzzled and frustrated when they discover what they’re studying has nothing to do with the meaning of life whatsoever, but how many times a person blinks and in what circumstances, etc., and then spends the rest of the time compiling stats. and drawing graphs…

        In the same way, Science doesn’t answer any of ‘our’ questions – Why man? Why am I here? Why is there something rather than nothing? etc – but a very limited set of questions related to hypotheses about matter (based upon previous inductive/conditional findings). That is why micro-evolution is science, because Mendel proved it experimentally, whilst macro-evolution(the stuff of Darwinism) is merely wild speculative hypothesis, represented by the joke about the little optimist boy who, when his father bought him manure for Christmas, assumed his dad had must have bought him a pony.

    • Theodore Seeber

      The trouble is, the atheists NEVER say “I don’t know”. They say “I know better than you”.

  • Nan

    @Stan, you should read Fulton Sheen on tolerance. There’s a longer essay in “Life is worth Living,” the transcript of the tv show.
    In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:
    “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”
    “Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.
    Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”

  • clint

    Pray for this soul and all of our youth. When one is immersed in manure long enough it is quite certain what they will smell like, our culture is producing these examples of ignorance that are full of hate for all truth and tradition. Pretentious and prideful and unable to reason our youth are susceptible to all of the illusions of enlightenment presented by the new atheist. Simply protecting your children from the environment of the culture(private school, home school, helicopter parenting etc..) is no longer sufficient they must be taught to combat these insidious lies parading as truths. Not since the battle of Lepanto has our culture been so in the balance. Our Lady of Victory pray for us!

  • FW Ken

    Actually, atheists seem to be terrible prudes. I once told a friend that of she didn’t want to be a Christian, fine, but she needed to stop being such a puritan.

    Being good for it’s own sake is fine, assuming we find some sort of agreement on the definition of goodness more substantial that being nice. While being nice is nice, life is much more complex than nice. Anyway, the human heart (mine at least) calls for something more than mere morality. It calls for eternal Love, who has shown Himself in Jesus of Nazareth. If you don’t believe, fine for you. My universe bests with the heat of a Father whose presence is heaven. And we are wanted in that heaven. He loves us he want a us. He is all the happiness for all time and beyond time.

    As for faith in science… dear me… people still believe that? Well, Titanic was unsinkable you know. Better living through chemistry… or electricity… or something.

    • abb3w

      It’s a subtle and common mistake, but you seem to be confusing “technology” for “science”.

  • David Zelenka

    It’s odd that those above are chuckling. I have friends and family that speak in these tones all the time. It’s the general meme out there. The truth is there are more people out there like Ed than you’d imagine. That perspective comes from most of my best friends. And the message above is not make-believe. It’s what people think. It’s far from funny. It’s the most sad thing on the planet.

    More of us should make friends with people like Ed. Then you’d understand what Pope Francis is talking about: (http://www.antrimparish.com/2013/04/pope-francis-triumphalism-is-a-temptation-of-christians), and what needs to be done in the world. We need to befriend Ed, not laugh at him. We need to get to know him. Take walks with him. Invite him over to dinner. Listen to his problems. Continue visiting Ed for years and years. We must love Ed. Because whether we know it or not, We are Ed.

    If you laugh at Ed, you’re laughing at yourself. Until you understand this, you will not understand who Jesus is. Oddly enough, if you get to know Ed, you will better understand who Jesus is. We all must seek to know Jesus better, and for some, especially those who laugh at Ed, it starts by learning how to love Ed.

    • Paul Rodden

      ’nuff said, David!
      The only difference is, we know we need redemption. :)

      Here are a couple of useful quotes (the second offering a technique) from Greg Koukl, a Protestant apologist I respect and learn a lot from…

      First:
      When dealing with non-Christians our responsibility is two-fold. The Gospel alone is offensive enough. We should not add more offense to it. Neither should we take any of the inherent offense from it.

      Second:
      If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question.

      You say: “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking, and I’d be glad to answer. But before I do, I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person. Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?” Let them answer. If they say they’re tolerant (which they probably will), then when you give your point of view it’s going to be very difficult for them to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty, too.

      This response capitalizes on the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality.

      These guarantee we are tolerant, but not neutral and help deal with disagreement in a winsome way, yet protecting the Gospel.

      • David Zelenka

        Great suggestions, Paul. These days, I usually prefer to *not* even talk about these things unless I find out the person are truly open to thinking and listening, but to love them. When I do speak, I find that it’s important that I talk from my experience directly and not what others have told me. Authentic experience has deep value. Quoting scripture can be considered authentic experience, because it truly is personal experience for any Christian.

        When I think of these people, I think of when I was figuratively lying mangled on the side of the road and people loved me and brought me to Christ. It wasn’t the Pharisees who passed me by that made a difference, because I was too dirty in my sin. It wasn’t the one who snickered to his friends behind my back. It was the good Samaritan who came down to my level and listened and walked with me and befriended me and loved me. It was not the Holier than Thou that saved me. It was the Christ-as-Man who saved my soul.

  • Psy

    Another witch-hunt thread beating down and belittling a random someone no-one has ever heard of to make yourself look elevated. I imagine its easier to do that here than actually debate them on his blog. You could have invited him here to defend his position.

    • Dale

      Psy, as with you, I was a little puzzled about the purpose of this article. However, I don’t think “Ed Blanch” actually exists… at least not as described. The photo used to illustrate him is a mug shot from an Illinois college student who was expelled last year for bad behavior. That student’s name is neither Ed, nor Blanch.
      And a blog called “There’s no Sky Fairy” doesn’t seem to exist.

      The character of “Ed Blanch” seems to be a creation of Fr. Longnecker. I suspect this character was created to highlight actual comments which are posted to this blog. Perhaps Fr. Longnecker is feeling a little exasperated?

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Followers of my blog will know that “Ed Blanch” is one of my fictional alter egos. I used to write “internet atheist” pieces which were outrageously stupid as a fun bit of satire.

        I no longer do this. Instead I simply copy and paste real comments made by atheists in my combox. The latest post is an example of such.

        • aveteran

          Despite his poor spelling and combative demeanor, did you respond to any of the valid points he brought up, or just reinforce the slanders and falsehoods? How exactly did you address his post?

          • Paul Rodden

            Not wanting to be combatitive – but I’m afraid I couldn’t find any valid points. Well maybe there is one – we stop believing in Santa at a certain age – except what he then concludes from that is a complete non-sequitur.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Psy. Have you named yourself ‘Psy’ because you think you can read minds? :)

    • Paul Rodden

      Seriously, Psy.
      ‘Ed’ is a real person, and you cannot reason with that sort of polemic for the same reason you can’t reason with a fundamentalist. Their principle is ‘transmit alone’.

      • Psy

        Even if that is true you are on a forum linked through google news among other search engines that can be read by anyone on the planet. Those are the people you want to reach as they will read the debate and decide by what transpires in your argument. Simply mocking and deny deny deny is seen as a admitting defeat or that you can’t defend your poison or you would have. Take advantage of this media to show the positive aspects of your faith instead of coming across the same as the kids atheist forums.

        • Paul Rodden

          Dear Psy.
          Have you ever tried nailing jelly to a wall?
          There are certain things you simply can’t debate with. Ed is not presenting an argument.

          It’s a bit like a religious person saying, ‘OK you atheists tell me at this very moment the exact size of the universe. You can’t? Well that shows how rubbish science is, doesn’t it!’
          You just know you’re not gonna get anywhere with that kind of jerk.

          But with religion, it’s more nuanced, so there are more silly questions that could be asked but someone just wanting to pose a wind-up.

  • rd

    “be moral for goodness’ sake”
    –> but what is “goodness”? how do we know what it is? where does it come from?

    “Put simply science works”
    –> although science works today, but what makes us think it will work tomorrow? or even 10 seconds from now?

    “promotion of the virtues”
    –> same questions as for “goodness.” this is exactly what the Catholic Church is proposing as the starting point of dialogue, expressed even more clearly in modern terms by Vatican II. but even getting started is difficult because moral relativism dominates society. and the Church would not be the Church if that’s the end of it, because its mission (“agenda”) is to proclaim Christ.

    • Michael

      “although science works today, but what makes us think it will work tomorrow? or even 10 seconds from now?” One could argue that about religion. Although religion doesn’t work today as religious people of different faiths disagree on almost every major moral issue we face today (abortion, birth control, capital punishment, divorce, euthanasia, etc.) What makes you think it will work tomorrow or even 10 thousand years from now?

      • Paul Rodden

        Because genuine Science is based on Induction, and genuine Religion, Revelation.

        To talk about religion working is a bit like talking about a light bulb warming: it’s not it’s primary purpose by a long-shot.

        • Michael

          Well religion certain succeeds in that regard.

  • Charles E. Mac Kay

    The wee soul, I wonder who he prays to when things get tough?

  • John K

    You folks are making fun of a guy in his youth. I’m sure each of you have said some fairly lame stuff when you were his age. So take it with a grain of salt as they say. Also just pulling his stuff off of his web site is ok, but if he is not aware of your criticism it does no good for him or you. Is Ed even aware that his words are posted here? Has he had the opportunity to review what you have posted and if so are you willing to have him comment on his statements? Now I am an atheist and I have to admit that several of the statements attributed to Ed here are disturbing. Most atheist I know are not as extreme as Ed.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Just to clarify: “Ed Blanch” is a fictional character I created as one of my ‘alter egos’. I used to write pretend ‘internet atheist’ pieces under Ed’s name. I have stopped doing that. Instead, I simply copy and paste comments that atheists post in my blog’s combox. I publish their comments there so all can see them, and I inform the commenter that their writings are now in a main post on my blog. I don’t know who the commenter is. I don’t know if he is young or old, but I do know that the writings are authentic comments to my combox.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi John K.
      My real worry is that Ed isn’t about 13. :)
      Seriously, hand on heart, do you think ‘Ed’s’ stating facts or ‘facts’ (urban legends) of a whole army of people who have a vested interest in undermining Christianity?

      Fr L in another reply here, for example, has pointed out there are often attacks made on Catholicism which are actually attacks on ‘Biblicism’ or Christian Fundamentalism, and are totally irrelevant to Catholicism.

      Now, not only are those comments putting words in our mouths, but also show a complete ignorance of that which they are attacking. Now should we respond courteously to them? Maybe: depending on their tone and time we have to respond. Except, the normal reply to our attempt at explanation isn’t an apology for misnunderstanding, but an insistence that we do believe it and we’re part of a huge conspiracy to hide the fact, or they simply change tack or the subject and start on some other, completely unrelated, gripe…
      …and that’s simply very wearing after the 500th time.

  • Stan Norman

    It is true there are no absolute, objective ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in my view. In extreme circumstances even horrendous acts like murder may be justified. The bible certainly calls for death of dissenters enough despite the strong adnomition in the ten commandments.

    Reasoned tolerance has become the norm in Western nations in spite of Biblical ideals, rather than because of them. Surely this a good thing as there are many passages in the bible which seem to advocate wholesale murder and destruction of those who might follow other belief systems. Take Dueteronomy 13 13-18 for example. Does it not explicitly call for the annihilation of entire cities where other religions may be taking hold? Is it not good that people, probably all the theists reading this, choose to ignore such clear commands?

    Did not even Jesus say that laws like the killing of children for disrespecting their parents should be maintained and enforced. Surely it is not right to carry out such an act but why do the truly devoted and obedient Christians not do so?
    .

    Perhaps this is the thing I find strangest about religious people (apart from a magical worldview) – that despite their professed absolute belief in the bible that they seem to pick and choose for themselves which bits are absolute dictates, and which are guidelines, which bits are absolute truth and which allegory, despite them being written in the same authoritative tone.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      You are arguing against a Protestant Bible only view of Christianity. Catholicism is different.

      • clint

        Concise! Succinct response as to the separate interpretations of Holy Scripture between the Catholic and the Protestant leading to radically different world views! The Catholic position of course can be defined within natural law which the Bible along with Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium interpret, compliment and complete.

  • John K

    So you are saying “Ed” is basically any idiotic thing that random atheist say that you find amusing. The atheist over on the Topix site have basically the same thing going on with all of the dumb things that theist say.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/atheism/T58EST4EPPRBEHTVM

    I guess reading both threads could be very amusing. And enlightening on how not to argue a point.

  • Zeke

    Agreed John, talk about building the ultimate strawman. Anyone with a blog can collect comments from atheists and post them in a way to make them seem ridiculous and representative of atheist philosophy. Of course, I could easily collect the comments of fundamentalists, creationists, and Westboro Baptist Church supporters demanding death to homosexuals and pretend that they represent mature Christian thought. I would be equally wrong to do so, but somehow these tactics seem much more wrong when coming from a man of the Church who preaches love, kindness and tolerance.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      allow me to correct an important point. I did not go to an atheist blog and collect stupid stuff. This person came to my blog and posted in my combox. I simply re-published word for word what he had written on my blog. Furthermore, the only editing I did was to not re-publish the even stupider, gross, offensive, blasphemous and personally insulting stuff he had written.

      • aveteran

        I’m not sure what your standards are here, but over at Christian Post, FACTS are often considered offensive and blasphemous. They’ve even deleted Bible passages because they didn’t like the person posting.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Zeke.
      ‘Ed’ has merely strung together anti-religious Urban Legends and what Dr Damian Thompson would call ‘Counterknowledge’. They simply collect this drivel and present it as representative of Christian philosophy, so it sounds awfully like the pot calling the kettle black…

  • John K

    If your a catholic priest you are not reflecting well on the Church by running this blog the way you do. If you understand God you know that God is big enough to handle offensive and blasphemous comments. So your filtering of “Ed’s ” comments are unneeded. If you filter each post by moderating the posted comments you can moderate “Ed’s” comments into oblivion. But by re-posting them you are saying more about your personality than “Ed’s”

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Errm. It’s my blog. I’ll post what I want and cut what I want.

      Could it be that you’ve misplaced your sense of humor…

      • abb3w

        I think you miss John’s point (though I don’t agree entirely with his approach to moderation).

        It is within your personal physical and technological capabilities to post what you want and cut what you want — you CAN. That doesn’t mean doing so sheds a positive light on the Church — which is more a question of whether you SHOULD.

  • Zeke

    Fair enough, Fr. Longenecker, but I doubt it would take me more than a hour comb through the comboxes of your blog and assemble comments from fellow Catholics that would truly make you blush. The point is, portraying Ed the Combox Atheist as representative of atheist philosophy is a cheap shot and beneath you. I doubt if “Ed” was criticizing Mormons or Muslims or Scientologists you would be quite so upset about it, despite near unanimous agreement with him on the error of their ways.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      The whole point of my satirical character, Ed the Internet Atheist is that there really are atheists out there as stupid and arrogant as my character Ed. The fact that I post verbatim their contributions to my combox makes my point.

      You needn’t therefore draw the conclusion that I think all atheists are stupid or that all Christians are smart. That would be a logcial fallacy along the lines of, “All Cadillacs are cars, therefore all cars are Cadillacs.”

      If you follow my blog at all you’d see that another one of my alter egos is Duane Mandible–a loopy radical traditionalist Catholic. Therefore, I’m not only poking fun at stupid atheists. I’m poking fun at stupid Catholics too.

      • Psy

        What was the context these remarks were responding to? How about a link to the original thread so we can get the whole story?

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Just read the comments as posted. Replies are inset within the comment to which they are a response.

          • Psy

            What is it you don’t want us to know?

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            Sorry psy. At first I didn’t know what you were referring to. You are asking what post Ed was originally commenting on…it was a post from some months ago which he found and commented on yesterday. I think it was the one I wrote about the atheist ad in Times Square at Christmas, and I think he may have been replying to other comments within the combox for that post.

          • Psy

            Thanks, I found it. lots of comments to read there.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Zeke.
      For me the question is whether ‘Ed’ is presenting any form of argument or simply a rant. Does what ‘Ed’ has written look like a objective or cooly-reasoned argument?

      Not wanting mind-read Fr L’s intentions in posting, but it seems to me that what he is pointing out has nothing to do with ‘Ed’ nor who it’s ‘against’ at all.

      To me, it’s simply showing ‘Ed’ has written what many people consider a valid argument against Christianity. I would argue that a person who knew the basics of reasoning – however much they hated Christianity – if they considered ‘Ed’s’ comments as ‘reasonable’, there is be some form of conscious or unconscious mental legerdemain taking place for the sake of scoring a point or buttressing their own pet theory.

  • Psy

    I ran several quotes from the article and found nothing on the internet other than this thread, could you supply a link?

    • Paul Rodden

      I’d suggest ‘Ed’ is one of the many ‘Trolls’ Fr L has to filter out even before they’re published…
      In other words, they’re aimed at the combox but are (probably and rightly) binned.

  • les

    The difference between Ed and between a Christian with foolish comments is that an Atheist cannot deny that Ed has a viewpoint as valid as the next guy, whereas we have Scripture and Holy Tradition to guide us toward a Truth that just might refute the Christian guy’s position. We appeal to a higher authority, what do Atheists appeal to?

    • Psy

      les, let me get this straight, you are telling non-believers you appeal to a higher authority and think will believe your claim. I suppose I could either ask you for proof of this higher authority or laugh and mock you which seems to be what this page is promoting. Hmmmm.
      Can you prove your unsubstantiated claim? Because I don’t believe you, it sounds like crazy talk.

  • FW Ken

    Father,

    Ed missed one of the standard Internet Atheist talking points. Not only was Hitler a Catholic, but Stalin was Georgian Orthodox, baptized and a seminarian. That was before he became an atheist and murdered 100+ million people.

  • Stan Norman

    Thanks for the brief, although limited, reply to my questions above. Perhaps you could expand somewhat and answer my questions directly please?

    I am also curious about changring standards within religious organisations, particularly Catholicism. Could you explain how eternal standards for behaviour which provide for entry to heaven have been modified over time by Catholic belief, and do these changes apply retrospectively? Could an offence which garnered excommunication from a previous pontiff now be permitted? If so, what happens to souls that were sentenced to hell for transgressions that are now readily forgiven? Do they get retrospective amnesty and forgiveness?

    More directly to the content of this article I think you might be better served with a rational and tempered approach to any dialogue you might seek with atheists in the future. Else you are simply fueling disdain amongst catholics and driving atheists away. Surely your goal should be to convince and convert rather than simply insult?

    Surely that should be your ultimate objective – to bring in the ‘lost sheep’ – rather than hurl stones at them to drive them further away? Anything less is beneath your office.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I don’t argue with atheists.

      If they want to discover the truth let them do the research and God bless ‘em!

      • Psy

        Its cause of the color of their skin. isn’t it?

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Stan.
      Do you think ‘Ed’ has presented what would, in formal debate, be termed an ‘argument’? Do you think he’s presenting credible and verifiable facts? Are his premises sound? Do you think ‘Ed’ is enquiring or simply making an attack? Do you think ‘Ed’ is behaving in a courteous manner?

  • Paul Rodden

    There’s a rule of thumb used in the Human Service professions: ‘Never try to reason with a drunk’.

    In Fr L’s defence, I’d suggest one of the problems with most combox atheists is they simply aren’t actually interested. I think he’s very good at discerning those commenters who might have a good reason to be ‘angry at religion’ or have a genuine misunderstanding, and to whom he makes a kind, personal response – and those who just have a generalised rant and seem to want to push buttons and wind people up with their insults – eliciting a negative response – with which they then convince themselves as evidence of their anaemic opinions.

    To me, Fr L’s right to get angry, as not only does the example he gives prove Philip Jenkins’ principle of Catholicism being, ‘The Last Acceptable Prejudice’, but also, that a well-reasoned argument, say, against gay marriage – which doesn’t contain any of the vitriol and unsubstantiated drivel ‘Ed’s’ coming out with – if posted on a gay blog, is likely to be considered ‘hate speech’, and the writer might even find a ton of lawyers descend upon them.

    It’s the incoherent ‘intolerance of tolerance’ at work. That those who’d consider themselves tolerant are often the most foul-mouthed and aggressive.

  • Stan Norman

    Not arguing and not discussing like intelligent civilised people are two different things. I would really like you to answer my questions please. Otherwise, what is the true point of this blog posting? Surely mockery cannot be your only goal here? Please let me get an honest, non-evasive, direct answer to my clear questions. Surely it is your responsibility to do so – indeed it part of your professed purpose as a priest. Otherwise you are just another frustrated exponent of your worldview, full of sound and fury but ultimately nothing but hot air.
    If not, then I will no longer read your blogs, and you have lost yet another hope for conversion – and believe me, I am open to reasoned, respectful argument. Be a light in the darkness and not a crying loon.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I don’t argue with people. If you really want answers, do the research. You sound like a smart guy.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Stan.
      Philosophy and the History of Ideas shows, contrary to many popular and vocal moderns, that Epistemology isn’t yet a ‘done deal’ and the court is still out, however many people in the public eye try to convince us it is.

      They tell us that induction, empiricism (‘science’) and logic are the only paths to knowledge, yet people who’ve read Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and those who’ve followed since, especially in the domain of the Philosophy of Science like Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Polanyi, etc., know this is simply tosh.

      Before we even get to looking at the supernatural, and knowledge of it, there’s a whole raft of Epistemological ideas which widen one’s idea of what constitutes ‘knowledge’ which the majority of people simply exclude – or more often, are simply ignorant of – because in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man on TV and YouTube is king.

      But. by looking at the History of Ideas without the blinkers of those with an agenda (i.e., Bertrand Russell, Daniel Dennet and AC Grayling), and so through those who are on a genuine quest for truth, you might not find God, but the one thing you will come to see is the utter paucity of all the supposed atheist rhetoric which amounts to little more than risible nonsense, just when assessed in the light of sound Epistemology and Metaphysics, let alone Theology.

      • Michael

        While the scientific method may not be the only path to knowledge, it is by far, the best path to knowledge where you are not knowingly fooling yourself into thinking you have the truth. While in many way the logical positivists have been discredited, it still remains that science’s strength is that is it wrong and admits it. Indeed the fact that is has a mechanism of discrediting false ideas and at times totally reversing or revising existing knowledge is its strongest point.

        However if you don’t like this constant change and you want certainty the are thousands of religions/denominations currently active that allow a wealth of truths to be chosen. And not one of them has science’s mechanism for revision so your certainty is guaranteed.

        • Paul Rodden

          In your opinion, Michael :)

          • Michael

            Yes it’s my opinion, but I see you didn’t name any other methodology that gives the same level of consensus about a body of knowledge. And as to religion being wrong, name one major teaching thing that your particular denomination has ever been wrong about and has had to change. No one has ever come up with an answer.

          • Paul Rodden

            Hi Michael.
            Here’s one: solipsism – and it’s pretty guaranteed.

    • Paul Rodden

      If you want my cynical response, Dawkins et al, promote technology, and technology, especially in ‘pharma’ as they call it in the biz (Pharmaceuticals), is a domain where there’s lots of money to be had and the domain his work is most useful. The more technology’s kept at the forefront of people’s minds and religion is excoriated the more the wheels of commerce will keep turning. Ker-ching!

      There are many atheists, for example, writing excellent work on the ‘medicalisation of distress’, and how therapy and pharma companies rely on distress and other psychological problems for their income, and therefore have a vested interest in segmenting the market of psychological problems so more drugs can be sold and psychotherapeutic models developed.

      In other words, they rely on people feeling distressed and in psychological pain. But, Religion is a serious competitor, and its services are free. How do you think pharmas and therapists might react?

  • Psy

    ” principle of Catholicism being, ‘The Last Acceptable Prejudice’,”

    Its Ironic that the first quote in the original post here was a response to an article titled ‘Stupid Atheists’ by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. It seems the good father is more than happy to demonize atheist and invite them here with titles and topic that show up on goggle news searches for atheist conversion but not willing to debate them.
    He is obviously fishing for atheist and complains when he catches one.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi Psy.
      What do you think constitutes material for good debate? Do you really think – in your heart of hearts – the ‘Ed’ character is presenting something which can be debated? And do you think he’s seriously interested in debate?
      If we want to attack Fr L’s motives, don’t you think its right we question ‘Ed’s’?

      • Psy

        I don’t know Ed’s motives and its not relevant you should be only concerned with your own motives. As far as I’m concerned Ed won the debate here and didn’t even have to show up, no-one here bothered to explain what they thought he was wrong about or right about or partially right or wrong about. Obviously you don’t have the winning hand or you wouldn’t have thrown your cards across the table.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          This is like saying a deaf man who blunders into a symphony orchestra concert and bellows out, “You’re all mad. This stuff is a load of crap. There’s no such thing as music!!” has won the debate because no one bothers to treat him seriously.

          • Psy

            I don’t know if you are deaf or not, but that is what you did to Ed,

          • Michael

            The deaf person could feel the vibrations with their hands and feet, see the vibrating strings and reeds and see the the resulting wave forms on an oscilloscope . They would also observe the repsonse of their hearing friends who would tell them what music was being played, when it started and when it ended and how loud ad how soft. They would have plenty of evidence that vibrations in the air were occurring that because of their deafness are nor directly observable to them.

            How does that differ from atheists like me. We don’t hear the “music”, but we also don’t have any secondary evidence for the “music” except myriad different interpretations of what the music is, when it is playing and how loud it is. Instead we get countless sincere individuals telling us conflicting stories. We may be deaf, but we are not credulous.

          • Paul Rodden

            Nice one!

          • Paul Rodden

            Michael, why is it that atheists tend to love the obscure example like your deaf/oscilloscope thingumabob? Aren’t you just trying to string it out ‘for the sake of argument’?

            John Zmirak in his new book, The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism talks about the ‘lone gunman’ principle – that the least convoluted explanation is probably the best…

  • Stan Norman

    Thank you for the complement about my intelligence. Sadly I cannot say the same about your humility, helpfulness or willingness to answer honest and direct questions at all.
    The Pope said recently the church should, “intensify outreach to non-believers so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail but rather the desire to build true links of friendship”.
    Rather you choose to insult and belittle them.
    The Pope also said that atheists and believers can be “precious allies” in their efforts “to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”
    Why you ignore such sage advice and focus on little more than infantile name-calling is beyond me.
    As long as theists like you continue to voice such ill-tempered and puerile comments on atheists how can you expect to have a genuine conversation with them?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      It’s simple: I don’t argue with people. But don’t feel hurt. I don’t argue with Protestants either. I’m too busy answering the questions of all the people who want to become Catholics…

      • Stan Norman

        It is sad that you cannot see beyond your own hubris in this matter. You claim to be spending your time ecucating potential Catholics but choose to ignore the advice of the Pope and outreach to others, some of whom are potential converts. It has been a long time since I was in seminary but I recall that being a humble student of god, following his path and leading others along the way was a prime function of the ordained. What of Luke 15?

        What then is the true motivation for your atheist blogs then? As much as you may deny it to yourself it really is just childish name-calling and an effort to reinforce disdain in your catholic readers. Insults and fear-mongering are all they are no matter how you may have justified them to youself. Be better than that.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Or you could grow a sense of humor.

          Honestly, your prissy self righteous lecturing of me is so amusing that I’m inclined to create a new alter ego and use your combox posts for the content. I think I’ll call the character “Stanley Norman–Atheist old lady.”

      • Michael

        To your credit, atheists like Ed do post on the web, obviously here and on other sites. But most atheists posters are not like Ed. And if atheists like Ed are the only ones you wish to highlight and lampoon, that’s your choice.

    • Paul Rodden

      Hi again, Stan.

      When I was naive, I used to debate with an atheist who called himself ‘Greywizard’ on another blog, and you sound awfully like him. Except his real name was Eric. :) All he did was played games.

      He used to present very clever ad hominems like yours here. You actually haven’t constructed an argument or a question, just a rambling mishmash of articulate, but emotive ramblings. He too, used to cut-and-paste quotes from Popes – as if they proved anything. They don’t. Just like bringing up Tourquemada or Alexander VI at very opportunity proves nothing either.

      The one thing I know from that empirical, inductive experience, is how to smell a timewaster at 20 paces, and you smell a lot like one in this latest post, and if I attempt to debate with a timewaster I know it’s going to be like chasing a bar of soap around a bathtub.

      When you offer a timewaster an olive branch, they then attack, and when you defend, they come over all prissy and hurt. You can’t win with them – and by ‘win’ I don’t mean beat them. I mean reconcile in any way because their reason for debating is to just go on and on and on…pressing more and more buttons, like you are here.

      Are we not entitled to get sick of people who just want to rant or push buttons?

      The question I always asked Greywizard, and others since, is why they’re in the forum, and their response is always some variation on getting me to justify religion on empirical grounds which is the equivalent of trying to ask me to take someone’s temperature with weighing scales, or something ridiculous like extrapolating from one instance, say Tourquemada or Fred Phelps, to ‘all Christians’.

      Now, he was very intelligent, and so he knew this. But still, he just went on-and-on, like a dripping tap, and you know how annoying a dripping tap is…

      I would highly recommend a little monograph by Harry Frankfurt (Princeton), On Bullshit, which started off as a chapter in his book, The Importance of What We Care About, and a lot of timewasters are, what he’d term, Bullshitters. On the internet, the term is ‘Troll’.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Bullshit

      But, I’ve engaged enough now, and you’ll no doubt come back with some hurt response, or how I’m uncharitable, hubristic, or whatever. But, you have to realise, your responses fit a model, a template, and one that a savvy person knows to let go (or not even begin), and instead just take the insult, and with any luck, they’ll go away as if you don’t let go, they’re the intellectual equivalent of a black hole and will sap all one’s energy…

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Yup.

  • Paul Rodden

    Below is a quote I like from the Atheist, Michael Shermer, Rational Atheism: An open letter to Messrs. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens.
    I try always to apply the principles but substitute my own theological and philosophical ones, and I expect the same standard from Atheist interlocutors from their standpoint, like the ‘Eds’ of this world.

    Quote:
    ‘Whenever religious beliefs conflict with scientific facts or violate principles of political liberty, we must respond with appropriate aplomb. Nevertheless, we should be cautious about irrational exuberance. I suggest that we raise our consciousness one tier higher for the following reasons.

    1. Anti-something movements by themselves will fail. Atheists cannot simply define themselves by what they do not believe. As Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises warned his anti-Communist colleagues in the 1950s: “An anti-something movement displays a purely negative attitude. It has no chance whatever to succeed. Its passionate diatribes virtually advertise the program they attack. People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil, however bad it may be.”

    2. Positive assertions are necessary. Champion science and reason, as Charles Darwin suggested: “It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follow[s] from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science.”

    3. Rational is as rational does. If it is our goal to raise people’s consciousness to the wonders of science and the power of reason, then we must apply science and reason to our own actions. It is irrational to take a hostile or condescending attitude toward religion because by doing so we virtually guarantee that religious people will respond in kind. As Carl Sagan cautioned in “The Burden of Skepticism,” a 1987 lecture, “You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don’t see things as clearly as you do. We have to guard carefully against it.”

    4. The golden rule is symmetrical. In the words of the greatest consciousness raiser of the 20th century, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his epic “I Have a Dream” speech: “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” If atheists do not want theists to prejudge them in a negative light, then they must not do unto theists the same.

    5. Promote freedom of belief and disbelief. A higher moral principle that encompasses both science and religion is the freedom to think, believe and act as we choose, so long as our thoughts, beliefs and actions do not infringe on the equal freedom of others. As long as religion does not threaten science and freedom, we should be respectful and tolerant because our freedom to disbelieve is inextricably bound to the freedom of others to believe.

    As King, in addition, noted: “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”

    Rational atheism values the truths of science and the power of reason, but the principle of freedom stands above both science and religion.’

  • Glenn Juday

    What we are dealing with here is the phenomenon of “crabgrass in the lawn of life.” Every identifiable arena of human opinion and activity has a number of off the wall adherents who make the more responsible and representative members cringe, or at least should make them cringe. Fr. Longenecker has patiently explained that he has a number of characters in his human zoo, including a radical traditionalist Catholic. Since I am positively inclined to the (loyal and authentic) traditional aspect of the Church, how do I react?

    With outraged indignation? Wounded pride? No. I laugh. It’s a glance at the human parade, and it’s not without useful lessons for me, such as real problems that I might prefer to ignore, or how people might misperceive me. I highly recommend that approach to what Fr. Longenecker offers.

    Any honest and objective observer of the contemporary culture would admit that there has been a noticeable and, in certain quarters, a celebrated and welcomed, trend toward increasingly hard-edged and aggressive commentary and action directed against Christianity and Catholicism in particular. If your faith causes you to doubt that, do the rational thing and perform an experiment. Join us for a while, share our beliefs, customs, and worldview, and then sustain your membership over a few decades and observe the salient trends in your experiences with the culture. If your prejudices prevent you from performing that experiment, do the next best thing and inform yourself from the insightful commentary and authentic experience of knowledgeable and experienced individuals who put together intelligent commentary, and offer it in gentle humor – such as Fr. Longenecker.

    As for the growing malignancy within the ranks of self-professed atheists, somewhat anarchic as they may be, I suggest you wake up and take note rather than retreat into denial and projecting onto others. At first some Catholics did not want to hear that there was a genuine sexual abuse problem (and an even more serious problem of lax or criminal bishops). But a critical mass of people of good will outside the Church got together with a critical mass of people of good will within the Church and tackled the problem. Pope Benedict was on a winning streak of appointing outstanding bishops. It’s called growing up and dealing with real problems. I highly recommend it.

    It’s just a plain fact of life that some of your most important political and philosophical friends and allies are skunks, while some of the people whose political/philosophical views are most opposed to your world view are the most decent folks you ever want to meet. Crabgrass grows on both sides of the sidewalk.

    • Paul Rodden

      Excellent post, Glen.
      Really appreciated. Crabgrass. I love it!

  • Stan Norman

    Back when I was a catholic I used to ask priests questions like this. Mostly they refused to answer, quoted some obscure biblical reference and evaded me in the future. Of course then I was still in seminary and hoped that I could actually find answers to my questions about god but no they avoid them – like you have done. I was not here to cause trouble. There have been recent events in my life that caused me to want to search for a more spiritual existence such as deaths and illnesses in my family and I was hoping for some anonymous guidance. Some way to reconcile my atheist reasoning and my metaphysical yearnings. Instead I get insults from a priest who I was hoping could engage in a reasonable discussion. Clearly I am not going to get some wisdom from the ‘Holier than thou’ theists here.

    I sincerely, no matter how you may wish to insult me, hope all of you continue to gain strength and peace from your religious views.

    I guarantee I will not be reading these blogs in future, not to watch for replies to this post, nor future statements, so continued sarcastic remarks and insults against me are not required nor justified but if you wish to continue to embarrass yourselves then please go ahead, it will not harm me in any conceivable way.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      So what happened was, you asked a question. They gave you an answer. You didn’t accept the answer, but kept picking a fight. That’s exactly the reason I don’t argue with atheists. You want the truth? Seek and you shall find. You really want answers? Live answers. Go talk to your local parish priest. Go to confession. Return to the sacraments. Start praying and good luck to you.

    • Michael

      Always question, always wonder, always be open to change. It’s okay not to accept an answer, but treat the person giving the answer with respect. They may be wrong in their answer but most are sincere in their attempt to answer.

      Perhaps the best answer to not knowing something was given by Richard Feynman.

      “I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and in many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean. I might think about a little, but if I can’t figure it out, then I go to something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.”
      Richard Feynman – The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

      • Paul Rodden

        “Always question, always wonder, always be open to change. It’s okay not to accept an answer, but treat the person giving the answer with respect. They may be wrong in their answer but most are sincere in their attempt to answer.”

        Oh, pu-leeeze! No more pseudo-profundities!

        • Michael

          You disagree. Okay. Then in your case, never question, always accept an answer and if you don’t like the answer disparage the person and question their sincerity. But then again, I don’t have to tell you that.

  • Paul Rodden

    Here’s an interesting article just posted on a Catholic website.
    http://catholicexchange.com/social-media-makes-us-ruder/

    Now, some atheists who debate in here won’t even look at it because it’s on a Catholic website so it’s bound to be biased, erroneous, or unscientific somehow (an atheist I used to ‘debate’ with online was like that). In other words, they will be determined to find fault. Others will think the data is suspect because of their default ‘conspiracy theory’ view of the Church, simply because it is the Church is the Church and ‘everyone knows’ it wants control of the world and everyone in it and won’t be happy until it has enslaved everyone.

    Of course, in the instance of my last comment, there’s another response I frequently see:
    the conspiracy-theory atheists (or whomever I’ve addressed) will be bloody-minded, and so – to ‘prove me wrong’ = they (uncharacteristically) will go to the site, but then do an ‘I’m an atheist, and see?, I’m so open minded so how dare you say we’re ALL conspiracy theorists’ trope to discredit my comment.

    That’s how the game works, and it’s not one I’m willing to play for long, because my Christian responsibility is to love, not play Philosophical BDSM with an Atheist dominatrix.

    • Psy

      Instead of a friendly invite you make assumptions and accusations, did you bother to read the article you linked before you made your remarks?

    • Michael

      I’ve read the article and I agree that online postings tend to make people say things online that they would never (I hope) say in person. I don’t think Fr. Longenecker is that way and I try not to do that myself. (The only times I’ve tended to break that rule is when I am called stupid as I have a short fuse in that regard).

      Posters of all opinions need to behave more civilly and on more than one occasion I’ve chastised non believers who post offensive or derogatory remarks. Beyond being uncivil, it just reinforces the prejudice against atheists. When believers do the same, I let it pass as I feel it’s not my duty to correct them and it helps the atheist cause. If atheism as a movement wants to keep gaining support it needs to be a positive movement, not just derogatory towards believers.

      Except for my comment here about correcting the grammatical mistakes of posters who launch a vicious tirade against me (it hasn’t occurred on this blog), I don’t think Fr. Longenecker could find any comment of mine to include in his Ed the atheist statement collage.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        What people don’t seem to get is that I was mocking the stupid atheists–not saying all atheists are stupid. A simple logical error has been going on here along the lines of “All Cadillacs are cars therefore all cars are Cadillacs.”

        • Michael

          I understand that and I can appreciate that you get these comments and it is truly unfortunate both from the incivility of them and their lack of charity. It also doesn’t foster intelligent discussion/debate so I can commiserate with you for having to deal with them.

          But you also get comments from believers like FW Ken below, so you must admit it is mutual. Whether it’s the nature of the online world or the human nature we must strive not to sink to their level.

      • Paul Rodden

        I’m so touched by your magnanimity. You made me cry, Michael.
        Actually, I’m fibbing, because you’re just playing the ‘I’m alwaysrespectful. Well respectful in this instance because it suits my case’ game.

        • Paul Rodden

          Now, just imagine if I constantly undermined all your comments in that manner, and like the previous one about pseudo-profundities, and didn’t take you seriously. Because that’s exactly what it feels like, over and over again, dealing with the combox posts of ‘protean atheists’ who swing in any direction in order to score a point, especially playing the, ‘How could you possibly be nasty to poor little old me, a humble and respectful atheist who’s just searching for truth…’, Joker.

          • Paul Rodden

            Oh, and before you reply, remember: engage sense of humour. :)

          • Michael

            Now you got all that out, good. If I have engaged in ad hominen remarks, please point them out, if I’ve been duplicitous in my posts, please give examples, if I’ve been uncivil. please admonish me but if I’ve made you cry, too bad.

            I do have a sense of humour and took no offense at Fr. Longenecker’s posting of this atheist compilations and I can certainly trust that they are authentic. If you claim I wallow in Pseudo-profundities, please remember it’s not the exclusive purview of the religious.

  • FW Ken

    The willingness of atheists to spit on Christians for our every sin, flaw, and things you just don’t like about us is matched only by the smug self-righteousness. The difference between “Ed” and most of the atheist comments above its the level of I literacy.

    Are their intelligence atheists? Clearly, although to often we see how arrogance has rotted what was clearly a decent mind. But, hey, they are the Brights!

    Are there morally upright atheists? I’m sure there are, although with atheists constantly proclaiming their virtue, you have to wonder.

    Are there atheists who use reason and science rather than worship them? Sure, but refusal to consider scientific facts that fit fit their world view raises questions.

    Are there atheists who have completed their sophomore year? Certainly. I’ve known some. The problem is that they don’t post on Catholic blogs. So, as one said above, we are left with second-rate minds, arrogant, narcissistic children stopping their tiny feet in outrage that their wonderfulness is questioned. Add someone else said: bullshit.

    • Michael

      Here I am. Debate me.

    • Psy

      You seem to have a lot of contempt for “atheist” there. Are you done spitting yet?

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