Hey all you apologists for Christianity, wanna make a bet?

Just read this.

GRAND CHUTE, WI (WTAQ)-Grand Chute police are investigating an explosive device that blew up at Planned Parenthood. It happened about 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Planned Parenthood office at 3800 North Gillett Street.  The explosion started a  fire that quickly burned itself out. The fire and explosion caused a small amount of damage to the building.

There’s the idea that religion makes people better.  There’s another idea that religion has no effect on morality.  Maybe one of them is true, but I’m willing to bet money, a lot of money, that if the culprit is ever caught, knowing nothing else about them aside from that they set off a bomb at a Planned Parenthood in the United States, that I can guess their religion.

I’ll bet you could do the same.  This should tell you something.

  • Turumbar

    If you are correct (which I am sure you will be), I bet the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy will quickly follow.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      No bet! No bet! :P

      • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

        You can just copy my “why ‘no true Christian’ is a crappy statement” post! :D

  • Steve

    Religion does have an effect on morality. It tends to bring out the worst in people and corrupt their moral compass

  • Mike de Fleuriot

    You know I tried to think of a reason that a thinking rational atheist would come up with to bomb a hospital. And square circles, square circles.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Isn’t it obvious? A militant athiest did it in order to throw suspicion on those peace-loving Christians.

    • Drakk

      Once you’re done with those, try four sided triangles. Those are tricky.

    • PossumRoadkill

      “You know I tried to think of a reason that a thinking rational atheist would come up with to bomb a hospital.”

      The same reason that any “thinking rational” human would bomb a hospital. There are no reasons. Bombing a hospital is not rational thinking by anyone, Christian, Non-Christian Religion, or Atheist.

  • godlesspanther

    True Christians never commit acts of terrorism. They just coerce not-true-Christians into doing it for them.

    • PossumRoadkill

      Really? So you think that there is this conspiracy of Christians who are radicalizing people into acts of terrorism against other Americans because of their religious beliefs? How would that compare to Muslims radicalizing people into acts of terrorism because of their beliefs? Would you say that all Muslims are terrorists?

      • anteprepro

        Yes. Except it’s not secret, so I’m not sure how much it would qualify as a “conspiracy”.

        See: The Republican party.

        • PossumRoadkill

          So you can’t answer the question. No surprise there.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    It’s a truism that the idea of one true Christian is a non-idea. It’s like Bigfoot. It’s elusive, and ultimately it doesn’t exist.

    There’s only a hundred million different true Christians.

    • PossumRoadkill

      “There’s only a hundred million different true Christians.”

      There are many different sects of Christianity but there are not a hundred million. Let’s be fair, that would be like saying that there are a hundred million different true Atheists. You, like many Atheists share a core set of beliefs with other Atheists. Christians do as well. The problem is, and this is my problem with organized religions, is that many of these differences are based on the ideas of a man or group of men who impose their interpretations on others. If all religions were to suddenly cease and everyone embraced Atheism, I bet the same thing would happen and over time your would have different sects of Atheism.

      • anteprepro

        There are many different sects of Christianity but there are not a hundred million.

        I think the joke was that virtually every Christian has their own version of Christianity, even within individual sects and denominations. Everybody’s got their own extra special interpretation.

        • PossumRoadkill

          I think the joke was that virtually every Christian has their own version of Christianity, even within individual sects and denominations. Everybody’s got their own extra special interpretation.

          No you are wrong. That is not how it works. Every sect of Christianity has a doctrine that the members follow. http://bit.ly/HlA7Bc

          • http://Spaninquis.wordpress.com Spanish Inquisitor

            Yeah. You keep telling yourself that.

            A “hundred million” was a tad hyperbolic to make the point that every “true Christian” has his own individual view of Christianity, and official doctrine is irrelevant when one of you claims another professed christian is not a true christian. There’s always some Christian out there who will disclaim the actions of another Christian. A hundred million may actually be a low estimate.

  • bubba707

    At one time I lived within a block of that clinic and I still don’t live that far away. The Christian knotheads have been a problem there for years. I’m betting they never catch whoever did the bombing because they won’t be looking too terribly hard.

    • PossumRoadkill

      So you are saying that the police and prosecutor won’t do their job because of some secret conspiracy with the Christians? Or maybe because they too are Christians and don’t want them found because they support the actions of these domestic terrorists? Do you really believe that? Seriously, think about that statement.

      • Happiestsadist

        Historically this is the case. It’s not some tinfoil hat conspiracy, it’s called “looking at the loooooong pattern of evidence”.

  • http://philosophiadeus.blogspot.com/ Andrés Ruiz

    “There’s the idea that religion makes people better. There’s another idea that religion has no effect on morality.”

    Uh, false dichotomy?

    • kagekiri

      I think the only possibility JT is leaving out is that “religion makes people worse”, and then people who might combine multiple answers and say that it helps some and hurts others.

      But those that say all 3 happen (or any other combination of the 3, which should include all possibilities) will still tend to say religion’s effects average out to better, equal, or worse than no religion, so JT’s not too far off; he’s just not being cynical enough about religion :P

  • Randomfactor

    Wonder if they’ll try to pin THIS on atheism…

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/02/us/california-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    • PossumRoadkill

      Unless you know something that is not in the article, I don’t see why anyone would blame Atheism. It is a Christian school or a school that “caters to the Korean American Christian community”. I can see more calls for gun control coming from this and other recent events though. Unless, you are just being sarcastic and I completely missed that…..

      • anteprepro

        Unless you are just being sarcastic and I completely missed that…..

        You probably should have led with this, since xe was, and you did.

  • Rando

    I’m just going to go with Voltare on this and say, “people that can get you to believe absurdities can get you to commit atrocities.”

    • PossumRoadkill

      As I recall, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin had pretty big followings. So yeah, I think that quote fits. Be careful with large paint brushes they tend to paint everyone the same way.

  • Moe

    If someone blew up the loading facilities at a Concentration Camp, would that be terrorism?

    • patrickblue

      Yes, if they meant to terrorize someone.

    • Anteprepro

      And, like clockwork, we have someone suggesting that bombing abortion clinics isn’t actually a bad thing. Second round of bets: anyone want to guess what Moral Moe’s religion? I’m sure the results will be utterly unsurprising.

      • Shaun

        I dunno. I could see an argument being made that destroying property isn’t a (directly) immoral act. If the property isn’t any kind of moral agent, it can’t be harmed, it can only damaged. Of course, the indirect effect on the owner could definitely be considered harmful.

        Wait, I just completely missed the point that abortion clinics = death camps. Despite the fact that fetuses aren’t suffering. That they’re not being lead, aware, into industrial-scale, highly efficient death boxes. That fetuses have no more rights because they might one day be real people than my computer does because we might one day have an AI that could run on it. That making abortion illegal doesn’t stop (or even slow the rate of) abortions, it just gets more women seeking abortions killed. That crime goes down when you make abortion cheap and available, that you double the work force (and wealth-generators) when you unshackle women from the reproductive agenda of men.

        Fuck, I need an angry cigarette now.

      • anteprepro

        Obviously, I agree with the second paragraph. But I have a few objections with your first, even if you were a little un-serious in saying it.

        I could see an argument being made that destroying property isn’t a (directly) immoral act. If the property isn’t any kind of moral agent, it can’t be harmed, it can only damaged. Of course, the indirect effect on the owner could definitely be considered harmful.

        1. In regards to the effect on the owner, there are chilling effects on other owners and employees. The fact that these destructive acts aren’t random and have a history of consistently occuring against abortion clinics will eventually mean effects on abortion providers everywhere. They will have more trouble gaining employees due to fear, be less willing to be open about the fact that any individual location provides abortions (and thus keep women who need them in the dark about it), and abortion providers may become a rarity due to the climate of fear that comes from random pro-birthers throwing a molotov through a randomly selected clinic window every few months or so. This is the broader goal of this kind of terrorism.
        2. The people who did this couldn’t have possibly known for sure that there were no people inside. Even if the place was closed, there still may have been staff inside. In addition, the act risks the lives of the firefighters who would have to put the fire out and attempt to see if there were people in the building.
        3. The people who did this couldn’t have possibly known that the fire wouldn’t spread, damaging properties of other owner’s who are far less capable of dealing with the loss than Planned Parenthood. And obviously, if the fire did spread, it could have put many more lives at risk.
        4. It leaves the people who would try to access Planned Parenthood’s services, abortion and otherwise, without the option until the building is restored. Unless there is another nearby place that provides identical services, it increases the chances of poor local women having unwanted pregnancies or having health issues checked for or dealt with until they can get comparable services again.

        So, basically: Property destruction/damage using these means is an immoral act because it directly puts lives at risk, in addition to merely causing economic harm to the owner. Specifically destroying certain types of buildings is terrorism that attempts to cause harm to an entire enterprise. Specifically destroying Planned Parenthood buildings is depriving low income women of cheap and easy access to birth control and health care. I don’t know whether you would consider it directly immoral, but it is undeniably immoral still.

        • Shaun

          I agree that the effects on the owners, users, and peers of the definitely make it an immoral act. It’s just that I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone arguing that fire-bombing an abortion clinic isn’t evil.

          @12 Andre Ruiz: I have a question I’ve been asking people lately. Should we hold people morally responsible for factually untrue beliefs? Is it wrong to be wrong?

        • anteprepro

          . Should we hold people morally responsible for factually untrue beliefs? Is it wrong to be wrong?

          My take on this is something I discovered when thinking about Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. For context: The argument is essentially that evolution favors survival over truth, so if evolution guided the formation of our brain, senses, and beliefs, there is no reason to believe that what we see and believe is true, since it only has to be “useful”. After reading example after example he gave attempting to illustrate his case, I realized it actually wasn’t very convincing for some reason. That’s when the epiphany came: True is useful. That isn’t to say that every accurate belief about the world is necessary for our functioning, and it isn’t to say that every belief that helps our functioning, survival, etc. is therefore true. But it is to say this: That the easiest, most reliable, and most common way to obtain beliefs that are helpful for prospering in our world is to obtain beliefs that are closest to the truth about our world. And that the easiest and most common way to undermine your own ability to survive and function is to have senses and beliefs that do not correspond to reality at all. Unless you are extremely fortunate, the truth is generally more helpful than fiction. Unless you are extremely unfortunate, falsehoods are generally more harmful than facts.

          So, with all of that, I believe that knowing the truth is in our best interests, and spreading falsehoods is (either directly or indirectly) a method of causing harm. And acting on falsehoods, as Mr. Ruiz illustrates inadvertently, is a good way for well-meaning people to act immorally, to cause harm to others, or to cause harm to themselves.

          It isn’t necessarily wrong to be wrong, but being wrong increases the chances of doing wrong, and thus it is wrong to cause others to be wrong. In that way, people should be held accountable for their factually untrue beliefs: when they are acting on them or trying to spread them.

  • Randomfactor

    That crime goes down when you make abortion cheap and available,

    So does the number of abortions.

  • http://philosophiadeus.blogspot.com/ Andrés Ruiz

    1) Person X believes that abortion is the intentional killing of innocent human beings (murder in other words).
    2) Murder is wrong.
    3) If you see something evil going on and you have the power to do something about it then, presumably, you ought to do something about it.

    The above seem to encapsule the thought process behind these individuals.

    Most people on this site would take issue with 1) above. Most of you probably *don’t* believe that abortion is equivalent to murder. Therefore, no one ought to “do something about it” since it isn’t a moral evil to begin with.

    But *from their point of view* such an act is obviously necessary in the same way that someone above pointed out: it would be wrong to stand by and do nothing about say, the holocaust.

    What atheists and christians disagree on is whether in fact abortion can even remotely be considered a holocaust.

    I don’t consider these abortion clinic bombers “evil”. They’re simply *mistaken* about one of their premises. But I’m not sure that I see what there is to condemn about their behavior since, presumably, they’re acting on a principle that all of us agree on: If something terrifyingly evil is going on, you ought to do something about it (if you can). I don’t think too many people would object to *that*, so the disagreement stems from the question “*Is* abortion a moral evil?”

    The fact that they disagree with the people in this site on that question doesn’t make them evil.

    • anteprepro

      I don’t consider these abortion clinic bombers “evil”. They’re simply *mistaken* about one of their premises. But I’m not sure that I see what there is to condemn about their behavior since, presumably, they’re acting on a principle that all of us agree on: If something terrifyingly evil is going on, you ought to do something about it (if you can)

      Sorry, you don’t get a free pass on immoral actions just because it seems moral from a “point of view” that completely ignores readily available information about the world and any semblance of nuance. We could say that the individuals might not qualify as evil, per se, because they are so thoroughly deluded and deceived by their own propaganda. But their actions are still immoral/evil/wrong, no matter how hard they believe falsehoods. The Holocaust isn’t less evil because the Nazis legitimately believed that Jews were odious non-humans. American slavery and slaughter of Native Americans isn’t less evil because the perpetrators sincerely believed they had a right to do such things. Rape doesn’t become less of an offense because the rapist truly thought that women say “no” but don’t mean it. And, no matter how hard they think fetuses are people too, it remains evil to put people’s lives at risk in hare-brained attempts to “save” them.

      This kind of moral relativism is ridiculous and borderline offensive. If you can forgive abortion clinic bombers simply because their moral calculus adds up once you grant their completely irrational conclusions, you can allow anyone the claim of being moral as long as they also sincerely believe in similarly helpful falsehoods. All we need to do is a get a band of people together to mutually convince one another that anti-abortionists are all like these clinic bombers, and we will have exactly the same moral imperative to go out there and commit acts of terrorism and murder in the name of protecting lives. All we have to do is completely ignore the actual facts, and suddenly we are morally justified. Truly an amazing feat, but if it’s good enough for the pro-birthers, it should be good enough for us.

      • Leni

        “I don’t consider these abortion clinic bombers “evil”. They’re simply *mistaken* about one of their premises.”

        I’m going to go ahead and disagree with you. I got an abortion at *that* clinic. I got to experience the behavior of those protesters first hand. Sure they might be misguided. They’re also fucking terrorists who aren’t trying to save lives so much as they are trying to terrify patients and employees of providers.

        I know, because I’m the one who had my license places photographed and was afraid in my home for weeks. When that happens to you, please come back and tell us all about how honorable these people’s intentions are and about how understandable their actions are.

        Until then, I’d just ask you to kindly stop acting as if the quality and content of an argument are meaningless in order to score argument points at the expense of people like me (who suffered mild discomfort and fear) and, even worse, people who have actually been murdered at the hands of these poor misguided (but otherwise gentle) folk. It’s almost as if you think because they feel strongly, they are justified in taking whatever action they deem appropriate, no matter how out of scale it is to the *actual* grievance.

        Even worse, I could use your same arguments to support terrorism for any cause, not just ones I can sorta relate to.

        In the interest of being diplomatic and as tone neutral as possible, I’m not going to bomb your house or work. But I really, really want to.

        Oh wait!

        1)Person X (that’s me!) believes that your argument is terrible.
        2) Terrible arguments are wrong.
        3) If you see something evil going on and you have the power to do something about it then, presumably, you ought to do something about it.

        Two things. First, I find it odd how you jump from wrong in #2 to evil in #3. But whatever. Probably a mistype.

        Second. I now have a built in excuse to bomb your house based solely on the ferver of my feeling. I don’t need a rational argument. I don’t need to justify that my actions are proportional to the problem. And I can conveniently forget about your rights and welfare, as well as anyone who might be unlucky enough to get in the way.

        Voila!

        • Leni

          Woops, that was obviously in reply to Andres.

  • Richard

    Evil is doing bad things for bad reasons and calling the entire turnip good. It is a special type of evil when you do bad things for good reasons, doesn’t mean that it isn’t evil, just that it’s special.

    The clinic bombers? “Lets murder people to stop murder!” Yeah, that totally makes sense. Gotta hate religion and the stupid it enables.

  • Marshall

    Police have a suspect now, and he has confessed.

    No word on his religious affiliation that I can find, but he has a moderately extensive criminal record. His motivation was what everyone would have guessed.

  • http://www.beretta-online.com/wordpress Glenn

    This is just daft. The relevant thing here is not that atheists are less violent or unpleasant than Christians. The issue is just that Christians are more likely to oppose abortion.


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